Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Artfully Dressed

Artist's Date: every time I open this blog to send something to all of you I'm met by what must be the next blog in the blogspot list or something I've inadvertantly tagged that now follows me everywhere. Somewhere in New York there is a man who has a great talent for finding artfully dressed older women, whom he photographs and writes about on this blog. Shall we dare to be so clever? Here's the link: 

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Hallowe'en costumes reflect art

A quick post today. The Huffington Post did an article on how to do your Hallowe'en costume and makeup to reflect your artiness... Are you up for this? Here's the link: 10 Amazing Art-Inspired Makeup Tutorials For Halloween

Thursday, October 18, 2012

In case you ever wanted to see Where Google stores its data

I remember how thrilled I was the first time I had the privilege of glimpsing a 'data farm'. All those racks of servers; all those rows of server racks; the incessant deafening hum of the cooling fans; the refrigerator temperatures;  all that information on one floor. Wired.com is a daily technology news website and the digital home of Wired magazine, and it's currently featuring a photo essay about one of many of Google's data centers. In case you want to know what that looks like--theirs is more colorful than most and has a sense of humor. The photo above, by Google's Connie Zhou, gives you an overview of the central cooling plant in their Douglas County, Georgia, data center. Here's the link: http://www.wired.com/wiredenterprise/2012/10/ff-inside-google-data-center/

Tuesday, October 16, 2012


Here's a wonderful opportunity to do some colorful sketching: come to the LSC-Tomball Community Library this Saturday for  Fiesta!  Starting at 11:30 a.m. There will be  live music, dancing, crafts, and refreshments, all in celebration of Hispanic Heritage Month at the library.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Mike Major: California Chalk Pastel artist

Even though chalk pastels are excellently suited to plein air painting in the Texas heat, I don’t think I’ve yet featured a Texas landscape artist who works in pastels. The other day when I was searching for painters of the harsh landscape of California's version of  Big Bend I found Mike Major. Major's blog, if you scroll down far enough, details his process from the pumice and acrylic undercoat to the beautifully detailed pastel finish. Here's the link: http://mikemajor.blogspot.com/

Friday, September 28, 2012

TAL Fall Show Winner snags Commission!

I can't tell you how excited we are here at the library. Mandy Hamilton's Horse painting hanging in our meeting room as part of the Winners exhibition from the Fall Show snagged her a new painting commission this week.

On Monday a man stopped at the reference desk and asked me if I knew who had painted a particular painting hanging in the meeting room. When he pointed out the painting I've copied on the left here, I remembered that Mandy had attached business cards to the back of her painting and gave him one.

When I stopped by the reference desk on Wednesday our Young Adult Librarian was all excited. "Guess what gr-r-eat news I have?!" she beamed at me. She told me that Mandy had dropped by to tell us that the man had phoned her and commissioned her to do a painting for him. We're delighted for you, Mandy!  Way to go!

So, I hope this will encourage all of you to hang your winning pictures here after the Spring Show!  Someone remind me when that is, will you? I need to reserve the meeting room!

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Free online Photo Editing Sites

One of the wonderful things about digital photography is that you’re never stuck with the image you captured. All your images can be cropped and edited--improved for exposure and color and saturation. Then you can turn your photo into something that looks painted or sketched or like a graphic poster--or you can apply other imaginative and playful effects. You may have been intimidated by some of the more sophisticated (and expensive) editing software programs such as the famous Adobe Photoshop software. For beginners and those of us in a hurry there are a number of free online editing programs. Here are two you may like to try:

Adobe Photoshop Express Editor

In the free Digital Photography class that we teach here at the library, the class explores editing a photo in FotoFlexer. Phone the library at 832-559-4213 if you want to sign up!

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Avoid the Rocky Mountain Effect--or use it to your advantage!

Back in design school we were taught, when hanging pictures on a wall, to create a calm, integrated visual effect by lining up the tops of all the frames. "Avoid that Rocky Mountain effect," our professors exhorted us, "that happens when you hang pictures hung at uneven altitudes across the room. Line them up with major horizontal planes--the top of a window or door frame, a bulletin board, a shelf in a shelving unit." Most of the time that's a good rule of thumb, because most of the time it works. But not always.

So what do you do then? You line up the focal points and let the frames fall where they will!  I've created an example on the left of a typical family photo wall. As you'll see, all the eyes connect to each other. This is a little tip that we teach in our Digital Photography class here at the library. The class is free; we run it every couple of months; and you can sign up by phoning 832-559-4213.

