At any given moment, light is messing with you.
Right at this second, what looks normal is a cover for trillions of light particles playing a little dance that human beings cannot see in their conscious realm. Subconsciously, however, we are all affected by the quality of light. As it happens, so is the camera.
I knew I had something in the light. Late afternoon with the falling sun beaming through autumn leaves in their full color had to be excellent shooting. But the initial review of my photographic captures were unpromising, this capture in particular. As I worked with, it became alive. Way down in its pixels the dance of light revealed itself. Cropping the shot to a 1x2 scale gave it a wider panorama. The sun is over my left shoulder, so instead of backlight I have a variation between direct sunlight and shadow. Specks of the blue northern sky show through. This work is in and of itself illustrates the purpose of the computer as an artist's tool - no brush sees what the camera sees, and no lens sees into the subconscious.
This is my 100th work of the year.
There was a clear point in my young life in which I had to choose between graphics, photography and visual arts or writing, journalism and sociology. I went with the latter. Here's why. Richard Nixon.
Perhaps more accurately, Woodstein. Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein changed the world by doggedly pursuing Watergate. I wanted to change the world. The visual arts seemed so easy. How could I change the world doing something so easy.
And so the visual arts became a hobby. But it was always there. Sometimes photography was actually part of the job. Through journalism, community and economic development (and there I first heard the term "damn sociologist) and adult education, I could always go home at night and turn to my art, or go out to capture photographs on the weekend. Peace Corps was just one big photo opportunity for me.
One day it occurred to me to really put the hammer down - treat art like a second job. Stop watching TV so much and sit down at the computer every night, every weekend, and create art. For the past 8 years I have never failed to produced less than 100 works a year; two or three new works a week. Through sickness and health. Change people by giving them a different vision.
How do you think it's going so far?
Here's the thing about autumn works. All these beautiful, irresistible, orange and yellow and red saturated artworks.
It's dying. Everything beautiful is dying and the colors are final, pleading screams.
Is it rage? Is it desperation? Is it confusion? What's the sequence - anger, denial, bargaining, grief, and finally acceptance? No, definitely not acceptance. Nothing is going along with it. Autumn is one, big, bloody brawl for the right to live. Autumn is war. And in the end, of course, Death hurls ice and snow and cold wind as though gloating. Look closely at a blizzard, squint, there's a smile in there just daring anything to try to stay alive.
There's a con job happening here. Life puts up it's Autumn fight, pretends to die, retreats, and when Death drops its guard, sprouts back spreading its gorgeous green everywhere across the landscape. Or is it Death only pretending to be defeated? It too returns. Is it less a war than a dance requiring different wardrobes for different seasons? And how do we fit in?
Now enough of this heavy Zen crap!
I had managed only a handful of fairly poor works centered around animals until May of this year, when two galleries that exhibit my work in St. Louis and Columbia opened shows featuring animals. I found myself floundering - I had only one work I considered exhibition quality, and little opportunity to capture new photographs. What followed was an explosion of creative activity as I dove into my portfolio and began reimagining what I had already done. When this exhilarating time ended I had a good dozen works to show. I chose to frame each on a 1 x 1 scale so they could be easily tiled together to create superb collages, and I titled each to reflect a title or an occupation that befitted the creature in each work.
I've mostly continued that pattern, as represented here. This lovely doe wandered into my backyard where the mulberry fruit falls each summer.
This seemed an appropriate image for my first blog post. Miles and miles I hiked and days I spent scouting the perfect location to capture this lovely doe.
…OK, not really. I was sitting on my deck with a bourbon ice tea when she wandered into my back yard, probably looking for something fallen off the mulberry tree she's standing beneath. I DID have to lean over a ways …
This is a new work - am I allowed to say I'm really happy with it. I was so pleased I produced it immediately as a small 5x7 on an easel. I chose to finish it in sheer glossy, which turned out perfect! It's a striking work on metal, and is currently on display at Capital Arts in Jefferson City, Missouri.
All my life I have had to learn to do things differently. To see the world differently.