Monday, February 28, 2011

Second Photo Shoot (February 28)

I was a little surprised that the first shoot worked out so well. So, after taking a little break, I went back to shooting and played with the lights some more. This shoot had different temperature lights that combined in a swirl that I created in the water. I played with long exposures and strobe lights to get a variety of impressions from the water in a single shot.

First Photo Shoot

These are images from my first shoot in my studio at the Prairie Center. I was working in a large plastic tub with about 5 inches of water in it. For lighting, I was just using the overhead arc lights that I happened to catch on an angle in the water. Playing with a variety of exposure times between 1-10 seconds I was able to disturb the water by bouncing the tub. For the first shoot, I think these images are pretty promising.

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Source: Links to Resources

Great Resource.
Thanks Patty!

H2O - The Mystery, Art, and Science of Water

by Professor Chris Witcombe


Source: Links to Cool Stuff

Cirkle, 1991 by Finnbogi Petursson

Thanks Erica!

Source: Leonardo

Leonardo, Old Man with Water Studies, c. 1513

Leonardo described water as "the vehicle of nature" ("vetturale di natura"), believing water to be to the world what blood is to our bodies.

Leonardo, End of the World
(Windsor, Royal Library, 1515)
Leonardo, Storm over an Alpine Valley
(Windsor, Royal Library, c. 1499)

"Water is sometimes sharp and sometimes strong, sometimes acid and sometimes bitter, sometimes sweet and sometimes thick or thin, sometimes it is seen bringing hurt or pestilence, sometime health-giving, sometimes poisonous. It suffers change into as many natures as are the different places through which it passes. And as the mirror changes with the colour of its subject, so it alters with the nature of the place, becoming noisome, laxative, astringent, sulfurous, salty, incarnadined, mournful, raging, angry, red, yellow, green, black, blue, greasy, fat or slim. Sometimes it starts a conflagration, sometimes it extinguishes one; is warm and is cold, carries away or sets down, hollows out or builds up, tears or establishes, fills or empties, raises itself or burrows down, speeds or is still; is the cause at times of life or death, or increase or privation, nourishes at times and at others does the contrary; at times has a tang, at times is without savor, sometimes submerging the valleys with great floods. In time and with water, everything changes"

Leonardo, Study of water passing obstacles, c. 1508-9
Leonardo, Study of water falling into still water, c. 1508-9

 ~ from H2O - The Mystery, Art, and Science of Water 

Residency Snapshots

Mike Neary painting in the Prairie Center studios.

Amy Mac's Tumbleweed.
View from my room at the residency house in Germantown Hills, Illinois.

Outside of my studio at the cordage factory in downtown Peoria. My studio door is to the left.

Setting Up The Studio

So, Day 2 in the studio saw a lot more activity. After meeting with Joe to go over what I would be doing in the studio, we came up with a plan to make my studio happen in this space. I have to say that I was a little surprised when I first saw the space but things at the Prairie Center seem to happen incredibly fast and with a little effort my studio quickly took shape. This space is a little segregated from the rest of the studios at the Prairie Center but I have a good amount of space and can do what I need to do without bothering any of the other residents. Additionally, I have easy access to the outside and the Prairie Center staff is running plumbing in to the space for me. This will be a perfect set-up for a "water lab."

These are pictures of the space as it it developing. Above, Big Joe is using the fork lift to set up some furniture in the studio. Below is the space after I was able to move my things in and sort out my equipment and materials.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Source: Water and Language

