Monday, December 27, 2010

The Gift

Christmas in my house was pretty normal this year. My sister making coffee, my dad watching the television, and my mother running around nervously. The cats were laying on the presents under a tree with only two out of the three strands of lights actually working. We all had breakfast and started opening presents.

I got some gift cards, wine, and some exotic tea - a pretty good stash all things considered. Just when I thought I had unwrapped all my presents my brother came out of his room with his gifts for everyone.  While some people might relish in giving perfectly wrapped gifts, my brother always wraps his in newspaper. He is too practical to waste money on wrapping paper or gift tags.

He proudly walked around the living room handing out his presents.



In years past I've gotten things from my brother like shampoo or body wash - "girly things" that seem like he picked them out because he had no idea what else to get. But this year he placed my gift in my hands and right away I could tell this was something different. No sure what to expect, I tore through the newspaper. 

I stood there completely surprised. He got me a book. It was called "The Secret Language of Birthdays".

My brother and I have struggled with our relationship most of our lives. As children we fought constantly, and although we rarely argue as adults, we have little in common. He is athletic and practical, I am artistic and intuitive.

Since I was a teenager I've been drawn to astrology and I enjoy doing it as a hobby. My brother, being the practical person that he is, has never fully bought into the idea. Usually when I bring it up he rolls his eyes or avoids the topic all together.  All those years I never thought he was listening.

I stood there with the book in my hands and started flipping through pages.

"You don't have that book already, do you?" he asked timidly
"No...I don't..."

Still stunned I climbed into a chair and began reading. I found the two pages about my birthday. "August Thirteenth: The Day of the Long Odds"

"Normally 13 is not an unlucky number, per se, but those born on August 13 at various times in their lives have to face seemingly insurmountable odds in their fight to come out on top and stay there. Securing a desired position, struggling to reach a personal goal, or searching for a fulfilling relationship are lifelong challenges for them, Whether born unusual or made unusual through circumstance, August 13 people have a highly unique personality and outlook on life."

Those two pages went on to describe my personality very accurately. What I found so striking was that most of the characteristics that were brought up were things that had come up for me personally in recent days. Suddenly, my personal struggles felt like a purpose, not a curse. I was given a great deal of willpower and drive along with the spirt to not only withstand, but to succeed. I think I needed to be reminded of that.

I sat there for several minutes with the book in my lap. My family was opening presents all around me, but I didn't notice. My eyes started to fill with tears. Not only did get a beautiful gift, it ended up being exactly what I needed without even realizing it. It was also made more meaningful by the fact that it was given to me by my brother. I never would have thought he would have gone so far outside of himself to get me something I would enjoy so much.

I finally looked up from the book. I watched my brother kicking a rubber ball around the living room floor littered with wrapping paper. I was so overwhelmed I wasn't sure what to say. I wiped some tears from my face.

"Jon"
"Yeah?"
"...Thank you. It's beautiful."

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Virginia

Over the summer I was lucky enough to visit my best friend Laura in Virginia for her wedding.  Our parents were friends before we were even born and we were only born four months apart. I can literally say that I have known Laura for her entire life. The years have moved us to different states, but no matter how much time has pasted we seem to pick right back up where we left off.

She is as much a part of my life as anyone in my family. There are pictures of us in cribs together with nothing but diapers on. I had my first sleep over at her house. We watched our first R rated movie together. I never got in trouble much as a kid but for some reason I always got in trouble with her. We were usually laughing too hard to let it get us down for long. Fortunately, that trait has lasted us well into adulthood, and I am proud to say that after twenty seven years, their is no one I'd rather be in trouble with.

We hadn't seen each other in two years, but when I found out she was getting married I know exactly where I needed to be.  I was headed to Virginia.

Her fiancee's name was Cuth and I was a little bit nervous about meeting him. They both came to pick me up from the airport and buy the end of that 40 minute ride all three of us were laughing like crazy. I felt like I had made a new friend. I felt like I was eight years old all over again.

It was the week before their wedding and they had every right to be stressed over all the last minute details. I was fully prepared to help them organize and get whatever they needed done. To my pleasant surprise they had almost everything squared away and offered to give me a tour of Virginia. They made me feel like a queen for a week. Even going to Richmond to help Laura pick out her wedding shoes felt like we were skipping school.


