Five Minutes @ The Block Arcade, Regular Random

This week’s regular random the object is a actually a place, so I moved around inside it, as opposed to around the outside of it. The Block Arcade in Melbourne’s inner city; I literally spent just five minutes in this interesting little arcade in Melbourne, famous for it’s lovely original vintage architecture and shops; Hopetoun Tea Rooms, KoKoBlack, Haig’s Chocolates just to mention a few………and yes I then went in and bought something yummy in Haigs’ Chocolates! I saw these macaroons and immediately thought of Desley, no I didn’t buy any, but aren’t they just so gorgeous.

This was all shot on my Olympus point and shoot, not too shabby. For me information on Regular Random, visit Desley Page and check it out.

~ Julz

Meet Grant Alexander McDougall

I normally don’t do street photography, I rarely strike up conversations with complete strangers on the street either, but a recent trip into Fitzroy had me cross paths with Grant, a very cool dude with whom I chatted with for a while, introduced myself, asked if I could take his photo, I gave him my business card and asked him to contact me. I probably should have gotten his details as well. I hope he does contact me…..I’d love to give him a copy of these images. As part of my year of Brave-R, I am pushing myself to expand and try things I normally would not do, challenge myself to overcome silly fears. I mean it is drummed into us as kids DON’T TALK TO STRANGERS……strangers, in some cases are just friends, you have not met yet. Others have random meaning, I may not ever meet this gentleman again, but he will have left a mark on me. I wonder if I left a mark on him?

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Isn’t it funny what Karma will throw at you if you open you heart and mind to possibilities? Have a fantastic week my friends…

~ 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 🙂 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

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

New York in the Rain…

No I have not been,but my daughter has a few times, she really enjoyed her time there on both occasions – but this is not really a post about her travel trips. She did a bus tour, one of those Movie tours (for Gossip Girl or Gilmore Girls or something), but this day it rained and rained and rained and she thought all her photos were ruined, as they were mostly blurry and the camera seemed to focus on the rain. I told her not to delete them and to give them to me to play with.

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City Streets

When you remove the laws of what you think makes a good photo and just take shape and colour and form into the equation you can actually achieve some lovely abstract type images. No they are not sharp and in focus, but you can tell it is people walking past buildings in the rain. We are actually going to have this one printed on a canvas to hang in my daughters room……..photos anyone can have but a beautiful painting of a special spot that means something to her is to be treasured by her……….and me for creating that piece for her.

Here is just a few before and after, quite a transformation aren’t they from discarded photos. She has Dusk on her phone as background and screensaver……we both prefer City Streets, but Dusk fit better on her phone.

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I think of all the photos I have deleted and wonder what treasures were buried, that I never found? I often look at horrible photos with different eyes and sometimes I still just delete, but when they are treasured memories, you often want to save them. These images may not mean anything to anyone else, but to my daughter, these saved images are priceless.

~ Julz

New Inspiration…

I love a great collage image and over the last few months I have on and off, played around with a few varying different style. I have recently just found a new source of inspiration in Maggie Taylor, Oh My, where has this woman been hiding? So much love for her work, truly amazing.

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The Magic Hour

Thus inspired, I started playing with a few bits and pieces from ItKupilli. Her images are so fantastical and full of whimsy; her Almost Alice series are breath takingly beautiful and haunting, actually all her images are.

~ Julz

Brooke Shaden 20 Day Portfolio Challenge….Week 4

Read week 3 here, it’s amazing how time flies doesn’t it? When we started this journey on Jan 1st, it seemed such a big chunk of our lives to devote to one challenge…….but I am all done now.

Day # 16 – Words with Images…….I was always taught to believe that explaining what we do, is not part of the art, it should be open to interpretation. In saying that sometimes words NEED to be said. I have on occasion written to go with the images either on on My blog, or using Adobe Spark……..have you ever used Adobe Spark? Here is one I created early last year, a little bit rough, but you get the point.

I have also teamed up with a Writer to produce a series of images and Prose, which we had printed into a book for family and friends for Christmas….it was such fun and everyone (on both sides) loved it……here is just one we did as a Spark. Actually it was the first one that started the whole project.

So often I don’t write the process behind an image I just show the image, so perhaps I will expand on that in future posts.

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The High Priestess

I have started a new series this year loosely based around the Tarot Cards.The are 21 Major Arcana and then the Minor Arcana. The Major are things I am sure you have seen or heard about; Death, The Hanged Man, The Fool, etc and then there are Pentacles, Cups, Wands and Swords for the Minor. I have always been fascinated by the mystical and what better way to explore the symbolism behind the Tarot Cards?

The is The High Priestess, often linked to sexuality, the moon, femininity, and inspiration…….hence the nude, This is a shot of my Fine Art Nude model Chey, in a cloak, I knew I would use it some day. I loved the whole idea of putting her in a temple at night, the moon shinning on water, mysterious and secretive, holding a key to unlock the secrets of the universe at her fingertips.

What 10 words reflect my art?  – Surreal, fantasy, textured, fairy-tale, colourful, imaginative, whimsical, symbolic, storytelling, depth, emotive.

