Welcome to My Dark Whimsical World: Blog http://darkwhimsicalart.com/blog en-us (C) Welcome to My Dark Whimsical World photogooroo@yahoo.com (Welcome to My Dark Whimsical World) Fri, 09 Feb 2018 21:36:00 GMT Fri, 09 Feb 2018 21:36:00 GMT http://darkwhimsicalart.com/img/s/v-5/u781428332-o626241009-50.jpg Welcome to My Dark Whimsical World: Blog http://darkwhimsicalart.com/blog 62 120 Japan Trip: Akihabara Mister Donut, Coffee Coke, and Gachapon http://darkwhimsicalart.com/blog/2018/2/japan-trip-akihabara-mister-donut-coffee-coke-and-gachapon

Our first full day in Japan was October 18, 2017 Akihabara. Not much was open yet at 8am in the morning, which was surprising since Tokyo is a larger city than New York. We learned Tokyo is not a 24 hour city. There are places open 24 hours, but most places open at 10am and close by 10pm. Even the trains stop at midnight and don't start up again until 5am.

We went to Mister Donut for breakfast. I wanted the Halloween donuts but they were not out yet and we didn't make it back later during our trip. The donuts were good though. I'd eat them again. The drink I got, on the other hand, was different. It tasted like milk and had chocolate chunks as ice cubes. There wasn't a lot of flavor. It was drinkable but I probably won't order it again. We started walking around Akihabara looking for open places and came across the coffee coke everyone had been posting about. Sadly, we were never able to find that vending machine again and we never found coffee coke anywhere else. So we only got to try it once. It was good. It tasted like coke mostly with a coffee aftertaste. I would drink it again.

We came across KFC, which we never had time to eat at, and a lot of Gachapon machines, which I wish I would have bought more of. I was being conservative with my yen because I didn't know how long 200,000 yen (about $2000) would last over two weeks, but I ended up bringing a lot of yen home with me. Still have it. If I had known I would have bought more and decorated my Christmas tree with them. Next time we go to Japan, I plan to buy a lot more.

If you are planning a trip to Japan bring a lot of cash with you. They are a cash country and your credit cards will be mostly useless there. You can go to 7-11 and use your credit or debit card to get more yen. Seven-11 was the only place we went to that we could use or credit card. Not even Disney Sea would take our credit card.

photogooroo@yahoo.com (Welcome to My Dark Whimsical World) akihabara artist coffee coke donut gachapon inspiration japan mister planning travel trip vacation http://darkwhimsicalart.com/blog/2018/2/japan-trip-akihabara-mister-donut-coffee-coke-and-gachapon Fri, 09 Feb 2018 21:36:25 GMT
Writing More: One of My Other New Year's Resolutions http://darkwhimsicalart.com/blog/2018/2/writing-more-one-of-my-other-new-years-resolutions 20160924_11090220160924_110902 I haven't worked on my writing projects in a long time. Going back to working outside the home 40 hours a week has sapped me of most of my energy. I wish I could quit my job, but I can't. Bills keep coming, food keeps running out. So that's why I added writing to my list of 2018 resolutions.


I have a complete novel written and it is sitting on my hard drive waiting to be edited. I have two short stories waiting to be finished, and a never ending supply of story and novel ideas. I just can't make myself sit in front of the computer and write. 


So for 2018 I have committed to writing once a week, not including blog posts, even if it is for only 5 minutes. Something is better than nothing. I'm hoping it will help light my spark, wake up my muse, get me interested again. Not that I'm not interested. I think about writing all the time and come up with new ideas constantly. I just don't want to sit in that computer room for some reason.


My guess, it is because I spent 20 years working in there while I was a wedding photographer. I know, an easy solution, move my computer or get a small one I can move around. I've tried that and it sort of worked. My device is too old now. I need to update but I don't have the money for it. My job pays very little. I would say they are ripping me off, which is why getting a new job is number 1 on the resolution list. 


I plan to update everyone on my progress here or on Facebook, most likely here. I may post one of the short stories when it is finished. If you have any ideas on staying motivated please post them. Maybe they will help me and other writers. Here are some stories I did finish that you can check out if you are interested.


photogooroo@yahoo.com (Welcome to My Dark Whimsical World) block motivation procrastination writer writer's writing http://darkwhimsicalart.com/blog/2018/2/writing-more-one-of-my-other-new-years-resolutions Sat, 03 Feb 2018 20:57:37 GMT
Japan Airlines Flight Economy Class: Boston to Japan and What Happened After We Landed http://darkwhimsicalart.com/blog/2018/1/japan-airlines-flight-economy-class-boston-to-japan-and-what-happened-after-we-landed  

The flight was 14 hours to Japan, nonstop from Boston.  We got two meals and both were good considering it was airplane food. I apologize,  I'm talking really low in the video . Hopefully you can hear me. The plane was mostly Japanese people and they tend to not talk on public transport so I was trying not to be annoying on the flight. There were plenty of movies to watch. I watched Godzilla. I also read a manga, Tokyo Ghoul, which I liked. It was really warm on the plane. I don't know if that is normal, but you may want to dress light. It was very uncomfortable and I couldn't sleep because of how warm it was on the plane. It was around 80 degrees. I loved the windows. You can adjust their tent from normal window to so black you can't see out. This was nice since it was day the entire flight. There is a time lapse of the window changing in the video.


20171017_15385020171017_153850 After landing we didn't film or take any pictures. The time was 4pm in Japan when we landed and we had traveled with no sleep for over 30 hours. Our brains were not in a good place. We figured out emigration. There were plenty of signs in English to direct you the right way and the process was pretty easy. After that we were left on our own in the airport.


The first thing we did, of course, was buy something strange from a vending machine. I don't remember what we bought. My husband picked it and I don't think I liked it. We then had to figure out what terminal we were in, I believe it was 2, where I think all international flights land. We bought tickets for the Limousine Bus which cost $32 each and dropped us off just outside Tokyo station. This is when sleep deprivation caused me to loose my mind.


It was around 5pm, the time you want to avoid the train stations because it is Tokyo rush hour. Salary men and women filled the station as we entered the main section. I looked around at the madness and realized I had no idea how to figure out where and what train to ride to get to Akihabara where our hotel was located. We learned from YouTube videos that the best thing to do is use google maps because the giant train maps on the wall are really hard to understand, even in English. I pop into Google maps and put in Tokyo station to Akihabara station. What came up didn't make since. I would later learn it was giving me 3 different choices and I needed to click further to get the information I needed to find our train. The lack of sleep was making my brain not work. So we ended up giving up on the train idea and went back outside where I had noticed a lot of taxis.


The taxi area was very organized, not like New York where you have to flag them down. There was an area where taxis came in and dropped people off and another area where you wait in line for the next taxi to drive up. We weren't sure if the taxi driver would speak English and my Japanese was very beginner so I started digging in the bags looking for the address to the hotel I had printed out in Japanese. Someone yelled, "Nani ga something something Something," An annoyed looking, very short salary woman stood behind us. We were blocking the way to the taxi line. We said," sumimasen," a few times and moved out of her way. People always talk about how polite people are in Japan so she was a bit shocking to us, but her behavior was understandable. She just wanted to get home and we were blocking the way. She was the only person in all of Tokyo that was even a little rude. Which makes me glad. You can't be nice all of the time. You'll go mad.


Our taxi driver was very nice. The doors on the taxi didn't open and close automatically, so I guess that isn't all Taxis in Tokyo. We were warned not to try and open the door because it would open and close on its own. The ride from Tokyo station to our hotel in Akihabara took a little more than five minutes and cost about $16. At this point I became a bit worried. What if we couldn't figure out the trains and had to take a taxi everywhere. It would get pretty expensive to take taxis everywhere.


We checked in our hotel and had no problems checking in. The staff spoke English. We made our reservation through Expedia because I couldn't read their direct website, too much kanji. I'll do a separate blog about the hotel and the room. We have a lot of footage of both.


20171018_06225920171018_062259 We unloaded all our stuff and decided to check out the 7-11 that was close to the hotel. I didn't get anything because I was too tired to deal with the language barrier at that time. My extreme sleepiness was making me feel abnormally intimidated by everything. I was really, really out of it. My husband bought stuff. I think I have a picture of what he bought.


We then went to Coco Curry which was a place I had been looking forward to, but again so tired. The menu wasn't in English which normally would be fine. Why would it be in English, we are in Japan! But my brain was shutting down and I started to feel panicked like, "What were we thinking coming to a foreign country?" type thoughts. I managed to order level 5 curry which was much hotter than I thought it would be. We had heard that it was hard to find really spicy foods in Japan. They were wrong. I couldn't eat it all even though it was really good. I wish we had time to go again, during a time my mind was fully functional. 20171017_19133520171017_191335


After eating we returned to the hotel room, watched a little Japanese TV, and then at about 7pm we crashed and slept for about 10 hours. Thank goodness I woke up feeling much clearer and ready to take on Akihabara. Traveling half way around the world is a bitch but 100% worth it.


