16 December 2009

Modern Photoshop for a Retro Look 1

Recently I have been looking for some Internet-based graphic design work. This, of course, always leads to looking up tutorials and of course plug-in's for Photoshop and Illustrator (AI). Surprisingly, I have found quite a few different tutorials, brushes and inspirational samples from a few main sources with a retro feel. Along with this, I also know that some of the folks that read my blog have shown interest in learning Photoshop. With this in mind, I will every once in a while write a "Modern Photoshop for a Retro Look" or "Modern AI for a Retro Look" post. The idea is that it will help people to find some of these tutorials and plug-ins that I think are helpful or interesting. This, in turn, will allow people to learn how to use these programs and at the same time understand how to create retro-looking graphics.

The question that always comes up from the newbs is, "Is learning how to use PS and AI hard?" This question is double-edged. For some it is incredible hard, and for others it's really easy. However, PS and AI are just tools. The reality is, if you don't have artistic talent, no Photoshop version can help you. So, you need to be realistic. That, however, doesn't mean that Photoshop can't be useful for just about everyone.

Even though I already knew much of this, I felt this tutorial showed a fairly straight-forward and easy method of accomplishing the 40's thru late 50's colored-photo look. One thing to remember with just about any tutorial is...these folks are generally proficient at PS or AI and they take some general knowledge for granted. Also, if you choose to use a different photo than the tutorial, you WILL have a slightly larger learning curve and have to experiment more.

03 December 2009

A New State

I have finally woken up from my vegetive state. Artistically speaking that is. For the last month or so, I have not been artistically motivated for anything. Not only that, but getting back here to Chile and getting back into the swing of things has taken a lot out of us physically and mentally.

A couple of days ago, however, I tripped over my forever lasting buffet/dresser project, and... I don't know... I just said, that's enough. Then I started working on my buffet again and I made a huge amount of progress. It was all kind of crazy how it all worked out.

I'm currently testing finishing materials to see which one I want to use. While I was waiting for some of my urethanes to finish drying I just started cutting the boards that I had hanging on the wall, with no real direction, and came up with my new hanging sculpture. Since I'm poor, I just recycled my boards. I like the new sculpture though. Even though the boards were nice, my wife and I were ready for something new.

As for the buffet, I think it should be done in a couple of weeks. Then I will have more photos for you folks. For now though, I just say Choa...

25 September 2009

Falling Water Experience

Image Source:

If you have ever wanted to experience living in the famed Falling Water house, here is your chance. Check out this article.

15 September 2009

Yeah... So We Don't Really Do Anniversaries

If you don't know that my wife is the greatest person in the world, well... she is. I can't help it. That's really is how I feel.

So, what does all this have to do with the image of the sign I made above? Well, here's the story.

Out of the almost 8 years we have together, a number of our anniversary just have not worked out. For instance, we went to a nice resturaunt, and they were completely out food. Then we went to a Pub that was completely out of Fish and Chips. How is it possible for a Pub to run out of Fish and Chips? Yeah... my thoughts exactly. Then we had the time that my car caught on fire while I was driving it. Oh yeah, there's the year the ladies kitchen caught on fire and the sprinklers flooded our apartment. We lived below her. By the way, this all really happened. In essence, the only anniversary gift that came out ok is what you see above.

For those of you who don't know, I'm a typical artist who has dabbled in a bunch of mediums. At one point, I was a sign designer and fabricator. Later I became the manager and had the opurtunity to use some old scrap for my personal art. With the materials and tools available I decided to fab a sign that reflected the interest of both my wife and myself. Since we both love vespas, it made since to make a cool retro vespa sign. Just to tie in the festive occasion I added "Anniversary Addition".

P.S. The paisley is not part of the sign. It is the back drop I used.

13 September 2009

Retro Re-Finds

Believe it or not, I am still here and working. Now I am actually working for a company creating HD lead videos. That has been taking a lot of my time. So, I decided that I would relax by looking at some of my fave vintage sites with my wife of course. What did I find? Just look below.

This is an interesting shirt with a real Tiki theme. I know that, at least a few of my followers will enjoy this piece. The details of this piece are as follows:

"Label: Bud Berma Luau - Hawaiian Festival
Unworn c
otton shirt with fabulous print
Condition: Excellent
Size: M / Chest: 40-42 / Overall Length: 29"
Price: $85
Click here to see detailed photos or purchase it.

Another cool piece is this panel shirt that is blue with white and blue check. I really like this piece. If only I wore a 48 chest, and... oh, yeah... if only I wasn't poor.

Label: T.A. Chapman & Co.

Fine turquoise gab shirt with front panels and waistband - roomy shirt appears to be dead stock

Condition: Excellent
Size: XL / 17-1/2 / Chest: 48
Price: $78
Click here to see detailed photos or purchase it.

