Two Year Old Artist paints the Big Time.

The Painting on the right is called 'Sunrise' by artist Freddie Linsky. It's an acrylic on canvas and wouldn't look out of place in any modern art gallery. Yet the artist is only two years old.

Freddie's mother, a lecturer at the Hampstead School of Art and a freelance art critic, began posting Freddie's artwork online to collector, Charles Saatchi's online gallery, passing the work off as that of a more accomplished artist. Making up plausible descriptions such as this for 'Sunrise'...

"A bold use of colour. Inspired by the 'plein air' habit of painting by Monet, drawing on the natural world that surrounds us all."

You can read more about Freddie and see images of him at work in an article that appeared on the Daily Mail web site titled, Toddler fools the art world into buying his tomato ketchup paintings.

Whilst Freddie's Mum admits it was all just for a bit of a laugh, things began to get serious when Freddie's work started to sell and he got offers to exhibit his work in real world galleries.

Now I'm must admit that Freddie's work isn't half bad. It's not ground breaking but it does have the freedom of expression that only comes with childhood. Before the realisation sets in that paintings are supposed to look like something that can be recognised (or so we think).

However, given that his mum has talked him up in such a way as to fool respected galleries and collectors into thinking he's much more established, I'd say she's probably set Freddie's career back a couple of years. Considering Freddie's two that means he's probably, at the very least, going to have to go back to using the ketchup that he began with.

Many people have the view that abstract expressionism (which is what Freddie's art is) has no place being called art. I disagree. This kind of art can be very powerful, moving and/or just plain pleasing to the eye. However, at some point we have to stop fooling ourselves into thinking that this kind of art requires advanced technical skill. It doesn't - as Freddie and his contemporaries (and he does have them - think four year old Marla) clearly demonstrate.

Personally I find creating art like Freddie's difficult because I'm find it hard to attach my emotions to non subjective mark making. It just doesn't express everything I have to say. However if you really enjoy just making those marks and gestures you can really make an abstract work seem alive.

At some point we have to admit that this kind of art is accessible to toddlers simply because they just enjoy spreading the paint around.

Dinostory: Dinosaur Sculptures made from Sand

Dinostory is an exhibition of sand sculptures, featuring dinosaurs, that my partner and I went along to view at Port Adelaide, South Australia. Unfortunately, the week before we'd experienced some very heavy, rainy weather, so many of the sculptures had been extremely damaged (very visible in my photo) whilst others had stood up to the elements slightly better.

I do hope that the creators of this exhibition, Sand Sculpting Australia, will attempt to make some repairs because at AU$9.50 for Adults, with eight severely damaged sculptures (one was almost unrecognizable), we did feel a little cheated. Whilst I understand that the weather can't be controlled it does seem like there was no plan to protect the sculptures should such weather occur. At the very least, a reduced entry fee would have been appropriate.

That aside, what remained of the sculptures, all extremely large I might add, were quite impressive and highly detailed.

Dinostory is clearly targeted at children and is intended to be somewhat educational. The dinosaur sculptures are all linked together by the idea of a story book about dinosaurs being read to a boy by his grandfather on Christmas Morning.


It's a nice idea but the story isn't really extended into the rest of the exhibits which are simply labeled with the various dinosaur names. To learn about each dinosaur requires reading of the program guide which isn't in 'kid speak' and is perhaps intended to give parents a few pointers of information that they can relate to their own children.

On the positive side, if you do have young children, then the sand sculpting activities and playground within the exhibition area make the whole thing much better value.

Despite the damage, the sculptures are still a wonderful example of this art form. If you have kids it'll still be impressive to them. However, if you don't then you may question if the entry fee is really good value for money?

Dinostory is on display at Port Adelaide (next to the lighthouse and markets) from December 8, 2007 until January 26, 2008.

National Treasure: Book of Secrets

National Treasure: Book of Secrets is a fairly easy to watch, fun movie. Like all treasure hunt movies the ending is largely predictable but what makes them engaging and fun is the journey following the trail. Watching just how everything comes together.

As per usual with my movie posts, this article is my thoughts on the film. If you're looking for a story outline try visiting the official web site or maybe read this review by Jason P. Vargo of DVDTown.com.

I haven't seen the first film in this series but I knew that because this was an entirely new adventure for these characters I wouldn't be at much of a disadvantage. There are some obvious references to the first film and maybe even some subtle ones that I missed but I don't think any were critical to my understanding of the plot.

Nicolas Cage plays treasure hunter, Ben Gates, a largely forgettable character in the movie world. Much like Robert Langdon (played by Tom Hanks) in The Da Vinci Code. A movie that both these films should be compared to and not the Indiana Jones series as some critics have. As I recall the original National Treasure movie was released to try and capitalize on the growing interest of the Da Vinci Code novel and it's imminent release as a film at the time.

Robert Langdon, the sometimes nerdy super brain yet ordinary guy, is Ben Gates peer not the swash buckling action hero that is Indiana Jones. Everyone remembers Indy. Only the die hard National Treasure fans will remember Ben.

Ben is surrounded by a small team of people, most notable is his assistant, Riley (played by Justin Bartha), who has a talent for breaking into almost any security system you care to name like most of us log on to the internet (difficulty factor zero). Ben may be the 'cool' nerd of the picture but Riley is the 'super geek' with out a doubt.

I have to say, I do like this kind of film where they try to string together a real (or even completely fictional) mystery together using real world historical facts, icons, artifacts, legends and stories. It tends to give the plot that hint of 'well this may possibly be true' even though you know it probably isn't.

For example, I'm sure anyone who sees this film will forever be wondering if the twin Resolute Desks, one owned by the Queen of England and the other by the President of the USA, are really built with a secret compartment opened by a combination lock system involving the correct sequence of open drawers? Do you think the real Queen or President saw this film and then went back home and checked - just to be sure?

What about the 'Book of Secrets', the President of the USA's book, handed on to each consecutive President, revealing the truth about every mystery, conspiracy theory and more that Joe and Jane public can only speculate upon? It's not a spoiler talking about this but I was disappointed by its appearance. Just for a brief second I thought they'd go all Da Vinci Code and reveal that this book wasn't actually a literal book but then they found it. Considering how old it's meant to be, it didn't seem to be that big - maybe there are fewer conspiracies than we think?

The movie does seem to hint at another film in this series involving page 47 of the President's book. Unless I missed something but regardless, I can see this book playing a crucial role in filling big gaping plot holes in future films in the franchise.

I don't want to over analyze the film because it does have some really questionable moments that only make sense if you're along for the ride. If you stop and think too hard you'll go from one 'oh that would never happen' to the next and completely spoil your experience.

It is a fun film and comparing the movie to the movie trailer I suspect there were quite a number of deleted scenes that would make the DVD version a really interesting purchase. (There are scenes in the trailer that aren't present in the final film, such as in the trailer there are scenes at the Lincoln Memorial).

If you enjoyed The Da Vinci Code then this will be a film you'll enjoy too. It's not quite as intelligent with the plot but it is fun and the humor works really well.

OurStage.com - Helium for Music and Video.

Although I haven't written for Helium.com in a while I've always been impressed by the way written articles are judged by other writers in a system that it hard to 'game' and seems reasonably fair. Generally the best articles are the ones rich in information and have good writing structure as opposed to ones that are viewed most often.

I've long thought that Helium's judging system and business model would be great for online video and I'm sure I even suggested that to the site's creators at some point in the past. Whilst I obviously have no idea if my suggestion planted a seed I'm pleased to find out that Helium have launched a sister site, OurStage.com, targeted squarely at original music and online video creators.