None of this got documented which makes me sad.

photogooroo@yahoo.com (Welcome to My Dark Whimsical World) airlines airport akihabara class coco curry economy flight international japan narita tokyo travel trip vacation http://darkwhimsicalart.com/blog/2018/1/japan-airlines-flight-economy-class-boston-to-japan-and-what-happened-after-we-landed Tue, 23 Jan 2018 23:18:52 GMT
Losing Weight: One of My Twelve 2018 New Year's Resolutions Detailed Out For Me and You http://darkwhimsicalart.com/blog/2018/1/losing-weight-one-of-my-twelve-2018-new-years-resolutions-detailed-out-for-me-and-you 20160530_17280820160530_172808 As an artist, I believe it is important to be happy in your surroundings and happy with yourself or you won't feel like producing art.


So one of my goals, New Year's resolutions, for 2018 is to get my weight back to 120lb so my clothes will fit again. There is nothing I hate more than spending money on clothes. I'd rather be spending that money on trips to Japan or Australia, things that inspire my art. In my early 30s I gained weight. I weighed about 140lb. I used the plan below to get my weight back to 115lb by loosing about two pounds a week, which is a safe amount to loose.  Now I'm 43 and my weight is back up again so it is time to get back on Roxanne's weight lose plan. So here's the plan. If you are trying to loose weight too maybe it will work for you too.


1. Limit calories to 1500 calories per day


I can eat anything I want, the calorie count just can't go over 1500. You have to be really strict about measuring everything including condiments that your adding like ketchup. So it is work, but it does get easier as you start to memorize amounts after a while.  


2. Exercise a minimum of 3 times a week for 30 minutes


I put on Denise Austin videos from YouTube. They are free and I can do it at home. I start at 3 days a week and increase to every day as my body gets stronger.


3. No eating 21/2 hours before bedtime


Yes, at first you might feel like you want to eat before you go to bed, but soon, in about a week, your body will be trained to burn the stored calories while you sleep. You'll need to establish a bedtime and be strict about it.


4. Drink lots of water


You can drink water any time you want and as much as you want. If you get hungry during that 21/2 hours before bedtime, drink some water. 


5. Only check the scale once a week


Your weight will go up and down and you don't need to see that every day. At most, only check once a week. If you can check less, great! You only need to see the big changes or you will get discouraged. 



I'll blog more and make videos of my progress. I need to take a before shot and post it. I'll do that when I'm not sick any more. 

photogooroo@yahoo.com (Welcome to My Dark Whimsical World) 2018 diet lose resolution weight http://darkwhimsicalart.com/blog/2018/1/losing-weight-one-of-my-twelve-2018-new-years-resolutions-detailed-out-for-me-and-you Mon, 15 Jan 2018 21:32:44 GMT
I Don't Normally Do New Year's Resolutions http://darkwhimsicalart.com/blog/2018/1/i-dont-normally-do-new-year-s-resolutions 20160125_17555220160125_175552 Like the title says, I don't like making resolutions, but this year I'm making an exception.

I feel like the last two years I haven't accomplished anything. That time period just happens to coincide with me changing back to working full time outside of the home again. Yes, my full time job sucks the life out of me and it needs to go.

I'm making several goals for myself and each one I conquer, my audience is going to benefit. I haven't worked out what the prizes will be yet. I'm working everything out as I write the posts. I do know that if you want to receive any of the prizes, you'll need to comment on my blog posts and YouTube posts. The more you post the higher your chance of winning. I may use rafflecopter. I liked that program when I was reviewing books more. I hope they are still around. If you have any ideas for prizes write them in the comments. Realistic ones please! I'm not taking any requests for a million dollars.

So here are my goals for 2018...

1. Get a new job

2. Get 100 Subscibers on YouTube

3. Get 10,000 views on YouTube

3. Put out at least two new videos a month

4. Lose 15 pounds to get back to 120LB

5. Create one new piece of art a month

6. Create one jewelry piece a month

7. Finish two short stories I started

8. Finish editing my novel

9. Finish creating my coloring book 

10. Start reviewing books again

11. Finish book 2 of Japanese From Zero

12. Make a video all in Japanese

13. Write a blog post all in Japanese

One goal I recently accomplished!

One of my YouTube videos made it to 100 views! That may not seem like much but it is a start. My videos are not that great. I'm terrible in front of the camera, but I am determined to conquer my awkward mess of a self and turn myself into something that might actually entertain a small niche market. If you love Halloween like I do you might like my first 100 views video at Busch Gardens.


I'll have more posts coming up detailing out each of my resolutions and how I plan to accomplish them.

photogooroo@yahoo.com (Welcome to My Dark Whimsical World) 2018 new new year's resolution ideas new year's resolutions resolutions year's http://darkwhimsicalart.com/blog/2018/1/i-dont-normally-do-new-year-s-resolutions Sun, 14 Jan 2018 00:23:03 GMT
Jetblue Flight to Boston on Our Way to Japan: or what I've been up to lately http://darkwhimsicalart.com/blog/2017/12/jetblue-flight-to-boston-on-our-way-to-japan-or-what-ive-been-up-to-lately 20160227_18211820160227_182118 Wow. I've done a terrible job of keeping up with this blog. I'm going to try harder though. I do have a good excuse. I've been working full time and going to college full time. Then I went to Japan for two weeks. And that's what this post is about, Japan, and many more posts to come. I enjoyed all the wonderful YouTuber videos about Japan and am so thankful to them. They gave my husband and I the courage to go to a foreign country he and I have wanted to go to for years; like 20 years, maybe more. I don't know if we would have ever gone if it weren't for the wonderful information people living in Japan were kind enough to share for free with the whole world. Now I want to do the same. My videos probably won't be has well put together but at least I'm willing to put myself out there and try. I hope someone finds the information useful and I hope I inspire someone to follow their dream and go to Japan. Here are a lot of the YouTubers I'd like to thank. 

Sharmander    Mimei Land   Only in Japan   Rachel and Jun

Taylor   Tokyo Lens   Abroad in Japan   Texan in Tokyo

There are so many more and I'll add them to other posts and videos as I go along.


Here is my first Japan video. Please don't make fun of it too much. I know it's not professional, but hopefully I'll get better over time because we do plan to visit Japan again. Something went wrong with the audio. I hope I can get it fixed. I hope you enjoy!


We had a piggy back flight. We flew Jetblue to Boston to catch our Japan Air flight. The only bad thing about that was we could not pick our seats on Jetblue without calling them or check in online. We had to check in at the airport. At least the airport, BWI, wasn't that busy. We were able to each take two suitcases a carry on and a personal item on both flights. Too bad I over packed. I would have liked to have bought more stuff.

photogooroo@yahoo.com (Welcome to My Dark Whimsical World) japan jetblue planning vacation http://darkwhimsicalart.com/blog/2017/12/jetblue-flight-to-boston-on-our-way-to-japan-or-what-ive-been-up-to-lately Sat, 23 Dec 2017 19:07:40 GMT
I'm Just Going to Write and Think of a Title Later #amwriting #darkart #adultcoloringbook http://darkwhimsicalart.com/blog/2016/5/im-just-going-to-write-and-think-of-a-title-later-amwriting-darkart-adultcoloringbook The Writer That Doesn't Write

Yup, that's me. I haven't written anything real in years now. I don't know what happened. The desire to write just went away. I guess I'm too absorbed in art right now. I do have something exciting happening on October 1st, but I'm not sure if I'm allowed to talk about it yet so I won't. You'll just have to wait. I like how many times I just used the word just. If I was editing your work I'd be yelling at you for that. But it's the way I talk, so in my blog posts you'll just have to deal with it. Ha ha.

Adult Coloring Book News

I have been thinking about working on my novel Believe again, but I must finish my adult coloring book first. I have fifteen pages done. I'm making great progress. The more I work on it the better I think it is getting.  I could be fooling myself but I guess I'll find out soon when I get everything finished. Here are the pages so far. Tell me in the comments what you think. Would you want to color these? What else do you think I should draw. It is hard to come up with ideas. I may not be the best illustrator but I don't care. I'm going to finish this and put it out no matter how bad it might be. I love it and I enjoy doing it. Drawing makes the time at work go by so much faster. 

