Thanks much for stopping by to check out my journey as a visual artist! If you take a look at my art portfolio, you’ll find an eclectic mix of visual art. I am best known for travel photography, but our world is a beautiful one if we take the time to look! This is the reason my art also includes imagery from dusty country landscapes, urban skylines, and some exotic destinations.
I have long heard that photographers and other visual artists are best served by specializing in a particular subject or niche. Although I’ve thought about that goal often, I’ve found my love of creating memorable pictures resists a narrow focus. Still I believe there is one common theme to be uncovered. I believe that common thread is found in my voice as a visual artist and in my love of creating beautiful images. And if you take a break for a few minutes to enjoy my work, I think that voice and style will be evident in each and every picture.
If you enjoy your taste of my art and photography, I hope that you’ll consider taking advantage of one of the several ways that you can follow my work, including on Facebook, Twitter, and subscribing to my newsletter via e-mail.
I know you are all thinking, well, hello stranger! I kept thinking I would get to post an update that I was done with the never-ending transition to my new print gallery site, but that is a story for another day. I realized the other day that it has been entirely too long since I shared new artwork. And yet I have more than a few new works like this Dublin Nights print of which I’m quite proud.
It’s been several years now since my month in Ireland, but most days it still feels as clear as yesterday. Each moment in my Irish travels feels as vivid as this Dublin Nights scene from my last night walking through Temple Bar. I feel like I brought back a creative energy from my time there that still manifests itself periodically in my art.
This Dublin nights print is also a great example of how my artwork has over time evolved from being purely photographic. When I shared this amongst a small group of friends online, one person commented that they were unsure whether it was a photo or a painting. And quite simply that’s because it lives somewhere in between. It started life in a camera, not surprisingly, but it was a chain of photos from outside the Quays Bar taken with my fisheye lens. Assembled as one would a panorama, the result is a three dimensional sense of this Temple Bar street unfolding before the viewer. But even beyond that, I spent many hours at my desk with my Wacom tablet and pen brushing over the original image to create this final artwork. In the end, it is every bit as much artistic brushwork as it is a panorama photo illustrating the last of my Dublin Nights.
I am sometimes hesitant to go into detail about my work process. On one hand, I’m afraid it will bore people to tears when I would rather they simply look at and appreciate the results. On the other, I wonder if it kills the magic to draw back the curtains and reveal the wizard? Or perhaps this Dublin nights print is that much more significant to the viewer knowing that I spent so much time working on it?
Whatever the case, I have as should be evident long since passed the need to be faithful to reality. I think that’s part of the journey of many artists whatever tool they use. I took in a Canaletto exhibit several years ago in Scotland. And I still remember being impressed by part of the exhibit where they showed that the incredible attention to details in Canaletto’s paintings were at the same time just a bit deceptive. If it improved the image in his eyes to nudge a building or a bell tower over one way or the other, he did it.
Ultimately, I too have come to the conclusion that the final image matters more than a slavish adherence to reality.
Have you ever noticed how sometimes things have a way of working themselves out? In my last update, I mentioned that I was in the process of migrating my main print partner away from the Zenfolio based site that I had used for the past four years. I will post at much more length on that subject in the coming months. I need to write an update to my article on my review of the print on demand sites I use anyway. Nothing is static online and that article although two years old is still constantly read and shared. I’m glad it’s been of help to other artists researching print partners and I have had multiple people ask for updates. So, that is in the works.
But on to the meat of this update, the bit about the serendipity of things working out! When I decided to move on from Zenfolio, the main thing that made that decision hard was that they were one of my only print partners that offered fulfillment in the UK, never mind the rest of Europe. Although the prints I could offer there were very basic, there was a lot of angst about abandoning even that minimal selection. And today, the resolution arrived like providence.
UK Print Partner Emerges
Fine Art America, the print partner who I had already chosen to direct the bulk of my business to, has just announced they have a UK fulfillment center now! This means patrons in the UK and elsewhere in the Euro Zone will have access to much faster shipment and won’t have to worry about paying overseas duties when their artwork arrives. This news from my favorite print partner truly made my month!
Initially they are only printing canvas prints in the UK but there are plans underway to introduce the rest of their large product line. Even before this, I have happily had multiple sales to the UK and Ireland through my Fine Art America print partner, so I’m excited to see the chance for my work to really find a new market!
