Alex Albrinck is working on book 3 of his Aliomenti Sage, “Ascent of the Aliomenti”.
Look for it coming soon to print and ebook!
Facebook Timeline Image:
Another soon to be released novel by author Ciara Threagoode, “The Second Diary”.
Look for it coming soon to print and ebook!
BLURB:Some people keep diaries that merely record trite tidbits of their daily life.
Dorothy Rose Nolte Hughes had one of those. But after her passing, her cherished granddaughter Cherry found another one that proved to be the tell-it-like-it-really-is version. It revealed family secrets that may have otherwise been buried forever.
This isn’t something I would normally do, but I’m trying to help a friend out. They’ve entered the Pure Michigan’s “Pure Michigan Moment Photo Contest” taking place on facebook, so I’m spamming for votes!
If you have a facebook page, are willing to take a moment, and well of course you must actually like the picture, go vote for it! It’s a stunning night shot of Michigan’s Mackinac Bridge.
If the link doesn’t take you directly to the picture, go to View Entries, then select Sort by Votes. It is listed under Brian from Ada. Right now they are sitting at 95 votes (7th place), with a goal of breaching that 100 line.
I have been cooped up the past couple days with the flu. I try to lay down, but I’ll either start a coughing fit, or all the pressure will build up in my head, pounding and throbbing till I swear it’s going to blow. Or I start the cold chills and for some reason find myself restless. The rare few times I think I can settle in and rest, the kids get to me. So needless to say, I’ve spent a LOT of time curled up on the couch with the laptop, and haven’t gotten much sleep.
I have gotten a lot of cover work done while I neglected my day to day household duties in fear of the water balloon I call a head finally bursting. (There are a few I’m waiting on the back blurbs before sharing, not to mention the ones mid-progress. They’ll be on here…eventually) But over the past couple weeks I’ve been wanting to create something for me. Create my visions instead of someone else’s. Whether it be photography, photomanipulation, or any kind of digital art. Needless to say I’ve been too busy to take the extra time at the computer to do so. Not to mention ideas flit in one side of my head, and back out the other like an illusive butterfly. So when I do have a chance, I can’t remember what they were!
Part of my job (can you really call this a job? man am I lucky!) requires me to constantly learn new things and/or techniques in Photoshop. So I watch a LOT of tutorials. Some things I retain and use, some I don’t. I have had a particular interest in digitally painted hair lately and have watched/read numerous tutorials, trying several techniques over the past month or so.
Yesterday evening I was sitting here, bored, yet didn’t want to “work”. Husband still at work, kids watching a movie, and the dog sitting there staring at me. Creeps me out sometimes when she does that. Just sits there, a foot or so away, staring. I was looking at her, noting the shadows and highlights of her fur. Yes, I look at everything in terms of shadows first, highlights second, gets annoying at times. Sometimes I even imagine painting or “etchy penning” (don’t ask!) over things I’m looking at. Other times it’s camera angles. How would I move to get a better angle? Depends on which frame of mind I am in. Suddenly the hair tutorials popped into my head. And I wondered….
I know from past trials and errors that I struggle with nose or muzzle proportions when I freehand. And I am WAY out of practice freehand drawing. So I grabbed the camera and took a picture of the dog. Loading the picture onto the computer and opened up photoshop. This is the image:
This was just for me for practice, I wanted to get the feel of the brush strokes using my tablet. I will freely admit I cheated. I cropped the image, cleaned it up and painting a black background around her. Then I used the Mixer Brush tool, set at very wet-heavy mix, with custom brushes I made and started painting directly on the photograph. In layman’s terms: Imagine having the photograph in front of you. Now imagine all the ink created to print said photo magically turned into wet paint, still retaining the image. Now take a paint brush, going over the whole thing and mix and move that wet paint the way you want it to look. That’s basically what I did. Followed by painting over details such as the eyes and nose.
My husband came home just as I finished it. When I tried to explain what I did, he said “So basically it’s a digital paint by numbers?”
