Monday, July 30, 2012

The more I see Gauguin....

The more I photograph these mangoes, the more I understand Gauguin and see his work in this fruit.

They could have instructed him on his unequalled use of red, orange and green in his painting.

Nobody was more mango than Gauguin.

Cezanne had the "couleur juste", Van Gogh the brilliance, but Gauguin could school them all on pure colour harmony.

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Pears mangoes encore.....

The mangoes have proved to be excellent companions with all my old faithful nature morte participants: pears, oranges, the painted neo-morandi ceramics.  This is much to my delight.

Oddly, I find that after a lifetime of seeing in black and white, these days I'm seeing almost entirely in colour.  I think it started when I had a surprisingly strong emotional experience in front of the Rembrandt paintings in Amsterdam earlier this year.

I don't know what it means or if it makes a difference.  But I used to prefer black and white photography for my photos and now it is colour.  It surprises me greatly but I have to just go with it, I think.

Here is another in the ongoing colour series.

Friday, July 27, 2012

Picasso said of good work at 50

I have moved to different fruit and varied the composition with this still life series.  One of the challenges is to make a new picture and not repeat.

Picasso said that anyone can produce good work when 25 years old; the trick is to still produce good work at 50.

These still lives are tending more towards the stacked themes of Cezanne and less of Morandi.  When the bones are dried out, I will return to trying the more formal and linear two-dimensional challenges set by Morandi.

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Pears are Cezanne too

I read that Cezanne took so long to paint a still life that the fruit was rotting by the time he finished.  Who knows: maybe that's how he invented the multiple angled cubism that Picasso speaks of.  The fruit turned as Cezanne painted it! LOL.  But Cezanne could paint peaches.  His colours just sing.

Here is my idea of singing, sensual peaches. I used strong soft box side light to create lots of darks and I left the colours saturated from the Fujifilm X Pro 1 file, just as they came out of the camer in jpeg on the "S" setting.  I softened it a bit in LightRoom 4.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

So as the bones dry, we have more mangoes

I set the bones aside for the moment and decided to shoot some still lives inspired by Cezanne; that is to say, on a tilted table top.

Cezanne made a habit of covering a table in a floral rug, jugs, bowls and fruit, and taking a high perspective.  It resulted in a kind of abstract design in which table edges sometimes misaligned and rules of perspective were distorted just north of Cubism.

It's amazing what a difference looking from eye level versus from above can make.

We finally got some rain....

Parched gardens and brown, short grass rejoiced.  We finally got some rain.

But it pounded down with such force and brevity, that it ran off into the night and storm sewers unused and useless.

Pass the bottle.

Monday, July 23, 2012

The bones are evolving on their own

This may be what I look like if I wait for these bones I have purchased to dry out on their own.

As some of you may know, I want to do a series on bones, but they are still in a state.

This sure has been a lesson in the anatomy of the living and the dead.  I can't imagine what Leonardo Da Vinci's studio smelled like as he did his anatomy drawings.  He must have had a constitution molto fortissimo.

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Bonehenge part 2

Here are three more images from the bones as icon series.  I popped in my Stonehenge photo with similar treatment to show where I think I'm going with this.

When we were in England, I sensed Stonehenge had gotten into my bones, but I never, frankly, imaged it was to this extent!

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Bonehenge part 1

Here is the first bone image.  It was a bit rushed as I still noticed foreign matter in them.  I had to shoot fast then hustle them outside for more sodium peroxide bath.

I want iconic: memento mori henge in miniature.  They remind me so much of Stonehenge in their form.  I think Henry Moore would approve of this idea.

An icon is gone

I had news yesterday that an old friend had passed away.  He was an icon for many of us, a leader of our group of friends.  He achieved much and he did it first so we who came after him, knew it could be done.

He was a doctor and a specialist in his field, but that is beside the point.  He was good looking and confident.  But that is beside the point.

He was humble, approachable, interested in the stories of those younger than him.  He always had a smile and he listened in a way that you knew he actually cared about us.

Everyone called him by his first name and we all knew who we meant: a kind of respect reserved for royalty.   In many ways, that's how we thought of him, but he would have been the first to dissuade us.

But now he is gone and I feel the world is a little emptier today.  Shakespeare's Hamlet comes to mind.  The last few lines:

Now cracks a noble heart. Good-night, sweet prince;
And flights of angels sing thee to thy rest.

Friday, July 20, 2012

Wall flowers on a shelf

The bottles, coffee, tea pots sit on the shelf without the backdrops, mangoes and other props.

For me it's an interesting view: we try to read this and place it in the context of what we know, what came before.

We are tempted to say: "Oh, this is what they really look like."

But is it?

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Mangoes part 4

The bone adventure continues.  They have proved slight recalcitrant. The only way I could get these bones is au naturel (Custom butcher shop) and it's proving to be a visceral experience.  Let's put it this way:  I'm getting a lot of help from three hungry ravens in my back yard.  Georgia O'Keefe could just wander around and pick hers like berries.

