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Is my art fake?

Is my art fake?

No, it is not fake. I actually put acrylic paint on to a canvas. I have stated from day one that I cannot draw well. Some of my pieces are drawn by me, I use a grid method to copy the picture I want to paint onto a canvas. Some are not. Some I have printed in grey scale directly onto canvas. And then paint from there..using glazes and washes and color, in layers to bring out a full color rendition of an image. Sometimes I do images originally done by the Masters.. by people like Van Gogh, by people like Linda Coulter, by people I see on my friends’ list on Facebook! I do images of pretty places. I did not want to be stuck or hindered by my inability to draw. My paintings come out better if there is an image to paint on first (sketch or otherwise), of course.

It began in the 20th century that artists started focusing on direct (alla prima) painting, also known as au premier coup (at first stroke). It is a wet-on-wet style of painting. With that favor though, one art form has become almost lost, it seemed to me and that is the grisaille method.

You can read more about it at these links:

Grisaille info link

How to Paint Grisaille

What is Grisaille and Why do We Care?:

From the last link, I will quote, “In and of itself, grisaille can be used as a stepping stone toward a finished oil painting after adding glazes, so I know that any work I produce in this way can have a life “in living color” if and when I decide I’m ready to go there. So in a way, grisaille painting is a gateway painting method. It has been around for centuries, was an essential exercise for the Old Masters, and still has much to teach us today.”

I use acrylics rather than oil as I like to finish really quickly. Within a day if I can. And since acrylics are fast drying paints, that works well for me. Acrylics are also more forgiving when making a mistake. Once dried, you can color over a mistake and it not be noticed.

I am a self taught artist who is still learning to paint. Someone recently complained to a friend of mine that I was “fake” and trying to sell my art for a lot of money. So, let me get that straight here and now.

A direct quote from that person was: “Another advocate friend told me she has definitely changed. That her artwork is not even her own, that she is tracing copies off well known artists like Van Gogh. Not just saying this to be mean, but truth…..but on the other hand, do any of you fel she is trsutworthy now?” (copied and pasted, any errors are that person’s).

Tracing? I do not own tracing paper. Come to my house and you will not find any. I was going to buy some once as I thought it would be easier than doing it grid-style but I never did. Because then I’d have to get images the same size as my canvas in order to trace over. Here is a photo that I have shared to my art page on Facebook (Art by Heather E. Johnson).

As you can see, there is the original image next to my painting that I used for inspiration, etc. Yes, it is “copying”. However, you will find that many students of the arts “copy” as they master techniques, long before they start doing originals. Or, at least, they used to.

Here’s an article that discusses that controversy.

Here is an article that supports my position.

By the time I am done, I consider my rendition to be mine and mine alone. For example, I posted a pic of the rendition of Van Gogh’s Cafe at Night.

This is the original by Van Gogh himself, in 1888, done in oil.

This is the original by Van Gogh himself, in 1888, done in oil.

“Café Terrace at Night, also known as The Cafe Terrace on the Place du Forum, is a coloured oil painting executed by the Dutch artist Vincent van Gogh on an industrially primed canvas of size 25 in Arles, France, mid-September 1888.”

Here is my version:

This is the painting I created when I did the grisaille method using a black and white image printed onto a canvas.

This is the painting I created when I did the grisaille method using a black and white image printed onto a canvas.

Here is a screen cap of a photo album on facebook where I show my progress as I go. I have said it many times and in many places!

The progress I made while painting

The progress I made while painting

Here is the about section from my art page:

I mention, with a brief description, what art style I am using. Anyone who knows art will likely be familiar with the style. If not, they can always google it.

I mention, with a brief description, what art style I am using. Anyone who knows art will likely be familiar with the style. If not, they can always Google it.

As you can see, I even have an extra person in mine! I also have more stars, etc. There are lots of differences. So, of a sorts, it does become an original. There are some pieces labeled, “not for sale” on my art page. That’s because I am no longer in possession of them. I often give them away, for free. Some insist on paying for them and so I might get a token payment of about $30/each. That covers the cost of the canvas, paints and postage. Nothing for my time. To date, I have not received a single penny from them.

So the claim that I am “ripping people off with copies” is false. I am not. I am full and upfront about my style of painting and anyone can Google the title of that Van Gogh picture and see many others who have posted their renditions, some are even for sale. There’s even museums just for showing copies.

