In the Studio – Alice, Through the Looking Glass

โ€œI know who I WAS when I got up this morning, but I think I must have been changed several times since thenโ€
โ€• Lewis Carroll, Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland and Through the Looking Glass

Don’t you just love it, when everything falls into place; the stars are in alignment and Karma is your friend? I had a dream shoot recently, the skies were sunny and clear (although we were shooting in the studio, but I had to doors open most of the time to enjoy the fresh air and sunshine.We had a new Make-up artist who did an amazing job; Micaela Hannan. My model for the day was Jess Ami, who has the most amazing large eyes and expressive face. Both arrived on time, no flat batteries, tyres or traffic hazards to hold things up. Make-up went smoothly and the shoot was a dream. I didn’t even have a drama with the cupcakes this time!

Alice, through the looking glass was the inspiration behind this shoot and I had been writing idea, after idea in my journal; I had all my ideas planned out and my props selected and set up. It was such a cruisy day, we took plenty of breaks and had lots of fun.

I then spent a fair bit of the next few days going through all the images. Some I wanted kept basic, bare bones or B&W, but a few I ran into Photoshop for a little bit of Magic……I mean honestly, what is Alice without a little magic?

I played around with some High Key and some more vintage stylings as well as a softer, fantasy/surreal stylings. To say I was happy with the images is a complete understatement.

JuliePowell_Alice in the clouds

alice drink mealice and rabbit

To be honest I am still going through the images, we had such a flurry of activity, I have not edited them all as yet.

We even had time to shoot some more images for my Tarot Series……….cue the Page of Wands, The Moon and The Empress please….but let’s leave those for another post?

Page of Wands

Page of Wands

I actually have another Alice shoot in the works, but more on the Mad Hatters Tea Party……….but that is another day and another post.

~ Julz

 

In the studio – Working on the Tarot with Jess Ami

Back in the studio, working on my Tarot Series again, this time with gorgeous Jess Ami…..we’ve done the Cup and the Sword, this time I am working on my newly acquired wand…..well it’s more of a staff really. I have been searching around on random trips for the perfect piece of wood, Moth took it into his toolshed and created some of his magic…..honestly I should have taken a before photo, it looks amazing. and it has not even been touched by French Polish in these shots yet.

So we managed to get a few more images off; Page of Wands, Ace of Wands and The Moon and The Empress. Wow I can’t believe how fast I am getting through them. But with more travelling on the cards, it will be awhile before I get to do many more I think.

Ace of Wands

Ace of Wands

Page of Wands

Page of Wands

The Empress

The Empress

The Moon

The Moon

So far, I am completely in love with this series, it’s been fun, interesting and very creative.

~ Julz

Kaizen Project – Project 7

The Kaizen Project worked on some very intense personal works last month, we each picked a cause or charity to work for, we each created a one or more pieces of art which we were going to donate to our chose charity for use as a fundraiser or images for website or brochures etc. Through Big Magic or Karma, Hayley entered my world and I was suddenly made aware of Domestic Violence……I knew it existed of course, but I was never faced with it, not did I know anyone who was a survivor….or so I thought. Though while I was correct in believing I knew nothing about it, I did actually find out many woman I knew through my art, came to art as a means of healing themselves after suffering domestic violence.

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Silence from Within

JuliePowell_Seeking Answers

Seeking Answers

Julie Powell_Quieting the storms from within

Quieting the storms from within

wishes

Wishes

JuliePowell_Duplicity amongst us

Duplicity amongst Us

JuliePowell_Searching for other worlds

Searching for other worlds

Even though these images were originally sparked from for artwork by the likes of Brooke Shaden and various others, they took on a new life and meaning of their own after talking with Hayley. I wanted to bring her stories to life, her hopes and dreams, feelings of renewal, frustrations and learning to be herself again. These were not long, deep and meaningful conversations……I am sure these will come in time, but snippets of her life. So here is Hayley’s story and it sparked an idea for a new and exciting adventure, time for me to give back, but more on this later.

Each month the Kaizen Project, made up of 500 dedicated artist worldwide, work collectively and individually on a set project, often this is for a good cause and our time and art are offered for free. Want to learn more about becoming a digital artist, learn amazing techniques, be part of a group of like minded people who support and inspire you every step of the way, and be inspired by a world class Mentor? Check out Photoshop Artistry, hands down the best online Photoshop Course out there…….oh and if you think you KNOW Photoshop? LOL I thought I did too, seriously this course has taught me so much, from there I then enrolled in AWAKE and I have never looked back, I have learnt from the course and from people I have met everything from image creation to photography, to staging, lighting and conceptual art.

~ Julz

Summer Outings – Night time Beach Bliss

I am sure you are all aware now of my affection for the ocean, I always feel a sense of calm and release when I can see, hear and smell the ocean; apparently I’m not alone. I guess Seafarers for centuries have spoke of the desire to be near the ocean. The is a way to heighten the senses while near the ocean; a warm summer night, with clear skies allowing you to see the Milky Way over the water………sheer magic if you ask me.

