Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Sometimes I Long for the Old Days

Sometimes I long for the old days. With photography, that is.

In many ways, digital photography has been a real blessing -- no film, no processing, no darkrooms, instant results (if the pic didn't turn out, you can do a re-shoot on the spot). And, of course, the images are immediately website/Internet-friendly with minor tweaking. Even infrared photography is so much easier to deal with, as in the following picture:

infrared,ir,photography,desert,Joshua Tree National Park

What bothers me is: all of the 35mm cameras and accessories that are just sitting in a large camera bag and a box. I put a LOT of money into getting the best items that were available for my Minolta X-700 (and XGM) cameras, including zoom lenses, fixed-focal lenses, closeup extension bellows and two lenses to use with it, slide copier... I never totalled up how much $$$ I spent on all of it. But now it all just sits there.

Meanwhile, I'm using digital cameras that were affordable and they do the job (mostly), but they can't begin to compare in quality to my 35mm setup.

Oh, well. There's a season for everything, I guess. Maybe someday the 35mm season will return.

Friday, September 19, 2014

Goin' Down a Side Canyon

Goin' down a side canyon. Wow -- ah reckin' that sounds all western 'n' such -- something a desert/western landscape artist would do.

No -- in this case, it's about developing alternative ways of selling art-related items.

Arizona, Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument, desert, western, landscape, paintings, impressionism, impressionist, digital manipulation

Does this look like impressionism to you? I hope it's close. Impressionism seems to be the favorite art style in southern California, along with abstract and all kinds of avant garde stuff. Frankly, sales of traditional landscapes just don't happen around here.

So I'll continue to paint desert and western scenes as time allows, but I've been thinking: I've got literally thousands of 35mm slides and color negatives of places we've visited over the years. I don't have a high-quality film scanner, so I would not be able to achieve high-resolution digital images to make into posters.

But I do have software called PhotoPlus (from serif.com), similar to Adobe PhotoShop. It has many features I've rarely used -- maybe I need to start!

As in the above image. It's my painting, A Place of Wonder, that I turned into an impressionistic artwork by the mere click on a button.

Arizona, Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument, desert, western, landscape, paintings, impressionism, impressionist, digital manipulation

I figure I can mask the relatively poor resolution of the scan of a slide using the effects and then make it large enough to produce a print -- which I would do via print-on-demand services such as FineArtAmerica.com and deviantArt.com (no link directly to my work at this time). And this way, I can offer low-cost alternatives to original pieces that maybe are too realistic and detailed for some folks, anyway.

I have a number of effects and alterations available to me besides the "impressionistic" one you see above. The "Watercolor" option gives a blurry, dreamy effect that I like -- but probably not for desert scenes. But a redwood forest...o-o-h-h, yes!

And if this works beyond my wildest dreams, I know of software I can buy at a discount (being a P/T college professor and all) that would expand my horizons even more! But first things first.

I already have the slides and computer tools I need to do this -- good, since we're pretty low on $$$ right now. Wish me luck on this side canyon excursion.

Sunday, September 14, 2014

The Holidays Are Comin', the Holidays Are Comin'!

Sometimes, when it gets to be around mid-September, I start to wonder if I'm part bird or something. I can't say I have a migratory instinct, but an excitement over the time of year seems to well up within me. Autumn (even if autumnal equinox hasn't hit yet) tends to put me in high gear. Just the thought of fall colors, Jack O' Lanterns, pumpkins, turkeys and Christmas flood my mind, and I get images of the beauty of this time. And it makes me want to paint artwork that shows what's in my head.

You may remember I essentially gave up hope of ever deriving a steady income from the sale of paintings. They just ain't being snatched up for whatever reason. But I have had the idea of developing an end-of-the-year holidays book -- possibly an e-book -- illustrated by me, painted during the height of the appropriate holiday when I'm feeling the most excited about those days.

So -- definitely Halloween, Thanksgiving and Christmas. No New Years -- I tend to go into a funk after Christmas, and New Years finalizes the season too much. Hanukkah -- maybe. I'm not Jewish, but I've had SO-O many Jewish friends over the years (and even some Jewish girlfriends) and had been invited to Hanukkah parties and stuff -- I may include this celebration in the book as well. As for Kwanzaa -- I'm considering it, but I have absolutely no childhood memories or associations of Kwanzaa, so it would be hard for me to develop meaningful images of this time. It might increase my audience, but ... I dunno... I think I'm done painting for the market anymore.

Admittedly, the "holidays book," as I call it for now, has been in my head for years, and progress toward it has been slow. I don't know if I'm just old, out of shape, not exercising enough, or what -- but I just don't have the energy I used to have to do things like this. Maybe I'm just tired of art, period -- let's face it, I've had more negative than positive experiences with the art world, and it's possible I'm just fed up. Lost interest. Long-term depression (which I do struggle with). Utterly discouraged -- can't quite put my finger on the problem.

Well, let's hope I'll be able to get some work done on this project, although I don't think I'd ever make much money on an e-book like this, and painting isn't fun enough anymore to be a reward in itself. But let's hope, anyway.

Monday, September 1, 2014

A Season of Gold

A Season of Gold -- that's an apt description of the Colorado mountains when autumn hits! It's also the title of my latest painting, which I started months ago but had to set aside because of my summer teaching schedule.

Sneffels, Dallas Divide, Colorado, fall, autumn, aspen, leaves
A Season of Gold, 16" x 20"
The view is of Mt. Sneffels as seen from the Dallas Divide. This region lies between Ridgeway and Telluride, Colorado. (Ralph Lauren has a place somewhere out here -- the Double RL Ranch).

Those reddish shrubs out there could be a bright red, but for whatever reason, whenever I paint them that way, the red seems to kill the paintings. I'm gonna have to play with that some day so that I can put in all the fall color that this magical place produces.

I wanna go back there again. And stay there throughout the peak color time -- from mid-late September. (It doesn't last long in Colorado, but often, more color can be found simply by going lower in elevation).

Some day!