Thursday, March 28, 2013

It's Ok To Celebrate...........Right?

Note:  I wasn't sure I was going to publish this until I read Andrea Scher's recent post titled "The Crime of Outshining". This article even inspired me to change the title of this post.

When I share any of my creative successes, I fear that people will think I am bragging. My agent (who you will read about below) has been posting art from her artists on Facebook and "encouraging" us to share the posts on our own profile pages. I have been uncomfortable doing that. 

Last week after a lengthy internal debate, I posted news that one of my images was selected to be published on a greeting card to be sold in "the store where they wear hawaiian shirts". (I read my contract later and discovered that we are forbidden to use their name in social media and other online platforms. I didn't delete the post so if you are not sure what store I am talking about, go to my Facebook page.) The overwhelming response of love and support touched me deeply. Many of you were part of that, thank you!

The root of this fear more than likely stems from warnings from my Father to "not get too big for my britches". I am sure it goes deeper than that, but in the end, reading that other people whom I admire and respect also experience similar emotions helps tremendously. It has also been pointed out that sharing our successes may also inspire others to dream a little bigger and with that, I will hit "publish".

I have been on my computer A LOT the last few weeks. The main reason for this marathon is SURTEX.

One of the highlights of last year was signing on with Montage Licensing and getting to work with my fabulous agent Kimberly Montgomery. She has taught me so much about the industry and has successfully landed more than a few contracts for me.

SURTEX is the only show in North America dedicated to the selling and licensing of original art and design for all sorts of products. This is the second year I will have my work exhibited at this show as part of Montage Licensing's booth.

Starting next week, postcards from all the artists represented by Montage Licensing will
 be mailed to the art directors  of many of the major manufacturers who attend Surtex.

I am excited to share that I will be going to New York City in May to see how the show works and possibly attend a few seminars about licensing while I am there. I won't be working the show, but Kimberly recommends attending at least once to learn what it's all about.

In the meantime, it is my job to create as much licensable work as possible. While many of her artists have found success with art on products such as flags, rugs, gift wrap and other paper products, my main focus as been on the greeting card market and print publishers.

Besides shooting a lot of vertical images, (look at greeting cards the next time you are in the store.....most of them are vertical) I have also been alerted to the need to leave room for type and the importance of orientation.

For example: This image was originally facing left:

Look how much better it would work as a greeting card this way:

I find this all strangely fascinating and fun!

So in the weeks leading up to May 16th, (which is the day I get on the plane), I will be shooting and processing images entirely in Photoshop. My first experience with licensing was in 1999, back when I was shooting film. In those days after shooting, I made prints in the darkroom, hand colored them and shipped the originals to the publishers. While I am glad those days are over, a part of me is missing the "hands on" work I did for so many years. If I were to do originals today, I would have to pay for the scan and send the file. It just makes sense to create the images completely in the computer, which is how this story began. For now, hand coloring is going to have to wait until summer.

For those of you that would like more information on the world of licensing, here are a few links to the blogs of some of the experts in the field. (I have met these generous people and besides their willingness to share what they have learned, they are all extremely talented artists.)

The next six weeks will be very busy, (I am not complaining, I am actually having a blast), and because of that, I am going to go back temporarily to posting only once a week. It will be a mix of my "Project 52" series, updates on Surtex and other tales from the studio. I will continue to post regularly on my Facebook page which is sort of like "mini blogging", so check me out there if you haven't already.

See you next week!

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Project 52 - Week 12..........

My "Project 52" photo this week comes from a drive I took on Sunday. 

I was invited to be part of the "Flowers in Many Media" group show at the Handford St. Gallery in Sutter Creek, and was looking forward to a leisurely drive to the foothills to deliver my work.

It was a beautiful day and it was pretty much two lane roads the whole way. I turned off onto side roads not knowing where they would lead me, and was only disappointed a couple of times. I played my music loud and turned a forty five minute drive each way, into a five hour round trip adventure.

A soon as I got home I uploaded images from my Nikon and worked on quite a few, but chose this one for it's simplicity and quiet mood.

©2013 Dianne Poinski

I have said this before, but one of the things I love about photography is how it deepens my appreciation for the seasons. A couple of months ago I was loving the look of winter and now my heart is bursting with delight over spring and all the beauty and hope it brings.

So very grateful....................

Thursday, March 21, 2013

More iPhone Fun............

