Wednesday, September 13, 2017

In the Mood for Travel

Here is a happy travel memory from five years ago while visiting Monemvasia, Greece.  This day was part of a small ship cruise exploring the Byzantine world.  Now we are preparing for another exploration in Greece which also includes Albania and Macedonia.  I'll be writing more about my expectations and preparations in the coming days.  For now, I want to mention again that my photography exhibit opens along with the Fall Members Exhibit at the York Art Association on September 17, 2017 and runs until October 21, w2017.  Here is more info.

Before I end this short post, want to share three photos I took in Montenegro in November of last year.  The first is some of my travel companions walking on the man-made island that has a little chapel dedicated to Our Lady of the Rocks.  As you can see, it was raining that day.  What grabbed my attention inside the chapel was the covering that goes over the madonna when the chapel is closed.

My photo of the painting is rather askew, but you can see that the cover pictured above it is a protection for the painting.  Clever idea.

Wednesday, September 6, 2017

It's Not Really Autumn

But, it sure feels like it even though it doesn't look like it, however.  Everything is richly green, and because it's raining today, it's almost dripping green.  The golden part is yet to come.  The above is a seed head of clematis which I photographed when we had two nice specimens in the garden.  They started to decline as our garden became shadier and eventually died.  The flowers of this one were a deep blue.  I'm not exactly sure what month I shot this, but the background colors feel right for where we are on the calendar.

Spent this afternoon going through the process of entering three of my photographic works in the upcoming Annual Juried Exhibit at the York Art Association.  The whole thing was stressful because deciding which completed pieces should go to the show was difficult.  I have so many favorites, but I know they have to have that certain something that will catch the eye and fancy of the juror.  Who can figure that out?  I might as well relax.

Here are a couple of views of Lake Bled in Slovenia--very relaxing.  The weather there in November of last year was very much like the weather here today.

And here is more cloudy weather when we visited the Philadelphia Fine Art Museum and the old Philadelphia Water Works nearby.  

Wednesday, August 30, 2017

And so I said to myself....

The end of August fast approaches.  It has been raining all day and there is a chill in the air. So, I decided to bake bread.  It's in the dough making mode of the bread machine.  When the dough is ready, I'll take it from there.  Earlier today I used the empty room in our basement to layout all the photographic works I am considering for the upcoming exhibit.  I want the works to look good together and hopefully seem like they are related to each other.  It didn't take long to exclude some pieces and add others.  I let Barry give it a once over and then packed everything for delivery.  There are still some administrative details to complete, but I'm feeling organized at the moment.

My artist friend, Jessica Lee, told me about an art series she was enjoying produced by Bloomberg TV and now available on YouTube--the Brilliant Ideas series.  I believe there are 60 episodes of 24 minutes each profiling internationally known contemporary artists.  I know so little about contemporary art, but like all eras of art, there are works and artists that connect with me more than others.  Through this series, I am finding some favorites in the contemporary art world.  One of them is Sun Xun.  Just enter his name in the search field and you will find the Brilliant Ideas video and another very interesting video sponsored by the Guggenheim when he had an exhibit there.  He was always good at drawing and drawing continues to be his primary means of expression whether it be making drawings, drawing for animation or making woodcuts.  This artist is worth looking at again and again.

A couple of days ago I took my Canon DSLR out for a walk on the property and came back with a few goodies.  Artist, Rick Shelley, gave us a new mosaic rock for our garden.  Not only did he give us the rock, but he placed it in a perfect spot along a pathway.  See how the mirror mosaics captured the light in the two photos below.  In the first, I focused on the rock itself--in the second, on the reflections in the mirrored-tiles.

And here are two fungi.  The first is fungus growing on dead wood.  The second is the top of a white mushroom.  A friend has suggested that this surface could be the inspiration for a wall covering or fabric.  I see what she means, but do we keep the red-eyed bugs?  Inspiration is everywhere.

Friday, August 25, 2017

Things I've Been Working On

When I'm having a sleepless night and I'm just not sleepy at all, it usually means something has been nagging me and needs attention.  Recently I woke up at 1:30 a.m and with some ideas for editing a collection of images I made using long exposure and camera movement.  Here are three of my experiments:

Brick Wall Entrance

The Way Home

Twilight Flowers

This image (Sunrise Encounter) is a cropped version of the original.  The deer was hard to see in the original and now that I've cropped it, I like it better.  There are problems with it, however, that I just have to live with.  I shot this photo from my home office window (through window glass and screen) using a zoom lens.  I just couldn't get enough clarity/sharpness in the deer and plants.  Another problem the brightness of the sun blowing out so much of the left side.  This is how Photoshop helped me:

I was able to able to lower the intensity of the sun with a Levels adjustment (decrease highlights).  I emphasized the outline of the forms using the Accented Edges filter.  Using the Render filter I placed a lens flare on the sun which actually reduced the range of brightness and brought back some of the tree limb shapes.  I put another lens flare to the right of the Buddha which resulted in the green circle of light--a happy accident.  

