Art & Quarantine

In a recent email I was sharing my thoughts on how this year has gone from my standpoint as an artist and decided it also might make a good blog post. I want to preface my thoughts by saying that I am blessed! I am healthy, my family is healthy, we are not in a food or financial crisis and realize that this pandemic has had devastating consequences for many families and countries. My situation is probably one of the easiest to be in – just stay home and keep to myself! But I know even those of us that are only required to do that, it has been a major shift in our daily life.

When it finally happened – the last of all the events on my schedule was cancelled and all the galleries were closed I felt more than a little lost. First, to be completely honest, I mourned a bit. An empty calendar looming is hard to reconcile at first. I was heading into what had appeared to be a great year – I had big art events scheduled, new and old, had joined a new gallery, with a paid residency to look forward to and within a couple of weeks it had all disappeared and was replaced by a heavy layer of fear hanging in the air. I didn’t know what to do, so I shut down and did absolutely nothing! After a week or so of sitting on the couch wallowing in a bit of self pity, I finally returned to the studio and began completing the work in progress that was for upcoming shows. It seemed like a waste of time, there was no reason to push myself to complete the art now. It was slow going, with low enthusiasm but, looking back, I’m glad I continued. Eventually there will be shows again and I’ll be ready! After that I took care of some “business” things that I don’t always enjoy but had plenty of time to get off of my to-do list. Redesigned business cards, overhaul the website, cancel upcoming classes, post on my blog, re-write my artist statement and updating my resume were among the mundane chores that I finished.

Throughout this time Spring was finally beginning to show its face, hiding here and there among the dead winter leaves and bare trees. I walk daily, often multiple time, outdoors in the woods and around the fields – observing the changes, taking photographs and just absorbing the peaceful calm of nature. It’s probably been the most grounding experience during all of this. Although I am one to enjoy the coming of spring and signs of new life (I admit I am a wildflower geek!) this year it seemed to hold an even greater promise. When I was feeling that I was just trapped in time there was evidence that life would go on, and actively looking for it was both a good distraction and a great joy.

After a few weeks I returned to the empty calendar and looked at it again, with fresh eyes. It didn’t seem as empty now, it was full of possibilities. All those “one of these days” things we all talk about? Well, now was the time. I sorted through half-finished projects and completed or discarded them so they no longer took up space in my studio or my mind. I cleaned and organized the studio (not that you could tell it now!). I carved many new stamps and used them on scrap papers, then painted more scrap papers with vibrant colors – all added to my stash of papers I can choose from when I decide to collage next. When all else fails, on particularly rough days, I continue to do small slices of creative work in my art journals. I began an online class that I had purchased last year and, most likely, wouldn’t have ever slowed down long enough to sit and learn. That led to inspiration of more new creativity. and I just signed up for another class!

The days have begun to finally flow in a slow, comfortable rhythm that includes outdoor time, reading, learning, working in the studio and “daily life” activities. I am also taking better care of myself – exercise, full nights of sleep, cooking delicious meals, soaking in the tub and just being more aware of what my body wants and needs. In the meantime the calendar will begin to fill. A few events have set re-scheduled dates. I’ve discovered some virtual opportunities to participate in. I’ve been blessed with grants from the Indiana Arts Council and a couple of small commissioned projects so I can pay the bills and keep myself supplied in paints and materials. For now, I’m going to take advantage of this slow time.

How have you dealt with the last few months? Are you feeling confident of the future or cautious? I think I waiver between the two, especially if I am exposed to the media for any length of time! Then I need to retreat – into a book, into the studio, into some music or into the woods. I hope you have found your retreats and are able to use them when needed – love & blessing to you!

Your randomly creative friend,

Lynne

Publicity for Paws

I’ve held my very favorite volunteer job going on two years now. It involved going to my local shelter and taking photos of the newly arrived critters so they can be posted on the “available” site, shown on Facebook and generally get some publicity as they search for their forever home. I’ve fallen in love multiple times and as a result now own two rescued dogs in addition to my rescued “studio cat” that’s been with us for almost 10 years!

I’m not sharing details on these images because they span the entire time I’ve been taking photos and, to the best of my knowledge, these cute critters have all found homes. If you’d like to see some of the wonderful animals in your area please visit the local shelter or it’s website. They are hard to resist, whether you’re a cat lover….

Or prefer the pooches….

It’s an awesome thing to share your heart & life with these babies that just want to be your friend. Furry love to you all,

Lynne, Amy, Emmy & Carl

Landscape Photography

Six months ago I travelled west and spent two weeks driving across, around and through Colorado, Wyoming, Montana and South Dakota. It’s probably my favorite destination, this was my fourth trip to that area of the States. I took a TON of photos as we drove and have been ever-so-slowly getting around to sorting through and editing them. I thought as I get batches of them done I will share them here.

During the two weeks we visited Glacier National Park, Yellowstone National Park, The Grand Tetons, Rocky Mountain National Park, Custer State Park and Mount Rushmore. To say it was a whirlwind would be an understatement – even after eliminating a few destinations from the itinerary! The landscapes were amazing, although all the wildfires did make for hazy skies. I think next time I’d like to visit in May, three of my four trips have been in the fall and one in the winter so Spring would be a nice change!

