Archive for the ‘ebook tools’ Category

Surprised to hear from me again so soon? I was on hold with the employment office and thought, why not write a blog post? Funny what goes through your mind after listening to repeated pre-recorded messages and disturbing muzack for an hour. That’s right, an hour.

In my last post I sent links to the print-on-demand books The Theory and I created for Oregon sculptor Lee Kelly. Two of those books (One through Nine and The Observatory at Jaipur) documented exhibitions Lee had at his gallery in Portland.

The books contained:

  • Photographs of each piece in the exhibition, captioned with names and dimensions
  • Photographs of earlier pieces that are related in some way to the new work
  • Critical discussions of the new work
  • Brief introductions explaining why we thought a book was a good idea
  • Biographical information about the artist

I’m going to discuss each point in turn but right now let’s talk about why a book can be an important tool for an artist and another way to direct the messaging about your work.

Exhibition catalog
I’m not speaking for every commercial gallery, but here most galleries don’t produce exhibition catalogs for their artists. Public museums and collections often do, as a matter of course. But most of us wait years to be included in a major collection or even (gasp) get a career retrospective exhibition. So what happens while we wait? We mount important shows in commercial spaces, the work sells or it doesn’t, and a month later it’s as if the show never happened.

You probably document your new work and exhibitions on your web site. A web site is the most important tool you possess because it contains everything and is easy to update. But speaking as a user, I know how quickly most people click through web sites. And getting people to read anything longer than a caption online? Whew!

Old tech like a printed book can place images in context with writing and give depth and insight into the artistic process. Or allow a critical thinker the ability to write about your work at length. And because the book is available online (through whichever online publisher you choose) you can buy copies of the book at cost to give away or provide a link so that people can buy it themselves. It’s always there.

Preserving a body of work or important period in an artist’s life
I was talking to my father about the book we wrote called One Through Nine which discussed an exhibition of paintings he did in 2013. It was his first exhibition of paintings on canvas since sometime in the 1960’s. He said, “I didn’t realize until I saw the book that the paintings all related to one another. Without the book, the paintings and the ideas would be gone.”

All that said, this is not a get rich quick scheme unless you are a genius self-promoter.

A book is another way to take control of the messaging and presentation of your work.

Next time I’ll try to channel The Theory about why having a smart guy or gal write about your work is a good idea.

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Jaipur cover_bogHello, everyone, I’m not dead. I’ve been… well, that’s a long story for another post. Right now I want to tell you that The Theory and I have put together three new books about Oregon sculptor Lee Kelly. Who is, coincidentally, my father.

Observatory at Jaipur
Catalog accompanying Lee’s show in October 2015 at the Elizabeth Leach Gallery in Portland, Oregon. Full color, 86 pages. Get it here: Observatory at Jaipur

One through Nine_cover_blogLee Kelly: One through Nine
In 2013, Lee Kelly created a significant body of new work, a series of paintings entitled “One through Nine.” These nine paintings are oil on canvas, a medium the artist had largely abandoned in 1963. However, these new paintings do not represent a return to Kelly’s Abstract Expressionist past but emerged from his sculptural work of the last ten to 15 years. Full color, 68 pages. Get it here: Lee Kelly: One through Nine

A bog cover_blogBook of Gardens
A Book of Gardens was first published by Lee Kelly and Bonnie Bronson in 1987 as a study of garden designs from India, ancient Egypt and Japan. Hand-printed and illustrated by Lee Kelly, designed and spiral bound by Bonnie Bronson, this small book had a single release of fewer than fifty copies. This 2015 edition includes a facsimile reproduction of the original book and photographs from Lee’s sculptures as installed at his home in Oregon City. Get it here: A Book of Gardens

For the next week or so, I’ll send free pdfs to anyone interested in taking a look at the books. Leave me comment below and I’ll get back to you.

What’s next?
With these books in mind, I’m considering doing some posts about the process of putting together print-on-demand books for artists. In a world where exhibition catalogs can be expensive to produce, print-on-demand might be something for artists to consider. So more on that later. And hopefully another year doesn’t pass before I do these posts!

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I don’t know how to reblog a Facebook page, but I wanted to share images of new work by Oregon artist Laura Ross Paul. Here’s what she says on her FB page: “The technique is oil and wax over watercolors, all done on the new Arches Hulle paper, which has sizing embedded.”

New work by Laura Ross Paul

New work by Laura Ross Paul

New work by Laura Ross Paul

New work by Laura Ross Paul

Laura’s work demonstrates a balance between beauty, wonder and technical genius. When I see her paintings in person, I almost never notice the material at all–just the work. In fact, I just learned recently that she uses wax. That’s how bowled over I get about her paintings!

