Sunday, August 30, 2009

Monetizing one's art - What would you do?

Idea Mandala

I think it's finally time that I do something more with my art than posting it to the web - but I have to admit, I am completely overwhelmed with the thought of selling my work. My sticking point is that I never ever create my art (specifically my mandala art) with the intention of trying to make money from it. I create art as a form of spiritual self expression - a meditative release if you will, but I can't help but noticing that there are a few of my images that people seem to really like... a lot. Seeing that I do need to eat on a semi-regular basis, and that my husband would surely love me to generate more than hot air... I'm willing to consider my options.

When selling art, there seems to be a million different ways to do it. I can sell prints, t-shirts, greeting cards.... I can use do-it-yourself sites like Cafe Press, Zazzle, Etsy, or any of a number of other similar sites.

I know that no matter how I start, I probably need to have a clean digital image from which to work. My scanner is not capable of capturing such an image, so I checked with one company that would shoot my art with some kind of high end digital camera and then "clean up" and color balance the image. The cost- $75 per image. Hmmmm seems kind of high. Then I can't decide if I want the reproductions to be like the original, (showing the paper grain etc.) or vectored/rasterized so it can be used more like graphic art. Decisions, decisions...

There is part of me that would like to do something that's a little different than just prints & greeting cards, and after I completed the above image, I was thinking that this particular image would make for a really cool reverse lino block print on a t-shirt. But that would mean that I would have to figure out how to transfer the design & carve it out, then print them. A great idea in theory, but one that might take up more time and effort than I currently have available.

So I am at a loss.

If you were me, what would you do? Do you have any experiences that you can share with me on how you reproduce your art for sale? Or maybe how you prefer to purchase your art?

Friday, August 28, 2009

Review: Diamine Coral Fountain Pen Ink

Diamine Coral

Diamine New Century Coral fountain pen ink tested in a Paperblanks lined journal with off-white pages. EF Lamy Safari fountain pen.

Not sure what color this ink wants to be. It's a pinky-orange with some very cool shading. (Orange with pink undertones) Flow is pretty good but a little dry for my tastes. I'm having trouble thinking of something that is this color. I don't know that I would think of it as a coral. It's not a color that really speaks to me but it's a fun color with good saturation that I'm sure some people will love.

Mandala Doodle

Art was created by drawing with the Coral ink and then lightly pulling some of the color into the white spaces with a Niji Waterbrush. Fountain pen inks work a lot like watercolor paints as they are water based. Notice that more pink than orange was pulled out with the brush.

Buy Diamine Inks in the UK at The Writing Desk or directly from Diamine and in the US from The Pear Tree Pen Company Ink is sold in 80ml glass bottles, 30 ml plastic bottles, and selected colors are available in cartridge form.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Review: Diamine Cerise Fountain Pen Ink

Diamine Cerise

Diamine Old English Cerise ink tested in a Paperblanks lined journal with off white pages. EF Lamy Safari fountain Pen.

A bright, bright, bright fluorescent pink.

Good flow, saturated, shading is noticeable.

Reminds me of fluorescent pink crayons, kids markers, bubble gum and Spring flowers. A fun & happy color. Not sure if I would use it on a regular basis, but fun. Works well for notations and underlining.

I'm surprised at how saturated this color is. I just wouldn't expect a pink ink to be so saturated but yet here it is....

Note - this was one of the first Diamine inks I tested so this review is coming along after I've tested some of their other pink inks like Pink & Flamingo Pink. To me, this is the truest pink that doesn't have an underlying orange. But of course, YMMV.

PS - It's a keeper for sure.

Buy Diamine Inks in the UK at The Writing Desk or directly from Diamine and in the US from The Pear Tree Pen Company Ink is sold in 80ml glass bottles, 30 ml plastic bottles, and selected colors are available in cartridge form.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Review: Diamine Emerald Fountain Pen Ink

Diamine Emerald

Diamine Old English Emerald ink tested in a Paperblanks lined journal with off white pages. .7 Binderized cursive italic Pelikan M200.

I remember sampling this ink a while back from Pear Tree Pens. Green is a tricky color for me because there are about 100 shades of green that I wouldn't want to write with but fortunately, this is one that I do like. It's not too bright, nor too yellow. It's not a childish (crayon used for coloring grass) green. To me, it's a respectable green.

Very nice flow, fairly well saturated and in this wide nib, shows shading.

My favorite green ink to date.

