Tuesday, January 31, 2012

You say anatomy, I say botany....

Over the past several years I've developed a love for vintage anatomical etchings/drawings and botanical drawings.  Much to my delight, many are available without copyright restrictions because of their pre 1921 age.
Call me crazy (it wouldn't be the first time), but I love combining them together having first developed an attraction to this when I was introduced to some of  Richard Russell's collages on Flickr.

 Cuspidatus - digital collage 10 x 14 inches
Copyright 2012 TwoDressesStudio
All Rights Reserved
Image Credits for roots - Temari 09 - Flickr

Cuspidatus - V2
Background thanks to Tumble Fish Studio - And So On

 Sternum - digital illustration
 Copyright 2012 TwoDressesStudio
All Rights Reserved
Image Credits for background - Finecrafted Design, Flowers - Holliewood Studios

Ileum - digital illustration
 Copyright 2012 TwoDressesStudio
All Rights Reserved
Image Credits - Flowers - Holliewood Studios

Thursday, January 26, 2012


I have Linda Kunsman to thank for the inspiration in creating this digital turned to cloth collage. She asked for something with "happy" colors and "joy".   I think it reflects 'cheery' so I've decided to put it in a frame  (similar to below) and hang it in my studio to remind me of those days where I occasionally feel like I need a boost!

"Joy" - digital illustration 6 x 6 inches
Copyright 2012 TwoDressesStudio
All Rights Reserved
Image Credits - Tumble Fish Studio,Finecrafted Designs and V. Stegall (tulip)

Although it's difficult to see I added 3 layers of organza in the sky and one foot, beaded and embroiderered and finished with a blanket stitch with my baker's twine.  I love this twine!

 "Pack and Post" Etsy Baker's Twine

I used it to trim some of my presents for Christmas and just ordered  more.  You can purchase it at Pack and Post on Etsy by clicking the photo above or  here.

"Joy" 4 x 4 inch cloth mixed media
for Linda K.

 Great 'new to me' tags - birch wood 'burnt' engraved mini tags  at Art Chix - here  Be sure
to tell Helga I sent you!

And last but not least, MORE  Joy!

I was so delighted to receive this for Christmas in December from Marsha from Tumble Fish Studio as a gift for being a member of her Creative Team.   Isn't it adorable?  Just a very thoughtful person, that Marsha!   She had these wonderful wooden 'house' mixed media charms custom made by Angela Woods of Junk Garden

 Junk Garden Wooden House Charms custom
order with Tumble Fish Studio images, made by Angela Wood

Thanks as always for your visit and comments!

Monday, January 23, 2012

"Cake" , The Cannibal

When good cakes go bad....

"Cake", The Cannibal
Image Credits - 
Tumble Fish Studio, Holliewood Studios, Finecrafted Designs,
Clementine Design, Lorie Davison, Cliff
Copyright 2012 TwoDressesStudio
All Rights Reserved

Starter Image:  
Image provided by Cliff

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Lady in Red - Before and After x 2 with downloadable 'starter image' plus invite to play along!


Here's an  opportunity to challenge yourself to create an image using the original (see last photograph) of a painting without attribution from Vintage Graphics! If you create something, I'd love to see it and will add it to this post!   Also, if you know who the artist is who painting this, I'd love to know that too!

Lady in Red Version 2
Copyright 2012 TwoDressesStudio
All Rights Reserved
Image Credits - Vintage Graphics, Lorie Davison, V. Stegall

Lady in Red Version 1
Copyright 2012 TwoDressesStudio
All Rights Reserved
Image Credits - as per V2

 Painting without Attribution from Vintage Graphics (no copyright restrictions)
Right Click and Choose SAVE AS

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Flickr - Make It Interesting Challenges - Why Not Join In?


 Fishmist - digital illustration
Copyright 2012 TwoDressesStudio
All Rights Reserved
Image Credits below

Which Way?
Copyright 2012 TwoDressesStudio
All Rights Reserved
Image credits below

Copyright 2012 TwoDressesStudio
All Rights Reserved
Image Credits below

This afternoon I thought I'd take a quick break to share with you a new group I've been participating in over the past week or so and invite you to join in!

The group is on Flickr (www.flickr.com/groups/makeitinteresting/ ) and they regularly post a photograph someone on Flickr has taken and challenge anyone to "make it interesting"!  Peeps like you and me, create a digital incorporating the photo, upload it and add it to the group.  After a set period of time then the voting begins.
Easy peasy!

