During the past 9 months I have been working on a series of images depicting the lives of a group of barn cats residing on a small Pennsylvania farm. There have always been cats in my life and I have found their behavior and beauty a tempting subject for years. I approached this project from a fully visual perspective but can not help be enthralled by their behavioral interactions with each other. I have also become very appreciative of how hard their lives can be even when they are provided supplemental food.
In many ways these cats are living like other wildlife; they are dealing with the elements, sickness, and even predators. I find myself viewing them now as I would have any animal I studied while earning my degree in Psycho-Biology (Animal Behavior). This cat project has become very personal as I have come to know these animals as individuals. Even in what seems like a rather short period of time working with the cats I have seen some come and go, empathized with there feelings of lose and cold, and rejoiced in the new births.
This is a project that will continue over time as the group is a dynamic and fascinating subject for me. I am currently showing a selection of images from this project at Artist’ Gallery in Lambertville, NJ. I will also have several from the series at my regularly scheduled art show events. See my full schedule at http://www.paulgrecianphoto.com.
One of the wonderful things about interacting directly with the collectors of one’s work is that you learn so much from the exchange. I introduced two new works, landscapes, at a Wilmington, Delaware show in July. The images were variations of a single color image that I made in Acadia National Park, Maine. Both images were in black and white and were part of a series of six Artist’s Proofs that I had printed in an attempt to decide how the edition would look going forward.
Ultimately, I decided to offer each of the six proofs and then decide which would be used to make the regular edition. I liked all six interpretations of the image and was comfortable hanging two of them together to express some of the creative process. A couple who collects my work liked the two pieces I exhibited. As we talked, I told them that there were four other interpretations. Their response surprised and excited me. We want all of them then, they said. So the group of six Artist’s Proofs will hang together in one private collection and on one wall. I delivered the works to Artists’ Gallery in Lambertville, NJ where I exhibit my work.
I am thinking now though that the exploration process in the developing and printing of new work can become an interesting and even desired body of work in its own right. When I am convinced that multiple interpretations of a single image are all valid or pleasing to me, I will now consider making those works available as well. Sometimes the “bigger picture” is made up of a group of smaller pictures, even when the base image is the same.
This month started out with me still in the midst of a 9-day long event – the Kutztown Folk Festival. It ended with the news that a show I had been producing with other artist friends would have to be cancelled. In between I did two other events, one out by Penn State, the other in Wilmington, Delaware. None of them went exactly as I had hoped, all of them were great fun and important learning situations.
It has been a long month, a second full moon (“Blue Moon”) in a way symbolizes that. A lot of good came from this July – good sales, good times with friends, good ideas from collaborations. Even with the cancellation of Art Melange for August, I am moving on with the work I would have presented there and with the idea of artists taking control of their own exhibitions and sales.
I spoke with a newspaper reporter yesterday by phone about our cancelled show and after hanging up with her I felt even more determined to make it happen some time in the future.
Due to zoning issues, the venue is no longer available for our show and so we have been forced to cancel. Very unfortunate change for both ourselves, other artists in the area, and a number of non-profit organizations that have benefited from artist efforts.
During my gallery hosting stint this month at Artists’ Gallery in Lambertville, NJ, I had an interesting discussion with a visitor. She looked at my framed print of Light Path which I had hanging in our center room and asked me if it was an image I made locally. I told her it was made at Acadia National Park and she replied that she thought it was a specific stretch of path at Peace Valley Park in Bucks County, PA. That stunned me because Peace Valley Park is a location that I have been creating images for over 25 years.
This interaction was another confirmation for me that location is not important in the art of photography. What matters is personal vision, personal aesthetics, personal interests and emotion. I knew exactly the path at Peace Valley Park of which she was referring, it’s one I’ve been on many times. I feel that my artistic style was developed at locations near where I’ve lived. So while traveling in Maine, that style was still in play. When I photograph in locations I know well, what I am doing is engaging in an internal exploration more than an external discovery. In Maine, although I discovered many new places to me, my internal experience informed my work and was expressed in the imagery I created.
I will go back to Peace Valley Park often again and as always will discover something new about myself. It’s not about location, the traveling that takes place, the discovery, is all internal.
Light Path is a framed print (16×20) available for $189.00 by contacting me at firstname.lastname@example.org
The opening reception of my two-person show at Artists’ Gallery in Lambertville, NJ was very positive. I was very pleased with the response to this particular body of work which included monochrome and Japanese-inspired imagery.
One of the pieces that sold is a new work I titled Cat Toys. It is an image I made on a very foggy morning and depicts a Catbird on a Black Walnut tree. The large, round, walnuts hang like Christmas balls and made me think of the toys my own cats plays with. The collector who purchased the piece was drawn to it immediately and enjoyed my title choice.
I was excited about this image when I made it and when I printed it for this show, so it was particularly gratifying that it received such a quick sale. The print will be limited to 50 total with the current framed price set at $208.
My show with the magnificent Gail Bracegirdle continues through July 5.
I am in the final printing stage of work that I will be exhibiting at my annual two-person show with Artists’ Gallery in Lambertville, NJ. This year I have teamed up with the amazing Gail Bracegirdle whose work I have admired for years. The name of our show is Observations and touches on the question of whether artists really see the world differently.
The show will be up starting June 4 with a reception on June 6 from 5-8 pm. This show is more about my visual approach than any particular subject matter, so it seems extremely personal to me.