Finally there is a place where online video creators like me can post videos and have them judged by other original video creators with the chance of earning monthly cash prizes as well as some pretty nice non cash prizes too.

The only disappointment is that, unlike Helium, videos don't earn any advertising revenue based on views. Not that this is a great loss but over time a good collection of articles on Helium can be a nice little passive income earner.

That aside I plan to give OurStage.com a go with some of my more creative videos. I've seen some of the previous winners and I reckon I have a good shot at the monthly US$5000 prize.

Painting and Drawing Secrets by Alfred Daniels

Since purchasing the Get Paid to Draw system and both products created by the two final contestants on The Next Internet Millionaire I've been following a trail of marketing freebies, ebooks, software and one time offers to teach you how to do anything, fast!

You've probably seen many of them, even amongst the Google ads on my blog; 'Learn how to create massive wealth', 'How to make mega money from home', you get the idea. Clicking on these links takes you to what's known as a 'squeeze page' which is usually a lengthy sales message with examples and testimonials explaining why this product will do everything it claims. Just enter your name and email and we'll give you a truck load of free ebooks as well.

I've got a pile of free marketing information clogging several folders on my hard drive so I've pretty much stopped following this marketing trail, however I continue to stumble across more art related products sold in this over hyped fashion.

The latest one is an ebook titled Painting and Drawing Secrets by Alfred Daniels. Alfred Daniels is not actually selling this product however he is attributed as the author of the ebook which claims to be a re-discovered manuscript that is the secret resource many top artists used to perfect their drawing and painting with oils and watercolors.

I'm not an affiliate of this product, nor am I recommending you purchase (or don't purchase) it. I already know how to draw or paint with no help from Alfred's manuscript so I have no reason to buy. I would be interested to know if you have purchased this product and whether it was good value for money.

I've read the sales message on this and personally I've never heard anyone make these stated complaints about art books teaching you how to draw or paint:
Frankly, the most common complaint amongst art students is study books containing a minimum of useful information offered at the maximum price - much better for ornament than for use!

The big problem is that most books on the subject are filled with boring description after description, and not enough nitty-gritty, nuts and bolts information with clear illustrations and drawings.

Most books I've come across have been extremely useful with plenty of nice step by step pictures without too much boring description. The only thing I would agree upon is the 'maximum price' applied to some books.

Something I do find amusing about the sales pitch and, again, something I've never heard from any art student is this quote from the list of free bonus items:
eBook - How To Draw Parts Of The Body. Starting with the most asked question "How do you draw a woman's breast?"

I've heard artists say they have trouble drawing hands, feet and even faces but I've never ever heard a single person, even someone who can't draw, ask, How do you draw a women's breast? Honestly, even complete drawing novices usually have little trouble drawing boobs!

It's not my intention to knock this product I just find it fascinating that a book such as this is being sold as a revolutionary system in this over hyped and tacky approach.

If you really want to see an art site that features boring description after boring description why not check out Art and Design Web, the publishers of Painting and Drawing Secrets. Page after page of excerpts from Wikipedia on all kinds of drawing and painting related subjects with strategically placed Google ads. Hopefully the ebook has better content.

Canvas and Pen Recommends TET.


One of the best parts of being an independent artist is when someone comes out of nowhere and unexpectedly pays you a very nice compliment.

Canvas and Pen is an artist and writers inspirational web site with the admirable goal of motivating artists and writers to succeed through inspirational articles and recommendations to quality websites.

I must admit I was unaware of the site until I was emailed by Les Anderson, from the Canvas and Pen, to let me know that my site had been added to their Recommended Galleries page because they believe my art, creativity and web site to be an example of someone who is succeeding. Very flattering and much appreciated.

Whether I would consider myself to be successful quite yet is another thing but I will say I have gained some ground and I am certainly doing better with my art than I was around this time last year.

That aside, thanks to Canvas and Pen for the compliment of being a recommended site. If you happen to need a bit of inspiration or motivation to get your ideas and creativity flowing then visit their site and maybe subscribe to one of their many RSS feeds.

I have actually spent some time browsing Canvas and Pen and have found it to be very 'more-ish' i.e. you'll find yourself clicking links to articles within articles just to see what they're about. Lots of useful information, often presented in a very unique way. Definitely worth your time.

Working out how to install a Car Stereo

Many months ago - maybe even more than a year ago - my partner's son asked if I could help install a new car stereo system into his first car. I've never installed a car stereo system before but, like most things, I can usually work it out so I said I'd give it a go.

Unfortunately, before I got started, he took it upon himself to pull out the old system without making any notes about what wire connected where. This pretty much set back my ability to work things out quite drastically.

I did give it a really good try but found the instructions on the new system difficult to follow (due to them being a poor translation into English from either China or Japan). Plus the wires on the new system didn't seem to match anything that was left in the car after pulling out the old system.

Teenage boys, being like they are, things have to be done now. I was being overly cautious because the stereo was new and expensive. I didn't want to accidentally short something out.

In the end he got a friend to install it and I never saw how it all went together. Though I understand I was on the right track with what I had done up to that point.

Fast forward to the last couple of days and my trusty little Galant which I introduced to you in my article Wheels Again.

Shortly after my partner bought this car for me she also bought her son's old car stereo, main unit to put in it. No speakers though as her son no longer had his.

I hadn't installed it yet as the main unit was not unlike the one I'd tried to install months before. Plus, even if I did install it, I wouldn't be able to hear anything until I bought some speakers.

This weekend, I didn't have much work on so I decided I'd give it a go. The Galant had most of the wires in place already from a previous stereo installation. It was just a case of working out what wire went where.

An added bonus was I also discovered the the Galant had one speaker still in place, located right in the middle of the dashboard. The speaker looked a bit past it's use by date but I was hoping it would still be okay.

I'll spare you the blow by blow account but some highlights included:
  • Ending day one with evidence of power getting to the stereo but with nothing else working.

  • Learning that as well as a red wire going to the ignition via a fuse and a black wire going to the car body, there needed to be another yellow wire going to the battery. Presto! All the lights on the radio worked... pretty!

  • Seeing a nice sparky flash when the wire running from the battery made contact with the body of the car (note that disconnecting the battery is always a good idea before installing a stereo).

  • Lots of very sticky red binding tape from the previous installation needing to be removed and getting sticky goo all over my fingers.

  • Researching internet sites for wiring diagrams and discovering an interesting history of the Galant.

  • Spending all day twisting and contorting trying to install the stereo from under the dashboard then discovering a panel right at the top centre of the dash, directly above the stereo, that could be removed. Wish I'd have found that earlier!

  • Discovering that the single front speaker still worked thus enabling me to hear the radio as well as admire all the pretty lights.

All up, this whole installation took me about two days. I didn't have the benefit of instructions and things like the Yellow wire going to the battery was actually a blue wire from the previous installation.

I'm sure someone, who knew what they were doing, could have finished the job in a couple of hours but I just wanted to show that, given enough time, I usually can work out how to do most things.

I'm sure my little Galant goes just a little bit faster now it has a stereo!

getpaidtodraw.com - Your Questions Answered.


Is it a scam? Is the sales message too good to be true? Can you really sit back, relax and get paid thousands of dollars in residual payments?

If you've discovered the site getpaidtodraw.com and have been looking for someone who has bought this product before taking that leap then this review will peel back the glossy sales message and give you the answers. Prior to buying this product I came across much distrust and misinformation about getpaidtodraw.com by people who hadn't purchased it. There was a real need for information so I decided to take the leap and make the purchase specifically so I could write this informed review. Note that I am not, in any way, a getpaidtodraw.com affiliate.

