Archive for the Information and Commentary Category

Bitter and Sweet

Posted in Information and Commentary with tags , , , , , , , , on July 30, 2015 by kellyjcallahan

I don’t often write about my personal life on this blog, but I thought I’d share a little of my past few months. They have been some of the most rewarding and difficult.

I feel that I’ve made giant leaps in defining my personal style in my paintings. Reached many of my goals. Yet at the same time, I’ve lost a dog who has been essential to my growth as a person.

The opportunity for a showing at Studio 262 Gallery, has allowed me to work hard for over 6 months. Painting steadily, creating, defining. Find my own. I’ve come a long way in the last 18 years in my painting. At the opening reception, I had many great comments, questions, and compliments. Probably my favorite… “your paintings are so happy.” To me that is the best compliment. When I started painting in acrylics my paintings were very angry. I was not in a good place. But, it was good therapy. Especially after not allowing my artistic side to show for 10 years or more.

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And the bitter… My dog, my sweet Jazz, is gone. He has brightened my life for almost 14 years. He, too, was essential in my progression from a very angry, very depressed person to the woman I am today… Happy, loved, at peace, content, happy.

While they were very good years filled with his love and gentleness, I am heart broken with his loss.

It’s hard to express how he meant. From the moment I said “I want a dog” 14 years ago, until I held him as he passed, he has meant the world to me. He helped me put away years and years of anger and depression. He accepted Brian whole heartedly when he came into my life. He has loved and helped raised Katie, his bratty little sister. And loved and indulged our cats (past and present) and our late bunnies.

He rarely ever met a person he didn’t like. Loved to meet other dogs. Loved to walk at the dog park, but disliked overly aggressive dogs. Loved car rides and hated hair cuts. Loved to lay under a shady tree while I gardened, and hated to go outside in the rain. But, take him to the beach… he’d play forever in the surf.

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And sweet again. Through complete serendipity we have welcomed a new puppy into our lives. Her name is Poppy. And we feel unbelievably lucky to have her in our life. She has helped Katie overcome her depression over the loss of her lifelong companion. She makes us laugh with her silliness. She’s still a torment to the cats. But soon they will fall in love also.

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Featured Artist at Studio 262

Posted in Information and Commentary with tags , , , , , , , on July 9, 2015 by kellyjcallahan

From July 7th until August 8th I will be the featured artist at Studio 262 in Corvallis, Oregon. I have 20 paintings from 5×7 to 36×48. Both abstracts and landscapes. I hope if you are in the area of the Willamette Valley in the next month you’ll drop on by.

Below is my painting “The Quakers” 12×24, acrylic on canvas. $250.00

The Quakers

The Quakers

Recent Copyright Violation

Posted in Information and Commentary with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on July 18, 2011 by kellyjcallahan

This past weekend I came across a copyright violation of my work. This angers and frustrates me to no end, as it does many an artist. Not only is it pure laziness on the behalf of the thief, but it makes it very difficult for me to do online business. I have only select vendors that I use, because it is too easy to lose control of who is using the artwork.

Due to this unfortunate event I have pulled all of my illustrations from my Facebook fan page. While Facebook was very responsive in removing the graphics from the offenders site, it does nothing to protect my images from download. This is very frustrating, because of the contest I’m currently trying to run.

I have moved all of my designs to a Wry Toast Flickr account, where I have disabled the downloading of my images. I know that this won’t stop someone who is determined, but at least it makes it a little more difficult.

All of the Wry Toast designs can now be found there. Designs are grouped by type. The dog breed designs are grouped by breed group (Herding, Hound, Non-sporting, Sporting, Terriers, Toys, Working). There are many breeds in the Dogs in Words designs that are not recognized by the AKC, but are recognized by the FCI. If you are looking for a specific breed and can’t find it, please contact me at WryToastDesign [at] gmail [dot] com.

Please remember (for me and other artists): using my designs without my permission is stealing pure and simple. Regardless of whether the copyright notification is present, the piece is copyrighted by law. This includes reproduction, redistribution, reselling  or facsimile or derivatives of the original piece. In other words, it doesn’t matter that I don’t sell my illustrations as designs in crystals, you can’t either.

Tuesday’s Toasty Tidbits Contest

Posted in Contest, Information and Commentary with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on July 13, 2011 by kellyjcallahan

I am running a simple contest for you dog lovers. It’s easy to win, no purchase is necessary. I will put a quote from a recent Wry Toast Design post (from the Facebook page) as a blog post.

For Example a recent tidbit was: “The National Dog of Cuba”. The correct answer was Havanese. This quote came from this entry.

