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.
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.
I placed a large order for framing supplies yesterday. It’s enough material to frame ten pieces each in 20×20 and 18×24, plus additional mats and foam core to mat/mount fifteen more in each size. That gives me 20 ready to hang and 30 more images that can be swapped in on short notice. I also ordered 1000 flyers online.
These are the relatively baby steps to trying to make a go of actually selling some of my work. Maybe I’ll just end up with a lot of things collecting dust in the basement. Worst case, our builder can borrow them three times a year to hang in their show homes. I just feel like I have to give it a shot.
I am trying to keep things simple and inexpensive. The frames are all thin black metal and the mats are white. The two sizes are large enough to be substantial, but not unmanageable to transport/store. I can always create two or three coordinating pieces to fill a space. Now I need to start creating a short list of potential images.
I received my formal thumbs down from Lenswork on Thursday. Shocking, I know. They sent me a long list of criticisms with the relevant ones check marked. Super personal. Since I had already received the video critique, it was hard to get too emotional about it.
These were my official dings: “This project appears to be based on a technical gimmick that wears thin after the first few images.” “A number of really terrific images, but the weaker ones don’t support the strong ones.” “Portfolio too repetitive; doesn’t explore the theme with enough depth or variety.” The third point was his primary, almost sole, criticism in the video critique.
I pondered the idea of submitting images in different color palettes for Seeing in Sixes, but I’m kind of in a fuck you mode right now. Let’s see how I feel down the road. Right now I’m busy sourcing materials for framing and continuing to experiment with color variations. A local artist is going to give me a lesson in framing techniques. He gave me a lot of good advice over the phone and I’ve been researching local and online options for frames, mats and backing.
I’m calling my collection of new, color shifted images After the Symphony. Clever, right? The color manipulation is proving to be a bit trickier than I expected. But still I soldier on.
I spent a fair amount of time on the computer yesterday, going back through all of my sculpture raw images and making notes on ones I wanted to revisit. It was a surprising number. Now that I’ve opened my mind to creative cropping, image rotation, and color shifting, it seems I have a lot more usable options. I even fired up the printer from its month long sleep and did a couple of test runs.
The cat was a pain in the butt. He kept coming in and interrupting me, to the point where I needed to banish him and close the door. Which resulted in some truly heart wrenching meowing from the other side. Not that I can really blame him for my lack of focus.
It’s actually funny to talk about focus, when it’s something so clearly lacking in all of my abstract images. I’m just flailing a bit right now. I need a project. I looked through all of my tree images and I just didn’t feel that I had enough good raw material to build a cohesive, yet non-repetitive portfolio, if that makes any sense whatsoever. Now I’m dividing my time between experimenting with new raw images and manipulating the color of the original Symphony of Color ones.
While I almost always prefer the images in their original color, I am aware that a brilliant blue and neon orange color palette isn’t going to appeal to the majority. Especially people who are trying to match the artwork to their furniture. Consequently, I am experimenting with more soothing tones.
Here are the some of the results of that manipulation. My early efforts were a little jarring, but I’m using selective de-saturation to smooth things out. If you want to compare back to the original, it was posted on 11/18. So far I’m sticking to manipulating via color balance and hue/saturation. My next step will be to try color replacement. We’ll see how that goes.
After a break for massive house cleaning, Christmas, a family visit over New Year’s, and more house cleaning, I’m finally going to attempt getting back in the groove of posting on a more regular basis. We’ll see how it goes this time.
My creative output dropped to pretty much nothing over the past three weeks. It felt more like three months given all of the activity and chaos. I’m trying to get back to the art, if for no other reason to stifle the silence and sadness I feel looming in the house, now that my days don’t start with the shout of “Auntie Jacqueline!”
I’ve been accumulating images of trees and I need to start putting together an organized portfolio. The title I settled on is Forest of the Macabre, but I’m finding a couple of logical subsets that I’ve given the working titles of Fire and Ice. They consist of images made during sunset/sunrise and after a fresh snow. Original, right?
I consider them sufficiently different to warrant separate portfolios, although someone who feels my Symphony of Color portfolio was repetitive may beg to disagree. Speaking of which, I still have a lot of untapped opportunities in my raw images there. Plenty to keep me busy during the cold, quiet month of January.