Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Shadowing Again...

... and I don't know why there is such a fascination for me concerning the shadow, although I have talked about it before on this blog. I'm not saying that it "haunts" me or anything like that, but shadows have this infinite power in their fragile dependence on a light source and at the same time they are without real substance of any kind... except to the formation of shape (and form when projected on a 3D surface) in the eye. They intrigue me to the point of being able to handle (appreciate) pictures of shadows of all kinds, and I'm thinking of what the infinite possibilities (well, maybe not all of them) might be for shooting shadows as a theme. What works for me best with this photo is the moving shot that blurs the background while the shadow stays sharp.

My bike ride today was a double that took almost an hour with the stops at Taunton River Bridge and such, but I did make the last 5 miles home in 18 minutes. I had a strange experience after stopping briefly at the Town Office that strengthened my legs tremendously climbing the next hill and I don't know why? Some interesting "tourist" pics at the bridge. Don't you just love it when the light and subjects work well together?

Low Tide Swim

I've been playing around with the many features of the new iMovie and it is quite a robust program that does quite a few sophisticated things. I'm particularly pleased with the ease with which a simple project can be put together. Sound, video effects, transitions and such all work flawlessly and allow for a reasonable amount of control, enabling the user to concentrate more on content and not worry so much about the actual operations of the program. I think I really like this for entry level students, but I can see that Final Cut would be needed for more complex projects.

The piece I have posted here is from a single clip with voice over, sound effects background (right from inside the program) and a few video effects. I was told by a colleague that my blog at times seems almost like a performance piece... hmmm, she's probably right, sooo... here's the video in a "made for the web" size (can be saved from iMovie as a full blown HD DVD too).

For putting a video on U Tube or just a quick presentation, this new version is awesome! Don't be afraid, give it a try.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Surf's Up!

The amazing power of nature is nothing that I have ever questioned growing up on the coast and seeing my first drowned body as a youngster. We all knew the power of the ocean and were constantly warned of it, but some were adventurous and took unsafe risks... some were just ignorant. Yesterday's tragedy on MDI kind of brought a sense of guilt to me because of what I saw at Schoodic Point of people being a bit foolhardy and thinking that someone might get hurt. At Grindstone Neck I warned a young couple away from the slippery rocks just before a huge wave came in and dragged a 300 pound rock down across the flat ledges and into the sea. They were immediately impressed by the power of that much water and thankful they were well up on the bank when it struck the shore.

I worked on my truck in Winter Harbor mostly in the morning and then was drawn to the likelihood of some powerful shots of the ocean, so went out to Schoodic to check it out. The traffic was unbelievable as was the surf, with the road to the point being closed about 2 hours before high tide (ocean coming across the road in places at that time) and maybe 1,000 people at that part of the park. I took 80+ shots and some video, but could have used up all my storage easily. I'll post just a couple of the best ones.

This is the first time I think I have not posted for 2 days in a row, but I'll get over it. There has been some inexplicable force pulling me down the last couple of days...

Friday, August 21, 2009


I don't know... there are always some things that I can add or change to a piece. The wonder of this work is that it is in three dimensions and they are pretty well restricted, so from a creative standpoint there is a challenge to meet in this format conceptually. I've already talked about the concept and coming to it and how I thought it was a good idea, but the interesting thing about doing a piece for a group like this is that there are a number of excellent solutions that other artists evolve and it's fascinating to see.

I've enjoyed all the creative Children's Museum Auction pieces over the years; the mirrors, the boxes, the benches, but I think my favorite so far (maybe that has changed this year) was the rocking chairs. I thought all those surfaces were really neat to work with toward conception. There are many great pieces that come from this challenge, and I've always considered this sort of "voluntary arts" project similar to pro bono work that doctors and lawyers often do, so it reflects nicely on the arts professionals in our area of the State of Maine.

Now again, I'm not sure if this is completely done, but I know it's 95% there, so I'm feeling OK about posting pics of it!

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Long Day

Seems like everything was in suspension today... trying to express the feeling!

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Boat in the Sky

Yeah, I already have a title, and that's what will help me determine the finished look the piece will have as the two parts relate to one another. I put the limitations to my traveling to good use today and got a major ways with completing this project. I'll take some details tomorrow with the sun and hopefully get a way further on this. The concept of a boat being nestled on the table seems to suit my sensibilities, I just hope I can get the legs to look good and the transition to the top satisfactory. I'm my own worst enemy so much of the time!

