Artwork, web projects, and updates to

Friday, December 30, 2005

The American Dream

Quinn's Drawing of Our Christmas Tree
Christmas was on hold there for a couple of days while my son was illegally denied access to his father.

Practically the first thing Quinn did when he finally arrived here was take out his sketchbook and go over to our Christmas Tree.

When he had finished this drawing I told him I had a magical story to tell of our Tree - and I'll share it with you tomorrow - in full colour illustrated glory.

Monday, December 26, 2005

The Weather Outside is Delightful

Saturday, December 24, 2005

Happy Christmas

Christmas Tree

Digital photography in the dark. Santa should be here soon - I'll just go make him a cuppa.

Friday, December 23, 2005

Painting in Progress: Stone Walls and the Grass is Green II

Do not adjust your computer sets. Many years after the first Stone Walls and the Grass is Green   painting, I have started another. Actually this is not a million miles from completion, and yes the grass is not looking very green. Sometimes in life the grass just isn't very green. Stone Walls and the Grass is Green II   has been added into the On The Easel section - for that is where it is.

Thursday, December 22, 2005

Painting Sold: "Quinn's, Enniskrone"

This painting of a house on the cliff road in Enniskrone was done at the scene some years ago, on a grey feisty day in March. Since that week in Sligo I've had several offers for the painting but never for quite enough to sell it. Until today. The painting is now sold, and destined for London, to a friend of Enniskrone.

Wednesday, December 21, 2005

How to go Christmas Shopping Without a Car

Busy day today. Had to do a few messages. This is a five-and-a-half foot Tree. The bike could comfortable carry four eight-foot Trees, or a couple of twelve-footers if I used my side things. Honest. Of course you might block the view in your rear-view mirror.

Earlier I did use a side thingy. This is a Christmas present. And heavy. Somebody today mentioned to me that petrol was expensive. Click either of these to see bigger images.

Tuesday, December 20, 2005

Painting in Progress: Where The Mountains Meet The Sea

You're all shape and no tone. Yes, but it's not finished yet. I've to work on the horizon, the rocks in the foreground, the sky, and the main and distant mountains. So I'm putting it into the Unfinished Category until then.

Monday, December 19, 2005

Approved for

I've had four paintings approved for acceptance into Pending confirmation of their resolution and usability for printing, these paintings will be available from as posters (from 8"x10" up to 20"x24").

Sunday, December 18, 2005

Menu Changes & Feeds Added

An RSS feed from Feedburner has been added to the native Atom feed. I may yet opt to use their SmartFeed technology and consolidate. It seems to make sense though advertising issues will decide.
On the main site the On the Easel and Artist options have been dropped to the page-bottom navigation panel, and been replaced with links to the affordable small paintings at Yessy and to here at the blog. I intend to grow and maintain a section of inexpensive original work.

Saturday, December 17, 2005

Original Art for $25

Twenty of the series of small paintings of animals have been placed on Yessy for sale online. Painted with acrylics, watercolours, and inks, each one is approximately 2 x 3 inches.

With the intial 9 Irish Scenes (which have received almost 2'000 hits in their first five days in the gallery), this makes 29 paintings for sale on Yessy.

Friday, December 16, 2005

New Painting: Kinsale III

The third painting I've done of the West Cork town of Kinsale has been added to New Paintings. You can see the other paintings and a sketch on the "Kinsale III" page. This latest version of Kinsale was painted in August.
Kinsale III
Kinsale III

Thursday, December 15, 2005

3 More Paintings at Yessy Gallery

I have added 'Doolin', 'Benbulben' and 'Green Fields' to the initial six placed with the Yessy Art Gallery. Again, for this trial period these three paintings are also offered for online purchase at reduced rates.

Meanwhile at Flickr I've opened an account so I can take an image feed into my page on Squidoo. For now there is just a sampling of images but it the plan is to facilitate the easy maintenance of current images over there.

Wednesday, December 14, 2005

New Paintings: Irish Street I & II

Earlier this year I found myself in Listowel, that Kerry home of famous Irish writers like Christian O'Reilly and John B Keane. The two paintings I did of a generic Irish street originated there. Both have now been added to the New Section of the site.

Irish Street I
Irish Street I

Irish Street II
Irish Street II

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

Paintings for sale at Yessy

Six paintings have been placed for purchase online at Yessy. All the paintings chosen are Irish scenes, Killarney, Kinsale II, Galway Street, Burren Tower, Beehive Hut, and Blue Mountains, Green Grass.

For this trial run period the paintings that are 12x16 inches (the first five) have been priced at $490. All are framed and ready to hang. Blue Mountains, Green Grass is much larger and is painted on a gallery-wrapped 30x40 inch canvas (i.e. painted on the sides).

