Photographs, a Historic Art Form

Photos

Cordelia Canniff & son with her Mom
There must have been no age restrictions on driving back then.

Here is an example of historic photography in my family. These are my Great Grand Aunt, “Cordelia Canniff”, with her Mother and child. I know where I get it from, cause this looks like fun to me. Just wondering….

What are the age restrictions for driving?

Do you think the roads might have been a little bit muddy?

History

Photographs are a form of art that preserve views of our humanity. A visual form of historic storytelling. Each old photograph allows us a glimpse into life long ago.  Words could not describe the spirit evident in their faces. I am touched as I gaze at the noble facial structure of Chief Joseph‘s portrait. I bet that a lot of persuasion was required to get the Chief to allow his portrait taken. We are fortunate that the photographers were successful. Their perseverance allows us the ability to see his personality, dress and culture perfectly.

I used to be the only fool carrying a camera with me, during the “stone-age” of my youth. People would make fun of me for this fascination until I showed great shots I got. This the view from the rim of the Kalaheo Side of the Kalalau Canyon in Kauai (Hawaii’s Miniature Grand Canyon). 

KalaheoKalalauCanyonRim
Kalaheo Kalalau Canyon Rim

This habit is life-long for me, here is a typical view of me with camera-in-hand in the 1990s. In modern day society, everyone carries a camera around in their cell phone so I am no longer the unusual person in the crowd.

Val with camera
1998 Val With Canon Camera

Filter the Volume

The costs involved in the use of the medium of film, nurtured a natural discernment of the importance of a subject before taking a picture. This narrowed down the volume of shots taken. Additionally, there were the considerations of the developing cost of the film and print which created another sorting of the images effectually  filtering the collection a second time. Buying a camera, and learning how to use it narrowed the photographers down to people with an invested interested in the field. This investment along with the costs involved in the film and development created a filtering process which greatly narrowed down public photography to the “most excellent shots in the batch”.

Identifying Stored Images

Estate sales, illustrate many avenues of photograph storage. documentation, filing and storage of shots is handled differently by each individual who points a camera. Some, simply leave volumes of unsorted and forgotten envelopes in boxes, while others carefully place shots into highly organized photograph albums. Some photographers take the time to identify each print with notes written on the back to identify the people, places and things being recorded. This printed method of history storage is dying. Boxes of photographs are being replaced with digital storage. Cloud, phone, tablet and disk .

Photographs in a box
Photographs that we leave behind.

Getting quite ancient myself, I find that I am focussing on downsizing, and minimizing everything. I gradually go through and sort out the stuff collected throughout my life. Within my household, I find that I have inherited multiple boxes of photographic memories from deceased family members. These gifts have assigned me the onorous task of sorting through photographs from a time long long time ago, electing to discard duplicates, un-identified, or out-of-focus shots in the process. Reducing the volume, but, still preserve the best and most important.

onerous |ˈōnərəsˈänərəs|

adjective

(of a task, duty, or responsibility) involving an amount of effort and difficulty that is oppressively burdensome: he found his duties increasingly onerous.

 It is important to try and pass down family history. I scan, reasonably repair and post to my own family tree on https://www.ancestry.com. The plan is to scan, then save to disk. Subsequently, pack up and send originals to the most closely related family member still alive. Hopefully, I will not burden any loved ones with having to go through a similar task when I am gone. End goal is no boxes of photographs in my studio when I pass.

Thank you to my relatives with manners and consideration!

I appreciate the past relatives who had the good manners to let me know who and what I am looking at. Those Grandparents, Aunts & Uncles, Moms and Dads, siblings who took the time  to scribble an ID message on the back, are absolute life-savers for the person working on family history preservation. See my great great great aunt’s photograph,  who had been ID’d because of a little note on the back which allowed me to see who she was on the family tree.

I suggest that the same consideration should be taken with digital files documenting family history that we are accumulating. We should be removing duplicates, bad shots, and storing them in retrievable methods.

Joe and Dora Fitts 1800s
Identifying our history is important, Joe and Dora Fitts 1800s

 

Memories in a Photo

Photographs & Memories

Jean and LawrenceHave you ever noticed how a single good photograph can instantly trigger teleportation back into a memory? The camera was a magical invention. Photography has had that amazing power for hundreds of years, the ability to capture a memory.  This thought is elegantly presented by the lyrics in an old favorite song of mine, “Photographs and Memories” by Jim Croce. Song writers are a special breed of artist too!

I was processing photographs on my computer this morning, you know, naming and filing or discarding if it is out-of-focus or a duplicate. I opened  a family folder and instantly began touring my past and, before I knew it, an hour had passed. There were some kleenex involved with the images of people no longer here or are far away. Here is a picture of my cousin Jeanie and her husband Lawrence taken years ago. I feel these people are never around for long enough. They were just here visiting for a short time and I miss them a lot. 

People change a great deal throughout their lives. Here is a photograph of my 3-year-old son trying a lemon. What a great facial expression! 

Pat Sour FaceNext, is a shot of he and I taken in the Colorado airport in his twenties. Sorry for the graininess of the second image (“low-res” cell phone) camera. Truyly, time changes everything. Those two shots don’t even look like the same person, which is amazing.
Pat & Mom in Colorado

 

 

 

 

Raising Art out of Your Artist

Surprise in progress
Progress children’s portrait expressing surprise

We got kudos for individual creativity in art, teaching ourselves, and entrepreneur type creative ideas always. If my folks had not been encouraging in these ways, I would never have been able to follow this direction in life. They noticed the signs of artist tendencies in me from the beginning and encouraged me to practice and explore. Thank God our family tends to encourage creativity and guide us to educate ourselves in an entrepreneur sort of way.

