Saturday, February 24, 2007

Beer goggles on visiting the rule of 3's

Silliness aside a beer does cause one to lower inhibitions and roadblocks. (The mental ones not the DUI Check points).
Today was one of those glorious So Cal days, sun out, 60's and WWII P51 Mustangs buzzing my neighborhood while I washed and waxed my cars. The first buzz I sat and blogged them on my cell phone. The second round I just stood there dumbfounded and when they made a tight circle to come back I ran and got the camera out. I managed to get a few photos for my "scrapbook" aka "Misc folder".

During dinner tonight I thought about those planes and of a rather dramatic sky we had a few days ago when a storm was coming and thought "wonder what those P51's would look like against that sky?" Fortunately I blogged that sky and had it available.

The stormy sky was shot with my Snap Che-ez camera that has an incredible arty recording of the view in front of it, poor color rendition, poor contrast, little detail and for the love a Pete the end result is every bit a Monet, Manet or similar impressionists image ready to be worked further.

I thought a bit about where to go. The rule of three in design applies to photos as well, even easier to do when you have the ability to control so much with a PC. Interestingly three also works its way into the rule of thirds in terms of photography and painting as well. Short version of it all is that your brain works best in interpreting and being excited by 3 elements within an image. Those elements if placed in the upper or lower third do more to excite the eye than dead center. (The latter I have talked about in the past in terms of horizon line placement).

So, inhibitions aside I took that stormy sky, ran it through a few filters. Then I took a nice shot of the P51's in formation cut them out and pasted them into the sky. It has its flaws, but it also has opened up a few doors for me to explore more. Photoshop sure has a lot of advantages over silver based masking and I got this done pretty quickly but I digress. Knowing these rules I sliced up a nice pic of the planes flying in a formation of 3. Then I pasted them into a heavy reworked sky, placing them into the lower third to bring more importance and drama to the sky. The planes weren't worked for some of that man made vs nature impressionist contrast I have been exploring.

So here you go...P51 Storm, enjoy!!!

One last reminder, tomorrow (February 25, 2007) is the artists reception at Paint N Play, I'll be there, come see me, have some free booze and food while you are enjoying all the great art! It is from 3:30 to 6:30PM. The details:


418 S Myrtle Ave

Monrovia, CA 91016

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Its good to run down other paths.....

Especially when its with scissors or at least the scissors icon on the old Photoshop programs. I've been thinking about interplay of color with light vs dark the last few days. I still have a few different areas of exploration and have been following the digital art again. This time around is impressionistic excerpts reinserted into an altered reality.

I do enjoy the old timey look of a Black and White photograph which is now interpreted with items removed and backgrounds altered with Optic Verve's "Virtual Photographer" . (This is a great plug-in for Photoshop that very easily emulates silver based imaging in the digital realm...and its free). The removed element is altered as well and then reinserted into the back ground. A few more tweaks and edge cleaning and voila a whole new image. Really cool and certainly beats either handcoloring black and white or making a bajillion masks that have to be aligned under the enlarger.

Today I worked on a couple of new ones following this theme. For your comments and general viewing "End of the Lime" and "Henhouse Egg Carton"

Monday, February 19, 2007

Giving back is learning too....

I was given quite the honor to serve as mentor for a friends daughter up in Seattle. Part of their graduation requirements is to write a paper on any topic they chose and to pic a mentor. Lauren opted to do her paper on using PhotoshopCS to alter color in photographs. I was approached by her dad a long time friend to see if I would do it and OF COURSE I WOULD!!! For me learning never ends and mentoring teaches the teacher to explore again while sharing what they already knew.
Now Danny (her Dad) is a avid photographer and his skills are growing quite rapidly and we've talked at length on where to go and grow. The real surprise is that Lauren has a real flare for the "decisive moment" and is using her color alterations to change the mood of the picture. A picture she worked on was sent for critique. She wanted to make the lady look more cartoonish and to a large degree it worked. Enjoy the little sample:

I truly believe that giving back to others is important. Whether you formally call it mentoring or it is a situation where you and a few pals sit and critique each others work its still important. It forces you to think about what you do and where you want to go as well as helping others grown.

To that end Lauren's project has made me think about how I apply color or more aptly work with it. Photoshop can do major altering and when I work with the realm of digital art I do a lot with it.

