Friday, August 19, 2011

Nothing is Safe

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In case you were wondering, yes, I am using this new style of processing on some equine images. After all, I can't lavish all of that love exclusively on landscapes and stills of flowers. At one point I thought about joking that I might be in danger of attempting to apply this processing to anything not moving. Oops! Well, at least I can assure you that this horse wasn't moving when I applied the texture layers.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Celebrations and Nostalgia

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This post has nothing to do with photography—it is strictly personal and reaches into my recent past. But, since this is on my mind and I am in blabbermouth mode, I am not going to sit on it any longer.

On occasion, I have mentioned, here, that I taught film acting and ran an actors' studio in Los Angeles for three decades. Having been retired less than four years, I haven't yet fully completed my long period of mourning for what I gave up. I may have left the life behind, but it will always be a major part of who am I am and it will always occupy a large and special part of my heart.

So here is the story. You have probably heard of the new DreamWorks film, The Help, based, of course, on the runaway hit novel by the same name. Well, it happens that the screenplay writer and director of that film is one of my students and the actress, Octavia Spencer, who plays Minny, also studied with me. No doubt, you will hear a great deal more about these two in the months and years to come and every time they make the news, you can bet that I will be bursting with happiness for two exceptionally talented, hard-working people—two people I adore.

I loved teaching with a passion that was difficult to put aside. Life changes—even the good ones—can be painful. Every time that phone rings and it is an actor asking about coaching, I feel a little ache in my heart. I begin wondering, again, if leaving was a mistake and I have a day or two of wistful thinking about the joys of watching talent blossom.

But, that was another life in another place. Now, I am that retired teacher who basks in the pleasure of memories and celebrates the triumphs of my precious students from a distance. It was a gift to have witnessed the journey of so many talented individuals. They taught me so very much and I will always be grateful. People often ask me if I have any children. I frequently quip, "No, but I sure borrowed a bunch."

Monday, August 15, 2011

Art Conspiracies

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I have had something on the back burner for a few weeks and, just to be certain I have pounded all the life from this old metaphor, it has started to boil. It is time to drop a few hints. Why bother with a few hints, you ask? Why even bring it up if I can't tell the whole story? Obviously, you haven't been reading my blog very long. Otherwise, you surely know me better than to expect hardcore reasoning on matters of the heart. And this is a matter of the heart.

As for why only hints, this venture is a partnership. This isn't just my story to tell and many details are unsettled, so I need to wait until I can "spill the beans". I am only good at keeping other people's secrets. Any secret you shared with me might as well be stored at Fort Knox. I carry around secrets that are decades old. I have held onto some secrets until I forgot I ever knew the information in the first place. On the other hand, if it involves me, I am a veritable blabbermouth. If I don't drop some hints, the pressure will build in my poor little brain and I can't handle the extra stress.

Now you know why, here is the what. For the last few weeks, I have been conspiring with my friend C to take some control over showing our work. C is a painter whose work I like very much and C is a delight. It is a great combo. On Saturday, we took the plunge. We pitched our idea to the owner and manager of a local winery. When I returned and walked in our back door, The Husband asked, "How did it go?"  My response was, "It couldn't have gone any better unless Chuck (the owner) had written us a check purchasing all the art in advance."

I don't know much—which is helpful to a blabbermouth, but I know we are investigating the viability of scheduling this for October 1. (Yikes, that's close.) The manager will investigate possible conflicts with local events as well as events that might complement ours. This I know for certain: I suddenly have to switch gears. Big chunks of my time must be devoted to printing, matting and framing. There will be publicity to organize and a million (well, almost) decisions to make. Work not yet finished will have to be shelved for the moment. That won't be easy.

The best part of this, in my mind, is that we have taken action. Whatever happens from this point forward is a bonus.  We fretted over so few opportunities to show that didn't involve membership fees and restrictive contracts, or waiting for the once-a-year Bear Valley Springs show. And, we took matters into our own hands. It feels good to have taken the step. It is going to be an interesting few weeks.