Thursday, September 29, 2011
Imagine being there, being right there, standing on that overlook, enjoying that view. Imagine being there instead of being trapped behind a desk doing paperwork, signing model releases, or doing whatever it is that you do. Maybe you're an accountant and you add up credits and debits all day long? Maybe you're a doctor, a layer, a baker, a whatever. Imagine leaving your life, your "normal" regular, simple life, being transported to Iceland for just a little bit, and seeing a view like this. It's sort of unreal, isn't it? I mean, Iceland is almost like going to another planet in some ways. The scenery is so *different* it's just so pretty and it's not like what you're used to seeing.
To get away like that, even if it's only for a few seconds, even if it's only in your mind, that, my friends, that is why I posed this image for you to see here today. It's a break, it's just a break from all that we do.
And, if you don't believe me. If you don't see anything special, magical, or "different" in it, I'd urge you to look closer.
Spot the waterfall?
Yeah, there's more than one in this image. There's probably something like seventeen. All buried up in that hill, on that scenic overlook. Seriously. Waterfalls. Hidden waterfalls? Yes, hidden waterfalls (well, "hidden" in plain view.)
Somebody told me on my travels that, in Iceland, there are more waterfalls than people. There are more places where water flows freely over rock than there are people to enjoy them, to look at them, to clutter them up the way we humans always do. That seems like a meaningless statistic in some ways but, in a way, it's amazing to me. More waterfalls than people. Really? I mean, that's a lot of waterfalls, yes, but it also implies that somewhere, sitting quietly, going unnoticed, right now as I type this, there is a waterfall in Iceland that doesn't have a person "affiliated" with it. It's just water, quietly flowing freely over rock. Now, don't you wish you could just go out and catch *that one* now that I've told you about it? I so want to see *that* one, that quiet previously under enjoyed waterfall right now, don't you?
If that thought doesn't take you away then, I'm afraid, maybe you really do belong chained to a desk. (Don't take it, you know, personally or anything. The world needs accountants too, I'd guess.)
Until next time...
Sunday, September 25, 2011
On my last day of shooting in Reykjavik, after my flight had been delayed and I was stuck in downtown with nothing to do and it was raining very hard so I could not really take photos very easily, I happened upon this woman walking around the city. She wasn't the usual sight-seeing type of tourist, she walked pretty quickly and moved around like she knew where she was going. She also had an umbrella and stayed under it almost the entire time. I thought she looked interesting, that she would make for an interesting subject, so I followed her. I followed her and her umbrella and her coat for quite a ways, stopping to take several shots of her when I could.
I must admit, the thing that drew me to her first was the umbrella. I thought it might be a good idea to get a shot of a lady walking around with an umbrella. I had been doing these blurry out of focus type shots a bit that day and I knew what I wanted to get. A blurry out of focus shot, taken in the rain in Reykjavik, with an umbrella in it.
It's kind of odd to me, because some of you just won't get this. Some of you will maybe even write in to me and complain (I can almost hear it now, "it's way too out of focus!" or "you need new glasses!" Maybe I do but I actually intended it to be this way.) Some others of you, probably mostly my painter friends, will say something different ("It's a cliche!" "What are you doing?!?" "A lady walking downtown in the rain with an umbrella? Really?")
But, me? Not me. I look at it and I think, "I wish I could paint more like this." I wish I could make my paintings look more like this. This is sort of my ideal as a painter. I really want to do soft urban scenes that are quite abstract but render just enough information for you to maybe "get it" if you look closely enough. I would love to be able to do this with encaustics, really I would. Heck, I can't even make faces yet (really) with encaustics but this? Now this I would so LOVE to be able to do in wax. The best I could probably do is to hack something that looks a bit like this out with a palette knife and some oils and even that would not come out quite looking like this blurry out of focus taken in the rain image from my camera.
And that, yeah, THAT'S why I love this image and I'm posting it today. This is what I want to do, what I really want to do. Ok, so maybe I did it with a camera and now I've got to paint it (oh joy!) but I did it and I like it and I'm posting it. Honestly, I hope you get it too. I hope you understand that this is where I want to go, this is the direction I'm pointing in, even if my technique as a painter is not quite there yet.
