Friday, November 23, 2012

Keep Your Art Photos Organized

Three Friends - Jacqueline Kinsey Photography available at

Yes, I know, it seems like a good thing to do. The problem is, that some of us artist-types are not very good at this part; staying organized.

I am probably the last person on earth who should be talking about such a topic (since losing most of my organizational abilities from one too many traumatic brain injuries), but then again...I am familiar with the frustrations.

How many times have you gone to find something in a hurry and can't find it (for the life of you) even though you just saw it the other day!

I am going to just talk a bit about organizing your photo references and photos that you have taken of your work (in order to post them online).

First, I am an artist who does most of her work from a reference photo and because many of my paintings are inspired by my photography, I have literally thousands of inspirational photos on my computer(s).

It is so important to develop a system of storage and back up of those photo files. I say 'develop' because my system continues to evolve over time.

I will just explain a bit about my system;

First I created a file folder that I named "Incoming 2 B Edited". These are the raw photos downloaded direct from the camera. I have also got in the habit of going through and weeding out the bad photos (blurry, redundant) first. I don't use automatic downloading software anymore. Your camera usually comes with one of these. I find I can save some time by briefly scanning over "Extra Large" icons. (1) I can usually discard almost 1/3 of the photo prospects at this stage.

Now, ideally, would be the time to edit these photo files further, but, all too often I end up just getting them downloaded and they stay there for long periods of time. But I do try to keep up on my photo editing for two main reasons; 1- It piles up fast! One day of shooting can result in hundreds, sometimes even a thousand photos, 2- these large files take up a lot of space on my laptop. When I edit them, I usually make my reference photos into smaller files. I don't need them to be big because I won't be printing them out.(2)

I would like to mention here too that I also create two files within the "Incoming 2 B Edited" file; one is "Incoming Reference" and the other is "Incoming 2 Print", (because some of my shots might be good enough to make into available photographic prints).

Once I get around to editing the photos, then it starts to get complicated. I have a file for "Kinsey Art" and all photos for references, photos of completed paintings go into this file. I then have a file for "Most Recent Works" and I also have a file for "Blog-sized" works in progress that I usually use to post on my blog to show the progression of a piece I'm currently working on. When a piece of artwork sells, I try to remember to place it in my "Sold Archives" folder. From there, if I decide to make a limited number of artist prints of a piece, I place it in the folder "Prints 4 Sale".


Once edited, I then place reference photos into respective categorized folders such as; "Horses Moving, Horses Still, Landscape Architecture, Landscape, Seascape, Trees, Flowers, Wildlife etc etc".

I must stress to try to keep it simple. I find it so easy to get too many "folders" going and end up doubling up on categories! That's when it starts to get frustrating trying to find something. You think you know where it is, but then at some point discover that you accidentally created two similar file folders.

Ultimately, you have to figure out a system that works for you.

Young Gull - Graphite drawing on paper. Original available for sale. Contact me for price.

Backing up of the computer files. 

We all know we should be backing up the files on our computers. That's a given. But, to truly back up computer files, we should be keeping a copy off site in a safe (ie. the inlaw's or sister's home).

We keep some files in our email files such as GMail and Yahoo Mail because they have large storage spaces. And then there is "the cloud", which we have not utilized, but its the same idea as saving to your email storage area.

I try to keep several hard copies around on burned CD's, DVD's and thumb drives and we also have our back up drive that we just recently went through and cleaned up (which gave me the idea of this blog post). I believe the general rule of thumb is to have your files saved in at least 3 different places/formats.

Another topic to cover another day is the recording and keeping track of your artwork in a computer program such as Excel.

Quote of the Day:

"A mistake is simply another way of doing things". Katharine Graham


(1) If you use Windows, you will find a drop down tab at the top left corner of your "Pictures" window titled; Views. Click on the little black arrow and it will give you size options on displaying your photo files.

(2) I usually save my reference files between 300kb - 1.5MB, depending on what it is. If its something that has a lot of detail and I will want to look closely at that detail, then I save it in a larger format. If its a landscape/sunset for example, I would save it at a smaller format because I don't need the detail of the photograph.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Red Ribbons and Art

Refined by Fire - 18" x 18" x 1.5" Acrylic paint on stretched canvas.
Contact me for pricing

Latest news for West Wind Ranch Creations is that I can now say I am an award winning least I think that is what you might call me. The big art show of the season; Twas the Art Before Christmas was held over the last weekend starting November 9th - 11th at the CASO Train Station in St Thomas, Ontario. It is put on by my Art Guild (STEAG) every year and this is my second year showing. I have previously written about this show and how much I look forward to it. 

Unfortunately, this year I could not attend, but was allowed to participate. Since I could not participate in the required volunteering, I offered to bake some cookies for the "Tea Room" at the show. I did not feel this warranted my submitting the maximum number of pieces allowed (12), so I submitted only 6 paintings.

Some Photos from the art show;

So...back to the reason why I could not attend the show; I was scheduled for surgery on my knee for that Friday (Nov. 9th)! So, the surgery went well and I hobbled home on crutches (ever try to climb up into a 4 x 4 truck passenger side without a step-bar and with a right knee all bandaged up and very painful? - I challenge you to try it sometime - It was a bit of a comedy in the end).

