Friday, October 16, 2015

Advice from gallery-owner Jason Horejs: less is more

Jason Horejs offers tons of advice for artists on his Red Dot Blog.

Excerpt from this article:

"I have long maintained that it’s a bad idea to try and show too much art at once. Whether the art is being shown in a gallery, or at a weekend art festival, I believe it’s better to show a limited number of pieces instead of trying to cram everything you can into your space."

Artist Jeremy Sams

North Carolina artist Jeremy Sams creates beautiful, light-filled paintings. Below is an example. Be sure to visit his web site.

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Orange Is Comforting

This is a purely abstract image of organic shapes, with strong, warm colors predominating. Scraped shapes add texture.

Orange Is Comforting
© Annette Ragone Hall
acrylic on canvas
48" x 12"

Saturday, March 28, 2015

Turquoise Garden

I completed this colorful abstract floral. I had started it quite some time ago, applying a red background with white and dark areas. I set it aside and almost forgot about it. The first thing I did when I began working on it again was to add turquoise phthalo and it just took off from there.
Turquoise Garden
acrylic on canvas, 24" x 12"

Stormy Red Sky

Most of the time I create paintings from my imagination. This time, I wanted to do a sky painting and use a reference image, so I went through my photo reference and found a dramatic stormy-sky photo that had a lot of red in the clouds. The photo was taken from the front yard of my house. The colors were amazing. I used creative license in the bottom part of the painting because the photo had sidewalks, cars, and houses at the bottom.

Stormy Red Sky ©Annette Ragone Hall
acrylic on linen, 24" x 30"

Sunday, March 8, 2015

"Tendrils"

I finished this new piece today. I was in the mood for an expressive, abstract floral with vibrant colors, and this is the result. I used only five colors in this piece: turquoise phthalo, quinacridone red, cadmium medium red hue, green-gold, and white.

Tendrils - acrylic on linen, 24" x 36" © Annette Ragone Hall

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

"Special Garden"

"Special Garden" - acrylic, 24" x 36" © Annette Ragone Hall
This is another painting I completed recently that heralds the coming of Spring, even though the snow is deep upon the ground.

"Wild Flowers III"

"Wild Flowers III" - acrylic, 6" x 6" ©Annette Ragone Hall
I have a large supply of 6" x 6" canvases on which I often use the leftover acrylic paint that is still fresh on my palette from larger paintings I have just completed. This little painting was created using the leftover paint from "Wild Flowers II."

Wild Flowers II

"Wild Flowers II" - acrylic, 36" x 24"© Annette Ragone Hall
With all the snowy, cold weather that most states have experienced for so long this winter, I felt like doing a colorful floral painting to sooth the eye and the heart. Spring will be here soon!

I have completely redone my hand-painted jewelry web site

I just finished redoing my hand-painted jewelry website from scratch. It was originally created using Microsoft Publisher. Microsoft stopped development of Publisher as a website-creation tool after the 2007 version. It took me quite awhile to find a replacement for Publisher that I was satisfied with. I didn't want a web-based app either because I like the control I have using a program on my computer and then uploading the files when I'm satisfied with the results. I don't have to be online while I'm working with the software, only when I need to upload files.

The replacement software I found is Xara Web Designer 10. Its page layout and design features are similar enough to Publisher's that it lowered my learning curve quite a bit. It has far more to offer than Publisher ever did and, of course, it's completely up to date with the latest web technology. Publisher 2007 was behind the times since it was so old, and it was limited because its primary purpose was as an application for print-based publications. My first use of Xara Web Designer 10 was for my art web site (ragone.com). I did that last year. Now, I've completed my jewelry web site. I had procrastinated doing it, but finally got down to business last week and finished up today. Take a look and let me know what you think.

Image of Home page for RagoneDesigns.com

Friday, November 14, 2014

"Reaping Profits through Copyright Infringement"


Sadly, sites like Etsy make it easy for ignorant thieves (ignorant of copyright law, that is, though I wonder how they don't think it's stealing), and the deliberate, it's-our-business-plan, in-your-face thieves to purloin the artistic work of others and profit from it. And, Etsy doesn't really do anything at all to stop the thieves, as this article shows. If you've been ripped off by Chinese copycats, or think it's OK to copy someone else's artistic idea and sell it as your own, or just want to become more knowledgeable about copyright law, read this informative article by Emily Danchuk.

