One of the pieces of advice most frequently given to young aspiring writers (or painters, or sculptors) is: “Write what you know about”. Well, I’m old, and what I know about is pain, everything from arthritis through carpal tunnel and collapsed arches to sciatica and how to manage it. PAIN MANAGEMENT is a paper collage made from several tubes of the same brand of topical pain cream and part of my “Negative to Positive” series of collages. And, yes, I buy in bulk.
MOONFLOWER is a paper collage constructed out of seven pieces cut from a single 5” x 7” advertising postcard. It pretty much named itself, but I decided that it might be a good idea to find out if there was such a thing as a Moonflower. When I did a Google Search for “Moonflower”, it turned out that not only is there a Moonflower but that there were multiple entries about it, one of which titled: “Time of the Moonflower” by Shushann Movsessian and Gemma Summers refers to the Moonflower as a Symbol of Blossoming in Dark Times stating that: “The beautiful and enchanting Moonflower is a nightflower that needs the dark to grow and blossom. Like other nightflowers, it uses the creatures of the night, such as moths and bats, to help with pollination. It is such a wonderful symbol for the growth potential of our souland personality when we are faced with challenging and difficult periods in our lives.” Well, challenging and difficult does seem to aptly describe our times.
A number of years back I did a series of black and white photographs in and around southeast Washington, DC using a Pentax SLR and Kodak 400 film. These were primarily of the architectural details, their interaction with the trees in the small yards and the lights and shadows. I did my own darkroom work (the Stone Age version of Photoshop) and titled the series: STILL LIFE IN THE CITY. In December of 2021 I used the black and white filter on my cellphone camera, to take a similar series in southeast DC and titled it STILL LIFE IN THE CITY – II. Other than the black and white filter and some cropping, there were no changes to the images. In many ways STILL LIFE IN THE CITY#2, part of that series is an exercise in visualizing in black and white.(2021)
WITH AGE COMES PERSPECTIVE, part of my “From Negative To Positive” Series is an exercise piece, an effort to make myself get back to being creative with limited materials and tools. The ground rules for the exercise were that I had to create an image using only the material contained in a single advertising circular or brochure, a pair of scissors and some white glue. The first pieces I cut out of the brochure reminded me of a skyline and birds in flight, which led to a reflection on perspective, both artistic and otherwise, which in turn led to the title. (587) (11” x 14”) (2021)
WHATTHEFLOCK? is part of my “Views From a Third Floor Window” Series as part of my trying to learn how to use digital photography as an art form. Initially I am going to focus (pun intended) on basic composition rather than image manipulation. WHATTHEFLOCK? was shot using my cell phone and because of the weather (overcast, dreary and dank), the distance, and being shot hastily through a window as well as that I am just starting to use my cell phone as a camera ended up being an interesting silhouette shot. What was interesting to me about this flock is that it was composed of robins, cardinals and sparrows – something I had never seen before except around a feeder
SNOW MOON is part of my “Negative to Positive” Series of paper collages which take the background color, i.e. the “negative space” from a single piece of advertising or packaging material and convert it into the image, i.e. the “positive”. In this case the material was a grocery delivery advertisement and the title SNOW MOON comes from the name of the February 2022 full moon. I knew that certain full moons had names, such as the Harvest Moon or the Hunter’s Moon but did not realize that all full moons have names until I started researching it.
REFLECTIONS OF HOME is a somewhat originally composed if unoriginally titled digital photograph of my apartment, taken as a reflection off the back window of my van using my cell phone. This image is exactly as taken except for some minor cropping. As I start experimenting with digital photography as an art form, I am initially concentrating on composition rather than image manipulation.
WE ARE NOT ALONE was taken with my cell phone camera around 3 pm on July 19, 2021 looking out my sunroom window towards Warminster Park. While I suppose it could be part of my “Views From a Third Floor Window” Series, it actually predates the start of that series and was essentially a reflex action on my part. Shortly after I took this shot, the image was gone and I’m going to have to leave it to the viewer to determine what they are seeing. WE ARE NOT ALONE, with the exception of some minor cropping, appears exactly as I took it with no staging, alterations, enhancements, or manipulations.
A lot of my work involves using found objects and recycled and repurposed materials. FEATHER is just such a piece using a molted feather from a broad tailed hawk and a sheet of handmade paper using asparagus and kale stems, corn husks, pineapple, day lily, and daffodil leaves, grass clippings and abaca. I have a large variety of handmade papers, and went through them all, but this combination really seemed to work best. FEATHER is a one of a kind piece because while I do have a couple more sheets of this particular paper, I found only the one feather. To the best of my knowledge, no hawk was harmed in the making of FEATHER.
LIVING HIGH, part of my “Views From a Third Floor Window”, has nothing to do with beverages or substances. Instead it references the feeling of knowing that when you live on the third floor of a retirement community, no matter how much it snows-you don’t have to shovel it. LIVING HIGH was shot with my cell phone camera early one morning just before breakfast and with the coffee already poured. The image, except for some minor cropping, is exactly as I took it with no filters, alterations or manipulations.