We recently found ourselves pulled back down to the Mornington Peninsula for another spot of Astro Photography, not our normal spot, it was too windy, we decided to try another, it appears I have come full circle, as this is the same spot I learnt astro to begin with….life is funny like that isn’t it? Now Summer is the perfect time to be outside at night, warm tropical breezes and all that……it is not the best time for doing astro; the Summer heat radiates off the ground and adds to any possible light pollution….but hey! Light Pollution can be cool too!

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So we set up for the night, I was on top of the cliff (for want of a better word) and Moth climbed all the stairs down to the beach, he wanted to shoot from ground level and I wanted to look down, across and up. He wanted to do star trails, I just wanted standard shots.

Even though it’s night, once your eyes adjust it is quite light enough to see and light enough to get light leak in my silly camera, I am also finding a really bad graininess at higher Higher than I used to get. This is a three shot vertical panorama, done in PS, you can see the light pollution near the ground, I like it; gives a cool ombre effect as the sky darkens.

Astro is not as easy as taking a snap in the dark, there are processes to follow and sky maps to check, processing to be done afterwards. But sometimes, like this night I didn’t really take that many photos – I just stood and looked and listened, and felt a sense of rebirth and wakefulness. Staring at that big expanse of the sky, puts me in my place, the sky is stunning, but has no ego, it was there long before me and will probably exist long after me. Someone else will be standing in this spot, staring at the night sky and thinking the same thing.

Mysteries of the universe and all that…….are we alone? I doubt it, I mean the universe and galaxies and such, are we so egotistical to think we are the only ones? I mean seriously, look at Humans as a whole……would you want to be friends with us? We fight and bicker worse than 5 year olds, we kill each other for ridiculous reasons; hello?????????? why is your God any better than theirs? I’ll stay atheists thanks. If you want proof of a higher existence, look at the night sky; billions of years old…….it gave birth to this galaxy and many others, it gave birth to Mother Earth……….and it is stunningly beautiful.

WOW! I am getting so deep and philosophical, see what the ocean does to me, expands my mind. I will stop now and leave you with some pretty pictures.

If you look really close on the last image in the middle, left hand side, some one in the distance was light painting with steel wool ๐Ÿ™‚ we tried to find them, but never succeeded.

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Playing around and making it look like meteor showers, kind of cool huh?

Seriously though folks, every now and then, stop and look up at the night sky and enjoy its majesty.

~ Julz

Tuesday’s Textures…

Last month’s Kaizen Group Challenge was inspired by the amazing Artist Brooke Shaden, now she does not do Steampunk (well I don’t think so), but it is her methods and use of textures, objects and story creation that in part inspired this piece.

juliepowell_renmants

Remnants

Now I have not really done much Steampunk before either but I bought some Steampunk kits from Mischief Circus and I really wanted to play. My Model Luke again. I actually did quite a few images using Luke, we did a shoot months ago, and we did some strange stuff in hopes I would someday use them……..and now I have ๐Ÿ™‚ .

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Portal

This is another piece using Model – Lizzy D photo by Caroline Julia Moore, titled “Portal” what if you could step through one door and be transported to another world? Frankly I was just playing around and loved how it turned out, so did Ms Lizzy D who contacted me and thanked me and asked to put it on her Facebook page………how cool is that?

~ Julz

 

Concept Shoots – The Red Dress

A little while ago I took The Red Dress out again for another spin, this time it was my daughter (Youngest), and her flowing long hair (before she cut it all off for charity). This time I saw sweeping beach vistas and knew just the place to visit. Down Blairgowrie/Sorrento way. It was still quite warm and not too hot and my eldest daughter cam with us as well.

I have three shots I really wanted to try, two meant climbing through sand dunes, lugging camera gear and paraphernalia with us. This is both my daughters, assistant and model……we made a girls night of it.

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It was lovely and warm, but not too hot, I wanted several images for my Brooke Shaden 20 Day Portfolio challenge, as well as a Kaizen Group Project and also to add to me Red Dress collection.

sunset-reflections

Sunset Reflections

juliepowell_fear-of-flight

Learning to Fly

This is one of my favourite spots for long exposures and night photography, it is part of the Mornington Peninsula National Park in Blairgowrie on the Back Beach (Bass Strait) side of the point. Then lugging all the gear back down to the car we drove to St Paul’s Beach ย (Other side of the point) to much calmer, warmer waters. Where I really had an image in mind, but we tried a few other things first, just as well, as it did not work as well as I wanted……dress is too big and too heavy in the water.

