Category Archives: Tools Of The Trade

Unusual Pin-Up Photography

The following cheeky pinup photos were taken by Australian photographer Wallyir. I am utterly fascinated and inspired by these photographs made by posing simple wooden artist mannequins, model toys, and other every day objects. Each photos is mesmerizing — and together, the series definitely tells a story!

beginning blank canvas painter and muse at the easel playing up study of a portrait portrait of a muse pinup art photography willyir cast of three wallyir

It seems the photos were taken in 2010 and at least some of them submitted as photography assignments at About.com. There we can really see the photographer’s sense of humor:

Lessons Learned

  • Fine tune D.O.F to have back ground still recognizable.
  • Any dust on such a small subject is very noticeable.
  • Lighting need not be very complicated (or expensive) for a good effect.
  • Using a kitchen bench,Freezer Top or Computer desk to stage your photography will result in those areas being needed immediately or life as I know it could cease.

Other similar works by Wallyir:

vintage motorcycle and girl wallyir

rose et noir pinup figure photography

old ladies black and white photography by willyir

Subscribe To Tasty ArtSnacks

ArtSnacks is like a magazine subscription — only instead of a magazine arriving every month in your mailbox, you’ll get 4 or 5 different art products to try out.

Honestly, it’s a bit more pricey than a magazine subscription; prices start at $20 a month (with free shipping for those in the US). But it’s far more likely to get you past inspiration into actually making something.

ArtSnacks is brought to you by Sarah and Lee Rubenstein, the brother-and-sister team behind EatSleepDraw. More details here.

art snacks

Fear Of The Blank Paper

Staring down the pristine, stark-white surface of a blank page can be soooo intimidating… This phenomenon occurs with writers too. So what can you do when you’ve got your supplies all set, but that blank white page just stares back at you, taunting you, teasing you, bullying you…

Well, if you’re like Steve Thompson, maybe you carve your Crayolas into Star Wars characters.

If pencils are your tools, Dalton Ghetti‘s carved graphite works may be more inspiring to you.

If words are (supposed to be) your weapons of choice in the creative fight against the blank page, how about carving those pencil tips into letters? (Also by Dalton Ghetti.)

Take that, blank paper! We’re still getting our art on!

Handmade Craft Shopping Parties

Back in the day, I offered and held a few home parties for selling my artworks. Being about 15 years ago, ish, I felt like I was charting new territories.

I had a bunch of catalogs and brochures from other successful home party plan businesses — and my vast knowledge of attending such parties — to build my plan on, but even then, the concept was just that — more concept than anything else.

I made sales at the parties (and secured plenty of commissioned works as well), but found I really had to sell the idea of such a party by educating the potential host or hostess more than anything else.

Now that home party plans are so mainstream that a woman between the ages of 20 and 35 fears invitations in the mail, the indie crafting party isn’t an educational exercise — and the lure of less common products is far stronger than say the usual home party suspects, resulting in more attendees and an increase of wallets being opened.

I mention this trend for two reasons.

One, if you’re a crafter, craftsman, or artisan looking for a way to make sales and connect with your local community, you might want to consider using home craft shopping parties. Even crafters who just have an over-load of made things could probably find an occasional party a good way to rid themselves of surplus handcrafted items, and those with mad skills could combine selling creations with workshops at parties.

If this sounds at all like you, Miss Malaprop has a great article, 5 Tips for a Successful Handmade Craft Shopping Party, which also includes links to some great resources. She even peddles the stuff other folks make at the home parties she demonstrates/sells at. (Keen idea for those who want to increase their offerings past their own skills.)

I respectfully disagree with CraftyTammie, when she says that she wouldn’t throw a party and invite her friends because “they all know i have an etsy shop, and i figure if they want to buy something they will let me know.” Shopping for art, for gifty stuff and crafts, is very much a visual in-the-moment thing. And people need to see it.

The second reason I mention the home party plan idea, is that if you are not a maker of things but a lover of them, you might wish to host a craft selling party in your own home. You and your pals can get together, shop, maybe even become inspired to make a thing or two yourself, all while you support arts in your community.

The only real tricky thing with hosting one of these home parties selling handmade things is finding a willing artisan or crafter. To that end, The Ungulate has started an Art Directory, including a category for listings of creative folks who are willing to do home parties selling their arts and crafts.

Image Credits: Handmade goodies from MissMalaprop’s shop.

Painting with Stamp Markers

A lot of materials produced and marketed for crafting use also have applications for more “fine art” oriented artists.  One example being stamp markers.  These are felt tip markers marketed for used with rubber stamps.  Their key quality is that these markers are slow drying.  This allows them to be used to paint the surface of a stamp, and stay wet long enough for different colors to be applied before the stamp is pressed to a surface.

I was attracted to stamp markers as a tidy and compact alternative to paints.  They offer a lot of the versatility of paint, but are much more portable and easier to organise if you have very limited space available in your home.  For example, they can be brought out and backed away again in a simple pencil case. There are a lot of different stamping markers, the set I bought are from the Dee Gruenig Signature range produced by Marvy.

If you use stamp markers on normal paper the result is similar to any felt tip marker (see above right).  However they become a lot more flexible when used on a high gloss or cardboard.  Here the long drying period allows for a lot of painterly effects including blending, rubbing, scraping, smudging and erasing.  In fact, unlike paint, stamp markers can be completely erased from a surface even once fully dried.

The limitations of the markers relate to the same qualities that make them interesting to work with.  If applied too lightly the marker will bead up and withdraw from the surface as it dries, turning a pastel wash into a scattering of dark dots.  I am currently finding it hard to avoid white fringing my marks, as shown in the picture to the left.  And even when dried, the markers smudge easily and it is very difficult to avoid marring the surface with fingerprints.  At this point I am not sure what finishing product would protect the surface and not interact with the highly soluble ink.

You can see some of my other stamp marker sketches on my blog–if you have used them yourself, please drop us a comment or a link!

I Came For The Ceramic Tiles, Stayed For The Art Glass, And Fell In Love With The Possibilities

I have a thing for art nouveau and arts and crafts tiles, so I was drawn to this arts & crafts tile poster by Mindy Sommers.

From there, I discovered not only this beautiful Bell Epoch poster by the artist, but that her art nouveau stained glass art can be found on more than Zazzle products because the artist and her husband run Color Bakery.

The stained glass art works (along with many other works) can be ordered custom on all their products.

Of the stained glass works, the artist says:

People ask me if, when printed on glass, if they will light up. The answer is yes. They won’t allow extensive light as they are not transparent…however, they are luminescent and direct lighting behind them will give the artwork a beautiful ambient glow.

While Color Bakery offers hundreds of their own designs, they allow customers to upload their own images to be put on everything from scratch resistant porcelain floor tiles (that you really can walk on!) to artsy mirror compacts. And if you’re an artist, Color Bakery provides custom art printing for artists and photographers too.