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Wow.  Today I am 42.  An 80 year old friend of mine told me that these will be the best years of my life.  She said the 60s are great!   So, I am not going to get wrapped up in "Wow, I'm old."  I am going to embrace my coming years and enjoy life the best I can.  I have a hard time doing that.

My new (used) camera arrived today - a Canon 40D.  Perfect present!  I can't wait to get shooting.
  • Listening to: Interpol
  • Reading: Canon 40D
  • Watching: My computer
  • Playing: With the keyboard
  • Eating: Power Bar
  • Drinking: Coke Zero
My artwork "Indian Summer"… was selected as a Daily Deviation today!  I am thrilled and honored.
  • Listening to: Faithless
  • Reading: The Complete Idiot's Guide to Taosim
  • Watching: My computer
  • Playing: With the keyboard
  • Eating: Toblerone
  • Drinking: Coke
Have you ever taken a photo of one of your paintings and when you view it, you have a glare from the light?  Here's how to get rid of it:

       1  Open the image in Photoshop, and immediately create a new blank layer on top of the image layer. Click this new blank layer to ensure that all of your work will be done on this layer, and not on the original image.
       2  Click on the Healing Brush tool in your tool menu bar. In the options menu at the top, switch the settings to "Sample All Layers."
       3  Hold down the Alt key on your keyboard and click on the area surrounding the glare. This will take a sample. Be sure not to click the glare itself, but try to get as close as possible to where the glare is. When you have your sample, let go of the Alt key.
       4  Use the magnifying glass to zoom in, if it helps you see what you are doing, and begin painting over the glare with your Healing Brush tool. Use short strokes, rather than one long painting. That way, if you have to go back to correct an error, you won't have to redo all of your work.  (Note:  you may think that the changes haven't been made, but just unclick the eye next to the new layer and you will see the difference between the original image and the modified one.)
       5  With the glare covered, switch to to Clone Stamp tool. Use the same process as the Healing Brush: holding the Alt key, sampling the area, and painting over where the glare was. This second phase of painting will help smooth out the image.
       6  Use the Blur or Smudge tools, if the line where the image and paint meet is visible. It should be difficult to see even if these tools are not used, but some people like the added effect.
       7  Click the top layer in the layers menu, and hold down the Shift key. Click the bottom layer, so that both layers will be highlighted. Right-click one of the layers and choose the option "Merge Layers."
  • Listening to: Prospero's Books Soundtrack
  • Reading: The Artists Guide to Grant Writing
  • Watching: My computer
  • Playing: With the keyboard
  • Eating: A cigar
  • Drinking: Coke Zero
It's awesome!…
  • Listening to: Angelo Badalamenti
  • Reading: Creative Black and White for Digital Photography
  • Watching: My computer
  • Playing: With the keyboard
  • Eating: Nothing
  • Drinking: Coke Zero
Abstract Expressionism:  Kristin Baker (1975 - )

Kristin Baker is a painter based in New York. She often uses stencil and sign painting techniques on PVC panels.
Baker holds a BFA from the School of the Museum of Fine Arts / Tufts University, Boston (1998), and graduated from Yale's MA Painting Programme (2002).

Her work has been exhibited in many prominent international galleries and museums, including the Whitney Museum of American Art and PS1 Contemporary Art Centre in New York, the Pompidou Centre in Paris, The Royal Academy in London and The Hermitage Museum in St. Petersburg. Her work is featured in the Saatchi Collection, and she is represented by Deitch Projects, New York.

Baker first came to attention in 2003 – 2004 with large-scale paintings that appeared to revel in the spectacle of auto racing, capturing the visceral rush and excitement of the sport, as well as a sense of imminent disaster, dramatic accidents, and the spectacle of destruction.  Baker's father was an amateur driver, and this imagery comes directly from her own observation and memories.  Passage at Section K-P (2004), at fifteen feet across, offers a cinematic view of a racetrack, the grandstand, and what must be the billowing clouds of smoke from a crash:

Kurotoplac Curve (2004), freestanding with a width of sixteen feet and presented on an armature that mimics the stands, in its curving sculptural form calls to mind the banked turn of the track itself:

Baker's industrial supports (Mylar sheets, PVC), along with the glossy opacity of her palette (vibrant plastic polymers), suggest as well the synthetic colors of auto bodies, which in her work are seen as bodies in motion, collision, and obliteration.  In these paintings the thrill and sense of violence in racing parallel the velocity and chaos of action painting.  Her shards of paint, applied with knives and squeegees – never brushes – lend a sculpted/collaged facture to the surface, further heightening the feeling that what we are left with is the body of a shattered, splintered vehicle.  Here as well we see the evidence of how Baker "draws" the shapes in her paintings, with tape intuitively applied and later quickly torn from the surface.

It's also worth noting that in addition to racing cars, the artist's father served as a volunteer firefighter, and Baker recalls the fear and dread that were never far from her mind during her childhood, whether at a race or on an average day.  She would sometimes go to the scene of a fire, and watch as the company fought the blaze.  Early experiences with the fleeting nature of life, with mortality, would later surface in her paintings, possibly as a means with which to grasp, render, and reconcile what is otherwise incomprehensible, even long after the fact.

Featured Artist:  Mike Tomlin (1966 - )

Mike Tomlin was born in Camden, NJ, his hometown is San Diego, CA, and he currently resides in Raleigh, NC.
He is a self-taught artist, working mostly in acrylics but has also worked with oils and encaustics.  He is also self-taught in photography, digital art, and web site design.

Forward No.3 - acrylic & gel, 36 x 36

As for his process, the application of paint comes from typical utensils to virtually any hardware he can get his hands on - sometimes he just uses his hands. Other times paint is poured or thrown. Basically, there are no rules or limits in how the paint reaches the canvas.

During the process of applying layers of paint, he often breaks down the paint through scarring. This is done with sharp objects and denatured alcohol. Eventually, through a creative/destructive process, the painting achieves a completion point.

Tomlin's paintings are multi-layered and exhibit a great degree of depth and texture.

What I've Been Up to Lately:

I haven't had the urge to paint for a while.  I am not sure if it's because I have been obsessed with photography (I tend to obsess on one thing at a time) or just because I've been out of the groove.  I have tried to make myself go out and paint, but the result was not satisfactory.  So, yesterday I happened to be in the garage doing something else and decided to pick up the paint brush.  I did three small paintings and then did three more later under similar circumstances.  Here they are:

Circus, 8 x 10, acrylic on canvas

Lilies, 10 x 10, acrylic on canvas

Regal, 10 x 10, acyrlic on canvas

Strike, 9 x 12, acrylic on canvas

Throne, 10 x 10, acrylic on canvas

I did these small paintings to be hung in a small gallery called "Studio B" in Myrtle Beach, SC.  That's all the wall space I have for now, or I would do more.  My next project is to do two large paintings as a dyptych for a friend.  She likes greens and blues.  Luckily I do pretty well with those colors and have several difference options for each hue.

  • Listening to: Death Cab for Cutie Codes and Keys
  • Reading: Photography magazines
  • Watching: My computer
  • Playing: With the keyboard
  • Eating: Nothing
  • Drinking: Coke Zero
Abstract Expressionism:  Jacob Feige (1979 - )

“I make landscape paintings that are settings for abstract events, and abstract paintings in a painted landscape.”  Jacob Feige's direct account of what he does would, on its face, point to the difference between depiction and abstraction, between the straightforward recording of a scene and its cerebral imagining.  He says that he likes to go to a place and “think about what a painting of that place would be like.”  

His paintings are based on his own original photos.  “I like to have”, he says, “enough recognizable space in which something abstract can happen.”  Sensation, as it relates to the very act of looking, is clearly on his mind.  For example, a mountain seems not to offer much in the way of abstract, but on the surface, a mountain is a surface upon which there is a constant play of light and shadow, and involves the perception of the individual.  When Feige refers to “the unification of the landscape and the abstract elements”, he is also talking about how the artist reconciles what he sees, what he doesn't see, what is fixed, and what is fleeting.

The painting above, entitled “Vigorous Blockade”, identifies a specific locale, and yet the artist has constructed a scaffold-like structure and painted a series of drips that resemble ice blue stalactites – which we would expect to find inside the cave, not at the mouth.

The abstract elements in Feige's paintings are “spliced” into the pictures, as if a film technique had been applied to a painterly process.  These scientific/architectural forms are the hidden, mysterious parts of his paintings.  Feige's “having it both ways” is a common occurrence in his paintings.  For Feige, nature is represented not as it would appear to a camera – and this despite his original photographic sources – but as is is perceived by the human eye, as well as in recollection of the mind's eye.  Place and the memory of a place and two entirely different images.

Featured Artist:  Dion Kurczek

“I was always a person who never stirred his coffee after pouring in the cream.  I was fascinated with the fluid dynamic movement and swirling eddies as it blended in the cup.”  

Dion Kurczek tries to convey this dynamism in his paintings, and he draws inspiration from natural sources from the macro and micro scales, from Hubble space telescope images to the patterns made by subatomic particles in a bubble chamber.

“Rebirth”, 2009

Kurczek is not only an abstract painter, but he is also a software and game developer, and an entrepreneur.  When he is painting, Kurczek strives to capture “a specific moment of interacting opposing forces.”  When the balance of the composition, the color range, and the play of lights against darks is just right, he tries to freeze this point in time and lock it into the surface.

