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Favourite: on collecting art

I spent a lot of my time through the morning and afternoon thinking about what I could share for “favourite”.  After all, there are so many ways a person could go with such an open ended photography challenge.  I thought about it while brushing my teeth, while running errands, while watering the plants…  It wasn’t until it was almost time to pick up the girl from kindergarten that I settled on my subject matter.  I would share my favourite piece of art.

I’m an art collector.  I love original art.  Due to lack of funds I often have to be creative to feed this particular passion.  Trading and bartering are wonderful things – and something I encourage even in my own line of work.  As a photographer I’m happy to trade time and skill with other artists and craftspeople.

My collection includes work by local talent, and those across the globe from me.  It includes digital works as well as more traditional pieces.  I’ll admit to the inclusion of a print as well – it’s an Emily Carr, and as much as it would thrill my soul to have an original of hers, purchasing one would put us out on the street…  where it’s especially difficult a collection.

And through all this variance, and all this beauty?  My current favourite piece of art is hanging on my fridge:

my fridge

An untitled, four part piece, in ink, glitter, and stickers on construction paper by Lily-Ann Smith and her Uncle, Wilson Yandt:

princesses, puppies, fairies, and a look into the ocean depths.

One of my favourite memories from our first month in this house was watching the two of them sitting at her art station shortly after my brother had moved in.  I loved listening to the back and forth, the love and genuine sharing.  It filled my heart in a huge way.  And I think what they created together is beautiful.  It is bright, vibrant and full of goodness.  There is a real possibility it may end up in a frame before the Winter is out.  I think it would break my heart if anything were to happen to it, so while it’s on the fridge now, I think it will be much safer behind glass.

Tomorrows challenge will be much easier.  😉

photo a day challenge for january

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New House Nerves and Medusa the Mean

Okay, ya got me.  I’ve been kind of a lazy blogger lately.  My posts aren’t really sounding like me, they are short and not nearly as engaging.  Yeah.  I know.

The fact of the matter is, with everything on my brain lately, I’m just not quite myself.  I’m stressed about the house…  packing up and leaving this place behind is tough.  I’m super excited about the new place and what it will mean for our family, but that doesn’t take away from the fact that this is our home.  We got engaged in the bathroom.  We first talked about having a baby sitting in this bedroom.  We’ve lived lots of places together, Damon and I, but this was the first one that was home.  Nine years here.  It’s a hard thing to walk away from, even if the place no longer meets our needs.

So yeah.  With the house on my brain, it’s hard to think of much else for long enough to blog about it.  …and I’m guessing you don’t want to hear me posting about the house every day.  😉

We take possession one month from today.  We already have so many boxes packed that it’s tough to move around in here.  We haven’t got even a small portion of the packing done yet.  There’s more than one reason we stayed here nine years (even though the intention was about three years when we bought the place).  LOL

It’s a good thing.  This is going to be such an amazing thing for us.  But that doesn’t take away from how difficult it is.

That said, here’s something cute and fun:

We’ve been reading Medusa the Mean (yep, another book in the Goddess Girls series).  Lily-Ann absolutely LOVED chapter 7, Kindergarten Buddies.  Of course, being IN kindergarten herself probably had a lot to do with it…  though it was a super adorable chapter that made her giggle and grin repeatedly (especially when she realized that there was a crush starting between Medusa and Dionysus, and then further imagined her Daddy as being like Dionysus and herself as Andromeda).  So tonight, before bedtime, she decided to draw Medusa and Dionysus – as inspired by the Goddess Girls books and the cover illustration of Medusa the Mean.  And for a five year old?  I was darn impressed.  😉

The cover art for Medusa the Mean, and the girl's interpretation of Medusa and Dionysus.

Medusa and Dionysus

A Trans* Doll’s Journey!

