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Saturday, April 2, 2016

Elephant Painting Process by Tina A Stoffel

My first video using my GoPro. You can see quite a bit of my technique in this video from starting my under painting with a brush to where I progress to the painting knife to reveal texture. Unfortunately the battery ran out before I finished the painting.

Keep in mind this has been cut and edited so you don't have to see me returning to my palette and reference photo. After the editing, it has been sped up to 8 times the actual speed. Oh how I wish I actually painted this fast. Hahahahahah

I plan do some more of these in the future. Hope you enjoy it.

Tina A Stoffel

Sunday, March 20, 2016

Tips for Protecting Your Artwork from Theft

Artist Sharing Concerns

Recently, while networking with a new artist who's work got a phenomenal response, I was asked if they should watermark their work. This artist proceeded to tell me that they don't share much work because they have concern about their works getting copied and stolen. That's too bad because if an artist chooses not to share their work, they are missing out on getting their work seen.

The Watermarking Debate and Image Resolution

Watermarks are a tough question. Sometimes I use them and sometimes I don't. It depends on what I"m sharing electronically. Once I've completed a work and have signed it, I usually don't watermark it because my signature is on the piece. However, I don't upload high resolution photos either. As seen on my a portion of my Water Lily Pond painting below, I try to keep them at 1 MB because it's hard to make a good copy from just 1MB, but it still shows nicely on social media. I think this is the best option because the watermark does distract from your image.
Low Resolution Image is fuzzy when enlarged
When you do watermark, you need to make it difficult to remove. There are programs and people that can take the time to remove them.
Programs like Gimp or Adobe Photoshop can be used to create a watermark. I create mine with a brush to where I can set the size, color and transparency. It should be large enough to cover part of the image, but transparency as well. The transparency doesn't interfere with too much of the image and I believe is harder to remove. Just photograph your signature and follow the appropriate steps below. Make sure your background is set to Transparent.


Find the Gimp Tutorial here:
Find the Photoshop Tutorial here: Create a Photoshop Brush

To Get Your Work Noticed You Have to Take Risks

There are never any guarantees, but if you want to get noticed and get your work seen, you have to get it out there. Be cautious of art sites too. I follow some professional sites and one of them recommended an art social media sharing site to get your work seen. I joined and uploaded some works, but soon backed off of because in order for your work to show nicely, the file needs to be larger than I'm comfortable with uploading. To check the image resolution of your work on a site, just drag your art to your desktop, right click, then click properties on the drop down. You should find the image resolution details on the drop down list.

Written by Tina A Stoffel

Monday, March 14, 2016

Five Tips for Maximizing Your Art Studio Time

For many artist, myself included, balancing studio time can be a challenge. Some of us have to work a full time job for steady income. Some may have interfering health conditions. Others may be taking care of children, parents, etc.

For me, I'm running the household and raising a teen and preteen while my husband works incredibly long hours to support us. It would be very difficult for me to do what I do without him and I would be lucky to get a painting or two done a year.

Everyone's situation is unique, so what can you do to maximize your studio time? For me, studio time comes first (after my family of course). Sometimes that can minimize time due to running my children to sports, band, social activities or if they are sick.

Five tips for maximizing your studio time

1. Set a schedule and post it on your art studio door or near your work space. Put it in your phone. (Come on now, you knew this was coming).
2. Be flexible
3. Limit your time on Social Media (I'm going for 1-1/2 hours a day)
4. Get organized
5. Work efficiently

Let me address these one by one

1. Why set a schedule?
Everyone else has one, right? As creative people, most of us do not like schedules, or at least I don't. As a matter of fact, I can not stand them. I admit, I'm still working on ironing mine out probably because it's constantly changing with children. However, think of it like this, when you are working for an employer, you have set hours and must be there during that time. The same should apply to your studio time. Others should not bother you unless it's an emergency. This is a sure way to be productive on a regular basis. For your convenience, I'm going to attach a copy of a sample schedule. You should be able to download and print. If you can not edit this one to your liking, you can create your own in Microsoft Excel or Google docs which automatically saves to your Google drive. Click the following link for a copy of this schedule.

