Random thoughts and bits of life of a coffee loving artist

Friday, August 31, 2012

Coffee Review: Havana Cappuccino – Mocha Cappuccino

This actually started out as a simple trip to the local Dollar Tree store in town to pick up a couple of things. When I wandered the isles to make sure I didn't forget something I needed for the house, I came across this can of Havana Cappuccino – Mocha Cappuccino flavored premium coffee drink. Having never seen it before, I was quickly fascinated and couldn't help the thought of “Well I haven't done a coffee review in a while. This should be interesting”. So of course I purchased it and promptly took it home to stick in the fridge to get it chilled.

I know that most of my readers aren't much into the concept of a cold coffee but I know that there are enough of you out there who would be interested so this is directed towards you. Once chilled, the powerful aroma similar to sticking my nose into a bottle of chocolate syrup greeted my nostrils. Not too sure if I was ready for that which seems silly since the can clearly states that it's supposed to be mocha flavored. Taking a sip, I can already tell that I'm going to be having problems with this. Instead of the smooth coffee flavor with perhaps a hint of chocolate tones that would entertain my taste buds, my mouth was greeted by something that would be described as what seemed to be chocolate milk in a can. At best it was more as if I was consuming a generic version of a bottle of Yoo-hoo (for those not familiar with Yoo-hoo, it is a chocolate flavored drink which was supposed to resemble chocolate milk and be 'healthy'). The liquid passing my lips was sweet and though relatively thin in consistency had rich almost overwhelming flavor of chocolate with its fruity tones. There is no hint of coffee flavor anywhere in this, not even in after taste. I thought that perhaps it was just my initial taste so took another drink before offering some to my boyfriend. Much to my surprise (and perhaps relief) he was in complete agreement with me in how it tasted which was a bit comforting to know that I wasn't loosing my mind.

Setting the can aside, I thought that I would go ahead and take a look at the company who made it. Havana Cappuccino is supposedly made by the Havana Cappuccino Company in New Jersey. I say supposedly due to the fact that the website they have listed on the can leads me to a blank page. Even going as far as looking at the online Yellow Pages, I found absolutely nothing. The website ends up displaying "No results for Havana cappuccino company in Ocean City, NJ  It took me a bit of time but I actually had to find the company on Facebook where they're statement is Havana Cappuccino has style, taste and sophistication. It has it all!. From looking at the posts that other visitors have left, it would appear that there is a small following for the product and many of the people report that they had also found the 'coffee' drink at the Dollar Tree. 

I do realize that there are people out there that prefer a coffee based beverage to not be very strong on the flavor of coffee due to its often bitter quality so they may or may not enjoy this change of base in the genre of flavored coffee drinks. Personally I find myself not quite a fan of this particular product. If I step back and not think of it as coffee but as perhaps a chocolate milkshake in a small convenient container then I have no problem with it because that is pretty much what it seems to be. But alas, as a coffee based product it doesn't register very high on my “Oh my god I absolutely need this right now” list because of that lack of coffee flavor. I totally understand it's a matter of personal taste but my opinion may not be like someone else who tries it out as well. Another problem that I have is the fact that there is absolutely no information on the company itself save for a Facebook page but even with that, there's no information about the company stated. Perhaps I'm just being a little paranoid and this is actually a tiny company but at the same time I have a hard time accepting a small business wouldn't have some kind of information about themselves somewhere on the internet for consumers to find out more about them and the products they create. The third problem that I have with this particular product is the ingredients list on the side of the can. Almost all of the various coffee drinks I've come across is normally has listed coffee, milk, sugar and perhaps whatever flavoring that they have for it. This is what is listed for this particular product:

Ingredients: Brewed Coffee, Milk, Sugar (Sucrose), Cocoa (Processed with Alkali), Disodium Phosphate, Natural & Artificial Flavors, Carrageenan, and Potassium Hydroxide

I think I'll leave it up to the choice of my readers if they would want to try this one out or not but it's not going to be something that I'm going to go out of my way to recommend to people. 

