madshutterbug: (c)2009 by Myself (Houdini&I)
One of the projects I've worked up over the past year (about as fast as either glacial advancement or melting... ) is creating Greeting Cards from some of our photographic art. The initial thought is getting something into an affordable price range which is also attractive and could bring more sales. After all, there are two means (as it were) to making 'The Nut' which is a shorthand term for Booth Fee, Expenses, and then we can look at Income. One is to sell a Big Price Ticket item, a framed print. This doesn't happen often. The other is to sell a larger quantity of Lower Price Ticket Items. That's where we're trying to go with this concept, add those smaller items that will be attractive.

It's not an original idea with or from me. I am frankly stealing the idea and filing off the serial numbers, though yes I'm putting our artwork out there as the subjects. Said another way, I've seen a lot of artists at the weekend festivals selling Greeting Cards. Go for it.

This project involves then three parts. Part the first, develop the Art. (Since we're talking Photography here, Pun Intended.) Part the second, design the Card. Part the third, actual production which involves acquire materials (Cost of Goods Sold on the Schedule C for Uncle Irs) and then presentation.

So. Part the First you've seen as we go along in these State of the Artist postings. Still, related to this project my start-up last year involved images done up as Holiday Cards (sold a few, eh) yet not necessarily the images of which I sell prints fairly regularly. The cards sold last year included a couple images of mine and one of Herself's. I'd also printed a few which are scenic or site specific for the North Central Baja Jorja area here, those didn't sell as well. Total inventory at that startup, around a dozen cards which included the card, an envelop, and a transparent sleeve/bag holding both.

Then we sort of sat on the concept for a while, taking that small amount of stock to the other weekend Art Fair shows after the 2013 Holidays and putting them out. Not majorly, basically on a small table, and very, very low key presentation. Coming up on the 2014 Holidays we revisited, decided to print some more, and work up at least a small display that will handle an inventory around a score of cards.

Did some research now, looking at sales records over the past looking for which images sold. One of those is titled 'Peek-a-Boo' of a Tom Turkey at nearby Dudley Farm State Historical Site (a very cool park which is a Florida Cracker farm, maintained in a manner around the Turn of the Century 19th - 20th time). Another is my rather abstract and Sci-Fi/Fantasy image, Naiad. Didn't get that one printed up yet as a Greeting Card, did print up 'Peek-a-Boo'. Also looked at some of the Critter Cards we've discussed and printed up some of those.

So that's the Make the Art side so far.

Now, here's another aspect of the project that I'm going to taught. The software to develop both the art and the product (greeting cards) is Open Source Software, free to a good home. That I use Gimp for the art work, photographic post-production I've mentioned before. For producing the cards, we need a document layout application, perhaps more familiar to you as a Desktop Publishing program. Ahem.

So the 'State of the Art' here is still probably an Adobe product called Pagemaker®. Got several hundreds of dollars? Go buy it. A good alternative that I've used in the past is Microsoft Publisher® which for a time included some features that Pagemaker didn't. It's actually one of the few Micro-Shaft products I recommend. Discovered earlier this year, that's probably because Micro-Shaft purchased the application from the company that developed it, as in not an in-house initial product. Ah.

However, earlier this year while researching this whole Open Source Software movement, I came across Scribus®. The version I acquired is 1.4.3 and available through their web site http://www.scribus.net and as mentioned, being Open Source is free. It may not have all the features of even Publisher but so far, it's meeting my now-a-days much less extensive need for a desktop publisher document layout application.

These desktop publishers shine by taking already written text (use a word processor for that, eh), then importing that into a 'Text Frame'. In a larger publication (a Newsletter, a Magazine) these text frames may be linked together and a story then continued over several pages. The application also provides Image Frames, for placing artwork, or small charts (spreadsheets or graphs) and et cetera.

For the Greeting Cards, I developed two 'template' files, one for the image on the card to be in Landscape orientation, one for Portrait orientation.

This is the Landscape:
Landscape Half-Fold Template )

This is the Portrait:
Portrait Half-Fold Template )

When I'm working up a new card design then, I first work up the image and get a 'print ready' copy at the size I need for a card. Hmm. Back up a wee bit.

So these cards I'm showing the templates for are called 'Half-Fold' because they work to a standard size sheet of paper or card stock (8.5x11 in the US, A7 elsewhere) and will fold in half. Another size is called a 'Quarter-Fold' because it could take that standard sheet, fold it in half and then half again (quarters) for a smaller card. What we do is first cut the standard sheet in half, then fold those halves for the smaller cards.

So I've got a 'print ready' image for a Half-Fold card, it's about a 5x7 photograph. Being print ready, I can print a 5x7 and then do the Mat & Sleeve thing for a matted piece to sell, or mat and frame it for a framed piece, and for a card I'm importing that 5x7 file into the Image Frame. This is usually the front of the card. Sometimes the cards will have an Inside as well; usually just another Image Frame on a Page Two in the template file.

In the Landscape template above you see an upside-down Text Frame. This will be right-side up after the fold. Another nice feature about Desktop Publishing programs is one can create the Text Frame, set it to be 'upside-down' and then when importing text into it (or, for the cards, I often type the minimal amount of text into it straight up) and approving the overall look, will be upside down as needed.
It's all right-side up on the Portrait card.

Once the card is ready to go in Scribus, I do a 'Save As' and name the card. For printing, in Scribus I simply export the card to a PDF file. The application will send direct to a printer, but that part of it sends it to an EPS which is Encapsulated Post-Script and which is a very professional printing house kind of machine. Some of the HP laser printers will talk EPS, so will quite a few ink-jet printers and it's a lot more involved either way. Saving the file as a PDF is simple. Then just open it up in Adobe Acrobat Reader (also free software, because hey, Adobe wants the Whole World to us PDF eh so make it easily readable to everyone) and send it to ones printer.

I mentioned 'Peek-a-Boo' above. Here is what he looks like as a print-ready Half-Fold card:
Peek-a-Boo )

The Quarter-Fold cards may also be known as a Two-Up because there will be two layouts on the template. Miss Truffles Pig provided the images for one of these (she's also available in a Half-Fold) last year as one of the Holiday cards because the markings on her nose remind us a bit of a Christmas Tree:
Truffles: Happy Holinose (Two-Up) )

I did mention other Critter Cards, and here's Houdini Border Collie Bro. Border Collies are Working Dogs, and there are many in the Dog World that consider Border Collies to be the Type A Workaholics of the Working Dogs. Always ready and able to help, eh! So one evening I slid my headband type of battery torch onto his head. Surprise, he liked it. Also, with the text in this one I'm looking for all the Ursula Vernon fans out there (and doing a wee bit of fan art as well):
Houdini: Remember Tunnel 17 )

Finally, because I do call them Art Greeting Cards and because the particular subject is one of my personal artistic passions, my dear friend and muse Marjai from the Red Hat series (warning, gratuitous nudity behind the cut)
Red Hat #4 )

We aren't done once the printing is over. The rest of the production work involves folding the Half-Folds, cutting and folding the Quarter-Folds, then pairing them with an appropriate size envelope, then placing all within a clear transparent sleeve/bag. Now we may add them to Inventory, store them in the Transport Tote (I'm using Really Useful Boxes® these days more and more, but that's another State of the Artist post).

For Presentation at the Festivals, now, this is the next step. Since we're keeping total inventory on hand for these down to about a score of cards or so the display is small. There are a ton of display options out there, most of them marketed for Brick Stores and all of those rather expensive. We need something that will fold down/collapse and pack quickly and yet be very sturdy. It's a rough life out there on the road and that's only partially a joke. So the bigger display/presentation is still under development. For right now, Herself found a small wire rack which is sold as a lid holder for kitchen pots. Works very well for the Landscape orientation cards, not so well for the Portrait orientation. I tried an acrylic one this past weekend we had about the Ranch (things like this just sometimes come to us... it's a bit of a story in itself) and that worked... except not quite well enough. So I'm still on a search for the Portrait display pieces. Still, this is what the Cards looked like at this past weekend Blue Oven Kitchens Winter Gift Fair:
The Art Greeting Card Display at Blue Oven Kitchens Winter Gift Fair )

Summary, or Tell 'em What You Told 'em

About a year ago we decided to expand our 'product line' to include Art Greeting Cards. Our goal is to offer another affordable bit of art, one which is usable as a greeting card, or yanno, be greedy and keep it yourself. Startup plans included keep expenses down, so we expanded on using our free Open Source Software applications. After trying to do this using Open Office components, we found, downloaded and installed Scribus, a publishing application and found it works great for this type of product. We're printing using an Epson Artisan 50® printer which while I didn't mention above I purchased specifically for this project. Pretty happy with the printer too. Sales are OK so far, good enough to justify continuing to build this part of the Studio 318 Product Line.

