Category Archives: Authors for Monkey Side Bars


40 Hope Poster

Hope is a feeling, an attitude that things will improve, that all things are possible.  Hope is the best part of being optimistic and keeps many of us in this game we call life.  We contemplate outcomes and hope for the best.

So for this week’s theme you could go wild with everything you have once hoped for or maybe what you are hoping for now.  And for all those folks lucky enough to be named Hope, well maybe a self portrait is in store for you… Where ever your hope resides enjoy the creative process so that we may revel in your hope.





What you see is what you get!

What is the meaning of optical you ask? Well it’s basically vision or sight enabled by light. Light is colour.  Colour is light.  Black is the absence of colour or light.  Simple yes ?

Remember that crappy dress where everyone argued its colour and nobody wanted to be wrong? this one…


well whether you said it was blue and black, white and gold, you would have been right. There is no real wrong in the colour world.  It is most certainly in the eye of the beholder. Light certainly can play tricks with ones perception. Optical illusions can be achieved with the most subtle change in background contrast.  I often giggle when I read fellow artists complaining of colour limitations or colour matching in art apps. With the right approach, its amazing what can be achieved just using contrast techniques and visual illusions.

colour bar

The above image looks as though the horizontal bar is fading from dark grey to light grey from right to left yes?  Or is it just the fact the background is in fact fading from dark to light grey from left to right. The horizontal bar is the same shade of grey left to right.
Our minds are just easily fooled.

Pale yellow or white

Here’s another. It kind of looks like the general colour with in the borders is a faded yellow. Or is it the fact the image’s blue and yellow border has tricked our brain into believing the image is a pale yellow when it is in fact plain old white.

The word ‘optical’ can really be associated with anything to do with light and colour and general visual perception.  It’s what you see.  You can only see with the light on.  No one can see in the dark, in the black, the absence of light, the absence of colour.

I’d suggest any artist not aware of these optical illusions spend a little time to understand how to play tricks with colour.  It certainly helps if you are using apps with colour limitations.  Learn the colour wheel and work out how to blend your own colours.  Never forget the background colours and contrast. It ultimately amplifies your foreground to be visually interpreted however you want it to be.

So what kind of optical artworks can you monkeys create.  All will be employing the visible part of the electromagnetic spectrum.  They will all be optical unless someone paints minimalistic black canvas…  but that wouldn’t be any fun now would it?


32 Karma Poster

You’ll get what’s coming to you!
What goes around, comes around!

Golden rule in Christianity – Do on to others as you would have them do on to you!

I do believe the above statements were made thinking of the laws of causality – Karma

Karma can refer to the principle of causality where intent and actions of an individual influence the future of that individual. Good intent and good deed contribute to good karma and future happiness, while bad intent and bad deed contribute to bad karma and future suffering.

The theory of Karma is a fundamental doctrine in Buddhism. This belief was prevalent in India before the advent of the Buddha. Nevertheless, it was the Buddha who explained and formulated this doctrine in the complete form in which we have it today.

I am not of any faith but, I most certainly believe in Karma. Sometimes karma isn’t as swift and punctual as we would like but eventually it does catch up with those who its chasing. It is almost as if it is the psychological equivalent to Newtons cradle. Every action has an opposite or equal reaction. You treat someone bad, expect someone to treat you bad. If you treat someone with respect, respect you will be shown.

There are many in the world Karma is still chasing but sooner or later it will catch up to them. Like Revenge being a dish best served cold, sometimes Karma likes to wait for the most appropriate time to strike.  I believe there are certain ISIS crowds Karma is searching for and its only a matter of time before it gets its chance.

Yay for Karma! Without it, I would have probably been arrested for trying to make amends when it was taking too long to catch up to those I believe needed some justice.

So, are there any Karma inspired artworks that come to mind for you monkeys? Can’t wait to find out.

