Showing posts with label new projects. Show all posts
Showing posts with label new projects. Show all posts

Thursday, March 14, 2013

What Makes a Good Art Group?

RedWalkers_5442, originally uploaded by carolsLittleWorld.
The question arose recently about "What makes an art group good?" I started to give this some thought and came up with a few (potential) possibilities.

For starters, I would say a good group is one with similar interests. I've been the lone photographer in a group of sculptors and it's no fun, believe me. Yes, we can sometimes still get along but really, at the end of the day, their concerns are not my concerns (not to mention we have entirely different uses for chicken wire and, really, how many different uses for chicken wire can there actually be, right?) So, similar interests...check.

Next up, it would probably be a group of people who suffer from what I like to call "equal seriousness." By that, I mean, folks who are either all serious, showing work, doing lots of stuff or, conversely, folks who are not serious at all. Maybe just dabblers or hobbyists. There's no harm in being on either end of that spectrum, no, but it makes it hard if you are in a group and you're trying to do shows, get your work out there, do lots of work, etc. while somebody else is just dabbling (likewise, if you are a dabbler, you probably don't want to be bothered with show mess, presentation, and the like.) So, equal "seriousness" is a good thing to have too.

Also, I'd have to say some talent. By that, I mean, maybe some folks who have some technique down and some they would like to share, or just enough technique to go around. No sense in forming a group, really, if you have nothing to offer, likewise, nothing to share.

Then there are other things I would look at too. Some questions here, really, more than answers. For example, I would ask myself questions like, does this group do a lot of group shows? If yes, is that something I want to participate in? Some groups have one or two people who are always off doing one and two person shows. That's great but, as a new member, it really wouldn't help me all that much. If I were looking to join a group to participate in their shows, I would want to know how open the shows are to the work of new members. Likewise, what is the participation rate for their group shows? I've been in groups where the group show really was a "Rebecca" show. Sure, everybody had a piece or two, but "Rebecca" had her own wall, press clippings, and the like. This would not help me out much as an artist new to the group.

Does this group support one another? That is, when I go to a show from one of the members, do a see a bunch of the other members there too, hanging out for support?

Do the members support each other online? That is, are their websites linked? Do they help share an online presence? Maybe have a Facebook page? Do all members get to contribute, or is it only a select few?

There are a few other questions I would ask too, such as, is the work divided up evenly? With some groups, it seems like the work always falls upon one or two people, and that the same people wind up with the "same" type of jobs (Debby always gets the show venues, Matt always does the Facebook postings, etc.) If there are only a few "Debby's" and "Matt's" but lots of group members just dumping their work and running off, maybe this isn't quite the best group to be joining. Besides, what happens once Debby and Matt run off to success? Who is going to back fill the work they have been doing? It's better to share in the responsibility and round robin some of the details, while still keeping in mind the strengths of each of the group members. Yes, I know this is difficult, but it really is possible with a bit of thought.

I guess I would have to say that, to me, a good art group would have some of the following:
* Members all contribute or have opportunity to contribute.
* Equal "professionalism." Sure some members might be more beginners but a good group would be one where the focus and end game is shared.
* Work divided up with all members contributing (at least something) to the group as a whole.
* Events well-attended with people going to support each other at shows, online, etc.
* Websites, Facebook, Blogs, social media linked and presenting a "unified" front. This does not mean each member has to use a template but, when you have a show announcement, for example, watch for all of the members posting it to Facebook, blogs, twitter, etc. in some format.
* Minimize the "dump and run" factor. By that, I mean, not so many people who want to just drop their work off and have little (or nothing!) else to do with the group. A high degree of interactivity and sharing going on, even with responsibilities.

I think this is just a start, I'm sure there are more and it's certainly something to think about before you maybe run off and join that artist group that's been calling your name.

Until next time...

Saturday, December 08, 2012

Word Power

Wisdom, originally uploaded by carolsLittleWorld.
I admit it: I've always been fascinated by words. I don't know what it is about words, what I like about them, but I do find them quite fascinating. When I was a young girl, I used to read incessantly, all kinds of books too. In hindsight, I don't think I actually loved the books (well maybe on some level I did) but I think it was more about the words. There's just something about words on a page, words, text, text into stories, that really gets me. Words, words, words.

