Sunday Morning in Chinatown

I have about one million photos to edit and upload ... I still haven't gone through all my pics from Paris. Maybe my recent trip to San Francisco will give me the nudge I need. Here are three from an early Sunday morning walk in Chinatown ...

Mother's Day in September
Mother's Day in September

Beautiful Boy--Beautiful Portraits

Just a quick link today to some portraits of my cousin's son by photographer Joslyn Paris. She has a great eye for light and color--and that bokkeh is yummy!

Check out her photography blog, too.

Photographs of Lightning Over Boston

On June 1 a storm brought tornados to areas of Western Massachusetts--very rare for this area. I took the dog out around 10:30 that night and could see crazy-rapid flashes of lightning from my house. I shouldn't have waffled about jumping in the car--by the time I got down there with my camera it had mostly settled down. But I got off a couple of pics, anyway. And one of them even has lightning in it.

June 1 Boston-area lightning storm

June 1 Boston-area lightning storm

I've never been very good at taking pictures of lightning or fireworks. My technique is just to point and shoot until I get something that's not either pitch black or a complete blur. According to this article, taking photos of lightning is not nearly as hard as it seems. This also looks like an easy-to-follow tutorial. Something new to learn ...

I didn't find too many on Flickr from this POV, but here are a couple that are much better than mine.

This one from 40 Steps in Nahant looking toward Boston skyline is freaking awesome.

And here's another good one of a double-bolt strike looking from Somerville toward the Boston skline.

Experiments in Gelatin Printmaking

So here are some of the prints I made in the gelatin printmaking class I took with Tamar Etingen at Lynn Arts a couple of weekends ago. This was my first printmaking class ever (aside from a week or so of linoleum block printing in high school). There are some things I like about the prints and some I don't. More that I don't. But making mistakes is mostly how you learn to do new things, right?

CurvesThe KeyCircles

Overall, I like the colors. I don't hate the designs (although they are somewhat sloppy--that has to do with registering and I had enough to learn in half a day without trying to get that right).

What I don't like is the ham-handedness of them. They're not exactly subtle. I was laying the paint too thick on the plate, which means the layers aren't as transparent as they could be. And as a result I didn't get the depth or detail and luminosity that's possible with this medium.

Also, I think I made some mistakes in choosing materials. The little key in the lower right-hand corner of the second print above, for example, came out blobby and you couldn't read the lettering on it very well. And that was either because the key was too thick or because my paint was too thick. Or probably it was a combination of both. (The second time I tried the key stuck in the paint on the print, so I just left it there.)

In the print below, I was starting to get the hang of layering and inking and it's the one I like best:


The base pattern is made with gauze. It's a "ghost" image, which means you ink your plate, then put down the gauze and press it with a piece of paper, and then take the gauze off the plate. That leaves the ghost image in the ink. Then you press your paper down and that makes the impression.

Anyway, there may be more to come. then again I might get bored and move on to something new. Although I'm kind of stoked to play with the "Hello Kitty" stencil I found at a yard sale this weekend ...

Gelatin Printmaking: The good and the bad (ugly to come)

Tamar Etingen, Glowing Leaf
 Last weekend I took a gelatin printmaking class with Tamar Etingen at Lynn Arts. It was my first printmaking class of any kind ever. And I am not afraid to say I was not very good at it.

For starters (and this is something I've known for a long time) I think too much. While I was still staring at the blank paper and sifting through materials and fretting about what colors to use, my classmates had already made several prints. Tamar came over and looked at my blank paper for a few moments. "Thinking is over-rated," she said.

I would needlepoint that quote on a pillow, if only I knew how to needlepoint.

I'm also dyslexic and so had trouble grasping the difference between masking (putting an opaque object on the gelatin plate and then pressing the paper on top of it so that the resulting image has ink everywhere except where you put the object) and making positive images (putting a textured item face down on the gelatin and lifting it off and then pressing the paper to pick up the ghost image that textured object creates in the gelatin).

I also struggled with placement and visualizing the results of my actions. "OK, I want this to show up here--so where do I put it on the plate?"

Linda Germain,
Lost and Found series

And finally, I had a hard time creating and visualizing layers. (Registering the layers? Forgeddaboutit.) One of the lovely things about gelatin printmaking is that you can build up layer after layer to create a multi-textural and luminous print.