Shameless Self Promotion

So if you are interested in some nice Art Greeting Cards, drop me a line. If you've got my e-mail use that directly, otherwise leave a comment here and we'll work something out. No, don't have a place I'm selling on-line otherwise, but trust me, we can work something out.
madshutterbug: (c)2009 by Myself (Houdini&I)
Paying attention? Looking for the weekly State of teh Artist post? Not seen one for a couple weeks? One of those weeks is on me, I stipulate I didn't make the time. One, however, is on a list of weeks some folks would ask for a do-over. I don't ask for such. I won't ask. I don't want to do the past week over. Nothing happened we can't cope with, live through, deal with. Not a lot happened we enjoyed.

Some good things did happen. Monday a week past I ran an errand into town to hang some of our artwork at The Doris Bardon Community Cultural Center commonly called The Doris. The Gainesville Fine Arts Association is pretty strongly affiliated with The Doris (go read info on the site to learn why) and consequently GFAA members are given space on a monthly basis to hang their work for display and sale. July we are the Featured Artists. It is a big deal, and it's not that big a deal, because becoming a Featured Artist involves telling the GFAA member responsible for the wall that one is interested. Then you get a month.

However, Monday after that started the roller coaster. While driving over to Tioga Farmers Market, Forrest Nissan Pickup lost power, a rapid but not sudden event, and we shifted gears from our usual routine for me to go help transfer goods to Sydney Subaru Outback, send Herself on her way, and wait for AAA Auto Club to get the tow out to us. Dropped Forrest off with our local mechanic, waited for Market to finish and Herself to pick me up.

Keeping things brief, Forrest is back in service after replacing fuel and water pumps, new struts (shocks) in the rear plus a complete tune-up and all fluids/filters change. He feels much better now, at 250K Plus Change miles.

Keeping more things brief, I missed sending Hippie Birdbaths greetings over to [personal profile] wcg here in the Blogosphere; so Belated Hippie Birdbaths, Bill.

We've dealt with two opossum females that were raiding eggs and chickens. Chooks will not be bothered by those particular opposum, nor their current offspring, any more.

Still brief but not excessively, Monday also saw the start of the end of a decade. Squrrl Border Collie Bro felt a bit lethargic on Monday, not particularly interested in dinner (ate some). I attributed it at that point to a very hot day spent mostly outside, though also mostly in the shade. On Tuesday, though, his lethargy increased, he didn't want to go outside and did so only for body functions. Pale gums; Herself started treating him with some supplements to help. Not interested in dinner at all.

Wednesday, breathing laboured, even more lethargic. Wagging tail when I got home from Hospital, not lifting his head. I spent time with him there in the living room, and close on to 20:00 (didn't look at the clock for a bit) Squrrl took his last breath.

We buried him on Thursday morning, next to his brother Smudge.

I will write more, I will, but later. Meanwhile, going to continue carrying on, waiting for Waiting to fill a Squrrl sized hole in our souls.
madshutterbug: (c) 2011 by Myself: Zone VI 8x10 view camera (View Camera)
I'm working on two applications for Autumn weekend festivals. The lead time for most of these is such that yes, in the Autumn I'm working on the Spring, and in at least late Spring I'm working on the Autumn. At any rate, after going through the process for one of these in the Spring entirely on-line, I'm perhaps a bit jaded. Or some other word. Anyway.

Both Autumn festivals are juried, as in they want to see samples of my work and of the Booth before inviting me in. For one of the two Autumn festivals, those samples may be submitted on a CD, the other however needs hard copy prints. And I'm... Hard copy? Really? And, I sell hard copy, folks, so you're getting potentially sell-able examples of my work (not that on a CD, or e-mailed, or via the web isn't as well).

Still, they're printed from the JPEG versions I use to put on-line for this purpose, so in one sense quality is limited. And, it is practice figuring out how to print using the new Mr. Printy which is important for other Studio 318 Booth related projects, so hey, all good, yes?
Still, there's that interesting, curious feeling. Hard copy? Really?

The other project is printing and packaging for sale Art Greeting Cards, which Herself and I started discussing about this time last year. With a year under the belt of Thinking About It, seems about time to actually be putting together some product and part of the concept is we can put together product pretty much all from here in Studio. No need to hire out printing, we can print our own.

The size prints that the one Autumn Weekend Festival want is on a par with the larger size greeting card we plan to offer. Basically, take a 21.6 by 27.9 cm sheet, fold in half on the shorter axis, and one now holds a 21 by 14 card. Print appropriately and the artwork is on one face of the fold, and information/credits on the opposite face, outside surfaces. Package this with an appropriately sized envelope and price accordingly and c'est voila, an Art Greeting Card.

I doubt we'll put much into Inventory by the next weekend festival (not this coming weekend, next after that), since I also want to replace matted inventory and we've more material on hand for that than we do for the cards. Still, it's good to see that A) we selected and purchased a good printer for the project and B) it is going to pan out, at least the production end.
Prices per card will be on the order of $2-$5 US, with the higher end price being a limited edition run as well as larger cards. Some of the pieces we've photographed will work quite well for smaller cards. Figuring out the printing logistics is not difficult. However, it does open a window on another problem, do I need to re-invest in an application or am I going to be able to do this with current applications.

Current applications does not include software that is so old it no longer runs in the current operating system. That's a different rant, however, about planned obsolescence and all, and I'm not going there today. So far, what I'm working on uses one of the sub-portions of Open Office which is free software, and I do recommend it after using it for a couple years now. At least the word processing and spreadsheet portions, and I use them a good deal. There is a drawing program as well (haven't opened it at all), a presentations program (vis-a-vis Powerpoint® from the Evil Empire) and a data base. I've studied the latter a bit, and the presentation program as well. It's been a while since I've done any public speaking or other teaching using a presentation. However, I think this one does a good job as well.

On the other hand, while it contributes a bit to the ability to print images, it isn't, per se, the best manner to go about document creation and printing. Based on past experience, neither is a word processor, believe it or not. Even though most word processor applications do provide a means to organise and print a document in a manner reflecting a published work, I've found that moving to applications that specialise in document layout is a better route for that.

Which is why I am considering should I upgrade one of the few applications from Microshaft I've ever felt they did a good bit in providing. Powerpoint®, Excel® and Word® dominate the market, though current news indicates that lead is slipping. I've little use for Word, in fact I use it so little and mostly work (as in Hospital) related that it is easy to dismiss on my part. The word processing in Open Office much more meets my needs and expectations, which are based on another major word processing package, WordPerfect®. And it's free (Open Office). Ditto for Excel®.

I got much better with Powerpoint®, and still see that as being one of the standards to reach for. Doesn't mean I like it. Nor did I ever purchase it; again, a big portion of my using this application related to Hospital.

I've very little use for Access® and I've also used that fairly extensively (guess where? Clues above!) and again, not on the planned purchase list. The data base app in Open Office is more akin to dBase® for those who've worked with such applications. I cut my data base teeth on Paradox® which originally Borland published, then sold over to Corel to include in Perfect Office (their response to Microshaft Office).

Publisher® from the Evil Empire, now, that one they did some good. Much more affordable than the Big Name in Publishing Software and with pretty much all the features of that BNiPS and even a few more that it didn't include. However, I'm not sure this Spendthrift Offspring of Unmarried Parents is in the mood to provide any more funding to the Evil Empire.

Not when there are (still unexplored) alternatives currently here on my PC.

Meanwhile, the metal is going up onto the roof of Big House. We are closer to the new roof being done, and it is good.
madshutterbug: (c) 2011 by Myself: Zone VI 8x10 view camera (View Camera)
Roof Metal and More

Roof metal delivered for the roof replacement on the Big house. Driver got stuck in our North Central Baja Jorja sugar sand, but not permanently. Offloaded about half the metal on his trailer, which lightened it enough to get unstuck, then reload our delivery to place it where we want it. Then I helped him reload the other portions (deliveries to two other locations), and he left. Got to play with heavy equipment, at least sort of in that I didn't operate the crane, did help guide the loads.