I enjoyed doing it. It was fun and relaxing, and I wanted to do another. I asked a friend to send me a picture of her dog so I could play some more. She sent me a few images to choose from and I chose this one.
Isn’t he cute? He’s just so white and fluffy. I don’t even like small dogs and I went “Aww..” While I was looking at it, I thought, why can’t I paint new instead of making the photograph “wet paint”?
Now some may say I still cheated because I started out basically “tracing” it. This time, I created new layers and did general paint blobs of the colors, using my custom brushes for the occasional stray hair sweep. Each color had it’s own layer, leaving the original as the bottom layer to go back and view for reference. Once I painted each color, I merged the layers and started adding in the details using both the regular paint brush (for added colors and details) and the mixer brush. Finishing touches again were painting the eyes, some highlights, and some extra stray hairs.
By this time, it’s just about bedtime for the kids. Hubby wants to watch some tv with me, and I am coming off of my cold & sinus meds. So I put the computer away. My stuffed uppededness gets awful again, so I wind up taking more meds, which in turn leaves me WIDE awake when it’s time to hit the hay. So instead of tossing and turning and keeping my husband up all night, I stay up and start yet ANOTHER painting.
I started with the background, completely freehand, no reference, no photos (the branches in the corner are a brush though). I decide I’m going to do a wolf next. I searched deviantart.com for stock images of wolves for reference. I came across this one from MoonsongStock , and figured it would work. I cropped the image to what I wanted and blew it up till it was barely recognizable from pixel bloat. Once again, I will admit, I used the photograph to trace the general outline so I didn’t have a misshaped muzzle. After that I used it purely as eyeball reference (I looked at the original to see where to shade and highlight) and painted away.
So there you have it, what happens when you’re (we’ll for me at least) cooped up in the house sick with nothing better to do…er nothing better that you want to do at least. I might play more with full digital painting, if and when I have time.
[NOTE: This next one was added after this post originated. I just didn't feel like doing another new post.]
I will be attending a couple Art Fairs/Events over the next couple months. I will be sharing a booth with Nature’s Angle Photography. If you haven’t check out their fine art photography prints, then you are missing out on some amazing Nature and Local Photography! We will both have a variety of prints available for purchase.
So if you are in the West Michigan area, come check us out!
Saturday August 25, 2012
Art Jam in Downtown Fennville, Mi
Saturday September 8, 2012
Art in the Park in Rockford, Mi
The annual Rockford Art in the Park exhibition takes place the Saturday after Labor Day in the Garden Club Park between the Rogue River Dam and the White Pines Trail in downtown Rockford. With the Rogue River as a backdrop, Garden Club Park is an idyllic spot for a fine arts celebration.
Artists from across the state of Michigan compete in this juried art exhibition, featuring works in pottery, stoneware, sculpture, jewelry. glassworks, painting, photography, fiber arts and more. Artists are on hand to showcase and sell their works. A “Best of Show” award as well as six “Best of Category” awards (Jewelry, Pottery/Stoneware/Sculpture, Glassworks, Painting, Photography, & Fiber Arts) is presented each year.
Another thing that’s been keeping me busy lately is my husbands new shop Dieseltec. Not art related? pffft…who do you think had to create the logo, business cards and any related graphics?? Not to mention advertising, office work, and well pretty much anything you can think of related to setting up a new shop.
[NOTE: This is a blatant advertising plug, because it's my blog and I can!]
My husband Brian, has been working on Diesel trucks for years. For fun, as a profession, on the side, etc. So obviously the next step was to move into a new shop. And thus, Dieseltec was created!
There aren’t many places in Grand Rapids or West Michigan that specialize, or even work on Diesel Pick-up Trucks. At Dieseltec we cater to the big three: Cummins, Duramax, and Powerstroke. And we don’t do just repair, or just performance, we do it all!
