Sunday, December 19, 2010

From Russia with ART




I am happy that my artwork has been very popular in RUSSIA.

Quite a few orders have come through and thanks to Google Translate I am able to respond in RUSSIAN!!

Here are several designs from Irinia (mote777.blogspot.com) in Russia featuring the exguberant use of colors that I have come to expect from Russian artists.

Maybe its the long cold grey winters?

Many years ago I had a chance to visit the Soviet Union and speant time in Moscow, St. Petersburg and several other cities.

Russian art is marvelous-they are reknowned for their beautiful enamel work, painted wooden nesting dolls, music boxes, Zostovo painting and more.

Whatever media they work in color is most important next to supurb craftsmanship.

I hope you enjoy Irinas work.

Thank You IRINA for sharing....

and now in Russian (Cyrillic alphabet)...



Я рад, что моя работа была очень популярна в РОССИИ.

Немало заказов прошли через и благодаря Google Translate я в состоянии ответить на РУССКОМ языке!

Вот несколько конструкций из Irinia (mote777.blogspot.com) в России с изображением exguberant использование цветов, что я пришел, чтобы ожидать от русских художников.

Может быть, его долгой холодной зимы серый?

Много лет назад у меня была возможность посетить Советский Союз и speant время в Москве, Санкт-Петербурге и ряде других городов.

Русское искусство есть дивно-они славятся своей красивой работы эмали, расписные деревянные матрешки, музыкальные шкатулки, Zostovo картины и многое другое.

Независимо от средств массовой информации они работают в цвет является наиболее важным рядом с supurb мастерства.

Надеюсь, вам понравится Ирины работы.

Спасибо ИРИНА для обмена ....

Friday, December 17, 2010

From Teresa at Christmas



I recvd these pictures from card artist Teresa Manchas...what a delightful dimensional card she has created.

I don't have any other information to share with you about Teresa so I have asked her to comment on this post with any blog or website info.

I especially like it when designers add extra dimension (no pun) to their work and go beyond flat or embellished surfaces to create an item that really is a stand along work of paper sculpture.

I am a huge fan of Robert Sabuda and his partner Matthew Reinhart both of whom are master paper artists.

They are really promoting the pop up book and cards as an art form and trying to get people into paper engineering-I hope many of the taleneted designers who have shared their work like Teresa will check out their website HERE.

It seems to me that digi stamps and paper crafting in general can go to much higher levels in the hands of designers who stretch their limits and move to the next level by adding dimensional or pop up elements to their work.

I googled "How to make a pop up card" and found MANY links withn tutorials and videos on the subject besides Sabuda so I hope in 2011 we will be seing this sort of paper engineering becoming a big part of card design.

Thanks to Teresa Manchas for sharing her delightful work-she is the first to receive my new 2011 Thank You sheet.

Monday, December 6, 2010

It's that time of Year...




It's that time of year when the world falls in love
Ev'ry song you hear seems to say "Merry Christmas,
"May your New Year dreams come true"
And this song of mine in three-quarter time
Wishes you and yours the same thing, too

I’m so sorry the Holiday season isn't easy and wonderful for everyone.

I have been having a great time this year making little things for people and shopping…the lights are up outside and even though I didn’t do a lot of inside décor this year I did enough to keep the feeling going.

I’ve heard many sad stories this year, especially from artists and crafters who feel inadequate to let their handmade items compete with store bought or even to try to make things for people since they feel they won’t be appreciated…sad.

What we do and what we make with our hands are gifts that come from our hearts.
We are literally sharing a part of ourselves when we give the gift of our creativity.
Too often people take that for granted, I know, it’s assumed that making something was the easy cheap way out.

I found ways this year to combine my creativity with a more commercial produce and you see some examples here on my blog.

I “Zazzeled” up some ornaments and mugs as gifts for friends and acquaintances-with the half price, free shipping offers online the items are both personal and affordable.

I used 300 dpi digital collages sized appropriately to make a variety of items-even a tie for my Brother in Law-all of which in some way incorporate my collages, family photos or both.

I made collaged ornaments and hangings for a few special friends the old fashion way-scissors, glue and paper-adding tinsel and bent wire hangers for a nostalgic, vintage feel-many I tucked inside a Christmas card just as a remembrance-with the digital collages it’s easy to make a number of designs so you have the perfect theme for each recipient.

I even used my own digi-stamps to create some items like the SKATING Santa T shirt shown on the Zazzle panel-I combined him with an altered photographic background to achieve a sort of “Animated Film” feel.

I hope each of you has found ways to make traditions that you can look forward to each year?

If not it’s never too late to start now.

My Niece and her Fiancé come down and put my lights up for me and we have dinner at CHEN’S a local old fashioned Chinese Restaurant with great food and a funky atmosphere that reminds us of Ralphie and the CHRISTMAS STORY movie (You’ll shoot your eye out).

I take my wonderful neighbors to dinner at a place called “The North Woods Inn” It’s built like a log cabin complete with permanent snow and icicles and at the Holidays they go overboard decorating and lighting the inside so it’s really a holiday wonderland with GREAT cheese bread.

I will have several dinners with friends over the next weeks each one with its own set of memories of years past.

I have already watched every version of A CHRISTMAS CAROL I could find-This week I am going to see a live play version which should be fun.

I will spend Christmas Eve visiting my special friends in the valley, I will go to dinner at the Odyssey which overlooks the San Fernando Valley-the lights are like stars and they have a most jolly buffet.

Christmas day it’s on to Family where I will be surrounded by my niece and nephews, my sister and BIL and their loveable Labs.

Along the way I listen to Holiday tunes, the IL DIVO Christmas album-anything to keep me in the spirit of the season.

I want to take a moment to THANK each of you who has in some way supported me and my work during this past year and send earnest best wishes that the Holidays are wonderful, magical, inspirational, loving-in short, whatever you want them to be.
May your days be Merry and Bright….

Friday, November 26, 2010

Now taking applicants for my DESIGN TEAM


I guess it’s time so I am forming an ELITE DESIGN TEAM to help showcase my digi stamps.

I will be having SIX designers on the team; one space has already been filled by Elaine Lienhart.

The remaining five will need to be unique in their style, meticulous in their work and offer something special by being a part of this team.

Design team members will receive free digis - not single designs but full sheets, free of charge, before they are available at my shop.

I will also be asking design team members for input on the designs that will help me decide what does and doesn’t make it to public offering, what themes should be offered and ways to improve my products by adding additional images or elements.

I will ask for one design per member per month using my digis with an assigned theme or color but any DT member may submit more for consideration-I will also occasionally ask that each DT member use the same image as all the other DT members to show how diverse the handling of one image can be (repeated, flipped, cropped etc).

I will link my blog with the blog or website of each DT member so visitors can enjoy all the work they do-I will also provide a button that MUST be displayed on DT members’ blogs to link them to this blog and identify them as Elite Design Team Members.

I am especially interested in those designers who can venture outside the paper crafts box and use my images on a variety of projects like wearables, gifts, wood etc.

I am also especially interested in those designers who use Adobe CS3 or better and are adept with digital manipulation of images.

Anyone interested may submit 3 jpegs of their top project designs using digis by email to me at rickstdennis@yahoo.com .

Please be sure you have watermark or copyright protected your designs.
Designers not selected will be notified and their jpegs will be deleted to protect their work.

I will also be judging the quality of the photos you send-Elaine does beautiful photos of her work, well lit and with props and accessories that compliment the items-these are the kinds of photos I am looking for.

There is no deadline and I will notify designers who apply and are chosen to be a part of the team-the first DT project will be due in Mid January 2011.
I will not fill the team simply to have it filled I will only add people who I truly feel will be an asset to this group and have a unique aesthetic and top work.

PLEASE do not apply if you cannot participate for at least 6 months as a DT member-Thanks!

Look forward to seeing some great project submissions and feel free to alert friends who may be interested in being considered.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Stampin With the Dragon CHALLENGE





Be sure to hop on over to STAMPIN WITH THE DRAGON today (Friday, Nov.26th, 2010) and get in on her challenge contest where the contest is an EXCLUSIVE one of a kind digi sheet featuring a collection of whimsical DRAGONS which will go to ONE lucky winner!!!

The sheet features 3 design s which are being used by her Design Team to make samples and 3 other designs which will be available ONLY on the winners digi sheet.

Like Stitchy Bear-once the challenge is over and the sheet is mailed these designs will never be available again as stamps.

I always make a few new friends from these events...so welcome if you haven't seen my work before.

SWTD graciously loaned me a couple preview designs from her DT to share with you here so enjoy-I haven't offered too much fantasy based content in digis because I thought dragons and unicorns were sorta yesterdays business but if you'd like to see more in that or any area on my ETSY shoppe be sure and leave a comment letting me know or drop me a note via ETSY.

