Thursday, October 30, 2014

Latest work: "Professor Starr"

I don't even know where to begin describing this faux postcard. I created a physical collage and then used bits and pieces of it here. I added torn papers, stamps, rubber stamps, labels, cancellation marks, and more for the final piece.

What I love about making these postcards is how I can use items that are in my personal collections, photograph them, print them, glue them, scribble on them, on and on, and then come up with some strangely appealing final picture.

I especially want to thank those of you who have been sending me weird stamps, papers, washers, foreign currency, and more over the years to add to my collection of rusty, torn, bent, folded, mutilated and unusual exotica! You know just what a gal wants! ©Carol Leigh

All text, photographs, and other media are ©Copyright Carol Leigh (or others when indicated) and are not in the public domain and may not be used on websites, blogs, or in other media without advance permission from Carol Leigh. Thank you!

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Just for the heck of it . . .

I'm on the last leg of an online class I'm teaching and something came up during one of my critiques that I wanted to elaborate on and so I thought I would post it here instead of only in the class. It's a fun exercise and it always encourages me to play around with my pictures (in Photoshop) and to have no expectations.

I call it "Flip/Flop/Blend."

The first photo you see is of a building I shot in Salem, Oregon. I love buildings like this. But then I thought, what would happen if . . .

What if I took that original photo, made a duplicate layer in Photoshop, flipped the photo vertically, then ran through the blending modes? The square photo (the second photo in this series) shows you what it looked like (and no, I don't remember which blending mode gave me this look and it doesn't matter -- every photograph is going to be different).

What I like about this second (flipped) photo is the lovely warm blue and pinkish cream colors that show up beautifully. I also like all those rectangles. I like the feeling of mystery, because at first glance, the building looks normal. But then you look and wonder, what the . . . ? In addition, I think the square format is perfect for emphasizing all those square and rectangular forms.

But there's more. Photo three in the series shows you what the image looked like before I cropped it to a square format. I like how the street appears in the top of the frame as well as at the bottom.

Then look at the next shot for an even different look. And finally, just because I could, I made it into an orb.

This is fun stuff! Is it fine art? Well, yeah, kinda, maybe. It's different. It's interesting. And it all started with just my "Flip/Flop/Blend" playtime.

Let's go on to the next image, which is much brighter (not much sun in Salem, Oregon that day, but there was lots of sun the Boston morning I photographed the second building).

I liked the blue sky and the bold forms of the building, but didn't really like it as it was. So, once again, I duplicated the image in Photoshop, flipped it, flopped it, or rotated it, then ran through all the blending modes each time just to see what I'd get.

The three images you see below the original one are the best of the bunch I created.

What's my point in all this? Well, for me, I like to be surprised by my work. A lot of the time I come home with decent photos, but they're pretty much what I saw at the time. And I tend to ask myself, what can I do now?

So, just for the heck of it, I'll bring one of my pictures into Photoshop, make a duplicate layer, rotate or flip the layer, then run through the blending modes. A good percentage of the time nothing wonderful happens. But every so often I'm shocked and surprised and delighted.

Shocked, surprised and delighted, for me, is a wonderful way to begin my day. How about you? Have you surprised yourself with your work lately? If so, let me know -- I'd love to see what you did. ©Carol Leigh

All text, photographs, and other media are ©Copyright Carol Leigh (or others when indicated) and are not in the public domain and may not be used on websites, blogs, or in other media without advance permission from Carol Leigh. Thank you!

It's a good day to . . .

. . . look for a little balance in your life! ©Carol Leigh

All text, photographs, and other media are ©Copyright Carol Leigh (or others when indicated) and are not in the public domain and may not be used on websites, blogs, or in other media without advance permission from Carol Leigh. Thank you!

