Monday, March 29, 2010

Back on Track

Into the light and out of the darkness. What seemed like it would last forever has now come to an end. I have finally broken through my creative block. You have no idea what a relief that is. It's a bit like the feeling that we get when the first signs of Spring appear or when the sun comes out after a long period of gray days.

Being out of practice for the way that I create my work has a good and bad side to it. The bad is that it takes longer to figure out what works best for my setups. The good is that these are the times when it's easier to experiment and when wonderful accidents happen.

During the period while I was having my creative block, I was not liking a lot of the work that I had created. It was an awful feeling. It's one thing to get bored with one's work but not to like it is another. Relief, relief! Because I haven't looked at a lot of my work for awhile, I can be so much more objective about them. This is definitely a good thing.

Friday, March 12, 2010

Nautilus Shell

This shell has fascinated me for years. One of my professors, years ago, had given me a whole nautilus shell plus two halves. While in Florida, I purchased a pearlized nautilus and two paper nautilus shells. The paper nautilus shells are so thin and fragile that I'm almost afraid to pick them up. I've photographed them straight and am now including them in setups that give them a Daliesque appearance. The shell never bores me.

The odd thing about the work that I am doing now is that they are so much darker in appearance. My past work has been much more colorful with brighter colors. I don't' know if the difference is that my older work usually began with a flower or two and grew from there. I'm always fascinated with how one's inner being leads us along the creative path.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Creative Block

This topic has become much too personal for me. In the past, having a creative block was frustrating. In fact, the first one was a bit terrifying as I was convinced, as are so many others, that I would never have another creative thought again. I wasn't even sure what to do about it. At some point, I found that if I went back into my studio, cleaned, reorganized and, finally, just began scribbling on paper, I would suddenly feel the creative ideas begin to sprout. Of course, that was when I did a lot of drawing and painting.

Photography, and particularly the type of photography that I do, presents a different problem. Just taking photos does not bring me back to the creative spot. There has to be a starting point for me and then, if I'm lucky, ideas begin to evolve. When it happens, it is so exciting and energizing. When it doesn't, it makes me want to scream or quit. Well, you say, what kind of a creative soul are you if you just give up? I am definitely not a quitter.

What can cause a creative block? For me, it could be that I've explored the series that I've worked on to the fullest and must now find a new idea for a series. It could be outside situations that cause such turmoil inside oneself that it makes concentrating very difficult. It could be that there are times when one has to make decisions about which direction one wants his or her life to go. No doubt that if you are an actively creative person, you have found something that creates a block for you. During this creative block, I find that all of the above has been part of my lack of imagination. This time, my block does feel permanent. It won't be because I won't let it but the struggle is a difficult one.

If anyone of you who may be reading this has experienced this situation, I would love to have you add your comments, problems, solutions that have worked for you, etc. A discussion is always much more interesting.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Happy Holidays to All!

It's been quite a year, often confusing and upsetting dealing with various things in the art world. Sadly, it was one of the reasons that I have neglected my blog for almost a year. How scary is that!! (Well, I was also immersed in creating and keeping up a blog for my class reunion and that took a great deal of time. Many loved it so I guess it was worth the time and effort.) During this last year, I have wanted to write about many of the things that frustrated me but better sense told me that, perhaps, waiting until I had a less emotional state of mind would be wiser.

Soon, we will be in 2010 and I am looking at the coming year to be full of new beginnings and writing in my blog again. Wishing you all the very best.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009


 As we get older, we come to realize how important families are to our lives.  Families do not always consist of those sharing one's genes.   Friends can become a family also.

As an artist, I come from a family with a long line of creative souls going back as far as great grandparents.  At least, that's as far back as I can go.  My mother was a painter, my brother was a kinetic sculptor, my father was a musician with artistic talents, my aunt (Mother's sister) painted and created water sculptures, two of my three cousins are in the arts (one makes jewelry and the other is a documentary film maker).   My grandmother had to work so when she created, it was through knitting.  My grandfather was an architect.  My great aunt painted and her son was a photographer who also invented the portable strobe and collaborated with Harold Edgerton.  Another great aunt dabbled in metals and her daughter has a wonderful ability to do illustrations with great detail but chooses to do other things.   Great grandfather was a woodworker.  There are others.   We would make a good case for creativity being genetic.