Thanks again to STAMPIN WITH THE DRAGON and their Talented DT for sharing the preview design images!

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

NEW STAMPS from IBFS

I BRAKE FOR STAMPS has just released the 2nd group of stamps in their exclusive line featuring my designs.

I think they did a great job!

There are more to come so stay tuned!!

Happy Thanksgiving all!

BE SURE to check back on FRIDAY after Thanksgiving when STAMPIN WITH THE DRAGON will be featuring exclusive artwork from me on their challenge blog!!

Monday, November 15, 2010

MY LIFE - In 1,000 words or less

I have had an interesting life-varied and interesting…
Art and theatre are recurring themes-I have done both since an early age.
Theatre has gone by the wayside at this point other than ATTENDING a performance and the occasional odd review for a local paper.
ART continues to center my life and into it I pour a huge amount of my creative fervor.
I also like movies (films too).
I started working at the age of 12.
I did sketches for my Aunt’s ready to wear clothing business in the L A garment district.
Interesting isn’t it that at that age I had a sense of style that was worthy of being a sketch artist designer? I find it so anyway.
I did plays and designed sets and programs and program covers, acted supporting and lead roles even directed and stage managed before I was out of high school.
I discovered one day to my astonishment that I could sing-I had an enormous voice of some quality.
Later the pundits would say world class; A world class voice was wasted in favor of ostrich feathers and rhinestones when I abandoned show biz.
I had performed in, designed or directed over 100 productions; theatre had begun to bore me.
Those who want to know how I managed to do so many productions in a short period of time forget that OPERA singers can literally appear in 3 or 4 productions a week during their amateur and even semi-pro careers.
I often was in Santa Monica on Tuesday, Beverly Hills on Thursday and somewhere south on the weekend essaying a variety of roles in various productions.
Meanwhile in my off hours I would be sketching a new “Hoffmann” for some company and a production of “Little Foxes for another.
I designed everything from SUPER GRAND OPERA like AIDA at Redlands Bowl (complete with animals) to production shows with lots of flash and bare bosoms to straight plays and musicals and even some experimental theatre productions.
If I could have made a living at it I might have been a milliner-I loved making hats and head dresses.
In the early 70’s I was a professional soloist at a famous Los Angeles Church in the old Philharmonic building downtown (Weds eve and Sunday mornings) I was on the faculty of the LACCD Opera Theatre at ELACC Tuesday and Thursday evenings teaching and designing sets, costumes and make-ups and designed confections for Basking Robbins during the days.
Later from 1976 to 1979 I gave VIP tours at Universal and met some amazing people like Jean Genet, Signe Hasso, Lotte Lenya, Jane Fonda, Jimmy Carter…the list goes on for days.
In my spare time I illustrated poetry and was commissioned to do pen and ink drawings for various fans and the occasional “Celeb”.
Like many artists and actors I would try to keep a rent paying gig as much as I could and I did many odd (and far flung) jobs over the years.
I waited tables in some better restaurants, ran a telecommunications company and managed 2 subsidiaries on the side, did art shows, designed crafts, craft kits, dolls and t-shirt designs and even managed a nightclub and gift shop on the Redondo Pier-A very young Ellen De Generous appeared there for a week as did Margaret Smith and many others.
Whatever I did I always gave art my attention for at least part of the time.
I sang less and less over the years and gave my last staged performance as Sharpless in Madame Butterfly at Opera 500 Laguna Hills in the late 1980s.
The oddest bit of casting in my career found me playing Nick Aronstein in Funny Girl-not something I would ever do again I am much more comfortable as Scarpia or some other villain than as a leading man type.
In the 90s I was a writer, usually on, about and how to do ART. I was the crafts coordinator for a national magazine, wrote several (not too popular) books on decorative painting and faux finishes, contributed to many national magazines including BH&G and I taught at seminars and appeared at trade shows-Television was inevitable.
I did a few cable shows and was just getting ready to launch a show of my own when I was sidetracked by family illness and problems of various kinds.
Frankly, I didn’t want to be on TV carrying a show and worrying about ratings.
I sold shrunken heads and rubber cobras at Disneyland and later carved people’s names on leather items while wearing really bad costumes-that lasted 3 years and is my previous rent payer to now.
Here I am today in a new arena doing DIGI stamps-a couple months back I had no idea what a digi stamp was-I am having a great time and planning what I want to do next.
I have negotiated the contract for hard stamps now I would like to get back into licensing my work for various products like T shirts and collectables-at least I think that’s what I want to do.
Friends continue to try and coerce me into performing but my voice while still huge is not dependable so L A Opera will probably NOT be on my agenda other that as an audience member.
I wrote this because someone asked me what I HADN’T done in my life time.
I have been an ARTIST, DESIGNER, FLORIST, SINGER, ACTOR, MAKE UP ARTIST, MILLINER, STAGE HAND, DIRECTOR, LIGHTING DESIGNER, CHURCH SOLOIST, WEDDING SINGER, ICE CREAM SCOOPER, MANAGER, TOUR GUIDE, TEACHER, MANAGING DIRECTOR, WAITER, MAITRE’D, TELEVISION PRESENTOR, SPOKESMODEL, PRODUCT DESIGNER, CORPORATE EXECUTIVE VICE PRESIDENT, NIGHTCLUB MANAGER, GIFTSHOP OWNER AND BUYER, WINDOW DRESSER, PATIENT ADVOCATE AND AT LEAST 3 OR 4 THINGS THAT HAVE SLIPPED MY MIND.
All things considered-it hasn’t been dull!

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Operation Write Home

Because people are still blog hopping I have extended the OWH special for a day or two-visit my etsy shoppe for savings on spring stamps and a special OWH sampler sheet with purchase!

Friday, November 12, 2010

Operation Write Home BLOG HOP








I am so happy to be #14 on the OPERATION WRITE HOME blog hop!

I hope you will enjoy the cards especially made for this event by
Elaine Lienhart and Jacqueline Dennis.

Both designers used images from my LIL FOLKS spring Holiday digi sheet which also has images suitable for St Patrick’s Day and Easter.

Just a few pieces of information OWH has asked us to share.

The deadline for CHRISTMAS CARDS has passed-if you must make them to feel in the holiday spirit there’s always next year.

Right now VALENTINE’S DAY is the next card group to ship-hence the Valentine theme for this blog hop event.

Deadline to have your cards in to OWH is JANUARY 7th, 2011.

Every day cards, Note Cards, Birthday, anniversary etc are all welcome you don’t just have to do holiday themes and remember we need cards suitable for both MEN and WOMEN.

OWH means that our wonderful armed services personnel deployed around the globe receive beautiful, handmade cards with envelopes that they can use to write those special messages home-no rummaging through some dusty PX or searching the shops of KABEL or Baghdad for a card to send.

ALSO please vote for OWH in the Joann's CRAFT FOR A CAUSE contest-we would love to see this worthy cause winn first place this year-the prize money will assure that packing supplies and mailing costs for the hundreds of pounds of cards that go out every year will be met for several years to come!!

In honor of today’s BLOG HOP I have an OWH SPECIAL on my
ETSY SHOPPE-you can purchase the LIL’ FOLKS SPRING HOLIDAYS digi sheet that was used for these beautiful samples, my SIMPLY SPRING SHEET AND a third digi sheet sampler available ONLY for today’s event!

Retail value is $30.00 but you will be paying 33 1/3% less and receiving 3 sheets of images for only $20.00 bucks-that’s today only so be sure to take advantage of this special event offer.

ALSO watch for a new spring angel design download on OWH blog. I am always happy to donate to this very worthwhile cause.

I hope ALL of you are voting for OWH in the JOANN’S Craft for a Cause contest-I want OWH to take home the big prize which will go a long way in making sure the cards keep going to faraway places for the benefit of the armed forces.

I will be blogging more about this but I did want to add in the exciting news that I have signed a contract with I BRAKE FOR STAMPS to produce an exclusive line of HARD STAMPS designed just for them.

Clowns, Mermaids and other favorite designs will be included-the clowns are currently available on their website.

I will continue to do my DIGI stamps and I thank all of you for your support and acceptance of the new guy on the block-ME-I love doing the designs and I’m always eager to hear about your ideas for images you would like me to add over at my ETSY shoppe.

An early happy VALENTINES DAY to you all and remember sharing what you love to do by sharing your creativity is a great way to show your support for the men and women of all nations serving as our allies and from our own country to help keep us safe and free.

Despite what you feel about the wars the people who are on the front lines deserve to know we care for them and thank them for their brave service.

