Brooke Shaden 20 Day Portfolio Challenge….Week 4

Read week 3 here, it’s amazing how time flies doesn’t it? When we started this journey on Jan 1st, it seemed such a big chunk of our lives to devote to one challenge…….but I am all done now.

Day # 16 – Words with Images…….I was always taught to believe that explaining what we do, is not part of the art, it should be open to interpretation. In saying that sometimes words NEED to be said. I have on occasion written to go with the images either on on My blog, or using Adobe Spark……..have you ever used Adobe Spark? Here is one I created early last year, a little bit rough, but you get the point.

I have also teamed up with a Writer to produce a series of images and Prose, which we had printed into a book for family and friends for Christmas….it was such fun and everyone (on both sides) loved it……here is just one we did as a Spark. Actually it was the first one that started the whole project.

So often I don’t write the process behind an image I just show the image, so perhaps I will expand on that in future posts.

The High Priestess

I have started a new series this year loosely based around the Tarot Cards.The are 21 Major Arcana and then the Minor Arcana. The Major are things I am sure you have seen or heard about; Death, The Hanged Man, The Fool, etc and then there are Pentacles, Cups, Wands and Swords for the Minor. I have always been fascinated by the mystical and what better way to explore the symbolism behind the Tarot Cards?

The is The High Priestess, often linked to sexuality, the moon, femininity, and inspiration…….hence the nude, This is a shot of my Fine Art Nude model Chey, in a cloak, I knew I would use it some day. I loved the whole idea of putting her in a temple at night, the moon shinning on water, mysterious and secretive, holding a key to unlock the secrets of the universe at her fingertips.

What 10 words reflect my art?  – Surreal, fantasy, textured, fairy-tale, colourful, imaginative, whimsical, symbolic, storytelling, depth, emotive.

Day # 17 – Social Media…as most of you here know I am very active on Social Media, but it took a bit to get started. I wonder if I am too prolific? I tend to bombard ‘followers’ with images and challenges (especially on WP). I should learn to control my output more regularly. I believe in leaving comments, especially on great or interesting things. It is too easy to just hit ‘like’……I know I am guilty of this on Instagram and am currently working to improve. I like to build a community for which I am apart of it. I do not hashtag enough, this sounds like an excuse I know, but if I could IG on the PC I could had so many more, because typing is so much faster than texting. I should use my 500px and Flickr more often than I do; I tend to post picks randomly and don’t visit others as often as I should. But realistically there are only so many hours in a day… I stick to Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, Flickr (sometimes) and occasionally Twitter, and of course my blog. Now I don’t have a 100k followers, but I am sometimes finding it hard to respond to all the comments (please don’t think I am shallow), I worry what happens if I do get to 10 or even 100 thousand followers……… to you respond to those? Or are they mainly likes and not comments anyway?


Day # 18 – Creating a Series…this is something I don’t really have to think about right? I mean I have created several series, The Mask, Dapper Rabbit, The Red Dress, Guardian Angels. But am I delving deep enough? What I have done is tell a story, or a series of stories…….not that this is a bad thing. But perhaps I need to delve deeper into a topic, what is it that drew me to this series, what do I want to convey? What is my emotional connection? I am starting a new series based on Tarot Cards…….why? Am I simply just recreating images from a pack of old cards. Perhaps I should do a reading and then create based on that……….there would certainly be less images. Or should I do a reading for someone else, a character and follow that character? Am I just grappling around the edges? My Super Woman has more of an emotional connection……..why-me

That feeling of rejections or exhaustion or being completely overwhelmed, women today are expected to be Super Woman, to work and to have kids and keep a family together, with all the outside pressure to be thin and beautiful and ‘well kept’, anyone who is a parent knows that ‘why me’ feeling…….we know we are not alone, it’s just that it feels like it sometimes. This series captures some of the thoughts and feelings we keep on the inside and lets them escape and live a little.

Day # 19 – Printing…I have actually just printed off 10 images, in varying sizes for an upcoming exhibit. Due to poor timing, so many Fine Art Printers were closed and I had to go a more commercial route. It’s OK, it’s a learning curve. I want to learn more about various fine art printing and have been wanting to try some raglan and metallic prints. Framing and matting is another avenue I am still getting my head around, I know that ‘off the rack’ is much more affordable, however there are other avenues. A friend of mine recently purchased frames, glass and matt board second hand and restored the frames………they looked wonderful. Something for future exhibits, assuming I come through this first one intact.

Another thing was the colours and saturation, I use some fairly saturated colours at times and once printed they looked a little flat, she mentions this great article on different types of printing here. I guess it explains why I often get canvasses looking they way I want more often that standard printing I know the canvas I use a giclee, where as my prints probably are not, here is too for the exhibition……sorry terribly photos from the phone.

Then there is the cost………I’m not exactly Scrooge McDuck, but all of this cost money, and I know you get what you pay for, but when it all has to be out-laid upfront – it is daunting. Then there is the time factor, fine art printers can take weeks can’t they? I know two of the ones I have looked at can for fine art prints. I need to have re prints available much quicker than that, days at most; not weeks.

I wander about the matting as well, I know some people keep the same frames for their shows and only change out the matting as required, or sell the matt with the image, just not the frame. What do others do? This is an interesting topic and one I need to learn more about. I found at my recent exhibit, that the photos were not in Matte or a frame, just pinned to the wall? Looked very unprofessional in my opinion.

Day #20 – Presenting…I wanted to thank Brooke and everyone else in this group, this last 20 days has been enlightening and extremely helpful. As I headed into my first exhibit, I am aware of some of the mistakes I may have made and how things could have been done differently, but I will look on this as a learning session and hopefully gain experience and coverage to get more exhibits, more fans/followers and more clients. Thank you and I wish them all well on their individual journey. I know I have made friends there. I will be printing more images into a display folder to perhaps keep in the car and on our wanderings I can offer to galleries and stores we visit. I need to pluck up the courage and put myself out there, I KNOW I have something unique to offer.I have also  made some changes to my website and have created another Facebook page just for my art, I may look at getting another IG account

I have already reached out to new online avenues and am already seeing some results, 2017 will be a year to remember.

~ Julz