Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Surreal Mexico Tree

As a documentary iPhone picture of our trip - taken from a moving van on our way home from the Occidental Grand Xcaret Hotel near Tulum in Mexico – this image is a photographic disaster And, our trip wasn’t that wonderful either. Suffice it to say that these days Mexico has gotten really good at squeezing and shaking every spare penny from the weary tourist taking a break from the Gringo rat race to the north.*

Never the less, the tree with its roots was suspended in a hole through an overpass that we had passed beneath a half dozen times in our tiny rented Ford "cucaracha" going to and from the hotel. This was the first time I was not in the driver's seat, and I pushed the shutter icon several times as the crowded hotel van approached the amazing apparition. The image displayed here is the best, and I do like the reflections in the glass despite the dark finger blob over the lens, and the blurry out of focus window surround. The various bent glass distortions in the image also add interest, and since the tree itself is an absurdity all the obfuscations add to the mystery of the impossible thing happening before the eyes. As I look at the photograph taken in a Spanish speaking country I think of Magical Realism in Spanish Literature, and of course the Surrealist thread woven through so many of the arts during the past century.* Rene Magritte's painting, The Castle of the Pyrenees comes to mind.

Accordingly I view the iPhone photo of the floating tree as successful artistic expression.*1


* Magical Realism – The imposition of impossible magical elements given in a matter of fact way into a realistic narrative about the real/natural world. Magical Realism includes Gabriel Garcia Marquez’ seminal One Hundred Years of Solitude, and Isabel Allende’s The House of the Spirits among many others.

*1 Magritte, Rene, "The Castle of the Pyrenees," (1959) oil on canvas. See Wiki Images, copyright information below viewed 11:01 PM. EDT, Wednesday, August 27, 2014

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Friday, August 8, 2014

Fungus Amongus

No, it is not a creature from another planet; at least I don’t think so. Neither is it a bizarre little poisonous snake from The River Styx.

Instead these weird things will grow around the base of our Crepe Myrtle end of this month, beginning of September. I took these photos of the creepy things last year, and I really would like to know what they are. I’ve never seen them before in my life.

I doctored the photographs with Adobe Photoshop, made 2 layers, darkened the exposure in one, and then erased over the fungus thing exposing the lighter version on the bottom layer. Finally I painted where necessary in the background, and merged the layers. The original images are much larger than these I’m displaying, and could be printed up to 6 feet square and still look detailed at that dark head like part, I think. At that point the yellow-orange and black fungus would definitely look like an invader from planet Xarcon.

Saturday, August 2, 2014

New Character’s Restaurant Portrait

Meryl Streep

After much deliberation over a new character for the banquet room at Goddaughter Meghan’s restaurant, Character’s Gastropub in Lancaster, Pennsylvania, we decided on Meryl Streep to reside opposite Leonardo DiCaprio.  I documented the image deliberation in May of this year. More recently Meghan was concerned that the great actress must appear as her younger, more glamorous self so as to fit with the majority of the restaurant's clientele. However, one of Meghan's favorite choices was this still image from The Devil Wears Prada, 2006, only 8 years ago.*

I posit that this elegant and glamorous image of (at the time) a 56 year old woman demonstrates that age can be worn extremely well and that Ms. Streep does so. The photo also goes a long way to demonstrate that Meryl Streep is capable of becoming any character she wishes, witness her performances in such diverse motion pictures as Out of Africa, The Iron Lady, Julie and Julia

and Mamma Mia!.

In any event, I cannot just copy the photograph and call it my own, no matter how large I make the image. The finished painting will be extremely large, 5 x 7 & ½ feet. Never the less, I must make other drastic changes to the image using Adobe Photoshop as the instrument for change. Just as in the Leonardo DiCaprio painting I made last summer, I have begun by cropping the photograph in various ways, and choosing one. I have reversed the image, and played with the colors. The image shown below is the final flipped, cropped and posterized image, with colors I have chosen from many trial runs.

I am mixing the colors for the panels now, and will begin painting tomorrow. The application of the paint with Impressionist like brushwork will be one more change to the image, thus removing it 6 times from the original photograph, more than enough changes to make the finished painting my own creation.

Notes and Credits

* “The Devil Wears Prada, by Omar P. L. Moore in Pop Corn Reel ( Posted June 29, 2006, viewed 11:30 PM, EDT, Friday, August 1, 2014.