Day # 17 – Social Media…as most of you here know I am very active on Social Media, but it took a bit to get started. I wonder if I am too prolific? I tend to bombard ‘followers’ with images and challenges (especially on WP). I should learn to control my output more regularly. I believe in leaving comments, especially on great or interesting things. It is too easy to just hit ‘like’……I know I am guilty of this on Instagram and am currently working to improve. I like to build a community for which I am apart of it. I do not hashtag enough, this sounds like an excuse I know, but if I could IG on the PC I could had so many more, because typing is so much faster than texting. I should use my 500px and Flickr more often than I do; I tend to post picks randomly and don’t visit others as often as I should. But realistically there are only so many hours in a day…..so I stick to Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, Flickr (sometimes) and occasionally Twitter, and of course my blog. Now I don’t have a 100k followers, but I am sometimes finding it hard to respond to all the comments (please don’t think I am shallow), I worry what happens if I do get to 10 or even 100 thousand followers………..how to you respond to those? Or are they mainly likes and not comments anyway?

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Day # 18 – Creating a Series…this is something I don’t really have to think about right? I mean I have created several series, The Mask, Dapper Rabbit, The Red Dress, Guardian Angels. But am I delving deep enough? What I have done is tell a story, or a series of stories…….not that this is a bad thing. But perhaps I need to delve deeper into a topic, what is it that drew me to this series, what do I want to convey? What is my emotional connection? I am starting a new series based on Tarot Cards…….why? Am I simply just recreating images from a pack of old cards. Perhaps I should do a reading and then create based on that……….there would certainly be less images. Or should I do a reading for someone else, a character and follow that character? Am I just grappling around the edges? My Super Woman has more of an emotional connection……..why-me

That feeling of rejections or exhaustion or being completely overwhelmed, women today are expected to be Super Woman, to work and to have kids and keep a family together, with all the outside pressure to be thin and beautiful and ‘well kept’, anyone who is a parent knows that ‘why me’ feeling…….we know we are not alone, it’s just that it feels like it sometimes. This series captures some of the thoughts and feelings we keep on the inside and lets them escape and live a little.

Day # 19 – Printing…I have actually just printed off 10 images, in varying sizes for an upcoming exhibit. Due to poor timing, so many Fine Art Printers were closed and I had to go a more commercial route. It’s OK, it’s a learning curve. I want to learn more about various fine art printing and have been wanting to try some raglan and metallic prints. Framing and matting is another avenue I am still getting my head around, I know that ‘off the rack’ is much more affordable, however there are other avenues. A friend of mine recently purchased frames, glass and matt board second hand and restored the frames………they looked wonderful. Something for future exhibits, assuming I come through this first one intact.

Another thing was the colours and saturation, I use some fairly saturated colours at times and once printed they looked a little flat, she mentions this great article on different types of printing here. I guess it explains why I often get canvasses looking they way I want more often that standard printing I know the canvas I use a giclee, where as my prints probably are not, here is too for the exhibition……sorry terribly photos from the phone.

Then there is the cost………I’m not exactly Scrooge McDuck, but all of this cost money, and I know you get what you pay for, but when it all has to be out-laid upfront – it is daunting. Then there is the time factor, fine art printers can take weeks can’t they? I know two of the ones I have looked at can for fine art prints. I need to have re prints available much quicker than that, days at most; not weeks.

I wander about the matting as well, I know some people keep the same frames for their shows and only change out the matting as required, or sell the matt with the image, just not the frame. What do others do? This is an interesting topic and one I need to learn more about. I found at my recent exhibit, that the photos were not in Matte or a frame, just pinned to the wall? Looked very unprofessional in my opinion.

Day #20 – Presenting…I wanted to thank Brooke and everyone else in this group, this last 20 days has been enlightening and extremely helpful. As I headed into my first exhibit, I am aware of some of the mistakes I may have made and how things could have been done differently, but I will look on this as a learning session and hopefully gain experience and coverage to get more exhibits, more fans/followers and more clients. Thank you and I wish them all well on their individual journey. I know I have made friends there. I will be printing more images into a display folder to perhaps keep in the car and on our wanderings I can offer to galleries and stores we visit. I need to pluck up the courage and put myself out there, I KNOW I have something unique to offer.I have also  made some changes to my website and have created another Facebook page just for my art, I may look at getting another IG account

I have already reached out to new online avenues and am already seeing some results, 2017 will be a year to remember.

~ Julz

 

 

 

 

Tuesday’s Textures…

The Month 5 challenge for my Kaizen Group was Juxtaposition

jux·ta·po·si·tion
[juhk-st uh-p uhzishuhn]
NOUN 1. an act or instance of placing close together or side by side, especially for comparison or contrast.
2. the state of being close together or side by side.

I always thought it meant putting two things together that you would not expect, or placing an object in a scenario you would never expect……..for instance a woman in a red dress sitting on a flooded floor saving a rubber duck! I mean seriously it makes no sense…….sure it’s a fun image but not logical.

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Rubber Duckie

My other images for this month I will do in separate posts, as they have become a series of their own; The Red Dress and What Happened to Super Woman?

To be perfectly honest, apart from for the fun of it, what this challenge is all about……I am sure it will be explained in the fullness of time, some of the images from other people in the group are truly creative and loads of fun.Maybe the point was just to have fun?

~ Julz

Weekly Photo Challenge – Repurpose

For this week’s WPC the theme is re-purpose, and I suppose as a Still Life photography (amongst numerous other things) I re-purpose a LOT. Jam and pickle jars, old cooking pans and utensils, old crates, vases, tea cups and saucers people throw away; I spend hours at thrift stores re-purposing things all the time.

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As a photographer, I capture moments in time, but I also get to create beauty with things other people considered rubbish………in the end I guess that really is re-purposing isn’t it?

~ Julz