DJ – Competition – Results

Results are in, from MonkeySideBars Round #144 – DJ Competition.
This contest, judged by our very own sponsors at Caseen,
say a few words about each winner and participant of this round:

The DJ Insists, that you throw your hands in the air and pump some fists,
Dancing beats fill the room as the DJ plays the next tune 🙂

Caseen says:
“Hello my name is Brandon Sugano, and I am one of the marketing
managers here at caseen HQ working with MSB for many months now.
We are a proud sponsor, and even more proud to have been chosen to judge the round “DJ”  I had a very difficult time choosing from among all the
talented entries, but I think we have come down to a decision.
All of your works depicted unique and amazing ways
to interpret the word “DJ”.

WINNER – 1ST PLACE – Goes to Monkey Member MaryJayne

MaryJayne - 1st Place

Caseen says: Congratulations @maryjane530 you are the winner of this round!
Your work depicted an abstract DJ with roots for hands and an afro for tree leaves.
It is a very unique and beautiful work.

2ND PLACE- Goes to Monkey Member @Rosenfeld2

Rosenfeld2 - 2nd Place

Caseen says: This was also beautiful, and I love the abstraction of an equalizer to a DJ.
Very well done! The dark black background and neons perfectly depict a DJ with an
exciting tone.

3RD place- Goes to Monkey Member Rachy

Rachy Suzanne - 3rd Place

Caseen says:  @rachysuzanne – Your work depicted a beautiful scene with abstract shapes and a very well done DJ.

Embaressed to say (coz I’m writing this!) that an Honorable Mention goes to:
Tabitha Raincloud AKA @newjupiter

Tabby Raincloud - HM

Caseen says: newjupiter who depicts the “iPad DJ”. It definitely depicts the young DJs of today who use tablets and technology to DJ to audiences. The iPad case is a common type and is perfectly drawn and well detailed. The shading and coloring is really good.
Keep up the great work!

Caseen also says:  “Again all contest entries were great, and proved for a very hard round of judging! Thank you MSB for the opportunity to host and judge this round!”

Please peruse below ALL entries for this round:

Much appreciation goes to Caseen for supporting and sponsoring our community from almost the very
beginning.  Judging from our feedback at MSB, we know that Monkey Members enjoy Caseen products…

Thanks over and over Caseen and all Monkey Members for making this such a fun community.

Monkey on 🙂

MSB 100th Round Celebration – Results

imageMonkey-Tail winner – Debbie G

image(2) Caseen Prize Pack – Pia L

image(1)Caseen Prize Pack- Jacqui L

ArtRage Winners are:

Mary K

Stephanie H

Ting-Ting G

Debbie B

Annika S

Brian F

Lawrence H

Christina C

Shelly M

Linda B

We give below everyone’s contributions to ART:

Collage_12 Collage_65 Collage_55 Collage_04 Collage_25 Collage_48 Collage_42 Collage_15 Collage_41 Collage_52 Collage_19 Collage_66 Collage_34 Collage_60 Collage_14 Collage_38 Collage_67 Collage_54 Collage_29 Collage_43 Collage_01 Collage_16 Collage_32 Collage_61 Collage_49 Collage_70 Collage_68 Collage_22 Collage_28 Collage_57 Collage_44 Collage_69 Collage_07 Collage_56 Collage_13 Collage_31 Collage_36 Collage_09 Collage_51 Collage_20 Collage_64 Collage_21 Collage_11 Collage_53 Collage_50 Collage_10 Collage_06 Collage_17 Collage_39 Collage_37 Collage_23 Collage_46 Collage_27 Collage_18 Collage_02 Collage_35 Collage_63 Collage_71 Collage_62 Collage_47 Collage_05 Collage_33 Collage_24 Collage_40 Collage_30 Collage_08 Collage_59 Collage_45 Collage_26 Collage_03 Collage_58

Not forgetting Memo’s video contribution:
Wow, what an awesome turn out for the competition.
Such a wonderful, diverse contribution from a wide range of artists.
What more could be expected with a theme like ‘Art’.
Just what is art exactly? Usually I’d go into huge explanation but I would not dare with such a word. If you create, you are an artist. This is exactly what was shown with every competitors entry for this competition. It’s always an honour to witness these creations first hand and to all the artists, I thank you for participating.
We would love to thank all the monkey participants for their efforts. Like with any competition, we can’t all be winners. Having said that, all admin and behind the scenes monkeys participated in the comp merely for
moral support and the fun of it. Without the members,
this would not be able to happen.
We know it’s quite impossible for anyone to judge “art” as a general term.  So we asked the judges to choose the pieces – of any and all levels of talent – that they felt most exemplify:
-Evocation of emotion and/or influence
-Ingenuity of idea and design

