On all things Art, Licensing, Design and Inspiration....

Amy S. Turner - AckLfee Artworks - Art Licensing, Graphic Design, Illustration, Colored Pencil Art, Childrens Book Illustration, Art Blog

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Pssssst! I had a secret....

Hey everyone!  Hope y'all are keeping cool during these dog days of summer....

If you read my last post, you know that 2013 was a great year for me as a member of the Colored Pencil Society of America.  I was juried into my 3rd International show which allowed me to achieve the coveted "Signature Status" I was endeavoring toward.  But, along with this, there was another little bit of info that I wasn't able to tell anyone until the banquet in Brea, CA. at the beginning of August....  I actually won an award!!!!!  WOOOWHOOOO!!!!

Let me tell you, if you've EVER viewed the work of the members of CPSA, you will know what an honor an privilege winning an award at the International really is.  When I got the call in June, I practically floated on air - I just couldn't believe it!  I was given an "Award of Excellence!"   If you'd like to see the award winners from the show, here's a link:

http://www.cpsa.org/coloredpencilartists/21/aw2013.html

See what I was up against????  LOL  That's some seriously crazy-good artwork!  Now I have to start working on something for the Explore This! Online Exhibit.  ARGH!

Have a great week and wish me luck!  :)


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Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Great News! 2013 CPSA International & Signature Status

Hey again Y'all!

Great news update! My piece entitled “Soul Plexus – Tulips With Pearl Chakras” was juried into the 2013 CPSA International Exhibition at the City of Brea Gallery in Brea, CA., this year from July 31 to September 13, 2013! I will be receiving my “Signature Status” which allows me, as a colored pencil artist, to use the CPSA formally after my name. Needless to say, I'm VERY excited about this as it has been a goal since I joined CPSA in late 2007! :)


If you've been following the blog, you know that I have had a couple of setbacks in the jurying process when it comes to the CPSA International. The last couple of years, I pushed the limit of what might be palatable to the jurists and came away empty-handed because of it. So this year (or beginning right after last year's rejection), I focused on using a more palatable floral motif but put a different spin on it by creating a slight kaleidoscopic effect. By playing with one of my photos...cropping, duplicating, flipping, mirroring, improvising...I was able to create an interesting composite image that finally caught the eye of this year's judge. I had a feeling this one might do the trick and this would be my “3 out of 10” Signature year!


My next goal will be to receive my CPX which is the CPSA “Explore This” Signature Status. “Explore This” encompasses any colored pencil artwork that also includes some other medium which makes it ineligible for the 100% colored pencil International shows. Many CPSA artists work in other mediums so it's a great avenue to show off their mixed medium works. This will be a bit different for me as I have been focusing solely on colored pencil for their exhibitions for the past six years (maybe I did this a bit backward? LOL)! I am actually working on a piece right now which I hope to have juried into next year's “Explore This” online exhibit. Did I mention that it's an online exhibition? That sure will make it easier on the wallet as the shipping and traveling can really get expensive!


But, besides all that, let me just say that the quality of work in even this online exhibition is nothing short of mind-blowing. It's still not going to be an easy feat to make it in to the “Explore This” events. I'm never under any delusion of winning anything when it come to these big shows full of talent – I'm just so grateful that I get in every so often! If you don't believe me, just take a saunter through the pages of CPSA's website of past exhibitions, both the International and the “Explore This” shows.... It will make your jaw drop!


Prepare to have your mind blown that it's colored pencil.... www.cpsa.org


Dream big! :)
 
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Dream Series Artwork - Flying Dreams

Hello all!

Since it has been a while since my last entry, I wanted to get something up just to let everyone know that I'm still alive! LOL Unfortunately, life often interferes with our artistic time, but I have been able to accomplish a few things while I've been attending to other areas....

Since I last updated the site, I decided to work on a series of drawings I called my “Dream Series,” many of which included images of flying figures. The experience of flight in my dreams has always fascinated and energized me. I'm not sure how many of you also have dreams of flying but, for me, it almost seems second nature – if only I could bring the experience into my waking hours (I wish I could try those new wing suits)! As you can see from several of the pieces, I tend to experience two different types of flight...the first is a floating, kite-like, dipping and darting, and the second is an actual bird-like soaring where arms and legs are used for steering, banking and acceleration/braking. You can see examples of these in the pieces entitled “Dream Series - High Wire,” “Dream Series – Dream Vacation” and “Dream Series – Into The Light.”  Check them out here!