Can’t find a place that does a Diesel engine oil change? Or does it right? Stop on in! Truck running a bit rough and your not sure what’s wrong with it? We do computer diagnostics! Got an injector out? No problem! Rough start on a cold morning? Got exhaust problems? How about you just want MORE POWER! Make my husband giddy, he LOVES tuning trucks and showing people what they are really capable of! (I swear…boys and their toys!)
Check out Dieseltec’s Services Page.
If you own a Diesel Truck, or if you just love Diesels, and live in the Grand Rapids, Mi Metro area, stop on in!
I just wanted to point out a recent price increase on my cover art. The price for a photomanipulated eBook/front cover has gone from $50 to $75. The spine/back for print will stay at an additional $25.
I would also like to note that any of my previous clients are not subject to the price change. I have several series I’ve done, and don’t feel it’s fair to up the price mid-series to them.
Thank you all for the wonderful support!
The lovely Tara West interviewed me not to long ago for her Confessions of a Cover Artist blog series, and it was just published today! Thanks to Melanie Ray for suggesting me! Go check it out here.
I spent Sunday afternoon driving around, exploring, looking for that perfect picture to capture with my camera. I haven’t been out since last fall, and I didn’t know where to go. So I just hopped in the car and drove. I wanted to rejuvenate my love for photographing old run down abandoned houses, or that barn up on the hill, so I headed north, out into to a more rural setting.
I drove for hours, only stopping twice to take one or two pictures! What’s wrong with me? I drove by several abandoned houses, falling down buildings, probably hundreds of barns. Have I lost my edge? Is photography not doing it for me anymore? All I could think about was how much gas I was wasting! It’s sad really.
Before I headed out, I was skimming through some of my past images. To me, I feel like I have lost something in the past couple years. Originally I blamed it on the loss of my old tablet PC. I started out with an older Toshiba Satellite Tablet laptop, with which I could just flip the screen over, and use the stylus right on the screen. I LOVED that comp. Not to mention what I saw on the screen was EXACTLY what the print looked like. This new laptop makes everything much lighter, and no matter how much I play with the display settings, it doesn’t help.
When my tablet PC kicked the bucket one last time, I stopped playing with images for quite a while. I stopped taking pictures, I stopped making abstracts, and photomanipulations? No way! But gradually I got used to using the mouse again (lefty using a right handed mouse here!), and gradually I started working my way back into my creative outlet. Looking around my blog now days, you see I’ve been doing mostly photomanipulated book covers, and recently I purchased a Wacom tablet, still trying to grasp what I had with my tablet pc. (Though I tend to go for the mouse more still lol) And with that attempted grasp, I was looking to grab onto my older style in photography/editing.
Which brings me to my original point of this post. Some days you just get sidetracked…..
After driving around for about 4hrs, I stop and get something to eat (driving makes you hungry!), sit down, pull out my map to figure out where I’m going next. Because this aimless driving, wasn’t getting me anywhere. And then I had a thought. Why don’t I go revisit some of the places I photographed before? I mean, 4-5 yrs have passed, they might be even more dilapidated! So I pack up, head an hour west, all excited that I KNOW WHERE TO GO!
To this day, my favorite image in my portfolio is “Abandoned” It just speaks to me on sooo many levels. I weave my way through all these back country roads, spitting up rocks as I fly down the dirt roads, my destination for once completely clear to me. As I start to pass the adjoining apple orchard, I slow, eyes peeled, music blaring on the radio, fingers tapping with the rhythm, sitting forward in my seat leaning over the steering wheel, so excited. The clearing approaches, I pass by an old trailer, then a massive stack of apple crates, then more orchard. Wait, more orchard? I throw it in reverse. Stop in front of that pile of apple crates. Note the shrubbery surrounding them is familure, then notice the cement foundation they are stack upon. My heart sinks. It’s gone! Gone!
I’m not sure how long I sat there staring at these stacks of apple crates, but it was a while. I reached for the camera at one point, intending to “document” the loss, but couldn’t bring myself to actually take the picture. It seems so silly to be upset about the loss. It was a falling down, abandoned house, no “historical” importance, a safety hazard! But still, I felt the loss so deeply. I can’t explain it.