Mandala Doodle

Buy Diamine Inks in the UK at The Writing Desk or directly from Diamine and in the US from The Pear Tree Pen Company Ink is sold in 80ml glass bottles, 30 ml plastic bottles, and selected colors are available in cartridge form.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Review: Diamine Ultra Green Fountain Pen Ink

Diamine Ultra Green

Diamine Ultra Green Fountain Pen ink tested in a Paperblanks journal with off-white paper - and in a Fine nibbed Lamy Safari fountain pen. (This one has a very dry nib)

Similar to Herbin's Lierre Sauvage, it's a shamrock green - St. Patty's Day green.

Great flow with nice shading. A really nice ink but I'm not that into green inks. For every day writing, I'm still favoring Diamine's Emerald the most.

Buy Diamine Inks in the UK at The Writing Desk or directly from Diamine and in the US from The Pear Tree Pen Company Ink is sold in 80ml glass bottles, 30 ml plastic bottles, and selected colors are available in cartridge form.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Review: Diamine Golden Brown Fountain Pen Ink

Diamine Golden Brown

Diamine Golden Brown Fountain Pen ink tested in a Paperblanks journal with off-white paper - and in an EF Lamy Safari fountain pen.

Looks to me like a lighter version of Herbin's Lie de The.

This Golden Brown is a little dry and definitely too light in saturation for my tastes. It's a yellowish brown that I find quite unappealing.

Nice shading - just not for me.

Buy Diamine Inks in the UK at The Writing Desk or directly from Diamine and in the US from The Pear Tree Pen Company Ink is sold in 80ml glass bottles, 30 ml plastic bottles, and selected colors are available in cartridge form.

Friday, August 21, 2009

Review: Diamine Monaco Red Fountain Pen Ink

Diamine Monaco Red

Diamine Monaco Red Fountain Pen ink tested in a Paperblanks journal with off-white paper - and in a .5 Cursive Italic Lamy Safari fountain pen.

I'd call this a brick red. As a red, it's not as pink as Ruby nor as orange as Poppy Red.

The swatch made me see it as more of a brownish-red that I didn't initially like but in the pen it's really nice. My second favorite Diamine red behind the Poppy Red.

Nicely saturated with good flow and good shading.

I like this color much more than I thought I would.

Buy Diamine Inks in the UK at The Writing Desk or directly from Diamine and in the US from The Pear Tree Pen Company Ink is sold in 80ml glass bottles, 30 ml plastic bottles, and selected colors are available in cartridge form.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Review: Diamine Blue Black Fountain Pen Ink

Diamine Blue-Black

Diamine Blue-Black Fountain Pen ink tested in a Paperblanks journal with off-white paper - and in my favorite EF Yellow Lamy Safari fountain pen.

Similar to Sailor's Blue-Black without the obnoxious smell...

Great flow, saturated, nice shading.

Very similar to Diamine's Prussian Blue but with maybe just a tinge of green.

I am going to keep this one around as I like working with darker saturated colors like this.

Buy Diamine Inks in the UK at The Writing Desk or directly from Diamine and in the US from The Pear Tree Pen Company Ink is sold in 80ml glass bottles, 30 ml plastic bottles, and selected colors are available in cartridge form.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Review: Diamine Aqua Blue Fountain Pen Ink

Diamine Aqua Blue

Diamine New Century Aqua Blue Fountain Pen ink tested in a Paperblanks journal with off-white paper - and in a Fine Lamy Safari fountain pen.

Saturated, great flow, some shading.

Reminds me of Herbin's Bleu Pervenche but this Aqua is darker shade. This color is almost too vibrant - reminds me of one of my Stabilo marker colors and I' don't know if I can take it seriously enough to write with it on a regular basis.

But this color definitely might be fun to draw with...

Buy Diamine Inks in the UK at The Writing Desk or directly from Diamine and in the US from The Pear Tree Pen Company Ink is sold in 80ml glass bottles, 30 ml plastic bottles, and selected colors are available in cartridge form.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Review: Diamine Sapphire Blue Fountain Pen Ink

Diamine Sapphire Blue

Diamine New Century Sapphire Blue Fountain Pen ink tested in a Paperblanks journal with off-white paper - and in an EF Lamy Safari fountain pen.

Tested in one of my driest writing pens and the ink is flowing quite nicely. It's saturated with some shading. Would probably show even darker with a wider nibbed pen. Very blueberry in color.

A vibrant blue I would not call subtle.

I'm still not sure what I want in a blue ink. Blues in this range just don't ever get me excited. Blue is one of the few colors that I actually prefer to be a little more like ball point ink (in color) though I do really like the Majestic Blue. (For that reason)

For me, the jury is still out on this color - it's a good color, just not for me.

