Saturday, January 30, 2010

The People's Gallery


GlowingHouse, originally uploaded by carolsLittleWorld.

Recently, I found out that one of my images was selected for The People's Gallery. Now, just what is a "People's Gallery" and why might I care? Well, I'd be happy to tell you. (Ahem, for those of you who want "the quick answer" click here. )

The People's Gallery is run by the City of Austin as part of the Art in Public Places incentives. According to the website, "Austin City Hall showcases the talents of local artists with an extensive annual art exhibition in the atrium and open areas of the first three floors. The People’s Gallery is designed to encourage public dialogue, understanding and enjoyment of the visual arts.

Approximately 150 contemporary artworks are on display, including paintings, photographs, sculptures and other mediums. The success of this program is due to the generosity of the Austin artists, galleries, collectors and museums who loan their pieces to the exhibition for the enjoyment of Austin residents and visitors to City Hall. "

This year, they had something like 2300 entries for The People's Gallery and, as part of their selection process, they chose the image that you see here: "Glowing House."

A great thing about the City Hall in Austin is that it's a new, wonderful, modern building. It's got copper accents and extensive stonework. I actually really like the architecture of the building-having art displayed inside (or actually, as an integral part of) exciting architecture makes it even more fun for me. I enjoy good architecture and, frankly, the City Hall in Austin is just that. It's pretty. I can't wait to walk around inside of it, and I'm secretly (ok, maybe not so secretly) hoping I can sneak some pictures while I'm there.

The selection process for The People's Gallery is difficult and I do feel honored to be a part of it. I am also looking forward to showcasing some of my more recent night work, as I've been very into night photography as of late, and it's good to sort of see it come out, be shared, and show it more. I would eventually love to be able to do an entire show of night work, but that will probably take me some time and, frankly, I'm having too much fun just shooting the night stuff to even think about showing it (too much.) It's been a fun, wild ride. The Austin Night Photography group is now 75 members strong and I'm credited with helping raise the awareness and increase interest in night photography in and around Austin. That's great news, of course, and so I'm a bit humbled by all the recent attention yet happy that my image was selected.

Starting next week, for the remainder of the calendar year 2010, my work will be on display at the Austin City Hall. I've been asked numerous times and, sorry to say, no, I do not yet know the location (where they are going to put my photo.) I'll know that after the public reception marking the opening of the People's Gallery for 2010.

For those of you who do not have access to the Austin City Hall, the story of The People's Gallery is a good lesson. City Hall is not a place you'd usually go and expect to see great artwork. In fact, I'd go so far as to say that, for the most part, City Hall's tend to have rather dull artwork, if any at all. By taking an otherwise "empty" landscape, and filling it with local artwork, the City of Austin has given the local arts community a bit of a boost. They've provided an exhibition venue that wasn't there before, and they've supported local artists. That's a great thing. Especially given the current economic climate, anytime artists can sort of "create a venue" or get creative in the way they showcase their work, it usually works out for the benefit of not only the local region, but the artist's themselves. Put simply, when you make a new venue, everybody wins.

Everybody, that is, including the people, who get to enjoy the new gallery space.

Until next time...

Friday, January 29, 2010

Distant


BridgeDownBelow, originally uploaded by carolsLittleWorld.

Way down there, on the tiny little bridge, maybe sits a car or two. This was taken from a low-flying jet, somewhere above the great American southwest-I think Arizona but it might have been New Mexico. It's hard to tell these things when you're crammed into a tin can hurling above the universe at lightning fast speed.

Photography gets very interesting when you think about it as a 3-D compression. What's far can become near, what's near can become large, and the whole world gets flattened-we drop a dimension over the course of exposing our film (or camera sensor.) A lot can happen in that space. Sometimes, we miss it, sometimes we expand it, and sometimes we just scratch our heads wondering where it all went, or maybe, if we're lucky, we just take it all in and smile.

Distance can mean near, far, above, below, not immediately related to (distant cousin and all) and probably a host of other things. That which is distant seems so out of reach.

It's Friday and that's enough philosophy for one evening.

Until next time...

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Arrival of the iPad


UnderConstruction, originally uploaded by carolsLittleWorld.

Yesterday Apple announced the big new iPad. It's the tablet we've all been waiting for-it's the big news from Apple that everybody wanted to hear. Did you catch what all of the buzz was about? Were you part of the craze or just ignoring it, sort of hoping it would just go away?

The first thing about the iPad everybody is saying is that they do not like the name. Ok, so I'm not big on names and sure, I too will make fun of them for selecting such an odd name. Somebody in an on-line forum I frequent posted something along the lines of, "The Apple iPad. Does it come with adhesive wings?" (Must have been a girl, that's all I can say.) I think they should have gone with iSlate and let's leave it at that, ok?

Kidding aside, I think the iPad is an incredible device. I think it will change the landscape and the way we interact with computers. I suspect that, in ten years (or maybe even five) every laptop and portable computer will bear some resemblance to the iPad. But, I also think the the device is a bit ahead of its time. It is going to face a struggle to fit in with an otherwise crowded market, not to mention the fact that people don't know what to do with it yet. It's larger than an iPhone but smaller than a Macbook. It's not really a netbook. The closest we can really come is that it's sort of a giant notebook sized iPod touch and, when you put it that way, it doesn't sound like the kind of device anybody really wants. It's too small to be big and too big to be small. Doesn't fit in a pocket, doesn't have a camera, doesn't have a keyboard, has all the cumbersome-ness of a laptop without any of the portability.

When people think about computers and devices like this, they think about what they want to do with them. What problem does it solve? How will I use this thing? The iPhone works because people can Twitter, Facebook, check email and even blog from it. It's a device that freed us up, made us all mobile. What is this tablet going to really do for us? It's not really any more portable than a Macbook air. In fact, I'd go so far as to say, that's what it's going to do for Apple-sell a lot of Macbook Air's. People will look at the iPad and think, "gee, that's nice but I really need a keyboard" only to wind up with the Macbook Air instead. At least, that's how I see it (at first.)

Eventually though, I do think the keyboard laptop setups we have now will become extinct. Everything will be touch screen, even our home computers. It's just the way things are going. So, in terms of product announcements, not sure I'm going to run out and buy one just yet but I think it's great for the company and the whole Apple lineup, I really do. It's the future, slowly announcing its arrival, knocking on our collective doorsteps.

As far as it being a device for photographers, I don't know that it fits in a special niche here as well. I mean, photographers need several things-storage, yes, we're big on that, but the iPhones are also big with photographers, since they have a camera and we can actually use those. IPhone cameras have become so very popular so quickly, even among high end photographers, simply because they are quick and convenient. No need to lug out the big SLR, use the small portable device instead. It just works. I see the iPad as a different sort of device. Frankly, I could envision a sort of iGallery for the iPad, you know, turning the device into a virtual "picture frame" to showcase some high end artwork. I'm sure there's already an app for that though and we don't really need a high-end device just to do that.