Page 1 peacockPage 1 peacock Page 2 Saturn's MoonPage 2 Saturn's Moon Page 5 Lost TeddyPage 5 Lost Teddy Page 4 MushroomsPage 4 Mushrooms Page 3 Skull ChaosPage 3 Skull Chaos Page 6 April Shows Eyeball FlowersPage 6 April Shows Eyeball Flowers Page 7 Eyeball TreePage 7 Eyeball Tree Page 8 PhoenixPage 8 Phoenix Page 9 Pumpkin HousePage 9 Pumpkin House Page 11 What's in the BoxPage 11 What's in the Box Page 10 Rose on leavesPage 10 Rose on leaves Page 12 Chinese DragonPage 12 Chinese Dragon Page 13 Scary ToysPage 13 Scary Toys Page 14 Hungry CrowPage 14 Hungry Crow Page 15 Death Head Moths on FlowersPage 15 Death Head Moths on Flowers

photogooroo@yahoo.com (Welcome to My Dark Whimsical World) adult art believe book coloring creative dark ilustration novel whimsical writing http://darkwhimsicalart.com/blog/2016/5/im-just-going-to-write-and-think-of-a-title-later-amwriting-darkart-adultcoloringbook Tue, 24 May 2016 14:20:47 GMT
I'm Back and I'm Working on a Dark Whimsical Adult Coloring Book #adultcoloringbook http://darkwhimsicalart.com/blog/2016/4/im-back-and-i-m-working-on-a-dark-whimsical-adult-coloring-book-adultcoloringbook So I have neglected my blog for far too long. I've been making a huge life change from being a wedding photographer to being a fine arts photographer and artist. So I had to get a full time job because bills won't wait for my art to start selling. I'm working a few days a week at a Hotel and a few days a week at an art retail store and that is sucking up a lot of my time. 

So enough with the boring stuff. While I'm waiting for "inspiration" I decided to challenge my son to an art contest. He is very talented and has a lot of time on his hands and it just eats my insides watching him waste it playing video games and sleeping all day. I don't know what's wrong with these millennials. So to get a fire under his butt I said that I bet I could create a 48 page adult coloring book before he could, even while working forty hours a week.  

So far I have two pages completed and eight penciled out. I tried drawing directly in photoshop with a wacom bamboo and I hate it. So I am drawing with pencil, inking it in, and then scanning it. Then I add extra stuff in photoshop. Hopefully I get used to the wacom at some point and can start skipping a few steps. But here are the first two finished pages. Drum roll please!

Page 2 Saturn's MoonPage 2 Saturn's Moon Page 1 peacockPage 1 peacock

I know I'm not the worlds best illustrator and there are artists far better than me. But guess what. I don't care. I know somewhere out there someone will like my work. So person, whoever you are, this is for you my friend and no one else.

So where  am I learning to do this awesome stuff you ask. A lot of it learned FROM WATCHING YOU. Sorry, bad joke. Actually, there are two main sources so far. 

One: Is a website called Control Paint. A resource of free and paid videos on how to draw and paint in photoshop. These videos are awesome and I'm slowly working my way through all of them. This guy does not pay me. I just really love his videos.

Two: A book on drawing called How to Draw Cool Stuff. You can get this book for free on Kindle. Or you can buy a physical copy. This is an affiliate link so I do get a small amount of money if you click and buy which helps pay the $250 I owe for this site each year.

It's time for me to get back to work inking. I've got to stay ahead of the child. Mom's got to prove her point!


photogooroo@yahoo.com (Welcome to My Dark Whimsical World) adult coloring book artist artwork drawing illustration http://darkwhimsicalart.com/blog/2016/4/im-back-and-i-m-working-on-a-dark-whimsical-adult-coloring-book-adultcoloringbook Sun, 03 Apr 2016 18:23:37 GMT
The Poor Art Collector’s Guide to Buying Art #art #artinfo http://darkwhimsicalart.com/blog/2015/10/the-poor-art-collector-s-guide-to-buying-art-art-artinfo Do you have a desire to fill your home with beautiful original artwork but you don’t have much money? Are mass-produced low quality Chinese made “wall art” not good enough for you? Maybe you’ve gone to the big galleries in New York and have fallen in love with a piece of art only to fall to the floor when you saw the price. After that experience it might seem impossible, but you can own original art and it only cost between $100 to $500 per piece, maybe even less in some cases. You just need to know where to look.

1. Look for new emerging artists. Because they don’t have a reputation yet, new artists tend to sell their work at very reasonable prices. Look locally first. You would be surprised at the talent in your own back yard. You never know. The artist down the street may end up being the next Salvador Dali. There are artists like Lauren Hoffman, a mixed media artist, not yet discovered but who’s work is worth checking out.

2. Buy from galleries that specialize in new artists. Galleries in small towns tend to represent local and new artists so don’t go to the big city looking for art deals. You won’t find them. You can try places like The Fine Arts Company located in Hagerstown MD.

3. Don’t worry whether the piece will be worth anything. Buy it because you love it. Everyone hopes to discover a long-lost Picasso in their attic, but the chances are that isn’t going to happen. The chances are the same that the painting you just bought from a new artist will be worth millions some day. So don’t worry about its possible worth. Buy pieces for your collection because they move you in some way.

4. Buy signed and numbered prints instead of originals. Original art may have more value in the long run, but will cost a lot more. Many artists will offer limited edition prints of the original and will embellish the print in some way adding to the value of the print. The smaller the edition number the better, but that will also raise the price.

11108832_399643493553107_5104205788158554267_n5. Go to the openings of new artists. Sometimes they have great deals on their work. The hardest part of an artist opening is getting people in the door. Many artists will offer deals on their work to encourage people to come. Sometimes they will even give away free prints to a select few.

6. Try flea markets, community yard sales, and local craft shows. Many beginning artists start out at these venues because they are plentiful and inexpensive to participate in. They are also close to home so there are no travel expenses for the artist. You can find some amazing work at these events at very reasonable prices.

7. Check into your local art groups. There might be some great artists out there too shy to make the leap to selling their art in a professional atmosphere. Join some local art groups and you may find them and be able to acquire their work at phenomenal prices.

8. Buy pieces you like from etsy, ebay, and other websites that sell art. There is a lot of competition on these websites. New artists have to price competitively to survive or their work won’t get noticed. You may find some great deals.

9. Local coffee houses and book stores sometimes sell the art of local artists. These types of establishments often don’t charge to display at in their stores and sometimes don’t even take a cut if a piece sales. This makes them popular places for new artists to approach. So get a cup of joe and see what art you can find for a good price.

10. While on vacation check out the local shopping instead of the big chain stores. Local tourist places love to sell local crafts and art, especially if it is related to the destination in some way. So you may find many undiscovered artists in these local shops at prices you can afford.


photogooroo@yahoo.com (Welcome to My Dark Whimsical World) Art Buying Collector's Guide Poor The to http://darkwhimsicalart.com/blog/2015/10/the-poor-art-collector-s-guide-to-buying-art-art-artinfo Tue, 24 Nov 2015 05:30:00 GMT
Bring Back MYSTERY SCIENCE THEATER 3000 #BringBackMST3K http://darkwhimsicalart.com/blog/2015/11/bring-back-mystery-science-theater-3000-bringbackmst3k Help Bring Back MST3K one of the most beloved cult television series ever, for a new season of up to 12 feature-length episodes! I love this show and still watch it today and want to see it come back! This has to happen. Click the link and help it happen. 


If you've never seen it check out this link to Werewolf one of my favorite episodes

photogooroo@yahoo.com (Welcome to My Dark Whimsical World) #BringBackMST3K 3000 Back Bring MYSTERY SCIENCE THEATER http://darkwhimsicalart.com/blog/2015/11/bring-back-mystery-science-theater-3000-bringbackmst3k Thu, 12 Nov 2015 14:28:02 GMT
Fourteen Dos and Don’ts When Approaching An Art Gallery to Sell Your Work #artinfo http://darkwhimsicalart.com/blog/2015/10/fourteen-dos-and-don-ts-when-approaching-an-art-gallery-to-sell-your-work-artinfo Want to see your artwork hanging in galleries? What artist wouldn’t. But there is a right way and a wrong way to approach gallery owners and curators. If you approach them the wrong way it won’t matter how good your art is. They won’t want to represent you.  To get you on the right track here’s a list of 7 dos and 7 don’ts when trying to  get your art on the walls of galleries.

1. Don’t look for galleries to represent your work before you’ve sold any on your own. The gallery will want to know where your work as shown before, how much you have sold, and if you have won any awards. If haven’t sold any of your work yet then you are jumping ahead. Do some art fairs. Small local ones count. Keep a list of everything you sell.


2. Do get out there and sell at craft shows, yard sales, juried art shows, any where you can to prove your work is sellable to a gallery. Don’t forget online, too, at places like Etsy, ebay, Art America, or Amazon.  Keep a list of everything you sell and where your work has been displayed. If your work wins any awards record that as well. Think of this information as your resume. To the gallery it will be proof your work is sellable.

3. Don’t assume that all galleries sell every type of art. They don’t. Some specialize in photography, some in paintings only. It will do you no good and waste the time of the gallery if you do black and white photography and the gallery specializes in oil paintings. Do your homework. Only submit to galleries that are appropriate.

4. Do research galleries and visit them to see what type of art they represent before contacting them. Visit their webpage if they are too far away to visit in person.  See if they have any calls for artists or specific times of the year they review portfolios. Find out how they prefer to be approached and how they want your work to be presented.

