Saturday, February 13, 2010

Ted Orland

Recently the most stunning photograph came through the shop of a redwood tree covered in snow. When it was fit with the triple mat and frame, it was a testament that custom framing can already amazing art, even more impressive.

The framer who picked out the mat colors and frame, was sad to see it leave the shop. We kept looking at it in awe. I feel so lucky to be learning from her and my manager, since they both know so much about framing.

When the customer came by to pick up his order, I had to ask him the photographers name. The artist's name is Ted Orland, a California photographer.

It was the above photograph that was framed. This image is too small to see all of the amazing details, so go the artist's site to see better images of his work. I wish I had an image of it with the mats and frame, but you get the idea. It was a treat to go to work and behold the beauty of this art framed.

Tree Snowstorm Yosemite Valley (2008)
Pigment Ink Print
Overall size: 28x22


A friend sent me this link of a photo documentary of this block head character Danbo. It is like in Amelie and the gnome. The photos are well done and super cute captions.

Books I want to read

I have a back log of books I want to read. So it goes, one book leads to another book, so to remind myself of these other books I want to get to, here they are:

"Excuse me your Life is Waiting" by Lynn Grabhorn"
other books by J.K. Rowling
Art and Fear by Ted Orland
Agatha Cristie books
Eat right for your type by Peter D'Adamo
Why prolife by Alcorn
Women who runs with the wolves by Pinkola

A little too thin by Strober
Anne of Green Gables series (again!)
The life of a photograph : archival processing, matting, framing, storage by Laurence E. Keefe, and Dennis Inch
Grand Theft Childhood by Lawrence Kutner and Cheryl Olson

Louisa May Alcott books
All of the Caldecott and Newbery award winners (this year I finished reading all of the gold Caldecott winners.I'm making progress.)
Read some biographies, particularly about artists

Recommended books from the Professional Picture Framers Association:
1. The Complete Guide to Shadowboxes and
Framing Objects
James Miller, MCPF
2. Art & Picture Framing Glossary of Standard Terms
3. Caring for Your Art
Jill Snyder
4. Picture Framing, Volume 1
Vivian Kistler, MCPF, GCF
5. Mat Cutting and Decoration, Volume 2
Vivian Kistler, MCPF, GCF
6. Needlework Framing, Volume 3
Vivian Kistler, MCPF, GCF
7. Framing Photography, Volume 6
Allan Lamb, CPF
8. PPFA Guidelines for Framing Works of Art on Paper
9. PPFA Guidelines for Framing Works of Art on Canvas
10. The Mounting and Laminating Handbook
Chris Paschke, CPF, GCF
11. CCI Notes: Paintings
Canadian Conservation Institute
12. Preserving Textiles
Harold F. Mailand and Dorothy Stites Alig

I also have more books I want to read. They are on my shelfari account.

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Rice Fields of Japan

Stunning crop art has sprung up across rice fields in Japan , but this is no alien creation. The designs have been cleverly planted.

Farmers creating the huge displays use no ink or dye.
Instead, different color rice plants have been precisely and strategically arranged and grown in the paddy fields.

As summer progresses and the plants shoot up, the detailed artwork begins to emerge.
A Sengoku warrior on horseback has been created from hundreds of thousands of rice plants. The colors are created by using different varieties. This photo was taken in Inakadate , Japan .. Napoleon on horseback can be seen from the skies. This was created by precision planting and months of planning by villagers and farmers located in Inkadate , Japan . Fictional warrior Naoe Kanetsugu and his wife, Osen, whose lives are featured on the television series Tenchijin,
appear in fields in the town of Yonezawa in the Yamagata prefecture of Japan .

This year, various artwork has popped up in other rice-farming
areas of Japan , including designs of deer dancers.
Smaller works of crop art can be seen in other rice-farming areas of Japan such as this image of Doraemon and deer dancers

The farmers create the murals
by planting little purple and yellow-leafed Kodaimai rice along with their local green-leafed Tsugaru, a Roman variety, to create the colored patterns in the time between planting and harvesting in September.

The murals in Inakadate cover 15,000 square meters of paddy fields.

From ground level, the designs are invisible, and viewers have to climb the mock castle tower of the village office to get a glimpse of the work.
Closer to the image, the careful placement of the thousands of rice plants in the paddy fields can be seen.