Laura striking a pose on one of Richmond's historic buildings. 


Laura and Cuth sharing a moment in the morning sunlight at the Lincoln Memorial. 


A beautiful morning at the Vietnam Memorial. It was completely worth getting up early. 


I absolutely love this photograph and how the multiple reflections give it such a strong sense of dimension. 


I saw this funny little guy in the street on the way to the Natural History Museum. 


Laura and Cuth at his parent's house after their wedding. 


I took this photograph after they dropped me off at the Dulles Airport. My flight ended up getting delayed and I had some time to wander around. I found this enormous hallway with these giant windows facing the airfield. At that moment their were no planes in the sky and the hallway was deserted except for myself. The light from the setting sun was in just the right spot to bounce off the metal awning over the door. It made the airport feel ethereal. 

It ended up being a long flight and I was happy to get home, but Virginia gave me nothing but laughter and great memories.  I'm looking forward to my next adventure with Laura and Cuth. 

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Roots

I went home to visit my family. The past few days had been dizzying and I was still trying to center myself. I grabbed a cup of tea and I made my way out to the backyard.

It was a very overcast day. My feet were cold but I didn't feel like putting my shoes on.  I sat down on one of the patio chairs, had a sip of tea, and took a long look around.

A few years ago I spent a great deal of time and effort trying to fix up the backyard. I had planted some jasmine along the beams holding up the patio, I cleaned up  and mulched the area around the pool, and I removed what felt like a thousand weeds.

Today, I sit with my tea and glance at a yard cast grey from the clouds. The jasmine was mowed down within days of planting it. The area around the pool has become a field of weeds that have withered from the recent cold weather. They have still managed to choke out the other plants I put there years earlier.

The orange tree that I used to love to climb as a child is slowly dying off. The swing set that my grandfather had given us has long been scrapped. The bird feeder used to attract several birds and squirrels but today a stillness swallows the yard. If my dog was still alive she would be outside with me, but today it is just me and my notebook.

There are three specks of paint on the patio from an art project I had done a while ago. I spent so much time in this backyard, yet those three specks of paint remain the only tangible proof I was ever here.

Every time I come home one of the first things I always do is go to the backyard. I think part of me expects it to look like the way I left it years ago. I know part of me still expects to see my dog out here. It is so easy to picture her in the patch of grass between the pool and the tree.

I've done so many amazing things with my life, but sometimes this backyard is a caustic reminder that the accomplishments I've made at home don't seem to be lasting ones. Sometimes you have to take your roots and plant them somewhere else.

I take a sip of my tea, which has by now gone cold. The wind picks up and rustles the leaves of the trees.  I hold my notebook against my lap and feel the cold from the ground coming up through my feet. Sometimes you outgrow the original pot you are planted in.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Honey Bee

My mother always wanted a girl, and she has always made me feel proud to be her first born child. She loved the name Melissa - it means "Honey Bee".

In Greek mythology, Melissa was the nymph who discovered how to use honey and taught the skill to man. Although I have no Greek heritage, I have always taken great pride in my name and the culture that it originates from. For this piece I used the Greek alphabet and made the letters out of a honeycomb. 


I think it is a beautiful way for me to honor my name.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Jet

I got my cat when I was 19 years old. I had only been living in Orlando for a few months. Originally, I told myself I wouldn't get a pet for a while, but that was a very short lived decision.

I knew I would be too busy to look after a dog so I figured that getting a cat would be a better option. I went to the SPCA and walked past a few cages before I got to him. He made me stop dead in my tracks. He was tiny and crouched behind the wall of his litter box so all you could see were his eyes and ears. When he saw me staring at him he lifted his head and I was able to see his full face. His nose and his chin were both black. It made him look like he had a little goatee. I fell in love with his sweet face right then and there.  I knew he was meant for me. I named him Jet.


At first I was told he was eight weeks old but later I realized that he was only four weeks old. I basically hand raised him, which was a little difficult at first, but he proved well worth it. My first few years in Orlando were very rocky. I had some bad roommates and ended up moving every year for about five years straight. I was unable to stay in one place long enough to develop a true sense of home. I'd watch friendships fall apart and be unable to save them. I was always packing and unpacking boxes waiting for the next thing to go wrong.

