Sea Blue Lens


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Painting Pictures

I have a new toy! A couple of weeks ago, a friend in a Facebook group I belong to mentioned an iPhone app called Waterlogue. It sounded intriguing and seemed like an affordable splurge (under three dollars) so I indulged myself. And have I ever been having fun since! Here’s my very first try:

IMG_2311Beginner’s Luck

And the second:

IMG_2321Huh. Maybe It’s Not Just Luck.

Yes, they really are photographs, and what this app does to them in an instant seems more like magic than technology. In each case, I selected a picture from my Photo Stream on the iPhone, the app did its thing to it in about 3 seconds, and I saved it back to my photo library. Done.

Here’s a before and after:

IMG_1904

IMG_2377Summer Vacation

Here’s one image done three ways:

IMG_2381“Natural”

IMG_2379“Bold”

IMG_2342“It’s Technical”

Are we having fun yet? I’ve been deliberately choosing colorful images to transform, but it does nice things even with my presently monochromatic environment. Here we have a white house and white car in the white snow under an overcast pearly-white sky:

IMG_2382New England Winter

One nice side effect of playing with this app is that it has inspired me to get out my actual watercolors, which I haven’t used in much too long, and have a try at some real painting again. And by “real painting,” I still mean “playing”!

Meanwhile, until spring arrives to produce some real flowers, here’s a couple of tulips from two years ago, newly Waterlogued.

IMG_2323It’s Coming

Have a wonderful weekend!

Note: I have no stake in Waterlogue and am not being paid to endorse it. I’m just happy to have heard about it myself, so I thought I’d pass it along. It’s been a fun way to spend some time when the snow’s falling and it’s too cold to go outside. 


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Liberated Again!

2013 Postcard Swap

This is the third year I’ve participated in the fun of the Liberate Your Art postcard swap created by Kat Sloma of Kat Eye Studio. Participants send five postcards of their own work to Kat, along with postage and self-addressed labels. She uses her mad engineering skills to sort all the cards so that everyone gets five different ones back, sticks on labels and stamps, and sends them out into the world.

This is the card I created for this year’s swap:

Dawn Song Faith is the bird that feels the light  when the dawn is still dark.  ~ Rabindranath Tagore

Dawn Song
“Faith is the bird that feels the light
when the dawn is still dark.”
~ Rabindranath Tagore

And here are the cards I received:

Laguna Beach Lifeguard by Debra Medina debmedina.blogspot.com

Laguna Beach Lifeguard Tower from Debra Medina in California

Though we don’t live all that far apart, lucky Deb lives by the BEACH! Her blog is called Love the Little Things in Life.

"If a child is to keep alive his inborn sense of wonder, he needs the companionship of a tleast one adult who can share it, rediscovering with him the joy, excitement, and mystery of the world we live in." ~ Rachel Carson by Lynne Raspet facebook.com/twopoppies

“If a child is to keep alive his inborn sense of wonder, he needs the companionship of at least one adult who can share it, rediscovering with him the joy, excitement, and mystery of the world we live in.” ~ Rachel Carson
from Lynne Raspet in Georgia

Lynne’s photographs are magical. You can see more of them on her Two Poppies Facebook page. Though my childhood environment was nothing like this, this image still brings back so many memories of summer days spent exploring the world around me in blissful solitude.

By Marl1een at chaoticperfectionist.wordpress.com She commented, "Every girl deserves a LBD and some fine, white lace." I agree!

Lovely lace from Marl1een in Antwerp, Belgium

This image doesn’t do justice to the delicate detail of the lace and the card itself. I agree with Marl1een’s comment on the back of the card that “Every girl deserves a LBD and some fine, white lace.” There’s more of her beautiful photographic artwork on her blog, Chaotic Perfectionist.

"The sea, once it casts its spell, holds me in its net of wonder forever."  ~ Jacques Yves Cousteau By Robin Scanlon of Eye of the Islands Photography, Inc. - www.eyeoftheislands.com

“The sea, once it casts its spell, holds me in its net of wonder forever.”  ~ Jacques Yves Cousteau
from Robin Scanlon in Hawaii

I’m a girl with the soul of a mermaid and I live in the desert. Is it any wonder that this card and quotation made my heart sing? Robin’s website is Eye of the Islands Photography.

"Keep the Change" a somewhat dark concept shoot about our daily struggle with money. By Eva Creel www.facebook.com/evacreelphotography

Keep the Change, a somewhat dark concept shoot about our daily struggle with money.”
from Eva Creel in Grovetown, Georgia

Another water picture! Eva’s photography runs the gamut from sharp social commentary to just plain beautiful. (I couldn’t help noticing that she is as stunning in front of the camera as behind it.) She’s on Facebook at Eva Creel Photography.

