Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Of Opportunities Lost

GreenReflections, originally uploaded by carolsLittleWorld.

About a month ago, maybe even longer, I was alerted to a faraway art competition that was looking for entries. Being the artist that I am and knowing how I love to send off my work, I carefully cut out and collected all of the information. I've wanted to do more shows overseas and this one, why this would be just the ticket. They were looking for work, I have some work, it was free (basically) to enter, so I thought, why not, right?

Then life got in the way.

I had other shows, other commitments. Lots of groups want some of my time. I have work and house things and laundry and all kinds of stuff. Little by little, the opportunity was slipping away from my grasp.

The postal deadline was today, January 31st. Knowing that the deadline was today, I sat down last night and started to work on my submission. That's when I noticed it. As part of the submission process, they wanted actual prints. They wanted me to print and mail to them (physically mail to them) 10 glossy full color eight and a half by eleven images of my work, complete with artist's resume, C.V. and all of that other "stuff" these type of places usually want. Oh, what to do? The horror of it all.

I was tired, very tired yesterday, and I had to order some supplies for some upcoming shows (I'm almost out of matte board) and, by the time I had gotten around to it, the opportunity had slipped right through my hands.

I'm telling you this because I might have gotten into the show had I sent them something. More than likely, I would have gotten rejected. Ah, no harm no foul, right? Except that now I'll never know. I'll never know if it was in the cards for me to get that ultra-fabulous show in points faraway, no, I won't. I'll never know if it was me this year, if it was supposed to be my turn. I won't know because I didn't even try. I missed the opportunity.

There are always tons of opportunities for artists. It's hard, sometimes very hard, to keep up with such things. One could almost send one's work out continually for months on end if, you know, if you were so-inclined. It's very hard to keep up the pace sometimes, it really is. But there's still something about opportunities lost. There's still some nagging feeling that I'll never know if I could have gotten into that show, if that was "the show for me!" or not, and I never will know not because my work wasn't good enough but just simply because I could not get off my duff long enough to get it together to even enter the darned thing.

I'm sure, on some level, we really should not beat ourselves up if we miss deadlines or don't get things done. It's hard to do all that we do, I know, I've been there. For most of us, this really is a labor of love too, as there's not really enough money in it to "make a quick killing and retire" (no, you should probably try something else for that.) This really isn't a quick hit, it's more like a long slow slog to get to where you want to go, and, frankly, it isn't made any easier by missing deadlines and not getting work out the door.

I've got a lot of shows running now, I honestly do. But, today anyway, the one that bothers me is not the one's coming up, no, I'm ready for those. It's more like the one that got away that's nagging at me. I wish I could have entered. I feel so like that line from, what movie was it, "On the Waterfront" maybe? "I could have been a contender!" Alas, I guess it was just not meant to be. There's a lesson in here and, maybe someday, I'll learn fully what it is. Until then, I'll have to settle for just feeling like I can't *quite* keep up the pace. And that sucks, believe me, it doesn't feel all that great, no matter how many "little successes" I might have to make up for it. No matter how many, "yay! I have another show" messages I get or even how many rejections are slated to come my way, this one humble little show will nag at me, because I feel like I let myself down (in some way) and didn't even get it together long enough to pull off an entry. It's almost like feeling you've lost the race, not because you aren't fast enough, no, more because you didn't even find the starting line. It's a horrible sinking nagging feeling, really it is. I hope you never experience it, and I have to admit I sure don't like it very much at all.

It makes me wonder about all of the people out there who *never* send their work out at all. Maybe they are afraid of rejection or maybe they just can't get it together to enter shows or send their work off. I don't know what causes artists to miss things sometimes, but it's a shame really. So many opportunities, such a competitive field, and yet some opportunities go lost. Crumbled right before our eyes in a field of "oh, I guess I just missed that deadline" madness that only makes you feel miserable inside.

A contender indeed. Maybe someday but, sadly, not today, not on this one.

Until next time...

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Happy New Year - Year of the Dragon

Figures_5314, originally uploaded by carolsLittleWorld.

It's the year of the dragon and, to celebrate, today I headed over to Austin's very own Chinatown destination to try and photograph some of the free roaming dragons.

I started out the day with a great game plan. I was going to head over there early in the afternoon, take some shots, and then get some Chinese food to go and bring it back home, to share with the family. So, I packed up the camera and the car and headed over to Chinatown, Austin to get some shots.

The shooting was fine-same as it is every year. The crowds are really big there and it's hard to shoot through a lot of people holding up kids and iPhones (this year there were even some people with iPads up high.) I got a couple of shots to add to my on-going series about Austin's Chinatown, but not a heck of a lot. Maybe a few, here and there. I do love what the lensbaby does to the puppet dragons, I must admit, so I shot a bunch of those. After a few dragon lensbabies, I headed over to the food store to get my take out. All well and good there, I had some chicken, orange chicken and sesame chicken plus gobs of rice for the family. (Even Chase had a taste once I got home.) I packed up the car and camera again and that's when it hit me. My car, I had parked my car in front of this one market and I could not get out! The dragons had sort of "parked me in" if you will. I was trapped!

Rather than try to beat them (hey, they are dragons after all!) I thought it wise to just hang out a few more minutes. I grabbed the lensbaby and small camera again and went back for more dragon goodness. Finally, after a few children saw fit to feed them and they blew a bunch more firecrackers, I was able to get the car out, but not before they hit me in the face with some firecracker action. Like, seriously. Today, I can honestly say a dragon shot me in the face with a firecracker while I was waiting to back up my car. I mean, how many people do you know can say *that* with a straight face and really mean it?

Pesky dragons. What's next? I bet they ate up all of the sweet tasting bok choy too. (Somebody, please tell me that next year is not in fact the year of the rat! I just so don't what to go *there* ok?)

This shot was taken inside the market. It's some of the figurines they have there for sale. I love that market too-more shots from there to follow.

Happy New Year! (Look out for that dragon!)

Until next time...

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Ten Long Years (and counting!)

, originally uploaded by carolsLittleWorld.

Ten years....ten long years. That's a lot of time in blog-land. That's a lot of little white boxes with blue [POST] buttons, isn't it? That's a lot of art and photography. That's a lot of burnt dinners, dried toast, frozen cocktails, and outlaws on the run.

Hard to believe it, but it's true. This month, on January 16th to be precise, I celebrated an anniversary of sorts. I started blogging on January 16th, 2002. That's ten years of blogging, ten years of me sitting down at my computer to share with you a slice of life from my day.

When I first started blogging, ipods were "newfangled" devices and hardly anybody else was blogging. Blogs were sort of "play things" that nobody really took seriously. Those that had heard of them thought they were "journals of some kind...on the Internet, no?" Um, I guess, "no" would be spot on right about now. It's hard for me to even imagine the incredible things blogs have done for people and, likewise, the incredible blogs some people have done. I'm constantly amazed at how bloggers continually find new and creative ways of expressing themselves given this humble "new media" outlet.