Throughout those tumultuous years Jet was my anchor in a world that was continually shifting. No matter where I lived or how bad things got, I always had him. He was My Constant. For all the food and shelter he got, he gave me so much love in return. He went through all of those moves with me and I know that had an effect on him too. I think we both relied on each other for a sense of comfort.

Fortunately, now things are much better. The emotional currents that seemed to follow me around have stabled out. I've developed some amazing friendships over the past few years. I live with my best friend and I can honestly say that it is just plain refreshing to have her as a roommate. The emotional stability that comes from a great living environment has allowed me to grow into myself better and be more in touch with my creative side. I feel like I have roots in this city now - and that is a beautiful thing!

I come home at the end of the day and watch my cat sprawl out on the couch next to me. He has become more playful and relaxed as the years have gone on. I think we both have. When I look back on everything we've been through I can't help but realize how great it feels to sit with him and just enjoy the calmness each others company. We've earned it.


Here is to the next several years together: May it keep getting better and better!

Monday, November 15, 2010

Cupid and Psyche

I was cleaning my room and I found an old sketch book I had in high school. I was flipping through the pages when I found this gem:


Normally in my sketchbooks I would focus on a character and not include a background. This was the first illustration I made in this book that just took over the entire page. Most of my illustrations took a few hours but I remember laboring over this one for days. I modeled it after a Pre-Raphaelite painting I saw and just fell in love with the detail. I wanted to recreate every feather, every leaf, every fold in the fabric. I spent hours fussing over how to get the reflection just right. 

When I was done my hands were sore, I had barely gotten up from my desk for days, and my parents were worried about me. I was so proud when I could finally show it off. I even surprised myself with how much I could devote myself to a project. No spot on this piece of paper was spared from my hands. 

I adore this picture for its beauty as well as being a personal monument to my drive and passion. 

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Open Bite Nike

Ever since I saw the statue of the Nike of Samothrace I've identified with its elegance and personification of victory. Nike is someone who seems to come up frequently in my sketches and illustrations, however, one day I got a great idea for an image that I wanted to depict as a print.


I was so happy with the way this image came out. Simple, elegant, and a beautiful homage to the Greek art that I love so much. However, the perfectionist in me wanted to go back and make the lines on the landscape more detailed. 

So I went back and added more etching. I had to let it sit in the acid bath a few more minutes to eat away a bit more of the lines. Since it was only going to be in the acid for a short amount of time I didn't think it would be necessary to add a protective coating over the rest of the copper plate. I placed the unprotected plate in the acid (this type of process is referred to as "open bite" because you are allowing the acid to eat away at the entire image). 

After only a short amount of time I came back to retrieve my plate and do another test print.


Much to my surprise the acid had made large swirl patterns over the plate. At first I was upset, but the more I looked at the image the more I fell in love with it. Those swirl patterns were delicate and unique and gave the image a sense of romanticism. 

Sometimes, you just have to allow the artwork to take on a life of its own. 

Monday, October 25, 2010

Waves

I went home to visit my family and came across a notebook of poetry I had written years ago. I took one of my favorite ones and decided to rework it a little bit.

Waves
I stand on the shore, waves roll over my feet
Help me forget, make me remember

Crash on the shore without a word
I hear everything I need to hear

Thundering waves pull my thoughts into focus
Wisdom is so accessible near the edge

Keeper of the secret to man's existence
What will you teach me today?

Friday, October 22, 2010

Sleepy Cat

I was working on my computer one day and I happened to look over at my cat, Jet, sleeping on my bed .


This is one of his favorite places to sleep because he is next to me on a pile of blankets, absorbing the warmth from the sun. The light was perfect for catching his reflection in the window. This is one of my favorite pictures of him. He is a wonderful pet who has brought me so much joy and happiness. It warms my heart that I can make him feel so comfortable.

Monday, October 11, 2010

The Road To Cocoa Beach

This weekend my sisters came up to visit me and we decided to watch the sun rise on Cocoa Beach.


This photo was taken at about 6:00am on the way to Cocoa.


My sister Jennifer on the beach.


The sunrise through Jenny's hands. 


