Monday, January 13, 2020

Inspiration Collaboration: January

At the beginning of January, Helen, an oil painter from Arkansas,and I set up a monthly plan to provide us both with some additional inspiration for our hobbies. Here's how the project came about...

We realized we both needed a boost in our creative processes. I wanted to add more color to my photographs and get out and about more with my "good" camera. Helen wanted new and different subjects to paint. We decided to collaborate and look to each other's work for inspiration. As our plan began to take shape, we realized that our creative friends might like to join us so we set up "Inspiration Collaboration". (instagram: @inspirationcollaboration)

We each provided two images - two paintings from Helen and two photographs from me. Participants were encouraged to pick one image to use as inspiration and submit their creations before the end of January.

I choose Helen's "Snow Cardinal" painting to use as my inspiration:
Snow Cardinal by Helen Eaton
Snow Cardinal by Helen Eaton
I played with different concepts before I came up with my image. If you know my photography, you know that a LOT of my photographs are of birds and trees....they are my favourite subjects. I found it slightly odd, then, that my main focus was the colour red rather than the "bird" subject.  

My approach in creating my final image was not to capture one photograph and consider the project done for the month. I decided to try different things and then pick my favourite. Here are some of things I came up with through the month:

Stage One: Being aware of my surroundings and looking for a red subject with some sort of reference to trees.
The first stage was simply to become mindful of red things when I was out for my daily walk. Nova Scotia is typically shades of grey during the winter, so finding something red is a challenge in itself. Apparently we do have cardinals here, although I haven't been fortunate enough to see one since we moved here from Ontario almost 12 years ago.

My first "red" sighting...with branches in the photo as well! Admittedly, not a great photo. But I reminded myself that I was simply training my eye. Things would get better (I hoped).
A red barn seen through a tangle of trees.
A couple of photos from the backyard.

 And...back to the same red barn on a snow day.

Stage Two: playing with images on my computer.
If I couldn't find a red subject that I was happy with, maybe I could construct it using my photo library. I won't attempt to explain how my mind works, but when I saw Helen's cardinal painting and tried to think of red things, this photograph came to mind. 

What? Yes, I know. It's an abstract. The subject is the hull of a dry docked boat. And what does that have to do with cardinals in the woods?

Well, this project is for inspiration, not duplication. As I stated at the outset, my goal was to find something red and some "branches". Well, this is red. No branches, but the running lines have a branch like feel to them if you stretch your mind a bit.

But I wanted the red in the centre, so I played with the image. I duplicated the image 7 times and this is what I came up with:
It was a great exercise in photo editing, but it wasn't what I was looking for as an answer to the "Snow Cardinal" challenge. Nevertheless, I had fun working on the image. Not all experiments have to be successes.

One other photograph from my library that I thought of was an image I took last year with my phone that I called "Entangled". It was a black and white image of a bird in the middle of an entanglement of branches (not the usual placement for a subject, but I did it intentionally). I played with the photo by adding red berries from another photograph:

Still not in my happy place, but again it was fun to experiment.

I eventually came up with something I was happy with. Stay tuned for my "reveal".

1 comment:

  1. I. Love. This. So. Much!!!!!
    I cannot wait to see what you end up with as a final piece!
    I love that this whole thing is about inspiration - in any form or direction!


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