For this review I will be focusing on the getpaidtodraw system which includes; the ebook, instructional videos and database along with access to the systems author Jules Camber (who replies to emails as 'Jamie, President of Champ Entertainment, Inc and Beats365, LLC'). I'll touch on the bonus features towards the latter part of the review. Settle in, this is going to be in depth but I know you'll thank me for it later.

Let's start by getting my opening questions out of the way.

Is it a scam? Absolutely not. This product brings together a great deal of valuable information and a number of different options for earning income through art online that could save you months of research. Some of the opportunities you may not even be aware of. Hence your research may never lead you to them.

Is the sales message too good to be true? In my opinion, yes but not because it is dishonest in any way. Some of the claims are overstated whilst others will take a lot of work to achieve. If you think the money will be rolling in from day one, you'll be disappointed but if you work at it, the potential is there. I'll talk more about this later.

Can you really sit back, relax and get paid thousands of dollars in residual payments? With the information getpaidtodraw.com supplies, it is certainly possible. However it will take a lot of work, uploading a lot of images to many sites. Perhaps if you upload as much work as you can for the first 30 days after your purchase the potential is there to sit back and relax later. You won't be doing much relaxing prior to that though.

So what is getpaidtodraw.com and who should buy it?


Put simply, getpaidtodraw.com is an introduction to a career as freelance commercial artist or photographer (or an introduction to online affiliate marketing if you take advantage of some of the bonus features). It presents you with an introduction to drawing and the art industry along with an introduction to various online opportunities for either uploading your art for residual income or for making yourself available to companies for freelance art,design and photography work.

It's best suited to people who already have some artistic or photographic ability but need some direction in finding opportunities to earn money. If you're an experienced artist, already working freelance, you may find useful additional opportunities but you may also find you already are utilizing many of them.

If you can't draw but can take a decent photo then many of the opportunities will be suited to you.

If you're looking for something that will teach you to draw as well then this system will give you some pointers but you won't be serious competition to a professional artist any time soon.


If you've read the sales pitch and highlighted the points about learning how to sell your paintings on ebay for thousands of dollars as an attractive feature you will be extremely disappointed.

How does getpaidtodraw.com work?

Once you have access to the members area you begin by reading the 50 page, 23 chapter, getpaidtodraw ebook. Obviously I'm not going to disclose all the information presented however this is the core component of the getpaidtodraw system so I will make a few comments.

The ebook is most useful as an introduction to all the various opportunities that the getpaidtodraw system puts forward. It does not go into any opportunity in any great detail but as a quick overview it does the job.

The section of the ebook that teaches you how to draw needs to be read in conjunction with the four 'How to draw' videos included in the members area. To be perfectly blunt I found this entire section (which is over one third of the ebook) along with the videos highly inadequate. If this is the standard of drawing that will earn thousands then by all means give it a try. There probably is a market for awkward, child like drawings but you'll have more opportunities if you take the time to learn how to draw properly. There are any number of great how to draw books and free online guides.

If you have any drawing talent whatsoever, after reading the ebook's introduction, skip straight to chapter 13, 'The business' (even the ebook recommends you skip the how to draw sections if you can already draw). Chapter 13 onwards will serve as a useful introduction to all the various opportunities but does not cover any in detail.

For example, the section that talks about ebay gives you a basic overview on how ebay works and how to list your item but does not give any tips at all on how to sell your paintings for thousands of dollars. In fact you'll get more information about how to sell on ebay from the ebay website its self or by reading my own tips for selling your art on ebay than you will from getpaidtodraw.

I'm using the ebay section as an example because I know many artists struggling to get good prices for their art on ebay who might focus on getpaidtodraw's overstated claim. There is no magic formula for selling art on ebay. You must work hard to build a market in order to get the high prices.

The focus of the getpaidtodraw sales message is earning an income from submitting artwork to various web sites however that isn't the focus of the ebook in terms of opportunities. The areas of the art and design industry it covers include a considerable number that sound like regular jobs in this particular field. In other words it's you promoting yourself as a freelance artist to companies whether they be online or not. Noting that it does give you a couple of online marketplaces for finding freelance work.

If you're just starting out the ebook will give you many choices for what direction to take. If you're already working freelance you may not find it as useful but there may be one or two things there that you haven't yet discovered.

Once you've read the ebook and watched the four 'how to draw' videos there are two more videos to watch. One will tell you how to make a web site. The other will tell you how to sign up with clickbank.com, Google Adsense and Google Adwords. You'll need these if you want to get into the affiliate marketing side of earning income online however they have very little to do with getting paid to draw (and more to do with becoming a getpaidtodraw.com affiliate).

Note that there are also four extra bonus videos in the members area, again relating to affiliate marketing and Pay Per Click selling.

Next up is the getpaidtodraw.com database. This is probably the most useful section of the site and includes sites that will pay for your drawings as well as details for many advertising agencies (all USA based). The advantage here is that Jules (or is that Jamie) lists sites that he recommends. One assumes that these are the sites that produced the outstanding income results in his sales pitch, therefore you can get started right away submitting to them.

Whether you will have the same good fortune is another thing entirely. I've looked at the top two sites recommended and I have to say, it is a competitive market where your images will have to stand out against thousands of images. In fact the process is not dissimilar to trying to make your art stand out if you sell paintings on ebay. The difference being that by submitting to these web sites your work can be purchased over and over again - potentially many times in a single day (that's what residual income is all about).

Note that I'm deliberately not mentioning the names of any sites because I don't want to devalue the getpaidtodraw product by giving you the information for free. This review is intended as a guide of what to expect after all.

The final piece of the getpaidtodraw system is access to it's author Jamie. Before writing this review I did contact Jamie to comment on some of my thoughts about his product. He was very prompt in sending his replies - usually by next day.

We didn't get off to a great start as he at first accused me of not reading the ebook (note to anyone with an ebook... if someone purchased your ebook then it's highly likely they will read it first before contacting you. On the other hand if your ebook was free then there is every chance it will have been placed in a folder somewhere for 'later'. I have at least ten or more free ebooks waiting for my attention).

However, once I made it clear that I had read it, he was more forthcoming with responding to my concerns. I won't go over those concerns as most of them I've highlighted above in areas where I think the product is lacking but this is what Jamie had to say regarding customer feedback he's received:

"We here at GPTD receive great member testimonials. Alot of them are very happy to have learned these tactics existed, and love the customer service, because when an artist emails us, I personally help them "calibrate" their presentation. We receive alot of positive testimonials from members, but skepticism from visitors (Who are non-members.)"

Jamie also said this in relation to sales of the getpaidtodraw system:

"From the numbers on the back end, and the customer satisfaction polls at our retailer, the numbers are very good. It is not a top selling product because it is not in a major niche, but customer satisfaction is extremely high. It has to do with the fact that it is not just an ebook, but a pretty good one and has a complete database and videos..."

My purpose in highlighting these two quotes from Jamie is to show that, from his point of view at least, the majority of people buying his product are happy with their purchase. It also demonstrates Jamie's willingness to respond to emails should you have questions.

To finish up, I'll briefly mention some of the bonus materials you receive with your purchase.

Bonus 1: The Profit Arsenal - 7 ebook course. To be honest, I'm not sure if I even received this? More ebooks on affiliate marketing I think? If I did download them, they're probably in a folder somewhere.

