What is with the watermark?

19 11 2012

I remember being a young artist (not a young girl, mind you, but young as an artist; a newb) just getting started and had so much to learn! I would be so excited about finishing my pieces that I would not add a signature before uploading them. This was not a philosophical stance about art and accessibility and freedom, it truly was forgetfulness. Then, as I calmed down a bit and realized that people were still going to see my work if I uploaded five minutes later, I would remember to add a signature. I always felt that the artwork itself should not be covered, because art is to be admired, so I signed on a corner.

See? itty bitty signature in a corner, even the color was unobtrusive! At least I learned really early to upload at very low res and size!

Years later I also started to add a link to my webpage on another corner, because, you know, some people were showing the illustrations to their friends, and how nice! But then the illustration would get lost in the emails/webs and who  knew where to find the original artist? I held on to this non obtrusive way of providing information about me for a very long time.

This is what I maintained for a long time, webpage info in a corner, larger because I noticed that some people reducing the size of my images would make the font unreadable.

Until now. I about had it. Enough is enough, and when you realize that there is bad will from other people’s side you need to change your strategies.

See, the point is, no matter whoever tells you what, there is a law. It is called “copyright law” and it protects the original creator. Many countries, like USA, have signed the Bern Convention in which they commit themselves to protect the artist. No, it is not my obligation to register my work, it is not my obligation to mail it to myself, it is not even my obligation to sign it, nor to place big notices “this is protected by copyright laws” (by the way, it is “copyright” not copywrite”; it’s about rights, not writing). The artist owns the copyright to a piece as soon as it is created, be it a sketch or fully finished. And that belongs to the artist as long as the artist is alive and 75 years after his or her death, it belongs to the family, except if you sell the rights, which is a whole another issue. And that law states that other people cannot sell, or modify or redistribute the artwork without proper permission. Please, notice the *redistribution* idea under copyright laws.

My eyes!!!!
This, my friends, is one case that upsets me very much, I don’t even own the copyright of this piece, the rights have been contractually transferred to the clients that commissioned it.

As any law, it is your responsibility to know the law and follow it. “Oh, officer, this person did not carry a sign saying not to kill him, I was unaware that he was not to be killed” would not fly in court. I have seen in the last few months an alarming amount of people placing the blame on the artist: you should have signed, you should have watermarked, you should have said it was protected, it is art it is to be shared, don’t whine it’s publicity, your fault your fault your fault. Sadly, this is the kind of stuff me and other friends have been through over and again recently.

I used to think I was under the radar, until I noticed that mostly Pagan groups on social networking sites started to pick up my work. I guess all that activity I talked about recently worked. And my work is all over the place. Now, I am not a freak, I like people to share my work, I really enjoy seeing others appreciating and enjoying my work, and I don’t deem of thieves those who respect me and share. I would very much appreciate a line or two “Artwork by Constanza Ehrenhaus see her work here” and a link to my gallery, any of them. But the problem arises when all the information I put in the files is cropped. When I see artwork that has been cropped and has no name or link anymore and when asked politely to provide the artist’s information the person redistributing answers with a snarky “Oh, it is the artist’s responsibility to sign the art”. Believe me, my blood boils.
Again, when you redistribute my work, you are basically breaking the law. It does not bother me at all when you leave the work unchanged, I am a very friendly person and I actually like to see my work going around with my signature and website. What I do not appreciate is when all that is cropping this information away, then I take it as what it is, someone not respecting my intellectual property and my work and trying to erase all traces of how to track me as an artist… free publicity, eh? How are others supposed to know who drew the image?

The top image is the way I display it online. The middle one has been not only redistributed but modified (which is also illegal!) and the web address removed. The bottom one has been cropped just enough to eliminate the link and my name, which really upsets me.

So, now I do add a watermark across my work. Do I like it? No, really I do not like it at all, but if someone wants to remove that, they will have to put more work into it of what is worth to just re-share the work as is. I wish I did not have to do this, but unfortunately I find that is needed. Please, excuse this action, I am not happy about having to do it, and I am sure a lot of you find it aggravating too. But I’ve had enough of people being rude back at me when I politely ask them to credit my work.

So, watermark on the middle of the image it is. *sigh!*

So, what happens if I find my work being redistributed? For the most part nothing. If the work is unchanged and my information is still there, I smile and many times have left a comment as “I am glad you like my work!” If the information has been cropped or erased in any way I normally ask politely that information be provided, sometimes people find the image already modified online. What happens next depends on the reaction of the other person, it might be a “thank you for understanding” or filing a Cease and Desist if there is a bad interaction. And, oh! you will get a Cease and Desist automatically if I find my work in any form or shape related to demeaning comments or images to other groups, which has happened. I believe we all can coexist in harmony, and I am not about to have my art being linked to any kind of derogation toward anybody else.

