Getting close to the end of wheel throwing for the year

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Creature Pot, Cindy Schnackel, Oct 2014

You may remember in an earlier post, I had a pic of this when it was still greenware. The skin on the creature is White Crawl, and it came out really nice. It’s a bit of a tricky glaze so I didn’t know if it’d just run and be sad, or what it’d do.  This is a small flower pot, though even with the small drainage hole in the bottom, I could use it for things like cherry tomatoes or grapes if I wanted to.

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Creature drying, Cindy Schnackel, Oct 2014

This little guy is currently waiting to be glaze fired, but in this pic he was wet clay, with a towel mushed inside to prop him up.  I hesitated to even put glaze on this once it was bisque fired, but decided there will be many more creatures to come, so I’d do an experiment. I should see the results within the week.

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Bowls and mugs, Cindy Schnackel, Oct 2014

Going to have to either drink smaller amounts of coffee, or get better at throwing so I can throw larger mugs! One of these is probably normal size, but the other two mugs are more like for espresso or something, LOL!  Pretty though, so maybe pencil cups.  The bowls are all usable, everything from ice cream to condiments, can be served in these depending on size.  Most here are the Snow White and Stoneware Blue overlapping dip.  The odd one is Snow White and probably Spodumene, but I gave up trying to keep notes. Next semester I really need to develop a system for keeping track. I’m thinking of doing an inventory number system scratched into the bottom of each piece, then keeping track of what glaze went on each piece, by number. I still love the surprise that happens when we find the glazeware has been unloaded.

We have very little left now. The last class is over, and there are only open studios to finish up anything still remaining. My husband and I each have just a couple of pieces and will be finishing those within about a week.  The new classes start in January, 2015. We’re considering continuing with throwing.  I will still work handbuilt things in, regardless!

Weekend Happiness

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2 of Brian’s bowls and my tiny striped blue and white bowl, about Oct 18th.

Brian has really been getting into glazes! The two at the top are his. We still need to figure out if we can score, snap, and smooth a glaze oops, (we’ve each had at least one of those now), but otherwise we love the happy surprises we find when the glaze firing has been unloaded from the kiln! Above, Brian’s bowl at top left was Purple Haze and possibly something else.  His bowl at right top is Snow White and Stoneware Blue.  We’re not sure how it got a nearly black spot, but we like it.  At the bottom is my tiny bowl with a double dip, one side Snow White, the other Stoneware Blue, overlapping in the middle. I’ve done a few other pieces with that glaze combo now that should be out of the glaze firing by next weekend if not sooner.  Below are some close ups of these most recent finished pieces.

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My tiny striped bowl, Oct 2014.

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Side of my tiny striped bowl, Oct 2014.

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Brian’s amazing purple and yellow veiny marbley glaze. Inside bowl. Oct. 2014.

Mulitplying Bottle Cap Birds and Ceramic Bowls

SMALLEST PAINTINGS I’VE DONE SO FAR; BOTTLE CAP BIRDS

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Bottle Cap Birds, Oct 2014, Acrylic on bottle caps, Cindy Schnackel

Finished all the bottle cap birds that I had caps prepared for. (There’s one that’s NOT a bird. Can you find it?) These are meant to be hung, but of course I DID think they would be a good size for refrigerator magnets, I just didn’t want them to be thought of as that rather than art to hang. Plus, magnets would be a cost, and my intent was to make them out of recycled materials, and keep the price really low. They are all hand painted, no two are alike.  The caps are prepared by abrading off the printing and roughing up the metal enough to hold an acrylic primer that seals them off. I can then paint on them with gesso and paint the same as any prepared surface. They seem very durable. I attach the hanging rings with Gorilla Glue. It holds well. I am thinking of a way to neaten up the back, even though it does not show, but would would rather leave it be than add non recycled material to it.

Going to take a break from Bottle Cap Birds for a bit now. Partly because I need to accumulate the pop top rings or other recycled hardware that I attach as hangers. Those seem to accumulate much more slowly, maybe because we drink way more bottled beer than canned anything!

Another reason is I have other projects going that need attention now! As I was saying to another artist who’s not revealing much of what he has in progress either, it is a feat of self discipline to NOT share what you’re working on, or new pieces as they are done. But I am doing just that, because I want my show next year to be the first time most if not all the pieces in it are seen publicly.

I’m still doing some pieces that aren’t for the 2015 show, and will be adding them as I get them photographed, to my Inventory List. http://cindyschnackel.wordpress.com/sale-current-price-lists/  You will find the Bottle Cap Birds listed there, too.

