One of the things I really enjoy about living in this part of the country (north-central PA), is having four distinct seasons. So when I received an inquiry from a customer about doing a four-seasons arrangement with trees being prominent, I was very pleased. My client had already selected three pieces from my gallery on-line and wanted me to work up some options specifically for spring. After sending her several thumbnail images, she made her choice. But still a bit uncertain, she needed something else.
It always helps to be able to visualize an art arrangement on a wall, so I sent her a mock -up image of the pieces she selected. Not only did she have a better sense of how the selection would look together, she loved my specific arrangement. As an artist, it is rewarding to me that I can both create works that speak to people, and assist in how they will live with the art they purchase.
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 sometimes feel transported back in time by the simplicity of the rural landscape around me. I can imagine that it is the middle of the Nineteenth Century with no wires, no automobiles, no cell towers. On a wintry day with snow on the ground, the landscape becomes even more stark. Working with the most modern of photographic tools, I still felt compelled to create a monochromatic piece suggestive of old glass-plate days and wonky lenses.
It’s always exciting and fun to have a new project for a client. This current request for a four seasons collection had me considering works depicting spring trees. The image making process for me is always intense, so each trip through my collection of images brings back memories and emotions.
This image was made in Bucks County, PA early in the morning from a position where I could place the sun behind the early spring buds. Their rich colors were emphasized by the the back lighting, a polarizing filter, and contrast development in Lightroom.
It’s kind of nice to be thinking about spring on a cold, windy winter day.
My ongoing photographic series on barn cats continues with this new image of Peanut. Sometimes, the personality of an animal just strikes a chord. Peanut seems to engage in behaviors that scream cuteness. She finds ways of putting herself into places and situations that are associated with innocence and youthful curiosity.
One of the nice things about this project for me is that I live with this small colony of cats on a daily basis. I get to experience their antics and make use of those experiences to create images that speak to larger concepts.
This image is the result of both my relationship with this cat colony, and an understanding of this particular kitten. My goal with this project is to create imagery that speaks to human emotions as experienced through other animals. Whether it is a kitten curled up in a bowl or a human baby curled up in a basket, the emotions are the same.
I had initially approached this situation on my stomach working eye-to-eye as I typically do in this project. But I realized that the true impact I wanted would best be achieved looking down on Peanut and graphically using the roundness of the two bowls. Roundness is a soft shape which is consistent with the desired feeling I wanted in the image.
Peanut and the Bowl is now available as a Limited Edition pigment giclee print from my gallery on-line.
For the last few years, I have been working with the cats that live on our farm to create images that speak to their lives and personalities. I’ve been trying to make images that are authentic, honest, and representational of their hardships, and everyday lives. The work I have been offering as prints as part of my “Barn Cat Series” have been well received. This year, one of my favorite barn inhabitants gave birth to a wonderful little girl that has been an absolute delight. We have named her Peanut. She is tiny for her age and engages in behaviors that literally have made me laugh out loud.
I keep a close eye on her to see what new adventures and discoveries she might have. To create images that are personal and of her world, I must work at ground level. When possible I like to be at a level even a little below hers, as when she is on a raised garden bed, or porch. Sometimes however, emphasizing her small size by working from above is the best way to speak to her vulnerability.
At some point every artist grapples with the question of what is art. I’ve had several working definitions which have ultimately been less than satisfactory. As I have spent more years in the creation of new works, and have read more about art history and theory, I have become more ambivalent as to whether a definition of art is even possible.
One aspect of making art that has really struck me is how dependent I am on having creation time. When I go too long without making new work, a sort of depression comes over me. I’ve known this for some time, but have only recently tried to figure it out. I have come to the conclusion that two different factors are involved. One is the actual creative process, for me that means the making of new images. Science has already shown that the creation process activates reward centers of the brain. The second factor is the aesthetic pleasure I gain from experiencing the world through the creation process. I need aesthetic experiences! Through the process of making images, I experience the world in an amplified aesthetic way. In fact, I believe this second factor is the driving force for me more than any particular need to create.
For me then, art is the expression of the aesthetic pleasure I gain from experiencing the world through the creation of art! That makes art rather like a tautology.
For the image above, which I made just yesterday, my experience of seeing the sun light reflect and refract through the dew drops was magnificent. As I made each new image I felt exhilarated and a sort of secret satisfaction that I was privy to something unique. It is important to me that my tools don’t get in the way, so for this type of close-up macro work I really enjoy working with Olympus Micro Four-Thirds gear and specifically their 60mm f2.8 macro lens.