Saturday, July 27, 2013

There Are Art Thieves About!

Well, I found one of my paintings posted on another website without my permission and I've heard from other artists that their art is also being stolen.

It amazes me that people who cruise the internet have so little regard for copyright law and even if they know about it, they think it doesn't apply to them.

Listen up all of you who would snag some art or a photo or even some text from a website to use the way you want to.  It's a copyright violation. It's illegal in most countries of the world. 

Just because it's on the internet doesn't mean that it's free for the taking.  How would you like it if I took your car just because it was parked on a public street?

Even if you don't intend to use anything for your own profit, it's still a copyright violation and illegal to even take it to begin with.  If you plan to claim you can use it under the Fair Use act, please be sure to read the rules concerning Fair Use!  Nine times out of ten, your use won't qualify!

Unfortunately, to help thwart would-be thieves, the watermark above will appear on all of my art and photos.  Yes, it will cover a goodly portion of any artwork, but it will be made mostly transparent so that the art can be seen while the text is still readable. 

I dislike having to do this but a few rotten apples spoil the whole barrel for the people who are honest and just want to look at art and photos!  For the artists who stop by, I would urge you to do whatever you can to help stop your art from being posted in other places or used without your permission.  If you would like to know how to make a watermark for your art, there are tutorials all over the web.  Just search for "watermarks + your graphic software name & version".

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Harvest Time

Pickled Okra and Jalapeno Peppers
It's that time of the year again when we have to do something with all the goodies from our garden.

Even though we no longer have a traditional working farm, we do like to have a garden and we certainly like to eat from the garden all year long.  In order to do that, we have to either freeze or can produce as soon as it's ready for harvest.

As I said, we love to have our own produce available during the winter months but preserving that produce sure eats into any art time!

Right now we have peppers of all kinds, tomatoes and a few okra plants producing like crazy and something needs to be done with it.  We enjoy sharing with friends & acquaintances who don't have a garden but even though we cut back on what we plant each spring, it seems we still have the same amount of harvest!

We canned 4 pint jars of jalapeno peppers today along with the okra but that's just a drop in the bucket as to what we'll use between now and next year's garden!  My husband loves hot peppers and could go through a jar in just a couple of days!  We plan to can quart jars of the various peppers tomorrow - oh, my burning hands!

We also put some fresh sweet corn in the freezer.  We don't plant corn because of the problems with deer and raccoons but a neighbor gave us some of his harvest today and it looks beautiful.  I know we'll enjoy it this winter too!

There are also tomatoes & squash in the freezer and I've made both fermented sour pickles and sweet bread 'n butter pickles and canned string beans.  The green beans, squash and cucumbers are nearly finished but we still have field peas left to harvest plus lots and lots of peppers.

Hopefully we can get everything in the freezer or the canner soon  and I can get back to painting.

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

The Rabbit Invasion

At one time our county was known for its plentiful rabbit population.  Over time, the rabbits became less numerous but it seems that we're about to regain the distinction of being the Rabbit Capital of North Carolina once again.

My other half and I spent the morning chasing this half-grown bunny from our back yard.  We have no idea of how they're getting in as the yard is completely fenced with a welded wire that has only 2 x 3 inch gaps between the wire.  But we're seeing more of them back there than we ever have.  When we found that even the larger rabbits could go through those tiny spaces, my husband put up some wire with a mesh of about half an inch along the bottom of the existing fence and they're still getting in!  It appears that we're going to have to fence the yard with screen wire!

It's not that we don't like rabbits.  We do, and we have no problem with them being just about anywhere else on our farm. But our garden is in the back yard and they do cause some problems there if they happen to get in.  We've even fenced off the garden within the back yard and they're finding their way through that fence as well.

It hasn't been too many years ago that we began to see and hear coyotes relatively close to our house.  The increase in the rabbit population means that there will be an increase in the populations of coyotes, and both red and gray foxes and probably hawks and owls. 

We're pretty laid back about letting nature take care of itself and don't hunt or otherwise try to control the wildlife population.  Even though coyotes aren't native to our area, we leave them alone unless they're very close to the house.

