Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Pensive - The Burying Ground

These photos were shot at the Rural Hill Burying Ground in Huntersville, NC. The burying ground is the family cemetery for the Davidson family and dates back to the early 1800's. The grounds are beautiful and look differently seasonally and by the various stages of light in a day. It is situated on farmland that is bordered by wooded areas, but the treeline is far enough away that their shadows do not come into play.

The height of some of the stones, and the carefully manicured trees within the grounds, and the scattering of marble, granite and stone walls, and wrought iron fencing, provide the shadow interest.

I have photographed this site many times over the past few years. Each time with very different outcomes, and currently have a painting in progress, of the main gate viewing into the grounds which will simply be called, The Burying Ground.

Rural Hill can evoke a feeling of creepiness sometimes, especially when the sun is low on the horizon, but more often the experience is a feeling of peace and serenity, and introspection.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

It's Not Just Art -- It's Personal

These two paintings were done by the Amazing Tori! at age 5 and are referenced below.

I am super-excited about the fact that I purchased some art from Chicago artist MartinJon. I rarely purchase art as it takes me awhile to develop a 'relationship' with a painting or an item that I would like to see hanging on the walls, or adorning a table, in my view day after day. It struck me as I purchased my three new watercolors, that liking the work is only a part of the story for me.

I did a quick inventory of all of the different pieces I have purchased over the past five years or so, and I came to a realization that each piece has a story to tell, beyond just 'I liked it so I bought it.' Here are a few examples:

My daughter has created works that are prominently featured on our walls ('The Old Woman', and 'The Frog' pictured above). They are beautiful works, and if I never told you that a small child had done them you would not know. These are personal for obvious reasons. One of my stories, an art dealer friend of a friend visited our house. Upon seeing 'The Frog' she wanted to know the origin and was stunned to find out that it was created by a child. She wanted to take the painting and feature / sell it in her gallery and was confident that she would get a great price for it. As you can see, we turned down her offer.

I have several pottery pieces from the Seagrove area of North Carolina. We have spent many hours touring this beautiful stretch of North Carolina where the clay is uniquely abundant and colorful to have encouraged hundreds of pottery artists to live, work and show here. Ben Owen is one of the more globally famous of the potters. I have collected a few of his works over the years. On our first visit, Ben was working in his studio; no one else was around, and he was wonderful about showing us how he worked - he talked about the clay and the process. He gave the kids lumps of wet clay to mold and play with. He personalized his work for us in a way that encouraged me to want to have and hold my own.

We have a limited edition print featuring the now demolished 'Duck Inn' in Virgina Beach. The artist was a local to the area and we spent a significant amount of time socializing at the Duck Inn. This is personalized by our knowledge of the artist and more so the place itself.

So after completing my inventory of everything non-functional, that is in my home to bring beauty or inspiration or visual impact, there were only three that had no meaning to me, other than they broke up the wall space on which they hung -- and I could easily replace them with something else -- and probably will at some point.

As for my most recent purchases, I haven't seen them 'in person' yet. I have seen their images on the internet - so I 'like' them. But why these paintings? Why would I purchase these? It turns out that I have developed a 'relationship' of sorts with MartinJon. I follow him on Twitter and read his blog. But that is enough to have a blink on him, that I find him interesting; interesting enough to look at his work, and interesting enough to buy it -- because as it will hang on my wall, I will have a story, beyond 'I liked it so I bought it.'

If you'd like to see the MartinJon works I've purchased, here are the links:
Quiet Moments

Magnolia Crossroads

Dream Caster

Ghost Girl

I took this picture when I was in high school. It marked my first 'success' in fine art photography, as this picture was the winner of a multi-county photography competition. It was entitled 'Ghost Girl' for the exhibition, although I've always privately referred to it as Lori's Ghost Picture. Lori being my sister who graciously and patiently modeled for me.

My camera at that time was a Minolta XG1, and this was taken with a normal 50mm lens, on a tripod with a bulb exposure. Lori aka ghost girl, was in the frame for the first half of the picture and then the lens was covered with black posterboard and she was out of the picture for the remaining time - creating the ghost effect.

