Sunday, November 29, 2009

I'm at a Loss

Hello Readers,

I am sorry that I haven't posted lately but I have been in a bit of a situation that really has me flummoxed. I have been posting many of my creations online for people to appreciate and learn from in the spirit of sharing. I realized that by posting my creations on the Internet, abuses might occur but I was never fully prepared for the situation that I am in.

Some of you have asked if you could use some of my designs for personal purposes and for the most part, I have granted permission. Never did I realize that people would steal my designs and use them for their personal gain.

Some of my silhouettes have appeared in another artist's store as their own work. Not modified work but my work in its original form. I have been careful to label my work so that pictures couldn't be stolen. This "artist" simply copied my work, scanned it, and then reproduced it without asking or without any modifications.

For those of you who don't know, silhouette/paper cutting work is very meticulous and time consuming. Getting correct proportions, placements, etc is very much a trial and error process and sometimes can take hours to get correct. This person has bypassed all of this work and effort by simply stealing my designs.

Right now, I have had to spend money on getting an attorney to write a cease and desist letter which we had hoped would solve the problem. So far, this artist has refuse to abide by this letter. We are now in the process of suing this person for damages.

So, dear readers--if there are any of you left out there--that is why I haven't posted recently. I don't want to provide this person with anything else to steal. As soon as we get this resolved, I will post more pics of projects that I have been working on. Right now, I am in the middle of the holiday season and I am making some goodies of which I will be able to show you pictures.

Friday, October 30, 2009

Japan Journal

NYC in Japan--you gotta love it.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Working on Secret Projects

If you have been following along, you will know that I have a night job as the doorman for a Broadway theater. The show has been in previews and opens on October 29. I have been busy making cast gifts to commemorate Opening Night. I made three books by hand for the three leads of the show. Two of these books are bound in full leather. The other book is a one-quarter leather bound book.

For the rest of the cast, I am making a card that features silhouettes.

I will post pictures after Opening Night so that the surprise isn't ruined.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Japan Journal

This was another of the hotels that we stayed. This hotel features fresh flowers and kimono-clad elevator operators. I embarrased this young lady when I asked to take her picture. The only reason she acquiesced was because I was a foreign patron of the hotel.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Japan Journal

We stayed at this hotel for four days and I would walk by these fountains every day. It wasn't until I was checking out of the hotel that I realized that these were supposed to represent the signs of the zodiac.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Where the Wild Things Are Swap

Here is the last of my current unfinished swaps. This postcard is supposed to commemorate the US release of the movie Where the Wild Things Are. The postcard is supposed to be postmarked on October 16 which corresponds to the movie release.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Halloween Postcard Swap 2

Here is the second in my series of Halloween Postcards for the non-traditional Halloween Postcard Swap. The background is a alcohol-ink based postcard in shades of green and yellow. The Boo is cut out of lime green cardstock. The shadow is cut out of a lemon yellow cardstock.

I think that these would make great Halloween Party invitations for a kid's party. Once again, simple, but hopefully, effective.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Halloween Postcard Swap

So, rather than sleep this weekend, I decided to get a jump on my swaps. This postcard was for a swap based on traditional Halloween colors. The foundation of the card is one of my hand painted alcohol based postcards. On top is a cat face cutout that is then mounted on top of the base. Since the color scheme is based on the traditional Halloween colors of orange, black and white, I think that this fits.

Granted, it is a simple postcard but I think that it is effective in its simplicity. I will mount this on a piece of orange cardstock so there will be a smooth surface to write on.

Friday, October 9, 2009

Japan Journal

These pages combine two of my favorite aspects of Japan--old architecture and kimono. The background on the left page features a tradition kimono print. The kimono on the right was from a store window display--it was done with a photo transfer technique on a direct ink-to-page process.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Projects that I am working on

I just thought that I would share with you some of the projects that I am working on:

  1. A Halloween postcard swap using tradition colors of orange, black and white. I am working on a silhouette of a witch on a broom and a standing witch. I might decorate the background with watercolor or use a stamped or embossed background.
  2. A Halloween postcard swap using non-tradition colors--orange, black and white cannot be used. I am planning on cutting out mini-ghosts from leftover card stock scraps and layering them on top of each other so they look like they are flying. On each ghost, I will punch two holes for the eyes which will allow the eyes to be the color of the ghost beneath it.
  3. I am still working on my Where the Wild Things Are Postcard Swap. I am planning on doing a papercut based on the little boy sailing on the boat to the island. I am doing this in two versions. One that will be featured on a postcard for the swap and another will be for a framed art piece that I will give to one of the leads of the show that I am working.

