The Weather’s Warm. Must be Time for Pictures!

Like most, I go into hibernation mode in winter. Now that the weather has decided to be cooperative and warm, I’m so excited to be out and be able to take pictures. Yesterday, I went out to a local park and snapped away.  Here are some of the shots I took. If you’d like to see the full set, check it out on Flickr here.

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Everyone has a favorite spring activity. Mine is photography. What’s yours?

Muddled with Color: Working with Pastels

After a studio art drought, I decided to jump back into that realm today.  I’ve been wanting to get my hands dirty with oil pastels for a while as well as use a new art book I got in Florida back in March.  So I broke out both today.

A few months ago, a Louisiana friend of mine uploaded the following photo of a sunrise:

The inspiration behind my piece

The inspiration behind my piece

This image has stayed with me ever since he uploaded it, and I wanted to try drawing it.  Since it was such a pretty day out, I decided to print out the picture (in black and white since my printer doesn’t do color) and head out to draw among the cool breeze.

The printed reference I worked from

The printed reference I worked from

I will admit, I was a little nervous about sketching from a black and white photo since the color in the original is so brilliant.  But as I began laying down the color, particularly for the sky, and smudging, I realized I had a new freedom in picking the colors I wanted the sky to be, rather than painstakingly trying to match the color to the photo.  All of the little nuances of color and quirks were mine, and I liked that.  I know artists can do that with a full color reference too, but it’s something I struggle with.  Working with a black and white image freed me from my inner art critic a bit more.

When I first started the piece, I didn’t really like how it was turning out (as per usual).  But the more I smudged and added and got my hands muddled with color, the more I liked my rendition of the original image.  I hope you do too!

Almost there!

Almost there!

Finished piece!

Finished piece!

What is your current art project (in any medium)?

Poetry, Cobblestone, and My Orange Shirt: A Weekend in Massachusetts

Poetry can be a solitary task what with all the writing and revising and talking to your raven.  So two weekends ago, I decided to volunteer at the Massachusetts Poetry Festival in Salem, MA.  The festival was headed by a friend of mine and I was happy to help out.  The weekend started with the nearly 5 hour drive up after work on Friday.  The drive was actually pretty relaxing and I saw some really great scenery.

On Saturday, I spent the early part of the day directing volunteers and poets to check in and get their shirts, like this one!

I did get to spend some time volunteering outside in the beautiful weather.  After my shift was over, I walked around Salem and took some pictures of the scenery.

It’s funny what you’ll see around town.  This is probably the most uplifting (and literary based) “graffiti” I’ve ever seen in a bathroom stall.

Afterwards, I attended the panel “Enduring Song,” led by my friend, Monica Hand.  She and Katie Rushin spoke of African-American poets and their link to song and singers.  I didn’t take pictures there since it was a small venue and it would’ve been distracting.

After the panel, all of the volunteers and poets were invited to a reception with yummy food, live music, and great company.

After dinner came the headline poetry reading, featuring Joy Harjo, Nikky Finney, Sherwin Bitsui, Wesley McNair, and Susan Cattaneo.  Here are some shots I took from the night:

I headed home the next day after a full weekend.  All in all, it was a fun experience that melded the practice of writing poetry with action!

Want to see more shots of my time in Massachusetts?  You can check out the Flickr gallery here!

Early Spring: My Trip to Longwood Gardens

Remember those 500+ shots I mentioned in my “Boot and Blossoms” post?  Here’s a sampling of those pictures:

For the full gallery, check out my Flickr gallery here.

Do you like one or two of these shots enough to hang on your wall?  Some of these pictures are available as prints in my art Etsy store.  Check it out here! (Would you like to purchase a photo that you do not see available as a print?  Send me a message and I’d be happy to create a custom listing for you!)

25 @ 25: Red Lips and Leather

Decided to go a bit rocker for this shoot.  I got a leather jacket not too long ago and was eager to break it in.  What better way to do that than wear it for a photoshoot?  This is definitely my favorite self-portrait thus far.

Want to know the motivation behind these 25 @ 25 shenanigans?  Check out the first post here.

25 @ 25: In Rainbows

A few years back, I bought a scarf from my friend Stephanie at a craft fair.  I wear this scarf every winter and I still get compliments on it.

To accentuate the brightness of this scarf, I decided to utilize color accents in this week’s 25 @ 25 photograph.

Want to know what this 25 @ 25 business is all about?  Check out the first post here.

25 @ 25 – Simple Storyline

I’ve seen photo essays and photo series telling a story, so I thought I’d give it a whirl. Pretty simply progression (thought I’d start small).

