Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Mag 58 - Crossed Swords

Crossed Swords

Displayed on the wall
Celebrating wars and warriors
Long dead
But always honored
For what they gave
On the battlefield.

Why not crossed spoons
Or plows
Or pens and quills
Knitting needles on a field of cloth
Sextants and scales
Tools of peace and growth.

Take down the swords
Lay down the guns
Build up the bridges
To span the gulfs 
Between old enemies.

J. Binford-Bell
March 2011

If you like to dabble in poetry or prose visit Magpie Tales.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Paul Klee Repost.

This post from 2007 was originally made on Travels with Charley before it was dedicated to political things. I only had one blog up to Travels with Charley and that was Y!360. When it looked like it was going down I opened here on Blogspot. For some reasons I cannot explain this Paul Klee post has gotten a lot of hits lately and it seemed like it should be on Creative Journey so I am reposting it here.

Original Post:

I had a college room mate that was a direct descendent of Paul Klee. We actually had a signed and numbered print of his in our dorm room. It was my first introduction to this whimsical Swiss born painter.

Cat and Bird
Cat and Bird

Klee was started out on the path to be a musician and began playing the violin at eight. At that time he was also given a box of chalk by his grandmother and encouraged to draw. I think there is something musical about his compositions, maybe because of this. Especially I can see the influence of the string instruments in his work.


Klee worked with many different types of media—oil paint, watercolor, ink, and more. He often combined them into one work becoming the father of mixed media. The above painting is done on fabric pasted to a board. He has been associated with expressionism, cubism and surrealism, but does not fit into one school of art.

His works, like the Cat and Bird one, often have a fragile child-like quality to them and are usually on a small scale. They frequently allude to poetry, music and dreams and can include words or musical notation. His later works, which are my personal favorites, are distinguished by spidery hieroglyph-like symbols which he famously described as "taking a line for a walk".

As illustrated in this work entitled Contemplating.


Or this work called The Twittering Machine.

The Twittering Machine

Yellow Birds and is my favorite.

Yellow Birds

For more information on Paul Klee see Wiki.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

It is that time of year again

Truches Mission

It is that time of year again. When us artists get calls from members of non-profit organizations asking us to donate art for their fund raisers. My friend and fellow artist, Jennifer Cavan just blogged about it. And I turned her comment section into another blog. Not really fair so I am posting my comment here regarding donations of art. I think it is long over due for us artists to rethink this giving of our wares.

One of the art magazines I read had an article a couple years back about the harm done by the silent auction. Bidders and non-bidders get to see that your $500 piece went for $50 and ergo it lowers the value of your work. In small communities such as Angel Fire some collectors, knowing you will donate to various non-profits, do not buy your work from you or your galleries. I suggested to a couple organizations that I would donate if they went to a mystery auction format where nobody knows what was paid for a piece. They said it was too much trouble. Then donating is too much trouble for me.

I totally x'd off one non-profit when I had quietly said no because of financial considerations that year and the askee said, "Come on, it is not as if we are talking real money here!" It is real money to me especially if I am heading into a fair with only a limited amount of work because of the cost of supplies and health concerns.

And just how much support do we get from those that demand (they don't even politely ask anymore - we are expected to give and they are not above using guilt trips) our support? MFAF has only put one AF artist on a poster of theirs in all the years of their existence. The library, for which we have painted bird houses and garden pails as well as donated, has moved their big fund raiser event to the same weekend as Artsfest which means none of their members can attend our event, and we are both fighting over volunteers. They haven't gotten that no artists can attend their event either. And we are big buyers of trash and used books.

I have noticed that some of the non-profit committee members actually visit our fairs and take notes about donations they would like. I have gotten calls after Artsfest asking for the donation of specific pieces. One visitor to Artsfest last year actually asked, in front of other customers, if I didn't sell a certain piece he loved was I donating it to MFAF so he could bid on it. I am afraid I was totally tharned. How on earth do you respond to that? I don't know if any MFAF people even buy my work ever! The person calling me last year was not even aware I am a painter these days.

Tip for all non-profits reading this: The more money we make as artists the more we are willing to donate. And we tend to donate to the groups that reciprocate by supporting us as artists or our art organizations. This means that one of my donations goes to CASA in Albuquerque. Their volunteers man Rio Grande shows and booth sit for us artists and buy our work. This is a two way street. And I am frankly rather frustrated at it only going one way. BTW, as Jennifer covered, we don't get this as a tax deduction, thank you GW.

Friday, March 18, 2011

Business of Art - Widening ones focus?