As for his technique, it was developed through years of trial and error.  He uses acrylic inks to actualize his vision.  The fluid acrylic colors blend and interact on a hard board, forming intricate and beautiful patterns and compositions.  He sets the stage and directs the action, but the natural forces at work determine the final result.  Each work receives a coat of gloss varnish which adds a final pop to the colors and makes the work resemble a photograph of another world or dimension.  The artist has a very experimental nature, and he continues to introduce new types of inks, paints, and other mediums into his work.

"Angst", 2009

What I’ve Been Up to Lately:

A couple “discovered” me at our yard sale and bought all of my inventory at home to resell.  It's nice to have the guarantee rather than wait until the paintings sell to get the money.  They have given me several windows to paint.  It's a new thing for me, and a little challenging.  But I am having fun, and that's what counts.

“Fire and Ice”, 24 x 30, acrylic and joint compound on canvas.

My first window, “Majesty”:

Not bad for a first attempt, but it needs something.  The person I sold it to did something with it and it supposedly looks wonderful, so I need to go see it.  Next time I will do some “beach-y” colors, as requested.  She is going to buy another one.

I've been in sort of a rut.  I haven't felt like painting and I think it shows.  The garage (studio) is cramped with yard sale stuff, and I don't like it.  Maybe that has something to do with it.

Poem of the Month:

Unhappy Marriage

My existence
Unfathomable and wanting
I once saw Spring in your eyes.

The banister has been left cold
No jacket to warm it
Shades of our Winter
Hesitant haste.
I catch the suit
Hanging empty in the closet
Shattering foreskin
As I used to I
I'll take your emotional property
To my grave

We've been reduced to pens & Post-it notes
& hollow phone calls where your voice
was once golden.

  • Listening to: Swans Children of God/World of Skin
  • Reading: Richard Dawkins The Greatest Show on Earth
  • Watching: My computer
  • Playing: With the keyboard
  • Eating: Nothing
  • Drinking: Coke Zero
Abstract Expressionism:  Elizabeth Neel (1975 - )

In an interview that I read with Neel, the author describes the interior of her studio:  “Tacked to the wall are fascinating and repellant images:  a pile of decomposing dogs, an MRI of a skeleton inside its mummy casing.”    

Neel said that she likes to “get in there and tangle things up...bring them to the edge of collapse.  I want to feel anxiety about whether or not it's a painting.”

Her interest in nature and in death is prevalent in her work.

She was heavily influenced by an event in her childhood:  the discovery of a massacre in the chicken coop.  One of the chickens was partially consumed, revealing its reproductive system.  She traced the stages of life, beginning with a yoke and ending with an egg – all preserved in the moment of death.  She says, “life, and nature underneath it, is a baroque, mysterious thing that hangs precariously on a framework of elegant reason.”

Neel searches the internet for anonymous images, the kind that are difficult to look at – accidents, violence, decay.  Whatever provokes uneasiness in her becomes something she wants to work with.  She often combines several different and unrelated images and makes sketches from them.  This may be the case, but her paintings are not planned out.  They change as she paints them.  Brushstrokes suggest alterations and might send her back to look for other images to work from, where a painting's orientation may also change.  From the article, I discovered that the subject matter of many of her paintings is decomposition; the way she approaches her activity as a painter, for all the build up and density, amounts to a kind of de-composition, and the way that she articulates her process is nearly forensic.

“The titles of Neel's paintings can convey a sense of dread, punishment, and terror, and no more so than when they are read sequentially.  For example, “Condemned”, “Chained”, “Strung Up”, “Sacrificed”, “Torn Down”.  Prompted by the titles, these otherwise abstract paintings reveal their animalistic/ritualistic contents, which have been slowly, yet graphically rendered, and remind us that the canvas is a skin, that pigment comes from the Earth and is related to bodily fluids (her reds are often “bloody” and her whites “fleshy”), and that the paintbrush is, after all, part equine.”

Featured Artist:  Peter Dunckelmann (1942 - )

I “met” Peter Dunckelmann on Facebook, but I cannot remember how we made the initial connection.  I think it was via another artist.

Dunckelmann studied two semesters of art/photography but he claims he “found no freedom of expression”. Without formal training in art or graphic design, he taught himself, so he tends to “not have any rules to break and no 'standard manual' in my mind.  I am not influenced by ideas of what art or graphic design should be.”

For quite some time Dunckelmann had been embracing digital technology, be it photo-montage or collage.  Some of Dunckelmann's favorite artists include Kurt Schwitters, Edward Hopper, Hannah Arendt, Marianne Breslauer, and Martin Munkacsi. He is inspired by his surroundings.  He gets inspiration walking through town,  and takes photographs.  He sees pictures everywhere, an old fence, shadows, and everyday things. People often ask him: "What are you photographing?".  When he points it out, they often say, "That's no picture." He uses post-production to best render the images, whether it is black and white or color.  Which one he uses depends mainly on the subject matter. In his opinion, most pictures improve in black and white when compared with a color version.  I agree that for some subject matter, black and white does lend a particular mood you can't create with color.

Driven by a fascination for abstract patterns, Dunckelmann experiments with distorted brightly colored forms, which he assembles with deliberate crudeness. He also finds inspiration through experimenting, which fosters the creation of new forms. As he explores, he learns to value the process and value the learning he gains from it. Digital technology allows him to create images the way he always wanted to. The realization process takes place while he's “going crazy trying to put all the pieces together.” When this process goes too slowly, he sometimes collects all the relevant pieces and reuses them. Closing his eyes, he listens to beautiful, mesmerizing music, and it gives him assistance in finding the right color. He claims that the finished images don't represent something concrete, per se.  He is constantly looking for creatively interesting compositions combining a collection of shapes, colors, and texture.

Dunckelmann has had two shows in Melbourne. He feels he “got cheated by amateurish gallery owners with no real care for art or the artist and decided to be my own manager. The traditional gallery system is dying and thanks to the internet one is able to create a web site, maintaining an online presence in order to be independent of commercial galleries, to have my freedom. After tax, profit is entirely ones own, no expenses like rent for gallery space, etc.  I am grateful to experience the boundless possibilities of the internet; to be able to make the acquaintance with artists distributing their work and ideas everywhere via the web.”

What I’ve Been Up to Lately:

I've been doing a fair amount of painting, and have been pleased with the results.  I have also had some success selling paintings at the restaurant; mostly small ones and 24 x 30s.  

I've decided to take a break from using texture in my paintings.  I want to work on an even canvas, and apply the paint more thinly.  This will not only benefit me practically, by using less paint, but it will allow for better transitioning between colors.

There is an art show this month that would have been nice to participate in, but I chose to spend the money on a used camera.  There will be other opportunities.  Delores designed, and had built, a display which will go under the tent she also got for me.  It will look very professional, but takes some time to assemble.  It will be easier to assemble than the other display we had, however; that one was made of chicken wire and wood and didn't fit together very well.  The other disadvantage is that it is a little heavy and requires use of a drill bit to assemble.

Poem of the Month:

I am burping sushi
Revisiting my food
That was shared on the floor
With my one and only
And the stinky one
The dog, that is
Gulp it down
And don’t cherish
Give the taste buds a quick check
Before it’s all guts
And no glory
Riding home
Worse for wear
And then follow the animal
With bag of plastic
Scooping up remains
Of ginger, peas
And whatever else
She sneaks in when I am not looking
Now staring at yet another screen
Looking for information
Wanting to call
But sitting on my hands instead
Hope you are restful
And thinking of me
With a smile

October 2004

Quote of the Month:

The true work of art is but a shadow of the divine perfection.
- Michelangelo

Celeste J. Heery
  • Listening to: Delibes
  • Reading: Hume
  • Watching: My computer
  • Playing: With the keyboard
  • Eating: Nothing
  • Drinking: Coke Zero
Jerry Avenaim (1961 - )

A native of Chicago, Jerry Avenaim got his start in photography as assistant to legendary photographer Patrick Demarchelier. Upon venturing out on his own in 1985, his first assignment was a foreign edition Vogue cover of (then rising star) Cindy Crawford. Basing himself out of Milan, he began to work for Italian Vogue under the direction of Editor in Chief Franca Sozzani.

Avenaim is well-known for his portraiture and fashion work.  He reminds me of Richard Avedon in the way he is able to capture a particular revealing expression from his subject.  And his lighting techniques are marvelous.  With the characteristic variety of mood and tone so evident in his fashion work, Jerry Avenaim's celebrity photographs organically combine the sensitivity and vulnerability of his subjects with his ability to bring out their often uninhibited and gregarious personalities. Be it a portrait of the exquisite Halle Berry reminding the viewer Hollywood is still glorious or Dr. Phil with a full on grin for his first Newsweek cover.  His photographs leave a lasting impression.

With an already established fashion career, Avenaim moved to Los Angeles in 1992, where he is now based.  He began photographing celebrities and immediately fell in love with the genre. "I love actors and have such a great respect for the craft and it's [sic] process." Through the years, he has gained the trust of some of the most strong-willed celebrities. In the last decade Avenaim's resume of mega-watt stars reads like a “Who's Who” of Hollywood.

Throughout his career, Jerry Avenaim's photographs have been seen in almost every major magazine worldwide, including Vogue, GQ, Glamour, Vanity Fair and Newsweek. His list of advertising clients have included Merle Norman Cosmetics, Phat Farm, Guess, Ford Motor Co., McDonald's, Twentieth Century FOX and Warner Brothers.