  • In deep water. 
  • Water under the bridge.
  • Still waters run deep.
  • Hell or high water.
  • Blood is thicker than water.
  •  Taking on water.
  • You can lead a horse to water but you can't make him drink.
  • Water, water everywhere and not a drop to drink.
  • A fish out of water.
  • Don't make waves.
  • Don't throw the baby out with the bath water.
  • Wet behind the ears.
  • The drop that makes a vase overflow.
  • Drowning in a glass of water.
  • To be in hot water.
  • Filthy water cannot be washed. 
  • How could drops of water know themselves to be a river? Yet the river flows on.” ~ Antoine de Saint-Exupery
  • “It is the calm and silent water that drowns a man.”
  • “Water is the driving force of all nature.” ~ Leonardo daVinci
  • When it rains, it pours.
  • Walking on water. 
  • Water doesn't run uphill.   
  • Watered down.
  • As uneasy as a cat near water.
  • Plain as water.
  • Makes your mouth water.
  • Muddy the water.
  • Like a duck out of water. 
  • Just a drop in the bucket. 
  • Hewers of wood and drawers of water.
  • He has his head in the clouds.
  • Get your feet wet.
  • Every path has its puddle. 
  • Either you sink or you swim.

    Prairie Center-Day One

    Arrived at the Prairie Center after a long drive from Michigan. I am really excited to get started and my head is swimming with ideas of the kinds of visual research I will be able to get involved with during this residency. I first unloaded my personal stuff at the house in Germantown Hills on Tuesday evening and settled in to my room. On Wednesday, I went to the factory and met with Erin (Program Director) and Joe (co-founder) to discuss studio arrangements and unload the rest of the stuff from my truck. They've assigned me to a great spot, although it will take a little bit of work to get the area set up as a studio. I included some before pictures here as a point of reference. This will be a good place to set up a "water lab." I am a little disappointed to realize that it will take some time to get the studio set up as I am really anxious to get going but also realize that this will be part of the process. I have to keep reminding myself that I have over nine weeks of work time ahead of me and that I will need to patient in working the process. Still, I can't wait to get to that point when the various possibilities have been exhausted and I seem stalled in the process....that's usually when things get interesting and real breakthroughs happen.

    Sunday, February 20, 2011

    The Residency

    research approach:
    This residency project will involve the creation of a body of artistic work that will explore the characteristics and visual possibilities of water. The work will be developed and produced in a mixed media approach involving photography, video, and installation. While I will continue to work with water in its natural environment, the majority of the research for this project will be involved with creating studio scenarios where I can take advantage of recording the dynamics of water. Using trays and acrylic tanks, I will take advantage of what I’ve learned photographing water in nature to explore the visual potentials of flow, form and reflection and accumulate as much visual source material as possible. From this source material, I will then explore a variety of methods for presentation of my ideas.

    The Background

    Water is the most abundant compound on earth and can be seen as a liquid, a solid or a gas. Throughout time, humans have had an intense attraction to and relationship with water. Water is an important component of physical existence but it also represents much more than simple sustenance. Water lives in psychological, emotional, spiritual, and intellectual aspects of our lives as well. As I have explored my own relationship with water in visual terms, I also have realized how deeply connected my life is to water. When I was young, my family spent summers at the ocean and I used to play in the creek that flowed through our property. My zodiac sign is cancer, a water sign. I remember the physics lab exercises that dealt with wavelengths by creating ripples in water vividly. Water can be incredibly soothing and comforting but it can also be terribly destructive. While all of these factors are important it is the dynamics of water to which I was really becoming attracted. I began to see a direct correlation between the water I was using as a subject and the technology I was using to capture it. With a camera, you can record a duration of time in a single frame or stop the action with a fast shutter speed. As the camera could exaggerate any sense of time and action, water also varied its visual presence based on its flow or stagnation. It is the diversity of this dynamic in which I am most interested.

    The Sourcebook

    This on-line sourcebook will coincide with the residency project that I will be conducting at the Prairie Center of the Arts from February through April of 2011. The purpose of the sourcebook is two-fold. First, I will be using this blog space to record my own research, source images, sketches, studio set-ups, and photographs created during this project residency. Secondly, I encourage others to add to the sourcebook by adding stories or reflections of their own, adding links to relevant materials and sources of information, adding pictures, commenting on items I have posted, or critiquing the images that I create throughout the project. As with any sourcing project, the more material collected the more comprehensive the research. While this project does center on the subject of water, anything remotely connected to the idea can add to the research or inspire new directions in the work I am creating in the studio.