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.

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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.

 

What’s an Original?

Alexa and Jack
Six original prints of mine framed and used in a wonderful dining room setting by a client who purchased the work from a gallery in Lambertville, NJ.

Once in a while a visitor will enter my booth at a show and ask me if my prints are originals. The question is a good one. I’m surprised I don’t get asked about it more. I make images with the goal of making high-end, archival, pigment-based inkjet prints (also called giclees). These types of prints are purchased from the best galleries and collected by the most prestigious art museums.

An original giclee print is one which is either made by the artist or under their direct supervision/authorization. Giclees are made either to be unique (edition of one), part of a “limited edition” (limited to a specified number), or as an “open edition” (limited only by when the artist decides to no longer release prints). Regardless of the edition size, all prints made by, or with an artist’s authorization, are considered to be originals. I prefer that an artist’s original prints be signed, numbered and have accompanying certificates of authenticity. This provides the collector with the desired provenance to assure that they are purchasing original artwork and not a reproduction or fake.

When a collector purchases my prints, they are most likely dealing directly with me through my gallery on-line, or in person at a show. The certificate of authenticity which provides title, medium, dimensions, and my signature guarantees that a print is an original and may be purchased with confidence. I also recommend that buyers keep the receipts of a purchase with the artwork in case of future resale or donation of a piece.

All of my paper-based giclee prints are made in my studio by me using archival pigment-based inks on a high end Epson Professional printer. I am personally responsible for quality control and authorization to release any print to the public. I also do all of the print mounting, matting and framing which is done to conservation standards with acid-free materials and UV-Protective glass. Importantly, I also make sure that the presentation choices I make as far as mounting and matting are reversible so that owners may re-mount and mat a print if need be.

 

What is an image about?

Three's Company

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” Limited Edition – almost sold out

Three's Company

Three’s Company, an image I 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.

 

 

 

Just Sing

I enjoy hearing from collectors about how they live with my work. A recent purchase from my gallery online was for an image of a Blue-Gray Gnatcatcher. It isn’t a picture about the bird however. It’s an image about joyful singing on a beautiful spring day. After Donna C. from New Jersey received her matted pigment print she sent an email to thank me and to let me know “that beautiful singing bird is looking great in my music studio (where I teach voice)!”

In my work the content of the images are rarely what the image is about. I’m more interested in the meaning of the objects in an image, what they stand for, or the emotion they elicit. Birds may serve as metaphors for many things, but joyful singing certainly seems like a good one.

Just Sing