Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Thwarted and Frustrated

I had it all planned. I was going to write an esoteric and overly intellectualized blog on Monday about Film vs/ Digital. Not so much the creation...but the labels. And I was going to add that it was my Birthday on Monday too. And I was going to write it from the road, because we were going to be in Ohio visiting my inlaws. But it seems the "Powers that Be" had other plans for me. Oh, I still had my birthday. Can't stop that from happening as long as you are still breathing. but we never did make it to Ohio. Instead, I spent yesterday in airports, on airplanes, in baggage claims, in train stations, cabs and on trains. We went from Albany, NY to Kennedy airport, to New York's Penn Station and home.

We thought we would make this trip to Cleveland easy this time. We would fly instead of the long drive there. So we planned to fly from Albany to Cleveland on Sunday. But when we got to the airport...low and behold....the flight was cancelled. The crew had not had enough rest between flights and so the grounded the plane. No extra crew to be called in to take us out of there. They could not even put us on any other flights...not even the same one the next day. So they put us up in a hotel near the airport and booked us on another airlines to fly out on Monday. the plan was to fly Delta airlines to JFK and from there fly to Cleveland. We would lose a day of our trip, but we resigned ourselves to that and went with it. The hotel room was ok. We had to walk to find food, which when we found it was lousy.

Woke up yesterday...my birthday, and went back to the airport. Hung around a bit. Got on the flight to JFK....a bit delayed. But no problem. Got into JFK....and guess what...the flight to Cleveland was cancelled. And there was nothing they could do but get us out the next day. Now we had gotten all the way to JFK....our trip was planned with a return on Thursday....so what was the point? We told them to get us back to Albany...and they said they could, for over $1000.00!!! Since the cancellation was caused by weather, they were not responsible! We told them to...you know what...took a cab into NYC. Went to Penn Station and got on Amtrak, after another lousy meal....and landed home after another cab from the station.

Now I just have to get back to Albany today to get my truck which is still at the airport. So sorry for the rant...but the high-brow discussion will have to wait for another day. And I want a redo on my Birthday!

I promise to be back on in a few days...my normal perky self. Until then, I want chocolate! Left you two images to look at until then for the film vs digital discussion.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Economic Effects of Horse Ownership & Being an Artist - Part 2


This post is about how the poor economy affects being an artist. We know that art is a luxury. We know that there have been many periods in history when only the wealthiest could afford to own art. Just like horse ownership, a down economy adds huge stumbling blocks to being an artist.

The most obvious part of this is of course, the lack of enough sales. Galleries are closing all over the country. People are not going to buy art when they are worried about the mortgage and feeding their families. Who can blame them? I certainly understand this. You really only think about filling your world with beauty when your stomach is full and the roof solid over your head.

What is interesting is what this does to the artist. I think that most people understand that artists are driven to create. It is more than a job to us. It is an identity. It is breathing. The crappy reality is that it takes money to buy the materials with which to create art. For those who draw...a pencil and paper are not a huge expense, I suppose. But for those who do what I do, or who sculpt or paint....it takes a huge out lay in money for materials. Many of us see being an artist as our job. And even if we don't, getting a new job ain't so easy at age 52 and with little marketable skills. As we all know...the jobs aren't out there.

This is not meant as a whining blog post. This is really about ingenuity. As the galleries have closed, many of us have taken our fates into our own hands. And what I want to point out is the immense creativity that has come from this. I have mentioned before about the time drain that can be social networking. But I what to publicly cheer for those of us who have started to see the benefit to time spent doing our own "marketing". Thanks to websites like http://www.fineartstudiosonline.com/ we can create our own websites to showcase our artwork. It is a wonderful thing to control what is said and what is shown. We are using Facebook and Twitter to let the world know about us! We can now look beyond our backyards and our work can touch people thousands of miles from our homes without paying a dime to ship it.

The other bit of creativity has come in the form of offering more ranges of work than ever before. And perhaps some see that as a negative. And maybe we wish we did not have to do this. but I see more and more painters doing periodic series of daily work that they can sell for much less than their larger, more time consuming work. They are using these as sketches...using them to perfect their techniques and at the same time....marketing the work at a price that makes it affordable to more buyers during the down time. Sculptors who are selling sketches and resin work are doing the same. For me it has meant making lower priced giclee prints available to buyers. I am selling prints on Etsy. I am doing spec photo shoots. I might not have ever thought of doing this before. But it is the sale of these giclee prints that are making it possible for me to continue to buy film and go out and shoot more.

And I think we all hope that when things do get better...those who bought our less expensive pieces will again be able to purchase the work that we have been able to continue to produce. We all want to be there...still working, on the other end of this....so we can fill the galleries, homes and museums with beauty still. We are taking all the chances we can to invent ways to hang on. And I, for one...thank you all for being part of this process with me. As I said...it ain't easy...

