Wednesday, March 30, 2011

On Color and Painting

OK - I'm big enough to admit it... I'm struggling with color right now.  Photography and color seems to come easy easier.  Painting and color is definately not so easy.  I've tried the "jump in" approach and see what happens (not good) and I've tried the "get out the color wheel" approach and map it out.  I've come to the conclusion that its hard.  Its hard to get the colors right.  Yes, I can come up with a color plan but when it comes to actually putting it in the painting... hard.

I've also recently come to the conclusion that I don't have to reinvent the wheel.  That there are artists out there that I can look to for inspiration for color.  This is the work of Kathe Fraga, she is a local artist here in the Seattle area.  I love her color.  Its simple.  She uses just a handful of color and all of her paintings are similar.  She's found the color palette she likes to use and she sticks with it. 
She does some other really cool stuff in her paintings too.  I love the way she devides her panel.  This is something I noticed in Bridgette Mill's work as well. 
I know that I am not the first artist to come along to the color struggle.  I just have to keep that in mind... I'm not alone with this.  That's why we "color strugglers" are greatful for people like Kathe Fraga or whoever is your favorite artist.  We can look to them for inspiration in color.

I'm starting to look a little deeper as to why some artists are "my favorites".  There always is some reason that I like a particular artist's work.  I may not know why at the time, but when I'm ready to learn - the answer is there for me.  Look to your favorite artists for inspiration and see what lessons their art can teach you.

Saturday, March 26, 2011

A View From Here - Focus 52

-A View From Here-
Focus 52 this week is to show what its like where we are in the world.  Its interesting to think that really, I have many worlds in which I exist - my home, my city, where I play, where I work.  This is one of my worlds... my studio.  Its a quiet place where I listen to music and just zone out - or tune in.. depending on how you look at it.  It has great light, it looks to the east where I can watch the sun rise, its full of creative energy and inspiration... and its a bit messy.  I love it here where I sit by the window and create whatever comes to me.  This is my view.

Friday, March 25, 2011

Scavenger Hunt Sunday

This week for Scanvenger Hunt Sunday --kitchen, groups of three, me time, decay and things that make you go hmmmm.
My good friend Ingrid put an amazing receipe for Amaretti cookies on her blog.  I decided I must try them.  It took a couple of days to round up the ingredients as some were specialty items - specifically Vanilla Sugar and Caster Sugar.  I found all the ingredients I needed at Whole Foods with the exception of Vanilla Sugar.  This lead me to DeLaurenti's specialty food market at Pike Street Market in Seattle.  A great excuse to have a city day.  However, there are ways to make your own Vanilla Sugar and skip the outing if you prefer.  Vanilla Sugar info here  I also had to do a little conversion of weights and measures - 100g of sugar is about 1/2 cup. 
-Groups of Three-
The final product is DE-Lish!!  For the receipe head on over to Ingrid's blog
These are easy to make and so tasty.  I highly recommend.  Groups of Three is also the theme for Kat Sloma's

-Me Time-
 Drawing in my sketch book is perfect "me time" as well as journaling and studio time.  A cup of tea and some Amaretti cookies are a welcome addition to this time during the day.

-Things that make you go hmmmm....-
8 servings.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Seattle Day

 Today was an afternoon in the city.  It was sunny and warm - the warmest day we've had in monthes.  Remembering of course this is Seattle... and warm means about 60.  I wanted to try and get some b+w iphone photos.  I'm on my scavenger hunt for Sunday + I was on the mission to find some Vanilla Sugar for a special receipe from my good friend Ingrid over at her blog Fable of the Table.  Her cookies are going to be the stars of my Kitchen photo for the Scavenger Hunt.  So come back for Sunday and there will be receipe and link too. 

I've been really facinated by b+w iPhotography lately - I've been liking to shoot with the Classic Toy app in the overexposed b+w film option.  I also like Vintage BW app for shooting some great b+w photos. 

 Today I had some fun and carried my camera in my hand by my side and clicked off random photos as I passed by people on the streets.  I'm still a little shy about actually pointing and shooting someone.  So, today was stealth mode. 
 For the most part - those photos taken on the go weren't good.  They were blurry and pretty random if I got my subject at all.  So, I need to work on my technique.  Next time, I'll go for the look like I'm texting someone approach. 
 I arrived at my destination after a pass through Nordstrom :)  This is DeLaurenti's at Pike Place Market where I actually found the Vanilla Sugar.  Its a great import food store with all kinds of cheeses and imported food items.  And, since I was at Pike Street Market, I had to wander through and take in the atmosphere. 
 Pike Street Market goodness.  Its nice to have the market back up and running in full swing.  Last time I was there it was under construction and many of the shops weren't open. 