From the photographer's toolkit, the iPad could fit in as a blogging device, a gaming device, a portable "gallery preview" type visual display, and a small portable "netbook" like device but, again, here I really don't see us rushing to beat down the door of the Apple store anytime soon. The next generation one? The one with the video and camera and integrated wireless upload and such? Oh my, we'll be all over that, just you wait and see.

They say the unofficial motto of Apple is "by the time you read this, three more have come." If that's the case, then, by all accounts, the iPad will be nothing but a complete success. It's destined to be. It's the future, it's here, and it's knocking on our doors. Unfortunately, I don't know how many people, especially not given the current economic climate want to turn themselves into the early adapter guinea pigs and come home with the first version, no matter how many flashy ads or wild announcements they turn out over at the Apple factory. Now, don't get me wrong, I want Apple to be a hit with this, I really do, I'm a huge Mac fan and, deep in my heart of hearts, know that they just make a much better product, but I kind of see this as the start of something new, not really the end result I need to run out and grab right this minute. Maybe I'm wrong about that, I usually am about these things but, in this case, I guess, only time will tell.

Until next time...

Monday, January 25, 2010

Death of the Small Town Square or Welcome to the Big Empty


LargeWindows, originally uploaded by carolsLittleWorld.

This weekend I went up to Georgetown, a small affluent town north of Austin, which also serves as the county seat for Williamson County (the county in which I live.) I'm no stranger to Georgetown, having visited and photographed there before-if you recall, I did a previous "big summer" Utata project ("The Nocturnes") there (or part of it) as well as made several more recent visits, including attending the annual Georgetown Art Hop (I've been lucky to be included in this show two years running now.)

In years past, "the square," or immediate downtown area of Georgetown, was always bustling. Especially on a Saturday afternoon, you would find shoppers, families scurrying about, looking for bargains at the antique store or frequenting one of the many gift shops. There were restaurants, a coffee shop, even a traditional, local bookstore, with a comfy chair and the latest from both the national bestseller list and the local reads. There were shoe shops and small boutiques, where you could shop for some of the latest trendy labels, not to mention a few that even carried and displayed some funky local artwork. It was a happening place, especially since it was anchored by the local courthouse. Being the county seat had some advantages-all of those lawyers, all of those people serving on jury duty, the local newspaper was situated there too, in case, you know, something eventful were to go down in court that day. Georgetown was, like many southwestern "square" towns, the center of the local universe in a lot of ways and the square was, well, the center of Georgetown.

This weekend, on Saturday, while I was there, I noticed it was empty.

Not just "a little slow," not just "quiet," but empty. Many of the stores had gone out-closed on account of the economic climate. The small boutiques, the local antique shops, the shoe place, the family owned and operated restaurant that had been there since 1956? Yup. You guessed it. Gone. Out of business. Closed up shop and moved away. It was like visiting a ghost town.

While I was there, shocked as I was, I thought about all the little "square" towns, all over the country. I've been to the Berkshires before, heart of the recent special election in the Senate that everybody is talking about, and I've seen the little shops and squares there too. In fact, they look much the same as the one I was standing in, deep in the heart of Texas-almost the same little shops, the same "Mom and Pop" service, the same friendly neighbors who recognize one another and are always quick with a smile and a wave. And, I thought about all the places I've been, all the other places with squares too. Santa Fe, Taos, parts of California, New Hampshire, Maine, Tuscon? Yup, each has a square. Square, square, square, square square. The same kind of square as Georgetown, with local shops, eateries, boutiques, antiques, and even local art galleries. While I stood there, in Georgetown, I wondered about these places. Are the squares empty there too? Have all the squares gone away? Relegated to be remnants of the last great recession, now forever a mere blip in the memory banks of a younger generation who prefers "big box" shopping anyway? All dried up and blown out, gone the way of the do do bird and cars with fins? It felt a little like visiting the rust belt only, instead of big factories or ship building yards, it was "Mom and Pop" stores I had grown so used to frequenting. Gone. Vanished. *Poof* right into thin air.

While I was there, I started to poke my camera into some of the shops, the previously owned, occupied, busy little shops that I had known. I was curious to see what they looked like empty. I tried to remember which business were where, sometimes there would be a hint of paint or a remnant of a leftover sign to clue me in, other times, I had to just guess and I'm sure I was wrong. All that was left were a lot of empty rooms and a lot of shattered dreams.

They say the worst of the recession is behind us. The country is starting to build anew. People are slowly starting to go back to work. Well, I'm here to tell you, if it's happening, it's not happening in Georgetown. Small town America has been hit mighty hard and it's going to be a long, rough road back from the latest mess we've gotten ourselves into. I can't help but wonder if the squares all around the country ever will come back or if, like the Cadillac with the fins, the old diners, or the flapper clothing of yesteryear, places like this will be left a memory of times gone by.

Until next time...

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Help for Haiti


GirlWithCurl, originally uploaded by carolsLittleWorld.

The other day, I posted about wanting to help for Haiti but not being sure how. Since then, I've come across a few different outlets for photographers.

For starters, there's the Charity Print Auctions on flickr. You don't need a flickr account to bid on some of the items (though, I'm told, it does help) and there are some higher-end photographers submitting work there, for you to browse.

Some of the more popular galleries, like Wallspace have started print sales to benefit Haiti, so a search around your favorite web hangouts might reveal a great way to decorate your walls while helping out a good cause at the same time.

Lastly, I got word from the wonderful and talented Tina over at Studio 2, who is organizing a Haiti relief show, which will feature artists, including myself, working in various media (including photography) to benefit the relief efforts.

Until next time...

Saturday, January 23, 2010

The Blessing of Good Light


WaterLikeGlassNo1, originally uploaded by carolsLittleWorld.

Went over to the wonderful Hill Country Water Gardens, my local Koi breeders, today for a short photo shoot and walk. The day started out very cloudy-the kind of clouds where it looks almost like ribbons in the sky and you can't see any blue peeking through them. I love to shoot in those clouds-I think they are especially good for black and white work, not to mention it was not too bright out today, so no annoying shadows.

In the morning, went up to Georgetown to walk around the square and to stop by at my favorite local eatery-Carmine's pizza and pasta. The pizza was tasty, as always (Carmine makes the best New York style pizza around-bar none!) I wish I could say the same about the square. The economy and the credit crisis is really starting to hit Texas now. From what I can see, Georgetown looked like a lot of empty stores and a whole lot of nothing going on. What was once a hustling, bustling, busy square, filled with shoppers, outdoor cafes, even a local bookstore, is now a shell of what remains. It was kind of sad to be there, even if the day was pleasant enough-I did manage to take a few shots peeking into windows-some of that empty or renovated building stuff looks nice when photographed, even if it's a bit hard to take in "real life."