THANKS AGAIN to ELAINE and JACQUELINE for the “heartfelt” designs you can find their blogs in my featured blogs section on the lower left of this page!!! While you're doen there say HI to FIGARO-see if you can get him to purr :-)



To visit JAN at SHE'S GONE STAMPIN click HERE to reach her blog hop entry.

FRIDAY

Dont Forget the big VALENTINES BLOG HOP tomorrow for Operation Write Home!!!
Be sure and visit FIGARO down at the bottom of this page-see if you can make him PURRRRR...
He's the absolutly PURRFECT pet!

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Thanks DESIGNERS


I have had such a terrific response to my ETSY shoppe from sponsoring challanges and donating images to worthy groups like OPERATION WRITE HOME.

BTW OWH is one of the finalists in the JOANN'S Craft for a Cause contest and it would be wonderful to see them win.

OWH is 100% volunteer operated and has virtually zero costs for advertising etc-they do need help with postage and shipping materials.

All the cards are donated by crafters and designers and they are provided to service men and women deployed around the world free of charge so they have nice cards to use when they write home-what a great group!!!

You can vote once a day for them to win the FIFTY THOUSAND DOLLARS which will mail an avalanche of cards over the next years at the JOANN'S site.

I want to thank JACQUELINE DENNIS (http://jacqui47.blogspot.com/) for her very unique and wonderful cards using images from my LET IT SNOW DIGI SHEET-many designers took advantage of the special I have posted offering LET IT SNOW and SIMPLY CHRISTMAS as a package for 25% off.

Jacqueline has a wonderful blog which features really in depth tutorials and excellant photos on how she creates her cards---be sure and visit her while you are blog surfing!



I also have recvd some wonderful samples from STITCHY BEAR'S Design Team.



This hat design is from my FASHIONS sheet and is also included on the DESIGNER THANK YOU SHEET which I send out to people who send me useable images of their work which I consider OUTSTANDING examples of projects using my images.

I always appreciate seeing what you do with my designs and I also send out a thank you sheet with a sampler of seasonal images when I recv jpegs of your work via email.

I am amazed and pleased that I am so popular in th UK and Europe!

I have had many purchases of my images from overseas especially from the UK but also including Russia, The Czech Republic, Switzerland and Norway to name but a few.

I guess it speaks to the international language of ART which transends borders and is one of our greatest ambassadors around the world.

We who love to CRAFT, DESIGN and CREATE make friends around the world without having to say a word!

THANKS AGAIN to ALL who have shared their work to be enjoyed on my BLOG and ETSY shoppe and I hope to see MANY more examples of your work in the coming months.

My next challange sponsorship is on the STAMPING WITH THE DRAGON blog this month.

The Pumpkin Head card below is from FABULOUS Elaine Lienhart whose work is constantly amazing to me-Thanks Elaine!!

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Carousels and Dancing Bears


It has been so much fun recieving samples back from Artists all over the world sharing their finished projects using my DIGI images.

Mina Hartley shared her CAROUSEL HORSE card-delicatly coloured and combined with papers and ribbons to make a finished item I would have been proud to create myself.

I love the use of the unexpected colours and textures combined with the expert handling of the embellishment of the image.

I find the best cards are the one where my art and what the artist creating the projects does compliment and enhance each other!

Meanwhile I recieved a note from Rebakah Lane, one of the Stitchy Bear Design Team, that she had entered her projects done originally for Stitchy's challenge using my images in another challenge and won top honors!

Well done you!

I love the way she used the images and made them her own by photoshopping the bear down to the head and flipping it for the tin.

It shows how versetile digis can be and what a good investment they are for crafters.

Thanks to both of these ladies for sharing their work!

Monday, October 11, 2010

The BUSINESS of being an artist-Yet ANOTHER rant

I have to tell you I’m astonished, a bit disheartened but at the same time somehow not surprised at how provincial the world of the online entrepreneur seems to be.

When I launched (like literally at the speed of light) into the world of the DIGI stamp, I had no clue as to even what a Digi stamp was.

My friend Dee Moran, always eager to see other succeed, gave me a nudge in that direction and I donated some images to Operation Write Home a wonderful group of generous people who provide handmade greeting cards and envelopes to our Troops overseas so that when they need a card to send home it is neither in some foreign language or some random, generic greeting supplied by the local PX.

The participants send literally hundreds of cards that they make individually or at card making parties that are available at no cost to the troops-a well intentioned and fantastically supported endevour that I hope goes on so long as we have our men and women serving us in foreign lands.

But I digress…

With the establishment of my ETSY shoppe along came the offers to “sponsor” various contests and challenges on the many blogs and websites that further the cause of stamping, card making etc., etc.

I am pretty much overly generous (not tooting my own horn but parroting the comments of friends and acquaintances who are irritated by the fact that my generosity makes them look like misers).

I was raised on sharing is caring and what I donate furthers ME since any advertising (well placed) is good advertising.

My first encounter went incredibly smoothly, I sent a formal contract for the use of my images, it was digitally signed and returned and the contest went on-actually is going on as we speak.

Business as I am used to business being done-with formal agreements and contracts so everyone knows what the terms and agreements are and how the event will play out.
Perhaps it’s because I started in the art business on the correct foot.

Years ago when I was approached to license my art work I took the contract I was presented to a wonderful art lawyer named (as I remember) Alan Ziff over on Wilshire Blvd-nice guy, very supportive and helpful.

For whatever his one hour fee was, he sat me down and explained law, copyright and many other “contractual-isms” that I would need to know to survive in the shark filled waters of art licensing and contracts in general.

Money, exceedingly well spent.

Of late, when I established the ETSY shoppe I asked several people whose opinions I value to take a look and give me feedback and they did-my brother-in-law the high powered accountant and an art friend, Linda Marino (a very intelligent and straight forward woman) at the top of the list for comments and suggestions quickly put into practical application.

So I am a person-an artist-who has put to one side the long hair and ripped blue jeans of my hippie days in favor of doing it the right way from the inception.
Do it right FIRST and you won’t have to tap dance when called to the carpet later, it will all be on some notarized document and thus no one can argue a misunderstanding.

Contracts, if you understand them and the concept that they can’t be one sided, they must protect equally all parties, are a GOOD thing (thank you Martha).

So along comes contest number two and I never thought there could be a problem since the first one had gone so smoothly.

I did the designs for the event and then asked for a signature on the agreement-well you would have thought I was asking for a million dollars in bond money instead of simple due diligence and an understanding of the agreement and terms for use of my artwork.

I, after all, am the one handing over several hundreds of dollars worth of goods in exchange for their use in YOUR contest-what is your “I am giving you nothing except some advertising that costs me NOTHING” problem?????

We are a litigious society.

We “sue” each other for little or no reason because the courts allow it and that’s why the courts are full of “dismissed” verdicts and hallway agreements before the claim is dropped in lieu of settlement.

A CONTRACT, however flimsy the ether upon which it is written, can side rail such litigation and save you problems-that’s why I LIKE them.

I am always a bit suspicious of those who immediately get nervous when they read a simple “terms of agreement” contract written in simple language and find fault with signing it.

If you intend to do business above board and as you SAY you are going to do it you should have no problem protecting ME while in the pursuit of your enterprise.

I suppose I am a bit of a Pollyanna on some level and the “feed bag” agreements (or worse yet “he said, she said” verbal contract) are now the way to insure that there will be a problem and a court case and lawyers will ensue…a sad, inevitable, road to DRAMA which many prefer over doing things in the correct manner.

As with many things blogged, you can tell I am once again annoyed by my fellow artsy folk and their disdain for anything like “doing business” over “going with the flow”.
I don’t fight the current anymore than I must but (big BUT here) I refuse to be the willing victim in some bizarre scheme where my art work turns up on a candy tin in South Hampton and somehow I agreed to let the person use the design free of charge back in 1982 at an art fair on a street in a beach town the name of which escapes the manufacturer of said candy tin at the time.

IT HAPPENED…so artists and crafters beware- BEWARE – do it like a business, use contracts, pay a knowledgeable lawyer to read over agreements and show you HOW a good contract is written and what it should contain.

Such an agreement doesn’t have to be pages and pages of legalese it simply says I do this, you do that, that’s all there is the end by such and such a date.

As artists, we MUST be business people as well if we intend to do this AS A BUSINESS.
That means paper, record keeping, taxes etc-all the things we eschued at some point in favor of a cash based market.

We must now re-embrace those tenants of good business and face doing things the right way from the start damn the complications and extra effort.

We are none of us, stupid hence the more we prove that as creative individuals we also have a business side the more we will be respected and allowed to eat at the adult table on Holidays.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Stitchy Bear Challenge



RUN over to "http://www.onestitchatatimechallenge.blogspot.com/" and get in on the challenge to win a one of a kind digital stamp sheet featuring 7 designs by ME done especially for this challenge that will be awarded to ONE winner.

