Tag Archives: artist

Review: Some Thoughts on Watercolors

I’ve bought a bunch of different watercolors from Grumbacher Academy to Winsor & Newton. My favorite travel watercolor set is a Cotman 12 pan set. The colors wet easily and lay down nice saturated colors. It was a  great value to get 12 half pans of color for around $20.

I’ve since focused on purchasing tubes of color to replenish emptied tubes and adding a few extras. I’ve tried to buy a few different brands. If you’ve got an AC Moore or Michael’s near you, getting a tube of Winsor & Newton Artist watercolors with a 40% off coupon is a pretty good deal.*

My usual rant with any art material is that you get more out of artist’s grade than student. Why? They tend to have more pure pigment and less filler and that means you get more color out of a 5ml artist grade tube versus a 15ml student grade tube.

I’ve purchased a few tubes of Holbein watercolors at Artist & Craftsman as they’ve been having a sale. The 15ml tubes are a little pricier than the usual 5ml tubes of Winsor & Newton colors that I buy but it’s also 3 times the amount. The colors are intense.

The first time I sprung for a tube of W&N artist grade watercolor I was shocked at how much more intense the color was than Cotman and Academy colors. I was also surprised at how easily my damp brush picked up a lot more color than with Cotman. The “rewetting” ability of W&N over their own Cotman student grade colors was surprising and delightful. Creating an intensely colored wash was much easier than with my cheaper colors.

Now that I’ve discovered Holbein I’m feeling the same way about them as I did about my W&N artist grade colors. I feel like I’m getting more bang for my buck out of these slightly more expensive tubes of really intense color. So far I’ve bought a tube of indigo, turquoise blue, and sepia. All 3 colors perform flawlessly and wonderfully on everything I’ve tried them on so far. The Holbein turquoise blue is a very different shade than the Cotman turquoise. Since I rather like the color of the Cotman turquoise I may end up buying a new tube of it, but I have to say that I’ve been quite spoiled with the Holbein paints.

That being said I also tried out a tube of Van Gogh watercolor. These are larger sized tubes of color that are considered student grade. The VG colors had something going for them- they rewet on a palette like nobody’s business. A swipe across a dried out blob of red oxide brought up a fully loaded brush of intense color. These tubes are moderately priced around $4 a tube and come in sets. I’ve not tried their pan colors but the tube color is very well behaved and an excellent value.

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Amanda F’in Palmer

those of you who know me know I like Amanda Fucking Palmer. In fact I follow her on twitter, read her blog and yes listen to her music. She is crass, a brilliant musician and a lot of fun. Hence the reason I follow her. Would I attend one of her flash parties? Not likely, you wouldn't catch me dead surrounded by that many hipsters. Would I buy her used glass dildo? (oh great the spam bots will find me) Nah. Do I support  her right and insanely brilliant way of marketing and merchandising herself? Do I LOVE the way she leverages social media tools in an effort to make a living as an artist? Abso-fucking-lutely.

Why do I love these things about Amanda Fucking Palmer? Because she put it all out there. She says with confidence what I want to say: I'm an artist and if you like my work you WILL support me. I'll give you some stuff for free but for christ's sake help me out. I enrich your lives, throw me a bone. She puts the tip jar, hat and ukulele case on the curb in your face and is WAITING for you to stuff dollar bills in her panties after a great show. She does a lot without the help of the record labels. I'm willing to bet that  the labels would frown upon some of the shit she does, but she's selling her music. (I paid and downloaded it off Amazon, but would download her next CD off her website if offered.)

And for that more than anything else I love her. 

Read her blog post here.

Book Review Monday: The Century of Artist’s Books: Johanna Drucker

I've written about this book before it's a gem of a book about Artist's Books. It's one of my all time favorite books on artist's books and art books in general. On my copy the cover is a nondescript green with red lettering. Nothing about it's outside seems particularly interesting but it's what inside that counts. It is an art history book. I make no attempt to hide that. Some of the text is dry but it's a very detailed and informative account of artist's books.
The pages are filled with loads of images, sadly all are black and white, but that doesn't detract from the ideas that the books possess.