Avenaim is also deeply inspired by what he calls his "soul cleansing" personal works. These include his book projects such as Naked Truth and One Mile Radius. Taken from the foreword of Naked Truth: "It is in Jerry's work that his personality and character emerge. His images demonstrate the victory of what is seen over what is not seen."

Trent Parke, (1971 - )

Born in Newcastle, Australia in 1971, Trent Parke now lives in Adelaide, the only Australian photographer in the celebrated Magnum group.

What intrigues me about Trent is his surreal photography, very unique in its vision.  His use of blur to demonstrate motion is excellent and lends a mysterious quality to his work.  Trent won the prestigious W Eugene Smith Award for humanistic photography in 2003, for his epic road trip around Australia, “Minutes to Midnight”. He has also won World Press Photo Awards in 1999, 2000, 2001, and 2005.

He has been awarded five Gold Lenses from the International Olympic Committee (1996, 1997 and 1998) and the Canon Photo Essay Prize in the 2000 Sasakawa World Sports Awards. He was also selected to be part of the World Press Photo Masterclass in 1999.  Trent self-published his first two books: Dream/Life in 1999 and The Seventh Wave (with Narelle Autio) in 2000. Both made the top two in the book category at the Picture of the Year International.  His work has been widely exhibited, including recent solo exhibitions in New York, London and Germany. “Minutes To Midnight” was shown at The Australian Centre for Photography in Jan/Feb 2005, in conjunction with the Sydney Festival, and became the most highly-attended show in the recorded history of the ACP.  Trent is represented by Magnum Photos and the Stills Gallery.

What I've Been Up to Lately

Obsessing, obsessing, obsessing.  I know the camera I want:  A Canon EOS 50D, a prosumer camera, reasonably priced in the middle of Canon's offerings.  There is also more equipment that I want to get, well, not equipment but things for the studio, like foam core (to block or reflect light), a reflector arm (to hold it in place and adjust its height), pop-up shade for the camera, a lens or two, lens hoods and filters, a scrim (diffuses light), egg crate for my strip light (this concentrates the light to a specific area so there is no spill), more light stands (you can never have enough of those), etc.  I just got a 28 - 80 lens.  I still want to get a fisheye lens, and save up for an L series telephoto zoom.  I've been taking photos with my point and shoot.  It's really pretty good.  If you could adjust the three settings of the exposure triangle (aperature, ISO, and shutter speed) it would be fine.  I am going to carry it with me at all times because I was driving around in another town and missed many photo ops.  I picked up a part-time job to help pay for this hobby.  I should have my camera in about 3 months.  It's already been that long.  Patience is not my strong suit.  Neither is saving!

It's nice, however, to have a hobby, like painting, where you can continuously improve and grow.  You are never “done”, you never graduate.  It's the perfect challenge for me.  I'm not a person who expends a tremendous amount of effort on everything; this is a great learning experience.

Celeste J. Heery
  • Listening to: Madonna - Ray of Light
  • Reading: Understanding Exposure
  • Watching: My computer
  • Playing: With the keyboard
  • Eating: Nothing
  • Drinking: Coke Zero
Rudolph Koppitz (1884 – 1926)

Rudolph Koppitz was a Czechoslovak photographer, often credited as Viennese or Austrian.   

His work is marked by a pronounced awareness of form, line, and the surface play of light and shadow. Early in his career, Koppitz was known for staging groups of subjects in the style of the Vienna Secession, the most well known example of this being his Bewegungsstudie, "Motion Study".


The dancer Claudia Issatschenko plays the cental role in the above very famous photograph. It's meaning is obscure, as it was never explained by Koppitz, but the naked dancer may in some way represent death, or even a fatal moment – she gives the impression of having been struck down as she was advancing.  Either that, or she is on the point of coming back to life.  Her three attendants, too, seem to be rehearsing either a revival or a loss of consciousness.  The implication of this, and of a number of such groupings of naked and draped dancers undertaken in the mid-20s, is that of Koppitz's subject was the stirring of the spirit in relation to the physical body.  Figures on the point of dying or reviving can even be understood as metaphors for the work of art in which material is invested with a spirit of its own.  In the 1930s Koppitz turned increasingly to the documentation of country life and landscape in Austria.  

Rudolf Koppitz began his career as a photographer in small commercial studios. In 1912, he took a decisive step and left his professional life to go back to school in Vienna. Here he met a circle of artists and pictorial photographers.  Koppitz's extraordinary mastery of pictorial processes - pigment, carbon, gum, and bromoil transfer printing gained the respect of his colleagues throughout the world.


Featured Photographer:  Zhang Jingna

At a mere 22 years old, Zhang Jingna is a superstar.  She's had over 6 million page views on deviantART.  Her handle is zemotion.  You'll want to check out her work.  I promise you.  


Born in the suburbs of Beijing to a humble sporting family, Jingna moved to Singapore at the age of eight. At 14, a mere nine months after picking up air rifle, she broke the national record and joined the national team. Two years later, she left Raffles Girls' School to pursue a degree in fashion design.

Picking up the camera while studying fashion, it eventually turned into her voice. She left school again in late 2007, and subsequently the national team, to pursue photography full time. By 20, only a year later, Jingna has shot her first major campaign for Mercedes Benz Taiwan with Ogilvy & Mather and became a regular contributor to Harper's Bazaar Singapore.

The Banquet.

Jingna then went on to become the youngest recipient of Fellowship in the Master Photographers Association (UK) in 2009.  Her portfolio has expanded to include names like Montblanc, Lancôme, Canon, Pond's, Wacom, Random House Publishing, as well as Elle.  With works described as being romantic, ethereal and sensuous, Jingna's images exude a quiet and steady confidence with maturity belying her age.

Jingna is currently based in Los Angeles.   

What I've Been Up To Lately

Reading, reading, getting frustrated by the complexity of photography.

I've never undertaken such a demanding creative endeavor.  Painting came to me with practice, but it was never difficult.  I don't know the first thing about color, I just know what I like and what a painting needs.  I am confident.  With photography, I feel lost.  There is so much of a learning curve, from getting to know the many settings on my camera to learning how to use photomanipulation software.

I have two people lined up to do a shoot.  It is going to take me some time to get ready; I don't want to waste their time while I fiddle endlessly.  I just need to be patient with myself.  My memory is shot so I don't retain what I read very well.  That is not conducive to this medium.

As far as photomanipulation, I was able to get Photoshop CS5.  Wow – it's complicated.  Another thing I have not had a problem with – software.  A humbling experience.  I can't just figure it out by trial and error.  Too many variables.  I got a book The Adobe Photoshop CS5 Book for Digital Photographers.  So far, I have been able to learn a lot in just the first 50 pages.  

I need to buy a portrait lens and a zoom lens for taking close ups of buildings in the distance.  I also have a lot of other equipment to buy.  Unfortunately, I am going to have to buy these things a little at a time.

So, I have put taking photos on hold.  I have tried in vain to get the effects I want.  I think having more appropriate lighting is necessary.  For example, I wanted to do a photo of myself laying down with the emphasis on my torso and the rest a gray tone.  I experimented with color and found a nice red hue.  But as far as having the highlights where I wanted them?  No go.  The problem, I surmise, is that I have fill lights (the umbrellas) and soft lights (the soft boxes) but nothing concentrated or powerful enough.  That's what you get for buying equipment without really understanding it.  While I do think that both are necessary for a mini-studio, there is definitely something missing.

UPDATE:  I have purchased a flash, strobe, zoom lens, portrait lens, and a hair light.  I will be able to start experimenting when my camera arrives in the next two weeks.

Thanks for reading.
  • Listening to: Judas Priest Screaming for Vengence
  • Reading: Carolina Crimes - Forensic Photography
  • Watching: My computer
  • Playing: With the keyboard
  • Eating: Nothing
  • Drinking: Coke
Abstract Expressionism:  Clyfford Still (1904 - 1980)

Clyfford Still was born November 30, 1904, in Grandin, North Dakota. He attended Spokane University in Washington for a year in 1926 and again from 1931 to 1933. After graduation, he taught at Washington State College in Pullman until 1941. Still spent the summers of 1934 and 1935 at the Trask Foundation (now Yaddo) in Saratoga Springs, New York. From 1941 to 1943, he worked in defense factories in California. In 1943, his first solo show took place at the San Francisco Museum of Art, and he met Mark Rothko in Berkeley at this time. The same year, Still moved to Richmond, where he taught at the Richmond Professional Institute.

When Still was in New York in 1945, Rothko introduced him to Peggy Guggenheim, who gave him a solo exhibition at her Art of This Century gallery in early 1946. Later that year, the artist returned to San Francisco, where he taught for the next four years at the California School of Fine Arts. Solo exhibitions of his work were held at the Betty Parsons Gallery, New York, in 1947, 1950, and 1951 and at the California Palace of the Legion of Honor, San Francisco, in 1947. In New York in 1948, Still worked with Rothko and others on developing the concept of the school that became known as the Subjects of the Artist. He resettled in San Francisco for two years before returning again to New York. A Still retrospective took place at the Albright-Knox Art Gallery, Buffalo, New York, in 1959. In 1961, he settled on his farm near Westminster, Maryland.