Saturday, October 25, 2014

Latest work: "Looking Eastward"

I created this cool image of a crow and have used it before as a stand-alone picture. This time, however, I combined it with a couple of mono prints I'd made as well as a vintage piece of Japanese paper. I added photos of a few old stamps and it's done. I like how everything is sort of indigo in color and how the treatment I created on the crow makes it look like it was created with ink and a brush. What fun this is to do! ©Carol Leigh
All text, photographs, and other media are ©Copyright Carol Leigh (or others when indicated) and are not in the public domain and may not be used on websites, blogs, or in other media without advance permission from Carol Leigh. Thank you!

Friday, October 24, 2014

Latest work: "Four Seeds"

Okay, I know this one's weird, but I love incorporating numbers in my work, I like the Asian vibe, and the four sunflower seeds? Well, that's how this whole photomontage started -- with the four seeds. I also used photos of old Japanese book pages, torn papers, and more to put this all together. But the sunflower seeds? Aren't they just cool? Yeah, I know . . . weird. ©Carol Leigh

Text, photographs, and other media are ©Copyright Carol Leigh (or others when indicated) and are not in the public domain and may not be used on websites, blogs, or in other media without advance permission from Carol Leigh. Thank you!

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Latest work: "It's All Been Said Before"

This is a photomontage I constructed using photos of my own scribblings, ink-washed papers, and even a previous photomontage (see the crescent in the upper two thirds?). I'm particularly fond of the colors and the implied depth. ©Carol Leigh

Text, photographs, and other media are ©Copyright Carol Leigh (or others when indicated) and are not in the public domain and may not be used on websites, blogs, or in other media without advance permission from Carol Leigh. Thank you!

Beware . . .

"Beware the barrenness of a busy life." - Socrates

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Creating a series . . .

When you’re selling your work, whether it be at art shows, in galleries, for stock, or for something like Fine Art America, it behooves you to create a series of photos, photos that relate to one another in subject matter, technique, location, color palette, etc. Why? Because creating a series makes it easier for a buyer to select more than one, to buy more than one. Selling one photograph or painting or piece of pottery is terrific; selling two or more to a collector is wonderful!

Lately I’ve been experimenting with a variety of painterly effects, seeing which techniques work best with which subject matter. I thought about a series of photographs I’d taken on Martha’s Vineyard and began playing with them. Let me share the thought process rather than the technical aspects (although that probably just kills a few of you!).

We were walking around a section of Martha’s Vineyard called Oak Bluffs. This was close to mid-day and the lighting was harsh, extremely contrasty. Too contrasty for big overviews, and the sky was greyish-white. What to do?

I concentrated on details, looking for shady areas, looking for subject matter where the light was even, and also looking for a “theme” of sorts. Something that could turn into a series later on. I was drawn to the screen doors, doors that had old-fashioned wooden elements and hardware on them and, if I was lucky, doors that were painted bright colors. So I consciously looked for cool screen doors, as well as other “verandah paraphernalia” such as chairs, flower pots, flower boxes, etc.

Had I more time, I would have walked this part of Martha’s Vineyard for a couple of hours, watching the light, seeing different things on each pass, seeing how the light ruined previously-wonderful bits and how it now made other bits look great. One pass doesn’t cut it, sort of like shooting at an antique car show, or photographing fishing nets and floats. Work it, baby! Work it!

But I digress . . . I was looking for a theme, looking for a little photo essay, sort of, something I could shoot in bad light but as long as the light was even, I was okay. And now, almost exactly a year later, I’m looking back at those photos and am thinking, now what can I do to them? And so I experimented with a number of painterly techniques and textures that seemed to work well with these little vignettes. And for the past few days I’ve been creating a series, a series of architectural detail shots from this one section of Martha’s Vineyard.

I’ve uploaded them to a gallery on Fine Art America where you can see them all, if you wish (although I keep finding more to add). I envision people buying multiples, thinking that a set of three or so might be especially appealing (the whole being greater than the sum of its parts), and so for this series of photos, I marked my prices down 15%, hoping to make my work more affordable so that people might be tempted to purchase more than one.

Will the pricing work? Will people be attracted to the concept? To the technique? I don’t know. All I know is that I had fun creating these and, if someone likes them enough to purchase more than one, it won’t break their bank account, and might add a bit to my own.

