Friday, January 23, 2015

Kaleidoscopes, Abstracts, and Understanding It All

Why so many kaleidoscopes?

When I was a young child, I was totally fascinated by the magic of kaleidoscopes.  Knowing how much I use kaleidoscope filter effects in my art, I would have to say that I probably never outgrew my fascination.  When I first got online back in the late 1990s I found different websites that let you play around making your own kaleidoscope designs, but it was only on the screen.  You could not keep your designs.  Once I found that there was a possibility to create my own kaleidoscopes either with photos or from scratch designs on my editor program, I just kept going, and going, and going...

From kaleidoscopes I started branching out into other filter effects, sometimes finding things I really liked and other times not being able to connect to the designs at all.  As I have grown into more and more designs, I have also branched out to find as many more filters as I can to work with.

But I don't understand your artwork!

I've been asked by some who follow me online why I do what I do because they just don't understand my art.  In all honesty, I've never been one who cares if I understand someone's art or not.  If I like what I see, that is all that concerns me.  My only real response to those who do not understand my art is that I just like it.  I especially like using flowers, especially in the kaleidoscopes.  I love seeing how the various styles of petals move around the screen making totally new designs.  Just like when I was a child, I still find the way kaleidoscopes work magical.

If you look closely at my work, you can often see exactly what I was using as the base before I edited it.  Others you might not be able to tell anything about it.  One that has a pretty light blue color also has raindrops in the design because it originally was a photo of a light blue car after it had rained.  That was in my earlier years and it amazed me that I could see the raindrops.  Other photos may have words in them from road signs, or cd covers, or even books.

In high school art classes we were taught to try to figure out what the artist was trying to say in their abstract work.  I never could do that.  Actually I often thought it was a waste of time to try to figure out a meaning in a piece of art from some artist who was not alive anymore to speak out what they really thought.  It was the same in English Literature classes when we were to dissect a story to try to figure out what hidden meanings were tucked away in the otherwise simple story.  What was the purpose for that?  I remember a trip to a museum where people were looking at the huge paintings on the wall and doing this same thing.  What did the artist want to say when he painted it?  In my mind the real question was, why did we think he was trying to say anything at all?  And in Lit classes why did we think the author wanted to say anything more than what was already said?

So, I am now saying that for me, you don't have to try to understand my art.  Either it draws you in and you like it, or your eyes pass over it and on to the next piece.  There are no hidden messages or meanings other than this.  I like it.  I like the way the colors play off of each other.  I like how one picture can turn into many other pictures.  I like how blurry bad photographs can end up being gorgeous abstract art.  Hopefully that will make it easier for you to enjoy my artwork.  But if you are of the kind who has to find some hidden meaning, you will be disappointed, I am sure.  And you will continue to not be able to understand my work.

No Hidden Messages

Although I have not put any hidden messages in my artwork, I would be very happy if through my art, people would somehow see the glory of God shining through because each one of us is His creation.  He made us in His image, and there is none more creative than our Heavenly Creator.  I also would like my art to be an encouragement to others who are disabled and find it difficult to do what other people do.  When you see a landscape of mine, you will know that the efforts involved in my getting that photo took more planning and the assistance of others to not only get me to the location, but maybe even to help with setting things up for me.  My abstract work comes out of my disabilities because of the limitations I have for getting out to do the landscapes and nature photography that I love.  Abstract work keeps me busy in the off weeks and months when getting out is more difficult for me due to the weather.

Being disabled, I live on a very limited income at this present time.  Should the sales of my artwork grow into something I can live on, there should be a lot more opportunity for me to get out to do the landscape and nature photography I want to do. For now I am still learning more and more each day and hope to be able to sell more as time goes on.  In the meantime, if you are interested in purchasing anything I have done, please let me know.  You can leave me a message here and I will contact you.  Or you can go directly to my website, or you can go see my work at Xanadu Gallery.  Once there, you can purchase my work through the gallery.

