Wednesday, June 8, 2016

:mic check:

I've been finishing up and sending the first edits of her photos to Theresa. So far she seems pleased with them. And in other photo-related matters, next week is the deadline for submitting to a toy camera photo show. I have several shots to choose from, but I just sent off another Holga roll of film to be developed. Hopefully it'll return in time for me to see if there are any other choices.

Earlier today I was pondering whether or not I should bother creating an artist page on Facebook, since that's pretty much the last place I haven't at this point. Perhaps if I had done so earlier. But the ever-changing rules and algorithms make it seem pointless now. I've seen some artists have hundreds, even thousands of followers, but they were most likely early adopters. Posing the question for discussion on my feed, most seem to agree, so I will probably not bother after all. I already try to share this blog on as many places as possible to hopefully cast the net out further.

In the past week I had taken part in something called the "Abundant Art Show," which was really a series of lessons in promoting and hopefully selling art online through a site/blog called - wait for it - The Abundant Artist. I've actually been following it for some time, and sadly am behind in reading it (I have the problem of collecting, almost hoarding information with little time to read it, and oh how it piles up), but I thought I'd give it a try. There was actually very little info offered that I didn't already know or was doing already (other than more hashtags to use on Instagram), which further leads me to wonder what else can I be doing?

I'm scattered over several outposts on the web, and I guess I haven't done this inventory in some time.

I now have two Instagram accounts, the first one is primarily random smartphone shots and fun with filters, and the newer one is going to be dedicated to artwork alone. I've been experimenting with hashtags on that one. I still find them annoying but they do get more people to find you.

I've been on deviantArt for 11 years now. Prints and other ephemera are available there.

flickr is for more "candid" photos, not super-artsy, although I have been messing around with the different modes in my point and shoot. I quite like the toy camera one.

FineArtAmerica is another print on demand site. I haven't put much new artwork up there, mainly because I see more of a trend toward more "ordinary" art on there, to judge from the "recent sales" page on there. My (paying) audience is out there somewhere, I'm sure of it.

Etsy still seems geared more towards "crafty" art. Right now I just have my Halloween is My Xmas series on there. I'd like to put more original artwork up there, and would love to attempt to sell the Homunculus dolls through it, but I don't know how they'd survive being shipped through the mail.

Model Mayhem is generally where I post the model-oriented photos, and has been where I've come into contact with models like Theresa up above.

Ello doesn't seem to be the Facebook-killer that it was originally rumored to be, but it does seem more geared towards showing visual art than how Facebook currently is.

And then there's my current albatross, my main website, which has been languishing, waiting for a redesign, as I sit immobilized unable to even begin, it seems. Paralyzed by too many options. So I feel that I need to put other projects aside until I finally get that done. I've been writing this blog faithfully every week for as long as I can recall, and I'd hate to break that cycle, but I need to make this a priority. If I need the extra time to work on it, then I'll have to forgo the blog for that week. Or I could just post a photo or two as an update now and again. You didn't actually read all this, did you?

Wednesday, June 1, 2016


I believe that I've gone through all the shots from Theresa's photoshoot and chosen the ones that stand out for me. I've done minimal editing on them, and I'm pleased at the fact that not much had to be done. The Photoshoppery will come later, but I will send these off to the model for now, and I want to get back to photos from another shoot done last fall. Boy, I wish I didn't have a day job sucking my precious time away. I had to pass on another shoot this past weekend because I don't want to add to the pile right now.

I managed to find film for the Polaroid, only online for now, and starting messing around with it. You can't get too close to the subjects, and lighting is an issue too (luckily mine came with a flash attachment), at least indoors. Further experimentation is needed. But with only 8 shots per film pack, I can't go nuts here.

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

:time enough:

I did not find as much time for creative work last week as I should've, but some of that lost time was for social reasons, which I find I have to take advantage of for as long as they still appear. If I'm actually going to receive invitations from people, I try to accept when possible. The approaching holiday weekend possibly means more of the same, although I hope to fit in creative time as well. I've read that it's best not to think of this as "sacrifice," as that could make one resent it at some point. I tend to think of the job search in that way, though, which is probably one reason why it's so unappealing to me. But I do feel the need to change jobs this year, somehow.

