Tag Archives: decorative

Pumpkins are Popular!

Pumpkins are popular!  Well, it is fall, or autumn.   Grocery stores and pumpkin patches stock up with the latest and greatest varieties of pumpkin available.  To be fair to the pumpkin, not all pumpkins are the traditional orange and green.  Over the centuries, the breeding and cross breeding of varieties of this fall fruit has resulted in different shapes, sizes, colors, and textures.

 

Fruit?  According to scientific rules,  pumpkins are fruit.  They share the same family tree as different types of squash like zucchini, yellow, acorn and butternut squashes. They are even related to the cucumber.

 

The real confusion begins when you consider that the pumpkin is a vegetable in the culinary world.  Often, the cooking instructions read very similar to root vegetables.   Pumpkins are boiled, steamed, mashed and roasted.   Of course, classifying pumpkin is not extremely important outside of Botany or Culinary class.  What matters is the processing of this versatile gourd/berry/vegetable/fruit of the vine into so many items, both decorative and edible, that let’s us celebrate the season of Fall.

 

Best of all, I can make works of beautiful photographic art and then make a pie.  You can’t do that with cucumbers….

 

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5 Questions To Influence Your Art Collection

The art you choose to place on your walls tells your family, friends and business associates what you are all about.  If you’ve ever been to a day spa you will see specific types of art.  Ever notice that there are no loud obnoxious “in your face” paintings or décor in a spa?  Instead, you see relaxing photographs and images that calm the mind and communicate a relaxing experience.  Owners and interior decorators choose the art displayed in these locations for that reason.  They inspire the experience that best represents the calming and soothing feeling people expect when the enter a spa.

 

How do you choose your art?  The answer to this question is actually easier than it sounds.  First, you must ask yourself some basic questions.

 

  1. What type of art do I like?
  2. What kind of art do I enjoy?
  3. How much do I want to spend?
  4. Am I looking at a particular artist?
  5. Do I want to be a collector? Or am I just looking to enhance my lifestyle?

The answers to these questions are unique for each person. If you know some of the answers it makes the art shopping experience a lot of fun.  Try it out.

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Pictures, Laundry, and Archival Prints?

 

We have created a system that empowers you to order artwork directly from our site to the printer and have it printed on a special paper called rag paper.  Curious, I did a little research into this popular type of paper.

http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Mt._Holyoke,_Massachusetts_-_Paper._American_Writing_Paper_Co._Rag_sorting_%28Irish%29._-_NARA_-_518336.tif
Rag sorting at the Mt._Holyoke, Massachusetts Paper. American Writing Paper Co. Public Domain

Rag paper has been around for centuries. The normal everyday white papers found in schools and notebooks are made from wood pulp.   However, in the history of paper this is a relatively new way of manufacturing it.  For centuries the world used a paper called rag paper.  Rag paper is not made from wood pulp but, as the name suggests, rags.  Specifically, cotton rags. Though some other fabrics are sometimes used, it seems universal that cotton is the go to fabric for both the ancient and modern worlds.

Cut_rags_after_removing_from_washing_drums,_paper_mills,_Holyoke,_Mass,_by_Keystone_View_Company
Cut rags after removing from washing drums, paper mills at turn of the 20th century Public Domain.

Paper, made of cotton and/or linen is called paper rag.  It is not unusual for cotton fabric to be recycled for this specific purpose.  It’s weird to think that tomorrows fine art could be made using your current pair of undergarments ( there’s a thought ! )   or even your blue jeans.   Any of those materials could be recycled into rag paper.

Rag paper is stronger than pulp paper.  This makes it last longer and be more tear resistant than typical wood pulp paper.  The reason is that the fiber of the cotton rags are longer and more dense than the fibers found in wood pulp.  This gives the rag paper it’s strength and durability.

Why would somebody put artwork on a piece of rag?  Simple, in the manufacturing process, the rag paper becomes Ph. neutral or acid neutral.  That means that no acid or base chemicals are left in the materials.  The pigments and inks placed on the paper absorb into the fabric and stay without any chemical degradation caused by acids and bleaches found in non-archival papers.  This is why most of today’s national paper currencies continue to be made with cotton rag.  You can wash a dollar bill and it doesn’t disintegrate after any money laundering in the washing machine .