Here’s what the judges had to say:

“We really enjoyed judging all the pieces but found it very difficult to choose.  All entries truly contained amazing ingenuity and creativity – from beautiful displays of fantasy and emotion, to dynamic, captivating blends of serene colors, to some that appeared to be actual oil painting portraits.  All the artists displayed so much creativity.
They have such a unique skill…
  Very impressive!”

They had such a difficult time selecting the winners and wanted to give special mention to these pieces as well.  
Clockwise from top left:

honorable mentions

 We would love to thank all of our sponsors for their support and contributions. With out it, this would not have been the success it is today.
A big thank you to the people behind the scenes who take time and effort out of their day to make the competition a success. To all MonkeySideBars administration, I’d like to thank you for your efforts making this happen.
The judging is totally impartial and unbiased.
Thank you judges for your efforts, it is greatly appreciated and we thank you for your time and assistance. We know this must have been a difficult
decision based on the high caliber of entries.
The winners; well, it would have been an incredibly difficult task for the judges but what about the entries? They were magnificent. Such an amount of effort and reflection of artistic style and skills. It’s always an honour to
witness these creations first hand and to all the competitors,
I thank you for trying out and I hope you enjoyed it as much as I did.
We are extremely grateful to Mary Hendrickson and Amy Bekier who graciously agreed to judge this competition for us.  Thank you judges, for your impartial and heartfelt efforts, it is greatly appreciated.  We thank you for your time and assistance. We know this must have been a difficult decision based on the high caliber of entries.  They were magnificent. Such a large amount of effort and reflection of artistic style and skills.
Huge appreciation goes to our three sponsor friends:-

For giving away an amazing Monkey Kit.
An innovative flexible tablet stand that defies gravity:
includes monkey tail and vacuum dock:

A Prize Pack (one in black – one in red) – pack includes: metallic plush neoprene sleeve for tablet, metallic anti-shock bubble neoprene sleeve for laptop, Vibe EX-L mesh tip stylus, 32-pack of lint-free anti-static screen cleaning wipes

1 winner: ArtRage 4 (Mac & Windows – Desktop only)
4 winners: ArtRage for iPad:
5 winners: ArtRage for iPhone:
An intuitive and easy-to-use digital art platform

Thank you, once again to each and every one of you monkeys who
participated in our celebration and contest for round 100 and 101.
Your dedicated on-going support for the game and community at
Monkey Side Bars means a lot to us.

 Monkey on 😀

Macro Detail

MACRODETAILWhen you hear the words ‘macro detail’, most people shudder and hesitate for a moment.
Photo realism? That stuff is hard – yeah?
Macro detail isn’t necessarily photo realism just to clarify. Macro detail sometimes doesn’t even resemble what you may think you are looking at.
Macro has many meanings but in this case is basically taking an object and zooming in on large scale.

A standard photograph misses detail.
You don’t see the intricate details of the surface of an object, the way it captures and reflects light.
When you take a macro photo, you are looking in so closely, the surface inconsistencies, the smallest of detail is visible that you wouldn’t normally witness from a distance or with a standard definition photograph.
It is the same with drawing. When drawing macro picture, you will be revealing details most naked eyes miss.