Coming up is the Fall Members Exhibit at the York Art Association, York, PA.  I am fortunate to be the featured artist in the Danyo Sales Gallery located in the front niche of the main Woodward Gallery.  The exhibit opens next month with the opening reception on September 17, 2:00 - 4:00 pm.  More about the show and what I will be exhibiting in the next post.

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Dried Hosta Leaves Project

My sisters gave me the book version of Gardenista and it has been a wonderful book for relaxing in the shade this summer.  The website is here.  One of the chapters featured the Provincetown garden of John Derian who loves a slightly wild look to his garden.  He keeps simple bouquets in the house and doesn't mind when they start to decay.  Sometimes my bouquets decay but not on purpose--just neglect.  This summer I thought I would let a bouquet of hosta leaves dry-up in the vase.  When they dry this way, they do not disintegrate like they do when they dry on the plant. They curl beautifully with some flexibility, and turn a golden color looking almost like fabric.  Above and below are some of the photographs I took with my iPhone and edited in Photoshop Express.  The cyan colored one is an inverted color edit which really holds my attention because it seems to be looking at me.

I love the folds and waves in these hosts, but I probably should use a tripod next time.  First I'll have to acquire one.

Thursday, August 10, 2017

Boy With Rooster by Adraino Cecioni (Italian)

Took this photo in one of the galleries of the Philadelphia Museum of Art.  I enjoyed this sculpture so much when I first saw it a couple of years ago and didn't realize until today that it was acquired by the museum in 2015.  I was among the first to see it there!  The piece was modeled in 1868 and cast in bronze in 1873.  Dimensions:  31' x 19' x 17".  The museum website notes that Cecioni was influenced by earlier sculptors who portrayed children (boys) grappling with animals such as geese.  You can see an example of the 15th c. sculptor's (Verrocchio's) Putto with Dolphin here.  I find this Boy with Rooster much more exuberant.

Last week I participated in a three-day painting workshop at the York Art Association.  Rebecca Noelle Purvis, who was visiting from Hexham, UK, led us in the techniques she uses to create expressive landscapes.  By expressive she was referring to a response to the landscape--conveying thought and feeling, suggestive.  We began by choosing our photo references and doing several thumbnail sketches trying out vertical vs. horizontal aspect and cropping.  Next we used the Fletcher color wheel to work out a limited palette.  The predominate color for my painting was red/violet which I used for the underpainting.  Below are photos of the underpainting and the 99% complete painting.  It felt good to be painting with oils again.  Now to keep the momentum going.  You can see some of Rebecca Noelle's paintings here.

Monday, July 31, 2017

End of July Joy

Not at all trying to hurry Summer along--in fact, I'm really trying to slow things down--but we've had rain and cooler weather since my last post which seems to have brought on a burst of creativity.  I pulled out all my oil painting supplies and got right into painting a small landscape.  That was good   because I'm starting a three-day "Expressive Landscape Painting" workshop this week at the York Art Association in York, PA.  The above scribble has nothing to do with the workshop.  It's all about my trip to visit the twins in Seattle earlier this month.  Their mommy got a new iPad Pro and Pencil for her birthday.  She has a fine arts degree and is a professional illustrator, so I told her about the Procreate app.  She looked it up, liked what she saw and started using it right away.  I could hardly believe how quickly she developed a figure painting.  Witness my scribbles above--an example of what I have achieved with the app.  I watched her work for a few minutes and learned some new things about the app.  For one thing, it works very much like Photoshop in that you can build your drawing/painting in layers and adjust opacity, brush size, switch to pencil or pen very quickly. I am getting better with it, but I am left-handed and the Pogo stylus I'm using doesn't respond well-- I go along and then it stops.  For the time being, it works better if I just use a finger.  I will look into the Pencil, however, and see if it is recommended for left-handers.  In the meantime, I'm getting better already.

While looking through my photo archives at landscapes references, I found some images from Ireland that I call Galway Blues.  They strike a cool note on this last day of July 2017.