Inspired by the "Stitchy Bears" theme it features Holiday Bears doing all sorts of wintery things and is valued at over $200.00usd.

Just follow the challenge rules and theme and you could be the winner.

This sheet will be electronically transmitted to the winner and then will be archived never to be sold (or seen) again-a rare chance to own exclusive art that only you can use in your projects.

Her design team has done some projects using 3 of the images so you can see part of the art work on her site.

Have fun and good luck!!!

Thanks to Elaine Lienhart for two more wonderful inspiration projects using the Give Thanks sheet!

I have added MANY new sheets over at my ETSY shoppe thanks to popular demand for specific image ideas and all are suitable for spring and summer projects )although there are a few that could be worked into Thanksgiving as well).

I am also doing borders and corner pieces so that you can combine images from several sheets to create your finished projects-I hope to see many new design samples on these pagers in the next few weeks!!!

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Give Thanks for the BOUNTY and Bread Pudding!



Ask and ye shall recieve Elaine-this recipe can be googled at Epicurious.com.

I don't use the Frangelico-I add Jack Daniels as I like that tradition Bourbony addition over Rum or the perfumy Frangelico-I do warm the JACK and flame off the alcohol to avoid a sharp note in the finished product.

Elaine's Cornucopia card sample is the perfect accompniment to a recipe for Thanksgiving-I love the "belt" detail she added to her design-just perfect!

PUMPKIN BREAD PUDDING BRULEE


1 3/4 cups half and half
3/4 cup sugar


2 tablespoons (1/4 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
6 slices cinnamon raisin bread (each about 3 1/2 by 3 1/2 inches)


3/4 cup canned pure pumpkin
4 large egg yolks
1 large egg
1 tablespoon amaretto or Frangelico (hazelnut liqueur)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
Pinch of salt


6 tablespoons whipping cream
6 tablespoons (packed) golden brown sugar
print a shopping list for this recipe

PreparationStir half and half and 3/4 cup sugar in medium saucepan over medium heat until sugar dissolves. Remove saucepan from heat; cool mixture to lukewarm.

Spread butter over 1 side of each bread slice. Cut bread into 3/4-inch pieces. Divide among six 1 1/4-cup soufflé dishes or custard cups.

Whisk pumpkin, yolks, egg, liqueur, vanilla, nutmeg and salt in medium bowl until blended. Add half and half mixture; whisk until smooth. Pour pumpkin custard over bread in dishes, dividing equally. Let stand 30 minutes, occasionally pressing on bread to submerge.

Preheat oven to 350°F. Place soufflé dishes in large roasting pan. Pour enough hot water into roasting pan to come halfway up sides of soufflé dishes; tent loosely with foil. Place roasting pan in oven. Bake puddings until knife inserted into center comes out clean, about 45 minutes. Transfer puddings to rack and cool completely. Cover and refrigerate at least 4 hours or overnight.

Preheat broiler. Spoon 1 tablespoon whipping cream over top of each pudding. Sprinkle 1 tablespoon brown sugar over each. Broil puddings until tops are bubbly and golden brown, watching closely to avoid burning, about 2 minutes. Serve immediately.

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Give Thanks Digi Stamps



Its Turkey, stuffing and Pumpkin Mousse cheesecake time (my preferred alternative Thanksgiving delight-I also have an incredible recipe for Pumpkin Bread Pudding Brulee)-the sample card above is from Elaine Lienhart.



This post features some samples of the pilgrim figure from my Give Thanks digi sheet.

Patty Chapman ( http://patty-inkitup.blogspot.com ) was kind enough to share her version which uses the image on the cover of her card and the pilgrim lady on the inside-she gives some great instruction about how she did the card on her blog.






Dee Moran did this charming sample for me-each one has its own charm and personality.



I am so glad that my Thanksgiving digi sheet is inspiring people to do Thanksgiving crafts-an area that I feel is somewhat neglected.

We seem to go from Halloween directly to Christmas so it's nice to take some time to enjoy being thankful for all the bounties of the Fall Holiday Season.

Thanks ladies for sharing your work-I and encourage all artists and crafters to share any work you have done using my digi's, decorative painting books or patterns or articals from craft mags.

Friday, October 1, 2010

BUSY BUSY BUSY


I have been very involved with setting up and stocking the ETSY shop-hopefully I will get news soon about the SUPPLIES portion of the shop so I can get those items up.

There has been a severe shortage of black chipboard since the rains and flooding this past summer-that was one item I wanted to offer since so many people ask me about the wonderful heavy substrates I use and we have had great luck using the same black chip for fat books and other projects.

It will just take time.

I find that opening a shop means you get many requests for donations and I have been trying to fufill those as well since it's good advertising and widens the client base and visibility of ones shop.

Elaine Lienhart sent me the adorable card above-she does wonderful things with my images-she has entered this card apparently in a competition-you can see it on her blog as well-the link is under my blog reccomendations on the lower left on my blogger page.

Dee Moran has also sent me several new samples and I will get those posted ASAP.

I donated an image to the largest scrap booking group in NORWAY-hopefully that will generate some interesting sample cards from their members.

Just LOTS going on.

I am fairly well caught up on all my swaps and projects for the year-I have a couple pending but have cut way back on swapbot and I am hosting a tag book swap-pretty soon it will be time to start on my annual Christmas cards-this year has flown by...

Happy crafting all-I will get back to some serious blogging soon-just distracted now by all thats going on in my world.

Monday, September 27, 2010

New Samples



I have been asking artists who use my DIGIs to share samples of their work-I recieved these samples today from Elaine Lienhart who does wonderful things and also tells you on her blog how she did it and what she used-Its a great blog and I hope you will all pay a visit to her!

http://cardscatscollections.blogspot.com

Enjoy her beautiful cards-Thanks Elaine I appreciate your contributions!!!



The Raggedy Ann is from my Santa's Toyshop sheet and the little girl ion the Tree Costume is from my Let It Snow sheet-I have been adding sheets almost daily and I reward those who send in great samples such as these with a free sheet...hope to see more from Elaine...

Coloring for ADULTS



Digi Stamps are getting more and more interesting as artists find ways to include them in all sorts of cards and crafts.

Pop up cards and intricatly folded cards are but a few of the ways people have found to include "Digis".

I have found that simpler images may be better for a general audience but the real "Colorers" like an intricate design that they can spend time on and enjoy the process of relaxing and coloring.

Dee Moran has been doing samples for me and I hope in the future to have samples from other artists who are using my DIGIS as well!

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

ETSY


I am so greatful to my friend DEE MORAN for pointing m in the direction of DIGI STAMPS and ETSY.

I had actually started working on an Etsy shop last year before Christmas but had just never solidified what to sell exactly.

Dee came up with the Digi idea and it certainly has done well at least in the short run.

Besides selling image sheets which crafters use like any rubber stamp except they print off the image-hand colour it and go from there-I have had all sorts on interest in promoting my goods through scrap book groups and other online art groups from around the world-most recently NORWAY.

It would be nice if this led to some new licenses in rubber stamps, giftwares or t-shirts.

I have already had two offer to take my shop off my hands and let someone else sell the images so I guess people are liking what the are seeing.

I am hoping that over the next weeks I will be able to share some sample of cards etc made by crafters around the world who are using my images in their work.

This post features one of DEE Morans cards using my Halloween Boys mini sheet!

Friday, September 17, 2010

Operation write home

http://www.owhstarsandstamps.org/2010/09/bonus-treat-on-friday-night.html

My dear friend Dee Moran lead me to this wonderful cause and I hope many of you will visit their blog site and read about what they do.

I was inspired to give them a sheet of my Patriotic digital stamps and they are already making good use of them.

It's onderful in our sad, tired old world that people still find a way to ease the way for others and I am so happy to be a small part of this wonderfil organization!!!

Friday, July 30, 2010

TARGET

I started this BLOG…why? To talk about art and other stuff I am interested in…It’s a rambling conversation with myself…

For awhile I was obsessive about blogging but like many things it went from a daily journal to a frequent rant and finally to something I did when I had a thought or an irritation to write about.

Blogging like many things in my life sometimes takes a backseat to other stuff that is more important at the time…I should blog more because it’s a good thing to do.

Shaking out the dusty corners of one’s mind keeps the cobwebs and overloads away.

I have recently been majorally irritated with TARGET.

I love Target…or as we say in French “TAR-JAY”.

I should just hand them a couple hundred dollars as I walk in the door and save time at the end of my visit.

Every time I go into the place they offer me a credit card-you know the drill that happy “You can save 10 percent of you apply…blah, blah, blah…

I have staunchly refused, now they are giving money to candidates with strong anti-gay platforms.