***
"Since when did 'crafting' turn into '...reverse engineering'? Since when did 'Do-It-Yourself' turn into 'Do-Infringement-Yourself'? I get the idea of taking a cool design and thinking you can give it a shot by creating your own – and KEEPING IT for yourself. But too many 'crafters' and 'hobbyists' have fallen down the Etsy rabbit hole by ripping other artists’ designs off, patting themselves on the back, and – why the hell not? – selling the knock-off design themselves, at a much cheaper price point."
***

Ironically, even Etsy itself has fallen victim to reverse-engineering, but I have no sympathy for them given their own Terms and Conditions.

***
"Then came the Alibabas, Cody Fosters and 'hobbyists' of the world. These opportunists right-clicked and reverse-engineered the life out of Etsy, like vultures on fleshy road kill, leaving nothing to be imitated but unattractive needlepoint directing us to Jesus, and license plate-adorned furniture. And Etsy does nothing about it, hiding their intellectual property policies deep in their Terms and Conditions and cloaking the identity of creativity thieves."

***
And, here's the dirty truth:

"For companies who are making billions of dollars, you would think that they would expend at least some resources towards curbing and controlling the prevalent infringement that goes hand-in-hand with their services. But the stark and nasty truth is, they don’t have to. They can pass the buck – legally – and therefore, they’re insulated – legally – from caring and taking action."

"Painter vs. Artist"

One is successful financially, the other is not. David Hettinger gives his opinion as to why.

"The differences between Bob and Don, besides their skill levels, is Don puts more of himself into each work of art and it shows. Bob produces a picture that one can find on any calendar. Bob doesn't put himself into his art, he relies on finding the perfect place to paint and capturing every detail of the scene before -  that being most important. Don looks at the ordinary and puts his spin to what is there before him, making both his paintings and himself interesting. I'd like Don to refine his skills a little, that's just me being who I am, but I would not want to change anything as to how Don sees the world."

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

An Apple a Day...

I started this painting quite some time ago and set it aside. I took it out the other day and started working on it again. I finished it today. All of these colorful apples were painted from the same setup. I used one of a realistic-looking fake apple as the model. It looked real enough to eat! The title is "An Apple a Day." Its acrylic on canvas, 20" x 24".
 
"An Apple a Day..." ©Annette Ragone Hall. Acrylic on canvas, 20" x 24"
An Apple a Day...
©Annette Ragone Hall
acrylic on canvas
20" x 24"
 

Monday, June 30, 2014

Using Xara Web Designer to create your art web site

I just finished uploading my redesigned art web site. I had used Microsoft Publisher since 2001 to create my web sites because I am not an html coder and wanted something that worked like a print page-layout program. I had used Publisher for print publications for years before that. Publisher fit the bill for website creation, too. But, with their 2010 release, Microsoft ended the website-creation feature. They touted Web Expressions as a substitute. It was designed for professional web developers, not for someone like me, so I continued to use my 2007 Publisher version, but knew that it was just a matter of time before its html technology became obsolete.
 
I have been researching website-creation software ever since 2010. None of them had the features Publisher had as far as what I deemed as important and what was as easy to use. I wanted software that resided on my computer, too, not a service that was web based. Those are always too slow and clunky, in my experience. I finally found what, for me, is the perfect program: Xara Web Designer 10. It has a lot of similarities to how Publisher worked, but it is technically up to date and has way more features. Because of my experience with Publisher, the learning curve for Xara Web Designer was less for me, though I still have a lot to learn about its myriad features. My newly redesigned art web site has functions I could only dream of creating with Publisher. I started out using one of the included free templates, and then customized it. Check out my website by clicking on the image below. One of the best features was one that all artists need: a good image display function. When you click on the thumbnails on each of my artwork-category pages, they enlarge automatically and display information about each work. 
 