In the early days of blogs, most of us thought they would not last very long. Nobody imagined ever making a living from one or using one to sell anything. Most people were kind of afraid somebody like their boyfriend might find it and read it. Everybody was kind of putting out feelers, like trying to make their way in the dark. Nobody had "traffic reports" or statistics (yet) and it was hard to even get listed in the search engines. Hard to believe because now Google owns Blogger, but Blogger was a small little start-up with a dream and a lot of passionate users. And grilled cheese sandwiches. We at a lot of grilled cheese sandwiches in those days, didn't we?

Blogging has changed in so many ways over the years, but yet it somehow remains quite the same for me. It's all about me sitting down, at that little white box, facing that bright blue [POST] button, sharing a little bit of my day or my life or my work with you, asking questions, telling stories, sharing fables, swapping cooking disasters, fashion mishaps, and even some of the music we all love. I've talked about true crime as it happened and told you what I ate for lunch yesterday that was oh so tasty. You've shared in my car repairs, my chance meetings, my paintings, and shots I've taken in points afar.

It's hard for me to believe that I once posted a blog entry from Italy. Now, of course, I can remember doing it. I remember sitting down in a bar in Venice, logging on to some antiquated computer that would type "itsa" for me instead of "it's a" because the keys were all programmed differently, to "speak" Italian somehow. I had a glass of Jameson, sat down and, "itsa" key be damned, I told you what it was like landing in Venice for the first time, and what my day was like in the Veneto. I've blogged from hotel lobby's in Iceland and volcanoes in Hawaii, New Orleans coffee shops and God only knows how many airports. (Oh, those are the worst!) Heck, I think I even blogged once from some airport after I had forgotten where I was and had to ask somebody ("Excuse me...is this Phoenix? Philadelphia! Oh right....I knew that." Ok, so I admit it now...I really didn't at the time.)

And don't get me started on the pictures. The pictures. The pictures I've taken fort the blog! When I first started blogging, it was words only. Words, words, words. That's all we thought it would ever be. Now? Video? Are you kidding me? E-books? Movies? Photos instantly processed from my phone? Who knew, right?

Technology has come a long way and blogging has really changed over those years. It feels great to be able to do so much so much more easily now. It's great to be able to create new content for the web on a regular basis and I just love being able to share my ups and downs, trials and tribulations with everybody. I've gotten to meet a lot of new friends on the blog too-not just "Internet friends" no, actual real people. I've met some of you in the flesh and sometimes even get introduced as, "Oh, this is Carol and she runs a blog that...." Yes, I really am *that* Carol. Hard to believe, isn't it? (Believe me, it's even harder for me to believe sometimes. Often, I look over my shoulder and wonder who these people are talking about!)

After all this time, so much has changed, yet so much remains the same. I sit down, collect my thoughts, write whatever happens to pop into my head, hope I don't spell too many words too horribly wrong, and wonder what you will do with all of these extra commas. (I love extra commas, don't I?) I happily click on the blue [POST] button and share a bit of my day with the rest of the world. I do it as often as I can, no apologies, all in fun, all as a form of personal expression. It's an art form for me, in a way, and I love it. I wouldn't change a thing.

Speaking of the great big world, travels, and the like, who knew that so many people from so far away would ever check in here? Greetings to all of you from afar. I'm always especially touched when service members check in and tell me they were homesick and used my blog to remind themselves what it felt like to live in New Orleans or New York or wherever they happen to live. I'm glad and happy to share a wee bit of home with you, even if it is from miles away and with many Internet hops in-between.

For those of you looking to start blogging, I'd encourage you to go for it. It's the most fun a little white box with a bright blue [POST] button can give you. Trust me, it's a fun happening game to play. For those of you who pop in here and read this, even if it's only once in a while, even if you never happen back by this way again, I wish you all the best too. I really am very thankful that each and every one of you stop by and share your world with me as well. Finally, for those of you who make this software and help put together all of this tangled Internet web we all gloriously weave together, I thank you from the bottom of my heart. Thank you for the tireless work you do bringing these sites together and helping us craft the content that we do. You guys (and gals!) rock! Please never forget that, no matter how many unreasonable demands or new frontiers you may face.

To all of my friends and family, to my artist buddies, photographers I have met on journeys afar and nosy neighbors who dropped in here for only a short visit, thanks for stopping by and I wish you the best. This is your anniversary too, for I would not be able to celebrate my 10 years without having you in the picture. This is your 10 years as much as mine, so please enjoy it. Pour yourself a drink, kick back, and say, "Wow! Has it really been that long?" Why it has, and yet, somehow, it seems like it was only yesterday that it all just started.

Ten years...ten long years....Wow! Who would have ever guessed I would make it this far?

Until next time...

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Show News

SunriseOverAshes_1946, originally uploaded by carolsLittleWorld.

Time for a commercial, as they say, since I've got some show news to tell you about.

For starters, I have work included in the Winter exhibit over at A. Smith Gallery in Johnson City. The show opens this Saturday evening and runs for about a month. It's a great looking show from what I have seen of it, juried by Jean Caslin former director of the Houston Center for Photography. Great looking show, that one is and it's out in the beautiful Hill Country when the weather is nice. What more could you ask, right?

After that I will have work included in the People's Gallery at the Austin City Hall. This is always a big shindig of a show, with about 26,000 people showing up (that's not a type-o) for the opening night festivities. It usually even makes it onto the evening news (they film live from there opening night) so look for that if you are in the Austin area. It always promises to be a great show, with tons of varied work. For those of you not from the Austin area, the Austin City Council holds a year-long show of art inside the City Hall building, which is a wonderful new building right in middle of downtown. It's a modern stone and copper building with wonderful angles and lines and they absolutely fill it with artwork. They have a juror for the work too, sometimes a jury panel even, it's actually a bit hard to get into the show, as many artists from the Austin-area apply to get into the exhibition, it's free to enter, and all of that. I was one of the lucky ones selected this year, so my work will be up in the City Hall for the next 11 months or so.

Lastly, I've got some work included in the upcoming Austin Visual Arts Association (AVAA) 35th Anniversary show at the Dougherty Arts Center (DAC.) AVAA at the DAC is a big deal too, in part because I'm on the faculty for the DAC but also because AVAA is one of the oldest artist organizations in Austin and they always put on great shows. Great shows, I tell you, with lots of festivities and fun for all. The DAC is such a great venue for the AVAA shows. A few years ago, Liz Smith, the columnist for the Daily News showed up for the opening reception. (Really, she did. I'm not making this up-she was in town and decided to just pop by for a visit.) I didn't speak to her but I was later told she almost bought one of my pieces. Like, wow, who knew, right? AVAA shows are like that though-you can have a brush with fame and not even really know it. Of course, this being Austin, some guy riding a bicycle while wearing a thong might show up as well. Odds are about equal on that one, although there's no telling really where the guy in the thong would carry a painting if he were to purchase one. I'll leave this as an, ahem, "exercise for the reader" and just move right on along.