WHY?

Because the candidates are pro-business…

Target, like Disney and other companies has been steadfast in supporting the GLBTIQ community-they seem to keep adding letters it stands for Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, Transgender, Inter-sexed, Queer community…some transgender people don’t like being included because they aren’t Gay they are heterosexuals trapped in the wrong bodies but then there are the men who have sex change operations so they can be Lesbians and the women who have sex change operations to be Straight and then become bi-sexual.

It’s a little like a bad joke.

The inter-sexed do not want to be confused with the Transgendered because the Inter-sexed people are BOTH or neither depending on which one you talk to.

Why QUEER gets in there I still don’t understand it’s a little like slapping the “N” word at the end of the NAACP…to me at least…I think of it along the lines of Kike, Pansy, Wetback…epithets…

There are those who vehemently disagree.

So Target gave $150,000.00 to a PAC who sponsors a specific Republican candidate…then I find out Best Buy did too…crap!

My other favorite store…

If you hear I dispatched myself in a sudden fit of ennui it’s because Michael’s joined in…then there would be no reason to live…

I wrote an impassioned email to Target and I got back a serving of pabulum about their dedication to business and their customers and their employees (not the GLBTIQ ones I guess).

A nice grandma/mom/PFLAG (parents and friends of Lesbians and Gays-Im sure they also care about the BTIQ folks as well) member went viral with a video in which she went into Target and bought a couple hundred bucks worth of stuff using her Target credit card and then immediately returned the stuff-had her card credited and cut up the card in the store vowing to never again darken the door of a Target store.

She thought it would be nice if they gave the same amount of money to a GLBTIQ organization-well, they have and do, and that’s the confusing part.

They also have domestic partner coverages and all sorts of inclusive things just like Disney and the other forward thinkers.

So what do we do…we who are confused and upset by one action that has already been mitigated by another action?

It’s annoying as HELL!

Best Buy at least responded with an “OOOPPPSS are we bad?” to my email, “TarJay” held their ground and said they are pro-business and that is that-don’t shop here if ya don’t like it but meanwhile we are doing good wherever we can…crap!

CRAPPOLA…as my Mother was fond of saying.

I now have no idea where to direct my anger nor what to do with the several Target gift cards I got for my birthday.

I suppose I could go into Target and buy only DISNEY things-Disney being a pro-GLBTIQ company but then they are in effect supporting Target by selling their wares in Target.

I could cash in my Target cards and shop at WALMART----as if…

Maybe I should cash in the Target Cards and send the money to PFLAG?

My Mother always told me that I THINK too much-that is my excuse for blogging less; the Target situation remains unresolved.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

The GOSPEL of ME (As dictated by GOD)



1. And GOD looked at the world in 2010 and GOD was a little dismayed and annoyed

2. There was so much hate and mistrust and greed upon the planet.

3. And GOD said unto the people.”I have been speaking to you but you don’t seem to listen anymore.”

4. But the people went on exercising their egos and didn’t hear GOD speak to them nor did they hear those who brought the intentions and interpretations of what GOD was trying to get across to people and those who heard the voice of GOD were ignored or medicated or institutionalized because everyone knew that all GOD ever had to say had been said 2,000 years ago.

5. GOD was not pleased especially when people blamed GOD for things like disease, pestilence and other sundry occurrences since GOD was busy doing other things and had left people in charge of the Earth and that which dwelled upon it.

6. And GOD said,”Why, when I have given you minds, do you continue to accept the babbling of those who would act in my name in ways of HATE and disunity? I am the GOD of unconditional LOVE and maybe some of those people back in the old days got it wrong, or the translators changed the words up a bit or mistranslated or even changed things for power and greed in themselves which vexed me at the time but I let it slide because I figured the smarter ones of you would influence the weaker. I was mistaken of course since I hadn’t quite planned for mob rule but then I fixed all that. And lo, you still ignored me.”

7. And GOD sent down some new rules that ought to be considered and adopted into people’s lives knowing full well that many would ignore them in favor of the badly translated writings of the past.

8. “Gay people are OK. I find them interesting and entertaining. That whole Sodom and Gomorrah thing had nothing to do with Gay stuff it was a misunderstanding about hospitality and frankly I had nothing to do with the destruction part, which had to do with a meteor that got away from me! M’I bad?”

9. “That whole Leviticus book is really insane I mean SHRIMP an abomination? Don’t work on Sunday? The Rest day was actually Saturday anyway that’s another mistake but what am I going to do smite everyone at Knott’s Berry Farm for helping people have a good time? You people must really think I’m a bad GOD?”

10. “Drop the whole our FATHER thing-as an omnipotent super being I reserve the right to be whatever I want to be-you decide if the seed or the egg is more important? Actually it’s more like the seed of the WOMAN and the water or fertilizer of the MAN to help the seed along isn’t it? Anyway my name isn’t GOD (that’s a generic term) but I haven’t settled on one name so let’s leave it that way for now but trust me I am seldom (if ever) an old white guy with a beard sitting on a cloud throwing thunderbolts.”

11. “I LOVE you all and I don’t send diseases and stuff to punish you, how cruel would that be? You all punish yourselves enough (and each other for that matter) you need to ease up and use the knowledge I have been sending to HELP each other (I always did love the LOVE ONE ANOTHER AS I HAVE LOVED YOU part).

12. “That’s all for now, if you would just work on those things I would be
really pleased.”

13. “Oh. Sorry about cockroaches, that was a bad idea. OOPS!”

AMEN

Monday, June 14, 2010

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Googled

I was remembering that old song-REACH OUT AND TOUCH…seems that I have been driven to reconnect with people from my past.

Back in the early 1970’s I met up with a fellow named Frank Fetta via the LACC Opera workshop.

I was mostly a singer in those days torn between art and music.

I loved to design but also loved to sing.

Actually Frank helped make up my mind about which to do more when he said I didn’t have the temperament of a singer-he was probably right although a world class voice somewhat went to waste.

There was a gang in those days Frank, Joann Zajac (a brilliant soprano with a voice that could stop any production), Gary Fisher, Louis Lebeherz, Gina Hamilton and many others.

We were opera in Los Angeles in many ways.

In those early years of the 1970s we produced Hansel and Gretel, The Magic Flute in the W. H. Auden translation, later at ELACC Tales of Hoffmann, Die Fledermaus, Bayou Legend and more...all on the slimmest of budgets but with style and verve.

In the 80’s we were in Ontario with Westend Opera and the Redlands Festival where amongst many productions we were all together again on AIDA, La Boheme and a fully produced Magic Flute that I directed (Gary had directed the first time).

That last Magic Flute was so special Gina as the third lady, Louis as Sarastro, Gary as Tamino, Frank in the pit-if we had been able to have Joanie as the Queen it would have been very special indeed-and me directing and designing.

A young woman named Elizabeth Biggs (Elizabeth Blancke-Biggs) sang Papagena in that production-she was young, svelte and beautiful with a charming voice and a wonderful stage prescence..

I recently checked to see what she was up to and found that she had stepped into TOSCA at the Met (Metropolitan Opera NYK) in MAY and was a huge success.

I had dropped an email and I received a signed photo and a disc of her Met Tosca excerpts via her agent.

That led me to remember Joannie-I had always hoped to hear her do Tosca (one of my favorite operas) –the last I had heard she was running a B&B in Greece-now it seems she is here in the states teaching voice again in L A, NEW YORK and Vegas.

Googled!!

She sees Frank-and sent several lovely emails to me in response to my “Do you remember me?” query.

I also think I have located Gina-we actually went to school together at Cal Arts-it would be nice to hear from her as well.

I miss music like I miss the theatre.

I have put so much into art but theatre was always my first love and Opera is theatre of the highest form-it has everything music, drama , pageantry and glamour-maybe I still have time to do that again a little in the late part of my life?

Reconnecting is so…I don’t know…exciting and nostalgic certainly but also fraught with little stresses since as we move on and live our lives we change…in changing we must be open to the same changes in others.

Sometimes the hardest thing to bear is someone who has not changed at all or who has changed for the worst.

I had found a friend from the distant past and sadly he was so mentally ill that any sort of a lasting relationship with him was now impossible…another fellow who had been very forthright and ready to take chances had become tentative and reserved…

I wonder how they see me---serious, more serious certainly than I was in those boyish years of the 60’s and 70’s, less temperamental than I was in the 80’s, less self assured than I was in the 90’s…

I have to say that living through Viet Nam, the AIDS plague and so many other events that have culled the roster of friends past/passed, if you are wondering about someone from your past try “Googleing “ them…whatever the outcome the adventure of the search can be worth the outcome.

