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State of the Artist


Made a few today, copied a few onto storage. Photographed a pair of moth wings found over at Caprihaven/Devonshire. Abdomen of moth gone, head and thorax remain holding wings together. I call them 'sketchbook' photos and still they are likely useful as building blocks. More photographs pending, the wings are set with another pair which I need to photograph as well.

This is part and parcel with my one lesson. If the most useless tool one owns is the one not present when needed, then also using the best tool present and not putting off making some photographs is beneficial. It is also an interesting point to me, as to what are the capabilities of the wee point and shoot digital. A tripod might have helped, yet there is no noticeable blur in an enlarged view of the pictures. I looked at shutter speeds as I worked and some of the images shutter proved as slow as 1/30 second. Yet hand-held, on macro setting, as mentioned no noticeable blur.

All three of the digital point and shoots I've owned provided excellent photos. There are (or were, in the case of two worn out cameras) limitations; slow focus lock could lead to not getting the photograph one wanted. Not so great perhaps on action shots, and perhaps contributed to by the owner operator(s) not selecting the 'Action' mode. Low-light capabilities are limited as well. Frame capture and storage speeds noticeably slower than a DSLR or a film camera, yes, and keeping that in mind provides one of the measures for when to replace batteries. The longer it takes to write, the older the batteries are likely to be.

Some of this is driven by my looking through photographs lately. It is one thing to make a lot of photographs, and another to then go through them. I do use the More is More feature/aspect of shooting digital, and also find myself working to keep the overshoot aspect under control, not shooting tons of photos. It's an approach from shooting film; limited rescource space as it were and so pay attention to the piece.

I've been carrying the point and shoot in the belt pouch we found for it some time back. That does reflect the most useless tool lesson, and always therefor have a camera with one. May not possess the speed and image size of the digital single lens reflex, however it is lighter and present.

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Hippie Birdbaths!

It is wcg Day! Hippie Birdbaths, Bill.

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Art Project: In the Hall of Titans King

It is an old practice for artists to take their inspirational cues from legends, fables, scripture for that matter, and even from other artists work particularly if work comes out of any of the above.

Creating art which comes from a science fiction source (as it were) often requires what people think of as 'special effects' work -- think either the energy beam of Star Trek phasers or Star Wars light sabres, or the transporter effect from Star Trek and yes I reveal some of my fandoms here. Composite work where the artist combines and blends two or more images into a final which exists primarily in their imagination is one of these special effects. Long before 'blue screen' (more properly labeled chroma-key and often using green rather than blue) either stage backdrops or glass screens were painted for the 'alien' landscape and then worked into the scene takes from the storyline. A variation on this is known as 'split screen', another variation is 'back projection'.

One of the pieces I've been working up for, oh, nigh on a couple two-three years calendar time from the creation of one of the components progressed under the 'working title' In the Hall of the Mountain King. This is of course the title of a musical piece written by Edvard Grieg for Henrik Ibsens play Peer Gynt. The play storyline is from a Norwegian fairy tale. So per the opening statement here, the subject of the piece hearkens back to a fairy tale, yet as I worked I knew it held no more linkage to that specific fairy tale than the working title.

Composite pieces are intended to create, as mentioned, a place, a vision, which exists primarily in the artists minds eye. I am frequently asked 'Where is that' related to one or another of my composites. Sometimes my curmudgeonly nature comes through and I obstinately answer, In My Head. This despite recognising that people are asking so that they might be able, some day, to go to a 'place' and see it for themselves. Hobbiton, The Shire is an example of that; Tolkien first established that place in his minds eye writing both The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings. Peter Jackson and associates then created it somewhere in New Zealand to film those sequences for that version of the trilogy. As I understand it, this is now something of a tourist attraction.