I'm also wrapping up some plans for the coming year. This year, I hope to travel a bit more and then also maybe do some classes, plus I'm getting a lot of shows together. I've also been painting up a storm, so look for me to finish those anytime soon and try to drum up a 1-person show of my paintings. Of course, I say that now, as if this really could happen but, you never do know. (It would be a prettier picture than the guy in a thong on a bicycle, that's for sure.)

This shot is from the volcano area in Kona. Originally, I was going to upload it and include some long-form post about how I've been kind of depressed lately. I'll spare you the details, but I've been feeling a bit down in the dumps recently. Maybe some of these shows and more painting will help get me out of my doldrums. Eh, one can only hope, right? ("Hey! You there....Guy in a thong riding a bicycle carrying a large recently-purchased painting...Yes, I'm talking to you. Please come ride over this way. I sure could use a good laugh right about now...." We thank you in advance for your friendly cooperation. --The management.)

Until next time...

Friday, January 20, 2012

Painters Every Photographer Should Know - Georgia O’Keeffe

Painters Every Photographer Should Know, Georgia O'Keeffe, Ram's Head painting

For many, the word southwest conjures up familiar motifs like adobe buildings, cactus flowers in the desert, and even the ever-so-iconic abandoned animal skull in an otherwise barren landscape. One of the artists most closely associated with this vision of the American southwest is Wisconsin native Georgia O’Keeffe. Though she was born near Sun Prairie, Wisconsin in 1887, there are few artists as closely associated with the iconic imagery of the American southwestern landscape as O’Keeffe.

Born in a farmhouse to dairy farmer parents, Francis Calyxtus O'Keeffe and Ida Totto O'Keeffe, Georgia O’Keeffe was the first daughter and second of seven children. Though she came from farming roots Georgia O’Keeffe demonstrated an interest in the arts from an early age. As a child, she enrolled in the Town Hall School in Wisconsin and began her artistic studies under local watercolorist Sara Mann. She would later go on to attend high school in Madison, Wisconsin. Living with her aunt while her family moved to Williamsburg, Virginia, she completed her high school education at Chatham Hall. After high school, she continued her studies in art at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago and the Art Students League in New York where she studied under William Merritt Chase. While at the Art Students League, she won a scholarship to attend the League’s outdoor summer school at Lake George, New York.

In 1908, O’Keeffe attend an exhibition of Rodin’s watercolors at the then up-and-coming gallery 291. Owned by photographer Alfred Stieglitz, gallery 291 was located at 291 5th Avenue in New York and was famous for showcasing a smattering of then avant-garde European artists along with pioneering artistic photographers from that era. The year 1908 was also the year that market O’Keeffe’s first abandonment of her artistic pursuits. She stopped painting until 1912 when she was inspired to pick it up again after attending a summer school class at the University of Virginia. Under the teachings of Arthur Wesley Dow and Alon Bement her work took a dramatically different course. Dow’s belief was that art should express the artist’s personal ideas and feelings; that an artistic subject was best realized through harmonious arrangements of line, color, and notan (the Japanese system of lights and darks). From 1012-1914 O’Keefe taught art in the public school system of Amarillo, Texas before going to New York to attend Columbia University and further her artistic studies under Dow.

The fall of 1915 found her teaching at Columbia College, Columbia, South Carolina and she began a series of abstract charcoal drawings. Now considered pivotal to her career and some of the most innovative American art from the time period, she mailed some of these drawings to a former classmate at Columbia, who in turned showed them to Stieglitz in January of 1916.

Stieglitz had told O’Keeffe he was planning to exhibit her charcoal drawings but neglected to tell her when. When she first visited Gallery 291 in 1908 she did not speak with Stieglitz directly and, upon her visit to the gallery again in April of 1916, was surprised to find ten of her drawings on display. She confronted Stieglitz over the drawings but agreed to let them remain on exhibit for the duration of the show. In June 1917, two months after the United States declared war on Germany, Stieglitz closed Gallery 291 with a solo show of O’Keeffe’s work, including oil paintings and watercolors completed in Texas. Stieglitz and O'Keeffe corresponded frequently beginning in 1916, and in June 1918, she accepted Stieglitz's invitation to move to New York. According to Wikipedia, “The two were deeply in love, and shortly after her arrival, they began living together, even though the then married Stieglitz was 23 years her senior. That year Stieglitz first took O'Keeffe to his family home at the village of Lake George in New York's Adirondack Mountains, and they spent part of every year there until 1929, when O'Keeffe spent the first of many summers painting in New Mexico. In 1924 Stieglitz's divorce was finally approved by a judge, and within four months he and O'Keeffe married.”

Stieglitz started photographing O’Keeffe in 1917 and by the time of his retirement in 1935 had amassed some 350 portraits of her. After their marriage until Stieglitz’s death in 1946, Stieglitz promoted O’Keeffe’s work, organizing annual exhibitions of her art at The Anderson Galleries (1923–1925), The Intimate Gallery (1925–1929), and An American Place (1929–1946).

Shortly after 1918, O'Keeffe began working primarily in oil, moving away from the primarily watercolor work she did in the earlier 1910’s. By the mid-1920s, O'Keeffe shifted to making large-scale paintings of natural forms at close range, as if seen through a magnifying lens. In 1924 she painted her first large-scale flower painting Petunia, No. 2, which was first exhibited in 1925. She also completed a significant body of paintings of New York buildings, such as City Night and New York—Night, 1926, and Radiator Bldg—Night, New York, 1927. Starting in the mid-1920’s O’Keeffe started painting these New York skyscrapers and also a series large-scale flowers, shown as if seen close up. It was during this time that she had become recognized as one of America's most important and successful artists. It was also during this time that her work became embraced by the feminist movement. Though her work from this time was mostly abstract, pieces like Black Iris III (1926) evoke a veiled representation of female genitalia while also accurately depicting the center of an iris. O’Keeffe rejected this feminist view of her artwork, often saying that it sounded too much like what men wrote about art during that period. By the late 1920’s, her work commanded high prices. Six of her calla lily paintings were slated to go on sale for $25,000 which, at that time, was the largest sum ever paid for a group of paintings by a living American artist. Though the sale fell through, Stieglitz’s promotion of the sale stirred up a lot of attention from the media.

Searching for a new source of inspiration, a train trip in May, 1929 with Rebecca Strand to Santa Fe provided just what she needed. She setup studio in Taos, New Mexico and began going on many pack trips. Some work from this time includes “The Lawrence Tree” completed in 1929 at the D. H. Lawrence Ranch and several paintings of the St. Francis of Assisi Missionary at Ranchos de Taos. Between 1929 and 1949, O’Keeffe continued her work in New Mexico. She started collecting objects to paint, such as rocks and bones, and also went camping often with friends. In 1961, she went on a rafting trip down the Colorado River near Glen Canyon, Utah with photographers Eliot Porter and Todd Webb.

