As an indie artist I feel it is important to maintain an authenticity in my work that speaks honestly to who I am. In the art world in which I exist, there are many players. It is both a smart business move and my absolute desire to distinguish myself as an artist. When I’m comfortable and confident in the work I am doing I have also been more successful in the art I create.
For me, this image only ever had one interpretation. An independent, self assured, non-conformist who would do it’s own thing regardless of the social pressures put upon it. The title “Be Yourself” came to me quickly. Notice the bird doesn’t completely isolate itself from it’s social system, but neither does it feel compelled to always be a part of the group. It is still close enough to be a part of the picture, but also able to be it’s own…….well, bird.
Like many images I have been making recently, this one was made on our farm. Tall electrical poles and long wires run along the creek at the back of our property. I often watch how various birds use this seating area and how they interact with each other. My university background in Psycho-biology (Animal Behavior) still informs my work. I was initially absorbed with pondering this individualist soul. Rock Doves are very social animals as can be seen by the tight group behavior on the top wire. So what was up with this rebel bird?
After a short while I began to see the scene for its simple geometry. I began composing in my head……….then ran to the studio to grab some gear. I’d need a long lens but one that would give me compositional freedom…..a zoom lens then! Since the sky was overcast, I knew I’d need to over expose the image. I wanted a stark, blank sky anyway so that worked out. Ultimately I printed the image as a black and white on a matte finish paper which gives the piece the character of a pencil drawing.
Its a fun piece, one that I have been offering at shows only since the beginning of June. The response has been interesting eliciting a variety of feelings about it. Some see the individual bird as I do, others as an outcast. Some just feel sorry for the poor thing. It may be a bit of a Rorschach Test type of image. We relate to the bird on the lower wire in our own unique personal-history, life-experience kinda way.
Archival pigment giclee prints are available matted and framed on my website HERE.
I am a big fan of Japanese woodblock prints, especially those relating to nature. The aesthetics of simplicity, muted color, and brilliant use of space (positive and negative), is very pleasing to me. Over the last several years, I have been conscious of my desire to work in a more minimalist style. One way in which I create in that style is with a long telephoto lens. With the narrow perspective and thin depth of field of a long lens I can isolate objects and compress elements within the composition.
This beautiful Weeping Cherry tree is one of my favorite features of our farm property and one which I go to each spring to experience anew. On this overcast April day, I watched a House Finch explore the tree’s bowing branches. The combination of pink flowers and rosy red of the House Finch create a harmonious combination. I composed for a bit of contrasting tonalities in the background and with sufficient negative space on the left to keep the image airy and light.
I like this new piece very much. It represents the direction my work has been heading now for a few years and which I am continuing to build upon. I made the print on a matte paper which maintains the subtlety of tones and softness of the light. It will be introduced this weekend in Timonium, Maryland as I tour with the Sugarloaf Craft Festival.
The finished piece titled House of the Weeping Cherry, is approximately 10×14, double-matted to 16×20 with all acid-free materials, and framed in white with UV-Protective, Reflection-control glass. The Edition is limited to 100 and is part of “The 100” Series, priced at $239.00 framed and $114.00 matted. Both are available at my gallery on-line HERE.
For many in America, the Bald Eagle is the symbol of freedom and strength. These magnificent birds represent both qualities well. They are also however symbols of what happens when Americans stand up to the greed and short-sightedness that causes great environmental harm. Once Endangered, these birds have made a great comeback. They represent a resolute attitude by those who understand that we live on a planet where our actions have consequences. When I see these majestic birds in my own backyard, it gives me hope and a sense of determination to fight so that this experience may be had by our children.
This image is available as archival 7×10″ and 10×14″ Limited Edition prints from my gallery on-line.
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.
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.
What an image is about is not the same as what an image is of. The content of an image, that is, the objects in the image, and what that image means, are not the same. In the image I made titled Three’s Company, the content consists of three cardinals (two males and one female), on a miniature crab apple tree during a heavy winter snow. What the image is about is much more however.
Cardinals are a beloved bird which for many people have a strong spiritual connotation. Cardinals are associated with the spirits of loved ones who have passed. Some of this belief revolves around the behavior of male cardinals being attracted to their own reflection and so appearing to tap on windows. But cardinals are also associated with many sports teams, are the state bird of six states, and generally represent all that comes with the metaphor of “birdness”.
In some ways Three’s Company is about cardinals, their behavior of mating for life, their pleasing song. These characteristics of cardinals though can make this image about relationships, commitment, and joyfulness. But this image is also about the beauty of the colors of red and white when brought together, the sublime feelings of a heavy winter snow storm, the struggle for survival all wildlife faces during the winter. The arrangement of the birds into a triangular form is relevant as well. Triangles are one of the most dynamic shapes in art, creating strong visual movement within the image. And of course the romantic triangle is a strong emotional theme. All of these meanings contribute to the overall feeling of the image. So while Three’s Company is a picture of cardinals in a snow storm, the connection this image makes with my audience goes well beyond it’s content.
Three’s Company, an imageI made on a snowy winter’s day in Bucks County, PA, has become one of my “signature” pieces. A “signature” piece is one that is characteristic of who one is as an artist. It represents one’s style, and the attributes of what the artist is drawn to visually. A “signature” piece is one that is recognizably attributed to a particular creative.
Three’s Company has appeared in newspapers and magazines, as well as on show postcards, but it has been it’s exhibition in gallery and art festival venues that has made it known. Introduced as a Limited art print totaling 500 across all edition sizes, it quickly became one of my best selling works. One size in particular, the 16×20 matted version, has been very popular and is now almost sold out. I have updated my gallery on-line to reflect that only 6 pieces of the original 200 allocated to the 16×20 mat size are left. All six pieces are already framed and ready to ship, any remaining pieces will travel with me during my 2018 show tour (visit 2018 Tour). Other print options in the overall edition size for this image will continue to be available.
A “signature” style is something every artist should strive for. The collection of attributes which define who an artist is as a creator of works is what allows collectors to see the authenticity in the artwork. The image Three’s Company speaks to my style in several ways. It expresses my feelings for, and interest in, nature. It also exemplifies my minimalist aesthetic and my appreciation for the everyday beauty of the world. My imagery is not of exotic lands or dramatic subjects, in fact most of it is created within a small radius of miles from my studio and home. I live an aesthetic life and express that in my work.