Archives for Fine Art

Feeling Blue?

If you are looking for a book to peruse this weekend – something a little off the beaten path- you might consider “Blue” by Michael Pastoureau.  I came across this book a while back and started reading it out of curiosity.  It was nothing like I expected! The book is basically an Art History book, but with a focus on the color blue.  I guess I had never given it much thought, but colors have quite an interesting history.   Blue has gone from being considered “inferior” during the time of the Roman, all the way to being THE color of colors.  In fact, most paintings used blue to identify the Virgin Mary.  I found it very interesting how many elements contribute to a color going in and out of fashion. The book is loaded with great illustrations as well. Pastoureau also touches on things like symbolism and iconography as well.  As an artist, you can’t help but find this stuff interesting.  It might even give you a few ideas that you can incorporate into your next fine art piece! If you think learning about color is something for painters and not photographers, you couldn’t be more wrong. I hope you
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The Decisive Moment

In the history of photography, few images are more iconic than Henri Cartier-Bresson’s “Derriere la Gare Sint-Lazare.”  Photographers often use the phrase “decisive moment” and this image is the ultimate illustration of that term. Cartier-Bresson created the image behind the Gare Saint-Lazare train station in Paris in 1932.  He says he was peering through a fence and captured this image as the man jumped across the water puddle.   The arrangement of the image is incredible.  The more you look at it, the more you notice.  For example, the metal loops in the foreground echo the rings of water that are rippling away from the ladder.   The sign in the background is for a performer named Railowsky, the shot was taken behind a railyard and the ladder resembles a train track.   Add to that the repetition of the the shadow, the jumper, the man in the background and the clock tower behind him.   When you take it all in, it really seems too good to be true.  In fact, many have accused Cartier-Bresson of setting up the shot. However it was created- either by planning or sheer luck- it represents a masterpiece in composition and timing. The more you study it,
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Win a Signed Art Print!

Ok everybody, clear some wall space because you may have a free print coming your way! Last year’s print giveaway received a ton of great responses, so I figured we should have another one!   There are going to be multiple ways to win this time, so please read the rules carefully!  Best of all, this month’s winner will have THEIR CHOICE of either of the two great prints below. To have your name entered in the drawing you must do one of the following by Friday, March 11th: 1.  Follow me on Twitter and tweet a message about this contest with a link.  Use the hashtag #freeprint . Heck, you can just copy and paste this one: ” I just entered to win a signed print by @larryphoto at http://bit.ly/gJ7Jsw #freeprint ” 2.  If you have a blog, mention the giveaway on your blog-with a link to my site. 3.  If you see me Tweet about the contest, just RT and get an extra entry! Once you have done one or more of the above, simply leave a comment on this post letting me know.  I will be sure to get your name in the drawing! OK.. now for the
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Examining Creativity

Last night, I went to a fantastic lecture by Julie Burstein at the Dallas Museum of Art.  Burstein has produced public radio’s Studio 360 program for the past 10 years.  During that time, they have interviewed hundreds of the world’s best artists.  Julie pulled from these interviews to create her new book, “Spark:  How Creativity Works.” It was a very entertaining lecture and an interesting examination of the creative process-interspersed with audio clips from many of the artists that were being discussed.  So what were some of the common keys to creativity? Be Observant – always be on the lookout for inspiration all around us.  There is a lot of material that we come across every day that we just don’t take the time to notice. Take Time To Refill your “creative pantry.”  Sometimes you need to step away and allow your creative batteries to recharge.  Expose yourself to great art and allow it to inspire you. Be Persistent – Set a goal and go for it.  Don’t give up and don’t wait around for inspiration.  Artist Chuck Close one said, “Inspiration is for amateurs.  The rest of us just show up and get to work.” Appreciate your friends and
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Creativity: You Are What You Eat