In the “High Wire” piece, I also allude to a phenomenon I used to experience in my younger years where I would fly only so high when faced with getting over high tension wires – usually just lifting my legs and scraping my butt over the top of them. I'd also have instances where I'd reach a ceiling height of about 30 feet, then stop abruptly as if the wind left my sails (something like Wile E. Coyote realizing he doesn't have any ground underneath him anymore), and plummet. Thank goodness that doesn't happen anymore! I'm sure psychoanalysts would have a field day with this, huh? LOL

But nowadays, I control my flight like a pro when I'm lucky enough to have a flying dream. I wish I knew what triggered them because I'd do it every time I closed my eyes, if I could! Gee...wonder why I have an affinity for my fine, feathered friends? :)

Happy flying and I hope you like the pieces!

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Friday, May 13, 2011

To make a statement or play it safe with your art?

Take it from one who has learned the hard way...no matter how passionate or how determined you are to make art that expresses a “statement,” don't expect that artwork to be readily accepted, encouraged or lauded. And there is a BIG difference between creating for public consumption versus creating for personal catharsis. That being said, I still encourage any and all artists to make their statement pieces, but only for their own edification. You might get lucky and find a niche collector/buyer that is on your wavelength for this area of your portfolio, but chances are this kind of work will be too edgy for those with more sensible tastes. LOL

Case in point was my entry for the 2011 Colored Pencil Society of America's International Exhibition. This year, my cathartic side won out and I created a piece called “They Stand, Resolute....” I was following a muse that told me that my last entry to make it into the International, called “Summoning The Ancestors,” paved the way, with it's eery use of skull and offering bowl, for a further testing of the jurying boundaries. One takes a big chance with “statement” pieces (especially ones with a slightly morbid theme) as the judge changes year to year and one can never be quite sure what their tastes and temperament will bear. Needless to say, the bloodied dove and the impending doom must have been a bit too much! LOL I didn't make it in to this year's show in Dallas.  Dagnabbit...but what can you do?

Well...from what I've observed from my short time at the CPSA International shows, it seems the high quality works that win most of the awards are, in large part, photographic realism-type renderings of traditional (what I would call “safe”) subjects – people, animals, landscape, still life, flowers and the like. There are a few artists that stand out, of course, for focusing their design around plays on words or a specific “style” that they've mastered, but I really haven't seen any where personal statements were made...mood yes, allegory yes, self-effacing humor yes, but statements not so much.

So here's what I've learned from this in the short time I've been showing in these shows (and my other artistic endeavors) – namely that your best bet to gain any recognition is to play it safe, stick to the status quo as far as subject matter, realism (or as close as you can get) is king and, if you're going to attempt to add a miniscule statement, make sure it's done with humor or it won't pass muster. The sight of blood in a piece will probably lose you an invite and, in the end, the judge is god! LOL Taste is subjective and sometimes there's no accounting for what he/she might like...dying, bloody birds included!!! ROFL Also...know your territory...that is, conservative judges, older crowd, traditional mindset – stick to the “safe” subjects and styles; younger crowd, “hip” judges, edgy mindset – they're more inclined to click with your statement stuff. Remember, you attract what you put out there so put out the right stuff for that venue if you want to receive any recognition for your work!

Anyway, I suppose I've learned my lesson, huh? A little weird is OK but blood is a no-no. So take a guess what I'll be drawing for next year. Flowers...portraits...still lifes (without dead or dying things I suppose).  Boring? Mostly. Tedious? Most probably. But you do what you have to do if you want to be included, yes? All this also goes for selling, licensing, marketing your art too, ya know. A painting of a smiley face is gonna go over a lot better with the crowd than your save-the-Earth drawing of garbage along the curb or a photo montage of starving, indigenous peoples. You have to decide what your priorities are for that moment in time and save the commentary for your personal work. Who knows...when you get famous (after you die – LOL), your edgy, personal stuff will be worth a bundle! :)

Don't sell out – just know your intended audience and play to it when need be. Hope this little bit of advice helps! Now go do some creating!!!

~ Amy

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Monday, January 3, 2011

Welcome to 2011!

I hope everyone had a fun but safe holiday season. Now it’s onward and upward into the new year!

It’s amazing what one year can bring, even if you think that you weren’t accomplishing much. Looking back, I’m so grateful to have made some important strides this past year...made it into the 2010 International Exhibition in Los Gatos, CA for the Colored Pencil Society of America; created and published my first children’s book from scratch; signed contracts with ABC/Disney Studios - Desperate Housewives, Season 7 to use some of my artwork on set (although I’m not sure where or when they’ll pop up), and so many more small things that all add up. It amazes me and I wonder how much more could happen if I had more time to devote to my personal artwork endeavors. Wow! I can only hope that 2011 will be bigger and better!

A few things I have in the hopper for 2011 right now? Well, I’m currently working on a larger format piece (12" x 24"P) which will hopefully be juried into the 2011 International CPSA Exhibition in Dallas, TX. If I am accepted, it will be my 3rd International show in 4 years and my induction as a Signature Member of CPSA (which means that I am allowed to use the CPSA designation after my name - a high honor in my book).