There's been a big trend in photography too recently. It's all about words, words, words. I've seen Scrabble words like this and even people writing on themselves, sending messages, lost in space, kind of words. Light painting with words. Writing words on prints. It's really all over the place nowadays. I'd have to say it's one of the latest trends going.

You would think that, with my fascination with words, why I'd be all over this trend. I hate to admit it, but sadly I haven't been. Maybe I need to be? I keep seeing it a lot, so it must be popular. All the cool kids are doing it and all. And, heck, some of them, why, they don't even like words, at least not the way I do. I keep reading about how kids today don't even learn how to write in school. When I say "write" I really mean cursive, not write as in bang out a novel using a computer. Most of them can do that, or so I've been told. But, no, they actually don't learn how to pick up a pen and scribble anymore these days. It's all done with thumbs (and maybe some smoke and mirrors too.) But, the words? The words are still really there, no? Just hiding behind all of the text messages, right?

Words, words, words. Yeah, there are a lot of words happening now in connection with photography and with art in general. There's a lot of homeless text running around unbridled. A lot of Tweets with words going down, don't you think? Hapless letters strewn about on a page. It's all just words to me really. Yeah, I really should do some kind of photography project. Heck, it's long overdo. Now I'd have to admit I can kind of feel that old itch starting to build-you know the one-the one where you want to start a new project (of sorts.)

Until next time...

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Happy Halloween - Now Go Make Some Art Already

ComeToMyWindowOfHorror, originally uploaded by carolsLittleWorld.
I've always loved Halloween; it's one of my favorite holidays. I love it because it's associated with nighttime, it's edgy with a touch of darkness, not to mention my birthday is around this time of year. Of course, when I was younger, being a kid, I sort of hated it because it dictated that my birthday cake would be, once again, brown and orange. (When I was a kid, I always wanted for my birthday a white birthday cake simply because I could never get one-everything coming from the bakery around this time of year is orange and brown. Trust me. Orange and brown and brown and orange and, well, there just aren't all that many pretty white cupcakes this time of year. It is, after all, the season of the witch.)

Now that I'm an adult and a working artist, I love Halloween for different reasons. Sure, I still can't get that white cake (I've long since given up trying-chocolate, anyone! And, yes, I even love the candy corn, too sweet as it is.) The thing about Halloween now is that it's so *inspirational*. By that, I mean, there's a lot of art to be seen out there this time of year. Halloween is filled with all kinds of symbolism and substance. Sure, there's lots of candy (just no white cake!) but there are also witches, darkness, night, spiders, autumn, pumpkins, and even murders of crows walking about. I mean, come on, when do you otherwise get to walk around amid murders of crows? Talk about symbolism! Talk about substance! You could do entire art projects just based upon that alone. And, heck, don't even get me started on the ghosts. (Ah, ghosts. Isn't that what night photography is all about anyway? Did somebody say a ghost? Where?!?! Count me in!!!)

So, yes, the candy and the kids and the costumes and maybe a boring old pumpkin are out there but, while you're out and about today, look too at the deeper things. Try to think of some new art projects. Think about some of the symbolism and substance that's out in that cold, dark night tonight as well. It will do your art (body) good!

Happy Halloween! I hope you get to go out and enjoy yourself, yes, but I hope too that you'll think of things in a new light and come up with some really interesting projects thanks to the season of the witch.


Until next time...

Monday, September 03, 2012

Another from New Project

DimplesAndColors_9576, originally uploaded by carolsLittleWorld.
Here's another shot from my latest project: Just One Thing. I've been playing around with this dimpled mirror/looking glass object a bit, here trying to get some swirls and colors. In this shot, you can sort of see better the "dimples" in the glass itself.

Although it's a bit tricky to photograph, this object has been a bit fun to play around with. I'm enjoying making different "backgrounds" for it by playing with fabric some and by moving it and the backgrounds around. I like doing these kind of setups.

Here's a tip for you too-you don't need a "traditional" or even a "full" studio to do something like this. You can simply go to a fabric store and get 2-3 yards of various fabrics (in different colors and whatnot) and then use a corner of your house for the setup. I often use my bathtub, because it has a large window above it and it's a large white tub-basically acting as a giant reflector card. Even if you don't want to "dunk in the tub" you can do setups like this on your dining room or kitchen table or even use a window sill. Just look for a spot or corner of your house, apartment, or living quarters that has good light. I even sometimes use a reflector card, like a small piece of foam core, to brighten up the scene if it's a bit too dark.