The sun coming up through the beams of the boardwalk. 


At some point my sister caught her finger in the car door. I went down to the 7 Eleven to grab her some ice. I was lucky that she didn't notice me taking this picture. I was able to catch her in a simultanious moment of suffering and relief. I love her quiet inner calm amidst her pain.


I love the look of this photo. It reminds me of one of those cool beach photos from the 70's. The sunlight is streaking over her and she looks completely relaxed. 


I was coming out of the beach and I liked the way my shadow looked against the sand. I grabbed my camera and I was able to capture this shot. I absolutely love it. 

Friday, October 8, 2010

Indian Cat Nap

It's around 4:30 in the afternoon. It is one of those endlessly beautiful fall days. The weather is perfect, the sun is drifting behind the trees, and I've got the window open. Once every so often the breeze flows through the window and over my skin. I'm laying on my bed drifting in and out of sleep. My cat lays next to me curled up in a ball. He sounds like a dove when he is in a deep sleep. I love our little cat naps together.

As I stare out the window my eye lids get heavier. The breeze rustles the leaves in the tree as the sun lights it from behind. A small insect flutters near my window. I am listening to a song called "Panther Panchali" by Ravi Shankar. There is such a magical quality to Indian music.

There is something so freeing and spiritually satisfying about a mid-afternoon nap paired with the ripples of the sitar and the echoes of the flute. The song gets intermittently faster and slower. I like letting myself become inwardly relaxed and energized by the music. Outwardly, the only movement I make is the steady undulating of my chest as I take deep breaths of the cool fall air.

I continue to watch the breeze playfully tussle the insects and the tree leaves. Even without my glasses on I feel like I can see so clearly in this moment. Not only see what is physically there, but also feel and participate in that moment.

My cat stretches and I throw my arms up over my head. I sink into my nest of pillows and blankets.

What a perfect fall day.

Sunday, October 3, 2010

The Bee Sting

Last year I went to Epcot with my brother and sister for their birthday. I was enjoying my time with them because now that we are all grown up we rarely have moments like that. We were standing in the Italian Pavilion when my sister, Jenny, got stung by a bee. My brother and I walked her to the first aid station. They gave her and ice pack and some pain killers and we waited in the lobby for her to feel better. That was when I took this picture. 


I know that a lot of people wouldn't take a picture at a time like this, but to me it was another memorable moment from an already memorable day. Looking back at all the photos I took that day this one become my favorite. It was my favorite because it was so honest. 

Jenny sits in the foreground holding her paper cup of water and pressing the ice pack against her neck. Her eyes focus on something across the room to take her mind off the pain. My brother, Jon, sits restlessly in the background. He is bouncing his hat on his knee exposing his messy head of hair. The light pours through the window, blotting out part of the door and illuminating the lobby. It reminds me of one of those photos you see in a National Graphic magazine. The ones where the photographer becomes a fly on the wall and lets the world unfold around them. 

To me photography is about capturing any meaningful moment. And that moment can come at the strangest time. It can also have the most lasting effect. 

Thursday, September 30, 2010

WET Performance

The follow painting was made after working with DRIP during our WET show at the 2008 Fringe Festival. After the show I came across a photo that Tisse Mallon had snapped of Mariko's performance. I was taken by the beautiful colors, the abstract shapes, and the expressive pose. I was so moved by the photograph that I decided to abstract it further and make it my own. 

St. Pete Sunset


I took this photo from the back seat of my father's car while my family was on our way to visit my uncle. 

Monday, September 20, 2010

The Muse

A while back my father and I went to a Greek Festival in St. Petersburg. We were there for hours eating pastries, talking to people, and looking over various knickknacks and books. I came across one booth where an older woman was selling these wall hangings she made out of plaster and fabric. One caught my eye in particular: Thalia, the muse of comedy. I bought the little figurine and put it up in my room. Years later I drew her for an art project. She reminds me of the love of culture and learning that my father instilled in me, and to always keep a good sense of humor.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

The Goddess

This is my second copper plate print.  I had a scrap piece of copper from a previous work and I ended up etching the image in about twenty minutes.  It was one of those moments where I just found myself in a good groove and let it take on a life of it's own.



