madshutterbug: (c)2009 by Myself (Houdini&I)
Here on the Ranch. Up early (not so early as a Go To Hospital day) and a wee bit of work on a couple of my Works In Progress. A bit more of catching up with some correspondence. Then out to feed the Ranch Critters, unload the feed delivery, and get cleaned up to head into town for my dental appointment. Cleaning. And exam.

The Dentist I see, well, we've a long-term relationship. My record number in their system is a two-digit number. He was still new enough in his practice when I first saw him, that he did my first cleaning and exam rather than a hygienist doing the cleaning then he doing the exam. Now he's added a New Young Dentist to the practice, and I expect it is the transition to retirement which I've seen in other medical private practices.

The good news there is, the entire feel from this first exam is positive. Think this will be a good transition. The bad news there is, I've a couple cavities which will need fillings. These are the first two in ... many years. Many. Crowns? Yes I've needed several, and that's one thing. Consider myself lucky I've only needed one root canal. I suppose that one also needed a filling, since the root canal needed to be done through one of the crowns. Different practitioner did the root canal though. Not sure that counts, exactly. Most of the fillings in my teeth were put there by my current Dentist, although a few of them are re-do fillings left from my days as a Federally Subsidised Tourist.

Those days and the dental care associated with them are a whole other story.

As it goes, I'll be going in to get these two new fillings in three weeks, actually a bit less. I expect it will be the New Dentist doing them. In an odd way, I'm looking forward to this. As a test. Will dental care life continue to be the relatively pleasant thing it's been, or will I be looking for a ... different Dentist?

Stay tuned. Just don't hold your breath.
madshutterbug: (c)2009 by Myself (Houdini&I)
Bit rainy over the weekend, then a couple days of sun to help us dry out. After the hard freeze nights last week, we warmed up and in fact parts of a couple days felt rather warm indeed. Amazing how quickly one becomes accustomed to extremes, such that more normal temperatures for the time of year feel hot. We are expecting more rain this evening, including thunderstorms again. Yes, odd weather. Odd indeed. And then, in a couple more days our overnight temps will hit freezing again, though not as low and potentially not as long as the hard freeze.

Still, we shall cover Herself' garden again, and most of the Dirty Yard Birds still have their windbreaks in place.

On a photography front, visited with some friends yesterday just up the road a bit. Herself met with several people there for a SCA related group on historical styles and techniques in embroidery. While she did that I visited with my blacksmith friend S, and silently grumped at myself at one point for not bringing one of the cameras. Other than the iPhone that is. Used that to photograph the exhaust stack of one of S' gas-fired forges while he and another acquaintance worked on learning how to braze a thread onto an axle to make the screw and nut for a post vise.

For them it is much about the journey; acquaintance is making the post vice for herself. There are such out there to be had, if one shops around in appropriate places. However, she's decided to make her own. Cool.

I photographed the flames coming out the exhaust stack. This forge sounds like a jet engine when operating, even if not quite as loud. The exhaust is a rectangular flue... S made the device himself. One of the things blacksmiths might do, don't you know. I grabbed a couple dozen photos with the iPhone, which is a respectable point and shoot camera (particularly if one knows some tricks. Guess what, eh!) and provided at least 'sketchbook' material. I will be setting up on another occasion with a somewhat more versatile camera. Photographs of flames, could be quite useful to someone building a larger image from pieces and parts, don't you know.

That's about it for now. Short update, yes. Continuing to wait on jury results for several shows, don't know yet, no I'm not chewing fingernails thank you. Partly that's because I keep them trimmed rather short for Hospital, eh. Not much to chew on anyway.
madshutterbug: (c)2000 by Myself (Weather Cold)
Today is going to be a distracting day. Not a lot of Art is going to be accomplished here, since we are expecting some of the coldest temperatures we've seen in this part of Baja Jorja, in like ever. As in below the freezing point of water. Going to be working hard on the Ranch making sure the critters have what shelter they do and stoking their furnaces with some good eats for the day. Fresh bedding into their shelters. And last thing before heading to the house, disconnect the water points so that even if the tubes freeze, they won't burst because the water will be drained.

Herself and the Garden... well, it is planted with cold-hardy produce and we will still be giving them shelter as well. Planting wire hoops over the rows, then spreading plastic sheeting over that to provide a dead air space around the plants. Even with cold temperatures, that zone will remain slightly warmer and probably enough to keep the plants from being harmed. There are some young trees which will be moved as they are still in their planters. Those will be temporarily located between one of the big chicken shelters and Studio. There's a gap of about two metres there, and should (between the birds and the building) be slightly higher temps and again, still air.

The Barn is a metal roof pole barn, usually open on all sides for ventilation. Now, using tarps and supports, it is somewhat more closed off on the north and west walls, with windbreak provided a bit past the ends. The Bucklings and another smaller pen of young does both needed new tarps for their 'temporary' and movable shelters, those are acquired and one installed already.

That's the big item for the day. Spent yesterday either whipping through all the routine chores or out purchasing some of the things we'll need today. Laundry is nearly totally done, one more load to empty out of the washer (item been soaking overnight), then that too needs to be cold-protected. Cold protection there involves hanging a trouble-light by the washer hookups, after disconnecting those, and turning the light on. Even a fluorescent bulb will put out some heat, enough to keep things from freezing.

Thus not much Art will be accomplished. I mentioned looking at the papers from Red River, and Herself looked at them also now. Did not yet start printing on them, in part for the above mentioned Ranch things and in part for another Time Of The Year chore. Therefor not much to report there. There is another Art Related item to report on, though and off we go.

Some years back I received an introduction to Flickr. At the time this site provided some of the best exposure at economical prices short of establishing ones own domain on the Web. When Yahoo acquired the site, an easy means to import the photos I'd hosted via Yahoo came along. So did a certain... foreboding I suppose. There was a reason I'd stopped loading photos onto Yahoo. Received a couple inquiries about using photos I posted there in publications of some sort. Always for free, you know, good exposure for me and all that.

