Getting Ready for the One of A Kind Christmas Show

Saturday, February 15, 2014



As of Jan 2014,
my blog has virtually skipped over to 
and acquired a fresh new face!

Come see!

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Win My Art Winner!

First, I have to share that the outcome of this contest far exceeded my expectations. At times I was considerably overwhelmed by the thoughtful responses describing connections made and felt with several of my works. I feel tremendously honoured and offer my heartfelt thank you to each of you who shared your thoughts.

And an apology deserved as well  to the entry participants as some tech issues made this announcement a day late.

After a fresh start today on troubleshooting I am pleased to announce the winner of my 2013 special contest giveaway of an original commissioned 8 inch x 8 inch work, in celebration of the conclusion of 2013 and the near completion of this year's Inspired Gratitudes Newsletter Series.

With no further ado...

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Celebratory 2013 Conclusion Contest & Giveaway

In Celebration of the conclusion of 2013 and the near completion of this year's Inspired Gratitudes Newsletter Series I am happy to offer this special contest giveaway.

Visit my website for all the details!

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Studio Leaks, Speed Videos, and the #OOAKX13 part 2

When your computer gives you lemons . . . you make lemonade aaaalllll day. 

I thought it would be neat to make a speed video of a work from start to finish. My software on the other hand, was steadily resistant. Every single command I gave it, it thought about  it long and hard, and sometimes stopped thinking about it period

At one point I even brought down some pieces from the studio to work on in between software pondering sessions. Eventually I had to move the work back into my studio, so I picked away at this video throughout the remainder of the day. A smidge after midnight, some giant sunbeams, angel chorus (and a whole lot of problem solving/rethinking for the next video) later, Windows Movie Maker squeezed out some lemonade.

Am I bitter about it? Not at all. It led me to this brilliant idea. This video offers a view into the making of "Confection Lily," a sweet work that makes me think of weddings, and Beatrix Potter for it's soft colours and illustrative quality. Made with watercolour paper, tissue paper, acrylic and inks, at 6in x 6in x 1.5in., this would normally be priced at $175, but here's the brilliant part. It is now priced at $6000 dollars. If you buy today, I can buy a suped up MAC tomorrow!

Pardon me while I dream big. LOL

All kidding aside, I hope this video offers creative inspiration, as well as some insight into the complexity of this piece, one of 3 going to this year's One Of A Kind Christmas Show.

Sunday, September 29, 2013

Studio Leaks, Speed Videos and the #OOAKX13

It's true. I applied to Toronto's One of A Kind Christmas Show this year and was accepted,  an exceptional achievement as I understand it. Admittedly, I'm little giddy and a lot nervous -- and I expect none of that will change until it is all over -- but thankfully I will get a fair amount of respite buried in deep focus in the studio. 

Lately while working in the studio I've been sharing photos via my iphone (a.k.a. "studio leaks") to Instagram, Facebook, Twitter and Tumblr.  To commemorate my inclusion I've decided to kick this behind-the-scenes-sharing up a notch by recording many of my new works as they progress. I've sped these vids up quite a bit, too, so try not to blink.

But give me a quick sec before I première my first speed video to introduce you to my OOAK Booth Buddy Barb TenEycke. It was Barb who contacted me and asked if I would like to apply to this section with her. As first time OOAK applicants we are able to take advantage of the (one time offer) benefit of booth sharing.  It is a pleasure and a privilege to share the excitement, the ins & outs, and the nitty gritty with her. Barb is a Canadian Landscape painter with a keen eye for colour and a canny ability to capture tranquility. I hope you take a moment to check out more of her works.


And now for my (ahem) ultimate #StudioLeaks on Getting Ready for the #OOAKX13:

If you don't want to miss more of these videos and updates, I recommend subscribing. 
Find the Subscribe box top right, and enter your email 
(which I will never share without your express permission!)

If you get to Toronto Between Nov 28th and Dec 2nd be sure to say Hello.

Monday, May 20, 2013

106 Reception Hor D'oeuvres for Artists: 67 Grouped by number of ingredients

To be honest, I inevitably leave the opening reception appetizers till the last minute, then find myself speeding through the grocery isles hoping to spot something to suit. Well, it's time for me to raise the bar in that department.

I scoured Pinterest over many an evening in search of visually appealing, simple to moderately complicated canapés. Some simply offer inspiration. The result is a collection of 106 Hor d'oeuvres -- now my Opening Reception resource. You can find all 106 of them on my Pinterest board.

Don't have a Pinterest account? Do not despair.

The Pièce de résistance is that I have posted 67 of those marvelous mouth-waterers here, dividing them up under number of ingredients, making this a super easy go to source for appetizers.

And it is tremendously user friendly. On my Pinterest board you will find that over 67 of the pins list the ingredients in the description, which will help speed up decision making about re-pinning, and cooking/making/baking, without needing to check a link first! Here, on my blog, all 67 have the ingredients listed.

Bookmark this and/or share it freely!

