Monday, 26 December 2011

Angry people of the internet

I wonder who they are, these randomly angry people who live on my screen. Over time I seem to have found a way to avoid them at source- the fountain of righteous fury.. I have two settings- the first absurdly tolerant and nurturing with a desperate need for understanding of even strangers' motivation and emotions, the second- angry headmistress. The point at which I switch isn't easy to predict but it's often when I'm challenged about my motives or rudely propositioned by someone with serious entitlement issues.

I'm sure I get more than my fair share of messages in uppercase lettering. Without the internet I'm sure I'd get red ink letters. But why? What is it these people get out of relentlessly hunting down things they don't like and getting themselves in a state about it?  I understand the need to see the other side of an argument. I watch documentaries about genocide, read articles about cruelty, listen to Pink Floyd or Justin Bieber songs. Not for fun but because I like to have knowledge about these things rather than turn away or not be able to an express an informed opinion.

Why though do people go out of their way to seek out political, religious or sexual subjects where perfectly rational lucid people discuss issues only ro ramble incoherently in capital letters. At least formulate a calm and reasoned argument, or frankly it looks ridiculous and lessens any valid point you might have. Don't stalk me on facebook waiting for me to post up a picture with a flash of nipple so you can report it, don't make new profiles with stock photos of shiny models so you can scream at me in capital letters, you're not going to change my mind on anything that way. Tell me calmly using whole sentences exactly what it is about my work which upsets you or why you think it makes me a bad person and I'll do my best to understand.

Then I'll tell you why you're wrong ;)

Saturday, 26 November 2011

How to take your own photos for erotic art

I found it really hard to choose pictures for this post as generally the photos behind my work are unseen, I prefer them to be a mystery. I mainly work to commission and I wanted to share a post to help my female customers produce their own amazing images so they  really have a piece of artwork to be proud of. Not just that though- I'm happy for other artists to share this with their own potential models and for people to use this advice for their own photos however they like to use them. I'm sure the advice works the same for men, it's just that I prefer painting girls.


The original photo here was in a set used for some larger paintings but the painting had a detail which would mean it was unsuitable for viewing at work and I want this post to be acceptable for sharing. This one was used for a tiny collectible artwork seen here on the right



I hope this makes it clear that anything can be altered for the final image, colours can be changed and any details can be added or removed. I've been asked to leave out tattoos and piercings, increase bust size, take away inches on legs or belly, lengthen legs. Personally, I think you should go with whatever the good lord (or anything else) gave you but I'll do what it takes to produce an artwork you'll love.

I hope you can also see that I'm not a professional photographer, infact these were taken on a very basic compact camera before I even got my digital SLR. Anything you see in my paintings was produced from photos I took in my own house without professional models or lighting. You can do this as easily as I can and with just as much fun.

Here are the steps I take to get my images, why not try?




1 Self timer.
Arms length shots just don't work the same.

2 Research
Google image search something like erotic art or boudoir photography. If you've ever sent photos to someone over your phone- and you probably have if you're willing to send photos to me- notice the difference. Save pictures you like, find accessories and lingerie that you really love and have a really good idea of the image you want to produce. Try a few different things. You might be surprised what looks good

3 Find a buddy.
If you can, find an open minded girlfriend or gay best friend who doesn't fancy you. That's the easiest option, not the only one. If someone fancies you the session might get heated and you won't get so many pictures. I'm not saying that's a bad thing, just less productive ;) It saves as much running about if you use a self timer and it's really good fun.

4 Free your mind.
Don't worry, these photos are yours and they'll stay yours. My commission work remains private and any pictures you send me will be destroyed. You can cut your face off any photos you send me, if you don't like something just tell me to leave it out. There are many stages before you commit to something and it's a fluid process in which we work together to make the best painting we can. Relax. Have a drink if you want to. Laugh, definitely. My best paintings are not from photo sessions where everything was deadly serious, believe me :)

5 Turn off the flash.
Most important, to me. Maybe it's just how I like my paintings to look, maybe you like it. I find it too stark and it's not the sensual look I like for my paintings. Lamps you've got around the house are just what you need, or if you're doing it in daytime, lit from a window at one side. Throw a coloured piece of material over the lamp if it's too bright, or plain muslin, great for diffusing light. Candlelight can be amazing. Set your camera to a low light setting.

