Posts Tagged ‘mannaquins’

lifeisatapestry

Well, guess what? The studio is tossed again.

Last week I put my big folding table into the middle of the living room and brought out the various and sundry boxes and bins of paper and images and sorted it into cool boxes I got at the Dollar Tree. The boxes are letter-sized and have a self-lid and hold a goodly amount of of paper. I was soon overwhelmed with the sorting but I did get through the bins It is so much easier now to keep it neat and find images by subject matter which is important to me. I wanted to do a page with an owl last week. I have 284 pictures of owls around here and couldn’t fine one. One. That’s what started this ball rolling.

I got overwhelmed, particularly with laser copies (lots of black and white) of my own photographs. In the good old days I had a color laser printer and I routinely printed contact sheets and reproduced my photos. Lots and lots of mannequin photos because I used them frequently in my work. I knew there were too many to go into the nifty boxes without there being 30 boxes of mannequin photos. So I started shoveling them into a separate pile. Before I knew it, that pile was teetering on the edge of calamity just like my sanity.

I had to put the big table away, and the stack took up home on the dining table. I filed the neat boxes away in the studio and that was a wonderful feeling. But then I’d walk through the center of the house and the stack that didn’t get filed away, mostly my OWN art, was taunting me. Plus, the dining room is smack in the middle of my feng shui Wealth area and that is not good. How many mannequin photos can your Wealth area overlook? If I know my Wealth area, and I do after many hours of studying it and moaning over it, there were about 6000 more mannequin faces than it could manage. My Wealth area couldn’t even with it and neither could I.

There were stacks of paper. Strangely, I’ve been obsessed with stacks for awhile. It started with caryatids about 18 months ago. They were fascinating to me. Then I saw pictures of cairns that my husband took in the Smokey Mountains last spring. There is an artist that works in several rivers up there making cairns (he’s around on the internet, Google him if you want to see his work. He is really good, a true Rock Whisperer). Then I ran into this cool Edward Gorey’ish fabric during Halloween that was so exciting to me. About that time the Alice in Wonderland stencils showed up at Dollar Tree. One day I couldn’t take it anymore and cut out a caryatid, the gothic fabric and created an Alice stack using illustrations and stencils. A reprieve but I returned to stacks again.

Stacks of paper. Obsession with stacks. What are stacks? They are layers on top of layers. Image on top of image. Strips on strips.

I couldn’t use all those faces, but I could use strips of paper. I could weave them, layer them, draw on them, use them as backgrounds, etc. I could make strips out of all that stuff, throw them into a box and haul a handful out and use them however I want to in the moment. If I found I didn’t like the process, or wasn’t using the strips, I could toss it all into the recycle bin with no guilt.

So yesterday I spent a few happy hours layering paper and cutting it with my paper cutter. All different widths. I find cutting or tearing paper stress relieving. I can honestly say I enjoyed it, and I thought about the strips most of last evening. I had the urge to get up and bring some in to draw on but I didn’t because we were relaxing watching Dexter. It’s one of the few programs I enjoy watching, but I was tempted and that is a good sign. I’m onto something.

So, my Daily Art practice rolled around and the first thing I did was grab a bunch of strips. I wanted to start by paper weaving. I took two wide strips, cut them into random pieces. One was a black and white photo of mine, the other text from a book. I glued those pieces randomly to a paper foundation. Then I selected several strips and cut them down to smaller widths. Surprisingly, all the strips I used are my own work. I did simple over/under weaving over top of the other images, shifting the colored strips to where I wanted them. I glued the ends down to make it permanent.

The process created leftovers and I tossed those strips back in the box to be used for another project. I decided to journal, and stamped out “life is a tapestry.” Then I wrote “weave it” in black pen randomly, and did some circles on the strip with the wording, to make it stand out more. This project was finished in an hour and I very much enjoyed it. I plan to do many of my Daily Practice pieces with these strips this month. Perhaps it will inspire you to try it.

I will soon post an update on my Mythos blog about how my 2016 Initiatives are going so far. If you have an interest check it out over the next few days. I will say here that I missed only 1 day in January. The day I missed I simply did not want to be in the studio. I was tired and not feeling particularly well. To go in would have defeated the purpose of the Initiative, which is to give myself time to do what I love. It’s not an obligation, it is a privilege.

