Winter Art and Writing

I’ve started new projects while trying to complete what I’ve been working on for over a year. My upcoming fantasy fiction novel, Draekkon’s Fire is still in the editing phases. The cover design is still ongoing. This book is looking more and more like an epic fantasy, but I’m nearing the goals I’ve set for myself.

With over 100,000 words, this is my longest novel. I’ve considered dividing it into more than one volume, but I want it to be a stand alone book.  Creating the story as a Vella through Amazon KDP is a consideration. Before deciding on this option, the cover is in need of finishing. This is easier said than done. I’m not using stock photography, making the cover design quite a task. The cover design began as an illustration I made that evolved into digital art. It features four of the main characters from the story.

36 minute night sky painting from a new tutorial on YouTube. Scroll down to see the video on the page.

In the meantime, I have midway through a new illustrated children’s book or series inspired by the animals that live in my own yard. It’s been years since I released a children’s book, so I felt this was the perfect time. I’ve been working on the illustrations myself, with an introduction to the book posted on YouTube as a short. With a cute little squirrel pressing his nose to my window pane, how can I not write a story?

With all this going on, I’m also working on an animation project to be revealed later! I’ve continued releasing art tutorials on my YouTube channel and on Tiktok.
I’ve been working in watercolor. I find it to be an amazing medium that’s very portable and perfect for children’s books. I often use it as the first layer in my work, adding mediums such as color pencils, pastel and even alcohol marker. In the tutorial below, I’ve demonstrated a 36 minute painting I made of the night sky – all compressed into to ten minutes of video.

 

Woodburning Wednesdays: Morel Mushroom Maple Cutting Board

This winter, I realized I had too many art projects. After giving it some thought, I decided to give each medium its own day. I’ll make videos on at least one of those days.

In addition to sharing a first consonant with Wednesday, woodburning is great fit for the middle of the week. I hope to post videos each time I create something new. It took me until Thursday to post the Wednesday video, and of course, Friday I will continue the self-portrait I’m working on.

For my first Woodburning Wednesday, I thought I would create a morel mushroom cutting board. After investing in a bottle of cutting board oil, I was ready to get started.

  1. Buy on Etsy

 

The cutting board oil performed well, was completely scent-free as advertised and made the surface of the wood smooth. I could see this oil as a solution for sealing coasters and other kitchen related items.

As an amateur mushroom hunter, morels are often what I’m looking for. Future cutting boards will feature other food favorites.

I decided to woodburn just a portion of the board so it could be functional for cutting things on. Maple is such a beautiful wood, perfect for cutting boards. I wanted the natural wood to take center stage.

You can view the video of me working on this project below. This cutting board is available on Etsy. My art is available for purchase in my Etsy shop.

I also accept custom orders, direct or on Etsy. I can create just about any design, including personalization. Thinking of the perfect wedding or housewarming gift? Cutting boards are perfect! Message me with questions and requests.

Materials used:

  • Razertip SS D-10 Pyrography Pen
  • 8.5″ Maple Wood Slice
  • Howard Cutting Board Oil – Food grade mineral oil.

New Woodburning Video

I’ve uploaded a new woodburning video featuring a pine wood coaster. I used a pyrography pen to create this sun and moon pattern.

I was lucky enough to find some storm damaged maple and pine logs in my yard. With some help from family members, I have stacks of wood slices in all sizes!

It’s great to have some quality materials and not have to shop the aisles at the craft store for the best I can find. Storm damaged wood is free and I have plenty of slices to last me awhile!

In this video, I’m not using a pattern, just working freehand.

Be sure to like the video and subscribe, I plan on making more coasters! See the ones I have for sale on my Etsy store at: https://www.etsy.com/shop/JLRenee

Watch on YouTube Continue reading “New Woodburning Video”

New Watercolor Videos

I’ve been working on a series of tutorials demonstrating my painting, woodburning and drawing techniques. They include watercolor, pyrography and drawing demonstrations and just about any medium I am working with. I hope you enjoy my videos as much as I like making them!

To see all of them, visit my YouTube channel or follow me on TikTok. Some of the clips are shorts while others are 20 minutes in length.

New Watercolor Paintings

My latest watercolor painting of my daughter Jessica holding her cat is one of my most recent videos.

The next video shares some of my watercolor painting techniques.

The following video is a demonstration of how I was able to use Daniel Smith Watercolor Ground to correct some of my errors in my portrait of Jessica. This is a small painting!

This next video demonstrates how I was able to incorporate watercolor paintings in my work. I used Prismacolor Watercolor pencils for this artwork.

 

To see all of them, visit my YouTube channel or follow me on TikTok. Don’t forget to like and subscribe!

Art Explosion Grayling

Voting at Art Explosion in Grayling, MI continues until Sunday. I’m excited to be a part of this. For me, it’s about sharing my with work with everyone and enjoying the work of my fellow artists.

My entry is number 095 and my watercolor and pastel painting, A New Day can be seen at the AuSable Valley Corner Building. Information about voting and the event can be found at https://artexplosion.org.

