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January 2008

January 2008 -- Dawn



  • Behind the Art:
    Practical Color Theory, Part 1
  • Myths and Symbols:
    Red, a King Dethroned
  • Healthy Green Artists:
    Green Resolutions
  • Artist Spotlight:
    The Whimsical work of Arthur Rackham, 1867-1939
  • EMG News:
    Dawn of a New Year
  • Wombat Droppings:
    Tackling New Media


  • Starting a Home Business for Artists
  • Starting With The GIMP, pt 1


  • Poem: City Fragments Resolved
  • Fiction: Understudy Dawn


  • Falheria: Dawn
  • Tomb of the King: Prologue

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  • Green Resolutions
    Healthy Green Artists
    by Janet Chui

    Happy new year! Here's hoping your hangover is mild and the new year is boring and uneventful (in the nicest and most well-meaning way) but that (of course) it is a highly productive one for us artists. That said, here's the cliche line that also comes up around this time: What's your new year's resolution?

    My history with resolutions has been that they have been remarkably open-ended. Never anything too specific, like losing 15 pounds, but closer to ones like "I'll procrastinate less" or "I'm going to try to finish everything I start." Success has been varied (but I suppose I don't really come down hard on myself about it). The latter resolution helped bring about a couple of years where none of my pencil sketches were allowed to remain just pencil sketches--I actually made sure they all became finished paintings by the close of that year. Alas, 2007 is not one of these years. (But then again, 2007's resolution was along the lines of "Do good, do better" which is as vague and open-ended as they come.)

    There have been things I've been elated and proud to notice on artists' websites the past year, so much so that I'm really happy to write about it; I've been running into more artist biographies and/or artist mission statements that talk about the helping the environment, using green energy, protecting endangered species, advocating peace, and alleviating poverty. The range of artists whose work I follow has been changing a little, but I don't believe this is the only reason--I do believe more and more people, artists included--perhaps artists especially--are paying attention to these important causes, and becoming vocal and active about them, and to me, this is very welcome and heartening to watch. As bleak or optimistic as your outlook for the world might be, there is a lot all of us can do to leave a positive mark with our work, and that thought alone should be cause for trying!

    What have some artists been doing that I've seen?

    • Painting images about and highlighting the plight of threatened and endangered species (polar bears being a favorite definitely threatened by climate change).
    • Using more recycled paper.
    • Using greener and safer art materials.
    • Hosting websites with web hosting services that use green energy.
    • Disposing more carefully hazardous artist materials.
    • Holding or contributing to art auctions for non-profit causes.
    • Volunteering design skills or art and graphics for non-profit causes.
    • If there is more that I've missed (and I'm positive there must be), I can only look forward to discovering these and talking about them in a future column!

    If, rightly, you dislike vague new year's resolutions, then consider some of the above things to do, or even try these really simple things:

    • Using more natural light to paint/create. (It's green, and good for the soul!)
    • Only sketching on scrap paper.
    • Only using paper with recycled content.
    • Stretching your artist materials (There are many ways to do this... stay tuned!)
    • Reading this column every month.

    But here's the biggest thing I would love to see from artists... and that's to continue learning about the causes and the ideals that you believe in, and how it affects your art and artmaking. It's an aspect of your creative ability that is as important as the results produced. But unlike images, there's no copyright infringement to worry about by sharing that! And you may find your artwork having a stronger impact for it.

    Happy new year to you and your loved ones!

    Janet Chui

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