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Evolving as an Artist – Panel Discussion

Our panelists from left to right: Lisa Gruber-Gebby, Sue Nelson and Karen Jewell-Kett.

April’s CDPUG virtual meeting brought together an introspective panel discussing the topic Evolving as an Artist. We were especially lucky to begin with a live performance of David Bowie’s song Changes by Mikey Silas of Apostle Jones. Each panelist has gone through different types of changes. Lisa Gruber-Gebby, of Orange Wall Creative, a print graphic designer, recognized the new directions design was taking and adopted the web early. Karen Jewell-Kett, of FirstHand Studio, retired after a 35 year graphic design career and wanted to start her own studio. Initially she assumed she’d work as a freelance graphic designer, but after careful reflection, decided she was over design work. She decided to explore her own creative goals and needs with painting and found a different way of being an artist. Sue Nelson had obtained her undergraduate degree at 40, has worked in outplacement, career advising and HR consulting. Now as an entrepreneur Sue helps mid-life professionals with their own evolutions through the Job Search CenterLisa Griffis of Rescue Your Photos was unable to attend due to a family emergency. 

Thank you all ladies for sharing your journeys and advice!
A big thanks also to Spike Radway for moderating the discussion, Henry Lee for moderating the chat area, Mikey Silas for his musical introduction and Sarah Coggins for video editing the panel discussion.

Since our virtual meetings can be recorded, I won’t be recapping, but I encourage you to be open to new possibilities, especially in these current times where our world is going through many sudden shifts – in how we work, interact and live our daily lives.

Please click on the link below to view the video. We have also compiled any links our speakers mentioned below:

Evolving as an Artist Video 

Karen Jewell-Kett
PDF with many awesome resources

Sue Nelson 
Book – Transitions: Making Sense of Life’s Changes by William Bridges

Mikey Silas and Apostle Jones

I’ll continue on with some musing. I was curious how many members got to wondering about how their career or art might be ready to evolve. Or maybe it’s something you’ve been pondering for a while now. 

As artists, by our very nature we are always evolving and learning. We are adaptable and innovative thinkers. We’re not afraid to embrace new information or seek new ways to accomplish things.

Members at virtual meeting.

There might be small changes to make, such as challenging yourself to do something out of your comfort zone – adding more orange to your work, working large or oversized illustrations instead of your usual size, or even trying some new typefaces. Perhaps you’re wanting to make some larger changes – you tend to paint still lifes and have always wanted to try adding a few figures. Maybe you’re a photographer and you want to work with more video. It could even be a major evolution. If you’ve been doing photography or graphic design for an employer, maybe you’ve been thinking of venturing out into your own business. Or maybe you’ve done packaging design and want to move to web design.

Have you had any thoughts or ideas on your own artistic evolution you’d like to share?

Self Portraits: Artists Respond to COVID-19

I invite you to visit this insightful virtual gallery show from the Wasmer Gallery at Ursuline College. Although the physical gallery is now closed due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the gallery continues to promote and share artistic expression. This call for self portraits captures the issues and feelings many of us are going through in these unprecedented times. A time of self-isolation, reflection and unique challenges. It’s also a nice reminder that we can still enjoy exhibits, create art and life still goes on!

Artists such as Dürer, Rembrandt, Van Gogh, and Frida Kahlo have been doing self portraits since the earliest of times. Self portraits are not only a figurative study, they capture a moment in time or something that the artist is experiencing thru style, color, or scenery. Masks are definitely a big symbol of our current situation.

Who do you recognize in this list of 118 artists? I picked out a couple of our CDPUG members – Karen Jewell-Kett and Gerry Shamray, familiar local artist George Kocar as well as local teachers and students.

Gerry filled me in a bit about the story of his piece. He said “I started my piece in January. It was originally just going to be a cute sketch of me and the dogs looking out a window, all smiles and stuff. Then I got sick in February with the flu so I was stuck in the house for a month. I worked on the drawing during that period and changed the tone to something downbeat. Instead of looking out a window, I changed it to looking out the front door.  I kept going back and forth with me in the house to me being a reflection in the window coming home. I finally decided to draw it so it was open to interpretation as to whether or not I’m inside or outside, if I’m happy or sad. As I was wrapping up the drawing the pandemic hit so I felt my image hit the mark. I was very happy with the final drawing.”