Solo exhibitions of Still’s paintings were presented by the Institute of Contemporary Art of the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia in 1963 and at the Marlborough-Gerson Gallery, New York, in 1969–70. He received the Award of Merit for Painting in 1972 from the American Academy of Arts and Letters, of which he became a member in 1978, and the Skowhegan Medal for Painting in 1975. Also in 1975, a permanent installation of a group of his works opened at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art. The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, gave him an exhibition in 1980. Still died June 23 of that same year in Baltimore.

Featured Artist:  Art Hetart, Germany

Going under the internet name Art Hetart is Christian Hetzel.  He was born in 1965 in Mannheim.  He is currently in the healthcare field.  I was captivated by his mature style and the multi-layered effect of his compositions.

He has painted since his childhood, first as a boy with realistic pencil drawings, and later in his youth he did surreal geometric and graphical pencil drawings.  In 1986, he did his first abstract high-contrasting colour compositions with tempera on paper.

In the he early 1990s Hetzel resumed abstract painting with predominantly geometric and cubistic colour compositions.  In 1995 and 1996 he had his first group and single exhibitions.  Following this period, he produced highly structured surfaces in new formats with plaster as the base for the abstract structure and color compositions.

He is inspired by the minimalistic and harmonious works of Rothko and also the abstract paintings from G. Richter from the 80s and 90s.

His work is not strictly planned, there is no predefined intent for his paintings. He seeks to trigger the viewers own creativity and emotional understanding. He says, “Art should not establish academic interpretations and be pushed in a drawer. Art should trigger the creativity of each viewer and it should promote his or her own natural instincts.”

He has no favorites among his work. Each of his paintings document his thinking and  intent during the date of creation, and each painting had and has its time to exist. From today's perspective his first abstract color compositions in the mid 80s are partly more amateur and free paintings. Only after a renewed attempt at painting in the mid 90s was he satisfied with impulsive and colorful paintings, and later quieter nature and sand-colored abstract structure and color compositions.

His works since 2009 focuses on the process of creation which is more complex  than in earlier times.  He has increased frequency of adding and removing colors  in the painting and it takes more time to get a perfect result.

For his technique, he tries all kinds of mediums and material (watercolor, tempura, gouache, acrylics, pigment) and painting-grounds (canvas, different backgrounds, paper, wooden backgrounds).

He also likes self-prepared strong structured surfaces made from cement or plaster.  Most of his current paintings are made with acrylic on canvas.  He uses wipe and brush tools.

I encourage you to check out his work:….

What I’ve Been Up to Lately:

Since the garage is so cold, I have been working on small abstracts on paper.  That allows me to keep creating while not freezing in the garage.  I want to do large paintings, but I can't get into painting when I am wearing three layers.  Two more months of cold.  Argh.

Black White, 8.5 x 11 on paper

Since I wrote this I have used space heaters in the garage and have been able to do a couple of paintings so far, for neighbors for x-mas.  One is called “Encroachment” because of how the colors coming in from the edges gradually intrude on the center.  My neighbor sees mountains and water in the painting.  It's always interesting to hear other people's interpretation of my work.

Encroachment, 30 x 30, acrylic on canvas.

The other painting is “Rebirth”, which I painted before I took my work to a restaurant to be displayed for sale.  They took 11 paintings; it is all that is decorating the restaurant right now.  He will be rotating artists.  I am not that hopeful, since this restaurant mostly caters to retirees, but anything is worth a try.  I keep waiting for that right moment.

Rebirth, 24 x 48, acrylic on canvas.

Poem of the Month:

i like the smell of
houses being built
tubes of caulking oozing
their contents
blue flags the phone company
didn’t want you to steal
drywall that writes like chalk
skeleton of what is gone
and promises of what will be
dirt and dreams soon
to be past and visions
of my mind

Quote of the Month:

The only time I feel alive is when I'm painting.
-Vincent Van Gogh

Celeste J. Heery
  • Listening to: Connells Fun and Games
  • Reading: The Digital Photography Book Boxed Set
  • Watching: My computer
  • Playing: With the keyboard
  • Eating: Reeses Pieces
  • Drinking: Tea
I have made a recent foray into photography.  So far, I have been taking artistic nudes.  I find the human body to be beautiful and a work of art.  Besides, all you really have to do is get the lighting right and you're set.  Maybe a little bit of touching up with software.  Funny, I am having trouble doing simple things like having one thing in focus and the rest blurry.  I have adjusted the settings ad nauseum and can't get the effect I want.  More practice will make it happen, hopefully.

If you are a photographer, you will find this issue a bit elementary, as I want to introduce simple concepts first.  Besides, it's in line with the level I am currently exploring.

The Basics


I have found that for starting out, the most important things are lighting, shutter speed, the f-stop, and ISO.

As for lighting, I use the bare bones:  two umbrellas, a reflector, and two soft boxes.  I use the soft boxes most.

Basic soft boxes.

Some photographers use large soft boxes or octodomes (around 8') to get the desired effect.  I have found that
simply using a soft box with the occasional umbrella provides adequate lighting for my purposes.  Books discuss a wide array of options, but I can't spend a lot of money on these things.

Standard umbrellas.


I also have black and white muslin backgrounds.  Muslin is most typically an unbleached or white cloth, produced from carded cotton yarn.

A black muslin background with stand and carry case.

Camera Settings

These are the basic camera settings that I mentioned:  shutter speed, f-stop, and ISO.

Shutter Speed

You can control the amount of light that reaches the photograph by first adjusting the shutter (a photographic device that administers the exposure by limiting the time over which light is admitted) speed.  The longer the photograph is exposed to light, the more light gets in the photograph.  


Another way you can control the amount of light that reaches the photograph is by adjusting the aperture, or f-stop (it is measured in f-numbers, and is currently referred to as an f-stop).  The aperture is a hole in an adjustable diaphragm set between the lens and the shutter.

A large (top) and small (bottom) aperture.  Typical f-stops are f/1.4, f/2, f/2.8, f/4, etc.

Contrary to what you might think, increasing the aperture allows less light to reach the lens, making the photograph appear more dark.  The lower shutter speed causes the photograph to be lighter.


ISO stands for International Standards Organization, and it is a standardized industry scale for measuring sensitivity to light. The ISO measures the sensitivity of a digital image sensor. ISO is measured in numbers, with the lowest number being the least sensitive to light, (e.g. ISO 50 or 100), and the highest number being the most sensitive to light, (e.g. ISO 6400).  Lower ISO settings limit the amount of light in a photograph.  Most photographers like to use a low ISO for natural light.  A standard ISO is 100.  Going to 200 would double the amount of light that is in the photograph.


A main necessity for any photographer is the tripod.  It holds the camera still so that you do not get blurry photographs.

A standard tripod.

In addition, a table-top tripod can be used to capture an object or person on the floor, or mounted on a table, chair, etc. to get the right stable shot.

Richard Avedon (1923 – 2004)

Richard Avedon is considered one of the best photographers in the world.  He set up his own studio in 1946, and began providing images for magazines including Vogue and Life.  In 1966, Avedon left Harper's Bazaar to go to work for Vogue.  He photographed most of the covers of that magazine from 1973 to 1988.  He did fashion advertisements – such as those for Gianni Versace and the Calvin Klein Jeans campaign featuring a 15-year old Brooke Shields.

Stephanie Seymour

In addition to his fashion work, he began to branch out and photographed the Civil Rights Movement in 1963, patients of mental hospitals, protestors of the Vietnam War, and the fall of the Berlin Wall.

His portraits can be easily identified by their minimalist style.  He often has subjects look directly into the camera posed in front of a sheer white background.  Sometimes, to get a creative shot, he would try to evoke emotions by discussing uncomfortable topics.  This allowed him to capture sides of someone's personality that others may not have been able to create.

Avedon is also distinguished by his large prints, which sometimes measure over 3 feet in height.

Avedon became the first staff photographer for The New Yorker in 1992.  He has won many awards for his photography.  He had numerous museum exhibitions around the world, including the Metropolitan Museum of Art.

Judy Garland.

Alice Mayer, Mayer Photography

My favorite contemporary photographer is Alice Mayer of Mayer Photography.  In her past life, she was an environmental policy manager, so her shift to photography was taking a risk and it turned out beautifully.  I actually have the privilege of knowing Ms. Mayer, as she was once my boss.  I remember, working in Washington, D.C., that I was sick of people calling pigeons “rats with wings”, so I asked her to take a photograph of a pigeon that captures its inner beauty.  She took this:

She met my challenge.

Alice Mayer has over thirty years' experience as a photographer, with her expertise in photographic design, capture and expression receiving recognition long before she became professional in 2002.  Ms. Mayer studied black and white photography at the prestigious Corcoran School of Art and portrait photography with notable artists including Dennis Craft and Frank Frost.  She is a member of the American Society of Media Photographers (ASMP), Advertising Photographers of America (APA), Professional Digital Imaging Association (PDIA), Professional Photographers of America (PPA), and an award winning member of Professional Photographers of North Carolina (PPNC) and Wedding and Portrait Photographers International (WPPI).  Her art is on display in collections in Alabama, Arizona, California, Montana, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, and Virginia.

Ms. Mayer takes many different types of photographs.  My favorite are the delightfully weird “Doll Studies”.  She says, “I can’t say where the notion came from, but I keep returning to the photographic study of simple dolls.  The clean lines of these toys show off interestingly in many different environments. I like the fact that they are little human replicas, yet I have them doing things that I might not suggest for a live model. The doll studies represent a flight of whimsy.”

