Friday, December 26, 2008

art, the movie

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

ho ho ho

It's the holiday homestretch and I continue to snap photos like a woman possessed during breaks from shovelling snow (check out our backyard on the left), panicked prepping and general jollity. Even worse: I've got Greg doing it, too. What should I get him for Christmas, d'you think..? I was thrilled to get photos of my favourite local bird, the Northern Flicker, this morning. They turned out well, even through a screened window! Yesterday's excitement was caused by a Red-breasted Sapsucker who showed up on one of the huge trees in our backyard then tried to perform seppuku against the back windows. After twenty minutes in a shoebox in a warm, quiet place he was quite recovered and flew away. Today he brought his mate ... and tried to do it again! Not a quick learner, that one.

I'll be back to painting after the holiday but meantime, one final day of pretending to be a nature photography blog, including a photo of Adam and Jesse being boys. Merry Christmas and a safe and happy holiday to all my blog friends.
Ho ho ho!

Friday, December 19, 2008

indoor distractions

I've finally had a chance to play with my camera (so much for producing and posting about art!), but because of the bitter cold (-7C right now) all my shots have been through the sliding glass door! It's been mostly the juncos and squirrels stopping by to feed and use the water dish that I thaw out with a hot kettle a couple of times a day, though I do have a pair of Steller's Jays perched on my deck as we speak. I'm getting pretty good now at identifying the amazing variation of birds that drop in but today I had a visitor I've never seen before. Bird experts: is this a song sparrow on the left? (More here.)

And from Rudy's Art as Entertainment Department:

Sunday, December 14, 2008

if you can't beat 'em

We had our first dusting of snow last night. It's still only -1C so I put some Zick's suet dough in the suet feeder for the birds this morning and some in a tray on the deck. I give up. If my destiny is to feed the squirrels, then so be it! (Or, as Greg said, "Look! He's already in the roasting pan!")

And speaking of destiny, in this case political, do not miss this. (If only we could just stop Robin Williams from making movies and get him to stick with standup...)

Friday, December 12, 2008

wasting valuable blog time

I'm a meme dropout and my sporadic interest in Facebook means I ignore almost all games and applications. Such a party pooper. But I enjoyed doing the Great Fridge Blog Challenge two years ago, so after admiring the outside of my fridge last week I thought, what about the outside?

Clearly I'm not as organized outside the fridge as I am inside. Here you can see the de rigeur soccer and footy photos, theatre company rehearsal schedule (Adam is in Romeo and Juliet), the recycling and garbage schedule and assorted fridge magnets, but there are a few things actually worth looking at (click to enlarge):
Near the top:

A postcard of Hundertwasser toilets Dinahmow sent me from New Zealand. It's my favourite postcard ever; Hundertwasser is practically my favourite artist and the fact that he designed a public facility is just icing on the cake!

Near the bottom:

Moo In Agony photo. When Adam went on his band trip to Seattle last spring they visited the Experience Music Project. He named his 'band' and is the one striking the rock star pose.

Almost everywhere:

LOLmagnetz. I think I ordered these for Adam the day they were released. Some of the deeply philosophical sayings we've come up with (Adam being the champion LOLpoet):

y u taek mai diabeetus?

moar awsum flavr bukkit plz kthxbai

happy emo maded lazer show

dis interwebs liez!!!!!!

and my favourite:

ur doin it wrong wif ma frozen purrito

Anyone else wanna come out and play? If so, post your link in the comments.


Feelin' Groovy

I think a little psychedelic photoshopping of Jesse and his blankie qualifies for Illustration Friday's topic this week. I probably spent as long photographing and manipulating this as I would on an illustration!

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

me and my camera

When I was 18 there were two things I wanted more than anything in the world: a car and an SLR camera. My boyfriend, Steve, had both and I was green with envy, so I exploited his superior status and knowledge shamelessly. I remember how he'd cringe as I ground the gears of his beatup Datsun 510 wagon while teaching me to drive a stick, and his patience as he schooled me in the finer points of his hand-me-down Konica Autoreflex T.

I first became obsessed with cameras when I was about 10. My dad had a fixed-focus Kodak 35mm camera and even though he rarely used it (like the stereo), I wasn't allowed to use it either. I was almost as desperate for a camera that Christmas as I was for a puppy, but I knew I actually had a chance of getting the camera so asked for the only model in the Sears Christmas Wish Book that was under $10, a Kodak Instamatic 44. It was love at first sight, flashcubes, 126 cassette film and all. The first thing I photographed was my cat, Bimbo (yes, that really was his name). As you can see by the really fine quality of the photo, an artist was born. I wonder if all those years of looking through a square viewfinder is why I prefer to paint using a square format now?

It wasn't until eight years later that I got my second camera, that lusted-after SLR. I had won $500 in undesignated scholarship money (for art) when I graduated from high school so I rationalized that this was an investment in my future as an artist and went camera shopping. With Steve's advice, and the lure of an F1.7 50mm lens, I bought my Konica Autoreflex TC, the analog SLR I still use today on occasion. It's been across North America, moved countless times and been to the four corners (OK, three anyway) of Europe three and a half times ... and keeps on ticking.

This was the bare-bones camera that taught me about photography and allowed me to take pretty-picture photos like this one of Germany's Mosel Valley. But I'd been taught the lessons of thrift thoroughly and found the cost of having film developed and printed prohibitive, so experimentation was verboten. At university I finally had access to a black and white darkroom which I used whenever possible and before long was working part-time at Japan Camera Centre and doing all my own printing. What a revelation that was to me -- like a 1980s preview of Photoshop! And look at what all that freedom did to my sense of decorum and fashion while sweating it out at the printer! :) (Yes -- those really are lavender highlights in my hair.)

Fast forward to 2005 when I finally got a neat little digital camera, and the world was brand new again. I still love my Fuji Finepix S3100 and it has put up with a lot of punishment these past three years. Here I am in Okotoks, Alberta, in the summer with it in front of my face, as usual. But here's the kicker: I had fallen for the camera that took the picture of me taking a picture of it, Michelle's beautiful Nikon D80, and was ready to throw over my faithful companion for a new love. I was 18 again, playing with it every chance I got, and then some, but I knew this baby was way out of my price range.

A chain of events followed that had me buying the well-used but well-loved body of a similar model, a Nikon D70, from Michelle's dead ex-boyfriend's mother (yeah -- figure that out!), then picking up a 55-200 lens on sale at Best Buy. The sad thing is that I have barely had time to look at it let alone play with it yet, but I already love it. Here is my first day trying it at a sporting event, number one son's U17 soccer game. I had to get a photo of a tree, too, of course.

PS I have a car now, too.

Monday, December 01, 2008

food and other art entrees

Now that my commissions are done I'm scrambling to catch up with the rest of my life, so I'll hand the reins over to Rudy:

vegetable re-creations of famous works

more food art
(What is it about food art? Is it because so many artists are starving?)

odd landscape materials

free Photoshop style software

one of my students calls this "MS Paint on Acid"

celebrity art