The story behind this photo? Yeah, I really had some fun following the lady with the umbrella around downtown. It was kind of fun to do and she kept walking towards the middle of the streets and sidewalks, which (I must admit) really helped me compose her nicely. But that's not at all why I like this image and why I'm posting it today. Does it work by itself, as "only" a photograph? I don't know about that, but I like it. I really kind of do, in a blurry out of focus kind of way. It's soft and it looks rainy, I think it's got the mood down, I just wish I could add more texture to it, to make it look more painterly and less "flat" the way photos always do. But the story behind it? Yeah, it's not a narrative image for me. Even though I was there and I knew what was happening, this just isn't all about storytelling for me at all.
So, if you or someone you know happens to be the lady with the umbrella in downtown Reykjavik, why I thank you. Thanks very much for making an otherwise boring, dark, rainy day seem a bit more....well, fun and exciting are not exactly the right words, but you get the idea. Lady with umbrella, wherever you are, I followed you and you made my day. You let me take a photo that looks like the kind of paintings I want to paint, should I happen to get good enough painting with a blow torch and some melted wax. Someday, maybe, you'll see yourself in wax. As for the rest of you, yes, I know it's out of focus and yes, I know it's a bit of a cliche but I like it. Sorry, but this is one fish I'm not going to throw back anytime soon.
Can't I have a little bit of fun on an otherwise dark and rainy day when I'm stuck far from home in some lost forgotten place? Please?
Until next time...
Thursday, September 22, 2011
Until next time...
- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone
Wednesday, September 21, 2011
In other news, this is one of my "drive by shootings" from Iceland. I love doing drive by shootings, even if they don't make the best photographs in the end. They are so much fun to do. In Iceland, I got some interesting ones as well. Driving on the big bus, and driving through such an incredible landscape made for some wild and whacky drive by shootings, let me tell you.
I heard some good quotes the other day too that I would like to share with you as well.
"Life is not about waiting for the storm to pass, it's about learning how to dance in the rain." Oh so very true!
And another: "You were born an original, don't die a copy." (Attributed to John Masons.) Also, so very true. I'd much rather be a first rate original me, and take oddball whacky "drive by" shots, then take shots that somebody else has already taken (and that don't look like me at all.)
Several people have told me this already but, in case you missed that boat, "there's enough 'normal' in the world already. Be yourself!" That's very true too. There's really no point in being "normal" anymore, I mean, what? Look at what "normal" has gotten us? How many wars? How many people starving? How many people struggling around the globe? Isn't it time we tried something just a little bit different? (Sure, I'm only a humble photographer but, heck, if everybody tried something "different" if everybody put on their collective thinking caps and brought about change in the world, I'd have to think the world would be a much better place for it, don't you?)
Enough about solving the world's problems, I'm now going to have breakfast.
Please help me spread the word about the call for entries if you can. I'd like to be able to get at least 40 artists submitting work for the cause (if that's possible. Heck, I don't even know.)
Until next time...
Monday, September 19, 2011
I love the design of the houses there. I love the old world craftsmanship and the way they build things there. The houses really give you the impression that they are built to last. They build things slower there then we do here in the 'States but they have more quality and better design. I like that in a place. I like a place that takes the time to design something, to craft something, rather than just spit it up. I guess, here in the 'States though, we need too many houses too quickly so we have to build them all fast. Either that or maybe we are just lazy and like cookie cutter homes? I don't know, jury's still out on that one.
I have started sketching out some paintings from Iceland. I've decided I'm going to do a small series of painting about an Icelandic family that lives in the valley of the moss, near the big green mountain. The family will be a mother, father, two daughters and a son. One of the girls will like to ride horses and several of the children will help with the chores at the farmhouse. I've crafted this story, and these people, because I want to make my paintings be more like a narrative. I want to tell the small story of this little family that lives tucked away in Iceland in a neat little way.
