Friday, June 17, 2011

Let There Be Light

I've been reading up on photography lately.  I have dived into the "photograph your own artwork" waters.I know this goes against the wisdom of sticking to your area of expertise. I would prefer to use a professional, however on the occasions when I did, the photos were not much better than the ones I take. Mine are okay, but they can be improved.
At first I researched cameras, thinking I needed a new camera.  After doing some research, I believe the camera is not the problem - its my lack of knowledge. So I'm reading up on f stops and shutter speed, depth of field and white balance. And, of course, lighting.  That is always a challenge, especially with some of my large pieces.

Several resources suggested using two 500 watt light bulbs.  I decided to try the compact flourescents, because they use a lower wattage to achieve the same amount of light. They are supposed to be much cooler than tungsten or halogen. After seeing the $50 price tag for one such bulb, I settled on the 400 watt equivalent for half the price. They arrived yesterday, and I have never seen such a large light bulb in my life.  Here are two photos to give you some perspective on their size. I'm almost afraid to use them - they are so big, they could be dangerous! I'm not even sure they will fit into the clip-on light fixtures I have.


I'm planning a photography session next week, so I'll let you know how it goes.

Friday, June 3, 2011

Is It Done Yet?

Many artists ask themselves that question. How do you know when a piece is done?  There is often a tendency to keep adding... maybe a little beading, maybe a little stitching, maybe some more printing, how about some gold leaf? 

I've been thinking  a lot about what drives that reaction. We could probably talk for days about all the factors that contribute. One of the things I face is how to keep the balance between simple elegance and subtle complexity.  I've been drawn to less clutter and chaos in my work.  Maybe because I want less of it in my life. Clean lines that exude calm, peace, contentment - that is what I want to achieve.  Yet I also know that in order to achieve that, it often takes many layers to achieve depth and complexity. All those layers may not be obvious to the viewer, yet they contribute to the overall effect.

Sometimes I'll look at a piece and feel it is finished, but then feel as if it's too "simple".  I think that others won't value it because the many hours and layers of printing, painting or dyeing that were involved may not be evident.  Yes, I know, why should I care what others think? But putting your art out there can leave you feeling somewhat vulnerable. So, my challenge for this summer is to listen to my own voice.  Honor my intuition about my work.   If my voice says I'm finished, then so be it!
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