Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Cassandra Gordon Harris/New Artist Series

Cassandra Gordon Harris

Cassandra  is a wonderful painter and extremely talented artist.  Her paintings are mythical and mysterious, they call to your soul of a place you are longing to go.  Her women are strong vibrant seekers of the truth.  The form speaks of woman as the idea of woman, life giver, creator, sensual, Mother, Sister, daughter...all women, for all times.  Joseph Campbell could have used her images in his books about myths with great ease and Jung would have contemplated her images with great relish.  
I first met Cassandra when I was teaching art.  I had decided to do a community based program with the kids that would bring living artists, businesses and other organizations together.  Cassandra was one of the artist that came in to work with my students on what became known as "The Deer Project".  30 deer forms and over twenty artists created sculptures that later shown in the state capital and in a professional gallery.  Cassie's magic with kids is amazing.  We also worked on ACE committee(arts for a complete education) and learned our Fathers were from the same small area of Mississippi-with both of us having the last name of Gordon we figure we are cousins!  Cassie is a prolific artist who always finds the way to do art, no matter the situation or challenge.  I admire her greatly.  Treat yourself and get to know her and her work as well.  Welcome Cassandra Gordon Harris to our New Artist Series.  To read Cassandra's blog about her work go to this site:

Monday, January 30, 2012

Studies in Black and White and color photography/Gasparilla Parade

Black and White photography has a beauty and elegance to it.  Studying photography at the university I remember long hours in the film lab learning how to develop film.  There was something exciting about it, scientific with all the chemical smells and processes.  There were so many stages, each that took great care, but my favorite was after the film was developed looking at the newly processed film at the pictures I had created.  Searching for the right picture to develop, how much to enlarge it, and whether to use another creative process or not.  The acrid smell of the chemicals were sharp to ones nose, the red light in a dimmed room, all added mystery and a bit of thrill to it all.  The change in photography has been dramatic-from film to digital. Much has been gained and some lost, perhaps that is why we see recently the resurgence of black and white film photography.  It is a bit like the LP vinyl records that went out of style and now are being rediscovered and treasured.  It takes a different eye for black and white.  When one goes out to shoot, you must look at everything differently than if you are shooting color.  Textures and contrast and shadow become more important....line and definition also.  Take a look at these photo's I shot in color digital and then altered on the computer to black and white.  See which you prefer.  These were the ones I thought most suited for black and white also.  See what you think.  I am open to any and all feedback.  Enjoy.

The Photo opportunity of a parade/Gasparilla 2012

Johnny Depp look alike
 Parades are wonderful for photos and studies of people and behavior.  Gasparilla<click here)  has been going since the early 1900's in Tampa.  It honors the idea of pirates that wandered the cost of Florida, rummaging costal towns.  Jose Gapar is a fictional pirate, based on a composite of pirates that might have come into Tampa bay causing havoc.  The image of Jose has changed over the years, he now looks a lot like Johnny Depp and his pirate movies.  It used to be more of a drunken brawl with the civic members acting as pirates so drunk they could hardly finish the parade!  Now the rules are much tighter, and the pirates have to be more in control.  But in away I miss the old days, if that tried to regulate Mardi Gras like that it would be a disaster!  I am not sure pirates are ever well behaved.

The guys went all out for pirate wear this year

Crowds and more crowds, and rowdy crowds

Not so live parrot.

Harley tattoo 

Beads, Beads, Beads

Gaparilla Garden Mermaid

Looking at photo's for Gasparilla Parade/2012

photo too far away, bad angle, bad placement of foreground hand 

Close up detail of photo below, good angle, good movement, good facial character

I like the three guys on the right, and the center most of all, but you can see why I choose the center detail as my favorite.

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Gasparilla Parade/Tampa/2012

I will post a few of my photo's from Gasparilla.  This is the one I thought most successful, but I will be directing you to my friend and photographer Mark Philipps site for a more comprehensive look at Gasparilla.  I am using a small Lumix by panasonic camera with a 16 times zoom, so I am amazed to get a good shot at any distance. Mark uses a Canon with a wonderful accompaniment of lenses.  He is also especially adept at adobe photo shop and other photo soft ware programs.  His site is Nathanmarkphillips.com  It will probably be a few days before the parade shots are posted on his site.  Parades and races are great opportunities for photography.  There is lots of action, celebration, and uninhibited behavior.  Just ask the rather inebriated young pirate that instead I dance with him! I am thinking he won't remember a thing!

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Welcome Lithuania!!!!!!

We look forward to hearing more about Lithuanian art and culture!!
collage effect printing on clay/Nature's Reach/Elizabeth Gordon

Art is the desire of a man to express himself, to record the reactions of his personality to the world he lives in.  ~Amy Lowell

Friday, January 27, 2012

World Visitors this week!!!!