Light feeding after that, because we need our feed delivery. Actually, a light feeding for myself as well, because I needed it. Hogs fed fully, goats got light. Waiting for delivery now. That's more Ranch related, of course, however as this artist lives on the Ranch, it does touch on the State of the Artist.

Burned to disk backup the bundled software I received as the Wacom Bundle after purchasing my Intuos tablet, and also the PS Elements 11 on a separate DVD. I am still thinking seriously about installing that on Herself's PC and installing the full version upgrade on mine. Note: on the other hand, I've been working on learning Gimp with the thought that I might not purchase an upgrade to Photoshop. We'll see.

Feed delivery came in while Herself off on some errands. All available cow feed now stored (short four bags). Horse covered, along with bird, and four barrels of goat stored. Fifth is stacked on pallet in trailer. Two barrels of hog are stored. This constitutes moving around something like 900 kg of feed. Chicken Eggs collected. Dogs fed. Now to feed me, I guess.

Rain Saturday

So, a quiet morning. We notified our regular customers that we wouldn't be setting up the Booth, and Herself would be there for milk deliveries. Did manage to get the Horses and Hogs fed. Goats complained as they always do when it rains. Paused inside Studio 318 after starting out when the rain started just as the Bros and I got to Studio 318. Inventoried frames available and on hand, noted with and without glass, noted hangers if any, brief notes to type of frame with a very short description.

This is another interesting aspect about running a business to me. I am not counting these frames yet as inventory in terms of value on hand for income tax purposes, yet I suppose I should be since they do comprise Cost of Goods Sold for framed pieces. Some of these frames were purchased at various retail outlets over time, and may or may not still carry price tags. Some were gifted to us, by Mother Mary. Most I acquired from yard sale vendors, in a lump purchase so the price per frame is really vague. Some of the latter I could apply a price tag to based on my appreciation for the materials and workmanship in the frame. A few may be 'withdrawn for personal use', though I am more interested possibly in selling them to myself (actual transaction at this point, like really taking money out of my pocket to give to myself and record as a sale).

It's also interesting in that I felt a certain anxiety going through the recent push to increase framed pieces for show, asking myself do I have enough frames.? Asking how many frames do I have, what sizes? Turns out I do, yes, and probably don't need to go purchase more for a while. Except, of course, for those odd size pieces...

Still, now there is a quantifiable handle on the available frames. It can be sorted by size, by does it have glass already, does it have hanging hardware installed. Hardware can always be moved, but sometimes it is handy to know there is a frame ready to go (glass and hardware) in a good size and orientation for the piece I'm looking to frame.

Hospital
Worked a weekend shift yesterday evening, mostly a steady busy nearly all night though it started off slow shift. Being part-time these days, I don't normally ask for a day off during the week when I've a weekend shift scheduled. Used to do that, in part because Hospital wants to control how much overtime they are paying out, in part because I need the time off from Hospital to work these two other jobs (Ranch and Studio). With more days off on a regular basis by being part time, the overtime problem is non-existent. There is still some available time during the week, simply less on the weekends. Still, I'm finding myself to be feeling more ... jealous isn't really the word, probably protective is of all the time I usually no longer sell to Hospital for one or the other (mostly Studio) of those two other jobs.

As is often the case, I am somewhat tired even after sleeping a fairly consistent nearly eight full hours. First mug of coffee is into me, along with morning vitamins and a snack bar breakfast. It is Sunday, and I need to consider the weekly State of the Artist posting I committed to doing as part of developing myself as an artist and promoting my own work.
Self-promotion is one of my harder things to work on. Hardly that I feel shy, nor even particularly humble. It's more how my parents raised me, I think. We are supposed to simply focus on what we do, doing it well. Someone else will notice and sound off about it.

Ah well. About time to go deal with those goats this morning, the ones that didn't get their supplemental feed yesterday because of the rain (they won't come out of the barn anyway, because it's wet, and goats hate being wet). Mind you, I did see them out in the periods between active rainfall, munching on the hay we've provided...

Edited to Add @ 18:08 local time:
Really not much to add except some time in the past two hours the pressure switch on the well head failed, which we discovered in the past 15 minutes. And (oops or of course, take your pick) the box I thought to be my replacement backup? Actually holds the previously It's Dead Jim pressure switch. Apparently I never did go get the backup. And, of course, this is after all local to the Ranch hardware stores are closed. Home bottled water it is, for tonight, and no hot soak in the tub for the Artist.

Up early tomorrow, off to the Ace Hardware for replacement(s).
madshutterbug: (c) 2011 by Myself: Zone VI 8x10 view camera (View Camera)
This past week felt slower, rather delightfully considering the build-up to the Spring Arts Festival. Mostly I've covered some of the Ranch things which need covering and which we postponed temporarily for the Arts Festival. One of those items didn't occur this week, it should though tomorrow. We both helped out some friends who need it, our partners in the Farmers Market booth. And other routine chores around the House.

Today with the weather being rather wetter, I worked inside Studio 318. Matted two of Herselfs pieces for inventory, framed another for her personal use, and framed up a piece which sat there waiting for quite a while, I am ashamed to admit. It is a piece from the Healing Art series and this particular copy goes to the friend who helped create it. In the long run, this is part of the plan, that this one copy, in the frame specific because it hung on the wall for the making of the original source, would go to her to hang in that same place.

Now it can. Tomorrow, though, since it's raining now.

Recursive Series #1 )
madshutterbug: (c) 2011 by Myself: Zone VI 8x10 view camera (View Camera)
The 44th Annual Santa Fe Spring Arts Festival started for me on Friday past, when I went over to the site to set up the Booth Pavilion. I transported only the 'physical plant' as it were consisting of Pavilion and Weather Walls, Art Sidewalls, the folding matted work stands, a folding chair and a bar stool I usually use in Studio as a posing stool. All of this fit into the back of Sydney Subaru Outback easily. Check-in and Setup took a total of two hours, no worries.

Saturday the show started at 09:00 so the day started early. I needed to be there at least two hours before opening to hang selected framed pieces and set out the matted stock. Plus, given how late I got back to the Ranch on Friday and evening chores, Saturday morning involved loading Sydney up with the stock and with the lunch cooler and Office. No worries, though, as it all timed out well. Even with more and larger framed stock, moving the items into the booth and getting set up accomplished with a quarter hour to spare before Opening.

Sunday the show starts at noon, so that several churches located on the street which becomes the Festival may conduct their services without the crowd there. I still went over fairly early to gain close in parking, then walked over to my friends A & K's place for morning coffee and a visit. Once again, I still got all our stock moved back in and set up in plenty of time to sit and eat my lunch before opening. This even given that rather a good number of people either didn't read the publicity about the Festival opening at noon, or didn't care and came early (by maybe a half hour or so).

I made notes on two old and retired Framed Piece Cards via pen, so as to conserve battery on the iPhone. Saturday this truly proved a good idea, as at least two sales on Saturday used the card reader. Sunday all sales transactions involved cash. I could well have used the phone for other things a bit more such as making notes. I'm not disappointed in what I did, however, and do now have two days data of such usage with the new phone, plus the various incidentals I did conduct for how much charge I'm likely to use.

The notes covered things about the Booth itself and the variations put into effect this show, for continued quality improvement shall we say. I also kept quick notes as it were of the people I know that stopped by the booth, at least to say hello. Based on those notes, 19 people I know (plus associates) on Saturday and 23 plus associates on Sunday. I don't know the overall attendance figures for the show yet. The press release estimated a potential 100,000 and based on previous years, that's a safe call. People come from the entire North Central Florida region for this festival. The crowd proved pretty steady and full both days, with some slower periods, and based on prior experience with other Festivals and Ren Faires, a good turnout.

We use some medium size PVC tubing to help support the Art Walls across the top, and we've been thinking this needs some modification. The 'back' wall will be the first we try this on, since this time around I didn't secure that wall to both sides of the pavilion. This provided our back door, and extra stock plus the folding chair sat out there. However, the lack of tension on both edges affected how well that wall could support hanging artwork, so we'll try a couple things here. Using the larger framed pieces as display we could easily add 2 more folding mat bins or the racks for the Greeting Cards, Magnets, Calendars that we're contemplating. Or even on those shows where we can bring Herselfs jewelry, that rack. Depending on which, the back wall even as we set it could do.

I do need to add a Pole Rig to lift the back wall as the sun fly. Do not need to add any more materials, other than the rigging.

