Calling All “Firefly” fans..!

I just completed two new portraits. Both from the Sci-fi series Firefly, and the subsequent movie Serenity. The first one is the head honcho himself. You may also know him from the ABC drama Castle. It’s Nathan Fillion in the role of ‘Captain Malcolm Reynolds.’ Give him a big hand, he likes the attention.

The second one is Mal’s pilot on the show, last seen skewered by Reavers. Fortunately, that’s only the character, and the actor is alive and thriving in his hot web series Con Man. He has voiced ‘King Candy’ in Wreck-it-Ralph and most recently starred in Rogue One: A Star Wars Story as ‘K-2SO.’ It’s Hoban ‘Wash’ Washburne, aka Alan Tudyk. Yaaayyyy.

Here is the first official peek at both images. I will be adding them to my website shortly, and I’ll send out an email when they are posted and ready for purchase, so don’t forget to sign up for our mailing list now so you can be notified (or send me an email on my website and order one directly).

So, without further adieu, here they are.

As I mentioned in my previous blog post, I’m going to switch gears for a bit. But never fear Firefly fans, I will be doing more portraits of the gang, and you’ll see all your friends soon; Inara, Kaylee, Jayne and more.

Thanks,
Craig Smith
www.masartwork.com/art/

A Clear Picture

Being a photographer who loves taking pictures of architecture, one thing that bugs me a lot is when things obstruct the view of whatever building I’m shooting.  It doesn’t matter if it’s a tree, street sign or a person.

I’ll use all sorts of tricks to make sure I capture just the building, and not the unwanted obstructions.  If people are in the shot, I’ll wait until they clear out (sometimes, waiting up to an hour for tourists to move out of the way).  If it’s street signs, I’ll find a different angle where you see just the building.  In fact, I took a photo of Windsor Castle one time where you only saw the top half of the structure, because of all the street signs AND tourists in the way.

But sometimes I can’t “cheat” my way to a clear picture, and so I try to take one with as few distractions as I can, and then edit them out in post-production.

 

portland-maine-021This photo, of State Street Church in Portland, Maine, is a lovely mixture of multi-colored bricks, with some very cool towers and other elements.  And thankfully, the telephone or cable wires are only in the sky, so I could easily use Photoshop to get rid of them one way or another.  I wouldn’t consider the trees an obstruction in this case because–with the fall colors–it just adds to the charm of the church.

 

 

 

 

These next two images would take quite a lot of manipulation in Photoshop.  I might be willing to mess with the church on the left, but probably not the house on the right, no matter how lovely all that ivy looks growing on the side.

portland-maine-010portland-maine-042

 

 

 

 

 

But even though I might or might not be willing to edit them in Photoshop, I still like taking the picture, if for no other reason than to remember some lovely element of the image (more on that in another blog).

portland-maine-107Now, this last picture is a Photoshop editing nightmare, and I DEFINITELY wouldn’t undertake it.  The Victoria Mansion (also in Portland, Maine) is a lovely structure, with lots of cool columns and whatnot, but I wasn’t able to capture the entire building without being across the street (with the lenses I had with me).  Unfortunately, being across the street meant that EVERY electrical wire got in the shot.  Even just editing out the wires in the sky would take a good couple of hours . . . forget about where they cross the building.

 

But, I liked Portland, and definitely plan on going back some day.  So I’ll be sure to bring some other lenses with me, and maybe I’ll be able to capture these buildings without any obstructions in them next time.

 

Year-long Challenge – 2017

This is Craig Smith here, and I’m challenging myself in the new year. It’s not a new year’s resolution, but more of a dedication to getting new work out there on a regular basis. My goal is to create a new stippled portrait each month. That’s not all though. I’ll also be filming my progress, and I invite all of you to watch as I post on my own site as well as our YouTube channel (details to come).

These portraits will be the start of a complete series, or possibly 2 complete series. The subjects of which have yet to be determined. I invite you to make suggestions in the comment section below. These will be in a size similar to the Marilyn Monroe portrait I did early in 2016.

MarilynMonroe_750max

I can’t wait to get started, and I’ve been finishing up some other portraits that are almost done. Namely, Nathan Fillion and Alan Tudyk from the sci-fi series Firefly. Since they’re near completion, I’m going to make you wait until my next blog before I let you see them (bwaahahaha).

So, until next time, Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays, Awesome New Year and lets get the heck out of 2016 while we can!

Craig Smith

MAS Artwork

Experimentation

I’ve done enough research to know that I have no idea what my “signature style” is yet.  And apparently giving the answer of “A lot of different stuff” when asked what I specialize in isn’t looked upon too favorably.  So I’m clearly still in the “discovery” phase of my journey.  Thankfully, that means I get to play . . . a lot.

I’ve been taking a photography class at a local college just to see what’s out there, & we’re getting ready to turn in our portfolio, so I thought I’d share them with you.  I don’t know whether or not any of these images will make it to the website, but you might be seeing the stirrings of some future shots.

pool-dividers-from-090316

This image is kind of similar to stuff I currently have up in the “Miscellaneous” gallery.  It’s very indicative of some of my favorite things; repeating patterns, & cool lighting contrasts.  The image was neat enough in color, but I think the black & white helps to set it off even more.

 

 

 

glass-swirl-3

We spent one class day shooting various pieces of glass.  MAN did I love that!  I’ve always loved glass objects (I could sit & watch the glass blowers at amusement parks for hours), & this object especially caught my eye.  I have a couple other angles of this piece, but I really liked the light reflections in this shot.  I could probably write the entire blog about this day’s images, but there are other photos to see.

