Monday, November 29, 2010

Year-End Review

I know we just finished up with Thanksgiving and it's not even December yet, but I have already bought my 2011 calendars and planners and I am ready to move on. Before I do, I want to go back and review what my intentions were at the beginning of 2010 and see how I did.

I wrote a mid-year progress report back in May, which showed that some items on my list were working out better than others, but I was happy with what I had accomplished up to that point.

For this year-end review, I will revisit that same list to see what I need to work on in 2011.

• Take more photographs!! I think I nailed this one. In May my hard drive was full and in November I upgraded my computer and now have 3 times as much storage. I recently spent a weekend "keywording" over 3000 images. So feeling good here......

• Pay my debt down by $4200 - I had to adjust this figure a few times to reflect a more "realistic" goal, but I am excited to report that I have reduced my debt by almost $3500! Not what I planned, but I am thrilled by that number anyway.

• Be more conscious about my business expenses and how I spend money. – I have seen improvement here, but I still need to work on making better choices.

• Have a cash reserve at the end of 2010 of $5000. – Simply not going to happen...........oh well. This item will have to be totally revised for next year.

• Continue to offer workshops and come up with ideas for new classes. -I did offer a new "camera" class this year and will be announcing my 2011 workshop schedule this week. What I didn't talk about here earlier was my plan to offer an e-book on my hand-coloring process. Announcement: It will be finished in early January!

• Try to stop worrying about what other people think about me and what I write about in this blog. – Wrote a whole blog post on this subject: "Holding Back"

• Work on “projects” instead of random images. – I got a little off track with this intention and started to spend too much time "putting out fires" instead of having a clear focus. My "flower book" project suffered as a result, and I have pushed that release back to February 2011.

• Practice feeling gratitude every day – I have revived my practice of writing down at least 3 things I am grateful for everyday. One of my "good" habits.

• Most important – Have Fun! – I feel like I am making progress here. I took a wonderful 2 week road trip with my husband and have gotten better at scheduling more "off" time. Funny how this tends to make me more productive!

I find this exercise very satisfying and I have learned quite a bit about myself this year. I will spend the next few weeks reflecting on this list and getting clear about where I want to be at this time next year.

I won't be doing this alone however. I am signing up to be part of the "Thriving Artists Project" where I will be inspired, guided and armed with the information I need to make 2011 an awesome year. Check out the website if you want more information:

P.S. I also wanted to share that the "gardening" project I mentioned earlier in the year (but was not included here) won't be showing up on my 2011 list. Time to let that one go. Bottom line, I don't really know what I am doing when I am out there, and (here's the real truth) I would rather be working on my photography than in the dirt. I think I liked the "idea" of gardening more than the reality. Again - a little clarity. Feels good....................

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Beauty in my Backyard.....

©2010 Dianne Poinski

A short post this week.........

Here in the U.S. we will celebrate Thanksgiving this Thursday. While I try to practice gratitude everyday, it helps to have this annual reminder to slow down and reflect on how lucky I am.

Besides my friends and family, high on my current gratitude list has to be the beauty of this autumn season. For some reason the fall colors seem deeper and brighter this year and I have paused more than once to take it all in.

This image* here was shot in my backyard a couple of weeks ago. I happened to look out and notice how this bench, with all it's strength and texture, appeared to be floating in a pool of leaves. This was a perfect example of the season slowing me down to notice simple compositions and beauty (right in my backyard!)

Slowing down is what I yearn for right now. Unfortunately, this week also feels like the collective deep breath before the frantic pace of the "main" holiday begins. How I wish Thanksgiving could be our "main" holiday. Oh well.....

So wherever you are, no matter what season you are in, take a moment to be still and notice how the light is falling on the trees, or the rainbow of colors that appear in the clouds, or even how delicious that turkey is!

I would love to carry this awareness into December, but for now I will enjoy, give thanks and be present. Sounds so simple ....................breathe.........

P.S. Also high on my gratitude list are the people who take the time to read my blog. Of course I love the comments and emails I receive, but I also appreciate just knowing you are all out there. Thank you!