Artist traits

I was one of those kids that lay on the ground looking up into the sky, seeing images in the clouds. I still like to do this. My earliest memories are of loving fishing on weekends with beautiful mountain walks. Discovering wonderful panoramic views with warm sun and bright mountain skies. Evenings spent coloring on a fold-up card table at my Grandma and Grandpa’s home. Skiing with my family and seeing some of the most gorgeous views in the snow from a very young age.

Have always doodled, consequently, getting in trouble in school for drawing horses in the margin of the test papers. There are many many scrap pieces of paper with eyes drawn in every position in my wastepaper packages. Noticing beauty around me, shadows and shapes, coloring, drawing and painting has always been a large part of my life. A pen or brush has always felt natural in my hand. The other stuff in life squeezes in to fit around the edges.

ART categories

As you go through this blog, you will notice that the “art” articles are divided up into different categories (listed on the right), allowing you the ability to search for a specific category of blog articles that may interest you.

I hope that this division into categories will make it easier for you to find the art subjects that you are most interested in reading about. Additionally, if you want a complete picture of the art I do please feel free to visit my traditional website also.

There are also the categories covered in my Blog about things I like to do Outdoors and Needlework . Outside activities including hiking, sports and gardening. My inside needlework hobbies of sewing or embroidery fill my spare time.

 

answer mystery painting

Okay, I will tell you then.

The mystery painting is actually the cover painting for my newest book project published by Michele Bourgeois an author in Canada who does Alternative Holistic Healing.

Where Your Mind Goes Energy Flows: A Self-Healing Manual for the Mind and Body“.

Some of my best art is in this book, check it out on Amazon.com. I also did all the manuscript layout and design for publishing. I enjoyed reading this one. Let me know what you think of it please.

Chakra Root

Chakra Root Level 1,  is connected to career, money mindset, and sense of belonging. It’s colors are Red and Rose Red and it is located at the base of the spine in the tailbone area.

First I am painting the symbol from the middle out to the exterior . This root symbol is located on the figure base so I have to be careful to preserve the image of the figure in the background. No opaque painting allowed. In order to  the keep the figure separate from the background I drop brushfuls of red into the ray background, to emphasize the outline of the figure. Finally I add darker values to retain the leg edges on the interior behind the symbol and also add  shadow darkness to the symbols to keep them from looking too flat.

Chakra Sacral

Level 2, Sacral Chakra is connected to sexuality and pleasure. It’s colors are Orange and Rose Orange is located right over the sacral bones of the lower back. First carefully painting what looks like some off-center moons in the middle. Then adding a teeny touch of Pyroll Orange. Going in with a light Cadmium Yellow wash on the mosque shapes around the interior circle and then more pale yellow is dropped in at the outside border circle. It is truly amazing to watch how strong reds are so powerful when dropped into any yellow.

Chakra Heart & Solar Plexus

Things speed up now, two symbols at a time are being painted.

Chakra Level 4, Heart Chakra is the connection to love, relationships and self-acceptance. It’s colors are Green and Rose Pink and is located right over the heart. First carefully painting the symbol in rather opaque Sap and Hookers green….

Have you ever wondered how that Hooker’s green got it’s name?

I wet the area around the chest of the figure and drop in Viridian to get a little twang going in the rays extending out between the mastic reserved white rays of the heart symbol. This symbol is interesting with a Jewish looking star in the middle of a sun? Hmmmm.

Chakra Level 3, Solar Plexus is the connection to personal power and the ability to channel. It’s colors are orange and rose orange (salmon) and it is located on the ….solar plexus. That middle cartiledge that makes your ribs stay together in front. I paint the middle of the symbol with another upside down triangle a bright pale yellow and drop a little teeny tiny bit of pyrrol orange (a powerful color) in the center of the pool and watch it spread out beautifully.  This one’s color combo reminds me of the sun, a hot and bright entity. We have now got five out of the seven chakra backgrounds in. Moving right along.

Chakra Throat

Things begin to progress nicely with our background wet on wet colors. Chakra Level 5, Throat Chakra is the connection to self-expression. It’s colors are light blue and other blues and it is located at the adams apple area of the throat. First carefully painting the symbol in varying blues, I think of all the air that passes through that part of our body. Blue is probably a real appropriate color for the throat. I wet the area around the figure-throat and apply layers of cereulean blue, royal blue and ultramaring repeatedly till I see the rays the way I want them.

Now I am also washing a little over the figure to be able to see how the shades are showing on that too. There is so much color information in this that I don’t want it to get confusing and too busy.

Chakras Crown & Third Eye

Now the wet-on-wet painting can begin. Yay! I love the way colors can flow together this way. I will concentrate on getting the symbols painted in the correct colors along with the areas around the figure before I begin to finish up the figure itself.

Chakra Level 7, Crown Chakra is the connection to the divine. It’s colors are white and rose and it is located at the very top of the head just like its name. A bright white and rose crown that looks kind of like a lotus blossom. First carefully painting the symbol in rather opaque rose hues with touches of red to bring up the value. I wet the area around the figure-head and the top symbol, then lightly apply layers of rose rays repeatedly till I am satisfied with the rays extending down to the top of the head between the mastic reserved white rays. In this level the rose shows but the white is covered up by the mastic. Don’t  worry, it will not be hard to finish this part up correctly after we remove the mastic.

Chakra Level 6, Third Eye is the connection to intuition. It’s colors are Indigo and Purple (indigo with a touch of rose) and it is located on the forehead of our figure.I placed its symbol just above the head on the left. It has an outer circle with two sides of pointy mosque shapes coming out of an inner circle that has an upside down triangle in the center. I paint the symbol with a rose/purple center and indigo rays expanding across the area of the body that it affects. Now I can see the curves working together in the design.