Bonus 2: The complete graphics champ ecourse and system. These are a series 12 short videos, available in the members area, teaching you various aspects of using Photoshop (a staple piece of software for digital artists everywhere). From what I understand from Jamie these videos are rotated each month, which gives you reason to come back for more.

Bonus 3: Real Personal Support via Email & Total Guidance. Jamie does encourage you to contact him all through out the members section for advice on your drawings and photos. As I've shown above his response time is pretty good.

SUPER BONUS 4: Exclusive "Machine Gun Marketing Pocket Guide". If you're into Pay Per Click marketing (if you're into affiliate marketing then the answer is 'yes') then this guide will teach you how to get the most from your Google Ad Words campaigns.

To sum up this lengthy review I'm going to give my personal opinion and experience as a customer to date.

I purchased the getpaidtodraw.com system about 3 weeks ago and to date have not made a cent. Not because it doesn't work but because I've been slow off the mark putting it into practice. (I already earn a good proportion of my income from freelance design and ebay so getpaidtodraw is getting no credit for that). My point being, that you're more likely to look and think it's all too hard. I did and I'm familiar with many of the concepts presented.

However, I paid for it so I'm going to persevere.

My interest is in the key selling point of uploading images to web sites for residual income earnings. For the two top sites in the getpaidtodraw database it is not quite as simple as upload your art, then sit back and watch the money roll in. These sites have guidelines and approval processes to contend with. Both require a scanned copy of either a passport or drivers license to verify your identity (if you have an issue with privacy then this isn't for you).

If you're a photographer then jpeg images are fine but if you're an illustrator, vector graphics are more desirable on the two top sites (if you don't know what a vector graphic is then you'll need to get hold of a copy of Adobe Illustrator or software that supports Adobe Illustrator eps format, and learn!). Hence it's much easier to get started if you're a photographer with getpaidtodraw's system.

I have hundreds of sketches I could submit but none are vector graphics and I'm still trying to get hold of software that will save vector graphics in the required Adobe Illustrator 3, eps format.

Some of you that have looked at the claimed income earning potential on the getpaidtodraw.com site will be saying this looks like a get rich quick scheme even though it states right off the bat it's not. I can tell you from my own experience that some of the figures quoted such as $3400 for a logo is not that unusual in the design industry. If you think they sound a lot then you haven't worked as a designer.


Logo's in particular can earn a considerable amount of money simply because they are reproduced across an entire organizations promotional material and will represent that organization for many years. If you were designing a logo for a brand like Coca-Cola would you want to be paid for just the time it took to design the logo with out any compensation for how often that logo was used to help sell a product? What if the logo was used world wide and all you were paid was $200 for your time to design it? Would you charge $200 the next time Coca-Cola asked you to design a logo?

Now we're getting off topic.


To conclude, getpaidtodraw.com is not a get rich quick scheme. It does overstate it's sales pitch, especially with this line "You will not need to work after you upload photos!" My advice: don't quit your day job just yet - better wait and see how much your photos earn first!).

However, if you use the resources and the ebook information as an introduction to further research , with a lot of work, it could lead to a high paying career as a freelance, commercial artist. From my own personal experience of working as a freelance artist/designer, even on my meager hourly rate, when it pays, it pays well. Better than working in a cubical. That's why I do it.

Getpaidtodraw.com is not a scam but it isn't easy money either. How much you earn will depend on how much effort you're prepared to put in. What this is, is a good head start for a one off price with no more to pay.

Footnote: Since writing this article Jamie has clarified that Jules Camber and himself are two separate people. Jamie is the owner and operator of the web site and runs the marketing. Jules Camber designed the product. Jamie has also worked on parts of the members section, but the main system was put together by Jules.

Welcome to Utopia: Australia Votes 2007

It's the morning after the Australian Federal election and people all over the country are waking up to the realization that they've just kicked themselves (or been kicked by others) out of their eleven year comfort zone into a brave new era of Utopian Idealism.

Better the devil you know?

A new government means a new coat of paint, new carpets, new furniture and probably even a new corporate logo or name for every government department that is accessed by the public. Symbolic change, known as the 'transitional' period before the new government really gives us something to complain about.

Cynical?

Kevin Rudd replaces John Howard as our new Prime Minister. In his victory speech I heard him say that it was time to "write a new page in our nation's history". He said this again, later in the speech so that's at least two pages of writing just for starters. Well two pages and a signature on the Kyoto Protocol.

What I hadn't heard Kevin articulate before was this 'Utopian Idealism' that he would be a 'Prime Minister for ALL Australians' in which he listed everyone from Indigenous Australians to those serving in the Armed Forces on foreign soil. Kevin talked about putting 'all the old battles behind us', listing examples such as the fight between Unions and business, Public and Private, Federal and State, Growth and Environment. Finally he extended his reach to working with all the great nations of the world. Spoken like a new Prime Minister. John Howard was probably thinking 'yeah, good luck with all that.'

Personally I was quite excited about stealing the new laptop computer from my kids when, during his campaign, Kevin would hold up a computer and wax lyrical about his 'education revolution'. Unfortunately I don't have kids so that kind of curbed my enthusiasm.

You might think that I'm a disgruntled Howard supporter but, through my understanding of Australia's preferential voting system, my vote ultimately became a vote for Labor and Kevin Rudd. I have a thing about voting for minor parties like the Greens and The Australian Democrats first, in the slim hope that enough people will think like me. Then we could put a party into government that would be stunned into dumbfound silence should that ever happen... "pinch me, I think I'm dreaming... do we even have a plan for the whole nation?". That would sober a few people up very quickly the day after!

There are few occasions where you can get me to agree that something should be compulsory and voting is one of them. I'm pro-choice on just about everything but because people have to vote it at least gets them thinking about politics and who should run the country once every few years. I would hate to be in the USA situation where apathy allows anyone with a powerful minority in with a real chance if they can mobilize enough of their supporters into action on election day.

In this country people argue that we should choose whether we wish to vote like we can't choose not to vote. In actual fact, we still can choose not to vote. The cheap way is to turn up to a polling booth and lodge a blank form. The expensive way is to just not turn up and pay a fine for being too slack to get our name crossed off a list.

One thing I loathe about going out to vote is those people lined up, out front of every polling booth, handing out how to vote fliers. I know I pretty much ignored at least one person I know quite well (sorry to that person on the off chance you're reading this) because I just don't like having to wade through you all that much. Blinkers on, eyes on the door and go! That's me.

You could be my own mother (who will probably read this) handing out fliers for the party I'm going to vote 1 for and I wouldn't even see you until I'm out of the polling booth, mission accomplished. Don't believe me? The person I ignored was handing out how to vote fliers for the Greens party whom I voted for as first choice on both forms. I only recognised this person after I came out of the polling booth and noticed they were supporting the Greens.

I watched how the election panned out on the ABC (that's Australian Broadcasting Corporation, affectionately known as 'Aunty' in this country), because they don't 'spit on your mind', to quote Henry Rollins referring to TV network programming. I briefly tuned in to the commercial networks, who started earlier, where Channel Seven wins the Award for dumbing down the coverage for the 'Home and Away' generation, please... 'Tower of Power' and cartoon graphics of Kevin and John in a literal tug-of-war? Big, Hollywood star graphics? The whole thing reminded me of a pro-wrestling match.

For the first time there was at least one seat that had the whole nation intrigued. The Prime Minister's seat of Bennelong, where he was up against ex-Aunty journalist, reporter, and Labor party candidate Maxine McKew. At the time of writing this the seat was still too close to call. It will probably go right down to postal votes. However John Howard, in his concession speech, indicated that he thought the seat was probably lost, making him not only the countries second most successful Prime Minister but also the second Prime Minister to lose his seat at an election.