Thursday, August 30, 2012

A common influence... maybe: Ivan Bilibin

Decided that it would be a good idea to continue this and make it one of the newer series on the blog, not only to do a quick look at perhaps a not so well known artist but also to call attention to some wonderful art created by members of the deviantART community. I might broaden it to other art communities in the future but well, everything needs a starting point and in all honesty there is a lot of great folks on dA. This time around I decided to tread on a touchy subject and investigate the possible influence by Ivan Bilibin.

"Firebird" by Ivan Bilibin
Those who are familiar with fairy tale books from Eastern Europe are probably familiar with with this artist's work but not many may know who he is. An illustrator during the early 1900s, Ivan Bilibin (1876-1942) is best known for his pieces focusing on Russian fairy tales. Though he was focused on the influences of wooden architecture and Russian folklore, he was also influenced by traditional Japanese prints which was heavily popular in Europe between the 1830s to early 1920s. His works reflects the Art Nouveau style with the intricate details and patterns he favored balanced with the bold outlines of the various subjects in the illustrations.

This time around while looking around for art which might or might not be influenced by Mr. Bilibin, I had to keep in mind that due to the fact that most of the artists either have jobs outside of art or don't have the opportunity to be online on as regular basis as me so would probably not be able to get back to me until a later time (if at all considering the fact that there is a language barrier in many cases). So I posed the question to 5 different artists:

Out of curiosity, I was wondering if illustrator Ivan Bilibin was one of your influences for your art.”

"The Queen of the Night" by SnowSkadi
An anonymous digital artist out of Russia, Skadi uses a soft pallet while portraying fanciful environments. Even their technical concepts for characters and cities have a whimsical quality to them and a talented use of the common color pallet causing even the darkest of subject matters seem to have their own mysterious glow. I came across their gallery my first year of being a member on dA and have constantly returned to their gallery to see what new pieces they would post. Their response to my question actually seemed to confirm the thought that I had when I commented to them.

Hi, Dawn! I really like Bilibin's art, but I can't say that I'm directly inspired by it. Maybe subconsciously, though.” ~SnowSkadi

"The Tempest. Prospero" by Kutty-Sark
A young lady from the Ukraine, Miss Kate does work in both watercolors and digital. Most of her work focuses on fantasy and anime influences, much being more popular subjects such as Kingdom Hearts, Durarara!!, and Black Rock Shooter. Even with this, I took a chance with asking her my question but her response actually didn't surprise me like it would someone else when they realize the true meaning behind it. (For those of you who may not understand what I mean, take in consideration that though the Ukraine and Russia do have similar roots in art styles but there is still quite a bit of tension between the two for various reasons).

No, I don't like Russian style =) “ ~Kutty-Sark

"Plates Duet" by SoMK
Another of my friends who I turn to when I need advice on my own work, SoMK mainly focuses on hand crafted jewelry but does do illuminated illustrations. She actually has had some of her pieces included in the IMAX movie 'VIKINGS'. I stumbled across her gallery when she was doing her Cthulhu mythos inspired pieces and have been watching her ever since. Her response was the most amusing to me due to the fact that her enthusiasm seemed to leap out at me from the screen.

Influence, possibly... complete worship, totally XD I love him, William Morris and Arthur Aackam <3 “ ~SoMK

"Alice and the Gryphon" by Bluefooted
There was 2 other artists who have yet had a chance to respond to the question but if and when they do, I'll go ahead post their responses. While I wait, feel free to check out their work and decide for yourself if their work was influenced by Ivan Bilibin or not.

An artist based out of Florida, Miss Erin is both a traditional and digital artist who's illustrations focus on fairy tales and mythological along with the occasional dash of X-Men and Harry Potter fan art along with a look at real life. Full of color and movement, her work came to my attention a couple of years ago and is always enjoyable to look at. She hasn't been able to post anything fairly recently due to her busy schedule away from the computer so hasn't had a chance to get back to me as of yet.

