Sunday, June 16, 2013

beginnings, in progress & endings

i went to southern california for business last week- first shot is sunrise from the airplane somewhere over northern cal-

i was able to find a hotel on laguna beach for less than the company approved hotel near the airport- sold! love the patterns & textures of the kelp & seaweed-

and a beautiful west coast sunset (viewed with a good friend who i haven't seen for a while- a big bonus to the trip)

things have been pretty hectic- lots of travel, both business and personal. i had a commission due in wisconsin by june 21. this is a 50th wedding anniversary gift, purchased by the couple's children. one of them found this image on line and asked me about doing one with 2 cranes, since cranes mate for life and also symbolize longevity.
we came to an agreement and I started working on the piece. after some discussion and back & forth we agreed on the position of the cranes. below is the completed art, which was sent off on saturday. the clients were happy with the photo, hope that they (and their parents) like the real thing too. it's so cool to be a part of milestones in people's lives like this and the last commission I did, which was a birthday gift for twins.
I have also been practicing my drawing- both in my little travel sketchbook
and in my journal- this started on Friday evening with my image in an exercise from lisa's visual journaling class. I've been dealing with bullies of one sort or another lately and trying to figure out how not to let them win. the words that emerged on the page reflect that- the recognition that someone is a bully and not letting them get away with it.
one of the groups I am involved with has a secretary who sends out long, chatty emails that are hard to follow, loaded with cutesy language signed love! x. I happen to know that this person doesn't love! me- she has made that abundantly clear. I have a very hard time wading through the missives to see what, if anything, of value is being passed along. so I finally sent the board a request to receive business communication in a businesslike manner. which was taken as a personal attack. I was called a pig. several board members gingerly said that I might have a point, but most of them will not stand up to this person.
this is destructive for several reasons- I know that there are other members of the group who don't read the emails- either deleting them or filing for later and never getting to them. at least one other member has resorted to doing what I finally did and blocking her email address. effectively many members of this group do not read the official communication because of the way in  which it is delivered. we try to get members to participate and to be professional and take pride in our organization and undermine the whole enterprise by not presenting ourselves professionally.
I am proud of myself for speaking up. I really debated doing so, because I knew that it would get ugly. but once I did I found that I was not alone in my desire for appropriate communication. when I blocked the email address I felt an overwhelming degree of relief. so although my actions may not have fixed the problem I feel better and I think that's a pretty good result.
I am working on this in general- being able to speak up and ask for perfectly reasonable things and knowing that what I asked for is reasonable whatever the reaction. bullies gain power when people are afraid to speak up. we are the ones who give them power. we can take it away.
below is a female crane doing the fake broken wing dance, presumably to keep us away from her youngster (who we did not see). I am going to think on what sort of misdirection I can use to deal some of these disruptive influences in my life right now..... I choose to have a higher tolerance for this stuff at work, but when these things occur in an extracurricular group you really have to decide if it's worth it.

have a great week! peace :)

Monday, June 10, 2013

draw is a 4 letter word.....

oh! I love to draw! I can't wait! well, not exactly, but I feel that it will be good for me to learn, so I am taking this class ..... (doing something bc it is something you "should" do or bc it is "good for you" is not usually a recipe for happiness & success-)
I should probably mention that I asked my friend lisa cheney, who is an amazing artist- published in several visual journal & sketchbook compilations as well as a popular teacher at journalfest, artfest, art unraveled- to do this class. so I should look happier.
lisa is a great teacher- and 3 of 4 classmates are good friends who were able to give me shit at the appropriate times to keep my sense of humor intact.
in one exercise we were given small pieces of paper with numbers & drawings on them.

we folded them in quarters, folded a sticky pad in quarters & reproduced the image (this is lynn fraley at work- you can see the difference in size between the image & the sticky

here is lisa putting the image together on her wall- amazing how well the squares lined up to complete the final image, although they were done by different artists. learning how to judge proportion & scale via guidelines- the fold in the paper-

next up was the infamous upside down drawing exercise. I hate this one, because  "they" always say "just focus on the shape, don't think about what you're drawing"- which I get in principle, and I suppose that's the point. it's hard to get your brain past "i'm drawing an upside down geisha" to "these 5 love signs need to go here and here and here and here and here". and of course I finished the left side before the rest of the class (drawing BIG is helpful) so I had to do the right side and then journal about how the exercise felt.

this is zella on the left..... z is an awesome sculptress and draws really well, so I was surprised that she wanted to take the class. she said it would be much easier if she had a torch :) I felt better, bc a paintbrush would have done the same for me.

meanwhile, pam is sketching away- having finished the lesson, she is drawing a bunch of books on a shelf in the corner. show off! :)

this part I could do- practicing hash marks for values & shading

I am trying to figure out why I have such a hate/hate relationship with drawing. lisa's theory is that for most of us someone said long ago "it isn't good enough" and we quit. I am not sure that's true for me. in general, I feel like I have to be the best I can be at everything I try- better than most folks. I have to give 110% and if the result doesn't reflect the effort it's hard to keep going. I am also not very patient. I would rather work on something that's fun and that I see an improvement in than struggle (like most people).
and i'm intimidated by the great artists I know who can draw so well
it's also more efficient (and more fun) to take a photo :) and a challenge to capture an image that is not only technically proficient but that speaks to people or is something that they might not otherwise see.
but I do want to become comfortable drawing. I want to find that point where I feel like I have accurately represented the subject and my interpretation of it without feeling like it has to be photorealistic (bc I would just take a photo) but also without feeling like I have just scribbled something that bears no resemblance to where I was, what I saw, etc.
yep, one of the reasons lisa is in my life is to make me stretch......

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

photo safari(s)

well, it's been a few weeks- and many photos have been taken in that time..... spring is an amazing time around here.
near fairfield it's time for a blue sea of camas lilies-

the explosion of wildflowers in such an arid area always amazes me. I love having to look up new flowers- this is a sugarbell

this hillside was covered with yellow as far as the eye could see- mules ear & lupine- hiding among the yellow are bluebells and forget me nots, adding a nice jolt of blue

and of course, always, the cranes

my friend lynn and I were on photo safari and our itinerary included craters of the moon natl monument , a huge lava flow in central Idaho
the landscape is forbidding, but the wildflowers don't disappoint-

we were especially intrigued by (and enamored of) this blue lava rock. in places the flow is called blue dragon, because early explorers thought that it looked like dragon skin.

next up- Yellowstone- amazing country in any season. I have been there in spring, fall and winter (summer sounds scary) and every time I go I find more to love

this is the greenest I have ever seen the park (we are usually there earlier in the spring) and the sage and grass are vivid under stormy skies.

wildflowers in bloom (a few weeks later than at home)

and then there's the wildlife-
it being spring, babies everywhere-
as well as reminders that in every beginning there is an end, and in every end a beginning