Archives for category: Photography

Modern Man

Tony, who is not only a puppet maker but also an x-ray artist (visit his blog: xraygraphics), commented on my post yesterday that the artwork I put up is very tactile. He put his finger right on the core of my art. To explain where it comes from I have to dive down into my personal history. In a nutshell: back in the day I took to Photoshop like a duck to water and have been teaching digital imaging for 20 years. In the beginning I really enjoyed working with blend modes and masks to create amazing textures. But along the way, I realised how much our brain tricks us into perceiving surface properties. When you touch a print it is always flat. The appearance of texture is created by our brain interpreting what we expect to be there. So we see texture that really isn’t there.  Over the years my yearning for honest textures grew stronger and stronger.

I created the picture I’ve put up today in 2007. This is one of my favourites from my Photoshop era. In this triptych I used 4 different background photographs (a wooden door with flaky paint, a stone wall with a window, an iron watch tower in a forest, and a 200-year-old lace curtain) and combined them in different ways to bring different properties to the fore. My work is generally about relationships. This one describes that in a good relationship you should be allowed to be strong or weak at times.

 

closet maid

The other day I installed a clothes rail in my art cupboard. I couldn’t resist taking a picture of the two bits that hold the rail. Aren’t they happy?

Carly_Photography (114 of 134)

Remember the beautiful pictures my friend Carly took at the launch of the Artist’s Survival Cookbook? I promised then I would write a special post about her as I truly admire her work and her as a person. Today is the day when I finally honour that promise. It has taken this long as Carly was working on her new website Fossick and Forage, which she finally launched last night. I’m sure you’ll agree with me that she is an excellent photographer and food stylist. She is also an amazing person, full of life and craving for new experience. I was impressed with how she magically transformed a run-down old church hall into a warm and welcoming place for my launch. And I was even more excited when I saw that the first  Story on her webpage is dedicated to the launch of my book. Comparing the photographs each of us has chosen for our sites illustrates brilliantly how you can tell a story simply by selecting the imagery. While I was looking for the people shots that conveyed the vibe of the day, Carly focused on the mood of the bygone era. (And no, I am not the lady she has selected as her poster girl for the story :). It’s also interesting to find out what others say about you. Thank you so much, Carly!

 

epiphany

Devil is depressed again. Each time the Dedes finish a project – even a small one – he has to take a couple of days off to question what the troupe is doing. Recently, the Dedes have started on Instagram and while Devil is overjoyed, the silly Dedes are not alone. He also developed an anxiety. Looking around Instagram Devil realised the Dedes are up against an entire army of traveling fluffy toys. It seems to be very fashionable to take an inanimate companion on a journey (I wonder if it has something to do with the film Amélie).  Anyway, he is convinced I should go traveling, take him with me, and leave all the other ones behind. Needless to say, this idea didn’t fly with the rest of the Dedes.

Carly sent me the images she took at the launch of The Artist’s Survival Cookbook. It was so difficult to whittle them down to a few. I am really impressed. Click on any of the images to enlarge and see the slideshow. (c) carlyphotography.co.nz

 

DedeRecipeBook.indd

This is a really busy weekend for the Dedes. They all lined up in the studio to get their pictures taken for the Artist’s Survival Cookbook. For a while they’ve been discussing with L’Artiste how to do the imagery in the book. The pics on the blog were only quick snapshots taken on the day when their recipe was baked. Mouse baulked at the idea of re-making everything just to get better shots. She is really annoyed that nobody listened to her when she said, “Do it once and do it right!” Why should she spend more time now, she asked, when she can use her time so much better for the design of the book.

“But don’t you want to have the best possible book?” asked Detail.

“Leave her alone” said Devil. “I can understand, she’s the one who does all the work! There is always a way around it.”

In the end they decided to take new pictures in the studio and present the existing ones as selfies. They asked Mouse to quickly mock a page up to show everyone. She acted coyly at first, as she doesn’t want to show work in progress. She has a long list of things she still has to solve. But the others were adament that the readers need to know they are still working on the book. In the end she succumbed.

 

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Today a little interlude. The Dedes said good bye to a dear friend yesterday: a boat called Traumtanz. They are so used to her, as she has been in the garden all their lives.  All three years of it (of course, everybody who knows us personally, knows the boat has been in the garden for much longer, but we won’t tell the Dedes.)

Anyway, yesterday was the big day. She was loaded onto a truck and made the trip to the beach, where she was assembled. Traumtanz is a Wharram catamaran. One of the features is that the two hulls are only lashed together rather than being connected by nuts and bolts. Yes, it is safe and works well. She was built by hubby and we sailed her for many years before she came back to the house for an overhaul. Unfortunately, the overhaul took much longer than intended, due to all the little things life throws at you. Anywway, she is back and we are so looking forward to some great adventures.