After Carmine's, I went over to Hill Country Water Gardens where, alas, I did not shoot any Koi (this time) but did manage to use my new Lensbaby Composer on some pottery, fountains, and the like. The light started playing tricks with me-it was coming in, going out, patches of blue started to peek through those once wonderful ribbons-making me wish I'd almost stayed home, though the sound of the water and the sights of the gardens were very relaxing. All in all, the light wasn't *too bad* to work in, not optimal but, you know, I'll take it (as it comes.) Now, I'm back at base camp, getting ready to start dinking with the new G-Safe drive, so I can, once again, upload the daily Compact Flash.

Results sometime soon, I promise...

Until next time...

Friday, January 22, 2010

Damaged


NoActuallyFail, originally uploaded by carolsLittleWorld.

Why are photographers so attracted to things that are dead, dying, damaged or otherwise dilapidated? Can't we all collectively glom onto something new? What is it about stuff that's falling apart, why does this attract us so?

Hard to say, I guess. Maybe it has to do with time, memories, and the like or maybe it's just that new stuff is too shiny. Either way, we're an odd sort of lot that way, don't you think?

Could be a pile of "new" sitting right in front of us and we won't pay it a nod but, give us something old, run down, about ready to fall over and, what do we do? Take a picture.

(Maybe it's the photographers who are damaged and not the subjects?)

Until next time...

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Tidbits, Treasures, and Tokens from Afar


RainOnWindshSandsS, originally uploaded by carolsLittleWorld.

Some tidbits for today....

David Alan Harvey from Magnum is coming to Austin for South by Southwest. He's leading up a workshop offered through the Austin Center for Photography called "The Photographic Essay." Sounds like a wonderful opportunity and it's great that we are starting to have some local workshops of significance.

The Texas Photographic Society is going to have another push pin meeting on February 4th at 6 pm. Bring work and congregate in Russells wine bar downstairs if you get there early.

Drawing studio went well yesterday-I drew a cute pig, a nice house, and a few other odds and ends. I did not, however attempt something we dubbed "the boat." Oh, sure "the boat" *looks* easy. Oh, sure, there it is luring you in, "Come on," it seems to say, "draw me. You can draw me. You know you want to draw me. I'm not that hard. I can't be that hard. Do I really look that hard to you? Come on, draw me! Draw ME! DRAW ME!" Don't believe the hype. "The boat" is really very very hard to draw. (To give you an idea of how hard it is, I opted to draw not one, not two, but *three* entire human heads, well, they looked almost human, rather than "the boat." Oh, that evil boat!)

Somebody really should document the rise and fall and rise again of Polaroid. That would make such an interesting photo project, don't you think? That Impossible Project just keeps on keeping it real (and, well, I guess, possible.)

It's been almost raining in Austin for a few days now. That and the cedar is at record highs, so everybody is a bit miserable. The good news is, well, it's not too cold out. Here in Austin, we have little tolerance for anything that's not "about 70 degrees and sunny." Trust me on that one, but we're a grumpy lot and we ever so dislike straying from the norm.

Haiti has been hit by a strong, 6.1 magnitude aftershock. It's heartbreaking. My heart goes out to the poor orphans there who have had to endure more in their short lifetimes than any one person should bear, not to mention all the rescue workers and people in remote areas who have been hard hit by this disaster. As others, more wise and well-versed than myself have said, enough with all this stupid nonsense about "the devil made it happen" or it was Obama's fault. It was a natural disaster folks, get over yourself already. I'm sure God and Mother Nature could give a flip about American politics. Stop straining your arm from patting yourselves on the back already and do something about the problem in front of you. (Geesh!) Last time I checked we are all human and we all have to look out for one another. It amazes me sometimes how, in these situations, people can forget the simplest of things, like, "there but for the grace of God..." The earthquake, rather than being a reminder, of sorts, is making people stupid. Here I thought it was only the buildings that fell, not the collective IQ's of the idiots in office and the so-called pundits. It's slowly becoming the poster child for "turn it off, man I've seen too much" if ever there were one.

The Austin Night Photography group has grown 71 members strong. It's amazing to me to see so much interest. What can I say? Wow! KathyV was telling me this weekend that she sees a renewed and heightened interest in night photography. It's having an impact. Our little world is shaping and bending in new ways. I think that's great to see.

Until next time...

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

One From the Vault

Today's image is one from the vault, literally. These are the stacks over at Concordia University.

On the subject of vaults, I thought it would be a good time to tell you about my new hard drive. Recently, I purchased a 2TB G-Tech G-SAFE Raid 1 device. I'm excited about this for a few different reasons. For starters, I can now begin the process of "consolidating" my digital output-to get everything onto one drive, rather than having bits and bytes all over the place. I think that's a great thing to do, and it will make it easier for me to do stuff like create encaustic pieces from my photographic art-since I'll be able to find things more easily and I'll have easier access to more of my work.

The G-SAFE device also will allow me RAID 1 backup of my data because it writes to two independent hard drives at the same time. It features two removable drive modules for easy replacement and backup of data. I'm excited about that because it will now be easier to back things up-this device will actually back things up as I write them, rather than rely upon me consciously making a back-up of my work. Since the drive modules each are sort of "plug and play," I can also purchase a third drive if I want to have redundant backup and off site backup. That's also a nifty feature to have and I'll be happier and feel a bit safer once I can do that.

Finally, the last reason I really excited about my new drive (and storage solution) is that it's all part of the next step towards moving to a larger format camera. The Rebel I've been shooting now is great-it's served me quite well and I have no complaints, but I've been thinking about moving up a bit-getting either a full frame camera or a medium format camera. It's really sort of impossible to do this if you do not have some sort of storage solution worked out-I would simply not be able to shoot a 20+ megapixel camera using my current drive setup, so moving up makes logical sense.

Of course, since I've purchased this drive, I'm going to now have to begin the potentially long and drawn-out process of moving everything onto the drive. Slow. Tedious. Boring. Watching little status bars barely move is not my idea of a hot time in the old town tonight, let me tell you. But, alas, it must be done. Move, thine pixels, to thine new drive be true! Revolt. Shuffle, Shimmy. Dance on over to the dark side. Fill in your own funny metaphor for this and enjoy my mental anguish as you watch me fall asleep on my Zzzz key waiting for files to dance across the ether.

I just hope that, once I plug this silly thing in, it doesn't bolt into life and spout, "I'm sorry Dave, I'm afraid I can't do that."

Until next time...