25 @ 25: By the Dock

Although I went up north over a month ago, I’m still in a Maine state of mind.  This week’s 25 @ 25 features a picture on a dock in Maine (pretty awesome view, eh?).

Looking for the post that kick-started the 25 @ 25 project?  Check it out here.

25 @ 25: Shadow Play

I am currently in the gorgeous state of Maine visiting some dear friends.  We headed to the beach yesterday and I went nuts with my camera!  The scenery is breathtaking.

The sun was brilliant that day, so I decided to play with shadows for this week’s self-portrait:

Looking for the post that started 25 @ 25?  Check it out here.

25 @ 25: Artist at Work

I’ve gotten quite crafty over the past month or so.  See?

This week’s 25 @ 25 features a picture of me getting my hands dirty with an X-acto knife, glass, scrapbook paper, and craft glue:

Want to know a bit more about this 25 @ 25 project?  Check out the post that started it all here.

25 @ 25: These Black Boots Were Made for Walkin’

I’ve been taking a photography class over the last 5 weeks at CCA Bedminster.  Tonight was the last class.  During the critique, the instructor pointed out that three of my self-portrait shots could be the start of a series. I’ve never done a photography series before, but the idea is exciting!  So, this week’s 25 @ 25 post includes three pictures that may become part of a larger project (I’m thinking the common thread will be the sassy black boots!)

Looking for the post that started this sassy 25 @ 25 project?  Check it out here.

25 @ 25: Reflections

There was (and perhaps still is) a trend of photographers who take self-portraits with their cameras looking straight into a mirror.   But what about reflections in other surfaces?  I was recently out taking a lot of pictures which focused on texture,when I discovered I could see myself pretty clearly in the bumper of my car.  And this is the resulting shot:

Can you tell I don’t like showing my face in self-portraits?  Maybe I’ll change that trend next week….

Curious to find out the story behind 25 @ 25?  Check out the first post here.

25 @ 25 Photo Challenge: Kung Fu Fighting

I took up kickboxing earlier in the year.  Over Memorial Day weekend, I  set my camera on a tripod and practiced some kicks and punches.  During this shoot, I not only realized that I sweat at the drop of a hat and make silly faces when I kickbox, but also that I can kick pretty niftily while in mid-air:


Missed the first 25 @ 25 post?  Check it out here.

25 @ 25: A Photo Challenge

I recently read an article about self-portrait photography.  I’ve always shied away from self-portraits because I like to focus on other subjects when I’m creating the shots.  But Larry Lourcey, the author of the article, talked about how his creativity was sharpened by self-portraiture.  He made a challenge for himself: since he had just turned 40, he would take a picture of himself each week for 40 weeks. This project challenged Lourcey to turn himself and his interests into a series of captivating images.  The results are incredible!  You can check out his 40@Forty Gallery here.

I’ve recently turned 25, so I thought this challenge would be a pretty cool one to try (turning a quarter of a century old should be commemorated somehow, right?).  So, for the next 25 weeks I’ll be posting a self-portrait.  I’m hoping this discipline of regularly taking pictures will challenge me to get really inventive and sharpen my photography skills.

I’m definitely open to suggestions, so if you have an idea for a setting/theme/etc. feel free to leave a comment or shoot me an e-mail 🙂  In the meantime, here’s the first image to kick off the series:

Seeing RED

I got to meet the guys of one of my favorite bands last month.  It was St. Patrick’s Day. While most people wear green on this day, all I saw was RED (I know, I know, terrible pun).  I’ve been a fan of this band since before their first album was released.  I first heard their music back in 2006 on Myspace (gasp!).  I was hooked.  When I heard they were offering the chance for six fans to hang out with them during each stop of their latest tour, I knew I had to go.

And I did.  And the guys were awesome — funny, down-to-earth, talented dudes.  I was the first person to step onto the tour bus.  I had no idea what to say, so I just said “Hi!”  Before I knew it, I had shaken hands with each of them and was sitting next to the drummer.  We hung out for about 30 – 45 minutes and talked about everything from their new album to the fact that they had a fight with a taser a while back.  It was definitely one of those “I can’t believe I get to live this life” moments.

I went to this concert with a friend of mine who works for a magazine.  She was able to get a press pass (Thanks, Suzy!)  This means that during RED’s set, I was in their faces taking pictures.  See?

I will never forget being in the press pit, headbanging, singing, and clicking away with the SLR.  Now, I never have high expectations when trying to take pictures at a concert because most of them turn out to be unintentional light paintings.  But sometimes, you get shots like this: