Upcycled Vespa: Using Glass Tile Mosaics to Make a Garden Planter

Mosaic Planter upcyled from a Vespa

Brilliant! An old vespa covered with mosaic tile & turned into a garden planter. According to the blog post by the crew at Enfrente Arte, a small hotel and production collective in Ronda, Spain they got the non-working Vespa from a neighbor and covered it with glass tiles left over from earlier construction projects. The hotel is decorated with upcycled furniture and decor made from all sorts of found objects that have been artfully repurposed. Looks like a very charming hotel that mixes old and new in a beautiful setting.


How to Create a Grid in Photoshop

I wanted to make a grid to lay up 32 cm (1.25") squares with a space of 1 cm between each square. The Photoshop Help was no help, so here's what I figured out to do in Photoshop (this assumes you know the basics about Photoshop as I haven't gone into complete detail):

  1. After much trial and error, and being decidedly mathematically challenged, I created a new document 35 mm by 35 mm. (to get about 1 cm of space betweeen the squares)
  2. I went to: Select » All
  3. I chose Edit » Stroke. For Stroke, I entered a value of 1 px; in the Color box I chose black, because I wanted to be able to easily see the gridlines. For Location I chose Center, then clicked OK. I then created a second line using the rectangular marquee tool to create a marquee 1 cm inside the edge & again Edit » Stroke (using all the same selections in the dialog box.)
  4. I chose Edit » Define Pattern and named it 35 cm grid, then clicked OK.
  5. I created another file that's 8 1/2 x 11 and 300 dpi.
  6. I created a New Layer.
  7. I went to Edit » Fill, chose Pattern, then chose my pattern. (Under Blending the Mode is Normal and Opacity is 100%)
  8. I then manually centered the image on the page.
  9. Choose File » Print. I got a notice that the image is larger than the paper, but it doesn't matter how it crops since the image is centered on the page.
If you'd like to just use the grid I made, here's a .pdf file of the 8 1/2 x 11 sheet.


Loteria ATC's

I've just started making, trading and collecting Artist Trading Cards inspired by the Mexican Game Loteria.

I'm just playing around with different ideas now, heading toward creating a deck of my own one day. Until then, here are the cards I've made, and traded so far. I've used scans from the original deck I've had for years.

Loteria ATC: #6 La Sirena

Loteria ATC: #7 La Escalera
Loteria ATC: #41 La Rosa
And here are photos of cards I've received from artists:

47-La Corona. Received from Belinda Shields, 4-18-12

If anyone's interested in trading please leave me a message below


Free e-book on Copyright Issues for Artists

Interweave Press has recently posted a free e-book titled "Know Your Rights: Copyright 101 for Artists".

image is from the Interweave Press website

(According to my reading of the book I can use the photo above, from their website, since I credited them, plus I don't profit in any way from using it. Hopefully, I'm interpreting it correctly....)

The relatively short (11 pages) pdf file uses a q & a format and covers, an an understandable and not-too-legalese way, the issues around copyright as it applies to artists, knitters and designers. Seems like a good thing to have on your computer to refer to when questions arise.


The Sketchbook Project 2012

My sketchbook arrived today from Art House Co-op. It's a 32 page, 5.25" x 7.25" book that I'll fill up and mail off to the Brooklyn Art Library as part of their project. For info on participating in the project, or going to visit one of the sites on the World Tour visit their website. You can also sign up to partipate in the 2013 Project and look into joining one of the other group projects they've got in work.

blank Sketchbook
I nicked the photo from their website since I've already got mine in the press trying to dry the first page flat.

I finished it by the deadline!

Here's a slideshow of the images:

And here are individual images:

Although I've been making sketchbooks and journals for personal viewing for a while now I found myself paralyzed when I considered the possibility that someone might actually look at what I've done.
maybe it's the book format I fear
the paper itself is a bit intimidating
it could be myself I fear. alone. isolated. and certainly morbidly afraid of being egotistical.
things should be in balance
sometimes you've got nothing. and then you've got too much paint on the paper to do anything about.
sometimes you're inspired by things you haven't seen yet
quickly filling space
sometimes when you repeat something you don't really like it gets better. sometimes not so much
decorative flowers always area good space filler
when a particular material or technique doesn't end up quite right do more of it
fear of criticism. something sparkly and shiny is distracting
yellow can be very disturbing
disorder can be quite disorienting

Although I've been making sketchbooks and journals for personal viewing for a while now I found myself paralyzed when I considered the possibility that someone might actually look at what I've done. Having decided to "face my fears" in the sketchbook, I ended up (as with just about everything in my life) with some pages I love, some I hate and some I'm indifferent towards. I did however, based on this process decide to take some classes at my local community college and further face my fears.