The link to the Yessy Art Gallery has been added to the sidebar.

Monday, December 12, 2005

The Way of the Artist

A revenue stream is a revenue stream. Although there are many affiliate modules beyond Amazon to be made available yet, and more varied modules like one utilizing the Google Maps API, there is still much to commend about the set up of the Squidoo systems.

I have had a couple of lenses published there, including a lens on Julia Cameron's bible of creativity, The Artist's Way. A significant difference with other directory/research/portal aids, like dMoz and Wikipedia, is that there can be multiple differnet lenses on the same topic, and popularity will decree the successful ones. Currently I'm working on twenty such portals of research, or lenses as they prefer to call them. A revenue stream is a revenue stream.

Sunday, December 11, 2005

Porcelain Painting on Plastic

I collect CDs. Not those with music or games on them, but unwanted ones, used ones, discarded ones. As AOL distributes them to the footpaths and mailboxes of America, I collect them. They're shiny.

Today Quinn and I painted several using some porcelain paints I picked up cheap years back. When they're dry I'll complete their conversion into Christmas ornaments, and post a picture then.

Saturday, December 10, 2005

Six-Foot Snowman Sculpture

With the giant icicles around the porch disappearing, and the snow turning from dry powder to wet and sticky, Quinn and I made a snowman. We used clean snow to hide the leaves the main snowball picked up.

To the sound of dripping and crashing icicles we finished after dark. Hand-sculpted, it was more of a Henry Moore woman than a traditional snowman. But with the forecast (for colder weather and more snow) being wrong, there won't be much time left for our six-and-a-half foot snow-woman.

Thursday, December 08, 2005

Now That's What I Call Christmas

The bus, not the snow.

They said there's be snow, but they reckoned four to six inches. And they hyped it as if it never snowed in the Midwest. By two o'clock in the morning, so my Jack Russell would go out and do what dogs do when they go out, I was using a plastic dustpan to dig through the twelve to fourteen inches deserving of hype. By the time I'd finished, Sally had a track around the perimeter of the garden, albeit only eight inches wide. Was tempted to carve a face but, because I don't have an upstairs, I don't have an upstairs window to photograph it from. Perhaps I'll do a white painting with the tips of two brown ears and a stumpy tail peeping up.

Declining to brush the snow off the bicycle I opted for public transport for a meeting this morning. To get my first bus I waded through snow piled so cars could drive unencumbered. From my second bus I counted seven cars stuck in the snow. The third and final bus had quite a surprise. Red and gold tinsel garland drooped all along the inside edges of the bus and a large Christmas wreath hanging up at the back.

Wednesday, December 07, 2005


Internet marketer Seth Godin's latest creation, Squidoo, went into Public Beta today and I've been busy creating content on their site.

Squidoo clearly pitches itself as part of the Web 2.0 architecture though it's not as if there will be a clear seam in time as we move to 2.0 Comparisons have been made with Wikipedia - though as each page is solely owned by its creator it is clearly not a wiki system. It's probably more accurately compared with the cumbersome only taking advantage of some of the latest web distribution technologies. Effectively it's likely to be a true online encyclopedia of expert pages stroke portals. They call each page a Lens, and as a self-professed expert - or Lensmaster - you write the content, build the links, harness the RSS feeds, add images and you're done. Only it has a commercial slant.

Even without the encouragement to include your own affiliate links and target advertising revenue, Squidoo would be destined to be jumped all over with thousands of useless basic link pages simply because of its likely (or believed) importance in the likes of Google's PageRank system. Google isn't that stupid, and neither do I believe is Squidoo - but what matters is how users respond to it. Its power is in its emulation of the greater web and the role of popularity.

Much quicker than Wikipedia it could become a major tool of research, or it could stay as an equivalent as a minor directory like Zeal, or a poor man's dMoz and be a necessary task for webmasters in growing web presence rather than the direct income stream many are presuming. I'll post some of my Lenses at a later date.

Tuesday, December 06, 2005

Painting in Progress: The Rock of Cashel II

With the weather not moving far from 10F (-13C) with a RealFeel of -4F(-20C) these days, I've been painting warmer pictures. This second painting I've attempted of Ireland's Rock of Cashel is probably about half way done at this stage.

Cycling 12 miles in these temperatures - whether in daylight yesterday for the cheapest quality tea in town, or tonight in darkness certainly tests you, and your clothing. My beard was a solid lump of ice, but everything else survived fine and I stayed warm painting in my head the yellows, oranges and pinks of this Rock of Cashel.