We changed up how we do our framed piece title cards. The biggest problem we've had with the other style, post-card sized cards taped to the pieces, is that even light breezes can flap those around enough to fatigue and tear the tape. This time we used business card stock, and put those cards into pin-on holders we purchased at our local business supplies store. Worked very nicely, looked professional and consistent. During the show, though, I thought to print on the back side of the Art Piece Title Cards our Studio Info - Both our names, web site URL, e-mail, though maybe not phone number. PO Box address yes. Then when a framed piece sells, the card goes with the piece. (Possibly print two cards for each piece, the second with Sold/Date on it and that card stays with us.)

On the business side, this weekend we made enough sales to cover Jury Fee, Booth Fee, Petrol to and from (2 vehicles, since Herself also helped our friends and partners with the dairy goat herd while B was off showing most of the dairy goats in a major show – she did really well too!), and while I've not figured out the total sales tax due the Tax Man, that too... and some on top of that. Not a lot, and yet it is profit! Woohoo! Perhaps this means the economy really is turning around (not holding my breath) since (at least this past weekend) people felt like they could dispense some Fun Money on Fun Things (Art). At the very least, we covered expenses.
Granted, with the Festival being a local one our overall expenses are a tad lower (no Lodging, no Food since we are close enough to spend the night in our own home). It is still nice to contemplate a show where for the second time we made expenses, and for the first time a wee bit more.

Herself got to wander through the Festival more than I did, which friends who work any sort of weekend festival or con show will understand. I may have been able to do more wandering if we didn't also provide the support to our friends and partners, and I am happy with how things turned out. After all, I pretty much ran the place solo on Sunday and at least half the day on Saturday. I did make use of a 'booth-sitter' on Saturday. Booth-sitters are a nice concept I've now seen twice in weekend art festivals, where volunteers working with the agency putting on the show are available at reserved times to sit in ones booth while one then gets a biological break, or lunch, or just walk about the Festival. I figured I'd use the second booth-sitter pass on Sunday, but didn't get a chance to turn it in and no one came by to pick up.

Summarising then, the Business side qualifies as a Very Successful Weekend, we enjoyed meeting some more artists & artisans who were our neighbors in the Festival, a good turn-out for the attendance. Enough slow time during the Festival to look at the Booth setup (now a full year in working mode) and evaluate what is working well, what is working and could be done better, and note some ideas how.

And a goal accomplished. I remember well, arriving here early in 1977 and being taken to the Santa Fe Spring Arts Festival by new friends, looking at the show then thinking the quality of the show and art to be really good. Also thinking, one year I will be one of these Exhibiting Artists. Now I am.
madshutterbug: (c) 2011 by Myself: Zone VI 8x10 view camera (View Camera)
Because This Got Long - Framing and Packing )

On the Subject of iPhones )

And we'll see how that goes.

Framing

Mar. 25th, 2013 05:43 pm
madshutterbug: (c) 2011 by Myself: Zone VI 8x10 view camera (View Camera)
Good progress indeed. Only two more large prints to frame, I've made my shopping list for what I need for those two pieces, and then I start sorting through the last six or so in the 8x10 range, all Herself pieces. I could simply mat and sleeve those, though there are a couple I feel rather strongly about framing anyway. We shall see; at this point I can cut backing to fit frames on hand without any qualms, and then cut my own mats for them. And cut my own it shall be, as all of the prints in this lot are in the 8x10 range... range being the operative word.

Big prints/frames ready:
  • Naiad
  • Dryad in the Forest of Good and Evil
  • Last Transport to Clarkesville
  • Kitsune Out of the Storm
  • Peek-a-Boo
  • Postcard from Arizona (Dam Traffic)
  • All the Modern Conveniences (colour version)
  • In the Parlour (sepia)
  • View of Washington from Arlington (colour version)
  • Basket, Bench, Buckets (colour version)
Those 10 pieces, if that's all we hung, would completely fill our display for now. I may want to use some of the 'smaller' ones, simply for balancing the display and setting things up as the 'mini portable gallery' we conceive of the Studio 318 booth as being. We'll see. For sure one of the things I need to work on now are the name cards.

For now, though, it's time to gather the Border Collie Bros and make Evening Rounds. Herself is off to Tioga Farmers Market, so it's all up to us as it usually is on Monday evenings. Our plan for dinner this evening is Sub Sandwiches. I've been tasked with a reminder call.
madshutterbug: (c) 2011 by Myself: Zone VI 8x10 view camera (View Camera)
We've been out to do an abbreviated rounds this morning, earlier than maybe usual, because of the weather. Storms rolling in. So the hogs and horses are fed, and birds fed and watered. Goats didn't even come out of their shelters, though they did complain a bit. That could be why were other animals getting noms and not them, or more likely 'Do something about the weather, Human.'
Because, of course, that's our job.

I've also started the laundry, a normal chore for this day. My plan overall is to head over to Studio 318, even if it is raining by then, to keep on working at mounting, matting, framing until I can call it quits. There are at least two more larger pieces I need to frame, and one of those needs a specific size frame. That one is sort of a fun story. The mat around it came out of one of the used frames purchased at a yard sale. Mat works very well with the piece (Herself's Mermaid Dreams). Frame the mat was in not so much, so it's gone to another piece. Thus, need a frame.

The other piece (Zen Garden, one of mine) is a square composition, so needs a square frame. I've got a square frame, no glass for it though and it is a bit bigger than the mount that Zen Garden is already attached to. Might still use it, that's one of the things I'll look at this afternoon.

All of these pieces are out of a batch of photographs we'd mounted onto 40x51cm backing (16x20 inch) for Camera Club #1's monthly show/competitions. Everything framed so far, or waiting for a frame, is a print in the range of 28x36 cm (11x14). Since it's nearly two years since we've been active with Camera Club #1, time to get some other use out of these pieces. Plus, the ones I'm framing up first are 'larger' pieces, or in one thought pattern bigger eye candy to bring people into the Studio 318 booth.

There are a lot of pieces waiting for matting as well, only a few of which are in the 28x36 range. Matting is good, as that rebuilds sale-able inventory. Something that is 20x25 cm (8x10) will mat up to 28x36 cm and a frame that size starts to be big enough to attract interest from a distance. There are a few pieces in inventory now that are framed to 20x25 (a 13x18cm or 5x7 print). Likely I will leave them there, however not hang them until or unless nearly all the larger is sold at an individual show/festival.

However, none of it gets done by itself. This may not be my favourite aspect of photographic art, and yet it needs doing. I am minded by this and other things on the docket of the lesson from my first art teacher, Dad. We discussed Michaelangelo's work, specifically his sculpture since that was Dad's main passion. Dad made the point that he'd spent time learning stone cutting in a quarry, learning technique for removing pieces and bits of stone from a block to achieve the piece he visualised and that likely resided within the block.

Sometimes, art is nothing other than hard drudgery type work.

It being that the rain is currently stopped, Houdini and I are going over to Studio 318 to do some drudgery.
madshutterbug: (c) 2011 by Myself: Zone VI 8x10 view camera (View Camera)
I've been thinking, in the back of my mind, based on previous experience with my earlier Epson ink-jet printer that printing our photographs would take some learning time on the new Mr. Printy (name stolen shamelessly from Ursula Vernon, known as ursulav over on LJ. Stolen because hey, I like that name.)

Three copies printed, didn't take long, spent time after starting to print getting the Border Collies dinner ready... probably done printing long before I fed them. The last one I sat here while it printed. This is from the Open Office Presentation program, since I put text onto the page as a flyer. I still want and need to try printing from, say Gimp. To see what the difference may be. However, as I said, that was easy.

So yes. I am going to need to acquire more paper. Only down side, this won't print big prints. However, on the other hand, some of the Epson paper (the paper I'm working with now) might work for the greeting cards, sized and oriented appropriately for the page to allow folding.

In other news, we felt the Big House shake briefly yesterday evening, the sort of thing a large explosion or a sonic boom (such as when the Space Shuttle would land, eh) might do. Or, yanno, big thunder, but we didn't hear much, certainly no thunder. Multiple possible explanations on the local news today:
- A sonic boom produced by a meteorological phenomenon involving the fronts moving thorugh
- A sonic boom possibly generated by military aircraft conducting maneuvers over the Gulf. The local TV channel contacted the military about this, and the answer is yes, no details, classified.
- An astronomer associated with Local University says it may be a meteor breaking up catastrophically, as same astronomer was looking out over the Gulf last night with telescope and did see a flash.

