I took the day off today

Not only was it my birthday (I’m officially 55, but as my doc assures me I can pass for 35, that’s what I’m doing.) but I had a blistering headache for much of the day. It was the first birthday I spent without either of my folks, and honestly it was kind of sad for me in spite of all the kind wishes and good things people were saying on my Live Journal. So I kept my head down and just let the day roll over me. I did have chocolate. That helped.

And now I’m having a ball over at Flickr, joining groups and uploading photos. What a wonderful place that is. The digital age is quite a boon to people who have been inhibited by the cost of conventional photography. Now we can take a chance, we can experiment.

So here are two of my experiments. The first is a chair I saw just sitting under a tree in Lincoln Square. It was posted on my LJ in answer to a friend’s photo of a chair floating down the Chicago river on an ice floe. The amazing peripatetic Chicago chair:

The Peripatetic Chicago Chair

The second is one of the sillier photos I’ve taken of my cat. He’s my special boy and he took care of me all day.

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A brand, spanking new meme

By an old friend over on Live Journal

Name some of your favorite artists. — Start with a hard one, why don’t you? Um… Sargent, O’Keefe, Chihuly (because I adore glass and organic shapes) Vermeer, Atget, Brassai, Whistler, Redon. I love “outsider” art, too. Oh… everyone!

Name some of your favorite songs/pieces of music to accompany creative endeavors. Which ones get your Muses to nudging you? — Mostly I just turn on the radio these days. I listen to the local classical or oldies stations.

Do you do crafts? Which ones? — Sometimes it seems like all of them, but I can pretty much break it down into fiber, light metals and paper. Within those areas, I’ll pretty much try anything.

What are your favorite art mediums? — Used to be pencil, which I still love, but now I’m branching out into acrylics, oil pastels… let’s just say mixed media. I also love working on the computer and in photography.

Which “speaks” to you more viscerally in black and white: a soft, delicately shaded pencil piece or stark, highly-contasted pen-and-ink? — I think a good, simple pen-and-ink will always catch hold of me more strongly, though perhaps that’s because I never got good at it.

Stippling or crosshatching? (And which took you longest to master?)– More crosshatching these days, though I haven’t actually mastered either.

Do you like to mix your media? — I ADORE mixing my media.

If you work in colored pencils, do you softly shade with a continuous pencil movement, or do you crosshatch? — I don’t often, and I will do both, depending on the subject.

Again, colored pencils: which kind(s) do you like? — Whatever I have stowed away in my pencil box. I’m not picky.

Do you collect art? What kind? — Some. And my taste is all over the place. I have very old watercolors and oils, surrealist paintings, photography, drawing, prints, contemporary paintings. The only thing I don’t actually collect is fan art, and even then I still have one Faddis.

Do you paint with oils? With acrylics? Gouache, tempera, watercolors? — No oils, I don’t have the patience. Acrylics and watercolor. Mostly acrylic these days.

Paints: favorite types/brands? — Schminke watercolors and Golden acrylics.

Do you use markers? Which are your favorites? — Only occasionally, and again, whatever is in my marker box is just fine.

Do you prefer to work opaquely or transparently? — I think I prefer transparent work because I can create depth of color with it, but I’ll do what needs doing, you know?

Have you ever used colorless blenders with marker/colored pencil? — Yes, with mixed results. This isn’t the same thing, but I like to layer colored pencil and regular graphite pencil.

Do you work in 3-D, i.e. sculpting or the like? Tell us more! — A little. I’d like to do more. I used to work in polyclay, but I lost interest in it. Now I’m moving into assemblage.

Favorite subject(s) to portray in a work of art? — I tend to draw faces rather obsessively. I like flowers and trees as well, and in my photography, macros are very important.

Are you a font/lettering/illumination/calligraphy addict? When you write text, is the rhythm/placement/appearance of text as important as the words and the idea you’re conveying? — Used to be. Whoever dies with the most fonts wins, nu? But these days I’m more aware that the job can usually be done without ten thousand fonts. What you say and the placement of the text is really a lot more important than agonizing over the exact right font.

Please honor us with an example of your work, if possible (or direct us to your webpage, if you feel comfortable doing so)! I have a few pieces up at Flickr (Account name: Dargie) and I put some ATCs up at the website I’m working on.

Add any arty-farty questions you’d like that you feel are glaringly absent from this meme. Spread it around if you feel inclined.

I’m adding two questions:

As opposed to your favorite artists, who are you greatest influences? — I’m in kind of a no-man’s land here with influences. When I was younger I’d have said the Pre-Raphaelites and a lot of children’s book illustrators. But as I’m moving into other areas in my art, I’m not quite sure who to cite just now. Recently, Michael de Meng has made a big impression on me as has Gregory Colbert, Mary Ellen Marks and a lot of folks who are working in more non-traditional areas. It’s anyone’s guess where I’ll end up.

Do you find that your craft work informs your art or vice-versa? Or does it work back and forth? — Back and forth for me. I find it less and less easy to differentiate between art and craft. I have my eye on Magliaro’s By Hand: The Use of Craft in Contemporary ArtThe Use of Craft in Contemporary Art which seems to address this question to some degree. We shall see.

Cool meme.

Les promenades de Violette

Violette, of the inspiring La Cabane de Violette has created a journal to share her sources of inspiration. Les promenades de Violette begins today, in Versailles, at Le petit Trianon, with some delicious photos of architectural, decorative and fashion details, several of which have now found their way into my digital inspirations notebook.

There’s a (still small) photo album, and some lovely links. I can’t wait to see where Violette goes next.

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Ashes and Snow

I was pleased to see that Ullabenulla‘s links list contained a link to Ashes and Snow, and that she felt, as I and some of my friends feel, that it was the most beautiful photo exhibit she’d ever seen. I was even more pleased to find an article about the photographer, Gregory Colbert, while I was surfing this afternoon. It’s a short interview, and includes a gallery, but you’d be better off checking out the exhibition site.

“We live in species ghettoes. There used to be a diversity of species in places we lived, whereas now, we have very little interaction with other species. When we’re young there’s not that sense of being isolated from other species. Young children are able to speak with animals, and then they get banished.”

— Gregory Colbert, The Book LA.com