The last photo was repeated almost daily – we explored until there was no more light to explore in before calling it a night. I think this particular image was from a late evening in Yellowstone.

Look for more images in the future!

Creatively,

Lynne

Photos of Artwork: A How To

Just for fun I thought I’d share with you how I take photos of my artwork. (Disclaimer: The photos I’m sharing here were taken with my cell phone and would not be the ones I’d submit for shows, etc.!) Since I’ve set my website up to have all the images on a black background that is how I always photograph them. Occasionally I’ll do them on both black and white backgrounds if one just really needs the white to look good. I don’t keep my photography backdrops, stands, etc. set up in the studio so I pretty much drape the black cloth over whatever I can find. Depending on the size of the art I’m photographing some creativity might be needed to get it large enough to surround the artwork. Here’s ares pictures from this morning showing both the front & back of the set up.

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As you can tell from the shot of the back this is one of those “creative” set ups since a few of the pieces were over three foot tall. As long as it works no one (normally) sees how it’s put together so who cares? I placed it up on the table so I wouldn’t be bending over so much to get the pics, plus there was more available light coming in through the windows & doors at that height. Unless it’s a late-night desperate situation I prefer to take these shots with natural window light instead of room lights or using a flash. Today was cloudy out so it was perfect conditions…not too dark but no hot spot of sun shining in to deal with.   Here is a pic of a new art piece sitting in the photo area:

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Doesn’t look too spectacular at this point but, as I said earlier, this was taken with my cell phone so I didn’t have a lot of control over the amount of light, etc. that was being captured.

One of the hardest parts of photographing square or rectangle images is to get the perspective correct so they actually look like squares or rectangles. Aiming your camera at the center of the piece and keeping it parallel with the artwork helps a lot, plus just being aware of that it’s not skewed when you shoot helps too. (Multiple shots up the odds as well!) If all else fails you can straighten while you’re making adjustments to the image with your computer, but that’s extra work so I try to get mine lined up correctly when shooting.

This final image was still on the cell phone but was taken closely to the art and then I also tweaked the lighting/color in photoshop before I uploaded it here. It’s an improvement over the previous image!

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currently untitled, mixed media art (carved wood, painted stones, driftwood, paint) on 6×16″ wood panel © Lynne Medsker

The one taken on my Nikon will be even better than this! Since this is a semi-flat (it hangs on the wall, anyhow!) piece of art with black borders on it I didn’t care that it blended right into the black background. With more dimensional pieces I try to place them with a space between them and background to help emphasis the depth and give them some separation.

So that’s that…

I’ll be sharing more new work as I get a chance, heck I’ve still got a couple of pieces from this summer I haven’t gotten on the blog yet.

Busy, busy,

Lynne

Peonies – Part Two

A few more images to add from my recent photo play. This group was taken with backlight coming through the window and purposely over-exposed when I took them. Afterwards I did some digital adjustments to make them high-key, contrasty and soft.

I also did some macro, close-up images with a digital edit or two as well.

I’m patiently waiting to see what kind of flowers I’ll have to take pictures of next! In the meantime I’ll return to the up-cycled artwork next post – I promise! Lynne

Peonies – Part One

Yes, there are supposed to be a couple more posts about the up cycled artwork but I couldn’t resist sharing some new images with you. I’ve not used my camera for “fun” for a while and have really gotten into it the last couple of weeks. Right now there is an abundance of blooming peony bushes in the yard so they’ve been an awesome subject. Here are a few of my favorite images:

Next time I’ll share some that I photographed & edited to be high-key, light & contrasty. More fun!

Lynne

Cloudy With a 100% Chance of Art

I finally have started on the new series of photo/digital artwork that I’ve been talking about for over a year.

"Appairation" photo/digital artwork © 2013, Lynne Medsker
“Appairation” photo/digital artwork © 2013, Lynne Medsker

I gathered up over 2,500 images that I’ve taken the past few years and threw them into one file folder so I can pick them out as I please and create something new from them. The only “rule” I’ve given myself is that in each one I need to use at least one image of the clouds/sky. Not hard to do since it’s one of my favorite things to photograph!

"Ageless" photo/digital art © 2013, Lynne Medsker
“Ageless” photo/digital art © 2013, Lynne Medsker

The other parameter I’m currently working on is that the images are fairly large file in a very vertical format. Specifically 48″ tall by 18″ wide. Of course they can be printed smaller than that but I envision them as being large when I create them!

Here’s a sample of the images I used to create “Appairiation” that’s shown at the top of the page:

web progression image

Obviously you don’t see each detail from every image but I promise they are all in there! As I continue with this series I will be posting updates…look for some again in the next few weeks!

