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April 2011 ArticlesApril 2011 Articles

22 Apr

The Business of Tea Parties

Tea With Dee

Tea with Dee Tea Set. Photo by Larny Mack Photography
Tea with Dee, tea set. Photo Ⓒ Larny Mack Photography

When Larny Mack Photography contacted me about a possible new client he said, “I referred someone to you in need of your help. She needs marketing materials for a new Tea Party business… not the political kind”. I laughed at the qualifier. Honestly I was relieved. I’m not interested in getting into business with any political party. I have my beliefs and some strong opinions. Half the people I know agree with them and the other half don’t. I want better odds than that for my business so I keep the politics out.

I first met with Dee in her home. We shared a pot of yummy peach tea and spent about two hours discussing the business of tea. I had many questions. Why tea parties? Who comes to a tea party? What do you do? How much does it cost? Where did the business idea come from?

I needed to find out how serious Dee was about her tea party business? Did she have a business name? Did she have a logo? What colors did she like? Did she plan on selling products? What ideas did she have for marketing?

I left that first meeting amazed and inspired. Dee knew exactly why she wanted to host tea parties. She had done her homework and made a business plan. Dee was passionate, excited and serious about her new business.

Tea with Dee business cards. Photo by Larny Mack Photography
Business Cards elegantly displayed for a tea party event. Photo Ⓒ Larny Mack Photography

I explained to Dee that I would create her marketing items in a specific order. First, she needed a logo and a brand look. From that I would design her business cards. Next, she needed stickers and hang tags for the tea products. These items needed to be designed and printed before the photo shoot with Larny Mack Photography. She had come to me specifically asking for a postcard design and a website, but these items would have to be done last, after the photo shoot.

Tea with Dee postcards. Photo by Larny Mack Photography
Postcards displayed for a tea party event. Photo Ⓒ Larny Mack Photography

I have worked with corporate clients, small business owners and freelancers like myself. Each offer different challenges and with it different rewards, but none have inspired me like Dee. I don’t know how old Dee is. I know she has grown children and grandkids. I know she is an accomplished and gifted quilter. She also volunteers as a story time reader at a local elementary school. Her energy and excitement are infectious. When Dee first viewed her website I thought she might cry from excitement. Her business dream was now a reality.

Tea with Dee postcards. Photo by Larny Mack Photography
Tea with Dee tea product branded with stickers and hang tags.  Photo Ⓒ Larny Mack Photography

Working with Dee taught me that stage of life is irrelevant. Passion for life is everything. Find your passion and pursue it with everything you have. Take it seriously and have fun with it at the same time.

Dee at her first tea party
Smiling Dee hosting her first tea party. Photo Ⓒ Larny Mack Photography


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15 Apr

Multiple Artboards Part 2

Illustrator Artboards and Align to Artboard

I use Illustrator’s Align tools with every project. The Align to Artboard function is my favorite, because it is a fast and accurate way to center objects on a layout. To work correctly, Align to Artboard needs an artboard that is the same size as the layout. This is a really good reason to embrace the multiple artboard work flow.

With mulitple artboards it is possible to create a branding package with a two sided business card, letter head and envelope design all in the same file. Each artboard can have a unique size and be positioned anywhere in the workspace. The mulitple artboard workflow gives you the power of Align to Artboard tools and the flexibility of a single workspace. For example, when working on the business card design the Align to Artboard tool will align to the 3.5” x 2” artboard. When working on the letterhead design the Align to Artboard tool will align to the 8.5” x 11” layout.

With multiple artboards it is easy to proof everything on a single large page. Just add a large artboard over all of the smaller artboards. In the print dialog put the large artboard number in the page range. You can create a single page large pdf file by doing the same when saving the pdf.

This example is created with five artboards. Artboard number 5 encompasses artboards 1 - 4 and is used to print all four designs on a 17" x 11" proof sheet.

Read Illustrator Multiple Artboards Part 1 here.


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04 Apr

Flower Power PAG Show

Coordinating my first show

Saturday we hung PAG's Flower Power photography show. I am proud of how great it looks because I coordinated the show. This is my first time coordinating an art show and I’m sure it’s not my last. It was a positive, educational and rewarding experience.

I volunteered to be the show coordinator after some friendly ribbing from the rest of the group. Admittedly I was a little nervous. What do I know about coordinating a show? Fortunately it was really easy thanks to helpful and supportive PAG members.

I picked the Flower Power theme because I knew there would be plenty of interest and it would fill up quickly. I didn't want any additional stress worrying about having enough images. That's not really a problem with the PAG group but I wasn't taking any chances. Everyone loves a pretty flower picture and every photographer has at least one favorite flower image.

My concept was to coordinate a show celebrating the beauty and popularity of flowers through a variety of images. In other words, I was hoping to go beyond the stunning, beautiful, familiar looking flower image.

Eric Johnson was the first PAG member to send me his selection of images. He sent me several beautiful, colorful flower images and one beautiful image of a dead flower. I surprised Eric and chose the dead flower image. It is completely different than anything I expected and it is beautiful.

Everything Must Change
Everything Must Change by Eric Johnson

Jack Quintero and Kris Hodson Moore are both showing still life images with black backgrounds. I love how completely different they are. Quintero’s Still Life is very classic, almost old fashion looking while Moore’s feels very modern. Quintero’s still life is super sharp, inviting the viewer to examine every detail. Moore’s soft focus, blurred image is mysterious and dream like. The viewer wonders about the story behind Moore's image while enjoying it's simple beauty.