Quotations By and About Artists

Random quotes about art. They may or may not be exact.. When I can, I'll note the source.

“Sculpture is something you bump into when you back up to look at a painting.” Ad Reinhardt

“The world doesn't make sense, so why should I paint pictures that do?” Pablo Picasso

"My art becomes a way of telling myself the questions I am dealing with in my life, a means of self-reflection... That is a big issue in art--the issue of content versus not necessarily the form, but something to do with the realization of a self-fulfilled form which conveys aesthetic feeling." Barbara T. Smith, in Nancy Buchanan, "Barbara Smith:Communication/Communion, the Portrait Review," Monogram 5 (June 1976)

"We are always innocent, unless, from laziness or for convenience, we decide to overlook the novelty of the moment, this particular now." Brian Eno, May 1987 (printed in "Opal Information #5)

“No great artist ever sees things as they really are.  If he did, he would cease to be a great artist.” Oscar Wilde

“In art as in love, instinct is enough. ” Anatole France

“Art evokes the mystery without which the world would not exist.”  René Magritte

“A painting in a museum hears more ridiculous opinions than anything else in the world.”  Edmond De Goncourt

“All artists are willing to suffer for their work. But why are so few prepared to learn to draw?”  Banksy
"Inside you there's an artist you don't know about. He's not interested in how things look different in moonlight. " Auguste Rodin

“I have forced myself to contradict myself in order to avoid conforming to my own taste.”  Marcel Duchamp

“The business of art lies just in this, -- to make that understood and felt which, in the form of an argument, might be incomprehensible and inaccessible.”  Leo Tolstoy in What is Art? 

"Painting is stronger than I am. It makes me do what it wants." Pablo Picasso

“Art is, after all, only a trace – like a footprint which shows that one has walked bravely and in great happiness.”  Robert Henri

“What you see is what you see.”  Frank Stella

“Works of art, in my opinion, are the only objects in the material universe to possess internal order, and that is why, though I don't believe that only art matters, I do believe in Art for Art's sake.”  E.M. Forster

“To be an artist means never to avert one's eyes.” Akira Kurosawa

"I love black, but the best blacks with the most meaning can only be done in full light of day--noontime blacks. Dark vision demands its own clarity. I am never agitated in executing forms, but travel rather as if the terrain of the paper was land-mined. When this journey is completed, a drawing is born." Rico Lebrun, "Notes on Drawing," in Rico Lebrun: Drawings (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1961), p. 23

“I don't paint dreams or nightmares, I paint my own reality.”  Frida Kahlo

“It is through art, and through art only, that we can realise our perfection.” Oscar Wilde

“The object isn't to make art, it's to be in that wonderful state which makes art inevitable.” Robert Henri

“Art is science made clear.”  Jean Cocteau

"With Vishnu and Brahma, Shiva is part of the trinity of the Hindu universe and represents the male principle. While he is essentially a passive, self-contained figure, Shiva also embodies the processes of destruction and regeneration; his title as lord of the lingam is but one indication of his potency and capacity for creation and rebirth. Shakti, his consort is female and active. She represents desire, movement, and change and upholds the cosmos through "vibration". Julian Cox, "Intimate Visions," in Spirit into Matter: The Photographs of Edmund Teske (Los Angeles: Getty Publications, 2004), p. 24.

“If you could say it in words, there would be no reason to paint.”  Edward Hopper

“What was any art but a mold to imprison for a moment the shining elusive element which is life itself- life hurrying past us and running away, to strong to stop, too sweet to lose.” Willa Cather

“Art is a selective re-creation of reality according to an artists metaphysical value judgments.”  Ayn Rand in The Fountainhead

“An artist is someone who produces things that people don't need to have but that he - for some reason - thinks it would be a good idea to give them.”  Andy Warhol

“A work of art has no importance whatever to society. It is only important to the individual. ” Vladimir Nabokov

We are cups, constantly and quietly being filled. The trick is, knowing how to tip ourselves over and let the beautiful stuff out. ”  Ray Bradbury

" I feel I'm finished when I get the impression I'm working on somebody else's painting." Lucien Freud, Gayford, Martin (2007, Sept. 22). "Lucian Freud: marathon man".

