It is so exciting to receive samples of my artwork on products.  Normally when I receive samples I want to express my gratitude, and usually I can't find the words, this time it was easy. Although when I was playing around with this photography I managed to spell thanks wrong, yip, the reality of dyslexia when I don't have spell check.  I had spelled it thancks.

Thank goodness for digital photography, this was a quick fix.


I am so excited to introduce my new collection from the most amazing greeting card company  Leanin' Tree  . I am so grateful for there excellent art direction on this project. They were able to look at my  butterfly artwork and envision this elegant, playful line of  monogrammed note cards.   They are such a wonderful company to work with.  I am so appreciative of our growing relationship.

This K is for there Kindness. 


While I was doing my photo shoot I was visited by this little guy,  I think he wanted to get in on the action, you can see in this picture below, the colors on the back of the cards peeking through.



 The next day this guy decided he wanted to pose for me on one of my favorite flowers, my lantana (I could eat this flower).  I was hoping he would return  when the sun went down.  I waited and he never arrived however I did have some more visiters. 


We have a family of wild Turkey that likes to visit us and try to eat our birdseed leftovers.


So much of my inspiration is from nature, as you can see by my color palettes. Each card has coordinating art inside .


C is for I feel when I look at the beauty of nature!

Thancks for visting my blog! Opps I mean THANKS!

Peace on the mountain

 Every summer myself and my family  visit this beautiful place called Mohonk Mountain House in the Hudson Valley.  We are fortunate to be able to getaway to such a fun resort.  As an artist I can connect with nature and enjoy some spa treatments. My favorite place is the lily pond. I can spend hours  gazing  into the water and listening to the critters.






A few years ago I was so inspired by the pond I painted this.

Zipkinzenwatergarden12 copy copy

"Be Inspired" and be original!

Myself and a group of friends and colleagues have been discussing the issue of copyright infringement (copying someone else's artwork) versus being inspired by  art and other things to create artwork. Brenda Pinnick came up with an idea for all of us to have a blog hop to share a bit on the subject in order to educate and spread the word about originality.

There is a big difference between being inspired by other artists and copying them.  For many of us who were trained artists and went to art school we learned that using reference material was a great thing. We also learned that if you're working with photographs  using   someone else's image you cannot just trace that picture, re paint it and call it your own, however you can study some of the elements such as trying to understand what a particular flower might look like from a front view or back view.   You can take your own photograph,  repaint  exactly the way you see it and that is not copyright infringement because the photograph is your own creation.  This is a painting that I did from my own photography. This would NOT be ok if this was not my own photo, the reason is I used the exact composition, color etc. I have created a very rough drawing showing you an example of how it would be ok to use reference as inspiration when looking at others photographs.





ROUGH SKETCH (it would be ok for another person to use my above photograph as reference and inspiration in this way below). The rose is an image from nature so I could have found this flower position and a similar shape in nature.


 I would like to share with you the artwork of one of my most inspiring artist friends Chris Chun.   I have only known him for a few years but when I first laid eyes on his work my heart was touched deeply, he has the ability to capture nature and other beauty using traditional elements, but adding his own whimsical new refreshing vision. Chris has posted something about this topic today also,   his examples are perfect as to being inspired by ideas using things he saw and loved,  in a way that is perfectly legitimate  and original. Click for his post.

I think it's wonderful that so many people are enjoying crafts and being creative.   I think everyone has an inner voice to share artistically even those who say they cannot draw or paint.   Many people are purchasing all kinds of scrapbook papers and products for craft projects and using them to create new designs, that's a great thing,  however some of them don't understand that they cannot copyright that work and say it is  their own. There are many images that are in the public domain that people can work with legally and do not infringe others copyrights (for example Dover art has many books).  I highly recommend that those who would like to do something commercially and need some other art to work with use PD images, people can create something beautiful with those images and as long as they do something unique they can claim a copyright on it.

I apologize if this blog post is a little confusing to some, I struggle with the written word,  hopefully what I am try to share makes sense. I always tell people when they asked me if I have any tips on how to earn a living from their artwork as I do.  I say " firstly find your inner voice , it is okay to look around and be inspired however make sure whatever you do  is truly original and is not you trying to be somebody else."