"Garden of Delights" by Toonikun
An anonymous digital artist out of Malaysia, Toonikun gives each fan art and original art the same amount of focus on details to and balance of colors. I actually came across their gallery while going through someone else's favorites folder and decided to check out their work finding that all of their pieces were quite enjoyable. It would appear that they haven't been online in a bit so it might be a while before I hear any possible response to my question.

Sunday, August 26, 2012

A common influence... maybe: Yoshitaka Amano

Wandering the art that I have a tendency of favoriting on deviantART the other day while trying to be struck with inspiration, I found myself struck by something else: curiosity. It's not unheard of that art ends up being a mix of various inspirations and ideas which is escalated by the wonders of social networking, but I found myself looking at the works of 5 different artists and noticing that each had similar styles in some way. It took me a moment to realize that some of their work reminded me of the pieces created by Yoshitaka Amano.

"Light" by Yoshitaka Amano
For those who may not know of Mr. Yoshitaka Amano by name, you may recognize his work as being the illustrator for the animes VampireHunter D and Gatchaman. His work is perhaps more well known amongst gamers if they remember Final Fantasy III . He was the head artist up to Final Fantasy VI before he decided to step down. A beautiful fusion of Eastern and Western influences, I've seen some of his pieces copied by younger artist because of the action and passion his illustrations show. Fans of graphic novels also may know his work from his collaboration with Neil Gaiman where he assisted in illustrating The Sandman: The Dream Hunters series. 

Looking at the works from a small handful of artists, there was a part of me that noticed the slight similarities between their pieces and his more notable works. Maybe it the similarities were all in my head and I was just seeing things. Perhaps there was something to my wild imagination. There was only one way to find out, so selecting 5 artists I asked a simple question: 

" Was wondering if your work is influenced in some way by Yoshitaka Amano (the artist who created the concept art for some of the earlier Final Fantasy games such as Final Fantasy III)."

"Selene" by Edgar-T

An artist out of Russia who seems to specialize in black/white mixed media work, I had stumbled across his gallery by chance one day a month or so ago. Many of his pieces seem to show almost a raw passion to them. I think that my favorites among the pieces that he has posted are his sketchbook pieces. His response to my question has to be one of my favorites because he genuinely seems surprised at finding out about someone who has a similar style to him.

"No, I did not know about it. I looked at his work. This is really amazing! It is very close to me!" - Edgar-T

"Goddess of earth" by phungvulienphuong
A young lady from Vietnam specializing in digital art, I believe I came across her work when wandering through the favorites section of another artist. Originally her style brought to mind of another artist, Heise, but there was something about it that made me lean more towards pondering if there was some influence there of Yoshitaka Amano. Her response had been the most surprising to me. 

"Thank you for your question. I admire master Amano, I have seen several works of him and I really love it. I will be glad if someone say that my artworks remind them about Mr Amano. But I must say, when drawing, I never think about his style,Ii never try to make my paintings look like his artworks. I just focus on how to create a decent painting. That's all ( = ^_^ =)" - phungvulienphuong

"Firefly Hunters" by Stephanie Pui-Mun Law
Stephanie Pui-Mun Law (California, USA): 
My dear friend and perhaps one of the major people I look up to when it comes to input on my own work (as I've mentioned before in my Q and A post back in June) and fellow watercolorist. She is perhaps more well known among card based gamers for her illustrative works for the Legend of the Five Rings card game along with her creation The Shadowscapes Tarot. I was actually quite surprised by her answer since I thought for sure there was maybe just a smidgen of influence in there. 

"Not particularly, though I do like his work!" - Stephanie Pui-Mun Law

The other 2 artists who I was attempting to contact have yet to respond but as soon as they do, I'll be sure to edit this in order to include them on this but in the meantime I shall share with you their work that makes me wonder if they might be influenced in some way by Yoshitaka Amano.