With rabbits getting into the back yard, other wild animals could follow them and we already watch our little Maltese closely when she's outside.   Hopefully, we can figure out something to keep the rabbits out.

In the meantime, that old Shirley Temple song keeps running through my head ------"Animal crackers in my soup,  monkeys and rabbits loop the loop ---"  (

Monday, July 22, 2013

More Graphic Work

 I've been helping a friend who owns a nano brewery to take some photos of some of his products and the operation.  In case you don't know, a nano brewery is smaller than a micro brewery!

Anyway, it's a shame I'm not a beer drinker as I'm told Dave's beer is very good.  I know he'd load me up with whatever variety I wanted but beer is something I've never really acquired a taste for.

I spent yesterday morning taking the photos and cropping, resizing, etc. those photos.  Today has been spent removing a smudge from his shirt and a paddle that seemed to be growing out of his head along with scanning and resizing one of his labels.

Hopefully, it's all finished now and I can get back to my normal art work.  Of course, I really, really need to clean up the studio first! 

Friday, July 19, 2013

The Artestry Hideaway - Beaufort, NC

The Artestry Hideaway Art Gallery, Beaufort, NC

Boardwalk view of the Artestry Hideaway

It seems as if we've been on the road more than we've been at home lately.  Day before yesterday, we drove down to Beaufort along our beautiful North Carolina coast to the Artestry Hideaway Art Gallery.  I needed to trade out some of my unsold paintings and put in some new ones and I wanted to do it before the weekend as they're having a fishing tournament there.

Little did I know that traffic and the crowds of people would be almost as  dense on a Wednesday as on a Friday, Saturday or Sunday!  But it's the beach and the beach is always crowded during the summer months!

The photos above are from our trip there this past February as there was no way I could get any decent photos this time around!  The boardwalk was wall-to-wall people and we ended up parking about two and a half blocks from the gallery!  That's a rather long trudge when you're carrying several large paintings and it's near 100 degrees F even with a breeze blowing off the water!

However, we made it there and back in about 10 hours and I tried to do a little bit of catching up around here yesterday.  I finally finished the graphic project I was working on and it just got mailed out while ago.

Now I have to go to work on preparing several sets of coasters for sale in both the gallery in Beaufort and hopefully for some galleries and gift shops near here.

Will post any new paintings as soon as I have time to paint something!!!!!

Have a great weekend everyone!

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Escambia Bay, Florida

We took a very quick trip to Florida to see my mother in law and my husband's sister and her family.  I haven't had time to make any art but we did take a walk along Escambia Bay while we were there and I thought I'd share one of the photos.

Unfortunately, with the trees, there's not a really great view of the bay so I thought I'd share a photo of the walkway where you can walk along with brief glimpses of the bay.  The whole walk ended up being about a mile because the walkway started out just off the highway then circled back to it to a different parking lot.

It was hot there even though there was a nice breeze off the water.  Even so, a mile long walk in hot weather when you aren't really used to it is very tiring!

Hopefully I'll be able to get back to painting after today.  Somebody slow down time and crack the whip!

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Nearly Finished with the Cradled Hardboard Painting

I've finally gotten to the point where I could glue the paintings to the cradled hardboard and thought you might like to see the (almost) end result.  I don't actually use glue for these but use the recommended Golden brand Soft Gloss Gel Medium.  I use it to both attach the painting to the prepared board then also use 2 coats of it to seal the painting.  By the way, that's the shine you see on the paintings as the Soft Gloss isn't quit dry yet.

Because this is a gouache painting and gouache lifts very easily, I gave both the rooster and this lighthouse a light spray with an acrylic sealer.  This kept the gouache from running when I brushed on the diluted Soft Gloss.

In the past I've used a Preval sprayer or my airbrush with the diluted Soft Gloss and was able to skip the acrylic sealer step.  However, this time I had some sealer handy and it was easier to use it than bring out more equipment.

After a few days, I'll give them a several coats of Golden's spray varnish with UV inhibitors and they'll be finished! 

I'll be working on a design project for the next few days and probably won't be able to post here on my blog.  But keep checking back as I'll return with even more art or art ideas!

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Making A Cradled Hardboard - What Have I Learned?