Here's a sport shirt of style and coolsvilleness.

Label: Towncraft
Cool green with darker shade trim and pocket crest.
Condition: Excellent
Size: Large / Chest: 44 / Overall Length: 28"
Price: $46
Click here to see detailed photos or purchase it.

05 September 2009

Dance of the Dinosaurs

The last few weeks here in the States have been nuts. I'm looking at many different options for producing my art, and trying to get good etsy photos taken. Since I'm so finicky about such things, I have not been happy with any of the photos that have been taken. This in turn became a search for a DSLR camera. That in of itself is a full time job. Especially when you have many of your family and friends that are serious about photography. I appreciate the help, but sometimes it's hard when everyone is so convinced about their proven cameras.

One thing I can't dispute is the quality of some of the Canons. I recently found out how good the Canon 5D Mark II was recently while I was working on one of my newest sculptures. My father-in-law, Carl Olson, decided to shoot video of me working on this sculpture. I spoke a bit about the inspiration and the method. This was an impromptu shoot and was not rehearsed. So, if you have ever wondered how I really sound and look while being covered in saw dust and sweaty... Well! Here you go.

Dancing Dinosaurs from Carl Olson on Vimeo.

We plan to take more video of me finishing this sculpture and others as well. On that note, here you go, and I hope you like it.

27 August 2009

As Time Goes On

As promised, I have been working like crazy. I think that my recent works have been turning out quite well. It's amazing what you can do with, oh I don't know, a bunch of free time, some tools, wood, and of course the loving wife looking out the door to make sure your not slacking. Not really, she does look out the door, but just to see what I'm cook'n up next.

So, I think the most amazing thing of late is, my bowl I carved. It's the
first one I've ever done. The cool thing is, I think it's the only piece of art I've every done that turned out just the way I wanted it to. Usually my art turns out similar to my original design but with some change by design or mandate of material. In other words I mess up a lot and have learned how to incorporate it into my work.

Another good thing about my work this week is, I'm not pre-designing. Upon arriving to my work station, I associate with all my tools for a moment around the coffee pot and then... that's right, I have a long conversation with my material to discuss it's future. As of late we haven't even fought. That being the case, I just cut a piece of board off and start shaping it. It's a lot of fun.

As was mentioned before, in earlier posts, I am still going to start my etsy, but I have to have better photos, so I hope this weekend my pa-in-law, Rojito (dig those 70's safety glasses), and myself will be able to figure out how to take the best photos of my pieces with a decent back drop. For now though, here are some good photos of what I've done. There are also more photos on my Flickr. Check em out.

24 August 2009

Week 1 And Under Way.

One good thing is, I have my own part time photographer (Rojito), and he has been helping me a lot. The photos in this post are ones that he took. On my Flickr you can see a set for just his photos.

As I mentioned, these are unfinished sculptures. I will have a number done in a couple of days. You can at least get an idea of what is to come. I hope you enjoy it. Also, don't forget to check out my Flickr for more photos.

18 August 2009

I'm Here!

Back in the USSR....? Umm... no, the USA. That's right! I'm here in the States. That means that I will start working tomorrow. Well, I guess that's not completely true, just because, I bought some Oak wood and some finishing materials today. Either way I will have more sculptures and wall art done soon.

The art that will be coming up will be the beginning of, what I hope to be, a long string of it. My wife and I will be here for will be here in Georgia for about 2 months, and my focus is on sculpting, building, and finishing as many wood art pieces as possible. I also will be looking thru the art that I have done in the past, and I'll be utilizing some designs that you wonderful folks have never seen. Along with all of that, I will be posting regularly on the process and progression of the pieces I am making.

Currently, I am still trying to get some of my tool and material details taken care of, and then.... ZZOOOMMM! Off we go. As new ideas and designs come up, I will make sure you all are involved.


10 August 2009

Believe It Or Not, I'm Still Here.

Over the past two weeks, I have been CRAZY busy. You know, the Jeep being broken down for 2 of the 3 months that we have owned it. Delivering it from Curico to San Vicente, and back again. Look at me, I'm talking like you guys know where those places are. Well, in the end, the "jeep" (Every SUV in Chile is a "jeep". I can't understand it either.) is running better than ever before, and I have papeles al dia. "Papeles al dia" is important here in the this part of the world.

When we haven't been delivering or Samurai II from one mechanic to the next, we have been preparing to visit the states for a short period of time. I had hoped to have a few more projects done before we came back to the states, but alas, that has not happened. Therefore, I am showing one of my "in process" sculptures. You can see it above.

Don't forget! I will have some work ready for sale in about 2 weeks. Keep an eye out for my Etsy GRAND OPENING!


22 July 2009

So Trendy... I Know...

This is to let you all know that I am on Twitter as of today. I will have to get the hang of posting shorter and more frequently, but I can do it. You can look me up under JemTonic or just hit the link.