6 Be comfortable.
Once you've done it a couple of times you might be ready to push the boundaries a bit. First time, put on something you love to wear, find the angle you look best at, play around with angles, setting the camera from above and looking up. Lounge on your bed, in your favourite chair, on the floor. There are no rules


It's over to you. All I can tell you is, I don't want to tell you what to wear or how to pose. When I have someone round, we look at photos and pick out a few they like, if they haven't brought something to wear or decided to be naked, we find something in my wardrobe. From then, it's putting on some music and drinking a few glasses of wine... anything can happen. The photos in my albums are all so different. Classy black and white nude, boudoir lingerie shots, fun cheeky sexy shots and the few where it all goes a bit wild.

Send me some photos if you like, any more tips you need just ask me. I can find some lovely erotic photoraphy sites for you to get inspiration from. Even if you don't want a painting- the next time you try to distract your lover in the office by sending them a picture it'll be one to remember ;)







Thursday, 9 December 2010

Peachy!

I've been revisiting my pile of discarded/unfinished work. Some have been destroyed, I've even finished others. When I unwrapped this one I discovered a new love for it. I don't know why I didn't like it or what I thought it needed, it's sweet and dreamy. Hopefully somebody will feel the same and take it home.

Thursday, 2 December 2010

Girls, help me out

I really want you to get behind me on this. Before I start, I want to stress that I'm going to be making generalisations. Even I can find exceptions, but I'll be using evidence for my arguments that what I'm saying is largely true, and I'm really asking for feedback on this one.

Current stats on alt.com, this is better than other sites because I think generally women are more involved in alternative sex sites because they have more to offer them..

View Current Broadcasts of: All (83) | Men (72) | Women (2) | Couples (man and woman) (5) | Couples (2 men) (0) | Couples (2 women) (0) | Groups (0) | TS/TV/TG (4)
When I clicked through, the one woman online by that  time had 72 viewers, the man at the top of the list had one, the rest none. I always use that as a very direct illustration. Women don't watch as much porn as men- you knew that, right?

Even here in blogland most people come upon my blog by certain search terms- that's why I use the tags! I exist within a world which already has it's rules and standards and expectations. I can't have things my way. But I really want to tell you how I wish it could be.

The reason women don't search for porn is due to experience. It excludes us, we have to search too hard to find something we'd like, even then we'll have encountered countless gynaecological pop ups in the search for fetish art or classy erotic photos. I know men who feel the same. The woman who likes cheesy gynaecological porn is about as rare as that one woman watching the guy in the cam room. (And that woman is probably a man)

I really absolutely don't want to see an orange hard-faced man having sex with a girl two generations younger just because he has an unusual ability to keep hard during the photo/camera session. And if I see it I turn off the pc and go watch eastenders. I don't need an up close biology lesson or another picture of a girl getting a facial.

There is a problem which leads to a fundamental division I can't do anything about. It's hard to fight my corner, my argument for "erotic art" when it too often comes under a banner which automatically includes everything from basic hustler porn to bizarre and unpleasant hardcore which most people search for because they're looking for revulsion or something to ridicule.

Just as the meek naturist couples often have to share space with oil basted exhibitionists- they feel the same, if they were to try to show people how innocent it is they'd have to take them to a place where they're more likely to see public masturbation than anywhere else in the country and their argument would be instantly invalid.

And that's how I feel. For all this time I've been trying to work out how to reach women. I so want to spend my days telling girls how to take amazingly erotic photos of themselves which they and anyone else they can choose to show will find stunning/ sexy/ empowering. Because I know that women feel that their sexuality has to be hidden. They don't want to be associated with a kind of pornography which is about abuse. Many guys visiting prostitutes don't ask if the girl has been trafficked-  or so many of them wouldn't be, they don't ask for credentials of the girl in the videos they look at.

There's a fantastic article in the guardian about the differences between the viewers of male and female strippers. It's a perfect illustration of the polar extremes.

I want a middle ground so that average women (not swingers, not those responding to the desires of their partner) can enjoy erotic images without being visually assaulted by things that will turn them right off) Scarlet magazine was great- informative, clever, erotic, it's gone. Thank god for Ann Summers and internet sex shops.