And there’s more good news if you happen to be following me and have been thinking gosh I’d love a canvas print. For the rest of August, Fine Art America is celebrating their expansion by offering free shipping for canvas prints shipped in the UK/Euro-Zone. So, whether you’re on the other side of the pond or want to ship a gift directly to a friend there, here’s your chance! No special codes needed, just choose a canvas print, input a shipping destination in the correct zone, and you should see your shipping will be free. If not, give me a heads-up and I will try to sort it out for you!
Note – As of August 27th – Metal Prints are also printed in and shipped from the UK as well – and are also available for free shipping in August!
In Other News
That’s the big news for now, but I had been planning to drop everyone a line anyway just to catch up and say that I am still alive out here. The new version of my Beautiful World Art Gallery is moving along. It hasn’t been a small task, but anything worth doing is worth doing right! I have added over 300 prints to the new site as of this writing. The look of the site is still evolving but the part that’s taking so much time is trying to write detailed descriptions for each artwork.
This print partner migration has pretty much consumed my time of late. So for everyone wondering where I am, just pop over to the Recently Added Artwork page at Beautiful World Art and you can see what I’m doing. And now back to the grindstone!
Do you like wine? Perhaps you’ve been considering an art purchase from my gallery? This is your chance to gaze at some new art while enjoying a glass of wine!
I just got word that for the whole month of July, if you make a purchase, Fine Art America will send you a $100 certificate good for your first purchase from NakedWines.com. Right after you make your purchase, Fine Art America will send you first a confirmation email for your order and then a second email with the certificate code. Here are the pertinent details.
Naked Wines is a company based in Napa, California, that supports independent wine makers from all over the world.
Terms & Restrictions
The $100 gift certificate is only valid for first-time buyers on NakedWines.com and can only be applied towards purchases of $160 or more. You must be 21 years or older to redeem the gift certificate. Wine can not be shipped outside of the United States. Additional restrictions apply. Void where prohibited. See complete details at http://us.nakedwines.com/100voucher. Naked Wines is not affiliated with Naked Winery (http://nakedwinery.com) in Hood River, Oregon.
While there is a minimum purchase on Nakedwines.com with your voucher, there’s no minimum on your art purchase. Buy a small print for a gift or buy a large canvas print for yourself, either way you’ll get the $100 certificate. Sounds like a good deal if you like art and wine doesn’t it?
Oh, some states don’t allow you to mail order wine. The list of those that don’t allow it is the smaller of the two: Alabama, Arkansas, Delaware, Indiana, Kentucky, Mississippi, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Dakota, and Utah. Apologies to my friends in those states! More shipping details here. Hope the wine lovers out there will take advantage and grab something you love from my print gallery:
And do share with your friends!
Did You See The Moving Vans?
Ah, and no, wine is not on the agenda for my summer vacation… For those who noticed that I had been quiet the past week or two, it’s because I’ve gotten embroiled in a little unplanned project. I may post more on the subject in the future. But for now the short story is that after four years with a Zenfolio account, I decided it was time to close that account and concentrate on my own site. It’s funny that in four years I’ve come full circle. At the time, I left a home-brewed site to let Zenfolio handle all the heavy-lifting. Now, I’m basically back there again. Print fulfillment will be handled by Fine Art america, but the beauty of having my own site is that if that should change years down the line, I can just point the print mechanism elsewhere.
My account with Zenfolio ends in August, hence I have a bit over a month to transition my artwork over. Externally, though, the switch has been thrown already. If you visit my art gallery today, you can see the ‘new house’ before I get entirely moved in. Lots of rooms to fill but I like the decor! Hope you do, too.
Take a peek!
All in all, it’s a good opportunity to tidy things up. Plus I’m very much enjoying the chance to have full control over the presentation of my artwork. Anything worth doing is worth doing well, eh? See you on the other side of summer!
It’s not often that I can say one of my pieces was the stuff of dreams, but it seems my most recent artwork falls into that ethereal camp.
I woke up in the middle of the night with the clearest image in my mind of the night sky over the pier at the beach on Tybee Island. Considering how fully asleep I had been it was amazingly clear in my mind when I sat up in bed, right down to what photo would work best as the starting point.