Friday, July 27, 2012

Thursday, July 26, 2012

The World in London Photography Exhibition

I love the Olympic games.  It's such an exciting time for all the sports and for me, for all the visual excitement of the opening and closing ceremonies, the special sports architecture, and the cultural exhibitions and celebrations. I found a photography project online that may interest you. Here's the link and the description is below!  Enjoy! 
About this Project
London boasts one of the most diverse populations in the world. The World in London presents portraits of Londoners by British and international photographers taken from 2009 – 2012. Each portrait shows a person or people from one of the 204 nations taking part in the London 2012 Games, accompanied by individual stories.
The World in London is a celebration of Londoners and demonstrates photography’s ability to capture the human form in interesting and distinct ways. The project is organised by The Photographers’ Gallery and forms part of the London 2012 Festival, the finale of the Cultural Olympiad.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Ben Heine: Mixed Media

It's time to feature another artist. While I'm blogging about the use of photography in art, let me introduce Ben Heine. Ben Heine is a Belgian artist and photographer who grew up in Ivory Coast and has a degree in journalism. Combining disparate things seems to run deep in his consciousness, because his photographs contain drawings, or are morphed with digital circles, or are combines with acrylics.
A whole new 'take' on 'mixed media. Enjoy his website.

Monday, June 25, 2012

Camera Practice!

Most of us use a camera in our artwork. Some of us carry a camera to capture reference photos. Some of us use a camera to make a record of our artworks. Some of us capture and upload our images to a website to present our work to potential galleries. For some of us photography is the very medium of  our creativity.
These days, using a camera can be confusing. Even the more basic 'point and click' cameras, as soon as you take yourself off the 'automatic' setting, require you to know something about aperture (how open or closed the lens is), focal length (the distance from the center of the lens to the point where an object can be seen clearly), shutter speed (how long the lens is open to expose the sensor to the image and light), and sensitivity (ISO setting--formerly called ASA setting). Short of taking a camera course, it's hard to know what effect will be achieved by changing settings.
As usual, the internet has a rescue plan! There's a website...! How often do I write that?!! Actually, there is more than one website, but this one is free and it's easy to use. It's called Camera Sim: SLR Photography Demystified. When you get into it, you'll see the image I've copied here. Below it are sliding bars and radio buttons that let you fiddle with the aperture and see what changing an F-stop from, say, F4 to F 22 will do to the depth of focus ('depth of field') in that image. You can make that background fuzzy and you can make it clear. You can change the ISO setting and see what happens. You can zoom in and out; adjust the focal length; change priority settings, play with the shutter speed and the lighting and even pretend you're shooting with or without a tripod. It's a place to play and learn. Again, here's the web address ('url'): http://camerasim.com/camera-simulator/  

Friday, June 15, 2012

Marshall Stephens opens at the Jung Center this weekend

Remember that the opening reception to the Transcendence show at the Jung Center is Saturday, June 16 from 5-8 p.m. Our very own Marshall Stephens will have his work hanging . Congratulations, Marshall!

Thanks to all of you who contributed suggestions to add to the Tomball branch's magazine collection. I've been able to suggest both Cloth, Paper, Scissors, which is a magazine for mixed media buffs and Watercolor Artist.

Next blog I am going to post a few free and handy online tools for photography.

Friday, May 25, 2012

Ephemeral Art...

This article was posted on my Facebook page this morning. I had to pass it on. Those 'illuminated manuscripts' are cookies. Here's the link: http://boingboing.net/2012/05/24/illuminated-manuscript-cookies.html

Myself, if I'm putting in all this work to create something, I want to be able to look at it for awhile. Unless it's sandcastles. I enjoy watching the waves dissolve the sharp-edged walls of my constructions and carry them away.

What about you?  What kinds of ephemeral art would you work hard to make, then enjoy watching disappear?

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

'Back at you!

On a recent trip to Norway, my daughter was struck by the sophisticated street art. She discovered that it is the work of an artist who goes by the name of Pobel. From his Facebook page, I discovered that
"Pøbel is a pseudonymous Norwegian street artist based in Stavanger. He is best known for the Getto spedalsk (Ghetto leperous) project, decorating abandoned buildings in...the Lofoten Islands in the north of Norway, along with notable collaborator "Dolk". Both were later commissioned to decorate the central railway stations in both Oslo and Trondheim. One of Norway's foremost street artists, his work all over Europe has been documented in a number of books on the subject. His stencil paintings are mostly sight gags. One series, for example, portrays superheroes such as Superman and Batman in decrepit old age. His age and real name is not officially known.