Be sure to check out the exhibit! Let us know if you know anyone else.

March Meeting – Comics & Graphic Design

Spike hosts our first virtual meeting from space!

Director of Programming Spike Radway began CDPUG’s first ever online meeting on March 26 with the song “The End of the World as We Know It (And I Feel Fine)” by R.E.M. A very appropriate selection with the current pandemic and changes we’ve all been experiencing these past few weeks. We are adapting to the times!

Members were able to attend from the safety and convenience of their own homes while also trying new technology. A quick online survey showed that about half of the 33 attendees had not used Zoom before, so not only did we have a great speaker but we also learned about a new app. An app that is currently VERY useful! Before the meeting, members dined on virtual pizza, got FREE parking, fine-tuned their Zoom settings and began to experiment with breakout rooms. Meeting attendees can split off into smaller groups for networking and additional discussions.

Miguel C. Hernandez presents with Hanzo Gaiden in the background.
All artwork is Copyright © Miguel C. Hernandez. Presentation screen shots by Chris Kaminski.

Our speaker, Cleveland illustrator and comic book artist Miguel C. Hernandez, gave a very engaging presentation about his journey creating comics and graphic novels and how it furthered his interest in graphic design and marketing. Miguel is co-founder of Studio JS with his sister Michelle Littlejohn who is also an artist, illustrator and sculptor. They have a common love of illustration and comics and complement each other. Miguel said Michelle “helps him think a little differently about the projects they are working on.” 

Studio JS currently focuses on illustration and graphic design including logos and storyboarding. Some of Miguel’s current projects include graphic novels or books for JISEI, Hanzo Gaiden and Neo Zero.

Miguel walked us through the process of making comics. It all begins with ideas and a story which he then takes into thumbnails. When creating thumbnails he looks at the overall project, plans out space, time and how panels run with each other. It is the most important part of the comic book process and actually the most time consuming. From thumbnails he moves through rough pencils, inks, tones or color, dialogue and edits and finally book design.

An example of Miguel’s thumbnails.

Miguel uses Procreate with an iPad Pro and Apple Pencil during the early stages for thumbnails and rough pencils. This combination of tools provides him lightness, mobility and a great app. A Cintiq tablet was his work horse for many years the, but he was quickly switched to the iPad Pro and Apple pencil because of their precision and feel. The Cintiq tablet possessed a slight but noticeable latency when drawing. This was not so with the Apple pencil. Procreate has a simple interface and he likes their brushes. It also lets you record your work for replay in a time lapsed video. 

Once his rough pencils are done, Miguel prints them out on Bristol board paper and inks them. The inks are then scanned at 600 dpi and taken into Clip Studio Paint Pro where he adds tones or color. Clip Studio Paint Pro is a Japanese art program specifically for comics, illustration and animation. The cool thing about Clip Studio Paint Pro is that its interface is the same on desktop and iPad. It is also subscription based and they have their own cloud. Miguel said he works both digitally and traditionally while his sister pretty much only works digitally in Procreate on the iPad.

Adding tones in Clip Studio Paint Pro.

When the illustrations are done, Miguel uses Adobe Illustrator to add the dialogue and caption boxes. Miguel creates the style guides, etc. and adds all the type. He recommends the site (Nate Piekos) as a resource for comic book typefaces, caption boxes, templates and other comic resources. (BTW – I experimented with a few fonts for the header!) The finished pages are then proofed and assembled in book form.

Adding dialogue in Adobe Illustrator.

Which areas in comic creation has Miguel found a need for graphic design? He finds design important in: comic page layout, lettering, logos, book design and marketing. Miguel stressed the importance of design on comic book covers. He has encountered other independent artists at conventions who need to improve their covers. You sell or market your books with the cover and it should speak to the reader, be legible, tell a story and even convey a mood. He’s expanded his design work into logo work for companies over the last 2-3 years. In addition to Illustrator, he also uses Photoshop and InDesign to create ads for places like Instagram and Facebook. As with most of us though, he was interested in checking out Affinity products to get away from the subscription.