I suck it up, thankful I found it when I did 4 yrs ago to take that amazing picture, then decided to revisit a few more spots in the area that are prominent in my portfolio. (There were quite a few in this area) I head down the road to where I took “Quiet Barn”. I slow as I come up to it, very familure with it’s exact location, since when I lived out there I drove by it almost daily.
I keep going, now looking for places I photographed, desperately needing to know if they are still there.
I stopped looking, and just went home. It just goes to show, you never know how long something will still be there.
Yep, another pre-made cover added to the list. I came across this stock image when I was looking for something else for a commissioned cover, and KNEW I had to do something with it. (If you’d like to see the original image click here) I think this one seems pretty versatile, genre wise. It’s dark enough for a thriller, yet could go as a romance too, or just a good old fashioned fiction. Not too sure on the font though, but that is easily changed.
[WARNING: May Contain Adult Content]
Recently I’ve decided to branch out. I’ve dabbled in web based graphic design (yes there are actually sites out there with my work on them, that don’t belong to me) I’ve done logo design. I’ve done signage (gotta love driving thru town pointing at a sign and say..Oh! I made that!). I’ve done t-shirt design. And I’ve done, still do, fine art. But what haven’t I done before recently? Book covers that’s what!
My husband bought me a Kindle Fire for Christmas this year (he thought I was going to go blind reading on my phone) and it opened up a whole new world to me. So I jumped right in! (Check out the new tab at the top of the page ^ ) I’ve got 6 covers out there so far, for some great authors. Take a peek!
N.R. Wick, a writer of dark young adult fiction. Not only have I done a few of her covers, I’ve read a couple of the books too! Even though I’m no longer a “Young Adult” …far from it actually… I really enjoyed the short stories.
And a few others. Please! Go check the books out!
I can’t believe ANOTHER year has gone by since I last updated this blog. Sighs…so shameful! Let me think, what has happened art related in the past year?
All 3 of this (uh..I mean last) years entries for Grand Rapids Festival of the Arts were accepted.
And have a few new images.
And most recently, I’ve been working on e-book covers. But I will post about that seperately
I just received a notice of a comment, which happened to be spam, but realized I have not posted on here in over a year! I will admit, it’s been a fairly boring year. Just been lacking in inspiration I guess. I have a few new pieces recently, but not much. These are the most recent two:
I did some TTV last fall:
A lil bit of manipulation/scene creation:
And one Digital Abstract:
As for news, I entered 4 pieces in West Michigan’s Festival of the Arts 2010. Two of them were accepted, and each of those received purchase awards.
“Rural Reminiscence” can now be found in Grand Valley State University’s Art Collection.
More recently, I entered two pieces into the West Michigan Regional Art Competition, hosted by the Lowell Area Arts Council. One was accepted, “Echinacea Dark Dreams”, and will be exhibited from Feb 22 – April 8, 2011.
ENDING SOON!!! Zazzle’s 12 Deals of Christmas. Hurry up and get your holiday gifts!!
Use promo code: 12DEALZAZZLE
Offer is valid from December 14, 2009 at 12:01am PT through December 14, 2009 at 11:59pm PT
50% off 10+ Cards
Buy 1 Mug get 1 FREE!
$5 off Tees!
60% off Posters!
30% off Stocking Stuffers
30% off Bags
30% off select Brands
$9 off Calendars
$10 off Ties
$11 off Skateboards
Buy 1 Binder, Get 1 Free
30% off hats and embroidered hats
15% off all Redbubble framed & canvas prints!
Offer ends Wednesday, August 26th, 5:00 p.m. US Pacific
I will be doing my first Arts and Craft Show this Saturday, July 18 2009, in Sparta, Mi.
Sparta (a neighboring town for me) celebrates each July with the Sparta Town & Country Days, which is a week full of fun family activities and more. The Arts and Craft Show will be held at Balyeat Field (click for map of Sparta Parks) 9am – 4pm. There are lots of other great stuff going on then too, for the Saturday schedule, click here.