We had quite an audience by now, remember – Summer Peak Holiday Season, at the beach on warm night. My Daughter decided to then fall back into the water, my other daughter did a live feed onto my Facebook, I can’t seem to show you the actual video, but if you go here it might work, scroll down til you see the live feed of the women in a red dress standing in the water. Oh man was it funny, all the people watching could not believe she just fell back in a full ballgown, there were audible sighs, groans and shouts of NO! Then lots of laughs as she repeated it again………..she then got a round of applause as she attempted to climb back up the beach dragging a VERY heavy wet dress behind her!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! We were all laughing so hard. What a great night out and a special memory for me with my daughters.

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Into the Unknown

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The Waiting

I love the first two, and I have processed these last two images, but I seem to be drawing a blank with some of the others, I am sure it will happen in time. Forcing the issue does not help. “Into the Unknown” has become a Nemesis of sorts, with about six edits and I am still not completely happy……..maybe it will never be what I imagined?

Now will the dress survive for another shoot? Time will tell, I had to hose all the sand and salt water off and just let it hang to dry…….poor dress, but it has served me well.

~ Julz

Tuesday’s Textures…

Today’s image is a collection or composite of several different photos, a collection from February’s ShiftArt.com challenge. I had this spark of inspiration while looking at the cup, I often day dream over my morning coffee, I love the symbolism of the sun breaking through the clouds…how I feel when the caffeine kicks in lol.

morning-coffee

Morning Coffee

The birds on the spoon idea came from no where……just decided it would look cool and they do, then figured I need birds flying out of the clouds and past the steam rising from the cup. The colours didn’t quite gel so I turned it into a high contrast B&W.

I have even created a YouTube clip on how I created it……here

~ Julz

Pick myself up, dust myself off and keep moving forward…

My gallery exhibit finished last night and I have to be honest and confess I didn’t sell a single piece. It stings! Man does it hurt. Of course my initial reaction is that no one liked my artwork. I’m not good enough, who am I kidding, what business do I have putting my artwork out there? and the rest of the self doubt that flows in as an artist or creative person. Why are we full of such self doubt. Then Luanne posted this post about rejection, which then led me to another video by Elizabeth Gilbert (Eat, Pray, Love fame), which led me to her TEDTalk video and a few others. WOW! Powerful stuff.

Isn’t funny how sometimes the universe (Or Karma) gives you exactly what you need at the right moment in time, not necessarily WHAT you WANT, but what you NEED. A quick kick up the butt, stop feeling sorry for yourself, so what if no one likes your art, you do it because you love it, you live for it, no one promised a free or easy ride. This life owes you NOTHING! If you want something, work for it, but there are no promises you will be rich, or famous, or a success.

You have a creative soul and even if no-one gets it (chances are they will) and even if no-one buys you work (this time), you are doing it because it is who you are. You are a better person when you are creating, striving for the thing you want……the alternative is nothing and I don’t want nothing, I want something. Living a fulfilling, artistically creative life is not about fame or fortune (well maybe for some), it is about working hard and enjoying what you do. Sure you may have to have a day job to support what you love, but that is OK, your dayjob doesn’t define you – your art does.I picked up a camera because I wanted to learn how to take pretty pictures, amazing pictures. I travel to see amazing places, but have learned that there are some in my own backyard. I launched myself into Photoshop to learn how to create better, more fulfilling art. I have taken class after class, after class, because I found I really enjoy learning new things or new ways to do old things with my art. Learning is FUN. I have also found teaching is FUN. So many people have freely given me their time and knowledge and it is only fair to give some of that back. So many artists over the years have been depicted as depressed, drunks with social issues and penchant for extreme over reactions or no reaction at all. That is not what most of us are like, not at all. The problem is we all tend to be a trifle emotional about our art; whatever it is. We put our heart and soul into creating whatever it is we do; paint, sculpt, music, write….most accountants or electricians or plumbers don’t live and breathe their work, artists do.

My Motto for this year is Brave-R. I have spent the last two years being BRAVE, learning how to make and take amazing images with my camera, how to make amazing art (well I think it is and everyone online seems to enjoy it too). So now it is time to do something with it, be BRAVER – galleries, online, exhibitions, contests etc. So I didn’t sell anything (this time), maybe the person who wants my art on their walls wasn’t at this gallery in the last two weeks. Maybe they will be at the next exhibit or gallery. Maybe they just weren’t quite ready to buy and I will hear from them later? Just because nothing sold, doesn’t mean it never will, the rejection doesn’t mean they didn’t like my art. In fact not much or ANYTHING sold at this exhibit, wrong timing, wrong gallery? Who knows.This is not a personal rejection of me or my art, so I should not take it that way. The Curator said that there was a LOT of positive feedback of my work, and just because it hasn’t sold yet, doesn’t mean it wont. One rejection should not stop me moving forward.

Time to pick myself up, dust myself off and keep moving forward……because forward is where the possibilities are; the past has already happened and I want more than what was in the past. Grab fear by the hand, take it along for the ride (don’t forget fear can keep us safe), but don’t let it have the drivers seat; you need that for yourself. I still feel a little flat and that’s OK…..I have planned some creative things for this weekend, that will bring me back around.

~ Julz