If you are a photographer – or any other artist for that matter- creativity is the key to your success.  It is the engine that drives us to create beautiful pieces of art or startling images that make people look twice.  Unfortunately, many artists don’t dedicate enough effort into feeding their creativity.  To me, it’s kind of like nutrition – you are what you eat.  If you eat a bunch of junk, you won’t be nearly as healthy as someone who eats a nutritious, balanced diet. Several years ago, I read The Artist’s Way by Julia Cameron – one of the most celebrated books about growing as an artist.  It was truly an eye opening experience.  If you’ve ever had those days when the creativity just wasn’t flowing – this is the book for you.  Cameron talks about how we can train our minds to make the creative process second nature.   Part of this process is taking in a lot of artistic experiences. The more art you can consume, the more tools your creativity has to work with.  Maybe you can spend a few hours at a museum, really studying a few specific paintings or perhaps choose an artist and
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5 Ways to Become a Better Painter

Unlike a Photoshop filter that simply applies a fake effect all over the image, a painting created with actual brushstrokes has the feel of a real oil and canvas painting. The downside is that there is a kind of steep learning curve to doing it right. If you are serious about getting good at Painter (or even traditional oil painting), here are a few of the best things you can do to improve your skills
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Snap The Whip

As photographers, we often have a tendency to become technicians vs artists. I think it is important that we study the work of the great painters – in addition to the great photographers – to keep ourselves well-rounded. I decided I would periodically post a blog entry about a painter or painting. I’m starting with one of my favorite American artists of the 19th Century – Winslow Homer and his classic “Snap the Whip.” As photographers, we are often hoping to tell a story with our images. This painting, done in 1872, is a fantastic example of storytelling. The children are playing a game called “snap the whip” where they try to keep their hands connected while they spin and snap the “whip” at the end. The painting came out at a time when little red schoolhouses, like the one in the background, were slowly starting to disappear across the country. It captures a slice of life that tells us how things were. This type of sentimental storytelling is a key component in creating an image that will stand the test of time and be admired for years to come. Although we have technology that allows us to capture more
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Opening Night at the Courtyard

Thought I would post a few images from tonight’s opening of my 40@Forty Show at the Courtyard Theater in Plano. I was worried the rain would keep people away, but was thrilled to see we still had a great crowd. Hanging out at the refreshment table! Such a great venue for a show. Hanging out with the Westwood gang. A shot with my friend and mentor Gail Nogle, in front of the portrait she inspired. —– It was so nice to finally see all the images enlarged, framed and hanging in one place. The best part was find out each person’s favorite image. It was so interesting how everyone seemed to have a different favorite. The show will be on display through the end of the summer, when it moves to the Goodrich Gallery in Dallas. If you are in Plano during July or August, I hope you will stop by and check out the images.
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Personal Portrait

During last year’s 40@Forty Project, I decided to create a portrait of my darling wife, Heather. Of course, the bar was really high for this one. I kept coming up with concepts, then eliminating them because I didn’t think they would be good enough. If finally decided to do something in the style of one of my favorite artists, Pino Daeni. What I love about Pino’s work is that he would take very ordinary scenes and elevate them to extraordinary with his amazing color and brushstrokes. It was a scary undertaking, but I figured I would give it a shot. I started with with a very simple setup – Heather standing at her vanity putting on an earring. There was nothing extra spectacular about the setup or the lighting – in fact, her back is to the camera and you can only see her face in the mirror. I started adding color, then applied lots of very loose brushwork. I finally ended up with a portrait I really liked… Back several years ago – when I started trying to earn my Master Photographer degree from PPofA, I decided I would try to get a merit with every member of my
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Source of Inspiration

A photographer friend recently asked me about the inspiration behind my image, “Meet Me On The Trolley.” She had seen George Joy’s image, “The Bayswater Omnibus” and figured that was where I got the idea. “The Bayswater Omnibus” by Joy Amazingly, it is not where the idea originated. A client had requested a portrait in the style of her favorite artist – Frida Kahlo. We decided to recreate one of her most famous pieces, “The Bus.” When the day came to create the image, she decided she didn’t like how she looked in the traditional Indian outfit, so she opted for her wedding dress. It turned out great because it gave the shot such a sense of oddity and contrast. “The Bus” by Kahlo (top) my image below    If you look in the upper right corner of my painting, you will see a small version of Kahlo’s “Bus” – A subtle tip of the hat to the original image. The crazy thing is… as I look at all the images, mine actually looks more like the Joy painting than the Kahlo. There is a person in black standing at the edge of the image and a man with a
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