Monday, June 28, 2010

Weigh In on Donations

I read the email and rolled my eyes. And sighed. Yet another request from yet another worthy cause asking for a donation of art. (Why everyone thinks that artists can afford to donate their work is a topic for another blog.)

I almost hit the delete button. After all, I have donated paintings to six organizations already this year. I have already committed to two more. But then I thought, wait a minute… I have dozens of old prints stacked in my studio… I could donate them. And what about all those older paintings and studies lining the walls of my studio… couldn’t I donate them as well?

But then, as often happens with us Libra-types, I started thinking. If one of the reasons to donate my work to non-profits is exposure, shouldn’t I only donate my best work? Some of my older work is, well, okay – but not at the level of the work I’m producing now. So it is kind of embarrassing for me to present it. I have this weird desire to write a disclaimer, “This was my best work in 2003. Check my website for new works.” Or something like that. Which is great for the person who gets the painting or print. But what about the other people who walk by, see the work, think, OK, but a little amateurish. Then they associate my name with work that is not my best now, in 2010.

Am I crazy? That’s a hypothetical question, no need to answer! But you see the dilemma. Where do you weigh in on donations? Do you donate work at all? If so, do you always donate your best work or donate older works, or donate prints or a combination of all three? Or do you have another idea?

Weigh in with your thoughts! I'd love to hear from you!

by Kate Dardine

Celebrate Nature - And The Winner Is...

The results are in! Fine Print Imaging is pleased to announce the winners of the "Celebrate Nature" photo contest. But first we want to thank everyone who entered as well as all of you who took the time to vote and to share your comments with the photographers. The response was strong and the images represented a broad range of subject matter, geographic location and skill levels – just what we were hoping for!

People's Choice - Rei Bennett "Wabi-Sabi"

Wabi Sabi - Rei BennettArtist Statement:
On 4th December 2007 I was diagnosed with stage 1b1 cervical cancer. My cervix along with my pelvic lymph nodes were then removed to prevent the disease from spreading. In the weeks following my recovery from surgery I discovered the social taboo of discussing one's health, and in particular, the ugliness with which cancer is perceived because of the drastic effect its treatment can have on the appearance of the individual undergoing it. Because my cancer was caught before chemotherapy was necessary, my small, seemingly insignificant scars were all I had to remind myself of my experience. I took photographs of these scars, and teamed them with images of nature's scars as nature doesn't hide them. This particular image is of a dying tulip losing and curling its petals. I would hope to show those who see this image that death, disease and decay is all a part of life and is just as beautiful as nature in its prime. Beauty can only be found in the irregular. Perfection is dull. “Wabi-sabi is a beauty of things imperfect, impermanent and incomplete. It is a beauty of things modest and humble. It is a beauty of things unconventional.” Leonard Koren (1994)

Juror's Choice - Paul Marcellini "Holy Sunstar!"

Artist Statement:

A beautiful morning on the Hillsborough River in Central Florida. It is one of the few rivers in Florida with rapids.

Juror's Comments:
  • Gorgeous light
  • Fantastic Composition
  • Simply Stunning
Grand Prize - Ray Rafiti "Brown Eyed Girl"


Artists Statement:

Female sub-adult grizzly from the Khutzeymateen in northern British Columbia. Captured on June 2, 2010.

Juror's Comments:
  • Fantastic Shot
  • Beautiful composition - everything in the frame belongs there.
  • Right place - right time - beautifully executed. Great job!
The community of people who savor nature through the lenses of their cameras is a special one and we are proud to be part of that community! Keep doing what you do. Keep sharing what you do.

Watch for more contests! We’ve only just begun!

View all the contest entries on Facebook:

Friday, June 11, 2010

Women Artists Unite!

by Kate Dardine

Last fall I successfully juried into a 40 year old artist’s organization called Women Artist’s of the West. And then this spring I was juried into the WAOW all-member show with my painting, “Vision Quest.” These two accomplishments have done a lot to “prove” to myself that I have finally reached a point in my artistic journey where my work is considered to be on a par with artists I have admired for many years. It’s been a long time coming…

Although I graduated from college with a degree in Illustration (many years ago!), life – and the choices I made – have kept me from pursuing art full-time. The path I chose took me on a meandering course, and I already was married with two children before I decided to finish college and get my degree. So although art was my passion, I had to fit it in around the needs of my family. When we left Connecticut 22 years ago for the plains of Colorado, I had to find a part time job to help make ends meet. Luckily, I found a job which utilized my art skills as a “spotter” at Fine Print Imaging. Twenty-one years later, I am still at Fine Print – although now I am in the Marketing Department and working 32 hours a week.

What does it mean to juggle a full-time job, family responsibilities AND try to build an art career? Well, for one thing, it means that your time-line for “success” is probably going to be a bit longer than someone who is able to devote a full day’s work to art. I have often felt alone in my journey – most artists I know, both men and women, are “full-time.” And of those who have a day job, most don’t have children or family to take care of. Without resorting to reverse-sexism, I have to say that nearly all the men I know who are successfully building their art career are not working at a day job AND taking care of a family. On the flip side, MOST women artists I know are either working at a day job or taking care of a family (read: cooking, grocery shopping, cleaning, laundry, schlepping kids to and from activities and/or taking care of aging parents, bill-paying, vacation-planning, etc.).

However, this is not a complaint. It is just a realization that women artists by and large face different challenges than our male counterparts. And THAT is why belonging to an organization whose sole purpose is to promote and support women artists is such an important part of my art career.

Last week the Women Artists of the West converged on El Cajon, California. About 30 of the members were able to take the trip to San Diego, and we were able to meet and converse the night before the show opened at the Olaf Wieghorst Museum. Most of us had never met before, so there was a lot of “where are you from” going on. And many conversations mentioned husbands left at home with long lists on how to take care of the horses, dogs, cats, children, garden, etc.…as well as talk about sales, galleries, painting styles and workshops. It struck me that most male artists don’t have to make long lists before leaving for a few days to attend an art show.

But let me dispel the idea that these women artists were unhappy about their lives. No – it was just a part of the experience of being a woman artist. Oh sure, there were jokes about us all needing “wives” to take care of things for us! But for most of us, “it is what it is.”

At the opening reception, the show judge, Peggi Kroll-Roberts, gave a talk and slide presentation of her work and her life as a successful woman artist juggling family and career. She talked of painting small so she could finish a painting in 20 minutes, of bribing her children and their friends with $1 bills to pose for minute sketches (“just count to 60!”), how she brought her sketch book along to soccer and baseball practices and games, days at the beach or in her backyard – “draw, draw, draw” she encouraged us.

Looking at slides of her paintings, sketches, contour drawings and children while listening to Peggi explain how she became successful because she never gave up, painted when she could – even if only for 15 minutes between loads of laundry – filled me with respect for this woman whose motto is “no excuses.” And made me realize that the path to success is different for everyone. Instead of bemoaning the lack of time, lack of money, lack of anything…just get out there and paint. Little steps get you to your goal as well as large steps, it just takes a little longer. But think of all the beauty you will see on your slow journey that those moving forward on the fast track will miss.