The Making of “Opus 1”

Opus I

My approach to the medium of photography is as an artist. Because of this, I try not to have preconceived notions about how photography “should” be done and think instead only of the imagery I want to create. I do however work within the medium to create images that are best rendered as a photograph, not in a contrived way in order to make it look falsely like another medium.

My approach means that the images I create are conceived to be made primarily in the

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Film Projector Lens

field through the use of traditional photographic methods, i.e., camera and lens. For an impressionistic image like the one above (titled Opus 1), I used an old 120mm f1.9 Carl Zeiss Jena film projector lens which had been fitted with an adapter giving it an M42 mount. With that mount, I was able to then add an additional adapter to allow it’s use on a Fuji digital interchangeable lens camera.

As a film projector lens, it has no focusing mechanism, no aperture control, and no way to communicate with the camera. The M42 adapter on the lens has a built in helicoid which allows me to “focus” it buy turning the lens and causing it to be closer to or further away from the camera sensor. With no aperture, the lens is only usable at it’s f1.9 rating. This large aperture means lots of light gets in and  depth of field is very thin. But for me that’s the whole point of using this big, hazy, scratched, and fungus growing, chunk of glass.

The lens is a beast and unruly on a camera, but I feel the rendering matches my aesthetic very well. As I continue to develop a view of the world which is more impressionistic, I find myself wanting to use this lens more and more. For the image above, I had been struggling with modern traditional lenses to isolate flowers in this meadow and simplify the background. The fall off of focus with this projector lens is very sudden and creates a unique type of bokeh that I have not achieved with any other lens.

Many people think that Opus 1 is a painting. I inform viewers that it is in fact a photograph, but one done in a painterly style. By painterly I do not mean the use of artificial brush strokes, but rather an emphasis on color and form instead of linear definition.

 

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First Studio Show –

The first edition of the Shady Grove Farm Open Studio Show was exciting and rewarding for both Linda and myself. On Saturday and Sunday, and in rain and shine, we shared new work, conversation, and experiences in our studios.

Our show of June 9-10 was an opportunity to expose both previous and new buyers to our most important inspiration — Shady Grove Farm. Our farm serves both as the place where we create and prepare our work for buyers from around the country and even around the world. Many of my recent pictures have been created in the meadows and gardens on the farm. In addition, my Barn Cat Series is now going on its third year and has been very well received.

I think it is always interesting to see where artists work and to experience a location that is especially important to driving their creative imagination. Linda and I were able to offer that experience with this first studio and show and now can begin to plan our next! We’re already excited about it. Until then, we have the busiest six month show circuit period we’ve ever scheduled. So, it’s back to the studios for us.

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Early Studio Visitor

Studio Show – First Edition Coming Up

Linda and I are working hard to prepare for our first studio show by preparing new work and the acres of land on our farm. We are very excited by establishing this first show as the foundation for future events at our studios/home/farm.

Studioshow1
Our farm getting some needed renovations to the grounds
1st Annual

Shady Grove Farm Studio Art Show

Featuring Original Fiber art by Linda Doucette

and original Fine Art Photography by Paul Grecian

Saturday

June 9     10am til 6pm

Sunday

June 10    10am til 5pm

Linda and I are very excited to invite you to our first Annual Studio Show! Our old farm house will be turned into an exhibit space. We will have a variety of original works for sale including prints both framed and unframed.

A visit to our farm will also give you a sense of the inspiration we derive from the 7+ acres we live on and the surrounding countryside. And of course you will be able to see our crazy alpacas which provide some of the wool Lin uses in her original felted artworks. Light refreshments will be served. RSVP is not necessary but appreciated! Please call or email for directions. Check our websites for additional information.

Shady Grove Farm – 1st Annual Studio Art Show
2423 State Route 42, Millville, PA 17846  / 215-880-3732

Paul and Linda’s Great Adventure

Paul Grecian and Linda Doucette Present:

1st Annual

Shady Grove Farm Studio Art Show

Featuring Original Fiber art by Linda Doucette

and original Fine Art Photography by Paul Grecian

Saturday

June 9     10am til 6pm

Sunday

June 10    10am til 5pm

Linda and I are very excited to invite you to our first Annual Studio Show! Our old farm house will be turned into an exhibit space. We will have a variety of original works for sale including prints both framed and unframed.

A visit to our farm will also give you a sense of the inspiration we derive from the 7+ acres we live on and the surrounding countryside. And of course you will be able to see our crazy alpacas which source some of the wool Linda uses in her original felted artworks. Light refreshments will be served. RSVP is not necessary but appreciated! Please call or email for directions. Check our websites for additional information.