I had to share a recent project by an artist whose work I really enjoy.  It’s not their usual medium, however they were inspired by a find at the family cottage and so set to work.  She is refinishing a dollhouse originally built by her Grandfather and played with by her mother, and is sharing the progress on her Deviant Art account.  Why do I feel the need to share this?  Well, the most recent addition to her tiny home is a Transgender doll that began it’s existence as female, but has transitioned to male…  right down to the binder (worn a little low, but still poignant).

I’d like to introduce you to this bibliophile of a doll, who is yet unnamed, but seems quite happy in his new life:

Trans* doll by Ullakko

You can check out more of Ulla Thynell’s work at DA, where her username is ullakko.  Here is a direct link to her journal, where she first introduced us to our unnamed friend and shared a little about his transition:  http://my.deviantart.com/messages/#/d595iqi  And while he was not created with the intent of any kind of deeper meaning, I believe there is some truth to be found in how his physical self had to be ground down to find his final and true form.

Busty Girl Comics – You’re Welcome!

Have you discovered Busty Girl Comics yet?  No?  Ohhhh….  You are in for a treat!

And seriously, even better than the wit and wisdom (yep, there’s a healthy dose of that too)?  She’s totally inclusive and has a great level-headed approach to her work.  She’s trans* friendly, pro-breastfeeding, and all about loving your body – whomever you are.  So yeah.  Definitely worth checking out.  🙂  …and you’re welcome – cause I know you’ll be thanking me afterwards.  😉

Busy Girl Comics is at http://bustygirlcomics.com/

Our Family Portrait

As a photographer I’m usually behind the lens, so when it came time for me to decide on a Yule gift for my husband I thought that I have a family portrait done…  but a portrait of the non-photographic kind.  And right about this time, a fellow artist had shared that he was having some financial woes and could really use a few commissions.  His style was a perfect fit…  very heavy on line, graphic in nature with a grungy flare.  Ideal for an unusual and memorable family portrait.  So I sent a message off his way.

I have to admit, I’ve been dying to share the results of all our back and forth.  I think it’s pretty fabulous, but I had to wait until after Yule – as I couldn’t very well blab about my husband’s gift before he’d received it.  But now that the Solstice has come and gone?  I have to share!

Our Family Portrait - drawn by "gravitiational tim"

So, my thanks to Liam (aka gravitational tim) for all his work, and for his patience with my nit-picky perfectionist nature.  I’d say it was well worth it.  How many families have a portrait as cool as this one?  I’d venture to guess there aren’t many.  😉

My Inspiration!

Nothing in the world makes me happier than my baby – who isn’t such a baby any more (as she always insists on reminding me).  Tonight, when I arrived home from my last shoot of the day, she began posing for me – wanting to be my only subject.  Little does she realize that she is my constant inspiration.  She is what motivates me to constantly improve myself and my work.  She is my subject, even when she isn’t there with me.  I’ve always believed that every piece an artist creates is a self portrait, and as you can find me in all of my work, I can find her there as well.

four year old in a fedora

The Sculptor in the Garden

I’ve lost track of the times I’ve shot at Mitchell Memorial Garden (the old Labatts Garden).  How many children or dogs have posed with the sculpture of Fred Mitchell and the little girl?  I honestly couldn’t tell you off the top of my head.  If nothing else, it serves as the meeting point for myself and many of my clients – and inevitably ends up the topic of conversation.

Today I arrived at the garden a little early for my early evening shoot.  Everything started out pretty normally.  I walked through the garden, noting any changes since the last time I was there (a couple of days previously).  I picked up a couple of pieces of garbage and threw them away.  I then went to my favourite bench, pulled out my iPad, and began writing to pass the time waiting for my 4:15.

A man arrived at the park.  Carrying an armload of supplies.  He set them all down next to the sculpture.  We smiled at one another, and he set to work.  Cleaning and waxing the 10 year old art piece that I know so well (heck, I even have wedding pictures that were taken with it).  I put down my iPad, picked up my camera, and walked over to ask if I could photograph him.

“Not me, but them? Certainly.”