Maxine will be a legend if she wins it. She partly demonstrates a point I made to my partner on election day that, for an independent candidate to even have a glimmer of hope of becoming Prime Minister, they would need to be a high profile media celebrity. (Now that I've thought more about it they'd also need a really good, rock solid deal with a major party to work as a coalition. An independent leading a major party with a majority? Pigs would have to fly. Better the independents stick to 'balance of power politics').

So all this is becoming a bit long and a little off point. However I couldn't let the election pass without writing something about it. Politics does interest me a lot more than I let on, even if I don't consider myself to be that well informed of each parties policies.

Today we have a new government in Australia. One that I can only hope will do more good than bad for the country. John Howard did a pretty good job of things in many areas but now we have Kevin Rudd. Welcome to Utopian Idealism. Day 1.

The Da Vinci Code(s)?


When Dan Brown released his novel The Da Vinci Code he renewed interest in the artwork of Leonardo Da Vinci and opened much speculation on whether there was more to his work than meets the eye? Specifically that Leonardo was an artist who hid complex codes and hidden secrets within his art.

There is much evidence to support this idea as it is well known that many artists over the centuries have used symbolism to embed deeper meaning into their works than what can be seen at face value. Given that Leonardo was a 'thinker' on so many levels, including his complex ideas as an inventor, there is every chance that his art is filled with hidden meaning.

Whilst Dan Brown's book mentions more than one of Da Vinci's artworks it is The Last Supper, located in the Convent of Santa Maria delle Grazie in Milan, Italy, that gets most of the attention. Largely, I think, because Dan Brown ties it to one of the great mysteries of human legend, the search for the Holy Grail.

I have read The Da Vinci Code and it is a great read. Even though it sources real artworks, societies and research facts I don't think Dan has ever said that his story is anything other than a work of, at best, hypothetical fiction.

Thanks to The Phoenix and the Harley, who wrote in her blog a post titled, De-Coding Leonardo, I was made aware of Italian musician, Giovanni Maria Pala, who claims to have found a musical code within The Last Supper. Giovanni's find was reported on the Discovery Channel web site as a prelude to the launch of his new book, "La Musica Celata" (which translates to "The Hidden Music"), documenting his findings.

If you're interested to know more about Giovanni's musical code then follow the link above to the Discovery Channel article but for my money there's just too much rearranging of elements for me to say the code was intentional. It's almost like saying, if you write 'Leonardo was here' across the face of the painting and then stand back you'll see a previously hidden message that wasn't there. Which is to say you're seeing things of your creation rather than by any intent from Leonardo.

I'm not convinced.

All this leads to what inspired me to write this article and that is a mystery that I'd wondered about for a time in relation to a certain dagger holding hand within The Last Supper. It may have been the movie of The Da Vinci Code that started the rumor or it could have been something else but either way it was suggested that the dagger holding hand in the artwork could not be attributed to any of the Apostles surrounding it. A 'phantom' hand if you like.

Thanks to an extremely useful site, appropriately titled, The Last Supper in detail, I was able to take a closer look at this hand and, as you can see in the screen shots, it clearly can be attributed to one Apostle , Peter. Consistent with other similar depictions of the Last Supper during the same period.

For those of us that can't see the artwork in person but would like to find hidden meanings, codes or just gain a better understanding of this exceptional piece of history then The Last Supper in Detail is the best site for extreme close up detail unrivaled by any other site online.

The site also references some of the source material, notes etc. that Leonardo created in preparation for the painting. If there is a code to be found then surely some strong hint of it would appear in this information?

TET's Comedy Art Video a Winner!


Blank Canvas IV - Art Critic
Video by TET

The above video is my first and only post on the Video, Photo and Music site, View Bug. Given that I only signed up to the site just over a week ago it's very nice to have been selected by View bug's staff as a weekly winner and a recipient of a US$30.00 cash prize. Instantly this video has just become my highest earning video - earning more than my entire collection across nine sites collectively (there's money in online video... apparently?). Screen shot of my win featured on View Bugs home page posted below (click to see larger version).


The video its self pokes more of my humor at the wonderful world of 'conceptual minimalism' - a phrase that I've coined for art that only barely skims the surface of creative potential. It's also a dig at art critics who elevate this work from obscurity, where it should remain.

Whilst I'd like to believe I was selected over thousands of entries, in some pretty stiff competition, going by the views most people seem to get on View Bug, I'd say it's early days for this competition. However a thirty dollar weekly prize is nothing to be sneezed at, especially in the world of online video where many of us are competing for pennies from advertising dollars.

If you're an online video creator, photographer or maker of original music I'd highly recommend you sign up and participate in View Bug before the big names of You Tube, Revver or Metacafe discover it.

At least we can be thankful that the winning video is selected by the sites staff and not by the number of views or viewer ratings. Once a big name discovers the site you won't have to compete with an established audience.

Three tips for developing artwork ideas.

If you're an artist struggling with 'artist's block' then here are three tips that may help you get an idea or two out of your sketch book.

Keep it simple.

Many artists fall into the trap of thinking that art needs to be complex and thought provoking. Don't get me wrong it's great when it is but don't try to be complex when you're struggling just to get one idea (save the complex work for when you're on a roll).

Don't over think it.

Just like my first point but even over thinking a simple idea can cause you to abandon it. An idea doesn't need to be perfect it just needs potential. If you look at my previous post, The Creativity of Imagining Dragons, the Blue Dragon artwork may not have happened if I'd spent hours refining my sketch. To complete that artwork I did one partially resolved sketch and worked out the rest as I painted it onto the canvas.

Choose a recurring theme.

If there is one theme that really interests you then keep revisiting and reinterpreting it in new ways. Sticking with a theme narrows your choices down from 'everything' to just the parameters of that theme. Since I started painting cats as a recurring theme (more than 50 paintings and still going) I've almost never been stuck for new paintings. Use your recurring theme when nothing else comes to mind.


These three simple tips are intended to remind you that curing artists block usually means going back to basics. Starting again and working towards the more complex themes and ideas that you can really flow your creativity into.

The Creativity of Imagining Dragons

What does a dragon look like? Depending on where you live your description may vary. For example the European idea of a dragon is a fairly large, dinosaur like creature with a longish neck and huge wings that allow it to fly. Where as the oriental, Chinese style of dragon tends to be more serpent like in the body, retaining lizard like legs, but often does not include wings. The point being, you would still recognize both as being a dragon.

If you're ever stuck for something to get your creative juices flowing then imagining a dragon can be a useful exercise to pass the time. Think about everything you know about what a dragon looks like and then try to draw it. It's not as easy as you might think.

We all know the broad features that make a dragon recognizable to us but when it comes to filling in the details it can be quite a challenge. What does the mouth look like? Should a dragon have horns? What about the wings - could they be bat like or should they be more like pterodactyl wings? What type of dragon is it? Will it be land based or does it live in the water? Would a dragon that lives in the water need wings?

Whilst I haven't painted a lot of dragons through out my career I certainly have drawn many in numerous sketch pads. Dragons are interesting creatures and imagining one can really be a creative challenge.

Pictured artwork:

Blue Dragon, by TET
Acrylic on Canvas Stretcher
40 x 80cm (15" x 31"), November 2007

Student finds valuable art inside sofa bed!

In one of my previous blog posts, titled Art in your couch, I humorously suggested the idea of looking down the back of your couch to see if you could find any 'art'. Today, in a Reuters news feed, I came across this story Student finds baroque painting inside old sofa, which gives serious credibility to the idea that looking down the back of your couch for art may not be such a silly idea after all.