No photos this time but I did want to share what I've learned about making my own cradled hardboards:

Buy them already prepared if you can!

However, if you have to make your own because of size or if you just want to make them, then I recommend the following:

1.  If you already have the artwork which you want to use on a cradled hardboard, measure it carefully then cut your hardboard 1/8 to 1/4 inches smaller than your art.

I don't care how carefully you measure, there will be mistakes.  Making sure the art is slightly larger than the cradled hardboard will help with making sure the hardboard is covered when you go to glue it down.  It's much easier to trim a little from art that's too large for the board than  trying to make too-small art fit on your board.

If you're like me and just dive into doing something without considering all the ramifications, you may also be like me and find that your art is slightly smaller than the cradled hardboard.  If that's the case, I saw a tip from an established artist (but can't remember who it was!!!) to paint the cradle and hardboard one color then trim your painting so that it will allow about 1/4 to 1/2 inch of the painted hardboard to show all around.  It will kind of look like an intentional border.  That's what I'm going to have to do with at least one of my two paintings!

Of course, it would have been better if I'd had to trim a tiny bit of the painting after gluing to the hardboard but --------.

2.  Make the boards for your cradle just a tad smaller than each of the measurements.  If you plan to cradle an 8 x 10 inch piece of art on paper, for instance, mark two pieces at 8 inches and two at 10 inches but cut on the side of the markings so you'll have slightly smaller boards than if you'd cut them on the other side of the line or even right on the line.  I say this because it's much easier to fill small cracks with wood filler than to try to shave down a too-large frame board.

Since we were using hand tools, it was almost impossible to get accurate cuts for the mitered ends and I ended up trying to reduce the size of the cradle boards while still keeping the correct angle of the miter.   It was a real pain and very time-consuming, but I was able to get the miters to fit in with each other although I still had to use wood filler.  It would have been much simpler to have had the ends (very) slightly shorter.

3.  Instead of putting the cradle/frame together before gluing to the hardboard, I recommend gluing each piece of the cradle to the hardboard so that the edges match up.  If you didn't want to miter each corner, I would think that boards butted together would be just as effective if not as esthetically pleasing.  I think I would do that if I ever make another one of these cradled boards.

I hope these tips help and that you'll have an easier time of building a cradled hardboard than I did.  Of course, no matter what you use for your board, be sure to seal it thoroughly to keep any wood acids from leaching into your painting.  And don't forget to varnish your painting after adhering it to the cradled board.

Good luck if you try this.  It really shouldn't be too bad and now that I know what to expect, I think the next one I build will be much easier and quicker!

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Cradled Hardboards Finished

This was the last cradled hardboard and I just finished gluing and clamping it. 

The first one I did, I glued the frame (or cradle) together first before attempting to attach the hardboard and that was not a good idea.  It's hard enough getting everything right using the right power tools but it's nearly impossible using hand tools.

Even though I'd measured and dry-fitted (twice!) the cradle ended up being about a sixteenth of an inch wider than the hardboard so my husband is going to try to plane it down to size once the glue is firmly set.

With this last cradle, I glued each section to the hardboard, dry-fitting as I went and that worked out so much better!  It's a lot easier to make adjustments on one or two sections than to try to adjust a finished product!

Once everything is completely finished and the paintings are attached to the hardboards, I'll take more photos to show you how they look. 

Monday, July 8, 2013

Making A Cradled Hardboard

 cradle frame in process
I did some gouache paintings on some paper that is not of a standard size.  I yell at myself all the time to be sure to use quality materials in standard sizes as I know that as sure as I don't, that's when a painting will turn out to be a "keeper".

Yep, that's what happened with not just one but two recent paintings.  Not that they're on inferior materials but they aren't of a standard size.  So, instead of taking them to a frame shop for custom framing, I decided to make some cradled boards for them.  Cradled boards don't necessarily have to be framed and since I wanted both of these for a gallery, I didn't want to wait a couple of weeks or longer for a frame shop to frame them.

I'm pretty much using hand tools for this project but it's coming together fairly well.  I wanted to be the one to cut the cradle frame boards because I'm very picky but my husband insisted that he do it.  I had plans with my daughter so I left him to it.  When I returned, he had cut the boards but two of the ends weren't quite even so he had to re-cut them this morning.