Saturday, September 11, 2010

Ryan

Ryan is one of my coworkers from Starbucks. We've worked together for about three or four years. For the longest time I only knew him as someone who just liked to drink and party. Over the past few years we've developed some common ground and became good friends. We ended up going down to the Little Econ River with his dog for the forth of July. He was holding his dog after a swim when I took this picture.


There are so many reasons I love this photograph. I think it's mostly because it's simply Ryan the way he is meant to be seen. I know him from work, but in this picture Starbucks is completely removed. His work shirt is gone revealing some of his tattoos. He loves the outdoors and at the Little Econ River his is completely in his element. 

His dog, Sammy Davis Jr. Jr., is also a major component of the photograph. Up until recently I would say that Ryan wasn't an overly affectionate person. He is someone who usually keeps to himself and doesn't like to get involved.  But once he got his dog it was like another part of himself was able to come to light. All the love in him that usually stays under the surface finally had a way to be expressed. Loving that dog was a way for him to become a more complete person. 

I also love these photographs because it was on the fourth of July that became fully aware of Ryan's skills as a musician. He brought his guitar and played a few songs. He also talked about how he has been playing drums ever since he was a child. 

Ryan and I have often joked that we never thought we'd end up as good friends as we eventually became. I always knew he was a nice guy to work with but over the past few months I feel like I'm finally getting to know the real Ryan. Turns out, the real Ryan is a pretty colorful guy. 

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Dish Soap and Honey

My roommate, Amber, recently bought some dish soap and a jar of honey. I was walking back and forth from my room to the kitchen I noticed how they were both the same color. I placed them on the counter top and let the light emanate through them from the window.

"Amber Kitchen"

Monday, August 30, 2010

Kiley

August 31st, 2010 marks the one year anniversary of my dog passing away. I will never forget her.

I got Kiley as a birthday present for my thirteenth birthday. I had wanted my parents to get a dog all summer and after three months of begging they finally gave in.  My mother and I went to the Largo SPCA and there she was. My mother saw her first. A tiny yellow lab mix sitting quietly in her cage. Somehow my mom knew she was the one and went to call my dad. I sat in the cage with her and she chewed on my fingers. I felt like I had spent all summer at the SPCA and always left empty-handed. Always teased with the possibility of getting a pet. I didn't want to get too excited incase my parents decided they didn't want her. 

My mom came back and said that we were going to take her home. I remember sitting in the lobby stunned while she filled out all the paper work. The vet said she had been one of a litter of puppies they had found abandoned and with worms. She would have to take some medicine for a few weeks but she was the healthiest puppy in the bunch. We got her during the "Dog Days of Summer Special" and she was half off the usual going rate. She would come to be referred to as the best $15.00 we ever spent.

My mom and I brought her to the van to take her home. I got in the passenger seat and placed her on my lap. I told my mom that I had decided to name her Kiley. My mom asked if I wanted to put her on floor for the ride home. I wrapped my arms around Kiley and I said "No, she is my girl, she stays with me". That was the moment that I allowed myself to fall head over heals in love with her. That moment set the tone for our entire relationship. 

She followed me around the house, stayed in my room with me while I was drawing, and cuddled with me every chance she got. For thirteen years she was my constant companion. I moved to Orlando to go to college but I never got tired of her jumping on me every time I walked thru the door. 

On my way to work one day my mother called me to tell me that Kiley wasn't doing well. She was old and had been having some health problems for a while, and earlier that morning she had fallen over and was unable to get herself back up.  I got my shift covered and raced back to St. Petersburg.

By the time I got home I realized she was in a coma. She was still breathing but she couldn't move or open her eyes. I laid down next to her and said "Baby Girl I'm home". She made some faint squeak as if she was trying to let me know that she could hear me.  I laid on the floor next to her for five hours. Always touching her so that she knew I was there. I had my arms wrapped around her when she passed away.

A short time after she died I made my first copper plate print. I wanted it to be in memory of her. 

"The Garden" 

Once I moved away to college I was always afraid that I wouldn't be able to be with her when she died. As difficult as that day was, I was so glad that I was there to comfort her in the end. I was there on the day we got her and I was there on the day she left us. Every day in the middle was gift.