 

CERAMIC WHEEL THROWING CLASS PROGRESS

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Bottom of one of my favorites so far. Oct 2014

Ceramics is going well. We have a growing collection of usable and unique little bowls. This one above is my favorite so far, of mine. The shape came out nice, it’s not too tiny, and the glaze came out really well, with interesting streaks and spots. Glazing is always a bit of a surprise, and I like that. It’ll take practice to get predictable results, but from what I gather from past ceramics experience, and from this wheel throwing class, there is always a chance of surprise. I think that adds to the allure.  Sometimes I jot down notes about what glazes I used, but then usually lose them. One of the techs confirmed, this is not uncommon even for experienced ceramic artists! The experienced people there always seem to recognize the glazes though, having seen them come out just about every which way they can I guess.

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My husband Brian’s and my finished bowls, so far, Oct 2014.

This is our finished collection, so far. There will be more coming. Most of the red and light blue ones are Brian’s. I used a glaze called “White Crawl,” because I like crackley things, on the rims of some of mine. It fired fairly smooth but definitely has the look of crackle, so kind of the best of both worlds, at least if we’re going to eat out of them. All the glazes we’re using are food safe.

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Glaze Ooops, Oct 2014

Among these are a few that had glaze oops’es, that will make it too hard to sand the bottoms smooth. We will probably give the goof ups to some mosaic artist friends! This bowl had the glaze applied too thickly. On some of my first ones, I didn’t get it thick enough for the colors to come out “right,” but they were still really nice. So on the next ones I overcompensated I guess, and got it too thick. You can see the White Crawl effect on this, and I believe the base is Oasis, a blue glaze.

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Brian’s Blue Bowl, one of my favorites of his glazes, and a nice bowl, too! Oct 2014

Another blue glaze is Stoneware Blue, and it came out lighter with a second coat of one of the whites. Brian got it right on this one, thick enough, but not glopped all over to where it ran all the way down to the bottom! I really liked this blue and white together.

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Wet greenware state. Will be a small flower pot with a creature breaking out of the side. Oct 2014

 

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Inside of one of my favorites. Bowl came out nice, glaze is nicely streaked and spotted. Oct 2014

This is the inside of one of mine that came out with some really cool effects. One of the advanced students said iron in the clay body is probably how I got these colors. I really like it. The clay would’ve been either Soldate 60, or Rod’s Bod, as those are the only two we’d used at this point. Both seem to be “light” colored clays, but are speckle-y and almost granite like when fired at cone 10. We now have broken into a bag of LB Blend which is darker, and I’m curious to see what it’s like when fired.  There are so many variables in how the clay or glaze looks when finally done.

One of my ceramic bowls waiting for glaze firing, Oct 2014

One of my bowls with glaze applied, waiting to be fired. Oct 2014

I liked Brian’s light blue bowl so much I wanted to try an experiment with those two glazes. This is one of mine, dipped half or so in a plain white glaze, and half or so in stoneware blue, overlapping about an inch where they meet.  I made sure, (I think), to wipe or scrape off glaze near the bottom foot, so it won’t run and ruin it. I hope. It’s an easy step to forget. Though we put wax resist on the bottom and just up past the foot, we have to let them set up a bit to handle them, and finish wiping off the bottoms with a wet sponge. We are multitasking all the time, to get as much done as possible. Last week, just as we were leaving class, we saw Brian’s bowls on the shelf of to-be-glaze-fired ware, and had to run back, get sponges, and wipe their bottoms quick.

I wonder sometimes how nice it’d be to have one’s own ceramic studio and kiln, and be able to focus and not have to hurry.  But that’d be really expensive and due to the silica dust, would not be safe to have as part of your house.  A dream, for sure. In the meantime I will take classes.  I still love the fired clay, especially high fired. Air dry clays just don’t have the same allure, perhaps partly because they do lack the element of surprise that ‘real’ ceramics have.