I can now put Microsoft Publisher to bed for good. It was great at the time, but Xara has saved the day. Now on to redoing my handpainted jewelry web site and my portraits web site.
 
http://www.ragone.com
Home page for Ragone.com, designed using Xara Web Designer 10

 

Sunday, June 29, 2014

This artist knows how to make a dollar using a dollar!

There was a very interesting story this morning on the "CBS This Morning" show about artist Mark Wagner, who uses crisp, new dollar bills to create intricate collages. He cuts the dollars up into small pieces and makes fabulous, complex images from them. If there is a human figure in any collage, it always has the face of George Washington. If there are multiple figures, they all have George Washington's face. Really fascinating work. He is quite successful; his original works sell in the tens of thousands of dollars range. Check out his web site. I've linked to his flora and fauna page.

Saturday, June 28, 2014

Words of wisdom from artist John P. Weiss

Be sure to read the article at the link at the end of my comment.
 
I have seen a lot of paintings by artists whose work screams "I took a Richard Schmid workshop." In my opinion, if a painting looks like a Schmid, then the artist has no voice of his or her own. You can learn a lot in workshops, but if you ...don't develop your own style, it's a real shame.

I may have told this story before, but years ago, I took watercolor classes with Katherine Chang Liu, who at that time was doing only watercolor. She now does abstract acrylics. She was a fabulous watercolor artist and an excellent instructor. Back then, one particular student of hers was very good technically. She literally copied Liu's style and subject matter and started putting it in shows and selling it. People who couldn't afford a Liu bought one of her works. It was quite apparent that she was merely a copycat, but she was proud that she had nearly duplicated Liu's style and subject matter. That prompted Liu to change her style and subject matter and move onward and upward. Out of curiosity I did a web search on both of these artists. I found plenty on Liu, but none on the other artist. Go figure.

Another story about copycatting. I was watching a show some years back where the singer Pink was being interviewed. There were teenage girls in the audience who were dressed in Pink's style and who were saying they wanted to do what she was doing and be successful like she was. Pink made a very impactful statement to them, which, from the reactions on their faces, hit home pretty hard. She said, if I had tried to copy any other artist, I wouldn't be where I am today. There can be only one Pink.
 
 
 

Friday, May 23, 2014

"A Single Yellow Rose"

I started this painting awhile ago and thought it was finished. I had even signed it, but felt something still needed to be done. I set it aside. In late April, I took it out again and realized what I had to do: repaint the rose petals entirely. I did so, plus I made a few other tweaks. I am now very satisfied with this painting.

It is a 4-foot tall by 3-foot wide acrylic on canvas painting. Ironically, the original objects themselves were quite small. The vase is a 4-ounce juice glass and the rose is a miniature one. I wanted them to be monumental as a painting. This piece is definitely one that would be the focal point of a room.

"A Single Yellow Rose"
acrylic on canvas
48" x 36"

Saturday, March 29, 2014

Crocus

Spring weather is finally arriving after a long, long winter. We all love seeing crocuses coming up, brightening the landscape. They remind us that spring eventually does arrive. I completed this piece yesterday. Check this page on my web site to see four more recent pieces, all of which are colorful, 6" x 6" acrylic paintings on canvas.

Crocus, by Annette Ragone Hall
Crocus
© Annette Ragone Hall
Acrylic on canvas - 6" 6"

Monday, March 17, 2014

Tree of Knowledge

This is a piece that I started awhile ago, but set it aside. I wasn't sure what additional work I wanted to do on it, if any. I finally hung it on a wall so I could think about it. Yesterday, I decided it was time to finish it. I like how this lively, colorful piece turned out.

Tree of Knowledge ©Annette Ragone Hall. Acrylic on canvas. 20" x 16"
"Tree of Knowledge" © Annette Ragone Hall
Acrylic on canvas - 20" x 16"

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Copper Tree

After I have completed a complex piece like the commissioned landscape in my previous post, I need to do something loose and expressive. This little acrylic piece on watercolor board fits the bill.

"Copper Tree" © Annette Ragone Hall. Acrylic on watercolor board. 7" x 5"
"Copper Tree"
acrylic on watercolor board
7" x 5"
©Annette Ragone Hall