Sunday, November 29, 2020

Positive Feedback . . .

Fine Art America posts random reviews from their buyers and I take a look at them regularly -- to see what products are consistently good, what buyers might be complaining about, and to see if any of my pictures that people bought made them happy.

This is one that made me VERY happy! Apparently my picture, taken from a ship in Alaska's Inside Passage, was one of four that she purchased recently from FAA. I'm pleased that my photo, done in black and white, was a part of the mix.

She took a picture of the four photos in place on her wall, which was also wonderful to see. When someone buys my art on FAA, I rarely know who it was nor how they liked the image. Loved seeing that this person liked it enough to put it on her wall.


 

Friday, November 27, 2020

Experimenting: Color or Black and White? Full-frame or Square Format?

Original photo, full-frame.

Last month we took the ferry to Port Townsend. It felt weird not getting out of the car and not being on deck during the ride, but it still felt good just to be out, you know?



I took a couple of photos of buildings at the boat yard. Why? I found the way they intersected stark and interesting. 

[Currently I'm having trouble with Blogger putting photographs where I want them to be. The other three photos are at the bottom of this post. Grrrrr.]


Back home, I began a bit of post-processing and wondered how they'd look in black and white. If what I liked about the scene was its starkness and simplicity, maybe the color is too much. And the shapes are so strong, perhaps black and white would emphasize those shapes.


And then, I turned each one into a square. Why? To simplify the composition and to emphasize the shapes and how they overlap even more.


Although I love color, I found it distracting. And square versus full-frame? The wide horizontal look emphasizes movement as your eye follows one building over to another. The square format is rather static because your eye hits the picture and then just stays there, but to me it makes the subject matter seem more important.


My final decision? The simplified square B&W version, followed closely by the B&W full-frame format.


But most of all, it felt good getting outside, going somewhere different, and using my digital SLR camera rather than resorting to the iPhone. Ahhhhh . . .


All images copyright ©2020 Carol Leigh

Square version of original photo.



Full-frame, black and white.





Square, black and white.


 

Thursday, November 26, 2020

Recent Work: "Time Out"

When I go back and see the art I've made, there are some pieces in particular that I'm especially fond of, and this is one.

I made it in March of this year, as the pandemic was gaining traction. We didn't know what to expect, we were isolating ourselves, and time stood still, became meaningless.

So this mixed-media picture began with a big circle, a circle which is a photograph of a watch face. With no hands. There are some watch face bezels, hand-painted papers, and metal tags in the mix as well.

The colors are both bold and strong, bright and subtle. The vertical elements within the frame contrast wonderfully with the big circle. 

I made a square version as well as a full-frame vertical, and it looks good both ways. Because I sell my work online at Fine Art America/Pixels, this gives my buyers flexibility -- flexibility in format and in price. Sometimes a square works better in a certain location than does a vertical picture. 

Click here to see this picture in high resolution at Fine Art America. And, as always, thank you for looking at my work.

Images copyright ©2020 Carol Leigh


 

Tuesday, November 24, 2020

Around the yard . . .

It's been a particularly good year for seeing pileated woodpeckers (actually, perhaps in part because we installed a suet feeder on the back deck -- duh!) and they are still around! (I took this photo the first week of August.)

The birds are pretty big, with a wingspan of slightly less than 3 feet. But they're relatively small when compared with a raven (4.9 feet) or a bald eagle (7.5 feet).

The juveniles (like the one on the left) wait impatiently to be fed and, while waiting, pound their beaks (bills?) on the wooden railing, chipping off chunks (giant splinters) on the back side. 

Nature. Gotta love it.

Image ©Carol Leigh, 2020
 

Wednesday, October 28, 2020

Beauty in simplicity . . .

 It's a good time of year to wander around outside and find lovely things on the ground, little jewels of beauty that most people will never notice.

So when I saw this leaf, I thought of it as a gift, a little story about the changing seasons, our changing lives, and the passing of time.



