Saturday 29 December 2018


Alone - B&W version. Be mindful that alone and lonely are two very different things. You can be alone without being lonely, and the loneliest place I know is a crowd.

Recently, I was asked to leave a group for people with "artistic aspirations" by the moderator of the group. There were two reasons:
  • I have the habit of writing a bit about each picture. According to the moderator of the group, this is bad, because art should speak for itself.
  • My pictures lack every ounce of artistic merit.
I left the group. Why spend time arguing, when I can spend it creating pictures, or discussing art with people who do want to discuss art?

I had not planned writing about it, but today, I saw that same moderator post a video about the importance of including everyone, and never, ever shutting anyone out.

The first thing I thought was, "wow, what a hypocrite!"
My second thought was, "is she a hypocrite, or just incredibly stupid?"
The third thing that popped into my mind was, "I really hope I am not that stupid too."

Alone - Color version.
I often find myself holding the view of a minority, and quite often, the minority is just me. That can make me feel more than a little bit lonely, but it also has advantages. It makes it easier to examine, and re-examine, my views to see if I need to adjust them, or if I am outright wrong.

Quite often, when I thoroughly re-examine facts and logic, I find that I was right from the start. This is of course quite worrying, because there are many more ways to be wrong than right. If I rarely change my mind, then maybe I am not as good at absorbing new facts and re-examining my beliefs as I think I am.

I try not to judge other people's art though.

Artists work with languages of symbols. There are many such symbol languages, and I speak but a few. I cannot judge the quality of art that is created with symbols unknown to me, or that do not evoke an emotional response in me.

In the cases where I am qualified to judge why should I? I either enjoy the piece, or I do not. If I enjoy something, yes, I do tell the artist that, but if I do not, there is no reason to say so. It won't help the artist. It won't make me happier either.

Discussing art is a way of transferring knowledge about the symbol languages of art. It makes it possible to appreciate and enjoy art that one cannot otherwise appreciate and enjoy.

There are many artists I admire, and many, perhaps most, of them are very good at discussing their art. Some, like Joe McNally, William Mortensen, Scott Kelby, and Stan Lee, have written books about their way of creating art. Alex Ross makes videos. So do many others.

I believe, very strongly, that if I do not write and talk about what I do, I would severely limit my own development. Wether anyone else finds what I write and say useful...well, that is for them to say. I just do my best.

Fortunately, I have friends who are willing to share their understanding of art. I just hope my ideas have enough merit, so I can give my friends something in return for all the ideas and insights they have given me over the years.

So, while I do withdraw from others quite often, in order to think and work, and thus is often alone, thanks to friends and family, I am rarely lonely, despite my tendency to be a misfit in social media groups.

Sunday 16 December 2018

Kyla Rising - Contrast and composition

I often look at pictures made by the artists I admire, like Joe Jusko, Gerald Brom, Frank Frazetta, William Mortensen, and Michael Whelan, to better understand what it is that makes their work outstanding.

One of the things is contrast! Look at the work of the artists I listed. Black & White pictures are nearly always high contrast, with the main subject clearly differentiated from everything else in the picture. It is the same thing with the color pictures. If you turn on of their color pictures Black & White, you will see the same thing: Clear separation of subjects and background. The main subject clearly separated from everything else.

There are exceptions, but those are deliberate exceptions, when blending different parts together is the point. It rarely happens by accident.

Me, I am struggling, and, I hope, slowly learning to do the same thing.

The picture above is a visual analysis of the picture, similar to the one I made for Arachnophobia II. Even though I have used many elements borrowed from Mortensen's visual language, and some from other sources, the primary element is contrast: Light and darkness, sex and fear, water (soft), and stone (hard).

Below are  four different versions of Kyla Rising, two in colour, and two B&W. Have a look at them.Which is your favorite version? Why?

That is all for now. I'll get back to preparing picture ideas and photo sessions for 2019.

Be seeing you!