Nominated for a Liebster Award- Who’d a Thunk it?

liebster-award-icon250

I was nominated for the Liebster Award by Pretty Pony Designs http://prettypeonydesigns.wordpress.com) .  Thank you PPD!  Normally I don’t participate in these but for some reason it must have been just the right moment to ask me, because here I am accepting it. 🙂

The rules for accepting this award are that you:

* Thank the person who gave you the Liebster Award nomination and link their blog to your post.

* Answer the questions they asked you.

* Nominate 11 bloggers for the award.  The bloggers must have 200 followers….or around there.
* Create 11 questions to ask your nominees.

* Let your nominees know you nominated them once you’ve posted about your Liebster Award.

* Add the Liebster Award badge to your blog!

Here are my answers to PPD’s questions:

1. When did you start blogging?

I think it was about four years ago. I wanted another way to share my art and my creative writing.

2. When was your last vacation?

Last September. We went to Cannon Beach in Oregon.

3. What camera(s) do you own?

A Nikon D70 and a Nokia Lumia Camera phone

4. What’s your favorite food?

Any kind of stew or soup- the brothier the better

5. Who inspires you?

People who speak the truth

6. If you could live anywhere in the world, where would it be?

Where I live right now- Puget Sound

7. What is your favorite season?

This is a hard one. I like them all and I’m ready for the change when it happens. There are different things about each that I love.

8. Where do you see yourself in 5 years?

Five years wiser,  more skilled and more experienced

9. What kind of music do you listen to?

I listen to a lot of Americana, Acoustic, Folk, movie music, singer songwriter kind of things

10. If you could have one super power, what would it be?

In my presence anyone would have to tell the truth and I’d go to Washington DC and stand in the Senatorial and Congressional Houses and watch them squirm

11. What does love mean to you?

Love means compassion, understanding and forgiveness. It means accepting someone unconditionally for who they are and appreciating their difference. It means wanting to share your time and energy with them.

 

My Questions For My Nominees

1. Why blog? Because you love writing or because you love what you write about or both. Or is it something                    else? Why? Why? Why?

2. If you could change one thing about the world…forever…what would it be?

3. What’s the worse thing about your life and what can you do to change it?

4. When you go to sleep at night, what’s the the thing that keeps you from going to sleep quickly and easily?

5. If you were given a million dollars and you had to spend it in one week what would you do with it?

6. Is it easy or hard for you to say your sorry? Why?

7. Do you blindly trust what a Doctor tells you or do you research it to make sure it’s the best course of action                for you?

8. Do you feel that you are obligated to leave the world a better place after you die?

9. Are you optimistic about the future and why?

10 Do you wish I hadn’t “honored” you with these questions…..  🙂 

Who Knew?- Squirrels!

I found this video on YouTube of a man playing with a baby squirrel. It’s adorable! This is not my normal sort of post but I couldn’t resist. Enjoy!


“This is the squirrel we rescued back on 4/5 after her Mom and siblings disappeared in a hail storm. This is her third week living outside for three weeks now.” Denton Birdwatcher Videos

Wizard Onysius

#wizard #fantasyart #art # #fantasy #dragon #dragonart #artforsale

Wizard Onysius- Water color  Image Size 6.50 &" w x 9.5" h
Wizard Onysius- Water color Image Size 6.50 &” w x 9.5″ h

The good and kindly wizard who is known by the name Onysius, is friend to all creatures far and wide. In fact some creatures, the pocket dragons, decided that he belonged to them. They believed this very strongly and at all times a small group can be seen hanging around and in fact they hang on him at all times. He did not mind in the slightest, because a wizard’s life is indeed a lonely one much of the time. While it’s not safe for most to be in the vicinity of a wizard when he is experimenting, there’s nothing tougher than a dragon’s hide and so they didn’t mind one bit when spells went really awry. Which naturally they tended to do a on regular basis.

For information about buying the original or print visit: http://moontoegallery.com/wizard_onysius.html

Copyright 2014 Ann Gates Fiser All rights reserved.

 

Get Inspired: James McNeill Whistler

It is hard for some to imagine or even understand what an artist has to do in order to bring forth art, music, poetry, etc.

Art & News from EBSQ

Nocturn in Grey and Gold by James McNeill Whistler

An artist is not paid for his labor but for his vision.

– James McNeill Whistler

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Creative Funk~ How Do you Get Past Blocks?

Another artist on a FaceBook group I belong to asked the question of how to get out of a creative block that she’d been in for quite a while.  It inspired me to post my thoughts about it. My answer (elaborated here) was this:

Small Steps

“Musings in the Daisies” 9″ x 12″ GraphiteTilinda the elf seems to have the expression one has when locked in creative inertia.
“Musings in the Daisies” 9″ x 12″ Graphite
Tilinda the elf seems to have the expression one has when locked in creative inertia.

Have you ever watched a dog getting ready to take a nap?  Mine would circle the spot where she planned to sleep several times before finally laying down.  I watched her and learned.  So my “circling” is to clean up, arrange my work space (if it needs it) and then get a piece of watercolor paper taped on a board.  I start with the mundane and non- threatening steps.  Next I flip through my my sketchbook looking for something that pops out at me that makes me want to paint and usually after circling around like that I’m ready.

But if I have no idea of what I want to paint after that, here are a couple of things that usually work.   I  grab my sketchbook and start doodling.  A lot of times something will emerge that I want to do.  If not then I look at other artists works for inspiration.  I find 3-4 paintings that I like of 3-4 different artists and  using one or two elements that I liked in each painting create a new piece.  Something new emerges that I might not have thought of before.

