madshutterbug: (c)2009 by Myself (Houdini&I)
[personal profile] madshutterbug
When last we visited Mad Shutterbug for a State of the Artist the calendar year showed 2014. In reality it's been about two and a half months, so mentioning only the calendar year is a bit misleading. Gregorian New Years Day transpired in the interim thus bringing us to 2015, but hey, it sounds really dramatic.
We've filled the time in between with a goodly portion of Ranch Work. Besides the usual daily things, Herself and I managed to get her Truck Garden (so called by me because her plan is to load up the produce into Forrest Nissan Pickup and truck it off to one or the other of our Farmers Markets... well, and eat some of it ourselves for sure) fenced. Reason for fencing, this will mostly keep Dirty Yard Bird Chooks out, as well as goats or cows that may wander by. Three sides of it are fenced with wire fabric, one side with plastic contractor fencing. That last we chose for three reasons, expense, expediency, and keeping Dirty Yard Bird Chooks out.

As to the latter, it seemed like it would work well enough, being as high as the wire. Mostly it does keep them out. There are a few who applied some brilliant thinking and figured out how to (barely) flutter over any given stretch of the fence. Those ladies are now marked for future residence in Chicken Tillers. What we didn't figure into the equation: Velvet Youngster Dog and her desire to be close to her Humans. Plastic netting and Velvet teeth are not a good match. Or, from Velvets point of view, not a bad match. We've more or less convinced her that it is a Bad Idea to chew holes in Moms Fence.

Expediency came into play because this is the last stretch that needed fencing, it crosses the drain field for Studio 318's septic tank and being light could run some distance with fewer posts, thus less hazzard to the drain field. On that note, it works very well. Regarding Expense, three 30-plus metre rolls cost less than the equivalent length of wire fabric. So overall we are fairly content with results so far.
Along with protecting the Truck Garden from marauders we also decreased the number of stomachs we feed and increased the amount of frozen meat in the stocks to go to Farmers Market. That involved two days and resulted in 270 kg of pork.

Over a portion of January and much of February we also dealt with several Freeze Alerts and Warnings. Over here in Baja Jorja, an Alert from the National Weather Service means that the specific weather is possible; a Warning means it will happen. This part of the world does see freezing temperatures. Unlike points further north (and much, much further south) duration and intensity are not as extreme. However, when the ambient temperature is at or below the point that water becomes a solid... it is cold.

Things like our water bibs where we provide fluid replenishment for Goats, Hogs and et cetera become at risk. The Goats and Horses require a bit more shelter than normal, and potentially some bedding. The Chooks definitely want some protection, but really that mostly means a wind-break because birds are pretty good at roosting together, and fluffing up feathers for dead-air-space insulation. Ditto for the Goats, actually, the don't mind cold so long as they're dry.

Each of those freezes came preceded by a fair amount of rain, and this is nominally our dry season. We managed to keep mostly everyone dry (Cows and Horses fend for themselves, sheltering under trees). So we got through it, without much problem, but with a lot of energy expense. Both ours, and I just received the electric bill and the House jumped by a couple hundred dollars from the previous month.

Ah well. Activities of Daily Living and all.

In between all of the above, I also managed to accomplish:
Shipping some pieces off to MarsCon in Williamsburg, Virginia for that Con art show
Completing applications for both the Orlando and Tampa NudeNite shows; Orlando invited one piece, Tampa invited neither piece.
Receiving notification that we are juried into the Santa Fe Spring Arts Festival (Not Santa Fe New Mexico; Santa Fe College, here in Baja Jorja).
Getting a (mildly short) notice for a local Photography Exhibit sponsored by the Gainesville Fine Arts Association (Herself and I are members), submitting three pieces each and being invited one piece each for the show. That show is on-going until 9 March.
Matting more work to increase inventory stock for the upcoming GFAA Winter Fine Arts Festival at Tioga.

So, in order, more or less.

Preparing for these weekend festivals and other shows generally involves thinking at least six months ahead. The Call for Artists usually go out then, applications are readied, jury fees paid, and then we wait. A few festivals, particularly smaller local ones, will ask for the booth fee with the application, and when one sees the check clear the bank account one knows one is accepted into the event. More information follows, of course, but that's usually the first indication.

GFAA Winter Tioga, the SF Spring Arts Festival, and the two Nude Nite shows are more as described. So related to that, and more or less in order of completion of the application are these images. Usual disclaimer about Nude Art, If You Don't Like That Don't Look, Et Cetera.

Back in December though they didn't get shipped until a fairly short time before the event, I applied for my third time around with MarsCon in Virginia. The shipping took place a tad late compared to earlier years, in part because of Ranch Work aforementioned. Also because this year I shipped using the Brown Truck Folks (United Parcel Service). I found I could ship a larger package (thus some pieces matted up to 16x20) for the same fee the previous two years using United States Postal Service. Nothing sold, which is fine as I enjoy the vicarious thrill of attending the Con via my artwork (though sales are very nice). Return shipping proved a bit of a learning experience, as I needed to schedule that through the UPS web site. Learning occurred. More on that later, however.

Pieces submitted to MarsCon

In the Hall of Titans King
<In the Hall of Titans King>
Often when I'm working on the bigger composite concepts I'll generate a soundtrack playlist, either simply in my head or an actual playlist. This one I started hearing Grieg's "In the Hall of the Mountain King" while working... which led to the title.

Sakura, Sakura DC
Cherry Blossoms
This one went along because it's a good photo, and it's sort of close to where the Con takes place. Also, it's a known seller.

