Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Is It a "Scam"?

Would you consider multi-level marketing (MLM, like pyramid schemes) a scam? Well, technically, perhaps not, but it's certainly a case of a very few people making a heck of a lot of money out of a whole bunch of other people.

I just received an email from Wiserep.com:

I like your artwork. Are you selling them through a lot of stores already?

We work with galleries, specialty stores, furniture retailers, large chains and Internet shopping sites who search our website looking for artwork to purchase. We need a larger variety they can choose from, hence my email to you.

If you're able to sell to stores and can offer good prices visit us.

Having been bitten once by the internet scam monster, I've been very cautious ever since. So a Google search turned up a few forum posts from craft groups, and I also thought I'd check out the Etsy forums. While this might not be a scam, exactly, I really don't think it's worth the paper it's printed on.

All I can say is, ladies & gentlemen, if it sounds too good to be true, or it strikes you as a "what the heck" kind of moment, look at the bottom line and figure out who is making the money. 'Cause, chances are, my friends, it ain't us, the artists doing the work!

Sunday, June 8, 2008

More Sketches

These tulips are actually from our trip to Mom's earlier last month; I've just been away from my computer/scanner for so long that I'd not yet had a chance to scan them in and post to the blog. I go for a month with nothing, and now you're inundated with stuff!!!

I'm really happy with the tulip colour in the first one, but I got carried away trying to get the right colour in the second one, and lost the highlights and obfuscated the line work more than I would have preferred.

Tulips - Watercolour & pen, approximately 7"x10"

Rococo Parrot Tulip - Watercolour & pen, approximately 7"x10"

This one is from my Dad's - it's definitely not at all what I had in mind; this is why I hate watercolour. I don't have the patience to spend the time learning how to use the medium, hence I won't ever really get any good at it. I really had liked the way the dark greens of the spruces made the bright aspen trunks & their brand-new spring green leaves leap out. I was planning on doing a lot of negative painting on that left-hand side, but got a wicked headache from the reflection of the sun off the white paper; how do artist's deal with that? Probably don't arse around as long as I do with their work! Needless to say, this is not one of my stellar moments in art...

Tree sketch - watercolour, approximately 7"x10"

These next ones are from two separate birds that schmucked themselves against Dad's window; both on the same day! Poor things. So I took advantage of their stillness. The watercolours in the second one aren't quite as disappointing as the above tree sketch, but still not quite right. At least the colours are relatively accurate.

Brown-headed Cowbird, male - graphite, approximately 8"x11"

Western Tanager, female - graphite & watercolours
approximately8"x4" and 3"x3", respectively

Why Printmaking

An interesting discussion came up on Wet Canvas a few weeks ago, and as I had a few printmakers at my fingertips on Friday, I thought I'd ask them my question of all questions for printmakers: Why printmaking?

Karen Kunc was my first victim, er, subject. She thought it was a very interesting question (thanks Karen!), and said that she actually has a ready answer for it, as she's been thinking about that question specifically for a number of years. Of course, I should have written this down right away, because I have the attention span of a guppy unless I specifically write something down, I don't always remember correctly. I believe her answer was that she was attracted to printmaking because of the quality of line that she could achieve, and because it was something that was different. She found printmaking intriguing right from the start of her artistic career, and while she recognized that it was unlikely to bag her much cash or world wide acclaim, it suited her artistic goals and passions. Karen is very drawn to lines (no pun intended); she notices that when she evaluates imagery or looks at the world around her, that's what her mind is focusing on. Karen's work currently examines the relationship of nature & society, urban & rural environments, and the balance (or imbalance) between them.

Next was Jim Westergard. His answer was simple: he walked into the print studio for the first time, and took a deep breath full of the smells of the studio and was hooked. Of course, it was probably all of the organic compounds used in printmaking that really got him! Maybe that explains his quirky view of the world in his engravings?

Gene Leavitt's response was also fairly straightforward and pragmatic: printmakers get to make duplicates of their work so that they don't have to be so precious about the "original". Gene also works in many other media, including watercolour and pen-and-ink; you can see his illustrator's background in his work, which also exhibits his incredible imagination.


For those of you who have no idea what BIMPE is, it stands for "Biennial International Miniature Print Exhibition", and it is a fabulous showcase of printmaking artists from around the world, currently on at the Federation Gallery on Granville Island in Vancouver until June 22 (then it moves to Dundarave Print Workshop from July 8 - August 3). If you are in the area, please go see these prints in person. The styles, techniques and world-class skills are overwhelming, and require quite a lengthy visit to truly appreciate these delicate miniature works of art.

Dave & I attended the opening, which was from 6-8 pm on Friday, June 6. It was packed. I have never seen that many people at an opening at the Federation before; it was absolutely incredible. At one point, people were lined out the door to come in. And not only was it packed with admiring viewers, but people were actually pulling out their wallets and putting money down for their favourites. Other than the fact that these are all incredible pieces of art, they're also extremely portable, charming, and very affordable (many for less than $100, most between $100 - $150), and as they're not framed, they're easy to take home on the airplane!

My friends Kathy and Katka came down to see the show, and another printmaker (Beth Sobel) from Wet Canvas made the trip up from Bellingham with her husband & in-laws. I found the work of one other printmaker (Lynn Macintyre) from Wet Canvas, but as there are just so many pieces, and the labels were pretty tiny, that if I didn't know to look for you, I am sorry if I missed your work! Please write a comment - I'll be going back on Wednesday (June 9) to volunteer at the gallery, so I'll be able to look again more closely.

I had the honour of being introduced to Jim Westergard, winner again of a BIMPE Honourable Mention, and one of my wood engraving idols. His work is full of whimsy and charm, and he is very passionate about his chosen medium. I was so happy that he made it to the opening - he lives in Red Deer, Alberta, and drove (via Nelson, to pick up his wood engraver buddy, Gene Leavitt, who was also represented at BIMPE this year) all the way out here basically just for the opening. Jim also introduced me to Karen Kunc, a woodblock printmaker from Nebraska, who is in town at Malaspina Printmakers as their artist in residence for June. Although she did not apply to BIMPE, you can see her solo exhibition "Visualizing the Urban/Rural Divide" at Malaspina until June 15.

After the opening, the die-hards of the lot wandered over to New Leaf Editions, the hosts, coordinators and masterminds of BIMPE, for a barbeque and feast, accompanied by Dead Frog brew: a wonderful and generous spread put on by Peter & Katie of NLE. Thanks guys!!

Treasured Again!

Wow! I got on someone else's treasury again!

Industrial Perch

Thanks craftyhag! Other Etsy stores featured in this treasury are:

PamelaAngus - glass art
RedMarionette - whimsical and vintage-inspired toys & accessories
boogiebead - bead work
auntifranni - embroidery
withremote - graphics & screen printing
lisahammer - fused glass jewelry
mmcullen - paintings, prints & whatnot
iWunder - hand knit items & hand dyed yarns
squidglass - fused glass jewelry
ArtOfSkulls - handcrafted "Day of the Dead" skulls