Thursday, May 29, 2014

Not So Tasty Paste

Here's a quickie process update.  

I had been taught to use Yes Paste when gluing down larger prints to cradled wooden boards.  Well, time moves on and Yes Paste is getting hard to find. Both Dick Blick and Michaels have stopped carrying it.

Last night I tried a product by 3M -  3M(TM) Positionable Mounting Adhesive 568.

Instead of writing out a tutorial, I am going to link you to the wonderful Greg Noblin video I watched. He takes you through adhering a print to a cradled birch board step by step.  Check out his work too - it's wonderful.

I have to admit, I'm in love!  In the time it took me to adhere 3 prints, I probably wouldn't have completed the gluing process for 1 piece using the paste.  It also appears with the mounting adhesive, the possibilities for air bubbles decreases.  Yay to that! After mounting the first print, I tugged around a bit on the corners. Everything stayed down and seemed to have a really solid attachment.  

I followed Greg Noblin's procedure of first placing the adhesive to the board.  After using the squeegie to makes sure it was down, I found that it was easier to go ahead and trim the film to the size of the board using an exacto blade.  That seemed to make it less likely to pull up the sticky part on the corners when removing the film.

At least one part of my process will be sped up!

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Swimming with the Fishies!

Hallelujah for new experiences! Last weekend I got to experience my first underwater photo shoot and it was a wild ride.

Last year my friend and fellow photographer Suzanne Clements had a pool installed in her backyard in Florida.  In her words, she "hounded and hounded" me with the possibility of exploring under water photography. I don't remember it as hounding, I just remember setting a date as soon as the pool would be warm enough!

In preparation for this undertaking, I studied Brook Shaden's wonderful video about shooting in a pool as well as Jennifer Thoreson's workshop on Create Live! where she shoots in a shallow, constructed baby pool-esque container.  I even made an underwater Pinterest board to collect ideas and see what was possible.  There's a lot of amazing underwater work out there that I respect even more now that I've tried it.

I found a few vintage dresses with full skirts and bright colors with this shoot in mind. My iPhone got a brand new shiny underwater housing.  I justified this by rationalizing that I could use it when kayaking too.  

It turns out thinking about a project can be quite different from the actual experience!  I can't remember the last time I went swimming, but I remember enjoying it years ago...    Super excited, I got into the pool and pulled down the mask to cover my eyes and my nose since I figured I didn't need to think about getting water where it didn't belong AND dealing with a camera.  At that point I had a little panic/claustrophobic attack.  That was unexpected! After a few stern words to myself, I went underwater and shot a few frames. Once I saw the possibilities, my fear evaporated and the right side of my mind said water - what water - get to work?!?  

There is a huge potential for happy accidents when shooting under water. I wish I could say that I saw this shot, carefully composed it, and shot exactly what I wanted, but that would be a big 'ole lie!  The truth is I was quickly floating back to the surface in dire need of a breath and using the spray and pray method of shooting. Whatever works, right?

Dealing with the color shifts and changing light was a challenge.  With full sun we had the typical pool water highlights.  I was delighted at the difference in the feel of the shots when the clouds came out.  We were only shooting in a pool that was 6 feet deep at the far end but with the super soft light, the background in the images appeared to stretch out much farther.  Without the water highlights on the floor of the pool, I could stretch that effect out even more in post processing quite easily.

Also - remember to shake things up.  Shoot from outside the water too. Have the model outside and shoot up through the water.  The possibilities seem limitless.

And now for some of my lessons learned:
  • If you are using a new camera or an old camera with a new housing - it pays to practice before you even come close to the water.
  • Take a few minutes to get accustomed to shooting under water.  Figure out your ISO and f stops to make sure your images won't be a blurry mess.  Then start to notice your background and reflections.  It took me a lot of trial and error to get my framing correct so I caught those amazing reflections on the surface of the water.
  • Remember to give it a second after your model goes under to let the bubbles dissipate.
  • Check your camera for water drops on the lens or housing if you start shooting out of the water or you will have random white blobs.
  • Sinking to the bottom or floating to the top - just keep shooting!
  • There was so much to think about that I thought my head might explode! Taking the occasional break to examine what you've shot and do a little on the spot critique will help to fine tune what you are doing.  It felt like a 500 mile race.  The shots started out a little wacky but I kept making changes until I was getting more consistent results.

