Thursday, August 30, 2018

Forgive me if I posted the above photo before, but it happens to fit with the theme of this post--blending photos.  Blending photos is my current favorite creative activity if I don't have time to work in the studio--and that's a lot of time.  Photography has been second nature to me for so long, I can't imagine living without it.  Which brings me to my current fascination with blending photos.  I've blended and manipulated photos in Adobe Photoshop for years, but since getting an iPhone, I've experimented with some of the photography apps available.  My favorites right now are Photoshop Express, VSCO-X and the Diana app.  I will sometimes use these apps in combination when creating an image.  Below are some examples from photos I took in Japan this past May.  If I don't mention what photo I blended with the principal photo, it's because I can't remember at the moment.

Shop keepers hanging lanterns blended with a bamboo forest.

Street fashion in Kanazawa

Shop window in Kanazawa.

Fashion in Kanazawa train station with a temple view.

Mt. Fuji with a scene from a river in the Arashiyama area of Kyoto.

Mt. Fuji with a photo of a dinner we had in Hakone.

Young women wearing kimonos with a closeup of pale flowers.

A three-hundred year old house in Kameoka (suburb of Kyoto) where a famous samurai once lived.

Enjoy these last two days of August!

Sunday, August 12, 2018

More on Japanese Art

This view of Lake Ashi with Mt. Fuji emerging from clouds is another piece of photographic art from my fellow traveler, Jim Hull.  I am traveling so light these days that I only carry an iPhone as a camera.  Jim brought a full camera bag with DSLR and multiple lens.  At our hotel, he spent hours in the garden taking photos of Mt. Fuji at various times and light.  He was patient and determined and his work paid off.  Before starting this post I went through all my photos of Lake Ashi from this vantage point.  My efforts were lacking and I really want to share his gift to me with you.  Behind us from this viewing point is the hillside terrace of the Narukawa Art Museum which is known for exhibiting nihonga (traditional Japanese paintings) by contemporary artists.  There are also some beautiful, exquisite carvings in ivory and jade as well as other traditional arts and crafts.  

 I purchased several postcards of my favorites.  These give a better idea of the paintings even though they can't compare to the real thing.

Yasushi Sugiyama

Sabato Fukui

Rumiko Hori (detail)

Fumiko Hori (detail)

Kyujin Yamamoto

Kazuyuki Futagawa (detail)

A little about nihonga:  Modern nihonga is a general term for traditional Japanese painting.  The difference between Western style oil painting and nihonga is (at the risk of oversimplifying) the difference in materials used.  The Narakawa Art Museum has a display of all the minerals used in creating the paints.  The exhibits are a cross-section of the best contemporary painters using traditional materials.  In general, the support is paper, silk, wood or plaster.  Other materials can be sumi ink, mineral pigments, white gofun (a white pigment made from pulverized seashells), animal or vegetable coloring materials, gold leaf and other metals.  The materials are not easy to use and require much time and patience to master.  So much that is important to the Japanese in their arts and crafts are based on materials derived directly from nature. Here is a link to the Yamatane Museum of Art in Tokyo which provides more information on nihonga and an upcoming exhibit that highlights other contemporary nihonga artists.

Monday, August 6, 2018

Still processing Japan.  A travel companion sent me the above photo of me on a rainy night in Kanazawa.  After dinner that night a few of us joined our Japanese guide for a stroll in an old section of town where we could see some original houses from the Samurai period.  There was little traffic and hardly any people giving us the feeling of walking back in time.  I never take for granted the opportunities I have to visit foreign places

I've gathered a few photos of another Japanese highlight.  This one in Hakone and known as the Open Air Sculpture Museum or the Picasso Open Air Sculpture Museum.  It opened in 1969 with the goal of making sculpture as an art form more popular.  Approximately 120 sculptures by various artists are on permanent display.  The Picasso Pavilion houses a large collections of Picasso's ceramic works which he began work on at the age of 65.  He was always making things and experimenting with new materials, designs and methods.  These definitely represent a playful period.  The front of the Pavilion has several stained glass windows composed mostly  in hues of blue with hints of complimentary colors.  Overall they create a cool and calming retreat on a sunny day. I was particularly drawn to the drawings and several large paintings on glass.   Everything on exhibit was totally new to me and I would have studied everything more closely if time had permitted.  The outdoor sculptures were calling.  These sculptures are represented by several artists and set in a hillside strolling garden with serpentine paths that provide beautiful and surprising views of the art as well as the mountainous landscapes of Hakone.  Here are a few examples.

The stairs in this last photo take one to another exhibition area.  Exit through the gift shop, and that was a treat too.  Hope to do another post on Japan this month.  Bye for now!

Tuesday, July 17, 2018

Hello again!  My last post on April 26 was about two weeks before we began our travels to Seattle and then to Japan.  We returned in June with a tremendous amount of garden work and other responsibilities an activities.  Now we are in a drought and it is almost depressing to go outside and see how the trees and other plants are suffering.  Although we are finally getting some rain today, so far it has not amounted to much, but a gardener is ever hopeful.  I truly enjoyed every minute of our two weeks in Japan.  The above photo was taken in the garden of our hotel in Hakone which had a beautiful view of Mt. Fuji.

I hope to share more of our Japan experiences as time goes on.  Right now I am interested in an exhibit opening at the York Art Association this coming Sunday, July 22, 2018.  See below for details.  I have seen Alex Rosenkreuz's  work at other exhibits and look forward to seeing some of his recent works at this show.  I'm sorry my scan of the announcement is rather poor quality, but my printer/scanner is dying a slow death.

I have been painting this summer and finished the third in my abstract expressionist efforts with Venice as the theme.  This one is Venice: Night Water.  I'll be adding it to the Paintings Gallery page. 

Venice: Night Water
Acrylic on canvas board  24"x18"


Thursday, April 26, 2018

April almost seemed like winter at times but now, at last, it is Spring.  We had lunch outside today and I noticed that almost overnight everything looks greener.  The two inches of rain we had yesterday probably helped with the greening.  A friend and I had intended to hike in the park yesterday, but figuring it would be soggy, we opted for coffee and a stroll in downtown York.  We found blooming trees and colorful murals and sculpture to brighten the day.

I always have a travel photo project going and just don't want to think about how far behind I am.  Travel is a big part of our life, and for me, documenting these travels is important.  I've already made the iPhone my travel camera which helps with sharing photos along the way.  Now to go directly to publishing an album/journal from the device.  I'll fine tune this approach in the coming weeks.  In the meantime here are two photos that grabbed my attention from a trip we took two years ago.  I think I took these from the in-flight magazine on a Lufthansa flight.  I call one Pillow Fantasy and the other Carpet Fantasy.

While in Skopje, Macedonia this past fall, we visited the excellent National Archaeological Museum. We were fortunate to have an excellent guide and scholar to interpret the collections.  The rooms were darkened with the objects beautifully lit.  Talk about fantasy--sometimes I felt like I was walking in a jewel case.  

And I've finished a couple of paintings.  I have been interested in painting in an abstract way for sometime.  The last few weeks I've been getting up early as I normally do, but instead of doing this and that, I've been going directly to the studio and painting.  I am a morning person and I am most creative then.  So far, it's working.  These abstract expressionist paintings are inspired by Venice.

Venice: Broken Water
Acrylic on canvas 24' x 18"

Venice From a Boat
Acrylic on canvas 24" x 18"