Ms. Mayer also takes portraits, photographs weddings, and takes photographs when she is out and about.  She has a great abstracts gallery and abandoned collection as well.



I encourage you to check out her work

What I've Been Up To

As I mentioned, I have been doing artistic nudes.  Three shots so far.  Each one was finalized on the third shot, so it didn't take long.  My use of shadows and light turned out well.  I will continue this genre as well as take photographs of my favorite subject matter, old barns and old buildings.  I will have to get over the frustration of not getting what I want with minimal effort.  But if the book tells me to use certain settings, that should get me the effect I am looking for – but that hasn't worked.  

I will be buying a telephoto lens next month.  That will give me more options.  Right now I am using the kit lens, which is 18 – 55 mm.

Thanks for reading.  I plan to do this newsletter regularly, perhaps bi-monthly.

Celeste J. Heery
  • Listening to: 80s music
  • Reading: Digital Photography Lighting for Dummies
  • Watching: My computer
  • Playing: With the keyboard
  • Eating: Mac n' cheese
  • Drinking: Coffee and tea
Abstract Expressionism:  Richard Aldrich (1975 - )

Richard Aldrich's first studio in New York was a basement space with low ceilings, small paintings precariously piled everywhere, and a floor strewn with so many objects, books and papers that you a visitor was unsure where to safely step without causing a landslide.  

Aldrich is now in a spacious studio.  Aldrich plays a game, combining and recombining things before deciding where they should be placed, working on many pieces at once.  A section of canvas might be cut out and glued to another.  Aldrich focuses on the importance of process and to the amorphous way in which he proceeds.

Like a number of primarily nonrepresentational painters today, Aldrich also produces semi-abstract figuration (or semi-figurative abstraction).  Aldrich's philosophy is that there are no right or wrong ways to go about working in the studio, only different ways.  Still, he's picky about certain things, and returns to time-tested techniques he can always rely on.  He expresses a sureness about paintings that are highly refined as well as others that are not, such as ones that appear to be finger paintings made in an art therapy class.  He says, “I don't want to be confined to my own bad taste.”   He has also said, “Sometimes there's energy in a painting and sometimes not.  That's what I look for.”

He will often build up a surface and then rub it down.  Along with brushes, he employs rags, palette knives, his fingers, and lots of mediums:  wax, Liquin, mineral spirits, varnish.  His paint handling can be feather-light or brutalist, tender or raw, spontaneous or deliberate.  To the canvas he attaches blown-up photocopies, typewritten short stories and poems, and found objects such as almonds, pieces of wood, or a broken knife.  Whether Aldrich subverts or asserts his taste, both “good” and “bad”, his paintings have always felt, and you get the sense that they always will feel, experimental.

Featured Artist:  Justin Aerni, Macabre King (1984 - )
While Justin's art does not fit into the abstract category, I've decided to expand the scope of my newsletter so that emerging artists can be explored.  I couldn't leave Justin Aerni out.  I own both of the art works featured here.

Justin is only 26 years old.  He was born in Fort Huachuca, Arizona in April 1984.  He grew up in Spokane, Washington and currently resides in Portland Oregon.  He started selling  his work to collectors and galleries back in 2006. He is an artist who is also talented in film production, sculpture, designing clothing and producing his own experimental music.

Justin is the self-proclaimed mad scientist of the art world.  He  specializes mostly in lowbrow/outsider/macabre art.  His work is sought after internationally with major art collectors and galleries in France, Germany, Norway, Israel, Iceland, Britain, Mexico, Canada, and of course, the U.S.  His work has been published in numerous art magazines  around the world. He is also the author and illustrator of such books as "Dead Business Men", "Nonsense Relevant" and "Fighting For Fiction."
He is a self-taught mixed media artist and has been creating art since age 2, exhibiting since 2006.

Most of his work depicts his own inner thoughts and emotions. It is a raw expression. Most of his work so far has been symbolic in dealing with what he considers the biggest mysteries such as life and death. His work reflects the fragile human condition. In the last couple of years his work has been very surreal, and has been described by most of his fans as "Cartoon Surrealism". His work seems to be completely disconnected visually from real life or "realism" yet very emotionally translatable to the viewer. A lot of his work is done without any pre-production sketch work of any kind. The art that is created is strictly based from a feeling or emotion that he is getting at the time of creation. The thought or emotion seems to force its way out in paint form. His paintings are usually completed very fast within two to three hours and are very raw and vibrant. Most of his past paintings have dealt with the darker side of the emotional scope:  loneliness,  relationships, sadness and love.

He has had the following exhibits:

WWA Gallery - Group Show - The Devil Made Me Do It - March 2010, CA
Empyrean Gallery - Group Show - July 2007, Spokane WA
CGTA (Bruce Mcgaw Graphics) - Group Show - Spring 2007, Toronto, Canada. U*Space Gallery - Group Show – 2006, Atlanta, GA
I am sure I will continue to collect his work.

What I’ve Been Up to Lately:

“Purples”, Acyrlic on Paper, 8.5 x 11, December 2010

“Blues”, Acrylic on Paper, 8.5 x 11, December 2010

Poem of the Month:


“Catch Yellow Fever
Plant Daffodils”
Is what the bumper sticker on your car proclaimed.

Just seeing that old car made me smile.
I remember seeing it on the parkway one morning,
finally catching up to it
(warm heart, lead foot)
to see you talking.
I thought perhaps you were engaged in a discussion –
one far more interesting than the radio talking head diatribes -
even though there was no one else in the car.
I later found out
that you were praying.
As you apparently did frequently while in the car
to maintain your patience and serenity on the road.

[We all know what Northern Virginia traffic can do – even to
the hardiest soul].

Your face was bright
like hot air balloons
Dancing in the sky
Dripping joy
For that moment and always
Those balloons, the “big picture”
as you were
Not wasting time
On bitterness
On regret

I am thinking of you and your cohort Golden
“Thelma and Louise”
I’d call you
Your laughter filled a room
Like butterflies
Brilliant and free

And your immaculate home, with everything in its place,
But still comforting and inviting.

Family photographs in every room reflecting your priorities in
Your treasured moments.

I’ve never seen so many plants
I thought I’d stumbled upon the Garden of Eden
(or got lost and ended up in the backyard)
As I stood in awe,
with watering can in hand
Listening to the particulars
of each plant’s temperament
And you didn’t get upset in the least
As I spilled water -
All over the floor,
All over the VCR,
(which I noticed on my second visit had been covered by a

And the beautiful garden -
your happiness personified.
Telling me, “take some of these, and some of these…”
Which I did, in respect and with gratitude,
not telling you they stood no chance with me,
that they’d meet the same quick fate
of so many plants and other unsuspecting flowers
that were unlucky enough to end up on my doorstep.

You are a gift.
Not just any gift, but the first gift you open on Christmas
when you are a child
And those precious moments which can never be recaptured,
but always will be a part of me.

You are a teacher
Of what is true and what is right
And what selflessness and forgiveness REALLY look like.

I will never forget you, or your laugh
I will carry you with me as I would a warm blanket on a brisk
and bright Fall day.
And I will look for you every night,
As I open my eyes to the sky,
Knowing I’ve found you when I see the brightest star.

In Memoriam, Diane Finlay McCain (1936-2005)
August 2005

Quote of the Month:

All true artists, whether they know it or not, create from a place of no-mind, from inner stillness.
- Eckhart Tolle

Celeste J. Heery
  • Listening to: Within Temptation The Heart of Everything
  • Reading: The Photo Book
  • Watching: My computer
  • Playing: With the keyboard
  • Eating: Nothing
  • Drinking: Coffee
Abstract Expressionism:  Bill Komoski (1954 - )

What are the paintings of Bill Komoski about?  They are about looking.  As map-like as they sometimes appear, there is a layering and complexity that invites and confounds reconnaissance.  The paintings can be seen as organized and chaotic at the same time.  There can be a subtle symmetrical structure that is not immediately apparent.  “It sets up a balance,” he says, and “undermines it.”  Shadows are cast, but not by an element in the painting.  They have an independent life.  Things are hidden in plain sight.

The paintings are about spacial dislocation.  Komiski submerges the viewer, showing us what rises to the surface, what lies beneath, and what hovers and trails in between.  There is a feeling of fluidity, floating, flow, and weightlessness; there are currents, crosscurrents and tides.  The light in the paintings is silvery gray, as if it was refracted from a rippled surface of water, or seen from below, yet with an eerie, unnatural quality.

Komoski, like many abstract painters, has no preconception, no plan before he begins to work.  His starting point is a controlled accident:  a drip of paint that he allows to stream along the surface of the canvas, both guiding it and letting it find its own route.  He refers to this procedure as the initial “drawing,” which he then responds to.  Forms are suggested – as are space and depth.  He paints wet into wet, and so the painting has to be completed in a single session.

Once the painting has been started, other aspects are slower, and he goes back and makes changes.  Although in our reading of the paintings we may make certain associations, Komoski never gives descriptive titles to his works.  Instead they are titles with their dates of completion.

The paintings show webs, nets, networks, arteries.  What are these paintings about, and what do we see in them?  If the paintings are, as Komoski has said, “unsettled,” then maybe they have something to do with the times we're living through.