Are you working full time? Set aside a little time each night through the week, or every other night, even if it's just 30 minutes. Just for working on the sketch for your next painting, priming or building a canvas, or varnishing a painting. All this in small sessions can add up to a lot of extra time. Set aside quality time on weekends and holidays to dedicate to longer sessions and completing work. 

2. Be Flexible. In my case, I have to be. My kids are down with a stomach bug, wisdom teeth removal, going to sporting events, banquets, (yes this all happened in the past week) needing help with homework, school events, Dr. Appointments, etc. Of course this goes against Rule number 1, but it happens and you should still have a schedule and stick to it as much as possible. That will keep you on track, and don't beat yourself up too much if you are off schedule a bit. Get back on track as soon as possible.

3. Limit your time on Social Media: I'm guilty again. This is tricky because most of us are marketing on social media. If you aren't you should be. In addition to having a Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram page, I moderate 4 Google Plus Art Communities, one which is over 4,000 members. Feel free to join me there if  you like. Here is the link: Online Fine Art Exhibition. (You must request to join so we know you aren't a spammer). I'm giving myself an hour in the morning and again in the evening. I need to cut this down to 30-45 minutes though. In addition to catching up with friends and family, I market and network with artists, but this can eat up your time quickly. So set a timer, it's not hard. 

4. Get organized and stay organized. Another challenge for us creatives is to stay organized, but you will feel much more relaxed, find things easier, and in turn be more productive if you get yourself organized. You will find your supplies, forms, invoices and more with ease when you are organized. I just took a weekend off to organize my studio and it now feels so much better to go into my studio. I think I need to do that every month or two.
After organizing and cleaning-Ahhhhh

5. Work efficiently. Feel stuck while a painting is drying? Start your sketch and/or prep your canvas for your next project. I did this over the weekend while waiting on my Zebra painting to dry for the next layer so I don't mix the colors and get gray. Yeah, learning that one the hard way. So what did I do? Let it dry and worked on my Giraffe for the next painting. It felt great to get a  head start.

See, I sketched the Giraffe which will be the 5th painting in my wildlife series. I hope this information  has helped you. Some of the tips I've gathered are from following other artists and coaches such as Alyson Stanfield. She has amazing tips. I welcome your comments and would love to hear how you maximize  your art studio time, so please feel free to comment. 

*Clip art from

Tina A Stoffel

Saturday, February 6, 2016

Making Time For Creating Art

Sometimes the world comes caving in and it can pull us away from what we love most. Whether it be exercise, reading, playing music, creating art or anything else. For me, it is my art. I absolutely love being in my studio and creating art. It's what I call my "Happy Place" where I completely lose myself in all space and time. It literally soothes my soul. When I get pulled away from that, I can get a little, or a lot, grumpy.

If you follow my Social Media pages (links on this blog) you have likely noticed that I just haven't been up to my usual lately. Why? For one I have had a huge remodel along with some much needed repairs happening at my home. Dust is everywhere, a lot of decisions needed to be made and it just drained me. I did get to use my creativity in picking some new colors and decorations. Good thing I have color knowledge.

Secondly, I have not publicly shared much about my personal life because I like to keep it about my art. However, my wonderful husband is the reason I'm able to do what I do, but that comes with a price. 

He works and works while I hold down the fort and raise my kids. I have one preteen  and another teen who is not old enough to drive. While they are superstar athletes, they are very involved in a couple of demanding sports as well as wonderful musicians. I'd like to think they got some of their creativity from Mom.  With that being said, we are nearing year end tournaments in addition to the remodel. Did I mention between the two of them they were sick for about 3 weeks? That left me feeling like this woman in the cartoon and needing some extra limbs like an octopus:

In the midst of it all, I did manage to start a painting and order a book I've been wanting to get for a while. It is fittingly titled: I'd Rather Be In The Studio, by  Alyson B. Stanfield. 
While I have not attended any of Alyson's sessions, I have followed her blog and she has some wonderful advice for artists. I'm just curious if she has any tips for the busy Mom/Artist, or if it will just be a few years until my teen drives until I can devote more time to my art. I'm not rushing because I love my children dearly and realize they will be grown before I know it. Rest assured, I will not quit. It may be slower at times when my role as a Mother calls, but I never want to quit my art again, ever. 
In the meantime, I have about a 4-5 hour swim meet to attend today. I plan to take a much needed chance to open this book between swim events and check it out. 

