This is a picture from Glacier Bay National Park. You can see the Glacier on the left…the small dark dot next to it is the big-ass cruise ship that has chugged up the Bay to give its 2,000 guests a closer view of the Glacier. This picture shows the typical blue/gray/white landscape that we got used to seeing every day, rain coming down here but not there, blue sky up ahead but not behind and fog on the left but not the right. (I mean port and starboard naturally.) The next few posts will take you closer to the glacier and show some details that are really cool.
In other news, the musk ox came home last week! I have been waiting ever-so-patiently for him to return, I feel like my sculpture garden is complete…at least until I get the kangaroo finished. It has been beastly hot and HUMID and welding is not so much fun in those circumstances, despite the AC that I have turned on. So, for now, we will enjoy the musk ox’s return. I have placed him at the bottom of the hill from the kitchen door so that I can see him first thing in the morning and when I sit out on the patio to eat or read. He seems to be quite happy down there and Izzy has already welcomed him home, in her own way. You might notice the difference in the colors between the previous picture and the next ones…it was quite a shock (and a pleasure) to come home such lush surroundings.
If you or someone you know (and like) are in the Baltimore, MD area and want to come visit the animals, give me a call! The gardens are open by appointment. Just hop on over to my website to get all the information…
These anemones were living under the docks in Petersburg, Alaska. I learned it is possible to take pictures of things under the water without getting my camera wet. This is one of my favorite pictures from the trip.
So why was today a good day? Because for the first time in over two months, my list of things to do had one word on it…”studio”. Between the residency in NYC and the trip to Alaska (not to mention the interment of my mother-in-law’s ashes and the influx of my husband’s family last week) I have had an enormous amount of things that have stopped me from working in my own studio. This makes me grumpy. The funny thing is, I didn’t create a single thing today.
No, instead I spent the entire day cleaning. Well, cleaning is too simple a word for the epic rearranging that went on. I took old pictures off the walls and archived them, recycled/threw out decades of bad art, made piles of pictures to be donated, vacuumed up dead flies and stink bugs (I work in a barn, remember?) and moved furniture and books to new spots. As a result, my upstairs sanctuary is quickly becoming a refreshed and exciting place to be. I will have room for all the new work I have been doing, and, hopefully, a place to play with the weaving/installation work I started in NYC.
Of course it’s a multi-day process, I still have tons of work to do and storage containers to buy so I won’t show pictures yet but it already is giving me a whole new perspective which is a good thing when you are creating. It’s almost like I am clearing the cobwebs out of my brain and allowing fresh new ideas and images to enter. Stay tuned!
If you are a Star Trek fan you will recognize this quote from one of the movies. We kept saying this during the trip. We saw humpback whales and orcas, the latter of which evidently are not always to be seen in that area. The do exist but they don’t always show their faces. I did get to see their faces but you won’t. I more often got pictures of tails or the mist of air as they breached. As I stated in the last post, I am not the patient kind of photographer who waits with my eye to the viewfinder just to get “that” picture. You know, the picture that produces the oohs and aaahs in the slide show at the end of the cruise. No, I would rather just experience the magic first hand, the sounds of the humpback whales breathing (which you can hear and see from a great distance if the ship’s engines are turned off), the beauty of the orcas surfacing in groups and the last flip of the tail before the great beasts go back down to get some more food. And there really was a magic to it, one that I happily shared with the group on the boat.
I have started to figure out lightroom, so here are some of my pix of the whales after I have worked on them a bit. I still am annoyed at the “noise” which no matter what I do will not go away. Lesson learned. Sigh.
We have returned from our 30th anniversary ex-po-tition (to borrow a phrase from Winnie the Pooh). An Alaskan cruise has long been on our collective bucket list and now we can cross it off. I have to say, it was a magnificent experience, different and better than what I had imagined.
I think there is a reason why Alaska shows up as an island in most US maps. Even though it is technically connected to the mainland, it is, for all intents and purposes, totally separate from the lower 48. For instance, in Juneau there are cars, roads, McDonald’s…even a Walmart. But the roads lead out of town and then…stop. There is no way to drive from Juneau TO anywhere, everything arrives and departs by plane or boat. Evidently when the McDonald’s opened, there was a line one mile long. They ran out of food in two hours, then had to close for two weeks until they were able to restock.
Alaskan “taxis” are little float planes that can take you from a small town to a remote lodge to have a quiet week fishing or hunting. It is definitely a different land up there, one which the Alaskans are trying hard to preserve, although they aren’t always so successful.
