Saturday, December 8, 2012

Wildflowers

Wildflowers ©2012 - The base photo for this montage is one of the many back buildings on the abandoned property of the former St. Paul's Abbey retreat house in Andover Township, New Jersey.  I wrote a little more about the history of the property in the writeup for "Jonah" in which I used another of the buildings.  My eye was immediately drawn to the single stem of flowers thrusting upward in the building's entrance, framed by hanging ivy and the darkness of the interior.  It was the only flower in the area.  The child is from my vintage photo collection and I'm still undecided if it is a boy or girl.  No matter, he or she matched the mood I was looking for and a few of my backyard birds completed the composition.  "Wildflowers" - a flower of an uncultivated variety growing freely without human intervention.  Love the sound of that!

Saturday, October 6, 2012

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Gotta love ribbons!!

I'm so excited to say my image "All the Comforts of Home" took 2nd place in The Edison Arts Society show, "Romancing the Past"!  Thanks once again to Pat Rubin, the gallery director, for putting together another great opening and to judge Donna Blachford of Lux Gallery in Hopewell, NJ for thinking enough of my work to give me the award! 

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Jonah

Jonah ©2012 - One of the great things about working with photography is the unexpected cool twist that happens now and then.  I took the base photo for this montage (minus the little boy) on an abandoned piece of property in Andover Township near the Newton border in New Jersey.  It was one of the small buildings behind what used to be the St. Paul's Abbey retreat house, a notable landmark founded as a monastery in 1924 housing up to 60 monks.  They led very simple lives using the surrounding property for beekeeping, cow raising, fruit growing and Christmas tree farming.  After taking the image, I looked at it on my camera and thought my eyes were playing tricks.  There were some wonderful reflections in the old window glass but one clearly looked like the face of a giant fish!  To be sure it wasn't just me, I showed it to the person with me and the first thing he said was "Hey!  There's a fish face in the window!".  I added the boy from my vintage photo collection, a little more plant life from around the property and some toning and selected filters to complete (what I thought to be an appropriate title) "Jonah".

Saturday, July 21, 2012

A Guy Named Joe

A Guy Named Joe ©2012 - This image was inspired by a conversation with my friend and incredible artist, Marcel Truppa.  I asked who he considered his greatest influence and he immediately answered Joseph Cornell. Influenced by the Surrealists, Cornell was one of the pioneers of assemblage and created beautiful art from found objects. He and Marcel became friends during the 50's and he recollected that every time he visited Cornell at his home, there was always a single rose in a glass of water somewhere in the house.  After Cornell passed away, Marcel would visit his grave in Nyack, NY whenever he had the opportunity and would always bring a single rose.  Marcel remembered Cornell as a quiet, unassuming man who, despite the fame his art eventually brought him, was just "a guy named Joe".  The figure in this image is a young Marcel.  The background is not the actual gravesite of Cornell, but my interpretation utilizing several different images of my own as well as a texture in the sky from one of Marcel's paintings to complete the montage.

Friday, July 6, 2012

The Barnyard

The Barnyard ©2012 - I discovered this lovely old barn, it's smaller outbuilding and crumbling silo on an abandoned property in Marlboro, New Jersey a couple of months ago.  It was late in the day and the light was fading, so after getting as many shots as I could, I decided to call it a day but vowed to return as soon as possible to take advantage of all the great photo ops in the area! The very next weekend, I was back in Marlboro hoping to explore an abandoned factory that I had found too late the week before.  Unfortunately, during the week it had been fenced in and demolition had begun.  However, all the disturbance had attracted a flock of beautiful black vultures cruising the area and I was able to get some great bird shots!  On down the road, I ran across a field of grazing emus!  Native to Australia, these fantastic birds are also farmed in New Jersey!  As I was putting together this composition, I needed one more element.  Lucky for me, an amazing full moon was just rising in my backyard providing the last piece to complete "The Barnyard".

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

2nd Place in JB Kline Gallery Photography Show!

I recently had the pleasure of having 2 of my images, "The Last Waltz" and "Little Bo Peep" accepted into a show at The JB Kline Gallery in the lovely town of Lambertville, New Jersey.  The opening party was a blast- I met lots of nice people, many talented artists in the show, and received some wonderful compliments on my work!  The show hung through the month of June and during that time, visitors to the gallery voted on their favorite pieces for 1st and 2nd place.  I was so excited to learn a couple of days ago that "The Last Waltz" took 2nd place!  It's always fantastic when you win something at the decision of a panel of judges, but it was made even more special coming from the  everyday people viewing the art!

Thursday, May 31, 2012

The Last Waltz

The Last Waltz ©2012 - While recently exploring southern New Jersey in and around the town of Marlboro, I came across an abandoned property with a little different twist.  The house itself was not that unusual or interesting, but on the front porch were the crumbling remains of what must have been a lovely old piano in it's day.  I photographed it from several angles but found the close up the most appealing with all the inner workings exposed.  Having never heard of a Kirby piano, I tried researching it's origin online but oddly, found nothing.  I'm very curious, so if anyone has any information on it please let me know!  The "pianist" is one of my backyard birds I happened to catch in mid stretch.  With feathers ruffled and mouth open, he was the perfect addition to "The Last Waltz".