A New Day by Patti Arnold

Making an NFT

When it came to creating an NFT (non-fungible tokens), I wasn’t sure how or if I would make the plunge. Even with a tech background, I found the process of creating an NFT intimidating. The hype around NFTs in the art world is tremendous, and my art newsfeed is filled daily with stories of artists of all ages finding success in the blockchain. The potential of new marketplaces made think it was time to mint an NFT of my own. After my first attempt didn’t work, I decided I had a lot to learn about the process.

After a few months of procrastination, I finally added my contributions to the expanding pool of NFTs just to see what happens. I’m happy to report that it went better the second time around with Mintable.

For those unfamiliar with NFTs, here’s a very basic description from Wikipedia:

NFTA non-fungible token is a unit of data stored on a digital ledger, called a blockchain, that certifies a digital asset to be unique and therefore not interchangeable. NFTs can be used to represent items such as photos, videos, audio, and other types of digital files.

Here are some other terms you’ll run into when creating an NFT:

Gas – Gas refers to the computational efforts required to execute specific operations on the Ethereum network. A fee, paid in ether (ETH, +1.39%), is required to successfully conduct a transaction on Ethereum (coindesk.com)

Mint – Minting is the process of validating information, creating a new block, and recording that information into the blockchain.  (phemex.com)

I have a collection of illustrations I’ve made that seemed to be a good fit for my experiment: a series of black and white illustrations featuring dogs I drew and scanned at high resolution.

My first attempt to create an NFT on Rarible didn’t go as planned. I followed instructions to set up a Metamask wallet in my browser, added Ethereum (for the fees I expected to pay to complete the process) and connected it. Things were going good until I went to mint the NFT. I ran into higher gas fees than anticipated, on top of the one-time $13 transaction fee I had to pay. Once I paid the transaction fee, I didn’t have enough Ethereum for the gas fees due to fluctuating market values. Since it was an experiment, I decided to reject the transaction and postpone making an NFT on Rarible until I could plan things better.

Even though I wasn’t able to mint my NFT on Rarible, it wasn’t a total failure. I had learned something about NFTs. When it came to calculating the costs, I admit I found the process too complex and too expensive.

When I learned about gasless transactions on Mintable, I decided to give minting an NFT another try. Using gasless transactions, I was able to create NFTs in a manner that was surprisingly easy. The Metamask app (or another cryptocurrency wallet) is required to sign within the browser for the creation of the NFT, but no fees are required. It was helpful that I had I created my Metamask cryptocurrency wallet during my first NFT creation attempt on Rarible.

I started the process by selecting Mint an Item on the Mintable main page. For the first NFTs I made, I selected Advanced. Then I chose Gasless, selected Art in the form, filled in a title, subtitle and description and uploaded images. I selected Advanced instead of Easy (because I didn’t know at the time that Easy mode was also gasless). For the fourth NFT I made, I chose Easy mode, and was relieved to learn that it was also the gasless transaction I was looking for.

I decided on a smaller image for the preview and included locked content for the buyer that includes a high resolution scan of the illustration. I avoided the transfer copyright button for obvious reasons, because it seems to represent the creator transferring their copyright with the sale of the NFT.

You can see my results and artwork for sale here. I decided to offer my Dogs of the World pen and ink illustrations for sale, and these pups seemed like the perfect fit. I could make many of these!

In terms of price, I usually don’t know what to charge for my work in the real world, so that was a challenge. When it came to estimating the value of my NFTs, I hadn’t a clue. After browsing the marketplace for similar stuff, I eventually decided to choose a price of about $200 USD in Ethereum (at the time of this writing about .061). Mintable’s built in currency converter was helpful. I just switched on the option to figure out the conversion from USD to Ethereum.

Do I still have a lot to learn? Absolutely, but the technology behind it is exciting. I think it’s amazing that I now have art that exists in the blockchain. The first mistake I made was a typo in one of my titles. Initial information I found stated I couldn’t change the Token ID, contract address, name, title, image or additional metadata on NFTs, so I was worried I would have to live with the mistake. However, I was able to edit titles and descriptions on my NFTs for sale. By visiting my Profile (under My Account in the upper right hand corner), I was able to click on Listing (in the left side navigation) and fix the misspelling. I was unable to edit the price or add additional locked content from the edit page.

In terms of cost and ease of use, Mintable’s gasless transactions have won me over when it comes to creating NFTs. As an artist, I don’t have a large amount of funds for something that may not be viable. I’m interested in creating a Mintable store to put my NFTs in, but at today’s gas fee of $1k, that may have to wait! It’s unclear the benefits of taking such a step beyond potentially more views. As it stands, I have a profile with my NFTs for sale on Mintable. Without a store setup, my NFTs are in the Mintable Gasless store.

One feature I liked was that after each NFT was created, I was able to create a widget by clicking a button in the congratulations pop-up that appears after successful minting. The link appears in the lower right hand corner). It was easy to get the snippet of code to place a widget on my website with my NFTs for sale (scroll down to see my new widget).

If any of my fellow artists have thoughts on NFTs, whether you’ve made one or not, I would enjoy hearing from you!