" The City of Kira" by hinshins

hinshins.deviantart.com (People's Republic of China):
A talented young man located in China and focused on digital art, many of his works are colorful and show his flare for the fantasy art genre. Of course with his work, he hasn't been able to post updates in some time so it might be a while before I'm able to receive a response from him. I had actually come across his work some time last year during the holidays. 

"Dilemma" by monotonelee
monotonelee.deviantart.com (People's Republic of China):
An anonymous artist from China, their work seems to be a mix of mediums but has the constant of pencil work. Though mostly fanciful, their pieces seem to have some unknown emotion behind each one which makes them a bit more grounded. Unfortunately they also seem to have been quite busy so haven't done any updates in some time. 

Thursday, August 23, 2012

A night with the EGA

As some of you know, among the various groups I'm with and the work that I do that I am a member of the Elk Grove Artists Group. A relatively new member, I already knew a small handful of the artists from my work at Blue Moon Gallery and when I was vending at the Sacramento ArtsFestivals. Admittedly I hadn't been able to attend the last 2 months' meetings or so due to trying to get work done for deadlines which ended up falling on the weeks the meetings were scheduled but I was determined to get back to attending and I'm glad that I did.

For those who missed my entry A New Beginning – Looks Promising that I had posted way back in March, heard of the EGA but don't know anything else, or have never heard of them let me go ahead and give you an overview. The EGA (originally the Elk Grove Artists Society) is a non-profit organization within the Elk Grove, California area made up of established, up-and-coming local artists and art supporters who try to bring awareness to the arts by helping with or creating local events along with providing workshops to assist in improving members' art. For the longest time I had kept just hearing of the group from fellow artists who would suggest that I become a member. This year I had finally decided to join and found that the group was very welcoming and supportive.

During last night's meeting, we touched on as a reminder that the 5km WALK/RUN for the Arts is this Saturday starting at 8:30am. Our Vice President, Judy Knott, will be participating in this fundraiser which the proceeds will be to the EGA to help us continue with our various supporting events. If you're interested in pledging support, please contact Judy at knottmorris@hotmail.com or by phone at (916) 539-1716 for further information. Since the race is August 25th, you need to hurry.

Another thing that came up was that we were doing a raffle ($1 per ticket which isn't that much) with the prize being able to hang or display a piece of original art for one month at the Elk Grove Fine ArtsCenter. On a whim I figured why not and bought 3 tickets. As our President, Deb Brown, handed the basket of tickets to our guest speaker for the night to pick the winning ticket, I looked at my tiny line up figuring that someone else would get the prize. The next thing I hear is the young man reading off “77-27-90” and I thought I could feel my heart stop for a brief moment as I stared at the ticket line up in front of me on the table. Right there was 772788, 772789, and 772790 just staring at me. Not sure how fast my hand went up but my friend Kanika Marshall who was sitting right next to me ended up cheering and giving me a hug for winning.

Our guest speaker, photographer Michael Smith, was rather informative during his hour lecture as he explained how best to go about taking the perfect landscape photos. Since most of the attending members for the evening were older and perhaps not as tech savvy as the someone from a younger generation, he was able to explain things in such a way that made sense and wasn't filled with techno-babble. The fact that he took into consideration that many of the members that night were painters or travel a lot so used more art terms and real world examples seemed to help many since nearly everyone there was taking notes and nodding when they understood what he was talking about. As Kanika mentions in a post on Facebook a little later in the evening after our meeting:

Just attended a 100% useful presentation by Michael Smith at the Elk Grove Artists meeting on outdoor photography. He gave more info in one hour than several of us learned in much longer seminars/classes.

I think what helped is that though the discussion was mainly for taking good landscape photos for either hanging on a wall or for those of us who paint from photo references, he actually also touched on how to take photos of the 3 dimensional objects and such that our sculptors create so they can better display them online. Michael also towards the end of his lecture went through a collection of photos he was using as examples of some points he had touched on earlier. Overall it was informative and the meeting was quite enjoyable. 