After some time then I started looking around and feeling some annual angst about renewing the subscription at Flickr (Madshutterbug on Flickr... one of the things about Flickr I don't like is no custom URL and it is a long one to get to the photos...). Changes in the past year accentuated that angst, though I've persevered through them. One reason is the statistics provided there, and over time (and sheer volume of photos posted, I suppose) the number of 'daily views' trended upwards. When I first discovered the statistics, I felt excited by a peak of 15 views in one day! Now, daily views averages between 30 – 50 views and peaks are in the hundreds and not infrequent.

Images are showing up on web searches and getting exposure that way, I'm sure. Still, the annual angst rears its head. Lots of reasons to stay (nearly all the images posted here as a 'Photo Blog' are hosted from Flickr, so changing things would require a lot of editing), including simple inertia.

One of the alternatives I tried is Deviant Art (Madshutterbug on Deviantart if you want to go look). And while I like that alternative, I am also not overwhelmingly enthusiastic. (I know the answer involves that whole domain name thing. Yes. I know that.) My thoughts revolving around DA at first came from a core of putting my more Art work there and leaving Flickr for like everything else. And, indeed, there isn't a large volume of work hosted there, 58 pieces or so. Statistics are provided there as well, and usually run in single digits.

Some of this is, one gets a return on what one invests, and a simple point is I've invested more time and material into Flickr, hence the greater volume of traffic. Both places provide their strengths, both leave some things to be desired.

A couple years ago, Herself pointed me to a site called 500px. The folks that set this site up tried and continue to try hard to show good, recent work. They developed a means to rate the work behind the scenes, based on site user input, and display the pieces accordingly. So I got interested in this and visited, rather frequently at first and then tapered off. Increased frequency in the past few months somewhat in anticipation of the Annual Angst and discovered the site owners provided a means to import pieces from other sites.

Now, that feedback system is open to anyone, but only counts on the images for people who register with the site for an account. Like most places, free accounts are free and easily available, then there are increasing levels of features available to members (we'll say primarily photographers who are posting, though I've no doubt some of the people posting images are the models in them promoting their own work as models) for paid memberships. The fees are fair and reasonable. This site is another one I contemplated with that whole concept of 'Post Here the Great Art, Post There the Good Stuff, Meditations, Etc' two sites plan.

Recently I put up some work on 500px (Madshutterbug on 500px eh!) and watched it over a week. I am still a 'free' account there, so uploads are limited, though storage space isn't. Everything there is transferred over from Flickr, still hosted on Flickr as well. Some will not be immediately visible to anyone who isn't a member (I believe) because it is marked Adult Material and is some of my nude artwork. It will take a couple clicks through to get their message: sign up for an account before we'll show you this. We want a legal disclaimer that you are old enough we won't get in trouble.

It's a much more 'transient' world. One piece did achieve enough views, a high enough 'Pulse' measure, to be put into a category of 'Upcoming' for a while. It's now listed back in the 'Fresh' category, where everything that is posted goes (more or less). If it isn't obvious to you now, it should be that this is some shameless self-promotion; go take a look at what I've posted. Enjoy the other images people are posting. Leave me some feedback on the process.

Still, it's a start at examining another world of exposure (pun intended) and I expect I'll continue along as a free account for a while, watching things as they go. I'll also continue to post things by heading over to Flickr for the image, though I may add some things straight from the House as it were.

Meanwhile, Back At the Ranch it's time to start my movement towards getting out and getting started, even though it's still dark (writing this with the intention to post early). When I'm done with Ranch work there still may be not much Art work, because being after the First of the Year, it's Income Tax Time here in the Hew Ess of Aye and I need to get cracking on that as well.

Day. Oh.

Jan. 2nd, 2014 06:36 pm
madshutterbug: (c)2009 by Myself (Houdini&I)
Today is a Hippie Birdbaths, for my sister who is not in the Blog-o-Sphere, and I've wished her the traditional Hippie Birdbaths via the means by which she does visit the Ether.

It is also a Hippie Birdbaths Remembered for both Herself and my fathers, who shared the day though with a number of years (and miles) between them.

We received sufficient respite in the rain today (nearly 36 hours of rain in the past 48) to be able to feed the Goats as well as Hogs & Horses. Then I ran some errands, one of which is to bring home hay to bed down the Goat Shelters because tonight the temps are expected to plummet. All such shelters now bedded in.

Houdini then got a ride in to Archer for a last errand before nightfall.

Some progress, albeit small, made on the Art Printing Front. I opened and looked through the sample papers from Red River Papers which should be a link to their site. Still waiting to print on these papers, which are quite literally marketed as Samples. The company obligingly stamps the name of the paper on each sheet and provides at least two sheets of each as well. I purchased two packages, one for prints, one their pre-scored for folding greeting card stock. The plan is to print one or two (potentially up to four) images on each sheet, and save in the Samples Notebook for comparison.

Then we select papers for projects. Yes. Oh, this is fun, it is. I remember how much fun now, even if this isn't in the darkroom. Darkroom printing seems more magical to me, though there is magic involved in digital printing as well.

Prints into the mail on Monday for MarsCon in Williamsburg Virginia, the Art Show thereof, arrived today. So if y'all are in the area on the weekend of January 17-19 please go to the Con and look at the Art Show.

Houdini says, Buy some of Boss' Art. Feed the Dog. Please.
madshutterbug: (C) 2005 S Grossman (Stalking_Elusive_Photograph)
From the 2013 January Journal, which I am using to start the 2014 January Journal here at the Ranch (not on-line journal, this is a local file):

And I slept through it, well more or less. Kept Houdini inside yesterday evening, and watched a bit more tube with Herself than usual. Stayed home rather than heading off even to neighbors, not sure if that's good for the quiet or not so good for the relationships. Whatever. Off to bed 22:00-ish and read a little bit with H there on the bed. He lay across it rather than along it, making it hard for me to get in under the covers. Until the popping noises started, anyway.

Not very different this time around, other than no tube watching, and no Squrrl. Houdini did join me in bed when I went, near enough to normal weekly time. Snuggled in tight until some when after midnight and the midnight fireworks sounds, then felt relaxed enough to move. I don't know when, I slept through that part. I know he stayed by my side (tightly) until after midnight though, woke a few times from light sleep.

