Little Girl on a Bike

When thinking of happy childhood days, the carefree feeling of no worries and no fear, the one thing that consistently comes to mind is riding my bicycle.

“The Free Spirit”

“The Free Spirit”

I could spend hours on my bike on a nice summer day. So much so, that I can recall nights when I was trying to go to sleep, and kept kicking myself awake. I would close my eyes, and all I could see was the dirt road before me, feel the bike beneath me, and pedal.

My childhood bike had been a sky blue bike with a white banana seat. I enjoyed embellishing it with stickers of rainbows. It eventually went out of style, and I outgrew it. But I never really got away from the comfort of riding bikes much bigger than the size of a BMX bike. Dirt bikes are still my favorite. I’ve tried to adapt to full size cruisers, or 10 speeds, but they just aren’t as natural to me.

I recently acquired a relic of a bicycle. Smaller, like a dirt bike, but not really child size. It’s from the late 70s or early 80s. A quick search online revealed that it was carried most commonly by Sears. It’s even got a name: “The Free Spirit”. How perfect!

Dirt roads for miles of bike riding. I can hear (in my memories) the sound of the road under my tires.

Dirt roads for miles of bike riding. I can hear (in my memories) the sound of the road under my tires.

In an effort to capture that love of a pass time, I channeled my inner eleven year old. I never had a clear destination when riding my bike. There was nowhere for me to go. Just up and down the old dirt road behind my house. Just the love of the bike, and the breeze in my face and my hair blowing behind me as I raced down the hill.

I shared a video montage of myself riding “The Free Spirit” past the camera. Going this way and that way, and back again. No clear destination, just the love of riding. It is an expression of that childhood feeling, of nothing else existing in that moment (if you haven’t seen it, the link is below).

It is a comforting feeling as an adult, to be able to effortlessly find the carefree spirit of her inner child.

Analog Photography Conundrum

I enjoy taking instant photos. I have two cameras just for the occasion, a Fujifilm Instax and a Lomo’Instant. It’s very satisfying to point and shoot, and immediately have a real photograph. Instant cameras are perfect for reference photos during the creative process, and they’re fun!

All of the pluses aside, I’ve tried several times to share them digitally. Which means that I have to take a photograph of the photographs. Larger scale analog photos I’ve scanned are no problem. I put them in my digital scanner, and immediately have all the benefits of having a digital copy. I can email them, text them, and share them online. Mini instant photos, however, don’t scan well. Detail and definition is lost and the digital copies are washed out and appear over-exposed. An alternative is photographing them with my digital camera or phone. Which yields mixed results. If the light is just perfect, and I hold my mouth just so, I can get a decent image. I’ll sometimes get reflections, or I’ll have to hold them vertically and include my hand in the shot.

After trying several times to photograph recently, I became frustrated. Why couldn’t this be as easy as photographing my art while it sits on the easel? That’s when I thought of a tiny easel and a photo booth. I already had a tiny world in a box I’d created for an old project (I used it for an attempt at a stop-motion), which was doing nothing but collecting dust. All I needed was a tiny easel. Sure, I’m sure I could have found something at a hobby store to fit the bill, but where’s the fun in that? I grabbed some cardboard, a pencil, ruler, and a razor knife and got to work.

easel.jpg

Using my pencil and ruler, I came up with a very basic design for an easel, cut from one piece of cardboard.

I carefully removed the excess cardboard to free the third leg of the easel. Then I glued on additional strips of cardboard to all three legs, and the front of the easel where tiny works of art would sit. I clipped my reinforcements in place, and waited while the glue dried.

easel2.jpg

I chose Mars Black to paint my easel. It’s become an arch nemesis for my paintings (I use too much and turn everything too dark, so I’ve banned myself from using it). I did some light sanding to remove the fuzzy edges, and added an additional coat of Mars Black.

While I’m sure there’s a better way to digitally photograph my analog photos, I enjoyed this little side project. And I’m thrilled to have utilized my tiny set for the purpose of creating an interesting solution. Even if it turns out that it’s not optimal, I think I’ll enjoy taking photos in a tiny vignette. My final photo shoot is at the bottom!

easel3.jpg
DSCF1983.JPG

Artist in the Digital Age

Deep breath. Now, JUMP!

And I free fall...straight into the deep end.

I’m taking the plunge into the deep end of the world wide web. Turning a camera on myself. Youtube and Patreon, here I come!

What a strange and interesting time we live in! News of the world is readily available at our fingertips. You can learn about anything, and everything. Art, news, entertainment, opinion and media is all here, a click away. For better or worse. Artists can share not just their completed pieces, but their thoughts, lives, creativity and creative processes directly with people who want to see it, and get paid for it! That is something truly unique about being an artist in a the digital age.

I’m a multimedia artist, and I work with all the kinds of media. My work can be challenging, silly, intense, beautiful, dark, and whimsical. While most of my art is painting in acrylics and watercolors, I also create performance art, sew, sculpt, collage, write, and work in experimental photography, Often times combining several at once. I’ve come to consider social media and the internet an art form, as well.

I’ve been working on videos and vlogs lately...with a fair amount of nervous awkwardness. I’ve pushed myself past my own self consciousness with wondering what Frida Kahlo, Andy Warhol, Pablo Picasso, Marcel Duchamp, or Salvador Dali could have done with such an outlet as the internet.

For more on what this new chapter will look like, watch the video attached below. If you’re so inclined, follow me on YouTube, or even better, become a member on Patreon! (Links below)

Exploration in Iconography

The progress of a painting featuring the Eye of Horus.

The progress of a painting featuring the Eye of Horus.

