Blog Archives

The battle goes on, but it feels like I’m winning this time

Imperfection 1

I was diagnosed with Small Cell Carcinoma in October. There have been chemo and radiation therapies since. Last Sunday, I slept from 2PM on with the help of one of my anti-nausea meds. The last several days I have been up until after 9, my old bedtime.

A week ago I dropped off “Imperfection” (above) to the Harlow Gallery, easily a two hour drive from here. And, two hours to return. I was not up to that kind of a drive. Today, it might have been more fun.

Today, I also thought about a proposal that could go to 3S and Space. And, I continue to think about it though I haven’t put pen to paper yet. I worked on the next two of the “Imperfection” series, both of which are larger than the one at Harlow.

And, here I am.

The Rochester Library show went up last week, which incorporates most of what I have completed since I was diagnosed.

Holding It Together

“Holding It Together 1” demonstrates another of the artistic concerns that I have embraced recently. Both this series and the “Imperfection” series are monochromatic. These, however, utilize a myriad of materials that are either painted to approximate the color of the canvas or inherently are a similar shade.

Hommage to the Surrealists

“Homage to the Surrealists” uses no paint. The native color of the materials is what is important, along with the textures and translucency.

So, along with a renewed interest in Photoshop, which I also purchased this week, I am exploring my best in 2-D art.

 

 

 

More slide transfers to digital

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The original photo was a 10-minute long exposure overlooking Cobscook Bay in Maine. This is all film and Mother Nature-not computer-enhancement here! September, 2000.

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This is a sunset at Gros Morne in Newfoundland. This is one of the last shots I got with my 400mm lens before a strong gust blew over the tripod. September, 2000.

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Headed back to Corner Brook in Newfoundland. The season here is short and rough. September, 2000. Below, is a Snowy Plover from Parker River, October, 2000.

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Digital, digital

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These were shot in 2000, on the Gaspe Peninsula and the Maritimes. I have long lost the camera specs/film specs for any of these.

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Nova Scotia.

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St. Johns, Newfoundland.

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Newfoundland

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St. Mary’s Preserve.

Uncharted territory

I am starting to work in a way that I never have before and the development is a bit scary. In some cases, I am not even sure if the message will be clear. I am also having to dust off old skills to make the  photographs work, or at least convey something other than “the artist hasn’t got a clue.”

The DAPL crisis is one that I am exploring. The fact that water is less important than fracked oil is a point that our country should seriously consider, since without water, we don’t live. And, then, the point of oil would be what? So, I am referring to DAPL and pipelines in general, as a crisis.

The evacuation of the largest camp of protesters was sad. After several months of standing their ground at Standing Rock, they were forced to leave. They burnt down what was left of  the camp as a symbol of protest.

Working with Barbies and other 11″ dolls leads to imagery issues. The dolls have makeup on, for example. But, as I develop this final image and others, I hope that the message will be strong enough to supersede that.

Here’s the stage of development that I am at. The teepee needs to be stiffened. And, the story will be developed from here, as well.

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Complimentary photos

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Since I now own a camera with a long lens, I will probably rarely use the shorter of the two. My 75-300 was the go-to lens when I shot film.

I shot a few back-lit birds. They were lacking in detail, and have been deleted. Since I am supposed to have my slide scanner today (Amazon has made me wait the full nine days for the free shipping), I will start compiling the nature photos tonight. There are a ton of bird photos on film.

I can hear the local Blue Jays now. Since they occasionally visit the deck, I expect to get some great pictures of that subject as I get more and more familiar with the new camera.

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With a nice layer of fog, once again I am limiting my palette. The touches of color from whats left of the flower is all I have. The rest is very subdued, like the latest MM piece and the “Mesh” photos.

I am sure that color will return to all my work, and in a big way.

“The Shadows of the Everyday”

For those who follow my blog: I mentioned a strong desire to get a DSLR but also said that I should allow my work with the smaller point-and-shoots that I own to pay for that purchase. I bought a new Nikon yesterday without a single sale to go toward it. I think that the purchase will pay for itself.

In the meantime, I have been working on a few other shows. An annual non-juried show that I consistently do is called Art PM, and the only requirement is that the work presented must be done in its entirety in the month of February prior to the show.

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“The Shadows of the Everyday”, completed start to finish today, MM including handmade paper, wire screen, nylon fabric, foam sheeting, leather and graphite on canvas, 22″ x 28″.

I am forcing simplicity again, like I did with the “Mesh” photographs. The textures are very dominant in this piece because of the lack of color. The graphite on the canvas demands the attention it gets not because it’s hand-applied but it accentuates the texture of the canvas.

This piece is another of the “Real” series as it deals very much with my health. There will be reminders in the everyday as I pick up my life after chemo. invisible-storm

“Invisible Storm” is one of the earlier pieces with the almost non-chromatic color palette which relies heavily also on texture. As a much smaller piece, it is more intimate. Since it describes the beginning of my cancer, it is also rougher, grittier in the textures.

The original piece planned for Art PM isn’t finished, and will require some reworking. It did present some fun surfaces to experiment with, with the new camera.