Below are some lessons learned from the model's perspective:

  • A little goes a long way… there's probably no need to spastically flail around… think slow, steady movement.
  • Don't worry about trying to actually swim - you will not succeed… the clothing will drag you around. Instead figure out what the clothing will allow you to do and find a way to work with it.
  • Don't forget to pause here and there for the benefit of your photographer.
  • Check back frequently with your photographer to find out what's working and what's not.  (Melissa comment - especially if your photographer gets lost in the big picture and instead of giving you instructions just keeps muttering to herself ooooh pretty!)
  • Explore with different depths… you might not actually have to drown yourself for a great photo.
  • Take occasional breaks to drain ALL the water from your sinuses ;)
  • Oh and don't forget ear drops. Those are good for after the shoot to get water out of them ears of yers.
  • When underwater, concentrate on softening your expression. Plenty of us squint hard to keep water out of our eyes and noses… try to just let go and think soft.
Suzanne's cat Mr. Noodles did an excellent job
supervising our photo shoot.  I was
precariously balanced on this ledge when he
decided that I was in his way!

Upcoming Exhibition Schedule

Friday June 20, 2014
I will be the featured artist at the Walton and Main Studios for Lexington's Gallery Hop, 5:00 to 8:00pm.  

June 1, 2014 - July 30, 2014
310 Art Gallery, Asheville, NC
An Invitational Exhibition of National Artists working in Encaustic and Cold Wax - I have three pieces in this show.

September 2014
Three person show - "Remnants" at the MS Rezny Studio and Gallery.

March 2015
Solo show at the Fifth Avenue Art Gallery in Melbourne, FL.

Monday, May 12, 2014


May 2014
I'm finally posting this delayed snippet to my blog.  It was one of those things I started but never really finished.  I'm tossing it up on the blog though for continuity's sake and to remind me next Winter not to take things so seriously.

March 2014

One of my Winter projects
ended up being shots of
this poor little mocking bird
who I found passed away on
my front porch during the
coldest week of the year.
I wish my brain had the same automatic focus my camera does.  It's been a struggle all winter to feel like I'm making any meaningful progress in the studio.  I keep making busy work for myself since I can't seem to find my mojo.

One of my artist friends (Leah) called me out of the blue last week and we talked about how each of us was experiencing an over abundance of negative voices right now.  It was a relief to hear someone else say it.  I can only blame this crazy Winter and the odd colds I keep catching.  I've been stuck inside from either the icy roads or the hacking cough for what seems like months now. 

Don't want to go out in the cold?
Fine - shoot in the backyard!
Today I saw my first daffodil bloom in the front yard and it was shocking!  Oh yes - the wheel does turn!  

Maybe now Mother Nature will grudgingly return my higher brain functions to me and I can get on with it.  

I want to move forward but there is no progress without making time to play.  April will be that time!


Time jump back to May 2014...

I'm happy to report that April and Spring did indeed cure my lack of gumption malaise.  The ideas started flowing, the negative-voice monster was back to more normal proportions, and the work started getting made with a vengeance again.  

I've started shooting at my studio with
it's variety of flooring options.
The model Lauren brought the shoes
and the excellent hot pink tube socks.
Photo shoots in my studio, Florida, and an upcoming trip to Savannah helped me get back on track creatively.  I'm going to try to remember this next Winter when I'm stuck in the house and feeling like nothing is going to ever be right again.  Make a cup of hot tea and quit stewing - Oh the drama!
How many pieces of vintage luggage
can you fit in Teresa's Jeep Wrangler?
More than you'd ever guess!

Anna on location
William and Chris make wonderful minion on a cold photo shoot at the beach.

Once again thanks to my friends and family for not only saying yes so often when I have a hair-brained idea, but pitching in and making it happen...  XXXOOO