Friday, April 15, 2016

Horse Painting


So I haven't been doing a lot of photography lately(though I do have new stuff from Ireland last year that I will post soon). I have, however, been working on painting quite a bit in the last two years. Unfortunately, I have been in a bit of a frustrating slump in the last month or so - basically hating everything I worked on. Finally, I made something that I'm halfway happy with. 

I decided to try my hand at a horse painting - a subject I love to photograph. The above photo shows the current state of my painting. I'm pretty surprised I like it, as I don't normally like painting with reds and oranges. Here's a few work in progress photographs:


Day 1. First I painted the background with acrylic paint. A lot of purple and tan. After that dried, I spent some time studying it while turning it upside down, 90 degrees, etc. I've been trying to exercise the ability to see shapes or picture in my abstract backgrounds - ideas that I want to bring forward into the final painting. I did see the partial image of a horse's jaw and mane hidden in the background, and decided that's what the painting would be(sorry, I didn't take a photo of this step - not sure if anyone else would've seen the horse or not). Next up browns and tans, trying to bring the horse to life. The jaw(mandible?) is wrong here, but sometimes I need to step back, photograph the work, to figure out what's not working. I ended the day here. Don't feel I'm out of the slump yet, but much happier than I'd been for a while with my paintings. 



Day 2. I had two goals on day two. I wanted to fix the proportion issues, and I wanted to brighten the painting(I just wasn't in the mood for browns and dark purples). Here's how I ended day two. I felt it was better... but still not happy with it, and still not feeling out of the "I hate everything I've done" slump.

Horse in oil 36x36

Day 3. I decided that part of my "I hate everything I've done" slump was that I just wasn't liking the look of acrylic paint. I missed the richness of oils. I really try to like acrylic - you can do some amazing things with it. One of my favorite things with acrylic is dripping paint - and I've yet to find a way to satisfactorily mimic that in oil. So I keep trying to like acrylic... and just keep coming back to oil.  
Anyway, due to my frustration with several of the paintings I've been working on, I decided to just play with this one a bit, and see what happened. First off, I used oil sticks with the lovely yellow, and some blue. I was starting to like it. Then I got my regular oils out, and put a glove on, and decided to "finger paint" - meaning I didn't use a brush, just my hands and occasionally a palate knife. I started with the background, greens, oranges, some cold wax, and even sand for texture. Didn't really like it, so I scraped most off at one point and started over. Then I moved to the horse. I used that gorgeous red color - a color I have previously avoided in paintings, as I normally don't like it. Here, this time, it spoke to me - made me happy! Some purples, blues, yellows, and greens later - I'm liking the horse, so I go back to the background. Finally, I'm done, as the paints too wet to do any more without making a mess. But, at this point I decided the edges were all to "sterile"... I don't know how else to describe it - I wanted it to be more free and less "perfect" so I just kinda smeared it with my hands - outward from the horse. Finally! I like something I'm working on, again. It's a nice feeling! I haven't decided if I'm done yet. Time will tell!




Tuesday, July 28, 2015

New work on my website - Ireland


Hello all!

I've not been on here recently, but have been slowly going through my photographs from Ireland. I do always tend to take a while to work through my photographs, as I like to get some distance from the original experience to make sure that my love for an photograph has more to do with the photograph and less to do with the experience I had taking the photograph. Meaning if I had a blast while exploring a ruin I might be more inclined to love the photographs because they were fun to make. Or if I had a lousy time taking the photographs I might be inclined to dislike the photographs based on the experience. If I put some time between me and the experience, I feel like I can be more objective in my editing, and hopefully release better photographs to the world then I would otherwise.

Hopefully you will agree and enjoy this new gallery, (not very creatively titled) "Latest Work".


Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Back from Ireland


So it's been a bit quiet here on the blog, part of the reason is that I've been out of the country. Between the trip, and prep for the trip, and now recovery from the trip, I've been a little busy!

So about the trip... I was in Ireland for two and a half weeks. We traveled much of the country and saw many amazing things. Such a beautiful landscape, and depending on where you were, it could change drastically from the landscapes seen elsewhere in the country. I'm still working away at going through my photographs from the trip, and here's a sneak peak of one that I'm fond of.

This was taken right after we arrived on Inishbofin Island(on the west coast of Ireland) via ferry. The weather was extremely windy, and the sea very rough(there were waves above the roof of the ferry!) and I did find it a bit terrifying. However, when we docked I saw this out the window of the ferry. I was in a hurry to get on land and take the photograph before either the sheep moved out of sight, or the sliver of sunlight on the grass disappeared!

I will be posting more from Ireland as I make my way through the photographs. I hope you all are doing well, and that your Summer(for the those in the northern hemisphere) is going well.

Thursday, April 9, 2015

Working on Painting - Namib Desert

18x24 Oil painting

So I mentioned earlier this year that I was going to be painting this year. I've actually made a few that I kind of like now, including the one above. (ignore the shadow at the middle top of the painting - it was being cast by the easel). 

So what do you think? Anybody else out there working in multiple mediums?  Do you think it helps or hurts to work in other mediums than photography?

Monday, February 23, 2015

Plans for 2015

So it's almost two full months in 2015, and it's about time I start working towards my goals for the year. Last year was a rough one for me with things going on in my personal life. I didn't get my goals accomplished. I suffered from a dis-interest in photography for much of the year, and even thought about giving it up. It was still my best year yet in photography sales, but I didn't do much photography. Two very short trips, to Ely, MN, and the North Shore of Lake Superior were all.


Since I was actually thinking of giving up photography, I spent some time thinking about what was important to me. Sometimes, especially if we sell our art, the pressure can start to be a bit much. You feel like you always have to be at a certain level, and if you aren't at that level - self-doubt can kick in. Especially, if you are already having a tough time.

To make things easier on myself, I decided to scale back some. This year I want to focus on writing some. Here at my blog, and hopefully, I'll be writing some guest articles. I've got one in the works, and will let you all know when it's published. I'm also looking for other opportunities if you know of them!

I'm also planning to finally finish some of the photography e-books I've been working on. I've been asked before to teach photography, and in my quest to make things easier on myself I will be doing that through books rather then workshops or classes at this point.

My biggest goal of 2015 will be to bring back fun to my photography. With the pressure of selling my work, and wanting to create something meaningful, sometimes I forget to have fun with it. A little secret - I tend to be weirdly competitive and have high expectations of myself - which sometime takes the fun out of things. So in that effort I got a lensbaby camera for Christmas that is a lot of fun to use, and hoping that when the weather warms up a bit, I'll be out using it.

I do have travel plans this year, and am extremely excited about them. Of course, the photographs will make it here to the blog.

So here's hoping for a great 2015! Do you have plans this year?  Improving, or simplifying? Or both?