I did manage to go through a fair number of shots from Theresa's photoshoot, right now just quickly touching up and some adjusting of levels, and I'm pleased to say, I haven't been changing that much in them. Later on will probably come whatever crazy Photoshoppery that inspires, but I thought I should at least get the basic shots done and off to the model for now. Maybe I'll even get some positive feedback for a change.

So far my search for film for the Polaroid camera that I scored at a recent yard sale has been more difficult, at least locally, and I had to resort to ordering some online. There aren't a large number of shots in the film pack, so it'll have to be used sparingly, until I find a more reliable source for film. But then again, it's not going to become my main camera.

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

:double living:

It's all about photo stuff this week.

I finally got another roll of film from the Holga camera developed. I've been taking advantage of how easy it is to create double exposures with it, as the film doesn't auto-advance. There's a local toy camera gallery show coming up soon, so I will most likely submit some shots to that. I'm also eyeing possible places to show the Homunculus dolls, but I don't want to jinx it.

Quite randomly, I came across a Polaroid camera at a yard sale and couldn't pass it up. It's interesting how it seems to be making a bit of a resurgence. We'll see how difficult it is to find film, or how expensive it might be. I think I have some around here...somewhere. 

I have not had ample time to really delve into shots from my last photoshoot, other than to weed out the less-than-stellar ones. I'm mostly pleased with how just using one light worked out. Now I find myself wanting to try it with an even darker room, but I'd have to seal the windows and doors in my current setup. Unless of course that dreamed-of studio magically appears.

I mentioned last week that while I liked the top hat that became used in both shoots, I now wanted to find a "real" one, so that became a bizarro quest this past Saturday, and I was successful. 

I have also said that I wanted to be further along in my website redesign this month, but I haven't gotten to that either. Oops. Finding out time and time again that to get things done I have to blatantly schedule time for them.

Wednesday, May 11, 2016

:good busy:

Despite any possible trepidation I may have felt prior to last Friday's photoshoot, I believe that it went pretty well. The plan was still for an outdoor shoot, and I had chosen a nearby place in mind to cut down on travel time, but considering how rainy it had been all week, I set up my lighting and such indoors just in case. When Friday arrived, the rain did indeed stop, but I received a morning text from the model asking if we could have it indoors instead, as it was still not terribly warm out. So it was fortunate that I had foreseen this possibility. If I'm learning anything from each successive shoot, it's how to improvise.

The model in question, Theresa, is another one of those who pretty much makes her living by traveling and setting up shoots in each city. She was slender and had quite a few interesting tattoos. Another reason for her wanting to move indoors was that she didn't want to be unclothed out in the chilly weather, which showed that a bit of miscommunication had happened along the way, as I wasn't planning on shooting her nude while outdoors, and the place I had in mind would've likely had a fair amount of passersby, so it's just as well that events happened up as they did.

We only had an hour and it went by quickly, which I think is a good sign that it went well, time flying when you're having fun and all that. No deep concept for this shoot, she just moved from pose to pose, and I got to use a few props that were as of yet unused; an interesting chair that I had found, a cow skull, and a top hat. The latter was a cheap Halloween costume version, now I want to seek out a real one.

I was going to have company afterwards to celebrate my birthday, and since I already had the lights and backdrop up, I said why not do another quick shoot? I've worked with this model many times before, so we just proceeded into it right away. Pretty much just more practice for both of us, but it was fun. The chair, skull and hat got put into use again.

In the aftermath, while I can appreciate the things that I did right - it seems that I work fine with just one light, and I put my reflector to use - I'm already looking to see how I can improve for next time. I still think I need better lighting. The ones I have can be harsh at times, and I don't always want extreme shadows. I did manage to diffuse it somewhat with a screen on the second shoot. And the plain paper backdrop is, well, a bit too plain at times. Time to find different ones. And oh yeah, that top hat.

I hated putting away everything when I was done. Again in an ideal world I'd have a place where this would remain set up. I actually got another modeling request the same day, so there's the possibility that it could all go back up again real soon. Would that most of my life was this way.

