Monday, January 31, 2011

Art Enables Us to Find Ourselves

Name Today: Perth
Today I get to: watch Merlin

There is magic in the wild places of the world

The above photograph was taken in Great Britain, during the coldest & wettest day of a 8 day trek through the Scottish Highlands. I've been more than a dozen times to Britain, but even so, it calls to me still. There is something so very intriguing about an isle full of legend, mystery and above all, magic. You can feel it when you walk the old tracks or stand in a stone circle. It's palpable. Every since I was a little girl, I was enthralled by the stories and legends of Merlin. I read everything I could get my hands on, including Mary Stewart's Arthurian Saga, The Mists of Avalon and Morte D'Arthur. I even named two of my cats Merlin and Morgana. 

I have been re-watching episodes of Merlin, a British television series that my mom and I began watching together back in 2008. It's now showing in the USA on the Syfy channel, currently on the third season with a fourth season scheduled to begin filming soon. I love it. The relationship between a young optimistic boy named Merlin and the young, brash & arrogant Prince Arthur is hilarious and charming. There is also the "it can never be" relationship between the maidservant Guinevere and the future King of Camelot. And, lordy, when Lancelot shows up, well...he's hot. ☺
In addition, STARZ will soon begin airing a series on Camelot! Oh goody! More magical nights, more nights of my hubby reminding me I'm a big dorkasaurus. It's true, but I love hanging out in the dork forest. :)

I'm always inspired in my art by legends and folklore. I'm currently reading The Book of English Magic, a historical look at magic throughout England. There is so much I didn't know! The introduction alone was full of information and inspired the above piece. I'm only a few chapters in and already my creative brain is on overdrive! I'm being led to art and art will always allow me to find myself. As January comes to an end, the door to February opens and new pathways, new ideas and new creative goals come forth. 

Where will February's path lead you?

Into the Dork Forest I Go!

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Hackney Carriage Series

London is the city I most love to photograph "on the street". It's hustle, bustle of life is evident on nearly every corner. One particular corner, between Hyde Park and Green Park is a favorite of mine to snap photographs of unsuspecting Hackney Carriage Drivers. Yes, I could just use "Taxi Drivers" but what fun is there in that? I prefer British much more lively! Sometimes, I snap a most interesting expression and imagine what they are thinking as they round that corner I'm standing on.
So, without further ado, my Hackney Carriage Series:

 "God, I can't wait until I can retire"

 "Sunshine, lollipops and rainbows" 

 "Hope the wife is making Shepard's Pie tonight"

 "If this chap doesn't stop chatting, he's going to have a date with my wood chipper!"

"This is the shittiest undercover job the MI5 has ever assigned to me!"

"Whoa, hot girl in a short skirt!"

A few years ago I did a "Hyde Park Joggers" series, before photography became a hobby. You can see some of them on Flickr. Ocassionally it's fun to just be silly with the camera and not worry about composition, lighting or depth of field. Sometimes, you just have to let go and snap away! :)

Friday, January 28, 2011

Instant Relatives

For years now I have collected vintage images. It all started with a purchase of this particular French Risqué postcard from 1903:

From that one purchase came a desire to root around in dusty stacks of unknown faces, some yellowing with age, some scarred by time. I wonder of their stories, what tragedies did they witness, what love did they experience. I find that the photograph usually chooses me.  Here are a few of my more recent finds:
As soon as I saw this one I knew these little rascals would be coming home with me. One of the boys reminded me of Neville Longbottom from Harry Potter and another of Ron Weasley. Can you guess which ones?

I love this portrait of three siblings, dressed in uniforms. The girl is portraying Mignon, a gypsy from a popular Opera during the time. I have dozens of images of Edwardian women and girls portraying Mignon and are among the favorites of my collections.

She's so fashionable, what with a dead animal over her shoulder and all, but she seems so bored with her life. Perhaps she dreams of escaping to a more exotic land.

I also like to collect images to use in digital art and to share with other artists. I have many vintage images that you can use for free in your artwork in my DeviantArt Gallery. Here is a sample of one that is available for download:
I love collecting anything that depicts the fashion of the time and wedding photographs are a perfect example!