Still Life
Still Life by Jack Quintero

Night Flowers
Night Flowers by Kris Hodson Moore

The show includes three black and white images. The black and white (plus a little gold color) wall is my favorite in the show. Early Morning Calla by Marc Sheridan is one of the black and white images. It is a classic looking black and white, incredibly rich with depth and texture. Sheridan has an excellent selection of colorfull flower pictures but I am so happy he is showing Early Morning Calla for Flower Power.

Early Morning Calla
Early Morning Calla by Marc Sheridan

I love the lighting technique in Kurt Lightfoot’s What the Bee Sees. Lightfoot coined the term perceptual re-imaging to explain his philosophy on image editing. His philosophy makes complete sense to me, and the result of his editing his stunning. He has transformed the familiar into something more.

What The Bee Sees
What The Bee Sees by Kurt Lightfoot

Mary Waring’s, Singapore Shophouse 2 celebrates what we all love about flowers without being a picture about flowers. It shows how the idea or icon of flower can transform an environment into something happy and enviting. For me, this image really sums up the Flower Power theme.

Singapore Shophouse 2
Singapore Shophouse 2
by Mary Waring

My own Flower Power image is titled Chromatic Illusions. I worked on variations of this image for a couple of months leading up to the show. You can read more about it and the process I chose for printing here.

Chromatic Illusion
Chromatic Illusion by Theresa Jackson

Show Info

April 5 – May 7
Escondido Arts Municipal Gallery
262 East Grand Avenue
Escondido, CA 92025

Saturday, April 9
6-8 PM

Participating Artists

Wade Courtney
Theresa Jackson
Pamela York
Norm Olson
Rachelle Farber
Marc Sheridan
Mary Waring
Kris Hodson Moore
Eric Johsnon
Jack Quintero
Nicole Toesca
Madeline Logan-Davis
Kurt Lightfoot
Kim Hirsch
Lee Loventhal
Eileen Mandell
Kim Zuill
Phyllis Wood-Celmer
Steve Gould
Sing Baker


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02 Apr

Chomatic Illusion - Flower Power Show

Print on Dibond® with White Ink

Chromatic Illusion framed print

Chromatic Illusion is different than anything I have shown to date, primarily because of the print technique. Chromatic Illusion is printed on Dibond® aluminum composite material with UV-cured inks. The print was done by reproHAUS on an Océ Arizona flatbed printer. The Arizona flatbed offers White Ink capabilities. White Ink opens up so many creative possibilities and reminds me of the days I worked for a trading card company. The White Ink capability is the reason I chose to print Chromatic Illusion at reproHAUS.

Chromatic Illusion White Ink
what the white print would look like without color on it

I had an idea of how the final print would look, but honestly it didn’t turn out like I had imagined. Chromatic Illusion is an example of how the print process can be as much a part of the creative process as the photography and the Photoshop work. I expected the inks to print with some translucency, allowing the metal sheen to come through the color in the areas without white ink. In reality the UV-cured inks are very opaque making it difficult to see the metal surface. The result is different than I had imagined, but still I am very happy with the final print.

Bringing my graphics and fine art worlds together

I first visited reproHAUS to meet the Sales Manager, Marc Aguilera. We met to discuss the possibility of my doing creative or production work for some of his clients. When I saw the Arizona flatbed my creative mind kicked in. I started imagining all the possibilities for fine art photography, even though the press is traditionally used for signage and environmental commercial graphics. It makes complete sense for me to bring these two worlds together.

What I like about the print

The dense opaque ink sits up high on the substrate, giving the print a 3D feel. The white ink creates a luminosity that changes depending on the viewing angle. This adds to the 3D look and gives it a holographic feel as well. I feel that the composited flowers image is complemented by the 3D effect.

Chromatic Illusion Texture detail
close up detail shows the textural quality of the ink

I like the play of industrial elements contrasted with the beauty of flowers. The colorful parts of the image are from the Las Vegas Bellagio lobby ceiling where there is a beautiful installation of glass flowers. I like that the real flower in the image is contrasted with the glass, metal and inks and it is the only part of the image without color.

I like how the white jumps forward at you. It really pops off the image unlike any other photographic print I have seen. The white is the first thing you see when you look at the printed picture.

Things I can improve

I’m a little disappointed that I can’t see the metal surface. I will prepare my next print a little different, completely knocking out all inks in selected areas so that the metal surface will show through.

There are a couple areas in the print where the ink dots are creating a moire´ pattern. I saw the pattern immediately, probably because of my litho background. I’m pretty sure the moire´ pattern happened because I used extreme grain and sharpening in the image. The combination of the sharp grain and five colors (CMYK + white) is probably creating the moire´. With this knowledge I am pretty sure I can eliminate it in the next print.

Chromatic Illusion moire
moiré pattern

Flower Power Show

Chromatic Illusion is part of the PAG Flower Power show. It will hang in the Escondido Municipal Arts Gallery for the month of April. I hope you get a chance to stop in and see it in person.

Escondido Municipal Gallery
262 East Grand Avenue
Escondido, CA 92025
April 5 - May 7


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