In the meantime, I've seen two more mango images which I have realized.  One called blue mangoes,  is above for your delectation.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Mangoes part 3

 Here are two more in the mango series.  I have a few more to shoot today.

I have secured some bones for bones series.  I'm prepping the bones.  Hope it works.

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Gauguin was the symbolist master too

Gauguin was a master of colour, but in his later paintings, he moved into bigger  questions: the meaning of human existence.  He abstracted his picture planes to large colour fields with archetypical gesture.

My interest in memento mori is in the same spirit.  What's it all about?  Surely more than just astro-physics, big bangs and Higgs bosuns.

In constructing a studio still life, one has unlimited choice.  The photographer is on his or her own.  You choose the content, the lighting, the angle of view, the depth of field.

I was thinking about the symbolism of the top photo.  It is a triangle which is graphically stable.  For Christians, the triangle is the Trinity.  The cherries for me are the promise of creation, bounty, fertility; the spilled cherries are the loss of innocence.  For the Japanese, cherries are beauty, immortality.

The lily symbolizes the hope of rebirth, but as a flower, they are fleeting, intense, beautiful and finite.

The mangoes feed and nurture but at their most beautiful, they are near the end: a kind of Keatsian burst of flavour and glory.

But for all that, we do create.  We do hope.  Life does go on and we think that is a good thing.  We are human and we endure and engage with optimism and hope.

When we try to unbundle the power of an image, perhaps symbolism plays a major role: but I don't really know for sure.  It is a non-verbal pursuit in the end.

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Gauguin was the mango master

I remember when I first became interested in photography, I discovered books my father had purchased from Kodak.  I think I was about five years old. I marvelled at the clouds in those black and white skies.

The books have long disappeared, but I suspect in the 1950s, those skies were Ansel Adams.

Later, when I became interested in painting and drawing, I was much older.  But when I stumbled upon a small book of pictures by Gauguin, I was amazed at his colour.  His still life with mangoes made a huge impression.

So here are some photos of mangoes to bring my art obsession full circle.

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Driven to Abstraction......

I don't know what it is........but I'll know it when I see it.

The glory of the warm beach in summer

It was a perfect day for the beach.  The sun was warm but not yet torrid.  The sand was soothing and the water tepid.  And the ice cream was...well.....delizioso!

I must confess: that white dog looked as if he would eat my ice cream...or me.  But it turned out summery.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Who spilt the cherries laughs last....

I wanted to find a way to make the cherries look interesting.  I didn't want to do a straight beauty shot, but something a little different.

I thought I could create psychological and visual tension by spilling them.  Then I realized a little water might add a kind of neo-Baroque drama and mystery.  Although the top frame appears almost black and white, it is made in colour.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Belgium revisited....

I finished editing my files on Paris and London England, and printed the books for both.  But I have yet to finalize Belgium and Amsterdam.

Here are a few in progress form Belgium.

Monday, July 9, 2012

It's the frog blog!

Sorry about the blog heading title.  I couldn't resist.

As regular readers of this cyberspace know, I like to get inanimate objects into my studio and set the big soft box on them; particularly, objects that are totally out of context.  I like the visual surprise.

When we were in Charleston South Carolina USA last year, we purchased a frog sculpture for the garden.

Here he is in a guest appearance as art object.

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Blue elegance meets the pedestrian

This still life intrigues me.  It is a combination of fine porcelain with some loosely hand-painted pots and bottles: elegant design versus pedestrian.  The antique blue coffee pot couldn't be any different from the modern coffee pot with the sloppy blue paint.

Yet the composition works.

Saturday, July 7, 2012

Roses done to death

Alright, I think I am calling time out, hiatus, nature break, with the roses still life project.  I have a file of 29 images that I quite like.  The one above is one of them, inspired by my silhouette figure series.

Im going to pursue the blue pottery still lifes and possibly do some rusty metal.

Friday, July 6, 2012

Summertime and the living is HOT

We opened our balcony door.  The morning sun nudged yellow around the steeple of a nearby church,  air heavy with smells and sounds of moisture: distant bird songs carried past us into the room.  Heavy moisture filled our noses.  Brilliant yellow chairs invited us outside into the fresh, heavy morning.

Thursday, July 5, 2012


We went with friends to our annual theatre trip to Stratford.  Brilliant company, food, accommodation and entertainment.

I don't know why, but the most striking image of the trip was a pool of fish.
BTW, it was 36 degrees C: Very hot.  I don't want to know what the humid-ex made it.

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Consider the lilies of the field......

In honour of the Higgs bosun non-discovery announcement today, I thought I'd mark the occasion by switching from roses to orange lilies with blue pottery.

Besides, I was getting a little, shall we say, over loaded, with roses.

Orange lilies grow wild in our county.  They are nick named "day lilies".   I'm not sure why.  They are ubiquitous.

When I was cutting these particular flowers from the side of the house, my neighbour happened by with her dog.  She is an avid gardener.

"The lilies are nice", she said, "but they don't last long....just a day."

"Maybe that's why they call them day lilies", I said.

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