I thought it would appeal to certain senses of humor...
 Here's the link to Pobel's other 'street' art. 

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Art as That Which Extends our Consciousness

I thought this was a thought-provoking addition to the city landscape: "With a background in architecture and an avid interest in street art, web development, and DIY culture, Berlin-based artist Aram Bartholl explores the relationship between the online and offline worlds, continually questioning the impact on our lives of the digital age...Currently in residence at New York’s Eyebeam Art and Technology Center, his most recent excursion into public space is the Dead Drop project, a set of USB drives cemented into the physical fabric of the city."Here's the link

Friday, April 13, 2012

The Jung Center

If you happen to be looking for places to exhibit your work you might consider the Jung Center at 5200 Montrose, right around the corner from the Museum of Fine Arts Houston. The center extends the work and philosophy of Carl Jung, the twentieth century Swiss psychiatrist and founder of analytic psychology who was one of the greatest researchers in dream analysis and symbolization, and who considered the arts to be a window into the soul.
The guidelines for submitting a portfolio to be reviewed by their art committee can be found on their website. Briefly, you submit a CD of your work by April 30th to be reviewed for one of nine exhibitions that will be launched the following year. It costs you nothing to exhibit but traditionally artists donate 20% of their sales back to the Center.

If you're interested you might want to check out the space during April when Woodlands artist Liz Hill will be exhibiting her work "Le Quattro Artists" there. It opens Saturday, April 14.

Images courtesy of the Jung Center and Gonzalez Studios  and Liz Hill's blog.

Monday, March 26, 2012

Marshall Stephens is Back!

Wow!  Our Harris County Public Library website gurus have just revised our website to make it more efficient, and I think you'll find they have accomplished their goal. I was blogging about Tomball Art League's Marshall Stephens, who has just hung his paintings in our Meeting Room for the month of April. Our shiny new website will now link  directly to this blog, so all you have to do is click on this link-- Marshall Stevens is Back! --to connect right to it. Fantastic.

Come and see Marshall's new exhibition!

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Free Business Success Seminars at LSC-Tomball Community Library

Get Ideas, Get Connected, Get Business
A number of you sell your artwork, which means that as well as being artists you are entrepreneurs. The Lone Star College Small Business Development Center, in conjunction with LSC-Tomball Community Library, are hosting three excellent speakers this month and next. Improve your networking and marketing skills!

The CEOs of Networking
Wednesday, March 21, 8-9 am
Mitchell From,
founder of My Referral Network and partner at Element Payment Services will help you determine which networking organizations to join, how many to join, and how to work them for maximum effectiveness. 

Social Media - Trend or Blip on the Radar?
Wednesday, March 28, 8-9 am
Terri Craig
of MYMResults will show how YouTube, LinkedIn, Blogging, and Facebook are here to stay and how you can use them to grow your business.

Create Potential Client Lists

Wednesday, April 4, 8-9 am
Kam Draper
of Infogroup USA will show you how to master the use of ReferenceUSA, a large database of businesses and customers, available free at your library website. Expand your business by identifying key prospects and competitors with contact names, sales volume, employee size, and more. Created marketing lists and delivery routes.

All sessions held in Room L129 
No pre-registration is required. There will be a drawing for prizes at the end of each session

Friday, March 9, 2012

Go, Painters in the Spring Show! (Then Come-on over here afterwards)

Today I want to tell everyone how excited I am about the upcoming Tomball Art League Spring Show and Exhibition!  Good luck to everyone who is competing this weekend, and all my encouragement to those of you who are hanging your work just for the fun of it. (We have many wonderful motivations for painting, don't we.) 

The library is once again inviting all the winners--that's everyone with a ribbon--to hang your winning 2D pieces in our first floor meeting room for the rest of March. We'll be waiting for you next week to bring in your work. It's not necessary to call ahead, but if you want to, our number is 832-559-4200. We're open Monday to Thursday, 8:00 a.m. to 9:30 p.m.; Friday, 8:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m., and Saturday, 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. and we'll take your painting any time you can drop it by.

While you're here, you might step up to the second floor where Milam Schverak has his fabulous papier-maché figures and some watercolors on display at the top of the stairs. Hazel, Willow, Penelope, Arthur, and Ichabod are gathering a lot of amazed attention.

We have just ordered a lovely frame to hang on the door of the meeting room, in which we will post the name of the person or group exhibiting that month. We've been feeling the lack of this for some time now and have just found an appealing solution. I hope you'll like it.

The image I've selected for this blog is Elsie Vera's Red Peppers, a winner in last year's spring show that we had the joy to look at here afterwards.  