And finally, an image I created recently for the cover of a blurb book I'm putting together called My Secret Garden.

Maybe sometime, fifty years from now, someone will collect images of us and we'll become their instant relatives. Ya just never know! :)

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Nature's Painted Birds and a little Keira Knightly

I realized that if I had to choose, I would rather have birds than airplanes. ~ Charles Lindbergh

Name Today: Kismet

Today I get to: Reserve tickets to see Keira Knightly and Elisabeth Moss in The Children's Hour at the Comedy Theatre in London! The most exciting moment of my day were the words "seats confirmed"! :)
In 2009 I saw Keira on the London stage in the comedy The Misanthrope. I'm a huge fan of Moliere and she totally did the playwright proud. She was beyond adorable and you could see the excitement she felt being on the London stage for the first time. And Elisabeth Moss is a bonus! Charlie and I watch Mad Men and Elisabeth's character of Peggy Olson is my favorite. How exciting to get to see her perform live as well!
The play also stars Ellen Burstyn (one of my all time favorite movies is Same Time Next Year) and Carol Kane who I LOVE!!  I can hardly stand the wait! :)

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Scotland's Favorite Son

It's Robbie Burns Day! Thus a post to honor Scotland's favorite son, Poet Robert Burns:

I took this photograph at the Kelvingrove Museum in Glasgow. It is an oil painting by Thomas Faed called "Highland Mary".
It depicts an imaginary meeting of Mary Campbell and the poet Robert Burns, the author of Auld Lang Syne. She was to have accompanied him to the West Indies, but her premature death cut short their courtship.

O my luve's like a red, red rose.
That's newly sprung in June;
O my luve's like a melodie
That's sweetly play'd in tune.
As fair art thou, my bonnie lass,
So deep in luve am I;
And I will love thee still, my Dear,
Till a'the seas gang dry.
Till a' the seas gang dry, my Dear,
And the rocks melt wi' the sun:
I will luve thee still, my Dear,
While the sands o'life shall run.
And fare thee weel my only Luve!
And fare thee weel a while!
And I will come again, my Luve,
Tho' it were ten thousand mile!
~Robert Burns

Monday, January 24, 2011

Painted Pages

Finally! Here are all the painted pages of my Sketchbook that I submitted for the Sketchbook Project.
Since I chose paint as my medium, I had only a few pages to produce images for my theme Below the Surface.
I will definitely participate again this year but with two differences: I will sign up sooner so I have more time to work on it and I will only use pencil, sketching all 140 pages. Now, that's a challenge!

Although I ran out of days and therefore spent less time on the last few pages, I was still pleased that I had finished it and mailed it out to be part of the collection at the Brooklyn Museum of Art. It was hard to let it go as it's the first sketchbook I've actually filled and completed! I have so many started, none finished. So here's a toast to actually finishing one! :)

Sunday, January 23, 2011

A Still Life Sunday

Still Life Seashells

It was a "still life" Sunday. Saturday was a long day on Key Biscayne with Lita where we roamed the Renaissance Fair, took a stroll along the beach to the Cape Florida Lighthouse and people-watched at Starbucks. Thus, today I became a "still life" myself, not having any energy left to do much but lay around on the couch and watch football. I do have a plan tonight to process my scanned images of the last pages of my sketchbook for the Sketchbook Project and get them up here on my blog tomorrow but for now, here are a few more images from yesterday's outing: 
Little Monkey 

Unusual Creatures
(pic by Lita, processed by me)

Medieval Weaponry

Well, Hello There!

 Fishing off the Seawall

Here are a couple more shots taken with the Lensbaby Fisheye:

 Oh Happy Day!
(the fisheye makes it look like a large round head, the ocean his blue cap!)

Cape Florida Lighthouse 

And finally, a self portrait in a dirty lighthouse window (hey! dirt makes a great natural texture!):

In the Lighthouse Window

For those readers who are up North in the cold winter, I hope these few beachy shots warm you up a bit! :)

Lines and Shadows

A few lines and shadows taken during an outing to Key Biscayne with Lita

Seawall Fence

Bricked Shadow

Fisheye Fence taken with the Lensbaby

Fishing Net against Brick Wall