I've decided I'm going to do it in pastels first, so I can figure out the color palette and then work my way into maybe oils for this small series. I would like to do a series of about 5-10 paintings. Not sure of the size yet, I'm going to try to start drawing, sketching, and the first starts of the pastels over the holiday season. It will be my own little personal "Christmas project" that I'll be able to work on when I'm home and bored around the holiday season. (I have already started sketching for this, and picking out some reference photos from my recent trip, in case you could not gather as much from reading this post so far.)
I keep hoping that I will be able to do more encaustics soon and it looks like I am going to get my wish. We (finally!) had some rain this weekend, which means that the fire dangers are a lot less (still not completely gone but we are doing much better now) so I will be able to break out the blow torch and other heat-making tools to work with the wax. I have the studio setup and ready to go, I just need some ideas and some time to flesh out some work.
Unfortunately, along with more studio time these days also comes more "busy work." (And you know how much I just hate that.)
I've signed up to do two different locations at the big East Austin Studio Tour this year, so that means I will have both paintings and photography in the shows. I have a lot to do to prepare for this. I was thinking just today that I need to order more business cards (so I have something to hand out) I need to update my website (so I have something to show) and I need to finish some smaller sized encaustic pieces (like 10x10's and 12x12's) so that I have something new to show off on the tour. I also want to do some postcards and finish up my Hill Country Water Gardens book, not to mention have some books available for the book signing events as well as the EAST tour. Oh, and it might be nice if I had a calendar of some kind to sell or give away as part of EAST too, wouldn't it? (Yeah, that's more work for me. Sigh. Groan.) This all boils down to a lot of paperwork and busy work that I need to get cracking on and soon. While it seems ages away, EAST will be here before I know it. The deadlines are looming and I've not been very motivated this year. I need to get my butt in gear, as they say, and start coming to live, taking on these projects.
I also have a photo shoot this weekend. It's the annual Texas All British Car Day and so I'll look to shoot that. Believe it or not, I think I'm close to being out of compact flash. After Iceland, everything has been shot or just done up and run away these days.
There are also a host of shows and places that are screaming they want some work from me, so there's more paperwork and busy work/foof to get down to business and get done.
Some days, I feel like it never ends. And then I remember how happy I was, strolling the back alleys and magical streets of Reykjavik, discovering all of the little houses I loved so much (houses, much like this one.) It's fun to do that sort of a thing, even if I don't get to do it all that often and I have a lot of paperworks in the middle.
Yes, I know you don't want to hear more about paperwork, so I promise I'll try to get you my Iceland Top 10 list (oh, I still didn't do that, now, did I?) as well as a "What's in Carol's Bag?" post (more gear talk for those of you who dig that kind of stuff.) I'm also still hard at work on the "Tinderbox of Tomorrows" benefit book, so look for a call for entries about that coming soon (if you are an artist, please consider sending me some work. It's for a good cause-helping out the fire victims, and I promise the book will get some traction once it's complete.)
I promise, in between the paperwork, I'll try to keep everybody updated and informed, really I will (well, ok, maybe just entertained would be a better promise? Maybe I should start taking photos of myself buried under mountains of paperwork so you can see what I look like?)
Until next time...
Monday, September 12, 2011
, originally uploaded by carolsLittleWorld.
This is not a very great photo but this is a photo I took of the Cedar Park fire that was part of the Firestorm 2011 (or what we are now calling the "Central Texas Fires.")
This fire burned down an apartment complex in Cedar Park (my current hometown) and left several buildings of apartment dwellers homeless. I happened to drive by the start of the fire on my way home the other day. To give you an idea of how large/fast the fire spread, I had seen the flames from highway 183 (my usual path home) and was going to pull over, stop to take pictures. I decided it better to get out of the way of the flames, so I pulled over one block, traveling east, driving on a road that runs parallel to Highway 183, figuring I would get out of the way of the fire. I stopped to take a few images with my iPhone (one you see here) and then continued home. By the time I had gotten home, the news was reporting that the building was destroyed. The entire apartment complex was razed in about an hour. (It's very hot and dry here, in case you did not know. This is contributing to the fire situation, as we have had no rain since the fires broke out and no rain in the forecast, not to mention dry/windy conditions, which fan the fires.)
