A new chapter. Welcome Graham Hickling to Still Life with Cat Studio!

Graham Hickling is trained as a Wildlife Biologist in New Zealand before moving to the United States in 2002.  He lived in Michigan for several years before moving to Knoxville, Tennessee, where he teaches at the University of Tennessee. Throughout his career he has combined his interests in photography and videography with his wildlife research activities.  His primary interests are nature photography and macrophotography, however his eye for the quirks of humanity in the Southern landscape has led to a growing enthusiasm for street photography.

I’m looking forward to sharing his passion for photography with you soon as we grow his new collection.

G reflectionsSpringfield House

Beauty in destruction

Hurricane Irma left so much devastation in my city.  More than we have experienced in over a century.  Yet in the midst of all the destruction, there is still beauty.  The power that water holds over us mortals is felt in a visceral way when we see what it can do.  These images are from a city park near my home.  I have been walking to and around this park for almost 14 years.  I have seen the park and it’s central winged statue at all times of the day and have photographed it often in many different settings and light.  In many ways the statue (called Life) is an integral part of my life as an artist.  I sell more art photos of this statue than any other local icons.  So when I heard the park had flooded, and that the seawall had breached, I was devastated.

The worst of the storm had passed and the storm surge was beginning to recede when I walked down to see what was left.  The following photos were taken within the first 48 hours of the storm passing.  The most beautiful dawn light comes after a hurricane and I did my best to capture it and the power of the water still crashing into the 100 year old balustrade surrounding the statue.

Memorial Park Jacksonville

Sunrise of Life after IrmaLife with chessmen WMbalustrade sunrise2 WMChess pieces vibrant WMBroken Dreams WMChess pieces sunrise best WMSunrise WV BW WMBroken wall of Life WMRiverside Avondale Preservation

The good news is that the park will be restored.  the city has already begun some work and the Memorial Park Association and the Riverside Avondale Preservation group is also involved.  Many of the marble pieces have been salvaged for restoration and many of the balustrade “chessmen” are now in safe keeping for the day they rebuild the sea wall.  The statue itself was not damaged, in spite of being up to his ankles in crashing waves at one point.

Some great special order pieces to share

Last week I had three special orders come in for big pieces.  I love working with the bigger images.  They are all Italian photos; one from Venice, one from Verona and one from Padua.  I have been experimenting with different paper finishes so it was fun to see how the images would produce.  I know these photos don’t give them justice, but I have to say I love the paper I used!

The first one is called Slices of Nautilus, pieced together using the Layers app by Instagram.  The sidewalks in Verona are largely made of white and pink marble and all of the cathedrals have pink or rose marble floors and stairs.  The marble is sliced so that you can see the fossils embedded inside.  I printed this on metallic Luster paper by Epson.  A new find for me.  Wow do the colors pop and the image is so electric.  The finished piece is 16X20 in the frame.


The next piece is from the Grand Canal in Venice.  Many of the once elegant and colorful doors have begun to rot from the bottom up from exposure to the canal water.  This particular set of doors caught my eye for the beautiful blue and green wood set into a red brick wall.  I used Velvet Luster Paper for this one from Epson.  It has a texture to it that lends a tactile feel to the image.  With natural images and street art the Velvet paper is perfect.  The finished piece is 16X20 framed.


The last one is from Padua in Northern Italy.  This was a Palazzo Archway in the old city center off the central square.  This one is heavily edited on the Prisma app for a water color effect so it would match the customers decor.  I also used the Velvet Luster paper for this one.  It gave a canvas feel to the image so it worked alongside an actual watercolor they wanted to place with it in the same room.  It is also framed to 16X20.


All in all, I feel these projects came out great!  My customers were happy and I am looking forward to doing more special pieces!

Suffering from rejection

I was so thrilled to be accepted into a second market in the area where I live.  I had to work for it, at first they said my product didn’t “fit the venue” but I persevered and convinced them to let me have a spot.  I had a good night of sales and everyone was very nice, the market manager checked on me a couple of times to see how I was doing.

So I applied for the next market and got crickets…..  I finally emailed yesterday as the date is drawing closer and was told again that I don’t fit the genre they are going for.  I’m trying to shake it off.  There are many more venues I can apply for and I’m sure there will be others that will not accept me.  There is some thought process out there that photography isn’t handmade.  I’m having a hard time with that as every shot is thought out, every edit is carefully applied, printing takes place right here in my studio and so does the matting and framing.  That all says hand made to me….


