Thursday, August 28, 2008

On the Rogue again


"Everybody needs beauty as well as bread, places to play in and pray in, where nature may heal and cheer and give strength to body and soul alike."
John Muir

Working hard these days on a few creative directions, and still pumping out clip art boxes for L&A. Yesterday I decided to take a break and hit the river with Dave, hard to believe we've only been out on the water twice this summer so far. The weather was so picture perfect, not a cloud in the sky, and only a few jet boats to rock our shorter than normal float.
Mallards, mergansers and egrets as usual but the highlight was after we had pulled out and were stopped on the road by a big old bull elk. It took a few minutes to pull my camera from the dry sack buried in back and snap a picture of him ambling off across the meadow. It was one of those 'you had to be there moments' the photo was only marginally interesting compared to the experience of having those two eyeballs staring through our front windshield.
Posting a slideshow of my favorite river shots I put together a few years ago.
video

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

My dreams, my destiny

"Shoot for the moon, even if you miss you will land among the stars"
Les Brown

Todays post is going to be short, since I spent yesterday reading a book, my drug of choice. Whenever I want to check out, a novel is my favorite road.
Today I finish the boxes assignment and start working on a new plan, my dream job.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

State of the Art, state of the mind


These days I have been working with L&A, a local clip art company that I found responding to a Craigslist ad for an in house illustrator. Ashland is an hour drive from my house so they put me on a freelance contract 5 months ago, and I have been working on art for their online menu site as well as faith art. The pay is poor but the assignments have been fun and keeping me in a place of creative bliss.
These days I have been working on simple decorative boxes. Three down and prolly four to go, but I thought I would post one I added some type to this morning.
My mental state is so often connected to the challenges and jobs keeping me working and eating. Never in the twenty plus years of being a working illustrator have I been so challenged by making a living. Granted I used to do direct mail, advertise in trade publications, but I even if I had the money to do that, I question wheter there are the freelance assignments out there to justify it.
On a significant decline over the past few years has been the income generated through my 900 plus stock archive that until a few months ago was sold through Stockart.com. I'm trying to decide what to do with my archive, a download from my website, or upload it on iStock...
Good thing I don't have to figure it all out today.
Just for today, one more simple box, ...and no more whining.
Merchandise with the above artwork click here!

Monday, August 18, 2008

Finding balance, and taking stock...

One thing that has been a constant over the years has been change, not to mention evolving on the creative path, maintaining some kind of balance and making a living.
In 1995 I worked with a group of 6 women utilizing a book called Wishcraft, we all read the book, did the exercises, and each actualized our goals. I wanted to live off my stock illustrations and created an archive that sustained me for years thanks to Stockart.com.
With the popularity of royalty free stock cds, the emergence of iStock and the ability to purchase vector art for as little as one US dollar, my royalties slowed to a crawl. Stockart.com began focusing on chasing and litigating clients stealing off their website and then as their staff dwindled along with sales reports and any accountability, I decided to terminate my contract with them a few months ago in order to do something else with my archive, which I am still trying to figure out.
For the past five months I have been happily working for L&A - Letters and Arts, a small clip art site locally located, creating clip art mainly for their new menu site, combining two of my favorite passions -food and art. I create art they then own outright and where I used to make 200 to 600 an illustration -sometimes more depending on rights and usage, I make at best 50 dollars and they prefer to pay 30 an illustration. Along with the Menu Clip art, I've also been doing art for their Faith Clip site. I'm humbled by having to embrace the fact that they pull apart my submissions (they do own it after I'm paid) and break it into multiple pieces, giving me some serious reflection in respect to clients taking creative liberties.
This was driven home a few months ago when I had another assignment, for the Siskiyou Project. The executive director I worked with, owned a copy of illustrator and decided to work over my final logo I had been hired to create. Even after a few rounds of changes, apparently, my logo was not realistic enough, and he claimed it was about making the staff happy.
After months of working on the project, not to mention wanting to be paid, once again, I'm struggling to find some balance between wanting some creative respect and wanting to be compensated for my time. I work tirelessly to visually balance my art and when clients remove elements or rework the art, it throws me. I wonder if any other illustrators have encountered this and can share how they have handled it.
Its sure been putting me through some changes....
On the right, my logo design, click on the Siskiyou link above to see the reworked logo.

What it is...

I've heard it said, write in down, make it happen.
Inspired by my friend Leahs' blog Barn Door Tagz , I've decided to start an online creative journal.
Mostly overwhelmed with whats going on in my world outside of my art, I'm attempting the possible, a little bit here and there when I can, I'll post photos, jobs I'm working on and most importantly, what in my wildest dreams I would love to be working on.
Since my crazy life is so much more than the assignments that come in, (or these days rarely come in) music, cooking, photography are all going to be woven into this blog as well.
As I embark on this journey, I think its important to thank two individuals in addition to Leah, one I have met and the other not. I'd like to thank Diana Coogle, whom I took a short writing class from 5 years ago, her voice, encouragement and joyful spirit left a permanent imprint on me... and one of my favorite authors, Anne Lamott, whose books I read one by one over the course of a summer in 1999. Her book, "Bird by Bird" gave me the motivation to begin this...word by word.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Hot as Hell...

The heat the heat, OMG, I guess this is the reality if you live anywhere but here, the Pacific Northwest. We have some of the most amazing weather. Well, the winters are gray and rainy a bit more than I would like, but no humidity like when I lived back on the East coast and even when its hot during the day it always seems to cool down at night enough to pull it in with fans in the morning, close the house up and chill inside during the day. Since I work at home, inside during the day is a factor, like health benefits, which I don't provide, and exceptional places to lunch, which for me revolves around my fridge and Albertsons 10 miles from my so called home office.
The past week has been triple digits, the most heat I have experienced since moving here thirteen years ago. Thank God its supposed to be the last day of this heat wave, today. But thunder and lightning are starting and with it the threat of sparking fires.
A good time to turn off the computer.