Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Almost Final Structure

Just before Christmas I made what I hoped were the final decisions for a very small edition of a book called Channelling Betty; a homage to one of my heroines, the artist Betty Goodwin. I had done several mock-ups, gotten permission from Edward Docx to use his words [I had been reading his book Pravda, while I was working on the images, and if you haven't read it I urge you to. As you can tell I loved it.] Finally got around to photographing it yesterday. A few small changes and I'll start to print. As you can see it's my favourite accordion fold structure.

Monday, February 27, 2012

Shapes and Textures

As the daffodils slowly faded away their skin became transparent, their color faded and the flower wrinkled in on themselves, but it took me days to throw them out. I wish I has allowed them to form their seed heads, something I never allow them to do in the garden as it takes energy away from the bulb and next years flower. In the garden I'm ruthless. Flowers fade and it's snip and into the compost. I have never tried to grow daffs from seed, I have always planted bulbs. Wonder if it would work or if the bulbs have been sterilized?

The trumpet folding in on its' self

Papery Petals

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Watching Water Drop

Seriously, I spent time yesterday watching water droplets form and release, form and drop. It was mesmerizing. Then I got out the stepladder and camera and tried to photograph them. At first I thought I could catch the droplets falling, but soon realized I had a lot, well almost all, empty frames. As they say on to plan B. The first photo is the droplet forming in the end of an icicle, the sac almost ready to release. Another form of breathing

Water droplet forming

Water droplet releasing

Thursday, February 23, 2012

3 Stones

I love stones. There are small piles of them throughout the house, a few single beauties on their own and in the garden they are everywhere, usually where I am digging. But right out side the front door, between the path and the garden is a special collection of round smooth stones collected from beaches when ever we or friends have traveled. I always seem to bring home stones, even walking the dog I keep my eyes peeled for treasure. John now comes home bearing stones as gifts and offerings. Maybe we all know that in ancient times stones were known to be alive, holding soul and spirit and memory.

3 stones emerging from winter

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Trials and Questions

I have been trying a demo piece of software, a filter for photoshop and I am feeling a lot of conflict over using it. My puritan part says cheating, my efficient part say this is faster and 'I" am still in a muddle. I don't like my photos to look to processed, to saturated, to pretty. I am wanting something else from them. Some sort of truth, of spareness, where the technical side is not apparent, it just is. It supports the work but is not the work. The tulips from the other day [link here] are my case in point. Have I crossed over the line, are they too pretty, sentimental or nostalgic even? Tenderness and sadness is fine, sentimental is not. I wonder what it is about that word that makes it such a no-no in my work. A friend was discussing this same concern last week, is it a concern for you? Does sentimental in art make you uncomfortable?

unfiltered tulip

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Old Tulips

They are almost finished the tulips that we bought last week end. And in their drooping and dropping of petals and pollen on the table there is such delicate and tender beauty. Their stems soften and bend, the petals become transparent, and they are as beautiful at this stage in their life as when they were young and green and vibrant. Something for me to remember.

Fading away
Aging Tulips

Friday, February 17, 2012

Wrapping Spring

J. came home with some daffodils the other day. I love the way that man grocery shops. We had been talking about memory; about how winter is a time barren of scent and how scent memory is so powerful, transporting one to another time and place. And while there are signs of spring with our longer days, I miss the smell of earth, of green, of growing. I long for bright, humid air full of golden sun and tiny green shoots glowing in the dirt. For now I console myself with the smell of daffs and the lovely, bright paper they were wrapped in.

Wrapping spring

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Ode To My Donald Judd Refrigerator

I was working away yesterday when John peeked his head around the corner and said "Nice piece, what is it?" And I replied that it was reflections of light on the refrigerator. We started to laugh, but the truth of the matter is that this appliance has given me a ton of photo opportunities. It's one of those stainless steel boxes, hence the reference to Donald Judd, although with the light flickering off the surface maybe the reference should be to Don Flavin. The one I was working on is very long and narrow, Light Travels, but here are a couple more . Think this series will be called Ode to my Refrigerator.