 Copyright ©2020 Carol Leigh

Wednesday, October 14, 2020

RECENTLY MADE . . . A ZINE!

A month or so ago I made a little book, a "zine." It was fun to do and I envision making more. I have another in progress but, with my ever-shortening attention span, I've begun doing other things. But let me show you this book, my first. I kind of like how it turned out, even though I really was clueless about what I was doing at the time.

The zine was done on one side of a piece of paper, folded, cut once, then folded again.


One piece of paper, folded, with a little piece of abstract art in each section. Then you cut into one side, refold, and that's it! There are lots of instructions for doing this online, so I won't go into that here.



So then I figured I needed a pouch, a pocket, to keep my zine "safe." So here you go. A little glue, a button, and done! A fun project for these weird times.




All images Copyright ©2020 by Carol Leigh.

Tuesday, September 8, 2020

What I'm Working On ...

 



WHAT I’M WORKING ON . . .

This is a three-panel, two-sided, stand-up collage. It’s folded like an accordion book, but “book” is way overstated for what this is!

I lived in Japan for one year as a pre-teen. I visited Japan for 10 days in 2014 (when I was much, much older). That’s my entire physical connection with the country. But about 15 years ago, Japan kept popping up in my head, and then began appearing regularly in my art. Here’s the latest piece I’ve made that incorporates my memories, my collections, and the flea market that is my brain.

The first two photos show you the front and back (or are they the back and the front?) of the collage, and then two pictures showing you the details on two of the six panels.

What are all the items in the collage? Well, antique Japanese papers, hand-stained and hand-painted papers, pages from vintage Japanese books, Japanese ledger pages, my own photographs, vintage Japanese postage stamps from my collection, my own “faux calligraphy” scribbled onto papers using sumi ink, signature “chops” from a collection of Japanese hanko, and more.

There’s so much going on in this collage that it’s not exactly the “less is more” minimalistic, wabi sabi look one would expect of Japanese art, is it? But it’s quite representative of me and all my fleeting visual experiences and the constant “oh, look at this!” moments I’ve had in the country.

And it was Nietsche who said, “No artist tolerates reality.” Who am I to argue with him?!
 
©Copyright 2020 Carol Leigh




Saturday, September 5, 2020

AROUND THE HOUSE . . .

Because we're "isolating in residence," I spend a lot of time just wandering around the house with the iPhone, looking for things to shoot. Sunlight coming through the skylight over the stairwell looked pretty good, so I created a few simple compositions, liking the overall monochromatic look with just a bit of blue here and there. Lots of angles, too, to play with.

Copyright ©2020 Carol Leigh



 

Tuesday, August 4, 2020

Around the yard . . . A cavorting deer!


These are terrible photos in that they're out of focus, not sharp. I was shooting through a dirty window at an animal that was at a distance. BUT THE EXPERIENCE WAS SO COOL!

I am walking past the living room window when I see the white buck. I pick up the camera that's sitting nearby, pre-set to f/5, ISO 800, underexposed by 2/3 stop. I take a few shots . . . am getting ready to change my settings when all of a sudden this guy has a major testosterone surge and begins zooming around, jumping into the air, suddenly stopping, posing, then kicking up his heels. (There's a doe in the middle of some bushes just out of frame to the left, which I believe is what instigated this adolescent behavior.)

As quickly as his cavorting begins, it's over.

And while he goes off to have a cigarette, I take a look at my shots and my heart sinks at their softness.

A white deer to me is exciting. And then to have a white deer do all THIS is bananas. So of course I had to share it with you even though it is far from my best work. I apologize. But the deer was cavorting! Hoo ha! ©2020 Carol Leigh



Friday, July 17, 2020

Around the yard -- downy woodpecker

A little downy woodpecker waiting his turn at the suet feeder. What you DON’T see is him slowly sliding down the slick metal shepherd’s hook. Woodpecker toes just aren’t made for clinging to slippery metal things!

©2020 Carol Leigh

Tuesday, June 30, 2020

Not one, but TWO white deer . . .



