Thursday, December 29, 2011

Looking Back...................

I love beginning a new year! I am filled with hope and optimism and excited about the possibilities. Many years however, I look back on the past year with regret and frustration and this year was no exception.

The other day I was sharing with a friend my laundry list of unfinished projects and my failure to achieve a few of the goals I had set for myself. She was kind enough to remind me that while some of what I said was true, why not list what I did manage to accomplish and use that to measure my progress instead.

This is not my natural way of being in the world. I have a tendency to be more of a "half empty" type of person. My first thoughts always go to what didn't work instead of what did, but I am willing to mix things up a bit and try something different.

So with that being said, here is a list of what I am feeling good about as we approach the end of the year.
  • Almost 400 people downloaded my free "Intro to Hand Coloring" e-book.
  • I launched Photo Artistry Workshop and exceeded my estimate of how many people would join.
  • Moved my studio.
  • Had a successful 2 person gallery show with 20+ new images
  • Two images were accepted for licensing by Marian Heath Greeting Card Company.
  • Created a calendar.......finally (I have been wanting to do this for 10 years and actually made it happen this year!)
  • Decreased my debt by $1700.

©2011 Dianne Poinski 
 another "iPhone Instagram"........ 
Now for the more pessimistic view of the last year.........The funny thing is, most of these can be spun, twisted and viewed in a more positive light. Again, not something I am use to doing.........
  • You knew what would make it to the top of the list - the book. All year I said it was going to happen and it did not. Positive spin: As one very good friend pointed out, I did the work of compiling the images and designing the book, it's just not printed yet. I will have an update about the book in a couple of weeks. Stay tuned...............
  • My expenses were close to the same amount as last year. My goal was to reduce my expenses significantly and was disappointed at first to see that dollar amount not really change. Positive spin: Moving my studio contributed to part of that number and the scanning, printing and framing for the show in September was more than I thought it would be. You take those events out of the equation and I did pretty good.
  • Still in debt. Positive spin: The amount I owe is less than the amount I owed this time last year.
  • Some things did not go as well as I thought they would. No need to go into a lot of detail, but a couple of my ideas turned out to consume more time and energy than I thought they would. Positive spin: I gained a lot of clarity as a result and learned from the experiences.
I think I feel pretty good now...................I believe this is an exercise I should complete every year. This is also a something I can do every day. List what I am grateful for, and learn from the less than ideal situations.

Next week I will talk a little bit about my intentions for 2012. I will give you a hint; one word - "simplify".

So until then, best wishes for a new year filled with adventures, health and happiness!

2012 -  bring it on!!

    Tuesday, December 27, 2011


    If you have been anywhere near my Facebook profile recently, you know that I just bought my first iPhone - the 4S. I wanted it more for the camera than anything else, but I am quickly finding all sorts of wonderful and very cool things to do with it.

    Since getting this camera phone, my walks around the neighborhood take almost twice as long as they use to. Simple activities like playing backgammon or cooking now provide ample photo opportunities.  This was just as true when my only camera was my Nikon DSLR, but the convenience of having my phone with me most of the time, has me paying attention to my surroundings in a new and different way......much like when I first picked up a 35 mm Pentax film camera 20+ years ago.

    Selective Focus - Instagram

    Yesterday we were returning from San Francisco and the traffic was stop and go most of the way. My stomach was empty, but we had already decided to wait until we got back into Sacramento so we could eat at our favorite Thai restaurant. To take my mind off of my hunger, I started playing around with Instagram on some of the images in my "camera roll".

    The following images have only been processed in my phone. Instagram has settings for selective focus and comes with quite a few filters. A couple of these shots were photographed while on the HDR setting, but everything else was done with Instagram.


    McKinley Park Library

    Selective Focus

    HDR setting in the camera
    While I was having so much fun, my poor husband was navigating the freeway. A least he didn't have to hear me complain about being hungry. I forgot all about that until I looked up and saw that we were in Sacramento and would soon be pulling into the restaurant parking lot.

    If you are on Instagram, follow me and I will follow back - "dpoinskiphoto"

    Thursday, December 22, 2011

    Season's Greetings.......

    Wishing you every joy of this beautiful season...

    ©Dianne Poinski “Royal Gorge”
    Have a wonderful holiday and may your new year be filled with
    peace and health for you and your loved ones.


    Tuesday, December 20, 2011

    Kitchen Art?

    Last summer I received a phone call from one of the people responsible for the art that is sold in the "Williams Sonoma Home" store. She saw my work on my website and wanted to know if I had any "kitchen/food type" images. While I didn't have any I could send right away, I promised to get something to her in the next couple of weeks.

    In addition to the images below, I also photographed pears, peppers, apples and teacups. Given the time pressure and my knowledge of the limits of reproducing hand colored photographs, I worked on these in photoshop and submitted them.

    While there was interest, in the end they were not selected, which was fine. All along I kept saying how happy I was just to be considered, and besides, I had a lot of fun with the project.

    Inspired by their color, the cups in the first two images were originally bought not to sip out of, but to photograph. This seemed liked the perfect time to experiment with them.  I loved the idea of isolating just one, both with color and with depth of field.