In 1932, O’Keeffe was slated to complete a mural project at Radio City Music Hall but late in 1932, O’Keeffe suffered a nervous breakdown, brought on, in part, because the project had fallen behind schedule. She was hospitalized in early 1933 and did not paint again until January 1934. She traveled to Bermuda in the spring of 1933 and 1934 to recover, but returned to New Mexico in the summer of 1934. In August of 1934, she visited Ghost Ranch, a 21,000 acre land grant area north of Abiquiu, New Mexico. She decided immediately to live there and, in 1940, purchased a house on the ranch property. She would later also purchase another house in Abiquiu but she is most closely associated with the Ghost Ranch location. Many people refer to this area of New Mexico as “O’Keeffe Country” and much of her work from this time highlighted the natural beauty of the desert. Today that location houses an education and retreat center and is often used as a set for movies. In 1977, O'Keeffe wrote of Ghost Ranch: "[the] cliffs over there are almost painted for you -- you think -- until you try to paint them." She had many guests and visitors at her ranch house over the years, including Charles and Anne Lindbergh, Joni Mitchell, Alan Ginsberg, and Ansel Adams.

In the 1930’s and 1940’s, O’Keeffe’s reputation and popularity continued to grow and she earned several noted commissions, including one for the Dole Pineapple Company. She completed several paintings featuring a cow’s skull adorned with various wildflowers against a desert background, including “Summer Days” (1936) which became one of her most famous paintings. During the 1940’s she had retrospectives at the Art Institute of Chicago (1943) and the Museum of Modern Art (MOMA) in 1946, which was the first retrospective held at MOME for a female artist. She was also awarded many honorary degrees and awards during this time and the Whitney Museum of American Art sponsored a project to catalogue of her work.

Shortly after O'Keeffe arrived for the summer in New Mexico in 1946, Stieglitz suffered a cerebral thrombosis. She flew to New York to be with him, and he died on July 13, 1946. After his death, she spent the next three years mostly in New York settling his estate but moved to New Mexico permanently in 1949. Starting in 1946 and continuing into the 1950’s, she started painting the architectural forms of her house in Abiquiu. Her paintings featured the patio walls and doors, celebrating the Adobe architecture. Later, her work in the 1960’s focused on clouds. Inspired by her views from the windows of airplanes, she completed a series of aerial cloudscape canvases in the early 1960’s. In 1962, O'Keeffe was elected to the fifty-member American Academy of arts and Letters. In the fall of 1970, the Whitney Museum of American Art mounted the Georgia O'Keeffe Retrospective Exhibition, the first retrospective exhibition of her work in New York since 1946, the year Stieglitz died. This exhibit did much to revive her public career.

In 1972, she stopped painting in oil due to failing eyesight but switched to continued working in pencil and charcoal until 1984. In 1973, a young potter, Juan Hamilton, appeared at her ranch house looking for work. She hired him for a few odd jobs and soon employed him full time. He became her closest confidante, companion, and business manager until her death. Hamilton taught O'Keeffe to work with clay, and working with assistance, she produced clay pots and a series of works in watercolor. In 1976, she wrote a book about her art and allowed a film to be made about her in 1977. On January 10, 1977, she was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the highest honor awarded to American citizens, by then President Gerald Ford. In 1985, she was awarded the National Medal of Arts. In 1984, she moved to Santa Fe where she became increasingly frail. She died on March 6, 1986 at the age of 98, leaving behind a legacy of artwork we still celebrate today.

What Photographers Can Learn from Her
In real estate terms, they say that there are three things that contribute to the value of a property, these are: location, location, and location. As is true for real estate, so too can it be said of O’Keeffe’s work; it’s much about: perspective, perspective, perspective. The notion of painting something the way it might appear as viewed under a magnifying glass brings an entire new world to the artist’s canvas. Much of photography is indeed about perspective and many photographers have milked a unique perspective to create a refreshingly new bold striking image.

Many photographers are used to hearing (and probably more than a few are guilty of repeating) the phrase, “it’s all been done before” as it applies to photography, or even artwork in general. Probably more than a few are also guilty of resorting to the same perspective over and over again. There is a familiar old saying about perspective: “Look up! Look Down! Look all around you!” That’s very good advice for somebody looking to do something different with their photographic work. Indeed, a unique or personal perspective can make even an ordinary subject matter come to life and can show us a completely new, personal viewpoint of a tired old otherwise photographed to death subject. Many of the icon images we hold dear offer us a unique perspective from the photographer, as a unique view can really make an otherwise boring image really sing.

Look no further than the floral portraits from photographer Robert Mapplethorpe to see what a fresh perspective can bring to an often (or even over) photographed subject. By carefully arranging flowers and treating them visually as human-like subjects he created almost minimal yet vivid portraits of flowers. Just like O’Keeffe’s flowers, Mapplethorpe’s flower images have often been described as having a sexual undertone-one can approach them by viewing the male and female aspects of the plant, in that Mapplethorpe’s blossoms contain aspects of each gender. It’s not hard to look at a Mapplethorpe flower portrait and see the striking male aspects of the flower, with the phallic stamen rising or the soft feminine curves of the blossom’s edge, but the perspective aspect of the work goes beyond sex-it’s a unique perspective on a common subject. Many, perhaps all photographers photograph flowers, what makes Mapplethorpe’s flowers striking is the unique perspective combined with the brilliant lighting and stark composition. He didn’t just shoot flowers, he shot Mapplethorpe flowers and they were unmistakably his.

I once attended a lecture by a local photography professor. As part of the talk, he made the comment that he could always tell, “how tall [his] first year students were by simply adding about six inches to the perspective of their photographs.” So many of his students shot the same images over and over again, each holding the camera up to their eye, each getting a “standing eye” perspective on the same scene, that it was easy for him to just add six inches to the height of the image to calculate how tall the photographer was. If you’re tired of shooting the same old subjects, try a different perspective to put a fresh new face on your work. Show us a bird’s eye view, show us an ant’s eye view, get on the ground, sit down, stand on a chair, or just move around. A great way to go about doing this is to bring a child along with you when you photograph-children often see things at their height and it’s a whole new world, looking at things through their eyes. Macro lenses can also do this for us-as O’Keeffe discovered, it’s a whole new world when you magnify items and play with scale and perspective to bring us new sights and fresh takes on familiar subjects. Large things can look small or unrecognizable, while small things can explode before our eyes.

O’Keeffe’s work combined both a strong sense of place-the American southwest, coupled with a very unique perspective in a blend of strong painting technique. I’m sure not everybody likes O’Keeffe’s style of painting, no, but there’s no denying that she painted the American southwest in the way that she saw it. Such an idiomatic view helped define who she was as an artist-it’s almost impossible to separate her work from her vantage point. Having a sense of place in photographic work is also a key takeaway from O’Keeffe. She showed us enough of the surround to ground the work-we know what it is we’re looking at-yet let just enough for the viewer to bring a personal interpretation. A sense of place in a composition allows a single frame, a single piece, to both set the stage and turn into the main act, because it provides enough backdrop to inform yet does not detract.

