Wednesday, 16 April 2014

Fame At Last ! (Sorta)

My 100th blog post, which is a rather nice opportunity to give my own trumpet a little toot, and say that the first of several of my photos requested for licensing is now available on 500px Prime, as well as being up for purchase as a canvas, a print, or even a wallpaper download - right here !

Edit 17th April: five more photos have been accepted for Prime Licensing, and two more are going through processing for Licensing, so I am feeling rather pleased !

In the meantime, I've been looking at still life projects possibilities for both fine art and photography, and am considering trying some work in the style of Andy Goldsworthy, whom I very much admire.  For those who are not familiar with his work, here's a link to my Pinterest board on him, which, while not in any way comprehensive -though I'm working on it, as I am all my boards on and off; great site to use for artistic reference IMHO, amongst other things - will hopefully give an intro to and a feel for, his art.

I suppose this is the nearest I've come to date, although I wasn't thinking of him at the time - but was intent on using objects found in natural surroundings (on the shore of a Scottish loch, in this case) to make images.

The next few months should be interesting, especially if we get a spell of decent weather again this summer - here's hoping !

Monday, 7 April 2014

A Choice of Weapons

A Choice of WeaponsA Choice of Weapons by Gordon Parks
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

First published in 1966, when he was 54, this is an eye-opening account of one man's personal struggle to launch a career in a time and place when the odds were heavily against him.

Gordon Parks was deeply talented; he played semi-professional basketball, and was an accomplished musician and composer. But it was after having his imagination fired by watching a wartime newsreel - the bombing of the USS Panay by Japanese warplanes, shot by photographer Norman Alley - that he was inspired to make photography his life's work. Undeterred by having little money, he went out and bought a secondhand camera - a Voigtlander Brilliant - from a local pawnshop, along with three rolls of film which he immediately shot and got developed. Six weeks later, he got his own show at Eastman Kodak's Minneapolis store, and as the saying goes, the rest is history.

The title of the book reflects his fight against the poverty and bigotry which were so rife in his experience, and the weapons he used were his camera, and the values taught to him by his mother, who believed in the power of love, dignity and hard work in conquering hatred. In the introduction to the 2010 edition, photographer Wing Young Huie stated "His geographical reach from his roots in Minnesota and the Midwest, and then to D.C., New York and beyond, impacted generations, and reverberates still ...... he funnelled whatever bitterness and resentment he felt into an artistic array of weaponry".

Highly recommended.

View all my reviews

Thursday, 27 March 2014

Cherry Blossom

Everyone feels grief
when cherry blossoms scatter.
Might they then be tears - 
those drops of moisture falling
in the gentle rains of spring ?

Otomo no Juronushi
Japan, late 9th century

Thursday, 20 March 2014

A Small Literary Excursion .......

In the interests of widening the scope of this blog a little, as the title suggests, a brief excursion into my reading tastes with a review of my latest read ..... there will be more in due course. What Makes This Book So GreatWhat Makes This Book So Great by Jo Walton
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

First off, I have to confess, I'd never heard of the author, let alone read any of her books. That didn't bother me, as on observing that she is both a Hugo and Nebula award winner, I thought it would be interesting to read the POV of someone who is SERIOUSLY into sci-fi and fantasy. And - hmmmmmm .......

The book is basically a collection of posts (130 total) she has made on Sci-fi and fantasy blog over a period of about two and a half years (July 2008 - Feb 2011). I wanted to like it, because the idea is great - as a lifelong sci-fi and fantasy buff, and someone who has read and re-read so many books, I was hoping to find new stuff to read, and inspiration to re-read - and it didn't really happen.

Don't get me wrong, I like her style, which being basically writing for a blog, is chatty, witty, and thought-provoking; there are some real gems in here, including #2 "Why I Re-Read", #27 on how she wishes George Eliot could have written sci-fi, #57 on Ursula Le Guin's classic "Left Hand of Darkness", #60 on Robert Heinlein's "Friday" (a guilty pleasure we both share), #61 on Salman Rushdie's "Midnight's Children" (now that's one I HAVE to re-read), #117 on Terri Windling's "The Wood Wife" (ditto) and #124, "The Suck Fairy", with which I wholeheartedly agree. BUT ...... the vast majority of what she writes about, I have never heard of, and am not really interested in finding out more - they're just a little too obscure for my taste, though they obviously have their devotees, and that's fair enough.

So - mixed feelings on a mixed bag for me - and three stars.

View all my reviews

Tuesday, 18 March 2014

Perfect Light

Sometimes, chance is a lovely thing.  I was admiring the beauty of the full moon the other night, and thinking about doing some more night photography - and then today, I came across this quote from the poem "The Old Astronomer To His Pupil" by Sarah Williams.  It has to be said, as a whole, it's not one of my favourites, but somehow this brief extract seemed to sum up my feelings both then and now so perfectly, I just had to quote it, along with some pictures .......

"Though my soul may set in darkness, it will rise in perfect light,
I have loved the stars too fondly to be fearful of the night"

Saturday, 15 March 2014

Rainbows After The Storm

As detailed in my last post, I was intending to wait for a while to post again, for a number of reasons, not least continuing health problems which require ongoing treatment.

However, although updates may not be regular, I have decided that it is perhaps better to continue when I can without undue interruption, as the focus on my art has been both a pleasure and a relief over the last six months or so, as has blogging generally.  With the acquisition of my new web page at 500px, which ties all my internet activities/presences (including this blog) as well as my portfolio of work for sale neatly together, I feel that I can now make this blog into both a more general and more personal journal, although the main focus will remain art of all kinds; its scope will simply widen.

Artwise, I have a lot of ideas for the future, and will be continuing to explore them here, in both old and new directions, as well as sharing more of what I love about the work of others in more detail, and more often.  There is always a rainbow to be found, after all.  And now, onwards !

Wednesday, 26 February 2014

Time Out

Sitting quietly, doing nothing, 
Spring comes, and the grass grows by itself.

Matsuo Basho

A brief update, as the weather starts to improve, and it feels like spring is finally here - or at least close.  And as there is a lot going on in my life at the moment, I needed to decide what to concentrate on for the next few months at least.

On the plus side, three of my photos were recently requested by premier photography community 500px (see below) to be a part of the first collection for their new Commercial Licensing Marketplace, which was very pleasing.  However, it also reminded me that my photography has been somewhat neglected of late, so I intend to start remedying that.  Add to that a continuing desire to improve my watercolour work in one form or another, and focus on my new website page via 500px, and I may not be posting for a while.  

Until then, please feel free to enjoy any of the links in the sidebar, and I will be back.

Tuesday, 18 February 2014

Where Do Ideas Come From ? Neil Gaiman on how Creativity Works

Anyone familiar with me and/or this blog will know that I make no apology for my admiration of the amazing Neil Gaiman, so I offer none for posting another vid of him - this time in a Q & A session.  I found this via Maria Popova's wondrous Brain Pickings site, which is also well worth a look.

Enjoy !

Monday, 10 February 2014

Going With The Flow

A few coloured abstracts, before getting back to more traditional imagery.

Friday, 7 February 2014

Hockney, Printmaker (Review #2) - The Etchings

Given my long-standing admiration for David Hockney, as well as my interest in print-making, I thought this link might be of interest - I certainly enjoyed it, just wish I could have been there.

Hockney, Printmaker (Review #2) - The Etchings

Spring Colours

"It is Spring again.  The earth is like a child that knows poems by heart".
Rainer Maria Rilke

An unexpectedly sunny morning in the midst of all the grey, wet weather, and these tulips caught my eye on a market stall - brightening the day with their soft colours.