Painting... Take the Time!

OK, so the photos I snapped and will post have nothing to do with painting, but I need to get myself motivated to finish the "Tres Chic" table for the Children's Museum Auction among 2 dozen other things and so that's my excuse. The next post will be a photo of that table in progress.

I saw the apple on the ground up at Vern's and I just had to get a picture (I've gotten a little feedback - mostly "yucky, why take a picture of that?") because it showed so much determination (the apple) to exist and present so much interest and character in the details of its appearance. The background was left after the trimming of surrounding vegetation. Age and aging? Don't get me started, there is so much to be said for things as they are... we can't or shouldn't change the process of getting older. If people want to modify it, that's fine, technology and such allows people to do so with varying success, but to me it's the inside, not the surrounding shell htat's the important thing. So, I guess we just need to respect those that are older for just reaching that point and make sure that we find out about the inside, the part that counts!

Berries have been everywhere this summer! The raspberries are pretty much gone by as most of them have fallen, but the blackberries have just started to ripen. How cool (notice the "cooling" reference used to combat the high heat and humidity we've been suffering the last few days) is it to have berries continually ripening throughout the summer? I really like the blackberries, too! This shot shows the vines pretty full and just starting to ripen. If I were to use these berries and their continually ripening, unfolding appearance as a personal metaphor it would have to be a transition, a change or changing, not of the whole, but of an aspect or part. The plants continue, browning back and then lying dormant during the winter to spring forth and ripen in the summer warmth.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Haze From Hell

Well, it's really (I don't think anyway) not as hot as hell might be, but I took some liberties with this first shot in shooting right at the sun this morning. The haying season, albeit late because of all the wet weather, still makes these monolithic looking sculptures in the fields. The way they are positioned beside each other I realize is completely random, but they have an infinite relationship to one another as one moves ones point of view. I like this shot for the balance of the objects and for the obvious haze in the immediate background. The telephoto brought the background closer, but it also showed how much moisture was in the air. My studio is stifling hot right now, so I'm preparing to move to the basement to read.

The next shot is a social commentary (subtle?) on the stationary Island Explorers buses. I know the idea is that you can move a lot of people fairly energy efficiently with these buses (noted for their use of natural gas/propane as fuel) but is it the economy that has them all "out of service"? I see these things that make decent pictures but also may have a story within them as well. This shot is a cool (which I really need right now) random repetitive pattern of the bus bodies.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Luna Sea Portrait

Funny how fate and the miraculous workings of the universe sometimes come around and provide irony in people's lives. My brother built a "punt", which is what I have always called what might be a rowboat to others or maybe those that are "come-from-away"s. He gave it to our family back when we were all living together in the early 80's and we named it the Luna Sea, not looking toward (or being able to see into) the future or how mental illness might effect our family or our lives, and it's always been a watercraft for us.
Last night, after returning home from New Hampshire to a houseful of overnight guests (which was cool because Andrew brought his guitar and we jammed for an hour or so) consisting of my niece and two of her friends and their accompanying partners, I took a moment or two to go to the shore and gather some photos of the sunset. The one I'm posting was the last one I took and I think the best. I darkened it a bit to make up for the automatic exposure compensation that the camera invokes, and I find that much more satisfying than trying to set manual and do half a dozen shots to get the right one. I like that the darker look is the edge of night and that it actually shows the boat up well. Ahh, the goodness of PhotoShop!
I'm doing an early entry here to try and get back into the swing of things as taking a break from life and home has its disadvantages as well as its good points. I must make a list of things to do!

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Heading Out!

As soon as we finish packing things up we will check out and head most likely south toward Rochester or Concord and then take a leisurely drive back to Sullivan. It's hot again, but on the road not a big deal, so it's just driving. A nice stay here in Gilford, the people are nice and tourism is a huge piece of their economy, which looks pretty good to me the casual observer. Everything seems busy and moving, but I have no idea what things are usually like in a typical season here.

Yep, the room's a mess, but we don't own it so apparently don't care. I like that Jen is not constantly cleaning everything around the room and it is a good sign that she has had the chance to relax a little bit and think of other things. Everything has gone fine at home (from the daily phone call checkup reports) so that is also a stress reliever.