40322402_672308353165928_7247743890227200000_n.jpg
The progress of a painting of Kali.

The progress of a painting of Kali.

40144046_696476960689002_5067857922319450112_n.jpg
40194214_250438219141394_4476320889914261504_n.jpg

I'm currently working on a series of paintings which explore the iconography of multiple cultures and religions. Four paintings are completed or in progress. Two of which include Ancient Egyptian iconography incorporating the Eye of Horus. Horus was depicted as a hawk, or a man with the head of a hawk. The god of the sky. His right eye represents the sun, and his left the moon.

Two more are explorations of the Hindu goddess Kali. Her depictions often seem terrifying. Killer of demons, and the representation of the force of time. Typically depicted with multiple arms: right hands offering gifts of insight, while at least one arm is raised carrying the sword of enlightenment. She is the embodiment of nature, her skin is blue as she is clad in space. Her eyes are open wide and blazing with fire, and her hair is long, black,and flowing wildly. 

The Artist Explores her Palette (and Palate)

I’ve moved across the country from the American SouthWest to the American SouthEast. It’s a transition that has broadened my palette (range of colors) and my palate (preference of flavors in food).

From the arid mountains and deserts and into the rolling hills covered in giant trees. I’ve perceived more shades of green than I ever believed possible! I paint in greens and golds lately, with ranges of orange. I can't help but think that these color choices come from the colors I'm surrounded by.  I finally understand the expression: “tall as a Georgia pine tree”, as there isn’t much taller than one.

New Mexican cuisine, for me, consisted of a few staples: green chile, red chile, and sopapillas. Chile peppers are a specialty crop for New Mexico. Grown in the southern part of the state. By August of each year, fresh green chiles are available in every grocery store by the pound, or by a giant burlap sackful. It can be purchased as is, or fire roasted outside after purchase. It smells wonderful, and has eternally marked the beginning of autumn in my mind. New Mexicans commonly stock up for the year, freezing and canning green chile.

I often crave my New Mexico staples, but I’ve found that although different, Southern foods can be equally delicious, in their own right. Below, my list of regional foods I’ve come to enjoy. There’s still much to try, but these are some of my favorites.

5.Grits. Served with butter, cheese, sugar or shrimp.

4. Pimento Cheese Spread. On sandwiches, or as an appetizer with flour tortilla chips.

3. Southern Fried Pickles. Yep, dill pickles, fried.

2. Biscuits and gravy. Fresh biscuits and delicious creamy gravy.

1. Chicken biscuit. As a sandwich, or open face smothered in gravy.

Ebb and Flow of Film Photography

Quick selfie with the LomoInstant

Quick selfie with the LomoInstant

Go back to the 1980s with me. My parents’ camera(s) were brought out on only the most commemorative of days. Birthdays, pageants, Christmas mornings, family reunions, weddings. Film was the means to document a moment of time.

By contrast, the current era has popularized the documentation and public sharing of everything on social media: from meals, to travel, to selfies.

The years between went something like this:

By the 1990s, film had become precious to me. I took much care in what I photographed and found great frustration when the photos I took didn’t turn out as planned. And I never knew if they’d worked until the film was used up, I’d taken them to a lab, and received my envelope of photos. Labs were readily available, and when I got my film processed, I had something tangible. A physical manifestation of a memory.

I wanted to take photography in college, and learn the ins and outs of the technical aspects. I wanted to learn how to develop and manipulate the film, but the expense of it seemed too great. Film began to decline with the availability of digital cameras. Processing my film eventually became harder to do, until the option was sending them away. The one hour drive through processing booths that were once in every grocery store parking lot were closed. It was more expense, and as a result, I had a box full of undeveloped film.

I was late in the game with digital cameras. I finally got one sometime in the early 2000s. I still had a bit of a block when it came to taking photographs. It took some time to get used to the idea of taking a hundred shots to get exactly the right one. But I did, I now have thousands of photographs on the hard drives of computers, discs, and jump drives. I've only ever held a few of them in my hands, though. Digitization has always lacked the reward of the tangible. I know I have my photographs, but I can't hold them. Digital cameras started to be unnecessary. Cellphone technology became so good that the cameras on phones were all that was needed. Late in the game again, I relented to using my cellphone for most of my photos.

Then something strange happened: 

Analog cameras began to make a comeback! There were suddenly new versions of film cameras, even instant cameras are having their day. With the help of sites like lomography.com, film is now popular again. As the popularity increases, film and cameras are even available at popular bookstores and trendy clothing stores. Poloraid film is readily available for those instant cameras that got stuck in the attic back in the 90s.

For me, it's another learning curve, and a welcome outcome that I can put on my physical wall, not just the social site "wall". I am in the process of learning to welcome what I would have previously found as a mistake. Perhaps that ray of sunshine wasn't intended as part of the composition, but isn't it interesting? I continue to learn, and hopefully come up with a meaningful way to incorporate all these available technologies into my art.

Light leaks with a pinhole camera.

Light leaks with a pinhole camera.

Reflection and Affirmation (Internal Landscape)

Reflection:

Sometimes I sit idle in a valley in my mind. Often, in that space, rather than appreciating the beauty and peace around me, I fret about the mountain before me. The mountain represents the goals that I've placed before myself: dreams. Some small and easily attained, others, lofty and long term. What I fail to acknowledge in these moments, is how I got here. I fail to credit myself with having crossed the mountain behind me.

Affirmation:

The journey of a thousand miles begins with a step. One foot before the other. The past behind, the future ahead, present in this moment. Forward momentum.

DSCF1434.jpg