The two drawings I’ve included. One of which was Drawsomething 2 some time ago and next to it a recent snake drawn in sketch club. These two could pass as photo realism as well but I have decided to pick these specifically to discuss macro detail.
When I first started experimenting with macro and photo realism, there was one thing I had to tell my art brain,  just because you ‘think’ it looks a certain way, doesn’t mean you paint it like that.  When I take on macro or photo realism these days, I usually zoom in even further so I don’t miss what is really going.  What colours are hidden? Where is the light being concentrated and what is it doing? reflecting, refracting ? What makes this image come to life?
Referring to the illustrations above;  Glass. How do you make glass look like glass ? How do I show the glow within the glass and how do I diffuse it to the area outside the globe? How do I make scales look like scales ? How do I show moisture in a snakes eye or on his tongue? How do capture depth of field with combining sharpness in foreground and blurred backgrounds?
With macro or detailed photo realism, It is important to break images down. The very first thing I do with any reference, is look at the colours that are VISIBLE. I emphasise ‘visible’ because it is crucial you identify all colour with in the image.  For example; When painting a black object living or not, it’s important to understand the TEXTURE. Is the surface of the black object porous?. Is it matte or glossy?. If the surface is porous, rough, matte or plain old inconsistent, the reality of physics is that the light will be diffused and lost in the black porous surface. If the surface is nonporous, shiny, smooth and consistent, there is every chance light is reflected differently even though its a black object and not a mirror. Whether an objects colour is black (Black = absence of colour) or any colour for that matter , the surface texture will depict how you paint it.  For the snakes scales, You add light to sharp edge distinguish where another scale starts and finishes, but you will also add the darkest shading directly below the highlighted edge.  If the scale is smooth in surface, it will produce some light reflection. This reflection may be impacted by the objects surroundings and its colour and its texture and ability to reflect light. Light is colour.  For moisture and capturing states, solid, liquid, gas etc, you must remember the same principles apply. Moisture is usually H20 but it doesn’t always have to be. If its a liquid, it has surface tension. It will be a bubble and light will reflect and refract. The surface will most likely look very smooth. It will break the spectrum down and reflect those rainbow colours.  At macro detail, those spectrum’s are visible. White used for highlights in paintings normally depicts the shiniest surface or where the light hits first or where it is most concentrated.
With all these big terms I’ve used, I would like to make one important addition to macro detail and photo realism before I finish so no one gets scared.  Macro detail reveals many details you may not normally see with a naked eye. Having said that though, macro detail will also show you WHAT ISN’T VISIBLE. By that I mean, sometimes ‘LESS’ is ‘MORE’. When you want the ‘Photo effect’ you have to do exactly what a lens in camera does.  Create a focal point (What do you want people to look at?) That focal point is where ‘detail’ is focused. Its the high definition image in the foreground. The background, the areas outside the focal point – WHO CARES?. The human brain doesn’t care about what detail you have outside the focal point. Sleight of hand !!! You would be surprised with what you can subtly put into an image with out the audience being aware lol. It is that same a magic trick. The audience gets lost with what ‘YOU’ want them to look at.  When sourcing a macro reference, don’t lose sleep over a complicated background. Truth be known, the only parts of a reference I focus on is the focal point. The background in the both of the snake and globe references are made up. The threads on the light globe are made up. The grass behind the snake is made up.  The tongue on snake is made up. To get the belly of the snake to look right and reveal true shadow, I had to fade out detail. Sometimes less is more. Sometimes adding darkness reveals light. Sometimes adding ‘inconsistency’ makes things come to life. The glass will have impurities. There will be dust on the surface of the glass somewhere. The cleanest part of the glass will not diffuse light like the dusty and impure areas will.
So all this waffling on aside, remember things aren’t always as they appear or how your brain thinks they appear. If you haven’t done macro detail or photo realism before, please give it a whirl. Once you tell yourself that it isn’t as complicated as some make out, you will get your head around the fundamentals. Macro detail is really about texture and light. Creating a focal point and showing depth of field with a sharp focal foreground and blurred background. If you get that right, you are almost there.

Have fun macro monkeys


PRECIOUSA little green guy who was once a hobbit had a thing for a ring once. I think his name was Sméagol, later named Gollum. He kept referring to his ring as “my precious”. I think you may know the story.

Precious really has a fairly simple meaning, something we can all relate to. Beloved, highly esteemed, cherished, something that is of high cost or worth, something that is valuable to us and not necessarily of dollar value.

