Friday, December 21, 2012

Year in Review

I'm so glad I started keeping a blog this year!  This was probably the first time I've ever made and kept a New Year's Resolution.  Now I can prove to myself and those nagging negative voices that progress was made and fun was had!   

On the photography side of the house, my subject matter has widened considerably.  I've made the transition from shooting people as objects to adding models to a comprehensive narrative and actually shooting them because they are people!  Silly as it sounds, this was a leap that was a long time coming...

On location - It looked like a props bomb went off!
Rene and Lora taking a break
On the encaustic side of the house, I have come from not knowing what encaustic was to having a show of encaustic photographic pieces in the works for early 2013.  More on that later... 

This was certainly the year of workshops!  They allowed me to grow my skills tremendously and I made so many new and wonderful friends.

Speaking of new friends - I'm delighted to tell you that I have a new gallery home!  In 2013 you can find me at the MS Rezny Studio/Gallery in downtown Lexington, KY.  It's going to be a crazy busy year!  In February, I will be part of a 2 person show with Rene Hales and my work will also be featured in a solo show in October 2013.   
MS Rezny Studio/Gallery
903 Manchester Street, Distillery District
Lexington, Kentucky
(859) 252-4647
Hours: 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., Monday through Friday

I will definitely remember that this was the year that I welcomed Dick Blick as my new master and overlord.  Seriously - can't I just direct deposit my paycheck there?  I showed Jerry's Artarama and the Fine Art Store some love too.

Before I forget, I need to thank one particular individual without whom most of my projects would never get finished.  My diningroom table.  Seriously!  It came into the family about the same time I did.  My parents are fond of reminiscing how they paid $35 dollars for this magnificent creature because it had a horrible finish on it which they quickly remedied.  When Wills and I got married, my father pulled him aside and gave him a stern talking to - not about keeping his only child in the manner to which she was accustomed, no!  It was to tell him that no matter what happened in our marriage that the diningroom table stayed in the family and that it was his job now to lemon oil it on a regular schedule!  This sturdy oak behemoth has seen the death of two sewing machines, been a surface for pounding clay, is the perfect width for full size mat board cutting, and is the setting for every major holiday meal.  What a humble, steady work horse!

In my most humble honesty, this past year would not have been possible without a huge cast of art & photo buddies, models, and a very patient family.  I hope you all have a wonderful holiday and a peaceful New Year!

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

And Now for Something Completely Different...

This past weekend I had the pleasure of attending an informal, deconstructed screen printing workshop/mini-Arrowmont reunion.  OK let me explain because this does have a link to encaustic... While at Arrowmont this past June, I oohed and aahed over the most gorgeous abstract paper and fabric one of my classmates (and wonderful fiber artist) Trish had brought.  Long story short, another classmate LeeAnn and I (being two crazy Southern chicks) talked Trish into having a reunion and giving us a workshop on her screen printing process.  Art friends are simply the best!  What transpired was a fantastic weekend at Trish and her husband Ray's house.  Not to already get me off track but you must know that Trish and Ray's house is surrounded by a beautiful wooded forest which on this first week in December was still displaying some awesome color.  More on this later...

Screen printing is a new topic for me so please excuse the lack of details in this simplified post.  Deconstructed screen printing seems to be in some ways the opposite of regular screen printing.  You take a screen, put it on something with texture, apply thickened dye to it, let the dye dry, and then use a goopy sodium alginate thickener to release the dye to make prints.  Being a huge fan of rust, I was immediately drawn to these colorful abstract prints plus this process is just good, messy fun!

Trish went through the process with us and then we were set free with squeegies, vibrant procion dyes, and screens. 

LeeAnn hanging a wet print on the clothes line.

Trish manipulating the wet dye on the print.

This was my favorite screen.  What's not to love about poka dots?

Well - as you have probably guessed, everything turns into a photoshoot with me right now since I'm gearing up for two shows next year.  The second day we woke up to rain and the screens we had inked and left drying the night before had all been washed clean by a cruel, vindictive Mother Nature!  LeeAnn graciously offered to model for me in the glorious woods once the rain had slowed to a slight misting.  With Trish as props master/photographer's assistant and Ray as location scout/briar bushwacker, we tromped off into the woods to make lemonade.

I only brought one prop - a rusty Santos crown with rhinestones.  I'm trying to get more comfortable working with what I find around me and rolling with the experience.
Trish devising an unobtrusive way to secure the crown to LeeAnn.
Ray helping LeeAnn navigate that slippery trunk

Trish stepping in to provide some motion in the scarf when we lost the breeze
Here's two of the images I got this weekend.  What an amazing, soul-feeding time.  I can't thank Trish, LeeAnn, and Ray enough for their generosity.

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Ain't Nothing Gonna Break My Stride

Everyone who remembers the 80s, sing along with me!

Nobody gonna slow me down
Oh no - I've got to keep on moving

Ain't Nothing Gonna Break My Stride
I'm running and I won't touch ground
Oh no - I've got to keep on moving...