For me, it's a great warm up to any project I may be working on, an opportunity to try out new compositions or color strategies, images you haven't had a chance to experiment with, a way to dig through a creative block or....the list goes on!  I limit myself to 30 minutes, set the clock and start creating!

Here's a sample of the next 3 challenge images (please follow the link for image credits for pre-photos) and below,  my 30 minute responses.

Copyright 2012 TwoDressesStudio
All Rights Reserved
Image Credits for bottom row images (left to right):
1 and 2 - Tumble Fish Studio
3 - Holliewood Studios and Finecrafted Designs

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Not every picture tells a story

Copyright 2012 TwoDressesStudio
All Rights Reserved
Image Credits with thanks to:
Tumble Fish Studio
CrowAbout StudioB
Finecrafted Design
Holliewood Studio
Tangie Baxter

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Twelve Art World Habits to Ditch in 2012

Yesterday I came across an article written   by Mat Gleason (via The Huffington Post) entitled Twelve Art World Habits to Ditch in 2012.    I hesitated whether or not it was something I wanted to share on my blog.  Afterall, what do I know about the art world?  I am merely a  tourist.  Nevertheless, it piqued my interest and my funny bone and even though it is heavily coated in sarcasm and cynicism, I thought it was contraversial and a good starting point for an interesting dialogue.  It is with this goal in mind I share it with you today. Do you share any of his opinions?  I hope you'll find the time to read and consider it and share your thoughts here. 

"It is 2012, but in the art world it is often still 1966. Some of the "traditions" underlying the business side of the gallery and museum world date back decades. Don't let 'em fool you that they are hip. The art world is a bunch of stubborn ninnies who learn to do things one way and insist that things never be done a different way. Everyone has great career advice for you that is current for 1979, or 1985 or 1994, whatever year they broke into the art world -- that is the master plan they insist everyone must follow; they assert you will not succeed unless you, too, do things like they did back then. Understand two things: The art world doesn't replace its dinosaurs, it gives them retrospectives, and two, the first caveman who left the cave was the first performance artist and nobody has topped him since. Here are 12 things about the art world that need to disappear for good.


Painter Mark Kostabi's slogan sums it up "Ending Lending is Beginning Winning". Artists have traditionally consigned artwork to galleries. When the artwork sells, the gallery and the artist splits the sale 50/50. When the work does not sell, the artist gets the art back. This is the way the game is played and it is ludicrous. In this scenario, the artist literally loans the gallery collateral at no risk to the gallery and with no interest on the loan. An alternate way of doing things might be to imitate, oh I dunno, how about... the way every other business on earth operates: The gallery should just buy the art from the artist. How hard is that? If the gallery cannot afford it, either they should find an artist who will sell them work for what they can afford or they should get out of the gallery business, which they are not in if they cannot afford to purchase inventory. Of course, this works in the benefit of the gallery too -- you can mark up the work 200 percent if you like. Buy 10 paintings for $100 each. Sell them for 20 grand each.

Academic Curators
The realm of the visual is inherently non-verbal. Academia is a lecture-based system of auditory and linguistic learning. Pretty much the polar opposite of art. And yet here come the pinheads with their Ph.D. theses (rhymes with feces) getting every damn thing wrong about the art and making sure none of their presentation is enjoyable nor accessible to people outside their peer group. Their ruse is the implication that art is intellectual. Art is sensual. Academics are not. Sleep with a few (your grad school professor is almost always willing) and tell me I am wrong.

Who gets paid first in the art world these days? Promotional idiots with tired gimmicks and antiquated postcard mailing lists. The marketers are taking the cream off the top of the art world latte. Marketers are people who know nothing abut the creative process and feel happier watching an episode of Friends than they do looking at new and exciting work or having an interesting gallery space experience. Art is the antidote to culture, not another client of the machine.

Paid Writers
Think about it. A painter struggles in his or her studio with a stack of canvasses, tubes of oil paints and nothing but time. It is a romantic vision we can all accept. It is also pretty much the only way that great painting takes place. But ask an art writer to write about your art and they want $3 a word. Where is the romance and pursuit of pure artistic vision for the writer? Suddenly the slob at your opening is quoting prices like your 401K advisor. Writers have become sharks because, like the academics, people who are good with words either manipulate you with them or exclude you from the discussion. Verbosity is often used as a weapon to seize power in the arts, populated as they are by visual learners and masters of non-verbal expression. Beware of the writer whose desk has blank invoices in the drawer.