I can't help it - I'm something of a perfectionist when it comes to some things and these cradled boards are something I wanted perfect!  I think it upsets my darling other half when I want something done over, but these paintings are representative of me and I want to put my best foot forward!

He finally got them right and you can see that I've started to glue them up.  Next will be gluing the two angles to make the nearly square frame then I'll attach the hardboard itself.  I've already put the primer/sealer on the hardboard to keep any wood acids from migrating into the painting and also to keep it from warping when I glue it.

As soon as the frame dries, I'll attach the board and when it's dry, I'll paint the cradle frame, attach my painting to the board then varnish the painting.  It may sound involved but just takes a little time and concentration.  The hard part is cutting the proper 45 degree miters for the corners using hand tools!

And in the future I'll do my best to follow my own advice and only paint on standard sized substrates!!

Saturday, July 6, 2013

What Else To Do With All Your Paintings!

coasters from paintings
I was surfing the internet one day trying to get inspired to just DO something as the dog days of summer arrive early here in the South!  Anyway, I happened upon lots of tutorials and blog posts about making coasters with photos of your family, children, or using decorative papers, etc. 

I thought it would be a wonderful, different and useful way to display some of my paintings so I set out to try doing it for myself.  I know there are many places that offer to put photos on coasters but have you seen their prices?!!!!!  Many are over $20 each!  I like doing crafts and thought I could make my own to use as gifts and maybe sell.

Several tutorials and/or blog posts mentioned that the coasters were sticky when a hot cup of liquid was placed on them so I began to search for a way to avoid this.  I'm a bit of a perfectionist when it comes to some things plus I already had orders for several sets of these!

I thought I'd finally found the answer when I stumbled upon the following tutorial:

I was really excited because we had used the pour-on resins before and liked how the items looked.  I rushed right out and bought some and poured several of the coasters I'd prepared.  They looked beautiful.  Yes, I had one that had some tiny bubbles in it but, since I knew what to expect, I was really surprised that it was only the one that would have to be sanded down and re-poured.

OK, jump forward a couple of weeks.  I knew the cure time for the resin is fairly long so I thought that 2 weeks should be plenty of time and that a trial was in order.  I got the coaster that had the bubbles in it, a cup of hot coffee and settled down to watch the early morning news.  I lifted the cup to take my first sip and the coaster came up with it!!!!

Aaaaargh!  Not only did the coaster stick to the cup but when I pried them apart, there was an indentation from the cup embedded in the resin!!!!!   Double aaaaargh even though the indentation leveled itself after a few days!  This was really a disaster especially since one lady was waiting on the coasters so she could give them as a gift!  More searching online and I found that using a good quality paste wax and buffing it well would protect the coasters until they fully cured (which can take several weeks).  I did this and it did help some but I'm searching for another sealer for these coasters that I can use for last minute orders.  The pour-on resin makes for a beautiful finish and I'll probably be using it for future coasters as it's also used to protect table and bar tops and should be very durable.

But in the short-term?  Maybe I need to rethink what else I can use my paintings for!  Ideas, anyone?

Friday, July 5, 2013

Welcome To My New Blog!

Gouache on Paper - copyright Jan Gibson

After much thought and consideration, I decided to retire from painting pet portraits and to concentrate on developing my own style and learning more about various art media .  This new blog is the result of that decision and I hope you'll enjoy this blog as much as you did my Pets To Posies blog.  And if you've never seen my old blog, welcome and I hope you'll enjoy it here!

Since this is just the first post, expect some changes to the look in the future and expect it to be just a little different from the previous one.

Animals and flowers are still favorite subjects to paint and I'm still experimenting with various art media, but I'm also exploring different ways to use my art so there will be little excursions into crafts as well as fine art.  Well, let's just say that this blog will be eclectic and leave it at that!

And on to the art!  The rooster above practically painted itself and I really enjoyed painting him.  Isn't he just a typical male with his out-thrust chest and loud crowing?  lol  (Of course, my husband is nothing like that and is certainly not typical - just in case he's reading my blog these days!)

So enjoy the first painting on my new blog and give me a shout to let me know you're out there!