Monday, January 18, 2010

Painters Every Photographer Should Know - Edward Hopper


The American painter Edward Hopper was born in the suburban New York town of Nyack into a comfortable but strict middle class Baptist family. His father was a merchant and his mother came from a background of some wealth-her inheritance enabled Edward and his sister, Marion, to attend private schools and provided for their education. With his parent's encouragement, Hopper was also supplied with materials for creating art from a young age, including illustrated books and materials for illustration. Though his family was predominately of Dutch descent, Hopper garnered his interest in French and Russian culture from his families influences.

Hopper began his artistic studies in correspondence school, but later attended the New York Institute of Art and Design, where he studied under William Merritt Chase and Robert Henri. Henri encouraged his students to paint what interested them rather than traditional subjects, and the group of painters in Henri's circle, including John Sloan, were to become known as the Ashcan School of American Art. Hopper originally started working with a dark palette, then shifted to the lighter palette traditionally associated with the Impressionist movement (he was said to be influenced by Rembrandt, Manet, Degas, and the French engraver Charles Meryon) before settling back into the darker palette for which he is most well-known. Hopper also met his wife, Josephine Nivision through Henri, as she was also one of his students.

Apart from his palette, Hopper gravitated towards themes and subjects that were alone, desolate, bored, or isolated in some way. Critic Lloyd Goodrich said of his work, "one of the most poignant and desolating pieces of realism." According to the Wikipedia, "The work [is] a series of stark urban and rural scenes that uses sharp lines and large shapes, played upon by unusual lighting to capture the lonely mood of his subjects. Though a realist painter, Hopper’s “soft” realism simplified shapes and details, and he used saturated color to heighten contrast and create mood." Hopper often painted scenes from commonplace American life, such as gas stations, diners, motels, theaters and street scenes and his dark palette, featuring multiple light sources, some artificial, created something akin to a scene from a play or movie-there's a strong cinematic feel to his work. Many people compare a Hopper painting to a film noir because of this cinematic feel. Indeed, in the painting shown here, Nighthawks (1942) from the wiki, "the shapes and diagonals are carefully constructed. The viewpoint is cinematic—from the sidewalk, as if the viewer is approaching the restaurant. The diner's harsh electric light sets it apart from the dark night outside, enhancing the mood and subtle emotion. As in many Hopper paintings, the interaction is minimal, though the counterman seems to be having a few words with the man facing him."

What Photographers Can Learn From Him
Edward Hopper is a painter who moves beyond influential. As a photographer, if you do not know who his is, you have most certainly seen work that was influenced by him. Hopper is a favorite of filmmakers. A list of films that have been influenced by him would include Alfred Hitchcock's iconic house in Psycho, the visual look of Blade Runner, and even 2002's The Road to Perdition. He has also influenced the world of music, including artists like Madonna and Tom Waits.

The dark palette and distinct leading lines, the cinematic feel of his work, the isolate mood, coupled with the commonplace subjects, such as diners, theaters, and gas stations are still strong influences to the modern photographer. His influence is so widespread in the photographic world that there is not only a Flickr group devoted to his work, but there is a Flickr group devoted to capturing various renditions of Nighthawks-the painting shown here has been a key influence to many night photographers. I would go so far as to say that, if you intend to shoot any film at night at all, you would best bone up a bit on the work of Hopper because you will be compared to his work even if you can somehow remain blissfully unaware of his influences. Nighthawks is perhaps the single most influential piece of non-photographic based art in the world of night photography, so you best study it before attempting to advance in the field. The entire diner culture, "blue plate special," working class Americana art movement has its roots firmly planted in the work of Edward Hopper.

But, Nighthawks aside, photographers can benefit from Hopper's influence by looking to his careful placement of the figure within the space, his urban sensibility, his use of multiple lighting sources (paying careful attention to "warm" vs. "cool" types of lighting) his cinematic mood, his wonderful leading lines, and his ability to take the common, gritty elements of everyday life and celebrate them. Thanks to his dark palette, his urban awareness, his soft realism, his light and shadow that combine to create a soft mood and his celebration of the ordinary, Edward Hopper earns his spot in the ranks of Painters Every Photographer Should Know. You can read more about Edward Hopper on the Wikipedia entry about him, and look for more painters (and posts) in the series to come.

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This is next in a series called "Painters Every Photographer Should Know." The painting shown here is Edward Hopper's "Nighthawks" (1942) . Please note that the paintings and photographs in this series are not copyright the author of this website, may be subject to international copyright law, and are provided her for educational purposes only.

Friday, January 15, 2010

The Day the Earth Shook Still


TwigsAndStemsNo2-1, originally uploaded by carolsLittleWorld.

By now, you've probably heard about the situation in Haiti. Earlier this week, a 7.0 magnitude earthquake hit Haiti, killing tens of thousands of people, displacing many more, and creating an immediate need for substantial aid. There are people without food and water, in urgent need of medical care, and seeking shelter. Our thoughts and prayers are with them as they struggle to overcome this terrible earthquake.

Sometimes, when I hear about these natural disasters, I can't help but ask, "why?" Why do these things happen? Why did so many people have to die? Why? It's very difficult to understand. It's very difficult to even grasp the situation there.

Of course, like many of you, I've started to think about how I can help. I want to contribute money, sure, that's no problem. No thought involved in that one. But, what about art? Is there an artistic way or a way I can help as a photographer? I have been thinking this over and haven't yet come up with a good answer. I'll still be thinking about this for a while, I'm sure, as the relief efforts come together. Things are starting to happen. There's going to be a telethon and probably some art shows to contribute to the cause.

The TV keeps showing us scenes. I want to look, I really do, but then I don't. I don't want to see the damage. I don't want to see the aftermath of such a terrible natural disaster. I really don't. Don't get me wrong, I want the news to play these films-it's one of the best ways to raise money, but I can't look. I just can't get my head around it.

I have a theory about this too. My theory is that, everybody, every single person on this planet, at one point or another in their lifetime, endures some form of natural disaster. Maybe you are a computer programmer and your lights go out for an extended period of time. Maybe you survive a tornado, a bad storm, a rocking wave from the ocean, or a nearby hurricane or maybe a flood. A food shortage or some kind of pandemic disease. It's not the disasters that define who we are, it's our reaction to them. At the end of the day, it's neighbor helping neighbor, people doing what we do best-coming together as a society to help. That's what's happening in Haiti right now. And that's what needs to happen.

Maybe the answer to the question "why?" is that it gives us the opportunity to rise above. I don't know about that, but I do know that I'm going to try to do my part, no matter how small and insignificant, to help.

Until next time...

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Odd, Ends, and, Um, Bits Like These


DeathMarchNo1, originally uploaded by carolsLittleWorld.

So you might remember that, a while back, I did a "big" show (is there even such a thing as a "small" one?) over at Concordia University. One of my fellow photographers thought he would do a good deed and donate his work to the University over there-to sort of help them get the art department going, really to sort of "decorate" the place up a bit. Ok, so that's all well and good, most of us thought it was a good idea and wanted to pitch in as well. That's when the fun started.