Jerry Uelsmann is my first inspiration for this type of work, and I've no idea truly how he might answer the same question. However, in my less curmudgeonly moments I may be a bit more forthcoming about sources, perhaps, or might answer fairly simply yet politely:

This is the Hall of Titans King. Discussion and Image behind the cut.Collapse )

Again, then, from a primarily technical point of reference:
- Approximately 72 hours of work
- Two different image manipulation software packages, starting in Photoshop 7 and completing in Gimp
- Seven different images provide the component pieces in total or in part
- Yes, I do pun my titles

The working title, or project title, came along as I started putting things together. That also lets you know some of my musical inclinations, even if I'm not telling you the different 'covers' of the piece I've heard. It isn't a re-telling of the fable, or the play that grew from the fable, or even the specifics of the musical piece as background for a scene in the fable. It is my own short story, 1000 words more or less, which still leaves questions unanswered. The working title did lead to the final title, once I added the celestial image to the overall.

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Post-Op Day 5

Well, with a Long Time No Post, things what happened.

Pursuant to the subject above, on Friday past I bid adieu to Mr. Gallbladder. Our relationship never proved an unpleasant one, nothing stony about the course nor such. However a few months back I received a letter from my urologist, follow-up on last October appointment to check on kidney stones. The ultrasound done then (stones light up brightly on US, being hard and all) showed no stones to the urologist and he simply wanted me to know the radiologist agreed. Except, the radiologist did see a polyp in Mr. Gallbladder. Polyps being pesky things that may be affiliated with cancers, a visit to a general surgeon seemed in order and Ta Ta Mr. Gallbladder.

Doing well, little pain, rather more ache, and adjusting diet in steps. Should be back to work at Hospital some time next week. Meanwhile, on some lifting restrictions until the four laparoscopic wounds heal completely.

Shortly before the Day of Separation, faithful old Sydney Subaru Outback started overheating. While I carry extra fluids on board (both coolant and oil, the flat opposed 'box' engine Subaru uses tends to use oil rather more noticeably than more conventional engines) he still showed signs of continuing to overheat. Off to the Growly Beast Doctor (our mechanic) who confirmed the head gasket is compromised. Were Sydney a younger bloke of an auto I'd consider more extensive work to keep him running. At 326 K km plus (204 K plus miles) not so much. So we shall be shopping for a replacement and are discussing exactly what to do here.

In between this and weekly Farmers Markets where our local produce of meats, goats milk, goats milk cheese, goats milk fudge (Oh My) and fresh produce as the garden yields is selling fairly well. That is become a tad more 'interesting' for the next few weeks with my lifting restrictions, both on loading Forrest Nissan Pickup and setting up. We've managed with help from our dairy goat provider friend and partner, but both parthers in the 'ship are looking at other commitments on the next couple of weekends. Busy could be good, but truly we'd considered (before knowing exactly when the surgery would be) that I'd be continuing the Markets.

Ah well. Such is life.

Art projects are moving slowly, though some progress is being made. I am generating a reference library of paper types as I 're-learn' printing, and getting ready to expand the types I shall reference. More on that as it develops (pun intended). A few prints sold over the past quarter, nice bit of extra. Two Autumn shows to which I applied for entry (three should be, been looking for the paperwork on that site hasn't shown yet) and heard back from one. Tried getting into this one last year, didn't make the jury. Did this year, now need to cough up the booth fee, deadline in July. Should be able to do that next week. The other I am expecting to hear from nearer the end of June. Once I've paid the booth fee for the former I'll formally announce the venue, ditto for the latter.

Pieces in progress are primarily composite work, science fiction themed. Did some research to verify and it is apparently the case, images available from NASA are in the public domain (since they are funded by tax moneys). NASA requests only acknowledgement that they are indeed NASA images and the mission upon which they obtained the source (so, Hubble Telescope, Cassini Probe for examples). Provides a wonderful source for astronomical imagery.

Houdini BorderCollieBro is still hanging with us, showing some signs of his soon to be 12 years. During the past winter (unusually cold for this part of Baja Jorja) he preferred to be indoors at night. Through the Spring and still, now into summer, he wanted to be outside at night. So be it, despite his occasional wandering ways he doesn't go walkabout at night (that I know of). Since we provide a means to get back into the house, when teh Sky Grumblers (thunderstorms) show, he hies himself back in and hides beside me.

