Three Ways I’m A Winner, Even Though I’m A Loser

 

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“Ethereal Autumn” by Bill Wakeley (the only one of my selections to make it to the judging round- Good Luck Bill)

I’m currently enrolled in a National Photography Contest with FineArtAmerica.com. This is one sexy contest with a very big prize. The work is judged by world renowned photographer Anne Geddes and the winners will star in a new flashy television advertising campaign for Fine Art America. Photographers are allowed to enter up to three images and each one that receives 250 votes from the general public advances to the judging round. As you can imagine, this has been an absolutely brilliant marketing campaign for Fine Art America as thousands of photographers are pounding the pavement of social media, scrambling for enough votes to have a shot of glory. On the flip side, what could have been a contest that is solely based on artistic achievement has turned into somewhat of a popularity contest that has left many of the participants gnashing their teeth and tearing their clothes.

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Like I said, this is one sexy photo contest

When was the last time your lips uttered the ugly words “Its Not Fair”? Be totally honest now. We are all guilty of hosting Pity Parties occasionally and when we do, we invite everyone. Misery loves company and having company means surrounding ourselves with other “victims”. The problem is that when the party is over, nothing has changed for the better and the hangover can be hell. Take Kanye West for instance. Fame and fortune are in his grip, yet he has a big enough chip on his shoulder to possess him to make an ass of himself at the Grammy Awards, twice. Whats going through the guys mind that makes him want to put on a whiney baby face on national TV and basically say “Wah Wah Wah, It’s not fair”?

I have to admit, It wasn’t real pretty when I realized that I didn’t have the social moxie to get more than a few votes for my work. Goodbye Limousines and Red Carpet. With two days to go there is very little chance I’ll come up with the 250 vote ante to get into the game. So what do I do now? Do I pull a “Kanye” and whine about the process or do I choose to see the glass half full and find a way to top it off? Finally, I’m able to step back from my blind ambition and see what the contest is really all about. Here are three ways that I’m a winner just for showing up.

1. I have been motivated to ramp up my own marketing efforts. If you have a look at my recent post called “Facebook and the Art of Shameless Self Promotion”, you will see that my wheels are turning.  Welcome to the real world Boys and Girls. Talent and Hard work are admirable but it is Marketing that will unlock the door to success. Marketing is the reason that a particular work of art might sell for $1500 in Santa Fe, New Mexico and only $150 on Santa Fe Street in Denver, Colorado. Marketing is a big deal and I want to get better at it. I want to be a guy who can get that 250 votes next time.

2. Taking the time to work my way through 2500 images with a critical eye has inspired me tremendously. Napoleon Hill said “Just as our eyes need light in order to see, our minds need ideas in order to conceive”. This process has given me a very real opportunity to rub elbows with a lot of talented Photographers there is nothing wrong with letting some of their energy and originality rub off on moi.

3. I’ve realized that its not all about me! Look what just fell into my lap, an opportunity to acknowledge the hard work and talent of a handful of my peers right here in my very own blog. When I started Art Spirit Village a few years back, I envisioned a space that promoted Imagination, Inspiration and Transformation. It’s my hope that the photographers that I’m featuring in this post will feel validated at least a little bit more than they would have otherwise. I think their work is awesome.

http://fineartamerica.com/featured/portrait-of-a-snowy-white-egret-jennie-breeze.html

“Portrait of a Snowy White Egret” by Jennie Breeze

With less than two days to go only about 100 of 2500 images have received enough popular votes to advance to the leader board. In other words, 99.5 percent of the entries will not even be considered by Anne Geddes. Hey Losers! Welcome to the Art Spirit Village Virtual Gallery. Come in and have a look at some of the images that won my 22 votes (I only posted the ones that I had permissions for).  Stroll through the halls, look at the walls even have a seat as you really study your favorite image. My selections are skewed toward my preference for landscape and nature.  If you see something you like, click on it and off you go to a page where you can learn about the photographer, see their entire gallery and have a chance to purchase relatively inexpensive reproductions of their work.

If you prefer other styles and genres, head over to the contest gallery, you will be amazed with the diversity.  If you are an Artist and you have never visited the Fine Art America site before, I think you will be impressed.

Which one is your favorite?

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“Virgin River At Night” by Richard Dickinson

