Prints That Win: Owl Always Kneed You

Muskogee, Okla., photographer Kimberly Smith is no stranger to the Sunset Print Awards. 2019 saw Smith win back-to-back-to-back awards during the PPA SW competition. “I printed everything that I entered this year on Sunset Bright Velvet Rag, even the album that I created,” she says.

“Owl Always Kneed You” by Kimberly Smith

Having previously scored wins with portraits, this year, Smith’s image “Owl Always Kneed You” was tops in the Artist category and won second place during IPC. According to IPC rules, the purpose of this (Artist) competition is to allow the entrant to demonstrate his or her artistic skills.

Drawing inspiration from the most unusual of sources, the idea for Smith’s award-winning image came to her after a routine medical procedure. “I had to have a knee MRI and they sent me home with the disk,” she says. “As I’m going through them, I noticed one of them looked like an owl.” She combined an image of a tree from a previous photography session and the base image from the MRI into an artistic image of an owl and her owlet.

Not content to have seven individual prints in the competition, Smith also created an album, complete with a leather cover, a satin ribbon, and 10 lay-flat images, all printed on her favorite Sunset media, Bright Velvet Rag.

“The story was inspired by my daughter and our dog, Sophie, who’s nine now. One day, I noticed she looked so old,” she says. “I knew that I had pictures of Sophie from when she was a puppy and my youngest daughter went off to college last year. I was sobbing putting the album together. That’s my dog and my baby.”

Smith’s works continue to garner praise at the highest levels of competition. Some of her other awards include the ASP Gold Medallion, which is presented to the American Society of Photographers Loan entry, judged by a separate panel of jurors to be the very best image in exhibition. PPA has awarded her the Gold Medal and named her a Diamond Artist.

Between competitions, Smith continues to teach at the Texas School as well as conducting workshops at her studio in Oklahoma or traveling across the country. “I’ve had people fly me in to teach in private workshops,” she says.

With such an eventful 2019, what does Smith expect out of 2020? “I’m excited,” she says. “I think it will be a great year.”

Documenting the Latino Experience in America with Inkjet Photo Printing

Photographic Art Exhibition Printing
Gihan Tubbeh’s work for the LATINO/US Cotidiano exhibition in Washington, D.C., printed by Bridget Sue Lambert on a Canon iPF8300 from LexJet on LexJet Sunset Photo eSatin Paper.


Bridget Sue Lambert launched her diverse and eclectic visual arts business about a year ago. With the discerning eye of an artist and a photographer, and years of fine art and photographic printmaking behind her, Lambert was well equipped to handle the important and relatively massive project that came through her doors earlier this year.

Art Exhibition Printing
Photographic art by Ricardo Cases printed by Bridget Sue Lambert for the LATINO/US Cotidiano exhibition in Washington D.C.

The project, entitled LATINO/US Cotidiano (cotidiano means “everyday life”) and created and produced by SPAIN arts & culture, is the culmination of a wide-ranging group of photographers – a dozen total – who captured the Latino experience in America. Their work would then be translated into large format for the benefit of visitors to an exhibition in Washington, D.C.

Lambert would end up printing 95 images, ranging from approximately 20″ x 30″ to 40″ x 60″ (Lambert worked in millimeters since she was coordinating images with a dozen photographers located at various points on the globe).

Inkjet Printing and Proofing
Laying out the artwork and comparing proofs to final prints at Lambert’s studio. The large image in the foreground is by Ricardo Cases.

The exhibit is on display at the former Residence of the Ambassadors of Spain at 2801 16th Street NW in Washington, D.C., and will be featured there until May 12. The exhibition will then pick up stakes and tour various cities across the U.S.

Claudi Carreras, one of the foremost experts on IberoAmerican Latino photography, was commissioned to research and select established and emerging photographers of Latino descent who both embrace the theme of the exhibit and excel at their craft.

The exhibition included noted artists Carlos Alvarez Montero, Sol Aramendi, Katrina Marcelle d’Autremont, Cale, Ricardo Cases, Livia Corona, Hector Mata, Karen Miranda, Dulce Pinzon, Susana Raab, Stefan Ruiz and Gihan Tubbeh.

