Thursday, March 26, 2009

How Did We Lose Our Common Sense?

The Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act (CPSIA) is a law that was passed last year and went into effect in February of 2009 for products manufactured after November 12, 2008. Such an outcry has resulted that a minimal version of the law is currently being enforced, with more the stringent requirements to follow in August. At that time the lead paint limit for products intended for children under 12 will be lowered from the current 600 ppm to 90 ppm. At the present time, third-party testing for currently effective limits of lead by an accredited third-party is required for products manufactured after December 21, 2008. To learn more about this act, go to the official website of the Consumer Product Safety Commission’s CPSIA site at .

The CPSIA happened partly in reaction to the toys, jewelry and other items imported from China containing lead and pthalates and partly because of the U.S. Government’s ever-increasing recalls of dangerous toys in the recent past. Make no mistake, the last thing we ever need is dangerous toys for our babies and children. Yes, we need to be assured that imported and mass-produced items contain no harmful substances that would make children sick or harm them.

On the other hand, and considering that lead and children have co-existed in the world for a very long time, most of us who are breathing right now are not aware of having suffered any ill consequences from it. No one denies that children have been harmed from eating or chewing on items that have been painted with lead or contain lead; however, in historical terms it is a relatively recent discovery that lead harms children. Lead-based wall paint was taken off of the market in the USA for that reason. It is incomprehensible to us now that anyone would still be painting toys with lead-containing paint; however, the government felt it had to strengthen the laws because products containing lead did get into our children’s hands.

But this act takes protection to the absurd, and it is hitting the small producer of handmade items for children extremely hard, because it requires testing that is way too expensive for them to do. Why not require the original manufacturer of the goods or at the very least the importer to test and not the middleman who bought the goods to make their products from? As an example, I just cannot believe anyone ever intended that the home sewer of baby dresses or crocheted booties should be the victims of this ridiculous legislation. Why not require the maker of the yarn or the buttons or the fabric used to make a garment to do the testing instead?

To me, one of the most absurd facets of this law is that old books printed prior to 1985 contain lead in the printed type and that those books should be destroyed. Talk about a total overreaction: this is just incomprehensible. Libraries, already short on funding, are falling under the law’s requirements to have old books “intended” for use by children either tested by third-parties or destroyed. If this were a valid requirement, then all of us who learned how to read prior to 1985 would be morons staggering in the streets, clutching at our throats with our eyes popping out from the deadly lead in the type of our textbooks and all of the other vintage books we read in our lifetimes.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Just Discovered - I've Gone Blue!

"Curacao In Venice" [SOLD]

Unconsciously, once again, I have found myself painting most everything in the same triad of colors. The last time I did this, it was red, yellow, orange: that was my Orange Period. This time I'm stuck in the blue, violet, green combo. It takes awhile to become conscious of this, because not absolutely everything comes out in these colors, especially landscapes. However when I look over the body of work I have created for the last month, it is readily apparent that I am in my Blue Period. Hm!

I remember from studying Art History that certain famous artists had their red, blue, green, purple or yellow periods. I thought at the time that this was awfully pretentious! So coming into my second color phase - at least that I've actually noticed, and it amuses me to have discovered this. It's most curious. Have any of you other artists ever experienced this?

The photo above at the left is of my painting entitled "Curacao In Venice." It was even more orange before I gave it a treatment of purple long after it was first painted along with the rest of the orangies.

Here are some of my latest (my bluies). First, on the right is "Abstract Pansies."

Back again on the left is "Before You Were Awake."

On the right, "Connection" [SOLD]

And my latest painting which is entitled "Connection." I did three that day, but that was a conscious thing that they were all the same colors, because I had seen a painting done by a friend of mine in those same colors. Her painting was a different subject and considerably larger, but the color combination totally resonated with me. Why is that? Looking back I can see it's the Blue thing.

It's proof for me that when we paint or write poetry and who knows what else that our inner thoughts and emotions enter into the product.

Except for Curacao in Venice(sold) and Connection(sold), the other two are available in my Etsy shop. You can click on the photos for more information.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Blogging Guilt

Every day that goes by is fraught with guilt about not updating my blog. I know how important it is to establish and maintain a regular habit of writing something. As a visual artist, it is also essential to include a photo of either my art, a technique or something valuable to artists reading the blog. At least this is my goal. Therefore blog guilt sets in when day after day passes and I haven't made a contribution here.

However, being an artist involves far more than just blogging, running an Etsy shop, checking email, reading other people's blogs or other types of social networking. And these are just the web-based activities. I sometimes feel like I need to clone myself in order to keep up. When do I just get to paint????

The following article really hit home for me. It was written by Alyson Stanfield of ArtBizBlog fame. Hope you will enjoy it and take time to think about it.

Return to Your Art

When times are good, artists make art.
When times are bad, artists make art.
When time stands still, artists will continue making art.

Artists who are true to themselves do not make art for the marketplace, but for themselves--to start a dialogue with their viewers, their fans, and the world. They make art because they have something to say that is best said not with words, but through a creative act. They make art because they have to. The marketing stuff can come later.