I have entered some photographs in an amateur exhibit. This is a first for me. As I have said in previous blogs, my photography has always been a hobby and an adjunct to my painting. Why I chose this time to dive in I am not sure but it was in so many ways the wrong time. I have a new computer that will not talk to my old printer and new photo editing software I am not totally comfortable with. But dive I did.

I decided to have my digital images professionally printed and so looked up in the phone book first to see if their was a "local" service beyond Wally World. The digital era has changed what a photography studio looks like. I found a photographic gallery in Taos that did printing of digital images. I checked out their website and e-mailed as to prices then sent them 4 digital images. They e-mailed back they were done and I said I would pick them up.

So yesterday I drove over the mountain to get them only to find the photographer I had been communicating with has moved to Bend, Oregon and that was where my prints were. But I had a long chat with the photographer who bought the business, and to make a long story short I decided to just send him my images. He was rather upset to find that contrary to purchase agreement that the former owner's website still stated the Taos address.

While there in part waiting for an e-mail response from the former proprietor we talked various options for printing like on canvas or even silk for a hanging. And we talked giclee's and posters. I am rather opposed to giclee's because they are not limited editions and have been mass marketed to death and usually mean the death of your originals. However, he brought up Ansel Adam's use of the poster to get his name before the public. So I am now considering doing a poster of one of my works with it's title and my name large at the bottom. I could sell them at a very reasonable price. And they could be a draw at fairs. Every fair a new poster. Sell enough and my name would be out there.

Something to think about. Any thoughts?

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Magpie 56 - Garlic


That magical bulb
Used in a garland to keep vampires at bay
Can ease hypertension
Lower cholesterol
And energize the libido.

Garlic two bulbs to three
Can prevent the common cold
Crushed and applied
It can treat the eyes and the ears
And heal infected wounds.

A bulb a day keeps the doctor away
Not the apple as others say
And it adds zest to any dish
But sad to say
It can not prevent all human suffering.

It can not raise the dead
Or mend crushed bones
Or stop global disasters
And we have yet to see
What it can do with radiation burns
Too bad it is just vampires it turns away.

J. Binford-Bell
I was not going to do this Magpie as life was a bit over the top for me. But garlic has long been in my "medicine cabinet" and watching the unfolding disasters of the Japanese earthquake I found myself thinking of garlic.

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Art Sunday - Photography

I was a photographer before a painter. And then when I got back into painting my photography became and adjunct to my painting. I don't do plein aire. I have tried it. What I really want is always back in the studio. Besides the western air just makes water color dry too fast. I tried carrying a watercolor sketch book and a small tin of colors with a brush or two for sketches, but in the cool mountain air or a long hike the camera is so much quicker.

And the light can change so very fast. A moment before these cliffs were painted gold by the setting sun they were a dull sandstone color and the shadows of the pines on them not there. A moment after the picture was taken they were dark. But my Nikon D90 captured that fleeting moment and I am able to print it out at home and use it as a guide for a painting. Besides when you have a photograph to study you sometimes see what you missed in real life. Anyone see that eye staring out of the shadow at the bottom in the right third of this picture?

When I took the above picture of a back roads arch in Arches National Park I took about 50 others. I loved the juxtaposition of the cliff edges with the arch and the shapes created. Just wasn't sure of what made the best composition. At home I found myself liking the vertical over the horizontal and this one above all the others.

With the addition of digital imaging and software to manipulate that image I have found myself playing around with my photographs for other than painting a picture of the subject. The picture above I enhance to bring out the texture of the stone.

I find myself playing around with my photographs for the sheer joy of playing. And sometimes interesting things come of it like this old truck. When I took the photo it was a rusty old truck. But home and cropped and just a bit of enhancement of color to bring out the faded green a tad more it became my Epiphany card.

Been there, done that, have the bullet holes to prove it.
The truly interesting thing is when I took the picture it was a cracked back window. Home on the big screen it was clearly bullet holes.

The above was like my third picture I took with my new Nikon D90. More pixels you have the more you get to play I find. And Corel Paintshop Pro has lots to play with. This winter with the weather less than optimal for photography I have played. The above photograph is to me a digital art work. And the question becomes at exactly where the line is between a manipulated photograph and a digital work of art?

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Mag 55 - Just a little Slip

Just a little slip

A tiny moment of inattention
Preparing to slice
Lemons for tea.

Just a little slip
Of the horridly
Dull knife
She was in too much a hurry to sharpen

It's edge insufficient
To pierce the rind
Slipped off the lemon
To slice her finger tip
Such a little slip for so much blood.

The lemon won
The bandaid necessary
The tea ruined
She abandoned her plans.

J. Binford-Bell 2011