I have a very dear, dear friend whom I have known since our early years in grade school.  We attended high school and college together.  We even began to wear identical clothes with no intent to do so.  Bonny is also an artist.  She creates beautiful necklaces which she has had great success with and she paints.  Her family (husband, 3 daughters...Amy writes childrens' books and Sara is a pastry chef who can write and take beautiful photographs) means so much to me.  In my mind, they are family.

My new family is still developing.  It is my LUMA group....our collective.  We are 10 in number (4 women, 6 men), all photographers but each with a totally different style and approach to how and what we shoot.  Some of us in the group have grown closer to each other.  It's great to have a wonderful group of people that share your love for taking photos, that support you and share info, give honest critiques, and just have fun.  Most artists  spend so much time alone that it becomes important to have friends who share your world.  It's not the way the "normal" world operates and, in my opinion, the art world can be difficult for non-artists to understand.

My genetic family is not terribly close and, sadly, there aren't many of us left.  Maybe this is why friends are more like family to me.    I'm grateful to have them.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Protecting Your Website

Since my last entry, I have temporarily removed images from my website and talked to a few people about how to protect those images, if one can, in fact,  protect those images.  I have my images electronically watermarked by Digimarc, a very reputable company.  Having read some articles written by various people, it's apparent that even copyrighting one's images this way is not foolproof.  Adding your copyright  with Photoshop prior to electronically embedding a copyright can apparently create problems of its own.  Haven't tried this to see if it's true.

Two suggestions were mentioned regarding my fear of having my images stolen.  One was that perhaps whoever was visiting my site left the window open while checking out other sites.  The other suggestion was that "bots" often go to sites to gather information for the least, I believe that's what they do.  Needless to say, neither of things had occurred to me.

Well, that leaves me with how I've decided to deal with my dilema (if in fact it is one).  It seems that in the long run, it is better to have your work up on the web.  I will continue to electronically copyright my work.  Today, I have begun to put images back up on the web which is never as easy to do as one remembers.  I've managed to make some mistake and am now having to wait until the gentleman who is the webmaster undoes my error.  He is one terrific person and is very patient when dealing with my mistakes.  I can only hope that Doug has very few like me.

For those who may have the same worries as I, I hope this helps a bit.  Or, perhaps, someone out there has additional ideas or solutions.   Time for positive thinking.

On another note, we are having bitter cold weather.  With the windchill factored in, it will be between -30 to -40 degrees tonight and tomorrow.  Schools will not be open tomorrow.  Many people will be dealing with dead car batteries.  Today, highways were filled with accidents, cars sliding off the road and road closures.  Happily, this awful weather should be over by Saturday.  Since Gallery Night is on Friday, it will be interesting to see who is brave enough to venture out.  Think warm thoughts for us!  Please!!!

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Stealing Images?

Having a website can be such a great way for others to see what you do.  Having a website can be an invitation for others to steal your images.  

My website is protected by Digimarc, a company that embeds a copyright mark in one's work and tracks your images should they appear on the web.  It does give one a certain sense of security.  Having said that, I also think that my images my be in danger of being stolen.  If you haven't signed up for one of the services that show you the activity on your website, I suggest that you do that.  You will find out what times of day the site is visited each day, which countries viewers are from, and other interesting tidbits, but the unnerving part is seeing how long people are on your site.  Most are on sites for less than a minute and others are on for 10, 15+ minutes.  The unnerving info is seeing that someone has been on for an hour or more.  Personally, being on someone's site from a minute to 15 minutes seems reasonable.   At this point, my site has been visited for more than an hour a couple of times.  I can only assume that people are helping themselves to some of my images.  None have been picked up by Digimarc at this time.  Perhaps, the images are being used in other ways.    I would be very interested to hear if anyone has experienced the same thing, has comments, or has suggestions as to how to deal with this.