Shooting an image that I intend to be presented as a photograph has its challenges. Nature provides us with color and all sorts of contrasts. How we photograph them, IE manipulate the image through exposure at the beginning as well as fine tuning the RAW data for the final print can greatly affect the final product.

So Cal only rarely gets the dramatic sunset, mostly because we have a brown haze that filters out a lot of light, or the marine layer is thick and dulls the light to soft grays. Tonight we got one of those dramatic skies the kind I can sit for ever and watch the colors change due to a winter storm clearing out and giving us some clouds to reflect some of the bright reds back down on us instead of being lost in space. I was lucky in that the clouds were big enough that they cast shadows so I had a blue-gray sky with the brilliant red. I exposed for the sky and bracketed so I would get some of the subtle highlights on the trees in the foreground for some added details. I framed it all so that the foreground was largely black which further electrified the colors in the clouds (contrast of light vs dark, red vs blue....its all about color this time). Enjoy, and by the way the palm tree was framed to be important as that is an LA icon if there ever was one!

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Its good to explore!

Exploring and telling what we saw is part of being human. Cavemen did it with the end of a burnt stick on a cavern wall in Lascaux, France were the first to document what they saw, modern man does it too with our art, written word...spread faster than ever before with the help of the 'net.

This mornings activity was to sort through the images I shot up on the Central Coast in and around San Simeon. A couple of them I worked into clearer (IE removed some atmospheric haze) photographs and once happy...deconstructed into my more impressionistic painterly images. The latter I continue to have more fun with, seeing some old Dutch Renaissance paintings added some clarity as to where I wanted to go with what I have been doing. Love both the the literal photograph and the impressionist so I run both directions in tandem.

For your viewing are 4 images. First two are of the Piedras Blancas lighthouse, the latter two are of the Santa Inez River Valley in Solvang taken from the Santa Inez Mission. In each set the first is a literal photograph with the next one as an impressionistic version. (In the light house version the differences are hard to 'cipher as the process of reducing size and pixels causes a lot of detail loss).

Monday, February 12, 2007

Rennaisance Dutch and me....

This past weekend was a literal journey up the coast to San Luis Obispo and Hearst Castle. The landscapes there are similar and different than here in the LA Basin as they get considerably more rain each year. Add in the castle and things get to be a bit other worldly.

I thought a lot about the old dutch masters while wandering about Hearst Castle as much of the interiors were decorated with pieces from the Rennaisance, but looked like they were the subjects of those old masters.

The one master everyone has heard of is Rembrandt though he is not known so much for landscapes as some of the others. Those that did landscapes that struck me the most were Van Goyen and Vermeer. Painters of the era were the first to include dramatic skies with clouds doing things rather than a pretty perfect blue sky. Van Goyen and Vermeer in particular struck me with the prominence they gave their skies and the drama it added to their final painting. Both also used very strong shadow elements to heighten the tension in the painting and bring more attention to the sky.

Clouds do add a lot to the sky and it something we notice even as kids trying to make out a face or shape out of the random fluff drifting overhead. I am certain early man watched the sky with the same wonder, and even fear as storms could wreak havoc on their mud huts and crops.

The land around the Castle does not even remotely resemble the flat plains and marshes of Holland. The clearing skies as a winter storm passed through the area had all the drama and play of light and shadow that the Dutch Masters so ably captured in their paintings. The setting and the sky, well it made me think of the old Masters as I went about shooting in and around the castle and San Luis. Once I got started I quickly switched lens to an ultrawide angle so I could capture more of the sky and all the shape and form the clouds added to the image unfolding before me.

The picture I am sharing is "San Luis Farm" I captured it just as the storm as breaking apart and a strong shaft of light from the rising sun illuminated some hills just past the farm. Now I'm thinking about taking it apart and doing a watercolor print with it. Imagine it with an impressionists twist, until then...enjoy the image as it stands in all its literal photographic simplicity.

Friday, February 02, 2007

Showing Update

Damn it has been busy around here with stuff and not able to shoot much. A new gallery has opened here in Monrovia. I am among the very first artists invited to show some work. So...4 pieces are up. The grand opening gala is scheduled for February 25 at 3:30PM.

The gallery is located right on Myrtle avenue in the middle of Old Town and will feature the artists from the Monrovia Art Festival Association.
The specifics:

318 South Myrtle Avenue
Monrovia, CA 91016
February 25, 2007 3:30 PM

So....come see me for some free music food and hopefully...booze along with the art on display. Among the pieces I have on display is "napping snail".