One must be prepared for people we waited too long to reconnect with who have passed over but there is a special joy in sharing memories with someone who we knew and who knew us “Way back then…”

Monday, May 24, 2010

Copyright for Artists 1A

I need to get off the soap box and back onto art and creativity-subjects which are uplifting and tend not to raise my blood pressure.

I had been asked to post this to an ATC group’s database of info so I thought I should also post it here.

This information is based on my 40 years experience as a working artist and may offer some help to those who need guidelines on copyright and licensing information.

Copyright is a very complicated issue; books have been written on it and lawyers have made their fortunes on it.

Things made for your own use while they impinge on copyright will probably be ignored-sell anything which impinges on anyone’s copyrights, trademarks etc. and you are in danger.

DISNEY especially and many of its subsidiaries are very militant about copyright they go as far as to send people to craft shows to stop people from using their characters and brands-avoid them---they usually give warning but have been known to just file a lawsuit.

Fine art regardless of its age may be subject to copyright by the owner-the Getty Foundation, MMA, MOMA and others have large legal departments-again what is done for fun is fine but sell it and you are on thin ice,

ALWAYS ask an artist before posting any of their work online or elsewhere-what you do as an homage may be the door to the art being lifted by another entity-I had licensed artwork to a cross stitch company and the images printed in catalogs ended up on t-shirts and as rubber stamps---be sure if you do get permission you keep a copy of the email in hard form including all headers-since they are independently dated and timed they have some legal standing to protect you for litigation.

Understand what licensed means-a company can buy the rights to reproduce your work-adapt your work or otherwise draw from your work in a substantial manner.

They buy the rights from you to use your work but you always keep the copyright on your originals.

When the company produces a product (card, t-shirt-rubber stamp etc) they will copyright their item to protect it from others using the design.

A company can buy sole rights, first rights or some exotic version of the two-for instance my most well known piece began as a pen and ink original from which I did a limited edition lithograph-a company licensed the drawing as the basis for a needle work kit, another company wanted to use it as a t-shirt and since my contract with the needlework company expressly licensed only for craft kits after a courtesy call to let them know-I licensed the design to the 2nd company for t-shirts-mugs-totes and other wearable items.

Company 3 contacted me to do a limited edition doll from the drawing-I checked with both of the other companies as a courtesy and then OK’d a license for the dolls and a possible porcelain figurine.

I found out that a company had knocked off the design from the catalog for the needlepoint company and was using the design as a rubber stamp-I was able to force them to stop since I had 3 other companies using the design and I immediately offered the design to a rubber stamp company I worked with to make sure a good version was on the market with a proper license.

By the time I retired this design it had been over exposed but had also made me a fair amount of income for letting other people use it.

It was the first of many items I licensed and since I knew little about copyrights and contracts I found an ART LISCENSING ATTORNEY who helped me with the initial contract and taught me a great deal about the licensing and copyright business-after that initial consultation I was able to do all the rest of my contracts myself-occasionally asking for his help when something new came up.

Paying a professional at the start and doing your homework will save you heartache and money later-every artist should be conversant with how copyrights work and how licensing works-the difference between a trademark and a logo and how to register both-the information is available on the internet for no cost but if you are not fast with “legalese” (the language of the law) hire someone to help you.

ALWAYS keep paper copies of every correspondence you have concerning any legal issue and make sure they are in a safe place-I lost a contract by being too cocky and it cost me thousands of dollars when I couldn’t produce it to sue a company that had defaulted on payments.

ALSO friends are friends but in any business arrangement - WRITE IT DOWN -SIGN IT-have it NOTARIZED and file your copy in a safe place-you may keep your friend that way rather than ending up in small claims court-and don’t exclude relatives---GOOD BUSINESS is GOOD BUSINESS-anyone who isn’t willing to have an agreement down on paper should not be attempting to do business OR is afraid they will have to fulfill their obligations and don’t want a contract in case they fail---PASS on that deal.
Hurt feelings today are better than a court case in a year.

Magazines are copyrighted and may have copyrights on copyrighted material-it becomes very complicated-collage using images from magazine should be more colour and shape than actual cut out pictures-portions of text etc can be used but no more than a certain number of letters or words in a string---do not then scan and reproduce the collage-there are digital copyright laws that add cause for litigation when you copy a copyrighted item-like scanning a hundred dollar bill-avoid it

A safe bet is the use of ephemera sheets (comercially available images sold in shops and online) but be sure they have a copyright and keep the copyright information from the sheet in an envelope-most companies tell you how you may use their items.

I bought a set of copyrighted computer disks from Ebay with thousands of images on them and a warning that the images were protected under copyright-most of the images had been lifted from DOVER publications and were already under their free use agreement.

In this situation I use the images under the DOVER terms since they are a large company and were probably the source for the images anyway-but I avoid using them in any way outside of the Dover Terms and any of the images that I cannot find in the Dover catalog I don’t use at all.

Always protect YOURSELF first.

You may think you have no property or assets worth anyone’s time to sue you but there are people who make a living filing lawsuits-there are court costs and if you lose the winner of the suit can empty your checking account or other such nasty surprises before you are aware of what’s happening.

ALWAYS PROTECT YOURSELF FIRST-if in doubt don’t do it or don’t use it.

SERIES can be a set of TAROT designs, Alphabets, any set of cards that forms a series of images-the 12 days of Christmas etc...I often do series sets, Vampires, Cities etc.

Copyright the individual images and then also copyright the series-check your state laws and federal law for what is acceptable copyright protection for an image where you live-in some states assemblages (even of copyright free material) are not able to be protected under copyright.

The old artist’s trick of sending yourself signed copies in a certified letter and filing the sealed letter hasn’t been holding up in courts lately (2010).

Stray to the side of caution and avoid the possibility of problems-usually you will get a stern letter but in a litigious society some will just come after you with a lawyer and while it will probably come to nothing is it worth the stress and hassles?

What you do with work that you draw or paint by hand yourself is up to you- as I explained above many of my designs have been used by various companies at the same time in different ways-rubber stamps, dolls, t shirts, craft kits-in that case the companies doing the production protect their product while I have granted THEM copyright-if their copyright is infringed I must then support them by protecting my copyright-in an international case this can be horribly expensive.

Not many of us can stop someone in China from producing and selling products made using our artwork but it happens-some may remember that a year or so ago friends went to Prague and found items using designs taken from my website being used and sold on items by street artists-I know that some of my older drawings are done on t shirts in China but are not sold in North America-a friend on a trip to Buenos Aires brought me one back complete with my signature intact

In most cases you just have to shrug and let it go - it’s part of the risk of putting your work out there but it’s also infuriating so before you use someone else’s work as part of your own or even love it enough to share it online consider the ramifications and proceed with caution and consideration.

This information is not posted as legal advice and should be used as a guideline not word of law-the contents are based on my empirical research and as such may include information that is out of date.

It's worth saying again-PROTECT YOURSELF and always lean towards caution when using content with dubious pedegree.

This article cannot be used in whole or part without the express written permission of the author (Rick St Dennis copyright 2010 all rights reserved national and international Seal Beach, CA USA) and is specifically loaned for the purpose of information to members of ATC World on YAHOO GROUPS-May 2010-use without permission is subject to litigation under the laws of the State of California, United States of America, from which the original PDF e document was posted.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

When LOVE and PATIENCE dies...

I gotta tell you-I am sick and tired, disgusted and annoyed, angry….well you get the idea…

I AM NOT HAPPY!

First of all there is one race of Human Beings-not many-that’s why it’s called THE HUMAN RACE.

A cow is a cow is a cow---it may come in various colors and styles but at the end of it all it’s a cow.

People come in all colors and sizes; some have curly hair, some straight, some have lighter skin and some dark many on the curve in between but we are all humans beings and of the human race.

ETHNICITY is another thing…we do notice various cultural, linguistic and other differences…we are too polite to talk about BREEDS-but in fact we are in some ways like other animals, Cats, Dogs, Apes…we come in various breeds, editions…pick a word…but there is only one race.

I am a German, Irish, French mutt but I am an American first…culturally…I don’t think of myself initially as a white guy-I think of myself as a male American-I don’t hyphenate either---what would I be; Mixed breed American?

I am a native of California-I was born here not too far south from where I live now…but much closer to the border of the country to the south-Mexico.

So far as I know, Mexicans (and others from south of our border) are HUMANS-my nieces and nephews are Mexican, German, Irish Mutts-they also do not hyphenate.

I grew up in a place where we were all assimilated AMERICANS though many of us were White Mutts, some were Mexican-European Mutts and some Asian-one or two African…we tended not to notice.