Until next time...

New Project Alert!

Veiled, originally uploaded by carolsLittleWorld.
I've been working on a new project. This one involves a bit of fabric-new fabric for me actually, as I went fabric shopping the other day to get something different, something fun to work with-and also photographing one object, as the project is called "Just One Thing."

I'll be tagging the photos and they will be appearing on another site on the web, but I wanted to alert you to this new project here, in case, you know, in case you were wondering what I was up to and all.

I like doing these sort of still life setup shots in my home. Sometimes, it's hard because you feel like you have to tear apart your house to do them and it can be hard work actually, to get the shots you want. But, I love doing stuff in my home studio, I really do. I could work here forever. Give me some great fabric, even some great paper, a few cool objects, maybe some flowers, and I'm like all set. Happy as a duck in water and all which, you know, is probably quite happy.

I love the idea of doing a small project in my house too. I've wanted to do something with fabric and I just love the idea of working from home a bit. I've always done good work (some say it's my best!) in studio, as opposed to going out into the field where I basically view myself as garnering raw material (if you will.) Don't get me wrong, I love to hit the road, travel, and bring back shots from afar, but I love too the studio work, especially playing with some of those shots afterwards. (Look for some "old familiar" shots to wind up in some layers or at least some "textural" type of layers in this new project.)

Shooting in studio, working with fabric, I love the twists and turns I get to enjoy. Every day brings something new to shoot. I hope you are having this kind of fun in your little world, wherever that might be, tonight too!

Until next time...

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

A Great Idea....No Wait!

FrothyUndertow_9084, originally uploaded by carolsLittleWorld.
I had this *great* idea for a new art project. Great, I tell you, just GREAT. Of course, I tend to get these things when I'm really busy and, as such, cannot act upon them. This really sucks too because, I know, I just know, it's going to be two years (or so) before I get around to doing it. And, I swear, it would be an absolute great project too. LeSigh.

It can be hard working as a photographer because there are shots you need to take, shots you want to take, shots you just have to get, and shots people want you to take. It can be a balancing act of epic proportions, let me tell you. Once you figure out how to work a camera, and people find out you're good at it, everybody wants a piece of you. Sometimes, I just feel like a rag doll, pushed and pulled into many different directions, too many different directions for me to keep up with it all.

Of course, as luck would have it, this is when you usually get one of those "great idea" moments.

It happened to me the other day. I was driving in my car and my favorite song came on the radio. My mind started to drift, the way it always does, and then, BAM! along came the new great idea. It was such a strong idea, I started sketching how the finished images would look-I have some of them already "drawn out" even if they only exist now in my mind. From past experiences, anytime you can actually get an idea that's strong enough to make you "see" it, to make you "draw it out" in your head, that's when you know you have a good idea. This was one of those. So, now I have this great idea and I won't be able to do it right away. It's going to haunt me, to drive me crazy, to eat at me from the insides, to torment me, until I finally get to let it out. Argh! (Dear Great Idea: I know you're great but, man, you're killing me. Please stop! Thank you. Signed, the management.)

I guess I should be thankful I have ideas at all. I mean, some folks, artists even, never get any of those. But, me? My ideas seem to come freely but, somehow, the best ones, the cream of the crop, seem to come along at the very instant I cannot act upon them. The textbook definition of "the most inopportune time" I swear. It's maddening, sometimes, although I guess I have learned to cope (over the years and all.)

On a more positive note, one of the "rag doll" items in my queue involves some studio work. You do remember the studio, don't you? It's that place I'm supposed to work? Oh, right! There. Sure, I'd never forget *that* joint.

Been traveling and shooting on location so much lately, why, I'd have to say at this point, "Studio, I hardly know ya!" (Meh. At least I know where to get some good herbal tea there.)

Until next time...

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Making a Book with Blurb

NiceStacks, originally uploaded by carolsLittleWorld.
Hey! Listen up!

It's been a while since I've talked about "big news" stuff I've been meaning to share with you.

I'm very excited to announce that I'll be teaching as part of the Dougherty Art School's D-I-Y: Artist Development series.

The series is fantastic. It's a complete package designed to get you, the photographer (or artist) wanting to take his or her work to the next level, well, to the next level. It's got all kinds of short, some even one session, classes on things like writing an artist statement, pulling together a portfolio, making a book with Blurb, designing a website, using social media, and all kinds of neat stuff. Really. Think "entire package with a bow and even sprinkles on top" and you're there.