It is raining this morning, not hard yet persistent and as forecast. Likely to be a slower day. We shall see. Things to do none the less. Start cleaning the house, perhaps in the office by the one bookshelf where I want to mount a desk for Herself. Perhaps elsewhere. In fact, while I wrote most of this paragraph this morning, it is still raining this evening as I post this.

So. The Overview.

Set a goal of eight weekend or other type art shows to place work into, completed 10. This means I did well on that goal, and now as part of the overview it becomes time to re-think the business of art planning. Instead of getting into X number of shows, I need to start thinking I should bring in X number of dollars.

Started generating Art Greeting Cards. Printed up 20 leading into December, and sold eight which is 40% of what I printed. Not bad, more Art Greeting Cards to come.

Printing up those Art Greeting Cards moved along the process of re-learning photographic printing. I've now also got sample papers from a paper company, and will start to print on those. They are for a reference notebook, rather than distribution. As in, this is what these photos look like printed on this paper.

Photography sales at the art show/weekend festivals didn't do too poorly. We broke even or made a bit at four of the 10 shows, made sales at two more so over 50% of the shows we sold something. This combined with a couple of sales to people who saw my images elsewhere (not exactly on the Internet, not exactly not on the Internet... make sense? No? Don't worry about it.) and, well, no, we didn't break even as an Artist. However, we did make a good chunk of sales.

Sold a passel of goats going from November to December, with a couple more sales potentially coming up. And, for the local meat eaters, some of those sales will be to the freezer, so the meat will be going to the Farmers Markets we attend for the Ranch.

Because. Because I've been threatening this for ages. Purchased brewing supplies yesterday, last purchase of 2013, to start a batch of an India Pale Ale.

Need to clean house a bit first thought. Plus, the new computer is here, and I want to set up her spot before setting up the new one in my spot. There are a few other things needed for a new PC setup, specifically a new UPS and perhaps a new or simply re-mount a current surge protector. I plan to continue a certain scheme, double surge protect by plugging surge protector into the powered outlet on the UPS, and then electronics into the second surge protector. One for each PC then (a current one will suffice for one). We could also use a new UPS or better surge protection for the entertainment center, to re-route how it is being powered back behind it on the wall.

I think that's the summary... though I know I missed things too.

Took the opportunity during a lull in the rain this morning to go out. Herself fed the bottle kids, I fed the Horses and Hogs which of course includes Ms. Truffles Bigpig. So that at least is accomplished to keep critters happier in the nasty weather.

Following that, started bits and pieces of this and that. Folded laundry, put most away a few pieces to go. Emptied trash bin in office, and in bathroom, those waiting for another break in the rain to take outside. Starting to sort through print samples already done for the reference book.

And... I need a better image cataloging bit of software. Yes, I need one. Tracking down the images to note the source on test prints... aggravating. A wee bit. Sorted through it though. There is a lot more to do prepping the database catalog, at least. And older images, scanned from film, they leave a bit of leeway as well, since many times I'm not going to be positive of the dates. However, the file naming system works well; it's keeping a catalog of where the image is located for easy work (either development or printing).

My most recent experiment is with Picassa, and while I liked it somewhat I don't like that when I re-arranged external hard drives, it lost data. This might mean I can't use the USB drives as I hoped, might only mean I can't disconnect them.

So. Not bored. Definitely not bored. But it is about time to go eat dinner this first evening of the arbitrarily defined New Year.

Oh. And (if this works, been some issues with Flickr image posting recently) Sydney Subaru Outback turned 200,000 miles recently:

Test The First, current Flickr Code )

Happy 2014, everyone.
madshutterbug: (c)2009 by Myself (Houdini&I)
I got to sleep in. Waking up is a usual thing throughout the night, as is going back to sleep. Getting to sleep in is not. Last wake up point I remember before the one I got out of bed for was around 04:30-ish, and Herself got up then. I remember hearing the coffee grinder. Then back to sleep.

It's always nice when the coffee is ready when I get up.

So I got up a bit before seven then, took Houdini out for his constitutionals after I did mine and extremely frisky he proved to be. Really quite like, Hey, Boss, the little loud box didn't yell at you to wake up, and so it's a BossStaysHomeDay! It's supposed to be a BossGoesAwayDay but it isn't. Yea! Now, friskiness could be associated with local temperatures, just a shade above freezing and with the breeze out there, perceptually at freezing. However, I'm inclined to think he felt happy for an unexpected BossStaysHomeDay.

I am now am sipping coffee. The roosters are sounding off. Been sounding off for a few hours, pretty much continuously. They sounded off when I heard Herself about earlier. Sounded off in my sleep. Sounded off while Houdini made his rounds. Curiously enough to me, this morning many of them are putting four beats into their crows, even those who normally only put in three beats.

Mer Ree Christ Mas.

There is a basket of glowing balls in the Family Room that wasn't there last night. It is very pretty in the still rather dark room.

Merry Christmas.

I am not sure what the holiday is or means to me anymore. This morning, though, I am glad to discover it does still mean something after all.

Stopped on the way home from Hospital yesterday, a time with somewhat cynical thoughts that suit my attitudes from the previous few weeks. More 'Scrooge' this year than have been for a while. Cynical thoughts but not all of them. First thought leaving hospital regarded how empty Archer Road appeared, there by campus. Road remained fairly clear until I got near the light for the turn to Williston Road.

I'd heard sirens, and one emergency vehicle did pass me while walking out to the car; I found that one and more at this intersection. Despite how light traffic seemed, a couple vehicles managed to mangle each other fairly significantly there. Detoured around the intersection on my way to Butler Plaza.

Going to Butler Plaza for a few items. Found a lot more traffic here, and expected to do so as well. Stopped in at Office Max, picked up another Really Useful Box (this one, first usage actually bring things home, now to be converted over to holding music CD's on the printer shelf to facilitate next today chore), some document sleeves for a notebook binder so I can start keeping an image printing reference based on paper types (re-learning printing, will do so with paper on hand and more papers coming) and a printer for Herself.