I will be using one of my designated vendors Dog Mom Dog Designs as my supplier for the weekly prizes (so it will be handmade too). You can win one of Wry Toast’s designs on a t-shirt, a tote bag, or an apron. The prizes will be imprinted with a durable vinyl that withstands years of washing.

All of the Wry Toast designs can now be found on the Wry Toast Flickr page. Designs are grouped by type. The dog breed designs are grouped by breed group (Herding, Hound, Non-sporting, Sporting, Terriers, Toys, Working). There are many breeds in the Dogs in Words designs that are not recognized by the AKC, but are recognized by the FCI. If you are looking for a specific breed and can’t find it, please contact me at WryToastDesign [at] gmail [dot] com.

The Prizes

  • The t-shirt is a Hanes tagless 100% Cotton tee. The sizes are from small to 4XL. This is a nice 6.1 oz, pre-shrunk tee. The color chart can be found here. Below is what the t-shirt looks like. You may trade out the adult t-shirt for a woman’s tank, youth shirt, or infant shirt. If you choose to do so, you will need to contact me for exact models and colors available.

  • The Essential Tote by Port & Company. This tote features an outside pocket and is very durable and washable. The specifications and color chart can be found here. Below is what the tote looks like.

  • The last prize option is a Port Authority Apron. The apron features 2 waist level pockets, and a pen pocket. The neck strap is adjustable. The apron has a Teflon finish to help protect the fabric from stains. The specifications and color chart can be found here. Below is what the apron looks like.

The Rules (Updated 7/21/11)

Facebook will not allow contests to be easily run on fan pages. Because of this policy, the contest will be run from this blog, but will involve Wry Toast Designs status posts. I highly recommend that you become a fan or bookmark the page for easy access to the quotes.

  1. The contest will be run on Tuesday’s. I will try to post the contest quote between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. Pacific Time (5:00 p.m. and 10:00 p.m. GMT), but it may be posted earlier or later.
  2. I will put a quote from a recent Wry Toast Design post (from the Facebook page) as the blog post. The blog headline will be the title “(date) Tuesday’s Toasty Tidbit is… and then the quote in the body of the post. The quote will be from within the previous 4 weeks. Both the question and the answer can be found on the Wry Toast Designs Facebook fan page. If you choose to you can “google” the question and you will probably come up with the answer.
  3. In order to win you must click on comment on the “Tidbit” Blog Post, and comment with the correct breed.
  4. The first one to comment CORRECTLY is a winner.
  5. You get to choose any WRY TOAST design on a t-shirt, tote bag or apron. No designs from any other designer and/or person may be placed on the winning item.
  6. While I will use twitter to tweet about the contest, and the Wry Toast Fan page, but the contest winner will only be chosen from the THIS BLOG. You cannot win from twitter or Facebook.
  7. The prize may take 2-3 weeks to get to you.
  8. I can suspend the contest at anytime at my discretion.
  9. I may change prize winning items at my discretion.
  10. I may change the rules of the contest at my discretion.
  11. You may not “redeem” your prize for money.

Helpful Hints for Selling Your Art Online… Social Media

Posted in Information and Commentary with tags , , , , , , , , on May 5, 2011 by kellyjcallahan

For the past 6 weeks I’ve been exploring various mediums of art and types of photography. During this time I’ve run into a myriad of problems finding pieces to feature, or information about art or the artist. This series post is going to list some helpful hints for those wanting to sell online. Some of these hints seem to be a “well duh” hint. But it’s surprising how many people don’t do these simple things.

Smile and Be Sociable!

How many times did you hear smile and be sociable when growing up? Too many to count I’m sure. Well… Mom does know best at times. Social networking is a great way for people to find out about your art. Think of it as more free advertising.

Social media is a great way of increasing your SEO. More links, more mentions, more tweets means better positioning of your site. Before I started seriously blogging about my designs and art I had 1 total sale on Etsy, and averaged about $100.00 per year on CafePress. Since I’ve started blogging my sales have increased across the board. No, I’m not a top earner in any of my stores, but the sales are much better.

I have since added Twitter and Facebook to my arsenal of social media.

What Do I Blog About?

Blogging might seem to be a challenge. Simply blogging about your artistic process is a start. People are interested not only in artwork, but how it is done. I’ve had some great responses from featured artists with more helpful links and information about their art processes.

What challenges you? What intrigues you? Featuring other artists is always a great way to get people to your blog. I’ve even used my blog to vent about things that drive me nuts about the art world (the snobbery, the critics, etc.).

Blogging everyday is not necessary, but once a week or so, to keep people coming back. I have my periods where life is too busy to keep up, but I do try to blog at least a couple times a month at minimum.

The KISS Principal

The KISS Principal is my mantra about blogs, facebook, etc. Keep It Simple Stupid… don’t muck up your visual space (i.e. website) with tons of blinkies, widgets, etc. Scrolling through pages and pages of annoying blinking pages will make most viewers run screaming for the hills.