Charity Auctions
I ranted about this on the Huffington Post last year. Bottom line is the price your art goes for at a charity event is the golden "what the market will bear" amount. Do you want the world to know that in a roomful of millionaires eager to support a good cause your donated painting could not get a minimum bid of $50? And of course, if your piece did not sell, don't expect the non-art non-profit hacks to know how to handle and return it to you.

I can make a lousy painting today of George Bush performing a sexual act with Barack Obama. Nobody is going to like it or buy it but nobody is going to knock on my door tonight and take me away for painting it. Call me when you have two billionaire army general art collectors bid up the price on your painting of Hu Jintao having a threesome with Confucius and Mao Tse Tung. Until then, you can let a thousand sub-par Thomas Kinkades bloom -- it is the only way to stay out of jail.

Diploma Mills
Tens of thousands of dollars of student loan debt used to at least get you a diploma that led to a decent job. Those jobs are gone now. Long gone. They are not coming back. No matter how prestigious the school and how fantastic the program, MFA art programs are just a summer camp experience with pretense and attitude. The art they produce is not demonstrably better than art produced outside of academic dialogues. Many people enjoy MFA programs. Cut-throat capitalist bankers at student loan portfolio departments love them more than any student or faculty member would ever realize, until it is too late...

There are too many of them. You do whatever you want. You can even be so great that you actually achieve a complete and total failure. Then you can make art. But you never have to follow any of the rules and anyone who says you do... well he or she just hasn't failed enough to realize this.

Art is subjective. There inherently cannot be experts.

Artists are told to work in series. It is one way of doing things. To posit that it is the only way or the best way is as dumb as saying every painting should be 40 percent earth tones. Huh? Yeah, that dumb.

Reading Graffiti Art
Street art is the best abstract painting of the past 60 years. Rationalizing one wall as somehow better because of individual authorship (instead of innovative composition) misses the whole point. Let's not take the people's medium against the power of property and make it into another celebrity manufacturing game. Enjoy abstract vandalism at its most beautiful without obsessing over who authored the specific letters on the wall. And what is closer to the bottom of the barrel: Street art gallerists, street art curators or street art academics? On what sad date did aerosol spray paint become synonymous with cotton candy?

Artists As Their Own Manager
You gotta do this, and you gotta do that, and most of all you have to buy the art advice book on how you can make it on your own as an artist by doing all of this stuff on your own. Advice is now an industry. Just make the art and sell it for whatever it takes to get it out of the studio and make more. Don't buy the book. It is probably rehashed if not flat-out plagiarized from the other books. There is no blueprint for a masterpiece and there is no blueprint for a successful art career. Like Gandhi said, "What you do will not be important but it is important that you do it." he didn't add "...so buy the overpriced book and DVD series on how to succeed at doing that unimportant important thing."

Happy New Year to all the artists and art appreciators. Let's hope 2012 is a masterpiece in which all can exalt the fruit of the creative process and ignore the pretense and hype."
by Mat Gleason - original article here

Brave enough to respond?  Hope so!

Your not so politically-correct Canadian art tourist, (heh, I just copied and pasted it) aka don't crucify the messenger.


On another note -

I came across these this morning as I sat down with my morning coffee to approach a much avoided task of organizing and filing the hundred plus images I have accumulated which all get plopped hastily into one generic file.    They  share  some similarities (pastel, filtered, tulle)  but are otherwise disparate in mood (celebratory versus sombre)  To my eye they  create an amusing contrast to each other when placed side by side.  

Mail Order Bride - 8 x 8 digital collage
Copyright 2012 TwoDressesStudio
All Rights Reserved
Image Credits in part with thanks to Holliewood Studios 

Into the Light - digital collage
Copyright 2012 TwoDressesStudio
All Rights Reserved

Friday, January 13, 2012

Big uh OH!

Late  Tuesday or Wednessday evening I received an email from a friend telling me my work had been misattributed in Somerset Studio this month.. The email subject read: " Big uh OH! "  I was taken off guard and I think my blood pressure rose 30 points.  You see, this  friend has had a string a mile long of awful things happen to her over the past two years and I was afraid something else had happened.  So, even though I was disappointed, in the bigger scheme of things, I was grateful. 