Doesn't seem to faze the fox that's started visiting, unfortunately, and snagging some of the younger Dirty Yardbird chooks. We've escalated the projects of clearing brush and making more Chicken Tillers since Fox hasn't bothered any of the birds in the tillers, mostly only the group that insists on roosting in trees and being total Free Range Spirits. Woe betide Fox, though, should Herself spot him/her and she is setting an alarm at random intervals to go make night time rounds. With her Ithica. Which, if she uses it I expect to find Houdini hiding beside me shortly after.

Enough for now. Getting to be time for Evening Rounds, which include feeding two kids.

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The More It Changes

Over there on the LJ side of the inter webs, the appearance has changed again.

Over there on the LJ side of the inter webs, once upon a time long long ago when I possessed more disposable income I purchased a permanent membership. So I keep cross-posting from here to there. Because, hey, I can.

However, I find myself supremely dis-interested in the recent changes over there. So long as cross-posting keeps working, anyway.

Pizza for dinner tonight, brought to you by Herself's Country Kitchen. As in, our place. Yes. Home-made pizza. Mine. Eat yer hearts out, inter webs.

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Hippie Birdbaths

To Florence.

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State of the Artist

Been thinking I need to get one of these done for a while, and I keep running into things which … seem more important. Work on the Ranch. Work at Hospital. Something else comes along. And no writing about the State of the Artist.

This is both good and frustrating. Good, because things are being accomplished. There is a goodly amount of cleanup happening around the Ranch. We are changing up on some of the regular things we do, getting things ready to go to (we hope) better manage this small corner of the Universe we call home. And some of that is cleanup, literally, gathering up a huge quantity of empty feed bags from delivery for example, and preparing to move that along to, well, The Dump. The paper bags, those we recycle and repurpose pretty much overall. However, at least half our feed comes in white plastic-y woven type bags, and those aren't quite as recyclable. We'd like to, haven't found a manner for it yet. So they've accumulated, and they need to go away. Cleanup time.

Chicken tillers, and if you don't know what those are Google is your friend, we use them a lot. Brief definition, an open wire fabric enclosure, fairly small and easily portable. Ours are made to hold from three to a half dozen or so hens and a rooster. Every few days to a week or so, we then move them along by their length or width onto fresh ground. Meanwhile, the birds withing stir up the ground as they look for more food (they do get fed by us as well) and woe betide any flying or crawling insect that wanders within (remember, open wire fabric, eh). Chickens are omnivores, and watching them hunt reminds us of the velociraptors, at least as depicted in the Jurassic Park movies. We've been making and adding some of these to the Ranch, since our egg sales at Farmers Markets are one of our most popular products. This includes refurbishing a couple which friends who were keeping urban chickens opted out of that pastime and gave us their back yard enclosures.

Hospital... hm. Well. 32 years and counting. Enough said.

As for Art, well off and on I've been working on a few different projects, and perhaps struggling a tad in keeping organised in both that and in maintaining inventory for the Studio 318 art festival booth. Plus, we just concluded the 2013-14 Weekend Festival Season with the Windsor Zucchini Festival (insert link as found). The last four festivals we've done then (Micanopy in October, Blue Oven Kitchens in November, GFAA Winter Fine Arts at Tioga in March, and now the Zucchini) have been, well, not total washes. We've sold art, though we've not made expenses. As a business, this isn't great, however it does all go onto the books and helps. That we've sold art at all tells me the overall economy, and peoples feelings about it, is doing well enough. That we've not made expenses tells me people are still feeling somewhat conservative about 'fun money' and how much they've got.

Staying organised with inventory is part of conducting a business in selling photographic art (or any art, really). It tells the business owner how much money is tied up in inventory (the goal is something like, oh, 'Just Enough' to be able to satisfy a demand quickly but not so much as to be sitting there idle), and which items sell the most frequently. I count something as In Inventory when I've finished matting and mounting it, with a label and then a transparent sleeve to protect it from most of the elements. Then it is a salable item, I can put a price on it, so it's in inventory.