[Update: Recently, I came up with a multi-step process for getting the image onto canvas prior to painting it with color. It takes me a minimum of 24-28 hours to do it but I don’t have to pay someone to print an image on to canvas. ]

That is all. Thank you.

And these are my words….


Pepsi Refresh Project for AWN

I have recently begun to get to know Sharon da Vanport a lot better through some sad circumstances. I won’t detail them here but suffice it to say that I think she has responded to those circumstances with quite a bit of grace.

Aside from those personal issues, Sharon da Vanport and the other members of AWN want to host workshops across the United States and offer mentoring programs for all females with autism, both children and adults. I can’t think of a more needed thing in this community. Females with autism often go undiagnosed and unhelped because we try so hard to be “normal” or other reasons. It’s time to shine a light on this issue.

You can help by voting, daily, for this idea at the Pepsi Refresh project website. It’s not necessary to be a fan of Pepsi. I prefer drinking Coca-Cola, to be frank, but Coca-Cola isn’t doing this supportive project, giving away millions of dollars to projects such as that AWN is doing. There are many worthy projects vying for these grants and you have 10 votes a day, so vote for this AWN project as well as any others you find worthy! A simple click and/or text and you can literally help thousands of individuals across this nation. It’s free to do and Pepsi does not spam your email.


Where I will be using my desk that I win from

This is a post that will explain where and how I will use this beautifully crafted desk being offered by Office1000 in a writing contest!

SafeCo Desk offered as contest prize is offering this desk if I win!!

This lovely desk to the right is offered as a prize for this writing contest sponsored by Office1000.

I want this desk because I want to use it for a special reason. I am a reporter and will soon be making travel trips to go to the locations of my stories. I do not like laptops. I do not like laptop tables. I like desks. Full-sized desks that have a book shelf underneath to hold my handy reference books, i.e Writer’s Guide 2010, Best Magazine Markets for Freelancers 2010, Thesaurus and Dictionary. Okay, also looks handy for putting my feet up which will be MUCH appreciated!

The fact that it has those four wheels will help as I coast through airports and TSA screenings from job to job. Or I could sit on it and have someone push me from gate to gate.  Don’t worry, it’s a quality product and I’m not that heavy. It can hold up just fine!

It’s long enough for me. I have a system when I write. I like to spread out my papers and use multiple piles of paper. Helps me feel like I’m really doing something that is physically exhausting. I run my fingers through my hair, messing it up… push my glasses to the top of my head… stick various writing utensils in my hair and behind my ears… and make lots of notes on pieces of papers that are in these piles. This desk can obviously hold my piles!

The desk top is REVERSIBLE! Yes, reversible… between mahogany and medium oak. So when I’m writing my fiction work, I can use the mahogany color to help ease that mood of dark, dreary, literary genius. And when I’m writing my journalist pieces, I can use the oak side. All business-nothing-but-the-facts-Sir, please and thank you!

And since I write about special needs kids, there’s bound to be a few around me when I’m writing! This desk has cable management holes! Think of the joy and wonder on those kids’ faces as they explore the holes… sticking their fingers through them and pulling on the cords and unplugging my computer from its power source and making me lose all the work I just did for two hours because I forgot to hit control + s to save! The precious moment of looking down at that innocent face…. as I breathe deeply and restrain myself from yelling. After all, you can’t blame the kids… they’re innocent!

Of course, wherever the place is at any given time, my desk will have a full-size coffee-pot that continuously creates fresh coffee for me. This is important! Without fresh coffee, I cannot have fresh ideas! My ideas would become like the stale, dank, musty odor of retried coffee that’s been microwaved! Egad!

Of course, after the pages are written, I can clear the piles and with my long-hand written manuscript, use that desk to hold my computer whilst I bang away in a furious frenzy on the keyboard and type up what I had previously written. This is the time when the world goes on ignore…. I lose track of what is going on around me. I would not notice that my son has finally mastered the art of lighting matches and is practicing by burning the piles of paper that are at my feet now that I had finished with them. Well, I might if the flames actually touch me. Maybe.

This desk would help my career exponentially in many ways. These are just a few of them!

These are the types of things I talk about

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