Staying Centered, New Work, & Sale on Hoodies and Sweatshirts

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3 new bowls, and one from last week

Ceramic wheel throwing is going well. My husband is relaxing and enjoying it now, and we’re both getting the hang of keeping clay centered.  I went in one afternoon this week to throw some more bowls, and trim feet on last time’s bowls.  Above shows one old bowl, upper left, that I think is Brian’s, but often we can’t tell so we just scratch our last nams on the bottoms before they get fired, which is enough lettering to fit on a small space.  The very wet new bowls are moved from the wheel to a plywood board and labeled, because, well, pretty much all the beginning bowls probably look similar.  If we were going to make plates, the teacher showed us how to throw on a bat, so we could leave the piece on it, as it’d be really hard if not impossible to detach something with such a wide base from the wheel, and move it, without totally distorting it. The softer (wetter) the clay, the more it can distort.  To remove the piece, you put water behind it on the wheel and drag your wire cutting tool thru the base, as close to the wheel as possible. You do this until the piece loosens and slides toward you. Then you carefully move it by grasping it at the base and transferring it to a board, where it is left to get leather hard for the next step, turning it over and trimming a nice foot on the bottom, below.

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Greenware bowls with feet trimmed

Above, the two darker looking bowls are dark because they’re still wetter,  leather hard and just got trimmed. The four lighter ones are dry, trimmed a few days ago.  I rather like trimming feet. Not being there daily, sometimes you have to trim things that are a little drier than you’d like, or if they’re too wet, put them outside by a fan, where they become leather hard pretty quickly.  This is where the imperfections can often just be trimmed off, not unlike turning wood on a lathe. When I was in college, I was so bad at centering, that most of my wheel pieces were more lathe carved than wheel thrown, LOL!  But surprisingly, I’m getting it this time, and most of my bowls are very centered. After the foot is trimmed on the wheel, we carve our names in the bottom. Otherwise we’d never know what was what after it was fired.  Even though we think we’d recognize our work, most of the time we don’t.  I think that will change once we start adding things to pieces!

Next class I think we’re going to to cups, according to what the teacher had planned. We will need to attach handles to them at the leather hard stage, which is a bit more fussy I think, than trimming feet, so I will need to go in as often as possible to ensure they get dealt with at the correct wetness to dryness.  Or, cover them with plastic, and use the fan, when we ARE able to be there outside of class.

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All clean

Cleaning up can take awhile! We don’t start anything new if there’s 30 minutes or less left. It gets turned off, unplugged, and sponged down, then the sink and tools also get cleaned, clay sealed up and put away. The plastic pan under the wheel comes apart and I’ve learned to sop the worst of the slurry and clay lumps out before disassembling it.  I also put the clay chunks and trimmings into a bag, and use them later to roll coils to hold bowls in place for trimming feet. Eventually the wetter stuff will be saved for slip, the ‘glue’ that holds handles onto cups and so on.  After the parts of the trays are cleaned, the whole wheel and everything gets a sponge bath.  Then the foot pedal and cord are put up, because mop fairies come in the night and clean the floors.  The Microsoft bag back there is how I carried my apron and tools to the studio on the bus.

One of the reasons I started at the beginning was of course I needed to learn wheel throwing for what I want to do. Another reason is there are things I’ve forgotten about handbuilding that are important, like scoring and slip, to attach parts. I am not sure I remember it all. A mistake could result in a ruined piece, or worse…having it blow up in the kiln and ruin other people’s work, too.

 

NEW WORK

 

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“Baby,” acrylic on canvas panel, 4 x 6 in., Cindy Schnackel 2014

My table is full of more than a dozen small pieces, mostly bottle cap birds, but also a few miniature paintings on cut out wooden shapes, that are only awaiting edge finishing, before I photograph them.  Above, this small acrylic painting on canvas panel, titled “Baby,” is done.  Baby represents baby broiler chicks, (which regardless if they are so-called ‘free range’ or whatever), lead short and horrific lives.  It bothered me that I was eating chickens when I clearly thought of them as pets, so I stopped a couple of years ago. Then gradually, other meat, dairy, eggs, went too. Many animal rescues have a few rescued chickens, and the baby broiler chicks had blue eyes which surprised me, as none of my chicks ever had blue eyes. But then I never had a white chicken, and the broiler breed they showed was white. Baby looks a bit devious, and I have a feeling she’ll become a recurring character.

I’ll probably be doing a post on my Found A Chicken blog before long, on one or more of the animal rescues who have provided exposure of this industry, and who have a few of the lucky ones that were rescued.  Found A Chicken: http://foundachicken.wordpress.com/

Besides the many small bird paintings I’ve been working on, I’m working on material for a show in 2015, work that will be held back from public display until the gallery starts promoting the event. It is keeping me busy, even though I’m not posting a lot of new pieces.

