Time for a makeover

My online profile picture has been the same since 2013! It really was time for a change…

The original illustration was drawn in 2010 in the comic book style made famous by American pop artist Roy Lichtenstein:

Pop art self-portrait, vector illustration, 2010

In 2012, I replaced the dots with plain colours, added a background pattern and used it for the first and last pages of my Design & Arts College Diary:

It has been my profile pic ever since (with the occasional tweak now and then). And in case you’re wondering… yes, the new look was inspired by a recent real-life makeover : )

Our 2020 makeover

The art of shopping, part two

If you’ve read my last two posts, you’ll know that I am now involved in (yet) another social media website… Polyvore, a community that, in Polyvore’s own words, “disrupts the traditional e-commerce model by giving everyone everywhere a voice in shaping today’s trends and influencing purchases”. I discovered the site shortly after Etsy announced that it was going to take treasuries away (click here to see an old post that explains a bit more about treasuries). Over on Etsy, some of us were mad and some of us were sad, but there were also those who wondered what all the fuss was about.

Well, to some of us, the treasury was more than just a marketing tool; it was an art form. As well as promoting each other’s shops, we did things like A bird in the hand

a-bird-in-the-hand-treasury5
annacullart.etsy.com

…and I Regret Nothing (one of my last treasuries)…

This was me having a bit of fun and putting together items for one of my last ever treasuries...
annacullart.etsy.com

Going Going Gone is one I didn’t make. It was created by a team member in the Flash Mob who made personal treasuries for many of us as a farewell gesture. It features only my art! What an amazing gift. Thank you so much, Donna.

I was blown away when one of our team members in the Flash Mob made personal treasuries as a farewell gesture... Thank you, Donna
annacullart.etsy.com

At some point during the final days of treasuries, the Flash Mob discovered Polyvore, a place where treasuries are called ‘sets’ and the old familiar 16-square grid looks more than a little old-fashioned. Now we can edit images, resize them, remove backgrounds, and make really, really creative sets. They can be fairly standard magazine-style editorials about fashion, beauty, or home decor, or they can be quirky and arty and just about anything you want them to be.

Like Etsy, Polyvore is very group and community oriented. There are contests with themes and items to feature, and so it’s surprisingly familiar even as we learn new ways of doing things. My first set was based on the ‘in situ’ illustration I drew for my ‘Moon Over the City’ painting:

annacullart.polyvore.com
annacullart.polyvore.com

Okay, that’s pretty basic, but I’m happy with it and I love being able to style my art in sets. It’s way too much fun (which goes some way to explaining why there hasn’t been a lot of painting going on in the studio this month). Below is an example of a fashion set for an ‘I Love Paris in the Fall’ contest — I couldn’t resist using my autumn tree drawing in the background:

anna-cull-kiwi-in-paris
annacullart.polyvore.com

The opportunities for creativity are endless. You can use the images already on Polyvore — and yes, quite a few are sponsored — or you can import your own from any website (like Pinterest, Polyvore preserves the link to the site that the image came from).

I’ll sign off today with a set that has nothing to do with anything, really. It was for a contest that had to feature our “first device love in the Technological Age” and, for me, that was my trusty old tape deck. Thanks for reading.

anna-cull-mix-tape
annacullart.polyvore.com

The art of shopping, part one

I mentioned in my last post that I’ve been revamping some of the images in my Etsy shop, so I thought I’d show you a few of my favourites. These were all created with digital trickery : ) and each picture is a combination of three different photographs: the original painting + my black travel easel + the photo that inspired the painting (in the background & slightly out of focus to give a kind of ‘depth of field’ effect)…

Sidetracked, 12 x 12 inches
‘Sidetracked’ (12 x 12 inches), the railway tracks and golden sand near Koekohe Beach in Otago, NZ

'Boatsheds' (10 x 30 inches), the Banks Peninsula coastline and boat sheds along Duvauchelle Bay near Akaroa, NZ
‘Boatsheds’ (10 x 30 inches), the Banks Peninsula coastline and boat sheds along Duvauchelle Bay near Akaroa, NZ

'Thursday, Avon River' (30 x 20 inches), ducks swimming on the Avon River in Christchurch, NZ
‘Thursday, Avon River’ (30 x 20 inches), ducks swimming on the Avon River in Christchurch, NZ

'Riding the Falls' (16 x 12 inches), a Huka Falls jet boat on the Waikato River, NZ
‘Riding the Falls’ (16 x 12 inches), a Huka Falls jet boat on the Waikato River, NZ

The other idea I’ve been playing around with is showing how my paintings could look on walls in different rooms. Because our house is not very big and much too untidy for a photo shoot, I decided to draw the furniture instead of photographing it. This is the first of what I hope will be a series of illustrated ‘in situ’ paintings…

'Moon Over the City' (16 x 12 inches, unframed), living room illustration
‘Moon Over the City’ (16 x 12 inches, unframed), living room ‘in situ’ illustration

One of the other things I mentioned last week was that I have discovered the wonderful world of Polyvore… but I’ll tell you more about that and how I came to be involved in yet another social media site (I know, I know…) in my next blog post. Thanks for reading.