Part of it is the graphic designer in me, part of it is the artist. There is no need to fill every inch of your web page with “stuff”. I try to keep my navigation column with as few of links as possible. When your navigation column is longer then your post column, it is waaaay too long. Either have expandable links, or if you have more then 10 links per category it’s time to have a page just for those links. Face it, there is no way a anyone is really reading 30+ blogs a day.

Wrapping it Up

Take a moment to view a Etsy Photo Basics… Closing Arguments.  This post was previous published in October 2009 and has good hints about watermarking, etc. Remember good photographs = good marketing.

Helpful Hints for Selling Your Art Online… Organization

Posted in Information and Commentary with tags , , , , , , , on May 4, 2011 by kellyjcallahan

For the past 6 weeks I’ve been exploring various mediums of art and types of photography. During this time I’ve run into a myriad of problems finding pieces to feature, or information about art or the artist. This series post is going to list some helpful hints for those wanting to sell online. Some of these hints seem to be a “well duh” hint. But it’s surprising how many people don’t do these simple things.

Everything Should Have A Place!

I admit it, it’s a pet peeve of mine. I can’t stand unorganized websites. They drive me crazy. Since I have the attention span of a gnat when I’m looking at shops I don’t want to have to through a pages of unrelated stuff. Nothing will get me off a site faster then looking for sub-categories and not finding them.

Not only will organizing your shop, blog or website into categories help potential customers, it will also help you. If you have defined categories for your content, it makes it easier to list them, tag them, and search for them. I do this is all of my shops (Etsy, CafePress, etc.) and my blog. My files on my computer are organized in the same way as the websites. This is especially important in shops where there is a lot of merchandise. My CafePress site has more then 200 designs, a true nightmare if it weren’t organized.

I personally separate my artwork by original, reproduction, and ACEOs. I’ve seen sites that are organized by subject, size, medium, etc. Whatever helps your seller find your creations.

Don’t rely on search engines. Some engines will search an entire site, not necessarily just your gallery, store, etc. And every site seems to differ in their search engines. Flickr has recently changed their search engine priorities; if you don’t specifically request the user’s gallery it will search the entire site.

I would also suggest having separate shops for separate types of merchandise. If you sell vintage, as well as, artwork; have two separate sites. Not only do you look more organized, but it customers don’t have to wade through things they aren’t interested it.

Be organized, look professional.

Helpful Hints for Selling Your Art Online… Links

Posted in Information and Commentary with tags , , , , , , , on May 3, 2011 by kellyjcallahan

For the past 6 weeks I’ve been exploring various mediums of art and types of photography. During this time I’ve run into a myriad of problems finding pieces to feature, or information about art or the artist. This series post is going to list some helpful hints for those wanting to sell online. Some of these hints seem to be a “well duh” hint. But it’s surprising how many people don’t do these simple things.

You’re Only As Strong As Your Weakest Link!

Links… such a simply thing, but frequently overlooked. For every website you sell from, your blog, your Flickr page, etc., you need to have links to and from your other sites. I too am guilty of not having all my links current (slap my hand). Granted, some on-line stores will frown upon you linking to another store. But you should have a central site, like a blog, that you can link to (blogs are another great selling tool, more on that later).

Links not only help potential customers find your on-line shop, but improve that ever-important Search Engine Optimization (SEO). If you don’t know about SEO, you can read up on it here. But in basic terms, it helps your visibility on the web and more specifically on search engines like Google, Bing, Yahoo, etc.

Another way of thinking of links is… FREE ADVERTISING. I frequently post my knitted items on Flickr and Ravelry. But, if I don’t have a link back to my stores, then I could be missing out on potential sales.

When I’m looking for art to feature or even buy, I don’t stick to the obvious choices (i.e. Etsy, Artfire, Red Bubble), I also search Flickr, Smug Mug, blogs, etc. All of these are a great source for finding art. But, only if there are associated links or artist names associated with the photo or profile.

If you don’t want to mix your family photos with your creations, with links, contact names, etc. Then set up a business site and a personal site. No need to feel like your going too public with your home life, just separate them.

Make it easy for people to contact you about your work. Don’t make them dig. In general, the attention span of a person on the internet is very small. Don’t make them frustrated trying to find you or a way to contact you.

Links back to your various venues are especially important if you don’t sell under your own name. While I sell my artwork under my name, I sell my t-shirt designs under Wry Toast and my knitting under Wry Knot. Without links or a central site (my blog) it could be very difficult to find out about my various enterprises.

Along with making sure you have links, make sure your links are accurate. We all hate that 404 message… Keep a list of all the places your links appear, and keep them up to date.