http://fineartamerica.com/featured/boston-snow-day-sarah-levy.html

“Boston Snow Day” by Sarah Levy

http://fineartamerica.com/featured/air-snowy-jim-cumming.html

“Air Snowy” by Jim Cumming

http://fineartamerica.com/featured/golden-hour-bahadir-yeniceri.html

“Golden Hour” by Bahadir Yeniceri

http://fineartamerica.com/featured/green-river-overlook-michael-ash.html

“Green River Overlook” by Michael Ash

http://fineartamerica.com/featured/rufus-humming-bird-rob-mclean-.html

“Rufus” by Rob Mclean

http://fineartamerica.com/featured/2-hello-world-donald-brice.html

“Hello World” by Donald Brice

http://fineartamerica.com/featured/waves-in-nature-gabriel-gutierrez.html

“Waves In Nature” by Gabriel Gutierrez

http://fineartamerica.com/featured/real-horse-power-mike-quinn.html

“Real Horse Power” by Mike Quinn

http://fineartamerica.com/featured/arctic-splendour-ralph-brunner.html

“Acrtic Splendour” by Ralph Brunner

http://fineartamerica.com/featured/lake-mcdonald-daniel-wilde.html

“Lake McDonald” by Daniel Wilde

http://fineartamerica.com/featured/4-deserted-lighthouse-bahadir-yeniceri.html

“Deserted Lighthouse” by Bahadir Yeniceri

http://fineartamerica.com/featured/tampa-color-kevin-ellis.html

“Tampa Color” by Kevin Ellis

http://fineartamerica.com/featured/sunset-lightning-dwayne-kear.html

“Sunset Lightning” by Dwayne Kear

If you have any comments about this post or this contest, please send it my way.  Thanks for the visit!

 

My World Is A Camera Obscura

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Tiny Planet Photo – recent sunset

Marketing 101 teaches that a well written Bio and Statement are essential for a successful career of any Artist. It doesn’t teach us that writing either might take us years and once written, the information is sure be out of date. It takes time to identify what inspires us and even more time to learn how to transform that inspiration into something tangible. Personally, I’m Eclectic to a fault and I find it very difficult to find the words to describe myself. Where do I begin my story and where do I end it? How do I write something that doesn’t make me feel as though I’m stuffing my aspirations into a metaphorical “box”?

Actually the “Box” is quite misunderstood. It can be a static and confining environment with a musty smell. A place where the living and the Divine simply do not belong. Yet if you add the right sized whole to the outer wall, the light of day streams through and creates a live reversed image on the opposite wall.

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I’m not making this up. The concept of the Camera Obscura was first conceived by philosophers Mozi and Aristotle long before the Birth of Christ, as early as 470 BCE. In latin, Camera Obscura simply means “Dark Chamber”. By 1700 AD, some of these “chambers” were large rooms where the image outside was projected on to the wall. Some theories suggest that some of the master painters of the time actually traced and painted what was seen by the Camera.

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photo courtesy WikiMedia Commons

My Bio and Statement should definitely include the fact that I became fascinated with photography at a very early age when I received a Kodak Brownie as a gift from my Parents. I knew right away that I wanted to be a photographer. In recent years, my passion for the photograph has morphed into a passion for drawing and painting. Occasionally I paint from real life, more often I paint from photo reference and more often than that, I paint from the enduring images that dance on the walls of my imagination. If I must live in a box, may it be a Camera Obscura.

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photo courtesy WikiMedia Commons

Featured Artist Ted Garcia: His 365×5 Journey

“Desire is the starting point of all achievement, not a hope, not a wish, but a keen pulsating desire which transcends everything” ~ Napoleon Hill

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Our short video profiling artist Ted Garcia – From the Cutting Room Floor

Once a week or so, I make the rounds in the realm of the Blogosphere, looking for everything that has to do with Imagination, Inspiration and Transformation. My queries are usually weighted toward the arts of Painting and Photography. I do read a lot of posts and I can tell you that something is in the water, or in the Air for that matter. An ever increasing number of painters are challenging themselves to produce 30 paintings in 30 days. Think of it as a diet where old heavy habits are eliminated and light and nimble habits are established, hopefully with lasting results. A lot of people are doing it, maybe I should as well.
It has also become apparent that the recently resurrected Plein-Air Painting Movement has staying power. A lot of painters are turning to the great outdoors for studio space and for inspiration, painting what they see with a naked eye and what they feel through unfiltered senses.

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Daily Paintings by Ted Garcia. Looks like one sold 🙂

Most of of the daily painting challenges I read about are of the short term nature and occur within the comfortable confines of a studio where a controlled climate and reliable lighting can help a person meet their goals. After all, seasons change, lives evolve and weather is unpredictable. Keep it simple and don’t bite off more than you can chew, right? Apparently Plein-Air Painter Ted Garcia of Evergreen, Colorado didn’t get the memo. Ted has been making Daily Plein-Air Paintings for over five years now. In fact he has gone somewhat above and beyond, completing his 2014th painting in 2014. The results of Ted’s painting challenge are now on display under one very big roof. Ted Garcia’s 365X5 is likely the largest ever One Man Plein-Air Painting Show. We are waiting to hear from The Guiness Book of World Records on that one, seriously.

Ted Garcia Gallery

Largest One Man Plein-Air show – 365X5

Currently, my Wife Tammy and I are creating a video spotlight for Ted Garcia, an Artist’s Profile if you will that I’ll be sharing in a week or two right here at Art Spirit Village. We think you will be just as inspired as we are by the Passion, Dedication and Perseverance of this Man. Stay Tuned! You can visit Ted on his website, TedGarcia.com and follow him on Facebook where he posts his new work every day.