Really for both of us. This one replaces the multipurpose one she bought years ago, which is now not working so well (either that or she brought it home from Deltona in the days after Mother Mary died, either way, lots of use out of it, not working so well any more). Folks know the type: printer, scanner, copy machine, fax machine. This one is both wired and wireless network capable, so we plan to use it that way. Also, this one will become the 'text' printer, so printing labels and letters and forms and such. This leaves the Epson Artisan 50 to be exclusively art related printing, which will help on figuring production costs.

Got out and fed everyone for the morning. Easy day on chores, came back into the house for a bit and moved around those printers as needed. Back out, watered birds and provided Hose time for Houdini. Who then also received his Christmas Bath. Once we did that, back inside and installed the new printer. The Epson Artisan 50 I call Mr. Printy, and his purpose is the art prints. I call the new printer Mr. Printshop because that one will take care of the majority of other printing jobs, at least until the HP Laserjet can be cleaned and put back into service.

Headed out late to try to make a last-minute purchase of an ingredient for tonight's dinner. Not disappointed to miss the few stores open here in Rural North Central Baja Jorja, even though literally by about five minutes. Dropped off a small present and card with our friends and partners in the Ranch business, D & B. B had what we needed and gave that to Herself. Then we headed home (about sunset time) and while Herself started working on dinner for us, Houdini and I provided dinner for the Evening Critters, Cows, Horses and Ms. Truffles Hog.

Back inside now; been a good day. Been a good year (granted, still a week to go as we measure these things). The Studio expanded on the number of shows this year, achieving the goal for Eight and adding two others. Ten shows. Next year, perhaps it is time to change the measured goal from number of shows to sales made. We shall see. The gift Art Cards are likely to do well enough, and with Mr. Printy up and running and my own skills at printing improving, the largest amount of 'inventory' is easily replaceable. So 8x10 and smaller are now being printed here at home. Time to replace stock sold, and expand a bit for the matted works, and kick up the inventory on the Gift Art Cards.

I've no problem with wishing a general Happy Holidays. This time of year, there are a number of them packed in regardless of anyone’s faith or outlook. Happy Holidays, as a greeting, actually dates back to my days as a youth; it isn't anything new. I don't totally understand then the seeming reluctance, the apparent concern about being correct to wish Happy Holidays.

Kwanza is celebrated about this time of year, as is Chanukah. New Years for the Gregorian calendar (a world-wide standard, though not exclusive) is coming in seven days. These are the holidays of this season, other than Christmas. Many also celebrate Yule. Or commemorate the Solstice. So. Happy Holidays works.

So does this sentiment, which is tied somewhat to the Christian celebration:
Peace on Earth, and Goodwill to all Mankind.
madshutterbug: (c) 2011 by Myself: Zone VI 8x10 view camera (View Camera)
With a couple weeks going by and no blog posting, I am feeling like a Bad Madshutterbug. On the one hand, it is a goal to do at least once a week posting on the State of the Artist. Sometimes with visual examples, sometimes without, and still discussing art sorts of things. Betimes this works fine, other times not so much. While not back-breaking the past couple weeks proved to be rather busy. Interruptions might be the art projects themselves, or might be other bits and pieces of life not so much art related. Like, yanno, laundry. And such. Priorities shift about some.

Still and all, recent project(s) which ran concurrently are A) Re-learn printing my own work and B) Generate Art Greeting Cards. Pursuing part A I churned through a fair portion of my paper supply, both the less expensive over the counter papers (I consider these Draft Papers, or Draft Cards, considering my age pun intended) and the more expensive brand-name papers matching Mr. Printy. At the end of this I am able to say good progress is made towards achieving Part A, and for the past weekend Last Show Of The Year I did generate some salable Art Greeting Cards.

Not a lot. A score, as in 'Four score and seven years ago' though I only made it up to one score or 20 cards. Four sold at the Winter Gift Fair, which pretty much paid for the paper used so far to learn and generate product. Herself currently took the last 16 of them over to the Tioga Farmers Market where they will be offered for sale this evening, and any left over will be offered for sale this coming Saturday at the Haile Farmers Market in our last Holidays Craftiness Gift Sales.

Meanwhile, back at the Studio this means I am now able to offer any of my gentle readers that may be interested the option of purchasing Art Cards. The goal here in general is to offer some of the art in a price range which won't seem to break anyones bank. Or as someone said, something in the product line on the order of a burger and fries purchase price. Follow the link to the image which will appear shortly, over to my Flickr place, and pretty much most of the pictures there are available if one asks. Given a bit of time, I'll be generating a catalog of stock readily available (or easily printed and therefor readily available) as well, so you'd be telling me which photos might be popular as cards by doing so.

Peecture Behind the Cut... Portrait of a Mother and Daughter )

Right now I'm printing 'Large' cards. These are 14cm by 21.5cm (5.5x8.5 inches), called 'half-fold' as near as I've learned. The plan is to also print 'quarter-fold' (10.8cm x 14cm or 4.25x5.5 inches) as well as some other sizes. Right now prices are one Large card for $5 US (about a 5x7 print), or 3 for $10. I'll need to figure in shipping for anyone who isn't local, that's sort of still on the to-do list. I am able to accept PayPal, still working on other options. Drop me a note at madshutterbug at gmail dot com if you're interested.

Meanwhile, back at The Ranch one of those distractions mentioned above involves the Goats are Kidding. We are up around 30 kids so far, with the two newest this afternoon. Not that we're too worried about the extra mouths to feed, because we've also sold goats recently, and are looking at a small stock trailer parked on the Ranch today for an order of some more goats. This batch goes live and on the hoof to someone who is shifting the makeup of an existing herd.

I mention that because there are other goats to be sold, but not … As Is. These goats are about to undergo a Change of Occupation (a few already did this). So all in all while one end of the Bell Curve is increasing the other is decreasing so it's remaining rather balanced.

Herself's garden is doing well; it's cold crops now, things which cope well with chilly weather. Chilly? In North Central Baja Jorja? Yes. I've mentioned it before. We do get freezing weather here. Not long, nowhere near the sort that one sees further north of us, yet freezing. Or more often then that, even, Very Cold. Like last night (down to 3 C here) and again tonight (down to 2 C) and for the rest of the week, like that.