    ©2010 Dianne Poinski
    ©2010 Dianne Poinski
    I do believe this was the first time I ever photographed lemons and strawberries.

    ©2010 Dianne Poinski

    ©2010 Dianne Poinski

    Like I mentioned above, I enjoyed the creative process of being given an assignment and then seeing what I could do with it. Maybe I will start giving myself assignments........................

    Friday, December 16, 2011

    Feeling Nostalgic......

    I am feeling nostalgic............not unusual this time of year, but it's not about warm and fuzzy memories of past holidays. It's about yearning for the days when being an artist was simpler.

    There was a time when my marketing consisted of sending out postcards and setting up on the street for an art festival. That was pretty much it. I had a website and a small email list by 2001, but I still relied mostly on direct mail to let people know what I was up to. Today however, doing that is cost prohibitive and instead, I rely on email marketing where I am happy if 20% of the people on my list even open it up.

    I may be wrong, but it seems that one of the fastest growing industries is the "helping artists sell their work" business. I have benefited greatly from many of the resources they offer (thank you Alyson Stanfield!), but these days it seems like every time I open my in-box there is another offer from someone who holds the "secret" to successful fine art marketing.

    In my attempt to follow the formulas given, I have a Facebook page, a Twitter account, I post on Flickr, and joined LinkedIn. Most of these experts also recommend a blog, but I started mine almost 4 years ago as more of means of connecting with others and a platform for sharing than for selling.

    I have written about this before, but I am amazed at the amount of material (and time) people have to post on all these different sites. I never feel I can keep up and have wondered what I was doing wrong. This constant feeling of not measuring up is starting to wear me down.

    This got me thinking about the "good old days"......... My routine for each show was pretty much the same. Have postcards made (or use the ones the promoter supplied) and mail them out a week or two before the show. Then I could focus on my inventory and get the van packed.

    There was also something about the lifestyle of being on "the circuit". I think in a previous life I was a gypsy and traveling from show to show, setting up in one town and moving on to the next, satisfied some inner desire to recreate that experience.

    Of course, as with all memories, it's easy to focus on what was good and forget about the more unpleasant aspects. Rained out shows, getting up at 3 am, van troubles, near heatstroke and noisy motels have not been creeping into my mind as much as recollections of good music playing while tearing down after a successful weekend or exchanging numbers with all my new friends.

    The Internet has made it possible to connect with people all over the world and I love that! But that same technology, combined with the economic uncertainties and the supply of knock off  art  available in Wal-Mart has made the business of being an artist a little more challenging. Which I guess is why we need more help navigating the art business terrain these days.

    I have chosen to accept the challenge and will continue to do some of what is recommended, but there are days when all I want to do is put on my large hoop earrings, hit the road, and pretend that Twitter never existed.

    Honk if you see me on the road................

    Tuesday, December 13, 2011

    Coastal Views

    I think this is going to be fun!

    In preparing for this week's "less words, more images" post I found myself going back through hundreds of  files.  There are so many images that have been waiting patiently for my attention, and this is the perfect reason to give them a little bit of love.

    Today I am sharing a couple of images I made along the coast. The first one is of Point Reyes, taken just a few months ago. The second one was made two years ago while driving north from Half Moon Bay. (Both on the northern California coast)


    ©2011 Dianne Poinski 
    Point Reyes

    ©2011 Dianne Poinski
    North of Half Moon Bay

    Friday, December 9, 2011

    Book Update

    Wish I had better news,
    but it looks like my book project is on hold indefinitely.

    I received my second "paid proof" copy on Wednesday and I was very disappointed. The first attempt didn't turn out well because of my tendency to ignore helpful instructions and I took full responsibility for this.

    This time however, I thought I had done everything right. I downloaded Blurb's color profile and "soft proofed" every image. They looked good on my screen (which I thought was calibrated), and assumed they would look similar in print, but instead most of the images were dark, a little contrasty and the color was a bit "off".

    After spending hours adjusting the images once again and literally placing another order around 11:00 Wednesday night, I realized that rushing to do this was not a good idea. I quickly cancelled the order and made the difficult decision to step back, pause and do some research before taking the next step.

    Page from the book

    In the meantime, instead of beating myself up over this, I am trying to accept that part of the problem may be the nature of the images I am trying to reproduce.

    I recently met a wonderful artist - Stacey Vetter (thank you Hannah!) and the subject of digitally reproducing images came up. Stacey's paintings, like my hand colored photographs, employ subtle, soft colors. We soon realized that the difficulties she was having were very similar to what I was experiencing. Mainly color shifts and color where there should not be any. It's like the scanner and the printer are looking for color and grabbing whatever they can - and it's usually not correct. For example, magenta hues show up in neutral backgrounds.

    I then began to recall how years ago, when I first had images licensed by Bentley Publishing Group, they mentioned the difficulties they were having with my hand colored photographs. This was back when reproductions were created from medium format film transparencies. I thought that once the technology improved it would be easier. I am sure it is easier, but there seems to be mounting evidence that the light use of color could be one of the problems.