 ● two  2 ● INGREDIENTS ● ● two ● 

 ● three  3 ● INGREDIENTS ● ● three ● 3 

 ● four  4 ● INGREDIENTS ● ● four ● 

 ● five  5 ● INGREDIENTS ● ● five ● 

 or more  6+ INGREDIENTS 6+ or more 

Friday, May 10, 2013

22 Ways Fine Artists Can ROCK their FB Page Banners

The Art of the Artists' Business (Fan) Page Banner

I've seen several social media sites highlight the creativity of businesses/designers and their Fan Page Banners, but meshing current product or service online-marketing-helps with my own fine art marketing needs isn't always obvious or even a good fit. I know a few basics such as:

#1 The profile-icon on your art business page should show your art (see 5 Actions to Rock your Facebook Page by Art Biz Blog).  

I am often surprised over how many artists I come across who do not do that. A quick search on FB will show that it is your profile-icon image that is displayed, and not your banner. If someone is browsing, I am not at all confident a photo of myself would garner a click -- though perhaps a self portrait in the style of my work would be a different story.
After several hours of browsing through Facebook I was able to find 22 variations on banners for Artist Business or Fan Pages. You will notice that each example offered in this list shows work by the artist in the profile-icon. Click on the name of the artist to go to their website - Click on the image to go to their Facebook page.

Lets have a look!

1. Chas Jacobs - "Chas draws his inspiration from the North West of England; as well as from his holidays in Devon, where his interest in boats, and the sea are reflected."

I found this to be the most popularly used banner/profile-icon combination: single image work + single image work (may or may not be cropped). In this case the profile-icon matches perfectly with the banner through colour and the artist's distinct style. For some reason that is not always the case, and the banner turns out to be more of a surprise; somewhat disconnected from the profile-icon -- which is a turn off for me as I then feel somewhat confused over what to expect from the artist's page.

Additionally, the  description of Chas Jacob's art complements his image choices. One quickly gets a good introduction to Chas' work.

2. Duo Otavio and Gustavo Pandolfo, known as Os Gemeos

Slight variation from above by creatively collaging multiple images of work for the banner. I especially like the blend of 2D, 3D and interior space. Again, the profile-icon and banner go well together (four repeated yellow faces).

3. Soon

I really can't tell you much about this page as the translator failed. I included it as another variation of the above which instead used a grid layout of multiple images, both of 2D artwork and interior spaces. The profile-icon matches banner artwork, and is an intriguing & amusing choice showing the back of the head of the fox. The addition of a single word is also eye-catching and interest building.

4. Nick Gentry - "creates floppy disk paintings and art from the obsolete technology of society"

A successful profile-icon which combines artist with working on a piece. (Love the artist profile with subject profile!) The profile-icon and banner are in keeping with the description and connect to each other through subject matter. I am not certain if the banner is part of a finished piece or is a collection of items he uses to create his work, but either way it works!

5. Alan Dent - Personal page (I could not find out more about his art without becoming a "friend.")

I've included it because I think it is very appropriate for an artist's timeline page. Plus it is intriguing. Who are all those people and are all those paintings his? And if so, why are they all holding one? 

If those are all his works then the combination of his profile-icon and the banner work, on both types of pages. (But preferably, he would have a business page that focused on his art, allowing his personal page to be a broader interest arena that wouldn't detract from his art.)

6. Deborah Burt - "The challenge to capture an animals character is one that I particularly enjoy."

I really appreciated those sculptors who showed themselves working on a sculpture in their profile-icon. When I came across this I wondered if I would see a horse sculpture in her banner. I was pleasantly surprised to find that she had actually placed the sculpture among live versions of her subject. Bonus: the perspective of this photo draws you in squarely to the sculpture, like a bullseye!

7. Joe Fenton - "Joe Fenton is a London based artist that works mainly in monochrome. His large drawings are produced using graphite, ink and acrylics on paper."

Switching from artist working on a piece in the profile-icon to artist working on a piece in the banner. Great photo of work in progress which includes just enough of the artist to show scale and add interest. The profile-icon is intriguing, featuring one big eye, and is a complement to the banner. (Lovely arc line of eyes from profile-icon through banner).
Description and artwork match, but you do have to click on About to get to description.

8. Tim Ganon - (no description available)

A variation on the artist working on a piece in the banner image: additonal works viewable within an interior studio/gallery space. Profile-icon subject repeated in banner. Website and brief description added to banner. (Text on banners not to exceed 20% of image - more on that later.)

9. June Korea - (No description available)

A more formal gallery space style banner image, without artist presence. Profile-icon subject repeated in banner. Minimal text on banner with website.

10. Alyssa Monks - (No description available)

Larger area of studio/gallery displayed in the banner image. Black and white banner showcases and compliments the delicate colour of the profile-icon.

11. Christian Chapman - "Portraits - Ocean Art - Musicians - Actors - You & Your Fave Musician Painted Together!"

Profile-icon a self portrait? Perhaps. Perhaps not, But perfectly in keeping with the work portrayed in the banner image. Nice muted interior shot showing scale in more of a "interior design" style as opposed to studio/gallery style.   