And yes, of course... a coffee break for the way home.  A beautiful day in the Emerald City.  Be sure to come back on Sunday for the Scavenger Hunt photos, more about Vanilla Sugar and the Receipe for some pretty awesome Almond cookies.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

My Own Little Planet.

Every now and again, I need something that is totally different. Something I have never done. It adds some spice to life to try something outside of the box. Today I was stressing over my 365 photo. I really didn't have the opportunity to get one done. Now, mind you I could have taken a photo of something around the house or out on my dog walk... but frankly, I felt I needed something more than that today. I came across Ashley Sisk's tutorial in the Muse University over at Mortal Muses. She was teaching us how to make our own little planets.
Its really a simple process in PSE. The hard part was finding a photo that would work for a planet and could be cropped to a panorama. Then.... the hardest part for me was having the patience to do a good job with the healing brush and blending the line out. I've decided that there are some things I have the most amazing patience a person could ever have... and then there are those things that I don't last more than a minute or two and I can't drum up an ounce of patience for it at all... well, doing a really good job in PSE with the healing brush and the clone stamp stuff.. not my forte. I've chalked it up to "not getting it". But really, it comes down to patience. These are my planet attempts. The second one... can't you just imagine yourself sitting in that chair? Give this a try.. its pretty fun. Hit the Mortal Muses button on the right and head to their webpage and look for the More Musing link once you get there (upper left sidebar). Thanks to Ashley - she's our Scavenger Hunt host as well as all kinds of other great learning opportunities on her website - hit the Scavenger Hunt Sunday button on the right and it'll take you to her site.

And YAY!!! I have a winner of the Space Needle photo from my post last week - Black and White and Square. I did one of those random number generator things and it came up with number 6 - Christy:: AKA:: UrbanMuser. Thanks to everyone for participating. I'll come up with some other fun give aways down the road.

Friday, March 18, 2011

Scavenger Hunt Sunday

This week's Scavenger Hunt Sunday - Camera Phone photography hosted by Mortal Muses (check out their button on the side bar), Camera, Shoes, Chair and Imperfection. Here is my collection.

- Camera Phone - iPhoneography-
I got my iPhone about 1 month ago and I am totally hooked on the camera apps. I find that I take way more quick inspiration photos now than I used to. This is a building that has turned into a canvas for street art. It is ever changing and I find it interesting to check in once in a while and see what's new. Its not a bad part of town or a threatening place to be in any way. Its actually very near the U of W campus. I love the color and the spontaneity.

- Camera -
I have a dSLR. I love it and am learning how to use it more and more. However, I'm loving using my iPhone to capture street scenes. I've never really spent time taking street scenes because I felt a little self conscious with a big camera. Now I feel I can be more stealth-like and grab a few here and there. Now I'm getting into the b+w street scenes and really loving exploring b+w iphoneography. There are so many cool apps that give some amazing b+w photos.

- Shoes -
Seattle's favorite footwear - boots. The variety that walk the streets is incredible from leather to rubber. Its all here.

- Chair -
The dog has taken to making a statement and sitting in the Kitty's chair. So, the Kitty has taken to liking the dog's bed. This is how we spend rainy days.

- Imperfection -
These are the perfect size, the perfect shape. They are the "go to" bowls - used every day. Perfect in every way except for the chips in the rims... the imperfection. I can't think to get rid of them.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Focus 52 - Green

The theme is GREEN over at Focus 52 this week. I decided to step out of my box and go for green with my creative outlet other than photograpy - encaustic wax painting. I started early in the week, thinking it would take me a while to get this done. However, it went really quickly. The inspiration behind this one was actually a golf green. I was watching golf the other day and they showed an ariel photo of a golf green that was kinda shaped like this. Well, as you all know how the creative process works... Really, it morphed to this shape and then a little more inspiration from a local Japanese artist and the acorn squash that is sitting in my fruit bowl... and there you have it - GREEN

