Sunday, September 30, 2012

Topsy Turvey

Must be Time for Lunch - Woodman

What is the dog doing
In my chair at the table?
Me under looking up
For a scrap.

For I must be asleep
My labradoodle is talking politics
While I am mute
she will drop the fork.

J. Binford-Bell
September 2012

Arches and Shadows

Enigma of the Hour by Giorgio de Chirico

Giorgio de Chirico was a Greek-born Italian artist. In the years before World War I he founded the scuola metafisica Art movement, which profoundly influenced the surrealists. After 1919 he became interested in traditional painting techniques, and worked in a neoclassical or neo-Baroque style, while frequently revisiting the metaphysical themes of his earlier work. See Wiki

I formally met Chirico in an art history class at University of New Mexico. His work made a huge impact on my doodles in my note books. And now I have to acknowledge his impact on my photography. So the following photographs are dedicated to Giorgio.

Arches by J. Binford-Bell

Openings to the Sky by J. Binford-Bell

Tower to the gods by J. Binford-Bell

Mesitas Mission by J. Binford-Bell

This is a wonderful old mission just north of the New Mexico border in Colorado. I like to think Chirico would have been in his element.

Arch to an Arch by J. Binford-Bell

Marks of Time by J. Binford-Bell

Friday, September 28, 2012

Photo Exhibition


Fall colors have a small window of opportunity and are so governed by weather. Even the rain in the summer can effect the brilliance of the colors in September. And fall rains can strip the trees of leaves or drain the color from them. You pick your date, make your plans and hope. Jessica and I picked the 26th. It rained the 25th. And Wednesday morning the valley was cloaked in fog.

Let there be light
Both photography and Aspens are about light. They are just yellow until the sunlight is filtered through their leaves and then they can turn the very air yellow.

All in a row

With good timing, good weather, right location and patience to wait for the sun co come back out from behind the cloud anyone can take a good Aspen photo. But those that have photographed them over and over are always looking for something a bit different.

Reflections of glory

In the color

Jessica waiting for the sun

Foreground can also be quite important. So nice that my photographic partner wore the right color to set off the scene. Both of us picked orange/peach colors because it was bow season for elk.

Besting the pines

The dark green of firs can make the aspens look even more gold. And one should not overlook the landscape the aspens grow in. And often with cottonwoods that go gold at the same time.

Fall spilling down the valley

But sometimes there is one tree that is so glorious you cannot help but focus in on just it.

Probably this weekend will be another great time to get out and take pictures. We went up to almost 10,000 feet for some of these pictures. Fall comes later in the lower valleys. I have been watching the aspens that grow in my neighborhood and hoping for no rain or hail to tarnish their performance.

Monday, September 17, 2012


After the Rain by J. Binford-Bell

I love hollyhocks. But I have not been successful at growing them on my property. So I go off with my camera and seek them in my friends' gardens. I have learned a lot by attempting to capture them in digital form. They are not easy. First any gentle breeze sets their long stalks waving in the wind.

Bashful by J. Binford-Bell

And then the camera has a real challenge on where to focus. But you can wind up with delightful accidents like the one above of the shadows cast on a wall. And the flowers themselves have an incredible depth which becomes a focus issue. Then there is the color. Red, their most common color, is not known as an easy for photographers.

In the Spot Light by J. Binford-Bell

The structure of the flower makes them very tempting for a black and white treatment. It is a flower with veins and petals that filter the light.

Just the Facts by J. Binford-Bell

Looking away by J. Binford-Bell

While at the same time its very simplicity makes it a wonderful palate upon which to play digitally.

Enameled Hollyhocks by J. Binford-Bell

Next summer I am focusing my gardening attentions on successfully raising some of my own photography subjects.

Sunday, September 16, 2012

When Women Were Women

Venus and the Sailor by Salvador Dali
Mag 135 prompt by Tess Kincaid

Before the days
of Twiggy
when tooth picks were in
and eating was out
women were women

Before the days
of plastic
and implants for boobs
liposuction for bellies
women were women

Before the days
of digital
what you saw
was what you got
women were women

In the days of Raphael 
women were lush
Dali and Monet
painted women who were women
round and fully packed

J. Binford-Bell
September 2012

Tuesday, September 11, 2012


Fernand Leger - Breakfast-1921

Tess Kincaid, weekly on The Mag, provides a visual prompt for a group of avid followers that then have to pen something inspired by said prompt. Some of these visual prompts are a real spring board and some are agonizing. As a student of art history I find myself stuck on untangling the image. Let me say that Cubism is not my favorite of modern art movements. That said let me get to the task at hand, or is that foot.


Her mind said
So loud in her head
She wondered if others
in the quiet gallery

She took a sip of wine
to occupy her mouth
that wanted to twist askew 
with the tortured

Back ramrod straight
she avoided canting 
to an obtuse angle
in sympathy with

Why she asked
trying desperately
to not giggle
did it look more like

Wonderful isn't it?
her blind date said
sealing his fate with a
whisper in her

J. Binford-Bell
September 2012

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

The Creative Process - Setting up Static Pages

As an artist these days it is not enough to be creative with your art form, and to be up on all the latest mediums and products out there. You also have to be a great marketer.

