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.
Home page for, 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


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
© 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

Carolina Summer

A local couple has purchased a number of pieces from me over the past few years to hang in their home, which they have been remodeling. The remodel is complete and they commissioned me to do a an eye-catching piece for their dining room. I just completed the piece, an acrylic three-panel landscape. Each canvas is 36" tall and 24" wide. I will be taking the work to my clients' house this weekend to hang. They have seen the completed work and are very happy with it.

Carlina Summer ©Annette Ragone Hall
"Carolina Summer"
Each panel 36" x 24"
©Annette Ragone Hall