I have been a member of the Fine Art America community since 2010, in my experience, they are the best. If you want to sell your art (original or beautiful prints), be represented honestly, and be compensated fairly, then Fine Art America is the only way to go! Read on to see why, and if you’re on the fence about joining, wait no longer!
http://fineartamerica.com/newsletters/five-percent-commissions.html

Blood Moon Eclipse 2014 from S. Florida

I was grateful that the sky was clear in S. Florida last night so I could get out there and shoot the moon.

Lots of excellent surfers were out on Saturday at the Juno Pier surf spot in South Florida. Hurricane Irene left plenty of great waves in her wake. Waves of this size are not a regular occurrence in South Florida so everyone comes out, surfers, observers and photographers…I had a great time watching and shooting. Pura Vida!

Surfing at the Juno Pier on Saturday in the wake of Hurricane Irene.

Surfing at the Juno Pier on Saturday in the wake of Hurricane Irene.

Surfing at the Juno Pier on Saturday in the wake of Hurricane Irene.

Surfing at the Juno Pier on Saturday in the wake of Hurricane Irene.

Surfing at the Juno Pier on Saturday in the wake of Hurricane Irene.

Surfing at the Juno Pier on Saturday in the wake of Hurricane Irene.

Surfing at the Juno Pier on Saturday in the wake of Hurricane Irene.

Surfing at the Juno Pier on Saturday in the wake of Hurricane Irene.

Surfing at the Juno Pier on Saturday in the wake of Hurricane Irene.

Surfing at the Juno Pier on Saturday in the wake of Hurricane Irene.

Surfing at the Juno Pier on Saturday in the wake of Hurricane Irene.

Surfing at the Juno Pier on Saturday in the wake of Hurricane Irene.

Lots of surfers came out to the Juno Pier to surf the waves brought to South Florida by Hurricane Irene.

Lots of surfers came out to the Juno Pier to surf the waves brought to South Florida by Hurricane Irene.

Lots of surfers came out to the Juno Pier to surf the waves brought to South Florida by Hurricane Irene.

Lots of surfers came out to the Juno Pier to surf the waves brought to South Florida by Hurricane Irene.

Big waves at the Juno Pier brought to South Florida by Hurricane Irene.

Big waves at the Juno Pier brought to South Florida by Hurricane Irene.

Big waves at the Juno Pier brought to South Florida by Hurricane Irene.

Big waves at the Juno Pier brought to South Florida by Hurricane Irene.

Big waves at the Juno Pier brought to South Florida by Hurricane Irene.

Big waves at the Juno Pier brought to South Florida by Hurricane Irene.

Surfing the great waves at the Juno Pier brought to South Florida by Hurricane Irene.

Surfing the great waves at the Juno Pier brought to South Florida by Hurricane Irene.

Surfing the great waves at the Juno Pier brought to South Florida by Hurricane Irene.

Surfing the great waves at the Juno Pier brought to South Florida by Hurricane Irene.

Surfing the great waves at the Juno Pier brought to South Florida by Hurricane Irene.

Surfing the great waves at the Juno Pier brought to South Florida by Hurricane Irene.

Surfing the great waves at the Juno Pier brought to South Florida by Hurricane Irene.

Surfing the great waves at the Juno Pier brought to South Florida by Hurricane Irene.

Surfing the great waves at the Juno Pier brought to South Florida by Hurricane Irene.

Surfing the great waves at the Juno Pier brought to South Florida by Hurricane Irene.

Surfing the great waves at the Juno Pier brought to South Florida by Hurricane Irene.

Surfing the great waves at the Juno Pier brought to South Florida by Hurricane Irene.

Surfing the great waves at the Juno Pier brought to South Florida by Hurricane Irene.

Surfing the great waves at the Juno Pier brought to South Florida by Hurricane Irene.

Surfing at the Juno Pier in South Florida on waves brought by Hurricane Irene.

Surfing at the Juno Pier in South Florida on waves brought by Hurricane Irene.