Take your pick. However, today Houdini wants very much to be under my feet as much as possible, and didn't eat all his dinner. Both behaviours are consistent with him feeling an incoming storm. And our weather forecast for the next couple days includes storminess.
madshutterbug: (c)2009 by Myself (Houdini&I)
Roof Repairs! Yea!

Done:

Spent big money today, relatively. Purchased the replacement plywood decking for the roof, most of which will be delivered tomorrow. Purchased replacement planking for the back deck of Studio 318, plus joists. Which, likewise, to be delivered tomorrow. Paid the delivery fee, too. At the same time a somewhat lesser purchase of a shelf for the new printer. Now that project merely waits for a bit of free time.

Doing:

The roof repairs are now in progress. Start on stripping off the old shingles and such, discovering the holes. There are more than we realised. This is why we changed the plan to replace all the roof decking. Lots more to do, yes, still it is started! Yea!

To Do:

Still to do is that shelf, and lots of Studio 318 related bits and pieces. Transfer money between banks to cover these purchases (covered) and be able to pay bills. All in all, though, I can feel accomplished for today.

Doing Right Now: Beer! Yes! Beer is doing right now. And petting Houdini. See icon. Which makes typing interesting.
madshutterbug: (c) 2011 by Myself: Zone VI 8x10 view camera (View Camera)
This is a follow-up post to earlier today, about the GFAA Winter Fine Art Fair, wherein I mentioned five pieces sold. But, which pieces?

Read more... )

Summer Tea is from my series on the Fae, specifically the Four Seasons in One Fae. Though there are two in Summer Tea.

Saturday, Mitre Peak, Milford Sound 2001 )

One of my favourites from our trip to NZ.

Sunday Morning, Two!
Foggy Morn )

This is the same one which received the award this year at Necronomicon's Art Show.

Basket, Bench, Bucket )

From Dudley Farm State Historic Park, though the print which sold is done as B&W. I am not at all sure I will continue to print this one in colour; I think it is much better in B&W.

Sunday Evening, One
Balance... Potentially NSFW )

Balance is a light painting. This is a technique I am not done yet, though the last time I tried the results proved not so delightful. However, I am quite sure I've figured out why, and need to do this again.
madshutterbug: (c) 2011 by Myself: Zone VI 8x10 view camera (View Camera)
Short version: officially a fabulous show.

Winter Fine Arts Fair Report Follows... long-ish eh )
Took a hot tub soak. Went to bed.

Will unpack the Subaru today, do inventory, wrap up that sold framed print for delivery tomorrow, and do that after feeding the Ranch this morning, along with attending to that one hog water point.
madshutterbug: (c) 2011 by Myself: Zone VI 8x10 view camera (View Camera)
More Flickr
Thursday past I started that bit about re-organising the Collections and Sets. The collections part makes things a bit easier, cleaner looking on the Photostream view. I've got five parent Collections: Idunkno, People, Places, Sketchbook, Things. Other sets and some Collections are moved into those. Collections may hold Collections, or Sets, so some of the parents hold collections to further move things along. Places, for instance, holds collections with state names which hold sets of photos in those states.

On Friday during some slow points at Hospital, I further moved things along, moving sets at that point. Looks fairly good this morning. Yesterday (Saturday) not any time at all on line other than via Smartphone so no work done at all. This morning, I worked on the Mosaics (thumbnail preview) for some of the Collections.

MarsCon
The first show of the year to which I submitted works took place last month in Williamsburg, VA (link to site? As I write this I can't connect, not sure or the problem MarsCon). Been following the FB group on this, even though as I said my attendance proved more in spirit than flesh. Friday my package of art arrived home (pre-paid self-addressed). Glad to see it, since this grouping may simply get re-packaged and sent off to another Con art show.

Thought to myself when I pulled the box out of the mailbox that this is the second year I've sent work off to MarsCon so if the trend (based on a statistical sample of one Con) holds true it will be next year if I do sell something. I'd read in the FB group that the Art Auction did well this year, with a lot of pieces going from Silent to Open Auction. Cool, great, and I still figured trend, three years, no sales.

This proves not to be the case.
The package came home one print less and with a check.

::Does the Happy Dance::

Mind you, still not covering expenses here. Not counting the expense of printing each piece, as that comes out with the sale of any individual piece. Counting Art Show space fee, and postage/shipping there and back. Still running in a hole on that measure.

But (and grammatically, But nearly always negates whatever someone stated immediately prior)...

I made a sale!

::Does the Happy Dance::

For those interested the image which sold behind the cut; I was asked recently why someone wouldn't be interested. Well... dunno. Obviously I am. However, some folks I know who read here, their children were quite young when they started and they appreciated the cut and notice about nude art. Some folks read at work, and work may not be totally friendly to such. So, that's part of why.
Dryad Blessing, Not Safe For Work Depending on Various Definitions of Safe and/or Work )

This week is a preparation week for the coming weekend. The GFAA Winter Arts Festival at Tioga takes place Friday evening and Saturday/Sunday day. Preparation involves setting up the pavilion and checking on pieces and parts, and I need to add grommets to all the fabric display walls since that will help support the framed artwork hanging to entice people in. Some of the longer term projects won't be anywhere near ready, and that's OK. I also hope (not counting on) getting some more pieces matted and mounted and sleeved for the general inventory.

GFAA Winter Arts Festival at Tioga Link provided tiogawinterartfair.org in case you're local and coming, or not local yet interested...
This weekend coming up, I've taken time off from Hospital to do this, and we'll see how it goes. A few people I've talked to who've taken part in this show in previous years said they did well in it. I feel I'm falling a bit short on inventory, as Ranch related work seemed to pre-empt time to mat and mount over the past couple months. We'll see.

One framed piece probably won't go for display, as that's somewhat promised for the March show I talked about in a previous post. Otherwise, I'll likely pack up as much as we've got ready and take it along.

On the Ranch Front
We've now caught up with light shelters for several sub-divided goat paddocks. Wind in some recent bad weather had torqued the frames so much they wouldn't work. These shelters are 'temporary' in one sense, and work for us because we move them around. They are made from chain-link fencing top rail tubes, and corner joints made. Herself calls the usual structure one sees with this system a red-neck garage, and there is some truth to it. We do need to provide some rather more sturdy shelter in one or two spots, that's a project for this year.

So. Summarising, I'm four for four getting into shows for the first four months of 2013. Already this is off to a good start, since two of those shows are juried entry, and one is invitational for members of GFAA. Adding to that good start, the first show provided a sale. Lets hope the trend continues.
madshutterbug: (c) 2011 by Myself: Zone VI 8x10 view camera (View Camera)
One of the shows that I applied for through an on-line application process CaFE 'Call For Entries' is actually two different shows, same themes, in two different locations. Both locations are relatively local to me here in North Central Baja Jorja, being more right on like Central Florida. The shows are Nude Nite so one may very safely figure that the art to be displayed features the human nude. The Orlando show is in February and I did not apply for that one, figuring one show a month (for the most part) until I get somewhat more experience, and there is another very local show I will be in in February.

The other is in Tampa, March 7 – 9 which is a Thursday through Saturday. Follow the link if you want more information, it's quite an interesting concept. I did apply for this one, to fill the slot for a March show. These are jury selection shows as well, and I submitted two images via CaFE for consideration.

Images Back Here, Don't follow the cut if you don't want to see )

Now, here's the mean part, because I'm going to mention that one image is Invited, and the other image is Not Invited. I (obviously) think both are pretty good photographs, and one of them received an award at another show. Interestingly enough that is the one Not Invited. The other is somewhat edgier, for lack of other words to describe it in mind just now, and I wonder to some extent if that's what tipped it into the selection.

In either event, the two e-mails I received (these would have been snail mail letters in years somewhat gone by, I'm sure) are both very nicely stated. The Not Invited is polite, assures me the art is creative and expressive quite a bit of energy involved and is very much form letter, as it then says:
"It is with regret that Nude Nite cannot accept every artist and must respectfully decline your work(s)."

Plural. Which is amusing because the other e-mail, the Invited one, is similarly form letter: "Thank you for submitting your work(s) to the Nude Nite Art Show.
Congratulations! One or more of your work(s) has been accepted to exhibit at..." the posted show times.

Anyway. I'm in with at least one photograph. Which means I've now got evidence that two different juries think enough of my work to select me for two different shows, even if one of those juries didn't like all of the work submitted.

