Tuesday, December 16, 2008

December 17, 2008

San Antonio's Riverwalk is transformed into a glittering, magical fairyland in December. Thousands of twinkling lights transform the huge trees along the river into cascades of colorful light. 

In a recent class we talked about abstraction as an artistic device. Using examples including impressionist painters and also Pablo Picasso, we considered the goal of abstraction - which is to challenge a viewer's experience of visual reality. Abstract images might be recognizable - like pointillist  paintings made from thousands of tiny dots of paint - or so abstract no one but the artist knows what the original image or inspiration was. Sometimes abstracting an image adds a layer of emotional content that wouldn't be there otherwise. It's all about the experience the viewer brings to looking at the picture.

This timed exposure of the holiday lights sets a mood that wouldn't be the same if the lights were crisply focussed. When you look at this photograph, your personal projection  onto the picture will have a lot to do with the story the picture tells!

1 comment:

Carol Wiebe said...

Jane, I really appreciate the points you make about art as you look at your photos~the discussion of abstraction in this post being an excellent example. I was telling a friend (or twenty) about this blog, and mentioned that you are an excellent teacher, because you take every opportunity to share knowledge. And, of course, the photos are visually stunning.

By the way, you admit in December 19 and 20 that red/green is your least favorite complementary color combination. I love the way that combination plays out in this photo!

November 20, 2008

November 20, 2008

November 20, 2008

How does color set a mood? The soft gray and white of the carpet, the cat Marshall, and the sunlit window contribute to to the sense of calm repose. What does blue mean to you or me? We all have symbolic associations for colors; some based on personal experience and some instilled culturally. 

The cobalt blue of the vase provides a point and counterpoint to the composition, in addition to providing elements that balance.
Keeping the cat in the lower third of the composition weights the image and is another visual door into the picture world.

November 19, 2008

November 19, 2008

November 19, 2008

This picture tells several stories. It references the human desire to order the world around us - the lettering on the wall establishes the alley as a No Parking zone, and the broken glass-  jutting out at the top - is another message of fear and frailty. Whoever lives behind this wall wants to be left alone.

But there is beauty in the contrast of the rough brick surface and the smooth translucency of the broken glass bottles. A contrast of textures makes for an interesting composition. And the abstract nature of the printed letters against the structure of the bricks would be worth emulating in another sort of composition.

There is as much beauty in decay as there is in a bouquet of fresh flowers. And aren't decay and fresh growth just two different spots on the same continuum?



November 18, 2008

November 18, 2008

November 18, 2008

The Hydrangeas offer a lesson in the effective use of color. The pale blue and lavender are roughly the same value, so they balance each other beautifully. I am challenged to mimic that combination of analogous colors on silk Habotai!

This photograph would be considered beautiful even without the red-orange and yellow flowers at the bottom. But the addition of the complements to the blue and purple creates a focal point and generates some nice contrast because of the complementary pairing. And imagine how different this composition would be, were the red-orange and yellow at the top instead of at the bottom. The current placement adds important visual weight.

November 17, 2008

November 17, 2008

November 16, 2008

November 16, 2008
Being and Non-being

Substance and Light

November 16, 2008

We join spokes together in a wheel,
but it is the center hole
that makes the wagon move.

We shape clay into a pot,
but it is the emptiness inside 
that holds whatever we want.

We hammer wood for a house,
but it is the space inside
that holds whatever we want.

We work with being,
but non-being is what we use.

Tao te Ching; Verse 11
Stephen Mitchell translation