Saturday, October 18, 2008

Vermont Artists and a Coincidence

I've just spent the morning checking out a number of Vermont artists and what I saw was indeed "something to write home about."

Art of Action Finalists will take you to the AOA project coordinator's blog where he offers links to those artists who have a web presence. Take your time with these sites. (Skip mine.)

If you, like so many non-Vermonters, are one of those who has experienced Vermont as a state of mind rather than an actual place, you will get your grounding here.

What I've seen this morning makes me jealous of painters. Makes me love them unreservedly. And at this moment it also creates one of those "coincidences" that often occur to us, and which we usually shrug off.

Last night, early evening actually, I went outdoors to have my last cigarette of the day and noticed a faint, small reddish glow in the distance, rather near my neighbor's house. I determined that it wasn't emanating from their house, and began to get a bit alarmed as the glow was on a hill, and reddish -- in the countryside this usually means fire. As I kept watching, it began to get brighter and less red. And, in the time it took for one small, self-rolled cigarette, the moon rose, fully engulfed in wisps of clouds and pieces of night. I wept because I could not paint.

Friday, October 17, 2008

Useless Image -- Except for my Eyes

After looking at countless stock images as I was moving into the business, I spent a long time thinking about all the images with saturated colors that I saw. I also looked for comments on the prevalence of such images, but found almost nothing. It is apparently the norm.

I may be shooting myself in the foot, but I can't bring myself to do that. I try to send my stock images out into the world with their real colors. Of course sometimes this means that in the group of thumbnails on a stock agency's search page, my images will not jump off the page. I have to live with that. But if someone buys one of my images, they will get reality.

Which brings me to this image: this was taken outside my front door a couple of days ago, just before sunrise. I was transfixed by that sky. It was, as it appears, unbelievable. It looks like the most saturated of stock images. But it is not. It is wholly untouched. In my book, it's not good for anything except to take my breath away.

Friday, October 10, 2008

Analog Gear in the Digital Bag

After much cussing my second time at the site of a magnificent Vermont scenic, I have packed a compass in my camera bag.

A week or so ago, on a spur of the moment ramble around the back roads, I came upon a spectacular shot of a valley. It was late in the morning and the light wasn't good. Took some shots, but knew they'd be useless. When I got back home I looked in one of my Vermont atlases and determined that the best time of day would be late afternoon.

So, the next sunny day, I went back. Only to find that again the light was less than ideal. While the map told me that the road ran more or less North to South, it didn't show me that my exact spot was right after a severe bend in the road.

Had I had a compass with me on the first trip, my second trip would have been successful. I would have known the exact orientation of where I had located my tripod for those first shots and where the sun had to be when I came back.

Thus we learn.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

September was a good month!

Earlier this month I announced that I'd made my first stock sale. Now, on the very last day of the month, I received notification that I was one of 20 artists out of 300 applicants to be selected by The Art of Action in Vermont. This means that I will receive a sizable grant ($2,500) to research and prepare a proposal for a visual arts project that will direct attention to some of the challenges facing Vermont in the coming decades. Vermont's independent newspaper, Seven Days, has a good summary of the project.

When I received the short note from the administrator of the Call for Entries, I cried--something I don't often do. And, it was because this award told me that others saw what I was trying to do with my images. The administrator, John Zwick maintains a blog on The Art of Action here.

I'm deeply grateful to Lyman Orton, the person who made this opportunity possible. He is a member of the Orton family which owns and operates The Vermont Country Store. More to the purpose of this entry, he and other family members administer the Orton Family Foundation, a foundation intimately concerned with the environment, with quality of life, with community enhancement in any number of areas.