I'm also a-chuckle over another part of the So Sorry letter which tells me that the people running the show do want to encourage those artists not selected and so as an artist who submitted work, I will receive a complimentary one-night pass to the show. Mind you, as a Selected Exhibiting Artist I also receive (according to the other e-mail) a lanyard with name badge as an Exhibiting Artist which grants me admission to each night of the show. Um, before anyone gets real excited about maybe getting to use one of these, apparently I need to show photo ID for the Exhibiting Artist one, and neither one are transferable.

There is no additional fee to be paid to the gallery for showing; the gallery will take a 40% commission if my piece sells. Frankly I'd planned on that and increased the price I'm asking for Kitsune Out of the Storm. I'm asking myself at this point if I increased it sufficiently, however, as I look at the logistics I'm facing.

Initially I'd planned on driving down myself, with the art, and then potentially staying to see the show as well. Some of this included a big assumption, that my work would be either in or out, and totally didn't look at some of my work would be in and some, not. Plus, the specific date for art drop off isn't in any of the preliminary application info (the dates for the show are, not this date) and it turns out to be one day earlier than the time off I requested from Hospital to attend this show. Hm.

Plus, there is a good chunk of work (there is always a good chunk of work) to be done here back at the Ranch. And I need to take time off from Hospital for that as well. And even if staying with friends rather than in a hotel, the show hours are evening hours (one description for this show is A Ginormous Cocktail Party Art Show) from 6pm- midnite. I am not so rude a guest to want to come barging, even quietly barging, into friends homes when they will need to be up early the next morning to go to work. Which means more likely to stay at a hotel or motel nearby, and three nights of that, plus Ranch Needs Work...

So I'm now looking at shipping costs for Gallery Ready Artwork (framed, glassed, wires mounted for hanging – which Kitsune Out of the Storm is already having been in one show). The show will want return shipping included, but if I'm going down for the last night of the show, I can pick up my (presumably unsold) artwork at closing time. There will probably be some query messages inquiring about this.

All part of the process of learning how to do shows.

And hey, as Herself said, for the first four shows on my list for 2013, I'm four for four (say that seven time fast...)!
madshutterbug: (c)2009 by Myself (ViewCamera)
Each year for the past four or five, I've examined my purposes and other aspects of Self when it comes time to renew my “Pro” account on Flickr. Pro is their term; all it really means is unlimited uploads and storage, plus some other detail sorts of things, but for my purposes unlimited storage is the primary.

Over time, I've watched the “Stats” functions and my viewership (for lack of another word) grew over that time. Still not stupendous perhaps, and that could well be related to how much activity I put up there. Things are somewhat slow over the past year with only 13 uploads. Of those, a good handful qualify as “sketchbook” (images with minimal post-processing) or as “joke” (images contributing to some other type of humour, elsewhere), and very few as my more or less final pieces. Also, the 'custom URL' to link to Flickr is … less than straight-forward from the Artist point of view, since Flickr chooses to promote themselves over the name of the Artist. We Artists do like our names to show first, eh!

In short, my whole use of Flickr changed over time. And while it may be good to provide a scrapbook for viewing, I'm not sure said scrapbook is truly worth a cost of $24.95 US. And some is related to another Flickr related issue which is annoying me a wee bit.

Some years back, I do not remember when, I attempted to set up a second 'free' Flickr account. Attempted is not totally correct, as apparently I succeeded. However, I don't recall the exact user name (couldn't use what I wanted because that name linked to my current Flickr as the screen name, even though the login name is different). I did set it up using the (relatively) newest e-mail address I use. The original Flickr is tied to an older e-mail address which I rarely use and in fact am considering eliminating totally, as another economical thing. However, I can't get at this other, second account because I don't remember the login name exactly, nor the password, nor the answer to security questions, nor a lot of other things.

The account management help process is where some of this frustration comes in. They want me to prove I truly 'own' this account. That's related to knowing login names, proving e-mail account ownership, and answering security questions per above. Mixed blessing; it is proving difficult to do this which means it is quite difficult for someone who doesn't own an account to cause the actual owner grief by deleting it. It's also proving annoying since I really should like to change up on some e-mail addresses, and the easiest means to do this will be to eliminate that second free account, except I can't.

All in all, then, I'm asking myself one more time:
How much am I using Flickr these days, and for what purposes?

How annoying is it to not be able to eliminate an old e-mail address from that account, so I can eliminate the e-mail address itself?

Does all of this combine sufficiently to cause me to trim down what I keep on Flickr and allow that account to 'relapse' to Free, and leave it at that?

Here are some indicators:

Flickr:
1,625 items (Free, only 200 most recent show; will need to trim way way back, eh!)
Sets (Number of Photos In):
154 in OR Holiday Party
134 in Various Digital Point & Shoot
350 in Pic-O-Day
133 in Elizabeth & Gary 10-18-08 (nearly all these could go away...)
302 in Vegas D70s, 133 in Bellagio Fountain Show alone
105 in South Island New Zealand
152 in Collected Otterz Mob
These are only the ones with >= 100 plus photographs. There are a lot more sets.

Removing these or any others from Flickr that are linked to blog posts means the link will die. There are a lot of links; I'm not at all sure I plan on going back through things to edit those links. For one thing, storage elsewhere would first need to be arranged, and my on-line presence for my artwork is perhaps becoming a bit stricter these days. As in, this is my art work. It is serious. Even when it is a visual joke, it's serious.

I suppose I could do some sort of fund-raiser thing, Help Keep Mad Shutterbugs Flickr Alive.

So, now the Forum is open. Discussion follows.

This entry was originally posted at http://madshutterbug.dreamwidth.org/166186.html. Please comment there using OpenID.
madshutterbug: (c) 2011 by Myself: Zone VI 8x10 view camera (View Camera)
Each year for the past four or five, I've examined my purposes and other aspects of Self when it comes time to renew my “Pro” account on Flickr. Pro is their term; all it really means is unlimited uploads and storage, plus some other detail sorts of things, but for my purposes unlimited storage is the primary.

Over time, I've watched the “Stats” functions and my viewership (for lack of another word) grew over that time. Still not stupendous perhaps, and that could well be related to how much activity I put up there. Things are somewhat slow over the past year with only 13 uploads. Of those, a good handful qualify as “sketchbook” (images with minimal post-processing) or as “joke” (images contributing to some other type of humour, elsewhere), and very few as my more or less final pieces. Also, the 'custom URL' to link to Flickr is … less than straight-forward from the Artist point of view, since Flickr chooses to promote themselves over the name of the Artist. We Artists do like our names to show first, eh!

In short, my whole use of Flickr changed over time. And while it may be good to provide a scrapbook for viewing, I'm not sure said scrapbook is truly worth a cost of $24.95 US. And some is related to another Flickr related issue which is annoying me a wee bit.

Some years back, I do not remember when, I attempted to set up a second 'free' Flickr account. Attempted is not totally correct, as apparently I succeeded. However, I don't recall the exact user name (couldn't use what I wanted because that name linked to my current Flickr as the screen name, even though the login name is different). I did set it up using the (relatively) newest e-mail address I use. The original Flickr is tied to an older e-mail address which I rarely use and in fact am considering eliminating totally, as another economical thing. However, I can't get at this other, second account because I don't remember the login name exactly, nor the password, nor the answer to security questions, nor a lot of other things.

The account management help process is where some of this frustration comes in. They want me to prove I truly 'own' this account. That's related to knowing login names, proving e-mail account ownership, and answering security questions per above. Mixed blessing; it is proving difficult to do this which means it is quite difficult for someone who doesn't own an account to cause the actual owner grief by deleting it. It's also proving annoying since I really should like to change up on some e-mail addresses, and the easiest means to do this will be to eliminate that second free account, except I can't.

All in all, then, I'm asking myself one more time:
How much am I using Flickr these days, and for what purposes?

How annoying is it to not be able to eliminate an old e-mail address from that account, so I can eliminate the e-mail address itself?

Does all of this combine sufficiently to cause me to trim down what I keep on Flickr and allow that account to 'relapse' to Free, and leave it at that?

Here are some indicators:

Flickr:
1,625 items (Free, only 200 most recent show; will need to trim way way back, eh!)
Sets (Number of Photos In):
154 in OR Holiday Party
134 in Various Digital Point & Shoot
350 in Pic-O-Day
133 in Elizabeth & Gary 10-18-08 (nearly all these could go away...)
302 in Vegas D70s, 133 in Bellagio Fountain Show alone
105 in South Island New Zealand
152 in Collected Otterz Mob
These are only the ones with >= 100 plus photographs. There are a lot more sets.

