How do you concisely explain the evolution from witness to artist? I spent 35 years as a photographer, faithfully trying to replicate reality through the medium of a camera. Now I strive to create images that evoke an emotional response primarily using color and movement, painting without a canvas or brush. Inspiring subject matter is everywhere and I often do my best work in my own back yard.
And now April is almost over. It’s been a pretty exhausting stretch since I last posted. I wish I had lots of good news to report, but it hasn’t been pretty on the artistic front. Rejections across the board. Thumbs down on the abstract exhibit at MCFTA and zero response from my little gallery at our builder’s Parade of Homes model house. I was even turned down for a one day local art fair that accepted 60% of the applicants. Not gonna lie, it’s been more than a little discouraging.
My exhaustion mostly stems from household tasks. Spring means yard clean up and bringing the patio furniture out from its winter hibernation. In addition, we’ve been busy getting our old house cleared out and cleaned up in order to sell it. I haven’t had a whole lot of energy left over for artistic pursuits. Plus my hand and wrist decided to join my right shoulder in protesting most physical activity.
I’m starting to see light at the end of the tunnel and I’m hopeful that I can start focusing on creating more art instead of just trying to shill what I already have. To that end, I hosted an abstract shoot with two friends in my photography studio on Saturday. What I set up looked like a hot mess, but we got some interesting results and I have more ideas for next time.
I added clear vases filled with colored water to the mix and this was one of the resulting images. Looking forward to experimenting more at our May session.
…it’s March. How did that happen? Of course you’d never know it from the obscene amount of snow outside and the bitterly cold temperature. We not only crushed the record for February snowfall by more than a foot, we ended up with the fourth snowiest month in recorded history. Now we’re poised to have the coldest recorded low temperature for March this weekend.
So in the interest of not losing my mind, I’m trying to keep busy. Yesterday I delivered the additional 12 framed images to the Parade house and got everything hung. The builder agreed to take care of the hanging, by which they meant providing me with someone to wield the hammer. He’s their best trim guy, so the measuring and hammering was a snap. I had everything laid out before he arrived and it took us about 45 minutes to get 15 pieces on the wall.
It looks pretty awesome and I’m a little nervous/anxious to see what kind of response I get. The show opens tomorrow at noon and I’ll be stopping by just before they let in the public to make sure everything looks good. Plus bringing a list of the titles. Titling abstract art is always a struggle, but I’m starting to get more comfortable with it.
This is the final image in the series of ten I submitted to MCFTA. The submission deadline is today. I called them yesterday to confirm that I shouldn’t be expecting a “yes, we got your entry” email response. I ended up having a nice chat with one of the people who will be judging. Apparently they don’t look at any submissions until everything has been received. He also warned me that the other judge would immediately disqualify any photos if they looked anything like the subject matter. I don’t think that’s going to be a problem.
I didn’t mean to keep you in suspense, but of course I managed to get everything done. That’s just how I roll. The last piece for our builder was framed yesterday. I even completed three things for our house, so that’s 18 items framed in 6 days. My personal best was just over 20 minutes for one frame.
It took two service calls, but my printer now appears to be back in action. The technician spent nearly four hours at our house on Thursday afternoon. I did ten large prints with no issues after he left, but after one print on Friday morning I received the same mechanical error. Fortunately, he left the problem ticket open so he could come back without my making another service call to Epson.
I also ordered 1000 business cards and wrote a short bio. The cards are scheduled to arrive by Wednesday. I should be delivering the art on Wednesday afternoon or Thursday morning. Meanwhile, the ten additional frames I’ll need for the MCFTA exhibit arrived on Friday.
My strategy is to have the images in the Parade house available for purchase at the end of the show, which is March 31st. I should know after the first two weekends if there’s any serious interest and have an idea of how much framing material to order. Funny thing is, the least scary scenario is not selling anything. I can deal with status quo.
Things have been a little crazy around here over the past week. After a bit of back and forth with our builder, I finally received clarification on exactly where I could stage some of my artwork in their show home. That was just Monday afternoon and the house opens a week from tomorrow. So I quickly framed three images and brought them to the house on Tuesday to determine how many pieces were needed.
In order to fill the spaces with the limited frame sizes I have available, I need to provide 15 items in total. To make matters worse, my printer started throwing a mechanical error after every few prints. Monday afternoon I called Epson technical support. Turns out, I had exactly two weeks left on the warranty.
So there I sat on Tuesday afternoon with 3 of 15 framed images completed and a glitchy printer, with a commitment to deliver everything within 10 days. Would I be able to get everything finished in time? Stay tuned.
Here’s another one of my entries for the abstract art exhibit at the Minnetonka Center for the Arts. I submitted everything on Monday. Wish me luck.
Last week’s ice/snow events required me to cancel/reschedule no less than six appointments. I left the house just once during a five day stretch. When we saw the forecast for this week, with the potential for up to 12 inches of snow, we went out and bought a snowblower. It turned out to be just in the nick of time, as we had a six inch snowfall on Sunday night and another one Monday night into Tuesday afternoon. We now have double the normal amount of snow for February and the month is only half over.
If we don’t get a decent thaw pretty soon, I don’t know where we’re going to put the snow. I’m starting to realize that I should have planned for that as part of the landscaping. Too late now. At least there’s no more significant snow in the forecast for a while.