I'm ready to go back home and can't wait to get back, and I could tell this from my early rise (for a vacation day) and restlessness this morning. The photo is "doctored" a bit as it was blurry and such from incorrect camera setting, but it's a good "motel room - we really don't live here" image.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Lake Winnipesaukee

Boats everywhere! I thought that the coast of Maine was somewhat "boaty", but the lake here in the lower segment of New Hampshire is so crowded with people that it's really unbelievable. I did notice that the Gilford public beach was closed due to a high bacteria count, and that reminded me of the time about 20 years ago that we headed to Montreal and stopped at Burlington, Vermont and Lake Champlain on a very hot weekend in August. We tried to go swimming and the beach there was closed for the same reason. I understand that the very hot weather is the biggest contributor to that, but it didn't seem to dim people's enthusiasm for activities around the lake! I'm still trying to make up my mind about traveling... the getting away from the everyday routine and responsibilities is the best part of that, and I do fully understand how good it is for stress levels.

Sugarland! Great Show...

... at the Meadowbrook Pavilion. What a nice venue for a concert, with the open-sided roof and the soft breeze keeping things cooler. Everyone was so nice, no disagreements, no rowdy (although some inebriated) behavior and a great sound. Because we were in the third row on the left side we had this giant screen in front of us of a live video feed from a couple of hand-held cameras that 2 guys kept moving around the stage for different shots of the performers during the show.

2 photos (we were told not to bring cameras or recording devices) were from my cell phone and I was ticked that there were all kinds of people with cameras there... I could have gotten some great shots! Oh, well what is, is! Anyway, a picture of Jennifer Nettles from the big screen and a picture of Jen trying to contain her excitement as Sugarland prepared to come on stage.

Friday, August 14, 2009

A Nice Drive And An Early Dinner

So we left Portland around 10 this morning, hooked up on route 25 and followed it down into Meredith, NH arriving at our motel (Fireside Inn) in Guilford around 1:30. Nice room with a balcony and 2 big beds and all the little amenities like coffee and TV and such. I missed a few good shots as we were coming into NH in terms of the views of the mountains and such, but I wasn't really focused (no pun) on the scenery, more on the road and the radio.

We had an early dinner at T-Bones in Laconia with a nice view of the lake (I won't try to spell Winnipeepee) and all the activity upon it. There are marinas everywhere and the amount of money tied up in these boats and all the trimmings has got to be phenomenal. Just up the lake from our motel is this huge marina that's a "Yacht Club" and seeing these guys out on their boats with hoses washing everything down got me thinking about the economy and who suffers most when there is a "downturn". Those making $200,000 or more? I doubt it. Even if a citizen holds onto their job and they're making $30 - $40 thousand they will be hit harder.

Anyway, I couldn't finish all of my chicken fajitas salad, so I'll post a picture (in keeping with the "food" theme) of what I had left over! Yummm! We are now off to go to the Meadowbrook Pavillion to see "Sugarland", just a walk up the road of a mile or less will save us a lot of traffic aggravation. Sad thing is no cameras, but I will bring my sketchbook and try to get a drawing down.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Food & Flowers

I'll start with breakfast as we ended up at the IHOP and making breakfast into lunch. We had an awesome server who was as friendly, efficient and capable as any I have seen. It was an excellent meal, and the IHOP has always had a wide selection of very high quality. A reasonably good start to the day.

After breakfast we ended up going to a movie "Funny People" that is Adam Sandler's new one. A lot of his stuff has been just silly, but this film was really a poignant view of what differences the realization of death can make in a person. For me, the realization of death has just made life more real, but from the movie it's the suffering of being sick before you die that makes you appreciate those around you.

We had a nice dinner with Cary, Torrey's ex-girlfriend and still friend whom we still love a lot. She is a marvelous young woman from Cranberry Isles who has an exquisite sense of taste and style and who is going back to school this fall for nursing. The photo is of her and Jen at dinner in Pizzaria UNO at the mall.

The day was about food, but the flowers around Portland and the Mall are really gorgeous and it seems that so many people take this natural beauty for what it is (beautiful) or there wouldn't be all the plantings and such around to make everything look nice! Beauty is where you find it, isn't it?

She's Wonderful!

Last night was spent in Portland, and our son Torrey worked until 8 p.m., so we met him and his new girlfriend for dinner at the Sea Dog. I was very impressed with her joy for life, her intelligence and her style. She was very articulate, had a sense of self (confidence) even though she was somewhat nervous about meeting us, and she is a beautiful young woman besides. Her smile was infectious. She definitely passed "the audition"!