This past Saturday I held my very first iPhone workshop and based on the feedback I received, it went pretty well. There are a couple of things I will do differently next time, but for the most part it went smooth and I just hope my students had as much fun as I did.

We went over the basics for the first part of the class then went on to the "fun stuff".

One of the things I did to prepare for the workshop was to install the "Reflector"app on my laptop, then hooked a large monitor to it. With this setup I was able to project what I was doing on my iPhone for the whole class to see.

I later discovered that I can also use the "Reflector" app to record a video of what I do on my iPhone, and decided my first video would be a demonstration on how I created this image.

©2013 Dianne Poinski

One of the apps I shared during the "fun stuff" part of the class was Tiny Planet. This is the first app I use in the video. (Since I don't have a voice over track or text added to the video, I am writing out a few of the steps here....)
  • I begin with a tree image in Tiny Planet. From here I click on the "Rabbit Hole" option. (There are two options, "Rabbit Hole" is the one on the right....)
  • The next thing I did was open Image Blender and import the Tiny Planet image and then my photo of the moon.
  • After clicking on the "cross of arrows" on the top, I was able to resize and move the moon to where I wanted it to be.
  • To set the blend mode, I clicked on the middle top icon of the two squares and chose the "Multiply" blend mode.
  • I saved the blended image and then opened it up in Distressed FX where I was able to add the birds.
Hopefully these steps will make more sense after you watch the video (maybe a few times).

I added some music, so turn on your speakers if you want to hear it.

If you can't see the video here, click on this link:

iPhoneography from Dianne Poinski on Vimeo.

I promise I will work on my video editing skills, but for now, I just thought it would be fun to see how this app worked for making iPhone videos.

If you play around with these apps, I would love to see what you create. Send me a jpg or share a link to where we can see your iPhone images in the comment section.

Have fun!!

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Project 52 Continues............

Week 11

I had an extremely tough time deciding on an image this week. I have been photographing flowers inside and outside the studio, walking around orchards, shooting with my iPhone and my Nikon and having a blast the whole time!

In the end however, I chose this image from a special day with my good friend and extremely talented artist Merle Axelrad (her work is amazing!).

On Thursday we had scheduled time for an outing somewhere where could do a little hiking and some photography. Merle uses her photographs as starting points for her fabric collages and wanted to get some shots of trees and hills.

That morning there was an article in the Sacramento Bee about Crockett Hills Regional Park, which is located about an hour west of us. Since neither of us had been there before, we decided to make the drive. 

Once we got there, we had a choice of trails and we may have taken the wrong one, but we were not disappointed. Our original vision had been for wide vistas, but instead, we found ourselves under a shaded canopy of trees. It was on the trail in this "forest" that I made my "shot of the week". 

Nikon image processed in Photoshop..........

©2013 Dianne Poinski
Looking at this image right now, makes me want to go back and be there! At least it's not that far...........

Thursday, March 14, 2013

The State Capitol.................

This past Sunday another, much smaller group of "iPhoneographers" gathered in Sacramento for this month's outing. I wrote about my first get-together with this talented bunch last month - "The Group Experience....."

I tried not to take the small turnout personal, but in the end our group of four was the perfect size. Two of us were local, the other two came from the Bay Area. One of them had never been to Sacramento before.

After first meeting in the parking lot by my studio, we walked over to the State Capitol. I originally thought we would stroll around the park and then head somewhere else, but instead we went inside the Capitol building, a place I had not visited in years!

I was pleasantly surprised by the photographic possibilities inside. (All of these are iPhone shot and processed............)

©2013 Dianne Poinski

©2013 Dianne Poinski

©2013 Dianne Poinski

©2013 Dianne Poinski
Doing whatever it takes to get the shot!

After spending quite a bit of time inside, we went out to the park where I was immediately drawn to the blanket of color on the ground provided by all the dropping camellias. 

©2013 Dianne Poinski

©2013 Dianne Poinski

Our last stop before heading back to my studio was a church across the street with a great little courtyard.

I already knew this, but I am much more comfortable in small groups. As much as I would have liked to see the others, I had a great time sharing "my city" with just three other photographers who are as crazily obsessed with their iPhones as I am!

Speaking of which, my first iPhone workshop is this Saturday. I am sure you will be hearing all about it! (A date has been set for the next one........see my website for details.)

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Poppies..............Week 10

Project 52 - Week 10

Many of you have seen my floral set up shots and know that I primarily take my flower photos inside with window light. That was not the case with this week's image.