Light Travels, 2012
Stand By Me, 2012

Steel Shadows, 2012

Monday, February 13, 2012

Slow Art

A friend [I can't remember who, my bad] posted this last week, so if you have already read it, forgive me. But I love Robert Hughes and his pithy way of talking about art, artists, the art world and all manner of arty things. If you haven't read his book 'Shock of the New" I recommend it, highly. He says "What we need more of is slow art: art that holds time as a vase holds water: art that grows out of modes of perception and making whose skill and doggedness make you think and feel; art that isn’t merely sensational, that doesn’t get its message across in ten seconds, that isn’t falsely iconic, that hooks onto something deep-running in our natures. In a word, art that is the very opposite of mass media." Just a tad ironic that I am quoting him using mass media, but maybe I'm quibbling. Anyways I like what he says, although I have been noticing that I usually like people that support my positions. Hmmmm.

More of the white tulips

Saturday, February 11, 2012


A friend commenting on the bog post of other day mentioned the word Miksang and went on to give me an idea of what it was. "Miksang is a Tibetan word meaning “good eye” that refers to an eye trained to see what it naturally already notices but often overlooks, an eye that can now notice the good in everything." I did a bit of research, thank-you Wikipedia, and this is what it said . "Miksang represents a form of contemplative photography based on the Dharma Art teachings of Chögyam Trungpa, in which the eye is in synchronisation with the contemplative mind. The result of this particular perception of the world, combined with photography, produces a peculiar and open way of seeing the world. Miksang pictures tend to bring the observer back into the original contemplation state of the author of the picture. The pictures can bring one back to a purer perception of reality that is often neglected. Miksang involves nothing fancy, no special setup; only a visual capture, in the proper state of mind, of everyday's reality." That sounds right to me. So here is the shadow of a luxo lamp cast by the early morning sun 

Circle emerging, 2012

Thursday, February 9, 2012

White Tulips

More tulips found their way into the house the other day. White ones. How wonderful, as I have been wanting to photograph them. I have been working mostly in black and white lately, so much to relearn. I wanted to pay more attention to shapes and tonal values and not get caught up in luscious color. I find when I'm photographing flowers it's hard to stay away from the obvious, and so I hoped that by eliminating color I would observe more clearly. My favourite shot from the day was when I stopped looking at the flowers and saw the light pouring through the glass bowl and creating refractions.

White Tulips

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Sneak Preview

My darling, John Ballantyne, is also doing a chair for The Chair Project. There has been a lot of teasing about the size of the chair and when it might be finished, as he is not known for working quickly. [I have been known to put paint rollers in his Christmas stocking...hint, hint]. Most paintings take 3 months or more, so that when he announced on the week-end that he had started I looked at the calender and started to pray. Well something happened. The guy is going full blast; I have never seen him paint like this. The paint goes on and stays on. Haven't heard the sander yet. That sound tells me I need to leave home for a while. So here is a sneak preview of his unfinished chair. To see more of John's work click here.

John Ballantyne, in the process of painting his chair

Sunday, February 5, 2012

The Chair Project / Elizabeth Tsuk

We received another chair for the Chair Project [link here]  Elizabet Tsuk's work has been among my favourites since I first saw an exhibition at Arts Sutton of her work and Esther Williams in 2004. I love the whimsy of the work; these tiny, odd, or perhaps usual is a better word, chairs with their step ladder backs. It is as if to sit in them you are transported to another place. They had made a huge impression on me and it was a great pleasure to revisit one of them. Unfortunately Elizabeth does not have a web site for you to see more, but here are a few shots to enjoy. The shadows are wonderful.

Chair by Elizabeth Tsuk
Detail of Chair by Elizabeth Tsuk 
Shadows of  chair, Elizabeth Tsuk

Friday, February 3, 2012

Tulip Love

Last week tulips started appearing in our local grocery store. I love how the appearance of these flowers tells me winter is almost over, and of course I can never resist buying a bunch. Some day I will buy myself an armload, but for now these will do just fine, especially as they whisper "Spring is coming".

They whisper spring is coming

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Steel and Shadow

Well, this is another in the continuing series of "The Helvetica Variations".  I picked up the laser cut steel letters today, disappointed to find out the they had not processed the order correctly and had discarded the negative shapes. They are cutting more, but I am thrilled with the positive shapes and had to play. Steel shadows today, imprints in snow tomorrow. With luck next week the whole thing; together; in one place. Keep your fingers crossed.

Shadow variation
Steel letters with shadow
1st shot on the kitchen counter, better get some white paper, but great shadows and J.'s hand holding them