Surfing at the Juno Pier in South Florida on waves brought by Hurricane Irene.

Surfing at the Juno Pier in South Florida on waves brought by Hurricane Irene.

Surfing at the Juno Pier in South Florida on waves brought by Hurricane Irene.

Surfing at the Juno Pier in South Florida on waves brought by Hurricane Irene.

Riding the great surf brought to South Florida by Hurricane Irene.

Riding the great surf brought to South Florida by Hurricane Irene.

Surfing the great waves brought to South Florida by Hurricane Irene.

Surfing the great waves brought to South Florida by Hurricane Irene.

Good conditions brought lots of surfers out to ride the waves brought to Juno Beach Florida in the wake of Hurricane Irene.

Good conditions brought lots of surfers out to ride the waves brought to Juno Beach Florida in the wake of Hurricane Irene.

Good conditions brought lots of surfers out to ride the waves brought to Juno Beach Florida in the wake of Hurricane Irene.

Good conditions brought lots of surfers out to ride the waves brought to Juno Beach Florida in the wake of Hurricane Irene.

The conditions were great for photographing the surfers that came out to ride the waves left in the wake of Hurricane Irene.

The conditions were great for photographing the surfers that came out to ride the waves left in the wake of Hurricane Irene.

The conditions were great for photographing the surfers that came out to ride the waves left in the wake of Hurricane Irene.

The conditions were great for photographing the surfers that came out to ride the waves left in the wake of Hurricane Irene.

The conditions were great for photographing the surfers that came out to ride the waves left in the wake of Hurricane Irene.

The conditions were great for photographing the surfers that came out to ride the waves left in the wake of Hurricane Irene.

The conditions were great for photographing the surfers that came out to ride the waves left in the wake of Hurricane Irene.

The conditions were great for photographing the surfers that came out to ride the waves left in the wake of Hurricane Irene.

The conditions were great for photographing the surfers that came out to ride the waves left in the wake of Hurricane Irene.

The conditions were great for photographing the surfers that came out to ride the waves left in the wake of Hurricane Irene.

Photos of the surfers riding the waves brought to South Florida in the wake of Hurricane Irene.

Photos of the surfers riding the waves brought to South Florida in the wake of Hurricane Irene.

Photos of the surfers riding the waves brought to South Florida in the wake of Hurricane Irene.

Photos of the surfers riding the waves brought to South Florida in the wake of Hurricane Irene.

Photos of the surfers riding the waves brought to South Florida in the wake of Hurricane Irene.

Photos of the surfers riding the waves brought to South Florida in the wake of Hurricane Irene.

Photos of the surfers riding the waves brought to South Florida in the wake of Hurricane Irene.

Photos of the surfers riding the waves brought to South Florida in the wake of Hurricane Irene.

Photos of the surfers riding the waves brought to South Florida in the wake of Hurricane Irene.

Photos of the surfers riding the waves brought to South Florida in the wake of Hurricane Irene.

Photos of the surfers riding the waves brought to South Florida in the wake of Hurricane Irene.

Photos of the surfers riding the waves brought to South Florida in the wake of Hurricane Irene.

Photos of the surfers riding the waves brought to South Florida in the wake of Hurricane Irene.

Photos of the surfers riding the waves brought to South Florida in the wake of Hurricane Irene.

Great waves came rolling into South Florida compliments of Hurricane Irene.

Great waves came rolling into South Florida compliments of Hurricane Irene.

Yikes!

Yikes!

Great waves for surfing came rolling into South Florida compliments of Hurricane Irene.

Great waves for surfing came rolling into South Florida compliments of Hurricane Irene.

Great waves for surfing came rolling into South Florida compliments of Hurricane Irene.

Great waves for surfing came rolling into South Florida compliments of Hurricane Irene.

The surf action was non stop at the Juno Pier in Florida thanks to waves brought in by Hurricane Irene.

The surf action was non stop at the Juno Pier in Florida thanks to waves brought in by Hurricane Irene.

