EROSION / SAN JOSÉ DE GRACIA CHURCH / LAS TRAMPAS, NEW MEXICO
iPhone 6Plus / PhotoForge2 /Snapseed
I HAVE TOO MANY INTERESTS!
Of course! I am an Artist. A painter.
Watercolor, now that’s my first love.
And oils? They have recently, after forty plus years, become a joy in themselves; more than a means to an end. I’ve started to actually enjoy pushing the paint around. At the same time, I want to give more thought to what I’m painting. What direction, if any, I’m trying to take with my work.
Pastels and oil pastels? Love ’em. Haven’t done much in a while. Would like to get back into them.
Drawing and sketching, both preliminary and for their own sake. Sketching on the iPhone has become almost compulsive lately, and recent line and watercolor work has been very rewarding. See video demos here and here.
As a subset of all this, I have too many subject matter interests. That’s fine for the little dailies, but for larger works, I need more focus. But on what?
Too many interests!
I’ve been interested in photography for as long as I’ve been interested in painting. Until digital photography came along, however, I was more an observer than a practitioner. I occasionally took photos meant to be seen as photographs, but, for the most part, I used the camera as a research tool for my paintings. Some of the time it was used to record my work, or for the usual family snapshot.
When digital came along, my life changed. I had never had an affinity for the dark, smelly confines and chemicals of a darkroom. I had been in love with computers for years. At last, I could not only take pictures, I could make photographs!
As I see it, there are two ways to make a photograph. The first is to take it. To do it all through the viewfinder. To first see the image, then to compose it, time it, capture it in a single time stopping click of the shutter. Done. OK, maybe with a minimum of adjustment, but not manipulation, in either darkroom or computer. It’s all about capturing the subject, the moment, the feeling, the story. This is to seriously take a photograph, as opposed to a snapshot, a relatively careless, random recording of a place or an event.
The second way is to take whatever has been captured, maybe deliberately, maybe carelessly, and make something more of it. To push it. Recompose, redesign, tease, enhance, yes, to manipulate it. Exaggerate, alter, or completely change its original meaning, story, emphasis. To add to it, or to take away from it. To create.
I find both ways fascinating. I am interested in both. And in following both paths. Combining them, too.
With an iPhone virtually always on my person, I am really hooked! And guess what? It does video! Who has ever seen a movie and not longed to do film? Pictures that move! High quality video with a device that fits in my shirt pocket?! Are you kidding?
Allow me to share a little perspective here. I grew up at a time when Dick Tracy’s wrist radio was a pipe dream. Something from an unattainable, unreal, damn near unimaginable future. And now?…
Oh, I have a phone in my pocket. That’s pretty neat. But I’m a visual kinda guy. I have a camera / video camera in my pocket!!! And I can talk on it. Not a telephone that takes pictures. To me, it’s not really an iPhone, it’s an iCamera.
I have an iPad, as well. It’s my darkroom. Oh, sure, I can edit images on my iPhone, I mean iCamera, but most editing gets done on the iPad. Maybe I should say my iDarkroom? OK, this could get ridiculous in a hurry. The iPad is also my pen, my pencil, my typewriter. I’m typing this, right now, on my iPad. This little machine in a piece of glass is that and so much more. Don’t get me started. For now, let’s stick to the fact that it’s a writing device.
Another interest. Ever since I leaned to read (before I started school, by the way. Thanks Mom, Aunt Inez, Aunt Bea.) I have wanted to be a writer. Well, now I write. Some. Nothing to brag about, but I enjoy it when I do it. That doesn’t make me a writer, really. That’s not the number one way I would describe myself. Writing is just another one of those interests that demands a lot of my time. Not in the doing so much as in the thinking about doing. Intending to do when time permits. I love to read books by writers on writing.
There are several self-publish books rattling around in my head. A book of Kachina paintings. One of horse paintings. Best of A Farnsworth a day. Best of When a Painter Snaps. Best landscape paintings. People. Still lifes. On and on. Oh, don’t forget e-books and zines.
Now there’s a big one. I hit school running. Ate it up. Skipped second grade after a week or two. Bogged down a bit in third grade, moved to a lumber camp with a small two-room, two-teacher country, first-through-eighth-grade school for my fourth year. A week or two later, I was promoted to fifth grade. Each grade got a fourth of the teacher’s time, which meant I could spend the rest of the day listening, if the lesson was interesting, stare out the window, daydreaming, or my favorite, go to the bookcase at the back of the room and read ever more interesting and challenging books. Learning. Loving it.
For the seventh grade, I moved into town, lived alone in a rooming house full of bus drivers. School began to be about regimentation, ringing Pavlovian bells, memorizing dates with no real, living context, rules that made little sense. Aside from Mrs. Walkup’s English class my sophomore year, I didn’t learn much in school beyond the first couple of years. I barely made it through high school. Had no interest in college. None. But after a while, I noticed how much I was enjoying reading again, learning. It was school that I detested, not learning. I loved learning. Still do. About anything. Everything. Hell, at the rate I’m going, I may actually know something, someday. But it’s the journey, not the destination that matters, right?
So, with painting, photography, videography, writing, learning and all the branches and varieties thereof, you can see how much I need to manage my time. Time management? Something else to learn? Plus I’ll need time to put it into practice.
Maybe I need to break it all down. Let’s see. What do I want to do most with my time, the most valuable thing I own?
That’s the most important thing I do. Or, lately, don’t do. Gotta fix that.
That’s spontaneous, fits in everywhere.
Take photos deliberately
That’s something I don’t do enough of, except, sometimes, when traveling.
Random. Usually done when I’m trying to get something else done, but an image pops up and demands attention. Play time. But with a purpose.
Manage my images
In desperate need of attention. Currently eats up a lot of time with little in the way of results.
Study. Not just jumping down every rabbit hole that presents itself, especially on the internet. Real, dedicated, productive study of subjects of real importance to me.
Can’t just ignore them. They’re too important to me. Too interesting. I just need to get control of them, keep them in perspective.
I love it. I really miss doing my daily paintings. Would love to fire up my old When A Painter Snaps daily photo blog again. Want to occasionally go on a rant, like today. I would like to do an occasional interview, or introduce a painter or a photographer. Or discuss a style, or a movement. Whew! See what I mean? And yet, somehow, I manage to let days slip past me without a blog post of any kind.
I would like to develop more of a dialog in the comments section. Not just an endless string of Thank You’s but some real give and take. What I would really like is to get some dialog going between commenters. Some discussion, some depth. How about it, gang?
Oh, yeah, and I want to teach more, maybe workshops, maybe on the blog, definitely with more YouTube video demos.
Naturally, all this needs to be worked in around family, friends, travel, transportation (Betsy, my iVan, needs to be replaced with something more dependable), a website in desperate need of attention, business, and on and on it goes. There are movies to be watched, I haven’t been fishing in years, I definitely need to walk more
I’ve got some fixin’ to do!
Right now, I’m going to go make myself some lunch, then I’m going to muck out the studio while I try and come up with some sort of effective schedule, or breakdown of my days. I need to focus, prioritize and schedule. You know… Time Management.
Wish me luck.
Life is, indeed, Grand!
Which version do you prefer, and why? Let us know in the comments.