Art and Things


 “If we could change ourselves, the tendencies in the world would also change. As a man changes his own nature, so does the attitude of the world change towards him.”

— Gandhi

Hi! Welcome to Active Art. This website is a space to share some of my art, YouTube videos, and POD designs (print on demand). I will be adding and updating things over time so don’t be a stranger and come on by to visit now and then.

On the site you can find pages dedicated to different POD sites, YouTube, and a page dedicated to other artists that I come across. Feel free to take a tour and if you have any questions or comments, don’t be shy.

There is also one page dedicated to a product that I have designed and am developing. When I am able, I will be sharing more about this adventure.

Respecting Other Creators

Recently, I made a digital birthday card on Canva for a friend.

The dog sketch was created by manipulating a photo I found with an image search and then using that manipulation for a drawing. It was almost a tracing but the real life dog I was trying to depict looked a little different, so it was not an exact tracing. It is still clearly taken from the photo. I reached out to the photographer on Instagram and asked permission to use the drawing commercially. I am not sure I will, but I was thinking about it. She was nice enough to agree. Here is the beautiful original photo by Emily Rieman:


There has been increased discussions on Tik-Tok and other platforms about artists stealing images and/or ideas for Etsy or other websites. Some of it is legalistic and obvious. Some of it is not. Posting a homemade Mickey Mouse necklace may get you and/or your item banned from the selling platform. There are some companies that do not seem to mind “fan art”. Without permission, that seems a bit risky to me. It takes a great deal of time and effort to create some of these pieces. To invest that much in something, not knowing if your inbox will be stuffed with a letter threatening legal action, is too much for me.

To be clear 1) I am not trying to parse out legal definitions for copyright and I am not giving any sort of legal advice. This is more of an artist ethics discussion. Please add your thoughts in the comments. 2) Getting inspired by another artist is not what I am referring to in this post. Watching what other people are doing on social media and the internet is amazing. I may watch an intriguing approach or color combination that sparks a train of thought that leads to an idea for a new project. That is different than copying their work. 3) Experimenting and playing with techniques and ideas that other people use is a great way to practice. Can you draw something like that other guy drew? Give it a try! It is great practice, but it is not appropriate to then sell that image.

One area of ownership that I had not initially considered was using names in descriptions or tags. I mentioned Oprah one time in a description. Teespring pulled that listing down in seconds. A couple of sites would not let me publish something that had a tag of “COVID”. I have one design that brushed on a couple of these ideas:

This is from a spray paint vs acrylic pour video I did last year. The anvil stencil I used was made by finding an anvil that was for sale, manipulating the photo, tracing, and then cutting. There were multiple product photos with the same silhouette and the end product does not come close to what a sales listing would look like. I watch the show “Forged in Fire“. Rarely have I been able to write the name of the show on the same page as the art. I knew that it would not be okay to try to use the show’s name to get exposure for the video or to sell the art. I may have # them on IG and Twitter, but not on YT (YouTube) or POD (print on demand) sites.

Confession time: While thinking about this post, I pulled down a couple of designs that leaned on learn to draw type images. I manipulated the drawings and turned them into my own creation, but not enough for me to be comfortable continuing to use them commercially. The Easter Bunny I pulled because of the pose. It was a unique pose among the images I searched through. The second one I just warped around and stretched out a little. I just tried to find it in Google images and was not able. Maybe it has been taken down, or maybe I do not recognize the original reference anymore. Right click search found nothing for the nose and rose and only fish for the gold one. I originally drew the rose for a breathing exercise illustration not to sell. So I slid into that mistake before I realized.

I do not remember her name, but one Tik-Tok artist stated that it is best to take your own reference photo. (Another made a good point that using someone’s personal image without their permission is wrong.) That would be best practice, in my opinion. I would broaden it a little and say to create your own reference. If I paint an image of what another artist created, it would seem appropriate to try to contact that artist. I have created references by cut and pasting different images into one. Think of it as cutting hair out of one magazine, eyes from another, adjusting the shape and form of each individual bit, and then manipulating the final image into something even more different. Is that an acceptable reference?

One area I need to get a bit better at is researching an idea before I roll with it. A saying or phrase may pop into my head and I think it is unique and clever. I may have forgotten or never seen that someone else has made it a whole thing. Researching before I create would save some time. I guess that is part of why I love to do abstract art. No detailed references are needed. It becomes more about color, texture and mood. Driving around and watching the world is my jam.

Where do you draw the line? Has anyone ever copied you? Have you ever been called out for copying a piece/idea?

Finding Old Photos

I had some COVID era time on my hands and decided to straighten up my office. I found an old SD card and popped it in Lightroom. The canyon photos are from a trip in 2013 to Page Arizona. It is amazing how many colors can be pulled from the walls of the canyons. Slight changes in camera settings can change everything. Editing can take you to another world.