Women are never going to find me, if they do they'll be frightened I'm a guy wanting to perv over their photos.

I want a world where women understand that guys will always look at girls and that's no threat, but where we can meet them half way.

I've asolutely nothing against porn, nothing against nudists, nothing against swingers. I just want my audience to reach further than that into the wider public. Somewhere between those and the high art world is everyone else, my target market.

But if it doesn't happen soon I'll give up the commission part of my work, give up social networking and concentrate on my own work which I'll sell through galleries.

Is there any hope? I don't know

Wednesday, 1 December 2010

Criticism...

I can take it. Really, I'm good with it. I know my place in the scheme of things and I truly don't think I'm any better than I am.

I often call myself a painter rather than an artist. I think of what I do as a craft rather than art. I didn't paint for all those years because I didn't think I was ever going to be good enough to make a living. A big moment for me was when I did my foundation course and my tutors said that I should say I wasn't interested in money at my degree course interviews because taking fine art at university was tantamount to accepting a life of poverty. I didn't go- eventually the degree I went to was in theology and psychology.

I've always been interested in irrationality, the ways people fool themselves, contradictory and foolish belief systems. I have books on the Elvis faith, UFO religions as well as standard world religions. I'm an avid fortean. I'm interested in the prevailing world view shaped by the culture of entitlement we live in whereby the people in the richest nations of the world feel hard done by and everyone's "dream" is to be a vacuous celebrity.

I hope that explains more why I often try to debunk the porn industry illusions of the internet. It endlessly fascinates me. Reality is only disappointing when people have inflated expectations, and they so often do.

I digress, I went off on that tangent for a reason though. The reason I got back to painting wasn't because I suddenly thought I was great, but because trawling the internet made me realise that there is a market for ok paintings, even bad ones. I'm not aiming high, A lot of what I do is copying peoples' own photos, pets, kids, bottoms, I don't mind.

When I started doing this I aimed for the low/mid range, tried to develop a style that would take maybe ten hours per painting so I could price my work at the low end. They don't always work like that. Kimono took a whole week, I've others that took a couple of hours. I started doing ACEO pieces but really thay take me a couple of hours at least and I can't expect even minimum wage from those. I like doing them though.

I don't just do what the market likes, I'd rather work in tesco than copy swirly trees or quirky vintage girls with birds on their heads. I like them, I don't want to do them. A look on the what's selling page of the art sites would soon show me what to paint. Pretty badly in most cases. But I don't want to. I'll do it if I'm commissioned with money up front, but not by choice.

I'm getting there, I think I've lately become more confident in spending a bit longer on the paintings, I'd like a few that demonstrate what I can do at the best of my ability in between the decorative pieces.Who knows, I might get better. I don't know how good I'd be if I hadn't stopped for 15 years, I don't know how things will develop.

I see a lot of forum posts where people post up their work for a critique only to be given one and being outraged, and people selling work on ETSY hoping for £2000 for something one of my kids could produce with a box of poundland acrylics. I'm fine with people telling me my work could be better, I agree whole heartedly. There's some amazing work out there, work that deserve its price tag in the tens of thousands. I'm not asking for that, often I'm asking for enough money for a night down the pub, sometimes only for enough to buy myself a bottle of pink sparkly wine.

So it's fine, critique away. I'm fairly sure Brian Sewell isn't watching my blog ;)

Tuesday, 30 November 2010

Of muses and men

I'm dissatisfied today, it happens.

I was very interested in a forum discussion about muses yesterday. I don't think I can have one in the way it's generally perceived as I generally have no erotic interest in the subjects of my work, but it got me thinking about the difference it would make to what I do if I was involved with a man.

There has only been one man in my life in the time I've been in this specific field of art and I can honestly say he did have an effect on what I did. I enjoyed having a man to think about when I was creating the pictures. In the buying stage and the photographic stage I started to think about what he would find erotic and incorporate it.

It's fun having someone to run scenarios by and see if someone else likes it- someone who would be interested that is. If I was to call up my girlfriends and start describing a secretary bending over a desk or a girl reclining in lacy panties, they'd soon stop picking up the phone. Maybe it's better now I'm just doing what I like.