5. Don’t show up at the art gallery with all of your work without an appointment. Gallery owners and curators are busy and normally have specific times they meet artists. Nothing frustrates a gallery owner more than an artist who shows up with all their work demanding to be seen. Don’t be this type of artist.

6. Do research the galleries that represent the type of work you do to find out how and when they like to be contacted by new artists. On most gallery websites you will find information on how to be considered for the gallery.  At The Fine Arts Company where I work we have a form for the artists to fill out before coming in. Here’s a link to our form: Call For Artists

7. Don’t call, email, or visit a gallery (unless your shopping) that you have submitted to asking whether they are interested or not. Again, gallery owners and curators are busy people. They don’t have time to respond back to every artist inquiry, only the ones they are interested in.

8. Do wait for the gallery to contact you, and if they don’t, assume they are not interested. Yes, if they don’t contact you back they are not interested in your work. It doesn’t mean your work is bad. It means your work may not fit the gallery or they may already have a similar artist and don’t want more work that looks the same.

9. Don’t make it hard for a gallery to find you and see your work. Most galleries to save time want to be able to view your work online. They don’t have time to meet every artist in person . They will be more likely to consider you if you have a presence online. Galleries sometimes search the internet looking for new talent. They won’t find you if you aren’t on the web.

10. Do have a strong presence on the internet and do juried shows, and craft fairs to show that your work can sell. There are so many free places you can display your work online. There is no excuse for not having a web presence. If you don’t understand computers and don’t want to take the time to learn then hire someone to create a web presence for you. Ask your kids, nieces, or nephews. Chances are someone in your family can help you out.

11. Don’t show up with your work still wet or not ready to hang. This will make you look very unprofessional. The gallery doesn’t have time to get your work ready for display for you. You need to do your homework ahead of time and only bring work that is completed. An oil painting needs six months to dry so you’re going to have to wait.

12. Do check the galleries website, or email and ask, for mounting and framing requirements to hang your work. Some galleries will require all pieces to have wire for hanging. Some will require sawtooth. Some may only take pieces on canvas, no frames. It’s your job to find out ahead of time and have your work ready when asked to bring it in. We like all of our work to be matted and framed with wire on the back for hanging unless your work is on canvas. The canvas will still need hanging wire on the back.

13. Don’t leave your work with any gallery without a contract. What happens if your work disappears? What if it sells? How much do you get? Who knows without a contract. It doesn’t matter what the gallery verbally told you. You need it in writing.

14. Do bring your own contract or read over the galleries and make sure everything is written down that is agreed upon. The contract should have everyone’s contact info, what works you are leaving, what their prices are, what percentage of the sale the gallery will be keeping, when will you get paid for each sale, what happens if a piece is damaged or stolen. You get the picture. Spell out everything so there is no difficulty between you and the gallery.

Follow these tips and you’ll look like a pro and have no trouble getting your work into galleries.

photogooroo@yahoo.com (Welcome to My Dark Whimsical World) http://darkwhimsicalart.com/blog/2015/10/fourteen-dos-and-don-ts-when-approaching-an-art-gallery-to-sell-your-work-artinfo Tue, 10 Nov 2015 05:15:00 GMT
Artist Interview: Sumner Crenshaw Deliciously Dark Painter #artistinterview #artinfo http://darkwhimsicalart.com/blog/2015/10/artist-interview-sumner-crenshaw-deliciously-dark-painter-artistinterview-artinfo Welcome Sumner Crenshaw to my blog. She has shown her work  at The Fine Arts Company and many other galleries. You don’t want to miss her tortured but beautiful oil and acrylic paintings. I did this interview with her for The Fine Arts Company and wanted to share it with all of you.

“Often characterized as disturbing, the images I create are at first shocking. But at a second glance, they reveal brokenhearted beings just trying to work through the situation they’re in. I don’t consider my work to be an assertion of hopelessness. Rather, it is an assertion of tension, depicting another side of life that, while often sorrow-filled, is nonetheless a part of the human experience; a dark realm that, if one can find their way out, leads to better things. The figures in my images just haven’t quite found their way out yet.”

Sumner Crenshaw

What made you decide to become an artist?

I suppose it wasn’t really a decision on my part. Ever since I was little, I was always drawn to art and I would always say “I’m going to be an artist when I grow up!”, so it’s honestly never occurred to me to be anything else. I’ve never considered the idea that art wouldn’t be a part of my life

What medium do you paint in and why do you like that medium?

I’m trained in over a dozen different mediums, but I primarily work in oils. I find that oils lend a richness and depth to the image, and they also lend themselves well to experimentation because of their extended oxidizing time.

Your work depicts dark beings trapped in conflicts and tension. It is deliciously dark. What made you gravitate in this direction?

Haha, “deliciously dark”; I like it! I think two things made me gravitate towards images that most would deem dark: first, at a young age I was exposed to the work of the Surrealists, particularly Dali, and so I think that informed my aesthetic early on; imagery that was twisted and exaggerated was planted in my lexicon quite early. I suppose that if I’d looked at books of Monet’s images, not Dali’s, when I was little my work might have gone a different direction. Secondly, I think my work presents as dark because I am inherently interested in depicting not just different worlds, but the inner worlds of conflict and turmoil that we all have.  To me, though, I don’t view it as a depiction of something negative or hopeless, but as an expression of tension; a tension that we all feel. We all have anxieties, struggles and inner conflicts- hopes, doubts and regrets- and I’m interested in portraying these in narrative form- opposing feelings are depicted as characters trapped in a scene of conflict.  For me, by presenting these struggles as images, it’s a way to work through them.  It’s all about exploring the idea of wanting to be more than what you are, but being uncertain of how to make it happen.

Is your personal view of the world as dark as the images you create?

Gentle Persuasion

Haha, I don’t think so. I get compared to Phoebe from Friends quite a lot, so I think most people who know me would not characterize me as a dark person. However, I am a restless person, someone who always wants to be growing but constantly feels like I’m not growing fast enough, and I think that restlessness-that tension- informs my world view and my work.

Does your work have any hidden objects or meaning in them?

I imbue hands with a lot of meaning. For me, my hands are my life- the things that allow me to create-so quite often in my work a characters hands are depicted as tortured or tired; I use them to symbolize artistic and creative struggles. I also will twist portions of characters bodies’ to illustrate their struggles- maybe their eyes are turned inward, to show their lack of insight, or maybe their feet are stuck together, to show their frustration with their own lack of growth.

Do you find it harder to sell work that is so dark in nature?

It can be a little more challenging, as most people shopping for art to decorate their house understandably don’t want a cranky surrealist painting on their walls. However, I do think there is still an audience for that type of work, it’s just more of a niche market, so to speak. I’m lucky, though, in that I like to work in a variety of styles, so usually I can offer something that appeals to collectors.

What was the best advice a mentor ever gave you?

I guess this isn’t technically advice, but when I was working on my undergrad degree one of my professors said “You’re work isn’t so much about color or tone as much as it is about the structure of what it is you’re painting”. I found that observation extremely empowering because it gave me a verbalization of where my work was heading. It’s funny, I feel like as artists we always have an inherent, subconscious journey in our work- we are all striving towards an exploration of something- but quite often even we don’t necessarily know what that journey is or what our goal is. By making that statement, that professor gave me an idea of what I was really exploring, without me even knowing it. And he was right: I have always been all about form and how far I can exaggerate or deconstruct it. His insight was invaluable as it gave me a sense of myself as an artist.

What was the worst advice you ever received from a mentor, fellow artist, or viewer of your work?

I’m actually pretty lucky in that I don’t think I’ve ever received any bad advice!

Two Nudes

When creating your work, do you have a process that you go through?

My process is actually embarrassingly simple! My ideas are actually quite often born from a statement; for instance, I might say to myself “Ugh, I just don’t feel creative today! I feel like my creativity decided to take a vacation!” And there it is! The muse deciding to leave the mind of the artist, that can be a compelling image. After I’ve toyed with an idea, I usually do a sketch, sometimes a few, to nail the composition and jot down a few phrases that illustrate the theme, then I outline it on the canvas, then I paint it. For my more abstract works I rarely even bother with a sketch. From there, I do spend a lot of time just living with the work, taking many chances to just view it while it’s in progress, letting it seep into my mind to see what areas make sense and which need work.  And then, once every area of the canvas is covered, I’m done. Once in graduate school a professor said that one’s process should consist of sketches, quick studies, detailed sketches of light patterns, detailed underpaintings, covering the canvas layer by layer, section by section, and then making a checklist to ensure each area of the image was analyzed for composition, focal point, etc. Truth be told, I thought it was malarkey! Painting is like dancing, the canvas being your partner; you push and pull and move the image until it makes sense. It’s intuitive. There is no need for a drawn out process.

What projects are you working on now or have coming up in the future?


I’m working on reopening my Etsy shop, with a focus on selling prints of my original pieces, and I’ve also got 4 exhibits in the works that’ll keep me busy through June of next year!