One Man Show Daily Paintings for five years

Visit the Artist at the Aspen Grove Shopping Center in Littleton, Co. or at his website http://www.tedgarcia.com

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Another Side Note:  I only need a few more votes to push this old truck photo into the judging round of the national Fine Art America photo contest.  Please take just a minute to click on the picture and throw me your vote.  🙂 I’ll remember you when I’m famous!

"Back In The Day"

“Back In The Day” –Please click on the photo and give me your vote!

How Our Little World Has Changed In The Blink Of An Eye

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Brave New World of Technology and Medicine – Tiny Planet Photoshop Effect

So…What was your favorite Superbowl ad? Hands down, I’d have to say mine was the BMW I3 spot with Katie Couric and Bryant Gumbel. If you haven’t seen it, do it now..its all over Youtube. It starts with a clip from the Today Show in 1994, Couric and Gumbel having an in-depth conversation about, of all things…the @ symbol, you know “that little mark with the A and then the ring around it”. You can’t help but get a chuckle out of their confusion, desperately needing an explanation of “what internet is”. OMG and LOL, can you believe how much our world has changed in a metaphorical blink of the eye?

It’s natural to be skeptical of change, but don’t resist too long or you’ll be left in the dust. Remember when digital camera’s first hit the market?  You couldn’t find one in a camera store, only in the neighborhood pc stores where the computer nerds bought parts to build their own computers. I believe my first was the Kodak d100 and it sported like one megapixel resolution and you had to download the images to see what you had, there was no monitor and no view finder. It really wasn’t any more advanced than a shoebox converted to a pinhole camera. The results were disappointing and the popular thought with camera enthusiasts was that film would live forever, this digital thing is just a passing fad.

Fast forward to yesterday and you’ll see that I was testing out my new iPhone 6 and playing with the results in photoshop..now this is progress. My new hobby (as if I need another) is to turn my photos into “Little Worlds”. Not my original idea of course, saw it on the internet. The first time I saw one I thought to myself, that could be fun. The subject matter is the State of the Art University of Colorado Hospital, Children’s Hospital and Anschutz Medical Campus. Back in the 90’s when I took that first digital camera for a spin, only the Fitzsimons Army Hospital existed here. You can see that the old building still stands and is looking for a new purpose. I could tell you how this place has changed my life but that is a whole different story.

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Fitzsimmons Army Hospital 1941~ courtesy WikiMedia Commons

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University Of Colorado Hospital, Anschutz Medical Campus, Fitzimons Army and Children’s Hospitals (L to R) – Shot with my iPhone6

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Side Note:  Please, Please, Please Help Me get enough votes to send this photo below to the judging round of a national contest.  (I only need 139 more)  All you have to do is click and vote 🙂 and let me know so I can personally thank you!

"Back In The Day"

“Back In The Day” – Please Click and Vote

Larger Than Life

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“Larger Than Life” (36″ x 96″) Acrylic on Canvas

It always feels good to unveil a painting. A process of letting go of it and knowing its good enough, its finished. The ritual of photographing my work is always a celebration. For precision I’ll engage a tripod, a level and a measuring tape and then I’ll wait to position the painting in the best ambient light possible. The completion of this painting is extra special, significant in ways that its difficult to describe. I recently posted a picture of me at the easel working on this one and I think most people assumed that it was current, it was actually taken about a year ago. Despite the mass of canvas I was working on, it came together very quickly. I have more total hours in many paintings one tenth the size. It took a year to complete because of the events that took place in my life during that time. I’ll try to explain.

Happy with the progress - a year ago

Happy with the progress – a year ago

The year began with the purchase of a new home. We had been living in a tiny apartment for a year and it felt good to have more space for ourselves and for visits from family and friends. The wall of the long skinny living room begged for attention and a very big painting was born. For a long time, it was good enough unfinished to just warm the space up with light and color. It hung on the wall somewhat askew and strips of blue painters tape held the two canvas’ together.

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A Grandfather’s Advise

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Unfinished painting hangs on the wall

Last June, my youngest daughter was preparing to get married and a Bridal Shower took place at our home. It turned out to be the first and last opportunity to bring my Dad to our house. He so much enjoyed being part of the celebration. While the Ladies sat at the dining room table, He and I sat in the living room eating finger foods and talking about life. Dad had really not seen much of my work in person before. He knew about my artistic ambitions and he more than anyone knew what I had given up to pursue them, but he had never felt the space that I create in. He stared at the big painting for the longest time, impressed by the details and the colors, he loved it. On a number of occasions during the following weeks he would ask me if I had finished the painting. Dad died on August 12th.

I procrastinated on finishing the painting for the longest time. I think I was fearful of painting over all of the love and warm memories that had attached themselves to its surface. This week, the finishing touches went on effortlessly in the end and the two pieces are now held together tightly by a border made of red oak. Well, what do you think Dad?

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A side note to all of my readers.  I’ve entered a few photographs in the national FineArtAmerica.com photo contest and I’m pushing one in particular just to make it to the judging round.  If you would be so kind to look at my post titled “Three Inspiring Quotes About Thinking Big” and cast a vote my way for “Back In The Day”, I would be forever grateful.