The story relates how a German Student bought a sofa bed at a flea market and, some usage time later, discovered a rather valuable painting hidden inside.

Titled "Preparations for the flight to Egypt," the artwork is believed, by experts, to have been painted between 1605 and 1610 by an unknown artist thought to have ties to Venetian painter Carlo Saraceni.

The student, who discovered the painting between the folds of the sofa bed, sold the painting at auction in Hamburg for 19,200 euros (US$27,660). A tidy profit on the 150 euros she paid for the sofa.

As a footnote to this story, for those unknown artists who may be reading this, there's hope that your art may have real investment value nearly four centuries after you painted it.

Come to think of it, there is a sofa bed in my living room... I think I'll discreetly slip one of my artworks between the folds when nobody is looking!

Alternative Energy doesn't mean Nuclear Energy.

Recently in Australia there has been much debate about the need to find alternative energy sources to fossil fuels like coal, oil and gas. In terms of generating electricity the so called environmentally friendly Nuclear Power is often put forward as the one, clear and sensible alternative energy choice.

However I've always maintained that Nuclear Energy isn't environmentally friendly because no company has found a viable use for the nuclear waste it produces. Nuclear waste is usually stored which, given its radioactive nature and inability to biodegrade safely within a time period of less than before Armageddon, doesn't seem all that friendly to me.

Thrown out any bad art lately?

In contrast to my previous post, Thrown out any good art lately?, this story came to me through a members post on Australian Art Forum about the Museum of Bad Art. I just happened to read the backstory behind the museums cornerstone artwork and the similarities with my previous post demonstrate that even bad art placed in the trash may be more valuable than you thought.

I'm not going to retell the story of Lucy In the Field With Flowers (pictured) because you can read the details by Susan Lawlor, a family member of the painting's former owner for yourself. Suffice to say that this particular painting was recovered from the kerbside trash on a Boston street by the Museum of Bad Arts founder, Scott Wilson, who was promptly inspired to create the aforementioned museum.

The Museum of Bad Art now exists in both online and bricks and mortar form - with the bricks and mortar coming first. Interestingly enough the actual museum is, perhaps appropriately, located just outside the men’s room in a 1927, Boston, New England movie theatre known as The Dedham Community Theatre.

What interests me about all this is who are these people that put art in their kerbside waste collection? It's probably a question that can't really be answered but thanks to them you just never know if your next discarded artwork find will be worth a mint or a inspire a cultural business venture.

It's almost worth going for a walk on bin collection day.

Thrown out any good art lately?


"Tres Personajes" by Rufino Tamayo, a 1970 oil and sand on canvas painting, in an undated image released to the media on Oct. 22, 2007. Source: Sotheby's via Bloomberg News
We've all heard stories of people finding extremely valuable items in kerbside rubbish collections but this one might get you taking a closer look at a few discarded paintings.

New York City woman, Elizabeth Gibson, was walking past a collection of garbage bags put out for collection one Saturday morning in 2003 when her eye caught a painting sticking out the top. Initially she walked right on by but a short time later she returned for a second look with a hunch that this painting may just be the goods for her apartments living room wall.

There must have been something about the painting that suggested there was more to it than would at first appear because Elizabeth began, what would turn out to be, a rather lengthy and difficult journey to find out the artworks history.

Fast forward four years later and Elizabeth learnt that the painting its self was by an extremely important and valuable Mexican artist, Rufino Tamayo and was titled, `Tres Personajes.' Painted in 1970 the title translates to 'Three People' in English.
Clearly a dilemma for Elizabeth who initially hid the painting behind a false wall once she began to uncover just how valuable it was.

If that wasn't enough, it was unnerving to find out that the painting had been stolen almost twenty years earlier from art collectors, a couple living in Houston who bought the painting from Sothebey's in 1977 for US$50,000. A fact she uncovered in 2005 whilst watching a PBS Television program about missing artworks.

Up to this point I'm really just retelling a story that you can read about in several articles including Bloomberg's Stolen Tamayo Found in Manhattan Trash May Sell for $1 Million by Lindsay Pollock.

Now did you catch that last headline? The conclusion to this story is that Elizabeth returned the painting and received a tidy $15,000 dollar reward from the owner as well as an undisclosed fee from Sothebey's for the sale of the painting which is expected to fetch between $750,000 to 1 million when it is auctioned on November 20, 2007.

Given that there are many valuable artworks that have been stolen and never recovered over the years you may want to consider taking a closer look at what people are placing out for garbage collection.

Radiohead - is this the future for commercial creativity?


The music world and the online world in general is abuzz with Radiohead's decision to let fans decide how much they pay for the bands new album In Rainbows before being allowed to download it via their web site.

This simple act has allowed the band to bypass the need for a record company. It's estimated, on average the band will still make about the same amount of money from downloads as they would have going the usual CD release route after the record companies have taken their cut. On average, I've read people are paying about US$8.00 for an album which you can, if you choose, download for free. It's up to you.

If you would like to read a deeper article on the repercussions then Maki from www.doshdosh.com has written a great article about Radiohead and Anti-marketing in the music industy.

What's clever about their decision is that it completely legalizes the free sharing of music. Something that is very web 2.0 where the new words for sharing on a grand scale is going viral. People love getting stuff for free. If the music is good people will share it and pay to see it performed live. By all accounts this is where the real money is for bands and musicians.

What interests me is, could this approach work for other forms of creativity or does this model only work if the sharing by optional donation approach leads to a pay per unit style revenue stream down the line?

For example, could a painter give away, by optional donation, print quality, digital scans of artworks to raise awareness and generate buzz that could lead to people wanting to own the real, original works?

My own business model of uploading free videos of me creating my art in order to raise awareness of my web site, through which I sell merchandise and original art via ebay is a similar idea.

Giving the people what they want so that they may be interested to purchase something later that they perceive as having real value, worth paying for. Which is not to say the free stuff doesn't have value but we all know, at least with digital files, it costs virtually nothing to make a copy.

I don't know. In a sense the idea of people choosing to pay what they want is like busking. It's kind of honorable but at the same time kind of sad. It's like saying I'll take whatever you can give. I don't put a value on my creativity. I'm leaving that up to you.

In theory, if I do a really good job, the next time I release something and ask for people to donate what they like, they may just pay more second time around because their first experience was much better value than they originally thought. I guess that's called creating demand.

Perhaps it's just me but the donation model doesn't sit well with my psyche. I don't mind giving something for free but taking a donation feels like accepting charity or begging.

Radiohead's business model is a good one for a modern world where everyone seems connected. It's a fantastic way to interact directly with your audience (known as your market in business terms). However it's going to take a little more time to see if it really is the future for commercial creativity.

Is there really money to be made by giving your creativity away?

Sucking the moisture out of the air...Island Sky.

In my recent post A Tax on Rainwater I made the following statement:

"A tax on rainwater might be valid if we were literally sucking the moisture out of the air. Farming clouds."

Watching my local evening news broadcast tonight I was interested in a story about Australian owned company Island Sky who manufacture machines capable of extracting the moisture from the air and turning it into drinking water.

Island Sky's technology can be scaled depending on intended usage. From a 'water cooler' style model for the home or office through to being able to adapt the technology for commercial and industrial uses.

As much as the concept of Island Sky's technology is fantastic it does make me wonder if this kind of machine could affect weather patterns if implemented on a large and concentrated scale? For example could we see coastal cities sucking a larger proportion of moisture from the air to the detriment of inland towns?