Mandala Doodle

Art was created by drawing with the Sapphire Blue ink and then lightly pulling some of the color into the white spaces with a Niji Waterbrush. Fountain pen inks work a lot like watercolor paints as they are water based.

Buy Diamine Inks in the UK at The Writing Desk or directly from Diamine and in the US from The Pear Tree Pen Company Ink is sold in 80ml glass bottles, 30 ml plastic bottles, and selected colors are available in cartridge form.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Review: Diamine Violet Fountain Pen Ink

Mandala Doodle

I find it difficult to love an ink when you spill it all over floor, the counter, your hands, new shorts, and feet. The only place I didn't spill it was on my (I swear) purple shirt. It was totally my fault - I was in the midst of re-filling 10 pens and I wasn't watching what I was doing. Bonk! And over it went. Funny thing was that when all was said and done, it seemed as though I had only spilled about a teaspoon. But oh my - a teaspoon of ink was still a boatload to clean up.

Diamine Violet

Diamine Old English Violet Fountain Pen ink tested in a Paperblanks journal with off-white paper - and in an EF Lamy Accent fountain pen.

Violet is a saturated ink with great flow. Sadly, all pictures of this ink seem to make it look more blue than it really is. In person, it reminds me of Herbin's Violette Pensee.

The Violet & Violette Pensee go down the same color but the Violet is more blue and the Violette Pensee more red when dry. When I think of violet, I think of purple and ultimately, I'm not sure I call really call this ink "purple." It's more of a blueish purple. (But it's still more purple than these pictures show.) It's not an "in your face" purple.

It's got such great flow but I think I might stick with the Imperial Purple and the Violette Pensee though I would still recommend it. Just don't spill it!

(I think Violet & I always think of Willy Wonka...)

Mandala - Like Attracts Like

Buy Diamine Inks in the UK at The Writing Desk or directly from Diamine and in the US from The Pear Tree Pen Company Ink is sold in 80ml glass bottles, 30 ml plastic bottles, and selected colors are available in cartridge form.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Review: Diamine Grey Fountain Pen Ink

Diamine Grey

Diamine Old English Grey Fountain Pen ink tested in a Paperblanks journal with off-white paper - and in an EF Lamy Safari fountain pen.

I have always preferred the English spelling of "grey" to "gray."

This ink has some shading and decent flow.

My first time trying a grey ink - I have a Triplus Fineliner marker that I like to draw with that's similar in color. I am trying to figure out if a grey ink is a lighter version of black but with the saturation level of this ink, I'd say no.

For now, I'm keeping this one. It makes me want to draw.....

Buy Diamine Inks in the UK at The Writing Desk or directly from Diamine and in the US from The Pear Tree Pen Company Ink is sold in 80ml glass bottles, 30 ml plastic bottles, and selected colors are available in cartridge form.

Friday, August 7, 2009

Rejuvenation and Reacclimating

Bryan Fazio, PJ Roduta, Me, Jim Donovan & Mike Deaton

Bryan Fazio, PJ Roduta, Me, Jim Donovan and Mike Deaton

While I have been back from the Summer Rhythm Renewal for several days, it's been difficult for me to put this recent adventure into words because any time I am affected on a deep emotional level, it seems like nothing I can say will truly express what I experienced.

I'll start like this- my friend Jim Donovan puts on one hell of a shindig.

Jim Donovan & The Yoga of Drum & Chant

Jim Donovan teaching his Yoga of Drum and Chant workshop

The Rhythm Renewal is a multi-day event held on campus at a local university in the mountains of Central Pennsylvania. On the surface, it's an interactive experience filled with classes and workshops on various types of hand drumming and dance. When you look a little closer, you will find an underlying theme of spirituality and self expression with workshops such as "The Yoga of Drum and Chant," shamanic journeying, and mandala creation. You are surrounded by about 100 like minded people and when you want to experience something that's new to you, you are surrounded by a positive loving energy that encourages you to be open to experience new things. This is a SAFE environment and no one will ever judge you for any reason - not for the sound quality of your voice, or how well you can play the drum.

RR 2009 115

While I can't speak for everyone, I can say that I know that in my day-to-day life that I am not always surrounded by the motivation and encouragement that I feel from my friends at the Rhythm Renewal, and it always creates a significant amount of self reflection upon my return. It makes me think about how important it is to position yourself in life to be surrounded by like minded people and to remove different aspects of your life that aren't serving your highest good because we deserve to feel this good about life ALL OF THE TIME.