With her unique perspective and strong connection to the southwest, Georgia O’Keeffe has been a respected icon of the art world for generations. Today, the southwestern master with a fondness for painting “the faraway” earns her spot in the ranks of Painters Every Photographer Should Know. You can read more about Georgia O’Keeffe on her Wikipedia entry and look for more painters (and posts) in the series to come.

This is next in a series called "Painters Every Photographer Should Know." The painting shown here is Georgia O'Keeffe's "Ram's Head White Hollyhock and Little Hills" (1935). 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.

Monday, January 16, 2012

Get the Call

RedSkyNight_5632, originally uploaded by carolsLittleWorld.

Recently, a friend of mine posted something on her blog about how she was "responding to an artist's call." The call for entries or "artist's call" is quite common in the art world. Anybody who thinks that artists (or photographers) spend all of their days partying like rock stars or "puffing" model's hair rather than doing any actual "real" work needs only to look once at an "artist's call" to discover what it is we actually do all day long. Oh the humanity!

It starts when the galleries, curators, shows, art organizations, etc. put out the call for entries. This detailed fact sheet tells us about the show, the details of the show, the requirements for the show and all sorts of other information about the show. We basically have to read through page after page of requirements and information detailing how to enter, and that's only when the fun begins. After this, we have to prep our digital files, which often means re-sizing things in photoshop, organizing, arranging, editing, sharpening, crafting JPEG's with the proper names, in the right formats, etc. It's a lot of work, believe me and, hate to be the one to tell you this if you have not discovered it already, but it's time consuming.

Many artists who are not photographers have to spend a lot of time just taking photos of their work. It can be quite difficult to get good quality images of your work, believe me, I know how difficult it can be. It's not always the easiest thing in the world to take a great shot of an oil painting, trust me on this (in case you have never tried it before.)

There is a long-running sort of "inside joke" about my Jacuzzi-if you have not heard it, allow me to fill you in-I actually use my bath tub/jacuzzi setup in my house to photograph my artwork. Since it's white and the bath is very bright it makes for a great copy station and I seldom (if ever) take a bath (don't worry, I don't stink or anything like that...I just prefer the shower to the free-standing tub.) My bathtub has probably been home to more artwork than several museums, as I sometimes photograph artwork for other artists (for a reasonable fee, of course, but luckily most of them know me well enough and are comfortable enough with my photography skills to trust my "bathtub" results.) I sometimes refer to this as my "Jacuzzi copy stand" or "getting Jacuzzi results." Anything that hints at the tub often results in strange glances from more than few folks and more than one knowing nod of acknowledgement. Many of the artists in Austin, it would appear, are onto this "Jacuzzi setup" and don't seem to mind so long as it produces results (which it does, believe me, it does.) I think half the people know and want a Jacuzzi just so they could photograph their artwork and the others are afraid to ask what this "Jacuzzi" business is all about. Perhaps it's better too if they are left in the dark about the entire "Jacuzzi" thing, because it might make them afraid to find out what's going on in the tub, when somebody is not busy taking a bath in it, that is.

For those who are not photographers though, it can be daunting just to get acceptable images of one's work and then, to have to go on and to re-size everything, re-format, fight with Photoshop, title everything with all kinds of special characters, etc. It's downright madness. It's enough to drive people crazy, let me tell you. But, alas, it's something we all need to do. It's how the galleries catalog and get information about our work, not to mention it's how we get the work "out there" so it's something we try to do. We all have to do it at some point, even though it's not very fun and we each can probably think of a million things we would rather be doing.

I always feel like I should be sending out at least 8-10 submissions each month. Unfortunately, it seems like I seldom can manage to get even that much out the door. Between making new work and balancing the juggling act of submitting work all over the place, it can be quite difficult to manage all of this. On top of this, you have to remember who has what work and where you have submitted work to...which places have what...and it's very hard to keep track of all of this.

If you're not familiar with the process, I can tell you that it boils down to lots and lots of paperwork. There is a lot of time and energy that goes into these sorts of things and often it's for nothing, as we can just as easily get rejected from a show as we can get accepted. It's no wonder many artists have gone mad over the years-I can literally see why this happens, as it's hard to keep all of this straight and it would be more than easy to just go crazy from all of this paperwork and red tape. Some days anyway, it feels as if we are lucky if we get to create in-between all of the mountains of paperwork and other odd things we have to do that nobody ever detailed in art class.

Then I remember how lucky I am that I get to paint. How lucky I am that I can afford paint and panels and pigment sticks (God, those are expensive) and wax and "shipping fees" and insurance payments to go along with the insurance forms we sent to the galleries as part of the artist's call. I'm lucky to be sitting here typing this to you too-many people can't do a blog or they can't paint or they can't show their work because it's too difficult or they just don't have the time, money, or inclination. I really do feel blessed and lucky that I get to paint and do what it is that I do when I get to do it. Really, I do. Even if it sounds like I spend too much time, much too much time, fighting with the mountains of paperwork. I do really love this. I love creating. Actually, lately it seems like I've been living to paint more than painting to live, that's how much I love doing all of this. I really want to jump in, head first, and paint, paint, paint.

I've started planning for the new year too and I think this year might find me visiting New Orleans, Barcelona, maybe rural France. There's a big world out there and I'm excited to be a small part of getting to go out into it, to explore more of it then I've seen already. I hope to get to go, to travel more this year. It will make all of the paperwork seem worthwhile, that's for sure.

So next time we get the call, maybe it's hard, but we should all try to remember how lucky we are. Lucky that the phone is still ringing, lucky that the artwork is ready, lucky that we can answer the call and that we have work to submit, for not everybody does. Yes, I'd have to say that, as the first artist's calls for the new year go out, we should all try to remember how lucky we are that we can provide the "entries" in the call for entries that flood our in-boxes this time of year. Maybe next time you get the call, you'll answer the call and your work will be selected too. We can only hope for that, right? Isn't that what we all hope for, all of the time anyway?

To my artist friends, I hope the new year brings you lots of artist's calls and finds you with lots of work going out, even if it means mountains of paperwork on the sidelines. Even if you get slightly buried under, I hope your work gets out there, where it needs to be, because that's why we do all of this. It's what keeps us all going, isn't it?

(Enough waxing philosophical for the evening, I've got paperwork to attend to and images to re-size before the morning comes.)

Until next time...

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Mottled Earth and Sky

Finally shot some of my encaustic panels today, so that you could have a look and see too what I am talking about when I talk about my encaustics. This one is called "Mottled Earth and Sky" and it's an 18x24 inch pigment and encaustic on panel piece that is already completed.

I currently have four pieces from the series finished and hope to continue this series until it reaches about 20 pieces. Wish me luck with that, for I am going to need it. For now though, the four pieces have been photographed, uploaded to flickr, uploaded to HouseOfCarol.com and now one of them has even been blogged (here) for your viewing pleasure. Can't say I never showed them to you now, can you?