Someone commented recently to me that the biggest issue of TYPE we had was the war between the SURFERS and the BEANERS---interestingly the SURFERS could be of any ethnicity as could the Beaners.

It seems to me the more open and free we became through the 60s and 70s-the more repressed and color conscious we became.

Here we are at the start of the 2nd decade of the 2000s and we are screaming racist at each other because some of us want to close our borders because we can’t support any more illegal immigrants.

“Illegal’s” come in all colors-they are not just people from south of the border-many come from Asia, some from Europe, a few from Canada…regardless, we have too many people, our states and country verge on bankruptcy and still people come here and expect to be cared for-the feel entitled.

There are very few social services for me-a citizen of this country but also a member of the least served demographic in the USA-white males over 50.

I either have too much money, not enough money, not enough hours, not enough years, not enough whatever to qualify for any help.

I am of a tenuous generation-we don’t know if the social programs we paid into will be there to help us throughout the rest of our lives.

We are the baby boomers-we who were born during the good years after the 2nd world war-all those good years full of nuclear threats, civil unrest and the “rose coloured glasses’ Donna Reed view of an America that really didn’t exist-or at least didn’t exist out here is the wild west.

ARIZONA bravely passed a law that mirrors and reinforces the laws that are in place at the federal level-those laws just aren’t enforced very well.

It has nothing to do with RACE but it does have to do with people who feel they are entitled to come to this country and remake it in the image of their own country-not unlike the Italian, Irish, Jewish and other ghettos of the late 18 and early 19 hundreds in the USA.

The problem is the immigrants of the “OLD” days came usually in smaller numbers, by ships and had to pass through serious scrutiny and often terrible conditions to get into this country often only to be sent home due to illness or other circumstances.

Even as late as the middle of the last century people were waiting on quotas to enter the USA often for years before receiving word that they could, at last, come.
I understand that the migration from the south isn’t “EASY” but compared to a sea voyage its fairly simple-it is steeped in greed and corruption since many who promise entry via the back door into this country charge huge amounts of cash for the attempt and often take the money and abandon their cargo of HUMANS.

STILL, we can’t support the millions who are coming here, uneducated, sick, pregnant (see ANCHOR BABIES) and unskilled.

The America they think they’re coming to doesn’t exist anymore (if it ever did).

Gangs are out of control and better organized and armed than our police and even armies.

Crime is rampant and drugs are at the core of the problem.

Schools are overcrowded, hospitals closing, healthcare expensive and insurance outrageous, the city services are over taxed as are the citizens (we in California are literally the highest taxed citizens in the country).

Meanwhile the immigrants join the ever growing ghettos, refuse to speak English and yet want all the rights and privileges of being in the USA despite the fact that they are BREAKING THE LAW.

Very near to me here in Orange County are two of the largest immigrant populations in the USA Vietnamese (Little Saigon boasts many businesses that are signed only in the Vietnamese language despite a state law that says all signage must be in both a foreign language and English).

When “outsiders” go to Little Saigon they are made to feel unwelcome and unwanted-hence we don’t go there.

There is a huge population of Latinos though out California and the southwestern USA in general but SANTA ANA is almost entirely Hispanic and again “outsiders” are not welcome there and going there can be dangerous since guns are common and shootings equally common.

Santa Ana is also one of the highest concentrations of illegal’s in California, drug raids are frequent in that city and surrounding areas and the human transport trade operates fairly openly with Santa Ana as a destination for cargo from the south.
Resenting this rampant growth and the drain on resources it creates doesn’t make me a racist-it makes me an American.

In the past few days the president of Mexico has been here loudly chastising the USA for our immigration policies.

He didn’t bother to discuss the Mexican laws which are much stricter than those of the USA nor the continuing genocide of indigenous people in the south of Mexico and the consistent class wars that have raged since the revolution.

He didn’t offer a solution for the drug wars that are spilling over into the USA on the border nor the fact that over 20 thousand people have died in those wars.

He didn’t allude to the serious and criminal corruption in the ranks of the FEDERALES-the state police who drive stolen American SUVs and HUMMERs while their wives wear stolen American jewelry and drive luxury cars also stolen in the USA and delivered to the south.

These same police are responsible for robbing tourists, beatings and murders of illegal immigrants from Guatemala, El Salvador and other Central American countries and illegal fines and charges made at traffic stops on the toll roads in Baja that carry huge traffic of Americans driving to resorts.

Mr. Calderon just lectured US while our president agreed.

It is estimated that if something isn’t done to stem the flow of people coming from other countries in the USA illegally soon-by mid century we will have swelled by as many as 50 to a hundred million more people mostly from SOUTH of the border.

Listening to legitimate populists with no agenda one sees that it is against good judgment to become legal since the job force that operates under the radar does better than registered alien workers monetarily and in social services since they are part of a cash culture.

Sales taxes are pretty much all they pay-and there is an emerging animosity between the documented, undocumented and citizen Latino work force since they all work on different pay scales…another bloody war that will be fought in our cities.

Meanwhile we have the Muslim community beginning to demand rights and privileges based on their religious beliefs and a swelling population growing on US soil.
Currently America supports the largest Korean, Armenian, Russian, Mexican, Vietnamese, Cambodian, Japanese, Chinese and many other smaller countries communities outside of their home nations.

Notice that this encompasses many ethnicities but only one race-HUMAN.

Imagine what would happen if tomorrow we were faced with a huge interstellar space ship full of weary travelers from billions of miles away that were actually a completely alien RACE-what would we do?

We couldn’t send them home and since they would have superior technology we might be foolish to deny them a place to stop.

It seems to me that we have come to that time when greed must end and we need to stop fighting over oil and start fighting for better conditions in the homelands of all the people who come here-so they can stay home.

I wouldn’t want to be poor in Mexico, Vietnam or Hong Kong, the wrong religion in Iran or a displaced Ethnicity in the former Czechoslovakia.

The best thing we as Americans can do is help FIX those countries that are burdened by religious, corrupt or ethnocentric governments and show their people a way to take back their own rights in their own countries.

If they want to be Americans-then they need to assimilate and live as Americans and there must be an end to both amnesties and tolerance for law breakers.

ALL of them- wherever they come from.

It’s cheaper to send them home than to support them and their growing families in a country that is already over-taxed, angry and at the end of tolerance.

Someone said to me, jokingly, the other day, “Think way back to when you were a liberal.”

Sadly there was much truth in that statement…while I still have many liberal views I more and more find myself in the Libertarian camp.

I still HATE Rush Limbaugh and his ilk.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

A DREAM is a WISH...your HEART makes...


Many people do not pay enough attention to dreams.

I have a very complicated set of theories about dreams which I will not go into at length here.

There is a single heightened dream state where everything is very REAL, sharp edged and even though it may be somewhat surreal it still has a sense of being in the moment and a super realistic quality about it.

Recently physicists have ventured a theory that I believe I have mentioned before about membranes or BRANES-various realities that coexist with our own universe-when two of these BRANES touched at some point it could have created the big bang.

I believe that this is an alpha state in which we can actually access the portal between our reality and others.

When we do this it results in one of the super realistic dreams-we remember it as a dream because our brain simply cannot process the complexity of the experience.

I have had lengthy detailed “dreams” with numerous people that I don’t know, have never seen or talked to in life but had complicated interactions with in this dream realm.

I know this has a certain farfetched crackpot edge to it but suspend disbelief for a moment and consider how it could answer many questions and address many mysteries that surround us.

If you are very open minded also consider how the touching of the membrane dimensions could explain UFOs, aliens, shadow people or even ghosts-I think it is possible.

Another recent theory says that artistic people should not be medicated with anti-depressants or anti-anxiety medications since they are not imbalanced they are literally high strung and their “artistic“ personalities are a natural state for such individuals.

So with all these theories on the table it isn’t a huge stretch to consider that the artistic, creative person is much more susceptible to higher levels of contact with the other dimensional realities.

I have often annoyed people because I know what is in gift boxes before opening them, I often know when people are seriously ill or close to some life threatening danger---strange precognitive occurrences.

I don’t think it makes me psychic I think I am vibrating at a different frequency than others and I happen to be sensitive to these particular experiences.

Psychics often annoy me because they seem to think they know everything about everything and create elaborate supportive data to strengthen their stance.

I think we all have some psychic, ESP type ability and throughout our lives have precognitive and other seemingly psychic events.

I guarantee you if I guess a babies sex while it’s in the womb even at 50/50 odds I will be wrong more often than right-like 90 percent wrong.

I do pay attention when I get the “earthquake” feeling and I am cautious when my “danger” signals get strong---I think this is something we all should do because I think many people have these feelings for good reason and need to pay attention to them.

There have been so many dream interpretation theories over the years and some of them seem to actually work out-I happened to like one that said when you dreamed about houses or buildings it had to do with your Mother and vehicles or machinery had to do with your Father.

