Thursday, June 18, 2020

The above is not what I typically do with Photoshop, but I played around with some different things while contemplating a life without Adobe Photoshop.  I could never have believed a life without Photoshop before breakfast or after, but I have to start thinking about it now.  I have been an Adobe Photoshop user since before CS--sometime in the late 90's.  I currently own CS5 which is running on my old MacbookPro mid-2009.  The latest Apple operating systems are not compatible with my old machine.  I say old, but it doesn't feel old at all to me.  It's a gem.  I've decided to keep this machine as my dark/light room, but keep it offline.  When the time seems right, I will buy a new Mac, but my Photoshop CS5 will not work on it.  As many of you know, Adobe Photoshop is not for sale--only lease at $9.99 a month last time I checked.  That's why I'm keeping my current machine for darkroom use.  But there might be hope for my future computer.  I was looking at some photography related things on YouTube yesterday and learned about Affinity Photo editor.  It seems it does everything I need and more, and at a very affordable price.  As rainy days come along, I will have time to look at some of the tutorials.  Really hoping this works out for me.  If you have any knowledge of Affinity vs. Photoshop and care to leave a comment on your experience, that would be much appreciated.

Here are two more photos from the nearby countryside:

And here a line drawing done with Photoshop of the field above.  What a surprise.  It's a tool I rarely use.

Bye for now!

Sunday, June 14, 2020

Even walks with nature don't settle the anger and frustration of recent events related to the murder of George Floyd.  I am so upset with our country right now, but do have hope for a better tomorrow.  We must do better for all our citizens.  We must do better for the world.  As I wrote on my Facebook page recently, there are currently several books on the New York Times Bestsellers list on racism.  At the top of the list is How to Be an Antiracist by Ibram X Kendi.  I like this quote, "The resistance is from the loudness of demonstrations to the quietness of reading, listening and learning."  The retreat from Covid-19 has me reading more and thinking a lot.  We have a large garden with many trees and shrubs needing pruning right now.  It is meditative work and I find myself thinking a lot about what I can do to promote antiracism.

Two from a recent walk as I looked for light in the shade.

Another great place to meditate on the world is from the window seat of an airplane.  Have no idea when I will be able to do that again, but I've had that privilege so often in the past that I can easily recall the sensation.  The universe is infinitely vast and we on earth are astonishingly small.  I do believe most humans want to get along.  The reasons why we can't seems ridiculously silly from the window seat of an airplane.

I'll post again soon with news of my exhibit at the Jewish Community Center in York, PA.

Thursday, May 21, 2020

Warm Spring weather finally arrived in southeastern Pennsylvania, and much of the population has been shopping for garden supplies and plants.  I know this because friends who've been to hardware stores and garden centers have told me.   Barry is the head landscape supervisor here and has made all the runs to pickup mulch, fertilizer, potting soil, seeds, etc.  I really didn't think I would be able to actually select plants this season, but yesterday I ventured out with face mask and mingled with the other folk at Miller's Plant Farm. I couldn't help thinking we all looked like bank robbers.  The parking lot was full but everyone was spread out and courteous.  I had the feeling we were all happy gardeners and hopeful for a good growing season, and optimistic that our efforts help ourselves, our loved ones and the planet in some way.  With travel and social events off the calendar, I've spent more than the usual amount of time gardening or simply walking or relaxing outside.  Love this image of early Spring-blooming deutzia in our garden.  Barry and I feel incredibly lucky to have this garden with all its gifts--even with all the work.

Gardening is art---it is creative work.  I've been thinking about creativity a lot during this quarantine and have gone back to Twyla Tharp's book, THE CREATIVE HABIT.  One of Tharp's statements is  that creative work is often scratching around for ideas.  We will never get to the good idea without regular work. I agree! This applies to so many things we do in our lives--not just art making.   I've had to make a regular time slot for studio/photography each day.  It's on the calendar and I keep the
appointment even if I don't feel I have anything to work on.  I will either take a walk with my camera, or spend time processing images, or sketch, or organize things in the studio, or read some art related publications or watch a virtual museum tour or seminar on the internet, etc.. I write down any ideas that pop into my head while I'm doing those things. Still, physcially working on something is the best.  Ideas flow from the work.  Recently I watched Eileen Rafferty's photography seminar on YouTube.  Rafferty is a professional photographer and educator and her seminars sponsered by B&H Photography on YouTube are excellent.  In her creativity lecture, she asked whether we had a muse.  In other words, some person (actor, author, director, etc.) or idea that directs our work.  Her muse is the Japanese author, Yasumari Kawabata.  He was the first Japanese writer to win the Nobel Prize for Literature.  For Rafferty, the muse is an author.  I can't answer that question for myself yet, but if I find that illusive muse, you'll read about it here.

Below are three black and whites made recently.  The dandelion and grasses were seen along the roadside shaded by taller shrubs.  I couldn't resist the filtered light.  The woodland scene was shot on a rainy day walk.  It is a combination of two images of the scene except that in one case the top of my umbrella accidentally fell into the frame.  I layered part of the umbrella shot over the good print.  Neither were very interesting on their own. There is a house far back in the scene.  The spot of light at the top is a mystery.

Stay safe and healthy!  