I would urge you to get into your studio every day, even if just to paint a background or stamp a word on paper, or whatever you enjoy doing. Just for the fun of it.

 

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Sometimes when you are out there shooting a subject comes along that is just plain hard to shoot. Shop windows tend to be difficult in general. There is usually a glare on top of the reflection, then the reflection, then what is in the foreground, the subject itself, and a background. Imagine being a camera lens with one or more focusing points trying to figure out what to focus on? I don’t know about you, but i only have one brain and it is hard enough to focus that. It is not unusual when trying to shoot shop windows to have to not only move the camera around to somewhat realign the focus centers, but also move your body to different positions and angles. Sometimes if you can remove one or two layers by doing this you can get a focus on what you want. Sometimes you can’t. The last time I was at ARTpool shooting the big storefront windows I had a great deal of trouble with focus. No matter what I did, the camera preferred to focus on the reflection, not the contents of the window. I finally decided to just go with it and see what happened later. While I prefer to remove color from my photos this one is all about that yellow popping off the blue, and to change this to grayscale would be a muddy mess. I like the moodiness…she looks almost like a ghost from the past. Not every photo taken under these conditions would work. You need a bold out of focus subject and a focused subject that doesn’t compete too terribly much with it. If you are shooting something you really love, and the focusing is off, try everything you know to do and if it doesn’t correct, try going with it. The results could surprise you.

I love the face on this mannaquin. She has lovely features and I think the feather hat sets off her look perfectly. The fringe earrings are the creation of Marina Williams of ARTpool Gallery. I particularly like the way the smaller side of the face is highlighted, although the window from the other side is blown out. I was surprised that the shot came out as it did, considering the camera had three completely different levels of light to meter. Got lucky. This girl will probably be featured in upcoming artwork.

This vintage gal wearing a starfish reminds me of the 1920s. The original shot was much smoother and the red was more of a tomato color. I altered it with Topaz Labs filter “gritty 2” which changed the red to this burgundy and the creamier skin tones to a greytone/sepia look which i thought fitted the referenced time frame. I found her at the fabulous ARTpool Gallery in St. Pete on my last visit. Posting to the blog has slowed down reflecting my current activities of cleaning house, decluttering rooms and garage and working on the runway show at ARTpool in July. We have our photo shoot the last of June and all looks have to be complete for that. I ended up using drink umbrellas and party flowers for the accessories and silk flowers for the headpieces. Working primarily with a geisha inspired theme. It’s been a fun experience even though it is out of my customary box. Special thanks to my sister Linda and mom for all their support. Plus husband Bob of course.

Playing around with a mannaquin image shot at the marvelous ARTpool Gallery in St. Petersburg. I flattened the image by pushing the contrast, highlight and shadows to the ends of the scale, creating a less detailed surface. Then I applied the Lomo filter from Topaz Labs, making it look sepia, vintage and edgy all at once. I like the stuff in the background playing across the flat look of the profile, and the detail in the jewelry. This kind of altering, using filters and pushing the lighting levels takes only a few minutes and gives you many options for one good photograph.

I’m working on several tote bags for the Trashion Fashion show at ARTpool Gallery in July. This one features an original photograph, Asian newspaper, napkins and tissue. I put a very thin wash of gesso over the top of all the components and scrubbed most of it off, to unify the elements a tad. I will probably do some additional surface design to soften the edges of the photo, perhaps some stenciling on the darker parts of the photo or some stamping. I found these totes, about half a dozen all the same, at a thrift store for $1 each. They are canvas-y material and had the company’s imprint on them. Easy to cover that up with a photo. I usually start the process by gesso-ing the front of the bag in white and I leave the sides black for the graphic quality.

I picked up about half a dozen black edged canvas totes at a thrift store a while back and decided to alter them with photography and mixed media. The mannaquin photo is an original, altered a bit in Elements. That is a flattened drink umbrella in the upper right corner and a sassy crow image from Kerry Carbary in the upper left. The rest is tissue paper, asian newspaper, stenciling and rub-0n letters. The other side is collaged in a similar manner. This bag is about 4 years old but I notice my style hasn’t changed all that much. These materials remain favorites, as does my love of mannaquins as photo fodder. This tote and several other altered purses will be featured in the Trashion Fashion show at ARTpool Gallery in July. The first time any of my wearables have been in a show. Yippee!