Juried Exhibitions:

  • 2010- Self: Group exhibition at the Croft Art Gallery, Waco, TX
  • 2009- Awesome Doesn’t Pay the Rent: Group exhibition at The Soundry Gallery, Vienna, VA
  • 2009- February 2009 Exhibition at House of Scratch, online art gallery.
  • 2008- Dreams and Visions: Group exhibition at Union Street Gallery, Chicago Heights, IL
  • 2006- Nancie Mattice Award exhibition at Dangenart Gallery, Nashville, TN
  • 2005- Chelsea Global Showcase 2005 exhibition at Amsterdam Whitney Gallery, New York, NY

Group Exhibitions:

  • 2008- Summer Art and Music Festival, Ico Art and Music Gallery, New York, NY
  • 2008- Atlas!: Group show at Ico Art and Music Gallery, New York, NY
  • 2007- Works included in Slide Slam and donated for Real Party 2007 at Real Art Ways, Hartford, CT
  • 2006- Group exhibition at the Gallery on Seymour Lane, Newport, VT
  • 2006- Group exhibition at Silo Elevated Cuisine, San Antonio, TX
  • 2005- Group exhibition at The Well Gallery, Jeffersonville, VT
  • 2005- Seeing Red: Group exhibition at Catamount Film and Arts Center, St. Johnsbury, VT
  • 2005- Retro: Group exhibition at Catamount Film and Arts Center, St. Johnsbury, VT
  • 2005- Participated in For Art’s Sake, an annual art fair held in Stowe, VT
  • 2004- Dreams: Group exhibition at Catamount Film and Arts Center, St. Johnsbury, VT
photogooroo@yahoo.com (Welcome to My Dark Whimsical World) #artinfo #artistinterview Art Artist Dark Deliciously Fine Interview: Painter Sumner Crenshaw http://darkwhimsicalart.com/blog/2015/10/artist-interview-sumner-crenshaw-deliciously-dark-painter-artistinterview-artinfo Tue, 03 Nov 2015 05:15:00 GMT
Artist Interview: Painter Eric Carter #artistinterview #artinfo http://darkwhimsicalart.com/blog/2015/10/artist-interview-painter-eric-carter-artistinterview-artinfo Please welcome Eric Carter to my blog. I did an interview with him for The Fine Arts Company and thought I'd share it here.

Eric Carter is a self-taught award-winning artist who experiments with many different styles, including Wildlife, Landscapes and Abstracts. His desire to paint Still life’s eventually became the focus of his work. He chooses to paint those objects he sees around him. Simple, everyday objects that he finds beautiful and are often overlooked. Landscapes are inspired by the pleasant aspects of the countryside scenes to be found around his western Maryland home.

When did you decide you wanted to become a painter?

There wasn’t a moment that I decided, I just enjoyed painting and was determined to teach myself the art of moving paint around on canvas.

Was anyone else in your family a painter? What was that like?

My younger brother is a Graphic Designer…but I’m the only one who paints.

Did your parents  and friends encourage you to pursue your dreams or were they the “get a real job” type?

Received a lot of encouragement from friends.

How did you learn to paint so well?

It’s true what they say….Practice, Practice, Practice. I devoted time every day to paint something. You have to put that time in, in order to get better.


Can you recall the first piece of art you sold? What was that like?

Well my first craft show was in Martinsburg, WV about 12 years ago and only a few people showed up and I didn’t sell anything. Then a week later I get a call form a guy in Ohio, who pick up my card at the event and wanted to purchase 10 paintings. I was so excited, could not believe it. So that goes to show you that you never know.


Can you tell us a bit about your approach to colors?

I try to inject it into the painting in a way that excites

Do you teach art?

I have done some workshops.

Have you ever had a painter’s “block”? If yes, how did you resolve it?

Yes all the time. You have to wait for the inspiration to show up… and when it does…go for it!

How do you divide your time between doing business and actually painting?

The only time I paint is between 6pm to 9pm that works well for me



photogooroo@yahoo.com (Welcome to My Dark Whimsical World) Artist Eric Carter Interview: Painter art artist info interview http://darkwhimsicalart.com/blog/2015/10/artist-interview-painter-eric-carter-artistinterview-artinfo Tue, 27 Oct 2015 04:00:00 GMT
Book Review: Tumbling in Time by Denise L Wyant 4 out 5 Stars http://darkwhimsicalart.com/blog/2015/10/book-review-tumbling-in-time-by-denise-l-wyant-4-out-5-stars  

Tumbling in Time


The story takes place in several locations both present and future and jumps around following the pair Tasha and Arikk as they battle demon’s, hang out with angels, and try to stay alive in a future full of paranormal danger. The novel is well formatted for the kindle layout and is professionally edited. I only found two errors, a missing period and a missing quotation mark. Kudos on the hard editing work. The book is a short read and fast-paced. It won’t leave you time to take a breath. You can sit down and read it easily in a few hours so it’s a perfect choice for the romance lover and action seeker with limited time.

Tasha is feisty and won’t stop until she gets what she wants and is always jumping into danger head first before thinking about the consequences. She is a nice change from the usual shy or low self-esteem characters plaguing most paranormal novels. Arikk, her love interest, spends most of his time trying to fight off her advances or keeping her alive.

My only issue with the book and the reason I give it 4 stars instead of 5, it’s not a complete story. You’ll have to read on when the next books comes out which I know are currently being worked on. I had the privilege of reading the beginning of the draft for the next part. Whether the second part will conclude the story or if it will continue as a series, I don’t know. If the next book is like Tumbling In Time then it will be worth picking up a copy.

About the Author

Denise Wyant enjoys writing romance and urban fantasy stories and novellas. She is easily distracted and doesn't see herself completing a novel anytime in the near future. She started writing approximately three years ago. The idea of crafting stories with lovable, realistic characters and happy-ever-afters keeps her inspired. 

She resides in Maryland with her Himalayan cat, Willow. When not writing (or working), she enjoys reading, cycling, and caramel lattes.


photogooroo@yahoo.com (Welcome to My Dark Whimsical World) 4 5 Book Denise L Review: Stars Time Tumbling Wyant by in out http://darkwhimsicalart.com/blog/2015/10/book-review-tumbling-in-time-by-denise-l-wyant-4-out-5-stars Fri, 23 Oct 2015 17:00:00 GMT
Author Book Signing: The Weight of Chains by Lesley Conner #horror #halloween #amreading http://darkwhimsicalart.com/blog/2015/10/author-book-signing-the-weight-of-chains-by-lesley-conner-horror-halloween-amreading I'd like to introduce you to Newly published local author Lesley Conner. Her newly released book The Weight of Chains is a perfect read for Halloween. That’s why I picked her to be the first author to do a author signing at The Fine Arts Company. Here signing will be October 30th from 2pm to 5pm. If you can't make or don't live near Hagerstown MD, you can still get a copy at Amazon. Just click the book title above. If you are a Kindle Unlimited member you can read it for free!

TheweightofchainsAbout the book

In fifteenth century France, many rumors are whispered about Gilles de Rais killing the village children. But he had control over every aspect of his subjects lives: the servants he employed, the village he lorded over, the carefully crafted visage he showed to the world. He dictated where his subjects live, what they ate, if they lived or died.  Nothing could be done to stop him. When a wizard is hired to raise a demon for Gilles, the wizard loses control of the beast. Gilles’s tight grasp on his world begins to slip. His cook plans to flee, taking her son away from the dangers of the castle. His guard wants to claim Gilles’s lifestyle as his own. His wizard frantically searches for a way to survive both his lord and the demon he has called into the world. And the villagers – like Jeanetta and her family –move through life in Machecoul too consumed with the task of surviving day to day, and oblivious to the turmoil building within the castle that is threatening to break out and consume them all.



10665311_10204850145512498_770233720606426016_nAbout the author

A writer/editor, managing editor of Apex Magazine, and a Girl Scout leader. When she isn’t handling her editorial or Girl Scout leader responsibilities, she’s researching fascinating historical figures, rare demons, and new ways to dispose of bodies, interweaving the three into strange and horrifying tales. Her short fiction can be found in Mountain Dead, Dark Tales of Terror, A Hacked-Up Holiday Massacre, as well as other places. She lives in Smithsburg, Maryland with her husband and two daughters, and is currently working on a new novel.

photogooroo@yahoo.com (Welcome to My Dark Whimsical World) http://darkwhimsicalart.com/blog/2015/10/author-book-signing-the-weight-of-chains-by-lesley-conner-horror-halloween-amreading Tue, 20 Oct 2015 15:45:00 GMT
Artist Interview: William C. Pfaff Artist, Writer and Illustrator #artist #artistinterview http://darkwhimsicalart.com/blog/2015/10/artist-interview-william-c-pfaff-artist-writer-and-illustrator-artist-artistinterview  

William's art will be displayed at The Fine Arts Company for the Month of October. So if you live close to Hagerstown MD, you should stop in and take a look.