 

 

 

 

car-show-vent-wheel

We also spent a day at another nearby college for their annual car show.  The cars were more modern than I normally like to see at a car show, but this gave me the opportunity to do what I do best . . . focus on the details.  I got to see the newest trends in wheels & hub caps, & MAN is there some cool stuff out there nowadays!

 

 

 

 

inverted-railing-from-090816

These next two images are where I got to play the most & find a possible new style.  I was just playing around in Photoshop while editing, & hit the “Invert” option.  BAM!  This lovely image came out.  I originally took the photo because of the lovely curving line of the handrail, but the color version had too many similar brown tones.  But when I inverted it, all these cool blues & purples came out.  I tried playing with it some more to bring the dark blue/black “mountain” in the middle of the photo up to the top as well, but it never quite came out right.

 

 

 

glass-swirl-inversion

I tried this inversion technique on the glass object above as well.  The shot is from one of those other angles I mentioned earlier, & while I like the non-inverted image, I also like the simplicity of this one.  You can see the light reflection REALLY well, & all the nooks & crannies of the swirls look really cool in the darker tone.

 

 

 

So there you have it . . . some new images & possibly new directions for me to venture into.  It’s definitely fun learning & trying out new tricks . . . even if it doesn’t help me hone in on my signature style.

Site Redesign

As an artist (in any genre, really) it can be difficult to assess what constitutes your best work.  For me, many of the images on our website are a part of me.  Plus, just tweaking an image a little bit here and there offers a new story or perspective on your subject.  So, for me it can be difficult to narrow it down to just one shot of a particular subject.

That’s why I reached out to a wonderful photography teacher that I know for some advice.  She’s got years of experience, and also juries for gallery shows and art fairs, so I was thrilled that she was willing to help me.  So, one Saturday afternoon, she offered an objective evaluation of my images, and gave me three suggestions.

Her first critique was that I had WAY too many images up.  I knew that was the case, but again, I needed her guidance to weed out the weakest photos, which she did.  The next suggestion was to separate the black and white images from the full-color ones.  Apparently having them intermingled as I did wasn’t uniform enough, and the full-color images often took focus away from the strong black and white pics.

I took those suggestions and updated the photography website, which you can see here.  Her final recommendation was something I wasn’t able to do before this blog was due, so you’ll just have to come back and see the next round of improvements.

While you’re looking around the updated site, you might notice that Craig’s photos are no longer there.  Craig has decided to focus more of his attention on his stippling and illustrations, so his photos have gone away from our site.  We still have them, and we’re in the process of figuring out how to keep them available for those who want to purchase them, but since I had more photos on the site, we decided to separate things out a little bit and make the photography site more for me, and the art site more for him (you can see his site here).

We’ve also made one more adjustment . . .

We’ve partnered with PayPal Credit to offer a great deal on our images.  Any purchase over $99 will be allowed to be paid off in 6 months without being charged interest!  I’ve used this feature before with my own online purchases, so I know what a convenience it is, and we’re glad to be able to offer it to our customers.  With the holidays coming up, this makes it a great time to purchase all the images you want for your family and friends, and get a break on paying off the bill.

AND, we’ll go even one better . . . any purchase over $99 will receive free shipping through the holidays!  Yep, you read right.  From now until January 1st, you won’t have to pay anything more than the cost of the image(s) (provided you buy at least $99 worth).

So there you have it.  A revamped website, and two great deals on your next purchase!  Enjoy!

Something NEW from me (Craig)… Color Stipples!

I have two new images to share with you today. You’ve seen them before, but not like this, in COLOR!

I have started to enhance select stipple images, which I normally do in black and white, and give them a subtle color wash. The coloring I do on the computer in Photoshop. I think it gives the images a little extra something, don’t you?

The first image available is the Stairs in the Japanese Gardens at Powerscourt, Ireland. Here is the black and white version, and the new colored version side by side. I think the added color really defines the moss and foliage. Let me know if you agree. If you like them, please share them in all your social media outlets.

The other image is The Palace of Fine Arts. Everyone knows this iconic structure, and I think the color really harkens back to its beginnings, almost looking like an old-fashioned tin-type or postcard. Here are the two versions side-by-side.

We don’t sell the color prints at our Art Fairs, so the website is the only place these prints are available. Get yours today. Get one as a gift for the art lover on your list.

Thanks as always for checking out our blog,

Craig.

New Artwork!

Hello, faithful readers. It’s time for one of those Blogs you all wait for… NEW IMAGES!

Golden Retriever Mutt - Original Photo

Golden Retriever Mutt – Original Photo

In today’s offering, we have new portrait artwork. Actually, TWO new images. These are samples of commission pieces for pet portraits. The last time I was wandering around Alameda for the annual “Alameda on Camera” event, I came across a couple people walking their dog. I asked to take a couple pictures of him since I had my camera handy. One of the pictures came out great for portraits. Since it wasn’t a commission that anyone was paying me to do, I decided to take that image and use it as samples for my website of the various styles in which you can commission artwork. So, I’m taking the same image, and doing three portraits in different medium, so you can have a great comparison of style. These are the first two. One, a black and white graphite pencil drawing, and the second one, a pen & ink stipple.

Golden Retriever Mutt - Graphite

Golden Retriever Mutt – Graphite

Golden Retriever Mutt - Stipple

Golden Retriever Mutt – Stipple

 

In a couple days, I’ll have them on my website in the galleries, but you get to see them now. If you have a dog that looks like this or if you are a big fan of the breed, I have the originals, as well as prints available.

If you’d like to order a portrait of your pet, or even a human, click here and you’ll be taken to my website where you can see the guidelines, and order a commission. Don’t forget… portraits make great Christmas presents that are sure to be unique, remembered, and treasured. Get your order in NOW, before I book up for the season.

Also, updated pricing! Check the commissions page for details.

Thanks,

Craig P. Smith.