I'm really excited about this series and you should be too. It's a great way to get some of Austin's own fantastic artwork out into the world a bit more, as well as help gather up local talent and spread the cheer. It's going to be a great series. It's been designed to be inexpensive and modular so that you can take the classes individually and many of the classes are scheduled at convenient times, including Saturdays and evenings. It's a great series for those wanting to take their work to the next level but don't know where to start or how to go about doing it.

The first sessions I'm teaching are going to be making a book with Blurb, so you can find out how to turn your shoebox full of scattered photographs into an organized well-designed book you can showoff to your collectors.

You can find out more information on the sessions at the Dougherty Art Center's website here or contact them through more traditional mean this way: phone: 512-974-4040 fax. 512-974-4039 1110 Barton Springs Rd. Austin TX, 78704

Classes are filling up quite quickly so I'd recommend you sign-up soon if you are interested. Well? What are you waiting for....go, go, go!

Until next time...

Sunday, December 05, 2010

This is my Last Sober Building for a while now

CleanLines, originally uploaded by carolsLittleWorld.
This is my last sober building for a while now. Earlier today, I was in the studio, playing around with some pastels, and I decided that I wanted to draw myself some "drunken buildings." I tried to explain it to somebody else too, I said, "I have this burning desire to create drunken buildings-you know, buildings that look like parenthesis?" She didn't know what I was talking about. Then, I drew one and she said, "oh! Right! Like Doctor Seuss!" Yeah, just like that.

Then I did a big pastel of these "drunken buildings" and I realized that, tonight anyway, I might have found my true calling. I felt like a kid again. It was fun. It's fun to draw drunken buildings. The entire world should be drunk all the time. The entire world should never have to conform to things like horizon lines, levels, and plumbs. Even the word plumb, well, I take exception to that. A plumb is a nice tasting fruit and I refuse to grow up. It's never to late to enjoy a misspent childhood. In fact, when I was a kid, I used to draw straight lines, lines with rulers. Now? Not so much. Make them all shaped like big giant "C's" I say. There's enough serious in the world, let's have some fun, shall we? Drunken buildings for one and all.

I did a big pastel of these drunken buildings and, while I was doing it, I realized something. It's kind of hard to do this. I mean, it's kind of hard to figure out what color to use for them. Nothing normal here-I made the sky a bright yellow, a lot of the buildings purple, the people sort of dark reddish. But, it's hard to do. The urge to mass in some kind of realistic like color really hit me-I had to fight it and fight it very hard. I mean, how do you come up with a color scheme for a world that doesn't exist? Eh, lime green, purple, anything crazy will do, I suppose.

In the end, I'm almost happy with my drunken buildings. I want to do more. I feel empowered by these drunken, leaning, circular spectacles. No more straight buildings for me. Maria even said to me, "this is what you are supposed to be doing." It's like I've found my true calling. They are so *me* in oh so many ways, these drunken buildings are.

So tonight, I have to say, this might be my last sober building for a while. I may never draw one again, in fact. I like them all drunk, like Dr. Seuss. Drunk like Gaudi. Leaning over, tilted, jilted, crooked, crumpled, creviced, or otherwise messed up in some little way. Drunken, purple and lime green crooked buildings, yup, that's me. I mean, crap, why be normal?

This is my last sober building for a while now. It may be my last sober building ever. I've found a new way, a better way, a drunken building way. And, frankly, I can't wait to show it to you. I want you to see what kind of a drunken building stupor I've worked myself up into-I want to share my new little drunken building world with everybody I see.

Is it lime green in your world tonight? Or are you still a plain beige kind of a person today? Go on, loosen your buildings and see what it does for your perspective.

Until next time...

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Just a minute, just a second...

Oh good grief.

I just got off the phone with Kathy. We both have like ten million deadlines this week. We have to finish our scavenger hunt items, do our taxes, enter another upcoming show, drop off some work for yet another show, mail out something to somebody...crap, it's 2 am, I'm not even sure what else is on the list.

Note to the "powers that be" wherever you are: please, and I really do BEG of you, never EVAH make your deadlines be April 15th. That's tax day! What were you people thinking? Oh good grief!