Wednesday, May 4, 2016

:pause for breath:

To be frank, most of this past week's free time has been spent preparing for the photoshoot that I have planned for this upcoming Friday. A fair amount of it has just been monitoring the weather, as I'd prefer to do an outdoor shoot, but we've been getting April showers all during this first week of May. I'm prepared to do it indoors, but, again, not my preference during this (alleged) springtime. I have a nearby location in mind since my time with the model is limited and I don't want to waste any of it in traffic, although I did find a location a few weekends ago that I'd love to use, but is not the easiest place to get to, least of all to someone who I presume has limited knowledge of our roads and drivers. I've offered to do all the driving, but she has refused, claiming to not want to get into a car with a "stranger." I guess I can see her point, but it does make things a bit more inconvenient. Here's hoping that any misgivings that I'm feeling prove to be wrong on Friday, along with nicer weather.

I have started work on other past photos, but just subtle changes so far, in the background.

I have one of those birthdays coming up tomorrow. I'm not ashamed of my age, nor do I feel it, but I also don't feel like announcing it. Let's just say that I'm nearing a certain decade milestone in a few years, and I'd really like to be living a better life by then, so I'm seeing more of a need to map out and plan out how this will happen. Despite my not liking to schedule my life too much, it appears that it'll be necessary to get things done.

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

:2 the dawn:

So we lost another one this past week in what seems to be becoming the Year of Death, at least amongst musicians and other celebrities. Maybe it's not more than your typical year, or perhaps our 24/7 news cycle makes it feel more prominent, but when a fair amount of them seem to be not those who are in their later autumn years, it does give one pause. Naturally no one is immortal - that we know of - but some you just assume will be around forever, somehow. And I believe through their works and music, they will be.

I'm speaking of course about Prince. To be perfectly honest I hadn't followed his output since the 90s, but I was well aware that he was still making music. Like another one who left us, Bowie, he was always an innovator, and if he tried on some other musical style, he managed to make it sound like his own.

I don't know yet if I'll do any tribute artwork of him like I did for Bowie, but that one came in a flash of inspiration, so it certainly could still happen.

I attended Dr. Sketchy's again, twice in a month, that's a record. This one was in a new location that they're trying out in Somerville, MA, and to judge by the attendance, it looks like it'll do well. I did not get in as much drawing as usual due to my sometimes bad vantage point, but I got a few good renditions. Our model was a returning one, Belle Gunz, and she was as entertaining as before. If it weren't already obvious, this isn't your typical life drawing session.

So far I still have a photoshoot coming up next week, and when I'm out and about on the weekends, I sometimes try to find locations for outdoor shoots. I think I found another one, though I don't think I'll be able to use it next week, as it's a bit of a drive to get to and the model's time is limited, as is my session with her.

As stated last week, I feel that I'm done working on shots from Tiffany's photoshoot. I've informed her and hopefully I'll get some actual feedback for a change. Time to look through shots from October's shoot and see if I can't do something extra with them too.

Wednesday, April 20, 2016


For whatever it's worth, I've created a second Instagram account that will just be dedicated to my artwork and works in progress, pretty similar to this blog, but primarily visual. So what's my original account for? I consider that one more for whatever random things and scenes catch my eye while out and about, using a smartphone's camera.

I had been toying with the idea for some time, but I could no longer find a valid reason why I was waiting and just did it. And I'm even considering giving in and making a Facebork page too. It's still the most used site that I'm aware of, though I do hope something better appears some day. Further down the social media rabbit hole.

One reason for this fire under me, is to hopefully get off my arse concerning certain projects. I noticed that someone I know has a website up and running pretty quickly, and I've been dragging my feet on my redesign for way too long. So, to hold myself accountable, I will state that I aim to be a lot further along, if not fully completed, by the end of May.

One thing I'll need to take care of when posting recent artwork to the new account is censorship, sad to say, as Instagram still has issues with female nudity, even if it's not a sexual depiction. Maybe I should Photoshop male nipples over the real ones and see what they do about that.