Gloria Shaking it

This year was the first time I had been invited to be a member of the faculty at the Renewal. Jim had been commenting on how I should maybe teach people to create the mandalas that I am always drawing and I half jokingly suggested that he let me do it at the Rhythm Renewal. Without skipping a beat he said just one word - "Done." And so, I spent the last few months working out the details on how I would present this material to the participants.

Mandala Class

My class which was entitled, "Mandala: An Artful Creation" was part of a break out session - meaning that I was presenting one of four workshops over the same time period. I had no idea what to expect by way of attendance. I was guessing that since an "art" class was so different from the rest of the offerings, that I might get 5-8 people in each class but I was wrong. I had done my best to spread the word that this wasn't specifically an "art" class, but one more about personal expression and that there would be no judgment with what people created. I ended up averaging 20 people per class over each of the three days and that made me supremely happy.

Mandala Class

This year's Renewal schedule was packed with lots of high energy drum and dance workshops and it seemed that people appreciated an outlet in which they could decompress and regain their focus. In each class we did an individual piece and also a group creation. People seemed to be enjoying themselves and there was a fair amount of talk from people that weren't used to creating art on a regular basis saying that this was something that they felt was easy and accessible to them. One woman went as far as to drive off campus after the first class to get herself a set of markers so she could continue to create during the rest of her stay.

RR 2009 014

Another woman told me how she was going to go home and paint huge mandalas on the walls of her house - but one story I heard moved me like no other. There was a 67 year old woman in the class that told me that this was the first time in 40 years that she had created art because she had always felt that it was something that she had to wait until retirement to do. I was so honored that she chose my class to start creating again.

RR 2009 016

Aside from my teaching experiences at the Renewal, I am always so happy to be surrounded by all of my old friends from years past, as well as meeting wonderful new people. Jim always encourages us all to talk to people - that "you never know who your best friend is going to be."

Me & Jaqui MacMillan

And so allow me to introduce my new best friend, Jaqui MacMillan.

Last year when I was in Pittsburgh for Drum Talk, my friend Mike Deaton said to me - "You really remind me of my friend Jaqui MacMillan..." Then low and behold, she's also a first timer on the faculty at this year's Rhythm Renewal. While I was a newbie in the sense that I was teaching my workshop for the very first time, Jaqui's been playing djembe for 27 years and teaching for 18 so she was no stranger to teaching at her first Renewal. She has a more than impressive resume that upon first glance can be quite intimidating - but when you meet her you are immediately put at ease by her beautiful smile and brilliant energy.

Jaqui MacMillan

With no disrespect to my other teachers, her teaching style is on point. She makes everything so simple, simple, simple, and completely accessible to people at any skill level. She was a wonderful addition to the already outstanding faculty and has been asked to be back on next year's staff, which makes me very happy.

Jaqui Teaching her "Drum for Joy" workshop

With Jaqui, I seemed to have one of those, "seems like I already knew her" kinds of experiences. I had the great fortune to spend time with her talking about anything and everything and we had a blast. The really strange part of all this is how we seem to resemble each other. At least a dozen people commented on this over the weekend and so as far as I'm concerned, not only to I have a new friend, but a new big sister as well.

Over the course of these five days I drummed, danced, chanted, drew sidewalk mandalas, encouraged others to let go and generally had a phenomenal time with some of the best people in the world but readjusting to daily life after such a transformational event can be a little tricky. You bring all that joy back with you - you ride the love bubble home and then you remember that you have bills to pay, and dishes and laundry to do. People around you in your life outside the Renewal won't always understand what that glassy look in your eyes means, or how it really is, "all good." But you take a deep breath, close your eyes and go back there for a few moments, if only in your mind. It is a challenge to stay in that frame of mind once you get home, but when you realize that by examining your life that you can make choices to remove things from your life that don't serve you and replace them with things than can, you will find that those ecstatic moments can last much, much longer than just a few days. By being diligent with creating your world around you, you can lead a truly ecstatic life.

Sidewalk mandala outside the Boilerhouse

Chalk mandala created by me, Mike Deaton & Jordan outside the Boilerhouse.

RR 2009 053

Late night parking lot mandala where everyone contributed. It reached ginormous proportions.

PS: A big THANK YOU to Jim for giving me the opportunity to teach my class, to Karen Doherty at Exaclair for providing Clairefontaine Watercolor Pads to be used in the class, and to my friend Donna who couldn't come to the Renewal this year, but who so graciously donated a large portion of the supplies (markers, chalk) that we used over the weekend. Much love!

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