Cumberland‘s William C. Pfaff is a published author, award­winning artist, and professional

illustrator. Having studied at Frostburg State University, Oxford University, and being self­taught in Asian­style

brushwork, Bill brings a unique blend of styles to his creations. Acrylics, watercolors, and pen and ink are his main

tools and his works range from realistic to highly­ stylized to abstracts.


You used to write but said art quickly took over. What about art did you prefer over writing?

Art was much more demanding for me.  I had crafted my writing skills over three decades and I still enjoy it but it doesn’t quite scratch the same itch.  Art is more immediate, and since I very rarely work digitally there is the thrill (and agony) of working live with no real way to revise or edit.  Writing is all about revisions, art is not.  They are very different animals and I still find myself enjoying both but I currently identify a bit more as an artist.


Why did you pick the style of art you do? What do you love about it?

My style varies quite a bit. I started primarily as a pen and ink artist because I just wanted to be able to illustrate, and the additional branches simply grew from that initial seed.   I enjoy super realistic and detailed pen work, but then I will gravitate toward chaotic splashy and loose watercolor work.  My acrylic abstracts are influenced by Mark Rothko, Franz Kline, and Jackson Pollock.  I like bold statements, I like color combinations that are shocking and make people take notice.  I have a lot of eastern influences in my work but I often purposely break the strict rules of that tradition to make it more “my work”.


Do you think higher education for artists is important or do you think they should find a mentor? Why?

Can I go with C) None of the above?  I tried to learn as much as I could in isolation for as long as I could:  books, the internet, studying the masters in museums.  I’ve never had a fine art class (a few lessons in graphic design is as close as I’ve come….I was a Communication major in college) and I certainly wouldn’t discourage someone from a formal art education, but I also don’t think it’s the path for everyone.  As for having a mentor?  I have studied some of my close friend artists that I admire, but the key is not to steal too much.  You have to make sure your vision doesn’t get lost.  My initial critics agreed that my work looked almost nothing like what they had seen before.  That I had managed to “turn pro” without losing my amateur whimsy- I’m quite proud of that.


A lot of artists struggle with marketing their art. How do you market yours and what works best?

Marketing is one of the aspects of art I have studied the most.  I give lectures and workshops on marketing and also do private art coaching, so I can’t give away all my secrets.  But the number one mistake I see artists make is not hustling enough.  You’ve got to believe in your work and blow your own trumpet; otherwise no one else is going to believe in you.  Talent is maybe 5 % of art, persistence is 70%, marketing is 24% and then toss in 1% luck.  That may sound cynical but it’s true, I have watched many incredibly talented artists (people who should be doing solo shows with regularity) never make it to their first show because they didn’t believe in themselves and didn’t push hard enough to make it happen.  As far as what works best?  I like guerrilla style marketing.  Admittedly that works better in larger cities but it can still be done on a smaller scale.



What was the best advice a mentor ever gave you?

Don’t ever compare yourself to anyone except yourself.  Each day you only have to defeat what you’ve done previously.  The world has already had one Monet, it doesn’t need a second one- it needs the first “you”.


What was the worst advice you ever received as an artist that other artists shouldn’t listen to?

Not bad advice per se, but many marginally successful artists I have met give really bad advice on pricing.  It goes back to the issue of valuing your work.  If someone falls in love with your painting at $75 they will probably love it just the same at $90.  You can only push this line of thought so far, but in general, people under charge for their hard work.


Do you have a favorite artist and why?

On a world-wide scale it’s Damien Hirst and not for the reason you would think.  Hirst is a modern-day P.T. Barnum, no one generates buzz like Hirst and that’s why he commands the prices he does.  I personally know a hundred artists better than Hirst, I’ve never met a better marketer.  In my Western Maryland art world, Ed Coffey is head and shoulders above the rest.  Ed is a master watercolor artist who understands color and contrast better than anyone I have met.  He also does three-dimensional work that has set our area on fire and become one of everyone’s must own items.  It was an incredible departure from his watercolors and he wasn’t afraid to make the leap- I really respect that kind of guts.


What advice would you give artists who tend to procrastinate or are just afraid or unsure of how to get their work out there?

The best trick I have found to overcome fear and procrastination is to tell yourself that the next piece you do will not be shown to anyone.  It’s practice and there is no pressure, it’s for your eyes only.  Nine times out of ten when you take that pressure off the piece turns out amazing and then you can choose to break your own “rule” and share it with the world.


How important do you think social media is for artists and which is your favorite platform and why?

Facebook is the current king (and my favorite just due to its popularity) but obviously Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest and others are right in the neighborhood.  The key to social media is to give the people who like your work the “behind the scenes” stuff.  Show what brands of paint you’re using, show the thumbnails, and talk about your thought processes.  Too often artists only show the finished product.  Social media is a way to share more than that.


What do you think of sites like Art America and Etsy where artists can sell their work? Do you think it is a good thing or bad? Why?

I think the online art community is a great way for people to see works that they would otherwise have no chance to experience so in that sense it’s a positive.  I do prefer the experience that galleries and live shows provide but I’m a bit “old school” in that respect.  I also think the art world is incredibly self-correcting; the cream will rise to the top.  So if there is a bit of over saturation online, that problem will work itself out as online consumers become more sophisticated in their art shopping.


What projects do you have coming up in the future?

I have a major 2017 show in my hometown of Cumberland at the Gilchrist Gallery and I’m also working on illustrating some of my own writings.  Even if I don’t have a specific event in mind, I am always looking for the next opportunity to share my work.  Pop up stores, new galleries, and conventions are always on my radar.

photogooroo@yahoo.com (Welcome to My Dark Whimsical World) Artist Illustrator Interview: William C. Pfaff Writer and artist interview http://darkwhimsicalart.com/blog/2015/10/artist-interview-william-c-pfaff-artist-writer-and-illustrator-artist-artistinterview Fri, 16 Oct 2015 04:00:00 GMT
Artist Interview with Lauren Hoffman Mixed Media Artist #artinfo #artistinterview http://darkwhimsicalart.com/blog/2015/10/artist-interview-with-lauren-hoffman-mixed-media-artist-artinfo-artistinterview Artist Lauren Hoffman has made a home at The Fine Arts Company. In no time at all she became the curator, covered the walls of the store with her art, and made the front cover of Hagerstown Magazine. She’s a go getter that never stops. That’s why I was thrilled when I finally got her to slow done enough to do an interview.

1. It said on your Etsy store that you changed your college major 5 times before settling on visual art, what were your other majors?

First I was a biology major looking to be a marine biologist, then I changed to medical assisting, then graphic design and finally to Visual Arts. Visual arts is the one that stuck. (so really only four different majors)


2. What made you finally become interested in art and stick with it?

A trip to NYC to all the museums and galleries had me in awe of all the talent. Nothing has ever captivated me quite like standing in front of a beautiful piece of art. I hoped that I could one day make a person stand in front of something I made with the same awe.

3. Where did the name Artpoptart come from?

Artpoptart is a tribute to my only child, Kylee. She has had a long time love of pop-tarts!

4. Much of your work is collage. Do you use any certain publications and why?

I’m not picky when it comes to what magazines I use, as long as there are vibrant colors and patterns, they work for me!

5. Do the images you pick from the publications have any hidden or
special meanings in your work?

Most of the time I’ll just stick to a general color scheme but it’s very fun to sneak little things into my collages that most people don’t notice. For example, there is a black cat in my Maryland flag, and if you know me on any level, you’ll know of my love for the furry creatures. Also there’s a Spider man in my Woodstock poster, kind of funny and unexpected.

6. What are some of your favorite subjects to make art of?

Animals, especially pets. They play such a big role in the happiness of people that it’s the least I can do to pay homage to them!

7. What was the best artistic advice you have received from a mentor?

The best advice I ever received was to just keep making art, even if you’re completely uninspired or unmotivated. This has helped a lot because it’s a rarity that true inspiration flies out of nowhere so I just have to remember to keep plugging along and the great pieces will eventually follow.

8. What was the first piece you ever sold and what was that experience like?

The first piece I ever sold was a picture of a pair of squirrels. I sold it online after three months of putting in 50 hours a week trying to get my online store off the ground. I was so frustrated, full of self-doubt and ready to throw in the towel when all of a sudden my phone goes “cha-ching” and told me I had made my first sale. I’m a little embarrassed to admit that I actually cried tears of relief.

9. What are your future plans for your art? What do you hope to accomplish?

I hope to continue with collage for as long as possible because it’s such a versatile medium. I have one simple wish when it comes to my art, I hope it brings a smile to someone and fills a home with joy.