I finally had my framing “class” on Monday and it went really well. Except for discovering that the first image I framed has sensor dust and I’ll need to print it again. And the second image I framed has some specks under the glass, so I’ll have to take it apart and clean it. It’s a learning process, right?
Speaking of learning, I had to reprint 7 of the 10 images I selected for submission to the MCFTA exhibit. The sensor dust is killing me. Meanwhile, I tweaked the titles to make them more consistent. So, once again, I went back and edited the captions on my previous posts. Wondering if I’ll get the rest published before I change my mind again.
This winter is absolute hell. I can handle snow and cold, but this bitter cold followed by a day or two of warmth with rain, then plummeting temperatures causing a sheet of ice everywhere, followed by more snow… This is hell.
I canceled my framing lesson on Tuesday, as well as two additional appointments yesterday. Our driveway was a long, steep, curved skating rink. We spent an hour clearing the flat area Tuesday afternoon and by the time we “finished,” the part I started with was already covered with a fresh layer of snow.
My husband went out and spent another two plus hours clearing the whole thing again yesterday morning. We ventured out in the afternoon to pick up more sand and some groceries. By some stroke of luck, we happened to hit the right home improvement store during the two hour window they had stock in ice melt. We picked up three 50 lb bags of it and four equal size bags of sand.
In honor of the hellish weather we are currently enduring, I’ve selected an image that makes me think of icicles. The snow started up again this morning and is forecast to last well into the evening. Welcome to the 7th circle.
Minnesotans are notorious for closing their circle of friends relatively early in life. So you stay friends with people you met in high school or college or early in your career, but making new friends after your mid to late twenties is relatively rare. People who move to this state as adults run into the wall of “Minnesota nice,” whereby everyone is polite but in a completely superficial way.
I’m trying to break this trend by being a native Minnesotan who is making new friends in my mid 50’s. I had lunch with one of our neighbors on Friday. She had invited me to a coffee gathering of neighborhood women at her house back in September. Everyone who attended was nice, but I felt like the hostess was someone who could become a real friend.
She’s an upstate NY transplant, but has lived in the area for 17 years. She also started painting just recently, which I find utterly fascinating. We had a terrific lunch and connected over our mutual artistic aspirations. Hopefully the start of a new friendship.
Today’s feature is actually my least favorite of the set I plan to submit to the MCFTA for their abstract exhibition. I sent all ten to the artist who taught my abstract painting class and it was one of her favorites. That is the beauty of art.
Hard to believe it’s February already. After a string of bitter cold days, including one night that dropped down to -30 degrees, we are back on a temporary warming trend. We had a nearly 70 degree temperature shift in about three days. This morning started with rain and heavy fog.
Hitting -30 degrees is a relatively rare event, even for the frozen state of Minnesota. I googled to find out the last time it was that cold. Turned out to be February of 1996. I was living in my first home (a townhouse) and I remember the kitchen sink waste pipe froze, so I had to pour boiling water down the drain to thaw it. Fun times.
But enough about the weather. After a six week absence, I decided to start posting on Instagram again, featuring my new After the Symphony collection, soon to be an exhibition at the Minnetonka Center for the Arts. (Oh please, oh please, oh please) Trying to think positive here.
This particular image responded really well to color shifting and I have three or four variations of it, all of which I like. I’ve got all ten in the series printed out and I am anxious to get them framed. I want to keep printing large size images, even though I’m not sure what I’m going to do with them all. It’s like a fever. Maybe cabin fever.
The Minnetonka Center for the Arts, where I attended the abstract photography class last summer, is currently accepting submissions for an abstract exhibition in April. The submission asks for 10 cohesive pieces, as they want to exhibit small collections rather than individual items from a bunch of different artists.
I’ve printed 10 selections from my After the Symphony collection sized to 16×16 inches. I’m always nervous that the images won’t hold up in a larger size, but I can honestly say these are even better than the 8×8 test prints I did. So now I have framing materials coming (today or tomorrow) and I scheduled my framing lesson for next Tuesday. The creative engine keeps cranking.
I even gave them titles. Real titles, which is always a struggle for me. I’ve already featured two here, so I went back and updated the captions. The posts were on January 19th and 22nd, if you’re curious.
I have until March 1st to submit, but I’m pretty sure I’ll have it in by the end of next week. I’ve got the images ready to go, I just have to commit to pricing as part of the submission. Which I’ll dither about and then come back to the original number I had in my head. Such is life.
I took an abstract painting class last week. Making random art with paint is a lot harder than it looks. People who claim their toddler can paint better than Jackson Pollock have no idea what they’re talking about. But it was fun, the instructor was fantastic and I’d do another one in a heartbeat.
I brought some of my abstract images for inspiration. What I ended up with looked nothing like the starting point, but it gave me a better result than just randomly applying paint. What I really want to try is mixed media, specifically layering paint over some of my abstract photographic images. All in good time.
Meanwhile, I picked up my custom glass at the local art supply store and received notice that my large order of framing supplies has shipped and is due to arrive Thursday. I started printing large format yesterday. There’s a limit to how many I can produce at a time, since I don’t have a lot of flat surface area that is safe from the cat.
I was a little nervous about how the images would look when I printed them in larger sizes, but they are coming out even better than the small ones. I did find a speck of sensor dust on one image that was not apparent in the smaller size. I think I’m finally ready to schedule my framing lesson.