Saturday, November 1, 2008

Art site of the Week- Liquid Sculpture

Wow, check out this unusual site from Martin Waugh who combines art and science and calls it Liquid Art. He takes high-resolution photographs of liquids in motion, captured with hight-speed flash photograph and then uses Photoshop to clean up the background, balance the color and tidy up, but he does not alter the shapes or composition (except for one that for some reason was crying for lipstick). 
The slideshow is one of the most soothing experiences I've ever had...think I'll save this one for those days when nothing goes right, just to remind myself of how there's a lovely pattern to everything if you take the time to look.

(Did you remember to set your clocks back? )



Friday, October 31, 2008

New sculpture art pendant "KT's Basket"

This is a Christmas present I did for an artist friend of mine, and this is her Jack Russell terrier. It's just about this size in real life (2 inches wide overall), but you wouldn't see it this close up so it actually looks bigger to me in the photo . This can be worn as a pendant (it's so light, it's amazing) or it can hang on a Christmas tree, or sit on a table, so it's pretty versatile. 

I decided to paint the face gold instead of the light tan she really has, since it tied in with the rest of the gold. I hope my friend doesn't catch this, but I already know what I'm getting (a lovely hand carved wood ornament) so I guess it wouldn't hurt if she does see it ahead of time. 

I forgot that I took the picture below on Halloween morning, from our front was a perfect pumpkin orange sunrise :)

Halloween art sculpture pendant!

Teehee...wanted to do something fun for Halloween, so decided to sculpt a hanging bat. The size is 3 1/2 inches wide. The first photo is on a window with a piece of paper to allow light through, but not the scenery, the second is against a solid background.

You can learn a lot about something from sculpting it. I never realized that the supports for the wings were actually 'finger bones' with the hooked one at the end the same as a thumb. I used sterling silver wire for this part. 
I also made this a bat girl, instead of a bat boy, because, whew, no mistaking the boys! 

I made this from opaque ivory, but I ran the wing material through a pasta machine several times to get it thin enough to drape and in the process it became quite translucent. There's a lot of curvature in the wing molding that doesn't really show up in the photos.

I really thought some part of this little guy would break before I got it done, but I just kept a steady soft hand, and now that I've got a good solid acrylic varnish on it, it's really quite solid.

Anyways, hope you enjoyed it...Happy Halloween and hope you all get loads of treats!


Thursday, October 30, 2008

How a Visitor Counter can help you develop your Art Site

How a Visitor Counter can help you develop your Art Site 

A good Visitor Counter can do more than tell you how many people have visited your site.  It can also record statistics about your visitors and therefore help you to determine a lot of things about your site and the people that visit it. You can use that information to determine what demographic you attract to your site and how they got there by looking at the entry search phrases and the entry links they came from. You can see the pages they visit, the links they exit to from your site, the amount of times they return and their visit length. 

You also can get a good geographical sense of your market, since the IP numbers are recorded, giving the network (amazing how many people surf from their work computers) and the city and country your visitors come from. In fact, about the only thing you can't determine is the visitor's name, but sometimes there's enough information to make an informed guess even on that, if it's someone you know and they come often.

So, other than determining who is visiting your site, how can all this information help you develop a more user friendly site? 

Search phrases are especially useful. They can tell you what phrases bring up your site in a search (and if those phrases gave them what they were looking for) by seeing the pages they then visit and how long they stayed to look. Use this information to keep the most relevant pages in search engines by using those keywords. Use a site map to enable the bots to find your pages easily and get them up on the search engines.

Your viewer's operating system information can tell you which browsers you support and if pages are too slow loading.  The use of a thumbnail gallery will help slower dialup viewers see your page quicker. 

As an artist you can't create art just to please others, but knowing what artwork is most viewed can give you an idea of what work reaches a bigger audience and that can help you in the marketing arena.

If you keep a blog like I do, then it also helps you to know what topics people are interested in. It can provide ideas for new topics and allow you to keep your content interesting.