Through this newsletter and the Art Biz Blog, I give you ideas for promoting your art and building your business. Too many ideas. You can't possibly implement these ideas as fast as I generate them. And I'm sure I'm just one of the sources you're hearing from.

The result of all these ideas may be a feeling of overwhelm. The result of overwhelm can lead to forgetting about your art. And the result of forgetting about your art can either be no art to market or art you're not confident in.

Never neglect the studio. Always return to your art. The disciplined practice of making art is mandatory. Everything else is optional.

Know This . . .
Artists make art--regardless.

Think About This . . .
Have you been neglecting your studio time?

Do This . . .
Return to your art. Remember why you are an artist. Recall the thrill of your best work. Hold on to that sensation and revisit it when you're feeling overwhelmed or uninspired. Just get back to the studio!

Share your thoughts and listen to the podcast on the Art Biz Blog.

Art Biz BlogDon't miss these posts on the blog:

  • Podcast: Promote an out-of-town event

  • We need art now more than ever

  • Artist-inventors who have changed the world

  • Arbitrary art grant

Read everything and sign up for updates at

Copyright 2009 Alyson B. Stanfield. Alyson takes the mystery out of marketing your art and making more money as an artist. Visit to get articles just like this one delivered to your inbox.

Monday, March 9, 2009

Small Beachy Watercolors

"Exile Island" [SOLD]
This is one of my latest beachy watercolors that I've been painting this week. I call this one Exile Island. I guess I've watched entirely too much Survivor, because the name just seemed to fit. While I'm thinking about it, how come they always pick the most beautiful-looking locations that have such horrible weather? I mean it rains on those people most every night, and of course, they have nowhere to go, so they're just miserable and wet. That must be a prerequisite in picking locations.

Anyway, this painting seemed to name itself. Most of the time I agonize over titles. If nothing clever presents itself, I can sit there and groan over naming a painting for an inordinate amount of time, only to come up with something dopey like "Red Boat." I think I need a Painting Namer - now there's a whole new profession!

These paintings I'm presently working on will be for sale in my local locations - at least for now.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Fun With Acrylics - ACEO Style

Abstract Flowers 2[SOLD] Abstract Flowers 3[SOLD]Abstract Flowers 1 (Available)

For these latest three ACEOs I started with backgrounds of Napthol Red Medium, Naples Yellow and Chromium Oxide Green Golden Liquid Acrylics combined with White Gesso. These three colors make some lovely shades when combined. As soon as the backgrounds dried, I drew floral images on each of the ACEO-sized pieces of watercolor paper. This size is always a constant 2 1/2 by 3 1/2 inches. Using some darker green combinations of the same three colors and changing the colors frequently from a more green to a more red combination of these colors, also varying intensity and temperature, I painted negatively around my drawings. Then I putzed around a bit to paint in stamens and centers.

The colors proved difficult to correct the photo and adjust for accuracy, but I finally achieved a reasonable likeness. The images look quite nice together against a background of neutral rice paper with a border courtesy of Corel Paint Shop.

ACEOs and Note Cards '>to view ACEOs later in my Etsy Shop in my ACEO Artist Cards Section!

Monday, March 2, 2009

Winds of March Sale!

I decided to have a sale of some of my pieces that have been in my Etsy Shop, DreamON, for quite some time. It's time to get some new artwork going in; and clean up, clean out, sweep out with the March winds - some things that have been lurking there in the corner unnoticed. So I'm posting a few of them here.

They're all great buys at their newly reduced prices!!! Please go check out my Winds Of March Sale Section.
Click here to be transported. The first one is called
A Bit Squirrely.

This next one is titled
Heceta Lighthouse. The Heceta Head Lighthouse as seen in the distance from the twisting highway along the Oregon coast makes you want to get up close, but the traffic moves right along, and before you know it, you've driven right past. My original painting has real seaweed collaged onto it now.

This next one is called
Kitty Daze. For whatever reason, I've always loved this one. The bright and cheerful colors with the cute little sandpaper kitty collaged on just appeals to me.

I had just discovered that the foam thingy that came with my ultra-spendy Stein Mart watch made a wonderful stamping tool that I have gleefully used and used until it just fell apart. It's a happy painting. And, you know, I just love kitties!

The last one in the post is
Wind For Sale. It is all one painting that has a black gesso border dividing it into three panes onto which collaged pieces add a slight, colorful quality to the otherwise all black and white. It had a moonlit marina theme. It's not meant to be realistic, but to have that special quality that moonlight casts on objects in darkness.

There are eleven pieces of artwork in the special Winds of March Sale. You will find them all in my Etsy shop at

My Workspace

My Workspace
On The Pier At St. Simons Island

New Art, New Techniques, Hints, Thoughts, Photos and More

Stay tuned! For purchase information about any of the artwork, check out my Etsy store -- DreamON or send me email (conversation) by pressing the contact button at