Thanks for taking the time to visit my blog. It's a journal of sorts. It gives me a place to show my work-in-progress for my painting and photography. Comments are welcome --- add one at the end of an entry or email me at BarbBlumer@gmail.com.

Thanks for visiting.

Friday, January 30, 2009

Paperwhites Studies

My paperwhites bloomed this week and filled the house with their fragrance. Couldn't resist making some studies of them today before they wilt.

Photographs are Memory Vessels

One of the aspects of photography that I really love is the way it can take you back to a moment in time. You, as author of the image, can be instantly transported. I like that feeling.
I am going to Montreal this weekend with some friends which got me thinking about the last time I was there, in 2001. It was late summer, pre-9/11. I was still using film back then, and Tom had just given me a new lens for my birthday. So, I had a blast exploring the city with him and my camera. We were staying in the charming old part of the city. I love these images from that trip not only because I think they stand up on their own, regardless of location, but because they take me back to that time and the sense of adventure I enjoyed.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Honey Bear Painting

Today I worked on the long overdue honey bear painting for my brother's 50th. This is my second pass. Started it last Summer (see blog entry of June 6 for my first pass). It has some drawing problems, but I am hoping to salvage it. Still not sure if I should leave the label blank or put some writing on it. As I post this, I can tell that I need to pump up the highlights after it dries.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Purple Path Painting

Back from a mini-vacation where I had time to do nothing and get some sunshine. What rose to the top of my thinking is the observation that painting and exercising are the two things that I know are good for me but I don't do. So, I've returned with renewed commitment to do a little each day, even though I am rusty at both.

Started this painting a while back using a purple underpainting. Now the path isn't so purple, so I may have to rename it. Any suggestions? Today I painted the dogwalker and dog and everything but the dark forest. Got lost while painting the vegetation on the sides which is evident by the muddy grays and poor strokes. I should have stopped, but we have all been there, haven't we?
Going to let it dry, then we'll see if it has any potential.

Monday, January 19, 2009

Winter Barn

Today I wanted to play with Lightroom 2 since I bought the upgrade recently. So, I chose this high contrast, poorly exposed image of a barn in winter, apropos of the recent weather we've been experiencing.

Snow scenes are challenging and I don't have much experience with them. Creatively, I am still not sure which way to go. Not happy yet, and not sure that this image can be salvaged.

But I am very impressed with what can be done in Lightroom 2 without having to leave it to go to Photoshop. And I continue to be amazed with what can be done in the "darkroom" without getting my hands wet.

Here are some of the experiments from today. I am showing several versions along with the original color version here at the end.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Bye Bye Jewelry Website

The renewal date of the contract for our jewelry website was last week and I let it lapse. So, I guess I really am ready to move on!

Our customers are now being serviced by Pip's Boutique, and the transition was communicated for over a year, so I don't feel bad about dropping the site.

I am so happy with my selling relationship with Pip's. It's just the right fit for me. They deal with all the selling while I get to still enjoy designing jewelry. I am so glad I got out doing shows and downsized. The part I miss is working with my sister.

Pip's is a cute dress shop here in Corning.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Self Portrait...Finally

Today I finally got up the courage to work on a self portrait for my marketing materials and this is the result. Any woman over 50 and on the chubby side like I am knows just how excruciating it is to have to look at yourself with such scrutiny. I think we all prefer to remember our younger selves, don't we?

I procrastinated doing this for over a year and just got tired of having it hanging over my head.

There is also an artist I know who is convinced that it is a bad thing to show yourself at all. "Let the work stand for itself. You'll spoil their vision of who made the art they are enjoying. It's like seeing a movie of a favorite book and the casting is all wrong."

My new studio walls worked well for the background and that pleases me. This is natural light and I am sitting at my desk but turned toward the light.

Monday, January 12, 2009

Allowing Time for Clean Up

One of the biggest improvements in my life has been the decision to give myself time to clean up.

One day it clicked that projects require 30% of your overall time to complete them. I was never allowing enough time to finish them properly, i.e, to do the drying and signing, framing, labeling and packaging, mailing, blog and website updating, financial paperwork, communication, the putting away of the materials and references, not to mention the maintenance required for my studio/office such as upgrading technology and keeping the place neat. Nor was I giving myself anytime to reflect.

Now I make Fridays for finishing what I started during the week. I don't allow myself to begin something new on a Friday. I just go around and see what is already in the works and play a game with myself to see if I can get it done that day. This simple practice has greatly improved my productivity and the quality of what I am making.

I've expanded the concept by giving myself time to catch-up/clean-up during key times of the year. And it seems to be working.

For example, last week I gave myself time to clean up after the holidays and get myself in order before jumping into my studio to begin the new year. I usually don't. As a result, things would pile up on me emotionally. My surroundings would be chaotic. And I would feel out of control.

It also worked when I gave myself two weeks in the late spring do all the home projects as well as the gardening I really enjoy. Ditto in the fall. I took a week in early November to focus on just cleaning up.

I don't actually stop doing my creative work during these periods. It's just a priority shift. I do them at a lower level and don't schedule major events or activities during these periods.

The trick for me is to stop doing the clean-up after the allotted time and just "let it go."

Gold Medal Haarlem Oil Capsules - Study #3

"Contains:--sulphuretted oils of turpentine and linseed and oil of peppermint." Sounds like something you should paint with rather than ingest! But on the side panel, it says it is "a diuretic to the kidneys."

Further research indicates that these capsules were very popular, a mainstream medicine cabinet item during the 40's, per one reference I found. Originally, they were developed in the Netherlands hundreds of years ago (1696, if you believe the box).

My images are rather ebay-looking (e.g., effective but boring) but this is good practice. I am learning my new camera back's features. It's the Nikon D90. It's similar to my D70S but lots better. Tom gave it to me for Christmas. He is always supporting my creative efforts, nice guy that he is.

Plus, I am hoping I can develop a good set-up for photographing my paintings by doing these straightforward shots. Eventually, I'd like to offer documentation of artwork as a service for artists. Or teach the topic. But I have a long way to go in my learning curve.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Typewriter Ribbon Tin - Study #2

Inside, the ribbon is well worn and of heavy black cloth. Wondering who had the Underwood typewriter in my family.
Kovels guide says: Typewriter ribbon tins are now being collected. The lithographed tin containers have been used since the 1870s. Most popular with collectors are tins with pictorial graphics.

The Old Settler - Study #1

Being rusty, I thought I'd warm up with some studies of old containers that were found in my grandparents' house in Aliquippa, PA, a mill town. There about 20. This is the first one I chose because I don't know what black rainwater is, do you? One of my favorite aunts, Aunt Niece, gave them to me, saying that I would appreciate them. She didn't want to throw them away and now I have held on to them for 20 years since.
Need to work on reducing the glare on the subject and getting the temperature correct. I do like the background. This is the first time I've used the new studio wall color for it. Not sure if I like the shiny stool I used as the ground surface.

Monday, January 5, 2009

Are the same people who put holiday wreaths on the front of their cars, the same people who put bandanas on their dogs?

Do they feel compelled to accessorize? Tough questions, I know. This is the type of difficult work I was doing over the last few weeks since I last posted. As a result, I feel thoroughly rested --mentally, not physically. Too much partying and fun over the holidays. I feel happy and optimistic and ready to get back to work.