Hopefully more studio work tomorrow will bring more pieces. Wish me luck with that, right?

Until next time...

Friday, January 13, 2012

Cloudy with a Chance of Art

CloudsBWSQ_9863, originally uploaded by carolsLittleWorld.

The forecast for this weekend calls for it to be cloudy with a chance of art.

I've got some painting laid out that I want to finish and even some photography in the mix. I might be working on my sketchbook project this weekend too, if I get around to it. Lots of stuff up on tap and very little time to get it all done. Here's hoping, right?

In other news, allergy season is in full swing here in Texas. Yesterday, I was totally under the weather and not feeling well at all. Today brings a new day and I'm starting to feel a bit more chipper, which is a good thing, because I really do want to paint a lot this weekend. A lot. Did I mention I want to paint a lot? Yes, thought I did.

I love these kinds of puffy clouds and wish they had them all over the place. These clouds were brought to you thanks to some steam vents in rural Iceland. Steam vents? Yes, these have those there. It's how they get electricity, believe it or not. Very cool, isn't it? Cool clouds make for cool electricity. Geothermal "puffs" it's what all of the cool kids are wearing these days.

Until next time...

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

The Year that Was 2011 - Time for My Annual Round-up and Recap

IcePoint_2875, originally uploaded by carolsLittleWorld.

Every once in a while, I like to take stock in where I am and what I’m doing. Normally, I do this as a run-up to the New Year but instead this year I’ve decided to wait until the New Year actually arrived before starting my planning sessions. As I get more and more accomplished as an artist, these planning sessions, unfortunately, become harder and harder to do. More details, more people involved in the process, more logistics to work out. Ugh! This year is no exception. There are so many things I want to fit into the new year and only so much time to fit it all in. Because of this, I thought I would start with my annual re-cap-I would start by looking at 2011 and see how I did.

For starters, I wrote 171 blog posts in 2011. That’s far fewer than I have in year’s past-I’ve really let the blog slip some, but I do still try to keep up. Facebook, Twitter, and other forms of social media have stepped in and stepped up a bit, in order to fill in that void. I think though that, going forward, I would like to make more meaningful blog posts and I would like to continue to post more frequently. We shall see how I can get along with that, seeing as I have a lot on my plate this year.

Early 2011 found me on a few oddball location shoots. I shot the Chinese New Year celebrations (with flame-breathing dragons!) in Austin and also traveled to Kona for the first of my location shoots. While in Kona, I got to witness the start of a volcanic eruption, which was an adventure, and I got to enjoy a lot of golden sunsets and wonderful shooting in the tropics, which were relaxing and productive.

March brought Alpha Rev at the South by Southwest music festival, which was a real treat and lots of shows, which were fun. April found me getting more new gear-a tripod this time. I’d have to admit that 2011 was the “year of gear” for me, as I got no less than 3 new cameras last year. Phew! Finally settled on the “baby mark” aka the Canon 5D Mark II as my main rig and that’s worked out quite well. I highly recommend this camera to anybody but it sure took me a while to find it and settle down into that grove. Sometimes experience comes in packages from the camera store afar, I guess. I also got a new tripod, new head (well, same as the old head only not as beat up) a new fisheye lens and lots of other stuff. Phew!

May found me making my first movie, “80 Shots” from my work, a practice I intend to continue in 2012. June brought some pinhole work, a museum show, a show in Seattle, and lots of odds and ends.

July started the quest for a new location, which kicked off the planning and preparations for my Iceland trip in August. I also managed to complete a draft copy of a book I have in the works. Still working on that one, but hope to complete it in 2012. Of course, more shows as well were going on. Always shows, lots and lots of shows happening. It keeps the world going round and round, I suppose.

Half of August was spent on location in Iceland, including time spent trying to get back after (during?) hurricane Irene. Lots of spent compact flash over that one, as Iceland is a wonderful place. It’s a must-see for photographers, I place I intend to re-visit, and a wonderful memory all tied into one. What a great trip I had and I can hardly wait to go back and visit that place again. It’s wonderful-so hard to even pick a high point but, if I had to do it, it would probably have been getting to shoot icebergs while it was 108 in my current hometown of Austin. That was, well, if I say “cool” will you promise not to laugh at me? Cool in more ways the one, let’s leave it at that, ok?

September brought on the great drought of Texas, wildfires and the start of preparations for the East Austin Studio Tour (EAST.) October, some painting and more preparations for the big tour were underway.

November was National Blog Posting Month or NaBloPoMo as they like to call it, so you heard me “yapping and snapping” quite a bit over the course of the month. Lots of deep inner thoughts and musings on art and life in general, not to mention the chaos and fun that EAST brings. EAST was a banner year this year, in terms of getting the work out there and having more work than ever displayed as part of the festivities.

December had a wind-down of sorts. I actually got to enjoy a great holiday and headed deep into the studio for a multi-piece series of larger-ish paintings. Presented on 18x24 inch panels, my “Earthen/Dusk” series will be (hopefully!) 20 panels of work once complete. It’s larger than I have worked in the past and it promises to be a 20 piece series, suitable for a 1-person show once complete. Wish me luck what that, as this is still very much a work in progress.

There were some great shows in 2011, including a museum show in Texas, the EAST tour, a show in Seattle, a show in Vermont, and a 1-person show as part of South by Southwest. If I had to wrap it up, I’d say 2011 was a great year for travel (Iceland, Kona, etc.) a great year for shows (lots to pick from here) and a “year for new gear” with lots of packages headed my way.

A few days ago, I posted the image Flickr considered my "Shot of the Year" for 2011. While I tend to agree with Flickr (it is, after all, an algorithm and so it's kind of hard to argue with that, right?) I do tend to think of this image, and ones like it, as my "Shot of the Year" for 2011. The icebergs really define 2011 in a lot of ways for me. Shooting something different, using new camera gear, traveling to points previously unknown to me, and sort of the "poetry of ice" come together to make 2011 a memorable year for me.

Next up, we’ll start the actually planning for the 2012 year in art and photography. Oh what an adventure 2012 is going to be. I can hardly wait!

Until next time...

Monday, January 09, 2012

Circumstantial Undertones

This weekend, I ordered a frame for my prior "mistake" piece, called "Circumstantial Undertones." Since I have the frame coming in the mail, I thought it might be a good idea to (finally) post a picture of the finished piece (well, finished minus the frame.) This is "Circumstantial Undertones" in all of its glory, I hope you like it.

You can kind of see the undertones of the colors I layered in the wax as I made layer after layer of "mistake." You can kind of see the colors in a muted sort of a way, and the yarn is in there too, if you look closely enough. I'd have to say that this now is one of my favorite pieces.

This weekend, apart from attending the wonderful show by local Austin favorite artist Will Klemm, I worked in my studio to "tidy up" some additional mistakes. I have a few other pieces I have wanted to re-work, so I started doing that, and I've have to say they don't look so bad. I've actually managed to save a few pieces here and there. I think I managed to save 2 pieces and lay down the ground (under painting) for a new, third piece.