Visitor counters are sometimes provided by your website host, but often the information is sketchy and not all visits are logged. I use a free counter called Stat Counter that allows me to use it as an official visitor counter for all to see and I also have (and use) the option to use an invisible counter that just gives me private access to logged information on each page of my various sites. 

Lastly, a stat counter can also work as an extra security measure. Every single visit is logged and and all that information is grouped together under the same IP address. If you see that perhaps you have over a hundred page visits a month, for several months, from the same IP, with exits to every available link that has reference to you, the site owner, it's a red flag that someone has more than a healthy interest in your artwork and has crossed the line to an obsession with the person who owns the site. If this scenario happens to you remember that an IP address is as good as a signature, and you have it all on record if needed. 


Wednesday, October 29, 2008

'Poppy Fields' wearable vessel

Well, I got a little carried away with this one, I think I like a more simple look for myself. I do like the stacked effect of the pattern but don't think I'll use beads to hang one again, it was a real bear getting it to hang straight. As always I see things I'd like to do differently, if I hang beads for a lid again then I will attach and drop them behind the bottle. 

I think I've got a solution for keeping the lid on without running a cord up the middle of the bottle (the whole reason I keep trying new designs). I should know if it works tomorrow.

Meanwhile, it's in the 70's and Boots and I are headed outside for a nice little break!


Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Day trip to Scout Mountain

Yesterday we took a break from town and headed south just about 15 miles to get up into the mountains. Click on the photo below (that's Scout Mountain) and see some of the beautiful soul enriching moments in nature that we found out there :) There's just 25 photos, just click on the arrow above each photo to see the next. Hope it inspires you like it did us!


Monday, October 27, 2008

Building a better Mousetrap (wearable vessel art)

I've had an issue with the designs of the wearable vessels I've been experimenting with from the start. The original idea came from a project on the Sculpey site. It looked lovely, but the cord goes right up through the center of the bottle, which makes it pretty much useless for carrying anything in it. It's small, and not much could fit anyways but it's just the principle of the thing.

There's also an issue with the original lid not wanting to stay on the bottle. So I've tried various different methods to try and resolve the problem.

The latest was a hinge method, which works fine, but causes the bottle to flop a bit, rather than lay in a nice straight line down the chest. I like my end results to look polished and I'm just not getting that effect like I want.

So I sat down to try and design something a bit better. My sketch work is a mess, but I'm not trying to draw something pretty, just see if a design might work.

Here I played with the idea of using a pin to keep the lid on the bottle. I'm not really sure how well the pin would stay in, though I do like the oval shaped bottle for design. The problem with that is trying to get the mold out of the bottle later and there's also an issue with attaching the pin to the bottom, if it does work its way out then the whole bottom of the bottle could be lost.

Here I decided to go to a squarish shape and use a trapeze mount, similar to the idea behind my sculpture art pendants. I don't want to drill holes all over the piece, it's not really that thick, so I thought of using triangular strips of clay on the outside to trap the wire between them and the actual sides of the bottle. I also thought it would hang better if I attached it to a round tube for the necklace to run through. I'm thinking this last design might work well. 

With sculpting I can picture something in my mind and make it work, but with the more mechanical side of design I end up experimenting and, in my opinion, wasting clay on sub-standard designs. If I sit down and sketch I can usually see what the issues that I might encounter will be and hopefully build a better mousetrap as I work with it on paper.


Sunday, October 26, 2008

More playing around with jewelry

I'm taking the weekend off, but thought I'd show some if the other things I was playing with yesterday. I just take the leftover pieces from my clay 'fabric' and just cut out interesting patterns for earrings, pendants and beads. 

This week's site of the week showcases jewelry/sculpture metal artist Courtney Gray . I found her quite by accident, I was looking into using PMC (precious metal clay) and then found that it won't keep sculpted shapes so was looking into silversmithing. Courtney had a fabulous how to video on you tube and I followed the links to her site. Gotta love a woman who gets down and dirty with metal :D