    Reproducing bright and deep colors appears to be easier. Also, if my images came direct from the computer, thus eliminating the second generation of image created from the scan, I am sure the end result would be more pleasing. But I wanted this collection of images to be hand colored and am still committed to making that happen.

    The color issue also came up for me when I uploaded images to one of the many outfits out there making calendars from photographs. The first batch looked good - not great, but good enough for me to order 22 more calendars. Every calendar in that order came back with a green cast to them. It was at this point  I decided I would just make my own. This way I had complete control over the prints used to make the calendar......... which may be where I am headed with the book too and will soon be looking into the option of a "handmade" book.

    One thing I failed to mention is that self publishing with Blurb is expensive. Even with a 20% discount coupon, my cost for a standard size hardcover book is more than I would be comfortable asking people to pay. Not that I ever intended this to be a money making project, but if I don't feel right asking for enough to cover my costs, then something is wrong.

    I know that creating a handmade book could also be an expensive undertaking, but I think there is more of a chance the end product will be something I feel good about and that is very important.

    But then again...........I could go back and work on the images one more time and upload them to Blurb. I don't know and I don't have to make a decision right now. Yes - I am disappointed I missed my goal of having this completed in 2011, but rushing just to say I did that would be a huge mistake and one I am sure I would regret.

    I will keep you posted.............

    PS After putting together many calendars by hand, I tried Shutterfly and was very satisfied with how the two calendars I ordered from them turned out. I placed another order and I have my fingers crossed............

    Tuesday, December 6, 2011

    Simply Sharing.....

      ©2011 Dianne Poinski

    Beginning today I will be posting twice a week, with one post featuring more images than words. To those of you who receive my blog in your inbox, I hope you don't mind the additional email from me.
    The main reason for this is simple -  I want to make and share more photographs. Most of these images will not be hand colored........yet. Many will probably make their way to my easel, but in the meantime I want to share what I have been working on, hand colored or not.

    Last week Sacramento enjoyed (at least I did) a couple of days of our famous tule fog and I was excited to get out there and photograph.

    After the fog, we had many days of gusty winds that blew off most of the autumn color. There is a very short window of time where we have both fog and fall leaves together, so I was grateful I had the chance to get out when I did.

    On the first day of the fog I went to McKinley Park. I posted a few images from that outing on my Facebook page.

    These four images were all taken the second day in another park by my house. I had a fantastic time and I am pretty sure I will be hand coloring a couple of these in the very near future.

    Too many words already...................time to share:

      ©2011 Dianne Poinski

    ©2011 Dianne Poinski

    ©2011 Dianne Poinski

    Friday, December 2, 2011

    7 Links Project

    I was honored to be chosen by artist Katherine Keane to take part in the My 7 Links Project.

    For this project each blogger selects one post to fit each of seven categories and then nominates up to 5 more bloggers to do the same, and so on, and so on, as a way of "uniting bloggers (from all sectors) in a joint venture."

    Here are the seven categories and my links:

    Most Popular:  Live a Life you Love  This is a recent post about Steve Jobs, tied in with a description of a short trip I took. I received a few comments, quite a few "likes", many emails and I even had a few people tell me in person that they enjoyed the post. 

    Most Controversial:  I am Disappointed This was a tough one because I tend to stay away from politics and other "sensitive" subjects, but this post about our "Second Saturday" event in Sacramento was one where I had strong opinions and felt compelled to share them.

    Most Helpful:  Hand Coloring - The Video This was easy - not only do I have a video demonstrating my technique of hand coloring, but I also include links to other helpful posts, including one about the papers I print on.

    Most surprisingly successful: Virtual Tour of my Studio  I was surprised by the positive response to this video I made of my old studio.

    Post I am most proud of : Doesn't Get Much Better Than This  This post was about a perfect day with my son. I love sharing about joyful experiences.

    Most Beautiful Post:  Peonies and a Poem A beautiful poem by a studio visitor inspired by an image of some peonies I was working on.

    The next step was to nominate other bloggers to take part in the project. I do love the connections that occur in the blogosphere and was delighted to receive positive responses to my invitation to participate. To show the strength of the connections, a couple of the bloggers I asked, had already been approached by other people. (You can only participate once.....)

    I invite all of you to check out these four bloggers:

    Rhiannon Connelly: Starry Blue Sky    I mentioned Rhiannon in a post I did back in 2009 about Polaroid SX70 processes. I love her work and her blog is a lovely combination of technique and travel journal.

    Kim Manley Ort: Be Inspired Blog I was introduced to Kim's work and her blog last year and find her images to be calming and her writing inspirational. She reminds me to seek the beauty in the everyday.

    My studio mate JJ Jacobs: Coming Abstractions  I am looking forward to reading about JJ's new adventure - full time artist and self employed entrepreneur.

    My daughter Nichole:  Live Rhythm I think her tag line says it all: "Meditations on intentional living and creative consumption." Her blog is fairly new, but I am sure in no time she will have enough posts to easily link to the 7 different categories. And she's my daughter....did I mention that?

    So there you go......this was fun! Have a great weekend!