Shady Grove Farm – 1st Annual Studio Art Show
2423 State Route 42, Millville, PA 17846  / 215-880-3732

 pgrecianphoto@gmail.com / dyeing2weave@hotmail.com


www.paulgrecianphoto.com
/ www.lindadoucette.com

Black Bird – “The 100”

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Black Bird

I am excited to introduce a new image and a new series. This new series is really a new category of art prints which will represent the majority of work I offer going forward. In this series which I have named “The 100”, prints will be limited to 100 total across all edition sizes. If I print in 1, 2 or 3 edition sizes, the total across all of them will be 100. For this new image, Black Bird, I am introducing it as a 9.75 x 13.75 print matted to 16×20 in an edition of 50. Therefore, all other edition sizes will number a total of 50 prints to reach 100.

Black Bird is an image I made early morning during a snow storm this month (it’s been that kind of spring!). Waking up to the snow, I immediately grabbed my preferred gear for tough weather and started driving the back roads around where I live in north-central Pennsylvania.

For this image I was drawn to the line of the trees and the way the snow was covering the branches almost as if the trees were “leafed-out” with white foliage. To me this piece has the feeling of an infra-red image, it is almost surreal. I keyed in on the small figure of a black bird on the top of the central tree and decided to make it the “center” of interest. The bird animates the image, providing a point of empathy, a vantage point that we can relate to. All wildlife allows this type of connection with a landscape, regardless of how small in the frame they are. It was also because of the small size of the bird in the image that I placed it centrally. The arrangement of trees is best in this configuration as well however. I work by gut instinct, intuitively, so I can react authentically and emotionally to a scene.

I used an Olympus OM-D E-M5 Mark II with an Olympus 12-100mm lens. This weatherproof gear gives me great confidence to work in extreme conditions. It is small and light weight and feels very comfortable in my hands. The Olympus 12-100mm gives me a great range of compositional options especially when needing to work from a confined range.

Snowed again!

Freezing temperatures and snow flakes are still finding their way into spring this year. My morning trip to the barn was met with snow covering ground and large flakes in the air. I know it won’t last forever, but I am getting a bit impatient for warmer temps.

I think the local birds have had enough of it as well. Even though I continue to feed them, I think they are also getting impatient. Anyway, I asked this American Tree Sparrow if it wanted more snow. His reply was rather emphatic! Bit of a drama queen I think though, a simple head shake would have sufficed.

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NOOOOOOOO…………..

Listening

Opus IOne of the most rewarding aspects about doing art festivals and fairs is the interaction I get to have with the buyers of my work. These interactions both provide me the satisfaction I seek as an artist and idea’s for how to progress with my art. Sometimes I get requests to print a particular image in a size, or in a way which I hadn’t initially intended.

I listen carefully to these requests and if I think the image will work in the form requested and I believe that the customer will be happy with the result, I will comply. Recently, I have received requests for several images which I offer as prints to be done on canvas in sizes ranging from 15×15 to 20×30.  I hadn’t intended to have these works represented on canvas, nor in the sizes which were requested. But I listen carefully to requests and have come to trust that clients often see a presentation of an image that will be wonderful. Usually I can visualize their request and recognize that their ideas are great. Other times I need to see the finished piece before I am fully convinced.

If a request would take a work in a different direction than I intended, or require an alteration to the piece which I do not feel is consistent with my vision, I will just decline the offer. This occurrence is rare however. Mostly, the requests I receive are for a different substrate for the print (e.g., canvas instead of photographic paper), or a different size (e.g., 20×30 instead of 11×14). If I introduce a piece in which I intend only one representation, then I also have to decline special requests. Often however, I will introduce a new piece with flexibility regarding it’s edition composition and so can accommodate special requests. In these cases, I get to listen. And almost always, I like what I hear.

As an example, I recently introduced a new image which I titled Opus I. I printed this impressionistic and somewhat experimental piece as a 9.75″ x 13.75″ on a matte surface paper, matted to 16×20. I am now fulfilling requests made by two customers, one for a 16×24 canvas, the other a 20×30 canvas. Having just finished wrapping these pieces to ship, I can say with certainty that these two requests were well considered. The result was beyond my expectations. These two customers recognized that a larger presentation would bring forth the qualities of this image that pleased me most.

Opus I was made with a lens I am using for a series of botanicals. The lens is actually meant to be used on a projector, not a camera, but was adapted to work with a modern digital camera. I have been wanting to do more impressionistic works and this odd, heavy piece of glass has become one of my tools.