You see, the only day I spent on the beach at Tybee during my so far only visit there, the sunset was stunning, but of course the sun sets behind the beach in the west, not the east over the ocean. And dusk over the water was rather bleak with cloud filled skies. So when the last of the sunlight left the scene, all the contrast was gone. There was no opportunity for dusk blue skies never mind stars over the Atlantic. But one of those last photos of the gentle waves washing across the beach is still where I began as I headed to the computer in the dark of night.
I can’t tell you how often I re-work images. I’m afraid it might border on the pathological, but it’s part of a perfectionist nature that’s always been there, and inevitably hours or days later, I find something about an image that bugs me. It might be something so small that no one else would even notice or it might be a completely new direction, but it happens with some frequency. Often as soon as I upload a new artwork, I’ll see something that bugs me and immediately change and replace it. It really is that fast and common that I become hyper-critical of my own work. I’ve no big need for critics, I’m my own worst enemy in that regard.
So, I have to say that this starry night over Tybee Island artwork is one of the rare instances where I haven’t found myself tinkering with it at all, even a couple of days later. In fact, every time I look at it, I’m just totally happy with it. I’ve even found myself lost in though staring at it. If you’ve never had the experience of nit-picking your own work to death, this may not be as shocking to you. But I have always been more critical of my artwork than I am of others.
And I think I’m shocked how closely it matches that mental image of Tybee beach that I had as I rubbed the sleep from my eyes. I’d say it’s far more common for me to have a general idea about an image than something this specific, so that makes this starry night reflecting on the wet beach a very special child in my eyes.
If you follow me online, you may have already seen this, but I also wanted to say it was so special that I decided to set up a limited time offer through Fine Art America for a canvas print for this one. So if you love Tybee Island, beaches in general or art, please take a look. And if you have friends who you think might be interested, please do share with them. Sharing is most appreciated!
And if you discover the above link is no longer live, alas, it means the promotion has ended, but the artwork is still available. In that case, just click on the image up top.
Why do some photographers not consider themselves artists?
This is seriously a question that haunts me some days. If I had a nickle for every time I encountered a photographer in various art forums who wanted to be strictly styled as a photographer rather than an artist… Well, I wouldn’t be wealthy, but I certainly could afford a nice trip somewhere!
Considering how long photography has fought for a place at the artistic table, I’m often amazed when I discover photographers who consider what they do outside of the arena of artists. I mean, I grant that every snapshot may not be a work of art, just as every doodle is not the work of an old master. But I’m not talking about people taking happy snaps here. I’m talking about people who make it a big part of their lives creating beautiful and original imagery. That’s art!
In my mind, artists run the gamut from musicians, to painters, to photographers, to sculptors, and well… There are a great many creative endeavors that I’m omitting by necessity. The practitioners of these varied disciplines are, at the end of the day, all artists. The tools of their trades vary (and have in fact changed over the passing of the centuries), but the artist is more than their chosen tool.
I’m guilty in my own right, I suppose. Years ago when I first got interested in photography and wanted to share it with others, I sat down and started looking for a web domain to use. Vanity of course made me think my name should be part of that domain name, but my name on its own was taken. The first thing that popped into my mind of course was photography. Hence, my blog has been hosted under a combination of my name and photography every since. Hindsight being 20/20, I have wished many times since I had chosen a shorter and sweeter name that focused on the art side of things. When the new .art top level domains roll out, perhaps I’ll make that wish real. In the interim, my apologies to everyone who has had to type the whole thing in over the years! You have no idea how many times I fat-finger my own name, never mind photography when I’m typing my URL.
Connecting With The Audience
For me, it was a gradual trip from emphasizing the tool over the artwork. In part it was a result of interacting with the people who enjoyed my art. I realized that a great many of those viewers were far more interested in the artwork than how it was made. Outside of other photographers, they didn’t want to hear what lens was used or any of the insider jargon. And to be honest, although I love to pick up new tricks both behind the lens as well as in Photoshop, if I’m not actively engaged in researching new methods, I glaze over when I encounter paragraphs of information about the technical process involved. I feel the same regardless of the tool involved, be it camera, computer, or paint brush.
At the end of the day, what matters is the art itself and whether or not the audience connects with it. I still think one of the nicer things that’s been said to me in regards to my images was by someone who followed my work on Facebook a few years ago. Their comment was something to the effect that they had never really considered photography as art before, but after seeing my work, they had a new appreciation. And while it speaks a little bit to our collective preconceptions about art, I really appreciated knowing that by doing and sharing something I love, I had adjusted at least one person’s outlook about what it means to be an artist.