Also, I am finishing some more Holiday Card designs that I will be Goccoing this year. So, the creative juices are flowing--I just need the time to do them. Starting next week, at least I will be able to start doing some of scalpel work while working at the theater.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Saying Hello!

I'm sorry that I haven't been blogging as much as I normally have but I have a good reason. I have still been creating but I started a new night job as the backstage doorman at a Broadway theater.

I have still been creating stuff for my store and my swaps but I have been limited in time right now in order to get my new responsibilities on track. Once the show starts a regular schedule I will be able to bring some things to work on at my new job.

Just to be clear, I am still working my day job as well. What I hope to do is to eventually ween off of working my day job and start doing more creating for my store while working nights at the theater.

So, right now, time is limited but sometimes you have to sacrifice for future gain.

Friday, October 2, 2009

Japan Journal

Today's feature in the Japan Journal deals with giftgiving. My boss thought that I was crazy because I wasted the equivalent of a $10 bill. The page on the right uses direct ink to paper. The paper used for the background on the right is an actual kimono design that has been translated to paper.

Monday, September 28, 2009

Art Journal 4

For this page, I wanted to create my own alphabet that did not include curves. For the background, I turned the page sideways so that the lettering would run perpendicular to the image that I was about to include.

On a piece of cardstock, I covered the page with the same alphabet style. I then cut out the silhouette from this marked cardstock. In retrospect, I should have written in a smaller size on the cardstock so that it would appear more often when the image was cut out. The silhouette was used on a previous project in a smaller size. When I was thinking about the project, I was watching video of my friend's children playing.

The text translates to:

I don't ever remember being a child. I don't remember ever flying a kite or rolling in the grass. I never learned how to skip until I was in a dance class in my 30s. I think that I was 40 ever since I was 13.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Art Journal 3

I used one half of the page on the left for the page that is presented today. I did a blue tinted gesso wash to deepen the color on the page. As soon as I did that, I knew that I wanted to do something associated with the sea.

Being a fan of all things Japanese, I decided to do a version of a carp. I hand cut a stencil for the carp. I then used modeling paste for the body of the fish. Once the paste was dry, I painted it with red, orange and black acrylic. I then wiped away some of the color to give the fish some extra texture.

Friday, September 25, 2009

Japan Journal

Continuing with Japan's architecture, I was walking around my hotel when I found this little temple. I couldn't help but notice the juxtaposition of the temple and the modern crane looming in the background (which was building a new skyscraper).

Monday, September 21, 2009

Art Journal 2

Here is the second set of pages from my Art Journal. This page is dedicated to my former student who attempted suicide by slashing his wrist. He was found moments later by his mother who unexpected returned home because she forgot something in her bedroom. This was his response when I asked him "Why did you try to kill yourself?"

The picture on the left is the beginning picture. The picture on the left is the finished spread. I took black Gesso and tinted it with watercolor concentrate (blue and purple) which gave the gesso a more purple cast rather than a flat black. On the left page, I lightened up the Gesso by using watercolor crayons and misted them with water and spread the color with a paper towel.

The right page was recolored with more of the Gesso mixture but was left to dry. It was treated with a misted paper towel to move the color around a little bit. The writing was done in a circular pattern to mimic the downward spiral mentioned in the quote and was done with a silver gel pen. In the middle of the writing is a red Sharpie mark.

The text reads:
You look around you and everything is dark--up, down, left, right. And you feel like you are falling but in no particular direction. You feel motion--you feel the air rushing against your cheeks but you can only see the darkness. If you see a light you don't know if it's the way up or the way down. As you draw the razor against your arm you feel relief. You see something other than dark and you get lost in the color. You concentrate on the color and you forget your problems. That's what it's like to kill yourself.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Art Journal 1

Here is the first set of pages from my Art Journal. The photo on the left is the page as it began. I cut out letters for the word Envy and spray mounted them to the page. I then took black Gesso and covered both pages. I rubbed the most of the Gesso off before it dried. I then used watercolor crayons to lighten up the Gesso that was left over. I removed the letters to show the original background in the green color that I wanted to use.

