Sunday, May 31, 2009

Fearless Painting Workshop

Day two group warm up exercise - Pretty Wild

Fearless Painters with our Instructor Delah McKay in front of a 4x8' group exercise.

Today I conquered fears of a new medium (acrylic) and painting large. This dogwood flower is 3x4' Can you believe it?

I spent Friday night and all weekend at a painting workshop called Fearless Painting. The workshop was taught by painter, Delah McKay in her Piermont, NY Studio and was Sponsored by Hopper House of Nyack. The workshop is designed to explore your boundaries and push you through to the that next level. It did that and so much more. There were 6 students in the class from all different artistic levels and experiences. Delah was able to create a safe environment where everyone was free to explore and learned much about each of us as artists there giving each of us assignments meant to push of us in the things we needed to grow as artists. Delah was able to do this by interviewing each of us ahead of time and really getting to the core of each persons art, this was followed up with visits to the blogs and websites of the participants of the class.
I was quite amazed at how quickly Delah had each of us figured out. I think she knew before I did that I have been grappling with a bigger artistic question.... And it was not Am I an Artist? That one I have known the answer to my whole life... I have been walking around with out voicing the question. Am I photogrpher who happens to paint a little or am I painter? For now I am a little bit of both... but the direction I want to head in and focus my energy on is painting and dare I say it Oils. I am pretty sure that is where I am heading. Don't worry if you are a fan of my photography. My camera is as much a part of me as my right arm... I got a great deal out of a just a couple of days. One of these days you may see that dogwood here as a real finished painting.
To Delah Mckay and my classmates in fearless painting - Thank You for a wonderful and meaningful weekend.
Keep Makin' Art

Thursday, May 28, 2009

This Weekend - Updated

I am taking a Workshop this weekend called Fearless Painting. I am really looking forward to jumping and playing with acrylics and making a big old mess. I'll be back online Monday.

After just two hours Friday night I am sure this workshop will be great! I am really looking forward to the next 2 days. I'll post some pictures here on Monday.

Keep Makin Art!

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Tiorati Brook Morning - Harriman State Park

I had every intention of sleeping in this morning, but my cats had other plans for me. Sometime around 5am they started nudging me. Apparently they did not get the memo that I was not setting my alarm today. So by 5:10 cats contentedly eating breakfast what was I to do?? I loaded my gear in the car and headed out for Harriman State Park. There was a stream I had noticed and had not had a chance to shoot so I took advantage of the flat early morning light. Remind me to give the cats a treat for dragging me out of bed and helping me to get these shots.
Keep Makin Art!

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Tips for Photographing Flowers

Hello fellow artists-
A little while back I mentioned I would post tips for shooting flowers. This turned out to be tougher than I thought. I had to break down what had become a organic process for me so I could explain things I did not even realize I was doing. It was a great exercise and mead me even more aware of what I am doing when I go out to shoot flowers.



Cherry Blossom

Before I jump into my rules for taking photos of flowers remember they are just guidelines break the rules to suit your needs. Tell me what works for you and what doesn't. This is just how I approach flowers and there are many other successful ways to to it.
5 Flower Photography Tips
  1. Isolate a single flower or small group - Focusing on a single bloom or a small bunch of blooms draws your viewer in. That is half the battle. Once you have the viewers attention do something to keep them interested with design or color etc.
  2. Position the flower(s) in the frame in a way that is interesting - We all make the mistake sometimes of planting the big beautiful flower right in the middle of the frame. You need something else to interest the viewer if you do that. Take advantage of the frame and place the flower in a slight off center more interesting location.
  3. Shoot when the light is right - Noon day light is harsh and straight above your flowers. This gives them a flat shape and often hot highlights that are hard to work with. Early morning or the hour before sunset are wonderful. They give you flattering side light and soft warm color tones.
  4. Be aware of the background and take advantage of it - Once you settle on the perfect bud or flower look at what is behind it in your shoot sometimes a shrub or wall with a complimentary color can really make your image stand out. Always be looking for the best angle to shoot your flower from to make it as interesting as possible.
  5. Shoot with an open aperture (lens opening) - To make things easier I like to use a zoom lens for shooting flowers and can then get different shots without moving my tripod position. By shooting with a wide open (lowest f-stop number) or aperture close to open you really focus attention on your flower and can blur the background giving you a wonderful backdrop for your flower to tell its story.

I hope these small hints help you get out there and take pictures of these beautiful ornaments the Earth shares with us each year. Most importantly use your eye to tell the story you want to. I'd love to see what you come up with.

My Equipment

For those of you interest here are the tools I use to create my images. A point and shot camera shooting jpegs can get similar results if you think about the design, color and time of day to get the most out of your shot.