I was really happy how the process worked on this one. Its really the first time I can say that I actually did go through the steps I wish I did on every painting. First the sketches, then the larger color plan - yes, consulting the color wheel and planning out the colors. I worked through them with crayon (crayola of course :)

I stuck with the plan - so to speak. I transferred my drawing and incised in the lines on the medium base coat (trying a new technique here) then blocked in the colors just how I wanted them. Fused many times to blend the color layers. Then, came the fun part which was to incise in the outlines and designs. I put in the outlines first. I mapped out the design fun stuff by using tracing paper over my painting. It gave me a chance to see what I was thinking and placement before I committed to incising. Cut the lines in, fill with wax, scrape back and there she be. I was interested on this one that I thought it looked equally fine upside down as well. In fact, in the end, I had a hard time picking which end was up. And.... this is GREEN.

Black and White and Square

Kat Sloma has us exploring square format in her exploring with a camera series. I love square. Its may favorite format and I find myself using it lots. After downloading photos into Picasa, I find the ones that catch my eye. I straighten and then experiment with cropping. I almost always try the square first - just to see what I see.
This past week, I gave myself a tall order. My living room needed some zip and quite frankly at little injection of me. I felt that I had only decorated to about 85% and then stopped. So a trip to IKEA for frames got me started. I sat down at the computer and looked through the photos - new and old. I decided my theme was Seattle specific, black and white and square. Little did I realize what a task that would be.

I figured square was easy - not necessarily so. It seemed like a lot of what I felt were my really good photos didn't fit with square. Seattle specific cut the archive by alot. Black and white is what proved to be the really tough part. I find that many, many photos just don't cut it once transfered to b&w in photoshop. They just lack the punch they need. I have much better luck with my iPhone apps when it comes to b&w.

I printed a bunch of little square photos of any that made the cut. I cut them out with scissors and sat on the couch and held them up at arm's length to see what I thought they may look like once on the wall. The project took forever... this one.. no that one... how does is look with this one... etc.. you get the idea. Anyway. I picked 4 - 4 frames, 4 photos.

I then uploaded them to Costco's photo website and picked them up 2 hours later. $13 for 4 12X12 prints - not bad. I framed them, hung them and have been really happy with the outcome. I have to make a change or two, but overall - pretty good.
So, as inspiration to you - a give away! YAY!! We all love giveaways. - make a comment, become a follower and I will send the winner a copy of the Seattle Space Needle photo. Think of it as a little love from Seattle. You will have until Sunday March 20 to enter. I'll pick a random winner and announce on Monday March 21.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Focus 52- Variety

For Focus 52 this week over at TwoScoops, the word is VARIETY. I thought about all the variety there is in life from the cereal aisle at the grocery store to the clothes in my closet. But, what really struck me for this week was variety in art - colors, mediums, subjects, styles, materials - so much.

How do we choose? How do we pick one thing and go with it, when there are so many options?

Variety can be overwhelming or it can be really inspiring. The key is to let it be inspiring and not let the world bombard you with so many options that you don't know where to start.

Pick something. Start somewhere and see where that leads. There are no rules. Let variety inspire you.

Friday, March 4, 2011

Focus 52 - Aged

OK - I'm a little late to the party..... but, as they say - Better late than Never! I finally signed up for Focus 52 hosted by Jan over at TwoScoopz (see the button on the side bar if you are interested). I still do my 365 - but I love the gang that Jan has brought together for her 52 Week project. And.. quite frankly - great prompts are really good for getting the creative energy flowing.

Speaking of creative energy, I can't seem to get enough. Its like caffeine for me. It lifts me up - the spark that puts a little bounce in my step. My latest thing is the iPhone camera. Oh my.. this has got me on a whole new track. I admit it... I'm big enough to say it - I'm am totally addicted to this stupid little camera and all the cool apps that make some ordinary photo look amazing. OK, well at least amazing to me.
I've walked by this mailbox for about two years now. Today I really looked at it and the colors of the rust and all that. iPhone in hand - clicked off a couple for camera+ app and also a couple hipstamatic. Its just way too fun. Anyone else out there an iPhone camera junkie?

Thursday, March 3, 2011


I have been working. I've been spending lots of time in the studio. There have been so many attempts, missteps, start-agains... it should be discouraging. But its not. Its all part of the process. I love what the wax is teaching me - to be patient, to be gentle, to accept what comes. To accept the inperfections, the deviation from the plan is new for me. I'm starting to like it - the unexpected.
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