I then pasted down four images of things that I want. I covered both pages with acrylic medium and placed a piece of white tissue over both pages. While still wet, I tore away the edges of the tissue. I then removed the tissue over the images. Once dry, I sanded both pages with very fine sandpaper to smooth the surface for writing.

I wrote about three of the items that I wanted in green sharpie in one direction. I then wrote in black Sharpie at a 90 degree angle for the fourth item.

The text reads:

"I am surprised at most of the things I want are physical: hair, blue eyes, and abs. I have always been infatuated with blue eyes. All I have are boring brown eyes. I wish that I could have six pack abs. I don't think that I am genetically predisposed to have them. Maybe I am just too lazy and it is easier to blame genetics. Finally, I wish that I had cool hair, a mohawk or a Pompadour. I want to spend money on hair product and a stylist.

One of the most important things that I would like is a child. I think that I would make a great father--if only the world would give me the chance. I am tired of being the cause of all things that are wrong with the world simply because I am gay. I want to be a father--not a pedophile. I do not have sex with animals. I would love to be able to walk down the street, holding hands with the man I love and not worry about getting beat up. I am envious of those who can show their love openly to those they love."

Friday, September 18, 2009

Japan Journal

Today's Japan Journal features some of the architecture of Japan. Japan is well-known for some of its great architecture. The Japanese believe in tall and angular; yet, they also believe in short and curvy.

Monday, September 14, 2009

The Making of the Art Journal

Here is where we begin. I have sewn all the signatures into an concertina spine. Each signature is made up of two pieces of watercolor paper. Once the paper was painted it was cut in half along the short dimension. The paper was grain long. So, five sheets of watercolor water made a forty page (leaves) journal.

After sewing the signatures into the spine, I covered the spine with mull and pressed. As you can see, the signatures were sewn on tapes.

Here are the endsheets. They were sewn into their own valley in the concertina spine.

Here is the inside of the case that will be used for the book.

Here is the outside of the case. The covering material is a bookcloth made from recycled plastic bags. I thought it was a cool material to use. It takes a little muscle to turn in but it is a very forgiving material. I wanted something that wouldn't show all of the handling marks of an art journal. The wrinkles on the cloth is part of the material and not a sloppy gluing job on my part.

The gluing in of the text block. I always get nervous at this point. I actually have to remind myself to breathe.

(l) the front of the book
(r) the back of the book

(l) the yellow pages
(r) the purple pages

(l) the orange pages
(r) the green pages

(l) the blue pages
(r) the concertina spine between signatures

Friday, September 11, 2009

Japan Journal

I have decided to share the rest of my Japan Journal. I am starting an Art Journal so I thought that I would share these pictures until the Art Journal is ready. I will try not to duplicate entries since I have already shared some of the pages. I would like to share this on a weekly basis.

The background for many of the pages will highlight Japanese paper that I bought while in Japan. Other backgrounds will feature ink to page techniques.

I hate my own handwriting (even my printing as evidenced above) so many entries have been typed in a few of my favorite fonts.

This set of pages features haiku that I wrote while experiencing the 14 hour flight. The other page features many of my receipts. I collect every piece of paper when I am on a trip.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Playing with Paint

These are the final pages of the Art Journal that I have been working on. The left page features a white Gesso foundation. It was then glazed with yellow liquid acrylic. A coat of orange liquid acrylic was added while the yellow was still wet. Dimension was added by placing a layer of paper towels on the top wet coat and then misting water over the paper towels. The paper towels were pressed into the surface and then lifted off. A final layer of alcohol inks finished the page.

The page on the right was base coated in white Gesso. Once dry, the page was misted with water. Watercolor concentrate was drizzled in five different colors onto the page. The page was misted again and then a paper towel was used to move the color on the page. While semi-dry, alcohol inks were used to provide dimension.

On Monday, I will show the manufacturing of the book.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

The Power of the Blog

Something happened today that never happens to me. I usually don't stick up for myself but I was really frustrated so I decided to just go for it.

I took my very expensive crayons (caran d'ache) which were supposed to be water soluable but turned out to be water resistant back to the store where I bought them. I went back to the same counter and the same clerk who sold me the product. I explained to him what happened. I told him that I had used a couple of the crayons (minimally) but I had no use for them. I told him that if I wanted to use crayons, I would have used my 96 count Crayola box. I pressed him on the issue and reminded him of the conversation between the two of us. He kindly smiled and said that he couldn't do anything about it.