I would say I have a precious wife and family.
I have precious keepsakes, things I hold dear.
I have precious memories of loved ones who are no longer with me in the physical sense.

What is of value to you? Is it your lover. Is it your family or an antique passed through generations down to you in memory of your heritage. Is it a ring forged in the fire pits of Mount Doom by Lord Sauron himself, the Dark Lord’s last effort plot to win domination over Middle-earth? Well I’m not sure I’d be willing to go to the same efforts as Frodo for middle world peace. I probably would have gone with a trip to a middle earth ocean trench and then thrown it into the deep abyss. Unless there’s an app in middle earth called find my I-ring, I’d say the Orc’s have as much chance in finding it as they would finding flight MH370.

So what is precious to you?
What do you cherish and what is beloved to you?

I guess we will soon find out.


JUNGLEThe word jungle originates from the Sanskrit word jangala, meaning uncultivated land. in other words, my backyard in the middle of summer when I can’t be bothered gardening. Basically a ‘jungle’ is a land mass that is densely vegetated.  Here in Australia, we use the term forests more so than jungle. I guess its a cultural thing. All I know is that some places are densely vegetated enough to get lost in. Flora and fauna differences from continent to continent depict how some jungles look.  Even what creepy crawlies lurk with in the jungle.

For me, I plan to steer clear of any Brazilian jungles due to a nasty spider they have lurking in the foliage. I can deal with deadly snakes and spiders as that’s all we have to worry about in the Australian ‘jungle’, but, I don’t think I can tolerate what is called the ‘wandering spider’ or ‘banana spider’ that inhabits Brazilian jungles.  Known to be the most aggressive of all spiders but the kicker is, it can kill and if it doesn’t kill, it may render a man impotent.

All jungles have some wonder about them. What lives with in them. What resources those jungles provide for both man and animals. I’d love to see the Madagascar rainforests. A stunning diversity of both plants and animals unique to that continent. Madagascar Rainforests certainly stand out as the most unique for various reasons but I’m certain all continents (Apart from the those where there is no vegetation) have something unique to the continent that no other continent has.  Whether it’s a plant, an animal, even a weather phenomenon, each continent has it’s own story.

When I first saw the word Jungle, for some strange reason I though of a movie line (Yet again). Jungle – “it just came alive, and took  him!”. Yes, Predator strikes again. That line is where the POW witnesses the camouflaged Predator taking a soldier into the jungle after killing him.  The mysterious jungle. It worked very well for that movies suspense.

 ArnieMaybe you just enjoy the serenity of some jungles. A rainforests streams and waterfalls. Gorgeous landscapes with flora and fauna you don’t witness everyday in a civilized suburban area. I enjoy that part of a rainforest.  There’s actually a spot on the Queensland New South Wales border I try and visit when catching up with family. The spot is called Bunya Mountains, named after the Bunya pine that was harvested over 100 years ago for timber. This area is now a sanctuary with conservation at heart. Here you can wander through a forest with plants that have been around long before man had even set foot on the continent. Animals that have no fear of man and they are more curious of you than you are of them. Beautiful parrot’s that come in and land on you if you look like you have food.  Blue winged kookaburras that steal food right out of your hand if you aren’t paying attention. A beautiful place with a lot of history and mystery.


Speaking of beautiful parrots, these photo’s are of my three boys at the edge of the forests attracting King Parrot attention. Truly a beautiful place. A variety of animals I’ve been fortunate to interact with. These photos possibly don’t do justice to the forest. In the background of my cheeky son Joshua (red shirt) you can see a bunya pine canopy of the Forrest. Bunya pine isn’t actually in the pine family. It was named incorrectly by early European settlers. The Bunya Pine is the last surviving species of the Section Bunya of the genus Araucaria. This section was diverse and widespread during the Mesozoic. Some of its family and similarities to the tree can be seen in south American forests.

When I visit this place, I feel like I’ve gone back into the Jurassic era. The plants are ancient and the whole atmosphere is typically different to standard bush or scrub.  Definitely an experience worth having if you are city bound.