In case you've missed it, here is an Elephant work in progress on my 3rd piece to my wildlife series. I've had to work on it in small increments as opposed to the larger painting sessions I normally have. Why? Because that has been my only option, and that is the answer to this blog title. I chose to do most of it with a painting knife because of the texture I wanted to portray.  It follows the two lions I've done. I'm planning a couple of more animals in this series for now. At which point I may break back into some beach/seascape paintings. 

Image Credits: 
Busy Mom: 

Saturday, January 2, 2016

Tips for Artists, How to Keep Fit in Your Art Studio

Starting the New Year out Right

It's the time of year we make resolutions and probably the top resolution is losing weight and getting fit. That happens to be on my list this year along with creating more art and improving in my work which is something I'm always striving at doing. What are your resolutions?

Since a few years ago when I finally reached a point in my life to pick up my childhood dream of being an artist and learning to paint, I have found that the sedentary characteristics of drawing and painting have caused me to pack on more than just a few pounds. If you are anything like me with your art, I can get completely lost in my happy place when I'm working which results in loosing complete track of time. I love that feeling, but not the pounds that come along with it.

 (Cartoon of myself, as you can see I'm much better at painting than cartooning)

What I'm doing

Being fit and into health and fitness, prior to having a family life and pursing the sedentary aspects of art, kept me in great shape. Combine that with getting older and a lot of sitting at the computer and easel, was packing on the pounds and it isn't settling well with me. So, I've decided to do something about it by standing as I do my paintings, and exercising during my kids activities when I can not be in the studio.

Taking it a step further, I recently bought the Garmin Vivosmart activity tracker to help with my goals.  After getting one for my son who is a swimmer, I found myself comparing it to the Fitbit. They both have pluses and minuses, but I went with the Garmin Vivosmart. Why? Because it has an alarm to remind me to get up off of my derriere and get moving. Little did I know, even after spending years in the gym that, long periods of inactive time slow your metabolism even if you fit in a good workout during the day. Note: it is perplexing at first since they only include a quick start guide. You have to go online to the Garmin connect site to get more details

 If you don't have a smart watch or fitness tracker, set a timer, any timer

Also, if you aren't aware, eating more frequent smaller meals will also speed up the metabolism. Make sure to drink 6-8 oz of water. You get hungry if you are dehydrated. Try snacking on something healthy, low in carbs and sugar, high in protein and good fats. This tracker, like many has an option for tracking your meals including calories consumed, and calories burned along with sleep. Best of all, it's water resistant, so I can clean my brushes with it. Just don't get solvent on your tracker. Oh wait, Did I mention I can control my music on my compatible device. Music is a must for me when I paint.

Tips In Summary:

1. Get up and move, march in place or something for a few minutes, even just five.
2. Try standing up to paint
3. Monitor your eating
4 Eat smaller healthy meals
5. Snack on healthy snacks in between meals. Think yogurt, nuts. peanut butter with fruit, etc.
6. Keep a bottle of water near. Drink 6-8 glasses a day. 
7. Limit sweets, caffeine and alcohol

The 3' x 6'  lion oil painting is complete and will be posted to my website soon. Keep your eyes open for my upcoming elephant or giraffe painting. I think it will be an elephant.

I suppose this post is going to hold my feet to the fire for getting back in shape, so here is to a fit New Year with many more paintings to come.

If you have a special routine or plan to stay fit in your studio, please share them. I'd love to hear it.
Happy New Year everyone! I wish you peace, success, creativity and prosperity in the New Year.