“They let me pick the paper the images were printed on, and I chose LexJet Sunset Photo eSatin Paper because it prints nicely, has a good price point and is durable,” explains Lambert. “The challenge was working with 12 different photographers who are justifiably particular about their work, and I wanted to do the best I possibly could for each image.”

Printing and Framing Photos
Printed and framed for exhibition are two of Karen Miranda’s photographic art pieces for the exhibition. Lambert worked with Light LLC, who framed the pieces.

Lambert used the Canon iPF8300 inkjet printer she bought from LexJet and printed the images through Photoshop. She printed proofs before submitting the images for printing at their final sizes.

“Jayme McClellan, who runs Civilian Art Projects, was a liaison on this project. She came in and we checked the proofs, made any changes and printed it to the size specified. I keep records of proofs and once approved I use Photoshop to bring the layers over with the proper adjustments I made to get it right. I want to keep what the artist intended; not what I intended. Photographers spend a lot of time adjusting their images before they print and I made sure to preserve those adjustments,” says Lambert. “I did all the printing over a month’s timeframe, which is challenging, and only lost five final prints that I had to re-print. When I went to the opening of the exhibition, I had not met most of the artists. Three of them came up to me and told me they loved how their images looked, so that was a relief.”

Lambert had the images framed at Light LLC, Silver Spring, Md. She works with Jeff Knabb, who does most of Lambert’s photo mounting and framing. Lambert and Knabb delivered the prints, which were framed in thin, black metal frames behind plexiglass, to the exhibition in batches of 30 or so.

Photographic Exhibition of Inkjet Printed Photography
The opening of the exhibition at the former Residence of the Ambassadors of Spain at 2801 16th Street NW in Washington, D.C., which will be featured there until May 12 and then will travel to cities across the U.S.

“The artists were excited about the prints: the eSatin has a nice weight and is durable so you don’t have to worry as much about moving the prints around. It’s a lot more forgiving than other photo papers; it cuts and prints great. I’ve never had any quality issues with this paper,” she says.

Lambert adds that the support she received from Canon and her LexJet customer specialist, Rob Finkel, was instrumental in ensuring a smooth and ultimately successful process from start to finish.

“The support from Canon has been amazing. I had a printhead go down in the middle of the project, but fortunately it was under warranty and Canon got it over to me the next day. If I had to buy another printer, I would definitely buy another Canon,” Lambert says. “Rob is always helpful. I couldn’t do half of what I did without his help. I appreciate the support he provides that’s above and beyond what anyone else provides.”

For more information about the exhibit and the artists:

Feature at BBC News Magazine

LATINO/US Cotidiano at Flickr

LATINO/US Cotidiano backgrounder at SPAIN arts & culture

Learn How to Maximize the Digital Workspace with Digital Art Creation Magazine

Magazine for digital art, printing and paintingProsperity Publishing Group, North Platte, Neb., is launching a new free virtual magazine, optimized for the iPad, called Digital Art Creation.

The new magazine is dedicated to educating and inspiring artists and photographers that utilize a part or whole digital workspace. Digital Art Creation will be published monthly and is expected to be available at the Apple newsstand later this month.

“Digital photographers, painters and even traditional image makers utilizing digital negatives will find useful information and inspiration in the magazine”, says Tim O’Neill, owner of Prosperity Publishing. “We will focus on blending traditional art with new techniques available in the digital realm,” he adds.

Digital Art Creation magazine is essentially a re-branding and an expansion of the content found in Digital Paint Magazine. While Digital Paint Magazine was primarily a magazine dedicated to digital painters, as the title of the magazine implies, Digital Art Creation expands the focus and includes photography techniques, post capture software and techniques, printing and post-printing ideas, and an exploration of a variety of other techniques and platforms.

Sections of the magazine include: Capture, Image Processing, Marketing Buzz, Great Output, Post Print and a Marketplace. A Reader’s Gallery will be added in the second issue.

