Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Who Are Our Art Collectors? The Oil Man Story

The heating oil delivery truck came zipping up the hill, the oil man jauntily taking the curves as he talked on his cell.   We stood our ground, in a cloud of dust. Humph.  Plein air artists get no respect!

Half an hour later after his load was lightened up the hill, he came back down, and stopped to see what we were painting and chat a bit.  Turns out, he is an annual guest to the local nature center gala auction, and he and his wife, the big collector in the family, enjoy bidding on some of the finer pieces and adding them to their expanding collection.  I only know this second hand because I did not take the time to go over and say hello!  My painting buddy doesn't know a stranger, and sells her art widely and often.  I'm taking notes............it was a beautiful day to learn a lesson in sales up at Maple Bank Farm.  Here is my buddy, Karen Cashman, talking to a new friend

James Gurney's "Gamestoppers"--Plein Air Disasters

On the eve of the Chestertown MD plein air event, I share a link to James Gurney's "Gamestoppers" list and video:

"A lot can go wrong when you paint outdoors, but wind is the biggest enemy. Artists at the second annual Plein Air Painting convention share their stories of "gamestoppers," unexpected events that bring a painting session to a dramatic halt.

A few gamestoppers that have happened to me include:
1. Sudden downpour.
2. Painting falls face down.
3. Subject departs.
4. Forgot brushes.
5. Fog covers view.
6. Tide floods painting spot.
7. Cold air freezes watercolor.
8. Truck parks, blocking view.
9. Biting insects unbearable.
10. Automatic sprinklers turned on.
11. Hordes of annoying tourists.
12. Spat on by people above me.
13. Chair collapses in museum.
14. Drawbridge lifts. I’m on it.
15. Donkey rests head in lap.
16. Easel blown into rapids.
17. Jostled by drunk dancers.
18. Menaced by bull.
19. Kicked out by a guard.
20. Ejected by nun."

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Resizing Photos for Art Show Submissions: Photoshop Elements

Chris Ivers, of the Connecticut Pastel Society, an accomplished artist and advertising exec gave a workshop in Meriden, Connecticut, for artists who needed help to get the best quality photos for submission to art shows--either online, for emailing or for burning to a disc to mail.  She must have gotten tired of seeing butchered images during the jurying process.  Here is what we learned for Photoshop Elements (note 12 Steps!)

1.  Take painting outside, prop up on wall in sunlight, place a piece of white paper like an index card next to it, take a photo, including the white paper.  Very important!  Use the highest quality resolution your camera allows.  (Check your camera manual.)

2. Come back inside, turn on your computer, open Elements, sit next to painting so you can compare it to what you see on the monitor, in natural light, not florescent and begin adjustment/resizing process.

3. Transfer your photo from your camera card to your computer.  Place it in a new Folder, i.e. titled "CPS Images".   It's easiest to find them if you put it on your Desktop. But later you should move it to the right area on your hard rive.  Don't email yourself the image, because that will automatically generate a small JPEG image.  
4. Make a copy of your original photo, so you are not working with the original--click Duplicate, then rename it

5.  Open the copy, then in top menu, click Image.  Under MODEbe sure RGB is selected.

6.  Under "Enhance" (in PSE) select Adjust Lighting, Levels.

7.  Click far right eyedropper, then click on the white piece of paper you photographed next to your painting in your photo.  The result should look pretty much like your painting now.  If you're still not happy, do any minor tweaks you want on contrast, color etc.  You can also grab the little arrows under the histogram, that represent Shadows, Midtones, Highlights and play around with them.  Click save when you like the results.  

8.  Now to straighten the painting if your corners are distorted:   on the top menu, click View, Grid.  You'll see a grid over your photo.  This is just an aid to straighten out the image.  Now click Image, Transform, Distort.  Grab little handles at each corner until the painting edges are pretty much horizontal or vertical and line up with the grid.  To maintain the right proportions, hold down the Shift key while you do this.    Now you save again, and turn off "Grid".

9.  Click on the Crop symbol on the left, and position the cross bar at the top left corner.  Drag the cross bar from the top left corner of your painting to the bottom right corner.  You should see the painting highlighted with little corner markers.  You can drag those to make the crop area bigger or smaller.  If it jumps around while you drag, try making the picture bigger by clicking the Command key, Shift, + key.  It will be easier to fine tune your cropping.  Save.

10. Now your painting photo is the way you want it, you are ready to Resize!
In the top menu, click Image, Resize, Image Size.  
In the window that pops up next, be sure the bottom boxes are all checked off.
(Scale Styles, Constrain Proportions, Resample Image= all checked.) 
Change RESOLUTION box number to 300.  (If the show calls for 300dpi.)

Then, check your art show submission requirements again, and see what they want the longest dimension on a side to be, 2100 pixels, for example.  If you are submitting a horizontal landscape, that will be wider than it is tall, click in the WIDTH box, and enter 2100 pixels, or whatever they have asked for. If you see the little Locked symbol on the right of the boxes, when you put in one dimension like the width of the pixels, the other dimension should automatically change too, if you checked all the bottom boxes. Click OK. Click Save.

11. Under the top menu, click Save As.  Rename your file to be whatever the competition calls for, i.e., EPB1.  Select JPEG under Format, click on Save button.  A new window pops up, under Image Options, select Maximum.  Then, going down, under Format Options, you click the top button, that says Baseline ("Standard").   This will give you the best image.  Click OK.  Done!  

12.  Now you just go to your new folder, grab the images and either email them, burn to disc, or if you apply online to a show, browse for them and click to submit.  Good luck!

Thanks Chris!!!!

Sunday, April 7, 2013

POP and Southbury Land Trust Hike and Paint

Gladys Taber, Nelson and Polly Camp were with us in spirit on this chilly April day celebrating the beauty of CT open space at Stillmeadow Farm in Southbury CT.  The SLT arranged the hike and a bench dedication to longtime supporters Nelson and Polly, no longer with us.  Hikers walked the proposed Stillmeadow conservation property with Joe Ruggiero and other members of the SLT board, while POP painters set up near the Taber homeplace and spent a peaceful afternoon painting.  POP artists attending:  Diane Debreuil, Karen Cashman, Zufar Bikbov, Jill Nichols, Ellie Boyd, Tina Skor, and Dorothy Calio.  Visiting:  Jose Luis Nunez.  Here are a few photos from the event:

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Spirit of Gladys Taber--Southbury Land Trust and POP Join Forces Sunday, April 7th

POP artists and the Southbury Land Trust folks will meet Sunday, April 7 at the Stillmeadow Farm, Gladys Taber's writing haven, on Sanford Road for simultaneous events--a POP paintout, a SLT hike and bench dedication.   POP members will continue to help SLT with their overall mission to conserve of the natural beauty of Southbury while enjoying being out in the open spaces, and new this year, POP will help raise funds and awareness for the rebuilding of SLT's Phillips Barn.  See the attached flyer for details on the event.

Sunday, April 7th 1:30 P.M.
Parking:  at Phillips Farm
Paint at Phillips or Stillmeadow Farm (where writer Gladys Taber lived and wrote) or Hike Stillmeadow Farm and stay for dedication of the Nelson and Polly Camp bench.  There is no charge for this event.

The POP event schedule for the rest of the season is being firmed up and will be posted shortly along with plans for the September show at the Southbury Library.