When I started this project, one of my goals was to have 20 new pieces ready by January 15th. I'm probably not going to make that goal. In fact, it's now January 9th and I have 3 pieces completed with at least another 3 in the works (4-5 actually.) Even if all 3 of the pieces I worked on this weekend turn out ok in the end, that will give me a total of 6 pieces. Far short of my 20 pieces by mid-January goal, but there's still one weekend left and so I might be able to make a few more pieces. At this point, I would be happy to have 10 pieces done by January 15th and, realistically, even that is a moving target.

I'm not going to beat myself up about this, however. I do feel like I'm making progress and I do feel the work coming along. I'm finding too that the pieces I manage to re-work I actually like better-there's something about them, something about the working with the wax and adding layer after layer that makes it more magical (somehow.) I can't explain it but somehow the pieces I've managed to re-work seem to come out with more depth and look better, more involved, than the pieces I like right off the bat.

It's been an adventure doing these pieces. If I do somehow manage to wind up with 20 pieces, I would probably be shocked, but that's not to say I won't end up with a new series and that it won't be a series I really like. I do really like this new work, the new "Santa Fe Desert" style work. It's pretty. There's something about it that's earthy and it does really reflect the lights in the sky at night over the desert, at least it has the same feeling to me. Even the pieces I've re-worked seem to capture that feeling.

I keep telling myself too that I will photograph them, the finished pieces and put them up here for you to see. And I do mean to do that, honestly, I do. I just haven't gotten around to it yet. One day soon, I promise, you will get to see my progress in the series. You'll get to see the progressions and the output from all that I am making these days in the studio. As with art projects in general, some days I feel like I am making great progress, while others? Eh, not so much. That's how it goes, I guess.

So, the good news is that this "Circumstantial Undertones" is one of only a few yarn pieces (pieces I've had to make to completely cover up a mishap from another series.) The bad news is that I've got only 3 pieces complete from my "Earthen/Dusk" series and am on my way towards having about 6 or so done-a far cry from the 20 I had wanted to be polishing up at this point in time. Would you call that progress? Maybe? Slow but steady, perhaps? Ah, we'll see soon enough, I'd guess.

Once I get to 20, or closer to 20 I should say, I'm going to really shop these around for a venue. Wish me luck on that one as well, for I am going to need it. There is still a lot to do-framing, photographing, website work, and then the marketing packets and stuff like that to see that the paintings find themselves in a happy new home.

Three down, 17 more (plus a lot of busy work) to go. Wish me luck with all of that.

Until next time...

Sunday, January 08, 2012

Encaustic - Resources

Artist Pigment Sticks, originally uploaded by carolsLittleWorld.
I thought it might be a good idea to list some of the resources I use for my encaustic painting. Of those reading this, at least a few of you out there (*waves*) probably live in a town with few (if any) options for art supplies. Encaustics are even a bit trickier than generic "art supplies" as the supplies for encaustics are quite specific. We need particular things when we need them, for example, and often encaustic painters cannot substitute. Because of this, I do tend to rely upon mail order quite a bit, even though I am lucky enough to live in Austin where there are a few "true" art supply options. Places like Jerry's Art-a-rama make for easy (well easier) supply runs. Having said that, I prefer to have both a local source and a mail-order crack deal..I mean, um, "art supply house" (yeah, that's it. :~)

So, here are some options if you are getting into encaustics and want to happen upon some supplies.

I use Ampersand Art boards for supports (these are like what canvas is to "regular" painters.) You can get these at Dick Blick's. They are an Austin-based company that makes very nice art boards. I use mostly Encausticboards, though I have been known to use Hardboard (you can prime it yourself, using Encaustic primer, also available from Blick's.) I also use wooden painting panels, especially when working with things like plaster, since there is no reason to use a primed board if you are only going to plaster over it.

Speaking of plaster, I get my plaster supplies at Home Depot, along with hog hair brushes (these are the cheap "chip" style brushes they sell in the paint department.) I also get rubber gloves and most (if any) solvents there (since these cannot easily be shipped.)

I use mostly R&H handmade paints, using both the pigment sticks that you see here and the encaustic paints that you don't. I recommend getting an R&F color chart and using it to help you pick out the colors you want. Encaustic paint is expensive, clocking in at over $20 a bar (yes, it comes in "bars" like soap. And, um, drunks I guess.) It's worth the money though, so I like to not skimp on the quality of my paint.

For frames, I use pictureframes.com and I prefer the wooden floater frames. These are suitable for canvas and come in different depths to support different canvas sizes or different board sizes. I prefer to use cradled boards, and I tend to use and inch or inch and a half cradle for the board, because it makes it a bit easier to frame in the floater frames.

Daniel Smith also has a nice supply of artist brushes. You can use Hake brushes for encaustics and they sell those, along with the Ampersand art boards and some other supplies. I really like their in-house paint as well, so I tend to use their watercolor paints if I need to go that route.

For pastels, since I also dabble as a pastelist, I prefer to use Schmincke soft pastels and sometimes NuPastels. You can get Schmincke's from Dick Blick's or also Dakota Art Pastels. NuPastels are readily available from a bunch of outlets too-I've even seen them sold at Office Depot (of all places.)

Some of the other suppliers that I use include:
B&H photo-for many of my photo-related items, plus also framing options, printers, etc.
Daniel Smith-for paints, pigments, brushes, tins for printmaking, Ampersand art boards, watercolor paper, and R&F paints.
R&F Paints-for paints, primers, medium, and pigment sticks.
Dick Blick-for paints, Ampersand art boards, pigment sticks, brushes, and more.
Dakota Art Pastels-for pastels and papers
Amazon.com-has an increasing supply of encaustic tools and medium for sale.
Pictureframes.com-for canvas floater frames (suitable for Ampersand art boards as well) and matte board

I'll try to add to this list as I supplement my source of suppliers. In the meantime, I hope this helps those of you out there who are just getting started or who maybe don't have a good local source for supplies.

Until next time...

Saturday, January 07, 2012

Little Houses

Encaustic ghetto, originally uploaded by carolsLittleWorld.

You know how I love little houses so?

Just go back from a great exhibit of Will Klemm's work at Wally Workman Gallery in downtown Austin. He's like the king of little houses. Really. Crown and all. Makes me want to do lots and lots of little houses but then, I guess, I see little houses everywhere, don't I? Little houses here, little houses there. Everywhere little houses.

It's still a dream of mine to do an entire show called "Little Houses" and put together all of my little houses in one darned place. Then I too would have a lot of little houses, all in one place.

I guess maybe I should have been an architect, but so it goes.

Until next time...