Miguel showed some of his covers and how they’ve evolved. One example called JISEI (which means “death poem”) showed 2 versions. An earlier version’s title was hard to read while the second version has a legible name and better hierarchy to the information. 

Miguel mentioned a few artists he’d recommend for anyone interested in creating comics. Jake Parker (Inktober) is a very well-rounded comic artist and designer who has YouTube videos on creating comics as well as using Kickstarter to fund your projects. A group called Creaturebox is also worth checking out. They have great design, textures with ripped edges and tape.

Miguel and his sister fell in love with cartoons, comics, and anime at an early age – watching their older brother’s Japanese VHS tapes. He was attracted to the aspect-to-aspect storytelling Japanese anime uses. Aspect-to-aspect storytelling goes from scene to scene to tell a story instead of action to action like American animation. Some anime examples are AkiraFist of the North Star, Vampire Hunter D and films like Ghost in the Shell and The Dark Night. He still likes to watch old 1950’s Samurai films by Akira Kurosawa and he and his kids are Mandalorian and Zelda fans. 

In terms of marketing, Studio JS sells digital and hard copy books on a site called They also sell comics and illustration prints at shows and on Etsy and is experimenting with Kickstarter to fund some printed books. One great tip about is that it is a haven for tutorials. Check it out to find out how to draw in Procreate, storyboard, or draw comics, etc.

An ad for the JISEI Series on

Other tips and comments from our Q & A session:

• Friends and patrons are equally interested in his imagery and story. Miguel enjoys finding that people are actually reading the comics as he talks to them.

• Studio JS’s business is currently about 50% anime and 50% graphic design work.

• Miguel uses aspect-to-aspect storytelling primarily in anime work and not so much in graphic design work.

• His favorite anime and comics growing up included AkiraSpawnSpider ManBlade of the Immortal to name a few.

• It takes about 3 months to put out a 28-page book from start to finish.

• Miguel’s interest in Asian culture, especially Japanese culture, started when he was a kid with Bruce Lee movies. He was interested in martial arts as a kid and still practices martial arts today. Someday he’ll visit Japan.

• Because he is a visual person Miguel storyboards the comics before writing the copy.

• Current influences include Hayao MiyazakiKim Jung GiJake Parker, Amliv Sotomayor, his sister Michelle Littlejohn, music from his brother Bruce and friend Seneca.

• It’s very important to consider the placement of your text as you’re drawing – leave spaces for that purpose.

Thank you so much Miguel for sharing your art and experiences with CDPUG! 

BONUS: Check out the following software deals!
• Adobe Creative Cloud – See TechRadar tip for getting 2 free months
• Affinity – Now offering a 90-day free trial of all Mac and Windows versions of the whole Affinity suite

Successfully Selling Art: A Panel of Experts. Recap Part Three – How To Keep It Fresh & Stay Inspired.

Salli S. Swindell, Cathie Bleck, and Hilary Gent.
Photo: Laura Dempsey

It was an evening jam-packed with information. Six artists (Keith Allen, Cathie Bleck, Hilary Gent, Mike Guyot, Jess Sheeran, Salli S. Swindell) sat down with Linda Barberic to discuss selling artwork. This is the last in a three part series of blog posts. Part One discusses the artists’ best advice, Part Two gives tips on how and where to sell art. In this blog post artists share how they stay fresh and inspired.

Salli has a daily routine in the morning – her most creative time of the day. Her routine involves coffee, cats, colors and posting artwork on Instagram. Creating artwork just because Salli wants to, as opposed to what clients want, is where her joy resides. Interestingly this artwork is what people want to buy.

Cathie enjoys experimenting with different art mediums. Fluidity and energy are important to her artwork. She helped form the Northern Ohio Illustrators Society. Cathie feels Cleveland is a great city for creating art in a supportive group atmosphere. Organizations such as Zygote Press, BRICK Ceramic + Design Studio, Morgan Conservatory and Praxis Fiber Workshop are great ways for artists to meet other artists and try new mediums. She is inspired by creating art with friends as well as tending to her garden.

Hilary advises artists to get out of their own headspace and think about what other artists are doing. Let other peoples’ art be an inspiration.