Friday, April 24, 2020

Feeling strange looking at my studio selfie from mid-winter.  At that time, I never imagined Covid 19 would have such an impact on the world, not to mention my life.  Believe me, it's starting to sink in and it's unsettling.  Almost always optimistic, I'm doing a pretty good job of focusing on each day and feeling thankful that my family and friends are self quarantined and staying safe.  Photography has been my friend through many tough seasons of life.   I love taking my camera out for a walk and I always feel good when I come home with a few images to study and post process.  Also, putting in some studio time each day supports my well-being.  And this is true even if it's only an hour getting organized for the next project or cleaning things up.  If I can get started on a project, I have something to come back to.  The point is, making things and doing things makes us feel better.  One thing I have discovered, however, is that I'm not putting that much more time in the studio than before the virus.  I blame that on Spring weather and gardening, and the timely subscription to the Wall Street Journal just before the pandemic reality.  The WSJ has featured articles every week on internet resources for virtual museum tours, recommended YouTube content of art, architecture, archaeology, film, photography, etc.  Also Small Star Art House (movies) is offering home streaming until they can reopen.  This week I watched the documentary film, Hilma of Klint "Beyond the Visible".  Hilma of Klint was a Swedish abstract artist who was working at the same time (or before)  Wassily Kandinsky who is considered to be the first abstract artist.  This documentary explores the life of Hilma, her development as an artist and why her work stayed hidden (by her request) for so many years.  The director of the film, Halina Dyrscka, and David Horowitz of the Guggenheim have an hour-long Q&A available on YouTube right now.  You can find it here.  I'm only 15 minutes into it and may have more comments on it later.

I've added these two pieces to the "Collage Page":

The Photographer
Paper and Mixed Media  7"x 7"

Memory of Japan No.2
Paper Mixed Media on Canvas   9"x12"

My "Zuniga with Candle" has been added to the "Winter Nights" page.

Just before the quarantine began, I was invited to a gathering of artists and friends at the home of one of the artists, Bonnie.  Bonnie's entire home is her studio and gallery.  I'm in love with it.  Here is just one tiny bit photographed in her powder room.

Friday, April 3, 2020

Above is one of my photo montages, "Souvenir of Japan No. 3".  I'm posting this in honor of First Friday in York, PA---the first First Friday that will be operating online.  I am exhibiting at the Jewish Community Center in York.  Here is a direct link to the exhibit site.
We have created a direct link to the gallery show.

All of the pieces on exhibit are also here on the "Collages" page, which you can click on above.

Happy Friday!
Stay safe!

Wednesday, April 1, 2020

April 1, 2020 Greetings.  Today is April Fool's Day, my son's wedding anniversary and his twin daughters' fifth birthday.  We can't be together for the birthday, but I baked a cake yesterday and when we Skype later this morning I will light the candles, sing Happy Birthday and the girls will blow out the candles.  I will have Barry on the sidelines to help make it happen.  In other news, I found the above photo montage created in the mid-90's when I decided to put my brown suede boots up for adoption.  These boots look so good.  Why did I give them away?  I don't remember, but I must have anticipated regret which is why I staged this photo shoot on my former back porch.  I purchased the boots in the mid 1970's from a Thom McAn store which was a retail chain in shopping centers and malls at the time.  Today the brand is controlled by Sears Brands LLC.  So glad I took time to photograph them.  I'm remembering a specific dress I made just for these boots and some of the occasions I wore them.  One of the things I love about photography, it makes looking back so vivid.

I mentioned some time ago that I would be exhibiting at the Jewish Community Center in York, PA beginning this month.  Because of Covid-19, the physical exhibit is postponed until the crisis is over. There will be a virtual exhibit and I will try to share it here in the next day or two.

We've had a lot of fog and misty mornings lately which I've enjoyed photographing.  I love  photographing fog and mist.  It takes me into a world transformed--I lose myself for a time.

Andy's Path

Fog and Earth 

Impalpable Mist

Star Magnolia Bud

Stay safe out there!

Tuesday, March 10, 2020

March greetings!  I usually try to post at least once a month because I enjoy reflecting on what I've been doing artwise and it truly helps motivate me.  How time flies! I'm late!  The above diptych is from a late January trip to the Poconos.  We met friends at their vacation rental/fun house.  I call it fun house because of the crazy mix of decor and the abundance of toys, games, videos, and hiding places.  I was ready to dive into some of the games, including ping pong, pool and some singing with the karaoke set-up, but could get no takers among the other five adults.  Barry and I slept in a room with two sets of bunkbeds.  The host's cat slept in the lower bunk across from us--sweet.  No one could figure out how to work the TV, so it just stayed on all the time (muted).  Still, it really was a fun house because we had so much fun just being together.  The decor inspired me to take a series of interior and exterior photographs which I arranged in a small Blurb book for our hosts.  Three of the images are above.

In February we made our annual pilgrimage to Virginia and visited Williamsburg, Charlottesville and Staunton.  Enjoyed everything, but a special treat for me was the contemorary exhibit at the Staunton Augusta Art Center.  In particular, I loved the works of two MFA faculty artists from James Madison University.  The artists, Dymph de Wild and Connie Diop, both teach studio art while practicing there own artistic paths. Dymph de Wild's "Work in Progress" was a large format hand-bound book which viewers were invited to page through.  I could hardly tear myself away from her fascinating drawings made on archival paper with ink, gouache & charcoal, thread and coptic binding. One image below:

Connie Diop's work relates to how I have started working with some of my enlarged, printed photographs--that is, layering collage elements onto the printed photographs.  "Memories, flashbacks and imaginings reclaim and recombine with the assortments of paper and images that have found their way to me through my past--by chance or appropriation."  I feel a kinship here.  Below is one of Diop's works:

After returning home, I received the good news that I would be one of two featured artists at a big first Friday event in April at the Jewish Community Center in York, PA.  I was particularly invited because of my collage work--YAY!  Depending on how the space works out I should be able to exhibit eight to ten pieces.  I'll have more details later.  Below are a few pieces recently completed and uploaded to the Collages gallery page.

Brave New World

Figure in a Garden

If I Could Speak, I Would Tell You

Interior With Birdbath

Memory of Japan