Removing these or any others from Flickr that are linked to blog posts means the link will die. There are a lot of links; I'm not at all sure I plan on going back through things to edit those links. For one thing, storage elsewhere would first need to be arranged, and my on-line presence for my artwork is perhaps becoming a bit stricter these days. As in, this is my art work. It is serious. Even when it is a visual joke, it's serious.

I suppose I could do some sort of fund-raiser thing, Help Keep Mad Shutterbugs Flickr Alive.

So, now the Forum is open. Discussion follows.
madshutterbug: (c) 2011 by Myself: Zone VI 8x10 view camera (View Camera)
Well except for details.

We did the Blue Oven Kitchens Winter Gift Fair yesterday afternoon, and it proved profitable. Like last year, we did this with our friend and partner B Not on Blogoshpere of Caprihaven Dairy Goats. Unlike last year, we did this year as two booths by paying for a double-size space. Despite booth fee thus being twice as much, we made booth fee. On both booths. And then some.

The KP Ranch/Caprihaven booth did a gangbusters business. Goat milk fudge is a hot item, and B creating some interesting ways to promote same. We did of course offer samples, small itty bitty portions in a cupcake cup for free. However, she also created two new variations to sell same besides the nice sized block of fudge; cubes on a stick and spoons dipped. The dipped plastic spoons sell for 50 cents and provide a nice way to taste; a lot of people bought one or another of those, wandered off to other booths, and came back to purchase a larger portion. The cubes are about 3 cm cubic, on the ends of plastic spoons and sell for a bit more than the dipped spoons. Those proved rather popular as the 'came back to buy' items.

Herselfs two mustards that she made using two of my beers as the seed soaking solution sold very well also. We opened up two small jars one each as Sample, with wooden dipping sticks (and a bin to put the used sticks into). One of the most fun things to watch is peoples faces as they tasted those mustards, particularly the 'End of the World Dark Mustard' which … the beer she used is also called End of the World, and part of the ingredients in the beer are “Midnight wheat, chocolate malt and chili pepper”. The beer itself is zingy, and so is the mustard.
Studio 318 sold a print, and as with other shows there are some potential inquiries and such.
Several sales, including the print, made using the card reader which worked flawlessly (not always the case). Just when I started to think it might be time to close that or get another type.

Things that worked, then, on the overall setup: loaded everything into the Subaru Outback,
2 totes matted work, 1 tote framed work, 2 large framed pieces each in separate corrugated board transport, 1 tote Herself jewelry, 1 folding jewelry display, 1 tote Pavilion gear, 1 ez-up pavilion, 1 bag pvc pavilion art wall supports, 1 folding table, 2 'weight bags' (keep pavilion from blowing away), 1 folding hand truck, 2 folding print bins, 1 folding chair, 1 Office Box, 1 very small cooler for noms & drinks...

I've been thinking to keep the load small enough to transport in the Subaru; this load filled the back, with the jewelry tote being a second level, and required me to bring the bin of road supplies (spare oil, air compressor, jumper cables, etc) into the front passenger seat. There were a few other things which came along that actually went for the Ranch related booth and wouldn't necessarily be coming along for Studio work, but that wouldn't make much of a difference in the pack-up.

Subaru does include a roof rack, some lighter items may be strapped to the top. Thing is, then they should also be (somehow) protected from weather/road debris. Also, doing a two-layer load of totes is possible given the size we are using, but then I get concerned about load shifts forward in the event of sudden deceleration.

Thing is, I really like our Subaru Outback. Could get a new(er) Subaru, and could be either a Forrester or another Outback (newer year models than ours appear to be a tad larger). Then we'd also be acquiring a car payment, something we do not currently sport thank you very much.
So we made the nut (booth fee and petrol) plus some, between the two booths.
This wraps up the year for me in terms of shows. Here is the 'to do list' I used.

Title: Goal 2012
Details: 6 Shows (2 lagniappe)
Priority: Medium
Due: Mon Dec 31, 2012
Folder: PhotoRelated
Notes:
01/12/12 Mars Con ✔
5/12/12 Windsor Zucchini Festival ✔
03/15/12 Kanapaha Spring Garden ✔
07/04/12 Bronson 4th of July Festival (short notice) ✔
10/21/12 Necromicon ✔
12/08/12 Blue Kitchen Winter Show ✔
Another Con
Yulee Railroad Days June (Not Happening)
10/01/12 Williston Peanut Festival (Booth fee $100! Not happening this year. Deadline in Sept)
Autumn Downtown Art Festival submit 5/1 (In October! Not happening)
Chiefland Watermelon Festival (2013 bkmk $75 by May 25+/-)

If they've a check mark, they're done. The others were on the list as probable/possible shows, though they didn't get done for various reasons. Chiefland we learned about this year, after the fact. Pretty much all of them are on the list for 2013 again, with the same game plan. I'm not committing to adding shows, exactly, and at least one is not on the list for next year (Kanapaha. We'll go as attendees. Much better for us that way.)
madshutterbug: (c) 2011 by Myself: Zone VI 8x10 view camera (View Camera)
Interesting getting back into a swing of things, and trying to do so with a balance to all the other activities and events going on in life just now. It's a case of make time for art, and for the business of art, and for the Ranch, and, and, and. Everything competes for time, our only real nonrenewable resource. Yes, yes, I know, there are natural resources which are rare, thus precious, and yet those are either recyclable, or somehow renewable even if not rapidly. Time, however, moves along with no going back and (despite sometimes wanting to) no hurrying on.

I spent yesterday taking care of some 'activities of daily living' getting the laundry done, and helping with the usual Ranch chores feeding all the critters, plus counting new kids. The Autumn Kidding is started and so far we're at about 18 live kids. This time around we are watching some of our older yet still somewhat adolescent does. Yes, female goats are does, much like deer. And yes, adolescents of any species may experience problems with early pregnancy.

These girls are between a year and a half and two years, so should be good to be moms. And mostly so; one decided that the whole business proved much too traumatic and abandoned her two kids (twins are not common to first time goat mothers, not rare either though). Fortunately one of our older does kidded in near proximity both timewise and geographically; while still labouring with her two, she immediately adopted the two the youngster walked away from. We've gotten close enough to determine that Mom #2 is currently nurturing at least 3 doelings. Young Mom gets another chance at this whole reproduction thing, as it is in our experience their second time they do much better.

There are a few stillborns amongst those adolescents, though, and I'm inclined to wonder about why. Their nutrition is good with the same feed we started last year, and the Winter Kidding proved stupendous. On the other hand, though, these are adolescents, there is a hierarchicy in a goat herd and the youngsters may not of been able to get everything they needed as a consequence. Still and all, things are going quite well with only these few bobbles.

After the Ranch chores and between loads of laundry, I worked on the Goals List for next year 2013. Last year I'd set a goal of three weekend type art shows, while still working full-time at Hospital and on the Ranch. Since I met that goal, I doubled it for this year. While I can't say definitively that all six shows are done and thus the goal met, that's because the last show, the Blue Oven Kitchens Winter Gift Fair takes place just a touch over 30 days from today. DietyOfYourChoice willin' and the creek don't rise, we will be there.

I didn't double the goal again, even though this past year I moved to working part-time at Hospital. I did put 14 different shows onto the list, with the goal set at 8 shows. Deadlines for applications and fees along with some other notes related to specific shows (themes, acceptable subjects, and such). This is part of the Business of Art, since some of those deadlines occur before the turn of the calendar to 2013. We are, I'm happy to say, on schedule for things so far.

May not do one or another of the shows that we did this year, even with them being on the list, simply because that is another of the lessons in the Business of Art. Namely, does that venue match what it is I'm doing, We're doing, and if not the probability gets higher we wouldn't make any sales anyway. One of those shows is still on the list; once we finalise our decision about it, though, I'll either not Not Happening or remove it. This is why there are 14 different shows, to give us some flexibility.

I will add at least one Con, probably 'local' as in here in State. In fact, I'm putting one on the list to attend, even though I'm too late for Art space at that con, simply because it is Very Local. Most of the rest are also fairly local, as in an easy drive from the Ranch to get there and not requiring much in the way of overnight accommodations. That will come, I'd simply like to wait and see what sort of 'following' may be generated first.

Meanwhile, I suppose I should show you a couple pieces that went into the recent Necronomicon show. I'll drop those behind a cut more for bandwidth, partially for subject matter, as some workplaces might object to one or two.