Jess Sheeran, Keith Allen and Mike Guyot.
Photo: Laura Dempsey

Jess was inspired by a creative group of friends and colleagues. She would wake up early before work to sew new creations. Jess takes January off as a way to recharge. Including time for herself everyday is important also.

Keith, inspired by colleagues at American Greetings and their art blog posts, started to make small three dimensional paper toys and post them on his blog. This led to a bigger pop-up book passion that he admits is good for his soul. His kids’ tidiness, or lack thereof, was the inspiration for his pop-up book “What a Mess”. The Movable Book Society is full of inspirational and helpful pop-up book artists such as David Carter.

Mike keeps artwork fresh between traveling art shows by finding out what is unique in each city. He gathers these unique “must-sees” by stopping in a bar and asking the bartender where they would take an out of town guest. Mike then illustrates these iconic locations.

Artist and CDPUG member Ralph Bacon created this during the panel discussion.

It was suggested that an artist should take the word “work” out of your art keeps it fresh. Every artist is given a gift of creativity – enjoy that gift and try not to squeeze money out of every piece of art.

What inspires you? How do you keep it fresh?

Become a member of CDPUG now to have exclusive access to informative, innovative and fun programs! Most meetings are held at the Garfield Heights Public Library. They have a great Innovation Center just waiting for YOU!

It’s already been decided to repeat this successful program! Save the date – Thursday, January 28, 2021 for the third edition: “Successfully Selling Art: Completing the Triptych.”

Special Offer at CPH: A Timeless Tale Burning with Contemporary Relevance

Save $! Treat your clients, friends, family and yourself to Antigone at the Cleveland PlayHouse. Discounts offered on March 29, April 9, 14 or 18. BONUS: Pre-Show Conversations happen 45 minutes prior to the start of each performance.
Offer good for members of CDPUG. Renew your CDPUG membership HERE!

Don’t delay!
Offer ends Tuesday, March 10.

SUN MAR 29 | 6:30 PM
Discount Price $45 (usually $63)

THU APR 9 | 7:30 PM
Discount Price $50 (usually $75)

TUE APR 14 | 7 PM
Discount Price $50 (usually $75)

SAT APR 18 | 7:30 PM
Discount Price $55 (usually $81)

How about dinner before the show? Check out these nearby restaurants.

Successfully Selling Art: A Panel of Experts. Recap Part Two – How & Where + Tips!

Linda Barberic moderates a Panel Discussion with Salli S. Swindell, Cathie Bleck, Hilary Gent, Jess Sheeran, Keith Allen and Mike Guyot.
Photo: Laura Dempsey

Six diverse artists (Keith Allen, Cathie Bleck, Hilary Gent, Mike Guyot, Jess Sheeran, Salli S. Swindell) sat down with Linda Barberic to discuss selling artwork. It was an evening jam-packed with information. A previous blog post covered the artists’ best advice. In this post I will condense their thoughts on how to get art ready to sell and where to sell it.

These artists want to present their artwork in the best light. Professional photography certainly helps. Gallery Owner/Artist Hilary Gent commented that she does not want to see “crappy cell phone pictures” and instead will push an artist to get professional photos. Jess Sheeran started small but eventually purchased better photo equipment and does not just set her handmade critters in her yard for photos anymore.

In addition to photography artists can have their two-dimensional artwork scanned. Cathie Bleck hires a professional photographer to scan or photograph her work. She wants to have a high resolution digital image of all her artwork. Other artists mentioned utilizing the Cleveland Institute of Art scanning services. Mike Guyot does his own scanning at the Cleveland Public Library digital library. Best of all these high-end scanners are free to use. He recommends calling in advance to reserve a scanner.

A tangible way to introduce your art is a small portfolio book of artwork with a bio. Cathie Bleck prints these books through Blurb and distributes them to gallery owners. She feels these portfolio books are a good business investment. They leave a great professional impression and are portable. Gallery owner Hilary Gent agreed that receiving a portfolio book of Cathie’s would make a great first impression.

Salli Swindell’s They Draw & Cook calendar

Many artists sell reproductions in addition to originals – such as Salli Swindell’s cooking calendars, Keith Allen’s pop-up books or Mike Guyot’s prints. The process Keith went through to get his pop-up book published was detailed in his prior CDPUG presentation. Keith was able to generate interest in his pop-up art by posting short how-to videos. Keith created a fan-club of sorts that contributed to his Kickstarter Campaign to successfully publish a pop-up book. He said to gather your crowd, and advertise on the site before starting a Kickstarter campaign.