I don't count the items which are printed, but waiting for me to mount, mat, label and sleeve. On the one hand, such prints are money expended and waiting to be recovered. On the other hand, they aren't salable in that status. And I'm doing fairly well in keeping those down to a minimum. It helps, getting better with Mr. Printy (tm Ursula Vernon, thx). This allows me to print up to 8x10 or 8x11 ish sized items, including prints and art greeting cards, here and not at the printing lab I use for large items. Saves me a bit of money though do not ever think that printing those bits of art you may be thinking about buying is free to the artist. Costs time and materials, eh. Simply, smaller items able to do close to home saves production costs.

There are less than a half-dozen really big prints waiting for mats, mounts, frames or sleeves. And I've sold one recently, which is nice. I've not added large matted prints to inventory quite yet; transport requires something large enough to do such safely. The largest pieces we routinely take to Festival shows are mat outside sizes in the range of 11x14 to 11x 17 or so. There are a couple dozen smaller prints (print sizes up to 8x10 or 8x12 ish) waiting to be matted sleeved. Not too bad, and one of the things the Summer Hiatus from outdoor festivals here in North Central Baja Jorja is good to accomplish. I can and do this work indoors, in air conditioning.

We had big hopes for the sale of Art Greeting Cards and did OK around the holidays, but not great. This could be related to display/marketing. That's something to work on during the Summer Hiatus as well.

And this fellow, behind the cut because I still think about bandwidth (viewing on smartphones or tablets that may not be connected to wireless burns the data plans, eh), this fellow is who helped keep the Zucchini Festival from being a total wash. Anecdotal response on my part says he is one of our most frequent sales, but my current inventory system isn't keeping really good track of sales so pulling that out takes a bit of time. Time I didn't spend yesterday evening after striking setup on site, getting home, unloading Forrest Nissan Pickup and helping with some of the Evening Rounds before cleanup and dinner. So getting the bloody inventory into a good, functional database is also on the agenda for the Summer Hiatus. Artist as Businessperson. Yah, that's one of my favourite things to do.

Still, yes, one of our more popular based on sales items:

Peek-a-Boo, image is a link, feel free to follow for larger viewing pleasureCollapse )

And, because it't that day, Happy Mothers Day to all who are, and to those who are not by choice or otherwise, Happy To You Too Day. Personally, I must admit it's been a while since I thought much about my own mother, being that it's been nigh on 18 years since she shuffled off this mortal coil. Not forgotten, not often in my thoughts. Recently, though, yes. Mom, thank you for all you did, when you did it, and for being you.

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Still On That Long Strange Trip

However, there is some resolution. Still not going into details, not because I want to be mysterious but because, mmm, rather a close subject. Suffice to say I received a wake-up call. And for a time, that wake-up call didn't show exactly what direction to move, though the general direction proved obvious. Now, it's settled in a bit. Still a tad precarious. Settled. A bit.

'Tis raining here in North Central Baja Jorja today. Parts south on the Peninsula are receiving more attention from the nasties than we are. Houdini is, none the less, staying as close to me as he can so I suspect he feels it. Like myself, Houdini is becoming an Old Fart, and one of these days... will come along far too soon, no matter what. So I happily provide him some 'Bubble of Kewl' and he does the same for me, he does.

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Are still on the strange side. Life is all a bit in a flux.

But then again, when isn't it?

Meanwhile, two applications for Autumn weekend art festivals into the mail yesterday. The deadline for one of them is the first of May, the second the middle of June. Yet it seemed a good idea to get both into the mail and therefor as done as I can get them. There is another one I need to start following up right soon as well. Been distracted, see above, still not able to go into details about distraction.

This entry was originally posted at http://madshutterbug.dreamwidth.org/677409.html. Please comment there using OpenID.
I've... not posted anything in a month and a bit. And nothing at all Artist related in several months. It's...

Well, this quote does say it all. Not that it's over yet.

"What a long, strange trip it's been."

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