You see, for my images of "New Beginnings" I opted to shoot the science lab. Since the science lab had more of a connection for me, since I studied science in college (I have a minor in physics) I thought it would be the spot for me to shoot. I knew I wasn't going to get photos that would sort of, how shall I say this, "go with" people's couches. That just wasn't in the cards. And, you know, that's all good too, right? I mean, not all artwork has to match one's couch, or so I've been told. But now, here's my little problem. I wanted to donate my work to the school, really I did, but I kind of felt helpless-sorry for the poor chap who got stuck with pictures like these to "decorate" his office. I mean, do you know anybody who would actually like to stick a picture of two dead ducks on a wall, well, on their walls? And, if you did, I bet you wouldn't want to be left alone with them on a dark and stormy night, especially not if they were wearing a Fedora. I digress. But, you know, what is a girl to do in this situation?

I ended up donating the prints. I just hope (QUACK!) that somebody likes ducks (QUACK!) and doesn't think too that I am an axe murderer (QUACK!)

In other news, I really feel for the poor folks of Haiti. I'm trying to think of some photographic way of helping out, but I'm sort of drawing a blank. I'm sure I'll think of something. I always wanted to start a sort of non-profit, photographers giving back and all, and call it "Lens a Hand" but I never did. Well, there's still hope, and maybe someday, right?

The cold has passed and allergies are all gripping us now.

Some folks have yet to take down their holiday decorations. De-Christmas already, you lazy people! (Actually, I kind of like it. There's nothing wrong, really, with pretty glowing orbs on the lawn. It looks more pathetic if you don't take the lights down, but sort of leave strings of dead bulbs strewn about the place, don't you think? Well, maybe so.)

The pizza dude is almost here. What's happening in your world?

Until next time...

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Drawing The Wrong Conclusions


ApproachingInterstate, originally uploaded by carolsLittleWorld.

Tonight starts my drawing sessions. Wish me luck.

The good thing about my drawing is that, well, I'm so *bad* at it that any little improvement is like a giant leap forward. If I draw a head and it winds up looking even slightly human, everybody's like, "Wow! Look at that! It's almost a person!" Almost. If you squint and twist your head a lot.

Another funny thing about my drawing is that, well, everybody thinks I can draw-everybody except for me. I talk to people, sometimes people I don't even know and they wind up telling me, "oh, you can draw." I'm thinking, "who are these people? And how do they know I can draw?" I guess I talk like I know how to draw and people just make assumptions. Or maybe they look at my pictures and they just think I can draw.

I was talking with my mother on the phone the other day. She told me that, from when I was little, "I was always drawing things. And we could recognize what they were." Oh, now there's a ringing endorsement if I ever heard one. "Look! You drew a head and it looks almost human! Why, Picasso himself had better watch out." Somebody help me. Now.

So, I got these cute little "art bins" to hold all of my drawing supplies, and I have my big, giant pad, and I'm going to march right in there and be like, "excuse me. I'm an absolute beginner. I can't draw worth a lick, though I've been told that, once, a long time ago, a drew a head and it look, um, er, human. Sorta."

Move over you people, I'm an ARTIST!

Oh right. I can paint. Really I can. And take pictures. I've done that before. There's even *proof* of that. But draw? Ha! Nope. (Had you fooled.) It's kind of funny because, even historically, everybody thought Leonardo couldn't draw. And just look where that got him! I wish I "couldn't" draw half as well as he "couldn't" draw. And now, here I sit with the opposite problem. Everybody thinks I can do it. For some reason I've got the "oh she looks like she can draw" look about me. And I can't, but that doesn't stop people from thinking that.

I guess it's sort of like handwriting. Everybody thinks that there's is messy and no good. The grass is always green on the other side...yada yada. Still, I'm telling you now: I can't draw worth a lick. No matter how impressive my little art bins looks. No matter how I sound like I know what I'm doing. No matter how many museums hang up my crap-on-a-stick-I can't do it very well. I'm just not good at this whole drawing thing. Really, I'm not.

Which brings me to my next point. I'm so bad at it, and I have such low expectations, that it's going to be FUN! Yay! I can hardly wait! Bring on the fingerpaints! I've got almost-human-like heads to draw! Out of my way! I've got smudges to smear on giant over-sized pads. There are charcoal sticks that must be crumbled and laughing that must ensue. "That's an ear?!? Good grief! Maybe I should make it a nose instead?!? I know, it could be somebody's chest if you turn it around this way." Oh what fun this is going to be. I'll be like a kid again.

Ha! Take that! I can't draw! (And yet, somehow, nobody believes me when I say that.)

Until next line...

Monday, January 11, 2010

Weekend Roundup-Supplied and Ready to Go


LinedUpAndReady, originally uploaded by carolsLittleWorld.

This week, I have a busy week. Tonight is photo group meeting and tomorrow starts my first drawing session.

Speaking of drawing, I went to my local art supply store this weekend to get supplies for my class. I can't believe how many different supplies for drawing that they have. There are pencils, graphite pencils, charcoal pencils, colored pencils, different colored pencils, and, that's not all. Don't even get me started on the papers. You can draw on almost anything, really, you can. It's astounding.

Meanwhile, I've secretly (maybe now not so much) been hoarding yarn. Yes, yarn, that kind of yarn, the kind of yarn your grandmother used to use to make sweaters. Yarn, you see, comes in all of these cool colors, and it's fluffy. It looks so good encased in wax, really it does. I'm going to have some fun with yarn, I tell you. Yarn, yes that yarn.

Of course, it's been a bit too cold so I haven't felt much like doing anything in the studio, but I have been cleaning up my house a bit, and dreaming about moving someplace warm or prettier (or, maybe prettier AND warm. Now, that would be a treat.) Still looking for all the fun stuff that's about the happen with the start of the new year-some painting sessions, drawing work (which I may or may not post) lots of photo-related things, plus working with encaustics more. It's shaping up to be a fun year in the studio, if it can stay warm enough to keep me in there, that is.

I've been thinking about all the mixed media that's happening now. All of the different varnishes and hand-coatings photographers are using. Maybe a post on this will follow-I think it deserves some additional thought and a bit more attention. Please do let me know though if you're a photographer and you've been thinking about (or doing) lots of hand "worked" prints, varnishing your work, or otherwise doing "almost mixed media" with it.

Until next time...

Saturday, January 09, 2010

Stream of Grocery Store Consciousness


FreshPlusGrocery, originally uploaded by carolsLittleWorld.

This is what it is like when I go shopping.

Hmmm. There's a cart. I hope I don't hit it. I hope I don't park where they'll hit me. Damn. I hate this store. My car always gets hit with a cart here.