Wednesday

“They didn’t want it good, they wanted it Wednesday.” Robert A. Heinlein

I tend to thrive on deadlines, creating them for myself even if I don’t have to because it makes me more productive, but this month I have no projects demanding urgent attention. And I’m still managing to get a few things done.

Here are three little drawings I’ve just finished:

Anna Cull The Return 1
The Return #1 — ink and watercolour, 90 x 90 mm, 2016. Sold.

Anna Cull The Return #2
The Return #2 — ink and watercolour, 90 x 90 mm, 2016. Sold.

Anna Cull Worth the Risk framed WP
Worth the Risk — ink and watercolour, 128 x 128 mm, 2016. Available.

Elements

I’ve been getting reacquainted with working in pen and watercolour. It’s been ages. Too long, really. So I thought I’d ease back into it with a few abstract patterns. One thing led to another and the four mini (3″ x 3″) artworks below are now for sale have sold on Etsy.

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Say hello to Affinity

https://affinity.serif.com
https://affinity.serif.com

https://affinity.serif.com
https://affinity.serif.com

The cute sketch of Jasper I posted yesterday turned out to be the last project I will (probably) ever do in Photoshop. It’s a long story but the short version is that when I updated my Mac operating system a couple of weeks ago, my first update in six years, I lost the ability to use my Adobe software (Photoshop, Illustrator, InDesign). I had read somewhere that my software wouldn’t work properly if I didn’t uninstall and reinstall it and so that’s what I did. Silly me. Down the rabbit hole I went. Reinstalling them didn’t work. Backups didn’t work. My software was no longer recognised and all was lost. It was really quite upsetting but not entirely unexpected.

Now I’m not telling you this because I’m looking for sympathy. I’m also not looking for solutions or workarounds. I’m not even going to contact Adobe to try and sort it out. Really? Yep. It’s a done deal — I’ve been on borrowed time with my CS5 software for years. I knew this day was coming and, now that it’s here, I’ve decided to embrace change.

The short-term pain of losing CS5 has given way to the discovery of Affinity’s award-winning graphic design and photo editing software. Check out their product videos — they’re really impressive. I have now jumped ship and am learning how to navigate Affinity Designer and Affinity Photo. Thankfully, it’s fairly intuitive, the GUI looks and feels familiar, and there are lots of online video tutorials. I don’t have a replacement for InDesign yet but I am eagerly awaiting Affinity’s release of Publisher later this year. The Affinity software is also very reasonably priced (no subscription, which helped to seal the deal for me) and they are offering free updates.

If you’re a Mac user (sorry, it is Mac only*), I recommend having a look at Affinity. I think it’s awesome. I love that I can import my old psd, ai, and pdf files. I also love that I’m now using creative software that is current and not six years old (that’s the equivalent of about half a century in software years).

So I’m saying goodbye, Adobe. There will be no more tears. I have no regrets. It was fun while it lasted.

* Affinity have announced that they plan to launch Designer and Photo on Windows later in the year.

Mugshots (a collaboration)

Della's Pottery mugs waiting to be decorated
Della’s Pottery mugs waiting to be decorated

A couple of weeks ago, my talented friend Della made these fabulous mugs, handed me a ceramic glazing pencil, and told me that I could draw anything I wanted on them. What a brilliant opportunity to try something new (thank you, Della).

Because the mugs are so deliciously quirky, I decided that the designs had to be quirky too and opted to decorate them with some of my little ‘Thank You’ stick figures. I took photos of the mugs and played around with size and placement possibilities in Affinity Photo (yes, that’s right, NOT Photoshop… but that’s a story for another day) before committing to drawing on the mugs with the special glazing pencil (see below). I’ll post more photos of the mugs once Della has glazed and fired them again. I can’t wait to see how they turn out.

Mugshots (2)
Mugshots (2)

Mugshots (3)
Mugshots (3)

What colour is a blackbird?

Flinders Street Railway Station, Melbourne — ink and digital colour, 2016
Flinders Street Railway Station, Melbourne — ink and digital colour, 2016

“Drawing makes you look at the world more closely. It helps you to see what you’re looking at more clearly. Did you know that?”
I said nothing.
“What colour’s a blackbird?” she said.
“Black”
“Typical!”

David Almond

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Another year over…

Bamford (private commission) – acrylic on canvas, 150 x 305 mm, 2015
Bamford (private commission) – acrylic on canvas, 150 x 305 mm, 2015

This small canvas was my last commission of 2015 ~ and it was a wonderful way to end the year. When I was asked to paint this version of my little stick figure illustration, I had no idea how it would look (given that the original figures were ink drawings on paper). I needn’t have worried. This painting now has pride of place on my new Commissions page.

Wishing everyone a happy and creative 2016 : )