So whether you are thinking of rain forests, Brazilian or African jungles, even a Disney story about that book? … Oh yeah, Jungle book 🙂 Maybe even that other comic strip some Monkey artists have been busy creating; ‘Jungle Turns’, I’m sure there will be plenty of stories to tell with each creation.


TOUCHWe  have a multitude of senses. Sight , hearing, taste, smell and ‘touch’.

Touch possibly doesn’t get enough emphasis.  With out our sensitivity for touch, we would not be able to feel how fluffy a material is, how abrasive sand paper is, how hot that hot plate is. It is also the way we communicate. We hold our partners hand because we enjoy the feeling of a loved ones touch. We cuddle and enjoy the warm sensation from an embrace. We touch a texture because we are curious to see how it feels in our hands.
We love to touch and explore with that sensation.

Touching is and always has been a curiosity since you were a baby. We just love to get our hands on something. Then the phrase ‘You can look but don’t touch’ comes to mind. Some people go to a zoo and see a carnivorous lion or bear and although they know that the animal has the ability to rip their arms or legs off, they still have a curiosity as to what their fur feels like etc lol. You grandparents telling you the same about their ornament cabinet. “David, you can look but don’t touch” my grandmother would say. There appears to be a relationship between kids touching and breaking things apparently.  As I discovered later in life with my own children, apparently that touching and breaking relationship is true.

Breaking the word down and switching to its adjective ‘touching’, we relate to emotion.  Eliciting or capable of eliciting sympathy or tenderness. That ‘s that feeling you get when cuddling or holding your partners hand. Or even the caress of your partners lips or body parts, stimulation from that sensation. Being touched by the gesture. Something I think everyone enjoys.

A baby who wants to be picked up. Not because its hungry or thirsty or has wind, just simply because that touch even at that tender age indicates care and nurturing. Protection against the world. A feeling or sensation of care and security.

Anyway, no matter how you approach this theme, I’m sure it will be interesting.  Hopefully very touching.



I was going to paint a master piece, but I got high…
I was going to get paint and brushes, but I got high…
My canvas is still blank and I know why…
Because I got high, because I got high, because I got high!
As the musician Afroman once said, ‘ because I got high’.  Hmm, what is he referring to exactly I wonder lol.
  • Height

  • High atmospheric pressure,  a high pressure area
  • High Computability, a quality of a Turing degree, in computability theory

  • High technical analysis, or top, an event in market-price fluctuations of a security

  • High tectonics, in geology an area where relative tectonic uplift took or takes place

  • Substance intoxication, also known by the slang description “being high”
  • Sugar high, the acute physical and psychological effects of the molecule sucrose

Maybe it was a sugar over dose
When I hear the word ‘high’ I think of euphoria.  Euphoria is when a person experiences intense feelings of well-being, elation, happiness, excitement, and joy. Basically ‘a happy place’.  Sometimes when you are in your ‘happy place’, your creative juices do seem to flow better. Perhaps it’s simpler than what we thought. I feel that when you are in your happy place, world troubles, bills, conflict and other day-to-day worries seem to be at the back of your mind. The only thing you want to do is create and/or experiment.
To get to the ‘high’ or happy place, drug abuse isn’t the answer. So many artists in history have thought they were but sadly the drugs took over and they became addicts and some lost their lives to this addiction.  Substance abuse definitely isn’t the answer to a successful art project.
Getting into the right frame of mind can sometimes just take time, patience or you have to deal with those day-to-day stresses that sometimes suck the life out of you. For me, work often sucks the life out of my creative side. Work sometimes makes me unhappy and the only way I can get back to the artistic creativity is by dealing with issues.
If I get behind the 8-ball, I’m not creative. My mind is too busy planning and scheduling. I have to find my happy place to get rolling.
So what gives you a high? Is it chemical induced? Is it an emotion felt after a personal experience? Sometimes even watching a ‘feel good’ movie can give you a high. Seeing people happy or surrounding yourself with happiness will bring you a high… unless you are a miserable person I guess, that may not work out too well lol.
Either way monkeys, get high, legally if possible, and make a masterpiece. Remember the song and don’t let it take control of you.
Enjoy the moment and be happy