To update you on the overall status of Firestorm 2011:
* There are still many people missing from Bastrop. There is a website you can go to that lists the names of the people missing. Some have been marked as FOUND while others are still missing. If you know of anybody displaced from the Bastrop fire complex, please contact authorities so they can get an accurate count of those unaccounted for in the fires.
* Most of the Bastrop fires have been somewhat contained. If that sounds like an incomplete thought, well it is. The fires are supposed to be about 70-80 percent contained now, but that does not mean that they are out. We have also had no rain, so this means things can start up again on a moment's notice. Not everybody in Bastrop can go back to their homes yet, as they are still clearing embers and working to put out the fires, to keep them from flaring up again.
* Local area charities have asked that we refrain from donating clothing. The lines have been very long for donations, so much so that they've asked folks for cleaning supplies and children's things, rather than clothing. Many young children have lost all of their toys and are hurting, so they are asking for help here but lots of clothing, blankets, and the like have been donated. Please check with your local donation drop off location before heading out with your items, to make sure you bring the most needed items.
* The pet shelters are full of displaced animals, some that are suffering burns. If you have lost a pet, please check with the local shelters and see if you can find your little buddy. Many of the animals have already been treated for burns so finding your lost pet will help them heal.
* Most of the folks in the Steiner Ranch area are back in their homes but are requested that people do not do "drive by's" or try to get into the neighborhood to take pictures, etc. They are still dealing with insurance and want to keep out looters, vandals, etc. (so far, there has been no looting to report but they want to keep it that way.) They are asking that we please respect privacy.
There are lots more fire updates but these are some of the bigger ones.
As part of the relief efforts, I have decided to organize a book, printed to benefit the victims of the Firestorm 2011. The book will be called "Tinderbox of Tomorrows" and will feature artwork donated to the cause. For my artist friends, look for a call for entries coming your way soon. I will be using the "Blurb for Good" service of Blurb to raise some funds for the fire victims.
The book's theme will loosely be centered around "hope." I will be looking for images (2D) that can bring hope to those who might have lost everything in these horrible fires. If you are an artist friend, I hope you will consider donating an image to the book. I am also going to try to get somebody to write the preface of the book, I'll keep you posted on that as soon as I have more details to report.
I am looking forward to this book and hoping that something of beauty can come from something so horrible. (Wish me luck with that but, isn't that what art is all about anyway?)
Until next time...
Sunday, September 11, 2011
In other news, this is my postcard shot from Iceland. I thought that this was the most "Postcard-y" shot I've taken of the bunch. It looks sorta like a postcard anyway. Well, this is as close to "postcard" as I can probably get so I hope you like it, in a postcard-y way, that is.
For those of you from Texas, these things are called mountains. They are these big bumps that naturally occur on the earth's surface....well, maybe it's best to just let them be. It's kind of hard to explain this if you have lived you entire life never really seeing one before, so you'll have to just trust me when I say that, the big bump you see here? Yeah, it's called a mountain and they have them in Iceland. Big bumps, all covered in snow, looking all postcard-y, just waiting for me to snatch them away and take them back to Texas with me hidden in my camera. (Hey, laugh all you want, it beats an over-priced T-shirt any day.)
Tomorrow, I'm supposed to go and hear Dennis Darling show some new work and talk. The trouble is I haven't been feeling all that well. I'm honestly hoping my health holds out for the day, because I really want to see some of this new work. He's been following around a "faith healer" type of medicine man, all around Texas and parts of the south, for a few years now (maybe even decades?) This promises to be some strange and funky cool work, so I hope I get the chance to check it out. I've been kind of sick all weekend so I hope I can hold out long enough to go and check out his new work. I love Dennis Darling and getting to see his new work and hearing him talk about it is always a treat for me.
