Fee Services

• Commissioned paintings
for homes or offices
• Commissioned illustrations
for print or electronic media--
traditional or digital
• Copyediting and
proofreading services

Free Services

Advice on art-related matters:
collecting and conservation
principles of art and design
technical questions on painting
art history information
web design for artists: aesthetic and technical considerations

With the proliferation of "infosites" on the Internet these days, it seems that everybody is suddenly an expert on something. Or maybe they've been experts all along but just didn't have the free medium available to advertise it, or the international audience anxious to find out how Uncle Ed's stock picks can outperform all the analysts on Wall Street, or why Grandma's geraniums are healthier than any of her neighbors' flowers. At any rate, if you've browsed through this site, you can see for yourself that I do know something about painting. I don't claim to know everything. Anyone who tells you they do is a fraud. But long-term experience in the field is the key to obtaining information worth sharing.

If you're interested in my thoughts or perspectives on art, I am willing to offer my insight and knowledge (free of charge or obligation). Just send me an e-mail with specific questions. And of course, I'm always happy to hear from appreciators who would like to get more information about the work presented here. I have an extensive background in painting, design, art history, and have taught art at many different levels. If I can't answer your questions I will try to direct you to someone who can.

I'd like to help artists get a grasp of this new electronic venue because I think it holds great promise--even if only as a tool for gaining exposure and presenting a body of work. While it doesn't seem very effective as a sales tool (yet), we're all still trying to find the formulas that work, so I'm glad to share in that exchange, and needless to say, would love to hear from artists who have had success with art e-commerce. (Please don't send me your ad about marketing by direct e-mail to 14.6 million people for only $179.95!)

In Web design and construction, I'm willing to share my experience, my (limited) technical knowledge, and mostly my design aesthetics with artists who are trying to build and maintain Web sites. At this point I'm not in the business of designing sites--mostly because I don't have the time, interest or experience necesary to deliver big, high tech, cutting-edge sites. Nor do I want to. The style of site you see here serves my needs fine for the time being, and I would rather not contribute to the blinking, boinking, visual pollution that has already seriously compromised everyone's enjoyment of the Internet. My feeling is that if you want to subject yourself to a video arcade, that's fine--but you shouldn't assault other people with that effect just beause you want to get their attention. This site was actually designed to offer somewhat of a quiet, reflective sanctuary from all that.

So in terms of offering you advice and information, I have no ulterior motives--nothing to proffer, nothing to gain; no hidden agendas, no e-mail lists to capture and convert into data bases, no cookies to drop on your hard drive to track the history of your browsing sessions. I really don't care about such things, and wouldn't want to invade your privacy to find out. I just want to provide some insight, to answer some questions if I can, or direct you to people or resources who can help you if it is beyond the scope of my expertise. Of course, in the category of free advice--here, or anywhere--the standard disclaimers apply. Much of the information in this area is subjective, and strictly my opinion. Therefore my advice is worth every penny you paid for it.


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Gallery Directory Contact/Info Links
Artist Statement Exhibition List

As a professional artist, illustrator, designer, and copyeditor/proofreader, there are a number of additional services I can provide that will yield guaranteed, professional results. These are freelance FEE services, as noted below:

After many years of experience doing commissioned work, I've learned the process pitfalls and pinnacles: Beyond just being able to paint well, I've found there's an additional art to getting the information necessary to produce what the client really wants. Sometimes this is intuitive and sometimes it's like pulling teeth, but this part of the process is critical, and unless it's done properly, there can be big problems and misunderstandings at the end. Experience has taught me how to avoid such situations.

Based on the look and style of the work you see displayed on this site, if you would be interested in commissioning paintings for your home(s) or office(s), I would be pleased to discuss it with you. I've worked with clients at all levels of "art awareness" and have found that it can be an enjoyable process for everyone, if handled properly from the beginning.

I also work well with designers and decorators, and have a good track record of completing paintings on time and on-budget. Some very good work has been done as paintings commissioned for clients--from New York to San Diego. I also usually offer discounts to the trade. Of course, I'm not able or willing to do any type of work, but there is an eclectic range to my painting, and I'm flexible by nature. If I determine that what you are looking for is outside the range of what I do, I'll tell you that frankly. For the most part, the work exhibited on this site is small, and I often get inquiries for larger pieces. This is not a problem, as I'm accustomed to painting larger works (within reason), and the price structure is often not that proportional to the scale of paintings you see here. In other words, if a 16 x 20" painting sells for $1500., that doesn't necessarily mean that a 30 x 40" painting would cost $6000. It all depends on the piece, and that can (and must) all be worked out in advance. There should be no room left for miscalculation, only awe with the finished piece.