United States
United Kingdom
United Arab Emirates

Thursday, January 26, 2012

The Art Of Ben Cockrel/New Artist Series

I want to introduce you to Ben Cockwell.  Ben is an artist I discovered on line through his blog.  He lives in the Falkland Islands or the Malvinas Islands off the cost of South America.  Ben is British by birth, but feels a great kinship to Vincent Van Gogh.  When you see his red hair and art work I think you will see why.  His landscapes of the area are wonderful and his textural strokes of brush work and pencil will give the feeling of the wildness of the Island.  But his people and animal portraits are extraordinary also. His work does remind me of  Van Gogh and another American artist by the name of Walter Anderson.  He captures he essence and spirt of what he draws as if he is one with the subject.   You can almost feel its being.  Ben does a blog about his work, he writes about his walks on the Island and takes photographs also.  I encourage you to get to know Ben and his art work.  He is oft to new adventures right now, working on a ship that will be going through the Islands.  I look forward to the art that will come from his adventure.
His site is listed as Benco...a combination of his first and last names. I have his blog listed under the column blogs I follow if you would like to sign up for his adventures.  http://bencosart.blogspot.com/

Ben Cockrel/Falkland Artist

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Artist Quote/Picasso

The artist is a receptacle for emotions that come from all over the place: from the sky, from the earth, from a scrap of paper, from a passing shape, from a spider's web.
Pablo Picasso

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Playing for Change

Playing for Change(click for link)

I usually write about visual arts, but I am a lover of all arts.  I want to introduce you to a group of musicians you may not know about, but who are unique, creative and have a wonderful message.   We are all one in this world!  Through music they spread the message of peace and love and the human experience.  They are small group of musicians who have a passion for music, wherever it finds its expression...whether on the streets of New Orleans or the streets of Africa or the streets of Amsterdam....people sing, play instruments, and dance-in our humanness we express joy, pain, sadness,love, and a yearning for peace and understanding. The celebration of the street musician, the everyday person who has a passion for music makes this group a hero in my book.  They sought not fame for themselves, nor money, but an a passion and an ideal-the love of people all over the world and the love of the musician.  I honor you and share you with the world "Playing for Change".  Treat yourself and get to know this group and share their message with others.  Now turn your sound on, turn your speakers up and get ready to rock out with Playing for Change!

an addendum: I discovered I had a link to this band I did not know about.  My friend June Berkley who is an English professor and author had introduced me to wonderful friends of hers whom we stayed with on the outer banks on vacation.  It turns out their son is one of the founders of Playing for Change.  A small world isn't it?!

Monday, January 23, 2012

Artist Date/Pottery Workshop Continued

Emily using calipers to measure lids and tops
The first day of the workshops at the Clay Company was a full day program starting at 9am with a throwing demonstration. Emily Reason was the potter doing demonstration.  She is also doing a residency at the Clay Company.  She was using porcelain which is so beautiful and fine.  I have never worked with porcelain, but understand it can be difficult to work with though immensely satisfying.  Of course a master thrower makes it look so easy, but any of us who have ever tried to throw on the wheel know how hard mastering center can be.  Once you learn to center then it is a matter of various techniques of cylinder building, forming bowl, plates and so on.  Of course all of this takes years, not days. 

Clay company sponsored workshops

throwing a large porcelain pot
throwing demonstration Clay Company
Emily Reason Potter
hand placement in throwing a bowl

 I will never forget taking ceramics in college.  I had worked weeks to learn to throw a cylinder that was centered and well formed.  My professor came by and said good job, then took a wire and sliced it right down the middle.  I was crestfallen, how could he have done that!  He said, now you know how to throw, you can do it again!  And of course he was right, it just took me a while to get over the shock and realize it. The workshop was crowded and people asked many questions.  The teacher  was patient and shared her studies in China and other ceramic studies.  Her descriptions of her studies in China through a University of West Virginia art program were interesting. One of the most interesting parts was about how production pottery is done in China.   One person throws, one trims and one decorates..the last person is called the potter!

Chattaway Drive In(click for video)

Lunch beak....with artist friend Monica Guerrero (from Peru) to a wonderful old Florida historic cafe, the Chattaway.  This old Florida at its best! Topical, laid back, flowering and green...wonderful aroma's drifting in the breeze.  It is essential in an artist date for yourself to relax that is when creativity and inspiration sneaks in, allow yourself to play!  

Funky Gator sculpture at the Chataway

Quirky  fun in door dinning at the Chataway
a little jazz makes for a relaxing day

 Afternoon was what I was there for....Raku!  They had sample bisque pots to purchase to try out different underglazes and raku glazes. It was a perfect Winter Florida day.  70 degrees, no humidity, no mosquitos and a warming sun.  The afternoon pottery teacher was brought in from Tallahasse.  She teachers at the Florida school of the Arts.  We learned about a new style of raku kiln that is affordable and light weight.  We also used pine straw, rather than torn paper, in the oxygen reduction chamber, which I like a lot.  We put on safety glasses, welders gloves, and grabbed our tongs...then we pulled the red orange glowing pots straight from the heat and plunged them into the cans with pine straw.  We allowed them to catch fire, the closed the lids tight to deprive oxygen and forced the smoke into the crackles of the glaze that are formed with temperature shock.  It is a process I love, as well as, the unpredictability of the outcome. 
I encourage you to take yourself on artists dates, take workshops, go on walks on the beach or in the woods, go to thrift stores, visit a gallery, do anything that is fun that gets those creative juices going. 

Monic Guerrero observing raku resutlts 

Light weight raku kiln/Brachers Kilns(click on for kiln info)

Fire brick and gas burner 

My sample pot with red, blue and yellow underglazes and raku overglaze


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