Second Market Day @riversideartsmarket

What an improvement it made to change the lay out of my booth!  What I thought was a welcoming, inviting space instead seemed to put people off.  This week I set it up so everything faced the aisle and I had a lot more shoppers, people actually looking at the work and (YAY) purchasing it!  I sold at least three times what I did last week with the other set up.  I also gave out a lot of my brochures to people interested in custom work.  All in all a good day.




I also had the added benefit of a really good dancer performing for tips across from me.  He brought lots of foot traffic to my part of the market. Riverside Arts Market.


I had to tackle the wind problem I talked about last week.  It was not a very nice day, 50 degrees, cloudy and damp.  The breeze coming off the river was brisk.  I had done a lot of research on Amazon about weight bags that you can buy to secure your tent but they were all too heavy for my needs.  It’s great though that you can learn a lot from just reading the comments.  One person talked about using ziplock bags to fill with sand and adding them to the weight bags they had bought to keep it clean and I put that idea together with another suggestion about putting bricks in socks.  I created my own version of ballast bags with sand in ziplock inside socks!  I then zip tied the socks to my easels and they were much more stable!  I can also use them to reinforce the canopy inside my tent on really windy days.


Adobe Stock approved a photo!

I have been batting around the idea of selling stock photos to one of the websites that posts them for advertisers, etc to pick them up and then pays you. I was leery at first; do I have to give up rights? Can I still use the photos?  I research several and then got an offer from Adobe Stock.  www.adobe.com If you already have Photoshop and maybe even just Lightroom you might be eligible through your Adobe account. It doesn’t pay great, but you keep your rights and can use the photo for other things. You need to have Adobe Creative Suite or Creative Cloud I think to upload to it. It pays the same as a lot of apps, is intuitive to use and fast to approve or deny.

After experimenting a bit with some photos I discovered they must be unedited and of a certain file size. I’m thinking about all the pretty flowers and lucious fruit, etc that I have on file that will not sell matted and framed at shows and thought, why not!!

Here’s my first hit!   Now let’s see if it gets bought!

What I learned my first Market Day

It takes longer to set up than it does to take down.  Price everything!  Wind is NOT my friend!  Booth design is very important to engage market goers.  Don’t drink coffee when your booth is far away from the bathrooms.
It was a beautiful day, 75* but a bit gusty. I brought weights for my tent, but not enough. My matted items on easels were everywhere. The big framed pieces stayed secure.

Traffic was good but so many people just walked past. I set up to create a little store, walk in! See what’s here!  I realized an hour in that’s not what shoppers want to do. They want to walk by and see what you have. If the go in, “they might get noticed, spoken to, trapped).

Next week I’m setting up full frontal!!  Everything out there for the public to see at a glance!

I’m sure I will do better next week.  Better placement, nice matching easels, product priced and better signage.

I’m excited to try again!

Learning how to be a peddler

As I progress getting my photography business started, I am learning a lot of interesting things.  Last week I learned that in Jacksonville, I had to get a zoning disclosure statement (home occupation/peddler) put on file.  After that, I had to go to the Tax Collectors office with my “declaration of peddlerhood” and my “Fictitious Name Registration” to pay my business taxes.  As a sole proprietor of a photography business my license is listed as “Public Service or Repair- Not Specified”.  I’m not sure any of this applies to what I do, but it came the closest I could come up with.  At least now I’m a legal business owner and I can sell my photos and services “legally”.  I also started learning more about copyright laws, “can I sell this photo?” has come to mind several times and I’m erring on the side of caution for now, until I can learn more. 

I have been accepted to two local art markets this spring, which I’m really excited about.  The first is only once a month, but it’s an up and coming little market.  Vagabond Flea in Murray Hill, an historic area of Jacksonville.  I’m also doing the Riverside Arts Market another historic area in town.  RAM is the biggest market in the Jacksonville area and has wonderful art, fresh veggies and food trucks.  I’m excited to be a vendor in both places, so I guess the “peddler” in me is getting a chance to see what I can do.

The last few weeks have been fun and stressful.  I bought a gazebo tent and all my supplies.  My wonderful husband and the son of a friend helped me do a dry run set up of it in the driveway.  Once we figured out the basics it went up and down pretty fast.

As I write this, my new art inject printer is cranking out notecards to sell at the market on Saturday.  I’m taking a break from matting prints.