All of this and I'm not really even trying to get into any shows. It's just crap I have to do. And it's piling up. And I'm tired.

So how is your weekend going?

Until next time...

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Monotypes and the Case for Paint

WeatheredWoodDoorFrame, originally uploaded by carolsLittleWorld.

Ok, so maybe this door looks more like it needs a case *of* paint, not really the case *for* paint, but, you know, why throw around your weight in pigment and latex when you don't have to (I guess.)

Today I was fortunate enough to attend a workshop on encaustic monotypes over at Jerry's Art-a-rama. I really hate that place, since it's very expensive and manages to suck every last drop out of my wallet, but still the workshop was well worth it. I learned a lot and it was very informative, though I'm not really a printmaker, not by any stretch. Though I've got quite the paper fetish, I just don't have it in me. They lose me on the whole printing press thing-it's just too hard and complicated for me to really sink my teeth into at this point in time.

So, it was an afternoon filled with "ghosts" and "substrates" and people from Flatbed Press who all seem to know each other and probably manage to lithograph several Gutenberg Bibles in their spare time, all the while watching re-runs of "I Love Lucy" and baking fresh red velvet sheet cakes. Meanwhile, I've never been one who can do more than one thing at a time-the whole "walk and chew bubble gum" thing? Yes, that sometimes escapes me. (Letting me within spitting distance of a large press type machine that could take an arm off? Not really all that good of an idea, trust me.)

One of the lucky things, I guess, about being a photographer is that, hey, we're naturally at the bottom of the artistic "food chain" as it were (nobody wants to be us when they grow up and we barely have a foot-in-the-door in gallery row as it is) so we seldom, if ever, have to fight for our spot in the artistic "pecking order." That can make it nice when working with the printmaking folks, since they are sort of kicked around (sometimes) by the "Stand aside-I work in OILS, a *REAL* medium" crowd almost as much as we photogs, though maybe they do manage a bit more self-respect in the end. Still, the workshop was fun, and it was great to see how monotypes could be pulled and coupled with the encaustic paint. Since I've started working with encaustics, I've realized how much there is to learn about the media and it's great getting to see firsthand how it can be used in so many different ways.

In between all of this, I did manage to complete an encaustic piece myself. It's not what I wanted it to be, mind you, but it's finished and I (almost) have to say I sort of like it. It doesn't look like what I was expecting, but it's done and I might scan in it and post it at some point. I was paper-offensive and used not true printmaking paper, but something I like to call "el-cheap-o" watercolor paper. (The el-cheap-o portion comes from the fact that it was in the sale bucket at Jerry's and, hey, who am I to argue with a price reduction, right? Especially at that joint.)

I'm being lazy and trying to avoid laying out some gesso on the latest boards I've got. I need to get gesso-ing pretty soon though, because I'd like the stuff to dry so that I can actually paint tomorrow, rather than yap about it all over the Internet (but not actually do anything about the issue.) If that were not enough, I'm slated to have one small piece finished by December 5th which, though this sounds eons away, is really not that far off, trust me. Especially not given the speed at which I've been able to work which is, well, let's just say James May could snore faster than I've been painting lately (and leave it at that.)

Yes, yes, I know, time to go get my thumbs all brightly colored once again.

Until next time...

Monday, October 05, 2009

Media Mixed: A Photographer's Quick Guide to Moving Beyond the Traditional Photographic Print

Once Yellow House, originally uploaded by carolsLittleWorld.

I realize there are many of you out there who have started to grow restless with the traditional photographic print. Many of the recent "digital converts" have been shooting for a few years now, and have a strong desire to sort of "move on" maybe stretch themselves a bit as artists, and are itching to try out a new technique or move beyond the traditional photographic (or digital) print. For all of these reasons and more, I thought I would put together a brief list of ideas, suggestions if you will, that can help you to do just that-move beyond the normal, ordinary world of the basic print, and try out something new.