20 July 2009

Occasional Lamp

The lamp you see here is a lamp that I am working on at the moment. It is in the beginning stages and I hope to have it finished in the next couple days. One aspect of this lamp that I didn't illustrate (which I thought of later), is that this lamp will have the ability to be used as a floor lamp or a hanging lamp. On top of the lamp, there will be feet. These feet will hide the hooks that are used to hang it from the ceiling, and also be the feet on which it will sit while being uses as a floor lamp.

My chosen material is Birch plywood with relief cuts for bending on the inside. The interior will also be painted a gloss white to reflect more light illuminating the room more and not overpowering the look of the lamp.

As soon as I have finished it, I will be sure to post photos on my Flickr with a post to show all finished.

17 July 2009

Still Just Doodling

As I try to find a way to make a living on my art I find myself creating almost everyday. Some days I have more drive than others. The crazy thing is, I never really seem to get tired of drawing, sculpting or doodling. Many times I look around on the net to find different styles and artists. As I find something new I play around with new shapes and designs while trying to work them into my own style. These here are just a few from the past day or two. These are not completed compositions, they are just doodles. I hope you can see the creative process here.

With most of these illustrations, I've been focusing on the shadowing on the floor and the walls. I'm also playing with different kinds of textures.

15 July 2009

The End Of The Line

Photo source: phil toselli's photostream
If any of us have art out there on flickr and do a tag search for art to see how far down the line it lays, we may be surprised. When I searched mine, however, I was not surprised. I found my first one on page 25. That's really not too bad considering that under the search phrase I used there are 102 pages.

In reality though, this post isn't about me at all. This experience just got me thinking about the fact that I never go to the end of the search to see what it offers for my viewing pleasure. Therefore, I am going to bring you some highlights every now and again about what I'm finding from the back to the front. I'm going to pick out one picture from each page.

Just so that everyone understands, I used the tag search of mid-century art on flickr, and this first segment will be a pick from pages 101.

The image above comes from phil toselli's photostream. Later I plan of finding out more about this "David Wiedman" as well. If I find anything good. I will post about it.

12 July 2009

Why Piet Mondrian...? Why not?

We all know the art of Piet Mondrian, and most of us appreciate it. His art has always captured my attention. Not only that, but also, while watching Green Acres I find myself thinking of his art and how it became so famous while being so simplistic. By the reference to Green Acres I am not berating the art of Piet Mondrian, it's just that Lisa Douglas has a Piet Mondrian. I guess there really is a lot to be said with little, right? So I am going to follow his example and leave this post short, but hopefully, full of inspiration. Check out the art below, and...I hope you enjoy and are inspired by it.

09 July 2009

Just For You!

A while back I had posted some photos of my buffet/dresser in process. With this came a few comments from my readers saying that they like to see these types of photos and would actually like to see more in process photos. I don't know if that just means for the buffet, or in general. So, in hopes to try to keep all happy, I am posting a little about one of my current projects and the processes and changes that occurred.

The photo above is of the pine board that this project started with. I had this board just lying around from a temporary piece of furniture that I had made to set our TV on. Therefore, this board has hole drilled in different places on one side. That added an unusual aspect that I had to keep in mind as I started the design process.

Some of my sculptures/wood art start out on paper and make there way to life after the design has been finalized. That, however, was not the case with any of the pieces that came out of this board. At times, I find that I need to work directly on/with the board when I'm inspired if I actually want to get around to finishing the project. Thinking about a process can sometimes dampen my desire to complete, or even start on it. Therefore, I drew out all of my general shapes for guides on the board and cut the smallest shapes first. This helps provide a more accurate final cut as I can choose which to cut first and maintain a maximum grip range for movement of the material during the cut. Once the inside shapes are cut, I will take the outside material off to create the outside, or boarder shape.

Here you can see a little of the drawing showing thru in the photo after all cuts have been made. After all the cutting is done I then do my sanding. I have seen some people who sand there material first and then cut. I, also use this method for some of my substrates that are very rough or in a natural state. The size of this material/project, plus the fact that I was starting with a finished lumber board made pre sanding unnecessary. Usually the sanding process requires more than just sanding, it is a pre-finishing process and therefore can take a large chunk of my time. I try to get all of my edges smooth by sanding, using gouges, wire brushes, whittling knifes, and even some handy Jem's specialty tools. These can be very crudely made. I mean, man... I learned from those "good 'ol boy's" in Georgia, and my neighbors in Chile. So, you know they're well made.

If, as in this case, I am going to be painting images on top of the carved/shaped piece I don't fret if some of my pencil drawings are still visible. I just make sure that all drawn lines are gone where I will not be painting. This is so that you don't see hints of guide lines thru the stain and clear-coat.