It was non stop action at the Juno Pier in Florida thanks to waves brought in by Hurricane Irene.

The surf action was non stop at the Juno Pier in Florida thanks to waves brought in by Hurricane Irene.

It was non stop action at the Juno Pier in Florida thanks to waves brought in by Hurricane Irene.

It was non stop action at the Juno Pier in Florida thanks to waves brought in by Hurricane Irene.

Surfing the great waves compliments of Hurricane Irene.

Surfing the great waves compliments of Hurricane Irene.

Surfing the great waves compliments of Hurricane Irene.

Surfing the great waves compliments of Hurricane Irene.

Lots of great surf was brought to South Florida by Hurricane Irene.

Lots of great surf was brought to South Florida by Hurricane Irene.

Surf's Up!

Surf's Up!

Just in case you want to shoot some of your own pix, here’s what I used. A Canon 5D Mark II body with a Canon 100-400mm f4.5-5.6L zoom lens, a tripod (monopod would be better) and a polarizing filter to bring out the color of the water. In some cases I added as much as one full stop of exposure to compensate for the polarizer. I shot in shutter priority mode, and used iso settings between 160 and 300, that gave me f stops between 5.6 and 9 depending on the shot.

You can see more of my work, photography, art and design at my website, G2GVisions.com, and at my Fine Art America Artist website.

Here are some pix from Delray Beach on Friday evening in the wake of Hurricane Irene. Sorry about the noise in the photos, I got to the beach pretty late and ran out of light. It was beautiful out there…

The waves were still coming in the wake of Hurricane Irene.

Hurricane Irene continues to bring good surf to Delray Beach Florida

Surfing on Friday evening after Hurricane Irene passed.

Surfing Delray Beach on Friday evening after Hurricane Irene passed.

Surfing in Delray Beach Florida on Friday evening, still feeling the effects of Hurricane Irene.

Surfing in Delray Beach Florida on Friday evening, still feeling the effects of Hurricane Irene.

Surfing in Delray Beach Florida on waves compliments of Hurricane Irene.

Surfing in Delray Beach Florida on waves compliments of Hurricane Irene.

Surfing in Delray Beach Florida on the day after Hurricane Irene passed.

Surfing in Delray Beach Florida on the day after Hurricane Irene passed.

Surfing in Delray Beach Florida Friday after Hurricane Irene passed us by.

Surfing in Delray Beach Florida Friday after Hurricane Irene passed us by.

Delray Beach Florida Friday after Hurricane Irene passed us by. Goodnight Irene!

Delray Beach Florida Friday after Hurricane Irene passed us by. Goodnight Irene!

I ran out of light, but the surf and surfers kept on! Keep on keeping on!

Two Waves Collide

A wave collision.

I’m hanging on to the hope for a miracle for all those in the path of Hurricane Irene. Be safe! Come to Florida. Hurricane Irene brought some incredible surf to Delray Beach, Florida. We don’t see surf of this magnitude very much, so this is unique and beautiful. Sadly many sea turtle eggs and hatchlings were destroyed, and we’ve lost a good portion of our beach.

Hurricane Irene Offshore Delray Beach, Florida

Hurricane Irene passing by Delray Beach, Florida

Forceful waves approach Delray Beach Florida as Hurricane Irene passed by.

Forceful waves approach Delray Beach Florida as Hurricane Irene passed by.

The Fury of Hurricane Irene

Passing by at 200 miles offshore Hurricane Irene had quite an impact on Delray Beach Florida.

Hurricane Irene battered the coast in Delray Beach Florida with powerful waves.

Hurricane Irene battered the coast in Delray Beach Florida with powerful waves.

The sky lightened but the waves were still packing quite a punch.

The sky lightened but the waves were still packing quite a punch.

Toward evening Hurricane Irene had moved far enough north to take the clouds with her, and for a while we saw sun.

The surfers enjoyed the big waves that Hurricane Irene sent our way.

The surfers enjoyed the big waves that Hurricane Irene sent our way.