  • Printing on canvas is great, and a lot of photographers are starting to do it again, thanks to the lower costs of doing it digitally, but, in order to move into the world of more "hand worked" prints, try Marshall's oils or painting on top of your images.
  • There are many ways to paint on top of photographs, and mix painting with photography. Marshall's photo oils have been around a long time and allow you to paint on top of your images, but, in the days of the digital age, you are no longer limited to these. You can use any transparent oil paint actually to paint atop of a photo and you can write to someplace like Daniel Smith to get a brochure detailing which of their oils are transparent. They also sell specific oil-based pastels suitable for using on photo canvas. This gives you an interesting look, because it's a more softer, shaded look coming from the pastel, rather than the more "hard lines" of the photographic image.
  • Decoupage is an often overlooked way of mixing images with paint. If you are serious about combining your oil painting and your images, you might look into decoupage as a way of doing it. Decoupage would allow you to start with a painting, say an oil on canvas, and then add a photo to the mix, rather than doing things the other way around (paint on top of a photo.) There are reasons artists traditionally did not apply oil paint to paper, but instead choose wood or canvas-the paint sticks better. By using decoupage, you can let the paint stick to where it wants to adhere (a canvas or board) and sort of "play" in its natural home, while adding a photo to the mix.
  • With most digital (inkjet) printers, you can print directly onto watercolor paper of some kind. Outlets like provide watercolor paper suitable for direct printing. Once your image has been printed onto the watercolor paper, it's fairly easy to apply watercolors, either light bodied or gouache.
  • Collage is always a method you can use, and you can combine it with some of the other methods here to get a unique look. You can, for example, print several smaller prints onto watercolor paper and then paint in-between them to get a unified look.
  • Encaustics and transfers are other ways of mixing up your media. Encaustics involve adhering your image to a board (usually a wooden board) and then painting on top of it using a beeswax-based paint made from encaustic pigment and melted wax. This is a fun way to make, essentially, a 3-D photographic print, since you can also sculpt the wax (and sculpt things into the way) as you do it.
  • Transfers allow you another way to move your image from the inkjet world to the watercolor paper or canvas backing. You can do transfers using both acrylic and water-based mediums to get the look you want and you can combine the transfer techniques with traditional painting, once the image has been transferred to the newer surface.
  • Liquid emulsion and emulsion lifts are other ways you can sort of "play with" photographic emulsions to get them to look more unique. There are also other ways of hand working your prints-you can use some kind of solarization process or a technique like Mordancage.
  • Many alternative processes give you a foothold into hand-worked prints. For example, creating a Burkholder negative and printing a cyanotype or a bromoil print, or even printing platinum palladium or lith will give your work a distinctive look and these techniques can give you the opportunity to work in more of a mixed media.
  • A lot of photographers are getting into varnishes. You can see some examples of this by looking at something like Jack Spencer's portrait series. I've never been a big fan of the varnish technique myself (I don't like to play with toxic chemicals) but it works very well for Jack. There's also a lot you can do by printing onto different materials, such as printing on silk or fabric directly, and painting from there.

One of the downsides to many of these techniques, besides the time and expense of it all, is that, in the end, you will have a unique print. This can make them harder to show and sell, since you will be dealing with prints one at a time, rather than just going to your "inkjet factory" and spitting out another one. This is both their appeal and their downside in a lot of ways-people are more willing to pay for a handmade unique print, but you cannot show such unique prints in multiple shows at the same time (for example.)

I hope this has given you some ideas for what you can do with your work-how you can move beyond the traditional print and into the world of the unique hand worked image.

Until next time...

Friday, August 07, 2009

A Primitive Camera of Sorts

TreesCloudsSky, originally uploaded by carolsLittleWorld.

...And, for my next trick, I'm going to disappear. Allow me to explain. Tomorrow, I'm going to a "special" photographer's workshop. It's one in which they use primitive cameras-very primitive cameras-so primitive, are these cameras in fact that they aren't even cameras at all. You see, starting tomorrow, I go into the studio for two days of intensive drawing. (Pencils! Paper! Such primitive tools! What do you mean, there's no shutter release button? You heathens!) Yes, yes, it's true. I'm going to get all charcoal-y (or even worse, pencil-y) on you.

[Oh the horror! Oh the humanity! My kingdom for some film and a darkroom.]

All kidding aside, drawing is good for the soul. (Keep telling yourself that and maybe you'll believe it, right?) Drawing is the basics of art-there's really nothing simpler than taking pencil to paper, right? (Ok, so how come my local art supply store has entire aisles stacked with pencils of different grades, thickness, color, etc. Simple my bottom...I'll show you simple...simple is black and white film!)