"Adorned and Alone" by Kat Sloma

“Adorned and Alone” by Kat Sloma

Last but not least, this lone tree in beautiful blues, from our own Kat, who does the amazing work it takes to pull this all together.

Of course, the real fun of the swap is hurrying to the mailbox to see what treasure will show up next. Receiving real mail — pieces of art and inspirational words from around the world — is so much nicer than the usual bills and advertising flyers.

All the cards I received this year were signed, so I was able to contact each artist via email, blog, or Facebook. Many thanks again to each of my artists for their beautiful postcards, and to Kat for making this happen. I haven’t yet heard where any of my cards ended up, so I’m hoping to spot some of them on our blog hop. Come on along — there’s some good stuff out there!





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…But I Know What I Like

Is It a Message?

When it comes to art, I know what I like — and I also know what I don’t like. Maybe. Lesson 7 in Find Your Eye: Journey of Inspiration asks us to consider why we have negative reactions to some works of art.

I’ve really been blocked on this assignment. Though I’ve touched on this topic previously, here and here, I’m a person who is very uncomfortable pronouncing judgements. One of the overriding principles of my life is to never say or do anything that will hurt or offend anyone. I know that’s not a realistic goal or even necessarily a good one, but it’s who I am.

Living on the Edge

I realize that art appreciation is very subjective. Something I love may leave others cold, and vice versa. But I have to admit that there have been many times when I have visited an art gallery or museum and have asked myself, “What makes that ‘art’? Why is that [whatever] considered worthy of hanging in a museum?” Sometimes I just don’t get it.

I remember once seeing in a museum a canvas painted entirely white. There were not even any brush strokes visible. It could have been a blank wall, except a wall would have had more texture. The narrative next to the painting went into great detail about the significance of this master work, all of which sounded like gibberish to me. All I could think of was the Emperor’s new clothes.

Hope

I don’t like art that makes no sense, or makes me feel stupid. Drips and blobs of ugly colors don’t speak to my soul, no matter what they are titled or how the critics rave over them or how much they sell for at auction.

For a work of art to be significant to me, it needs to touch me in some way. I need something I can respond or relate to, whether it’s color, design, pattern, or story. I prefer beauty to ugliness, though again, I realize that the perception of beauty is also very subjective. I prefer art to lift me up, stir my imagination, pique my curiosity, or make me think, or feel, or marvel over the skill and vision of the artist.

Solitude

On the other hand . . .

I don’t like it when others assume I won’t like something, based on their perception of me. I don’t like being put into a box. I don’t like being told, “You don’t want to see that – you wouldn’t like it.” Sometimes they are right, but often they are not. In any case, I want to decide for myself. I want to keep my heart and mind open to new experiences. I want always to continue learning and growing.

.


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Don’t Know Much About Art…

Oh boy. I’ve been putting this off, probably because it feels more like homework than our other Find Your Eye lessons do. I’m supposed to ponder and write about my own definition of “art,” consider whether I think photography is art, and whether I think of myself as an artist.

Of course, the first thing that comes into my mind is that old cliche, “I don’t know much about art, but I know what I like.” I think the reason it’s such a cliche is that for most people, it’s the truth. It’s a fact that I don’t know much about art. I’ve never studied art history or even had an art appreciation class. It’s also a fact that I’m quite opinionated about it, nonetheless. I do know what I like. So I suppose I must have a definition, or at least a concept, of what “art” is, but it’s difficult to put into words.

I believe art is an impulse deeply rooted in the human psyche. We bring art into our lives whenever we do something in a way that goes beyond merely meeting our needs for utility or survival. Humans crave beauty, and we also crave expression of our own creative spirit. When we style our hair, or put on lipstick, or plant flowers by the front door, isn’t that an expression of art? In that sense, our very lives are our canvases.

I recall vividly my first exposure to what I think of as real art. I was in my early 40’s. It was a traveling exhibition of the Armand Hammer collection, displayed at the local university where I lived, in a town without an art museum or galleries. Tickets were sold in advance and people waited in line patiently for hours to get in. I remember standing in front of a portrait of a man by Rembrandt, my vision blurred with tears, totally overwhelmed because it was so perfect, so old, so alive. I was in awe that a human being could paint something so exquisite, and that it remained so vivid hundreds of years after its subject had died and turned to dust. Of course, I was probably also awed simply by the fact that it was a REMBRANDT. I was not totally ignorant, after all.

So is something art because someone says so? Because it’s placed in a museum? What about a urinal, hung upside down and renamed “Fountain” by the artist? According to Wikipedia, “In December 2004, Duchamp’s Fountain was voted the most influential artwork of the 20th century by 500 selected British art world professionals.” To me a urinal, no matter whether you hang it upside down or sideways or wear it on your head, is not art. But it was to Duchamp, and apparently to a lot of other people who know more than I do.

