Sunday, September 13, 2015

"A New Leaf" opens at River Queen Artisans Gallery!

A Meeting of Minds

A Meeting of Minds ©2015 - This montage began with an image I captured in the area of Califon, NJ of a magnificent crow. He was perched on the gate of a large property and when I focused my camera on him, the resulting image had wonderful bokeh in the background. In photographic terms, "bokeh" has been defined as "the way the lens renders out-of-focus points of light". It was softly out of focus with beautiful orbs of light floating all around. I added a field of swampy grasses with a few cattails from Warren county around Belivedere, NJ. In the distance, I placed a photograph I captured of the lovely Mansion Inn in New Hope, PA. Charles Crook, a local businessman, had the house designed and built for his wife in 1865. The intricate Victorian scroll work gives it a magical air that fit the composition perfectly. When I blended the images together, the orbs of the bokeh seemed to be emanating from the house like spirits dancing in the moonlight. Last but not least, a graceful dragonfly I found sitting atop a plant just outside my back door was added and, hopefully, is having "A Meeting of Minds" with the crow regarding sharing the dance floor.

Catch a Falling Star

Catch a Falling Star ©2015 - The camera is an amazing tool, but it can be magical when the unexpected happens. I was in Stanhope, NJ just around sunset one evening  photographing a flock of 13 vultures (6 of which are included in this piece). They were gathering in a cluster of bare limbed trees to roost for the night. When I downloaded the images, I noticed a streak of light in one just above the trees. Thinking it must be the trailing of a jet plane, I was surprised and thrilled when I enlarged it to see it was a round, glowing object with a faint, textured center. I had inadvertently captured a meteoroid entering the earth's atmosphere! Knowing I had to use it in a piece, I chose a background image of a sloping field with a wooden rail fence and lovely evening light from Stockton, NJ. I removed the tall, wooded area that was beyond the fence and replaced it with a sky of rolling clouds to showcase the star. I came across the little red tricycle at an antique shop in Red Bank, NJ. It was a little impractical to purchase as a prop, but I did sneak a couple of shots that turned out to be usable. I placed it, along with the young gentleman (from my vintage photo collection), and the landing vulture in the field. I then added color inspired by one of William Heath Robinson's watery, pastel paintings to try to attain the soft, golden glow that evenings have at the end of summer along with some texture from a daguerreotype. One legend has it that seeing a shooting star can mean bad luck or even death. Another says good luck and a wish made upon it will come true. I prefer to believe the latter and feel lucky that I was able to "Catch a Falling Star".

Thursday, July 2, 2015

Let's Play a Game

Let's Play a Game ©2015 - The base image for this piece was captured in the area of Stockton and Sargentsville, NJ. This gnarled and weather beaten old tree had such a magical feel about it, like something you would see in an illustration for Grimm's Fairytales. It provided just the right setting for the composition I had in mind. The vintage gentleman was part of a group photo but I decided he worked best alone for my purposes. He was in just the right position for holding a photo of my Ouija board that I've owned since the early 1970's. Ouija boards have their roots in a spiritualist movement in the 1840's led by mediums who claimed to be intermediaries between the living and the dead. In 1886, newspapers reported on a new "talking board" marked with letters of the alphabet, number 0-9, the words "yes", "no", "hello" and "goodbye" along with other symbols. Participants place their fingers on a small, heart-shaped piece of wood or plastic called a planchette. It then moves around the board to indicate a spirit's message. It was patented in 1891 by Elijah Bond and in1901, an employee, William Fuld, took over the production under the name "Ouija", a combination of the French and German worlds for "yes". It was popularized as a parlor game and remains so until today. However you feel about Ouija boards, they are always fascinating. Just ask the little girl who seems to have been summoned to play the game. 

Jack and Jill

Jack and Jill ©2015 - When I came across the vintage photo of the boy and girl at an antique show, I immediately thought of Jack and Jill, so I had the title for this montage before it even began. It was a couple of months before the composition started to fall in place. I remembered photographing the ruins of an old stone building in Pennsylvania, just outside of New Hope that had a well on the property. Perfect for the background image! The true origins of the English nursery rhyme are unknown but there are several theories. One is that when King Charles 1 tried to reform taxes on liquid measure, he was blocked by Parliament so he ordered that the volume of a Jack (1/2 pint) be reduced but the tax remained the same, so he still received more tax, despite the veto. (Reminds me of what's happening today every time I grocery shop!)  Hence,"Jack fell down and broke his crown". The reference to "Jill", (actually "gill", or 1/4 pint) reflects that the gill dropped in volume as a consequence. In the vintage photo, the two children were only touching hands, so I photographed a pail and placed it between them. Fetching a pail of water seemed a little mundane, so I decided to have them fetch a pail of gargoyle instead! The crows were added as curious bystanders of the situation along with a crescent moon, some color and texture to complete "Jack and Jill".

Thursday, May 21, 2015

Lady of the Lake

Lady of the Lake ©2015 - According to legend, the Lady of the Lake lived beneath the waters surrounding the mystical island of Avalon. This "Lady of the Lake" is comprised of 10 different images. The base image is from a trip to The Great Swamp in New Jersey in 2011. It's not Avalon, but quite beautiful in it's own right. I've tried using it in 2 other compositions before but nothing really came together until now. The lovely lady is from my vintage photo collection and fit in perfectly. I added a different sky with more interesting clouds and a full moon along with several crows flying into the distance. Instead of Merlin, my Lady of the Lake has enchanted a vulture to do her bidding and tethered him with a leash of pale blue ribbon. Numerous filters were added in the appropriate places for colors and tones along with texture from an old daguerreotype bringing all the elements together for the final piece.

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

The Puppeteer

The Puppeteer ©2015 - This piece is a montage of 7 different images.  It began with the base photo of a graceful, bare tree in a grassy field against a stark sky captured on a trip to The Great Swamp near Meyersville, NJ.  Located in Morris County, this national wildlife refuge was established in 1960 and declared a National Landmark in 1966.  I added some additional grasses shot the same day to the foreground to create a perfect setting for the young man from my vintage photo collection.  The church nestled in the background is St. Peter's Episcopal Church in Spotswood, NJ.  It is one of the oldest churches in the diocese of New Jersey, dating to around 1758.  Some circling crows and a texture were added to create the atmosphere I was looking for, but the finishing touch that brought it all together is the quirky little clown puppet I picked up at an antique show.  He has a certain quality that straddles the fence between "good clown" and "evil clown" I needed to complete "The Puppeteer".