Lately anyway, it seems as if this Texas heat has me not wanting to go outside. I can't paint (turns to pudding when it's 105 outside-trust me on that one.) And, for ages, I've been meaning to do some charcoal drawings of Chase (he is mostly black and curly, you know. Don't you think he would look great in charcoal, assuming I can draw, that is?) So, I'm going to retreat indoors and draw. Get back to the basics. Get down with the sketch book. It's been too long, I'm too tired-I could use a bench, and, well, I just feel like it, so I'm going to do it.

Which brings me to the next question in my mailbag. Janice from Isle of Wight has asked me about my background. She would like to know what other media I work with and a little about how I got started in the arts. So, I thought I'd tell her (and, um, I guess, you too.)

When I was young, I used to do (what I then called) ceramics. I used to paint on clay. I did it for many years. I painted a series of beer steins that had picnic scenes on them, I painted Christmas trees, I painted a lot of stuff. But, all the while I really wanted to be a rock star. Or, you know, maybe a best-selling novelist. I learned to play a few different instruments (flute, guitar, etc.) and seriously considered applying to Columbia's school of journalism. (Seriously. Me. Can you imagine?) Basically, I was all over the map, with a few things always coming around to haunt me: writing, music, and art. So, what did I do? I went to college and studied science. (Yes, I know, doesn't make sense to me either.)

I've always had a serious interest in the arts though. Even when I was young (and broke) I used to paint in my spare time. I would buy one canvas, make a painting, put gesso back over it, and start painting again (someday, I hoped I could afford more than one canvas.) I never had a camera back then, at least not a mechanical one, even though I used to always sort of "take pictures in my head."

When I moved to Austin, after grad. school, I took up photography. Since I had a job then too, I bought myself a nice Nikon camera. It was an old F-series match needle camera. I still have it actually and, yes, it still works. Within a few months of buying that camera I had my first photography show, here in Austin (where I live now) at an ice cream parlor. You can probably figure out where my love of the camera has taken me without me going into too many more details here.

But, photography is not all that I do. I've been drawing, painting-oils, acrylics, water (gouache, mostly but some light bodied watercolors as well) and lots of other stuff for a long time. I'm one of those "lazy painters" they always talk about-you know the type-I like to basically paint with my camera. But, I do other stuff too, including, yes even painting with paint instead of the old Nikon. At some point, I'll post more from my other media, maybe I'll even get "un-lazy" enough to photograph some of my paintings and upload them so you can see them. But, for now, at least you know a little bit more about what I do.

As usual, if you have any specific questions or want to ask me about anything, please either leave a comment or email me. I can't promise I'll get back to you immediately but, as time and projects permit, I'll do my best.

Until next time...

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Sunday Roundup - Going for a Dip

Had a lot of fun over at Art Space last night-they had a nice band and, though it was hot, we were shaded and hid in the a/c a lot. The show itself was wonderful-the work looked really nice and it was all beautiful work. I'm so glad I got to be a part of it.

While I was there I got to see some encaustic work that was interesting. I might try to do some of that in the autumn, once it cools down a bit, since it would melt far too easily on me right now. (Why is it that I always want to do stuff at the wrong time? Come winter, I'll probably be itching to do something that requires heat.) Up until now, I've been avoiding the encaustic work but, after seeing it again last night, I kind of feel like it's almost peer pressure. I'm going to have to try some at some point in time. It's all the rage right now anyway. Might as well give in, right? (If you've done some encaustic type work and have any pointers, do let me know, as I am going to have to do it, or so it would appear, at some point in the near future.)

Apart from the "I need to go for a dip in beeswax" outcome of last night, it's been quiet today. I'm going to work on the house some and play with Chase a bit. I think I'm actually overdue for a sleepy Sunday afternoon, so that's what I'm going to enjoy.

Until next time...

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Ginormously Bigger than BIG Project Alert

RedPoppyTexturalStudy, originally uploaded by carolsLittleWorld.

The good folks over at Utata have announced the annual BIG project: Storytellers. The theme this year centers around images that tell a story, "We want your true stories and your made-up yarns. We want to see your favorite book the way you've always imagined it, and we want to see what you see in your mind when you listen to your favorite song. We want to know how your favorite movie or TV show would look if you directed it. We want to see your stories exactly the way you do."

Now, this promises to be a fun project, though a bit difficult. Stories, you see, are easy to tell. But, that's not the challenge. No, the challenge lies in getting the right story, hitting the right combination of visual elements and narrative, so that you can make a wonderful project, a special project, a magical project. Sure, any six images can tell a story, this time though, it's more about the craft of storytelling, about carefully blending the images with the ideas. This time out anyway, I'm going to try to setup my images with a story in mind and see how I can visually weave the elements of the story into the images.