The Kittehs of the Apocalypse are telling Houdini he needs to move over in bed, because they want their spots on the Monkey Warmer too.
madshutterbug: (c)2009 by Myself (Houdini&I)
Since I've not dropped in for a couple weeks, felt I ought to and at least provide some hints about what's going on.

November I did not receive a jury invitation to the Gainesville Downtown Winter Art Fair. So it goes. This does provide time to work on other projects, since there aren't any other art fairs or shows I'm involved in for November. Next one, in fact, is December 15, afternoon, the Blue Oven Kitchens Winter Gift Fair. More later, but put that on your calendar.

Meanwhile, been working on the whole concept of creating greeting cards. Not a lot of work, still in the draft stage here. Two drafts done, in fact, and waiting for Herself to return from Tioga Farmers Market to review them for feedback. One very definitely needs some work, either that or it's time to replace ink in Mr. Printy. Mind you, it is getting close to time to replace ink.

There are two concepts for the greeting cards. One, a standard sheet of print paper (for the digital printer, that means 8.5x11 US size, bit larger than A4), folded in half. Two, not quite that large, and single card, not folded. Both need envelopes for mailing. There is also the possibility of doing Post Cards, using 4x6 print paper. Will contemplate that in a bit.

There are still a lot of prints in the To Be Matted portfolio. Need to get cracking on that as well, so that the overall inventory (particularly of Herself prints) is ready for the Winter Gift Fair. Want to get a better handle on where I am with that as well. I don't count prints as 'in inventory' until I've at least matted and sleeved them. However, there is an inventory of prints waiting to be matted and sleeved... I am simply not sure how many. Sort of don't want to know, as that could prove somewhat overwhelming. However, need to know.

Applications are in for the first four months of next year; one Con to which I shall mail pieces for display, two themed gallery shows (Orlando and Tampa) for February and March, the GFAA Winter Art Fair at Tioga and again the Santa Fe Spring Arts Festival in April. Three of those are juried, and I'm waiting to hear on the juries. I'm also slowly, steadily working on pieces which will be for the two gallery shows. I've pieces printed and done to cover the first (if not quite yet matted and framed), need to finish the pieces for the second.

Back at the Ranch, we've been busy with weekend Farmers Markets, and doing OK on that. Also working steadily if slowly on a few other Ranch projects, chicken tillers for the Dirty Yard Birds (a means to provide them with limited ranging, somewhat free in the sense that insects and whatever can get in... and believe me, with chickens they may well not get out) that move around in the Garden zone so they can scratch and turn the surface in areas, leave their droppings to fertilise, and yet not get at current growing crops.

Crops. Yes. Herself has an area fenced off from the Free Ranger Dirty Yard Birds, and it is doing well. Keeping our attention on it. We are expecting a possible frosty night in a couple days (would be if not the first this season, then the second and I'm not sure we actually did freeze the previous one, though). Not hard, and she's put in cold-hardy crop for the winter so we should be OK. I follow her lead on this; my role in the garden is Heavy Labour, not Growing Things. Plants and I get along very well if one considers Very Well as I eat them, eh.

Thus it is, life goes on.
madshutterbug: (c)2009 by Myself (Houdini&I)
I've been missing a lot of these here on the Blogosphere due to schedule and access. So it's nice to be here on the day and be able to say:

Hippie Birdbaths [personal profile] simonejester!

For people who won't see it here, it is also a Hippie Birdbaths to one of my collegues at Hospital, and is a Welcome Hippie Birdbaths for another colleagues brand new baby.
madshutterbug: (c)2006 by Myself (Remember)
At the 11th Hour on the 11th Day of the 11th Month...

Mayhap it is a personal thing. This day, in the country of my birth, is known as Veterans Day. This is not the original name once used to refer to the day, that was Armistice Day in memory of the the signing of the armistice which ended active hostilities of the Great War, and first commemorated in 1919. In 1938 it became a legal holiday.

The Great War was also called the War to End All Wars; it did not in fact achieve that status. The signing of the armistice in all probability actually sewed the seeds which became World War Two. And a multitude of other armed conflicts raged around and about involving multitudes of different peoples. In 1954 the country of my birth officially changed the name of the date to Veterans Day.

I prefer a name used in another country where I spent a good deal of time growing up: Remembrance Day.

There is a subtle difference between this day and another national holiday in the country of my birth. This day is meant to honour all those who served in the nations military; Memorial Day to honour those who died in that service.

Either way. Remembrance Day is my take on this day. Time to remember absent friends and present company. Time to remember that not only my countrymen sacrificed (surviving or otherwise) for their country. Time to remember to respect those who would be considered 'the other side'.

I will likely be busy at the 11th Hour. Livestock to feed, Ranch chores to do, life goes on. None the less, at that time I will pause, and Remember.

Lest we forget.


Nov. 10th, 2013 08:19 am
madshutterbug: (c)2009 by Myself (Houdini&I)
To those few I served with, to the many more I didn't,

Happy 238th Birthday, US Marines.
madshutterbug: (c)2009 by Myself (Houdini&I)
Tomorrow (here) will be what Today (there) is...

Hippie Birdbaths [personal profile] dianavilliers!

Meanwhile Today (here) is now the same time that Yesterday (here or there) is, time for Evening Ranch Rounds with Houdini.
madshutterbug: (c) 2011 by Myself: Zone VI 8x10 view camera (View Camera)
I did attend this event some time in the past, though I don't remember exactly when. Long enough ago that the Eagles were a featured entertainment group, being relatively local back then. Over 25 years ago, though, on that I'm rather sure. I recall it being big then, and it's not gotten smaller. Don't know any attendance numbers, can tell you the crowd started early (before 'Opening Time' both days) if small, and then gradually escalated in size. There would be gaps in the crowd, and other times so full that it made it difficult to see the opposite side of the road. The occasional gap in the crowd happened, often when the live entertainment happened on either or both the two stages set up.