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

A Video of Jesus' 40 day Fast

After not posting at all for a few weeks I post three times in one week. Isn't that how art inspiration goes? For those of you interested in story illustration, this YouTube video which appeared on my Facebook page this morning may be of interest. Simon Smith, a British illustrator, does a fascinating job of bringing to life a familiar religious story.  A Video of Jesus in the Wilderness by Simon Smith

Earl Staley at Pearl Fincher Museum

This just crossed my desk this morning so I want to pass it on. Earl Staley, a fine arts teacher at the Lone Star College campus in Tomball,  has taught and coached a number of Tomball Art League members. So many of you may want to take in his exhibit and reception at the Pearl Fincher Museum of Fine Arts. His artworks will hang at the museum until March 4th, and this Friday, February 24th, he'll be participating in a reception there from 6-8 pm.

Monday, February 20, 2012

A New Venue for exhibiting your sculpture?

(Photo by Jason de Caires Taylor/jasondecairestaylor.com)

"Because coral reefs sit below the water line, when they start to disintegrate (from pollution, overfishing, climate change, ocean acidification ... the list is long) most of us wouldn't notice. Or — and here's an irony — the more we notice, the more they disintegrate. Some coral reefs are so overvisited, they are harmed by our attention.
What to do? Well, this is where the sculptors and weavers come in."  So begins NPR's article "Is that a Starfish on my Face?" Enjoy!

Monday, February 6, 2012

Beauty in Many Forms

Hello, Everyone!  A number of you were able to be part of the Museum of Fine Arts Houston's free bus trip to the museum last Saturday, and by all accounts, it was fun.

We've had a few of last fall's show winners bring their paintings to the library but there's still room for more, so I encourage you to bring in your work for the month of February.

It's Black History Month, and we're featuring a number of books of paintings, sculptures, quilts, and other media created by African Americans. We also have a collection of cookbooks and books on other topics.

And finally, as you grieve the loss of thousands of beautiful Texas trees (Tomball looks like we've started a cottage logging industry) and contemplate another summer of drought ahead, we're hoping to help you save all that natural beauty around your home. Barry Ward, the executive director of Trees for Houston, a non-profit organization dedicated to planting, protecting, and promoting trees, will be here at the library giving advice and wisdom about how to keep your trees healthy in the seasons ahead. His Save Your Trees presentation will happen on Tuesday, March 10th at 10 a.m. in Room L-129. No registration is required and as always at the library, the presentation is free.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Tomball Art League Show Winners to Exhibit in Library

February is almost here, and February is your month on the exhibition walls of the library meeting room!  Those of you who won or placed in the fall 2011 show and exhibition, this is your chance to show off your winning pieces.
Please bring your artwork in Friday, January 27 or Saturday, January 28th. If you go to the Customer Service desk someone will find me. If Room L-129 is vacant at that time we'll hang it immediately; otherwise I'll store it in our workroom until it can be hung.
Please put your name and contact information on the back of the painting. The County prohibits commercial transactions on the premises so you cannot display a sale price on your piece. Interested parties can get in touch with you off site from your contact information.
The image I've selected is a winner that hung at the library from the Spring 2011 exhibition, by Marilyn Henagin.

Friday, January 13, 2012

You're invited!

Let me invite you on a bus trip to the Museum of Fine Arts Houston. As part of the Museum of Fine Arts Houston's "A Passion for Glass" traveling exhibit (which is at the Tomball Library only til January 30, by the way) the museum is offering a free bus trip to the museum on Saturday, February 4. I'll be going as the library's host. It will leave the library parking lot at 9:30 a.m. and arrive at the museum about 10:30. Sarah Wheeler, coordinator of the museum's special events, will meet us there and give us a short tour to orient everyone to the museum. Then we're on our own.

Your admission to all the regular museum exhibits is free. You can tour any of the exhibits, take a sketchbook and draw your own art treasure, or purchase tickets to the special King Tut exhibit (either online or at the door) and see it. Lunch will be on each person--bring a picnic and eat it outside in the sculpture garden, or eat at the museum's cafeteria.

The bus to return us to Tomball will leave at 1:30 p.m. and return us to the library between 2:30 and 3:00 pm.

The only thing you have to do is reserve a seat. I will take reservations at the Tomball Art League on Saturday, January 14, or you can phone the library at 832-559-4213 or drop by the reference desk. The bus holds fifty-five and the tour is open to everyone, so get your seat reserved early!

Here's the museum's website so you can have a look at their exciting offerings.