UPDATE: Below is an example of a situation were an artist was told to use my designs as inspiration to create some new art.  As you can see why this would most likely be considered copyright infringement and is not an acceptable way to be inspired by another artist.  This happened years ago and i had a chance to chat with the artist direct and she was very lovely and just did not understand this crossed over the line. Thankfully her agent removed it from his offerings before licensing it to any one. 

The artwork was something already on the market so the artist had access to the two images togther.  Can you guess what design is not mine?


I would like to thank all my friends and colleagues  who have been sharing  about  this topic and bringing it to the attention of others who might not understand the difference between copying and being inspired. Here are the other artists who have participated in the hop.

The visitors

The other day I was visited by some beautiful monarch butterflies, at one point I counted seven butterflies on my white butterfly bush. Every so often I am visited by a beautiful hummingbird. This hummingbird never lets me photograph it,  by the time I get out my camera he is already gone.   The butterflies however have been extremely cooperative, thank you butterflies.




All rights reserved ©Sue Zipkin


The colors of fall

We went to the "The Japanese Autumn Garden" show at the The New York Botanical Garden. What a wonderful day we had.  Below is a beautiful Japanese maple. I love the way the delicate leaves dance.


I find it challenging to capture spider chrysanthemums with my lens, this is the kind of flower that must be viewed up close and personal.  


The color palettes of Maine

I went to Maine for the first time this year.  I have been hearing for years how special it is.  I have to agree Maine has that certain something.   I only got a taste of what Maine has to offer, we stayed in the Bar Harbor/Acadia area.  The tide-pools in Maine were incredible.   I could spend hours searching them and never get bored.  The colors were subtle often muted, not like the tropics,  yet as you studied a spot you would see many little hidden worlds.  I love hidden worlds in nature. 

I have created color palletes to go with some of my pictures. I was totally inspired by my friend and colleague Brenda Pinnick.  I see my photos in a very new light, thanks to Brenda.






I am not sure what these are called below,  my husband who is a science teacher kept telling me at the time. I just loved the pink tones and the smooth pearl like feeling to them .


 When staying in the Bar Harbor area of Maine you must check out the cool boat tours. We went on Lulu Lobster Boat .  I learned a lot about lobsters,  more then I needed to know.  Captain John was a lot of fun and very informative.  However he sure did trick me.   I learned that lobsters do not get rabies, Captain John had a good laugh at my expense. You can find some more interesting lobstering History here.


We also went on  Diver Ed’s Dive-In Theater  tour .  What a treat that was. Diver Ed actually goes diving and  you get to watch his underwater activities on a screen on the boat.    He then brings back all kinds of sea creatures that you can touch and enjoy.  I had no idea that starfish came in so many fashion colors!



In case you're wondering did I have any Lobster,  well yes.  I did.  It is Maine.  I found the best lobster at the " lobster pounds "  the lobster pounds I found had the best prices on the lobster however if you're looking for fancy schmancy decor this is NOT for you.  Atmosphere is important to me but at $ 4.50 a pound.  I can get over this. Many of the touristy restaurants in Maine are not doing the industry a favor by over charging for their lobster when wholesale prices are so low says a fisherman we spoke to. I found this interesting article that talks about the state of the industry. 

This was really fun. We had a wonderful breakfast at this funky bed and breakfast called  2 Cats and when my pancake was served I discovered it was on one my dinnerware designs  Tuscan Gardens by Sango .  I noticed a chip in the plate and thought to myself this reminds me of the plates i use in my home.  I took a second look and discovered it was my plate. 


We got to see one of the most incredible Sunsets at Cadillac Mountain in Acadia National Park. 

A lovely lighthouse


On the way home we stopped in Boston. Some photos from the Butterfly Garden at the Museum of Science.


Waterdrop refractions

Hi Everyone !
I am so sorry I have not been visiting everyones blogs lately. I hope to catch up soon.  I have been doing a lot of  picture taking . I also have been viewing wonderful photography on Flickr.  I am learning so much but still really do not have clue about the technical end of what I am doing. When I first joined Flickr  I noticed all these wonderful photographs that look like they were created by Photoshop that are of waterdrops.  Type in search on Flickr for the word "refraction" and you will see the most unbelievable shots!! I thought I would share this one with you that I created .

 Lazy afternoon


I have been experimenting with photography lately .  I decided to try something that I never thought I would do ( they never say never say never)  .  I have taken one of my images and used some of my texturing on it. Below it you can see the photo with out the treatments.