You can clearly see this in the examples I've posted here by Tamar and another artist and printmaker I met at Lynn Arts whose work I love, Linda Germain. (Click the captions to see larger views of the images on their sites.) She uses old maps as the base for the prints in her "Lost and Found" series. Love it.

Anyway, I kept starting with a very specific, graphic image and I would be so enamored with it until I realized I had nowhere to go from there without covering up the image I liked so much. So rather than multi-layered, luminous prints I ended up with more than a few 1D prints.

(I'll scan some of the prints I made soon but I wanted to get this post written. And I'll include the duds--why not?)

Anyway, while the rest of the participants ended up with a couple dozen prints, I made about 10 and I'm happy with three of them. Maybe four.

This is not to say the class was not great--it was. I spent four hours playing and being creative and laughing and chatting with the women I met there. (And yes, it was all women. Turns out printmaking classes are not a great place to meet men.) I tried something new. I got to see the other peoples' lovely work.

And I do, after all, have a few pieces I like enough to matt. I'll use the rest as bases for other mixed media pieces.

A few other links ...
Linda Germain's fun blog: Printmaking Without a Press.
Listings of adult art classes at Lynn Arts.

And, finally, a video of Linda making gelatin prints:

Au revoir, mon ami

I used to feel funny describing the folks I've met online over the years as my friends. People I've never met in person and talk to only in text boxes or via email. People who know me as Gienna Writes and people that I greet by screen name more often than not--even when I happen to know their full name, where they live, and a little bit about their "real life" lives.

But this week I learned that a photographer I've known on Flickr for a few years died in a tragic car accident along with his wife, sister, and several others.

We were in a couple of Flickr photo critique groups together--the sweet and sensitive "Cream Me" group and the raucus and good-naturedly mean-spirited "DeleteMe" group. He had kind word for me in the former and was a funny bastard in the latter.

And so I just want to say that I'll miss my friend Hughes Léglise-Bataille, aka Hugo*.

And because he was always kind enough to include an English translation for his photo descriptions ...

J'avais l'habitude d'une drôle de sensation décrivant les gens que j'ai rencontrés en ligne au cours des années que mes amis. Les gens que je n'ai jamais rencontré en personne et a parlé seulement dans les zones de texte  ou par courriel. Les gens qui me connaissent comme Gienna Écrit et les gens que je salue par son nom d'écran le plus souvent - même si je sais leur nom complet, et où ils vivent, et un peu plus sur leur vie réelle vie.

Mais cette semaine j'ai appris que le photographe que j'ai connu sur Flickr depuis quelques années est mort dans un tragique accident de voiture avec sa femme, sœur, et plusieurs autres.

Nous étions à quelques groupes de Flickr critique photo ensemble - la douce et sensible à la Crème Me et le groupe raucus et bonne humeur mesquine DeleteMe groupe. Il avait mot gentil pour moi dans l'ancienne et a été un salaud drôle dans ce dernier.

Et donc je veux juste dire que je vais rater mon ami Hughes Léglise-Bataille, alias Hugo *.

"For as Long as I can Remember" at Lynn Arts

For as Long as I can Remember
For as Long as I Can Remember - mixed media
It's been a while since I've updated this blog, but a friend of mine just started a blog called "complicated bacon" and it made me think of this so here I am.

I've been doing some mixed media pieces lately--incorporating photographs but also a whole lotta other stuff.

Last month I submitted my first one, Mixed Messages, to the Marblehead Arts Association and it received an honorable mention (I ended up taking it out of the show but that is a whole 'nother story).

This is the second one I've done--it was accepted to an upcoming show that runs through April 6 at Lynn Arts. More deets below.

Click on the thumbnails, below, if you'd like to see how the piece progressed. Some day, when I'm not stealing time at work, I'll write a little bit more about the materials and the process of making it and what I'm learning. Short story: I really like it. :) It is, as they say in the mental health field, cathartic.

For as Long as I Can Remember" (in progress) For as Long as I Can Remember (in progress) For as Long as I Can Remember (in progress)

Capturing Time
Photography Show
Juror Ron DiRito
March 10-April 6

Lynn Arts
75 Exchange Street
Lynn, MA 01901

Opening Reception
Saturday, March 12 2-14 p.m.

Gallery hours
Mon, Tues, Wed, Fri 10 a.m. - 4 p.m.
Thurs 10 - 8
Sat 11-4