I contacted Somerset and they will be noting the mistake in their next publication (I guess that would be March 2012)  In the meantime, Linda Trentholm, if you get any calls from international galleries inviting you to exhibit, because of the error, kindly send them my way?  :0)

"And a Partridge" - 5 x 7 inches
digital illustration recolored and reworked for
"Chartreuse Challenge"  Page 120 - Somerset Studio Jan/Feb 2012
Copyright 2012 TwoDressesStudio
All Rights Reserved

I 'was' published here 

Original work - "Appearantly" for sale here
8 x 10 inches digital illustration
Copyright 2012 TwoDressesStudio
All Rights Reserved
Image Credits:
The Graphics Fairy, Tumble Fish Studio,
Lorie Davison and Holliewood Studios

And here's a couple of others I created but did not submit for the Chartreuse Challenge (Summer 2011)
Splash - digital illustration
Copyright 2012 TwoDressesStudio
All Rights Reserved
Image Credits -
Holliewood Studios
Tumble Fish Studio

Bird Bath- digital illustration
Copyright 2012 TwoDressesStudio
All Rights Reserved
Image Credits -
Holliewood Studios
Tumble Fish Studio 

Thursday, January 12, 2012

True Confessions


 Ever since I first laid eyes on Nick Bantock's Griffin and Sabine trilogy, I was HOOKED on mail art.  I still recall the day - now asome odd 20 years ago.  I went to a book signing and lecture at Audrey's Books when I was still living in Edmonton, Alberta and had the pleasure of first meeting Nick.

Since then, my library of Nick Bantock books has grown 10 fold and I now have 6 of his art pieces in my limited art collection.    I've had the pleasure along with my soul mate of sharing dinner with Nick and his wonderful wife Joyce,  and partaking in two of his extraordinarily inspiring  small group workshops located in the equally inspiring British Columbia island - Salt Spring Island. It is home to not only Nick and Joyce, but a long list of famous artists from all disciplines.

I was delighted to learn several weeks ago that Nick's alter ego, Wasnick, has taken to blogging and just this week announced a new book is in the making.  Having a stepson who is an inspiring author, I felt compelled to locate and send him the Griffin and Sabine trilogy, hoping it may inspire in some small way. Click here to be redirected to Wasnick's blog.

Below are a series of snapshots, in no particular order.  They are a response to a Cloth Paper Scissors challenge to send in a 6 x 4 inch postcard to their offices for possible publication.  The staff at CPS encouraged the postcard to include a 'message' and I found a fitting one for me personally by Twyla Tharp -

"Art is the only way to run away without leaving home".

 About the Stamps

Tim Nokes - Artist

From the Canada Post Website: " Stamp designer Tim Nokes said, "Receiving the commission to produce the commemorative stamp for Parks Canada's 100th anniversary was especially meaningful to me as I was raised in Banff. But it was a challenging design task due to the small framework of a stamp and the diversity of Parks Canada's landscapes. However, I did not want to focus on a singular iconic Banff image. So I created a montage of images within the stamp that are inspired by all the mountain parks."

  Daphne Odjig - Artist

Canada Post issued three new stamps on February 21, 2011 featuring the artwork of Canadian aboriginal artist Daphne Odjig.
The stamps highlight three of Odjig's acrylic pieces with each painting, Spiritual Renewal (1984), Pow-wow Dancer (1978), and Pow-wow (1969), representing Odjig's passion for the arts and love of her native heritage.

"Art is the only way to run away without leaving home"
Copyright 2012 TwoDressesStudio
All Rights Reserved
Image Credits:  Tumble Fish Studio, Holliewood Studios

Thanks for the visit!

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Erin Pankratz-Smith


I have a wonderful  artist friend here in Lethbridge who inspires me every time I am lucky enough to get out of my hermit shell and visit with her! Or, as it turned out, on Monday, she dropped by. 

This morning she wrote on other matters, but mentioned her friend's daughter, Erin Pankratz-Smith, a wonderful mosaic artist who was commissioned by the Edmonton International Airport (my hometown) - to create a very large mosaic. (30 panels with 3000-4000 individual tiles per panel for a total of !!!! 100,000 tiles!!! )  The video below, created by Greg Southam  is a time-lapsed feature capturing the installation of her art.  It was unveiled this past Monday.  

Everything Flows Nothing Stands Still
Erin Pankratz-Smith
Edmonton, Alberta
(partial photograph only) 

Another photo:

Erin is in the blue shirt/black sweater (front-center)
Area in white rectangle highlights the partial photograph above this one

 For more images and Erin's  statement - press here

Thanks Linda for introducing me to another talented Alberta artist!  

Monday, January 09, 2012

Make it Interesting - Flickr Challenge#2 - Version 2

 "Shiva Divas"
digital illustration
Copyright 2012 TwoDressesStudio
All Rights Reserved

Created for the Make It Interesting Challenge #2
Make It Interesting, Challenge #2 - Varanassi Woman
Starter image with thanks, from Mctrent
Background - Holliewood Studios

Sunday, January 08, 2012

Make it Interesting - Flickr Challenge #2

Occasionally, I receive an email from someone who wants to know which imaging software I use, and how I create digitally. I've been asked to teach classes, but teaching has never been something that comes easily to me.  