Watched TV long enough today to pass out just before muttering "turn it off, man, I've seen too much" but maybe that's just me. I seem to be in a bit of a funk lately, although it could just be I've grown tired of the fires and the status quo for a while now. Want to do something different, really want to stir up the sh*t in the pot, if you catch what I'm saying.
Watched a little TV on Saturday about this couple moving to the far east. Now I think I really want to move to the far east or, at least, you know, get some additional frequent flyer miles. Mine have all since expired, gone the way of the do do bird who, presumably, once lived up in the mountains of Iceland. (Although, since I'm from Texas, I can't really say that I know what mountains actually are now, can I?) Anyway, to avoid coming back around to it, I got this itch to travel some and can't quite figure out how to scratch it. On top of all that, people keep doing stuff to me to get me to stay here.
I've been invited to show some books at the Texas book festival thing in the fall. Of course, this implies that I have to get my act together, fill out some paperwork (of sorts) and do all of those mundane things I hate to do. But, yes, I'll probably do it if I can mange it. That and the big East Austin Studio Tour (EAST) is coming up, plus I'm supposed to teach again and drumming up interest in doing an Austin based workshop in the spring. When, oh when, will this leave me anytime to travel? One can only guess, but I hope to slip away more frequently. Yeah, I've got the wanderlust disease pretty badly these days, don't I? Here, have some more paperwork, it's good for the soul.....
(Well, it sort of tastes better than postcards if you kind of chew hard enough. I think.)
Until next time...
Thursday, September 08, 2011
This shot was taken in Iceland, near an algae filled pond (that was completely green by the way-that's the green you see in the upper right hand side of the image.) It was a sunny day and so the pond was also reflecting the clouds and the sky above. Lots of reflections, lots of layers. This entire place was sort of like a "painted canyon."
We drove up in our off road vehicle, traveling along the bumps and rolls of the path, not knowing where we were going. We found these sort of "algae pods" (lakes) in the middle of a very cool glacier area, with lots of rock formations around as well. Since the place sort of looked like the beginning of time and the algae looked, well, what could only be described as *very green* we started talking about primordial ooze and the beginnings of time. But the reflections were still there for me, I kept going back to reflections and thinking about how painterly the reflections in the algae pond looked to me. So, I dubbed this place "the place where Monet meets the dinosaurs." I think it kind of fits, even if it's a little bit long for a location name.
One problem I had on my trip was that, since I don't speak any Icelandic at all (it's a rather difficult language to pick-up, or so I'm told) I could not pronounce any of the locations where we were. The workshop folks were kind enough to send me an official list but I had already made up my stubborn mind to re-name everything as I saw it. So now, this place will forever be known as the "Monet meets dinosaurs" location, regardless of the "official" name (said with apologies to the good folks of Iceland who can actually understand and pronounce these locations.)
Back to conversations about clouds.
Since the fires are very crazy around here, a lot of people have been having conversations about clouds around Austin. The problem with that is, our clouds? They aren't the pretty "pufty" clouds you see on a sunny day, like these clouds, they are clouds of smoke. Clouds of smoke coming from fires burning out of control. If you could not guess, those aren't very pretty clouds at all. We really don't want to see more of them. They are not really very well-liked around these parts these days.
So, today I uploaded this image to remind me that clouds are cool or at least they can be cool. I shouldn't hold it against the clouds, they aren't the problem. It's the fires that are killing us. Sure, we could do without the smoke too, but the fires are raging out of control. The clouds? They have nothing to do with this really, other than maybe the fact that they haven't brought us rain in a while.
It's been too long since we've had conversations about clouds that didn't involve fires. We need to go back to talking about happy bunnies and odd clown faces people see in clouds, not living in fear of smoke and hidden burning embers. Please cool clouds, bring us some rain soon and, if you do, I promise I'll post more favorable photos of you in the future as well. Deal?
Until next time...
Wednesday, September 07, 2011
I've been working on a series (a larger, more ongoing series) called "Architecture Done Differently" about "different" ways of representing architecture.
