My aaart continues. And while a lot has changed since my earlier forays, two things remain true: I keep a safe distance from representational art, and I damn near never use yellow. Not successfully, anyway. Always hate whatever I come up with and paint right over it.
Some recentish work:
As this blog transitions to photo-only mode, it may be time for me to finish editing my spring break photos already. The Portugal photos are slow going, but I've got the UK photos going at a steady clip. Some examples:
Thames by night, variation 1 of a kajillion:
The westernmost point in Europe, the place my contact lens committed suicide by leaping into the sea, and one of the most beautiful sights I've ever seen. With one eye.
I really need to replace my sadly defunct digital camera. I can't afford it, but on the other hand, I can't afford to have all of my artistic expression** filtered exclusively through my cameraphone.
** This no doubt sounds high-falutin'. I would like to note that calling it artistic expression in no way constitutes a statement as to the quality of what I produce.
I still haven't edited the photos from my trip out to Walla Walla. Or from my nephew's birthday. Or my Mom's birthday. Or . . . well, I've got a lot of editing to do.
To get started, some everyday shots from around town.
First, the best thing ever:
Below are some informal shots I rattled off on my cameraphone. I've been using its panoramic function the anticipated way and also toying around with it to stitch together noncontiguous/in-motion photos, usually as I ride the subway.
My subway chronicles:
Also seen around:
The poles of the gun debate encapsulated:
More fun with sign disrepair:
I did a rather spur-of-the-moment walk over the Brooklyn Bridge yesterday, and then just kinda kept going until I was most of the way home.
--There were flood lights on at South Street and at the base on the Brooklyn side, so the whole thing looked different than usual
--It was freezing (literally) so there weren't many people out
--I walked 4.5 miles!
--That 4.5 miles was in improper footwear.
--I left my digital camera in my friend's car on NYE, and I keep forgetting to get it back, so I only had my cell phone's camera to snap away with. All that dramatic lighting went to waste!
Results, such as they are:
Strange shadows on the first tower:
Lights between the two towers:
Being a strange shadow on the second tower. I love my hat:
Note: Does not contain actual poultry.
I have a friend who loves chickens, fondant, white cake, and having a less shitty time than she's been having lately. As a gesture at doing something small about the last of those, I combined the first three.
I never said I was an artiste. ("Shiny" is my friend's nickname.)
The good thing about fondant? Even when the forces of the F train conspire against you and you see the cake box drop to the ground in slow motion and land pretty much upside down? And ride the rest of the way to work full of sorrow, sure that all is lost? You may just find upon arriving and opening the box that all is perfectly fine within.
Quite the revelation, I know.
Anyway, what was meant to be a quick stroll through Prospect Park turned out to be a very long photo session. Because all of the following things are wrong with me:
-- I can't just see a duck. I have to look for its duck and geese friends!
-- If I have a camera, I have to photograph all of them
-- When near a lake, i have to take photos every three feet as the vista changes
-- Similarly, during a sunset, I have to take photos every 45 seconds as the light changes
-- If the moon is out, I have to shoot it in every damn segment of the frame
-- If the moon is out amongst trees . . . oh, forget it, I go on forever
-- Like most photo nerds, I bracket my exposures
-- Unlike many photo nerds, I also go beyond bracketing and just screw around with exposures to see what I can make appear from seemingly drab subjects
Well, this walk through the park was basically the perfect storm of my photo spasticity. Ducks! A lake! Sunset! A moon visible before and after! I'm lucky to have emerged without smoke coming out of the lens.
The very much culled results can be found by clicking on one of the ducks below:
But I should still remember to take my digicam or SLR around with me. This is getting ridiculous.
Pics from yesterday's walk through Prospect Park.
One of the bigass trees by the Long Meadow.
When the craigslist apartment hunting must pause and I'm in need of a wind-down activity before slumber, the hobby this summer has been (as seen once before) making photos look like comic book panels. Stupid? Sure. But FUN.
The most recent samples are below; there are many, many more where these came from.
My interior monologue lately has been going back and forth between "This really sucks, I am so tired, and I don't know what I'm going to do" and "Take a deep breath and stop being such a spaz. Things are going to be fine. They could even be great!"
As mine is not a particularly sophisticated artistic sensibility, I think the paintings I've made lately (two samples below) are showing the polarity almost directly. Subtlety, complexity, imagery . . . fuck that shit.
And the sparkly:
Yep, I painted bright colors and put beads on them. Shiny, shiny beads, like in your first-grade recess on rainy days. (Detail below.)
This regression leads me to suspect that my calmer, more optimistic impulse is, in fact, completely stupid and possibly dangerous. We shall see.
My cameraphone, while possessed of some reasonable limitations, is startlingly good for, you know, a bonus feature on a cellphone.
