Saturday, December 28, 2013

Yaro Starak: Living "The Laptop Lifestyle"

Yaro Starak has an enviable lifestyle. His primary workplace is coffee shops in his native Australia. 

I can identify with his "laptop lifestyle" because I, too, am part of that small band of people who don't have to report to work somewhere. Most of my writing and illustrating is done in coffee shops. The above Yaro caricature was drawn in a coffee shop in  Puyallup, Washington, USA. 

I might add that some people are very easy to caricature...Yaro Starak doesn't fall into that category. He's a very difficult subject to caricature because he doesn't have many outstanding features that lend themselves to capturing a likeness. 

I have been a faithful follower of Yaro Starak for many years. I never miss his blog posts. He is one of the "white hats", one of the good guys in the Internet marketing business. You can sense his integrity in his writing. 

Yaro's career began during his college years at the University of Queensland when he set up some hobby sites for the popular trading card game, The Gathering. His work on The Gathering gave him the foundation of technical expertise and online marketing knowledge that he needed to begin building his Internet marketing career. 

After selling his most popular Gathering site, he created BetterEdit, an online proofreading and editing service.  Several years of success followed in his BetterEdit business. Then, one day he installed a blog on the website to improve its SEO. That first blog was the spark which ignited his career and led to creating his popular Entrepreneur's Jouney blog in 2005. He has been at it ever since, making a pile of money along the way. Not a bad gig. 

If you want to take a closer look at making money at blogging, Yaro Starak is a great place to start. At his web site, out his Blog Profits Blueprint and The Membership Site Masterplan. It could be the best decision you ever made.

Check out my other blog: The Trowbridge Chronicles here

Saturday, December 21, 2013

Joanna Penn: Indie Writer Luminary

STARS Of the NET - I first discovered Joanna Penn while perusing on Twitter a few weeks ago and I have since found her to be a prime source of inspiration, and a wealth of information...flavored by a crisp English accent. It's the first thing you notice when you listen to her podcast.

She launched her writing career in 2009 by joining National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo). Since then she has been writing books and garnering accolades at a dizzying pace. This year she was voted one of the Top 100 Creative Professionals of 2013 by The Guardian.

Since her writing debut she has penned six novels: Pentecost, Prophecy, Exodus, One Day in Budapest, and her most recent book, Desecration.

Her prolific career and her fan base has been largely fueled by the strength and longevity of her engaging podcast, which she launched in March of 2009. At this writing she has posted 172 podcast episodes, most of which feature luminaries in the field of indie writing, marketing and Internet entrepreneurship.

If you want to learn more about the burgeoning field of indie writing, you'll benefit greatly from Joanna's podcasts, and her Author 2.0 Blueprint book, which will take you step-by-step through the process of writing and marketing your book.

To learn more about Joanna Penn, or book her for a speaking engagement, go to her web site:

Monday, December 16, 2013

Discovery Bay Rhododendron, Progress

This Rhododendron flower that I found growing on a wild Rhododendron bush along Highway 101 just west of Discovery Bay in Washington State, USA has been my early morning-late night project over the last ten days. It will probably require at least ten more days to finish it, depending on how much time I can set aside to work on it. 

The top flower portion of the painting is now complete. I have enjoyed working on this project because I'm using a technique that I was not previously aware of. In preparing for this painting I discovered the blending brush. This unique brush contains a chemical that dissolves the wax in the colored pencil, giving it a "wet" appearance. 

Though I teach watercolor in my Painting in Paradise workshop, I wanted to try the colored pencil technique with the blending tool and see how it works. Now that I'm familiar with it, I might even incorporate the blended colored pencil technique into my workshop. If people would rather apply color in a dry media, they would have that choice. It would make things much simpler when you're working away from your studio as we do in the Cook Islands. Plus, it think it's easier for most people to control a dry media than watercolor.

I'm still looking forward to moving into the dark background portion of the painting. At that point the flower will begin to stand out. With no low-key background color, the high-key flower colors are still suffering from a lack of contrast. 

Check back soon. The next thing you'll see will be a finished rhodie in the lower right, which is still in pencil. Then I will begin work on the background.

Have you seen my other blog? It's called The Trowbridge Chronicles.  

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Discovery Bay Rhododendron Painting Progress

I'm making slow and steady progress on my Discovery Bay Rhododendron painting. Realistic studio paintings require a lot of patience since the progress moves so slowly. This is actually a colored pencil drawing that I'm "wetting" to make it look like a watercolor painting. This is my first attempt at this technique. I've found that it works very well, and allows for more mobility since colored pencils are much more transportable than watercolors or oil paint.

The wet technique is achieved by using a colored pencil blender. It's a two-ended brush containing a solution that dissolves the wax in the pencil, giving it a "wet" appearance.

There still is a lack of contrast in the painting since the white flower petals are all high key, making them disappear into the background. That will all suddenly change when I start applying the dark background colors.

The above painting will be posted on my Painting in Paradise web site. If you would like to learn how to paint flowers in a realistic fashion, my next watercolor workshop on the exotic South Sea Island of Rarotonga begins on March 30, 2014. There's more info here:

Sunday, December 8, 2013

Discovery Bay Rhododendron Painting...Beginning the Color Application.

I've begun to add the color to my Discovery Bay Rhododendron colored pencil painting. To some extent it's not ready for the public to see yet because at this stage of the painting the colors of the flower are so high-key that there's very little contrast between the flowers and the background. The contrast will dramatically change the painting as I add in the dark background information.  

If you like to get out of your studio and paint, I've found colored pencils to be just the ticket. You can go wherever you want and create a painting. In the next post I'll tell you what I do to make it look more like a watercolor painting than a colored pencil drawing. Colored pencils are much more mobile then watercolors or oils. I've colored part of this at Starbucks, as well as in my home studio. 

The next posting will show the entire flower and perhaps part of the leaves. Then the fun part, watching the painting begin to "pop" as I add in the background. 

Have you seen my other blog, The Trowbridge Chronicles. It's popularity had really increased recently. 

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Discovery Bay Rhododendron

This past spring while traveling along Highway 101 just west of Discovery Bay, Washington, I stopped to photograph the wild rhododendrons growing in abundance along the highway. I wanted to use them as reference for a future rhododendron painting. I have just begun a painting of one of my favorite rhodies among all the photos that I took that day. Above is the initial pencil layout.

It was hard to decide which media to use. I'm always tempted to do my flower paintings in Photoshop, with my Wacom Cintiq because it's so quick and easy. But the problem with painting in Photoshop is that there is no original art to display, and I wanted this painting to hang on our wall. Hanging a color copy as opposed to the original just isn't the same. I also like working on the move, and watercolors don't lend themselves to working at Starbucks. So I chose blended colored pencils. Check back soon to see my progress. The next post will show the image partially painted in.

If you'd like to see some of my finished flower paintings, this is my flower web site, Painting in Paradise. If you'd like to join us in our next flower painting expedition, there are details on the web site. The location is the exotic island of Rarotonga, located in the South Pacific Ocean.