I do think our brains manufacture dreams for various reasons-sometimes just to dump excess stored info, other times to help us deal with stresses of various types.

Those are the dreams that have purple cats in tuxedos eating bananas while flamingos chase us around the room.

Actual dreams…

Alice in wonderland symbolist silliness…

A few levels up comes the hyper-realist experience…it’s a shame that we can’t have a huge database where we register what we dream in a blind study and see who else in the world happened to have the same dream at the same time.

The big “WHAT IF”…what if our consciousness is going to an actual place or places where it encounters others not only from our plane of existence but other entities as well.

As far as I can remember I have never had one of these complicated dreams (or any dream for that matter) where I looked at myself in a mirror…isn’t that interesting-why not?

Recurring dreams always seem to have a lesson involved-it may not be readily apparent at the time but think how such experiences are tailored to help us cope with some issue.

I often have arguments in dreams-I don’t tend to argue with people in life so I work out my anger in Dreams-in the hyper realistic dream state I never have arguments-I have had lengthy discussions with others, I have resolved issues and I have learned many things but never any anger.

If a dreams IS “a wish your heart makes” what if we can wish ourselves into a place where there is more available to our minds than what we normally have.

I don’t know exactly why I thought this was important to write about right this moment-it has been on my mind…

Perhaps it’s the high strung artist part of the story that made the cosmic connection for me.

I do find many similarities in artistic, creative people-I love to be around the creative type of person but have you ever noticed how difficult it is at times-we are just wired uniquely and we aren’t simple people.

Anyway, it’s interesting as a subject and I have noticed that since I have been paying more attention to my dream state other parts of my life have become easier to cope with on a daily basis.

I have also begun to notice a distinct correlation between my creativity and my dreaming.

I don’t get ideas from my dreams but the more I dream the more ideas I have.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Facebook Flap

FACEBOOK

A word that seems to polarize people these days…yer either fer it or agin it…

I, myself, remain neutral.

I like Facebook because it makes my life simpler.

I can keep track of friends and their doings or in the case of a day like this one-happens to be my sister’s birthday-I can keep up on the social plans without the multiple emails normally required to get approximately 10 people in the same place at the same time (Dress code aside).

I have kept my friends list small and mostly to those I know well or people they know who now “know“me.

The internet is a bizarre thing from the start-I mean think about it-we have “friends” that we know from the ether, we never or may never meet in the flesh but these are some of the more important relationships in our lives.

The computer age…long may it wave.

I am not greedy in that I can manage with a couple dozen people on my contact list without feeling unpopular.

I am becoming bored with the “games”-they are repetitive and somewhat annoying moneymakers for the people at ZYNGA-I refuse to pay real money for cyber coins so I can buy a Gorilla or a Maserati-since I don’t want hundreds of people lurking around my friends list I will never have the power required to get ahead, build a better farm or gain huge power in the Mafia so I sort of participate in order to help those I know who seem to care about such things.

Short of the community comments and occasional witty banter being advanced in years and not a 14 year old with braces on my brains I take FACEBOOK for what I can get out of it-no more, no less.

Like Blogging-it’s another form of communication and social contact for me in my slightly agoraphobic existence…I do need to get out more but I am too poor for volunteering and too involved for anything else with my arting, writing and so forth.
In other words…solitude is OK because I am fairly busy.

I will stay with FACEBOOK for now and see what happens-I haven’t had any bad experiences with it and certainly it’s less intrusive and bizarre than say TAGGED…when I divested myself of that particular aberration my spam mail dropped by 90 percent.

Odd thing is I don’t remember joining TAGGED in the first place.

I joined FACEBOOK to do exactly what I am doing-to use it to keep track of people I “know” and to better keep up with my family-for that it serves me well.

I will admit I belong to a couple of fan pages and maybe a couple other things that I have forgotten why I joined at the start but haven’t bothered to excise…all in all I find it benign without being banal so bottom line it’s OK.

“From FACEBOOK where?”, I suppose is the question.

We’ll see what strolls down the cyber pike and lures me in…sexy apps are almost irresistible don’t you find it?

For a time I was addicted to ROLLER COASTER TYCOON.

I would literally spend hours designing my theme park and managing it until I had tendonitis in my thumb (maybe it was carpel tunnel I don’t know) and I would play despite throbbing pain in my “mouse hand” and crippling arthritis the next day after a lengthy session.

This went on for months-hours at a time, sleep be damned…I went through life a groggy mess but my park was fabulous!

Facebook does not require that amount of time or pain-on and off here and there throughout the day and I’m satisfied.

Since I am not into “CHAT” Facebook has finite attractions for me…if they offer something like Roller Coaster Tycoon however, I will need to resign.

Friday, May 7, 2010

Good Bye


Mother’s Day is here this weekend…

I feel compelled to write…something…

Usually I would have been planning the “Sunday excursion”-My Mother loved to take long lazy drives in interesting areas.

One year we went and visited all the houses we had lived in around Los Angeles-Lynwood, Pico Rivera and home to Burbank.

More often we would head off to Solvang or the beach cities-just anywhere that was interesting and scenic…in her later years it became more and more important to her.

Finally in 2006 too tired and too sick to stay any longer she left us…it has gotten easier to bear but the emptiness is still very real.

I used to talk to her everyday-we worked together on many projects: Costume Design, Crafts designs, she made dolls and I painted the faces, I made dolls and she made the sample clothes, I designed many items for her to create and then we would take them along when we did the big craft shows on the east coast and sell them for her---she loved getting that extra money.

I hope she never figured out that as her work became less professional and just didn’t sell we would find a Salvation Army or Goodwill bin and make a donation and bring her home the money as if she had sold out…little deceptions are allowed sometimes.

She was terrified of ending up in a rest home-she always bore a great deal of guilt because she had put her Mother in one when she could no longer take care of her.
Luckily my sister was head of nursing at a very luxurious retirement hotel in the ritzy part of the valley but despite all we did Mother was never happy there and made sure we knew it.

I drove from Burbank over to Woodland Hills almost every day despite not being well myself at the time and she often asked when I was taking her home.

At the end knowing what I know now I’m sorry we didn’t take her home and let hospice come there-I think a few days in her own place might have made a difference…I’ll never know now.

When I went to work at Disneyland I was still quite fragile and often I would see children being horrible to their mothers-usually I could shrug it off but occasionally when I saw a Mother’s eyes well up with tears I would admonish the little devils to be kind to their Mothers since I didn’t have mine anymore…amazingly I never got into trouble for it.

We often only know the full value of a person after they are gone.
I certainly was close to my Mother and though we bickered and had spats we managed on a day to day basis to not make each other too crazy.

I think we expect our parents to live forever…I don’t know.

I read somewhere that as long as you have one parent you maintain that “safe” childlike calm but when you lose the last one you move into the position where you are guarding the gate between this world and the next-it’s one reason it is so hard for a parent to outlive their child-it just goes against the laws of nature.

I always urged my Mother to cooperate with her doctors and try to have a good outlook, I knew if she ever gave up it would be the end.

She constantly told me not to worry she wasn’t going anywhere…I didn’t count that as a promise.

On the last day I saw her-a Weds I think-it was obvious the end was coming-I’m not even sure she knew I was there, she was in and out but aware on some level.

When I am sick I always have taken great comfort in having my hair smoothed or head rubbed in a soft manner.

Without thinking I reached out to smooth her hair and she said, rather sharply, “Don’t rub my head.”

She never opened her eyes; she never looked at me…just those four words.
That was the last time I saw my Mother.

I think we must always consider that every time we see someone dear to us it may be the last time.

The last time I saw my Dad, dying of cancer, an empty shell of the man he had been I wish I hadn’t seen him-my memory even during his sickness was of the robust ruddy faced little Irish German guy he had been…but the disease had taken his toll after two years.

The last memory of my Mother…the stern rebuke.

I have always loved the speech Katherine Hepburn makes in Stage Door, though it has often been made fun of, reading it one gets the true depth of the sentiment:

“The calla lilies are in bloom again. Such a strange flower, suitable to any occasion. I carried them on my wedding day, and now I place them here in memory of something that has died...Have you gathered here to mourn, or are you here to bring me comfort?... I've learned something about love that I never knew before. That I never knew before. You speak of love when it's too late. Help should come to people when they need it. Why are we always so helpful to each other when it's no longer any use?...One should always listen closely when people say goodbye because sometimes they're not saying Good-bye they're really saying farewell"

Whatever you believe about this world and the next I don’t thinks it’s too hard to think about feelings between people and how important our partings may be.

Now I always try to say FAREWELL; Goodbye is just too final for me.