Thursday, January 05, 2012

Good Earth

Jökulsárlón glacial lagoon in southeastern Iceland near Vatnajökull National Park
GoodEarth_3140, originally uploaded by carolsLittleWorld.
There have been times in my life when I stood up, looked around, and thought to myself (sometimes aloud even) "am I really seeing this? Am I really here?" It's kind of like a surreal moment, frozen in time and place, for me to remember from my lifetime. As we face the dawn of a new year, I sometimes stop and think about those moments. Did I really just see that? Was I standing right there? Did I actually live through that? Did I really go there? To that place? The world seems like an infinite universe yet so very small and contained all at the same time.

When I was young, I used to go to the shores of the sea in New York, where I grew up and gaze upon the water. I would wonder what it was like on the other shores of that water, that very same water. Would people in England or places afar, even places unknown to me then, gaze upon these very same waves? The water touches all and changes all. At that time, as a young girl, I never thought it possible, I never dreamed that I would one day happen upon those places where that water touched. I never thought I would leave that environment. I never imagined me stepping out of my own little bubble. Places like the Grand Canal of Venice, Abby Road in London, or this place, here, in Iceland? Yeah, these kind of places might as well never even existed for me, since they were just as real as characters trapped in the pages of a story or points in the universe we can only dream about but never really experience. They might as well not even exist, for they were so unreal to me, unreachable, unimaginable. Oh how times (and people!) change. I never imagined, not even in my wildest of wild dreams that I would one day get to see some of those places firsthand, get to explore that ground, get to experience that particular charm with my own two feet. Dr. Seuss has a great quote about "Oh! The places you'll go!" If I had only listened to him back then, but, alas, even I would not believe the places I would eventually get to go.

One thing that always dawns upon me, as I travel and explore, and am lucky enough to get to shoot, is that we have a good earth. We have a wonderful, marvelous earth with many sights, sounds, experiences and people on it. It's glorious. And that glory can be found in everyday things, like a quiet sunset, in divine things like the great cathedrals of Europe, and in natural things, like these humble icebergs in Iceland. Yes, I'd have to say that's one thing I've learned through travel. The earth, it would appear is really very good.

Today I took one of those "Which 100 of these [odd] places have you seen" type of tests. My answer was only about 20 or so of them. Yes, I still have a lot to see, a lot more. I've seen enough to know that there's a lot more out there, and I really want to see more of it. I hope I get to see more of it. But then, I remember too, how there are people in New York, people who lived near where I lived as a child who have never left that place. They gaze upon the water, as I did when I was a child, and maybe don't even bother to wonder what's on the other side of those waves. They'll never experience the Grand Canal of Venice or the suburbs of Mexico City or the White Cliffs of Dover. They think Atlantic City is maybe even a bit far away. I have to say that, as compared to those people, why I feel quite lucky. I'm lucky and blessed to know the travel that I have enjoyed, to have seen the places that I have seen already, even if tomorrow fails to bring more opportunities for travel to points afar.

We have a good earth, indeed we do. I intend to see as much of it as I possibly can. I love to travel, yes, as part of my job is to help bring those places to you, even if you are one of those people who never stop and think about what's on the other side of that sea, where those waves eventually wash ashore yet again. Even if you never leave your living room, I hope to instill upon you the smallest of notions-the notion that the earth is good, it's really very good.

It's a very good earth, that it is. I hope you'll agree with me about that. It's really a very good earth, even if we are only a small part of it.

Until next time...

Tuesday, January 03, 2012

Allow Me to Introduce Daffy Duck-berg

Iceberg shaped like Daffy Duck in Jökulsárlón glacial lagoon in Iceland
DaffyDuckBerg_2993, originally uploaded by carolsLittleWorld.
As I was processing my iceberg shots, I kept thinking about how this crazy-looking iceberg really resembles (to me anyway) Daffy Duck. I kept thinking, "Man, that thing looks like Daffy Duck." It's one of those things, I suppose not everybody will see it that way-art is, after all, in the eye of the beholder, right? And so sometimes too is nature, but, man Daffy Duck, I swear. I can see him now too. He's sitting right there! I mean, like can't you notice him too? He's got a beak and eyes and the lot of it.

When I look at this shot for a long time, I feel like one of those people who keep insisting they see bunnies in clouds.

The other day, I was riding along a country road near my home when I noticed that this house I had been watching them build is finally finished. It's an interesting house-well, at least interesting to me. It kind of looks like an adobe style house, very Santa Fe-ish, which is unusual for these parts. Our houses don't really look like that. Anyway, it's some kind of a custom (think "high end" here too) house that took them months to build. I watched them do it too, slowly, little by little. First it was clearing the land, then framing the place, then they seemed to take ages to finish it out, to put all of the little details on it. I can tell by looking at it the family who owns it are car buffs, as the home also has a large garage attached to the back of it-probably room for about six (or more!) cars here. It's kind of a "spread" more than a house, actually, but I watched them build it, step by step, painstakingly by painstakingly placed brick-by-brick, up it went. Now it's done. Complete for all the world to see, come take a look at, and admire.

The other day, I was driving past it, I noticed they had placed a small sign in front of it, out near the curb. Oh, this was going to be exciting. Was it to be some kind of silly, "yard of the month!" in some unimportant home owner's association? Perhaps it has won some kind of architectural award, I mean, after all, I love the house, I'm sure somebody else does too, right? It's sure to win some kind of award, looking the way it does. Not many Santa Fe-ish style houses in these parts and all, right? Must be award-winning custom house Santa Fe-ish style spread straight out of "Home and Garden" magazine, right? Right? Can you already smell the architectural equivalent of a golden globe award sitting, just sitting, on that mantel piece? Oh, this is going to be good. I slowed down so that I could read the sign, so that I could take it all in, full blast.

The sign said, "Not a Gas Station."

Ok, so today we have established that I (sometimes) have questionable taste (perhaps, both in homes and icebergs.) Yeah, yeah, so pick on me already, I can't help it. As Lady Gaga would say, "Baby, I was born this way!" (And what, pray tell, have you done with your life, seeing as you have such great taste and all? Go ahead, I'm waiting. Yeah, I thought you couldn't come up with anything either.) Ppppft. Not a gas station....go figure. (And, yes, I really do see Daffy Duck in this Daffy Duck-berg.)

That's all folks! (Oh come on, you knew I was going to say it, didn't you?)

Until next time...

Monday, January 02, 2012

Upcoming Shows

GlowingPinkLines_5605, originally uploaded by carolsLittleWorld.

I hope everybody had a safe and happy new year. For me, the new year has started with a flurry of show activity. For starters, yesterday I found out that I will have some work included in the upcoming 2012 People's Gallery in Austin City Hall. Next up on my list though, I'm headed out today to drop off some artwork at the encaustic show to be held at Artspace in Round Rock, Texas. More details on this to follow. I'll also have work up at the A. Smith Gallery in Johnson City as part of the "Winter" show that's soon to open there as well.

Gosh, I could not be more busier if I tried. 2012 is shaping up to be a banner year and I look forward to this flurry of show activity to ring in the new year.

I will also try to sneak away in the studio today and hope to have more pictures of more encaustic work as I can post them.

Until next time...