For fun times with the W600's panoramic mode, see below. Some images I intensified in Photoshop, but all images were stitched together by the camera, not on the computer (hence some imperfections). I also didn't do more than one effect on any image. And all of these are half-size.
Pretty damn cool.
The full spectacularrrr:
A friend of mine with whom I am engaged in mutual blogstalking (when you're as shitty a correspondent as I am, that's what things eventually devolve to) noted that she was getting a little worried each time I appeared in her RSS feed; it's been all homeless harassers, suicidal strangers, and dead pets.
To combat the downcast vibe, I present some more pulled sugar art. I won't bother showing the whole cake it ended up on, since it wound up very similar to a previous one. But it was oh so pretty and kinetic before it was placed.
When your neighbors are blaring salsa music until 5 am (no bullshit!), perhaps you don't mind. Perhaps you are out having your own carnaval until sunrise and don't even notice. But that is not how I am. After trying in vain to sleep through it (it is literally 7 feet from my bedroom--can't be done), calling the fuzz (can take hours and there's no guarantee of aid) and trying to read through it (HA!), I settled on Dumb Activities. I touched up some paintings, watched some cable, and did some photo excavation.
To make a long story short: I now have my first album cover. Now I just have to acquire some talent, write some songs, and record them.
Also used a larger version of the comic-style image in my placeholder page at the still-forming adairdevil.com.
As once before, I'm posting some of the paintings I've been making. I have no illusions that they are objects of great beauty, but just making them and their unphotographed companions has been doing a lot to keep me sane, so I regard them with affection. And I actually kinda like the blossom one all on its own.
These are gradually being used to alleviate my apartment's bare wall problem, which just shows how nice and encouraging my roommates are.
Note: The fourth one down has the unfair advantage of having been used as a test subject when I was practicing with my new tripod. All the others were snapped in standard half-ass fashion. And in defense of the last one, there's a whole thing with iridescent paint blended into the softer green stripes that ain't showing up at all. I . . . I don't know.
I've gone over the bridge a number of times in the last year, but haven't done the dedicated photowalking/blogging. As part of a larger "yes, everything went to hell last year, but so goddamn what" campaign, the copious photographing resumes.
Yesterday's tack: underexposing to bring color to a blah, washed out sky.
I won! I won! I more than salvaged the sugar project. I learned from this morning's green experiment and tried again, this time in amber and this time actually trying to make the pull shapes. I was even able to make one with pulls on both ends that wrapped around the cake (see 9 o'clock on the photo below and the piece overlapping it--they're really the same). Fuck yeah! Looks like stained glass, burns like stained glass if mishandled, but oh, much better results when you eat it.
It was all I could do not to start punching into the air, screaming, "IN YOUR FACE!!!"
But I managed.
One of the weirder side effects of this year's incessant awfulness has been a notable uptick in my craftiness quotient.
I always liked doing art, but I was never particularly good at it; I'm very uncoordinated and just can't make the pen/pencil/paintbrush/etc move in the right way to make the line/shape/etc I'm seeing in my head. So since the end of high school, I've more or less stuck with doing design on computers; I'm not a genius there, either, but on a computer the gap between talent and diligently acquired skill is much narrower. I can fake it more easily.
But being messed up has made me dissatisfied with that alone. Ever since the roommate art night in September, I've been on a hands-on craftiness bender, and the casualties are mounting.
Below are badly photographed (not false modesty, I really didn't bother to photograph them properly, it would take longer than they're worth) paintings I have made, each taking anywhere from 20 minutes to three. whole. hours. Oh yes, my artistic devotion, it rivals the masters.
These are by no means all of them. Maybe half or three fifths. These tiny things are littering my apartment. I can't believe my roommates haven't maced me yet, or made me eat my oil paints. Instead, they joke about my new hobby and make kind noises about the rectangles they find drying on the bricks outside our door.
As oil painting was the absolute nadir of my high school art classes--I could NOT make it work--I don't know why I find it so calming now. But it is; the simple process of moving the brush over the canvas is immensely soothing, and then (several days of drying later) I have a block of color to throw on the wall.
And, yes, they're all pretty much blocks of (sometimes iridescent) color, except where I threw in scraps of a photo or some plastics I got for about a buck at this neato shop on Canal St. The exception is the horse I tried to paint for my roommate's birthday (she wanted a pony, and since we can't keep a real one in the apt., I tried to paint her one), which I think will make eminently clear why I stick with abstract painting. I SUCK AT REPRESENTATIONAL ART. At least with swirls and grains the viewer doesn't know how off I was from what I intended.
Aaaand I'm still messing around with Photoshop. I sat down to crop a photo of myself to update my Friendster page and, the moment I opened the file, I immediately began fucking with it instead of just correcting levels and shrinking it like non-spastic people do. Still haven't updated my profile! But I have a pleasantly odd photo:
The wall in our living room was too bare for too long, and my roommate Nina decided to do something about it: when she found a gigantic painting on the street, she took it. There was only one problem.