Five days ago, "our" white deer (born May 2019, attacked by coyote -- probably -- mid-July 2019) visited our property. You can see the scar there on his right haunch (and when's the last time you used the word "haunch?") which in this picture doesn't look like it's totally healed. Bad lighting, so you can't see it as well as you might.

He's also noticeably a guy -- see the nubbins where antlers will eventually emerge?

He wasn't accompanied by Mom this visit, which is unusual. I try to read nothing into it.

And then this morning, in MUCH better light, we see a different white deer, this one with lovely velvety antlers.

And do you see how overcast light works much better than bright, harsh sunlight for photos? (Not always, but at least a LOT of the time...)

So this is today's wildlife report. All photographed from the dining room window using a 35mm DSLR (with a cropped sensor) and a 70-200mm lens.

Copyright ©2020 Carol Leigh

Monday, June 29, 2020

Then and now . . .


Then and now...

Sitting at the dining room table two years ago and then sitting at the same place this morning.

Nothing except the placemat has changed and yet, and yet . . .

Life has gotten smaller in that we go pretty much nowhere. But life has expanded greatly in that our health concerns are all-encompassing and our world view is bigger.

Negative elements are played down. Small pleasures have ramped up.

Tears of joy one moment. Tears of despair the next. And we are not alone. Not alone. Yet we are.

It's a good thing that Chris, I, and the cat are all Geminis. Six personalities living in the same home. Never a dull moment in this current roller coaster of time.

Wishing you all health and happiness and hope.

Copyright ©2020 Carol Leigh

Wednesday, April 29, 2020

Strange times call for strange pictures ...

I haven't used a "real" camera in months, and it feels weird. Being "isolated in residence," my time has been spent primarily indoors. Yours probably has, as well. I shall say no more about that.

What I've been doing, however, is riffling through old photo files, making physical collages, and blending them together somehow.

This is one example, and, frankly, I'm not so sure about it. Perhaps the most I can say is that at least it's different! I combined ink-stained papers I made a week or so ago with a photo of an osprey I took perhaps 10-15 years ago in Portland, Oregon.

Chris says it looks too contrived. And he's probably right. Again.

Image copyright ©2020 Carol Leigh

Thursday, April 23, 2020

Around the yard . . . newly-hatched juncos

We have newly-hatched juncos now in the nest just outside the front door. Three eggs were laid; now there are three chicks, just three days old.

Sorry for such a terrible photo. Taken with the iPhone in great haste, not wanting to disturb the parents too much. Better ones to follow . . . I hope!

©2020 Carol Leigh

Sunday, April 19, 2020

Happy Pollen Days!



Happy Pollen Days! 

When the light is right, we see clouds of this sticky yellow stuff poofing out of the trees. It is everywhere and on every thing.

Chris’s little pickup is now a yellowish grey. And no visibility through the windshield. Pollen buildup on the side window. Not that we’re going anywhere...

But I love the blue/yellow color combo on a water main cover I noticed on a walk down the street.

Are things weird these days or what?

©Copyright 2020 Carol Leigh

Sunday, March 29, 2020

Root beer 5 cents . . .

During my "at-home-isolation," I'm making the best of my time by experimenting with a variety of things, looking at older photos and tricking them out on the computer, as well as spending time in the studio making collage papers and new collages.

No rush. No pressure. No "have to."

So I came across this sign I photographed in a barrio in Tucson maybe six years ago. After playing around with it a bit, I declare it done.

Will I offer it on Fine Art America? Probably not. But for right now, in these strange times, it was a welcome respite from what we are seeing all around the world.

Copyright ©2020 Carol Leigh

Wednesday, March 18, 2020

Self-isolating at home . . .



Around the yard . . .

Here on Whidbey we're pretty isolated in a rural area, so we don't have the same concerns a lot of other people do about keeping our distance. I can take a walk up and down the road without (usually) meeting a soul.

We (again because of our remoteness and the unpredictable weather) have always made sure we're pretty much stocked up with the necessities and so we haven't had to make our way through any grocery stores for the past month.

