Thursday, September 25, 2008

Bullitt and San Gabriel Mountains - perfect mix

If you follow my antics and rounds you show know that a I blog about all sorts of stuff.  I love adventures, add in cars and it gets to be even better.

This weeks addition to the old experience bucket is a day long drive in a Mustang Bullitt.  Long story short.  In July I got to spend sometime in a 2010 Camaro.  I was impressed and said when it launches the base Mustang will be a gelding in comparison.  Ford didn't appreciate it.  They dropped me a note and let me know I was probably a little harsh and offered up a GT500 to prove the Mustang still has it.  No GT500's exist right now but they had a Bullitt.  They asked if I would settle for that.  HELL YESSSSS!!!!  Full story on what I think about the Bullitt will be up on metblogs later today.

The image was shot up on the Angeles Crest.  I can tell you that the Bullitt was made for that highway.  No stress, no fuss, no constant shifting, just pick a gear and carve up the curves on the twisties.  Lawdy be...if I could get rid of the Dad car I'd opt for the Bullitt.

Anyway what better way to illustrate a surreal day than HDR?  I shot this frame overlooking downtown LA from up on the crest bracketed +/- 2 stops from average.  Photomatix was used for the HDR file generation and tonemapping.  The final image was run through virtual photographer to heighten the saturation a bit more.  

Enjoy the image.  Do click it for a slightly bigger version...and note you can even see downtown in the fog.  More images in my flickr Bullitt set.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Little revelations about myself when I least expect it

In the middle of show prep and then trying to update my profile(s) and set up a showroom on "Saatchi Online" I had a little revelation.  The old Dutch Masters were known for their brilliant skies and atmospheric drama, I just hadn't paid attention to how much it influenced what I have been doing of late.  No matter what area I explore that tends to be the common theme. Imagine that, who'da thunk that would be the pervasive item in all that I have done.  

Me and rules never were good friends.  The little discovery about myself came about when I looked at the body of work being put up on the Saatchi Online Saleroom.  Nearly everything in the last year=and-a-half has included some sort of sky drama regardless if it is done in HDR, Orton, Watercolor or a straight up photos.  

Enoy the image shot deep in the woods in Montana D'Oro State Park near San Luis Obispo this last spring.
Back to work.  Long day ahead.  With luck I can get to my website too before the Oct Show. 

Saturday, September 20, 2008

A little teaser for the October Show

I suppose I could call this roses two ways. You can't see it here, but I've done the printing on two different papers. One on an archival matte paper, the other on wet watercolor paper.

I don't think it matters as much the paper as if the image was well composed with a good use of light and color. In this case the image was post processed from RAW in the Orton style. It works regardless of the final presentation. The wet watercolor though diffuses more and definitely meanders more into the soft impressionists mode than anything else. The watercolor paper version will be a one-of-artists-proof kinda image. Once it is gone it is gone and could never be duplicated again given the uncontrollable effects of ink on wet paper.

The rose is a David Austin English Rose called "Golden Celebration" from my garden.

See you at the Celebrate the Arts show October 11&12 here in Monrovia.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

MAFA Celebrate the Arts Press Release

I'll only put up press releases here that a)involve me and b) will be shameless self promotion.  Since I am the "featured artist" at the coming Celebrate the Arts show with MAFA and mentioned all over the place in the press release this one will qualify.

The Monrovia Association of Fine Arts, formerly known as the Monrovia Arts Festival Association presents the 45th Annual CELEBRATE THE ARTS, a weekend festival of Fine Arts on October 11th and 12th, 2008; 10:00am – 6:00pm Saturday and Sunday at a new location; the Monrovia Community Center, 119 W. Palm Avenue in Monrovia (right across the street from the old location at Library Park which is currently closed for construction). This event promises to provide fun and entertainment for the whole family and anyone interested in all aspects of the arts. Local oil painters, photographers, sculptors and watercolor artists from Monrovia and surrounding communities bring their artwork to share and display during a two-day festival sure to delight families and children alike.

This year’s Featured Artist is landscape and nature photographer, Frank Zgonc, a MAFA Executive Board Member and past president of the Monrovia Association of Fine Arts who has been diligently working to promote the arts in the local community of Monrovia and surrounding areas for many years. Frank Zgonc is a photographer who prefers to consider his art as painting with the tools created for personal digital computers and yet presenting his work in a medium more reflective of traditional watercolor images. His process of printing photographic images on wet watercolor paper produces impressionistic images that enhance the communication of his philosophy, embodies emotions and provides the viewer with a sense of place; “Life is about exploring, art is telling the world what we found”, he states.The watercolor photography is only one area he explores. The digital art in particular has been a significant focus for him in the last year. With this technical skill, Frank intends to go more surreal and impressionistic in the future, obtaining some of his inspiration from his travels in Europe where Frank Zgonc is a listed artist at the Saatchi Gallery in London. Frank Zgonc has continued to expand his exploration of artistic mediums in the technical realm by producing a valuable source of community and pertinent artistic information expressed through his blog: and he is also a writer with the Metroblogging team where one may follow his escapades at Enjoy a visit to Frank Zgonc’s website at