 

SWEATSHIRT AND HOODIE SALE AT REDBUBBLE WITH COUPON CODE HOODIE15, Limited time

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Giant Coffee Drinking Chicken adapted for Redbubble’s Products (Cindy Schnackel © 2011)

In the meantime, if you’re in the market for a sweatshirt or hoodie, the POD site I’m on, redbubble, is having a 15% off sale on those until Monday, if you use the coupon code HOODIE15 at checkout. I don’t offer a lot of that product but do have some. Take a look at this one and also look in my portfolio there for more, in the “Products” Collection. http://www.redbubble.com/people/cschnack/works/9210971-giant-coffee-drinking-chicken-shirt?p=t-shirt&ref=shop_grid

 

Fall 2014 Stuff

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First bowls, beginning wheel throwing, Sept 2014

RISKY BEHAVIOR

One day in late August or early September, I was bored, overheated, and felt like taking some risks.  The three things I did that day were:

  • Cut my own hair, (turned out ok; let’s just say I’ve paid for worse),
  • Went swimming alone, (stupid and unsafe, but it was well over 100 and I’d been outdoors a couple hours)
  • Signed up for beginning wheel throwing class

Back in the 80s, I did try wheel throwing in a college ceramics class, but it wasn’t the focus of the class, and I never mastered the fundamental of centering clay on the wheel! I moved on to handbuilding. The idea of spending the fall on ONLY throwing is kind of scary because I was not sure if I was just incapable of centering clay, and I didn’t want to waste money, time, or material. Now, I’m in class again, and focusing on the wheel, with the goal of incorporating some wheel thrown parts with handbuilt, to create creatures. This fall will be spent getting competent enough that I can go in during open studio and make what I need to. Next year I’ll continue taking classes to have access to the workshop, wheels, kiln, etc. Ceramics is something I can’t do at home. It has been over 20 years since I did any! Somehow, air dry clays are just not a 100% satisfying substitute. I enjoy seeing pieces transformed by firing and glazing, and I like that they can be functional objects as well. These little imperfect bowls, if they survive all the firings, will be useful food vessels or perhaps we’ll burn incense in them by the pool. If they break, I have a couple of mosaic artist friends who’d probably love the pieces.

So…progress. We made several bowls each, some were total failures and ended up on the clay recycling table, to be scraped up and remoistened later.  The first class, we just threw bowls. The second class, we trimmed the bowls to put a nice little foot on them, which if the bowl is reasonably uniform and you get it centered (again), goes pretty well and is fun. Reminds me of wood turning, another thing I’ve never done. Of course not all the bowls were easy to trim. Some got cut through because we didn’t make the bottom thick enough.

I’ll try to remember to take more pics when I go back, to show the progress.  It was surprising to me that my husband decided at the last minute to take the class, too, so we are in it together.

 

WORK IN PROGRESS AND FUTURE PLANS

I have a show penciled in for spring of 2015, but it is too early to announce anything about it, even the date.  I plan to keep a lot of the work for it off the internet until closer to the show, so that is a whole swath of work that’s happening starting now, but that you won’t see pics of for several months! That’s hard for me not to post pics of new work.  Last year I kind of did that due to an infringement problem but it was nice when I did show them, that they were unseen by most people, so that’s also a nice feeling.

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Studio, Cindy Schnackel, fall 2014

Some bird paintings are of course going on at the same time! I have several small works on wood that are done now, except for the edge treatment.  They are laying on the table, still in progress at this stage, in this pic of my studio. It was taken right after I’d put in some new shelves and rearranged everything, which took awhile. With material brought in for making work for a show, I had to haul everything out of there,  figure out shelf placement and then totally reorganize the room. it’s much better now!

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Birds hand painted on prepared bottle caps, Cindy Schnackel, 2014

The bottle cap bird paintings are growing in number.  They are $20 each. The hanger is a recycled pop top ring or other type recycled hardware, depending on what is available.  There are two on the bottom row in this pic that have the ring attached.

A lot of the really tiny things I’ve been working on were put away in drawers so they would not get lost or damaged.  Now that the studio is back together, I’ll be taking those things out, dealing with any last finishing touches, and soon uploading some to my inventory list and probably also my redbubble page.

 

FOUND A CHICKEN

As if I needed more to do, I started a new blog, Found A Chicken, where I post photos of chickeny things I see, or or showcase other artists. I hope you’ll go take a look! http://foundachicken.wordpress.com/

Why I Watermark, and When “Being Found” is Bad

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Graphic created from screenshots. I added obscuring text to the screenshot image to help stop further misuse.

 

Watermarking is like locking the door on your house when you go out.  While nothing is 100% prevention, a lock deters most, which is a huge benefit.