Bananas. I need bananas. And some charcoal and pencils for my drawing class. But, let's get the bananas first since this is, after all, a grocery story. Toilet paper. I wonder if I need toilet paper. Hey, look, they have that cool shoe/foot thing, where you take off your shoes, stand on it, and it tells you what kind of feet you have. I wonder what kind of feet I have. I don't want to take off my shoes, it's too cold out tonight. Besides, I'm wearing boots. And I don't even know what kind of boots I have. [Looks down] Oh, that's right, it's cold, so I'm wearing my furry, warm boots. Everybody is wearing furry warm boots, since it's so cold. Even though we all look ugly and unfashionable, we all have warm toes. I wonder if the machine tells you your toes are warm yet unfashionable after you put your soon-to-be cold feet into it. Hey, I wonder if I need a frozen pizza. Ha! I don't have to worry about it thawing out tonight. Dog food. I think Chase needs dog food. Milk. I wonder if I need milk. Didn't I come in here for fruit of some kind? Apples? Was it apples? I wonder if the pink lady apples are still in season. Man, I love those.

This annoying lady keeps parking her cart right in front of me. I hate when people do that. It's like she's some kind of passive aggressive manic shopping cart driver. Move out of my way, you be-atche. You better move or, I swear, I'm going to drive really fast, cut you off, stop right in front of you, and shout, "I am the Stig!" I might even flip you the bird. [Swerves cart quickly.] Take that you witch!

Let's see, what do we have on aisle five today? Oh no! Kids. I hate these people who bring their 16 children to the grocery store and let them run around like free roaming wildebeest. Shouldn't these enfant trribles be on a leash of some kind? Don't they have laws for that? Cereal. Do I need cereal? Maybe I'll get some of those frozen pizza nibble things. I like them. Even though I don't really know what they are called. What do you call a frozen pizza that's been cut up, rolled into little bite sized things, and then sold in a small box so you can microwave them? Frozen pizza nibble things is the best I can come up with because, well, right about now, I'm too tired to think of anything better. Besides, I've just been attacked by some annoying shopping cart driver and 16 free roaming unruly children. Words escape me at this point in time.

Oh man, they are re-stocking the bread aisle. It looks like it's not our cups but our daily bread that has runeth over. There are loaves everywhere. It's like attack of the Wonder kids in here. What are they doing? They are chucking loaves of bread all around. It's flying through the air. Note to self: watch for low-flying bread in aisle eight. Incoming! Duck! Four! Crap, somebody warn the next poor helpless sap who's just about to walk around the corner. Gee, I hope it's that lady with the 16 kids. Maybe she'll get lucky and they'll take one out? Nah, probably not. There's never any luck like that in the world when you really need it most.

Tea. I need some tea. It's cold out. I'll get some tea that way I can have tea with mint, honey, lemon, and other good stuff. I miss the Tea House in Santa Fe. That was a nice place, that Tea House was. Santa Fe. That was a nice place too. Hmm. Hey look! They have blue corn tortilla chips. That'll bring me back. Just like the Plaza. Hope I don't forget the salsa. I bet it's cold in the Plaza tonight. I bet it's freezing cold and everybody is wearing big Ugg boots, woolen ponchos, and those brightly-colored hats with the little strings that dangle down the side, by your ears. I don't know what those hats are called, but I bet they are all wearing them in Santa Fe right now. Yup. I bet there's tons of string dangling down everybody's ears in Santa Fe, right now, as I browse the vitamins and health food crap. It's either that or sit by the fire to keep warm and, heck, it's so cold, they're probably doing that too.

Speaking of fire, they have Duraflame logs on sale. I wonder who buys those? What, like you people never heard of a tree? What's wrong with burning lumber for a change? Fast food, fake boobs, and now even fake trees. What is this world coming to? It's like everybody's gone bananas.

Bananas. Oh! That's right! I came in here for bananas. Crap. Now they're all the way on the other side of the store...

Until next time...

Friday, January 08, 2010

Bed Time


There's the Rub, originally uploaded by carolsLittleWorld.

It's almost time for bed. It's a cold night tonight. The news keeps telling me how cold it is around the country. It's 45 degrees in Key Largo, Florida. Now, I'm not in Florida, and I'm sure that 45 degrees is really cold, especially for somebody from Florida, somebody who is expecting it to be in the 70's, but, somehow, I just don't care. I'm going to cuddle up with my warm blanket, my little black dog, and a nice hot cup of chamomile tea. Maybe there's a good movie on tonight, or maybe I'll snuggle up with a good book instead, either way, it's almost bed time.

Are you going to sleep well tonight? Stay out of the cold, cuddle up with someone you love or perhaps a good book? Were you thinking about watching a movie? Or maybe you prefer to eat bonbons and sit up in bed, cursing at the TV for not showing us anything interesting. Maybe you will be engrossed in an engaging fight on the sports channel or perhaps you'll catch an old style film noir. Maybe Fred Astaire will dance across your TV set or you'll catch a great detective show, with a grumpy old gumshoe who somehow manages to catch the villain despite being a grouch.

Yes, it's a cold night tonight and it's almost time for bed. I hope you sleep well tonight.

Until next time...

Wednesday, January 06, 2010

All Right You People, Get Out of My House Already


Old House, originally uploaded by carolsLittleWorld.

About this time, for the past several years anyway, I do something a bit, shall we say, unexpected. Sorry to disappoint you, but I don't go sky diving or bungee jumping or anything like that, no, I actually do something a bit, shall we say, "silly." I enter the HGTV Dream Home Giveaway.

Yes, yes, it's true. Every year I enter. And every year, I swear I'm going to win. It's always some great house too-somewhere off in some place I've never been. As you might know, I love architecture, and I love seeing what the best of "new" is, even though, as you could probably guess, I really love the old stuff too. I really think the architecture is art and I love seeing all the little details of the house. I use that "virtual tour" feature and I zoom in on little details, I look at the construction plans, I love browsing floor plans and blueprints (yes, I know, I'm weird. But haven't we established that already?) I click on all the little buttons to poke in at all of the little details. I love looking at structure, buildings, houses, and the like, and I love the fact that this is splattered all over the web, for me to browse.

The house outside of Seattle, for example, oh my, was that a treat. I've never been to Seattle and, while a bit familiar with the architecture there, I loved getting to look at the blueprints, the floor plans, and the like, to see how the buildings there are physically made (weird, weird, I know, I know.) It was like a portal into another world and I spent considerable time doing it-I played with that "virtual tour" whenever I was bored. It was great fun, so much so that I can even remember some details of the house.