Is photography art? Most definitely. Of course, not all photographs are art, any more than all paintings are considered so. When it comes right down to it, art, like beauty, is in the eye of the beholder. And perhaps also in the eye of its creator.

The image below is one I took on a recent  autumn walk. It was just a photo of a found object, as most of my photographic subjects are, but for some reason, it stuck in my mind. What if I give it a name that connotes some of the layers of metaphor that have been tickling my brain?

Fallen

Now is it art?

Do I consider myself an artist? Yes, I do. This is a new discovery for me. I’m not a Rembrandt, nor an Ansel Adams. I’m not a professional artist. But I am an artist, nevertheless. Only, now I use a camera instead of a crayon.


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I’ve Been Liberated!

I recently participated in the Liberate Your Art postcard swap. This is another brainchild of the creative and talented Kat Sloma, whose Find Your Eye photography e-courses I’m taking.

The proposition was to have participants each make five postcards of their own artwork and send them to Kat, along with some postage and return address labels. She would sort and resend five different cards to each participant. Since the sign-up goal of 200 participants was reached and surpassed, we each received a bonus postcard from Kat herself.

Now, I’m more than a little shy about my artistic efforts. I take photographs, but don’t call myself a photographer. I paint a little, but don’t consider myself a painter. I write a bit, but don’t think of myself as a writer. And above all, I have never dared to call myself an artist. For me, just deciding to participate in an art swap was liberating. There’s an artist inside me that wants to come out of the closet!

Here’s the postcard I sent out into the world:

My postcard: Sunstruck

I heard back from four people who received my card, in Idaho, North Carolina, Massachusetts, and Slovenia. Wow! My art has now been places I’m not likely to see in this lifetime!

For my “bravery,” here’s what I got back:

Palm trees framing a tiny fingernail moon in the desert sky, from Cindy Chilton, Phoenix, Arizona

This one from Marie Johansen cracked me up at the end of a rough day

Sadly, no contact information, but a nice inspirational quote from Mary Oliver, one of my favorite poets, on the back. If this was yours I’d love to hear from you!

Wonderful textures, beautiful blues, and touches of iridescence from Brigitte, The Netherlands

Vintage-looking Mexican cowboys from Donna Parker, a transplanted Canadian

The beautiful blue door from Kat was the icing on the cake, and very symbolic for me. Thanks, Kat, for helping me unlock that closet and let myself out!




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Learning from Other Artists

Our lesson this week in the Find Your Eye course required us to go somewhere and view some live art. The real deal . . . an exhibit, a gallery, anything other than on a computer screen or in a book. We were to take notes on what we saw, how we felt about it, what we felt drawn to or repelled by. Then, back to our photojournals, to write about the experience, and what we can learn from other artists that can be applied to our own art.

So on Sunday, I set out. First I visited a local historical museum, where I found a number of portraits from the 18th and 19th centuries, along with a display of new abstract paintings and charcoal sketches by a contemporary artist. Then I headed to a nearby town where I chanced upon an exhibit by the local Art Guild, and visited a few small galleries.

My reaction to most of the historical portraits was to wonder, did people really look like that then, or was it just the artistic style and fashion of the day that made them look that way? Sloped shoulders, pinched faces, pot-bellied gentlemen and stiff-necked women . . . none of them looked like happy people, but then, life was probably pretty hard in Early American New England. Or perhaps it says more about the skill level of the itinerant, self-taught artists who painted most of them. One exception was a portrait of a very handsome young man with beautiful eyes, who reminded me of a picture of Lord Byron that I fell hard for as a teenager.

The piece at the Art Guild that stood out for me from among the pretty oils and pastels was a photographic digital composition. I know that will sound strange to those who have read my previous comments about digitally altering photographs in post-processing, but in this case, the piece had been made by creatively combining separate photographic elements into a totally new composition. It was intriguing, humorous, an impossible composition that was startlingly realistic. I wouldn’t want to live with it, but I enjoyed looking at it for quite a while, admiring all its details and technical brilliance.

The work that I was most drawn to (aside from that one digital aberration) tended to be either impressionistic or extremely realistic, and depicted simple elements of land and sea and buildings, both interiors and exteriors. There were few if any people in them, and the mood was one of serenity. There was, for example, a large watercolor of a rock balanced upon two other rocks, with a single blossom on a tall stem rising up above them against a clear sky.

What I don’t care for are series of canvasses covered in apparently random splashes of discordant color, with pretentious titles that, to my eye at least, have no relation to anything on the canvas at all. I have seen abstract art that I think is beautiful, but not on this outing.

What I learned from this expedition is that the kind of art that appeals to me most is actually a lot like the kind of photographs I take. (Or is it the other way around?) Below are a couple of examples from my inspiration file.

Lamp

Bloom where you’re planted

I enjoyed my gallery outing and look forward to repeating this exercise soon.