If you're interested in looking for a group and happen to be in the Elk Grove area, check out the Elk Grove Artists group at the website elkgroveartistsca.org . They are always looking to add new members and help with a lot of the local events in the area such as the Western Festival, Art Run, the Art2Hang program (finding businesses to allow art to be hung in their establishments and offices for up to 3 months at a time before being rotated), and scholarships to Elk Grove Unified School District high school seniors who are planning on pursuing an education in the visual arts. 

Monday, August 20, 2012

When scavenging artists strikes

As a self employed artist, money is something I have to keep a tight check on so that I know where funds are going so it's not too surprising to look at a dwindling amount of supplies and think which is more important: grabbing a meal because of being a bit hungry or finding the supplies I need to produce more art. There are admittedly times where the need for supplies out weighs the need to find something edible to stuff in my mouth. So when the offer of paper came up when talking to my curator's husband the other day, I was extremely grateful.

Utrecht Art Supplies listing for roll of paper
The story starts with the passing of one of our most respected artists, Kenneth Potter, earlier this year and his daughters having asked my curator and her husband to take care of his art and the belongings of the house. Well it would seem that after several months of non-stop cleaning and donating of clothes and furniture, he figured that it would be best to ask a couple of us if we wouldn't mind some paper and such. I said yes since I actually was nearing the end of my own paper supply and was trying to figure out how I was going to get more while waiting for a couple of clients to finish their payments. He comes to my house on Saturday with his van stuffed to the gills with various types of paper and I couldn't help but get giddy over some of the items. One was a large roll of watercolor paper, which I had been looking into purchasing but the cost would have been a bit of a dent in my current budget. For those who are unfamiliar with watercolor paper, it comes in pads, single sheets, or if you want to go bulk there is the option of rolls. Of course the prices vary between each of those and also if it is hot press, cold press, smooth, rough or medium, the 'weight' of the paper, and even the manufacturer of the paper. Have a feeling that I've lost people on that past part but hot press and cold press is the process of which when forming the paper, the rollers are either hot or cold when the paper is being pressed through which assists in the texture of the paper. Weight is usually stated as pounds (i.e. 140lb, 150lb, 300lb) actually isn't really how heavy the paper is but how thick it is. The roll itself can range between $125 to $190 depending on these factors and where you are ordering it from. One of the sheets of paper I was able to acquire was a hot press smooth and depending on where you get it, it averages about $26 per sheet. So as you can see, I was ecstatic at being able to have these. He also ended up giving me several sketch pads and some ink for calligraphy along with letting me know that if he finds anything that I could possibly use, he would let me know.

Match books from California to Germany & Sweden (dates unknown) 
Sunday I ended up receiving another call from him letting me know that he found a FULL calligraphy set and was if I could bring some paper for one of our other artists could have it. I said sure and decided to bring along one of the 2 rolls I had acquired. This is where things got interesting. Once there, my boyfriend and myself found ourselves scavenging the home of a fellow artists trying to figure out what supplies I could have use for. Pretty much most everything was up for grabs and it was overwhelming to see how much the man had stock piled in his house. Was able to claim some more supplies, which I am thrilled about, but also some little odds and ends that I have a feeling that if I hadn't grabbed them would have been dumped as junk including a collection of matchbooks that he had gathered during his travels. I'll probably go ahead and find some way of framing them since though they aren't in the best of condition, they do have some history to them. Had discovered them in a small box near shelves of flammable supplies for print making. Never said that Ken was the most organized man but dear lord. 