The next step?





Personal Challenge: Complementary palette.

22 10 2012

My return to drawing is marked by a piece drawn for the Enchanted Visions‘ October theme: Spooky Eyes. This is the first piece I made for the deadline, yay! 😀

I wanted to keep exploring my Personal Challenge list, and having recently seen a post by Dan dos Santos, and having always been very inspired by the great palettes that Chris Malidore uses, I decided to go for a complementary color scheme. I have to admit that blue/orange is a duo that works really well, and though it’s been overdone, since the theme was centered around eyes and I am mostly into real flesh colored beings, I went for it.

Spooky Eyes (c) Constanza Ehrenhaus 2012

For this project I wanted the eyes to pop a lot, so I used not only the complementary blue to all that orange in the skin and hair, but I also played with the lightness and saturation to make the eyes the focal point, by using a very light blue for the eyes and darker, less saturated oranges for the rest of the image, it is easy to focus on the eyes. One more thing I tried to play with in this image was to use a more textured skin, I’ve been trying to improve my skin tones, which I think I am doing (though there is a long way to go still!) but so fat I’ve never really been happy with the textures of my skin. This time it looks a little better. I think there is a lot to improve and I hope to some day find the delicate balance between subtlety and texture. As my first try with this technique, I guess I’ll have to settle in order not to neglect my other projects.

I might actually revisit the complementary colors topic. I actually envisioned something more eye catching like this, but Chris’s mastery of values is far beyond mine for right now 😉

So, how my list is looking like?

Palettes:
Monochrome
Limited (Circe)
Complementary (Spooky Eyes)
Primary
Secondary (Enchanted Visions)
Tertiary
Split complementary
Analogous
Multicolor
Warm
Cold

Composition:
Pyramidal
Spiral
Big group of people
Architecture
one point perspective
two points perspective





Personal Challenge: Secondary Triad

29 06 2012

To tackle my second palette challenge I used again the Enchanted Visions Project, I have had in mind for a while this image and I decided to work with a secondary palette: Green, violet and orange. It really proved to be harder than what I originally thought, and I don’t know how well I did honor the secondary theme, but the final image has the energy I was looking for. It, of course, ended up not being like what I had in mind int he first place, but when I envisioned it I was not thinking of limiting my palette choices, so I allowed myself to depart from the original idea in that respect.  It does however show the ecstatic feel that I wanted, the artist envisioning the art in her mind, as in rapture.

Enchanted Visions (c) Constanza Ehrenhaus

That puts my list down by two themes! Yay!

Palettes:
Monochrome
Limited (Circe)
Complementary
Primary
Secondary (Enchanted Visions)
Tertiary
Split complementary
Analogous
Multicolor
Warm
Cold

Composition:
Pyramidal
Spiral
Big group of people
Architecture
one point perspective
two points perspective





Challenging myself for growth

14 06 2012

I never went to art school and I do not regret the fact that I became a biologist, but I always feel that I am lagging so much in art because of a lack of formal education. Yes, you can be self taught but the aid of a knowledgeable professor would be greatly appreciated and now I do not have the time to dedicate 12 hrs+ a day to the study of art. However I do want to keep improving and I will keep studying, so to challenge myself and to avoid falling in the trap of comfort I decided to go through a list of things to do…

Palettes:
Monochrome
Limited (Circe)
Complementary
Primary
Secondary
Tertiary
Split complementary
Analogous
Multicolor
Warm
Cold

Composition:
Pyramidal
Spiral
Big group of people
Architecture
one point perspective
two points perspective

 

Circe

With this in mind I decided to keep my submission for the Enchanted Vissions Project: Circe, very muted and limited. I chose an earthy palette because I wanted to keep an “ancient” look, and I used a roman inspired frame. Also, I wanted to practice fur, which didn’t come out as good as I wanted, but it is a good first attempt.

It was challenging, I hated it for most of the process but towards the end it started to come together. I do like the final look, with the frame in place and the wrinkled texture.

 





On relativity of color temperature: Secrets.

13 02 2012

I was invited to the Enchanted Visions Project a couple of months ago, but so far I had been unable to take part in these friendly monthly challenges. However, finding that the planets were aligned and I actually had some time at night, I took the opportunity to tackle February’s challenge: “Secret Kisses”.

