Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Cherokee Triangle

Even if you don't think you'll be interested, if you have a chance to be in Louisville, KY in late April, you MUST go!

The last weekend in April kicks off 10 days of Derby festivities. Yes, THAT Derby. There's a balloon glow and race, a marathon and mini-marathon, tons of public and private parties, and a general air of mirth and joy.

A parade broke out in the middle of the fair Saturday morning!

Oh, yeah. And there's the Cherokee Triangle Art Fair. This was my first year there and was thrilled to be invited. I was at the St. James Court show in Louisville last October, so I knew that this is a town filled with people who know and love art. I enjoyed an energy and enthusiasm in my booth that I don't see very often. People here are just plain bubbly and happy!

And they seem to like my work. My new work was especially well received. THANK YOU! We never know if our new work will be embraced or rejected.

One woman, who I just adored, just could not decide! So she got comfortable, spread out her favorites, and started deciding! She whittled it down to three, but she kept going back to a few other. Don't worry. I'll be back in October!

Next week: Artfest on Walnut Street in Springfield, MO.

Monday, April 21, 2008

A Different Direction

Summer Storm, image extended onto mat in pastel painting, 11x11 inches,
© 2008 by Jeane Vogel

The biggest complaint heard at art fairs is "there's nothing new. It's all the same old stuff."

Sometimes that's legitimate. There are artists who find a "formula" that works for them and every piece they produce looks the same. There are painters who brag (to other artists -- not to the buying public) that they can paint a 4x6 foot panel in about 2 hours. They paint the same thing over and over. It's production art.

I hate to say this of my colleagues, but there are a handful of photographers who haven't updated their work in years either. It's the same images, over and over and over.

Hey, we all need to make a living, but doesn't that get boring after a while?

We all struggle with keeping our work fresh, vibrant and meaningful -- and attractive to patrons. But we have to experiment, grow and stretch if our work is to have any consequence over a lifetime.

This year, I'm starting down another path: pastel painted mats for my hand-altered Polaroid images. I'm showing these mixed media originals for the first time in Louisville next weekend, April 26-27, at Cherokee Triangle Art Fair.

Unlike my limited editions, there's only one of these. Each is an original pastel painting or drawing. I only have a few right now, so email me at jeane@vogelpix.com if you're interested in reserving one before the show or to see thumbnails of the whole (limited) collection.

Wednesday, April 09, 2008

Slow Down

Peace, Love, Luck - Variation #1, © 2008 Jeane Vogel, Infrared photograph

Plein aire painters have a huge advantage over photographers. They sit in one place for hours, studying a composition. Removing elements, adding elements. The artist is immersed in the scene.

Photographers used to be like that. Strap 100 pounds of tripod and large format camera on your back, find a composition that appeals to you, set up the tripod, load the sheet - yes, sheet -- of film, dig out the focusing loupe, move the tripod a bit, take a light reading, adjust the focus again, set the aperture, open the shutter for several seconds to several minutes -- all to realize that you forgot to remove the black slide and nothing was exposed. Start over again.

Now, everyone and his talking parrot with a $150 digicam snaps and moves on. It's nothing.

I can be the same way. I'll shoot dozens of shots to get the one I wanted. If I slowed down, I might only need three shots.

To slow down means to think through every step. To slow down means to envision the image before it's exposed. To slow down means to make fewer mistakes.

All art benefits from a more leisurely pace. Infrared photography absolutely demands it. Infrared is a spectrum of light beyond that seen by the human eye. Because chlorophyll in plants reflects that spectrum, an infrared capture on film or a special digital sensor gives haunting look to plants, leaves and grass. The effect is ethereal.

When shooting infrared, a infrared-blocking filter is used in front of the lens. It blocks out almost all the visible light, which is the point, of course. The infrared spectrum remains. But that means that composing and focusing takes extra time -- remove the filter, set up the shot, replace the filter, expose the image.

The exposure times are long, which can add to the mysterious appearance of the image -- flowing water, moving people, fluttering leaves are blurred in the 5 to 30 second exposures. Of course, long exposures require a tripod.

A tripod forces a photographer to slow down. To think. To be deliberate.

Infrared photography has the added advantage of pushing the artist's eye beyond what can be seen and back into a realm of imagination.