Anna working on her makeup at our last location of the day
I've been on a roll photographically speaking for about 2 months now, and the little voice in the back of my head says if I stop to come up for air, I might break the momentum.  It's silly the things we say to ourselves in the quiet, dusty corners of our minds.  When I first started learning how to use my camera and Photoshop together, I was just certain with each new, successful creation, that the end had appeared.  The muse would never strike for me again.  Ten years later I've come to grips with the fact that as long as I am interested in pursuing a creative life, the ideas will keep coming.  It's like an itch that creeps up if my fingers haven't released a shutter in a while or I will wake up in the morning with a fully formed image in my head.  I like having these feelings.  It's not too bad as far as addictions go.

Here are some images from the past few weeks.  No finished pieces mind you, just some documentary type captures.
Above are models Anna and Lora and fellow photographer Rene Hales.  Thanks Marco and Michael for offering us a location and helping to cart our props up 4 flights of stairs!
Like a dragon sitting on her hoard, Anna is preparing amid our pile of costumes.

One side note - it was great to work with Anna again.  This crazy odyssy started for me almost 10 years ago with her as one of my very first models.  She took on a lot of work during 2 wild days of shooting.  Thank you for being your fearless self and such a wonderful muse!

The images below are from a location scouting session in Ohio.  I can't wait to return soon with models, cocktail dresses, and props galore!  Such a big empty space has both terrified me and has also been freeing creatively.  Odd...

Even husbands got roped into duty for a quick shoot in Tennessee!  Thanks for letting me torture you Teresa, Chris, and Wills!  (And thank you for calling me while on your vacation to tell me you'd found a place to shoot that you knew I'd love!)

Out roaming the wilds of Eastern Kentucky with Linda...  The bridge was certainly worth the wait!

And more location scouting in amazing spaces with Carol. 

I love my village!

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Chicago Art Immersion

The workshop experience was a little different this time around.  Instead of strangers in a random congregation at a commercial studio or school, this was a trio of girlfriends getting together for a mini-vacation and an intimate workshop in Chicago.

I met Suzanne Clements years ago, while living in FL and she became a wonderful buddy and art friend.  While in FL, I also met the fabulous painter, Renee Decator, through Suzanne.  What you need to know about Suzanne is that she is a force of nature that creates connections and just seems to effortlessly make things happen.  One day a few months ago, I happened to mention to Suzanne that I would love to take a workshop with artist Bridgette Guerzon Mills.  Voila, baddabing, and abracadabra!  I'm meeting Suzanne and Renee at the airport in Chicago for 2 days of sightseeing and two days of waxy goodness.  You can read more about how Bridgette and Suzanne met on Bridgette's blog.

We crammed a lot of living into 4 days.  Renee did a ton of research on Chicago restaurant hot spots.  I wondered several times if it was even possible to get a bad plate of food in this town...  Needless to say we ate very well - perhaps too well!  If any of you gentle readers is planning on visiting the windy city anytime soon I can whole-heartedly recommend the Purple Pig and Roy's.  Had I not been in public, these were places where I wanted to lick the plates.  Suzanne arrange for a downtown photo walk with Google+ aquaintances and a trip to the Art Institure of Chicago.  Wow!  The photo walk was a great way to see the city and the museum just blew my already fragile mind.  It was a humbling experience to see paintings that I only knew from tiny pictures in books.  I owe the abstract expressionist, Mark Rothko, a big apology.  His works were on the list of famous paintings that I never "got".  In person, his gigantic paintings definitely elicit a response! 

OK back to the reason for the journey - Bridgette's workshop!  Oh my gosh this was fun.  Bridgette had transformed her basement into a minature classroom and we each had a lovely workstation with the cutest tin can O'tools.  I was immediately engrossed with this wicked looking little metal bristle tool.  What lovely marks it makes!

Bridgette went over the normal safety and basics information and then she hit the ground running.  The first day she went over mark making, oil glazing, transferring, texture, inscribing, scraping, and intarsia.

Suzanne watching Bridgette demonstrate and Renee getting to work.

The next 3 shots are a progression of Bridgette's demonstration of the loveliness that is oil glazing.

One of my pieces with dots of oil paint
waiting to be glazed.

Suzanne's practice piece with exciting
marks and scraping work.

 Bridgette demonstrating wet copier transfers...

Bridgette had some excellent paper she had tea stained and like most mixed media artists, she also had a hoard of beautiful, random paper bits collected over the years.

Suzanne brought some dried butterflies and shared them with all of us.  I have marveled at her collection before and had a great time photographing it on my last trip to Florida.

Renee working

On the second day, Bridgette discussed printing from the palette, use of plaster guaze, and one method of bookmaking.  I couldn't have asked for more information! Bookmaking hasn't been something that I have gotten into yet during my art studies.  Darnit!  This was too much fun and now I have all kinds of new ideas for my to do list back home.

Bridgette adding paint to her palette.

A print pulled from the mess that is left on the palette after painting - ingenious!

  Renee laying out cut pieces of plaster and an
example of one way Bridgette uses plaster guaze

My before and after workshop impression of Bridgette remained the same.  She has a lovely way of integrating her painting with images seamlessly.  Watching her bring disparate sections of composition together is like magic - you saw it all in plain daylight but you still don't understand how it was done.  I don't mean to imply at all that this is through any deficit of teaching skill - this is one of her unique gifts and was a wonder to behold!
Thanks for the workshop Bridgette!  You are a delight.  I'm happy to say I came home with ideas flowing out of my ears.  I also have to thank Suzanne and Renee for making my first trip to Chicago such a wonder.