Since I had been studying tutorials on skin tones I was eager to work on that and decided to have lots of skin! My idea was to have the kisses being secret because they are not accepted by the rest of the world, so I sketched two women being from different worlds: Earth and Water. I took the opportunity to work on a very warm skin tone and a very cold one to represent the element of these women. Also, I wanted to add a dash of each woman in the other one to bring the palette of each into the other and make the piece more harmonious.

Secrets. Finished version. Note the temperature of the two women and its variation within the skin tones.

That is why I added a violet flower on the hair of the nymph and a pink flower on the hair of the mermaid. But then Lisa Cree suggested to push that idea further and have them “exchange gifts”, I then gave the nymph a crown of pearls, and color picked the tones from the lighter blues of the mermaid. I did the same for the leaves ornament, picking colors from the nymph.

To have the mermaid not look clammy in blues and green I added a dash of pink to where you would expect blush in a normal skinned woman: chin, cheeks, nose, elbow, a little bit on the shoulders too, this added some warmth to it (and received many compliments!). To convey the idea that these women are interacting, in the same place, and not just pasted on top of each other I got their colors to interact by using reflected light. The theory is that when light bounces off of an object, it is reflected on other surfaces. In this way, the light reflecting from the mermaid’s skin should cast a blue reflection on the nymph, and vice versa. If you take a look at the nymph, there is no doubt that the reflected color from the mermaid is definitely cold.

Temperature of colors is relative, as it can be seen in the left panel. In both cases the warmer tones belong to the nymph and the cold ones to the mermaid.

Both these examples, the warm blush and the cold reflected light are warm and cold respectively only when seen surrounded by the skin tones that each woman has. If you color pick them and put them against a neutral background, you can see that he blush is actually green and the cold blue is actually a rose. Furthermore, by comparing them to the skin tones of the other woman you can see that actually the blush is quite cold and the reflected light rather warm, but when put into the right context they convey the right temperature idea.

When painting, keep in mind that not always rose is pink, it sill depend tremendously on the context.





A Weekend in Paris: collaborative scrapkit

28 01 2012

Toulouse-Lautrec's ouvre was the inspiration for this kit.

Last week Lisa Cree approached the artists at PSP TubeStop and asked who wanted to work in a collaborative effort to make a scrapkit, the deadline was tight, but we needed to get it done in time for Valentine’s. I decided to give it a try, I had never worked on making elements and I really wanted to be part of this. The theme was “A Weekend in Paris” and the palette, elements and style were inspired by Toulouse-Lautrec’s oeuvre, especially those with a high red/yellow/black theme. So off we went and in less than a week this awesome kit was put together!

The kit was made by Joanna Bromley, Mitzi Sato Wiuff, Kim Turner, Katerina Koukiotis, Lisa Cree and me, and it includes 64 Elements, 25 Frames, and 15 Papers. It includes hats, corsets, black cats, the tour Eiffel, a table for two, and many other things that make a romantic and unique set, different from just bows and hearts. The kit is valued at $3.50 (not all elements are shown in the preview).

I feel honored to have worked together with such a wonderful and talented bunch of artists, their work rocks and raises the bar for my future efforts! I thought that making “elements”

Weekend in Paris kit preview

would be easier than it was, and I have learned some things by working on this and seeing the work progresses of other artists. If I had to do it again, I would do a lot of things differently and I hope I have the chance to practice some more in the future.

In the meanwhile I have accepted the challenge to make a tube with this kit, just for the fun of it and to see how hard it really is to make tubes, which I have never done 🙂 The great thing of this kit is that it has so many elements and so different that you really could use it in itself to make a piece, no need to get a “main figure”!

If any of you does make a tube from this, me and the other artists would love to see it! Don’t forget that you can find us in Facebook too! You can always upload your work to the group for all of us to enjoy! 🙂





Sketch weekend

9 08 2011

Secret friend (c) Constanza Ehrenhaus

Life is not going back to normal, but we are finding ways of working around that. Ignacio still does not sleep through the nights and he has not establish a rhythm yet, so some days he naps, and other days he just does not sleep at all! But, nevertheless, I am finding little moments here and there to sketch a bit and get back into drawing mode.

My Friend Lisa Cree is throwing a weekly event, each weekend she gives three prompts: setting, era and subject, and artists have to do a sketch. It is really nice and it has a voting system by which not necessarily the most skilled artist will win the challenge. This is a perfect, non stress event to go back to drawing. Right now I don’t have the time and energy to finish up a refined piece, but sketches are nice 🙂 I encourage you guys to go over and take part, it’s fun!

This is my sketch for my first time entering. I hope I can keep participating!