I love the idea of doing blurry out-of-focus houses because, to me anyway, the house is reduced to the roof line and general lines of the building when it's rendered out-of-focus (or soft focus) like this. I love that idea. To me, this represents the concept of "any house" sort of a "generic" building. We tend to think of house as a home, and that's usually the case but the house is really just a structure, a roof and four walls. The "home" part is more of what we make of it, more of what we put inside, not the structure. I wanted a way to represent that, also to represent architecture in a more feminine way, since mostly it's women who pick out houses. (Sure, men like to *think* they do, but the guys always wind up picking out a house that pleases the wife. :~)
Anyway, enough art talk about it. It's a small series of a few images that I shot while I was downtown in Reykjavik, exploring the houses, buildings, and architecture of a new city. (Well, new to me anyway. :~) I'm not certain if I will keep this series at photography or if I will try to do pastels of these or what yet. For now though, "The Painted Houses of Reykjavik" exists only in photos for you to enjoy.
In more mundane news, I'm trying to stay safe from the fires that appear to be consuming Austin and prepping for my East Austin Studio Tour show which is happening the first two weeks of November. I also have a few other events planned in-between, including a few photo shoots, provided the city doesn't burn down (which, in all honesty, it appears to be doing its best to do.)
Until next time...
Tuesday, September 06, 2011
Busy day on tap today. Got to catch up on some paperwork, get some stuff done, head out for downtown, and try to avoid the fires. Wish me luck with that last one for, I fear, I am going to need it. Austin is bone dry and there's not a drop of rain in sight.
How does that old joke go? It's so dry that trees have started whistling at passing dogs once again. Oh *groan* sorry about that. The bad jokes will stop once the rain begins, I promise.
Until next time...
Monday, September 05, 2011
, originally uploaded by carolsLittleWorld.
In case you have not heard the news, there are some large fires in Texas near where I live. So far, Cedar Park has not been evacuated, although I'm told this could change at any time now. There is a big fire in Bastrop, Texas, which is burning out of control and also another fire in Steiner Ranch, Texas, actually part of Austin/Travis County area, near the dam and the Oasis restaurant. The Steiner Ranch fire, I believe, has been contained, although I'm not one hundred percent certain of that. I have many friends that live in Steiner Ranch so I'm pulling for all of them. Facebook seems to be hopping with various details of the Steiner Ranch fire, including maps and details of the houses that have been razed on account of the fire.
So far, I'm safe. Apologies if I have to use my blog for more mundane types of things, like send messages to friends and family in distant places, alerting them that I'm ok. Sometimes, I need to do this, though I try to keep it to a minimum.
In other news, I'm very behind on my paperwork and things I'm supposed to be doing this weekend. I got very little done, other than rest up and try to follow along with what was happening with the fires. I'm very scared of the fire situation, so I'm following it closely. I hope to catch-up on some paperwork tomorrow, as time permits.
It's also the long weekend here in Texas. We have off from work today, and it has been a nice day. A bit cooler than usual and breezy. Not helping the fires much but, for those of us not ablaze, it's an otherwise nice day.
Many of the animals in Steiner Ranch and Bastrop have been displaced as well. There are some folks running around getting into people's houses in order to feed/pet their dogs, cats, birds, etc. Thank goodness for these people, otherwise the pets would really suffer. I won't bore you with all of the details about this but it makes me happy that folks in Texas also care for the animals.
In other news, I'm copying my Iceland images up to my main hard drive, which is slated to take hours, so I'm going to be popping in and out for a bit while I wait for this to happen. I have to figure out my class schedule and I have some other, more boring items to catch-up with this weekend.
On Friday, I did make it over to the Texas Wax show at the DAC. It's a beautiful show and I recommend that anybody in town go and check it out if they can. I believe it will be up for a month or so, please have a look if you are so inclined. It's a great show because it showcases a lot of the possibilities of things you can do with wax medium. Not to mention, well, it's just colorful. Everybody likes a colorful art show, right?
Well, this is enough "fire in the sky" images for me for one day. I'll leave you back to your holiday plans or whatever it is you are doing this weekend. Hopefully, you are not burning, as this is a scary thing for one and all.
Until next time...