Keith Allen’s Kickstarter campaign was a success.

Of course artwork reproduction does not have to be limited to print on paper. Cathie Bleck has her art printed on tea towels and leggings! This way she can have a variety of price points and appeal to a wider sales audience.
All seemed to agree that having a variety of price points is important. Jess Sheeran felt that having a less expensive hand-made critter “nugget” generated more income overall. Mike Guyot sells many reproductions of his originals. They are priced less and appeal to a wider audience.

Cathie Bleck’s leggings.

Licensing artwork and contracts are both big topics. Salli Swindell creates social expressions art for greeting cards and believes that licensing is not always best and a flat fee is sometimes a better option. She explained, if artwork is licensed to a company that makes a product but does not sell anything – that is a bad deal. Sometimes she would rather get a flat fee up front. Salli admits there is a lot to learn about licensing. An artist can license artwork for web use only, one time only, thus a wide variety of options exist. Salli may be in the minority in thinking it is OK to give up the rights to artwork. She may never use the artwork for another purpose and is a very prolific artist. It has worked well for her but most people do not want to give up rights to their art. Salli believes having a good Rep helps with contracts and negotiations. Cathie Bleck hired an entertainment lawyer to assist her with negotiations and licensing. She said it is best to know your negotiating position and to not be afraid of negotiating. It was suggested that it is best to select a rep that works with artists in your art genre and that reps can be found by searching online.

Selling art online, in a gallery or art show was discussed.

All agreed an online and/or social media presence is necessary. Most artists mentioned success with their own website, Instagram and/or Facebook. Some artists had a preference for Instagram as it was a more visual social media platform. Salli Swindell usually posts an original piece of art daily and uses her Instagram site as a mini-portfolio. Jess Sheeran has found Etsy easy to use and advised the audience to not be intimidated by it. As mentioned previously Keith Allen built an online fan club by posting helpful videos and daily pop-up art updates on Facebook. Since great visuals are so important Hilary Gent hired a photographer to handle her Hedge Gallery social media.
Mike Guyot cautioned about posting too much personal information on social media. His insurance agent mentioned that a thief could take advantage knowing when Mike is out of town.

Hilary Gent’s Hedge Gallery

Hilary Gent opened Hedge Gallery to exhibit her and other emerging artists work and make art more accessible to all. She likes to exhibit artists that have the ability to talk about their artwork and tell the story behind it in a way anyone can understand. Being willing to share the emotional story of the art, in a personable way, is the key to making a connection with an audience. She does work with artists that are shy and not outgoing but feels that they do well as long as they can share the story of their art and not be afraid to let their personality shine through. Of course having professional images online or in a printed portfolio helps her get to know the artists work. When reaching out to gallery owners make yourself stand out from the crowd by including a video of how you create your work or a photo of yourself are a couple of suggestions. There are so many ways to get your work noticed in this age of digital hashtags. Hilary encourages people to not be intimidated.

Even though she is a gallery owner, Hilary never discourages artists from selling their own work online and believes social media can work with the gallery to the artists benefit. Visitors to the gallery take photos all the time and Hilary encourages them to link the photos to the artists’ website/social media; thus introducing the artist and their work to more people.

Jess Sheeran exhibits at Cleveland Bazaar.

In addition to art galleries, art shows are another way to reach a wider audience. The art show application process starts online months in advance and usually requires a fee. Mike Guyot recommends reading the application and contract carefully. Some shows do not allow art reproductions to be sold. He admits art shows are hard work and long days. He recommends going to art shows at the set-up to see what is involved. Mike has a large van to transport artwork and modular artwork display walls. One has to be ready for any weather at outdoor shows. Due to hot weather Mike lost a ton of weight at a four-day art show in Ann Arbor. More experienced with art shows now, he prefers shows that are easy to set up and have good food. Some shows he recommends are Cain Park, Boston Mills, Lakewood and Ann Arbor. Jess Sheeran tries to create an atmosphere at art shows and likes to know the dimensions of her display area in advance. She wants to utilize all the allocated space wisely and displays her handmade critters vertically so they can be seen from far away. Jess also displays any awards or magazine articles about her art.