Among some of my happy finds was a box containing several Styrofoam cases filled with calligraphy ink bottles, a stack of Architectural Digest Magazines, carved picture frame, a few wooden wine boxes (destined to become plant holders in the back yard), various art magazines, random hardware which we can use around the house, tripod, and some color pencils. If I look at everything which I was have been able to receive during the weekend, I realized it has saved me close to $900+. Now the only thing I have to do is continue my attempt of cleaning and getting rid of things in my house that I don't need and reorganize everything that I am keeping. Already have donated several bags worth of clothing I no longer have any use for due to various reasons but I still have so much more to go through in order to have the bedroom (which doubles as my office/studio area) the way I want it so that it is efficient and organized. Also have the rest of the house to tackle as well since my father and I have been planning some renovations for the kitchen. Just glad that I have been able to save a bit of money. Now I just need to clean things up over here so that I can put the supplies away properly instead of where I have them stacked in the living room at the moment.  

Saturday, August 11, 2012

On the hunt... for coffee

So far I have been spending my morning looking up various coffees from different countries just to see what I could either order myself or ask friends to send to me (since I'm not too sure how broad my readers are for my Coffee Review segments). Starting off in Canada, I discovered a company called Van Houtte. It looked like so many other coffee companies that want to reflect their long years of business with the classic packaging graphics with the use of at least 3 colors. I don't have a problem with it but after looking at so many, would think that a company could go ahead and find a way to stand out without loosing the message that such a graphic is trying to show a potential consumer. Pushing my art self to the side, one of their coffees would be interesting to try which is Amazonia Fair Trade Organic - Medium Roast. It's a 340g bag (12 oz for those not used to grams) for $11.49 which is relatively normal for a high grade specialty coffee. What concerns me with the website is that I would have to go ahead and create an account before you can figure out what the Shipping and Handling cost would be, though it does state that there is free S&H for any purchase $45 or more. My guess would be that the shipping cost would probably be the standard $3 to $9 cost it would normally be for something that size/weight. Guess this means that I need to do a little bit more research on it.

Deciding to change countries, I started wandering the possibilities of Japanese coffees. I did find one type which advertises itself as Japan Premium Organic Coffee. The problem is that it's being sold by a Mr. Ng Lee Wah on 21food.com. First time I've ever come across the site but I'm not too sure how trust worthy it is. If someone out there could tell me a little more information, that would be great. From what I can tell, the site allows small growers to sell their products.

Delving a bit further into coffees from Japan, something screamed at me to read it. When your eyeballs see "Most expensive coffee" you have to figure out what's going on. Clicking the link it dropped me off on what appears to be a blog of sorts that focuses on luxury items and products. The entry itself was posted on Dec. 1, 2009 and states:

"Japanese cafe chain operator Saza Coffee Co plans to sell Panama’s Esmeralda Especial coffee beans for 1,200 yen per cup ($18) starting Dec 2.

Saza is the first company in Japan to buy the high-quality beans through an auction by paying $117.50 per pound for the coffee.

And that is almost 100 times more than the cost of average coffee beans. 
Touted to be the world’s most expensive coffee, it turns out to be “only” the second most expensive one according to our records."

Read more: World's most expensive cup of coffee in Japan | LUXUO Luxury Blog 

I couldn't help but stare at the entry in complete disbelief. WHY?! Why that much? Is it because of the process of the beans? Is the smoothness of the flavor the perfect balance of fruity, woody and chocolate tones? Does it keep you wired for 24 hours? I don't get it! If anyone out there has had this before, please tell me your opinion on this product because I'm truly baffled.

Monday, August 6, 2012

Collaboration with Rebecca Tripp

Back in May, I was messaged on my deviantART account by a young composer out of Canada named Rebecca Tripp.

Checking out her YouTube channel and listened to several of her beautiful videos, finding that she specialized in flower waltzs. After a bit of chatting between us, I agreed and let her know that as soon as she got the video posted that I would share it so that she could have more people check it out. After 3 long month, she cheerfully sent me a message today letting me know that she finished the video that had a couple of my pieces along with several other artists. With the body of work for this, it was so appropriate that she put it with her piece "Waltzing Wildflowers".