Alan Jeffries (1958 - )

Although he's had a lifelong interest in art, he started to paint in 2008. He's self-taught. His favorite artists are Willem DeKooning, Melville Price, Nicolas de Stael, Michael Goldberg, Mary Abbott, Ralph Turturro, Iain Robertson, Robert Rauschenberg, & Julian Schnabel.

He was featured in a September 2009 show – the Emerging Artist exhibition, Artworks Around Town, in Wheeling, West Virginia.

He agrees with the critic who once said that a painting does not have to be "about" anything other than the process of its own creation.

To Jeffries, all art is self-portraiture.

He quotes, "I rarely want to know what's in the artist's mind. Finding out what an artist thinks about his art is nowhere near as exciting as finding out what it means to you." - David Bowie

Some of his work is very reminiscent of de Kooning.

More work is featured at [link].

What I’ve Been Up to Lately:

Heritage II, October 2010

I was offered to participate in a show in New York for emerging artists.  They found me on    Unfortunately, they wanted money to help pay for advertising and catalog printing costs.  I strongly suspect that the artists are paying the full cost (their amount was very high) and I also don't think that they market the art during the reception.  In photos, cards with prices are not visible.  They stand to make $40,000 for each exhibit, which runs for a month.  So, a very profitable exercise, even for New York.  I was disappointed.

Poem of the Month:

Yes, you can experience a love story.
A season in Hell
Rattle laundry
Pandora's Box
A thief of residencies
Wide awake fields
First prize artist
Translated by deadlines
The gathering region; memoir of trust.

September 2007
[Written as a "collage poem" for a Creative Writing Class in
Asheville.  We cut out words from a magazine while in class and
combined them to make a poem.  I did mine in 10 minutes and
then waited another 45 for everyone else to finish!]

Quote of the Month:

A sincere artist is not one who makes a faithful attempt to put on to canvas what is in front of him, but one who tries to create something which is, in itself, a living thing. - William Dobell

Celeste J. Heery
  • Listening to: The filter of my fish tank
  • Reading: Epicureanism
  • Watching: My computer
  • Playing: With the keyboard
  • Eating: M & Ms
  • Drinking: Coke
Abstract Expressionism:  Ernest Briggs (1923 - 1984)

Briggs was an active participant in the latter half of the Abstract Expressionist movement's beginnings.  Below are two pieces of his work.

Briggs was born and raised in California.  He studied with abstract painters Clyfford Still, Rothko, and Ad Reinhardt at the San Francisco Art Institute.  He arrived in New York in 1953.  He did large scale, heavily layered gestural abstractions.  Using an unstoppable application of paint, he sought to capture the essence of human drama and emotion.

Unfortunately for Briggs, he was overshadowed by the preeminent Abstract Expressionist painters of the time.  He did have solo shows in 1954 and 1955 at the Stable Gallery in New York, and was included, in 1956, in the Museum of Modern Art's “Influential 12 Americans” exhibition.  From 1961 until his death in 1984, he taught painting at Pratt Institute in Brooklyn.

Featured Artist:  Marilena Chroni

Marilena Chroni is a Greek mixed media artist who also does abstract work.  She was born in Athens in 1974 and graduated from the department of Applied Arts at the Technical Professional High School of Sivitanideios with a specialty in stained glass and mosaic.

She participated in acting, dancing and painting lessons. She has studied graphic design and worked on several editorials.

In 2009 she decided to focus on painting and especially the mixed media technique, with a focus on jewelry.  Her inspiration comes from what she sees and feels and she uses different materials that inspire her.    

Click to go to her blog.  Click to go to her YouTube video.

What I’ve Been Up to Lately

I've been doing small paintings for an upcoming Waccamaw Arts & Crafts Guild juried show that I plan to apply for.  

Spring II, 12 x 12.

I am sure that my art will be much different than the 90 + other artists who are there, which could be a great thing or a not so great thing.  I just want to be there, I am not focused on selling.  I will have some inexpensive 5 x 7 “Flow Paintings” for sale.  I am hoping they will be a nice alternative to post cards or greeting cards.  I am having a display built and have a new tent.  So, things will look more professional than they have in the past.  Wish me luck!

“Flow Painting”, 5 x 7, acrylic on glass.

Poem of the Month

Watery Shadow

I'm doin' the ole'
Afternoon puff-puff/move the car routine
My new thing
Taking carcinogens in,
Expelling air,
Chasing a new habit
And other ways to remove, reflect
Tell myself I'm
Different, special
Even though I
Destruct at will
At fleeting thought
Reveling in my pain
My master
My weary comfort
A familiar face
A drone, cog in the wheel
Invades my space momentarily
I feel my every day annoyance at the human race escalate
Until the engine,
Awakened from its slumber to move to another dwelling,
Announces itself
Squeaky wheels
Straining tires
Until it's out of sight
My sense of entitlement
Without fences to trap it
My old therapist
Adding that to her list of feelings
Prompted by exposure to me
Thoughts work their way,
Forward and backward
Hit rewind
Fast forward
Wherever the pain is
At least now I
Sometimes wish to stop it
I was there,
A heap of flesh
No bones, leaving me
The day she walked out
A watery shadow
and claiming it belonged to me,
Though I had separated it from myself
The phone call
My wait, reprieve
Feel this
Express that
Categorize and sympathize and analyze
When all that truly mattered
Was time and distance
But I know it lies in wait
to resurrect and terrify
Once more
Basking in insanity's warm glow

  • Listening to: The filter of my fish tank
  • Reading: D&D Players Handbook
  • Watching: My computer
  • Playing: With the keyboard
  • Eating: Nothing
  • Drinking: Iced Tea
Abstract Expressionism:  Jimmy Ernst (1920 – 1984)

Jimmy Ernst was an American painter born in Germany and the son of Max Ernst, the surrealist artist.
Ernst became director of The Art of This Century Gallery in 1942. A year later he had his first one-person exhibition. During the late 1940s he became a member of the The Irascible Eighteen, a group of abstract painters and posed for a famous picture in 1950.  Members of the group include Willem de Kooning and Jackson Pollock.

Ernst was considered as an artists’ a His sensitivity and honesty with his work, life and with his friends set him apart from just being a painter. His paintings and influence came from within, from his experiences and love of jazz.

His work were varied, oil on canvas, ink and gouache on paper, collage elements and painted sculpture. In his early years in New York, he worked with Rudy Blesh for Circle Records and
designed covers for the jazz musician, Baby Dodds.

Featured Artist:  Mark Chadwick

Mark Chadwick has been studying fine art at Birmingham City University and Sutton Coldfield College since 2001.  He explores a wide range of methods in painting, drawing, photography, sculpture and print. His main area of interest is painting and his recent works have involved the process of making marks with tools and mechanical objects such as toy cars.  He has completed his MA course in Fine Art where he exhibited in a Fine Art Show.  Before that, he obtained a BA in Fine Art (First Class with Honours), a HND in Fine Art, Foundation Art and A-Levels.

His art is concerned with the use of machines in the production of an artwork. With our culture becoming more and more engaged with new technologies, his work questions the implications of handing over control of an artwork to a mechanical device. With the actions of any machine the result of human intention, he uses machines to allow chance to enter the creative process, exploring ideas surrounding authorship, consciousness and interaction. He allows his tools to create their marks and record its action in a physical way on to the canvas. Currently his work is concerned with painting process as the performance aspect of the production of an artwork, exploring the relationship forged between materials, aesthetics and perception across cultures. He uses machines/technology to allow paintings to make themselves in order to further remove the hand of the artist. Once set in motion he often removes himself from the studio and painting process.

On his website (  you can check out all of his latest exhibitions  and see his work ranging from paintings to video pieces.  His videos can be seen on YouTube at MarkChadwickArt.

What I’ve Been Up to Lately:

Here are a few paintings I have done since the last newsletter:

“Burning”, 24 x 30, acrylic on canvas

“Freedom from Fear”, 24 x 30, acrylic
on canvas

“Heritage”, 48 x 60, acrylic and plaster on canvas.  

I will have my art on display at City Hall for a month starting at the end of October.  I can't wait!

Something to Play With:

On deviantART, a “drawing tablet”… draw, then go to Image, Export Image, right click, choose Save As, and name the file.  An example of what you can make, by Delores Quade :icondeloresquade:

Poem of the Month:


I lay.
in a shell of tradition
of societal circumstance.

The guidance I seek,
unbridled desperation,
comes at me
as a staggering horse.
I am but a shadow in it's presence,
I wear my veil of shame.
At times, though,
I rip it off in proclamation.
I am getting better.

How can you betray me?
All that I am?
Declare my love is wrong?

I do not have a lying tongue
I do not fan the fires of hatred.
I do not partake in evil.
Yet I have this malediction
by words of strangers who are dust.

I am fragmented and devoid

Yet I am livid.
I stand in the doorway of my confusion
and will remain until there are no more days.


Quote of the Month:

“We may not arrive at our port within a calculable period, but we would preserve the true course” - Henry David Thoreau (1817 – 1862)


Celeste J. Heery
  • Listening to: The filter of my fish tank
  • Reading: An Essay Concerning Human Understanding
  • Watching: My computer
  • Playing: With the keyboard
  • Eating: Nothing
  • Drinking: Iced Tea, Iced Coffee
Abstract Expessionism:  Helen Frankenthaler (1928 - )

Born in New York City, Frankenthaler was heavily influenced by Jackson Pollock and Hans Hoffman of the Abstract Expressionist movement.  In the early 1950s Frankenthaler evolved an individual style of lyrical abstraction, using washes and stains of thin pigments on unprepared canvas to produce transparent textures merging with it.  Later works in stronger colors and forms include synthetic polymer paint on canvas.

