Friday, March 9, 2012

New project for 2012

So much good came of this year-long project. A year ago I could barely stutter the words, "I'm an artist." Today, I own that title comfortably. I completed a years worth of photographs, as well as two large mosaic commissions, and started on a third. So there's no way I'm giving up this productive daily art habit! 

Thank you so much for joining me on this journey. I invite you to join me on my newest project, a year of sketching with some photography and mosaics to keep things lively.

Monday, February 6, 2012

365: The End


My husband built this fort with the kids while I worked last weekend. Pretty nifty use of the excess bamboo in our yard.

And with that, we've reached the anniversary of this project and so we're done. Or are we...? Nah, I can't stop! Too much good has come of this. Here's a sneak peek of my 2012 project, due to start in another week or so.

Sunday, February 5, 2012

364: Blight

This house has been on my list of ideas for this project for a long time. I read an article about it in the local paper not too long before I started the project, and I was not entirely surprised to learn that this was once a house of some import.

This Historic Richmond blog post features an image of the building before 1950. An even earlier image can be found in this article from Greater Jackson Ward News. Beautiful, no?

For those of you not familiar with the area, this house is located in Jackson Ward, an important African-American neighborhood during the first part of the 20th century, known as the "Harlem of the South." This particular house is located at an entry point into the neighborhood.

This is the house next door. Like the house featured in this earlier post, it's hard to believe the surrounding neighborhood is filled with beautiful, well-kept homes.

Thursday, February 2, 2012

361: Lessons

This started as an attempt to capture the lighted window in the early morning near-darkness and ended with tricking myself into switching to fully manual mode, something that I have avoided like the devil even as I push myself harder at learning the technical side of shooting with an SLR. I didn't realize I had flipped past Aperture into Manual, but it was a happy accident. Had I left the camera in Programmed Auto or even Aperture or Shutter mode, this attempt would have ended in frustration that the vision in my head was impossible to achieve. 

Later, I took the kids roller skating for the first time. They amazed me with how well they did, though my son, first-born perfectionist that he is, was frustrated at his lack of expertise. As a fellow perfectionist, I wish I had thought to research camera settings for photographing fast skaters in a dark skating rink ahead of time. At least I was able to capture a few images of this wonderfully outrageous arcade game. 

Sunday, January 29, 2012

357: In progress

I started cutting and laying the tile for my next mosaic project today. This is the top for a side table that will go in the D.C. Design Center's 2012 Dream Home, along with several other items we are making. The interior designer heading this project chose the design at the bottom, and it will be worked in unglazed porcelain and opaline glass. The change in scale of both the design and the material from the backsplash to this little table is considerable!

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

353: Curious

Wanna know how long it took me to realize that cats and kids popping into my shot do not ruin it and maybe even make it better? Much longer than I care to admit, although thankfully not  the whole year.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

352: Butter

With just two weeks or so left in this project, I can't help but think about the other side of the year. The domestic images in this series developed out of my role as a mostly stay-at-home mama to two young children, in which I don't necessarily have the freedom to zip off to photograph whatever strikes my fancy, and it's a theme that I struggled with over the course of the year. 

At first I resented the restriction of my home as the source of inspiration, despite the fact that so much of my interest in photography was triggered by my interest in capturing the daily lives of my children. However, I have gradually come to embrace the challenge of finding a way to document the little moments around my home in an interesting, possibly even alluring manner. Whereas a year ago I "blearily wondered if I could do something" with a stick of butter on a blue plate, today as I cast about for inspiration, I felt excited when my glance fell on that very same scene.

Monday, January 23, 2012

351: Rocks and shells

A cold, rainy day in January is the perfect opportunity to take the kids to a little gallery of cultural and natural history objects tucked away on a university campus. The fluorescent mineral exhibit is, of course, their favorite.

Sunday, January 22, 2012

350: Virginia yellow pine

I spent part of the day in the wood studio, rubbing out the finish on these reclaimed Virginia yellow pine counter tops we are making for a client. Rubbing out is the process by which a finish on wood, steel or another material is smoothed and polished. You may remember I used to work as a finishing assistant for a furniture conservator. It's been almost a year since I posted this series of images from that job, including one near the end of some small desk drawers and the sand paper I used in the rubbing out process.

For this particular surface, we used sandpaper and abrasive pads. The lumber used to make the counter tops as well as some shelving (seen in the background) originally served as floor trusses in the client's building. The original hundred year old trusses had to be replaced due to fire damage. We're thrilled to be able to put the wood back to use in the very same building from which it came.

Friday, January 20, 2012

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

345: Food court

Arriving at a food court play area mid-morning, I was struck by the vast sea of neat, empty seats and the juxtaposition of luxury and mass consumption. The placement of the cow in a pretty dress eyeing the giant bracelet couldn't be more poignant.

Sunday, January 15, 2012

343: Kitchen backsplash

We grouted today, the final step for the backsplash. No blue today, but plenty of green. It's satisfying to see this piece looking so comfortable and natural in its home after so much time working on it in the studio.

The design and tessellation of the backsplash were inspired by the commissioning couple's trip to Newgrange, an ancient monument in Ireland.

Saturday, January 14, 2012

342: Installation

Today we completed the first portion of the kitchen backsplash installation. I've been working on this project one day per week for the last few months, and I'm so excited to finally see it in its intended space. The adhesive requires 24 hours to cure, so tomorrow we grout.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

340: Vent

Sometimes I take a photograph with the intention of using it for this project. But on days when I'm taking pictures anyway, I often assume I can find one to use. Sometimes that requires altering the original to create some blue. In this case, I include the original because I like the greater level of detail and texture, and besides, "Before and Afters" are always fun. If you're wondering how I got this effect, I used the "threshold" feature in my photo editing program.