800px-Mt._Holyoke,_Massachusetts_-_Paper._American_Writing_Paper_Co._Rag_sorting_(French)._-_NARA_-_518337
American Writing paper Company (Public Domain)

It is this very reason antique documents, like the U.S. Constitution or the Declaration of Independence, and even the Magna Carta are still around today.  Paper rag is naturally archival when made.  It will last for centuries.

 

Here is a video from an Indian paper manufacturing company that makes handmade rag paper.

 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=s8WiU8jyfiw

 

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A Day With A Blue Jay

After taking the picture of a blue jay feather on the ground, You walk around some bushes and down a slope to discover this cute creature.  At the time, you may believe that this bird was just a blue jay.  He looks like he was fighting with other blue jays.  Knowing that blue jays are rather territorial this doesn’t strike you as surprising. It’s that time of spring when mating and small hatchlings are beginning to fly about, and you have seen several small baby robins twittering about.

Be excited!  Who doesn’t love to take picture of cute animals and this little guy is simply perched on this low branch right next to you. He’ll spend most of his time checking you out and trying to decide if you’re a threat or just another creature walking by.  This is perfect!  You know the pictures are going to come out great.  You’ve already thought of a space in your office where he can show off your wall.

You notice his body feathers have a ruffled look to them.  His whole body highlighted by the bright sun,, which has revealed itself from behind the clouds and is shining in full force.  You stand still for a short time to watch your new feathery friend scurrying up and down the branches, looking at you, looking at the ground, and then back at you again.  He seems so agitated, but you think he would become an excellent work of art.  You slowly lift your camera and start taking his picture. Soon, he grows tired of you just looking at him with a large camera attached to your face and decides  to head off for more profitable trees.

It was then when a nice lady you met earlier that day, whom one could only describe as being one of those fine examples of a southern Texas belles with her broad brim spring hat and a quiet Texas accent , finds you to give some advice.   She and a friend of hers were wandering the gardens after visiting with you earlier and they discovered a mother blue jay with a tiny chick in a nest nearby.

Imagine your surprise when you discover that the frazzled male blue jay isn’t the victim of a recent fight.  He isn’t disheveled and ragged looking hopping from branch to branch ceaselessly because of his wounds.  Instead, he’s trying to find food constantly.  He’s a new father!

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Impermanence of a Spring Rose

 

A perfect flower is going to offer up a perfect picture.  That is, assuming all of your equipment is working correctly, the light angles and levels are great, and lady luck is at your door step.

 

Yet, I have offered up an “imperfect” flower.  It has a little brown around the edges of some of the petals.  The color white in the center is not a perfect white but a more cream color.  What was I thinking about when I took this picture?  Most professional photographers would simply throw this image away.   That would be a huge loss.  I wasn’t thinking about photography, or it being the perfect picture.  I was making art instead.

 

The art of impermanence.   Things don’t last forever.

I wanted to elevate that feeling of impermanence to another level.  Sure, I could have spent many hours at my computer working in Photoshop to make it a “perfect flower”.  But it would ruin the chance to view the idea that reality shows us all nature’s beauty if we take time to look for it.

I’m looking at this rose,  and I see that it is deep into middle age.  The green at the bottom of the flower tells me that it is still got a long and prosperous life ahead of it.  But the brown?  It’s the grey hair that some people start to get in their 40’s.  It’s impermanence shown in nature.  It’s nature’s way of physically telling the world, “Hey, look whose not a kid anymore!”   It’s not demeaning to the flower, indeed if the flower could speak I think it would be saying “ I’ve lasted this long?”  “Wow.”

 

It’s an interesting challenge to our general way of thinking that everything has to be perfect.  Especially in photography.  That in itself Is the great thing about being an artistic photographer.  I get to see and share nature’s way of saying being impermanent is perfect.  Enjoy.

 

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