“We are not abandoning our love and dedication to digital painting; Digital Art Creation encompasses many different arenas in image capture and processing and distills that information with a focus on fine art,” says O’Neill.

The Digital Art Creation app is free, the iPad magazine download is $3.95 and the Web version download is $4.95. A free read-only text version will also be available from the website. For more information, go to Back issues of Digital Paint Magazine can be found at June 2012 was the last issue.

Step One in a Fine Art and Photography Support System

Furthermore, based in Washington, D.C., is on its way to being much more than a print shop, thanks to the vision of its founder, Jose Ruiz, and Bridget Sue Lambert, Director & Digital Print Open house inkjet printingSpecialist for Furthmore Print, the company’s production studio. The goal is to make Furthermore an alternative incubator for comtemporary art in D.C., New York and beyond. The first step in that goal is to make printing more accessible to those artists.

Furthermore recently kicked off the concept with an open house at its studio, an event that drew hundreds of artists from the surrounding area. Though Furthermore opened its doors late last year, they took time to execute a creative printing project for the open house to show artists all the different possibilities they can explore with inkjet printing and the variety of printable media available to them.

“We recruited artists from New York and Washington, D.C., and we assigned those artists to work on a specific paper,” explains Lambert. “One artist used LexJet Sunset Photo Metallic Paper, another used Sunset Cotton Etching, and so forth, for 18 prints on 12 different papers and materials in all, including Photo Tex and LexJet 7 Mil Absolute Backlit film. We matched their work with the medium we thought would work best.”

Open house fine art reproductionUsing mainly LexJet materials and a smattering of Hahnemuhle papers, the work was produced on Furthermore’s Epson Stylus Pro 9900 through the ImagePrint RIP. The aim, says Lambert, was to show the broad spectrum of inkjet printing possibilities and how each artist’s work can be reproduced to either stringent specifications or into something completely new and different.

One artist, Patrick McDonough, reproduced his work as a windsock with LexJet Water-Resistant Satin Cloth. Another, Isabel Manalo, whose work is originally created on Mylar, had theirs printed on the 7 Mil Absolute Backlit film. The result was a wall of diverse, unusual and innovative work that was the highlight and focal point of the open house.

“The whole idea of the print shop is to provide more economical pricing that’s still high quality and archival on nice papers so that artists have a chance to experiment more and make this part of their studio practice, instead of just for exhibitions,” says Lambert. “Before we created this wall of art and photography it was difficult to demonstrate all of the possibilities with just stock samples. Now they can see everything and all the possibilities in a loose exhibition format.”

Artists and photographersLambert estimates that 200 to 300 artists and art appreciators attended the open house. MillerCoors donated about 20 cases of Peroni and Blue Moon to help with the event, underscoring the widespread community support Furthermore has for its overall concept of being a support system for the arts.

“We wouldn’t be in the position we’re in without the help of LexJet and our customer specialist, Rob Finkel. If I was having trouble with the software or the printer he was right there to help me get it set up. I’ll call him up and tell him what I’m trying to accomplish and he lets me know about the hottest papers and what will work best for the situation,” says Lambert. “I had a lot of struggles with the software I originally chose to use, because I didn’t listen to Rob. He kept telling me to use ImagePrint and I was against it, but then I finally came around and it’s been so much easier.”

Getting a New Wide Format Inkjet Printer? Read this First

Besides the actual installation of your new printer, the most crucial aspect is preparing for its delivery. Being adequately prepared and having all the details ironed out beforehand will make the installation itself go that much more smoothly so that you can get right into production.

Pre-installation Checklist:
1. Note the dimensions of the printer so that you can prepare enough space for both its installation and the path to the print shop when it’s delivered. A minimum of three feet of working space to the front of the printer is recommended.

  • Include specifications and special needs to get the equipment from the delivery truck into the print shop: Elevator size, loading dock, lift gate, etc. (where applicable), and where the print shop is located in the building in relation to where the printer will be delivered. All doors, passageways, arches, and corners should be measured to accommodate easy movement of the equipment.
  • Develop a simple scaled floor plan diagram showing power outlets, network drops and where equipment will go.
  • Plan the location of each component (printer, work tables, cutters, etc.). Make a complete list of all equipment, storage, and supplies to be accommodated in the printing area. Define the workflow between equipment and identify efficient operational techniques.
  • Arrange the components in the workspace based on your analysis of workflows and efficiencies. Be sure to allow sufficient aisle space for movement of media and personnel. Allow for maintenance access to equipment.

