Sunday, March 25, 2007


There are heaps of ways to learn new things on the 'net.

One of them is to find podcasts - and once again, there are heaps of them!

Two that I would really recommend are:

tutorials and reviews and a daily critique! brilliant stuff...

and the second:

Excellent podcasts going from raw image/camera shot through the post-processing and on to the completed product.

The thing that makes this special for me is the relationship between John Arnold and 'us' as viewers - through Flickr it's possible to have some of your pix critiqued, on occasion see your work featured on a podcast - and it's a very friendly (although with robust discussion) group.

And the other place I like to visit for thoughtful commentary and inspiration/motivation is

Howard's commentary and links to other places are thought-provoking, and inspirational, and have a great spread of topics. He posts almost daily, so always something new to read.

Having said all this, and after reading/watching - there is nothing like actually grabbing the camera and taking some shots and putting them up for discussion and critique (critique that provides solutions, not just points out the problems!). To help the reviewers it does help to give some idea of what you are trying to achieve or communicate in your shot - sometimes I forget this!

But the photo attached to this post is quite simple: humour.

Wednesday, March 21, 2007


Well, I haven't thought of myself as a patriotic sort of person, certainly not a flag-waving 'New Zild' type of girl. I've got a real pride though when I go through the internet and view things that kiwi's have done - such a range of endeavours! and whenever there is a photo, that incredible light.

It's just a shame that the current flag, pictured above waving from the flagpole at the RSA, just doesn't cut it for me. Where is that gorgeous green of the bush? Where is the amazing curve of the sea and the shoreline? Where is the authentic voice of the new New Zealand?

I have been a fan of the Hundertwasser koru flag for years - my only version is a tiny flag I hand in my office at work.

I've tried to post an image of it above - not a great image - but how much more the green koru shows how proud I am of my country!

Monday, March 19, 2007

Black and white

Reducing the impact of colour on our eyes has the effect of simplifying our world into texture. I really like this at times - such as when I look at the light on water...

This image was taken during the day but the light was weird... no green or yellow or red, just blue and grey. So it made an excellent day for black and white on water.

Limitations force creativity, limitations of colour, or equipment, or movement - whatever. We can impose our own limitations, or we can accept limitations that equipment imposes on us by instead of trying to acquire all the latest gadgets, we just make the very best images we can with the equipment we have....

Sunday, March 11, 2007

Concussion and art

For the past fortnight (just over) I have been recovering from concussion.
It's been a challenging experience for someone like me who doesn't like to slow up much, and for whom 'pacing' is a hard-learned concept.
I hit my head in a seemingly trivial accident when I tried to leap with much gusto into the 4WD. All very well except I didn't duck my head, and hit it with a thud on the doorframe. At the time I saw quite a few stars, had to sit still for a while until the shock wore off, and gingerly drove home. Laughed about it, had a headache and didn't really think much more of it. The next day I could hardly stay awake! And I thought I'd take it easy for a day or two, and then all would be well.

Well, I had one whole week off work, having wee nana naps twice a day - and sometimes sleeping fine at night, sometimes not sleeping well at all, thumping headache, yawning, irritable and couldn't concentrate on reading or doing anything much.
Then I started back to work the next week, made it for two hours - then just HAD to stop. Couldn't concentrate, needed SLEEP... Carried on like this for another week...
Had a lovely relaxing weekend away from it all, returned to work today - lasted just on three hours, and had to go home to SLEEP!


So, what has this to do with art?

Well, I write many reports each week, talk with people, analyse quite complex problems - and I am struggling with each one. I lose words, can't remember details, have trouble stringing sentences together (yes, even these...takes a long, long time to write what normally is a quick 5 minute ditty) - BUT - I can spend an hour touching up a photograph! I can spend an hour taking photographs! I can spend ages looking at photographs!


Well, my take on it is that there are different parts of my brain being active when I use the visual processing parts of my brain - and probably even more importantly, I am relaxed, there is no 'end' result, the process is more important than the outcome (although I like to have a nice outcome!)...

So despite the contradiction, I can spend ages concentrating on artistic things, when writing, talking and planning - even shopping at the supermarket - just defeat me.

I just can't do the arty things with music on...

And what else does this have to do with art?
Well, something about being lost in the moment is, to me anyway, one of the most replenishing things about creating something artistic. As if this may well be something missing from everyday life too - perhaps a concussion is one way of reinforcing to me the necessity of taking time out from 'thinking' on a regular basis, so as to just 'be' immersed in the moment of colour, shape, texture, mass - rather than words?

So, I'll be taking home this message - time out to just 'be' replenishes more than depletes, and may be helpful for me when I'm well as well as when I'm not.

Tuesday, March 6, 2007

New Toy

I've just got a wacom graphic tablet! Wow, what fun. At last something that means I can paint and draw without mess on the photo's I do.

I've been a painter since I was a little girl, recently converting to acrylic and having a lot of fun with textures and embedding things and layering and so on. There is something magical about not quite knowing how the work will eventually turn out, starting from somewhere and not worrying about where it will go, ending up with something that has the essence of the original, but not necessarily the detail.

Well, Photoshop (no advertising!!) is that for me with photography. And the wacom is one of the tools that helps. Like using a pen or paintbrush, but less messy (and there is always 'undo'), the pen means I can delicately touch up areas that need a wee bit of definition, erase areas that don't work, tidy up bits that need it, and work much more intuitively than with either a touch pad (which is what I had been using) or a mouse (which I had dumped a couple of years ago).

Oh, and why wacom? Well, I shopped around, tried a few out - and for me, the wacom's size and flexibility and lack of additional and unnecessary bundled software worked for me the best. Perhaps not everyone would want these attributes, but they worked for me.