My work is a luxury....that is sold to people who are inevitably horse owners...and we know that that is a luxury too. So rather then feel doomed by this all, I have decided to feel it is a challenge and I will do what I can.

So...Who wants to buy a Photograph? I am just about out of film!


Economic Effects of Horse Ownership & Being an Artist - Part 1

The artist and her Tony!

Maybe the better title would be Horse Ownership and Being an Artist during difficult economic times. It ain't easy. These days every horse owner knows of someone who has had to give up their horses because they can no longer afford the expense. And we have all heard the horror stories of horses neglected, abandoned, set loose and sent to auction. Good horses. Great horses even. Whose owners have been pushed to their limit by the stresses brought on by the economy. Am I allowed to call it a depression? I know the pundits don't, but as far as I can see...all the symptoms of depression are there.

Good people are facing the question of what to do with horses they can't keep...and other good people are being pressured into rescuing horses...that they themselves may end up being unable to truly care for. It is a terrible dilemma. I am not going to go into the debate about the horse slaughter bill in the US congress. Other then to say that the issue I believe is as much transport conditions and whether the slaughter houses do their job in a humane fashion. When we banned them in the US, we guaranteed that we would not have control over the process. Much like the meat industry in the US in our earlier years....if we had more control, we could inspect for the treatment of the animals. But I know that that is a bigger debate then I want to get into here. What I want to mention are two things that I think directly contribute to the problem in the US.

During these economic times...it seem wholly irresponsible for breed associations to not stress to their membership the importance of controlling for overbreeding. We can no longer condone the behavior of those individuals who breed with no concern for the later fate of the number of animals coming from their breeding farms. I think the Thoroughbred industry is only the tip of the iceberg. But we know the huge number of T'breds that end up in rescues and auction houses outstrips all other breeds. But the backyard breeder is just as much at fault. People have to be conscious of the the potential fate of that foal they think they want. I believe that it behooves the breed associations to make a point of discussing this at every conference, every event, in every newsletter to their membership. Perhaps an advisable limit on new registrations could be in their bylaws. I don't know how if can be done, but something has to be done.

And I think it is the obligation of every VET to talk to anyone who contemplates breeding their pretty mare. To advise the gelding of all studs with negative breeding characteristics to reduce the potential for unwanted horses later on.

The second issue we seem to have is the high cost of humane euthanasia. Many of the horses that end up abandoned, neglected and at auction are a result of the owners inability to afford the huge cost of putting the animal down. Older, dangerous, sick and otherwise un-rehomable animals should have the right for a caring and painless end of life. If their owner is struggling with financial tragedy, they are certainly not going to be able to afford the cost of getting a vet to come and euthanize the animal and dispose of the subsequent carcass. We don't want to think about this, I know...but is there room in the debate over the slaughter of horses, to add a discussion of how we can make this decent choice available to owners? Can we help VETs to bring the cost down? Make some low cost or even pro-bono euthanasia's available for low income and financially destitute owners?

In these times, keeping even one horse is a luxury fewer and fewer of us are able to afford. I know....it is a stretch each month to find the money to cover board for my one wonderful horse.

Stay tuned for Part 2, Being an Artist during times like these!!


Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Mr. Peabody and Family

Last week I have the distinct pleasure of visiting with Mark Samu, his lovely wife Lu, their horses and goat! Mark is a wonderful photographer in his own right. His wonderful photographs of my work hanging on the walls of their home are in the post below this one. He is familiar to many of us as @mrpea01 0n Twitter and from his blog and Facebook page "Where's Mr Peabody". http://wheresmrpeabody.com/

While I was there visiting I got to turn the day into a bit of a photo shoot as well. The amazing work Mark has done training Mr Peabody (a mostly black paint), Leroy (the red Quarter Horse) and Jerry (the goat) made photographing them a breeze. There is nothing so wonderful as having a horse stand with his front legs on a stump while I walked around him photographing from every angle. The three of them were total gentlemen while I was in their paddock. And their human companions were warm and welcoming. Humor and good conversation abound.

These images are scanned form the negatives. But are available for purchase as either Limited Edition Gelatin Silver Prints from my darkroom on 11x14 paper or as open edition giclee reproduction prints in a multitude of sizes.