The reason why I wonder leads back to my original quote above. Sucking the moisture out of the air. That's a much different proposition to collecting water as it flies. It's no longer random, it's calculated. It may have repercussions for the natural movement of water vapor through the air. If that happens then we surely may see a tax on rainwater.

At this point its all a little unknown but the whole Island Sky concept is one that seems well worth backing. Especially if it can bring clean water to developing countries that really need it.

How do you paint in inches?

I recently received a message from an admirer of my art who suggested that I should also include the size of my paintings in inches to assist international collectors not familiar with the metric system of measurement.

My mind, being the way it is, winked at me and thought, but I only know how to paint in metric? How do you convert a painting to inches anyway? Is there a conversion chart?

I found a pretty good conversion tool online but when I typed in the title of my painting it didn't seem to understand and looked at me like I was some kind of fool.

Maybe I'll just buy my canvases pre-converted to inches to save me the worry.

I'm an Adult Now. I can do anything I want!

A common myth that teenage adults have as they start to get closer to that arbitrary line of being an 'adult' is that adults can do anything they want. I'm sure millions of parents have heard from their teen, at one time or another, "I'm an adult now so I can do what I want." A statement that clearly is a childish justification for poor decision making.

Why? Because usually your teen will come out with this statement if you won't let them do something that they really want. To be fair, sometimes it's just the parents being overly protective but, for whatever reason, being an 'adult now' is a childish way to say I don't care for your concern I'm going to do what I want. (Though in that last sentence you can exchange the word 'concern' for 'unreasonable attitude' or more likely yet just insert the word 'sh_t').

Apart from the obvious physical differences the key difference between children and adults is that adults make all their own decisions. Children do make some of their own decisions and are given more and more decisions as they get closer to adulthood but making all your own decisions isn't the same as 'being able to do anything you want'.

Whilst adults do make a lot of their own decisions they can still be held accountable for poor decision making. Just ask Britney Spears who lost custody of her children due to her poor choices. All adults are answerable to the standards of behaviour that we, as a society, have agreed upon expressed in something called 'The Law'.

Of course few people know the fine details of the Law but most of us know simple stuff like treating each other with respect. Most of us also have a fair idea when we do something that breaks the law too.

Leading to the point of this article is the idea that the decisions any one of us get to make is largely affected by decisions made by other people. Decisions that are beyond our control. Things like the Law is one such example of decisions made by others that can affect our choices but I'm referring to decisions on a more local and personal level.

For example. Lets say your lawnmower is broken but you need to cut your lawn before the landlord comes over for a routine inspection of your house. You could either; 1) Not worry about cutting the lawn and wear the consequences. 2) Hire a lawnmower or, 3) Borrow the neighbours lawnmower.

Decision one, don't cut the lawn. Entirely under your control 100% your choice.

Decision two, hire a lawnmower. If you have the money and you can find somewhere that has a lawnmower available for hire then good. Another decision under your control. There's a few variables that you can't control though. If they can't be met then this decision may not be open to you.

Decision three, borrow the neighbours lawnmower. This one could be straight forward if you're on good terms with your neighbour however this decision is only open to you if your neighbour is the kind of person who would like to help you out.

You see, some decisions we have are made available to us through the decisions of others. Lets say, the last time you borrowed your neighbours lawnmower, they had to ask you for it back and you returned it with no fuel at all even though, when you borrowed it, it had a full tank.

Maybe this time you won't be able to borrow it. Your poor choices the last time you borrowed the lawnmower have lead to a situation where you no longer can make a decision to borrow it again. It's not an option, unless you have an extremely forgiving neighbour.

Being an adult who can seemingly do anything they want is not about passing some arbitrary age where society says you're an adult. Being an adult is about understanding how the world works and how you can give yourself the widest possible number of choices when it comes to decision making.

In general, if you do the right thing by other people, they'll be more open and receptive to the decisions you want to make. Not only that, they may just throw in a few more options that could help you out. Doing the wrong thing will almost certainly mean fewer choices.

It's not a hard lesson to learn but it's one that so called 'teen adults' fail to grasp. They'll spend a lot of time trying to do the right thing by their friends yet fail to apply the same concept to the rest of the people in their lives.

I think I'll close this article the same way I closed the article about Britany...

"The truth is that you can get away with doing so much more of what you want simply by doing the right thing by the people around you."

Jack Nicholson, Anger Management and The Joker

I was watching the Jack Nicholson, Adam Sandler movie, Anger Management on DVD and I got to thinking just how good an actor Jack Nicholson is. That's no big revelation really. I'm fairly certain Jack's won a number of awards for his work over the years. However I'll continue on.

On the special features of the Anger Management DVD someone comments that almost everyone has a Jack Nicholson impression, because Jack's voice is unmistakably his. Team Jack's voice with the man himself and you have a living icon that few people in the western world would fail to recognise.

When you go to see a movie with Jack Nicholson, as soon as he appears you instantly recognise him as Jack, yet, in every single movie I've ever seen him in, he immediately becomes the character. You're no longer watching Jack Nicholson.

I particularly like his character, the unorthodox anger management therapist, Dr Buddy Rydell, in Anger Management. Nobody plays a Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde character quite like Jack. Sane and credible one minute, unhinged and possibly dangerous the next. Very cool.

Not unlike Jack's famous interpretation of The Joker in Tim Burton's big screen adaption of Batman. Whilst I am looking forward to Heath Ledger's version of The Joker in Chris Nolan's upcoming Batman sequel, The Dark Knight, I think Jack's Joker was just right for the world Tim created.

I'm possibly just rambling with no real point to this, other than it will be interesting to see how Heath and Jack's Jokers compare. I certainly couldn't imagine Jack's version in the new Batman movies but I would love to see how Jack would've interpreted the role under Chris' direction.

I've no doubt he would've done an exceptional job.


Official The Dark Knight Teaser Trailer posted by t3knoman00

Cy Twombly. Art you can love...or not?

The lawyer for the plaintiffs, Agnes Tricoire, presents to the court a reproduction of the kiss mark on a painting by artist American Cy Twombly.
Photo: MSNBC


In researching this post I'm happy to say that American artist, Cy Twombly's all white artwork, 'Untitled', is an exception to his art rather than the norm. Perhaps that is why the artwork is valued at just over 2.8 million dollars and lays some credibility on my rationale in pricing my own blank canvas in my video guide to Pricing your artwork for sale.

Regular readers will know my distaste for blank canvas artworks so I could not pass up this opportunity to comment on Rindy Sam, a 30 year old, female French artist, who loved Twombly's blank artwork enough to kiss it with fully, lipstick loaded, lips.

The incident happened on July 19, 2007, where the painting was part of a traveling exhibition on display at the Museum of Contemporary Art in the southern French city of Avignon. The kiss was described as an 'act of love' by Rindy who was promptly taken into custody by French Police.

Not amused, the owner of the painting, Yvon Lambert, wants $2,878,000 in damages, which includes the value of the painting and the $47,000 restoration cost. To date, 30 cleaning products have been used on the canvas with little success in restoring it to its pristine, bone whiteness.

You can read the full story in this article, French court tries woman for kissing painting, appearing on MSNBC's web site.

In this article, "Passionate" kiss lands art lover in court, on Yahoo News, Rindy is reported as having said that she 'thought her lipstick had improved the white, untitled painting'. I'm inclined to agree.

Where once there was simply a painting waiting to be started, there is now a collaborative effort that is made all the more interesting for the controversy surrounding it. Value adding I say. Should add another million at least to the price tag now that it will forever be known as the painting that was kissed by an 'art lover'.