She ended up using 2 paintings of mine for this particular video. The first one that shows up is Battus Philenor Hirsuta which I named due to the type of butterfly it is. Originally the painting was meant to be in a juried show that was put on by the Sacramento Fine Arts Center. The show was called "Painting where the Wild Things Are" where the subject matter had to be of the American River Parkway and its wild things. I had taken a trip down the American River on Easter to take photo references. It took several days of studying the pictures I had taken to see what I wanted to do. I was pleasantly surprised by the fact that the butterfly I was trying to capture while it was fluttering around actually came out relatively nice. As I was working on the painting, I had no idea what on earth the type of butterfly it was so looked up 'Butterflies of Northern California' and spotted a picture of it. Come to find out that they are native to the mountain canyons of the area which baffles my mind a bit since where I was, was in the central valley. Pretty interesting.

The second painting she used for the video was an older piece of mine (painted back in 2009) titled Burst of Pink. It too was based off of a photo I had taken but this was actually when I was wandering a neighborhood in Elk Grove. Had come across one house whose front yard had an entire section nearly spilling over with these pinkish-purple daisy like flowers. I forgot how many photos I took of them, all at various angles but for some reason I happened to like how this particular one looked so went with it.

If you would like to see more from Rebecca and give her a message, here's where you can find her work:
deviantART: http://rebeccatripp.deviantart.com/
YouTube: http://www.youtube.com/user/RebeccaETripp

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Busy Again - August Event Line Up

Well thought that I would go ahead and give you an idea of how my month is going so far with events and projects that I have going on. If you have any questions about any of the announcements of events I have listed, let me know and I'll go ahead and try to answer them. There is a couple of other things coming up but I don't have the finalized information as of yet so I'll be posting about that at a later time.

August has finally arrived, Blue Moonies. We are thrilled to announce that for this month we present to you a group show featuring the works of our Blue Moon Artist Collective! What does this mean? It means we will be showing the wonderfully eclectic works of Christine CapelleSusan CawthonDorothy ChampionPeter ChedesterRhonda Egan, Alex IvesMark Hohnson, Jim KlienKanika MarshallJim Marxen

Come and meet these 30 talented artists during our Second Saturday Artist Reception on August 11th 6-9pm. The show will continue Aug. 15th - Sept. 1st. Don't forget our gallery hours is Wednesday - Saturday Noon - 5pm

Blue Moon Gallery     2353 Albatross Way     Sacramento, CA 95815
Follow us on Facebook!
My paintings for the event: 
Play with your dolls - watercolors (11x14 inches)
Lady of Shalott - watercolors (11x14 inches) 
 The Queen's Guard - watercolors (11x14 inches) 

Our very own  Alex Calder is having a solo show at the Barton Gallery in Sacramento in August and we invite you to show your support to him by coming by the Second Saturday Reception August 11th from 6-9pm. Want to show even more support to the deviantSAC group? We will be having a booth set up at the gallery during the Preview Party Thursday August 9th 6-9pm. There you will see examples of work by our active artisans along with information of each of them. So don't miss this chance! 

Barton Gallery     1723 I Street     Sacramento, CA 95811

Follow us on Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/DeviantSAC

Paintings at the Preview Party:
Drink it up - watercolors (8x10 inches) 
 Beautiful Illusion - watercolors (8x10 inches)
Music is Wine - watercolors (8x10 inches)
Magnum Opus XXIII
Magnum Opus XXIII, Sacramento Fine Arts Center’s Annual Open Show is a juried art show of the region's finest artists showing original art, sculpture, photography, painting, and all other mediums.  

Sacramento Fine Arts Center     5330B Gibbons Drive     Carmichael, CA 95608

Reception August 11th 5:30-8:30 pm
Show is Aug. 7th to Sept. 1st

My painting accepted into show:
Heritage - watercolors (8x10 inches)

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Overseas Publication

Back in May, I was contacted by a young man on deviantART named Toni Kaarthinen letting me know that he's the editorial assistant to the Finnish Salvation Army's magazine "SotaHuuto". He explained, at the time he was sending the message, that he was working on their August issue and was requesting permission to use one of my older paintings of the Virgin Mary (which I painted back in 2007) for an article he was working on about women of the bible. He did reassure me that he would give me credit for the piece. Well I was honestly suspicious to say the least so looked up the Salvation Army of Finland & Sweden to check with them to make sure he was who he claimed to be.