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

The Absolute Best Photography Tips and Tutorials Ever!!!

It's that time again.  Well, not that I have any regular schedule for doing this, but since I haven't for awhile, here is a listing of some websites I have just found to help us all improve our photography techniques.

The first one is a listing of 50 Incredible Photography Techniques and Tutorials and you will find a lot of things to do on this one site alone.

With this site you won't know where to start, there are so many things to choose from to help you with your photography.

This site claims that you have never heard of these 7 tips before.  7 Photography Tips You've Never Heard of Before
 There's something for everyone on this site.  Whether you are a beginner, hobbyist, or professional, you will surely find something of interest on this site.

Interested in clandestine photography?  That's a new one I hadn't thought of before.  Well, it's actually not new.  It's what those in the private investigative field use.  Find information on that as well as many other types of photography when you check out these Basic to Advanced Photography Techniques, Tips, & Tricks.

Maybe you are like me and trying to build your photography business online.  How do you do it?  Here's one place to start.  Check out these 50 Marketing Tips for Photographers

Here are some more Marketing Ideas for Photographers on How to Grow Your Business.

 One of the things photographers must learn if they want to build their business online is SEO, or Search Engine Optimization.  To get started, check out this site SEO-ing Your Photography Website.

To keep on top of the latest SEO information, check out Search Engine Watch.

Well, that's it for this time.  I hope you find what you are looking for in these sites.  Don't forget, also, that you can go to YouTube to find tons of photography tutorials on just about any topic you can think of.  There is Adorama,, and many, many more.  Be sure to check out my Flickr photostream to keep up with my latest creations in fine art photography.  If you are interested in purchasing any of my art, please visit me at Xanadu Gallery.  You may also contact me here.

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

A New Year and Trying Something New

It's 2015...already!!!  While the years seem to pass much more quickly than they used to (I'm getting older and I guess that's what all of us older folks say,) but 2015???  It's hard to imagine.  Which brings me to my new experimentation with photographic graphics.  Or abstract art, or whatever you wish to call it.  It's winter and it is very cold outside.  This is the time of year that I go back over photos I have taken in the past year to see what I can do with them that is new and interesting.  Today may be the day I really find something new.  Light painting!  But wait!  Light painting is not new.  Well maybe not, but let's say it is what I am doing to photos of previous light painting that is new.

Here is the first one:

I started with just a simple basic light painting photo.  This particular one, and all of the ones I will be using for right now, is light painting from my Christmas tree this past holiday season.  Since I have never done anything else with light paintings other than just that, I started out with the basics that came with my Corel Paint Shop Photo Pro X5 or version 15 if you like that name better.  This first one below was using Artistic Effects, Neon Glow.

This second photo took the first one (without the watermarks) and I started working with filters that I downloaded off the internet.  This one below used Mirror Offset from the filter group called Alf's Power Toys.  I was pleasantly surprised with the result.  This gives me the confidence to believe I am walking into new territory and on the right path.

 Now that I know that this idea is going to work out, let's see what else we can come up with.  I will tell you what I am doing with each step so you can try it yourself.  Obviously there will never be any two results that look the same because your light painting efforts cannot possibly duplicate mine.  I would love to see what you might end up with if you try this, too.

For the photo above, I used the same group of Alf's Power Toys and selected Split Distortion for the filter.  I liked many of the various results on the filter, but decided on this one to share.  This was #32 on the slider.

I have recently downloaded several new filter groups so the ones I am using and showing you today, I have not used before, other than the first which was neon glow.  But that came with the original product.  All of these other filters are first time uses for me today.  So I have no idea what to expect.

For this one above, I used the filter group, which only has one filter, called Radial Zig-Zag.  It had sliders and this is the one I chose.  Have fun with this if you try it.

Okay, I am off to find out what else I can do with my light paintings and my many filters.  I do hope you try this for yourself.  I am sure the results will amaze you as they are amazing me. 

Happy New Year!!!