Surfing the big waves brought to Delray Beach Florida by Hurricane Irene.

Surfing the big waves brought to Delray Beach Florida by Hurricane Irene.

Hurricane Irene brought the daring out to ride her waves.

Hurricane Irene brought the daring out to ride her waves.

Hurricane Irene takes a bite out of coastal Delray Beach Florida.

Hurricane Irene takes a bite out of coastal Delray Beach Florida.

Look close, I sent Maxine in to duke it out with Irene!

Look close, I sent Maxine in to duke it out with Irene!

Although beautiful from this vantage point, I know what a hurricane can do physically and psychologically. May all be safe as Hurricane Irene unleashes her wrath. I’m hoping for a miracle! Please, everyone, respect the power of nature.

Fonts behaving badly.

Before upgrading your Mac OS from 10.5.8 to what will eventually be 10.6.8, especially in these complicated times, you really have to plan ahead if you use your computer for work. Especially if that work includes graphic design that uses fonts, they will betray you! But you can get them to come crawling back, you just have to spend a little time taming them.

I had decided to be lazy, against everything I’ve learned in the past 15 years, and try to upgrade my OS while leaving my software as is. I have 14+ applications that I use regularly and I was not up for reinstalling all of them. Looking back, that was a stupid decision, in addition to being lazy. It made a mess out of pretty much all of my design apps and trashed my font management abilities completely.

I started looking for other users comments and experiences and found I was not a unique case, and I just needed to update until I reached 10.6.8 to regain control of my fonts. Whew! Since I installed the new OS from a purchased CD, it was not up to date, it was just plain OS 10.6, a lot had changed. I figured all right, I’ll download the system updates, and all will be well (with a home DSL connection, these take forever). Updates downloaded, and installed, my fonts were still behaving badly. They were not being recognized and every time I tried to verify a font I got an error message and a new “big red x” beside the font.

Now I’m thinking I have to go back to my old OS 10.5.8. Fortunately I had backed my entire system up to a bootable drive so I could go running back in time if it got too scary. I was clueless about the font problem when I did this or I may not have upgraded at all! Note here: I never save work to my computer’s hard drive. I always work off of external drives. I love the ones that contain two drives that you can set up to mirror each other. I have backups of everything, and it’s all in one neat little box!

I looked into updating my font management software thinking that would help. Well, that wouldn’t even install. No matter how many times I pleaded with it. I’d invested a good 15 hours in this process between downloads, research and installs, and I was not going down without a good fight. I lost the battle. I caved…

Since I abhor disorder, and weirdness going on while I’m working, I concluded my only intelligent options were to go back to the old, or wipe the entire drive and start from scratch with the new OS from the CD. I would like to add here, this is where I should have started, as I mentioned earlier. Don’t be lazy, just back up everything to a bootable drive, your safety net, and dive in, wipe that drive clean, install the new OS and all of its updates.

Next, check with the vendor website for each of your apps to see if you need to update them to be compatible with your new OS. You don’t want to install incompatible software and mess up your pristine new system. I spent another 15 hours updating and installing and installing and installing. It was worth it though, my machine was and is screamin’ fast now! But my fonts were still having issues.

Back to web research, I’d found before I did the clean install that the Mac OS’s prior to 10.6.8 had issues with Postscript, Type 1 and OpenType fonts as well as a bunch of other font issues. This site is very informative and helpful. http://www.prepressure.com/fonts/basics/snow-leopard-fonts
Once I read this, since my system software was now up to date, I looked for the solution on my font management software vendor’s site and learned that they offered a fix for the font problems I was having. Personally, I’d rather have software manage my fonts then delve into some of the more complicated solutions. I just want the fonts to be there when I need them, magically!

Most importantly this took care of my font weirdness once and for all. Bad font problems like fonts that won’t display, incorrect font menus, garbled text, faulty font substitutions, false font corruption warnings (which I got for every single font), application instability and all weird performance problems. Big relief. Imagine not being able to open any of your legacy client files. No don’t. I did, and it was not an enjoyable experience.