AS this was one of the first books I read on artist's books I was amazed and drawn into the concept that one could go about creating a book that was their own art, not just a book that contained their art. The concept floored me. It was one of those moments in an artist's life that is a defining moment, something critical to move them from their artistic rut.

This isn't a book that is going to TELL you how to make something or give you a diagram nor a description of precisely how the artist created their book but it will give you a description of the book and an idea of how it was made.

I give this book 5/5 binder needles and 2 paint covered thumbs up.

This is a book for inspiration in addition be being another great reference on artist's book.
See more of it here.

Artist Beware

There have been some interesting happenings in internet
land. Someone from a large trendy retail and catalog chain has been emailing my fellow Etsians with a
potential lucrative offer. The email sounds like a potential goldmine.

You know the old adage “If it sounds like it’s too good to
be true?” I suspect that in this case it may be. As someone who has worked for
a large international company as a buyer I can tell people a little bit about
this process. Education is the key to making a deal like this successful for
the prospective artesian. Buyers for large companies fall into 2 categories-
those who are honest folks trying to do the right thing for the small artisans
and those who will do anything to make their bonus at the end of the money. IN
some cases companies pay their buyers based on the new product lines they bring
in and how much money they make on those lines.

There are also people whose jobs are essentially there to
bring in new lines or build into old lines- product line managers or some other
unwieldy title. These people are the folks who are scouring the internet to
find the next big thing. The big thing that’s going to get them the bonus, the
raise and the better cube. These are the people to watch out for.

So say you get an offer from a big company, is it all crap?
No at all but you need to be prepared. Large companies have at their disposal
resources we can’t imagine. This also means if you send in a sample it can
easily be sent to a manufacturing facility and millions of copies can be made
in 6 months. How can you protect yourself?

First, if someone sends you an email be sure that it’s
coming from a company email account SoandSo@thiscompany.com IF it doesn’t come
from a company account don’t trust it. Secondly head to the company website and
get the number for their corporate offices. Ask to speak to that person, or for
their extension. IF you get patched through it’s likely they work there. Ask
the person answering the phone what the person does. Most secretaries will be
pretty forth coming with this info. Explain why you’re asking. Ask for their
title. Now ask to speak to Human Resources, particularly a specialist in
recruitment. Ask HR for the job responsibilities of that title. HR should be
pretty forth coming with this info- after if you are posing as a potential
applicant they will tell you just about anything. Be polite and don’t be too
aggressive- there’s another adage- more flies with honey than vinegar.

Say you get a product line manger rather than a buyer, be
aware and careful with your next steps. These are the people in charge of
making new lines and not necessarily concerned with your profit or product.
Buyers are trying to bring in new product and not create new lines. It’s a fine
line between the 2 but buyers are less likely to have the capability to send
products to a manufacturer than a Product Line Manager.

The next step is to copyright your product. Don’t send
anything to a large company without getting some sort of legal document stating
the product and idea is yours. Consult with a lawyer if you need to. But Don’t
let a company steal your idea because they are big.

The next thing or perhaps the very first thing for you to
consider is the viability of you being able to make the quantity of product
that the company needs. Can you make 1000 books to send out at the end of the
month? Can you make and ship 1000 books in a month? IF not step back and think
about sending stuff to the company. Once they have your product there is
nothing saying that they couldn’t ship it off to a facility and have something
like it made, cutting you right out of the loop. Most large companies use a net
payment method. This means that you get paid a certain number of days AFTER the
company receives your product. Common net payments are NET15 and NET30, the
number after the net stands for the number of days after receipt your check is
cut and mailed. 30 days can be a long time. Can you pay for the materials for
1000 books upfront? Can you afford to take a month off of your DayJob and not
get paid for 15 or 30 days?

Another option is a licensing deal. They pay you for the
right to make your product; a certain amount up front and you can walk away. I
would suggest that you do this with a lawyer present to make sure that your
terms are met and that you get what you want. When talking to large companies
don’t be afraid to drop the line “I’m going to consult my lawyer and see what
he/she has to say.” Whatever you do be smart and don’t let a company get away
with stealing your ideas and products.

There are valid opportunities out there that are potential
goldmines for artists but you have to be aware of the sharks in the water and
protect yourself. Be aware at all times.