Our booth was quite near one of those two stages, situated such that the speakers pointed away from our booth. So I could hear the entertainment and not be overpowered by the sound. If I sat in the chair I kept just out the back side of the booth (the Red Chair, nominally Herself's Chair) I could also watch some of it. All of it proved good, some quite good.

Saturday morning seems like the largest number of people who actually came in to look at photos on that day, with the sales in late morning shortly before noon. Sunday somewhat the opposite, the early morning crowd wasn't interested in photography and the single sale for Sunday in the afternoon.

Business wise, we made half our booth fee, so financially not a total wash and yet a bit of a write-off. Still, I'll apply for this festival again next year. The folks in Micanopy come together as a community to pull this off, and it is a community fund-raiser to help out a number of local non-profit concerns. This includes a local animal hospital (large and small vet), several youth organisations (yes, some affiliated with community churches, and I still support that even if not my belief structure), and more.

It's obvious from the get-go they plan on the huge crowd. Vendors are brought in by a certain route for check-in and setup, the traffic flow is designated as one-way for vehicles during the days of setup and festival. Vendors are told, pull up to your space, unload, then go park before setup. This is enforced; vendors who do not comply are not invited back. Vehicles are not allowed on the street by an hour before show time, and vendor parking is provided (and fairly secure) within easy walking distance of ones booths. They colour-code the areas for setup and for parking. So there isn't a lot of reason not to comply.

They close off certain roads during the show, designate areas for public parking including handicapped areas close by. Individuals may open their yards for public parking if they so choose and may charge for that, others do not or churches put up signs specifying parking for say their church so that they can get their congregation in on Sunday morning. One lot, quite close to the Festival road, put up a sign asking for $50(US) to park. I don't know how many people paid them that amount, as once the show opened, I got not very far from the booth since I worked it solo this year (Herself took care of the Ranch, delivered goat milk to regular customers, and continued planting Farmer Market crop in her garden). Rather the usual answer to the question 'How much of the Festival did you see?' 'Oh, about 9 square metres (*100 square feet*).'

The Booth Photo )

Cut just because, it's not a huge image. I do a booth photo on all of these types of events for several reasons. Documenting each setup to compare with recollection or notes on crowd/flow, because many of these festivals that are juried want a photo of the booth setup to show a professional appearance, and just for myself.

Overall I liked this setup. You can see if you look close there is a steep bit of slope at the front of the booth; we were set up in the parking lane for this part of the road and it also serves for rain run-off drainage. Booth neighbors on either side used tables, and brought blocks with them to help level those tables. I thought about it, and likely will add such to the Physical Plant tote crate for future. This is the first time I've dealt with this much slope, nearly all the sites for anything else proved fairly level or not so much sloped to need major adjustment.

I am also planning to make signage to include in the 'Office Box', one for each side, with notices to 'Watch Your Step: Uneven Ground' for future use, because if it happens once, it will happen again. Same reason I'm thinking about adding some blocks that I've got (they live in Studio as that's where I tend to use them).

So, yes. Enjoyed myself. Willing to repeat at least once.
madshutterbug: (c) 2011 by Myself: Zone VI 8x10 view camera (View Camera)
Well, the feed delivery came. Late, yet it came. Hog feed is now stowed in barrels and the hog pens fed. They are happy; dinner instead of breakfast and they are content. All the others fed as well. Put up two barrels of goat feed, stacked the next two in order, and the remainder is stacked somewhat willy-nilly but stacked. Tomorrow to fill the cow barrels.

Tomorrow afternoon to Micanopy for setup for the Fall Harvest Art Festival. At least I'm hoping I can set up tomorrow; it will make Saturday much easier. If not, it's up very early on Saturday to get set up and ready before show time. Show time isn't until 09:00 so if I get there by 07:00 should be fine.

Pavilion is as tuned up as it's going to get. Re-did the support poles that sleeve into the side art display walls, re-inserted the bungees after moving them for Necronomicon. Found one art display wall with a grommet nearly out, as in torn. That one will need repairs, which I shall do after the festival. Plus I'm thinking about making new walls after two 'years' of service. Nine, ten shows, and these are our own creation. We could purchase pre-made walls from a company that specialises. Far more expensive than what we spent on these, and more than we will spend to make three new ones as well, for all six that we'd then have made.
So we'll stay with making our own for a bit.

I do need to re-think the 'back' wall (as it were) such that we can potentially make a door there; this proved useful at the Santa Fe Spring Arts Festival and will again, I'm sure. Some places not necessary, some not feasible, but nice to have. Part of what makes these walls work is the tension provided by strapping the bungees around the pavilion poles; the back, with a 'doorway' through it, looses this to some extent. To I'm meditating on how to cope. Goal for next calendar year.

At any rate, the pavilion is ready to go, partially loaded into the Subaru. Tomorrow I shall load the rest of the physical plant (pavilion, side-walls, weights, folding stands for matted works, chairs, and such) and drive over to see about setting up. Might not be a Friday evening setup. But I will drive over.

If there's no Friday evening setup, then it's up very early on Saturday and hit the road between 06:00 and 06:30 with the goal being arrive in Micanopy by 07:00 and no later than 07:30. The Festival starts at 09:00, so that should provide sufficient time to set up pavilion and get art up on the walls as well. Might limit how much framed work I take, but still.

So. Time for dinner. Ta for now.
madshutterbug: (c) 2011 by Myself: Zone VI 8x10 view camera (View Camera)
This past weekend I packed up some pieces and hied me off to Necronomicon. This is (or was, I suppose) the fifth year I've put work into this show, and I really enjoy it. This year a new crew put the show on, stepping in to fill a gap due to a health crisis and they Did Good. They did a bang-up job putting it together and running it and I want to say Thank You!

I put eight pieces in, some which I've shown here before. Well, most which I've shown here before, only one this year a brand new piece and I don't have that one up on the 'net anywhere for a quick link. Will work on that, I will. I'd started working on this piece a couple years back maybe, something of a joke, and then picked it up this year because I decided I want to show something in portfolio to help towards another goal. I'd love to see some of my art on a book cover, eh. So I created the 'Real Book Jacket to a Non-Existent Book' though some who read here may recognise some of the premise mentioned in the story synopsis on the back.