Insert me here, hugely grateful at this point. Please understand, since I’m a bit obsessive compulsive, I had been at this process pretty much every waking hour since I’d started. I downloaded while I slept! I needed to be up and running to get back to work. Today, everything is running great, and I’m glad I finally got smart and decided on the “clean install” avenue, even though it is time-consuming. I suggest a nice glass of wine to keep you patient, ok, sane, when working during cocktail hour.

As usual, I will not upgrade to the newest, the world’s most advanced OS, Lion 10.7, until 10.8 is announced, since stability, performance, and predictability are important to me while I’m working. I’ll let you brave, edgy folks out there test it out first, oh many thanks to you daring Mac OS devotees. By the way, what animal do you think we’ll have as a mascot for 10.8? Or, hey maybe Apple will use a raptor? Ya think? How about an osprey?

Anyway, just fyi, I use Adobe CS5 Design Premium, Insider Software’s FontAgent Pro for Mac and that cool solution they provide called, Smasher 2. The font tamer!!! Love it. Docile fonts! Find them right here…http://www.insidersoftware.com/ While you’re at it check out their sweet deal on OpenType fonts!

So far, Office, Toast 11, Spin Doctor, Painter 11, Genuine Fractals Print Pro, Photomatix Pro, and VueScan are all doing well with the appropriate upgrades where needed. I haven’t been able to get my LaCie Blue Eye Pro to work correctly yet, and the upgrade won’t install…hmm, ya just can’t rest the mind these days…I must find the answer to this one. Eventually, it’s not a big issue.

I decided to post this just in case any of you are thinking of being lazy. ☺ Don’t make more work for yourself. It really is true. Do it right the first time. It takes way less time! And yes it did take me quite awhile to write this to explain why I did it wrong…and I know better!

“It takes less time to do a thing right, than it does to explain why you did it wrong.” – Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

By now even those living under a rock have at least a rudimentary idea of what social media is. I’m a believer in the power of social media. I’ve increased the amount of views at my website by 400% in a little over a year without paid advertising, using only various social media channels.

Website Magazine suggests that social media is very valuable. http://www.websitemagazine.com/content/blogs/posts/archive/2011/04/08/has-social-media-helped-your-business.aspx
I agree. There are those that don’t agree. Are you one of them? Why?

Warning, it’s addictive. http://www.ustream.tv/decoraheagles

Wow Your iPad Readers.

winter sunset watercolor painting by michelle wiarda as seen at fine art america.

Winter Sunset Watercolor Painting by Michelle Wiarda

Are you an artist or photographer that wants world-wide exposure? If so, read on.

If you haven’t heard about Fine Art America, fineartamerica.com, check it out. Fine Art America is an online art gallery marketplace that is constantly growing. As of today there are 50,560 members. Here are the latest stats from their site. “There are currently 1,168,080 fine art prints, photo prints, paintings, sculptures, drawings, and other works of art available for sale on FineArtAmerica.com (including 1,253 new pieces which were added today).” Fine Art America was founded toward the end of 2007 by Sean Broihier as a forum to connect artists with collectors and other buyers, and to put the business side of their career on “autopilot”, so they can devote more time to creating art. He is said to refer to FAA as his life’s work. Thank you Sean!

You can see it’s also a great place to network with other painters, photographers and visual artists of all kinds. They comment on your work, you comment on theirs, you can have discussions, send each other messages, and you can see what is selling, what others are doing, and what is new. You can sell your original work, and/or beautiful fine art prints of your work reproduced on canvas, or on a variety of fine art papers. You can also choose from a wide array of frames, and an even wider assortment of mats. As you make your choices, an image of your artwork is shown with the mat, frame, or canvas style applied.

If you are a member, or you have checked it out,  you know how amazing it really is. You upload your work, and FAA handles the business side of things for you leaving you more time to create!

