Bowing Out: Trials and Tribulations

Hello everyone! Craig here.

I address you today with sad news. At the beginning of the year, I gave myself an artwork challenge. One stipple portrait per month (Year-long Challenge – 2017). In that, I failed miserably. I completed three and a quarter portraits. Then things got busy. We had our summer cruise, which was fantastic. Then we came home and went right into our back-to-back weekends at art fairs. The fall and winter have been no less hectic.

Mt-Rushmore-of-portraitsi

I’m not making excuses as to why the artwork wasn’t done, I’m just pointing out how much stuff there is complicating my life. I’ve had to make hard choices about what’s important, and what I need to spend my time on. The conclusion I’ve come to is that I need to step away from the art fair side of things. I will not be continuing to post on this MAS Artwork blog or going to the art fairs (unless it’s to help out and support my wife Alyx while she does it).

Important! Alyx WILL continue to write this blog and do art fairs. The focus will be solely on her photography.

Although I will not be actively posting or marketing, I will nevertheless keep hosting my online presence www.masartwork.com/art, and prints will still available at my website for anyone who would still like to purchase my artwork.

Thank you for all your support, and I hope I will get my life in order enough to return. I’ll see you all then. Feel free to stay in touch.

Craig P. Smith
craig@craigpsmith.com

 

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Introducing MAS Artwork videos and YouTube channel

Today, we’ve got something new for you. As you may or may not know, I’ve started to record myself when I work on my stipple portraits. I started doing that when I was working on my portrait of Alan Tudyk (Wash from the Sci-fi hit “Firefly”, and his ongoing web series “Con Man“.)

Well, my wife has taken all the raw footage that I shot and created an amazing video that showcases what I do, and you can see me doing it. This video will be the first video on our new YouTube channel.

That’s right! Announcing, our new M•A•S Artwork YouTube channel

Video screenshot from Alan Tudyk stippling video

Video screenshot from Alan Tudyk stippling video

I have been recording the other portraits I’ve been doing this year (Audrey Hepburn, Carrie Fisher, and Cary Grant), and they will be put on on the YouTube channel when their videos are created too.
Don’t forget to subscribe to our YouTube channel to be alerted and see those videos as soon as they are released.

In each video, I talk a bit about what I do and how I do it. But if you have any specific questions, please comment below or on our channel and I’ll answer them. I may put them in an upcoming video as well. Because if you have a question about something, you’re probably not the only one.

Thanks, I hope you enjoy it.

Craig P. Smith

Three New Images including a Gas Pump!

First Up, the Alameda Ballena Isle Marina Gas Pump

The aforementioned Gas Pump, is not your typical gas pump. I created this image during the Alameda On Camera annual event and gallery. I was assigned a section of the island of Alameda where I live, and had 48 hours to take pictures within that area. In my area is a lovely marina. I was extremely fortunate on my first morning that there was a fog that rolled in which made for some lovely photos. This particular image is of a gasoline pump that is on the docks in that marina where the boats fuel up. It made a very rustic old-world look to the pump which I think is practically an antique. Here is the stipple image I did from the photo I took.

Alameda Ballena Isle Marina Gas Pump

Alameda Ballena Isle Marina Gas Pump

The other two: Nathan Fillion and Alan Tudyk

You may recognize these two. I recently posted a blog announcing when I had finished these (You can see that blog here). Well, now I’d like to announce that they have finally been added to my website. Click either of the images below to be taken to my website, straight to those pages.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Thanks for checking out these images and my website. I have recently updated all the pages in my stipple gallery to include the purchasing buttons. Some of you may have noticed that some of the buttons were in the “Coming Soon” stage. Well, They’re here!

That’s it for now. Thank you all for your continued attention. More art soon.

Craig P. Smith

 

 

Star Wars, Series 2: Princess Leia

February Portrait completed: Princess Leia

Month two in my year-long challenge of doing a portrait a month. Instead of doing one series of 12, I decided to do two 6 portrait series(es?). And instead of doing one series first, then another, I thought it would keep things interesting and alternate between the two. So, to see the first of the Silver Screen Icons series, check out my previous blog here.

This is the first entry into my next series “Star Wars: Series 2”. Here is Princess Leia. She is also known as Leia Organa, Leia Organa-Solo, and General Organa. But since this image is from The Empire Strikes Back, she was only going by Princess Leia at that time. This image is available for prints or you can purchase the original. They are available right now at MAS Artwork, and are a limited edition of 250.
(Click the image to enlarge)

SWs2-Princess_Leia_750max

I also did Princess Leia in my first Star Wars series. Here’s a sneak peek at that image.

SWs1_PrincessLeia_300max

So, next month it’ll be back to the Silver Screen Icons series. And if I didn’t mention it before, it’s going to be boy-girl-boy-girl. So, expect a iconic gentleman of the era.

Remember you can go to my website and purchase prints right now! Don’t forget to like, share and all that other social media sharing.

Craig P. Smith

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.

Tough Choices

One of the pitfalls (if you can call it that) about being a photographer is having to decide which image to use.

I tend to take multiple shots of whatever my subject is.  Sometimes I do that in order to get the lighting right, but I also do it because a certain object can yield all sorts of interesting looks.  For instance, if I’m photographing a building, do I want to focus on its relation to the sky and whatever clouds might be there?  Or do I want to take a close up of any molding or architectural details that I find intriguing?  Heck, when Craig and I went to Greece for our honeymoon, I must’ve taken 20-30 different angles of the Athens National Library Steps . . . six of which I think were good enough to keep, and three or four of those are on our website.

But the other tough choice I often have to make is whether to keep an image in the original color, or whether I should change it to black and white.  Granted, there are some shots that just beg for classic black and white, while others clearly need to showcase the gorgeous colors.  But I’d have to say–for me, anyway–the choice is easy only 50% of the time.

Frank-Ogawa-Plaza-TowerFrank-Ogawa-Plaza-Tower_BWFor instance, the earth tones of the Frank Ogawa Tower in Oakland look cool against the cloud-filled sky in the image to the left.  But when I switch it to black and white, the overcast day looks even more foreboding, which then makes the tower look more like a castle turret, rather than the modern office building it really is.  Both are interesting and unique in their own ways, and I found it very hard to decide which one to put up on our website.  As you can probably guess by now . . . I chose to put include both.  (Sometimes when it feels like a tough choice, the best choice is to not make any choice).

Oakland-Clock-Tower_03Oakland-Clock-Tower_03_BWAnother dilemma for me was the the clock tower on top of City Hall, again in Oakland, California.  These images were taken on the same day as those of the Frank Ogawa Tower, but it was a little bit later in the morning, so there was more blue in the sky which contrasted nicely with the ecru of the building’s stones in the original color version.  However, after playing around with the image in Photoshop and checking out how it would look in black and white, the focus then became the building itself and all the architectural details, and not so much the color of the sky.

Oakland-Fox-Theatre_01_BWOakland-Fox-Theatre_01And then there’s the Fox Theatre, also in Oakland.  When I saw this building that morning, I immediately saw it in B&W in my head.  I wanted to capture the grandeur of the theatre’s heyday, and I felt that would best be achieved without color.  But when I saw the full-color version on my screen, I was blown away by the gorgeous hues in the building.  So I felt I had to keep that one, too.  This way, one image could be used for anything that might be focused more on nostalgia, and the other might be able to be used in, say, a tourist pamphlet or book.  Or maybe even the theatre’s own advertising materials.

So, while some images are clearly either/or, sometimes an image works well both ways.  That’s why we photographers like to play around with the editing so much . . . it’s all about the choices.