Got to visit with haikujaguar and silvertales who split a table on Writers Row. Bought something from both of them for lots of reasons, and popperaussie nearly got otter-napped off to Down South. Touch and go there for a bit. Mind you I don't think Popper objected much, certainly not at first...
Kit & Popper )

Compliments on Saturdays hall costume, compliments on the Art though no sales, and in general a lot of fun. Generated the last building block I need to work on another piece I'd hoped to put in this year, until I realised I need this particular building block. Now to work on that... not just right now. Picked up another item which I plan to use as a prop or building block, whichever is the better word, more on that later.

Then back home yesterday and arrived in time to help finish up Evening Rounds on the Ranch. Greeted by Houdini bordercolliebrs. Nice when the pooch is glad to see one. Although he did go walkabout this morning, showed up after I finished Morning Rounds and was about to set off into town for errands and a routine doctors appointment.

Now to start tuning up the Booth Display and get ready for the Micanopy Art Festival this coming weekend.

Hence, some time off from Hospital. Never enough of that.
madshutterbug: (c) 2011 by Myself: Zone VI 8x10 view camera (View Camera)
Yesterday I completed framing three pieces which constitute new work into the Necronomicon Art Show. Then I packed into the portfolio bags acquired earlier this year (only a couple of months? Yes, only a couple of months) plus one box eight pieces plus the usual Artist Blurb. The Office Box is set with those over in Studio; the last of the paperwork for the Show remains to be placed inside that. And the pavilion support tote as well, since I prefer to modify the standard folding panels which comprise the displays in this show.

Still need to pack my bags. That won't take long. One of my friends recently commented on their space in an alternate social networking location should they be worried it took only 15 minutes to pack for a weekend. I replied, 'Sounds about right.' Even if it takes me a tad longer because I will (this time) look to potentially packing two Con outfits. My usual 'hall costume' the past several years includes whatever I'm wearing plus a 'messenger bag' with a towel hanging out...

This year I'm thinking of bringing two extras. One will comprise garb I made years ago while active in the Society for Creative Anachronism and still wear occasionally, though I may add two touches to that (no description, no spoilers). The other is almost steampunk or is actually, though no gears or goggles or such will be visible.

So. Eight pieces for the Show (possibly only seven, depending on space, always better to bring more), bit of self-promotion to put up during one of the panels I will be on (or, maybe, all of them, eh). Pack my bags, load the car, and go.

But first, Meanwhile Back At the Ranch, it's time to mobilise and do Morning Rounds with Houdini and Herself.
madshutterbug: (C) 2005 S Grossman (Stalking_Elusive_Photograph)
I've been conspicuous in absence the past couple weeks, between working on things on the Ranch and working at Hospital. Though I did take an extra day off last week from Hospital that was to provide time for Herself to go to a food management class for certification. With that certificate, she will be able to use a Certified Kitchen without one of the owners/employees being present. With that certificate, a large door opens for things to do with our Ranch produce to be taken to Market.

Meanwhile, I did get prints back from the lab, which need to be matted and framed before Thursday. Thursday afternoon I am off to Necronomicon and the 'opening' of my Fall Art Season. I've one day to work at Hospital this week, so Wednesday will be busy with framing two to three pieces, then packing them up to hit the road. There isn't anything but one piece in this year which is brand new, and that because time seems to be claimed by other things, primarily Ranch things, deemed more critical.

Ah well.

Meanwhile, it is (I did mention those Ranch things, right) almost time to head out with Houdini to make Evening Rounds here on the Ranch.
madshutterbug: (c)2009 by Myself (Houdini&I)
It is [personal profile] wedschilde Day!

Many Hippie Returns. *G*
madshutterbug: (c) 2011 by Myself: Zone VI 8x10 view camera (View Camera)
Goals. Setting goals is often how we make progress, because simply, now we have a goal. I set a goal, earlier this year, that by September 30 I would know how to use Gimp. Gnu Image Processing package, an Adobe Photoshop® alternative, free open-source software, a

Likely I accomplished this goal. The last four of five images I've set up for printing I've processed through Gimp. The two I'm currently working on, both older projects that sat a bit needing more of this or that, I've processed through Gimp. There are things I miss, a bit, about Photoshop and that even in the old version I used. However, there are alternatives to everything, and when using an alternative to Photoshop, it's good to get to know them.

For quite some time (let's see, the version I used I acquired in, oh, '03 or '04) I've been using Layers. In fact, my use of Layers somewhat pre-dates even my photo manipulation, processing, post processing or whatever by a good couple handfuls of years. Layers (like much of Photoshop in particular) is really simply a concept which artists who grew up in the not-so-Dark Ages before personal computers will know about. Layers of clear acetate placed over a drawing, with additional elements of a drawing on them. My received first introduction to Layers in 1970, in my Engineering Graphics class at Aquinas college.

And Gimp does layers. Gimp might not possess an Adjustment Layer feature, however one can duplicate the basic layer and make Adjustments on those just fine. And Gimp does use Layer Masks, which allow for adjusting transparency quite selectively, and no doubt for more bits and pieces of work I've not quite figured out yet. So pretty much all the skills I'd acquired working in Photoshop I've transferred over to working in Gimp. Want to work with only a portion of an image, which is going to be composited into another image altogether? Use the appropriate selection tool, draw a container around that portion of the image. Copy selected, add a layer mask, clean up the outlines.

One of the pieces I've worked on I've posted a draft version earlier. I'm still on a 'working title' stage with this one, either Agni or Rage or something. What I've accomplished currently is adding a layer mask to the portion of the image that needed it, and cleared out all the portions of the Real World visible through the windows of that portion of the image. Now I can show Something Else through those windows. Still working on What Something Else, that's fine. It's that whole Layer Mask thing, makes those portions invisible/transparent. Lovely.

I've taken to adding another layer to images such as this, and filling it with a solid colour blue. This somewhat duplicates the effect commonly called 'blue screen' (and after completing evening rounds and most of a beer on nearly empty stomach, the proper technical name of the process is flittering about just out of reach). For my purposes, as I'm making portions of an image transparent that blue background provides the means to be sure I've eliminated all of the existing background. Sometimes, in some instances, leaving some of the original background to an image provides an effect I want and like; mostly it needs to Go Away.
Can do that. By September 30th.