Rice-paddy art was started there in 1993 as a local revitalization project, an idea that grew from meetings of the village committees.
The different varieties of rice plants grow alongside each other to create the masterpieces.
In the first nine years, the village office workers and local farmers
grew a simple design of Mount Iwaki every year.
But their ideas grew more complicated and attracted more attention.

In 2005, agreements between landowners
allowed the creation of enormous rice paddy art.
A year later, organizers used computers to precisely plot planting of the four differently colored rice varieties that bring the images to life.
(I was sent this as a forward to my email inbox. I had to share it with you. -Elizabeth)

How to Make a Bouncy Ball

While hunting around to buy three distinct bouncy balls sizes in bulk, I found this link on making your own bouncy balls. It may surprise some, but I am not crazy enough to make my own since I'll need 100s. But I could see making bouncy balls sometime with my cousins.

(Update: Feb. 2010. I followed the above recipe with my cousins and the bouncy balls didnt bounce very high and they cracked on the surface but were gooey in the middle. They did however bounce pretty good on the trampoline.)

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

How to make a model

As an artist, it's easier to explain my ideas in models. Since posting the Mandala Mobile model I received several questions on how I made it. The first attempt was frustrating and I didn't even keep that model. Here's what I learned for a more enjoyable and quicker model making session:

1. Since it's a hanging sculpture and gravity is an issue, I decided to make the model upside down, then flip the image on the computer.

I found it's tons easier to work on a corrugated cardboard lid instead of on a sheet of dense cardboard. That way I could easily shove the pins through. Plus the height of the box made it so I didnt have to look down as much, putting less strain on my neck. On other projects I've elevated the sculpture by putting it on a box of clay and another time using a 1 gallon bucket. Having it on a stand also helps when painting the sculpture, because you can turn the wet model by moving the base.

For this Mandala Mobile it's made out of bees wax clay, wire, safety pins and sewing pins.

I put a white poster board behind the miniature for a clean background, but more about photographing in a minute.

2. To help hold the pins and wire in place, I first spread earthquake putty over the cardboard. It looks very unprofessional and worry some to clients to walk into a presentation with a model that's already falling apart. It's important to make it sturdy enough to move. I used earthquake putty because that's what I had on hand, but you can use clay, foam...

I also made sure that the model wasn't all the way to the edge of the cardboard, so I wouldn't have to worry about objects bumping it when it's transported.

3. To soften the beeswax clay I laid the sheets of clay on a heating pad on my lap (so I wouldn't forget about it and have it melt everywhere). To make things faster I used sewing pins that had yellow heads, instead of making them out of yellow clay and sticking them onto wire.

To suspend the clay balls and wire spirals I used armatures made from safety pins, sewing pins and wire.

To make the wire springs I wrapped the wire around a screw driver and the smaller coils were wrapped around a thick piece of wire.

4. With the white poster board for a background I took lots of photos.

5. In Photoshop I flipped the image, so now the mandala is hanging from the ceiling.

I also used the clone tool to make the earthquake putty less obvious. (You'll see that in the last image.)

Conveniently the line between the mandala and the posterboard created a line that looks where teh ceiling and the wall meet. To illimantate the line, use the clone tool or try lighting it so there are no shadows at that point.

6. I wanted the model to be scale with this room, so I created a layer on top of this photo and drew the outlines of the furniture. Then I took that drawing and put in the photo of the mandala.

7. I saved the original file with the layers incase I want to alter things at a later date. I also saved this image as a smaller file that is easy to email, with the name of the sculpture and my last name as part of the file name.

Things to keep in mind:
1. Making a model takes way longer then you think it will, so don't wait until the last minute to start it. Besides exploring how your idea will work in 3D and confrunting the problem areas, it's supposed to be fun to build the model.

2. Avoid learning new skills when it's essential to master the skill on the spot in order to finish the project on time. (My first model was on the computer using a 3D program that I have used twice. I made myself frazzled and ended up with a visual that I didn't want to share, so I switched to what I know- sculpting.)

3. When merging two photos together, (like if I used the actual photo of the bedroom with the mandala,) keep the direction of the lighting the same and use the same dpi for the images.