Eyes on the sky,

Lynne

Windows to the Soul

I’ve been planning on creating a new series of photo/digital artwork but just haven’t seemed to make it happen. A couple of weeks ago I moved a step closer by collecting all the images that I might want to use in these creations. Just around 2,800 or so! Yikes! I think I’ve shot & collected enough, I need to get busy! During the process I ended up sort and cleaning my digital files, which seem to grow like unauthorized weeds in my computer while I’m not paying attention. It’s not exactly one of the glamorous and fun jobs of an artist but just one of those things that need to be done. Kind of like book keeping, applications and other paper-workish items. The only good part about the digital file cleaning is I always seem to find some long-lists images that I’d almost forgotten about. This time was no different – look!

All these were part of a series of photo/digital artwork in created back in 2004, they hung in one of the first real “gallery” shows that I participated in. Great memories and I still enjoy looking at them! Most people seemed to enjoy them although I discovered through the time I showed them that there are a few people that get really creeped out by eye images. But I got a reaction, one way or the other!

Lynne

Jingle Rails!

‘Tis the season for…well, some holiday inspired pics!

"jingle rails" photo, 2012, Lynne Medsker
“jingle rails” photo, 2012, Lynne Medsker

I went with a friend to the Eiteljorg Museum to view a wonderful photo exhibit a few weeks ago. While we were there we also made a stop at their annual “Jingle Rails” exhibit. What fun!!

"Jingle rails" image, 2012, Lynne Medsker
“Jingle rails” image, 2012, Lynne Medsker

The entire (large!) room was full of miniature buildings and different model train set ups.

"Jingle rails" image, 2012, Lynne Medsker
“Jingle rails” image, 2012, Lynne Medsker

Since the museum focusing on the art of the western United States most of the lovely buildings were small replicas of lodges and other gorgeous sites from that region.

"Jingle rails" image, 2012, Lynne Medsker
“Jingle rails” image, 2012, Lynne Medsker

"Jingle rails" image, 2012, Lynne Medsker
“Jingle rails” image, 2012, Lynne Medsker

I hadn’t anticipated taking any photos on our excursion and was caught at a rare time I didn’t have one of my cameras on hand.

"Jingle rails" image, 2012, Lynne Medsker
“Jingle rails” image, 2012, Lynne Medsker

Thank goodness for cell phones! I especially enjoy taking photos on it using some of the “alternate” cameras you can download so these all have some different effects or sizing to them to make them even more “magical”. 🙂

"Jingle rails" image, 2012, Lynne Medsker
“Jingle rails” image, 2012, Lynne Medsker

Along with the wonderful western scenes they also had a section that represented Indianapolis. One section showed the state fair midway – which you don’t usually get to see in the wintertime!

"Jingle rails" image, 2012, Lynne Medsker
“Jingle rails” image, 2012, Lynne Medsker

"Jingle rails" image, 2012, Lynne Medsker
“Jingle rails” image, 2012, Lynne Medsker

It was fun to see our town in a small scale! There was a larger section featuring downtown buildings and landmarks.

"Jingle rails" image, 2012, Lynne Medsker
“Jingle rails” image, 2012, Lynne Medsker

"Jingle rails" image, 2012, Lynne Medsker
“Jingle rails” image, 2012, Lynne Medsker

They even had a small version of Lucas Oil Stadium, home of our Colt’s football team.

"Jingle rails" image, 2012, Lynne Medsker
“Jingle rails” image, 2012, Lynne Medsker

I think my favorite had to be the miniature “Christmas Tree” that is constructed each year by stringing lights on the monument in the circular center of Indy.

"Jingle rails" image, 2012, Lynne Medsker
“Jingle rails” image, 2012, Lynne Medsker

I hope you enjoyed this wintery tour of the exhibit and that you are enjoying the holiday season!

Blessings,

Lynne

Kaleidoscope Photo Creations (continued)

A few weeks ago I shared altered images I’d taken looking through some of my kaleidoscopes.

"Kaleidosocpe #18" photo/digital art (c) Lynne Medsker
“Kaleidosocpe #18” photo/digital art (c) Lynne Medsker

Well, I’ve been at it again! It seems like the possibilities are endless with these images.

"Kaleidosocpe #19" photo/digital art (c) Lynne Medsker
“Kaleidosocpe #19” photo/digital art (c) Lynne Medsker

"Kaleidosocpe #20" photo/digital art (c) Lynne Medsker
“Kaleidosocpe #20” photo/digital art (c) Lynne Medsker

"Kaleidosocpe #30" photo/digital art (c) Lynne Medsker
“Kaleidosocpe #30” photo/digital art (c) Lynne Medsker

Since I shared all the details in the last post most of this post is going to be filled with images!

"Kaleidosocpe #29" photo/digital art (c) Lynne Medsker
“Kaleidosocpe #29” photo/digital art (c) Lynne Medsker

"Kaleidosocpe #27" photo/digital art (c) Lynne Medsker
“Kaleidosocpe #27” photo/digital art (c) Lynne Medsker

"Kaleidosocpe #32" photo/digital art (c) Lynne Medsker
“Kaleidosocpe #32” photo/digital art (c) Lynne Medsker

I hope you enjoyed another peek at my kaleidoscope creations, I am certainly having fun making them!