Britney Spears, Going Down the Hard Road


Photo: Sun-Sentinal.com

I'm not one to follow the trials of drugged out celebrities but when someone like Britney Spears is getting so much media attention it's hard not to notice. So, here's a post with a lesson.

It seems that not even Britney can get away with doing whatever the hell she likes. According tho this article on E! News, Britney Comes Clean on Drug Test, Britney is finally complying with a court ruling in order to regain access to her children after the courts gave temporary, primary custody to their father Kevin Federline.

The lesson here kids is that no matter how much money and fame you have you still can't get away with doing exactly as you please if your actions are illegal or potentially dangerous to those around you. Sooner or later the law will catch up with you and bite you on the... well, if you're Britney it'll take away your children.

Because that is one of the reasons why we have laws. They're there to protect you from yourself and, if you won't listen, they're there to protect others from your stupidity.

Don't take the hard road like Britney. The truth is that you can get away with doing so much more of what you want simply by doing the right thing by the people around you.

The World Wide Pluto Conspiracy.

Popular YouTuber Nalts recently posted this video rant about the planet pluto being downgraded to 'dwarf' planet status. Nalts video opposes the announcement on August 24th, 2006, by the The International Astronomical Union (IAU), that Pluto would no longer retain full planetary status due its size being considerably smaller than other 'planet like' objects found in the same region of space.

You can read about the announcement in this article from Science Daily which includes an illustration of other objects, amongst them a larger object called 'Xena', that some astronomers were hoping would achieve 'planet' status.

The Nalts video jogged my memory of an article that I wrote way back in 1996 that positioned my beliefs on the question of alien life forms and whether they do or don't exist. What is remarkable about the article is that it puts forward the idea that the planet Pluto may not actually exist. Here is an extract:

Just because you haven’t seen a UFO or an Alien life form doesn’t mean they don’t exist. Most people have never seen the planet Pluto either yet we accept that it exists because we’ve all seen pictures and enough independent astronomers have actually seen it through a telescope to confirm that for us. If that was all the evidence we need then UFOs and Aliens would be fact. We’ve all seen pictures of them and there are enough independent witnesses to confirm their existence for us.

In both cases how do you know that what your looking at is truth. Just because an astronomer focuses your telescope for you doesn’t automatically mean that you’re looking at Pluto. Yes - welcome to the world wide Pluto conspiracy.

Possibility and the need for an open mind is vitally important to reaching your own conclusions on what is truth. One day in the distant future one of your ancestors could be standing on Pluto thinking “Yes, at last I have concrete proof that Pluto exists.”

Then one of my ancestors walks over and says “Pluto? no mate you ever heard of the World wide Pluto conspiracy that was uncovered in the early part of the 21st century?”

- TET, 26 August 1996.



Did I know something back in 1996 - almost exactly ten years before Pluto was down graded in August 2006? Technically, while the big rock in space called 'Pluto' does exist, it no longer exists as a planet. According to the IAU it should never have been classified as a planet in the first place based on the size of other objects found recently with more modern telescopes.

Is this just the tip of the ice berg in the World Wide Pluto Conspiracy? Is Xena working to replace Pluto as the furthest planet from our sun? Could Mercury be under threat in its newly acquired status as the smallest planet in our system? Who are these people at the IAU and why do they get to decide if Pluto can be a planet or not?

You've gotta love a good conspiracy theory no matter how spaced out!


Footnote: The above article isn't intended to be a serious contribution to the discussion. If you would like to know more about the IAU's discussions about defining just what constitutes a 'planet' then a good place to start is this article on their web site.

Mr. McGroovy's Box Creations like no other.

I'm not one to write sponsored blog posts so let me assure you this post is simply because I was very impressed with Mr. McGroovy's Box Rivets™ web site and more specifically the cardboard creations within it.

Mr. McGroovy sells special kind of Box Rivets™ (pictured) that allow your imagination to run wild on large scale box creations such as the pictured space ship. That thing is big enough to send your child into orbit (well if it had an engine maybe).

What I thought was really cool is that Mr. McGroovy provides all the plans you need to make the creations appearing on his site including Pirate ships, castles, fire engines and more. Even a Santa's Sleigh! Check out the gallery of things people have built using the rivets here.

I have a big refrigerator box sitting in my studio. I'm almost tempted to buy some rivets to see what I can turn it into. Better put my creativity hat on!

Photography and Semaphore Beach.


Semaphore Beach, Port Adelaide, South Australia is a favorite place for Enigma and I to visit. Especially around sunset (you know the walk on the beach, kind of romantic type thing that people like). Ever since Enigma bought a professional standard digital camera (of the kind that you can attach all manner of specialized lenses to) we've used our trips to Semaphore as an opportunity to improve our photography.

I've had some training throughout my three years at art school on the technical side of working a manual SLR photography camera. Hence I know about apertures, shutter speeds, depth of field and other such technical things but I'm very rusty in applying that knowledge. I never really embraced the idea of me being a photographer even though my teacher said I had a great eye for photos.

Tackling the workings of a modern SLR digital camera can be quite a challenge. Most of the principles are the same as traditional cameras but finding your way around digital displays, menus and buttons unique to modern equipment is a task both Enigma and I muddle through together. I try to explain what should happen with the settings that we kind of work out together. Enigma does all the composition, framing and actually pushing the button to take a picture.

What makes it even harder is that Enigma's camera is able to use lenses that don't work with the cameras automatic functions. This means that we have to work out apertures and focusing ourselves. It's a bit hit and miss but thank god for the digital camera's ability to take hundreds of photos at virtually no cost (other than wearing down the batteries).

Whilst Enigma takes her photos I also carry around my point and shoot - any idiot could use - digital camera. It's fully automatic but does allow for some manual settings if you really want to get a bit arty. Mostly I leave it entirely on automatic. It doesn't have any kind of optical zoom lense (the digital zoom on it produces awful, pixelated images) so I'm pretty much stuck with having to physically move myself to frame my shots.

However something that we both learnt on our last trip to the beach was that sometimes automatic settings are the best to go with. The photo at the top of this post is one that I took of the Semaphore jetty with my basic camera. I just framed the shot so the brightest part of the sun was blocked out and the camera did the rest. Easy. How it should be. Technology working to assist creativity.

Enigma was trying out a new lense that was really struggling with the light once the sun was really low in the sky. Neither of us being that knowledgeable about lenses, we experimented with it quite a bit, until finally it just became obvious that the light just wasn't enough to get a decent picture. Even with the aperture open wide and the shutter set at a slow enough speed that was still good for hand held photography.

Noticing that my camera was still handling the light fairly well and producing well lit photos, I advised that Enigma should simply reattach the lense that came with her camera - the one that allows all of its automatic functions to work - and try that.

The suggestion worked a treat. Enigma was able to take well lit photos for quite some time after that. Even a few night shots too. Sometimes fully automatic is really the way to go. Especially if you're like us and aren't fully conversant with the settings.

More to the point. Photography is meant to be fun. If you are fighting with your camera, using manual settings, it doesn't hurt to switch back to auto for a while. Just so you can get back to the creative part of framing and composing your pictures.

Another tip I learnt during art school, that applies particularly to taking sunset photos, but is a good rule on any photography excursion. Always look behind, down and above, from your current position when taking a photo. Not all the best photos are right in front of you. Below are two examples of photos that I may not have seen if I hadn't taken a moment to look the other way. Both were taken roughly at the same time as the jetty photo above. (Note: if you weren't aware clicking on any image in my blog will usually show a larger version).

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