Frankenthaler married and divorced fellow abstract expressionist Robert Motherwell (see Issue 12).

Featured Artist:  “Wasted Year”, DeviantART

“Wasted Year”, an alias on deviantART, was born on Symi of the  Dodecanesse Islands of Greece in 1991.

He is currently an undergraduate student in Electrical and Electronics at Aristotle University of Thessaloniki in Greece.

His main hobbies are songwriting, programming and drawing.  He won a regional art competition and second place in a regional songwriting competition during high school.

He developed his artistic style during “the boring classes of school. I always prefer 'do-it-yourself' approaches over polished ones and I try to stay as much [sic] original as possible.”

His dream job is having a rock band, so that he can “make a living out of something [he] likes”.  His “Plan B” is to get a "real" job as an software/electronics/IT services engineer.  

He is an abstract photographer and is always trying things, searching.
The need to digitize his slides for prints has opened him up to new practices; always with the will to experiment with technique and process.   He does his own prints, and is a self-professed “color freak”.

He mixes drawing, digital painting, and fractals.

I encourage you to check out his work on the deviantART site.

What I’ve Been Up to Lately:

I finally started painting again, for the first time in over a year.  I have done two:

For photos, go to

My studio (garage) is fully set up and most of my canvases and all of my paints have arrived.

Studio.  Those are Golden Paints, my favorite brand.  I have over 60 colors now.

Poem of the Month:


My mind's at it again,
won't let me sleep.  It's on that train. The locomotive to the
land of the agony dwellers.

There is a sawing on the roof in the back of my mind,
my head is grinding like sand under the weight of a hammer
and the lever to the machine doesn't have an “off” position.
All it takes is one word, one phrase, one beat of the drum to
send me spinning into nowhere.  At least nowhere pleasant.

So, how do you do this, make me shrivel like a slug under the
flurry of salt?
How do you take the last rise from me?  How do you make me
fall under the weight of my own consciousness?  Because I let
you.  I let you seep into me like poison.  Your vapors, the elixir
for the self-righteous.  Always the devouring.  Never just a bite.

Time does not bring me respite, I can only hope for the forgetting, and

words of assurance in the multitude to soothe my teeming brain.

If only I could harness these words, these thoughts, these
schemes, I could erect monuments to honor the inventors of
time.  I could transcend the metaphysical, develop mental
concrete.  But then what would I do? I might be happy, I
might not wait for the other shoe to...come crashing through
the ceiling.

For now, it is quiet.  For now, the forgetting has arrived.  For
now, I will savor the look, the life.  Until next time...


Quote of the Month:

"I've been no more than a medium, as it were." - Matisse (1869 - 1954)


As you can see I have a new logo and “image”.  It is true that you have to project yourself at the next level in order to get there.  I will have a new web site and domain soon.  My new email address is
  • Listening to: The filter of my fish tank
  • Reading: On the Shortness of Life
  • Watching: My computer
  • Playing: With the keyboard
  • Eating: Nothing
  • Drinking: Iced Tea
Abstract Expressionism:  Robert Motherwell

Robert Motherwell (1915 – 1991) was a U.S. Painter, the youngest of the artists originally associated with Abstract Expressionism.  His early training was in art history and aesthetics.  He studied painting with the Chilean Surrealist Matta in Mexico.  

His first one-man show was at Peggy Guggenheim's gallery "The Art of this Century" (1944).  Soon after he became famous with his series known as Elegies to the Spanish Republic:  (see below) horizontal paintings with black vertical Arp-like forms, alternatively large and small, also reminiscent of late Matisse cutouts.

He taught at Black Mountain College, NC (from 1945) and Hunter College, NY (1951 – 1958).  

The Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth houses the largest collection of Motherwell's works. The Empire State Plaza holds some of his work.

He was awarded the National Medal of the Arts in 1989.

He was married to artist Helen Frankenthaler as his third wife, whom he later divorced.

Featured Artist:  Amanda Rae (Scotland/U.K.)

Amanda's sculptures are influenced by theories about the underlying pattern and beauty inherent in the nature and organization of matter, energy, and information. Many of her works express concern for ecological issues, and the materials she uses are experimental.  This is not self-consciously trying out new styles, influences are mindfully drawn together and pursued with a persistent intensity.

Amanda spent most of her childhood surreptitiously running wild on the Essex salt marshes.  Her education at that time was "erratic". As she began to experience different cultures and environments through travel, she developed a hunger for the skills needed to create artworks that represented her relationship with the environment.

She became a mature student and achieved a National Certificate in Art/Design and Craft at Shetland College.  She then went on to study in the Hebrides and completed the 1st and 2nd year of a B.A. in fine art with Lews Castle College at Taigh Chearsabhagh North Uist. The environmental focus of the course was inspiring, looking closely at the physical landscape of the island, the use of materials as well as the elements of wind, water, and light, and also man's intervention and place within the environment. She is currently studying at Moray College Elgin taking her 3rd year of a B.A. in Fine Art.

What I've Been Up to Lately:

I've ordered some paints and canvases and am going to start setting up my garage/studio within the week at the new place.  I am back to a two-car garage, which will be great.  The last house's one-car garage made me feel cramped and unhappy.  I should be painting again in a few weeks.  I am a little wary, since it has been a year.  I am afraid I won't know what to do, that the natural process will be gone.  I am sure I will have high expectations of myself and will be very critical and discouraged if I don't live up to them.  

Oh – I received a box of paints yesterday from Dick Blick.  They had been packaged incompetently, and when I opened the package there was copper paint all over everything.  I was a little annoyed.  I called to complain and get compensated.  It worked.  As my Mom says, you never know unless you ask.

Poem of the Month:


I am the embers of the fire
I function better in a blaze
In a parallel universe, I am a match
And clawing at you like a falling man on a rock
The numbness awaits the beating of the drum
And the shaman is silent and oh so patient
Grains of sand meticulously placed
But the big picture
is still to come.
I wait as my log becomes cold and unfriendly
damp from the rain
Wishing it would catch fire again.


Quote of the Month:

"I have always tried to hike my efforts and wished my works to have the light joyousness of springtime which never lets anyone suspect the labors it has cost." - Henry Matisse (1869-1954)
  • Listening to: Fox News
  • Reading: Transformed by the Light
  • Watching: My computer
  • Playing: With the keyboard
  • Eating: Nothing
  • Drinking: Coke and Coffee
Issue 11
June 8, 2010

Abstract Expressionism:  Barnett Newman (1905 – 1970)  

Barnett Newman shared the abstract expressionist movement’s interest in mythological themes.  His first painting of vertical elements, which characterize his mature work, were started in 1946.  
The work which best expressed his formal, spatial and mystical preoccupations of that period was Onement I (1948):

Later vast canvases of saturated color fields, inflected with vertical stripes or “zips” with fragmented edges, present majestic color-spatial experiences which create the impression of an opening in the picture plane.  

Newman had a profound influence on young painters of the 1960s.

Featured Artist:  Gene Swartz

I met Gene Swartz on the web site deviantART (you don’t have to be a deviant to share your art there.)  He has been painting on and off for 25 years and loves colors and people that “know how to use it”.  Both of his parents are artists/painters He likes abstract art because he feels it is the most expressive style of art.

One of the interesting things about Gene is that he paints on glass and then turns it over and places it in a frame.  He has a unique style and approach.

You can see more of his work at

What I’ve Been Up to Lately:

Waiting for the move to Myrtle Beach on June 23rd.  Lots to do.  I had packed away my paints a long time ago.  I haven’t painted since last year.  It will be nice to have a two-car garage again.  I have already figured out how I am going to set it up.

Poem of the Month:

Restless Mind

My mind is open
My body tired
Thoughts race
Wandering is where I begin
Back to the origin
Wings on my eyelids
The broken wagon wheel
The mystery of crawling legs
Follows, emotion
If it pleases you
When you arrive
I will put on the face
And keep by the door

Fireworks still inside
Jerked around my consciousness, on way to the next
The archway where two days meet
Sleep deprivation has made me nimble with mania,

But there is lack of rebirth, I am weary
Tomorrow will rekindle
And patience my trusted guide.


Quote of the Month:

“Every child is an artist. The problem is how to remain an artist once we grow up.” – Pablo Picasso (1881 – 1973)
  • Listening to: silence of the early morning
  • Reading: Inside the Painter's Studio
  • Watching: My computer
  • Playing: With the keyboard
  • Eating: Nothing
  • Drinking: Iced Coffee
Issue 10
May 8, 2010

Abstract Expressionism:  Dana Schutz

I discovered Dana Schutz in 2005 while attending an art exhibit at the Corcoran Gallery in Washington, D.C.  I was very moved by this young woman’s strange work, the deconstruction (or reconstruction) of the assembly of human bodies.  Her transfigured forms lend mystery and morbidity to some of her work.

Schutz's work has been described as “teetering on the edge of tradition and innovation.” In her own words, “My paintings are loosely based on metanarratives. The pictures float in and out of pictorial genres. Still lifes become personified, portraits become events and landscapes become constructions. I embrace the area between which the subject is composed and decomposing, formed and formless, inanimate and alive. Recently I have been making paintings of sculptural goddesses, transitory still lifes, people who make things, people who are made and people who have the ability to eat themselves. Although the paintings themselves are not specifically narrative, I often invent imaginative systems and situations to generate information. These situations usually delineate a site where making is a necessity, audiences potentially don't exist, objects transcend their function and reality is malleable.”

