Monday, January 21, 2013

A Peek Inside the Chaos

I also thought about naming this post When Everything Goes Wrong on a Deadline...

I'm in the process of preparing for a two person show that is set to hang on February 2nd.  Things were going well - too well.  I had my images selected, printed, and even partially prepared when life decided I needed to up my game.  A family medical crisis, an ER trip, a doggie health scare, and an out of town photoshoot have exceeded the bounds of my dance card.  Que the Queen music in the background.  I'm not sure if the song should be Under Pressure or The Show Must Go On.

Rene painting tiny details
I've learned something interesting preparing for the show.  Sometimes what I know as a photographer will get in the way when working with a mixed media process.  As a quality-minded photographer, I try to use the very best paper I can find.  Rene introduced me to a wonderfully heavy, textured paper called William Turner made by Hahnemuhle.  We made prints on the 310 gsm weight version.  They turned out to be divine!  (Deeply saturated color and amazing detail)  If I was making prints just to frame, this would be the optimum solution.  However, this paper turns into a sponge if you coat it with encaustic medium.  It has taken between 4 to 5 layers of medium before the paper is completely covered.  Now we are experimenting with Epson's cold press watercolor paper.  It's not as heavy as the William Turner but a little more substantial than Epson's regular matte paper. 

I've been trying to push myself while working toward the February show.  To that end, here is the start of Baubles:

I'm trying to see if I can find new methods of combing my photography with more painterly qualities.  The image was glued to a cradled birch board and coated with several layers of encaustic medium.  I made some gestural marks around the pearls and filled them with white oil paint.  On the left hand side I carved out wavy lines using a notched metal sculpture tool.  Then I added layers of wax to build up an accretion effect.  Now I'm trying to figure out my next step.  I have 2 very distinct sides and need to figure out how to unify them.  That's the nice thing about having so many pieces in process right now.  I can walk away from this one and take some time to think about it. 

Here's a preview of one of the images that will be in the show:  If you are in the Lexington, KY area during the month of February, come check it out!  Our opening party will be on Friday February 15th from 5 to 8 pm.  
Life of the Party
Notes on the most recent photoshoot:  There's this high school in downtown Cincinnati I've been dying to use as a location and I finally had permission so I couldn't even consider axing this event even though the time crunch caused me some rapid breathing.

You know when this greets you at the front door, it's going to be an amazing location:

Here are two of my three models waiting to get into the building - way too early in the morning.
Here's a look at the location.  It was an amazing space that definitely presented some lighting challenges.  Pretty much, it was a large open square room with banks of windows on all four sides.  There was great potential for lens flares with light coming from every direction.  Plus the window locations presented challenges for composition.  I tried to be really aware of what would be in the background when setting up a shot.

I love it when models are multi-talented.  Look what awesomely decayed location Kiersten suggested:

Props on location
I asked my models to bring shoes they liked and maybe didn't get to wear very often.  They certainly delivered!