And the Artwork, um, yes, potentially Workplace Not So Safe )

I re-showed Naiad from last year, and a few others which loosely could be called either sci-fi or fantasy because their subject matter could be either future on a colony world or in a fantasy world or such.
madshutterbug: (c) 2011 by Myself: Zone VI 8x10 view camera (View Camera)
It's been a bit since I've done this, and from the point of view of an artist trying to maintain a blog related to artistic undertakings, this is... not so productive. An art blog need not be updated daily (though some of the artists I know do update theirs daily), yet it should indeed be updated on a regular schedule of some sort. This predictability, consistency is important to build a relationship with those who read it, who are interested in the art.

I could plead I've been busy making art, or making 'product' (prints, matted and sleeved or matted and framed), or simply with life and the Day Job. Could be true, could be false, and in any event is no excuse for the lack of an entry. After all, again, that's the purpose of the blog, to keep people interested in the art, the artistic endeavours, involved with a regularly posted description of how busy the Art Work, the Day Job, or Life is. Some sort of balance between the three is part of it. A bit of Life makes the artist a real person. The Day Job pays the bills and granted it is nice if the Art Work is what pays the bills, in reality there is usually a more consistently paying Day Job other than the Art Work.

So.

Day Job involves Hospital and the Ranch. Both are 'day jobs' for me. Hospital takes up a bit less of my time these days, what with completing that Magic 30 Years and starting the Confused Years of Hospital pays me to Go There, and also pays me Not To Go There. It's that second part that allows the decrease in the amount of time I sell to Hospital these days. One of the benefits of selling them a minimum of 40 hours each week for 30 years. Regular readers will know I don't often go into a lot of details about Hospital (including the Name of Hospital) because, well, Patient Confidentiality as a professional attribute got pounded into me long before any sort of legal aspect (H.I.P.P.A.) came along. Even telling you Name of Hospital could potentially compromise confidentiality. So... I'm still selling 30 hours a week to Hospital, more or less, and it is nice to not be commuting that distance more days out of a week than doing so.

The Ranch, now, while being a Day Job involves both less commuting (usually) and less pay. We're bringing in more funding through things we generate here on the Ranch these days, and that's primarily due to Herself and her perseverance going to two different Farmers Markets each week. I've found using other Social Media more beneficial there. Facebook (for example) provides a quicker means to connect to people who are actively supporting us by purchasing meat, goat milk, goat milk cheese, free range eggs, garden produce in season, and such.

I did take some time recently to do some concentrated Ranch work. In my sick and twisted humour outlook, several of our livestock 'retired' recently. It is a cold retirement, sub-zero in fact, by most measures. Tasty, however, for those who consume meat. And there occurred some fence repairs, and a few other chores needing doing that waited for some concentrated Not Going To Hospital time.

So.

On the Art Front, we've been pursuing the increased Goal. Last year, cycling up on the long term plan of getting my Art out there into the world, I set a goal of Three Shows. Do Three Shows, with or without (preferably with) sales, and see what I learned about doing them as well as did any income head my way as a result. We squeezed in the three shows sort of just barely by the fact that the third show took place last year December. And, delightfully, I did make a sale at each show. Even more delightfully, I made another sale as a result, but not at, one of those shows. Less delightfully, those four sales hardly paid for the year. Lesson: Not Time to Quit the Day Job Yet.

I decided early last year, though, that if the Goal of Three Shows were to be met, then the goal needed to be increased. So, with the start of 2012 I set a Goal of Six Shows (doubled) with potential Two More Lagniappe. Now, this isn't really a true use of that word, there, lagniappe. Technically, lagniappe is something given to a customer, a wee bit extra when things are purchased. As in, Herself tosses in an extra green pepper, or some herbs fresh from the garden, when someone purchases our produce. Or, maybe, I toss in a bookmark, say, when someone purchases a print.

So telling myself that if I complete six shows, an extra two shows would be lagniappe isn't really quite the term. But it's the one I used, so I use it here as well.

At this point in the year, we've (because Herself came along to a few, selling her jewelry and her photographic prints) completed:

MarsCon in Williamsburg, VA. I sent along eight prints. None sold. Good practice, figuring out how to ship art and seeing what happens, and the old saw that if I didn't send anything there's no way I could sell anything applies.

Kanapaha Spring Garden Festival, Kanapaha Botanical Gardens, Gainesville, FL. Two day show, set up the booth, survived some inclement weather, received a lot of comments, figured out some things weren't working as well as could and others working quite well. No sales. Expensive lesson, considering booth fees.

Annual Zucchini Festival, Windsor, FL. A one day show, set up the booth, really nice weather, co-worked the festival with our friends not on Blogs Meg & Bry. They are our partners in some of the Farmers Markets as well, since Meg raises the dairy goats that provide the goat milk, and the same milk that Herself makes into cheese and also, so does Meg now. At any rate, between the two of us (Herself and I) we made the Studio 318 booth fee for this event, and Herself and Meg both received ribbon awards in the zucchini cook-off for some interesting items made using zucchini. The event helps the community of Windsor fund their volunteer fire department. Good cause. We figure we'll get into this one next year, eh.

Did not do the Yulee Days event in Archer, FL this year because the folks who organised it chose not to do so this year. Oh well.

Did do the First Annual (well, we'll see about that part next year) Bronson FL Fourth of July Festival. One day event, on July Fourth, found out about it only a few weeks beforehand. Set up the booth(s) for both Studio 318 and Kumas Playpen Ranch (included Meg and Caprihaven Dairy Goats). No sales, a good bit of publicity. Free fireworks at the end of the show, for those who stayed. I'd adjourned to the Ranch after going over to do the setup. Border Collie Bros do not like fireworks.

What with discovering a Leak in the Roof, and deciding to start conserving ready cash until said Leak gets fixed, we opted not to get space in the Williston Peanut Festival early in October. Couple of reasons for that, conserving cash being the primary and it being a one-day show being another. However, that one-day show also asked a fairly steep booth fee, particularly compared to Windsor's festival and the other show I did do in October. So, this one goes on the list for potential in 2013, yes, and we'll see.

Necronomicon Sci-fi and Fantasy Con took place this past weekend, and that I sent in the Art Show fees back in June so off I went. Even with the Leak in the Roof, this one stayed on the agenda partially because a good portion of the expenses already got spent, and partially because, well, this show is the first one I started doing once I decided the time came along to get into shows.

I mean, here I am, a science fiction fan from childhood and I'd been to Necro's before I went back in '08 for my 'reconnaissance' of the Art Show. I walked through that display thinking several things. First, yes, I'd seen the Art Show in earlier Necros attended. Second, not a lot of photographers yet some, and well I can do at least that good. Lastly, why the hell haven't I thought about making science-fiction or fantasy related artwork before? It fits a lot of my other general work as is.

Reconnaissance in '08 led to Reconnaissance in Force in '09 with the purchase of a single panel, and hanging artwork in much the same way most of the artists do (fill the Whole Bloody Panel). A friend of mine, Tinne in the Blog-o-Sphere, also showed that year and I watched them set up. Solid colour cloth drape, and a selection of framed prints hung at eye level is all Tinne put up. I put that concept together with another artist I'd seen at the Spring Arts Festival in Gainesville and decided future displays would be different. Got a critique of my work as well, and from all that the Reconnaissance in Force proved quite successful.

A good number of people told me that year that the Necro show is hard for photographers, and I've been told the same each year since. I've increased the number of panels each year to the maximum of four, and draped the panels because that hides the distraction of the backsides of the pieces the artist getting the opposite sides of the panels hangs. It's a small shared benefit that those same drapes eliminate the distraction of the backsides of my pieces to their displays as well.

And, for the past two years now, I've received an award in the Black and White division. Hard on photographers, sure. Not big awards, eh. Still, nice to receive.

Now we're unpacked, and it's time to inventory, prepare and see what we can do at the next show. We're already on line for that one, on December Eighth in Downtown Gainesville. Well, need to get the registration form in however, it's ready to go. This is also the same as last years third show to meet last years Goal, and it will make the sixth show this year. No extras, oh well, and I'll take that into consideration when I set next years Goal. Will I increase the number of shows, or not, and I think I'll look hard at which ones I did do and see about changing some things around anyway.

Meanwhile, one of the Day Jobs is calling as the evening hours roll in. Time to go gather up the Border Collie Bros and do evening rounds here on the Ranch.

September 2015

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