Monday, April 21, 2008

Quite the honor tossed my way!

I got the call the other day. The Monrovia Art Festival Assoc (soon to be officially renamed Monrovia Association of Fine Arts) has named me "Featured Artist" at this year's Celebrate the Arts to be held October 11 & 12 2008 here in Monrovia.

President Bill Beebe gave me the news, told me I earned it for all the work I put into the organization as well as the consistent quality of my images. His parting words..."Go forth and produce some great new things".

Well, I think the Orton series I just kick started today may be the trick. I'm totally digging the effects being recreated in the digital realm. Virtual Photographer helps recreate the soul of the old silver based media it was originally done in.

This image is my most favorite so far. I have a lot to go back and do. Duh...I have no idea why I never dug into it more. Enjoy, more to come. I have an "Orton" set running on Flickr so enjoy the set at it grows. Drop me a note on what you like or dislike and why. I like feedback. Honest.

Orton...the next path to meander down

Back in the college I remember a few of the guys in the fine art program were very heavy into the orton process. They got some pretty amazing results if you were into the impressionists painting and the like. I was pretty enthralled with the idea so I too experimented in it a bit.

The process was pretty easy. You had to use slide film to in order for it to work. You exposed your first slide for accurate exposure and sharp focus. The second exposure you threw it out of focus quite a bit then over exposed it two stops or more. The two slides were then combined and printed.

I opted to do my printing on cibachrome as it was a very contrasty and saturated media compared to the other positive to positive papers and processes at the timeThe results were show stoppers as it looked like a foggy dream instead of a literal translation.

To be honest I nearly completely forgot about it until one day I spotted an image that was done orton style on flickr. Turns out they had an entire group and that got me to thinking about it all over again. It took me a few months to get around to tinkering with it, but enjoy my first experiment.

This test image from Riley's farm is a bit more involved. I took the overexposed image of a series shot for hDr. I blurred it significantly with the guassian blur tool. I saved it as a copy. I then took the normal raw frame and genderated an hdr file with the overexposed blur too. The HDR then was tone mapped and next to micro contrast controls while tone mapping. The final image was run through virtual photographer with contrasty slide overlays upping the saturation of the colors and adding a "film grain" pattern. A lot of work and definitely an example of digital art rather than a straight up photo. I liked the result now I need to get the steps needed loweredI have a lot to learn but you get the direction the next meander is taking me.

Orton in the digital world exploring the surreal in another meander I'm starting.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Road trips and Spring are a good thing.

Spring and Road trips are good combos. The colors are their most intense. Capturing the intensity isn't always that easy. This years trip took me up from LA to San Luis Obispo, San Simeon and back all along the coast.

Knowing a little about contrasting colors is a big start. Growing up my generation got that in elementary school art classes. The contrasts vary with the time of day and whether you have clouds in the sky or not.

Learning about the color of light during the day we picked up along the line. I still remember a basic Color Photo class in college where we took a series of pictures from one spot one hour apart from dusk to dawn to watch the progression. Slide film worked best as you couldn't balance out the shifts during the day. The day starts with the red end of the spectrum getting the emphasis moving to Blues at mid-day then back to the red end at dusk.

This photo the brilliant orange flowers I spotted blooming at the Santa Barbara Zoo. Orange's direct contrast is Blue. A lesser contrast is Green. To make those flowers really pop I altered the framing to get more of the blue sky in. Add in the mid afternoon sun with only a light haze and you have two shades of orange contrasting with each other. Color Contrast, Sharp Shadow Contrast and you have an image that grabs the eye and shakes your sensors a bit. Not relaxing but vibrant.

Time for me to get busy and sort and process the 12 gigs worth of pics (all shot RAW so the files do take up a lot of space).

Friday, April 04, 2008

The devil is in the details "La Petite Mort"

Can you count the levels in this painting? The artist Coop graciously let me visit his studio to view his newest painting "La Petite Mort" that he is working on. I know him because he married one of my best friends from college and is a truly fascinating person. The man paid his dues to get the recognition he does for his work. Pretty amazing stuff to see in person.

Back to the levels of this painting. There is the base with the profile of two females, blue with deep red lips in a pucker. Then there is the red line skeleton grim reaper painting. Then there is a skull done in a pink halftone layered over it. The last layer he was working on when I left after lunch was the placement of a stencil of the skeleton reaper but that is getting ahead of myself.

The halftone is a recent direction in is painting in the last year or so. He indulged me on the process of getting the half tone done. For starters he took a photo of a chrome skull. Then he cropped out what he needed. Then he reversed it to a negative image, added in the halftone filter and adjusted angle and size of the dots. The halftone image was then printed on regular paper. Then that was put into a opaque projector and projected onto the canvas with the other layers already in place. Then came the tedious of painting in each and every dot.

Each dot size varied and took a difference type of stroke to get the size right. The smaller dots made it possible to go quickly down each row. Larger dots needed broader and more precise sizing. The larger ones also needed many more brush refills with each in the series. The detail photo below of the lower left corner gives you an idea of the size and variety. Imagine doing enough dots to create a skull in half tone on 2, side by side 6X6 foot panels!

There we go a short visit and a lot of appreciation for the work behind this latest big piece from Coop. I have more on my flicker set "Coop's Studio". Coop as more on his flickr "La Petite Mort" that follow the progress of the painting. He also blogged about it on "Positive Ape Index". And of course my pal Ruth has some on her flickr page as well.

Thursday, April 03, 2008

Wish you could smell it but spring is here

Did you ever notice that some smells can transport you back to another time and place so vividly you'd swear you were right there right now? For me the lilac does just that. The scent transports me back to our back yard in Iron River, Michigan and 1st grade all over again. When they bloomed we knew that spring was solidly in place and only days before school was out for the summer. I still remember just climbing into the tree and being surrounded by the purpley-pinks and that heavenly scent. Nice to have those journey's every now and then.

Simple photo was post processed from RAW through Virtual Photographer to bring about the more saturated warn look of an old Kodachrome film. Nice to be able to emulate those old silver based films and bring that emotional feel to the digital realm.