Thursday, November 29, 2012

right under my nose

solutions, that is.
I have often used the excuse of "I'm not a photographer, I am a painter" for the poor quality of my jpegs of my paintings and yet, simple solutions were not so far off, given I'd slow down long enough to listen and think a few things through.

First I'll show an example of a three paneled, twelve foot long painting, depicting cypress with gold leaf overlay.
This would be an example of my modus operandi, or me being too lazy to take the time to a) focus the camera, b) figure out some proper lighting and c) being in a rush plus lacking space or a designated spot at the studio. (sorry, that's three things all smushed into "c".)
Fact of the matter is, most working art studios are limited on space and one does what one can.

Yes, I know that dropping this image into photoshop is an option and I use it frequently, but if time and care are taken at the front end of photography, the tinkering is cut down, dare I say sometimes eliminated if the correct methods are utilized up front. Plus, it goes against my instincts to take a photo and then doctor it so much digitally, that I must ask myself, is this really what I 'm seeing when I look at my painting?

Moving right along:

The second example is the same three paneled painting, the photo taken in the same area of the studio, utilizing some very simple solutions.

of course I am aware that this is not a professional studio shot, of which I don't have the time or pocketbook. Most working artists don't, so the most important thing was to use the best gadgets, help and advice to improve what I could, and spend as little money as possible. 

The hot spot of light, in the top middle or so of the painting is indicative of the nature of the gold leaf. Unfortunate as it is, what brings luster to the painting is also extremely difficult to photograph. I've had the metal leaf paintings photographed by professionals, and alas, there doesn't seem to be a magic bullet to correct this problem. So, I write it off as another beautiful problem with taking images of the metal.

So, circling back round to the photo session this week, to attempt to produce a usable image, with out having to spend or haul large paintings around to photo studios,  I present exhibit A:
I bought two of these, super simple to use lights. they've got a switch on the back that lets me switch from bright to super bright and when pointed toward the ceiling, the light bounces off and does a lovely job illuminating the area in which the subject resides, without being pointed directly at said subject. I also hung an additional white panel directly behind the painting as well as made sure that the image was shot during day light hours to utilize any naturally occurring light available.

Of course, it would just be plain wrong not to mention that the improved photo was taken by a friend with a " real" camera attached to an actual tripod, but since my photography skills are laughable, I'm not going to start writing anything about aperture or shutter speed (is that the same thing?)to name two. 
I will stick with what I know:

I bought two bright lights and took a better picture.

Yay for me.

(and good thing I have friends with nice cameras and talent)

Friday, November 23, 2012


Surges of productivity are something I relish. I've never had a hard time with it- the productivity I mean. If anything, I have to remind myself to pull away from the easel, and the studio to get back to other necessities. Kids, house, weed pulling, grocery shopping. The daily ephemera.

J.R.R. Tolkein wrote: "that shimmer of suggestion that never becomes clear sight, but always hints at something deeper, further on."

His suggestion of creating something more that what we see intrigues me. I take the message as an impressionistic artist might: my vision.  The image I strive for in my painted canvas is not one of realism. Reality is the reason I have a camera, or I look to others photography for that image.
It's the non reality I want.

It's more fun there anyway.