The Hawk with his lunch was taken the same year, but from a boat on the St. Johns River in Florida. The card was not full. I am not sure how the two trips ended up on the same card, but it was fun to revisit that year.

Do you have any old SDs around? Maybe a journal with memories that have faded?

Race for Humanity

Base layer: red for the blood of those that have been unjustly murdered that soaks the earth.

Next two layers: Hand prints in the colors of earth covered with the blood of continued injustice.

Next layer: Copper heart that will tarnish if ignored.

Last layer: Representing different skin pigments. Pigments…really. Melanin. Just…why?

-odd side note: the color and paint variations used, make getting an accurate picture of this painting hard. It’s complicated and messy. Worth it.

Artist Shout Out: Jason Anderson

I found Jason Anderson and his beautiful images through Instagram. His early history began with stained glass. You can see that influence in his work. He will also post sketches of his designs that draw you in and allow you to see part of his process. I encourage you to click on his name above to visit his website for a wonderful art tour.

Here is an interview that he did with D Emptyspace on Medium In it, he describes more of his history and process. “This creates two visual experiences. From a distance, it’s a scene. But up close it’s all about the shapes and color.”

Are Face Masks the New Bumper Sticker?

What does our face say about us? Nonverbal communication is very important. I have had a few sarcastic remarks bomb because my smirk was hiding under a mask. (Or, at least, that is my excuse.) We have been pushed into this state of social interaction where we are using the same facial expressions but no one sees them. Our brains struggle to interpret the nuances of communication as the speaker is half covered. I have started to use more head and eye movements as I try to craft my messages in the most understandable way. Some muffling of sound and not being able to augment our hearing with some lip reading also push the need for more nonverbal/non-facial expression.

Face mask art is now a thing. People are designing their own at home, making some to sell, uploading designs to print-on-demand sights. Designers and clothing manufacturers are getting in on it. I wonder if the planned fall designs are all getting a mask accessory? Should I match my purse to my mask or my shoes?

Jokes, quotes, sports, and art

COVID-19 Face Masks: Art and Self Expression

Face masks are now recommended by the CDC. Even before the official recommendation, people had taken to their sewing machines, staplers, and other tools, to find ways to help with mask shortages. There have been creative solutions all over social media. From shop towels and hair ties to sewing machines and colorful fabric, the options seem to be growing. Face masks may be Time’s person of the year.

With half of your face covered, it is a little more difficult to express yourself. POD (print on demand) sites are now helping the sewing challenged to express themselves. I have had a store up on Zazzle for awhile but had not been adding new designs there for a couple of months. This weekend, it occurred to me that customized masks would fit perfectly in their wheelhouse. I clicked on over and, sure enough, they have added cloth masks.

Anyone can design their own or browse through designs that Zazzle has approved. There is an approval process for sellers. It seems Zazzle does that any time they have a template that may be more challenging to fit correctly. If you would like a particular color, pattern, picture, or design to express yourself, this is one way to achieve your goal. Zazzle’s masks are cloth and you can insert a disposable mask or filter into a built in pocket for added protection. They have defined and capped the % commission that artists can get from selling designs on the masks. All appear to have the same listed price.

Two of my designs are still under review but should be cleared in <= 24 hours.

UPDATE: The links are up! Update 2: I ordered one of the masks and while I like how the design came out, the elastic ear loop pieces were cut short. I plan to keep it and either use an extender or sew on new ones. I was able to slide a regular mask into the pocket and use that mask’s ear loops.

Here are some different artists’ designs to get your creative juices flowing:

Work in Progress

Just a quick update: The product that I am developing has been taking up most of my flexible time. A Chinese manufacturer is working on samples now. Due to usual length of time in shipping from there and some virus thing that has been on the news, I am not sure if I will get the sample in weeks or months. The manufacturer has not said anything about a delay….yet. The package design is almost done but there are a few requirements and images that I cannot produce until I have the samples. In the meantime, please enjoy my Easter Bunny fun time creation 🙂

Update: The above link for Society6 is broken as they chose to “suspend” this art image. I have inquired as to why but have not heard back yet. –Heard back a few days later and they did reinstate the selection :). **New update. I took this image down.

Artist Shout Out: LEMANSHOTS

Josephine R. Unglaub is a photographer and digital artist living in Germany. I came across her blog, Lemanshots – Fine Pictures and Digital Art awhile back and made sure to note her page. The images are stunning and mind bending. I love the surreal feeling she creates with her compositions and color choices. With permission, I am sharing some of her images here. There were so many that I enjoyed, it was hard to choose. I attempted to present a nice variety and encourage you to click the link above to check out more of her work.

%d bloggers like this: