Your home for everything artistic

Archive for September, 2012

How to have an epic time at your favorite music festival

Guest Post By Courtney Cummings

When attending a music festival, there are a lot of decisions that need to be made in order to guarantee that you have an epic time.  It’s not as simple as buying your over priced ticket and finding a designated driver to make sure the weekend ends safely.  You need to plan plan plan ahead.  Here are a few tips from a music loving, hipster avoiding festival veteran.

love photo

1)      Do not go with people you don’t LOVE.  This seems like it would be an obvious tip, but you must make the distinction between the friends you like to hang out with and those who you can actually tolerate for three inseparable days.  Nothing is worse than being stuck to a kid that can’t handle the heat, has claustrophobia or is just way too high maintenance.  Look for people who are drawn to the same bands and don’t mind taking a backseat to the bands on stage.

bottled water

2)      Drink TONS of water.  Nothing is worse than being “that guy” who goes to the hospital because they didn’t drink enough water.  When attending a festival in the heat, you are going to get dehydrated.  Nothing good comes out of that.  So just remember that you would rather be listening to music than have an IV strapped to your arm with some unattractive nurse at your side.  Water is free.


3)      Don’t let people know you’re just looking to party.  Music lovers plan their entire year around music festivals.  After it is over, they spend weeks on end reliving the experience and wishing that they could wake up from this dream that is reality.  If you are just looking to get drunk with your friends and don’t really care about the music, do not let anyone figure it out.  People will hate you, and there is no way you will achieve that coveted first row spot.  Remembering the amazing acts before your eyes is a must!

comfy clothes

4)      Wear something you’re comfortable in.  Too many people go to these shindigs as if they are walking the red carpet.  Yes, it is awesome to look like an over-styled hippie but not today folks.  It is important to take into consideration that there will be mud, sweaty people and ketchup that falls from your hot dog.  Make sure to be happy with your look, but keep the designer bags at home.

look up on google

5)      Look up bands you don’t know.  It’s the best feeling in the world going to a live show and knowing every word to every song.  Let’s get real.  This is rare for many people going to a massive festival.  Familiarize yourself with the artists that strike your fancy.  It is always so much better that way.  Also, get to know the smaller up and comers.  Festivals serve as an excellent opportunity for small bands to get exposure.  If you check them out early, you’ll be able to tell everyone that you knew of them even before they made it big.

crazy crowd surfing concert

6)      Do something you won’t regret.  Going to one of these large events is one of the best things you will ever do.  It is the ultimate celebration of youth and freedom.  Embrace it.  Don’t be afraid to jump a fence or make the muddy grounds your personal slip-n-slide.  The festival security is nearly nonexistent.  In ten years, you will not kick yourself in the butt for crowd surfing or meeting your favorite band.  Take advantage of this opportunity to be in the moment.

Artists and criticism – don’t take it personally

Everyone wants to be liked…

generally speaking that is. And of course, artists of all varieties are no different. Whether you are a writer or a singer, painter or photographer, whatever the case may be, it’s never easy when someone doesn’t like your work.

But one thing we all have to remember is that for the most part, criticism of our work as artists is not something to be taken personally. While there may be a few people out there who do attack artists on a personal level, my honest belief is that this is vary rare in the grand scheme of things.

As the old adage does, beauty is in the eye of the beholder. Thus the appreciation or lackthereof  for any kind of art is subjective.


So, in my humble opinion all artists should try to:

1. Avoid becoming defensive or overly sensitive about criticism

2. When possible, use it to your advantage

After all, it doesn’t benefit anyone when an artist turns away from his or her craft. Imagine the loss to the world had Shakespeare given up after his first negative review. But, when you use critical information to your advantage, it can provide another perspective and maybe even convince you to work harder at certain aspects of your craft.


Comparing print on demand (POD) calendars

So, in a recent post I mentioned wall calendars. Well, I’m sure most of us know by know that with on demand printing, pretty much anyone with a digital camera and a creative side can easily make their own calendar. With that in mind, to date I have created several and used a number of different printers in the process. This post is essentially a review of those services. And maybe if you are thinking about creating your own wall calendar for the upcoming year, you might just find this helpful.

My scale is based on a 1-5 rating system with one being the worst and five being the best.

custom calendars

POD calendar printers I’ve used:

snapfish logo – Overall rating 4/5

Print quality – 4.5/5 This HP affiliates photo calendars are crisp and clear with very few if any drawbacks.

Pricing – 2.5/5 The pricing is a bit excessive as is the shipping. A decent product might cost around $26.00. If International shipping is required, you can tack on an extra $6.00 to that figure. Not real conducive for reselling.

Paper quality – 4/5 Snapfish provides paper similar in thickness to a medium level of card stock.

Shipping time – 4/5 Buyers will likely get their product in less than a week and probably more like 3-5 days

vistaprint logo – Overall rating 2.5/5

Print quality – 2.5/5 The business card specialists should stick to smaller items. The photos come across a bit grainy with some color problems.

Pricing – 3.5/5 Vista Print’s calendars usually run around $18.00 plus shipping. They tend to be in the average range here.

Paper quality – 3/5 The paper is nice and glossy but tends to be rather thin.

Shipping time – 3/5 While copies can take several weeks to arrive, they usually come in a relatively reasonable time frame.

lulu logo – Overall rating 3/5

Print quality – 2.5/5 Much like Vista print, the quality of images can be rather spotty.

Pricing – 4.5/5 Lulu seems to be the most affordable POD service by far. Full-sized calendars start at less than $14.00. These can easily be used for resale purposes.

Paper quality – 3.5/5 The company uses a heavy stock paper but as stated above it seems to hinder the printing.

Shipping time 3/5 The shipping speed is pretty average overall.

qoop logo

* – Overall rating 3.5/5

Print quality – 3.5/5 Qoop produced fairly nice images from photos with few real problems.

Pricing – 4/5 While not quite as reasonable as Lulu, this company was very much competitive in this area.

Paper quality – 3.5/5  Much like the others, they tended to use a decent medium grade card stock paper.

Shipping time 3/5  The time it took to receive the product was pretty typical.


* is now defunct but as I had a positive overall experience with them, I figured it was only right to include them in the list.

Delicate beauty – the art of blown glass

While I hold respect and admiration for just about every type of art out there. I’ve always been blown away, no pun intended, by the artists who work with blown glass. I can’t imagine the level of skill and precision it must take to develop such amazing pieces out of such a frail medium.

Here are a few visual samples:

blown glass colors


blown glass colorful art


blown glass


colorful glass art photo

Wall Calendar

It’s finally here!!!

As you may know by now, in my photography work I love the chance to work with alternative models. While that genre of modeling does cover a lot of area, I’m specifically referring to those who feature tattoos and piercings, vibrant colored hair and perhaps something of a goth, emo or punk style.

That being the case, a site I work with called Twisted Angels just published it’s 2013 wall calendar. I’m so excited by the results considering it’s the first time the site’s calendar has featured more than 13 photos. The count is actually 25, the cover, one main shot for each month and one small one too.

Anyway, if you’re so inclined to check out a preview, you can do so below.

Please keep in mind that some of these photos would fall into the NSFW category and you may not want them to be readily accessible by children. Nudity can be and often is artistic and beautiful but is also often hard to explain to your boss of an inquisitive young child.

Calendar preview form store standard version)

Video preview of deluxe version from the site itself

sexy alt modeling calendar

Out of the night (a poem)

walkway candlelight


Let the pain fade away

And all the ache succumb  to it’s on decay


Ever closer to the shores

Fully revived, fully restored


With the candle now burning

With warmth and light

May we be brought out of darkness

And out of the night


This the the newest poem by the blog author Jason Greiner who has published two books of poetry to date.



Nobody is reading these days?

Guest post by Norma Jean Lutz

reading on a plane

Looking for an Excuse?