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This detail has been digitally enhanced beyond recognition, but this shot is of another MM piece that utilizes many of the same materials as “The Shadows of the Everyday.”

 

 

 

Back to the working grind

What a year so far! The point now is to get my “program” back to normal. There are really only a few days out of the chemo cycle that are difficult and those are the days that the steroids have interrupted my sleep rhythm. I had one of those today, and called out “sick.” I slept until around 11 AM to normalize.

So, I am trying to balance the art/work life and in that, trying to develop a signature work. I allowed myself lots of experimentation over the last four months, including MM, watercolor portraiture and surreal photography.

The photography almost brought me to the point of purchasing a new camera today. Rather than buying an expensive new unit with income tax return money, I want to make the little cameras pay for the new big sister. I purchased a little devise to help transfer my slides onto disc, however, which will help integrate the film work that I did 20+ years ago with what I do now. Oh my, that will be a fun snowy Sunday project!!

The “Mesh” series wasn’t accepted to the show they were intended for but I am framing several of them for upcoming solos. Here are a few examples:

I considered stopping at the Goodwill also today to start shopping for random dolls to include in this series. I might also start to build “rooms” like miniature set-ups (though surreal), for those dolls. But, as I am stretching my creative outlets, I am also trying to get back into a “groove” where everything starts working together again.

 

“Malynda and Bri”

For the last two weeks, I have been honing, or at least, rehoning, my watercolor skills and applying them to portraiture. The first two I started at the hospital—I am a cancer patient and I sometimes paint while I’m in chemo. They were at best “practice” pieces, and I will redo them.

I drew out most of this one also while I was undergoing treatment. The last two days it got color, and I am now confident enough to start looking for commissions. Please feel free to email me if you are interested in a possible commission. artinsmallplaces@gmail.com

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“Malynda and Bri”, 2017. Watercolor on Windsor Newton paper, 11″ x 15″

This photograph was taken with my phone. I need a fairly clear photo to work from.

Fungi and Flora, at the Gafney Library

Some of the area’s art offerings require a 20-40 minute drive. The Gafney Library has gained the reputation for the offering some of the best of who Strafford County has for art. And, since I showed there last month…

MaryAnne O'Mara and Peggy Brewster at the Gafney

MaryAnne O’Mara and Peggy Brewster at the Gafney

Gabe shoots "Flora and Fungi"

Gabe shoots “Flora and Fungi”

 

 

Too much ground covered, and a lot more to come

Since the last post, I  have completed another batch of the series of small paintings, bringing the finished count up to 19. Last night, I created a really interesting problem with the combination of applications and media. This piece could either catapult the series into another direction, or wind up in the trash. It’s got a toughness in one area that is really providing an interesting dichotomy-and this is really rare in pieces this small.

And, I described that I had started a couple totally inspired by the literal splash that happened from the storm surge. These are the finished pieces.
 
From the wrath of Irene (which here really didn’t happen), I spread my vision toward the Downeast coast of Maine. Labor Day week-end I spent camped at Cobscook State Park Campground, just outside Dennysville, Maine. 
 
I have found that I will need to rethink how I do the images of others’ art on this post. I talked to a few people who handle art in Lubec, and it seems that there are copyright concerns with me taking pictures of art. I was not allowed to, as I wasn’t in York. Though it makes my life a little more difficult, I will respect that concern. Where I can, I will pass on website addresses, and images that are sent to me. Otherwise, the blog goes on, with or without images.

Dancing to Irene, Beachside #2. Mixed, watercolor, oil pastel, graphite

Dancing to Irene #1, watercolor, graphite, Prismacolor

 
At any rate, this was an interesting trip. There are way too many venues between here and Caribou, Maine. I took multitudes of pictures of galleries that are gone. What survive downeast are venues that sell well-constructed craftwares. They hang art, too. And, as I found the featured work to be good, the stuff on the walls was not really the focus, and I was only impressed by a gallery/antique store in Machias. I unfortunately failed to write down the artist’s name (I’ll learn); there was an serious attempt to stretch color into expressionism, with another nod to naive.  I couldn’t get close enough to the work, because of the antiques in the way, to really look at the quality of the paint.

Machias, Antiques and Fine Arts

 
This trip though was a lot about revisiting an incredible state park in Maine. And, Wanderlust.  That Sunday was overcast, and I decided that I had always wondered about what Caribou, Maine was like I should go there. I found a whole gallery of interesting images which I will post, though in another venue. I will note that in the next post.
 
And, I actually stopped at Fort Point (Fort Pownall) and the St. Croix historical sites.  I did Bar Harbor as a tourist. And, I shot Quoddy Head and the US side of the Campobello Bridge. I carry pepper spray, so even though I had my passport, I was not “legal” to enter Canada.
 
Since I’ve been home, I’ve completed a bunch of work, as I stated. I breezed out for a brief look at what is up in Rochester last Saturday. Rochester (my backyard), now is hosting an Art Stroll on the first Saturday of the month. This month was an exception because of the holiday week-end, and they pushed it back to the second Saturday.
 
Check out Artstream Gallery and a new offering, Wyatt Art Studios.
 
And, “the more to come…” -I will be in Missouri and Montana on vacation soon.