To whom it may concern,

I have a bit of a matter to inquire about that I hope that you can help me with. Earlier this morning I received an email from a Toni Kaarttinen of Finland asking permission to use an older painting of mine that I have currently posted on an online gallery account. He wished to use it for an article he was presiding over and helping to produce and publish in Finland. He says that he works for your organization (Salvation Army in Finland) and that he is the editorial assistant to a Finnish magazine called SofaHuuto. I did look into SofaHuuto but found that it dealt with Medieval reenactments. I was hoping that you could perhaps clear up the confusion I'm having because the connection between the two is difficult for me to put together. The following is the message I have received from the individual in question: 


I'm Toni Kaarttinen and I work for Salvation Army in Finland. I'm editorial assistant of Finnish Salvation Army's magazine "SotaHuuto" (=WarCry).

We're doing August issue right now, and I would like to ask you, if you could consider to give us permission to use your picture:


...as an illustration for article about Women in Bible: Virgin Mary.

I'd give the attribution for you in the way you like.
Tell me how you feel about this...

Best Regards,

Toni Kaarttinen
Salvation Army in Finland

Again I thank you for your time and assistance in this matter and hope to hear a response from you soon.


Dawn Star Wood
Elk Grove, California (USA)

Much to my surprise, I received an emailed response to my inquiry in a mere hour or two with the information I needed to know.

The Salvation Army
Finland and Estonia Territory

Dear Dawn Star Wood

Thank  you for contacting us.
I can confirm Toni Kaarttinen is working for The Salvation Army in Finland.
He works in the editorial department at our headquarters.
One of his responsibilities is the layout of our magazine called Sotahuuto.
Your assistance to him is much appreciated.

Warm greetings from Finland and may God bless you.

Hilkka Peltonen

How could I say no? It was for a good cause and the idea of having one of my paintings in a publication overseas was fascinating to me. After that, I gave Toni permission to use my picture on the condition that not only he give me credit for the art but also provide at least a copy of the publication so that I could have it for my own records. Over the weekend I messaged him again asking Toni how the magazine was coming along since it was only a few days before August set in. Excitedly he let me know that not only had the magazines just come off of the presses but he had sent me both the Finnish and Swedish publications and that they would be here by the end of the week. Well today I crossed my fingers as I checked the mail to discover the package I had been waiting for. Thank you so much Toni! They have arrived safe and sound.
KrigsRopet - Swedish publication 

SotaHuuto - Finnish publication

Juror's Choice Announcement

Yesterday I made an announcement on my Facebook page which I realized that I should also post on here as well. Recently I had entered into the KVIE 2012 Art Auction which I was accepted into for year number 5 in a row (which I mentioned back in May in my entry 'A decision made'). Well I have been hoping each year that I have entered that I would at least place some where but every year up to this point I hadn't. Well this year has been different. 2 weeks ago I had received a phone call from the curator of the art auction collection to let me know that I had received the Juror's Choice award for my painting 'Sultan's Prize'. I was absolutely thrilled, especially when she let me know that it puts me into the running for either 1st, 2nd, 3rd or Best of Show but that wouldn't be announced until Sept. 24th during the preview gala. The catch about this phone call was that I was asked not to make any sort of announcement until they make the official announcement to the public on the 1st of August. God that was a jittery 2 weeks! Well they've finally made the announcement and I'm happy to let everyone know. What's great is that I discovered a handful of fellow artists from Blue Moon Gallery have also been accepted into the auction and at least one other has also been awarded Juror's Choice.

Fellow Blue Moon Artists accepted into KVIE Art Auction 2012:
Jan Miskulin
Michael Fitzwater - juror's choice
Gretchen Ryan