Check out Laura Ross Paul‘s work on her web site, or go find her on Facebook.

MinicoverEncaustic Materials Handbook update
The free promo week is over, guys. Now the price rockets to $7.99. I surely don’t want to stop folks from paying real money for my book–the royalty is equivalent to a mocha latte, which is heaven in this lovely summer weather. But there may be other promo weeks coming up. Amazon lets me do that occasionally. Sign up for email updates on the right and I’ll let you know.

But if you want me to have a mocha latte, go ahead and buy my book! Oh, almost forgot, anyone who hasn’t reviewed the book but still intends to (except for John who threatened to leave only two stars because his ancient, prehistoric Kindle doesn’t have color, and that’s somehow my fault) can still score a free review copy. Just let me know.

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Here’s a link to a show juried by Shawn Hill, critic, Art New England for the Seventh International Encaustic Conference. Have to admit I’m a little confused because I thought it was the fifth international conference this year. How time flies when you are a famous encaustic artist like these folks. The exhibition theme is “seven.” And gosh, wouldn’t that make a fine theme for a high school prom?

Here is an artist from the show I especially like, Leslie Ford:

Seven Seas by Leslie Ford. Encaustic, charcoal on wood. 24" x 24".

Leslie Ford. Seven Seas. Encaustic, charcoal on wood panel. 24″ x 24″.

Leslie Ford. Nothing Surprising. Oil, pigment stick and cold wax on panel, 24" x 12". Not in the exhibition but just look at all that cold wax!

Leslie Ford. Nothing Surprising. Oil, pigment stick and cold wax on panel, 24″ x 12″. Not in the exhibition but just look at all that cold wax!

Go to Leslie Ford’s site and see more beautiful paintings.

Despite the snotty remark (above) about a high school prom with the theme of seven–which brings to mind the dark David Fincher flick called Se7en and surely not a suitable theme for any kind of public event (oh I’m doing it again), this show looks amazing!

Why am I so touchy today? Because I am THIS close to having the infernal book done–Seven Ways to Feel Pain with Encaustic Materials. I’m sorry, I mean The Encaustic Materials Handbook. I’ll be breaking a bottle of champagne over my head sometime this week.

Me. See? I'm smiling.

Me. See? I’m smiling.

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I spent most of Sunday trolling Google and asking “how to make art ebook.” I got 50 billion answers like this “Learn to make art with this ebook.” Clearly I haven’t discovered the right terminology yet.

I then went to the online publisher Blurb, where The Theory has created some nice p.o.d. (“print on demand”) books about my father Lee Kelly and my stepmother Bonnie Bronson. Here’s a link to one he did for Lee Kelly’s 80th birthday.

Lee Kelly and Kaji Shakya in Patan, Nepal in 2009. Kaji is a bronze caster who cast a number of small sculptures for Lee. That's Lee on the right. Photo by John Failor.

Lee Kelly and Kaji Shakya in Patan, Nepal in 2009. Kaji is a bronze caster who cast a number of small sculptures for Lee. That’s Lee on the right. Photo by John Failor.

Blurb also does ebooks. This link takes you to their $9.99 ebook production feature. Be sure and watch their twee video—like I will EVER have audio and video embeds in an ebook.

The Theory took a number of photos for the The Encaustic Materials Handbook to illustrate wax medium and various paint types and tool. I want to use them in the book at a reasonably large scale, say 600 pixels wide. And Blurb would do a great job—a lot of artists, especially photographers, use this service.But I’m not sure I need everything that Blurb does, since I’m not doing a p.o.d. book.

Stumped for an answer, I went back to The Great Google and asked “how to make an ebook.” Clearly I’d given up hope since I dropped the word “art.” All I wanted was a clue. And that’s when I found a link to a free program called PressBooks.

PressBooks uses the WordPress engine. (For those of you who can’t tell by looking, The Hive Encaustic is a WordPress blog.) I was immediately intrigued. Here are a couple of advantages to using PressBooks:

  • It’s free;
  • Uses familiar WordPress format;
  • Outputs your book in pdf, mobi, EPUB formats, as well as a bunch of others I don’t care about (yet);
  • Creates a great clickable Table of Contents;
  • Handles footnotes and endnotes perfectly;
  • Accepts your Word text and preserves most styles;
  • Did I mention it’s free?

Unlike Blurb, it does not support a p.o.d. (print on demand) format although the developers are thinking about adding that to later versions.

Read more about PressBooks. And here are some review links I grabbed from a PressBooks newsletter:

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