Something New

In the process of building a name for myself as a photographer, I’ve tried a few different things: art exhibits at local galleries; offering a piece for silent auctions; art fairs; contests and more.  Chances are I should be doing these things more frequently than I currently am, but I’m just trying each one out to see what the response might be first.

This year, the new thing I’ve tried is entering my art in county fair exhibits.

I haven’t had much opportunity to spend a lot of time on my photography lately, because other things have been getting in the way.  So, I thought that I could keep my toes in the water, as it were, by entering art exhibits in local fairs.  The entry fee is much cheaper than art fairs, and I don’t need to do anything besides drop off and pick up my art (that doesn’t sell).  I get good exposure, the possibility that someone will buy my work, and a chance to win awards and/or prize money from the exhibit judges.

I entered art in four county fairs this first year, mostly because I’d missed the deadline for applying to other ones.  Some of the county fairs allowed me to enter as many pieces as I wanted, and all of them required that the pieces be no more than three years old (some even had a one year cut off).  Craig suggested that I enter the same pieces to each fair, but I wanted to mix them up a bit, so I could offer more variety out there, and so that I might be able to use the same ones at another fair next year.  So I just entered two pieces to each of the four fairs.

It was probably a good thing that I was only able to apply to four of them, because the dropping off and picking up of art is a LOT of work when you have to drive 2 hours each way, each time.  BUT, the driving around has paid off a little bit.  I still have art in one county fair (picking it up at the beginning of August), but of the other three fairs I submitted my stuff to, I’ve won three awards!  WooHoo!!!

The first award was an “Honorable Mention” from the San Mateo County Fair for my piece titled, “Flower with Dew – BW.”  This is one of my favorite pieces, so I was thrilled that it won something.







The next art fair I entered was the Sonoma-Marin fair.  And here, BOTH of my entries won awards!

The first one was for a new piece, titled “Praying Angel” that I’d taken at a local cemetery for a photography class I took last year.  That one won Third Place!  Here I am holding the picture and award.






And here I am holding the other piece, titled “Boston Cemetery – Flag,” which won Second Place!!!  I was SO thrilled that both won something, but even more thrilled that one of them was almost good enough for 1st place!






It’ll be interesting and exciting to see if I’ve won anything from the last county fair, but it doesn’t really matter.  The fact that I’ve already won three awards out of six photos is awesome to me.  It’s another one of those moments that lets me know I actually am a talented photographer, and that others realize it.

So, while I might not do the same county fairs next year, I definitely will enter some again.  I just need to make sure I’ve got enough recent photos to meet their requirements.

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.


Craig P. Smith.

Getaway in Sacramento – Photos

Hello everybody.

I recently went on a little mini-getaway to (arguably) nearby Sacramento. As always I took my camera with me. When Alyx and I take pictures in places  we go, we just snap anything and everything that piques our interest. Let’s just say that not all of them are gems. But there are usually several that we really like, but may not make the website.

I thought it would be nice to just throw some of these up on our blog here, just to let you see them. I haven’t decided whether or not these particular images will be included on the website and sold as prints. Some may. Some may not. But I think you all still may enjoy them, so here they are.

These photos were taking in a tourist-y section near downtown called “Old Sacramento”. So most everything is themed or restored to the Gold Rush days of the 1800s.

Thanks for reading our blog, and as always, feel free to share, re-post, re-tweet and visit our website: M·A·S Artwork

Craig P. Smith

Congratulations to our Free Print Winner…

During our last Art Fair, The Alameda Spring Festival, we ran a drawing for a free print for all those that signed up for our newsletter blog. Congratulations to our winner, Tom Wilson.

Tom has made his choice for his free print. He has chosen the image “Santorini Sunrise“.

Santorini Sunrise

This image is really special to us. This was taken by my wife on our honeymoon, on the gorgeous island of Santorini (famous for it’s buildings with the blue rounded roofs).