2. Make sure you have the proper power outlets and network drops ready in the space allotted for the printer.

  • Power outlets should be in close proximity to the printer.
  • Extension cords and surge protectors should be planned for as well.
  • 110v is required for aqueous printers; 220v for solvent and UV-curable printers.
  • Most printers give you the option to connect directly via USB to the computer. For USB connections, a cable no longer than 10 feet is recommended to avoid any potential connectivity issues.
  • For printers connected to a network, drops are required for each piece of equipment that will be on the network (all printers), and should be close to the printer.
  • Every piece of equipment that will be on the network will require a unique IP address, which will be needed on day of installation. This is applicable only for users that have a primary domain controller in a corporate or administrative network.
  • For printers connected to a network, administrative access will need to be granted so that drivers and software can be installed to the network.

3. Ensure that all preparations for the printer installation are complete. It is essential to have all utilities (HVAC, exhaust, electrical) available at the time of installation.

  • It is your responsibility to ensure that room and equipment exhaust, makeup air supply, equipment supports, and electrical services meet all applicable codes and ordinances.
  • Check with the printer manufacturer for the environment for your printer. A general range is between 68-85 degrees F and 30-70 percent humidity, non-condensing.
  • Additional measures may be required or desirable because of the particular or exceptional conditions or circumstances present in the user’s work area or because of the requirements of applicable local law.
  • Do not assume that all necessary procedures, warnings, and precautionary measures are described here.

Shipment Checklist:
While most printer deliveries proceed as planned without any hitches or damage to the printer, if you notice any damage to the crate/box, the following procedures will prove helpful…
1. Inspect crates and cartons for any damage. If at all possible, do this with the delivery carrier’s agent present. Photograph any damage and immediately file a claim with the carrier. Carriers cannot be held legally responsible for shipping damage unless they are notified within 15 days of delivery. If an indication of damage is observed, then the following steps must be taken:

  • You may refuse shipment of the printer, which is the best thing to do in this situation. If you refuse shipment, contact your LexJet account specialist who will ship a new printer to you.
  • If you do not refuse the shipment, record the indicated state in the appropriate place on the shipping/delivery documentation before the delivery agent leaves your shop.
  • Notify the shipping agent that a mishandled item of packaging has been detected.
  • Obtain authorization from the shipping or insurance agent before mishandled package is opened.
  • Notify your LexJet account specialist about the observed condition.

Also, check the outside of the box to make sure you’ve received the printer model you actually ordered. This happens occasionally, and it’s a simple precaution that saves a lot of headache if you take the printer out and find it’s not the model you ordered.

2. Use personnel and equipment appropriate to move the equipment from the receiving area to the staging area. Measure aisle, doorways, and archways to be sure there is enough clearance for the printer. Provide a sheltered area for the shipment close to the installation site to unpack and prepare the equipment for installation.

3. If you have asked for lift gate service to get the printer off of the back of the delivery truck and the delivery company arrives without a lift gate, you have two options:

  • If you have enough help on hand, you can opt to unload the printer yourself. Please call your account specialist to let them know that the delivery was made without a lift gate so we can credit your account for the lift gate charge.
  • You can refuse delivery and ask that it be redelivered with a lift gate. In this case, call your account specialist to let them know what has happened so they can contact the freight company to arrange for the printer to be re-delivered with a lift gate. Keep in mind that it may take a few days to get the printer re-delivered.

When the freight company delivers the printer it is considered curbside delivery. Be sure that you have help on hand to get the printer inside your location.

4. Don’t forget to fill out and send in any rebate forms within 30 days of purchase.

5. Download updated firmware and drivers from the manufacturer’s website.

Need help? Call a LexJet account specialist at 800-453-9538.