10. What would you like to say to other artists just getting started to help inspire them?

Discipline! Like starting any business it takes so much discipline to put in the hours and days it takes to make a living as an artist. It won’t be easy but it will be rewarding!

photogooroo@yahoo.com (Welcome to My Dark Whimsical World) Hoffman Lauren art artist collage interview media mixed with http://darkwhimsicalart.com/blog/2015/10/artist-interview-with-lauren-hoffman-mixed-media-artist-artinfo-artistinterview Tue, 13 Oct 2015 15:21:55 GMT
Book Review: The Hopewell Conspiracy: A Darkstar Steam Novel by Philip Morgan http://darkwhimsicalart.com/blog/2015/9/book-review-the-hopewell-conspiracy-a-darkstar-steam-novel-by-philip-morgan

The Hopewell Conspiracy: A Darkstar Steam Novel (The Judes Marlen Trilogy) 
by Philip Morgan

3 out of 5 Stars

The main character of this story is Judes, an old western gun-slinger type roaming the desert alone avoiding the alien poison that infects his entire world. Until fate intervenes and an air ship full of pirates crashes almost taking Judes with them. Judes manages to survive and make it to a town only to run into the same pirates. To escape, he uses the magic power embedded in a revolver he came across on his journeys. A bad choice, because it draws the attention of Darus Hopewell, a man bent on getting Judes magical gun any means necessary. Judes starts an adventure with a steam man to find out who Hopewell is and why he wants the gun only to stumble into a larger problem, a problem that affects Judes whole world and the ancient secrets of aliens that brought technology to a world of magic.

After I received a review request, I started reading the free sample of this book and was instantly interested. Right away the world in which Judes lives was brought to life and I was eager to explore it more. The writing was clean and well edited, in the beginning, and the kindle formatting was handled professionally in the free sample. You may have noticed I said in the beginning. As I read on, I started to encounter back story information dumps which served no purpose but to interrupt my story. I also came across large sections of description with no dialog or character interaction that, for me, slowed the story and made me want to skip those sections. They were well written, just too long for me. Some readers who enjoy a lot of description may love it. I’m a reader who only needs description of things that are important, the rest I can imagine for myself.

I also mentioned back story dumps. If the back story doesn’t play into the plot or what the characters are currently doing, it’s not needed. The worst one was a new chapter in the middle of interesting scenes explaining Judes past as an orphan. It came out of nowhere for no reason. His past was just told to me by an unknown person, or maybe Judes was dreaming it? That’s the problem, I don’t know for sure. The information didn’t relate to anything going on and had no reason to be brought up. It’s great that the author knew Judes back story and what drove the character, but the reader, at this point, didn’t need to know. Maybe the author thought it would make Judes a more sympathetic character? Unfortunately it was handled poorly. There were many opportunities where Judes and Dotson could have had bonding moments and Judes could have told him about his past. It would have been more effective.

I really enjoyed the characters and their personalities, especially Judes and Dotson. The chief of the tribe with his available daughters was entertaining as well. I hated leaving Judes or Dotson’s point of views because the other characters weren’t as interesting and tended to have back story dumps and sections of unnecessary telling. I’d love to see this get cleaned up.

The plot of this novel and the world have a lot of potential. It needs a professional content editor to go through and fix some areas and come up with better ways to handle the back story. The book is a part of a trilogy and I hope the author continues with it. I really like the mixed genre world, aliens, elves, and magic mixed together with steam punk.

Despite the back story issues, I recommend giving this book a read. It’s a very interesting world with interesting characters. It has a conclusion of sorts, but not a full arch. You will need to read on to reach a grand conclusion. The Hopewell Conspiracy is worth a read.

photogooroo@yahoo.com (Welcome to My Dark Whimsical World) A Book Conspiracy: Darkstar Hopewell Morgan Novel Philip Review: Steam The book by review http://darkwhimsicalart.com/blog/2015/9/book-review-the-hopewell-conspiracy-a-darkstar-steam-novel-by-philip-morgan Wed, 23 Sep 2015 17:00:00 GMT
Free Read: Mother Grows Up by Roxanne Crouse #shortstory #freeread http://darkwhimsicalart.com/blog/2015/9/free-read-mother-grows-up-by-roxanne-crouse Mother Grows Up

by Roxanne Crouse

Monica pulled off the road into the grass and turned off the car. She took in a deep breath and glanced over at her son, Sid. She smiled at him as he glared at her from the corner of his eye. Looking in his cold blue eyes was like drowning in arctic waters. What could she do to warm those waters again? His coldness wore her down with every passing day. Her plan to have fun with him at the Earth Day celebration probably wouldn’t make a dent, but she was out of ideas.

Cars lined the road stretching across the entire length of the park. She watched as families held hands and laughed on their way to the event. They looked so happy, content. She wanted the same happiness for her little family, but she hadn’t felt it in a while now, not since Sid hit puberty. He locked himself in his room and never came out. She had no idea what was going on in his life anymore. 

The hill blocked her view of the celebration, but she could see and hear the little red train running. Her son used to beg to ride the train every year, but not anymore. Last year, he scoffed at the red contraption. She chalked it up to him being in a bad mood that day.  

Without saying a word, she opened the car door and got out. The cold, spring air brushed against Monica’s skin, sending shivers through her body. She tucked her hands into her arms glad she wore a sweater. Sid had on a thin, long-sleeve shirt and started to grumble as he got out of the car.

“It’s too cold, ma. I don’t want to go, let’s leave.” His face tightened, and impatience dripped from his entire body. He stomped off, bent over like a troll, and appeared just as grumpy.

“I told you to put on a jacket. We haven’t even seen anything yet. Why do you want to leave?” The Earth Day event appeared in front of them as Monica trotted along to keep up with Sid’s fast pace. They came every year and Sid always loved it, at least he used to love the celebration.

An assortment of vendors had set up along the park path, and Monica read a big sign that said, funnel cakes, at the end of the row. “Look, funnel cakes, you like funnel cakes.” She smiled again at Sid, but he didn’t return the affection. His body crumpled together even more as he tried to hide himself from the world.    

“I don’t want to go here. It looks stupid!” he said and stopped in the middle of the path to sulk. The crowd pushed by him oblivious to his tantrum.  

“Come on, Sid, give it a chance. We haven’t even seen anything yet. Let’s at least walk through and see what’s here before we leave,” she said. She continued to walk toward the booths knowing Sid would follow whether he wanted to or not.

Monica had hoped for a more impressive event. Instead of an Earth Day celebration, the park looked more like a big fat consumerism party. The booths all sold items like jewelry, food, books, nothing related to helping the earth. Everyone ate food and dropped litter on the ground. The irony. She had hoped everyone would be cleaning the park, not trashing it even more. Some volunteer work would have done Sid some good. His new self- centered attitude disturbed her. Monica sighed and continued searching for a path through the booths.

“You don’t see anything interesting at all?” she asked, glancing behind at Sid, who fell further back.

“No,” he said and scowled at her. He crossed his arms tightly around his chest and dropped his head down hiding his face.

“Look down there. They have funnel cakes. You don’t even want a funnel cake?”

“No,” he said under his breath. “You already asked me that!” Monica found a gap and made her way to the road where the crowd of people and booths lined up one after another. She glided through the crowd glancing at each of the tables as she passed searching for something, anything Sid might like. The crowd of people swelled around her. Monica glanced back to make sure Sid still followed behind. He pushed his way through the sea of arms and legs letting them bounce against him as he continued forward. She maneuvered her way to the end of the path where the funnel cake booth waited, and slowed to let Sid catch up.

“Are you sure you don’t want a funnel cake?” She stopped in front of the booth. The line stretched all the way back to the bathrooms like a meandering snake. Hopefully, his answer wouldn’t change now. She didn’t feel like waiting in the long line.

“Yes, I’m sure,” he grumbled at her side hiding his face against her shirt. She put her arm around him and started leading him back toward the car. Well, that was a short, pointless trip.

“What’s your problem Sid? You used to love going to stuff like this.” She squeezed him tight to protect him from the cold. Why didn’t he listen when she told him to wear a coat? He never listened to her anymore.

Monica stopped in front of some kids playing with a giant Earth ball, tossing the planet back and forth to each other, laughing and running. “Look at that! Why don’t you play with them for a while? It will warm you up.” She jostled him a bit against her side and ruffled his blond hair. He poked his head out from under her arm. His cheeks reddened, and his eyes narrowed. He pulled away from her, crossed his arms, and walked faster to the car.  

“Are you crazy mom!” he yelled back at her. “They’re way too young for me. Can we please go now?” He marched ahead of her straight to the car never looking back.  

After the Earth Day disaster, Monica drove to the public library. She heard a writer’s celebration was being held today and wanted to check it out. She also hoped to expose Sid to something new besides video games. They walked into the children’s Library entrance and Sid stopped at the door.

A group of young children gathered around a woman dressed as the Easter bunny. The woman read from a book to the children. They all seemed mesmerized by her as she continued reading in a high-pitched friendly voice.

“Mom! Why do you keep dragging me to all this kiddy stuff? I’m not five anymore.” His eyes burned with anger evaporating the cold sea that occupied them before.  

“We’re just walking through the kid section. We’re not staying here. We’re going upstairs. There’s supposed to be a lot of authors here today. I wanted to check it out,” she said and searched around for the stairs leading out of the children’s section before Sid had a meltdown.