On that note, I believe that I'm done working on this photo of Tiffany, and I think it might be the last of the ones from that shoot that I'll be messing around with. For now? I have photos from an October shoot to look through now, and also have a new shoot coming up in early May, although I hope I didn't jinx it by mentioning it here.

I've separated the progression of layers of the photo below.

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

:still life:

I returned to the Boston chapter of Dr. Sketchy's this past weekend. I've already gone more this year than in previous ones combined, so yay for consistency. Our model this time was a local burlesque performer, of which we seem to have no shortage of, going by the name Madge of Honor. She had many inventive outfits and stories to go along with them (unlike at your typical figure drawing session, talking is encouraged). One was pretty much an outfit consisting of balloon animals, which looked great, but not something I could do justice to in the five minutes allotted to draw the pose.

In the interest of time, I tend to not bother drawing the chair or stool that the model is sitting on, so it looks like she has amazing balancing skills.

I believe that I'm nearly finished with working on photos from the photoshoot with Tiffany last year, which is good, as I feel the itch for newer ones, and in fact I may have one set up for the beginning of May with another traveling model. I'm unsure of the theme or location yet, it may just end up being in my apartment again. Insert perpetual desire for a separate art studio here.

I hope I didn't overdo this one, but I could add hundreds of layers without trying too hard.

Wednesday, April 6, 2016

:persistence of memory:

Another gallery show that I submitted artwork to has declined it. Both galleries claimed that it was more because an overabundance of entries, so I'd best not take it too personally, although of course it also means that my work didn't stand out enough to rise above the multitude. Well, try, try again.

And so I continue to work. I believe this version is finished, although as per usual it's more a case of stopping than finishing.

And so right on to another. Again I think the original is fine unaltered, but me being me, I want to mess around with it. Colors textures and whatnot.

I'm not so sure about the white frame that I've added. I may mess around with that more or omit it altogether.

From out of the blue another model on Model Mayhem asked to work with me, but alas it was too short a notice. Then she mentions that she's moving to the area, so there's still a possibility for the future. I ask where she's moving from, she says Florida, and I declare her insane for doing so, as for example we just got some lovely snowfall  - in April.

Thursday, March 31, 2016

:advance film:

Been sadly busy with other things to get as much artwork done as I'd like, but I did get some done, and many thoughts for the future as well. And also there's always a camera of some sort with me too, trying to capture moments and fragments, and places to possibly return to. Trying another roll of film in the Holga, and this one seems to be slowly advancing on its own, so it looks like I'll have overlapping shots whether I want them to be or not.

Still working on another Tiffany picture, I think it's nearly done, but I find that after many hours of working, I need to stop and return to it after a day of so, to hopefully see things anew. I've been pondering just how much white I really need in it.

It also brought something else to mind, of how after working with many of these models, there's been very little further contact, so far. In every case I felt that they were successful and enjoyable shoots, that there was good camaraderie, but after all is said and done...crickets. I know some of them are terribly busy, and I'm not trying to get some sort of epic mail trail going, but a short message or reply isn't out of the question, I don't think. I see too much of this in the rest of my life as it is; people appear to enjoy my company, but when I'm out of sight, it's apparently also out of mind. It does not build up one's confidence.

Self-pity aside, always looking forward. Building a list of places to visit in non-wintery weather this year, and still work to be done on the promotion side of things. Like the damn website, and, I hate to say it, maybe even give in and finally make Facebook page. It still seems like you don't exist if you're not on there, sad to say. Still hoping for a better thing to replace it. People once thought that MySpace was All That at one point, after all.

Thursday, March 24, 2016

:available light:

I finally got my shots back from my third attempt with the Holga camera. I have to do it the (now) old fashioned way, bring the film somewhere to get developed and wait, and since it's 120 film, your local CVS just won't do.

Looking them over, I found that while there is a setting on the camera for low-light situations, most of the shots I took during a rapidly setting sun were quite dark, so I think I'll only shoot in adequate light from now on. The shots that I liked best were the double-exposed ones; there's no auto-forwarding to the next frame with this camera, so you can shoot over the same shot, or even just advance the film halfway. I wonder how many exposures you can pile into one frame.