Come January, every year, a new house is unveiled. Each year they have a half hour long "special" program, on New Year's Day, to "reveal" the new house, it's location kept top secret until this point. Even the web only offers small glimpses until the whole thing is done up in some big reveal. It's quite exciting for me. And, each year, though I know, deep down inside, I know I will never win, I swear that I'm going to enter every day (each and every single day) and this year, why this year, will be *the* year-the year I finally win my dream home. It's *so* going to be mine, so I click on that little "Enter for a chance to win" button over and over and over again.

This year the dream home is located along the turquoise trail outside of Santa Fe. It's a beautiful adobe structure, with a fabulous kitchen, great outdoor eating areas, a home office well setup to support a photographer and even a "meditation" room that I could use as an art studio. It's so perfect in every little detail. Even the color palette would fit me. And entertaining? Oh, I could just see Scriber coming over for a visit, painting on my deck overlooking the desert, and KathyV taking pictures of the cactus off the back porch. Canyon Road would be a mere short hop away, and it even comes with a "guest house" or casita for visitors who come, so they can stay right with me. Oh yes, this year, the good folks at HGTV have taken something already fabulous and, somehow, made it even better. Talk about pretty. Talk about breathtaking. It's a home to end all homes.

And I simply have one thing to say about all of this.

ALL RIGHT YOU PEOPLE, GET OUT OF MY HOUSE ALREADY.

Seriously though, if you'd like to enter for a chance to win, ahem, *my* dream home, you can click here for details (it's free to enter and you can enter one time per day between now and February 19th. Good luck!)

Until next time...

Tuesday, January 05, 2010

Apple Tablet


WritingLight, originally uploaded by carolsLittleWorld.

The latest rumors have it that Apple is going to introduce a new tablet. It's going to be sort of a 10 inch version of the iPhone-bigger than an iPhone but smaller than a Macbook.

I totally want to get one of these, for several reasons. For starters, I've been putting off getting an iPhone for years. Sure, I've wanted one, but the price of the service is just so expensive. The rumors swirling around the tablet suggest that it will be able to connect to WiFi, rather than be a traditional iPhone, and there are rumors that Verizon will offer service. Verizon is my current carrier, so I'm excited about this. I'd be happy to add tablet service to my current cell phone line and I think the Apple tablet would be the tablet to get.

Another good thing about this is that they expect the tablet to be able to run many of the iPhone applications. There are hundreds of thousands of iPhone applications-everything from turn-by-turn GPS to a flashlight, not to mention many photo-based applications.

Generally speaking, I think the iPhones are great and really want one, I just do not want to pay the high fees associated with having one. By offering up this tablet, Apple is tapping into the netbook market, providing a larger "screened" iPhone (sort of a "maxi Phone" if you will) and also cutting into the market for things like the Kindle.

I think this new tablet is going to be amazing, which is probably why it will be a complete flop. But, of course, not before I get mine. *Sigh*

Until next time...

Monday, January 04, 2010

Emerging


SurfacingNo9-2, originally uploaded by carolsLittleWorld.

The other day, somebody from Flak Photo posted something on Twitter about what it means to be an emerging photographer. Now, I think this is kind of an interesting discussion, and probably one that merits more than 140 characters, so I decided to do an entire blog post about just this topic.

For starters, in the days of old, an "emerging photographer" was usually a younger artist, particularly one who had not had a major show. Typically this type of photographer (or artist) would have completed art school, gotten the coveted MFA degree, maybe even done some groups shows, started working as a professional, that sort of a thing, but had yet to have "their big break" (as it were.)

These days, in the era of new digital media, "emerging" means many different things to many different people. For starters, there used to be a sort of age restriction on "emerging" artists-typically it was somebody under the age of about 30 or maybe 35. Now though, we have artists and photographers I like to call "career switchers." You know what I'm talking about here-these are people who started their lives in one profession (or trade) went on to grow up, do the whole "house, car, kids in the yard" thing, and then maybe one day, by chance, happened upon a camera and BAM! their entire lives changed. They suddenly wanted to be a photographer and so off to photo school or possibly it was time to start applying for that spiffy new job in that shiny new field. Sort of like a mid-life crisis without the convertible, if you will. There have also been many artists who discovered their "passion" latter on in life. So, maybe in their case, it took them 40 or so odd years to sort of "grow up" and decide what they want to be now that they're almost "old." All of these people should really be considered "emerging" artists (in a way) even though their 30's have passed them by.

Then there's the whole "degree" thing. Many photographers (and artists) today opt to avoid the whole "art school" thing, simply because, well it's expensive and they really do not want to teach. Still many more attend trade schools, community colleges, and go the self-education route. Maybe they are educated in other fields, and they don't want to bother to go back and get a degree in art, one that would cost them a pile of money and render then, alas, just another unemployed MFA art teacher. Sure, these people are out there too.

Now, it might be easy to say, "eh, what does it matter? Who cares if somebody is called 'emerging' or not? At the end of the day, does it really matter?" The problem with taking that stance is that, well, the term "emerging" existed for a reason. There are galleries, contests, grants, and these sorts of things targeted to these "emerging" artists. To open up such competition to the "professionals" (actually, that's a bad word, let's go with "established artists") would give the poor up-and-comer a big disadvantage. They'd have to compete with the established folks, and that can be hard to do-they might never even get their foot in the door, let alone "make it" with that big, one person show, right?

No, we need some kind of term for "emerging" artist, really we do. I mean, we have "professional" and that's a nice term, except that it really has ties to money-a "professional" is one who is maybe more commercial than his artsy counterparts-but, does that really make him "better" (for lack of a better word) or just more able to sell his wares? And, if we go with "professional" what does that leave the "emerging" artist? Non-professional? That word hardly fits, I mean, they are neither amateur nor unprofessional, so it's not a good choice. No, I think, when it comes down to it, the word "emerging" has to stay-it's a good fit when you really stop to think about what it means.

So, then we're back to the age thing, or are we? Can an artist be "emerging" if they are in their 40's but, say, have crossed over from another field or maybe come from another discipline? I would think so, but then, how do you word the grants, contests, and gallery calls for that? "We'll take you if you are either under 35 but sort of kind of a beginner. Not unprofessional, mind you, just sort of "emerging" but you can be older than 35." Now that's a mouthful, don't you think? Ugh. I think it might be best to leave the notion of "emerging" up to the artists. I mean, an artist should know if he or she is "emerging" or if they are sort of a more mid-career, established, professional, right? Maybe?

It's very confusing. I'd be curious to hear you ideas on their sort of a thing.

Until next time...

Sunday, January 03, 2010

No Rest (or Clean Laundry) for the Wicked


CommercialCircles, originally uploaded by carolsLittleWorld.

So, our holiday season is just about over. Tomorrow marks the day that many of us return to work. I hate to admit, I've been a bit lazy this time around. I haven't painted much and I have not gotten much done. Kind of like that old saying, "But I can't be overdrawn, I still have checks left..." I feel that, even if I had an infinite amount of time off, I still would not get everything done. Did you ever have a holiday like that? Man, I really *hate* holidays like that.