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Little Bo Peep

Little Bo Peep ©2012 - This piece started with yet another image from the abandoned property in Middle Valley, New Jersey.  It is, in fact, the front of the house I used in "By the Light of the Moon" a few months ago.  The little girl is a vintage photo that intrigued me with her odd expression, straw hat and stick in hand.  It brought to mind the nursery rhyme from the early 1800's about Little Bo Peep and her famous sheep.  Older residents of the village of Ninfield in East Sussex, England (a former smuggling center) claim that Bo Peep was it's most famous resident.  The story goes that her sheep were walked across the shore to disguise smuggler's footprints.  After learning of her dark side, I decided instead of sheep to use a flock of magnificent black vultures that I happened across on a recent trip to Jackson, New Jersey.  I thought this provided an interesting twist - sort of Little Bo Peep according to The Brothers Grimm! 

Sunday, April 29, 2012

The Visitor

The Visitor ©2012 - I've always been a Poe fan and had thought of doing a still life with elements that reference him for awhile but just never seem to get around to it.  With the new movie "The Raven" starring John Cusack opening this week, I was inspired to finally do it.  An antique black table cover seemed the perfect backdrop and the collection of Poe books in my house provided the key element.  The reflection of him in the old mirror is thought to be from the last portrait sitting before his death taken by William Abbott Pratt in 1849. The book open to the first page of "The Raven" was an obvious choice as well as the candle and glass of port wine but the pears were just something that appealed to me.  What could be better on a rainy night than curling up in a comfy chair with some port, pears and Poe?  When my backyard blackbird (a raven wannabe) stopped by "Tis some visitor," I muttered, "tapping at my chamber door- Only this and nothing more."

Saturday, March 31, 2012

The Other Side


The Other Side ©2012 - A road trip through southern New Jersey a couple of weeks ago yielded another abandoned property just days from annihilation judging from the amount of heavy equipment waiting in the wings.  Located on Rt 130 just outside of Bordentown, there were 5 buildings total- a main house, a large barn like structure and several smaller ones.  This smaller one intrigued me with it's roof sloping in the middle like the back of an aging horse while the fingers of the bare branches on the left seemed to be reaching to open the white door.  What I think drew me most to this composition though, was the broken fence.  The posts on each side frame the little building as the top rail splits into the image like a dagger aimed for it's heart.  Taking in the scene, the blackbird must be contemplating what could be on "the other side" of the fence, or maybe "the other side" of the door.

Friday, March 9, 2012

All the Comforts of Home

I captured this image (minus the car, moon, and birds) a few months ago in Eatontown New Jersey while driving home from a trip to Atlantic City.  The old motel signs always conjure nostalgic memories of childhood family vacations and, since they are fast disappearing, I try to document the ones I run across.  I added the rising moon as it seems that was the time of day my father would always begin looking for a place to stay the night during our road trips.  After adding the birds, some textures and different filters to achieve the mood I wanted, it was still missing something.  I began digging through old family photos and found my father's beloved 1949 Plymouth that he restored in the early 1970s.  Perfect!  Just the element I needed along with the color TV, phones and pool for "All the Comforts of Home".

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Annabel Lee

"For the moon never beams without bringing me dreams of the beautiful Annabel Lee;  And the stars never rise but I feel the bright eyes of the beautiful Annabel Lee" - Edgar Allan Poe from the poem "Annabel Lee".  When I came across the tintype of the lovely lady in this montage at an antique store, I was struck by her haunting eyes and wistful expression.  As I finished this piece, the lines from Poe's poem came to my mind and immediately, I had my title.  The main image is yet another from the abandoned property in Middle Valley, New Jersey. (In fact, it is the back of the same building that I used for "Rear Window" when I photographed the property the first time 13 years ago.)  She seemed to fit perfectly in the doorway between the textured old window on the left and the weatherworn red door on the right.  The moth I found sleeping one morning on my front porch and was amazed at his size and beautiful colors.  This moth had a wingspan of at least 5 inches!  The birds, of course, are my ever willing to pose backyard blackbirds who I'm happy to see are back from their winter migration - a sure sign spring must be on it's way! 

Friday, February 24, 2012

"Behind the Wall" SOLD!



Another sale!  Yea!  "Behind the Wall" sold from the Nexus exhibit at Arts Guild New Jersey in Rahway!  It was a pleasure being involved in a show with so many talented artists.  A sad note to this story- I passed by the abandoned building that provided the wall in "Behind the Wall" yesterday only to see it in the process of being demolished.  I'm happy at least to have documented it before it succumbed to the wrecking ball.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

SOLD! The Golden Egg






I'm very excited to report "The Golden Egg" recently sold from the Potpourri exhibit of The Edison Arts Society!  Many thanks to Tom Fairbanks of New Jersey for giving it a new home!