I use a Canon digital rebel xt (DSLR). This is the very entry level of Canon's Digital SLR line and now that it has been out for several year can be picked up second hand very cheaply compared to the new stuff. It has done great work for me and I am only now tempted to swap up as I want to produce really big images (20x24 and larger). I shoot with 100-300 Canon usm zoom lens. This is not the pricey "L" series lens, but again it has served me very well and has not hindered my artistic vision in the least. A tripod and a cable release are optional, but can help you with those longer exposures you may need to take with the zoom lens. Lastly I use a collapsible reflector that is gold on one side and white on the other to help fill in the shadows a little. You can use a large piece of white poster board just as easily and get great results.

That's it. Good luck get out there and start shooting and let me see what you come up with.

Keep Makin' Art


Saturday, May 16, 2009

Sugarloaf Cabin - Watercolor

The weekend promises to be damp and rainy. I will put my camera aside on Sunday and get back to our painting projects. Sorry for the delay. I am looking forward to pushing some paint around.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Workshop - Bobolink Dairy

Today's photos are from the workshop I took yesterday with Nick Zungoli. We were shooting at Bobolink Dairy in Vernon NJ. This was a change of pace normally Nick does landscape workshops. This was an alumni class and he wanted to take us out of our comfort zone.... Well he did it 5 middle aged men running across a meadow to get the shot of the cows going into be milked dragging all their equipment. we must have made quite the impression on the animals at the farm. After shooting we went back to Nick's gallery for a spirited afternoon of advanced sharpening techniques. Everyone had a great time and some wonderful photos were taken.

Keep makin' Art

Prospero's Cave - Bailey's Bay Bermuda

These caves were on the grounds at our hotel. They were amazing.

Monday, May 11, 2009

Bermuda Flowers

This image reminds me that I promised I would post my top five tips for better flower photos. I'll do that tonight after the workshop.


Sunday, May 10, 2009


Hello Fellow Artists
Sorry I was offline for a few days. We went to Bermuda to help one of our best friends celebrate his 40th birthday. You know me... I got to wander with my camera a little. I'll post some of the pictures here. I have a photo workshop tomorrow... and then it is back to painting again.

Bicycle St George's

Red Building against Blue Sky - St. George's

Horseshoe Beach
I found Bermuda to be a place for of beautiful scenery and wonderful people. I would recommend it to anyone.
Keep Makin' Art

Wednesday, May 06, 2009

Digital Silver Imaging

Hello Fellow Artists:

I don't normally use this space to talk about my vendors our suppliers, but I found a vendor who produces actual Silver Halide black and white prints from my digital files and does a super job. Digital Silver Imaging will print on bot RC and Fiber based papers producing beautiful archival prints. I just got my first order back and a was thrilled with the quality. If you have any B&W printing you want done from your digital files give them a try.

Keep Makin' Art

Sunday, May 03, 2009


The explosion of color that was my yard for the last two weeks is sadly winding down... but I was able to get these two dogwood blooms this morning. I wish it could be like this all year!
Keep Makin' Art
PS - I have had a few people ask me lately about my secrets to photographing flowers. There are no great secrets... but in a future post I'll give you 5 tops for more successful Flower photos outdoors.

Happy 90th Birthday Pete Seeger

Folk Legend, Humanitarian, Activist - Pete Seeger turns ninety today, May 3rd, 2009
Growing up in the Hudson Valley I almost took the name Pete Seeger for granted. He has always been there.. whether it was playing for kids at a school or camp, being the driving force behind the environmental/educational sloop Clearwater , protesting the war in Iraq or the countless other ways he contributes to making the world a better place.

Mr Seeger is a champion for human rights and will fight injustice where ever he finds it. He practically single-handedly brought folk music back into popularity in the 1950's and faced down the house committee on unamerican activities saying "I am not going to answer any questions as to my association, my philosophical or religious beliefs or my political beliefs, or how I voted in any election, or any of these private affairs. I think these are very improper questions for any American to be asked, especially under such compulsion as this. I would be very glad to tell you my life if you want to hear of it." when everyone else was naming names to get of the hook.

Pete Seeger wrote Where have all the flowers gone, Turn turn turn, If I had a hammer and many other famous songs.

Truly one of the great Americans... an inspiration for all of us to do more for mankind. Mr Seeger lives in Beacon NY with his wife Toshi. A Nobel Prize for peace is long overdue for this remarkable man.

To send a birthday message to Pete Seeger:
Pete Seeger
P. O. Box 431
Beacon, NY 12508

Teacup Drawing

Here is the drawing for the teacup. It is setup for 8x10". After you draw the cup remember to lightly erase the grid lines. They don't come out after the paint is down.


Tea Cup - Still Life

Here is the photo for our tea cup still life project. It is scaled to 8x10 with grid lines set up in thirds to help us draw the shape.
I will be working on the drawing and will post that for you next.
Keep Makin' Art!