Additionally, some of the artists exhibiting work at the Monrovia Community Center and or providing demonstrations include some of the following well-known and continuing supporters of the Monrovia Association of Fine Arts: Photographers Doug Gordon, Stephen Coleman, John Houseman and Ginger Van Hook. A variety of watercolor artists include, Betty Glass, Horst Albers, Setsuko Okubo, and Elaine G. Smith. Oil Painters include Roz Newson and Luke Van Hook. Glass artists Christina Hughes, as well as others will be displayed as well as acrylic artist George Schopeck, collage artist Millie Havens, and ceramist Sal Perez.  New artists coming on board are yet to be announced and the event is rallying the whole community to come out to Monrovia Community Center to CELEBRATE THE ARTS!

Monrovia Association of Fine Arts is a nonprofit (501c) corporation with a mission to promote the arts in the local communities. The mission statement is “To enhance the lives of those within our community through interaction with the arts and to increase the opportunities for our children through art education.” Local art is featured in a variety of MAFA supported venues such as the PAINT N PLAY FINE ARTS GALLERY located at (418 South Myrtle Avenue, Monrovia), FOCUS ONE FINE ARTS GALLERY (404 East Huntington Drive, Monrovia), THE AZTEC ART GALLERY (305 West Foothill Blvd., Monrovia), as well as the latest gallery to have joined the art milieu, Route 66 Art Gallery located at 301 W. Foothill Blvd., beside the Aztec Hotel in Monrovia. Art is also displayed on the walls of the popular gourmet sandwich and coffee shop (under new management) at THE MONROVIA COFFEE COMPANY (425 Myrtle Avenue, Monrovia), as well as the very young up and coming artists venue: KIDSART located at (128 East Lemon, Monrovia). California Wine and Cheese, located at 115 W. Foothill Blvd is another special artist venue  and A number of supporting vendors who continue to create an inviting and nurturing environment for the artists and their arts exist all over the Monrovia community.

There you go.  Shameless self-promotion at its best.  I look pretty good in print.  Now come enjoy the show, visit with me and buy something!

Monday, September 15, 2008

"The more you reason the less you create."

Or as another friend of mine put it "plan it too much and you are Martha Stewart". That's not a good thing. The quote in the headline is from one of my favorite writers Raymond Chandler".

Today was one of those days that went sideways early and I just rode with it. I went back down the Orton rode and dug a few pics out of hibernation on the back up drive and decided to work them in that vein. More of them on my flickr Orton set. I think this image is begging to be printed on wet watercolor paper to take it one step further into the impressionists world.

If you want the technical details on how to make them dig around here a few entries back. I've now had a full day, am lazy and ready to kick back.

Enjoy "Fisherman, Bishop Creek" one of 6 I did today.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Icons and stuff

Nothing screams LA or So Cal in general quite like the Palm Tree. Miami tries to use it, but they keep having hurricanes blow them away.

I have a love hate relationship with them. They do bring drama to a skyline. They do symbolize the old Hollywood of myth and romanticism. Unfortunately when a frond decides to fall they can do some serious damage when they hit something. Rats love them for nesting at the top. They make great torches when a bottle rocket hits them igniting all the dried stuff.

As always this was shot RAW, 3 bracketed frames. Photomatix was used for the HDR file generation and tone mapping. The final wash for the unnatural saturation of the old cibachrome stuff was done with the help of Virtual Photographer.

Am in full prep mode. Processing images then printing. Soon is framing and matting time...ugga.

Don't forget, mark your calenders for the Monrovia Association of Fine Arts Celebrate the Arts on October 11 & 12. At the community center across from the Library Park in Old Town Monrovia on Palm Avenue. I'll have a lot of what you have seen the last few weeks at the show.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Man vs Nature, Biege vs color and stuff

A theme I revert to from time to time is Man vs Nature. Recently we were up in Oxnard for a Basketball Tournament and I had some spare time to wander about Rio Mesa HS campus where the tournament took place. I struck me for the first time that so many schools are boring beige and lifeless. The only color and vibrancy comes from nature surrounding the school.

What was bothersome comes from a blog I read recently from this individual who is very left of liberal. She was on a roll about schools housing children. I disagreed, "housing" implies that parents turn their kids over to the school district for warehousing and brainwashing (the comment wasn't published even though I was neither profane or rude, just disagreed). I believe schools are our partners in educating our kids, it is still the parents job to instill the values they believe are needed for them to be productive thinking adults. This warehousing and beige world bothered me. The brilliant lone green tree seemed to strike that contrast between Man, nature, home and school.

This image was shot bracketed 2 stops +/- from average. The RAW files were put through Photomatix HDR file generation. The image was then tone mapped and run through virtual photographer for that saturated other-worldly color you can only get on Cibachrome.

Enjoy "Color in a Beige World".