In life she always looked out for me and in death I took care of her. For the copper plate I show myself standing over her with my hands behind my back. This is meant to represent that I am protective of her, yet I understand that I have to let her go.  The tree of life grows from her and shelters us both to show that life goes on and there is renewal in death.

I miss you Baby Girl. 

Thursday, August 26, 2010

The Pond

The sky is a textured water color of blues, rosy purples, and dusty grays. I have my bath towel spread out over the grass and I lay on my stomach looking out over the pond. For some reason I like being out here at night. I can still see my apartment complex across the water. I can hear the faint whirls of the cars driving on the street behind me. But this patch of grass in the middle belongs to me.

The tall grass rocks back and forth in the breeze and some bats flutter across the sky. The frogs share their song with me. Most of the time I am giving and receiving information - constantly communicating and interacting. But in instances like these I can simply receive. I don't have to give anything back to enjoy this moment. All I have to do is just take it in.

I roll over on my back to face the sky. I place my right hand underneath my head and use my other hand to stroke some blades of grass. I can see four sparkling stars through the cotton sheet of clouds.

Sweet, self-indulgent solitude.

After a few moments I gather up my towel and make my way home in the dark. As I walk around the pond I pass a bush with a small green light on one of its leaves. I take a closer look. A tiny lightning bug grasps the edge of the leaf and flickers. He lights my way home.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Digital Portraits

I love portraits and I was looking for a way to make them in a digital format. The following picture is a self portrait that I took from my computer. I then drew on top of the image in Photoshop. Since I have studied anatomy I try to pick out shapes based more on bone structure rather than shadows. I think that this approach leads to a more "structural" portrait. 


Working on it was a little bit of a struggle. This type of illustration can be very time consuming and tends to look bizarre during the process. Throughout the creation of this picture I kept wondering if it would come out looking good at all. I'm so glad I saw it through till the end, because it was certainly worth the effort.

I decided to take this further by using my friends as models. I wanted to do a series where I made two pictures of each person. Ultimately I wanted this to represent duality. I myself had gone through some very difficult years and have come to a better place because of what I have been through. I wanted to honor my friends who offered support while also facing their own personal conflicts. 

Because, at the end of the day, you can only conquer it if you are strong enough to face it. 

For the series of sad portraits I used muted colors, vacant backgrounds, and chose to have the subject looking away from the viewer. I wanted to let them be in a moment of inner reflection. 


My best friend and roommate, Amber. One of the most responsible people I know. She constantly deals with the fear of having to taking care of her mother. 


Nic, an amazing friend who I value so much for his clear-headed way of relating to the world. I worked with him for a year before he confided that he was bi-polar. 


Jimmy, one of the most loving and open people I have ever meet. He struggles with drug addiction and the hurt that it caused his family. 


For the series of happy portraits I wanted the background to be full of life and color. The subjects eyes finally meet the viewer. This is the truest version of themselves. They show off the light and energy that brought me to them in the first place.


I've known Amber since we were about fifteen years old. She has never once failed to help me do anything. From sorting out life's big issues to telling me to get some sleep. She is the strongest, most capable person I have ever meet. I'm so lucky to have her as a friend. She is truly one on a million.


Nic has the amazing ability to turn a bad day around in a matter of seconds. I could go to work on the worst day of my life and if I walked in the door and saw him working, I knew I was going leave laughing. Not just laughing - really laughing. The kind of laugh that doesn't make any noise and prevents you from seeing straight. He will always be my favorite accomplice. 
I never expected so much love to come from someone with such a difficult life. Jimmy is all smiles and playfulness, yet if he even thought that you needed him, he would never hesitate to help. There were so many times that he was comforting me before I even knew that I needed it. For some reason my walls were just invisible to him.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Influence from DRIP

These are some watercolor and ink paintings that I was inspired to make after working with DRIP when we did our "WET" show at the Orlando Fringe Festival in 2008. 





Sunday, August 8, 2010

Feet: A Series

Three things have led to this unexpected series: I love to paint my toenails, I tend to stare at the ground, and I usually have my camera with me.


This was taken when I went to Boston for the PhotoShop World Conference. My group left on Friday but I decided to spend a few extra days in Boston by myself. I was in my hotel room writing in my journal and reflecting on a perfect day. 