“One eye sees, the other feels.”  Paul Klee

“True alchemy lies in this formula: ‘Your memory and your senses are but the nourishment of your creative impulse’.”  Arthur Rimbaud in Illuminations

“The way to create art is to burn and destroy ordinary concepts and to substitute them with new truths that run down from the top of the head and out of the heart.”  Charles Bukowski

“Art is either revolution or plagiarism.”  Paul Gauguin

"Ms. Gilot clearly was a competent painter, but whereas, with Picasso, it seems that every painting is an adventure, every mark or stroke the registration of a thought or impulse in real time, her works resemble dutifully completed assignments for a class in how to paint like Picasso." Johnson, Ken (2012, May 11) "A Portrait of the Artist As an Old Man in Love", The New York Times, p. C29

Life isn't a support system for art. It's the other way around.”  Stephen King in On Writing

“Every child is an artist. The problem is how to remain an artist once he grows up.”  Pablo Picasso

“Painting is poetry that is seen rather than felt, and poetry is painting that is felt rather than seen.” Leonardo da Vinci

“Art enables us to find ourselves and lose ourselves at the same time.”  Thomas Merton in  No Man Is an Island

“Art is not what you see, but what you make others see.”  Edgar Degas

“I have an idea that the only thing which makes it possible to regard this world we live in without disgust is the beauty which now and then men create out of the chaos. The pictures they paint, the music they compose, the books they write, and the lives they lead. Of all these the richest in beauty is the beautiful life. That is the perfect work of art.”  W. Somerset Maugham in The Painted Veil

“Art is not a thing; it is a way. ”  Elbert Hubbard

“Art is a kind of innate drive that seizes a human being and makes him its instrument. To perform this difficult office it is sometimes necessary for him to sacrifice happiness and everything that makes life worth living for the ordinary human being.”  C.G. Jung

“We work in the dark - we do what we can - we give what we have. Our doubt is our passion, and our passion is our task. The rest is the madness of art.”  Henry James in The Middle Years

“Your first 10,000 photographs are your worst.”  Henri Cartier-Bresson

“To consult the rules of composition before making a picture is a little like consulting the law of gravitation before going for a walk.”  Edward Weston

“The artist is nothing without the gift, but the gift is nothing without work.”  Émile Zola

“If only we could pull out our brain and use only our eyes.”  Pablo Picasso

“Even in literature and art, no man who bothers about originality will ever be original: whereas if you simply try to tell the truth (without caring twopence how often it has been told before) you will, nine times out of ten, become original without ever having noticed it.”  C.S. Lewis in Mere Christianity

“You don’t make art out of good intentions.”  Gustave Flaubert

“There is no abstract art. You must always start with something. Afterward you can remove all traces of reality.”  Pablo Picasso

"The arts are not a way to make a living. They are a very human way of making life more bearable. Practicing an art, no matter how well or badly, is a way to make your soul grow, for heaven's sake. Sing in the shower. Dance to the radio. Tell stories. Write a poem to a friend, even a lousy poem. Do it as well as you possible can. You will get an enormous reward. You will have created something.”  Kurt Vonnegut in A Man Without a Country

“Color is my daylong obsession, joy, and torment.” Claude Monet

“Paradoxically though it may seem, it is none the less true that life imitates art far more than art imitates life.” Oscar Wilde

“Creativity takes courage. ”  Henri Matisse

“There are painters who transform the sun to a yellow spot, but there are others who with the help of their art and their intelligence, transform a yellow spot into sun.”  Pablo Picasso

“It is art that makes life, makes interest, makes importance, and I know of no substitute for the force and beauty of it's process.”  Henry James

“We have art in order not to die of the truth.”  Friedrich Nietzsche

“The thing I hate the most about advertising is that it attracts all the bright, creative and ambitious young people, leaving us mainly with the slow and self-obsessed to become our artists. Modern art is a disaster area. Never in the field of human history has so much been used by so many to say so little.”  Banksy