I started doing some laundry (earlier on in my break) and did manage to get a few loads in, but I've mysteriously still got a full hamper. I can't figure this out. I mean, where do the clean clothes run off to? Not to mention the fact that I didn't really finish getting my house in order. I didn't grocery shop. I didn't even sign up for my next round of drawing sessions. Oh the horror! Tomorrow, I'll be stuck working yet again and it will become infinitely harder to get anything done. Let's face it, after working all day, nobody wants to come home and do all of this stuff, right? Why, oh why, can't I just win the lottery or suddenly become independently wealthy? About the only thing I did manage to do this holiday season is spend a bit of money and get myself a new pair of boots. That's shameful, really it is.

How could my hamper still be overflowing? It's just not possible. I swear, it's broken some law of physics or something. There must be some kind of hole in the time-space continuum, right? Yeah, I know that place-it's the place where all of our lost socks hang out and multiply.

Speaking of time-space continuum, I did manage to break down and watch the last Doctor Who episodes with David Tennant. He's such a good actor and we're going to miss him dearly as the good Doctor. It was a fun ride, even if I did have to risk an encounter with some lost socks to enjoy it. I can't wait for his new TV series to start, which is supposed to be happening soon, by all accounts. Rex is Not Your Lawyer is starting to look like a runaway hit, if for nothing else than the cast. Other cast members (so far) include one of my favorite actors, Jerry O'Connell, and SNL favorite Jane Curtain, though I still wonder how they are going to handle Tennant's accent. Maybe they can tap into Curtain's background, pass him off as a conehead, and declare "his is from France" but then, I guess, we'll just have to wait and see about that now, won't we?

I just hope he doesn't get too tangled up in the land of lost socks and that the pilot for this show actually makes it to my TV set.

Until next time...

Saturday, January 02, 2010

Published-Check Out the Utatan Editor's Choice


YellowStream, originally uploaded by carolsLittleWorld.

I've been published! Here's a link with the details: The Utatan Editor's Choice I have a few images featured in this publication, along with a bunch of other members of the popular website Utata. I received my copy today-it's a beautiful book and I'm proud to be a part of it. Thanks to all the folks from Utata who make these sorts of projects possible. It's always fun to take part in a Utata project and I'm really glad now to see that we can get a book from it too.

In other news, I've been resting today, feeling a bit under the weather, so just trying to bum around the house with my feet up sipping warm tea.

Another battle royale is taking place between the Fox entertainment channels and Time Warner cable. The good folks of Austin were about to go without, the big fight was about the pull the plug (so to speak) on cable channels provided by Fox, but, it would appear, that some last minute deals have saved the day. Fox Network and the Fox programming will continue to be carried by Time Warner Cable, at least for the time being. This is good news, as it means we (probably) won't miss the first episodes of American Idol when they air latter this month.

This is a yellow (not red!) leaf taken as part of the Red Leaf Diaries. Sometimes, I guess, you go looking for red and wind up with something totally different, but, you know, pretty none the less, right? I actually sort of like yellow leaves and sometimes wonder if I shouldn't start up a Yellow Leaf Diaries instead. Of course, with my luck, I'd then actually start to find nothing but the red ones, right?

Until next time...

Friday, January 01, 2010

Here's Looking at 2010


FacesAndEyes, originally uploaded by carolsLittleWorld.

This is my photo Friday entry for square-it was taken in the square, downtown Taos, New Mexico. Now, I know most of the glasses are technically "round" but still, the eyeglass shop is right in the middle of the "square" so I think it counts.

Looking to 2010, I believe it's time to make my photographic resolutions.

For starters, I have started playing with encaustics and working with encaustic medium (as part of 2009) so I expect that to continue. I'd like to actually get good enough with the encaustic medium in 2010 to start to like my work. I'm not there yet-it's still not matching up to my vision of things (of sorts) but I'm learning, making progress, and, most importantly, playing around with things. I had gotten so used to just sort of "clocking in" work as a photographer or painter, it's been good to add a new medium into that mix, to keep things fresh and exciting. It's actually kind of fun to go into the studio and not know exactly what the heck you are doing-I think it will keep things fun for the new year, don't you?

I usually start off the new year by saying, "This year, I'm going to get a big one person show in a real gallery." Well, last year, I did just that, so now, I suppose, you'd expect me to say, "this year, I'm going to get an EVEN BIGGER one person gallery show." Sorry, you'd be wrong about that. I don't want a big, one person show-instead, I want to take my time, enjoy being a beginner with the encaustics medium and have some fun playing with things. Oh, I'm sure shows will come (they always do) but I'm not going to hunt them into extinction just yet.

Now, of course, I also almost always say, "I'm going to slow down and do only 4 group shows this year." Again, I'm not going to do that. I've moved to only sending in work (for group shows) where my work fits the theme (really fits the theme-no stretching it!) and I love the venue or the juror. So far, this technique has worked well for me, and I plan on sticking to it-look for this to continue into 2010.

As for other, maybe new resolutions? I'm not going to commit to travel this year-I might do some of that, then again, I might stay home. I am going to commit to doing more life drawing sessions and painting more though. I want to try to spend more studio time in 2010 than I did in 2009 as well-I think I really benefit from and enjoy that.

I'd like to start to get my equipment sorted out in 2010 as well. Time to start getting some stuff that I want-look for some new lenses, maybe even some new camera gear, and some upgrades-I'm expected a lot more of that this year. It's already started as I've gotten some new gear to better allow me to do some pinhole work and I might get a new camera body soon as well (hey, it hasn't been upgraded in a few years and my crap takes a beating, ok?)

Other resolutions, besides the encaustics are to work on my ongoing series, explore at least one new series, continue the fantastic Austin Night Photography group, continue working with mixed media/handmade prints some, and continue some self portraits a bit.

I think 2010 is shaping up to be an "inward" year in a lot of ways. I'm hoping that my work will become more introspective, more inward facing. That may sound a big like a "big ego" talking, and maybe it is, but I've got a strong desire to do some highly personal, introspective work (ego or not.) I hope that can mature and pan out in 2010 as well, in whatever medium it decides to take shape.

I do expect some charity work and other/odd work as part of 2010 as well. I also want to get out and walk more, as well as stay in and read a bit more (not just photo books either.) Look for the Red Leaf Diaries to continue, as well as (probably) the 5x7 show and a few other fund raisers. But, mostly I'm going to try to do some "fun" shows and stuff, you know, things just for me.

Here's hoping you have some great photographic resolutions and that you find 2010 to be a great year photographically. May your imagination dream it, your eyes see it, your camera capture it, your darkroom or computer process it gracefully, your flash memory or film supply remain endless, and your batteries forever charged in 2010.

Until next time...