An article in New York Art states, “A recent grad of the buzzed-about Columbia M.F.A. program, Schutz still works in a windowless, unheated studio not far from campus. [She had] her first solo show at LFL (now Zach Feuer) gallery in 2002.  Since then, she’s appeared in Vogue and Artforum and seen her work snapped up by the Rubells, Charles Saatchi, the Corcoran, the Guggenheim, and the Los Angeles Museum of Contemporary Art, remaining loyal to Feuer despite other offers. ‘She’s definitely an interesting one to watch,’ says Amy Cappellazzo, international co-head of Post-War & Contemporary Art at Christie’s. In “Greater New York,” she displayed her biggest painting yet: a fourteen-by-ten-foot autopsy scene that suggests Rembrandt’s Anatomy Lesson glimpsed through a prism.”

Featured Artist:  Chandra B Rasaily, India  

Images of females, birds and trees dominate Chandra’s canvases.  Creation has been a long odyssey of observation and practice for Chandra to produce the images that ultimately end up spontaneously on canvas. The act of creation brings him absolute joy.

Colors and forms have charmed Chandra from childhood as does music and sculpture. He still remembers the faces and voices of the two mendicants who annually frequented the village to sing religious hymns.

In his words, “The world of Art is a global trade-affair. I swear by M. F. Hussain, Picasso, Van Gogh - I hold them very high who had the very bliss of the Existence.”

You can check out his web site at

What I’ve Been Up to Lately:

Nothing.  Here’s an old painting, just to fill the slot:

“Troubled Waters”, 2009

Poem of the Month:


my eyelids are shovels
my eyes are cotton
Wet with warm saltwater
my arms are sand
I melt into the floor and disappear
the voice floats
the words escape through the door
the cold air invades our space
like little mutants
with sleeping darts
dreamy pitchforks
echoes in the hall
clicking shoes
remind me of junior high
mothers retrieving their sick & wounded
writing/stealing hall passes
running into the woods after school
smoke & steam rising
from those houses without sin
where Johnny goes in for dinner
but doesn’t have to worry
about the drunken slob
pounding on the table
falling into the fire

it’s morning again
same old cornball on the radio
reciting the school menu
the weather
where to buy a car
telling us to come get an autographed
Neil Diamond record this Saturday
yea, I’m forever in blue jeans babe
horses with wagging tails
and steaming piles
tables of cheese & grapes
plaid – pink and green and blue
boys hiding in the trunk
so there’s more cash for beer
stumbling home
with pennies & peanut butter
on our breath
so mom won’t know what we’re up to
well…yours won’t
and when we’re released
and free
it’s anticlimactic
hey, don’t go
c’mere, I wanna tell you somethin’
who are you?
you’re still here?
time to go
look me up
I miss you
when did we get so old, and
have you heard from so-and-so?
what do you want to be
when you grow up?
or should I say who?
who are you doing
who can’t you live without?
who is that stranger in the mirror
always lying to me
product of a country town
religion without substance
schools where they don’t dare
talk about the problems between the races
why Leroy is so proud of his silly rebel flag
why no one looks anyone in the eye
why we can’t talk about
what’s in Dad’s glass
and why sister is barfing again
and why Mom is gaining weight
and seems so sad
and I’m depressed on a Sunday
and I’m only seven
and I live for escape
and fumble with older boys in the neighbor’s yard
and I hate school
and I am afraid
and I make a tent in my room
with blankets
and hide in there and
pretend to be someone else.

November 2002

Quote of the Month:

“The painter will produce pictures of little merit if he takes the works of others as his standard.” – Leonardo da Vinci (1452- 1519)
  • Listening to: my S.O. playing computer games
  • Reading: The Tao Te Ching
  • Watching: My computer
  • Playing: With the keyboard
  • Eating: Nothing
  • Drinking: Nothing
Abstract Expressionism:  Mark Rothko (1903 – 1970)

Mark Rothko was a Russian-born U.S. painter.  He was one of the leading figures of Abstract Expressionism, though he rejected the classification and even “abstract painter” was unacceptable to him.  He studied painting under Max Weber.  

While visiting a friend at the Art Students League of New York, he saw students sketching a model. According to Rothko, this was the beginning of his life as an artist.  

He founded an art school, “Subjects of the Artist” in 1948 with Robert Motherwell, another famous figure in the movement (to be featured in a future issue).  

Rothko was initially inspired by the freedom of expression by Miró, Ernst, and American surrealists but his mature work developed from 1948 as single abstract images or symbols presented through color, line, and shape:  floating horizontal rectangles with blurred edges, the background color subtly and dramatically related to the color of the rectangles.

From Wikipedia:

"In the spring of 1968, Rothko was diagnosed with a mild aortic aneurysm (defect in the arterial wall, that gradually leads to outpouching of the vessel and at times frank rupture). Ignoring doctor’s orders, Rothko continued to drink and smoke heavily, avoided exercise, and maintained an unhealthy diet. However, he did follow physician advice not to paint pictures larger than a yard in height, and turned his attention to smaller, less physically strenuous formats, including acrylics on paper. Meanwhile, Rothko's marriage had become increasingly troubled, and his poor health and impotence resulting from the aneurysm compounded his feeling of estrangement in the relationship. Rothko and his wife Mell separated on New Year’s Day 1969, and he moved into his studio.

On February 25, 1970, Oliver Steindecker, Rothko’s assistant, found the artist in his kitchen, lying dead on the floor in front of the sink, covered in blood. He had sliced his arms with a razor found lying at his side. During autopsy it was discovered he had also overdosed on anti-depressants. He was 66 years old. The Seagram Murals on display at the Tate Gallery arrived in London on the very day of his suicide."

Featured Artist:  Edward Gilmore

A prominent artist in his own right, Edward W. Gilmore was born in Oakland, California in 1966. To truly become acquainted with him, you must become acquainted with his passion for art, lust for life, adventure, willingness to risk, creativity, and child-like curiosity. These are just a few of the colors that make up the palette of his life.

Edward has been fascinated with color since he was a young boy. Nature provided the canvas for his art. Such balance in nature was exciting to his young mind.

His first mentors were his father and his grandfather. His father, a master craftsman, taught him about precision and creativity. He taught Edward how to take pride in his work and pay attention to detail.

As a teenager, Ed would sit and watch the master house painters in San Francisco paint the old Victorian homes with their big brushes. One day, one of the painters took Edward under his wing and began teaching him these incredible techniques. Soon Edward was painting with his newly acquired skills. At 18, with his innate sense of color balance, he was asked to design the color compositions for these magnificent old homes. For many years he designed the color formats to be used in these homes, including many homes of celebrities.

What I’ve Been Up to Lately:

Well, I have 4 paintings left in inventory.  That’s a good thing, since I have had luck selling, but an unfortunate thing, because a salon called recently wanting to feature seven of my paintings.  Right now, I have two hanging in an art supply store.  I am skeptical about them selling there, because most customers will be there buying supplies for their own art.  Worth a try though.  I can’t wait to get back to painting.  It looks like June will be the month.

Architect, 2008

Something for You to Play With:

BRUSHster… (NGA Kids, BRUSHster - it's cool, even for adults).  You will need Adobe Shockplayer…, which is free.  If you have trouble downloading Shockwave for Vista, you can go to… may have to refresh your browser once you get to Brushster.  It’s fun and worth your trouble.

Poem of the Month:


This moment
I wait.
Listening to the four-wheeled collages of metal echo by
I actually feel some relief
for the apparent
forgetfulness of my acquaintance
as I was not in the mood
for chit-chat to begin with.
Like a warm rubber band,
I am trying to find my elasticity again.
This moment
I have no snap.
Or a crackle or a pop, for that matter.
Is it lack of love and respect for me
that causes you to respond to him,
or is it because you find it unimportant
one way or another?
I keep trying to assure myself that it's the latter,
but then again,
I have convinced myself of so many "truths" where you are
concerned already, not questioning why I am motivated to do
all the convincing.
I don't want to face that.
Is there some wished truth about me that you have brought
into existence?
I am not watering the seeds of my retrospective plant.  Or
maybe I am.
I do not feed them, give them warm baths, or towel-dry their
bright blue ears and bring aid to their bleeding gums.
I merely drink their blood until the flask has become dry and
sticky, thick like paint, this life-blood, with no medium to temper
it, hard to work with.
I smell and see first signs of the rebirth of corpse trees and
look forward to the panoramic greenery on the mountain.
My beloved mountain, where goats watch me as I check the
Where hills and valleys are laid out before me like a just-
finished quilt.
Pride and life blazing their trails
I have wished to be in the rolling hills,
camouflaged in green drapery, rather than being dragged
across the rocks like raging waters.


Quote of the Month:

“Art has something to do with the achievement of stillness in the midst of chaos.  A stillness which characterizes prayer, too, and the eye of the storm…an arrest of attention in the midst of distraction.” – Saul Bellow (1915 - 2005) (American writer.)
  • Listening to: Connells
  • Reading: Meeting Jesus Again for the First Time
  • Watching: My computer
  • Playing: With the keyboard
  • Eating: Banana
  • Drinking: Coffee