Saturday, June 12, 2010

Decorating with B&W Photography

Need some ideas on how to use Black and White photography in your decorating scheme? Here are some photos taken of my work in a beautiful residential setting. B&W photography can enhance a Modernist, Traditional, Rustic, or Minimal interior design. (Interior shots by architectural/interior photographer Mark Samu)
Have any questions about how B&W Photography might fit in your home? Want to see more of my work? Contact me at julietharrison@earthlink.net

Tuesday, June 08, 2010

Bones and Skulls

As some of you might remember...I have been contemplating doing a series of still life photos of animal skulls, bones and horns/antlers. I have collected some great objects to work with. (although always looking for more) I have never really done much with still life photography. I do know that I will work in B&W and with natural light. So I have been trying to envision how I want to do these. I now have two pretty strong ideas about what I want to try...but each entails some advance building. For one...I need to find a place that I can build a large sandbox. My back yard is not big enough. I need to have it so that it is like a beach...large open area with strong sunlight. And I will need to be able to cover it in between photo sessions. For the other I need to build an armature of a clamp type thing on a portable boom arm. So that I can clip the bone and kind of suspend it to be able to photograph just a portion of it floating in front of a backdrop. Maybe a stand like what my son has for his cymbals on his drum set. An adjustable boom arm and duct tape an alligator clip to the end. It has to be able to hold the bones without crushing them. And need one strong enough to hold heavier ones too. Hmm....might need two. I will be shooting these with my 2 1/4 camera I think. Funny how eager I am to get started...but this designing and building thing has me stuck. Life of an artist.

On my way in a few minutes to drop off a giclee print from one of my recent Spec Photo Shoots. (still needs a new name for this) I am very excited that this print turned out so beautifully. It is the first I have had done from my 2 1/4 negatives.
"Legs of a Dancer"

I have another print from the Quarry Hill Farm Arabians spec shoot being done now and should be ready to deliver in the next two weeks.

It seems like this idea is a welcome one. I am headed to Texas in November to visit good friend and colleague Lyne Raff, the publisher/editor of http://www.arthorsemagazine.com . I mentioned it last night on Facebook and now have a bunch of people down there asking about my coming to them to do spec photos of their horses. So if you are in the Dallas, Houston or Beaumont areas...or even farther afield and want me to come...let me know! I have always dreamed of traveling the world photographing horses as I go. Looks like Texas in November will be the start of fulfilling that dream! Don't hesitate to contact me if you have any interest in my coming to photograph your horse. We can discuss all the possible ways to make this happen.

Tomorrow I am off on a new adventure. I will tell you all about that next week! A good reason to come back! Please feel free to share my blog with your friends who might be interested in the life of a Fine Art Photographer with a love of horses!

( http://www.julietrharrisonphotography.com )

Tuesday, June 01, 2010

June Memories

June is a month awash in memories for me. It is the month that I was born in 1958. So for a long time...it seemed like "my month". It would begin in anticipation of my birthday to come at the end of the month. Of course summer would begin in June as the school year ended. Heralding more good times. I always felt that my family was closer to eachother in June than any other time of the year.

The year I turned 30, June became the month of my wedding. Two days, in fact, before my 30th birthday I married my wonderful husband Brent. And then...just before my 36th birthday...I gave birth to my son, Jackson. I could have asked for no more wonderful present than that. Every year in June, to be reminded of the moment when he entered our lives, changing it forever. 16 years ago he became the center of our lives and added dimension to the world! Next June I will not be with him for his 17th birthday, as he is heading to Milan, Italy in September, to spend a year abroad. So this year we will be sure to celebrate together.
9 years ago on the 26th of June, I bought my first horse. Tony was and is the fulfillment of a childhood dream. And having him has enhanced my life immeasurably. I don't think that I would have focused my work so directly on horses, had it not been for how owning him has brought me more involved with horses than ever before.

3 years ago....just a few days before my 49th birthday, my mother passed away. And June changed a bit. Now it carries a bittersweet taste. Sadness...not overwhelming the happy, but tempering it. Dulling the edge of excitement. This year I intend to make some new happy memories in June.

So in this month of so much...I wish to remind you...that you can read the newest article written about my work in the May/June issue of Rural Heritage Magazine. The feature was written by fellow equine artist, Bethany Caskey. You can purchase a copy of the magazine at your local Tractor Supply or online at http://www.ruralheritage.com/ . Take a look in your local newstand for the June issue of American Art Collector magazine. Inside you will find a wonderful issue featuring equine artwork and there is an ad for Terry Lindsay's Equidae Gallery that features one of my pieces. There is one more weekend you can see my work at the Maplebrook School in Amenia, NY in the Evoking Spirit art show. As part of the HITS on the Hudson Equine Art Show and Auction, my work Vintage: Cabellero is on exhibit at the Red Onion Restaurant at 1654 Route 212 between Woodstock and Saugerties, NY. It will remain there until the beginning of July when it will move to the Fletcher Gallery in Woodstock, NY before being auctioned off on September 10th to benefit the Family of Woodstock. You can get more information here - http://www.hitsshows.com/EquineArtAuction/EquineArtAuctionIndex.html

July will see more of my work on display. This time at the Gazen Gallery in Rhinebeck, NY during their "Love Our Local Landscape" show. I will know more about what pieces will be there by the end of this week. http://www.gazengallery.com/

And remember...scroll backwards in this blog to find the three posts with images that are selling framed for their unframed prices. Several of these are no longer available at this price, due to them heading for various shows. So if you want to purchase one at this special price....Speak Up asap!
So June begins....May it be a beautiful month for all of us!