A couple of weeks ago I posted about Redbubble and my plan to adjust to likely/possible changes on that site. One of the things I mentioned was focusing on brightly-colored mixed media pieces. Because of other time commitments I decided to start off with small images, 5×7 inches. But that size would be too small for most of Redbubble’s products so I knew I’d need to enlarge them. I assumed that my old flatbed scanner (a CanoScan 8800F attached to an air-gapped 27″ Mac from 2010) would do the job. It might not enlarge enough to suit throw blankets and shower curtains but it could certainly produce dimensions to fit most of the other prints and products – if it worked.
Unfortunately, the scanner wouldn’t clear itself of the last slide scan I did a few months ago. All the recommended troubleshooting tips failed. I whooshed around the internet trying to find out what to do. I read forums and specs and online manuals from more than a decade ago. Nearly a week later, desperate, I tried the “shotgun” technique for troubleshooting stubborn peripherals: I unplugged/disconnected everything then reinstalled it. Then I methodically clicked every button on every setting and checked results each time. Two days later, the scanner cleared out the “stuck” preview image. YAY! But it didn’t scan properly so I continued clicking and un-clicking, testing along the way. Nope. I still had to convince Photoshop Elements that it was communicating with the same scanner it had been for the past 13 years. That took a nearly a day. Finally, this afternoon, I was able to scan again.
A photo detail – not the scan – from the test painting is above. It’s an acrylic painting with torn paper, on canvas board. Seeing the texture without pixellation is critical so the scans need to be good ones. Early next week I should have a new image to upload to Redbubble but I’ll post about it here, first.
(1) A few days ago I reopened my old @robinkingfaces WordPress site. Trying to “promote” is always a challenge. Consistency and cohesiveness in messaging matter. But my version of art is always bifurcated: brightly-colored abstracts/patterns AND not-so-happy (and frequently creepy) faces, created solely to scratch an emotional itch. Add to that my love of experimenting and the message becomes incoherent. This @artbyrobinking site will remain my home for everything art-related, even a colorful face or two. But I’ve discovered that most of my faces need a little corner all their own – a refuge where they can be angry/sad/weird/grouchy without confusing people who are looking for vibrant abstracts/patterns.
(2) I’m on Instagram again. This is probably my 10th attempt to fit in. I’m trying to ignore the “noise,” the DM’s asking me to sell NFTs for a “reasonable curation fee,” and the slithering feed of things I didn’t ask to see (and soon wish I hadn’t). For the first time I’m actively following Redbubble’s two accounts, which has led to a pile of new followers. That’s not a bad thing, so far. But it all takes time and time’s not endless, right? Anyway, I’m @artbyrobinking & @robinkingfaces there too. If you’re there and I haven’t found you yet, I hope you’ll stop by (or leave your username in a comment below). I’d love to see someone I know!! There’s always time for friends.
The in-process image above is the paper collage I’m working on today. It began life in November (2022). I had other pieces to do at the time so I decided to temporarily shelve it, unfinished. This is what it looked like when I put it away:
You may recognize the digital collage I created using the photo above as the base image:
Now it’s February, and for the past two weeks I’ve been struggling with “creative direction” (what I love doing versus what I can do that is likely to sell). Today I decided to stop struggling and just enjoy playing with paper again.
So…I found that unfinished paper collage and went back to work. And, five minutes in, I suddenly noticed the BLEP! The previously blah face had something to say, a reason for its existence!
A little process information:
When I do paper collages I usually rip the pieces but occasionally make clean cuts for definition. Most often, my plan is to fully cover the ground with colors and textures that gradually form a structure. But “Blep” had a basic structure (a face) already because when I started it last year – before it was “Blep” – I wanted a face immediately. So this experience is slightly different. I’ll use both strategies in the future.
The paper that I tear/cut comes from old advertising circulars, discarded wrapping paper, brochures, and pieces of mulberry paper from “Scrap Packs”sold by “Blick Materials.” I use liquid glue and glue sticks for the adhesive. Usually, the ground is a piece of discarded cardboard but sometimes a canvas board or a stretched canvas. “Blep” is on sheet of cardboard I saved from a box of canned cat food.
Here’s a detail from “Blep:”
It’s easy to see the mulberry paper fibers in the photo above. My choice of adhesive is partially dictated by what I want those mulberry paperfibers to do. Liquid glue allows me to move and place the fibers where I want them. Sometimes, if I twist the fibers they untwist in the glue and make shapes on their own. That’s exciting! Glue sticks require some planning because once the glued fibers land on the ground they resist movement. I enjoy using both methods.
So there it is, the story behind “Blep.” It has a long way to go before it’s finished. When it’s done I’ll scan it, probably do a little editing to the image file, then upload it to my Shop on Redbubble.
Here’s another cut/torn paper piece that’s already there:
It’s called“Bats at Sunset”and is available on the full range of Redbubble products.