Mike Guyot artwork exhibit at the Lakewood Arts Festival.

So much fantastic insights and advice from talented artists! What advice do you want to add to the conversation?
If you missed this great meeting, do yourself a favor and don’t miss any more! Become a member of CDPUG now to have exclusive access to informative, innovative and fun programs! Most meetings are held at the Garfield Heights Public Library. They have a great Innovation Center just waiting for YOU!

Successfully Selling Art: A Panel of Experts. Recap Part One – What was the best advice you were ever given?

Linda Barberic moderates a Panel Discussion with Salli S. Swindell, Cathie Bleck, Hilary Gent, Jess Sheeran, Keith Allen and Mike Guyot.
Photo: Laura Dempsey

Six artists Keith Allen, Cathie Bleck, Hilary Gent, Mike Guyot, Jess Sheeran, Salli S. Swindell shared their best advice during a lively panel discussion held at the beautiful Keith Berr Productions studio. Just to see the studio alone was worth the trip. Bonus to hear nuggets of wisdom from these dynamic talented artists. Moderator Linda Barberic kept the conversation moving and hosted the event with aplomb. Kudos to Spike Radway, CDPUG Programming Director, and Linda Barberic for pulling together such a diverse group of well-spoken artists.

The evening covered so much ground, we’ve decided to break up the discussion into several posts.

When asked “What was the best advice you were ever given?” each artist had something to say:

Food illustration by Salli S. Swindell.

Salli S. Swindell: Don’t be so rigid in where you think you’re going. Be willing to meander. Let one thing take you over here and correct course if it is not right. Relax your expectations – that opens up room for you to surprise yourself. I graduated thinking I was going to be a fashion illustrator and I am very, very far from that. I never would have thought that I would be co-founder of a large online illustration community but a couple things happened, we (my brother and I) followed them. It turned into a whole new business for me. Let your career open up in a more organic way.

Open Spaces book celebrates the work of scratchboard artist Cathie Bleck.

Cathie Bleck: I got my first job walking in off the street to the Chicago Tribune without an appointment. Be fearless. Be very resilient. There is a lot of rejection. There is a lot that happens in a very organic way. For instance my last show in Chicago, the curator was from L.A. This curator was the person that used to give me advice in NYC when I was there. She closed her gallery there and became a curator. I knew she was showing some work in Chicago so I went to their show and I brought my leggings to give to her because she was so nice to me for so long. I didn’t mean to have anything happen. She was talking to Bert Green the gallery owner and mentioned she’d like to give me a show. So, I really like the idea of doing small products as gifts. Many people buy them as gifts. I use them as gifts too. These gifts are a way to spread the magic around.

Renewed Strength painting by Hilary Gent.

Hilary Gent: On that note of rejection – I remember being in art school. I had some pretty intense professors and I am really thankful for them because they taught me a lot. I learned a lot about constructive criticism and not taking things personally. If someone critiques your work and it seems really negative and you are not impacted positively by it, don’t take it personally. Think about what they are trying to help you do; even though their commentary might seem like it is jarring. Some people just react that way when they see something they like or don’t like. Don’t take too much personally. You hold baggage that way. I think sometimes it prevents creativity from flowing if you are overthinking something that someone said about your work that hurt or made you upset. Just don’t take things too personally. Just keep going.

Ewok Wicket from Return of the Jedi Plush Toy by Jess Sheeran.

Jess Sheeran: I definitely echo that. If I took the things that people said to me at art shows personally I probably would not be working in art anymore. In fact, I have a notebook dedicated to the weird things people say to me at art shows. I share them on Instagram. For example someone said, as they were looking at my critters while I am standing right there, “I would scream if I had to wake up next to this every morning.” So, I took that quote, made a little caption on top of the critter they were talking about, and posted it on Instagram. That post blew up – it was hilarious. So now I expect it and I want it. Someone else said: “What kind of drugs are you on?” I don’t even drink. I don’t take drugs. If I took these comments personally I’d probably get really offended by it. Another thing is price point too. A lot of people when I first started out said I was not charging enough for these handmade toys. I said this is crazy; I can’t charge more than $10.00 for a stuffed animal. No one is going to pay that. But I started to up my prices a little bit. Looked on Etsy and saw what other sellers were selling stuffed animals for. Look around. Ask your friends. Ask someone ‘would you pay this much money for this’, or ‘do you think this is enough?’ Or ‘is it just high enough that you would want to save up for this?’ I definitely have different price points also. I started making $20.00 nuggets because it is just so easy for people to hand you a twenty dollar bill. I really should be charging more but I don’t think I would make the amount of money I do.

