Wednesday, August 31, 2011

The Fantastic Flying Fezmatics...

 Waiting in the Wings
watercolor, 12" x 12"
Chris Beck

Just finished and popped into a shipping box yesterday. Normally, I spend some time (OK -- a *lot*) looking at my finished paintings, so I feel a bit lost today. Hope these little buffoons find a congenial reception!!

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Spring Peepers - now supersized!!

 Spring Peepers
watercolor, 10" x 13"
Chris Beck

These days, everything gets supersized -- even the Peepers painting!! (OK, so supersized may be a bit of an exaggeration, but hey -- all things are relative!!) I revisited this subject this past week because the original challenge painting was a tad small for exhibition purposes. And actually, this is the second go at this size -- the first one met a sad end when I added a wash without thinking it through beforehand. We never become immune to these little "oops" moments I guess!!

I'm painting away, glad to have broken through the block that has been stifling me for quite a while now. It feels great to be back in the studio.

Monday, August 15, 2011

Dashboard widget for QR codes...

Thanks to Señor Terremoto for exploring this topic and sharing what he found!! Technogeeks can be *so* useful!! {insert smiley-face here!!}

If you have a Mac computer, you can get a widget for your dashboard that lets you set up QR codes without going online. Go to this site and
scroll down to the Mac Dashboard Widgets. Scroll a bit further for the QR code generator widget. It's easy to download and install.

To use it, you type in the text box of the widget and it creates a code. Click on the code image and the program creates a .png file which can be saved (click "Save Page As" in the File menu), then opened in Photoshop and converted to a jpeg. The original image is about 2.75 inches square at 72 dpi. By shrinking it to 1.5 inches and increasing the dpi to 130, I got a more manageable-size image that scanned well.

This lets you set up inventory tags for each painting, or URL codes for websites. Pretty much anything you can type in can be converted to a code box image.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

QR codes -- the next big thing...

QR code for

QR (Quick Response) codes were originally developed to track inventory in auto manufacturing, but are rapidly becoming more ubiquitous with the increase in smartphone use. (For a more thorough description, read the Wikipedia entry.) They can encode text, URLs, or other data.

Using a smartphone to scan the code above will take you immediately to my website. (For iPhone users, there is a free app -- "Scan" -- in the app store. Google qr code readers to find other smartphone options.) I can see lots of uses for this -- on a business card, on the back of every painting, on the display tags in sales venues. For your own inventory control, the tags attached to the backs of paintings could be encoded to show date of painting, what materials you used, size, etc.
I just learned about this technology and was going to wait a bit to share this, but I got an email today from an enterprising individual who wants to charge $20 per code to provide you with your custom code. There are so many sites that allow you to make free codes that it would be foolish to pay somebody unless they are providing useful additional services. I have looked at two free sites -- SmartyTags and BeQRious -- but there are many more out there. Google qr codes to check out more options. Of the two listed here, BeQRious allows you to make multiple codes without creating an account, whereas SmartyTags gives you only one free code unless you set up an account.

I'd love to hear from anyone who's had experience with these codes or the sites.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Creative clutter...

A clean studio is a bad sign when it comes to creativity, at least in my world. Nothing to fear these days!! The piles of resource photos, paint testing sheets, mock-ups, and assorted flotsam that have appeared over the past two weeks are getting more precarious by the minute and I couldn't be happier.

As you can see, I'm working on still-lifes right now. Look for more of my little goofy ducks in new and (even) sillier roles!! Here they are, just hanging around waiting for the next photo shoot. Although I set them down without planning, they look like they're eagerly awaiting the next proof to come off the printer.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Nosey takes a trip...

A Shocking Discovery
watercolor, 12" x 12"

I got the news earlier this week that Nosey Mouse will be taking a little trip this fall -- he's going to be visiting Los Angeles for the National Watercolor Society Annual Exhibition. This is a tough show to get into and I'm thrilled to be accepted. I'm hoping to meet some of my online friends at the opening reception in late October.

In a frazzle a couple of months ago, I neglected to mention another thrill -- this painting also qualified as a Finalist in The Artist's Magazine Annual Art Competition for 2011. Award winners will be published in the December issue of the magazine.