I’m a little nervous, with this being the first time selling my art off the internet. I don’t have the typical Art show set up, the fancy walls for hanging work, but I will have to make do with my tables and easles. Everyone has to start with something, right? I will have with me about 30-40 pieces, ranging from 5×10 framed prints to 20×20 canvas print to 20×30 framed prints. Some of my more popular peices like, Echinacea Dark Dreams, Ephemeral Partings, A Pinch of Blue and Lil Red Riding Hood will be there, along with some new prints.
So come on out, stop by, and show me some love
The High Key Group at Redbubble just finished up another challenge. The latest theme? Fashion Photography! We see a lot of Fashion Photography come through the High Key Group, so we decided to do a challenge to highlight some of the great photographers. As always, the challenges are judged and voted upon by their peers. So on to the top 10!
And don’t forget to check out these great photographer’s other work!
Everyone expresses their creativity in their own ways. Sometimes it can be taken too far, but where do you draw the line?
The other day I was working on the computer while my 4-year-old daughter was sitting, back against my arm, watching cartoons. Well I thought she was watching the cartoons. When I got up to get something, she turned into the couch like she was hiding something. When I looked, she had a marker in her hand and was drawing all over herself. I mean EVERYWHERE! I asked her what she was doing, and she said she wanted to be a pretty picture. I couldn’t keep a straight face, it was just too adorable. So instead of punishing her, I told her if anyone asks, to tell them she is expressing her creativity. Then of course, I had to take pictures!
She just looks so proud of herself, doesn’t she?
A couple days before this little expression of creativity, she was playing in her room very quietly. Suddenly, she comes out to the living room to tell daddy she has his pencil. Instantly I knew she drew on something. I asked what she colored on, and she looks at me all innocent like and says “On paper only, I only draw on paper.” Of course I didn’t believe her and asked her if she was coloring in her books again (which she recently got in trouble for). Then she says yes, but it was a coloring book. I told her to go and get it for me so I can see. She runs down the hallway, and I hear her opening up the closet where I keep the coloring books, then she runs back with one. She opens it up to a page that was colored and says “See, I colored in my coloring book.”
First of all, I never heard her get one out and put it back. Second, she said she colored with daddy’s pencil, and the coloring book was colored with crayons. I let it go, assuming she colored in one of the books on her shelf that she had already colored in. I really didn’t feel like yelling and punishing her at the time. I know, I know, you should never let a 4-year-old get away with something because they’ll just push it further.
Later that night, when I went to tuck her into bed, I found what she really colored on. One of her walls, in her recently painted bedroom, is now sporting a mural of people holding hands, and flowers. It was just too cute to punish. Man I can be a softy sometimes.
Here are a couple pictures. Her walls are Pepto Bismal Pink (not my choice) and the flash left a glare, so I had to make them black and white so you could see the drawings.
Honestly, I really don’t let the kids get away with drawing on things they aren’t supposed to, but come on? How could you resist these? She’s just expressing her creativity! My little artist in the making…..
I got my postcard from Festival of the Arts today. All four of my entries were not accepted. I thought for sure, at least one would get accepted. Oh well, life goes on right? I guess my submissions just weren’t what the judges were looking for. These are the four I entered.
Echinacea Dark Dreams – 20×30 print matted to a 24×36 frame
Ephemeral Partings – 20×20 canvas print
Pale Perception L – 12×24 print, gatorboard mounted, framed, no mat
Death of a Light Bulb – 12×20 print, framed, no mat
I know, when I dropped off the work, there was some confusion about where to place these pieces. What media to claim them as. I had written Photography for all but Pale Perception L, I just listed that as digital. One person wanted to put them all in with the photography. I know they placed the 3 as photography, but I never found out where Pale Perception went. I did tell them there was no form of photography involved in that image. I didn’t see any of the other entries, so I don’t know if there is a lot of photomanipulation, or if my images are too edited for this competition. This thought process got me thinking, there really aren’t a lot of art competitions that favor digital art. My abstracts are all digital, and I know they aren’t bad because I have sold quite a few, but where do they fit in in today’s art world? I need to find someplace, or a competition for strictly digital works. Maybe I should start my own
Getting my rejection letter today really depressed me, but then I reminded myself of the sales of my work. If I wasn’t a very good artist, then I would not have sold anything. This being the first time I have actually put myself out there, in the ‘real world’ as an artist, just made it that much worse. But, I have to remind myself, I just didn’t suite these particular judges tastes. Maybe next time, if I decide to try again.
