Recently I watched The Agony and The Ecstasy” starring Charleston Heston as Michelangelo and Rex Harrison as Pope Julius II. The movie was released in 1965 and tells the story of Michelangelo’s artistic conflicts while painting the Sistine Chapel in the 1500s. I watched the movie right before I was getting ready to travel for a photo assignment. The entire movie was extremely powerful for me as an artist, but one line, a quote of Michelangelo in particular I think of often when working with my images.
“If the wine is not good, then throw it out!” ~ Michelangelo
He spoke these words right before he destroyed a rather large section of the Sistine Chapel he had been painting. It was large panels of the 12 Apostles Pope Julius II had wanted, but was not true to his own vision. I think of this quote many times when selecting, editing images or just striving for excellence. Working in the art world can be a constant battle between the agony and the ecstasy, but I certainly would choose to to nothing else.
Another lesson to be learned from Michelangelo is no matter where you are creatively, you have the power to migrate from one modality to another. Or in my case, one concept to another. Michelangelo’s true creative love was being a Sculptor and only committed to the painting the Sistine Chapel with the promise of a future sculpting commission. However, the Sistine Chapel, in the end is what he is most known for.
There are many other concepts to be learned from Michelangelo, but watch the movie The “Agony and the Ecstasy” and see what you come up with.
Thanks for reading and visit my website to view more of my work.
This week I was featured in another great Etsy Treasury, Sunshine Lollipops and Rainbows. Actually, two of my prints were featured, which is a first for me. A big thanks to Joanna Bury, the Curator of her Treasury, Sunshine Lollipops and Rainbows. What really attracts me to this Treasury are the vibrant colors she used to illustrate happiness. This led me to contemplate on the concept of color and how it impacts my work and also my mood.
I currently live in a very sunny climate, but I do remember those days of living with ongoing gray and overcast skies and how that weather would impact my everyday outlook on life. (often I would love to just stay on the couch and usually gained at least 5 lbs throughout the winter) Looking back I realize during those days, I was interested in making more black and white images and attracted to darker conceptual imagery in photography. I believe my overall preferences in life were gloomier also, such as books, writings and media. Today, when I work in black and white, I am eager to be done. Finished with that specific piece or project. I love color and prefer my personal work to be big and vibrant. Whether that is a function of my current living situation or just a creative phase I am in will only reveal itself with time. Also, a great concept for a research project. Meanwhile, I plan to enjoy all the sunshine, lollipops and rainbows that I can. How abut you? Do you see any parallels with your environment and your art?
Here are the two images featured in the Treasury, Sunshine Lollipops and Rainbows. Both vibrant, extremely upbeat and available for sale on my website or at my Etsy Store.
“Perfect Form” by McAnany
“Yellow Zebra” by McAnany
Thanks for reading and check out more of my work can be viewed at www.susanmcanany.com.
Here lately I have allocated some time everyday to “studio time”. Although I am usually in and out of my space everyday for a number of reasons from getting equipment to doing a shoot, I wanted to see what happens it I just sit in there and think, read, write and look around. I was amazed at the amount of creative thoughts that come my way by allowing myself to just pause for a little while stay off the iPhone, iPad, computer, camera and just sit in an area where I create. It actually has become a sort of a refuge now. Instead of craving the evening television, (I am a bit of a TV addict) I go to my studio and sit. I found I love to have coffee in my studio with pen in hand and do some writing. I am making an effort during this time to keep off my electronic toys. Like a lot of other people, all of my devices have become a bit of an addiction or here lately I am thinking maybe a big distraction. So leaving them behind during this special studio time is very beneficial.
Now my studio is in my home, so having a morning cup of jo is pretty convenient, but the thought behind this message is to stimulate creativity sometimes we need to disconnect from our electronic toys and busy lives and get back to some analog activities such as reading, writing and pondering in a designated space and new thoughts will emerge. At least for me this special studio time has helped stimulate my creativity.
Thanks for stopping by and more of my work can be viewed at susanmcanany.com.
Alien Vista is a macro image I shot several months ago and then got busy or went out of town and neglected to do anything else with it. It was taken with my mighty macro lens, Canon’s MPE-65mm. This lens is a beast, but it allows very close up photography up to 5:1. This would allow taking a photograph of a grain of rice. The downside is the shallow depth of field requiring taking multiple images and using a piece of software to combine the images and their different focus planes. For this image I used Zerene Stacker, which works fabulous for this type of application. It is a fun process, but does require a lot of patience. It is always amazing to me how interesting and often abstract something becomes when shot extremely close up. This is a close up of the inside of a cantaloupe.
Thanks for reading and more of my work can be viewed on my website.
I sometimes do a lot of complaining about Florida, but one thing I do love is the cloud action that create our fabulous Florida skies in the summer. The heat and humidity in the summer can be borderline unbearable here and often the flat landscape is not too inspiring. However, in the summer during our rainy, stormy season the skies are the most beautiful seen anywhere. I have been working a series of images featuring some if this cloud action that creates the fabulous Florida skies and like any new project comes new challenges. The movement of the clouds and the wide dynamic range are a few of the challenges I am encountering. And then of course the sand if I take a camera to the beach at sunset. This is not something I am inclined to do, however, one night I took the risk and here is what I came up with. I must say it was a spiritual experience that evening. So much so I named this print “Biblical” and the whole experience has made a weather bird out of me. I am constantly on the look out for stormy, cloudy weather and that cloud break up at sunset.
© 2013 Susan McAnany
Thanks for reading and looking and be sure to watch a sunset in your area. You may be surprised just how spectacular it is. More of my work can be viewed on my website.
Red Tomato is another image from my “On Black” series, which comprises of macro work done in my studio. This image was photographed in my studio using a macro lens, a variety of lights and modifiers and using a photographic technique called image stacking to create the final image. The final image consists of numerous images which were stacked and blended to achieve greater in-focus depth of field. A texture was added to the background. The image will be professionally printed using the giclée method and will last for decades under proper lighting conditions. The print would be a prefect addition to any home or workplace environment. More of my work can be viewed at susanmcanany.com or at my Etsy Store. Thanks for taking a look.
“Sharpness is a bourgeois concept.” – Henri Cartier-Bresson
View more of my work at my online gallery.
Creative work in my studio is proving once again that I am attracted to shooting inanimate stuff creatively earning me the name of “object chick”.
I am working on a new series of prints and one thing I am discovering is I really do love working in my studio and creating art out of something very mundane or ordinary. If I like the results (and often I don’t), I feel like I have hit the jackpot. Someone very dear to me once said “You are really are an object chick” and it got me thinking that some of my best work has come out of my studio doing tabletop work. Maybe the benefits of having complete control of subject and surroundings allows me to really create from deep within. Maybe I just enjoy having all my toys available in one room. Whatever the reason, I am happy I am in a zone and here is one piece I have been working on lately. The pomegranate was photographed with my MP-E65 super macro lens mounted on Really Right Stuff’s Focus Rail and is a combination of 9 captures. Thanks for stopping by and more of my work can be viewed at Susan McAnany Photography.