Above, a search engine (Bing) calls some images “clip art,” which implies incorrectly that they’re free to use. (I marked the screenshot with text to help prevent further misuse.)

The image above had only a tiny watermark on the edge, unusual for me now, as I use a larger mark, but this was for media/gallery use. Every artist has to figure out where their line in the sand is. This is about what works for me.

I regularly do reverse image searches, and employ other search tactics, to find infringements.  When I find infringements, I send DMCA takedowns to the hosts of infringing sites, and the infringing use is usually removed quickly, as the host is required by law to do so. (See links below on Reverse Image Searching, and DMCA Takedown.)

I was spending several hours a week on takedowns before I started using prominent watermarks.  Once I did, new infringements almost stopped, but sales of my original works kept increasing, debunking the theory that watermarking will kill your sales of original art.

Here’s why infringement can harm artists, and why I take preventative measures:

  • Unauthorized uses are unpaid.
  • Some uses are against your beliefs, even criminal; reputation damage by implied endorsement.
  • Some people falsely claim it’s their work, causing doubt about who’s lying, more reputation damage.
  • It can kill licensing deals. The person buying a license to use the image does not want something now associated with another brand or concept.
  • The law is on copyright owners’ side but enforcement is expensive! Prevention is better.
  • The less time I spend on takedowns, the more time I have to make new art and market it, and the happier I am that I’m not getting ripped off!

 

False sense of security in outdated methods

Don’t fall for the claim that only uploading low resolution (small) images is enough protection.  If it looks good on your site that small, it will look just as good on the infringer’s site. Plus, it can be made into multiple small products.  And, why would an infringer care if their buyers got a blurry reprint?

Most sites do not call for a high resolution image anyway, as the page would load too slowly. Small images typical of web display, (500 to 800 pixels per side), are infringed constantly.

The only time you must upload a high resolution image that isn’t ‘defaced’ by a large watermark is when you sell reproductions on Print On Demand sites, (POD’s), but these sites only display a small version. A POD is a site like redbubble, Fine Art America, Zazzle, Society 6, etc.

The watermark options on sites are simply a layer, usually easy to bypass on your site, and often not picked up at all by search engines, where much infringement now occurs now thanks to the large views.  Right click disabling, no pin codes, etc, are all of very small benefit, as most peple now know how to bypass them, and again, search engine views bypass it.

Keeping up with technology is important. Watermarks can be removed but some are harder to remove than others. Like the door lock analogy, the prevention of most incidents is still very worthwhile.

 

Do you believe “being found” is always good?

Being found in the wrong context, such as the erroneous ‘clip art’ search results above, or by spammers, scammers, and infringers, is not good. It doesn’t help you in any way, and can harm you.

Tailoring your sites and search tags etc to be found by your art’s admirers, and your buyers, is good. Promote your pages yourself, to a known audience. Even happy buyers’ word of mouth is still viable in the 21st century.

The old idea of just getting lots of ‘traffic’ is outdated and unhelpful. As I noticed others picking up on the ‘traffic’ thing as mostly crapola, I saw these sites move to ‘content’ as the thing they most wanted. That is, yours and my content. So be careful of site Terms, and what you put there.

For example, every time I make a new blog post or upload a new image, it attracts some undesirables along with the good traffic.  A new blog is almost immediately liked or followed by a spammer, or sometimes gets a spam comment in the moderation file. The more search tags I’ve put on it, the more junk traffic it gets.  I will only put my name in some tags, plus one or a few really pertinent tags, now.

Narrowing down who readily finds my stuff has not hurt sales of my original work. I don’t offer much on my POD anymore so it’s hard to say there, but artists I know who do sell lots on PODs say they’ve found search engines were never a big part of their buyer traffic. They are good at promoting their work and their efforts are why they make sales.

You can put no-bot code in your sites depending on if the option is available, if you truly do not need search engines at all.  Most of us still want to be found on search engines enough not to do that but I know some artists who do it and prefer it.

Being findable in an identifiable way is good. Being found on scraper sites, lousy misleading image searches, uncredited social media ‘shares’ etc, is not good. Watermarks continue to keep my work identifiable, and of little use to infringers. A potential buyer seeing an uncredited share with the watermark cropped off could do a reverse image search to find the owner, which would be much easier if the owner had marked images to compare it to.

It’s not free promotion unless people can readily see whose work it is.

