Saturday, December 31, 2011

The Artistic Year in Review

The Long Walk  - 2nd Place MVAC Winter Exhibit
The year 2011 kicked off with a ribbon for a painting. But best of all a ribbon for one of my dark paintings.  I saw the award as endorsement of the new directions I was taking with my art. And sales, even in a poor economy, seemed to be further validation.

However, I was feeling the pressure to come up with a lower price point product for my studio. For numerous reasons I have gone on about in depth in previous blogs I did not want to get into giclee prints. But photography seemed a possibility so when I was urged to enter the Ralph Solano Competition I decided to take the plunge.

Been There - 2nd place Amateur  division
I entered three photographs in my first ever photography exhibition and got a second place and sold another.

Morning of the elk - 1st sale of a photograph
I felt totally encouraged and quickly entered two more competitions. Was not accepted in one. Accepted in the second but won no prizes. Undaunted, even though my sister beat me by winning 1st place in that second show, I quickly entered another show. And sold my second photograph - Been There.

Volkswagon Acid Trip - 1st place MVAC Fall Exhibit
Course my sister beat me with Best of Show in the same exhibit. However, I find I really love photography. The neatest thing is that with competitions I don't have to have a finished work before it is accepted. And I can sell more than one of an image. Currently I am doing limited runs of 20.

Admit I am not painting as much as I once was. But that could be because I am not doing fairs anymore. And so am not turning out volume. I am waiting until inspired to paint. Stampede below was one of my favorite paintings for the year even if it won no prizes.

 And I was very pleased with the painting below - Celebration.

Rumors that I am giving up painting are exaggerated. I painted and sold enough paintings to be encouraged. I still very much enjoy the process of painting. But I am also very much in love with the total photographic process. And this April and May my sister and I will have an exhibition of our photography at the Angel Fire Visitor's Center. And I am currently looking for the special half dozen photos I will enter in exhibitions in 2012.

Monday, December 26, 2011

Like a River

Like a River

In the last couple of years my sister and I have been through some major life events. It has resulted for us in changes in some of the traditions we have held for a few years. And we are making new traditions like the Christmas Day photography expedition. Last year was Ocate to Hidden Lakes and beyond. This year was Cimarron to Ponil Creek and up to the Elliot S. Barker Wildlife Management area. Don't tell anyone we were looking for the road to Dawson. Expeditions are like life: you take what you get. And sometimes what you get is better than what you had planned. Even if it does not seem that way at first.

Like a River

My life has flowed
Or stalled
threatened to jump the banks
Or dwindled to a trickle.

Still it flows on
Heading to the sea
dancing in celebration
Or slipping beneath the ice.

Over the rocks
through the trees
Or under a fallen log.

The waters flow
Remembering only the rain
knowing not where they go
Or how long the trip.

Babbling along
Or silently flowing
reflecting its path in its surface
holding to its journey.

No matter what comes
Still water
Shallow or deep
heading to the sea.

J. Binford-Bell
December 2011

Posted on The Poetry Palace Rally. And winner of the Perfect Poet award.

What a kick
Great way to begin the year
Now to sustain the momentum 
Move forward
Not fall back.

Begins with a Promise
And long way to go.


I nominate Mystic Mountain's poem Labyrinth Reflection

Monday, December 12, 2011

Magpie Tales 95 - At Sea

Image by  Mostafa Habibi

At Sea

The image lingers
I can taste the salt
feel the sand
know the dread.

My ever over-active mind
turning wound blankets into sand
hopelessness into rising tide
fog masking my choices.

I awake
filled with dread 
of where I have been
knowing it more real.

I walk
the sand under foot
the brine in my hair
to the shower
to wash off the fear.

J. Binford-Bell
December 2011

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Talk of cold

Ice on the Coyote
Talk of cold

I would like to talk today of cold
the cold that seems to go to your very soul
the sun seems to have no warmth
and the wind steals what little there is.

Long johns and sweats
shawls and lap robes
a roaring fire that gives no heat
zero, less than zero.

Another cup of hot tea
more fuel for the body to run on
more logs for the fire
a hoodie under the shawl.

I would like to talk of cold today
but my teeth seem clinched against it
my fingers numb deep in my pockets
the thermostat says the house is warm.

But my very marrow is chilled
listening to the wind howl outside
the crackle of the fire
the whistle of the kettle.

All are of no use.
It is so cold.

J. Binford-Bell
December 2011

The weather station says this is the coldest it has been in 40 years for this time of year. Even the dogs don't want to go out and walk. The Stellar Jay has fluffed itself up to a big blue ball waiting for its turn at the feeder. How cold is it? the old joke goes but I am to cold to remember the answer.

Monday, December 5, 2011

Magpie Tales 94 - Isolation

Lunch by George Tooker

Not natural
to eat
with a pack that is not yours.

We share
only with our friends.

And eat
totally alone
when surrounded by strangers.

J. Binford-Bell
December 2011

I dined with friends last night. The experience was so dynamically different than George Tooker's painting. I live in a near wilderness surrounded by open space. But once I lived in a crowded city and took of food in crowded diners. Never I think was I so alone. So are all of Tooker's diners.

For more takes on the Magpie Tales prompt.

Far Away

Surrounded by Time by J. Binford-Bell

Far Away

I believe
I am
When far away.

J. Binford-Bell
December 2011

Friday, December 2, 2011

Letting go of Reality

I have an artist friend who said the longer he was in art the more abstract he became. That is certainly true with artists such as Pablo Picasso and Duchamp. And I can set myself heading that way. It first showed up in photography. And on some levels it has always lurked there because I love textures and detail photos like the ones above and below of ice.

But lately with the discovery of post processing it has shown up in use of color and extreme cropping. And I have just begun to experiment with layering.

Grand Canyon Dawn

At first I just began to push color a little bit like the picture of dawn in the Grand Canyon above. But every editing section began to more and more be an exploration in extremes.

Fire Escape

Shadow Dancers

And lately I have found myself wanting to take my photos, as I have done for years, and turn them into paintings. But now it is not the realistic canyons but the abstract compositions I want to paint. It is no longer about rendering the subject faithfully or even in a visionary manner but rendering the feeling and emotion.