I also have another children’s book in the works which I hope to have out before summer. As of today, all the illustrations are penciled and are ready for color, but that’s just the first step. Then I must design the book, which I do digitally in my design programs. It just becomes a question of time allocation to get everything wrapped up and uploaded, so I’m hopeful that I’ll have it done and on Amazon (and in bookstores) ASAP.

One more thing to add to my “To-Do” list was to sign up to help out at the Art League a bit more. I had been asked to be on the Board before but was never sure of scheduling conflicts. I owe them some quality time, so I’ll be seeing what they need me to do...possibly signing up as the exhibit coordinator. We’ll see what they recruit me to do this coming Wednesday meeting. LOL Hope the rest of the Board can stand my goofy sense of humor!!! :)

So...that’s it for now. We’ll see what surprises 2011 brings. I wish you all much love, success, health and happiness in the new year!!!

Dream BIG!!! ~ Amy

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Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Ode to Itty Bitty Art....

You have probably noticed if you have wandered through my personal, online galleries that there are quite a few pages of itty bitty artworks called "Artist Trading Cards" or ATCs. They are a phenomenon that came about when a few artists in Europe in 1996 decided that they were tired of not being able to afford to own full sized art from other artists. They began creating small pieces which they mailed to each other in trade.

See here for a little more info:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Artist_trading_cards

I was introduced to ATCs in early 2007 when our Chicago Chapter of the Colored Pencil Society of America had it’s own little demo on the topic. We eventually had a terrifically fun swap a month or two later with some marvelous artwork swapping hands amongst the members. That was it...I was hooked!

I joined an ATC online swap site called IllustratedATCs.com and soon I was off and trading. So far, I’ve traded all over the US and Canada, Mexico also, and as far away as New Zealand, Europe and Japan (with cards owed to a marvelous artist/trader in South Africa). If you get a chance to check out the site, I think you’d really enjoy seeing all the different styles as these are not only for drawings or painting but collage and other forms as well.

It’s probably very obvious from the subject matter that different swaps have different themes. But one doesn’t have to join large swaps...you can also trade one on one if you have a favorite artist or wish to swap for more than a regular swap (which is either 3 or 6 cards relating to the swap theme). I’ve had my cards featured in magazines and in books on the subject (one will be coming out soon - I’ll let y’all know when it’s available) and have won a few awards for them.

The best thing about these cards are that they don’t take as much time as trying to finish a larger scale piece. Not only do they allow you to loosen up artistically, but they allow you to change techniques and subject matter quickly from piece to piece. You just can’t get bored doing these!

If you get the chance, I would suggest creating a few ATCs yourself and see how much fun you’ll have. I bet you get hooked too! Pre-made ATC cards are available through most online art supply stores (I shop DickBlick.com for both blank cards and little envelopes to send them off in).

Any questions on ATCs or where to get materials? Just drop me a note!
Have a wonderful week!
~ Amy

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Patience, Patience, Patience!!!

It seems that the one thing that I am constantly reminded to have is patience. Patience with people, patience with myself, patience with circumstances, patience with creating art. Obviously, my chosen creative medium, colored pencils, demands much patience; layer upon layer, inch upon inch to cover, detail upon detail. Beyond the technicalities which I can control, patience, like a mosquito buzzing in your ear, is always just out of reach but you know it’s there somewhere!
The hard part for me is to finish a project, probably one that has taken me quite a bit of time and effort, only to have progress stall once it leaves my hands. This instant gratification world probably has more than a bit to do with that, but more often it’s the enthusiasm I have for the project which gets the better of my patience.
Take in point the children’s book I have been working on. It has been quite a learning experience for me in that I have read all of the guidelines needed, mastered certain techniques and took the project from an idea straight through to production in one fell swoop...with no errors so far. I’m very proud of myself and hope to do this many more times with my own picture books. That said however, now I must wait for the large company I am dealing with to grind through it’s process and here’s where the patience must be applied.

As of today, I am still waiting for a proof book...one which was supposedly mailed a week ago (my mail gets to Japan faster - I know, quit crabbing). Then I gauge to proof, see if everything is to my liking. If all is well, another proof goes out to the story’s creator (another week, two). Finally, when everyone agrees, the book goes live on Amazon. We’re actually in the home stretch but it feels like forever.

I actually began the project back in February 2010 with an email from the author, Lindie Racz. She gave me a rough outline and I was off to the races. Roughs to lay out the action, illustrations made, then text written to match the illustrations...when I finished all this, then the fun of scanning, design, layout and pre-press. Last week, all was uploaded and voila, okayed for print.

So like I said, the waiting is the hardest part (isn’t that a song?), but makes the whole thing worth it in the end. So patience it is! Ah, elusive patience!

Thanks for reading! Have a terrific week!
~ Amy

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About Me

I am a self-employed graphic artist of 18+ years, working mainly in the print and specialty events areas of design.