 

Watermarking How-To’s

“How to ensure your watermarks are secure” https://www.plagiarismtoday.com/2013/08/01/how-to-ensure-your-watermarks-are-secure/

A watermark is simply whatever text, symbol, etc you choose to ‘stamp’ onto an image to identify it. If it’s composed of legible typed text it’s identifiable as your work. This is why I don’t use a symbol; no one would know what it meant.

Please be cautious about using sites that offer a way to watermark your images. Some look kind of scammy. Some may be fine but I wonder how much control you really have. I have tried NONE of the watermarking sites, and prefer to mark my own in photo editing software.

Youtube and other video sources have videos demonstrating how to watermark in whatever software you have.  Gimp is free online art software. Photoshop Elements is a limited version of the full Photoshop and affordable, relatively speaking.

Save a version of your image file for watermarking, so your original unmarked image is not lost!

If you don’t know now, learn how the “layers” and “transparency” work so your mark will be part of the image, (flatten layers), but preferably semi-transparent. These are not as obnoxious as fully opaque type.

Use your unimportant snapshots,  or a copy of one of your image files to experiment on and have fun. It’s not fun when it’s an important image and you feel you have to get it just so.  Experimentation when it doesn’t matter is a great way to learn new tricks. Experiment with text tools, brushes, erasers, filters, transparency, scale, etc.

If all this is overwhelming, just use a text tool in even rudimentary software your computer or tablet comes with, and at least add your name in small print on the edge. It’s rare any PC or Mac does not come with something that can add text to an image, even if not as sophisticated as real art/editing software.

Unless your signature is normally an important, prominent, visual element of your artwork, I would not rely on it being large enough or legible enough to serve the same purpose as a watermark.

 

Resources:

 

Templetons Copyright Myths

http://www.templetons.com/brad/copymyths.html 

 

Watermarks and removal of copyright management information

http://www.photoattorney.com/watermarks-can-be-music-to-your-ears/

 

Problem with False Creative Commons Licenses

(Not everything uploaded to stock or licensing sites, clip art, etc, is there legally!)

http://www.plagiarismtoday.com/2013/06/11/the-problem-with-false-creative-commons-licenses/

 

NOT Cool, Google!

(The irony of how search engines’ big view can take your traffic not drive it to you, and increase infringement at the same time.)

http://www.sdakotabirds.com/feathers_and_folly/?p=1834

 

Public Domain Sherpa

(Learn about actual ‘public domain,’ which is not at all the same thing as ‘publicly displayed!’)

http://publicdomainsherpa.com/ 

 

Cornell: Copyright Term and the Public Domain in the United States

(Useful chart)

http://copyright.cornell.edu/resources/publicdomain.cfm

 

Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA, and DMCA takedown process)

(A fairly brief explanation, I thought I’d spare you the novel-length documents of the copyright office, etc)

https://kb.iu.edu/d/alik

 

How to Do a Reverse Image Search on Google

(Not the only way but very useful.)

https://support.google.com/websearch/answer/1325808?p=searchbyimagepage&hl=en

 

 

Not that I’ll ever stop painting chickens…

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Work table with paintings and works in progress, Aug 2014, Cindy Schnackel

Decided to do three more miniature cartoony chicken paintings.  Also on the table in various stages of progress are bottle caps with tiny birds painted on them! Right now, the table is taken up by frames that need cleaning in anticipation of another group of affordable miniatures being offered next year, or sooner.  They are always available. I have penciled in plans with a gallery to show again in April next year, a two person show.  I won’t say what it’s about, and you won’t see me post much if anything that’s going to be in it! I want it to be seen for the first time AT the show, and I probably won’t announce the show until the gallery does.

In the meantime I’ll still be painting birds, big and small probably. It’s almost fall here, which means outdoors might be nice enough soon to take big canvases out and paint with palette knives again.  I’ve got quite a few things going. Before I can really proceed I need to do a thorough cleaning and organizing of my studio again. Amazing how fast that can get out of order if I neglect that “place for everything” principle.  I have no idea how I managed at our old house where I didn’t even have a studio.  Besides collage material, frames, work in progress, there is now the material to work with for the 2015 show.  Some of it defies categorization.  Will there be birds? Almost certainly, but not entirely birds.

One of my new projects this summer was to create a new blog , titled “Found A Chicken.”  You can read an interview I did with Sarah Hudock and her chicken art here:  http://foundachicken.wordpress.com/2014/08/19/sarah-hudock-chicken-artist/

I plan to blog there about a variety of chickeny topics, from chicken sightings to artist interviews to maybe even a review of ‘fake chicken’ brands, because since we don’t eat chickens, we have tried many. Some are very convincing and tasty!