One way to visualize the process is to just for me to include the original  images I've incorporated to create the final composition.  So today I decided to include them for those who enjoy seeing the 'before and after'.

Most people assume I use Photoshop - but they'd be wrong.  I have favored and always used Microsoft Digital Image (Silver), an applicaton that has been discontinued for several years now.   I'm always in awe of those who have mastered Photoshop or CS5 (I find old Microsoft habits hard to break) and  keep my fingers crossed that the upgrading of  operating systems as we dive into the technological future won't reach   a point to make my favorite software obsolete, ....cause....that'll be a sad day in Two's Studio.

Untitled digital collage for "Make it Interesting"
Copyright 2012 TwoDressesStudio
All Rights Reserved
Image Credits - noted below

Images incorporated into "Make It Interesting" above with permissions and  thanks to Finecrafted Designs,
McTrent on Flickr, Bobjagendorf - Flickr and
Holliewood Studios

If you are interested in participating in this challenge (only rule is the compulsory use of the McTrent image (bottom left) - click here
Have fun and thanks for reading!

Saturday, January 07, 2012

I'm not sure if this is what Ev had in mind when she hired me....

but I did get a bit of a snorkle composing it!    Here's the before image (Finecrafted Designs - Warrior Women) -

 and here's my 'adaptation' or image manipulation -

 "Flippin' The Royal Bird"
digital collage
Copyright 2012 TwoDressesStudio
All Rights Reserved
Image Credits:
Finecrafted Designs - Warrior Women
Bird - Tumble Fish Studio - Freestyle 1

Friday, January 06, 2012

Carpe Diem - more thoughts on 'the moment'

 Following yesterday's post asking you to join me in my goal to live fully in each moment, today's "The Daily Om" presented a timely look at "Thoughts" - 
  Our thoughts are powerful forces in the creation of our experience of life. You may be able to recall a time when frustration that was based on a misunderstanding completely evaporated when your understanding changed. This is because our interpretation defines our experience, and it can change in an instant. Our only true reality is the present moment, so rather than merely accepting that life is happening to us, we can harness the power of our thoughts to actively create a positive reality. For example, we can choose to appreciate beauty around us rather than focusing on traffic or look for admirable qualities in the people we deal with rather than focusing on the negative. By choosing how to interpret and define each moment with your thoughts, you truly create your reality. 

Throughout the day, we can monitor our thoughts to catch ourselves in the middle of investing our energy elsewhere—such as into belief in limitations—and instead pull our focus back to the infinite possibilities of the present. Taking a deep breath will help us center our thoughts on being in our bodies right now. Regular meditation allows us to gain mastery over our minds so that we can still our thoughts to focus on the pureness of being. If we mentally dwell on the past or the future, we may miss the experience of living in the present moment. Setting and visualizing goals is wonderful, but we can bring our thoughts into our current experience by taking steps to create them now. 

Our minds are powerful tools that we can harness to create our reality. Through them we move the unformed energy of the universe into form, which gives us direction for our words and actions. Each thought is like a stone dropped into a lake, sending ripples out into our world to affect all they touch. We can choose our focus and how we invest our energy, which gives us the power to design our lives to be whatever we choose in each and every moment. 

"Carpe Diem"
digital collage - 6 x 6 inches
Copyright 2012 TwoDressesStudio
All Rights Reserved
Image Credits - from my own photographs, Tumble Fish Studio (wave)
 and Holliewood Studios (fish)

For pure amusement's sake,   here's a selection of photos of the above work in progress.  It began with  a photo I took of the ocean last week (in the middle) during our holiday trip to Victoria, BC

And another capture of it  'in process'

On the opposite side from the original photograph, the 'scene' looked like this -

Gonzales Hill - Victoria, B.C. Canada

Free Library of Congress JPG and PNG to Start 2012 on a Fun Note!

 Happy New Year!  I'm starting 2012 hell bent on focusing in on fun, sharing, outside of the box thinking and being mindful of the possibility for joy that exists if we stay tuned to the moment!  I hope you'll join me and share your enthusiasm, thoughts and feelings, waking each morning with the chance to perceive the day asking one critically important question:  How Good Can You Stand It?

To download, double click on the image, then right click SAVE AS

(same instructions apply as above)

Will you join me?    It's  100% free!