12. Julia - "I paint the natural flow of spiritual energy that exists all around us, helping you to connect to its healing powers."

Another popular banner/profile-icon combination shows artists alongside their work, but not actively working on their work. Julia's banner is similar to the work shown in the profile-icon. I also like that Julia's page identifies the type of artist she is - "energy artist"

13. Tracy Kobus - "Tracy explores the powerful imagery of Canada's westcoast in her imaginative painting style."

Another variation of artist with work shown in the banner. 
There is a lot to like about this combo: the rule of three in the box shapes, the "empty" window box indicates possibilities, the whole is uncluttered, warmth is portrayed through the fire in the profile-icon and suggested/repeated with the expression on the face of the artist and the white of the window. To me this combination captures that this artist is passionate about her subject.

14. Phillippe Fernandez - "fairy tale artist"

Great choice of profile-icon, you pretty much get "fairy tale" right away. The text in the banner appropriately designed. Interesting collage of artwork, published work, and artist.

15. Ian Gamache - "Drawing is one of our oldest forms of communication, and it can still be very relevant today, even as the world becomes both a faster and a smaller place."

The artist wearing a mask of his art. Like! Enjoying the repetition of  line & colour between the profile-icon and the banner, too. Effective in parts and as a whole. I wish some of his description was on the main page though.

16. Agnes Cecile - (No description available)

Another artist wearing her art. Minor difference is that she painted directly onto herself. The profile-icon works as the painting style is similar, and the subject of the banner & profile-icon are the same. Further interest is created with the contrasting circle/triangle shapes.

17. Andre Dahmer - (No description available)

I came across a few artists who included their tools in their images, but usually they overdid it (more tools than art) or the interest factor wasn't there (everyone knows a painter uses a paintbrush). Comic artist Andre combines both his art and his tools (pen/paper) perfectly and appropriately in his banner image. The mug profile-icon did well to suggest writer/drawer to me so I clicked through and found this humorous banner.

18. Rob Ryan - "widely known for his intricate papercuts"

Rob's description is hidden (IMO) on the About page, so his banner does a pretty sharp job of indicating what type of art Rob makes. The detail of the profile-icon contrasts with the single large shape of the paper leaf in the banner for added interest, yet connects through subject.

19. Carlo Mirabasso - (Description in Italian)

What I like about this is that Carlo's profile-icon says it all. I know his name, what his work looks like, and that he paints it. I didn't know it was possible to have text read so well on such a small image. Now I know. Thankfully, the banner showed work in the same style.

20. Ellen Stapleton -  "Her work is inspired by her love for street art, tattoo design and nature; and her travels to exotic locations around the world."

Ellen has used her design skills to create an announcement banner. How can you find out if you are following Facebooks 20% text rule? Use this Handy Tool at Mostly, I like the merging of her art and text.

21. J. Scott Campbell - "comic book artist best known for his work on 'Danger Girl', 'Spider-Man', 'Gen 13', 'Wildsiderz'"

Does it all count as text? :)
Great use of text with image. Profile-icon fits perfectly. Fun way to celebrate an event/accomplishment.

22. Steve Caldwell - "UK-based portrait painter and illustrator specializing in portraiture and contemporary realism."

Obviously this is over the 20% rule, but no doubt it could be modified to fit. This one is more of an idea generator, always a good note to end on!

Do you have a creative Facebook Artist Business Page? Please submit it with your comments. Your contributions could make this a great resource.

Or do you know of another resource for Artist Business/Fan Page banners? Submit that as well. All help appreciated.

Yes! I can be found on Facebook at Col Mitchell - Contemporary Paper Artist

I have mixed up my banners from time to time under examples #1 and #3, but I definitely plan to branch out following some of the other examples. Hope you do too!

Friday, April 05, 2013

The Secrets of a Paper Artist

Wrapped in my favorite colours, my course information on Paper Sculpting & Painting on Canvas is now available in print as well as online.

 (The 2013 course catalog is out! And I am so pleased to see that one of my works was featured!)

 Recently, I had been mulling over treaching workshops due to the number of requests I receive, so when an invitation by Haliburton School of the Arts to teach a summer course was extended to me, it seemed kismet.

(click on image to open the course calendar)

This will be the first time I take a group in a class setting on an in depth hands-on journey through the process which sparked my contemporary paper art. I am really looking forward to an immersion in the roots of my technique and excited to see what new interpretations and expressions will come out of it for those who enroll.

Course Description:

How you use paper products in your creative efforts is greatly determined by the properties of paper itself. Work with a variety of papers including rice, silk, watercolour and tracing papers to develop a deeper understanding of their properties through experimentation, sculpting and manipulation while creating structures for paint and ink exploration. Experiment with 5 different ways of presenting paper on canvas. Immerse yourself in a skill-enriching course focused on a process of reaction and inspiration offered by the expression of the materials. Instruction is suited to intermediate and advanced painting skill levels

Interested in finding out some of my paper secrets?