I laughed, and explained that I had photographed them many times before.  That it was him I was hoping to capture.  That I was so happy to see the white-out gone from their eyes, and their former glory restored… the weathered white lines disappearing with the application of wax.  He grinned, and looked like he had a great secret.  “I’m the sculptor you know.”  I didn’t know.

The two of us talked for a few minutes.  He told me about some of his other works that are on display here in Saskatoon, and about one that is in Regina.  We talked cameras too – turns out we both shoot with the same model, and both have our eye on the same lens for our next purchase.  We both like heavy glass.  He told me how he was a Dutch immigrant, how he came here when he was 7 years old.  Spoke no English, but was thrust into the school system only a few weeks after landing… and how terrifying that was.

I snapped a few pictures as we chatted, and as he worked.

Then my 4:15 arrived.  I walked them through the garden.  Shared my favourite spots to shoot family portraits there.  And asked what they thought.  As I began shooting, my new sculptor friend walked over and asked for my name (he’d already written his down for me, and it never occurred to me to share mine with him).  I gave him my card.  And I have to admit, I hope he looks me up.  I wouldn’t mind having another chance to talk – without concerns of being pulled away.

Meet Hans Holtkamp, a fascinating man – not used to being the subject of someone else’s art:

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Spencer Harrison – Artist in Residence and True Friend

I intended today to write about Spencer Harrison, the artist in residence for both Camp fYrefly retreats.  But I find myself at a loss for where to begin.  As soon as I met Spencer I felt a connection with him, and we spent quite a bit of time together during Edmonton’s Camp fYrefly.  I attended each of his three workshops, we shared many meals and conversations, sometimes all it took was a glance and a grin in passing…  but I always found a reliable, comforting, spirit that in many ways mimicked my own (or perhaps it was my spirit who mimicked his).

Spencer is close to defending his PhD dissertation, the culmination of a lifetime of work.  And his dissertation is as unique and splendid as he is.  A circus tent, painted inside and out, a coming out story of freak show proportions.  A literal freak show, painted and detailed on every panel…  the exterior dedicated to the visible and well known people of the traveling circus shows we all know, and the interior to the inner freak show that was a young boy growing and coming out in Ontario, the boy who spent seven hours stuffed in a locker while everyone else left at the end of the school day.

Open, warm, and willing to share, Spencer is encouraging and giving.  Saying good bye at the end of Camp fYrefly Alberta was easy, knowing I would again be in his presence at Camp fYrefly Saskatchewan.  I have to admit, it will be a far more difficult thing on the 21st when we’ll have to say goodbye for a much longer time.

I truly feel blessed to know Spencer Harrison, in a way I haven’t felt blessed to know someone in a very long while.  The memories I have of him are ones that I will treasure, and carry with me for a lifetime.  He gave me some pretty incredible gifts.

Want to know a little more about our Artist in Residence?  Check him out at:

http://www.spencerjharrison.com/

http://www.ocad.ca/faculty/profile_articles/20100210_spencer_harrison.htm

If I build up the courage, I might just share an art piece done up under his watchful eye during the last of his sessions.  IF I build up the courage.  😉

We are all just pieces of broken glass.

We are all of us, pieces of beautiful broken glass.  Sharp, dangerous, glistening, yet not quite whole.  It is only when we are melted down by an artist, all the pieces together, hot and molten, that we become whole.  A whole, full of potential, able to become anything.  Yet…  once the artist is finished…  we are once again so easily broken.  But even broken, we are lovely in our imperfection.

 

The Littlest Decorator

I hadn’t decided yet what to do with the outside of the wee girlie’s new loft bed (which we’ve all taken to calling her “up high bed”)… so when she wanted to decorate it herself I figured we should just go with it.  🙂

Chances are it will take weeks for her to complete her masterpiece, but when it’s done I’m sure it will be just awesome.  We’ll have to find something to coat it in once it’s finished – to help keep it safe and to ensure it can endure.  Any thoughts?  Whatever we do, I think it will be really cool.  It may not be everyone’s cup of tea, but I can’t think of anything better that we could have done.  😀

My Little Decorator

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