It was ugly. Really, really ugly. Not the type of ugly that bespeaks experimentation or a willingness to challenge the audience, but the type of ugly that bespeaks never having mastered perspective. Or shading. Or . . . anything. It was a big, faded, ugly, badly painted pasture.
But as luck would have it, I came into a big stash of oil paint (primarily ultramarine blue and white) some time ago. So, we scheduled our first ever Roommate Art Night, armed ourselves with paintbrushes and magazines, and set forth to create our masterpiece.
The collective result, so far (it ain't finished yet):
On the whole, it looks surprisingly cool. I take the blame for that black and white spot in the middle that's mucking things up; it was a picture of a rat, and it just didn't work out. It'll get covered before we're done.
For a brief activity--maybe an hour and change--it was pretty great. You can also tell a lot about the dispositions in the apartment by our respective contributions. For instance:
Nina is funny and open (hence the flow and the O face picture selection):
Caitlin is cheerful and bright:
And I am depressing:
Note: I did NOT paint that face; it's a clipping of an ad for Divers/cité that I ripped from one of Caitlin's magazines. Likewise, Nina found the guy and his fish, I just decided to put it there. The Happy Bunny card was mine, though.
Other pics of the Madison trip are here. Luckily for you, I took no pictures of the conference I was attending. Otherwise, it'd be all fluorescent light, strange hair, and distressingly unsupportive bras as far as the eye can see.
My observations on the city itself:
-- Drivers are quite courteous to pedestrians
-- The lake shores are lovely
-- Lots of blue eyes
-- Nice farmers' market
All in all, a nice place with (going by a brief sampling and posters) fun music. And it was thoroughly salutary to be outside of my daily life for a spell.
My personal assignment to see the same thing in different ways continues. (So I am ignoring the suggestion that Monkey Pants, aka my sister, made in comment to my previous entry. But not out of spite.) Bless Daylight Savings for making it easier.
Also, Veronica Mars was awesome last night.
. . . of ways to take photos of the same place without taking the same photo. Good thing I hit this week's walk around sunset instead of when it was already dark.
This had the added benefit of getting me home in time to see the contestants on America's Next Top Model lose their shit after erroneously assuming that one woman's rash was--what else?--flesh-eating, pneumonia-causing bacteria. That was some great TV. Thank you, Tyra Banks. May you go from strength to strength.
Anyway, before I settled down to bask in ANTM's awesomeness, I did my weekly walk home over the bridge. Stay tuned for next week, when my increasingly desperate bids for photo variation will probably have me taking photos of angry, oncoming cyclists in the bike lane.
Pardon the ripped-off Adrienne Kennedy quotation. Especially since its only applicability is that all of the photos I took on today's Brooklyn Bridge walk were black and white compositions.
We've got yer basic moon through the cables shot:
And yer folks walking over the bridge with Brooklyn behind them and the Manhattan Bridge to the north:
Aaaaand we've got the first album cover for The Adairdevils. (Album forthcoming once musical talent attained.)
At least once a week, I will walk home over the Brooklyn Bridge from at least the City Hall stop (I don't think I can make myself go past Canal Street and remain sane). Sure, the photos I take will be shaky, since I haven't mastered setting the shutter speed on my (recently acquired) digital camera, there are cars rumbling beneath, and, for now at least, it's fucking freezing without gloves. But it's one of the few places to be thoroughly in the city without a full-blown crowd around, and with proper timing, I'm there as the sky changes colors. Even on rather crappy weather days, as below, it's beautiful and keeps the psychosis at bay.
The Gates were every bit as cool as they were intended and reputed to be. And since we went into the park up in Harlem, the crowd was merely bustling rather than insane.
I got a swatch, so I think I may now consider myself the object of near-universal envy.
I'm posting what I call my Speed Design Challenge 2004 entry. I don't know how content I am with the result, but I'm kinda proud of the mere fact of getting it done.
The challenge: create an image (no text) for a play that communicates: infidelity; edge; a particular waterfall in Minneapolis; the general aesthetic of a particular play company (that aesthetic being sort of avant garde and technologically advanced, but deliberately not sleek). This image is of unspecified size but must be 300 dpi and reasonably large.
Your resources: whatever you currently have on your computer that is not copyright somebody else.
Time: your lunch hour, 'cause this is not your actual job.
This is what I came up with, in its three different color variation b/c I didn't know what it would be used for. Obviously the original was larger, and I know this is flawed. But hey: ONE HOUR.
I also get a kick out of the fact that the image I used was originally from another play this company mounted, and was actually a son about to touch his dead mother's face (second photo).