Hey there fellow novelist!  If you are casting about to latch onto an excuse to abandon your novel (whether it’s stored in a box somewhere, buried in an old computer file, or still in your heart), this one will do as good as any other:

No one is reading these days! 

Okay. Sure. Whatever.

Reading or Not Reading?

A few years ago, I remember sitting in a doctor’s office waiting room and observing that nearly every person in the room was talking on his or her cell phone.

If that scene were to be repeated today, what would those people in that waiting room be doing?  Their phone (hand-held device) is not held to the ear.  Instead, every person is looking at it.  Something that would have seemed pretty strange only a decade ago.

So what are people doing by looking at their hand-held devices?  I think you will have to agree – they are reading.  Omigosh.  People are reading. 

Oh, but how can that be? Everyone is saying that no one is reading. Now granted there are lots of videos, games, and such on these hand-held devices, but one still has to admit – people are reading. Possibly more so than ever before.

Different Manner of Reading

Are the majority of the buying public walking into a bookstore these days and pulling a $25 book off the shelf and making that purchase?  Not so much. (Personally, I buy lots of used books from Amazon!  Don’t you?)

The fact remains: people are still reading.  They may be reading in a different manner.  They may be reading using different tools (hand-held devices and e-readers), but people are still reading.  (She said again with emphasis!)

Not only that, these readers are delighting to scoop up two or three novels for a few bucks from Kindle and read them while waiting in the doctor’s office, or on a long plane flight, or on vacation at the beach.  Or scores of other places too numerous to mention.

Sorry if I spoiled your favorite excuse. I trust you’ll get over it.

Solzhenitsyn wasn’t Looking for Excuses

And while we’re on the subject of dousing excuses — if you really want to learn about a novelist who was convinced (for an entire lifetime) that external circumstances cannot, in any way, dampen the drive of a true, dedicated novelist – read about the life of Alexander Solzhenitsyn.

And as I’m sure you’re quite aware – Solzhenitsyn certainly wasn’t (isn’t) an isolated example.

How Important Is It?

The point here is this: those looking for excuses to jump ship will find them.  Those determined to bring the ship all the way home to the harbor will find a way to do so.

How important is it to you to be a novelist? (Or a published writer in most any venue?)

Nuf sed!

become a novelist

About the author and her site:

Oklahoman Norma Jean Lutz, is an author, speaker, writing instructor, and novel critique consultant. Author of more than 50 published books, she’s been in the writing/publishing industry for more than 30 years.

When writing a novel, the start can be the scariest part! Yours free! Be A Novelist 15-page Writer’s Workshop entitled: Don’t Dilly Dally at the Starting Gate – How to Start Your Novel with a Bang.

Abstract photo

Once in a while, it’s fun to “break the rules” if you will. To go against the grain of what is considered proper of correct in a given art. On occasion, I mess around with my photography in order to do so. This is especially true when it comes to intentional blur and streaks of light. With that in mind, I decided to post one image from a while back featuring just such experimentation.

Check it out below:

abstract photo of woman

We will never forget!

Eleven years ago today, one of the greatest tragedies is modern history occurred at the hands of men of pure evil. September 11, 2001 was to my generation what the attacks on Pearl Harbor was to those young men and women living in the 1940s. The senseless events of that day brought on emotions ranging from shock to sadness to fear and anger. And, I will never forget where I was that fateful morning. It’s as fresh in my memory as the moments of yesterday.

This being an arts related blog, I’ve decided to post a few things below from the world of the arts that honor the victims of the acts of 9-11-01 and ensure each and every one of us remember this always.

God Bless America!

9-11 firefighter

Raising American flag

towers of light in NY

9-11 2001

9-11 tragedy

Summer photo shoot video

This video is a quick “behind the scenes” if you will of a photo shoot I did last month along with another fellow Pittsburgh photographer. I figured since Summer is now almost over, this might be a fun little think to post as we wish the season goodbye until next year.


Tag Cloud