And that’s the power of series. More is better.

© Carol Leigh

Monday, October 20, 2014

Sold the first two weeks of October

Here are the pictures that Fine Art America sold on my behalf during the first two weeks of October. Interesting, isn't it, that there's only one "normal" picture in the mix? All the rest are either photomontages or heavily tweaked photos.

Does that mean that FAA doesn't sell "regular" photographs? No. But since most of the images I have with them (more than 1,100 now) are tweaked in some way, that's primarily what they have to work with.

Anyway, just thought some of you might be interested . . .

©Carol Leigh

Saturday, October 18, 2014

It's hard to sneak up on a crow . . .

Once again, I'm sort of in a slump, but instead of fretting, I continue trying this, trying that. I'm making a lot of monoprints to use not only in physical collages, but also to include in photomontages. I have lots of ephemera, too, to photograph and then use. And then there are a variety of painterly effects I'm testing out.

But what I'm also doing is simply riffling through my photo files, looking at old pictures with new eyes and (hopefully) new techniques and talents.

This crow showed up in 2009, as I and my workshop participants here on the Oregon coast were shooting at the Waldport Marina. I was able to move in fairly close and he didn't seem too concerned. But he definitely knew I was there.

I then added some textures, some scratches, some painterly effects, and came up with this version of my original photo. I like it. It's different. It was fun to make. And it reminded me of a lovely morning in Oregon five years ago, among like-minded folks, all admiring our surroundings and shooting away.

Wishing you lovely surroundings this Saturday morning.

©Carol Leigh

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Courtesy of my mom . . .

I had the good fortune to live in Japan for a year when I was young. I also had the good fortune to have a mother who was interested in a lot of things, including the art of fish rubbing, or gyotaku. She made this fish rubbing 52 years ago and it's been framed and hung in various houses (military family, we moved a lot) and when I saw it last month, it had faded so much that the fish was almost invisible. The paper was dark on one side, stained, and splotchy. So I photographed Mom's print, brought out the details in the fish, then added my own touches, such as some photos of metal, a clamshell, a circular "moon" image, a bit of grunge, toned down the yellow colors, and came up with this. Mom died way too young, but a little bit of her lives on here. ©Carol Leigh

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Lots and lots of corn . . .

Somewhere between Morton, Illinois and Sioux City, Iowa . . . Shooting out the passenger window on our whirlwind trip across country. ©Carol Leigh

Thursday, October 9, 2014

Latest work: "Holding It In"

Sometimes it's difficult to describe what goes into a particular image, why certain colors were chosen, why the square, why thin silver cords were added. And sometimes describing too much prevents you from making your own interpretation.

So let me just say that I created this picture using monoprints, hand-painted rice paper, ink-washed antique papers, and a little more. I'm fond of the monochromatic look, the texture, and the centered-yet-not look of the square element.

©Carol Leigh

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Latest work: "Blood Moon"

I got up early this morning to see the 2014 "Blood Moon" lunar eclipse out over the ocean. As usual, overcast skies made moon-gazing out of the question. So I created my own lunar eclipse, using my photographs of paint splotches, hand-painted papers, ink-washed papers, Japanese calligraphy, and more. You can see a shadow cross the moon as well as a very faint reflection in what might be water just below.

You know the phrase, "When life gives you lemons, make lemonade?" Well, life gave me a moonless morning, so I made my own. ©Carol Leigh

Friday, October 3, 2014

Sold the last two weeks of September

Well, not unlike the stock market, the second half of September wasn't so great. Fine Art America sold two of my photos to be used as iPhone cases (and it's kind of cool to see how they look) and then just one other picture (the abstract image of a glass bottle, which has sold before). So adding the six I sold the first two weeks of the month, to these three, I guess nine images isn't too bad.

I've already sold one photo so far this month, so I've got high hopes that this last quarter of 2014 will be good. Here's wishing YOU a good quarter, too, no matter what aspirations you may have . . .

©Carol Leigh