The second old project recently revisited is creating a book jacket (for trade paperback) or a book dust jacket (for hard-back). I'd like to be someone providing art for book covers, felt that way for a bit. However, it is something akin to another area of interest and a related problem. How to convince someone (anyone in particular) that one has the ability to work on a subject without that subject being in ones portfolio.

It's handy to be able to show potential art models what one did create in the genre of Nudes when asking someone to pose dressed only in what they originally entered the world. The more one creates, the easier this is. Starting out though, said model might ask Well what have you done? It's possible to show other work, quality work, and convince someone one is serious (I did). It's also sort of like dating. I heard 'No' a lot.

Similar to that, I would like to make your Book Jacket Art. Well, what have you done? Um... art in general? So I am making a Non-Existent Book Jacket. There is some compositing going on with this (combine a studio shot of an individual with a street scene. Street scene need not be in the place where the (non-existent) story is taking place, simply needs to look right.

The rest of the project is graphic design. Well, design and some copy writing. So with a nod to a few friends of mine who received their college degrees in art and design (Hi Holly! Smile for the camera!) I embark on a venture. No, I've not 'studied' graphic design. Wait, what is 'study'. What is getting a degree? It is an intensely concentrated period of time when one looks at a lot of examples of graphic design, practices putting such together, getting it critiqued to improve and... OK, so I've looked at a lot of graphic design (book covers in particular for this discussion, in general, yes), but it's been spread out over a lot more time than four years for a degree.

As for the copy writing, believe it or not that's what part of the whole goal (there's that goal thing again) of posting something at least once a week into a blog involves. Writing. I may not be a genius like Shakespeare but I can turn out some copy. So a blurb for the back cover (Trade Paperback) or the inside front cover (Hard Back) along with some Glowing Reviews for the Piece (from equally non-existent publications) for the back side of the Dust Jacket (Hard Back), and an Author's Blurb. Wait... who the hell wrote this non-existent thing anyway? Um...

Still, I'm more than willing to turn commissioned artwork over to a designer, so long as it's in the purpose of creating a book jacket. Curious timing on some other things related to this, but more on that later.

Just now, it's time to 'publish' this onto the Web and then start getting things ready for dinner. Herself should be home from Tioga Market soon. Ta for now.
madshutterbug: (c) 2011 by Myself: Zone VI 8x10 view camera (View Camera)
Is... not the greatest today. Been off from Hospital for a week to accomplish much work on the Ranch, and succeeded at most things on that list. Amongst other things, LittleJon Deere Tractor Growliebeast now sports a new front right tyre, and is quite happy about it. More on that in a bit, as it will figure with a portion of the State of the Artist on Art.

Yesterday I started feeling some gut level disturbance, and during the night up several times emptying out the old GI tract. Woke up this morning with a low-grade fever, been resting most of the day. Helps that it's been a rain day. Yesterday we got rain too, but I pushed myself to get two moderate chores done in the House which will improve overall live-ability. Replaced the ceiling fan in the Library/Tube Room, and assembled two small drawer cases which fit underneath our coffee table. The latter two will help Herself organise some of her crafts work supplies, since she does a moderate amount of that work on evenings while watching Tube.

On a heavier note, working, we moved some hay roll bales into the Goat Paddocks. This is the part which will contribute a tad to the Artist side. Teasing? Yes, because more later.

I also meditated on something on Saturday evening while indulging in a Hot Soak Tub. Herself doesn't join me for these, usually, as she says I am actually par-boiling myself. I say I am boiling away my troubles and tribbles. While doing so this time I listened to my Celtic Music playlist, and though about voices. Or Voices, if you will.

One of my co-workers does not like instrumental music, prefers by far and away music with lyrics. Specifically, lyrics in a language zie understands, as well. This rules out most opera, for example. And while I listened to my Celtic playlist, some of which pieces the lyrics are in Gaelic and I speak not a word (well, OK, a very few words) of Gaelic. It's the Voices I listen to. And each musical instrument provides a Voice. All those Voices, combining together to express joy, agony, sorrow, bliss, love, hatred.

I dabble with music. It's been years since I've played any of the instruments (only a couple) that I dabble with.

That's part of the art, and the other part is both Art and Ranch related (here we go folks!) Getting an intact tyre back onto one of our tractors gets a major tool back into the work stream. If one is raising grazing or browsing animals, one is also providing them, periodically, with hay. Purchasing hay is like anything else; the larger the quantity, the better the price. Big round hay bales are usually less expensive per unit of weight than the square/rectangular bales. So we like to buy that way.

Now, one of these big round bales weighs in around 500 Kg dry (do the math, Yanks, or just get over it and learn the metric system like the Whole Rest of the World). Rolling them by hand is quite a workout. Fine if one really wants to burn off those calories, and part of the reason ranchers and farmers need heavy equipment.

LittleJon Deere is a compact tractor; his 3 cylinder diesel is rated to 26 horsepower which is, curiously enough, the same horsepower rating as Harrison Ford 8N. Harrison is physically much larger, and more massive. And still in a tractor coma.

LittleJon Deeres owner manual clearly, quite clearly states not to use this compact tractor to lift large round hay bales. I like to think I'm not stupid, my Grandfather once taught me that ignorance is correctable but stupid gets you dead. I've got a pretty good track record for not being dead so far at three score years and a bit, so I like to think, I'm not stupid.

Crazy is another thing altogether. Hellooo, note the user name on the blog, folks!

And after careful, thorough reading, there is absolutely nothing in the user manual about this...

Moved three of those puppies in about 15 minutes. Now, the credits read one thing. The actual cameraperson is Herself using her iPhone. She watched the little short and mentioned next time, she's going to leave the phone in 'Landscape' orientation. Good plan, I think.

Also done, in free moments over the past week, prepped six images for prints and two sets of business cards for printing. Running out of time for the Autumn festival season to start. Need to get to work on that.

September 2015

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