*Image info: Original hand-colored black and white pigment print. Hand-colored with PanPastels and pastel pencils.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Hand-Coloring - The Video

My new Flip video camera arrived a couple of weeks ago and I didn't have a chance to play with it until this weekend. I have been wanting to share in a video my technique of hand-coloring and now I can. This is by no means an instructional video, but just a peek into the process.

I have some new editing software that I still need to learn, so for this video I stuck with Animoto - which I already know. I plan to post more detailed videos down the road, but for now I am excited to share this very short, little movie on hand-coloring black and white photographs with Pan Pastels.

If for some reason you can't view it here, it's also on YouTube, but the quality is not as good.

Be sure to turn your speakers on!

If you want to experiment with this process after watching the video, here are a couple of older blog posts with more information on the technique, including recommended papers and printing guidelines.

In the video, I included the step where I wipe off the excess pastel on a piece of mat board. You can also use a paper towel, but it's an important step. If you don't do this, you usually end up with more color on the print than you may want. While you can take some of it off with a kneaded eraser, I suggest starting out light and layering on the color.

Like I mentioned, I plan to make more videos about this technique, but for now, this is a good introduction to hand-coloring and the tools I use.

I also share a lot of information every month in my email newsletter. You can sign up for it here. "Email Newsletter" Choose the "Workshop Updates and Information" list for hand-coloring tips and other information. (You can also sign up for the general email as well).

Stay tuned and I promise I will talk in the next video.......

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Digital Creations

2010 Dianne Poinski

A number of you have noticed that I am not hand-coloring all my photographs these days. I know that this is the technique I teach, and "Hand-colored Photography" appears in my business name, but I am having so much fun exploring other ways to create my images that I have decided it’s time to share.

2010 Dianne Poinski

I have been posting the occasional "digital creation" here on my blog or on my facebook page, but I have never offered them up for sale. With that in mind, I recently conducted a survey of selected people on my email newsletter list. The response was great and the information I gathered was invaluable.

Here is some of what I learned:

  • 42% of those that responded had bought art online, stating that knowing the artist and their work made them feel comfortable with their decision.

  • 73% said that subject matter and/or color was the most important factor they considered when choosing art to purchase.

  • Only 15% ranked buying “originals” as “very important”.

  • 44% were very interested in being able to purchase greeting cards with my images on them.

  • 43% like the idea of choosing mats and frames when buying art online.

As a photographer, I am in a unique position because my hand-colored photographs are considered “originals” and reproductions are made from these pieces. In this way, I operate more like a painter, creating originals using the best materials available and then investing in high quality scans in order to produce the finest reproductions possible. This is not going to change. I will still be creating “originals”, hand-colored with pastels, but images created digitally will now be available as well.

After a lot research, thought and experimentation, I made the decision that in addition to my website, I would also start offering images for sale on the “Imagekind” website. On Imagekind, greeting cards, matting and framing, as well as canvas prints will be available. Everything is created and shipped by Imagekind, so the pieces will not be signed or numbered. For the hand-colored reproductions, I will be keeping track of the images sold, so while the number will not be on the piece, it will still be part of a limited edition.

The digital images will be available as open editions. This and the fact that I do not have to pay for scans, make it possible for me to offer these images at very reasonable prices. For now, these prints will only be available on ImageKind.

Signed and numbered reproductions will still be available direct from me; however, the price of these signed prints will be a bit higher than on ImageKind. I will continue to create original hand-colored photographs and if I get really excited about one of the new images, I have the option of printing it as a black and white and then hand-coloring to create a new “original”.

2010 Dianne Poinski

I want to thank everyone who participated in the survey. It has always been my intention to make my images affordable and accessible. I feel the options available on Imagekind make this possible, freeing me up to continue to practice the craft of hand-coloring while experimenting with other ways to express my vision.

Check out my new “store” on Imagekind and let me know what you think. While there, be sure to click on "customize" to see the different types of papers available (prices are based on your selection) as well as mats, frames and the greeting cards. Here is the link: "Dianne Poinski Photography"