There was so much to learn about the wildlife and because we were on a Lindblad/National Geographic tour, we learned an enormous amount about bears, whales, birds, otters, see lions, glaciers…the list goes on and on. I was also able to learn a lot more about photography, some of which will come in handy for my future photo expeditions. Unfortunately, this was the kind of expedition that shows up my weaknesses as a photographer. Evidently I am not good at taking photographs of wildlife from a moving zodiac. Nor am I very good at being patient enough to get that perfect picture of a whale breaching. But I did get some decent pictures of some interesting things and some okay pictures of some awesome things so I will just shut up now and start showing you a few of them. I think I’ll take few posts to share them all. Oh, and I am starting to figure out Lightroom so if they are not edited very well, it’s because I’m still learning how to do it.
Things I learned:
1.Sea lions are very photogenic.
2. Never use the digital zoom, it will ALWAYS be grainy and can ruin a perfectly good picture.
The next lesson, what I learned about whales…stay tuned!!!
A very quick post, mostly just pictures from around the place. I don’t have time to add eloquently philosophical words much less throw the pictures into Photoshop so you will just have to look at the blurry, overexposed pictures and read the captions…enjoy!
It seems that a good portion of my life has been spent trying to explain what I do. I moved from NYC to Charleston, SC in the mid 80’s. I had been dancing at the Martha Graham studio for a year. When people in SC asked me what I did I said I was a modern dancer. “Oh!” they replied, “is that what they do on Broadway?” I was left with trying to explain what modern dance is and how it is different than Broadway jazz. I have to admit that sometimes I just answered yes and left it at that.
Three years later we moved to Baltimore so that I could get my Master’s degree in Dance/Movement Therapy. Uh huh. Really. I got extremely good at the explanation…”it’s a psychotherapy using movement as a means of communicating feelings and healing the mind. Think how much better you feel after getting exercise and you have an idea of how it might work. Because it’s a non-verbal way of communicating it works particularly well with autistic kids and Alzheimer’s patients although it is useful with many different populations.” People often still didn’t get it, they seemed to think I taught dance classes to, well, I’m not sure who I was supposed to be teaching dance to. So I changed the subject.
After I got my degree I started working with polymer clay. (e.g. Fimo, Sculpey, Primo) I began to make small items but soon graduated to sculptures of lizards, snakes, frogs and iguanas. Each of these was covered with a pattern made from the clay. The technique was called millefiori. Often someone would come into my booth and ask how I could paint such fine lines. “Oh, I am not painting them”, I said. “It’s called millefiori and it is an ancient glass bead technique. I make a long log or “cane” with strips of colored clay, somewhat like a sushi roll or spiral cookies, slice through it and lay the slices on the form of the animal.” “Ah”, one woman said, “and then you paint it”. I could see she just was not going to get the picture so I said to her “Yes, then I paint it.” But of course there was no paint involved. I started to bring unfinished “canes” that had been baked so that people could actually visualize what it was that I was trying to describe.
So why am I bringing this up now? Well, because once again I have dived into the murky waters of a difficult concept and am trying to figure out how to explain/describe it. What exactly IS Bio art anyway???
I will try to do this as simply as possible without using all the multi-syllable words that scientists and bio artist like to use.
Basically, in my mind, bio art is an umbrella term for an art made from biological forms. These forms can be real, manufactured or symbolically similar which then get manipulated to create art. One could argue, using this definition, that landscapers, gardeners, dog breeders and chefs (especially microbiological chefs) are bio-artists. Indeed they are. When I weed something out of my garden I am declaring “This is a weed, this is not pretty to me, I want it gone.” And I manipulate the earth to look the way I want it to. And rose gardeners have been practicing bio art for centuries as they manipulate roses to create different colors, sizes and smells.
There are artists, though, who have stretched across the bio-art sphere to use biological matter, computer programs and algorithms, and microscopy to create art that either tells a story or begs to begin a dialogue about what the biological sciences are doing in today’s world. Artists like Heather Dewey-Hagborg and Alice Micelli are doing projects that couldn’t have been conceived of twenty years ago. Dewey-Hagborg took DNA from cigarette butts and chewing gum found in NYC, added it to a computer program that came up with an algorithm of what the individual people might have looked like and then created life-masks from the information. Micelle spent several years traveling to Chernobyl with X-ray paper, seeing if she could take x-rays of the country simply by leaving the paper there for a few months. (she did.) The first of these projects, while not your typical “pretty” art, begs the viewer to start thinking about the role of DNA in our daily lives. Do we really want to give up control of who we are to a bunch of strangers? Micelli’s work shows just how much man has created “dead zones” on this earth. Places where no one can live, ever again…or at least not for several more generations. You can see some videos of her work here.
Oh my, this has been a chatty post hasn’t it? There is absolutely no way to do this subject any justice in a blog, but I hope you have a little bit more of an idea of what my residency at SVA was like. Needless to say, some of the lectures where a bit off the charts for me. I am, after all a simple soul, and old-fashioned to boot. But I’m guessing some of the lectures have already creeped into my psyche and may show up in some way in the next few years.