Please e-mail me with any inquiries you may have.

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As with commissioned paintings, I have also produced numerous illustrations for print-in books, magazines, posters and notecards, etc. I work in a wide range of media, and as you can see here, there is a pretty eclectic spectrum to it all. I am competent and familiar with digital media as well, being skilled and experienced with Adobe Photoshop and Illustrator, Fractal Painter, KPT Bryce, and (some) Macromedia Director--in addition to Quark Xpress, of course.

Whatever your needs, let me know and I'll work with you. I'm particularly interested in doing audio CD covers at this time. Assignments could be handled either locally (New York) or long distance. Anywhere there's a modem, I can deliver work. (For non-digital illustrations, there's always Federal Express.) Because I have a background in graphic arts, I know how things need to be set up for print. While I'm less experienced in the technical aspects of Web design at this time, the principles of design and illustration are universal. These are my main focus. If I can't plug it all into MM Flash or StrataVision just yet, I will soon; your specialists on staff can translate the artwork in the meantime. At this time I don't have any interest in writing Java, for example, because I prefer to stick with the illustration aspects.

Again, experience in working with a wide range of clients and projects has given me a healthy regard for the process. I know how to find out exactly what the needs are, and fulfill them. If you have an interest in commissioned illustrations based on the look of this work, by all means, contact me via e-mail and we can get started. I should note that we may also be bringing other illustrators' portfolios onto this site in the future, to offer even more stylistic possibilities. Stay tuned.


The Fine Art of Writing

The ability to communicate information and ideas clearly and effectively is the cornerstone of all copywriting. Good copywriting can inform, motivate, intrigue, entertain, and even enlighten. Good writing can make the pivotal difference between getting your message read or not.

Sometimes it’s important to enlist the help of a professional to clarify and refine your ideas and express them clearly--just as you would call in a qualified service technician to repair a broken television set instead of trying to repair it yourself.

As a professional proofreader and copyeditor, I find that a day doesn’t go by that I am not bombarded with examples of typographical mistakes, misspellings, punctuation flaws and grammatical blunders--and I’m not even talking about handmade signs in a local delicatessen, or menus from Chinese restaurants. Having worked for numerous Fortune 500 companies, I find it amazing that so many important leaders of corporations often haven’t grasped the rudimentary elements of English grammar and syntax.

The Internet is another matter.

While I realize that much of the copy generated online is written by persons whose native language may not be English, it is nevertheless appalling that so much of the writing not only contains typographical errors, but is badly written as well. This is true for large American corporations and organizations, as well as individuals on the Internet.

Having a Web site can “level the playing field”--giving small businesses the visibility and projected sense of being a large company, but only if the proper level of design sophistication and high quality, error-free copywriting is an integral part of the site. For some reason, even major businesses on the Internet tend to discount the importance of having error-free copy, perhaps because of the perceived ephemeral nature of electronic publishing. And smaller businesses generally fare worse, placing even less emphasis on this aspect of their image. The feeling apparently is that it’s here today, and will be replaced next week with new copy, so why bother doing it perfectly? This is a serious miscalculation.

Ask yourself how many times you’ve had to struggle through typos and badly written copy on a Web site in order to glean the information presented there and assess a company’s product or service--and emerge from it with a good impression of that company’s overall quality.

This is an issue of professionalism. If it’s not well written or contains egregious typographical errors, how much credibility can you give that company? We all get junk mail--er, “direct mail,” and we all get seriously junky e-mail. What gets read? Personally, I immediately throw out or delete anything that contains more than an acceptable number of typos, simply because any organization that doesn’t invest a few bucks into making a presentation without errors is not worth reading about.

Don’t let this happen to you, or to your business--large or small--whether in print or online. If you need assistance in this area, I can help you. Send me an e-mail and I will respond in 24 hours or less. I will give you a reasonable price quote to scour your copy and remove ALL errors. Or I will improve your communication--guaranteed.

Or try this: send me your URL address and I will look over your site. If I can’t find any typos and/or improve the existing copy there, you don’t need my services, and you won’t owe me a dime. If, however, I do find mistakes (oh, I know they’re in there), or can substantially improve the copy, then we’ll talk. Fair enough?
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Michael Cook

© 1999 - 2009 by Michael Cook / FeverDream Productions
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