Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Groundhog Day

Groundhog Day ©2014 -The first documented American reference to Groundhog Day can be found in a diary entry of Morgantown, Pennsylvania storekeeper James Morris dated February 4, 1841:  "Last Tuesday, the 2nd, was Candlemas day, the day on which, according to the Germans, the Groundhog peeps out of his winter quarters and if he sees his shadow,  he pops back for another six weeks nap.   But if the day be cloudy, he remains out, as the weather is to be moderate."  Although it has origins in ancient European weather lore where a badger is the prognosticator, it also bears similarities to the Pagan festival of Imbolc, the seasonal turning point of the Celtic calendar which is celebrated on February 1st, about halfway between the winter solstice and the spring equinox.  My "Groundhog Day"  was inspired by a vintage photo of a beautiful little girl with a melancholy expression on her face that I picked up at an antique shop in Millford, NJ.   I placed her in an image I captured of a window in Lambertville, NJ along with a road through a field in Middle Valley, balloons from over Rt 202 around Flemington, a groundhog from my backyard and several crows from my travels.  Color was added to the girl (originally black and white) along with assorted filters and texture from an old daguerreotype.  Given her wistful look, I imagine she's hoping for a prediction of early spring from her groundhog while dreaming of blue skies full of magical balloons to whisk her away.       

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

The Skeleton Keys

The Skeleton Keys ©2014 - Often images will sit in my files for months or even years before I decide to use one in a montage.  This one, however, was inspired by 3 images taken on the same day coming home recently from one of my favorite annual antique shows in Pottersville, NJ.  I came across a small herd of young black angus bulls grazing in a pasture near the town of Lamington.  The contrast of their dark coloring against the bright green grass caught my eye.  As I approached to photograph them, they moved closer and closer together until huddled in a small group as a seemingly protective measure.  Suddenly, they collectively moved towards me, which made me somewhat nervous until I realized it was just out of curiosity!  It was one of those shots that became my base photo.  I wasn't crazy about the bright green field the bulls were in, so I placed them in a rolling field of golden grasses from Rte 206 in the Peapack Gladstone area.  Traveling on, I stopped to photograph some horses and captured a large flock of blackbirds flying overhead that I added to the sky.  Some clouds, a crescent moon, and some texture from an old daguerreotype provided an evening feel to the image.  Leading the herd is a gentleman from my vintage photo collection and just above, a beautiful crow that's been hanging out in my neighborhood.  For a touch of mystery, he's carrying off "The Skeleton Keys" I found in the basement of my house when I moved there in 1977. 

Saturday, June 7, 2014

All the Pretty Little Horses

All the Pretty Little Horses ©2014 - This montage started with the vintage photo of the little boy circa 1900s that I picked up at an antique show.  He had a rather odd ethereal quality about him, blond, rather pale and dressed all in white.  He brought to mind a white horse I had captured in 2008 prancing and frolicking in a field as other horses stood by watching.  The two fit together perfectly.  I then added a stately, white columned abandoned mansion I photographed in the village of Port Colden, NJ located in Washington Township along the Morris canal.  Built in the 1840's, it served as a finishing school for girls, a private home, and a hotel called the "Port Colden Manor" among other things over the years.  At a dark point in it's early history, it was said to be active during the underground railroad as a stopover for slaves being returned to the south.  Supposedly, some of the shackles and chains remain in the building.  Not surprisingly, It is also said to be haunted.  The vulture flying gracefully off into the distance, I photographed in Millford, NJ.  I placed them all in a field from a recent road trip to Pennsylvania, added a cloudy horizon and some texture from an old daguerreotype.  The title came from a haunting lullaby from the 1800's,  "All the Pretty Little Horses."

Saturday, April 12, 2014

Buffalo Bill

Buffalo Bill ©2014 - This montage was inspired by a field of buffalo I happened across in the area of Milford, a borough dating to the mid-18th century located along the Delaware River in western New Jersey.  When I saw the field, I remembered it from several years ago but at that time, the buffalo were at the far end and I wasn't able to get any usable images.  This time, they were wandering much closer so I got quite a few good shots (although I had to shoot through the openings of an electric fence)!  The field itself was rather boring except for a lone, stark tree with bare limbs reaching in all directions, reminding me of lightning bolts across the sky.  When putting together the composition, I kept the tree but layered 2 other images with more interesting grasses and contrasting trees in the distance.  The gentleman is a vintage photo I've been wanting to use for awhile that seemed to fit what I had in mind perfectly.  I added in the buffalo along with a vulture I captured the same day just as he was taking flight.  Some crows from Greenwood Lake, New York were added to the tree along with a texture, color and filters.  After a bit of trial and error, everything finally came together for "Buffalo Bill".

Thursday, April 3, 2014

Unexpected Surprises!

It's so nice to have a day that seems to be charmed for some reason.  My other half, Tom and I drove down to Shrewsbury, NJ to pick up my prints from the "EyeSights" show at The Guild of Creative Art.  When we pulled up to the toll booth on the Garden State Parkway, the attendant informed us that the car in front of us had paid our $1.50 toll!  Thank you to that very nice person!  At the gallery, I learned that not only had I won Best in Show for "The Treasure Chest" but received a Judges Special Merit award-Silver for "The Locket" as well (it seems the second award wasn't announced at the opening due to some discussion as to whether an artist could receive 2 awards in the same show)!  What a wonderful surprise!  So on the way home we stopped and bought 2 lottery tickets.  Hey, you never know!

Thursday, March 13, 2014

The Music Life

The Music Life ©2014 - This still life was built around the lovely, old violin made in Germany sometime in the late 1800's.  When putting together the composition, the first thought that came to mind was the old joke "How do you get to Carnegie Hall? - practice, practice,  practice!" so the first thing I added was the vintage music stand from the 1920's.  Next came the Maelzel metronome circa 1900 which still works very nicely, by the way.  The vintage chest, books, stool and scarf were added for support along with a glass of brandy to help the notes sound better (or worse depending on how much is consumed!).  Last but not least the book, "The Music Life and how to Succeed in it" by Thomas Tapper written in 1891 gave me the title.  To quote the author:  "I am constantly surprised as I study the motive with which many enter the music life expecting to win success in it.  To be an artist one must live the life of an artist; the semblance of it will not do.  You must put heart in what you do.  We all reverence toil but toil alone is not enough; it must have soul.  In one form carbon is but a bit of coal, in another intensity it is a diamond".

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

"The Treasure Chest" wins Best in Show!

So, so excited to say "The Treasure Chest" was awarded Best in Show for the EyeSights exhibit at The Guild of Creative Art!  Thanks so much to the judges Liz and Bob McKay of McKay Imaging Photography in Red Bank, NJ and all the people at The Guild for an outstanding show!  Congratulations to all the award winners and artists whose work make this exhibit an incredible example of talent!

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Arts Guild New Jersey Community Show

My image "The Locket" is included in this eclectic show of Arts Guild New Jersey's members, teachers and students!  The opening reception is Sunday, Jan 12th from 1 - 4 PM so come in out of the cold and warm up with some art!