If you recall, I mentioned before that I recently ordered a bunch of prints to get ready for some shows/competitions.
I have been trying to get everything put together. Frames, backing, mats, etc. The first thing I am entering is Festival of the Arts here in Grand Rapids, Mi. Entries are due this Thursday, Friday, and Saturday. This is my very first juried competition, and I’m SO nervous! I don’t really care about winning anything, I just want to get accepted. I have four pieces picked out to enter. Although, I am still questioning one of them. I’ve got my frames and everything I need to put them together, but I can’t seem to cut that mats! I really only have one I need to do. It is a double mat for a 20×30 image, matted to a 24×36 frame. I went out last week and purchased the mat board and a hand held Logan Mat Cutter 2000. I can’t cut a straight line if my life depened on it. So my first try on the first mat was awful! Just cutting the mat board to the 24×36 square turned out bad. I was trying to do it, on the floor, with a 24 in framing square for a straight edge. HA! The inside cut ended up slightly crooked and jagged because I had to stop, move the ruler, and start again. Or the stupid mat cutter would slide under the ruler. Not good. So the top mat ended up being pretty much useless. The bottom mat wasn’t too bad after getting the hang of it a little better, but I over shot (yes, even with the little line guide) the corners, and it’s really obvious looking at the front. So there went the second mat.
I went back to the store Saturday and bought 2 new mat boards. My husband asked me to wait for him before I try cutting them again. Well today we got around to attempting it again. LOL He had just as many problems as I did, only opposite issues. I couldn’t cut the straight line, even with a ruler to guide, but he could even without one. (by the way, he pulled out a longer ruler, moved the mats up onto a table and used clamps to hold it in place, ‘duh! I should have thought of that in the first place!) My cuts were crooked, but they were smooth. His kept getting frayed. I should have just paid someone else to do it!
I was able to get the second bottom mat, and so far I don’t see any obvious flaws. I really don’t want to go back to the store and buy a 3rd top mat. So my choices are to either figure out a way to fix one of the 2 that got messed up, figure out some creative way to cover up the mess ups, or go without the top mat. I really don’t want to go without it, but that’s looking like my best option. We were discussing, purposesly fraying or ‘roughing up’ one of the ones we screwed up, to give it an aged look since the image was done as an aged image. But I am not sure how to go about doing that, and keeping it looking nice. Any suggestions?
Anyone out there know how to fix/prevent the frayed edge problem?
It must be the weather. We’ve finally gotten out of the dreary Michigan winter, and spring must bring forth some creative juices. I have a couple new pieces to share! Yay! So here they are:
Preconcieved Illusion (the last one if you can’t read the title) has become an instant fav of mine.
All of my work can be puchased as premium art cards, and most are available as matted prints, laminated prints, mounted prints, canvas prints, framed prints, and posters. All in varying sizes. To see more work and/or purchase click here. (or click on a particular image)
And don’t forget to check out other great products featuring these images at Karri’s Zazzle Store!
The Arachnids Group at Redbubble just finished off their latest challenge. With the theme of the challenge being “Hairy Little Beasts”, the turnout was spectacular, and the images incredible. But alas, only one image can be crowned 1st place. If you would like to check out all the entries, click here.
Now onto the show! The top 10 are as follows in order from 1st place to 10th.
Don’t forget to check out these great photographer’s other works!