Creative experiments are a great way to jump start your ideas and give you a break from routine creative work patterns and flow.
“Leone On Shore”
- Low tide in Madagascar
The last couple of weeks I have had a very out-of-box experience. I had been a little fatigue from working digitally and thought I would stretch myself and try a little analog work, so I enrolled in week and a half art class at the local college of art and design. It was a Mixed Media class taught by Brian Haverlock, who is an outstanding artist and teacher. I took the class with an open mind, hoping I may find new ways to take my work to a different level. Needless to say it was harder than I anticipated, especially since I found my actual painting and crayon skills were at perhaps a kindergarten level and advanced maybe to 3rd grade during the class. However despite my inadequacies in some areas, I did gain valuable lesson in other areas. Here are some of my insights:
Exposure to the work of accomplished artists outside of photograph, such as Max Ernst, Scott Eagle, Joseph Cornell or Brain Haverlock will stimulate ideas and inspiration.
I look at my own art different and for more ways to take even a simplistic image a step further, whether that be with lighting, color, texture and or combining multiple images.
A lot of photography is based in facts and computations so take time to let loose and experiment. I plan to continue trying several methods that were taught to stimulate creativity, like Decalcomania or drawing and cutting with my non dominate hand. Never know what might emerge.
Each exposure to something new helps me craft my vision for my own body of work.
Lastly, a deep appreciation for the undo button.
More of my work can be viewed at www.susanmcanany.com.
Often for me a creative thought can be spun by words of another and provide guidelines for expanding my creative boundaries.
“Strive for the moment of recognition that there is something else going on – that both attention and inattention is required to fully experience a piece — is often what gives artwork its impact …..”
Karen Irvine, Curator of the Museum of Contemporary Photography, Chicago
Have you ever witnessed the yin yang effect in your life? Well, I believe I experience it frequently or maybe it is some kind of mid life crisis. I especially see it in my creative interests. One month I am photographing prisons and graffiti and the next I am mixing paints to create some vibrant macro abstractions guaranteed to make your eyes pop.
Or maybe the swing in interest is due to my birth date, which happens to be right on the cusp between the Zodiac signs of Cancer and Leo. I have been told at certain times it can (and does) create conflicting feelings and actions. Cancer being the conservative homebody and Leo the outgoing risk taker.
There’s a theory in photography, a person should totally embrace what they like to shoot and focus only on that one interest in the hopes of achieving perfection. I certainly see merit to that, although, for me I also see a certain amount of boredom setting in. I look at my portfolio and see a huge range of diversity and that is only viewing what is online . Maybe it is due to the length of time I have been shooting or maybe it is the yin-yang effect in my life. I just don’t seem to be able to settle into something permanently. Once I shot a magazine containing portraits of 100 different woman from all walks of life. While the experience was fun, I learned a lot and met many different, wonderful women, I was happy when it was over. Ready to get back to art.
Regardless of the cause, I am happy with opposite interests in my life. Here are a couple of examples of what I have been working on from the Abstract Category on my website.
Master of The Month
A few months ago I started making a conscious effort each month to look at an Artist whose work inspires a level of excitement deep inside me. I find looking at different Artist’s work takes my work to a higher level and helps me define my personal vision. I haven’t really sought out a specific artist, they usually just show up in my life. All I have to do is take notice.
One month a friend wanted to visited the new Dali Museum just built in St Petersburg, FL. I was so taken with Salvador Dali’s work, we spent all day there, which is odd for me because I usually can only handle a couple of hours in a museum and my mind begins to roam. In addition, I bought books and continued to research more on the internet when I came home. At the time I was very focused on compositing images and Dali’s work unleashed so many ideas in my head I felt on fire. He was ahead of his time in thinking and creativity and would certainly be a superstar in today’s Photoshop world.
Another month I stumbled across a PBS special on Francesca Woodman, a dedicated Artist and Photographer best known for her black and white images mostly of herself and female models, often nude. She would use long exposure and movement to capture incredible blurred images of her subjects and their environments. In her short life she produced a huge volume of work that is unique and quite powerful. Unfortunately, she committed suicide at age 22, but her life and struggles touched me as I too struggle with the mental aspect of balancing that inner artist with the outside world.
This month I came across a more current Artist/Photographer, Jerry Uelsmann, in my Digital PhotoPro magazine. Uelsmann’s work is phenomenal and all done in the darkroom. I admired that right away. The darkroom is truly magical, but he takes it to another level. Beautiful, thought provoking photo montages of surreal imagery, with the interpretation left to the viewer. I liked reading about his unique approach to forming an image with the final step leaving it Untitled so not to influence the viewer’s perception. Now, that’s deep! I definitely will be looking more into Uelsmann’s work this month.
View my work at http:www.susanmcanany.com.