Thursday, December 31, 2015

Best of 2015 -- July through December

What? You think these are your best? Come on! You've taken better images than these. And some of these aren't even photographs.

Yeah, but these mean something to me, so my selections definitely aren't objective. And I'm old now, so I'm not here to impress anyone but me!

I posted the owl photo because the experience of having a juvenile barred owl hanging around was a first. He was on the deck when it was still fairly dark out, so I went for some silhouettes, but then as daylight was just around the corner, he flew into a nearby pine tree and sat there looking at me. The photo (taken with a DSLR) was soft, so I tweaked it considerably and came up with this spooky image. The picture evokes a wonderful memory for me, and that's why it's here.

Same thing with the next shot, reminiscent of our first days on Whidbey in August. We were having breakfast at a restaurant on the water where an open window created a perfect frame for isolating the Coupeville Wharf. Cellphone camera and Camera+ app using the Lone Star effect, for those of you keeping score . . .

The lighthouse at Fort Casey in September looks particularly good, I think, again with the cellphone, Camera+ and Lone Star. I was there early morning, poking around by myself, thoroughly enjoying the quiet.

The blue and red abstract image I created in October appeals to me because it shows me what I can make with just the simplest of things, such as a piece of deli sandwich wrap that I scraped some paint onto and then added some circles I'd cut out of cardboard. To make something from things that normal people would just toss away is incredibly rewarding to me, and I'm loving the process.

Same thing with the November photo, which, frankly, I can't remember what I used to create it. And it was just last month! Sheesh. I went back to look, and I see I used photos of papers I'd painted as well as some India ink slashes I'd made. Once again, something bold and interesting made with the simplest of materials. Makes me feel good.

And then there's the faux matchbox label I made earlier this month, which I particularly like because it's just so different. I used an image from an antique dictionary, hand-colored it, combined it with some old paper and then created everything else -- the circles, the lines, the lettering, etc. in Photoshop. It was an experiment, it was fun, I learned something, and it's bright!

So what's ahead for this coming year? I want to make more physical things, things that can be handled, rather than strictly digital images. I've made a bunch of collages that might look good on cradle boards. We shall see. I also came up with a fun idea yesterday that I'm eager to begin that involves lots of paper, lots of paint, lots of ink, and lots of room. And old clothes.

Are you ending this year with a sense of excitement for what lies ahead? Is there something new you're going to be working on? Or with? A new camera? A new way of seeing? A different way of processing? Of creating? Something challenging yet fun? I would love to hear about it.

It's an exciting time to be an artist. Go make something this year. If it's awful, make something again. And again. And again. If you're stuck, there are thousands of tutorials online that can point you in the right direction, can inspire you, can trigger a creative idea.

You're here reading this blog because you're an artist of some sort, whether it's photography or anything else. Not to mention that you and I have a connection that we've made over the years, through an online class, a workshop in the field, the newsletters and guides I've published. And so I hope that maybe my enthusiasm for what I'm doing is contagious and will motivate you to take some time this year to create, to notice the little things, to learn, to have fun, to grow.

Wishing you the very best in 2016. And I know you wish me the same.

©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!