I've just added the thumbnail for it to the On The Easel category though I have yet to make the thumbs on that page enlargeable. You can also compare this unfinished Rock of Cashel with one I did earlier

Monday, December 05, 2005

Labtec Digital Camera

When my 35mm camera died last year, I moved into the digital age of photography, acquiring, for less than $10 via eBay, a simple 1.3 Mega-pixel Labtec DC-1300. Effectively a point-and-shoot camera it's so basic I forget to use it. Had it an LCD colour viewing screen, or a zoom lens, I'd remember I have it with me and use it more often. Instead I also forget to download the images the rare times I remember to take them. Having recently been given a snazzier by comparison, digital camera, these problems are about to disappear. But right now I'm excited.

I'm excited because I just remembered that I had images on the camera to unload. In October I visited Cressing Temple in Essex. Founded by the Knights Templar in the 12th century, two enormous barns are the highlights - being the best examples of Templar carpentry in Europe. But it was the windows and angles of the barns and surrounding buildings I was interested in photographing. We're talking squares.

I took three photos of the white building on the left, each with a solitary small window, that I intend to do a triptych of. When the photo section of the website launches, they shall be posted there.

Sunday, December 04, 2005

Search Engine Optimization (SEO)

If you head over to Google and type in 'midwest painter' (without quotation marks) who do you think comes up number one in the 2,150,000 search results? Is it Grant Wood? Or Kansas City's own colossus from 20th century American art Thomas Hart Benton? Nope, it's yours truly. One of the main web development skills I have is in Search Engine Optimization (SEO).

The optimization of websites for search engines is legitimate and, if every website did it properly would greatly help Search Engines give us more relevant search results and make the Web a better place. There are of course those who indulge in SEO practices which, whilst boosting search engine placement in the short term, only serve to confuse, clutter, and abuse the Internet in the longer term - and ultimately (if not much quicker) prove ineffective. Oh, and such SEO techniques are against Search Engines' terms of service, and ignore the meaning of the word 'optimize'.

Similarly today if you search on Google for 'book of paul' (without quotation marks) of the 123 million pages Google serves up in its results, the website of Living the Artist's Life is in 5th position. This is a book by Paul Dorrell, a client who hired me for my SEO skills.

Please note that Google is not the only fruit. Yahoo often provides more accurate search results in terms of relevancy, and MSN and Teoma are also major quality search engines.

Saturday, December 03, 2005

Richard Raney Show

I was at the opening to Richard Raney's one-man show at the Leopold Gallery last night. Richard's figures have an exquisitiveness and a joy to them, and often have their backgrounds threaded through into the foregrounds and into the clothing. I like the flatness of the clothing contrasted with the depth of the figures - much like Klimt would do.

As well as figures there were a number of smaller works - oils and pastels on paper, most in an Urban Landscape series that I particularly liked, featuring smudged doors, windows and staircases. I'd like to see that theme developed in bigger paintings. Earlier the KC Star had run a feature on Raney.

Afterwards I cycled downtown to the Crossroads, it being First Friday, but with the cold temperatures the crowds were small. Except at my former employers at Bloomsday which was throwing its Christmas party.

Friday, December 02, 2005

Browser Borders

In the interests of consistency and aesthetics, the default blue border around images that are links has been removed. To date what you saw varied from page to page and from thumbnail image to thumbnail image, depending on your browser of choice. Now, whether you're using Opera, Firefox, IE, Mozilla, Safari, or Netscape, you should see, for example, the drawings thumbnails sit magically on the white background almost as if they have no edges.

Thursday, December 01, 2005

Main Street, Kansas City

Had occasion to take the Max - Kansas City's own GPS-empowered rapid bus - today down to Crown Center.

I've long had a plan to do a series of series of paintings (that's a lot of series) based on Kansas City's streets - particularly the North-South streets. Looking out the window in today's crisp sunlight, the series that would be Main Street became much clearer in my head. It will focus on the stretch between the Plaza and 31st Street, and be glimpses of details of buildings, like windows and brickwork.

Under the perfect blue sky in 27 degrees Fahrenheit that had a so-called RealFeel of 16 degrees (that's -3 feeling like -9 for the Centigrade afficionados), Main Street looked rather good in Midtown, and on the return journey I chose the very buildings and details of that would form the series.

And Here's The Stuff I Wrote Earlier:

  • November 2005
  • December 2005
  • January 2006
  • February 2006
  • March 2006
  • April 2006
  • May 2006
  • June 2006
  • March 2007
  • August 2008
  • October 2008
  • November 2008
  • December 2008
  • February 2009
  • March 2009
  • April 2009
  • July 2009
  • September 2009
  • April 2010
  • May 2010
  • June 2010
  • October 2010
  • December 2010
  • September 2012
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