What we're really missing is physically visiting people, televised pro/college basketball, and eating out in restaurants.

First world problems, right?! Oh, poor us!

The good thing is that my art studio is right here, so I can continue making things. And I can always find something to photograph in our yard and/or up and down the road. So that's what I'm doing.

This winter a number of alder trees fell over, making it easy for me to just see what's on the ground and shoot the bark (top photo).

Hellebores are the first flowers to appear in late winter and deer don't eat 'em, so that's what you're seeing in the second photo.

And then this species of Usnea lichen festoons a lot of the trees. The lichens look very pale green and lacy against a more solid background.

(Each photo taken with an iPhone.)

My heart goes out to all the small businesses we have on Whidbey who have had to close, with employers and employees wondering when will things go back to "normal."

And my thanks go to all the health care workers who are also in a sort of limbo, wondering when a tidal wave of sick people is going to hit all the medical facilities. Or not. Hopefully not.

So we do our part to live an isolated existence, stay clean and healthy, and wish for an early end to all this. We have 16 currently confirmed with the coronavirus in Island County (Whidbey Island and Camano Island), and no deaths.

Wishing you all health, peace, love, and happiness.

Copyright ©2020 Carol Leigh

Friday, February 28, 2020

Small pleasures . . .


"Blessed are they who see beautiful things in humble places where other people see nothing."
-- Camille Pissarro


That's the beauty of being an artist. We see things slightly differently.

So when I noticed these condensation bubbles on the inside of a water bottle, I fell in love. Look at the different sizes of bubbles. Look at the patterns they make as they follow the bottle's contours. And how the backlighting creates a lovely warm glow.

What's not to love here?

We are so blessed to notice things like this.

Copyright ©2020 Carol Leigh

Wednesday, February 12, 2020

Chaos reigns . . .



CHAOS REIGNS . . . Here’s what my worktable looked like last week. There’s a lot going on, but no destination. I decided to make small (4x6”) postcard-like collages, but don’t know what I will do with them.

Any interesting little extraneous bits of paper end up going into a couple of Moleskine cahiers. Neither one is full yet, and so I keep going. But THEN what?

Gotta say, however, that all this does look pretty cool. And it’s fun to make random things. I just seem to have a problem FINISHING anything! And even when finished, THEN what?

Signed, Confused in Coupeville

Images copyright ©2020 Carol Leigh

Wednesday, January 29, 2020

Focus . . .

Time moves on. You become more aware of mortality -- your own and others'. You begin seeing a larger picture. Beauty is easier to find. You have done so much in your life, and you want to do so much more. But your body begins betraying you just when loved ones need you to be strong. It's tougher to carry a tripod, heavy camera, and a long lens. Everything takes just a little more effort.

So it's often hard to focus. And when you DO focus, it's in shorter bursts because it's tougher to stand at a work table for any length of time, and it's tough to sit as well.

But obviously it's easier to whine! And feel sorry for yourself, as though you're the only one going through this.

So I focus on "small pleasures." The little things I notice and enjoy. The way the cottontail rabbit comes running up when I'm putting out seed for the birds. The sounds of owls hooting back and forth and being able to tell who is hoooooooo. The way the person I'm eavesdropping on talks about landing in the "sticker bushes." Sticker bushes? I love how that sounds! And who ever actually says "sticker bushes?"

And this quote, "Procrastination is totally a good thing. You always have something to do tomorrow, plus you have nothing to do today." Author unknown. Wish I'd written it.

So instead of focusing on what might be considered negative in my life, I am attempting to focus on what is positive. The camera/tripod/lens combo might be heavy, but how lucky am I that I can still maneuver it? Just the fact that I have the talent to create interesting photos of everyday things is a gift. That I have a plethora of art ideas; all I need to do is act on one of them! To focus!

And I'm so lucky to have a spouse who loves me unequivocally and enhances my life so much. I need to focus more on that.

Image ©2020 Carol Leigh