I'm also still going through the photos from Tiffany's photoshoot last year, but I think I'm nearing the end of those. Right now I'm still experimenting with textures and colors. Again, I think the original shots stand fine on their own, but I like to do something more to them. To hopefully make them more my style. Assuming that I have a recognizable style.

This latest one isn't done yet...been playing around with reducing the color palette and detail. It almost looks like a comic book panel.

With a few exceptions, my method with model photoshoots has mostly been to set 'em loose and see what happens, and along the way, ideas usually present themselves. I am feeling the need to have a concept in mind for future shoots. I recently had a traveling model like Tiffany contact me on Model Mayhem, and I'm considering working with her, but I'd like to have something more specific in mind before I agree to.

Wednesday, March 16, 2016

:them bones:

A lot of my past weekend was linked to creativity, although nothing much of the sort that I can actually show. Even though, there are still steps forward.

Saturday I went to one of the curiously regular and increasingly popular "oddity" markets that have been happening in the Boston area. The last two that I went to were held in what was basically the lobby of a tattoo shop, so they filled up quickly and the vendors sold out quickly as well. This recent one was held at a larger space, thankfully, that regularly holds such markets, but not of this nature before, namely with many vendors selling such things as skulls, bones and other things that may be thought of as morbid to many, but as I said, it has curiously become popular in this area.

I got a few skulls myself. I don't have a problem, I can quit anytime. Now just to figure out what kind of artwork to make with them. The only amusing thing that I recall about my last apartment being broken into, was wondering what the thieves thought of when they opened up the containers containing all my bones and skulls.

The coyote skull on the right is actually promised to someone else, but how interesting is a photo of just one skull?

Sunday I went to a gathering of photographers in Salem, at the same studio where I did a shoot last year. We showed and critiqued each others' work, which frankly I don't get much of anymore. One can become so close to one's own work that you can't see any issues, if there are any. Mine generally centered around cropping and composition. It's interesting how a part of the photo can draw your eye away from the main subject. Some observations I fought against, but again, sometimes there's tunnel vision and you see nothing wrong.

I'm going to continue working on these photos, probably this one next, but I honestly can't imagine changing much of it.

I'm also awaiting word on a gallery show that I submitted work to. That is still one of the goals of this year, more gallery shows, but here we are at the Ides of March already, so focus focus focus.

Thursday, March 10, 2016

:wax and wane:

In the continuing archaeology of my belongings, I came across a cache of prints, a 1990 calendar, and other ephemera from the music label 4AD, or more specifically their design arm known as 23 Envelope and eventually just v23. Like the label name itself, I don't think it has any deep meaning.

Back in The Day, mainly from the mid-80s through most of the 90s, they released some truly unique music, and the packaging was no less so. I can honestly say that I bought many of their releases without having any idea what the music sounded like, based solely on the cover art. I don't recall any disappointments, although they did seem to slide into indie-rock territory by the mid-90s, not a bad thing, just not what I was used to from them.

It's difficult to think of a band like Cocteau Twins without the accompanying imagery. And for a band called Lush, both the music and artwork was as well. Sometimes it was quite abstract but even the ones with clearer imagery had an otherworldly tint to them. Which is something that I think is becoming lost in the current age, first the imagery shrinking down to CD box size, then to even tinier, if any artwork at all, for all-digital releases. I suppose the resurgence of vinyl gives some hope, though I've never favored it, but then there's also the growing absence of actual stores in which to peruse the albums themselves. A local retail chain saddens me when with each successive visit, I see the music section has been shrinking smaller and smaller.

It's also worth noting that most of the 4AD work was done pre-digital, or at the very dawn of it, when the process was much slower and more expensive. One had to use film and wait to see the results that developed. It's interesting to read what appeared to be something unearthly was often the most mundane materials. The cover of the "Lonely is An Eyesore" compilation is nothing more than the actual flatbed of the camera setup where surely other covers were created on.

Album art definitely inspired me, and I certainly dreamed of creating some of my own. I found many copies of album covers in my old art files. I did manage to create a few CD covers for real, but not for any major labels.

When choosing shots for Instagram, I seem to largely vary between landscapes and close-up textures. This most recent one below reminded me of the 4AD style and sent me off on the reverie above.