 

witch bun

Witch never got as much attention as yesterday. All the Dedes waited by the oven and wanted to inspect the result as soon as the timer went off. As if they had never had a bun baked by Witch before! Witch got quite protective and shooed everybody away. We weren’t allowed to taste them until they had been photographed. As I told you yesterday, Witch is usually one to throw things together and if you ask her for a recipe she can’t tell you. Much to my surprise she was very consciencious yesterday and noted every step along the way. Here is her transcript:

Bread buns

The main incredient in this recipe is patience. While it actually doesn’t take much time to prepare, the dough will need a lot of time to sit around and rise. If you try to take a shortcut, you will end up creating rocks rather than buns. I would recommend trying the recipe first for a Sunday morning treat. Prepare the dough the night before (maybe in the ad breaks when you watch TV, or if you don’t watch TV, you can tend to the dough whenever  you make yourself a cuppa).

Ingredients for eight buns

3 cups of high grade flour, 1 cup of warm water and 1 teaspoon of dry yeast.

Method

  1. Pour flour in a bowl, make a hole in the middle and add half the water (make sure the water is not hot, as hot water kills the yeast) and add the yeast. Let it sit for at least 15 minutes so the yeast becomes active, which you can see when it becomes sloshy. It’s better to let it sit too long than not enough.
  2. Add the rest of the water and knead to a dough, first in the bowl then on the bench. Knead very thoroughly. It is a good exercise for your upper arms ;)  and you want to spend five minutes or so on it. Then put it back in the bowl, cover with a clean tea towel and put in a warm place until it has risen to twice its original size. If you don’t have a warm place (you poor thing), this process will take longer, but it will happen.
  3. In an hour or so, maybe when the TV program has finished, come back and knead it again. It doesn’t have to be as long as the first time, really, it’s just to get the air out. Then let it rise again. At this point you can go to bed if you are preparing the dough for Sunday morning. Otherwise, come back in yet another half hour. Time is not that important, just make sure it has risen comfortably and noticably again.
  4. Switch the oven on to 2000 C.
  5. While the oven is heating up, knead the dough again and divide into 8 balls. Place on baking paper on a tray (I use a silicon mat as it can be reused again and again) and let it sit to rise for one last time. Like 10 minutes or so. This gives you enough time to go into the garden and pick some flowers and lay the table nicely.
  6. Once the oven is heated to the right temperature, brush the buns with water and cut an x on top of each one with a sharp knife (this process will flatten them a little). Personally I love poppy seed and sesame buns. So I sprinkle them with seeds.
  7. Then I place a little bowl filled with water on the baking tray and off they go into the oven. (The water will evaporate in the heat and make the buns crispy).

Bake for 20 mins. And that is it.

Don’t ask me if you can freeze the dough or the buns. I never had to. They are always eaten as soon as I make them!

Here is a picture gallery of the process: when the buns were rising for the last time on the tray, then the cross cut into the surface to illustrate what I mean, and of course the final result.

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ducks2

Why did I start the year with a picture of ducks?

I want to tell you a story that has kept me pondering since Christmas and I can’t solve the riddle about what life is trying to tell me here, and what the moral of the story is supposed to be.

When we went to the farm this Christmas, the ducklings had hatched. Fourteen of them. By the time we arrived there were only eleven left. Three disappeared during the night without trace. The next night was fine, the family was okay, but the following night the numbers were decimated, leaving five, and the day after Boxing Day all the ducklings were all gone. Isn’t that sad? I look at their lovely mellow faces, so content and clueless. Oh, dear!

But this is not the end of the story. While the duck and the drake had a full nest of eggs, the old chick in the pen next to the ducks tried to brood some eggs as well, but to no avail. The whole affair was rather doomed, as there is no rooster about. Still, she was sitting on these duds for ages, not wanting to admit defeat.  Luckily the duck had actually laid sixteen eggs, but wasn’t big enough to cover all of them. So two were given to the old hen. The dud eggs were replaced and the hen continued sitting on the duck eggs instead. Sure enough, when time came, these ducklings hatched as well though they shouldn’t be called ducklings, but rather chicklings. Mother hen was clucking around them and like every good mother tried to teach them all she knew about life. Like how to scatch for food (pretty difficult with webbed feet) or having a sand bath. While a couple of feet away the duck family was happily paddling ab0ut in the plastic pond. At night though, the chicken took the chicklings under her wings and that is how they survived. I wonder at what point they will find out that they are not chickens and whether they can survive life with the experience that is handed down to them by their surrogate mother. I certainly hope that the story has an equally happy ending like in the fairy tale by H C Anderson: The Ugly Duckling.

ducks

I wish all my readers a very Happy New Year. Also, a warm and sincere THANK YOU to everyone who has contributed to the story in 2013. No doubt the Dedes will continue with their mischief in 2014. Although, they have been relatively quiet lately, I can hear them rustling in their cupboard.