Even if you are lucky enough to be in a gallery t hat is still afloat chances are they have cut their advertising budget to the bone. And they expect the artists they represent to market themselves to an increasing degree. It is all about interfacing your marketing with their marketing. Websites are seen as less flexible and less friendly so more an more customers are looking for the friendly interaction available on social media. You have to Tweet, Blog, Facebook and Google +.  Note that I did not say OR but AND.

And then there are the rack cards, QR codes, hot links, business cards, etc that all have to key into your net of social media.

As a former free lance writer I jumped on the blog bandwagon in a big way. I have three blogs and was considering two others when someone mentioned putting Static pages on my main blog - Creative Journey. What, pray tell, are static pages? They are pages that are not dated like your main blog page. They remain static at the date you created and/or edited them. They are great for contact information, catalogs of your work, bios and artist statements. They are really website pages linked to your blog. And if you blog weekly or more like I do the readers are invited to your main page with the list of pages right there in front of them.

Today, while avoiding the broken washing machine I watched a YouTube video on how to set up static pages. Really simple. And then dove in. Remember you can easily go back and edit any page at any time. Way more friendly than my website. So I set up four pages: Binford-Bell Studio and Gallery, Paintings, Creative Photography, and Back Country Photography. I can have 10 pages so I can also set a page up for my sister's photography since my gallery represents her work.

And Google allows you to immediately link every page update to Google +, FaceBook, and Twitter as well as e-mail customers to come and check it out. So much easier and less risky than e-mailing images to customers. So I am considering a page that is frequently updated with requests or special exhibits. Need to come up with a catchy name for that. Though even the name of the page is easy to edit.

And viewers that want to contact you about any items featured on a page can leave a comment, and you can comment back. Start a conversation.

I am very pleased. Thank you Google.

Red - From April 2012

RED - Magpie 113

Red Roofs by Marc Chagall


The blood of martyrs
drenching our history
coloring our ethics
our souls.

We come in memory
laying our offerings
at the foot of myth
a crusade we do not want.

So much blood
the future cannot absorb
a jihad of our ancestors
we cannot escape.

J. Binford-Bell
April 2012

Prompt provided by Tess Kincaid of Magpie Tales

Monday, September 3, 2012

Creativity on demand?

Summer Night by Albert Bloch 1913 a Magpie Prompt

The visitor to my studio asked
How does that work?
Can you just turn it on?

I thought as he waited
How does it work?
No, and yes maybe?

Is there a switch
Sometimes yes
It is finding it that's the issue.

Can one just sit down
Pick up a brush or a pen
make creativity flow like magic?

But a word, a phrase
A trick of the light
can turn it on at the least convenient times
Creativity is fickle.

Sadly, alas
This week's Magpie prompt
Did nothing for me
Creativity is temporarily lost.

J. Binford-Bell
September 2012

Thanks anyway to Tess Kindcaid, the mistress of The Mag

Saturday, September 1, 2012

The Creative Mind and Organization

Painting space

I was having a special event at my studio today and so it seemed wise to clean the place up. Which may be sort of silly as my studio is open three days a week through the summer and you sort of get what you get when you walk in. Like tomorrow I will be cutting mats and framing my sister's photographs for the International Bank Show in Raton the 12th, 13th and 14th. I have three paintings in that show and last week the studio was devoted to cutting and making frames. So the studio was messier than it needed to be and also some cleaning had to be done to be able to mat photographs.

Mat cutting table and file

So it just seemed a good idea to go the whole hog. In fact I may actually schedule these special events periodically to motivate me to clean it up. This time it even included cleaning the jute rugs and washing the tile floors because I have been gardening.

Clean rugs

But the biggest issue was the painting area in the first photo. I have been opening folding tables and painting on them and using the table to "store" paints, and pens and sketches and pencils and sketch books, etc. It was a mess. Now my grand plan for the studio has shelves to handle all the things on the paint desk but they seemed filled too. So while I was killing time for my first visitors (note: art shoppers never come before noon) I decided to tackle the shelves so I could clean the painting area.

Cleaned and organized shelves

These shelves were the biggest mess. In part because they do not roll out like the shelves where I keep my watercolors and paint mediums. Things get shoved to the back and I forget what is in there like the three packages of steel wool that is now with framing supplies. Cleaning this area out allowed me a place to put the plastic box of oil sticks, my transfer paper, paints for frames, sealants for paintings, and spray adhesives for mounting photographs and mats. In short all the stuff that had been "stored" on top of the painting area table.

Will it stay this neat and tidy? I doubt it. Tomorrow when I mat all the matting stuff will come out and take up space on the flat surfaces. And then on Monday I will be back to working on the unfinished painting currently sitting on the matting table. And at some point I need to organize the mat file and the rolling drawers on the flat file but it is a beginning. And I am fully aware that as a creative person I am not neat and organized for long.