I found the Fine Art America website by clicking on a beautiful image of an osprey, the bird, that a friend of mine shared with me on Facebook, (thank you Lauren!). I noticed that the photographer had many images posted on Fine Art America, and his work was beautiful. I decided that if it was good enough for this excellent photographer, it would be good enough for me. Sure I was somewhat skeptical, Fine Art America offers so much to artists, that it seems too good to be true.

At the same time I thought, why not check it out? What did I have to lose? FAA offers a free account, but for a mere $30 a year, you get an unlimited number of uploads, your own free website, a bunch of marketing tools and widgets, visitor tracking and comment info, and so much more. You can see daily and weekly visitor totals, and you get to see where your visitors come from, and they are all over the world. How exciting is that? Through FAA you can start a blog, e-mail your clients and potential clients beautiful newsletters for FREE (just take a look at what Constant Contact charges for that service), put a shopping cart on your site from FAA that works right there within your own site, post a notification on your Facebook wall each time you upload a new piece of artwork, and your uploads show up in Google search engines almost immediately. All of this is included for a mere $30! Amazing and hard to believe. Here’s a link to my Fine Art America website so you can see what a deal this is. Michelle Wiarda Artist Website.

I joined Fine Art America about six months ago. I decided to write a blog about my experience with Fine Art America, but I didn’t want to do that until I sold something and got paid for it.

A couple of months ago I received an e-mail from FAA congratulating me on the sale of a print of one of my pieces. It turned out that a friend of mine made the purchase. I thought, perfect, now I can ask her about the quality, timeliness, and presentation of the print. She assured me that she was totally pleased with the entire experience right down to the delivery of the product.

Several weeks later I sold another print to someone I don’t know. Again, I received an e-mail from FAA notifying me of the sale. The following month I received a check in the mail for my share of the proceeds from the sales of my work. I can say, I have been full circle with Fine Art America and I am happy to recommend FAA. I am a Fine Art America advocate, and I tell as many people as possible about it, both artists and buyers.

maine lighthouse watercolor painting image.

Maine Lighthouse, one of my most popular paintings on Fine Art America.

One very important caveat, you must upload excellent quality images, if you don’t, Fine Art America will not print your orders. If you do a little research on Fine Art America, you will find that there are some people complaining about Fine Art America, and putting it down saying the artwork is bad and more silliness just because Fine Art America demanded that they give them a professional quality image to work with. I should hope that the good people at Fine Art America would make sure that an image is excellent before printing and delivering it to a buyer. They’re doing me a favor by making sure that the prints that I sell are of the best quality! I guess the complainers don’t trust the experts to decide what is acceptable for printing and what is not. Oh well, that’s their loss.

Santorini watercolor painting by michelle wiarda as seen on fine art america.

Santorini, another of my watercolor paintings that gets a lot of views on Fine Art America.

In order to upload your files they must be in .jpg or .png format, and they can be up to a maximum of 25 MB, and I cannot stress enough that they must be of professional quality. Once your image is uploaded you add the title, and keywords to it and an area is provided for you to write a little something about the piece. Fine Art America also offers a unique zoom feature that potential buyers can use to see the quality of your image easily. You can set up different galleries of your work according to content, style or whatever you want. You can rearrange your pieces as you wish. You can edit them, share them or remove them if you want to. You choose your pricing, and the format and sizes you want to offer, and FAA does the rest. I might add that they do not overcharge for their mats, frames, canvases or cards. The prices are very reasonable. I really cannot say enough good things about Fine Art America. Please feel free to add your comments, and experiences with Fine Art America here.

Go ahead, join today, 50,560 of us can’t be wrong (and are happy we did)!

Here are the images that I’m pleased and grateful to have sold through Fine Art America.

complete lovely mayhem a digital painting that i sold through fine art america.

Complete Lovely Mayhem, this is a digital painting that I sold a print of through Fine Art America.

Marblehead Lighthouse photograph, by michelle wiarda.

Marblehead Lighthouse, fine art photograph by Michelle Wiarda sold through Fine Art America.

Join Today, You’ll Be in Business in No Time! Happy Selling!

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