Of course I write this in the past tense as this is "the morning after", but I doubt seriously that much has changed with her since last night, or with Torrey. We did have some great moments and the discussion/conversation was all over the place, which was very stimulating. The photograph I chose is not the best portrait of the two of them, but shows in an instant the connection and sharing that already takes place between them. You know, it's odd funny that we all get so wrapped up in relationships and how they affect others, the perceptions that friends and relatives have of one another, but in the end it's all about who we have in our lives and around us that really makes us who we are...

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Crabbers in the Front Yard & Table

It's funny how people that obviously aren't from "around heah" sometimes react to the ocean and especially the intertidal zone. These two kids were likely staying at the campground up the bay and they found, among the rocks on our shore, a great source of fun and adventure in picking up crabs. I talked to them and they had accents that placed them in the south (maybe Portland or Scarborough, heh, heh), but a youthful energy (well, the youngest one at least) for finding these elusive creatures of the sea and the adventure resulting. I suggested that they gather a bunch and bring them back to their parents to "cook up", as they are very tasty, but they couldn't imagine eating such a thing!

My table for the Children's Museum auction is primed and ready to paint. I have a general idea of the theme for the piece being a boat floating in the ocean, with the try painted as the hull of a boat (you know, wood grain with planks and ribs and such on the inside and maybe a waterline and a name on the outside) and the legs painted as the depths of the sea and its creatures with maybe posts coming out of the water and rocks and ledges in between. The photo is in-progress and shows the alterations I made to the legs and the table top for the ocean effect. Excuse the mess in my studio, I've been busy!

We are going to New Hampshire (via Portland, Maine) for a few days and the weekend, so I may or may not be able to post here, but I will bring my " 'puter" and make an effort.

Monday, August 10, 2009

Frame/Body Conflict...

... resolved! I just took the body off the frame so that I could replace the rusted metal in the back end of my truck. A little plate steel and I should be back in business, I just need to get to my brother's shop to borrow his welder and torches. As one can easily tell from the photo, the rear bumper has quite a sag to it due to extensive rust. It must be all those times I backed into the salt water and forgot to rinse off... duh!
Most of my day was spent doing the truck, but managed a great ride to the bridge this morning before it got hot!

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Mechanics... Etc.

Yeah, so I've been working on the outboard motor the last couple of days (so of course I had to take some pictures - I have one of the boat draining after a "rinse" in Flander's Pond also). The motor gave us some problems last year with not really seeming to get enough fuel, so I took the carbs off and dismantled and cleaned them, blowing them out with compressed air. We took the boat up to the pond to try the motor and it seemed to run OK, but the steering was frozen up. If it's not one thing, it's another!
I've also been putting some more studio time in on glass and on the "Tres Chic" table (I will get some photos of the table in progress as I have to turn some bio in for the Children's Museum). The month of August will creep by and I won't have half done of what I would like to have done, but it is good to finally have some summer!
Now I have to clean up glass shards off the floor in the studio, they're everywhere and my niece likes to run around the house barefoot, so I had to warn her to keep out of the studio. The final photo is one of oak leaves blowing in the wind that I shot with high shutter and saturated the colors of the underside of the leaves. Fun!

Friday, August 7, 2009

Glass... Exclamation Point!

... has been taking up a lot of my time today. I had an group that I did as sort of production run of 10 or so and came out with 7 that were marketable. I also did 4 pendants that came out pretty cool with an exclamation point as a matrix for them all as they look nothing alike. Metaphor you say? Well, I was doing some thinking about why and what these might mean, but my head sprang a leak and I couldn't find a good metaphorical connection. I am sure one will present itself at some point. I do feel that the "carbouchons" might signify the souls of people and represent the ways that people connect, shared colors, shapes and edges make a piece work with another piece.

The new material for me is stone, and a true "cab" is actually made from a slice of mineral or gemstone and shaped through grinding. I've been grinding some rocks the last few days...

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Empty Chair and Lunch

The skylight in the shop placed David's chair in a light that I couldn't help but shoot. It is so important to keep your eye on the light because that's really what it's all about, the light. More significant in this case may be that I recently read Joe Coomer's One Vacant Chair and was really moved by the depth of feelings wrapped around as simple a subject as a chair. I will never look at them the same way, although in my lifetime I have had many interesting moments with chair(s).