What A Mess pop-up book by Keith Allen.

Keith Allen: Do the work that you are passionate about. I feel like those are the projects that really shine through. Those are the projects that people relate to. And it is good for your soul. I think sometimes flipping through Instagram and things like that you’re thinking: my stuff should look like that, or this seems really popular now maybe I should do that. But I think listen to yourself and do the work that you have a passion for.

Radiograph pen and acrylic artwork by Mike Guyot.

Mike Guyot: Best advice I ever got: tons of Gatorade and at least half a dozen clean sweat tops – you really need them after you set your booth up. One thing about social media – I just use Facebook. I don’t tell you what I had for lunch or anything like that. I’m just posting new paintings. George, my insurance agent, told me one time: “I see that you are posting your shows on Facebook and where you are going to be. Don’t do that. People know you’re not home. I bet people break into homes because of this.” So, the next day I got ADT security. I don’t post it on Facebook now. But I have a very large email account with anyone that has ever bought anything. We send them individual little posters of shows. Then I found out people are printing those and framing them and not buying anything.

If you missed this great meeting, do yourself a favor and don’t miss any more! Become a member of CDPUG now to have exclusive access to informative, innovative and fun programs!

It’s already been decided to repeat this successful program! Save the date – Thursday, January 28, 2021 for the third edition: “Successfully Selling Art: Completing the Triptych.”

Get Up Close and Personal with Michelangelo

Don’t miss the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to get up close and personal with the drawings of this master! The holidays would be a great time for a visit with family or friends.

Michelangelo: Mind of the Master will be at the Cleveland Museum of Art thru January 5, 2020.

Seated male nude, separate study of his right arm (recto), 1511. Michelangelo Buonarroti (Italian, 1475–1564)

I visited the exhibit earlier this month and truly enjoyed it. It was amazing to think I was viewing Michelangelo’s 500 year old drawings from about 18 inches away! His own sketch pad with partial figures and studies of a shoulder or the expressive bend of the torso.

Many drawings are shown in association with finished works such as the Sistine Chapel and the sculpted tomb of Giuliano de’ Medici. This allows you to see how Michelangelo prepared and planned his paintings, sculptures and architecture.

I’ve always found artist’s sketches to be more lively and interesting than paintings. You can see underlying structures and the artist’s thought process. Sketches also take me back to art school days when we had time to enjoy the feeling of chalk and charcoal on paper as our mind translated poses onto the page. 

The exhibit, showing 25 drawings from the Teylers Museum in Haarlem, the Netherlands, is the first time the works have been on view in the United States. The drawings are so rare because Michelangelo destroyed many of his drawings to keep others from stealing his ideas. Can you imagine what he produced in his 88 years that we haven’t seen?

Magical 2019 Holiday Party at Sainato’s

Sainato’s at Rivergate. Sainatos delivers the food at our regular meetings.
Photos by Janet Dodrill.

On a cold, crisp December night, with one of the best views of our beloved Cleveland nighttime skyline, this was a memorable holiday evening. Coming in from the chill (parking right outside the door!) and into the warm and tantalizing scent of a Italian food, we said “hello” to Judy (Membership Director) and Jim Beveridge who greeted us with festive smiles, behind them a table full of brightly wrapped gifts for the gift exchange. We’ve got to hand it to Spike for picking a really swell place to celebrate and mingle with our party-loving CDPUG members – some we only see once a year.

Ron Skoczen likes his present.