A few weeks ago I bought the last remaining pots of poppies at the local nursery.  The normal work flow involves bringing the plants inside to get a few images with the the foliage and buds. Pretty soon though, I am picking them apart and placing them in arrangements that I always think work better than what nature is giving me.

After photographing, I take what's left in the pots, place them outside and water them.

This last batch keeps on giving, which has been fun. The other day, I was out back enjoying a cup of tea and looked over and saw how the afternoon sun was lighting one of the plants. I quickly took a few shots with my phone, then grabbed my Nikon and a board from inside, and raced to catch what I was seeing before it went away.

This final image was processed in Photoshop. I used the "Glamour Glow", "Film Efex: Vintage"  "Film Grain" and "Image Border" filters in Nik Color Efex

©2013 Dianne Poinski

While I do plan many of my "photo shoots", I love it when I take the time for "spontaneous captures" like this one!

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Weekend Retreat...........

The other day I shared an image I took at our local park on Saturday. That was just one of many images I took and/or worked on this past weekend.

My husband was out of town, so I decided to have little "retreat"which began Friday evening. During this time, I discovered quite a bit about myself and the way I work.

For starters (and I think I have mentioned this before), I believe my attraction to iPhone photography has to do with the small screen used while processing. Many people I know process on an iPad, but for numerous reasons I don't do that. I find the small screen of my phone frees something up in me. I can sit anywhere and process to my heart's content without my inner perfectionist ruining the fun. 

This is not the case when I am working in Photoshop on a 27" monitor. The critics in my head come out in full force and do not shut up. "That's not sharp enough"......"That's too sharp"..........."That's boring"............"That's been done before"..............

What happens is I work on an image to death and if I like it, I share it. But for every one piece I share, there are ten others that are abandoned.

This is why I share many more iPhone images than ones made with my Nikon.

With no concrete plans this past weekend, I decided to challenge myself. First of all, I stayed within a 2 mile radius of my house, only venturing out to photograph at the park or to get coffee. On Sunday I never even got in my car. (I am grateful there is a Starbucks within walking distance of my house!) I had made a pot of chicken and vegetable curry Friday night that fed me all weekend!

©2013 Dianne Poinski
Another one from the park...........

If I wasn't taking pictures, I was at my computer. I systematically started going through my entire Lightroom catalog, picking images I wanted to work on. Knowing I had the entire weekend to play and experiment made me a little giddy.

I also discovered this weekend that having open ended time allows for a groove or a flow to develop. And that's what happened!

©2013 Dianne Poinski
River fog image from a couple of months ago.........

Things started clicking. I was trying new techniques, seeing new possibilities, but most important, I was not spending hours on one image. In order to not overwork a piece, I was limiting the attention I gave to each one and I believe that's what led to the surge of energy and creativity. As a result, I am sitting on about thirty almost finished, new images. Many of them are from photographs I shot months, even years ago, while others I shot during the weekend.

©2013 Dianne Poinski

©2013 Dianne Poinski
Marin Headlands................December 2012

©2013 Dianne Poinski
Poppy........taken on Saturday

©2013 Dianne Poinski

I won't bore you with any more, but I am sure I will be sharing other images from the marathon later.

During all of this, I felt like a writer that had just crushed through their block. I had banished the demons from my head for the weekend and concentrated on just doing what felt good, what felt right and what was fun. 

By the time my husband came home, I was ready to interact with other people again. I had missed him, but felt really good about the work I had done. I was relaxed and my creative well was full. 

The retreat was a success in that I learned how destructive perfectionism is to the artistic process. (I knew this already of course.........). The next time I find myself obsessing over an imagined fatal flaw in an image, I will try to remember the flow I was experiencing and either move on to another one or simply relax and let it go...........

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Blooming Magnolias............

Project 52 - Week 9

We are experiencing an early spring this year. Trees are blooming everywhere, the tulips and daffodils are popping up and while the mornings are still cool, the afternoons have everyone wanting to be outside.

This will change of course.....probably beginning this week actually, but I have been enjoying it.

This week's image came from a delightful outing to my neighborhood park last week. I will probably share more images later, but for now, this photograph of luscious magnolia blossoms became my favorite of the bunch.

Nikon image, processed in Photoshop with a texture from Flypaper Textures.....................

©2013 Dianne Poinski