On the beach after my graduation from UCF.


This was during an 80's party. Somewhere during the night I noticed a hole in my sock. I thought it was funny how the nail polish almost made it look purposeful. 


The blue dot was actually an accident from the DRIP warehouse. I was moving paint and managed to spill a single drop in the center of my right toenail.  It seemed to compliment my already colorful sandals. 


Savoring the view from my uncle's dock in St. Petersburg Florida. 


This was taken while my friend Ronnie was fixing the bumper on my car. I was enjoying the company of his shop dog, Chig.  


This was at the Photoshop World Conference in Orlando. I was in a hotel finishing up emails when I decided to look at photos from the conference in Boston the previous year. I came across this picture and thought it was hilarious because I was wearing the exact same pair of pajama pants. I had to take a picture. I just couldn't resist. 


This was taken outside of my apartment complex. I was moving my artwork outside to take pictures of it to post on this very blog. I decided to take a picture of my feet against the pebbles of the walkway. That was when I got the idea to turn these photographs into a series. 

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Lake Eola

There aren't many places that calm my nerves, but Lake Eola is one of them. I keep finding myself here more and more frequently. The first time I was here I spent two hours wondering around enjoying the company of other people's dogs and the misguided birds who thought I had food. There was so much simple pleasure in having a few hours by myself to enjoy nature. Today a scheduling error has brought me to Lake Eola and I decided to make the best of it.

I went to grab a sub from the Publix supermarket across the street. I walked into the park to find a bench overlooking the lake. Paramedics were attending to a man who had collapsed in the park about 200 feet away from me. He seemed okay, but he still needed medical attention. I selected my bench and went about the business of eating my sandwich. The paramedics proceeded to load the man into the ambulance while several joggers made their laps around the park. Moments like these like these make me feel like I am in a big city. There is so much going on - all you have to do is sit back and watch the chaos of life unfold all around you.

The sun sets thru the trees to my left. Birds flock to the hedges in front of me. A pigeon snatches a chip I had dropped earlier. The other birds storm the pigeon and in a flurry of feathers, chirps and squawks, the chip disappears.

I look across the pond and I notice that the fountain is working again. It had been in disrepair for a few months. People always talk about the fountain as one of those icons of Orlando. It is beautiful but I've always felt that Orlando will be Orlando whether the fountain is working or not.

The city of Orlando has a strange skyline. We don't have many tall buildings and the ones we do have all possess unusual architecture and oddly shaped silhouettes. They are all interesting to look at, however, as a group they are somewhat disjointed.

I pause from my writing to brush an ant off my leg. The breeze feels good. We don't get a lot of this nice weather in August.

Birds land on top of the lighting post to complete the structure. A black swan in the distance reminds me of a miniature Loch Ness monster. The clouds that carried the ran earlier sink further into the distance. The sky opens up to blue for a few brief moments before changing again for sunset.

Sometimes scheduling errors are good for the soul.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Nike Print

My favorite artist is a man named Albrecht Durer. He was a German painter and printmaker. What I love about Albrecht Durer was the seemingly endless detail in his prints and his ability to capture the personality of his subjects in his portrait painting. He was also know for his great curiosity and love of travel. 

I decided to take up printmaking because of my background with graphic design. I wanted to model one of my prints after a piece of art by Albrecht Durer. However, I knew my approach to making the print would have to be very different. Albrecht Durer was a perfectionist and almost fanatical about detail. I, on the other hand, am relatively new to printmaking. I wanted to focus more on the image and getting acquainted with the materials. I chose to create a large image on a rough piece of board to prevent myself from being too overly concerned with detail. 

I modeled this piece after Albrecht Durer's engraving Nemeis.


I was very pleased with the way this print came out.  I love the textures and patterns I was able to get, especially in the background. It ended up have a very expressive feel because the wood grain pattern was so erratic. Because I was so happy with the way this came out, I found ways to keep taking it further.


The color in this print was achieved through chine-colle. Chine-colle is a method where colored paper is added to the main piece of paper before it is printed. 


As a nod to my graphic design background I continued the chine-colle series based on the CMYK color model.


I also ended up taking the cut-outs from the previous prints and used them to create this image.