“Art is a marriage of the conscious and the unconscious.”  Jean Cocteau

“The absence of limitations is the enemy of art.”  Orson Welles

“Art is the proper task of life. ”  Friedrich Nietzsche

“The chief enemy of creativity is good sense.”  Pablo Picasso

“Every portrait that is painted with feeling is a portrait of the artist, not of the sitter.”  Oscar Wilde in The Picture of Dorian Gray

"To do a dangerous thing with style is what I call art." Charles Bukowski

“Imagination rules the world.”  Napoleon Bonaparte

“I'm not an abstractionist. I'm not interested in the relationship of color or form or anything else. I'm interested only in expressing basic human emotions: tragedy, ecstasy, doom, and so on.”  Mark Rothko

“Artistic talent is a gift from God and whoever discovers it in himself has a certain obligation: to know that he cannot waste this talent, but must develop it.”  Pope John Paul II

“God is really only another artist. He invented the giraffe, the elephant and the cat. He has no real style, He just goes on trying other things.”  Pablo Picasso

“Like any artist without an art form, she became dangerous.”  Toni Morrison

“Why shouldn’t art be pretty? There are enough unpleasant things in the world.”  Pierre Auguste Renoir

“The aim of art is to represent not the outward appearance of things, but their inward significance.” Aristotle

“When art critics get together they talk about Form and Structure and Meaning. When artists get together they talk about where you can buy cheap turpentine.”  Pablo Picasso

“You can look at a picture for a week and never think of it again. You can also look at a picture for a second and think of it all your life.” Joan Miró

“Every act of creation is first of all an act of destruction." Pablo Picasso

“A man's work is nothing but this slow trek to rediscover, through the detours of art, those two or three great and simple images in whose presence his heart first opened.”  Albert Camus

“A line is a dot that went for a walk.” Paul Klee

“Why do two colors, put one next to the other, sing? Can one really explain this? No. Just as one can never learn how to paint.”  Pablo Picasso

“In the haunted house of life, art is the only stair that doesn’t squeak.”  Tom Robbins in Skinny Legs and All

“I don't want my work to be an exposure of my feelings.” Jasper Johns

“All art is a kind of confession, more or less oblique. All artists, if they are to survive, are forced, at last, to tell the whole story; to vomit the anguish up.”  James Baldwin

“Without atmosphere a painting is nothing.” Rembrandt Van Rijn

“The artist's job is not to succumb to despair but to find an antidote for the emptiness of existence.” Woody Allen

“I saw the angel in the marble and carved until I set him free.”  Michelangelo Buonarroti

“I force myself to contradict myself in order to avoid conforming to my own taste.” Marcel Duchamp

“The role of the artist is to ask questions, not answer them.”  Anton Chekhov

“Art is everywhere you look for it, hail the twinkling stars for they are God's careless splatters”  El Greco

“He who works with his hands is a laborer. He who works with his hands and his head is a craftsman.
He who works with his hands and his head and his heart is an artist.” St. Francis of Assisi


Free Online Tools to Enlarge Photos

I'm working on an etching project and wanted to incorporate imagery that I found on the web. Unfortunately after I cropped it down to the small part of the image I actually wanted to use it was too small to be visible. Enlarging it required more time & Photoshop expertise than I have, so I searched around for online solutions and came up with the following:

Reshade is a  quick and easy online resizer. You can choose to use files from your computer or from the web. Without an account you can upload up to 3 images a day, and you can't crop them. It's quick, easy & had not downsides that I could find.

I also found PhotoZoomPro 4, a program that seems to do the same thing, but at  $219 is more than I want to spend for just an occasional need.

I also read about SmillaEnlarger. The author's website was down when I tried to look into it, but I read so many things about it online that I decided to try it and found a free download here (Just be careful to read all the messages when you download it here, they try to get you to add a bunch of extra stuff that probably makes money for somebody but I didn't want cluttering up my desktop.) So far it's been amazing. You just drag an image from your computer & decide how big you want it to be based on a percentage zoom factor, specified height or width,  or other options to stretch or fit within boundaries. I haven't used it much, but what I've done as been surprisingly easy and straightforward for a free program. I highly recommend it!

image before enlarging