So, I did the deed. I asked to speak to the manager. He told me that there wasn't a manager available today and that I would have to come back some other time. Since I am a regular customer to this store, I went and searched for a kinder face and disposition. I found someone who sells me paper on a regular basis. I explained the situation to her and she went to the back of the store and brought her manager with her.

I explained the situation to the manager and told him that I was unhappy with my current purchase. I even had him look up my account with the store (one of the few benefits of having a NY Resell license). Once he realize the amount of money that I have spent in his store in the last two years, he guided me to counter of Mr. The Manager Isn't Here Today.

He asked the salesperson what had happened and when the salesperson explained the situation differently that I did, the manager became very frustrated. The manager asked the salesperson if he knew the difference between water resistant and water soluable (he did). He then asked the salesperson if he know how each was marked on the product (he didn't).

The manager then asked me to return to the paper counter for a moment. As I was looking through the sample books, the paper salesperson tapped me on the shoulder. I turned and saw Mr. The Manager Isn't Here Today walking through the store with his apron and personal belongings.

The manager returned to me at the paper counter and thanked me for my patronage, gave me the product that I was seeking, and told me to keep the water resistant crayons as a gift. He told me that he had wanted to fire the former salesman but never had a reason to until today. The manager also told me that he read my blog and was embarassed to know that he had been reading about a product from his store.

Maybe there is more to this blogging than I realized.

Playing with Paint

The page on the right used what I thought were watercolor crayons. The page was painted with the crayons. I then added a layer of white Gesso (thinking that the wet product would disperse the paint in the watercolor crayons that everyone was using on You Tube). Well, that didn't necessarily happen. I wiped off the white Gesso which whitewashed the crayons. I then tinted white Gesso with a couple of drops of blue liquid acrylic and coated the page with that. I then wiped off the blue wash to get the effect that you see. It isn't exactly what I was hoping for but I will be able to use it.

The page on the right was based coated with white Gesso. I then used alcohol inks to apply color. I daubed the color around with paper towels.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Playing with Paint

Today's pages reuse one technique and tries a different technique. The page on the left uses the wax crayons (the ones that I thought were watercolor crayons) but on top of the white Gesso base. I thought maybe I was just using the crayons incorrectly. This time, I thought that I would try to color with the crayons on dry Gesso (white), apply the color, and then apply another layer of Gesso on top to activate the color of the crayons. Nope--didn't work. I have now come to realize that the people at the store sold me the wrong type of crayon. These are basically very expensive Crayola crayons. Since I have already used them, I can't return them. To finish the page, I wiped off the wet Gesso with a paper towel soaked in water. I then added dimension with my homemade alcohol inks. The overall effect is almost like a chalk painting.
Since I liked the final look of the page on the left, I decided to play with my pastel sticks. I base coated the page with white Gesso. Once dry, I scribbled the page with different colored pastel sticks. I then blended the colors with a cotton ball. I then whitewashed the pastels with watered down white Gesso and wiped it off with a paper towel. For dimension, I used some of the alcohol inks that I used on the page on the left.

Monday, September 7, 2009

Playing with Paint

Today's pages feature two different techniques. The page on the left was base coated with yellow tinted Gesso. Once dry, Red, Orange and Yellow Oil sticks were used to add dimension. The final layer features home made alcohol inks.

The page on the right was supposed to be watercolor crayons. Instead, I was given water resistant crayons. The page was based coated with white Gesso. The wax crayons were scribbled on top of the Gesso. I added a white-wash of plain Gesso which was supposed to blend the watercolor crayons. Instead, it acted like a wax relief. I wiped off most of the top layer of watered-down Gesso. The final layer was some of the home made alchohol inks.

I am still on the hunt for the watercolor crayons that everyone is using on You-Tube. You scribble on the page and add water and/or Gesso and they blend into the page. It's the last bit of the puzzle that I want to have. Granted, I have plenty of other options but I have become fixated on these stupid watercolor crayons.

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Playing with Paint

Here are the first two pages of my Playing with Paint experiment. The page on the left is base coated with grey Gesso and then layered with a yellow acrylic wash. I then used dark ochre and yellow oil sticks to add dimension.
The page of the right was based coated with black Gesso. It was then layered with a watered down Kelly green acrylic that was then wiped off with paper towels. A green and dark ochre oil stick was used to give it dimension.