St. Pete Beach Sunset
Sunset, St. Petersburg Beach
I sent this one along because hey, A) good photo B)January C)Virginia so Winter. Not rubbing it in. Much. Also, it's a known seller.

Hello the House
Hello the House
Over at Dudley Farm State Historical Site, a turn of the century 19th-20th Florida Farmstead. Interesting place, they maintain it for the dates mentioned. So anyone working there, on site, is dressed appropriately and using time-appropriate tools if they're doing outside work.

Blue Skies, Nothin' But
Blue Skies
Here on the Ranch, and an October image.

Foggy Morn
Foggy Dawn, Southern Ranch
Also here on the Ranch, and one of the pictures that the Fans at Necronomicon liked enough to choose as an award winner.

Kitsune Out of the Storm
Kitsune Out of the Storm
Kitsune is from a couple years back now I think, and is a combination of three or so photos. The image of Kitsune and the battlements as it were is one of those images, and the sky behind another.

This one is one of the first I ran into an interesting dilemma. People want to know 'Where is that'. They don't mean, per se, where is the action taking place, they mean where did I get the photograph of the place used... not so much then my vision, but the reality. I keep wanting to answer, 'In my mind.'


Orlando NudeNite (Event took place 12-14 February)
Completed application back around New Years Day, this one is juried and two pieces allowed. I submitted these – Gravidity #4 and I Shall Wear... a Red Hat #1. Red Hat #1 did not make the cut, however Gravidity #4 did much to my delight, as this is the second time I've tried getting pieces into the Orlando NudeNite without ever seeing the show and thus obtaining a good idea what the show is looking for.

Gravidity #4 is from a 2006 session with art model Shayden. She and her husband lived near Colorado Springs at the time, out on the western edge of the Great Plains. They would drive around their area and note on the map abandoned homesteads, then research the tax maps for who currently owned the properties. Then they would contact those owners, explain that as a professional model Shayden would occasionally work with photographers who came to them and ask permission to work on the land. Thus when I worked with her, we did work on just such an abandoned homestead. Shay was also eight months into her first pregnancy at the time.


Gravidity #4
Gravidity #4


Tampa NudeNite is the next show I applied to. This one I approached with a tad more confidence as I've been invited both previous years with at least one of the two images submitted. The first year was Kitsune Out of the Storm, and last year was Erotica in the Manner of Rembrandt. However, this year neither photo received an invitation. Alas and all that, however it did free up time to work on some other things, including a short notice application to the local GFAA Photography Exhibit at Santa Fe College.

We each submitted three images for the jury. We each received an invitation for one. Some of this may involve the physical space for the show, which is currently in the Presidents Gallery in Building F on the Santa Fe campus. From myself, Sumi-e Reality; from Herself, Up-Side Down World.


Sumi-e Reality
Sumi-e Reality

This one I did up originally for That Camera Club which we once participated in, and their monthly competition. The subject, Reflections. The category, Creative, by which they mean anything not photo-realistic. So it's a bit of a manipulation, duplicating the basic image, applying a brush-work style filter which provided a portion of the title, then masking off the portion which needs to show 'Reality'. It's a good photo to start, one of my primary rules in any sort of composite (and this is a sort of composite, though of the one image alone). Start with good photos. Curiously, the sumi-e styling helps a lot compared (at least to me) to the reality of the houses in the photograph.


Up-Side Down World
Upside-Down World

Now, the latter still is a bit of a debate between Herself and I. It's her image. Darn good one; primary subject Reflections and done for the monthly competition while we still played with the Ocala camera club (time, distance, and other issues caused us to re-think that). I tend to take the title as my cue in how to 'hang' the image. She hangs it in the manner she composed it. Both work.

Getting her piece printed, matted, and framed is one of the things I needed to work on which not making it into Tampa NudeNite provided. Still, I've got three more large prints to mat and frame that I intended for those two shows. Given a wee bit of time I'll get those done, and sooner rather than later so that large prints are protected better than being in the shrink-wrap from the lab.

However, increasing basic inventory is the current priority what with two more weekend festivals coming up. GFAA Winter Art Festival Tioga will be in two weeks (6-8 March), and includes a Friday night portion so it's a three day show. I've a bit more time before Santa Fe Spring Arts, which is held in Downtown Gainesville every year. This year it will be 11-12 April. I did up a quick blurb for our Farmers Market booth to let regular customers know about the two festivals, since we may not be setting up at the Farmers Market those weekends.Still, need to continue with basic inventory for that show as well is also a big priority.

So I've matted up a small batch of 8x10 prints from Herself photos, and a couple 11x14 prints of my photos. One of those is intended as a gift, the other will be sent off to another Con art show in the near future and the third which is already in inventory will be available at both Tioga and Spring Arts. Until it sells, of course.

Meanwhile, I also matted for framing a Big Print of In the Hall of Titans King. I've got an 11x14 framed in a 16x20 of that one. But hey, I like big prints so I couldn't resist.

I'm currently working on matting in a diptych format two of Herself's 8x10s which make up Deer Scarer. They're photographs of just that, a Japanese bamboo deer scarer at Kanapaha Botanical Gardens. This is a simple device, a section of bamboo hinged, with the 'top' portion trimmed and set to fill slowly from a trickle of water from a well. Then, filled to the tipping point is smacks down onto a small stone making a loud noise, drains all the water, and lifts itself back into place to re-fill. We've only ever put out individually matted images of the two, and I've always seen it as a perfect diptych.

Well, that about covers it. Time now to get this loaded into the blog, then make the pitch, then get dressed and head out for more Ranch Work.
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