“They’re over there mom. Are you blind?” he said, guessing she searched for the stairs.

“You don’t have to be snotty about it. What’s gotten into you today?” She climbed the stairs, hearing Sid’s stomping footsteps behind her. She sighed, and continued until she reached the next level. All she wanted was to spend time with him. Why did he have to act like this? She should have left him at home with his games.

As soon as she opened the stairwell door, another crowd of people appeared, filling the main floor of the library. Loud conversations drifted around the long tables hugging the walls with authors displaying their books. They smiled at fans and signed their names. Monica didn’t recognize any of the writers. Booths for some of the local colleges intertwined with the author tables. She hesitated in front of the Mountain State University booth. She wanted to ask if they had a graphic-design program yet, but Sid started huffing with impatient breathing behind her.

“Why are we at a bookstore?” he asked and crossed his arms in front of him.

“This isn’t a bookstore. This is a library like you have at school,” she said, surprised, “I thought we would get a library card while we’re here so we can save money. They might have that book series you like, and you can check them out instead of spending your money on it.”

“But mom, I want to be able to keep the books. I don’t want to give them back!”

She sighed. Apparently, he planned to fight her on everything today. She walked over to the main counter and searched for a schedule of events. She didn’t see one, and turned to leave.

“Do you need help, miss?” A man’s voice came from behind. She turned and saw a man about forty or so with a friendly smile. She stumbled for a moment, trying to remember why she came.

“Can I get a library card?” Monica finally managed to say.

“Why sure, that’s why I’m here.” The man’s smile brightened, and friendliness oozed off him. The man even brightened up Mr. Grumpy Pants Sid’s face. “Would you like a library card too, young man?”  

“No thank you,” Sid returned softly, shifting his body awkwardly. Sid moved closer to the counter next to Monica and grabbed her arm. His body relaxed, and the stubbornness melted from his stiff frame.  

“Here you go, mam, just fill this out, and we’ll get you in the system.” The man winked at Sid. “If you change your mind, your mom can check books out for you, or you can still sign up for your own card.”

 Warmth lit Sid’s face as he smiled at the man. Monica hardly saw that brightness anymore. Sid reserved it for strangers now. Her heart sank in her chest as she realized he was a teen. The beautiful little boy full of love and hope for her was gone. He’d never want to spend time with her the way they used to ever again. He belonged to the adult world now, not her.  

She patted his head and immediately his cheeks turned red. She quickly removed her hand and smiled apologetically at him. She understood now. She had to change. Letting go would be hard, but she could do it.

photogooroo@yahoo.com (Welcome to My Dark Whimsical World) http://darkwhimsicalart.com/blog/2015/9/free-read-mother-grows-up-by-roxanne-crouse Wed, 16 Sep 2015 04:15:00 GMT
Author Interview: Simon John Cox Author of The Slender Man http://darkwhimsicalart.com/blog/2015/9/author-interview-simon-john-cox-author-of-the-slender-man
  • Where did the idea for The Slender Man come from?
  • It’s an internet meme, which started a few years ago on the Something Awful forums. I stumbled across it one day and got simultaneously scared out of my pants and inspired. It was an odd sensation.

    1. I noticed other books with the same title. Is this a well-known myth?

    I suppose it depends on which grubby corners of the internet you skulk around in…I discovered it by chance a few months ago, but I expect a lot of people have known about it for a while. It was also featured in a BBC radio programme just before Christmas (although my story was written and published before then).

    1. What kind of research did you need to do for The Slender Man?

    Not a great deal of formal research, really – the antagonist isn’t real so there was no need to understand that, and the rest (characters, locations) are generally drawn from experience.

    1. What about an outline? Do you map your way through a story or go by the seat of your pants?

    I have to know the beginning and the end before I write a single word – otherwise I don’t know where the story is heading – and I usually know at least two major plot points, but it usually evolves as I write.

    1. What was the most important thing you learned while writing The Slender Man?

    Don’t write horror at night when you’re home alone.

    1. What have you learned in general about writing?

    I don’t think there was any single significant revelation, but every time I write something I feel that it’s a small improvement on the last thing I wrote.

    1. What was the hardest part about writing The Slender Man?


    The nightmares. Seriously. Writing it gave me nightmares.

    1. Is anything in your story based on real life experiences or purely all imagination?

    The plot is all imagination, but there are plenty of elements that are based on my experiences – there are Second World War bunkers in the woods near where I live, for example, and the characters and locations are loosely based on amalgamations of people and places that I know. I’d say that the main premise of isolation and an imminent, inescapable threat are certainly what I personally find most terrifying.

    1. Did you try traditional publishing before self-publishing? What happened? What made you decide to self-publish?

    I tried traditional publishing with my first novel, but it was considered by agents to be “good but not commercial enough”, which I think means that no-one beyond my immediate family would buy it. I’ve had short stories published in various traditional and online collections, but the main thing that made me try self-publishing was the immediacy of it – once I’ve written, edited, re-edited and re-re-edited my work I upload it and it’s just there. There’s none of the momentum-sapping delay that I’ve found with traditional (print and online) publishing. 

    1. How do you market The Slender Man? What avenues have you found to work best for your genre?

    I held a launch on Facebook, and promoted it (sparingly) via my Twitter feed, but beyond that I think people have been finding it by search engines or hearing about it by word of mouth. I published it on Amazon and Smashwords, which I think works well – Amazon is the big shop window, and then Smashwords is essentially a distributor to Apple, Sony, Barnes & Noble etc. It’s not doing badly, so I think I’m doing something right.

    1. Are there any other self-published authors that have grasped your interest or inspired you to self-publish?

    I had work published in the Kindle All-Stars anthology last year, and that put me in touch with a number of self-published authors who have inspired and supported me. People like Bernard Schaffer, Laurie Laliberte, Tony Healey, J. J. Toner, William Vitka, Matt Posner, Keri Knutson, David Hulegaard…actually pretty much everyone who was published in the KAS anthology.

    1. Would you take a publishing deal if you were offered one? Why?

    For a novel I would, because the perception still persists that traditional publishing guarantees a minimum standard of quality (even though some really terrible books make it into print, and many contain more editing errors than my self-published stories do).

    1. What format do you prefer to read in, ebook, paperback, or hardcover?

    Paperback. I’m a traditionalist.

    1. Where do you think the writing world will end up in the future, your predictions?

    I think that the ereader revolution will continue and gather pace as non-traditional markets increasingly adopt it (i.e. China, Brazil, India etc), but that paper books will still remain part of the mix for a very long time to come. I also suspect that the self-publishing world will act more and more as a kind of publicly validated slush pile from which agents and publishers pick new writers.

    1. What new projects are you working on now?

    I’m working on a novel that I’m hoping to finish by the end of February. It’s about one man whose official records are all erased, and another who is brought into existence by having false records created for him. It’s better than it sounds, honest.

    1. Is there anything about writing you find particularly challenging?

    Editing. It’s just dreary, and as I’m the writer I often can’t see the wood for the trees.

    1. Who came up with the cover design and where did the art come from?

    I designed the cover myself, by pasting white text over a royalty-free image using MS Paint. It’s essentially as low-tech as you can get without resorting to pen and paper.

    1. Did you hire anyone to help you edit? Why?

    I had a selection of people read the story and provide feedback, which I then reviewed and mostly incorporated, but I didn’t hire anyone to help me. Partly because I don’t do this for a living and therefore wouldn’t want to invest money on the process, and partly because I’m a qualified copy editor and proof reader and also a massive pedant.

    1. What has been the toughest criticism given to you as an author? Your best compliment?

    When I first started giving my work to other people to read all of the criticism was tough, but now I’ve been writing long enough to know firstly that if the criticism is constructive then I can learn from it and improve, and secondly that some people just won’t like what I write, and there’s nothing I can do but accept that. The best compliment I ever received was that someone said that he rated my unpublished novel as one of his top ten favourite books of all time (yes, he honestly said that), but I suspect that he’d previously only read nine books.

    1. Do you have any advice for other writers?

    “Write what you know” doesn’t necessarily mean write about your job or your hobby, it means use your experiences of life to create deeper characters, richer dialogue and more engaging situations.

    1. Do you have anything specific that you want to say to your readers?

    I’d like to thank everyone who has taken the time to read any of my work, and to say that if you enjoyed it then I’m very pleased and if you didn’t then it doesn’t mean that I don’t love you and I hope we can still be friends.

    1. How can fans that enjoyed The Slender Man find out more about you and what you have coming out in the future?

    The best thing to do would probably be to follow me on Twitter (@simonjohncox) or look in on my website (www.simonjohncox.com). 

    photogooroo@yahoo.com (Welcome to My Dark Whimsical World) Author Interview http://darkwhimsicalart.com/blog/2015/9/author-interview-simon-john-cox-author-of-the-slender-man Wed, 09 Sep 2015 20:00:00 GMT