The service at Sainato’s at Rivergate (our main CDPUG pizza supplier) was fantastic, the buffet table was packed with delicious entrees like mushroom and pepperoni pizza, lasagna, stuffed mushrooms, risotto balls in sauce, and lots and lots of pasta. There may have been a salad. The dessert table featured a variety of Italian cookies with adorable melt-in-your-mouth mini canollis that disappeared as quickly as you can say “canolli”. While the restaurant was more crowded than our usual venues, the well-stocked bar was very easy to get to and the drinks were affordable.

Buffet table.

Before the annual gift exchange, Chris Woodman dazzled us with a couple of nifty magic tricks involving the eight of diamonds and Kevin Bacon. You had to be there. The gift exchange was full of surprises – some smiles, some puzzled looks, some trades – you can’t always get what you want. And, for an election night we can all be happy about, every one of the officers was voted back for another term, with Henry Lee volunteering for vice president – in fact, he was a popular write-in anyway.

Chris Woodman shows his magic card trick to Ron Skoczen and Jinni Fontana.
Mary Averill is super happy with her gift pick.

The CDPUG holiday parties get better every year, so make sure to come next year – and bring a gift. Happy Holidays to you and yours!

CONGRATULATIONS to all of our 2020 CDPUG Officers!

President – Brian Butkowski
Vice President – Henry Lee
Treasurer – Ron Skoczen
Secretary – Michael Schwartz

Also, a big THANK YOU to the following CDPUG members for volunteering their time:

Programming – Spike Radway
Membership – Judy Beveridge
Social Media – Janet Dodrill and Henry Lee
Blog – Chris Kaminski and Laura Dempsey
May Showcase Video Editor – Sarah Coggins


CDPUG members enjoying their meals and each other’s good company!

Cleveland Map Book Could Be Just the Perfect Gift!

front cover of Cleveland in 50 Maps
Published by Cleveland’s own Belt Publishing

Cleveland in 50 Maps
Edited by Dan Crissman
with Cartography by Evan Tachovsky and David Wilson

It is obvious from the multitude of successful local T-shirt businesses that Northeast Ohio has a lot of Cleveland pride. With so much interest in this city, Dan Crissman, Evan Tachovsky, and David Wilson – each with ties to the area – have compiled a visual presentation of just what makes Cleveland so unique. Using data gleaned from a multitude of sources, these three work together to clearly present a wide array of knowledge about this singular city. 

If you have a hard-to-buy-for Cleveland-lover on your gift list, this book is sure to be a hit this holiday season. It’s so interesting, you might just want one for yourself!

Coming in at just over 100 thought-provoking pages, this book is split into five logical sections: 

1) Physical Characteristics (including water features, borders, and flood zones)
Ever thought about what the tree coverage of Northeast Ohio is? How about the surprising vast differences in Lake Erie Ice Coverage over the past four years? You’ll find it here.

2) Infrastructure (like bridges, roads and car accident data)
Did you know that avenues run mainly east and west; with streets running north and south? I certainly didn’t, but for much of the city, this holds true. You’ll find out how much of Downtown Cleveland is dedicated to parking lots. Consider the answers to walkability questions like: who lives within 15 minutes walking time from: a supermarket, a farmer’s marker, a library, a theater. 

3) Demographics
Statistical data relating to Cleveland’s population and particular groups within it are apparent when seeing how the Cultural Gardens has grown as a beautiful tribute to our immigrant roots. Back in the 1930’s, Home Owners Loan Corporation (HOLC) unfairly ‘evaluated’ neighborhoods for mortgage lending risks and many of those designated areas have never recovered from this discrimination and still struggle with attracting investment. 

4) City Institutions
I learned that Cargill Salt Mine is nearly 5 miles long and dwarfs the downtown area. Founded almost a century ago, the expansion of the Cleveland Clinic is shocking from an aerial perspective. Think our city is saturated with breweries today? You should see how many there were in 1910!

5) Looking Forward
This section focuses on the opportunities for the city’s future and how investment will improve circumstances throughout the region.

Take 25% off* with code DEC25 at checkout.
Plus, free shipping! 

*Offer ends December 25. Unable to guarantee shipping on orders placed after December 18.

Belt Publishing is a small, independent press founded in Cleveland in 2013 as a platform for new and influential voices from the Rust Belt, the Midwest, and beyond.

Posted by: Christine Kaminski

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