Come see some of the other images we took in Greece here, and look around at some of the other places Alyx and I have been. And, as always, leave us a note so we know you were there.

Stay tuned for details on our next Art Fair coming up at the end of July in Alameda, CA! Hope to see you all there.


Craig Smith

And the winner is…

We would like to congratulate TOM WILSON. He signed up for our newsletter during the Spring Festival in Alameda, and won a free print!

Tom can now select any image from our website, and he’ll get his new print in the mail shortly thereafter. We can’t wait to see which one he chooses.

M•A•S Artwork would also like to thank all those that came to our booth at the Festival and said ‘hello’. We love meeting our fans and friends and getting introduced to new people.

If you missed this event, you’ll have another chance this year, as we’ll be at the Alameda Art & Wine Faire for our second straight year. Click below for details.


Hope to see you there!

Announcing: We’ll be at 2 Art Fairs this year! (at least)

Alyx and Craig in Booth-small

M•A•S Artwork proudly announces that Alyx and I have just been accepted to two art fairs this year.

Our first fair in 2016 will be:
Downtown Alameda Spring Festival
Mother’s Day Weekend – May 7th – 8th, 2016.
Located on Park Street in downtown Alameda (literally, ON the street. They’ll have traffic blocked off so the whole street is one long pedestrian-friendly outdoor festival).
Here is the link to find more information: Downtown Alameda Spring Festival

Our second fair will be the same one that started our fair career last year:
Park Street Art & Wine Faire
July 30 & 31, 2016
Here is the link to find more information: Park Street Art & Wine Faire

Click here to read our blog about our experience at last year’s show.

We are also planning on entering one other show this year, but we don’t have details yet. It’ll still be in the Bay Area, but will probably not be on Alameda, so it may be nice for a people in a different region to come meet us.

Craig Working on Stipple-small

Don’t forget put these dates in your calendar early and with a reminder so you don’t forget. We’d love to see you at the show and talk with you all personally, and get a chance to know you. For those of you who stopped by our booth last year, we’ll have some new images and maybe a few surprises, so come on by again.

If you plan to come to one of the shows, let us know in the comments below and we’ll be on the lookout for you.

See you there!

Craig & Alyx

Practice, Practice, Practice

An artist must always continue to hone her craft.  It’s how she grows, learns new methods and maybe even finds new facets of her art to explore.  To that end, I’ve recently signed up for a class in photography, and I’ll be sharing some of my pieces with you from the class.

But I also want to share an online tutorial that I’ve found to help me fumble around in Photoshop and offer some tips and tricks.

I found Yanik Chauvin’s Photoshop & Lightroom for Photographers tutorial through (a place where you can get lots of online courses for very cheap prices).  But in looking at his website, I see that he has quite a few more courses to offer, and they all appear to be free.  I’m still working through the one I got from Udemy, but you can bet your boots that I’ll be signing up for his others, too.  He covers a wide array of tools you can use in Photoshop that I’ve found very helpful and his manner of teaching is calm and thorough.

Another site I’m going to point you to is for a friend of mine.  I met Roi Brooks while working for an advertising company a few years back.  His infectious laugh and wonderful hugs drew me in and I looked forward to seeing him each day.  I found out that he did some photography on the side, and everything I saw was very cool and quirky.

So when I started to get into photography as a career and not just a hobby, I asked for his help in mentoring me.  He currently splits his time between the Bay area and Belize, so we aren’t able to get together that often, but I’ve discovered that he also offers some tips and tricks on his own blog, so I’ll be checking those out in the spaces between our meetings.

Roi travels all over the world, taking product photos and whatnot, so I’d say he’s currently my photography idol.  I’d love to get paid to take photos around the world.  But as you can see on his photography website, he also does some very interesting things with his personal photos.

I’d love to hear any tips or websites you use for enhancing your photos, so please feel free to leave them in the Comments section.

‘Til next time . . .