So, for the next 2 days, while the art show was on, I layed around with my leg up, bored (in between when I slept) and moping around because I didn't get to even see this years show! I sent my manager/husband to the Train Station on Sunday afternoon, camera in hand, to take some photos of the show before they took it down at 5pm.

Coming Home - SOLD
So, when he arrived back home with my box full of heart sank just, ever-so-little, as I saw that all the paintings appeared to be back...but alas; one little painting was missing! My husband said he looked around for it but couldn't find it so they checked the sales list and sure enough..."Coming Home" had sold! I was pretty happy with that. Its nice to sell a painting now and then.

Then I caught a glimpse of ribbon I think. My husband than smiled and announced that "you are now an award winning artist"! My mouth dropped open, my eyes bugged out and I said, "really? - Noooo"!

Yup, and not only did "Refined by Fire" win Judge's choice, it also was runner up for Patron's choice!

Now, I'm sharing how this all went down because it was a new experience for me. I seriously don't know what to do with it! What does an artist do with learning that they have won a ribbon...what ever color it is? There are some things that came to mind like; do I tell anyone? Will it sound too much like bragging? Well, if I don't tell anyone, then what's the point of receiving them...will the ribbons help my art or hinder it? I suppose time will tell, but I am already warding off the little voice inside my head that says, " now you have to keep that level of painting up, you have to do better next time, everyone will be watching to see if you win again or was it just  fluke"? All these silly little questions that want to present themselves as if they are important when all that is really important is that lots of people got to see my paintings and respond to them, good or bad. I enjoy sharing my art with other people and that is the bottom line. The ribbons are nice and might have drawn more attention to the painting which is a good thing.

All of this caught me off guard, but it kinda made up for missing the show (my manager/husband's blurry photos didn't do it justice).

I am feeling truly blessed and now onto more important things like getting rid of these crutches! Physio starts tomorrow, so it won't be long and I'll be able to get up the stairs to my studio and finish some of these paintings I have been showing as "Works in Progress" (WIP's).

I have been busy drawing; Saturday I managed to draw a couple sketches in my sketch book which I will photograph and post next time.

Quote of the Day:

Success is to be measured not so much by the position that one has reached in life as by the obstacles which he has overcome.

Booker T. Washington 

Monday, November 5, 2012

This Artist's Heritage

My Great Grandmother - Elsie Martin training her two white horses for the Circus.

Raising and training animals is in my blood.

If anyone wonders where one gets an obsession for horses from....try this; a Great Great Grandmother who was in the Buffalo Bills Wild West Show, a Great Grandmother who was one of the first female Thoroughbred Race Horse trainers, trained trick horses for the circus, (trained all her dogs to do tricks too), Grandmother who raised, trained and showed draft horses, quarter horses and Saddlebreds and an Uncle and Aunt who raised, trained, showed quarter horses and still compete in Cattle Cutting in Western Canada.

Any further questions?

That is why I say, "horses are in my blood". I have always been an animal "lover" since I can remember.

At the age of 10, neighbors would show up at our doorstep wondering if I would like to nurse a bird back to health or we would end up with a litter of puppies dropped off nearby (which we would have to take to an animal shelter to find homes for them) and I always had some sort of pet. From budgies to bunnies, dogs, even a cat once or twice (even though I am allergic) and my weirdest pet was a couple Piranhas that got so big I got scared of them and sold them for $20 each! They do have big sharp teeth!

My family thought I should become a vet for sure...but, then I ended up in art school in Vancouver, BC. But that was not going to pay the bills, so I heard the RCMP were hiring "females", so I applied and became a Reserve Peace Officer first (for 7 years), then a full fledged Constable for the RCMP (Royal Canadian Mounted Police) for another 13 years. I was also a prison guard for a time and  did security for the  Woodwards Store for a short time (it was too boring for me).

Several things have remained constant throughout my life are; my faith in God, my love of all God's creatures (great and small), love of drawing and painting (basically any form of creating), and my compassion for those in need. I have always had such a giving nature about myself. No questions asked, I have a passion to serve for God. Working for the RCMP allowed me to be there for people in their greatest time of need, which gave me the opportunity to be "the hands of Jesus" on many occasions.

Now that I am retired from the RCMP, I still have this passion for people in need and my goal is to use my art to help people find peace and to find that relationship they need with their Creator. I will always have a passion for all God's creatures and love to paint and draw them; exploring their shape, form, colors and spirit within...

So for now, I will continue to work to that end.

To see our Ranch Website go to West Wind Ranch

Quote of the Day:

A #2 pencil and a dream can take you anywhere.

Joyce Meyer

Saturday, November 3, 2012

Layers of Color

A time to rest.

A Time to Rest - Acrylic on Terraskin WIP

Here is one I am working on. I snapped this photo while at a local rodeo of a horse waiting his turn along the ringside fence. I wonder if he like watching the rodeo as much as being in it? I started with a sketch in pencil, then started layering really thin washes of acrylic color. I have not used any gloss medium...yet, but starting to contemplate that. I actually started this one while on a road trip a couple weeks ago. It is quite the challenge to do such an elaborate sketch while moving down the road! It takes some getting used to and a few odd lines here and there, but not impossible. Hope to have this one completed soon, but working on a very large woodlands oil painting right now ( a Christmas present ) which is taking up my creative energy.

Quote of the Day:

Our greatest weakness lies in giving up. The most certain way to succeed is always to try just one more time. 

Thomas Edison

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