Since this piece was not a commissioned piece and was also extra material I had lying around, I chose to paint with a new (to me at least) method. I used my paint pens. After starting, I chose to stick with light, sketchy coats and give a more unfinished/rustic? look. From my standpoint I don't find it too bad, but I would like to know what you think.

As it goes many times, you're happy to see the piece finished, and then it happens. In my case I got to anxious and thought the paint was dry, but... alas it wasn't and started to run. So, there I went back to the cutting table to adjust (save) the piece. In the end, I had to cut off a chunk and re-sand new
cut edges and re-stain. Once all was done, this is how it turned out. My final piece.

I actually am using the chunk that I cut off for a small wall hanging and will show it here soon.

Check out my Flickr for some more photos.

You can check out my buffet/ dresser posts below.

06 July 2009


Image is the property and copyright of Michael Robertson

Anyone who has been reading my blog for any amount of time knows that, I find the most amount of joy in finding new artists with an old style. Also, I have had the privilege of meeting and receiving comments of many such artist. In my book, some of these would clearly include Veronica Diago and as of a couple of days ago Michael Robertson.

One of the few things that I like more than finding artists such as these, is to share them with you. The reality of all things art is that, well... art speaks louder and better than words. With that being said, check out Micheals Robertson's blog  and his Etsy as soon as possible and see what's going on over there. It's worth the time. Just... don't forget to keep checking out what's going on here too. 

Photo Source: Samba for rats site

02 July 2009

Thought I had been slacking off huh! Revised!

For those of you who have been keeping up with my Flickr, you know I haven't been slacking off. That's right! Ever so slowly, I am working on my Buffet. What can I say? It's fairly hard to work on it without having my own shop and all the correct tools. None the less I continue to work on it little by little. I think I prefer it that way for right now. I have a lot of other things going on as well at the moment, and my buffet/dresser...uh...dresser/buffet???? keeps me from getting burnt out on any one thing.

Oh yeah... these photos are of one of the sliding doors that will cover the drawers... um... shelves? I'm not quite sure which of those 2 the doors will cover right now. Designs evolve over time. Be assured though, they will indeed cover something as door are wont to do. Also, don't be amazed when you see a different version of this door. One that has a background of white with the images in the stained wood. I still haven't figured out how I am going to connect the overlay/3d element to the door. I have options. Therefore I can show you another image of what could have been, but will never be.

For those of you who have been following my is the variation of my door. This is the way the door would look if it were white with the image dimension image on top of it. This is the way the door would look because, well... this is the door painted white. I chose to use the other side that is stained due to issues with the paint not laying well.

01 July 2009

The Rats And The Cicles

This is a Flickr photo from Kraig

When I finally got to the age of 16 I had dreams of all the old cars that I had seen on the shows I watched as a kid, and had seen in car shows with my dad. What I got was an old 78 Bonnaville. In the end... that was probably the perfect car for me at that age. It was a tank. This was great for me but horrible for everyone else, since, I rarely paid sufficient attention to the road when I was driving. Terrorizing everyone on the streets.

That car came to an end when, one day, while driving home from school I had to break hard and heard a pop. The upper control arm broke and I shot right, almost running into the ditch. Since then, I have had a number of other cooler cars, but... alas I still have never owned a worthy classic. As this is the case, I find that as I get older I look at the old cars, bikes (motorcycles), and scooters, with interest in more specific styles.

All things hot rod or classic are my favorites. However, with in this huge category I've found the Rat... whatever's to be the most creative. To me they are art in of them selves, and inspire me a lot in my work. With that in mind... I give you some that I have found online and that move me.

18 June 2009

To Which Do We Owe The Honor?

(Image on left is entitled "Dan-eesh")

For maybe the first time in my blogging history, I will have this post out, not only on time, but early. Wow...! Will wonders never cease. In case you haven't noticed the large image to the left of your screen... STOP NOW! Look at it closely now. No! Not like that... I mean CLOSELY! Yeah... More like that. Ok, this is my newest piece. I like it.

However, art really isn't always about what I like. I forget that sometimes, but in the end, I find my readers opinions very important, as well. So, here is your chance to let me know. I will be returning to the States for a visit in about 2 months with the hopes of producing a number of pieces of original art, sculptures, and maybe a few small pieces of furniture. The furniture depends on the time I have available. Also during this time I will be reviewing a few prints to consider selling on the Etsy store I will be setting up. To help me select which prints I will offer, I am consulting the mass population. After all, you'll be the ones buying 'em.

Of course my newest one (Dan-eesh Fisk) is a possibility. There are others as well though. They are as follows.

The thing is, I am only looking for two right now, maybe three. This is because I am going to order samples so I can see how they turn out. I don't want to offer bad quality art to any of you fine people.

So in the end... PLEASE HELP!
To see some of my other art, check out my FLICKR.