It'd be great to have someone to stand in front of a mirror with and see what works so I could do sketches for some more boy/girl paintings.

If you see me in the sex shop buying a big blow up man- he's for practise posing with. And to prop up looking out of my bedroom window to deter burglars like some people have them in a car.

That's a brilliant idea! (Brilliant ideas like that are probably why I'm single) ;) If you see this post it's just short of a miracle- I'll think better of it in ten minutes and delete it!

Thursday, 25 November 2010

Different for girls

I joined Fetlife. I like it a lot.

It's unexpected, the feeling of those sites. I mentioned before I was on the glorious adultfriendfinder blogging for a while, alt.com too. I even had a paid membership for a while.

And all this whingeing I do, it's absolutely unrelated to those kind of sites. Aside from a couple of notable exceptions, the respect I got on those sites far outweighed that I got on other social networking and.. dare I say... dating sites.

You see, I really want to just be me- say what I want and be as I am in real life. I try but it just doesn't seem possible. I was probably a bit too much "me" on facebook before I was booted off for facebook nipple crime.

I'm just a normal (hmm, maybe not) person with a regular life. Slightly more boring lately. I haven't been painting long, 18 months or so. I'm not great, but I think I'm improving. I'm the art equivalent of a good karaoke singer- not quite laughable but never gonna play the Royal Albert Hall. (Incidentally I'm the karaoke equivalent of one of those Xfactor contestants who seem to be on day release- I'll stick with painting)

The truth is a lot of straight men would rather have a poorly executed painting done by a woman than a great painting done by a man. I've got no problem with that in essence but I don't want to be treated differently. I'd rather lose the business altogether. Which is why I removed myself from some sites and others even say I don't deal with men at all. It makes me really sad, I had no idea when I started that I'd end up in that position.

I'm as uncompetitive in painting as I am in everything else. I like seeing good art done by others, it makes me want to be a better painter. A lot of the time I'm just playing, pushing paint around. Fine art it isn't- I know that.

It's only really on sites like fetlife where I know boundaries are understood. I wonder why that is.

I want to be more honest without it leading to disaster. I sell on Etsy because men don't look on craft sites. In general that is. You see, I did it again. Most of my readers here are men. I like them. Honest. Men here tend to be cerebral and emotionally intelligent enough to just leave the page if they don't like what I'm saying.

It's what happens if I enter into dialogue with men who want paintings done. I stress, this isn't a universal rule and my etsy male customers are always lovely, I'm able to laugh with them and have genuine conversations. This is the part that male artists don't have so they don't know why I feel this way. I know other female painters of nudes get the same treatment, some don't mind, others do.. It's the bit between dialogue and sale. You wouldn't believe how many guys ask for a critique of their naked body or ask for a "date" in this hinterland of transaction.

I'm sorry if you're one of these guys. Please stop reading now.

Do I like looking at naked men?  Lovely muscly gay oiled men? Yes. Boiler repair men with a beer belly? Not so much. Call me shallow but I've seen what men look at left to their own devices- and those girls don't look like me either!!! Not many Susan Boyle lookalikes in the porn industry. I'm more than happy for you to think that I'm a subo doppelganger.

So what am I meant to say at that point? I don't make much money yet, one day I might, who knows?

If I had the knowledge I'd make a poll. Here's all I can think of

1 "wow you look so hot" (lie)

2 "your **** is so big" (sometimes true but indicating interest)

3 "you're not my type, I'm not interested in naked photos of you" (true)

4 "you look alright, if I was your girlfriend/sex partner I'd probably really enjoy seeing you naked" (often true)

5" damn, I don't know what to say. If I express any interest here you will carry on sending me pictures I don't want to see and possibly even start imagining I'm the woman for you. If I say I don't want to see them or you are not attractive to me you will probably not carry on with this transaction" (TRUE)

6 ... avoid the issue.

I can't lie, just can't. I know I'd get more work if I led guys on and pretended to like things I don't. I actually do fancy men. I'm single. I'm female.  But I'm damned if I'm going to flirt for financial gain with men I don't fancy- I'm a painter, not a lap-dancer!

Strop over. Can I just be myself now?