I made my own supper tonight as we decided to use up some leftovers and so we are looking at a lobster sandwich and a half (I already had eaten the other half of the second sandwich) along with a nice iced glass of grape kool-aid. My diet has been as weird as the summer!

I was pleased that I got the structure of my table for the Children's Museum all done and everything pretty well primed. All ready to paint and I have some good plans for what I'm doing, so I'm as pleased with this project as any I have done for the Museum.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Faces Back in the Sky

Looking to the southwest after finishing the walkway in stones around the east side of the house to the patio, once again there were faces in the sky. I've seen whole faces, figures, skeletons and all sorts of mystical and magic things in those clouds, and it always seems like there is something meant for me when I make those visual connections. Today, just a face looking to the left and up, but there is a sense of pride and sharpness of features that makes this a figure telling me to hold my head up, all is good in the world.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Days Are What You Make Them

... I can smell the faint oder of woodsmoke coming through the open bedroom windows left over from the fire on the shore tonight. We cooked some lobsters and then toasted a few marshmallows, throw in some nice new corn and some raw peas in the pod and you have an evening meal to appreciate. I even took the extra lobsters into the kitchen and picked them out when we were done (leftovers, ahh I love leftovers!). Matt helped me start the fire on the beach and even toasted a few marshmallows, so that was good.
The day started with a good bike ride through the new construction to the east and then a day of excellent accomplishment when I went into school. Everything I had to do fell into place and I saw everyone I needed to see, signed some papers, and left with a feeling of professional satisfaction that I hope carries over to the school year! The courtyard outside school looked great this morning and all the work the custodial staff has done looks marvelous. I got home from school, mowed the lawns, prepped the walkway out to the new patio for some stone and even got the base coat on the table legs for the Children's Museum Auction, soooo.... I think I worked toward making it a good day, and it did!

Monday, August 3, 2009

Feet and Feathers

Death... this is the first roadkill seagull I've photographed. Not much left of it but feet and feathers by the time I got to this picture, but there's always something about line and it's relationship to texture that fascinates me. Death, on the other hand, being inevitable, but far less tangible than a good old Ingres line, has it's excitement held in it's uncertain presence. Uncertain, of course, because we never really know when or where but as sentient beings we know that it's out there waiting and will eventually overcome us. Dealing with the death of others is especially hard for me, but in the presence of family or loved ones of those who have passed away I seldom have a lot to say but have been generally fortunate that I haven't ever really said the wrong things. People tend to be very sensitive during times of grief and the words of others take on meaning at times far beyond any kind of content intended.
I have a great deal more to say on this subject, but for now, "love does not conquer all, as it is death that has the final word, love can only make it easier to die."

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Jeep in a Rock Pile

Or something else that might seem out of and yet precisely in place. Things fitting in where perhaps they shouldn't and yet fitting in so well that there is no way that they could belong elsewhere. That's the way the photo of my niece Morgan's jeep seemed to me as I looked at it from the top of our roof.

I shot 50 some odd pictures today and I'm noticing now that with choosing photos for the blog that I have trouble narrowing down my selections. I had 4 or 5 that I would have posted, but I think I am going to try and stay in the one-a-day routine. This will do several things for me, the most significant of which would be to help me become more selective, and more introspective with the choices I make, hopefully selecting only the best that I have to offer. This is hard. I like so many.

Work... Then Play!

Finishing the patio was the big deal for the day. David and I got a fairly early start (for two old guys on a Saturday) and we moved the 4 yard pile of stones on to the patio surface and voila, the patio was finished. Of course there was prep work, we did a grade for the gravel underneath and then compacted it, covered it with landscaping cloth (to keep silt from working into the stone and for washout around the edges) and then wheelbarrowed the stone into place. I think we were done by 2 or so, and then we had the opportunity to go sailing, so we did.

Not much wind, but Vern's Cape Dory trots along a few knots without much push needed. The day was gorgeous, lots of sun, and the cruise took us over to the east side of Calf Island where I got some great shots of the mountains unobstructed. It was a bit hazy, but the Porcupines out in front and the listening water made for some nice shots. I took quite a bit of video as I want o work some more with iMovie '09 and I told Vern I would try to put together a decent sailing movie for him (I need the practice, as I want to do a lot more video in school next year).

I missed the first day of August (starting to feel like summer's here) with the blog, but will have a couple of things today.