Inertia
in·er·tia ~  [in-ur-shuh, ih-nur-]  noun

1.  Inertness, especially with regard to effort, motion, action, and the like;
inactivity; sluggishness.

2. Physics.
       a.the property of matter by which it retains its state of rest or its velocity
along a straight line
so long as it is not acted upon by an
external force.
        b. an analogous property of a force: electric inertia.
3. Medicine/Medical . lack of activity, especially as applied to a uterus during
childbirth when its 
contractions have decreased or stopped. 
(Kind of sounds like creativity stopped dead in its tracks….)

Creative funk is nothing but of inertia.  It takes energy,  some kind of movement or force to get going from a point of standstill.  If  I take any small step, even if it seems insignificant, I can start moving in the direction I want to go.   I’m able to build momentum and move past whatever is keeping me locked up.   And usually but not always it’s fear.  Fear is an emotion,  e-motion, or energy in motion.  Or at least it should be in motion but what is usually done is that I bury it, stuff it down so that it becomes trapped in my body.  I don’t think I’m alone in that. 😉  The way to release any emotion it is to feel it.  You don’t even have to give it a name, like  fear, anger, sadness, loneliness, resentment, etc.  Just feel it.  Notice where it’s living in you.  Feel the spot in your body and really pay attention to what it feels like. When I do this I notice after a relatively short time that it starts to move and dissipate and I feel so much more free and energetic.   Because there’s so much that I haven’t been willing to feel forever I find that I’m peeling an onion layer after layer.  It’s getting smaller but it’s not gone. And most importantly I have to keep feeling.  Feeling is where it’s at and most importantly, the more I feel the more creative I am.  And that is what’s so important~ that I’m able to fully express myself into the world.

Momentum

One more thing about inertia.  If you do get yourself going and moving, don’t stop.  At the very least have the next idea ready in your head. A sketchbook filled with ideas goes a long way toward giving you the momentum that you need to stay out of the funk bucket.  Sketches are also a great way to keep exploring new directions, because boredom is another kind of block inducer.   Let whatever idea comes into your head take shape on the paper.  It doesn’t mean you ever have to do anything with it but you will have told your unconscious that ideas are important and the muse of imagination will gladly give you more.

Your Turn

So how have you gotten past creative  block?  Or are you stuck now?  Please leave your comments below because  I’d love to hear them.

Copyright 2013 All Rights Reserved Ann Gates Fiser

In Love With Photoshop CS4

I recently acquired a copy of CS4 after using Photoshop 7 for years and years. One feature on it alone has made a huge difference in my ability to post reasonable facsimiles of my artwork on the web. It’s called Vibrance. One problem I always had with reproducing my work is caused by my saturated colors.  In PS7 if I approximated the values in my paintings then the colors would be become too hot and if I faded them to reduce the heat then they were too light and lost too much contrast. So they ended up somewhere in between without really solving either problem. Enter CS4. I soon discovered Vibrance under  image/adjustments/vibrance.  And I was in love!

Here’s a painting of mine that I’ve re-color corrected from what I had originally done. It’s called “Midnight Magic”

This how it currently looks on the website (hopefully to change soon)
This is after playing with the levels and getting the values closer to the actual painting. But now the color is too hot and everything is a bit harsh. This is especially true when you view it in a larger size..
I then used the vibrance plug-in to take out the heat. Took it back to levels and played it back and forth in those two until I achieved what I was after.

Here is another example that I think makes it even clearer what I’m talking about because the teals and oranges are very hot. This one is called “Forgotten Summer”. With them side by side I think it’s a bit clearer what the differences are.

"Forgotten Summer" the scan without adjustment.
“Forgotten Summer” the scan without adjustment. The colors are nice but there isn’t enough contrast between lights and darks.
“Forgotten “Forgotten Summer” after levels were adjusted. The values are good now with strong darks and lights but in the process the colors are way to warm and glow too harshly.

 

"Forgotten Summer" after adjusting with vibrance
After adjusting with vibrance the colors are no longer popping out harshly and the contrast is still good.
Composite of "Forgotten Summers" at different points in color and value correction. Notice in particular how the orange shifts in the three photos.
Composite of “Forgotten Summers” at different points in color and value correction. In particular notice how the orange shifts in the three photos.
Composite of “Forgotten Summers” at different points in color and value correction

I’ve got a lot of work ahead of me to use this new tool to adjust all the pictures on Moontoe Gallery but it’s worth it. I’m also looking forward to seeing what other nifty tools PS4 has under it’s hood. When I discover that next greatest thing I will let you know.

No New Year’s Resolutions!

I have made up my mind not to do New Year’s resolutions this year. I have so much baggage attached to the whole process that it is doomed to failure, mostly because I believe it will fail.  The problem is also, I believe, that NY’s resolutions are  incomplete outlines of what you want.  As I was trying to fall asleep last night I was thinking about the problem of New Year’s resolutions and had one of those aha! moments.  No resolutions for me.  I would write a business plan for my life. The business of being Ann Gates Fiser Inc.  What does AGF Inc. want to accomplish this year?

The first stumbling block was that I didn’t have the slightest idea about how to go about writing a business plan. So I found a non profit website that guides you through the whole process. I started reading and quickly realized that I should be writing a real business plan for my business. So what was supposed to be a simple solution for resolutions has turned into a way bigger job.  But I digress.  As far as my personal life goes the principal is the same. I need to write a plan, with detailed steps on how I plan to get there.  To whom I’ll turn for support, what things I will put in place to get me there.  What my stumbling blocks might be and what contingency plans I have for dealing with likely obstacles. Etc.

So one of my steps is to say to you that I will produce a quarterly report on this blog as to how I am succeeding.  If I don’t you have my permission to bug me until I do. And if it’s not working I’ll be honest and say so. So there. That’s my solution for New Year’s Resolutions.

Happy New Year!  May this be a wonderful, peaceful and prosperous year for all.