The setting for my picture was my grandmother's house. Her 'good' living room to be precise, where mere mortals rarely set foot. The room was beautiful, filled with antiques that had once been new from my grandmother's point of view. I closed the thick blinds to darken the room, to accommodate my long exposure and the only lighting was from a 15W bulb in an antique lamp positioned next to the settee.

Lori was dressed in what I believe was her most recent Easter dress. The light colored multiple layers of lace and fabric spilled over the settee with 'just right' contrast.

I took 12 shots of this picture, varying the exposure time, the time in and out of the shot, and the aperture, to ensure that I would have a workable shot. Then off to the darkroom.

Conceptually, the picture is a showcase for my personal love of contrast. Black and white, old and young, darkness and light, and death and life. It captures the moment of transition.

Even with the slight light burn in the original, this picture is still among my favorites, and still hangs in my home.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Stained Glass-Kiss

The concept behind the Stained Glass collection is relationships and the perfection and imperfection that exists in all of the complex variations. The two words chosen to name this series can evoke images or feelings of beauty or taint, depending on your experiences and interpretation. The idea behind Stained Glass was to take a look through into relationships, affected by circumstance, time, age, experience, innocence, public bias, or just fleeting desire.

Kiss is a depiction of a moment of love, desire, shyness, and romance, between two young men. I find images where the touch is subtle, or the intimacy cannot be denied even if it has nothing to do with physicality, to be profoundly erotic. Kiss is capturing where the kiss begins. The hands reached out to draw the other closer, and the lips making that first connection.

Kiss is also a technical departure. Most of my other paintings held more closely the photographs that inspired them. Kiss is sketched in heavy pencil and then painted - with all intention being to maintain the hurried sketch of a scene, as though the moment needed to be captured and there was no other way.

For a better look at this image, you can see it at http://readysetblink.imagekind.com/

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

WorldwideMoment 2009

I've been tweeting and talking up this fantastic effort for the past several weeks. The WorldwideMoment for peace occurred on 9/8/09 at 8:09p EST. Despite all of these many weeks of thinking about it and talking about it, I lacked the grand idea for my picture!

In the end, I wound up working late, eating dinner quickly, mindful of the clock, and then listening to the kids talk about their serious lack of cereal and the extreme need for a trip to the grocery store -- at about 7:35p. It quickly became apparent that I would not have the amazing concept shot I had hoped for.

My kids are great and they, along with my husband, designed our shot in the grocery store cereal aisle.

Upon reflection, my kids all knew about the effort, and were happy to have participated. My 'extra' kids also knew about it as did their families. What I am happiest about is that they all understood the concept, that 'kids all over the world eat different kinds of cereal'.

Check out the site at http://worldwidemoment.org
@WorldwideMoment on Twitter
#worldwidemoment for topics on Twitter
http://ow.ly/oCNy on Facebook

Monday, September 7, 2009

Dreaming Fade

I've been spending some time working on two paintings, Whimsy Parade and Dreaming Fade. Dreaming Fade is the effort that came together quickly. Meanwhile Parade is taking a different turn and may wind up being renamed. Stay tuned for that outcome!

Often times I begin with a concept for a painting, and then develop what the painting should look like to align to the concept. Fade is one of those. The concept is transition. As I've found myself knee-deep in a lot of transition and potential transition, the concept is personal, emotional, and relevant.

Beginning on June 1, 2009, as I was transitioned from the bank's platform, the butterfly wings fluttered and so began the cascade of all of the additional life events began to take form. From where I sit now, relocation is a strong possibility, as opportunities are arising in faraway places. So we face a substantial relocation, uprooting from our dearest friends, our 'extra' children, the paths we drive everyday and the places we know well, and further away from family. Away from our schools, parking garages - where the attendants wave daily, the nature preserve where Ling likes to walk, and the wonderful Thai restaurant where the owner knows our names and which specials we like to order.

All of that went into Fade. It is the fading of a moment, a day, the light, a time, an idea, friends, life, and the wistful longing for just a bit more of what was.