So, I did some digging, I've started to come up with a few ideas, plus a few cliches, and even some things I've always wanted to do. For example, I've always wanted to do Alice in Wonderland. Yes, yes, I know, call it boring, call it done to death, call it the verboten, it's all of that and more but, what can I say, I've always wanted to do it. And, it goes without saying really but, with all the tornadoes we've had recently, I'm seriously considering doing an adaptation of the Wizard of Oz. Crap, I mean, it's not like we don't have the wind for it (and couldn't you just picture Chase as a sort of more black/slightly overgrown Toto? I know I could. Put some red shoes on me because, Lordy, Darling. Lulubelle, we ain't in Kansas, that's for sure.)

The project mentions my favorite TV show, and there are actually a few of those. I could blow things up, a la Burn Notice and I'm still secretly hoarding my Stig helmet from last year's Halloween costume so there's Top Gear as well.

And then, there's the demented, twisted, "I love crime drama" side of me. Now, you can call me crazy, you can label me as "psycho" and all but, lately anyway, I've wanted to do some sort of visual work with a gun. Seriously-use a gun as a prop. I've got some ideas floating around in my head about that one, and, despite the unusually violent nature of it all, I think that it would make for a good story telling prop, so I'm putting that out on the table as well.

Maybe I could combine all of these into one great BIG story, you know, like dress up like a Stig, drive off a cliff while shooting everybody in a convertible and blowing up the Grand Canyon in the process. Oh, now that would make for an interesting BIG summer project, don't you think. (Hmm. Wonder if I have enough compact flash for that.) It would almost be like Thelma and Louise with a Stig in it and a couple of bombs from Burn Notice, wouldn't it?

Since we're on the subject of narrative photography, I thought that I would also throw out some inspiration. Some of the great narrative photographers I might be turning to for inspiration for this project are Keith Carter (though he's more known as a sort of "tone/visual poet" with his soft look, he's actually quite a narrative photographer at heart) Crewdson for his movie sets frozen in time, maybe even a little Cindy Sherman, because she has the element of the narrative in her and she's such an influence, and finally a few people like Jeff Wall and even a local favorite Carol Watson, who has quite a narrative slant on her work.

If you have any ideas, or just want to share in the "oh no, what am I going to do" aspects of the project, please feel free to drop me a line. I'll continue to post some details here, as things finalize. For now though, it's just barely started going around in my head.

How does that old song go, "every picture tells a story," doesn't it?

Until next time...

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

New Beginnings

PackOfPhotographers, originally uploaded by carolsLittleWorld.

This is what a pack of photographers look like as they walk away. Do you wonder what they see? Do you wonder where they are coming from? How about where they are going? Do you wonder what kind of pictures they took? Do you want to see what they just saw?

Tonight I started a new project. Called New Beginnings it is set to document the start of something. Now, just to be a bit of a tease, I won't tell you just yet what that something is, but I will tell you this. These photographers are going to photograph it too. They are going to see it, experience it, photograph it, and share it with the rest of us (myself included in that actually, as I will get to see their pictures too.)

It's very interesting to be a photographer. We get to see things, experience things, take pictures, and share our work. At the end of the day (this picture actually was taken, quite literally, at the end of the day) it's great to be able to do all of that. It's a wonderful thing to be the imagination, eyes, and hands, that bring all of this to you, and bring all of this to life.

It's great to start something new. It has that fresh, shiny, new feeling about it. It's great to be able to do what I do. I get to take that fresh, shiny, new feeling, those new sights, sounds, and experiences, and bring them to life, on film (or, you know, maybe a digital sensor) for you to enjoy too. I hope you'll come along with me, on this magical ride, into such New Beginnings. If tonight is any indication, it promises to be quite a trip.

This is what a pack of photographers look like as they walk away. Do you wonder what they see? Do you wonder where they are coming from? How about where they are going? Do you wonder what kind of pictures they took? Do you want to see what they just saw?

Stay tuned and, well, you will. For now though, this is the start, the very first "shot off the roll" as I always like to say, of a New Beginning. I hope you like it, and I hope it makes you curious and wanting more.

Until next time...