Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Week Two of 365 Day Challenge - Still Life

Day 8

It has been in incredibly cold week her in the high country and the ground is covered still with snow. A lot of it has gotten rather worn looking, and not so white, so I decided to focus my photographic efforts on still life. And rather than just finding and shooting that which I find about I decided to actually compose a still life from the very beginning.

My studio has excellent light from the windows or from the many spots. And as a collector of everything from the other of others like the ceramic bowl in Day 8 to Mardi Gras costumes and masks I made in Day 14.

Day 9

Day 8 was on my coffee table. I think I moved my coffee cup because it was the wrong color but other than that no arrangement of objects. Day 9 I set up on my studio with some fabric from my sewing room and my journal with objects plucked from various parts of the room. Artists love to be surrounded by things to draw or just enjoy. I am wild about candle sticks.

Day 11

Yes, I skipped 10 but the candle stick remark was a perfect segue to this photo, which like Day 8 was not set up. It is my little tea table adorned with candles from a full moon ceremony. They are not always together like this but they are wonderful together when they catch the afternoon light.

Day 10
Mirror and Chair

I probably took the longest time playing with the fewest objects when I was at a friend's green house. I was going to photograph the orchids again but found myself attracted to the color and simplicity of this mirror and painted chair. And the reflection of a stained glass window in the mirror. I probably have about 50 pictures of the mirror, with or without the chair, trying to capture the reflection and create the right balance. Love the colors on this one. And it taught me patience. The art begins with a still life long before the picture is taken. And with the glory of digital review on my camera I got to look at my mistakes before quitting. Composition and color was my main goal with this photo.

Day 12
Sage and Garlic

The old masters were great at painting still lifes. Not being able to afford models unless they were mistresses they painted the vegetables and objects around their studios. The bound sage for smudging resides in the glass bowl of sea salt in my studio. The garlic I grew in my garden and had hung to dry by the windows. I tossed them together and moved some things out of the way and behold my chaos of a still life. From the simple with the chair and mirror to the chaos of this. This exercise was about texture and color. And dealing with lots of objects. In post processing I began to play around with selective focus.

Day 13

Keep you eye on the ball. It has now been in three of this week's photos. I love its red which I picked up in the stems in the vase and the dried orchid cactus flower. But the main object in this exercise was dealing with the brass and the colors its reflective surfaces show. I was also playing with totally setting up the stage. Mat board for background simplicity, material to cover the foot stool I used as a base for my brass composition. Warning: You can play with folds on the material forever.

Getting better, I thought to myself, but something was missing: A story. So with Mardi Gras approaching next month I pulled out a costume I made and the feathered hat that went with it, and added a mask I made. I drafted a rocker in my studio because it could be moved around. The draw back with the Day 13 stage was that it was pretty much "fixed" to its spot in the studio. My rocking chair could be turned and tilted (wedging object under runner) to catch the light available through the windows.

Day 14
After the Ball

I have about 50 versions of this composition too. And more post processing variations. Definitely played more with the selective focus option in my post processing. In a busy composition it allows you to focus the attention on what you consider important and lessen the distraction of parts of the still life. With the mask and the hour glass against the lush brocade of the fabric it arouses questions about time and things and the past.

May do more still life exercises this week.

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