Tag Archives: art

play with your toys! or play with your friend’s toys…

I got a scanner from a friend of mine to make “trashograms” for my trashsociety.com blog.  I’ve had a lot of fun making other scanogram (or digital photograms) art projects with it, all random objects sitting around my house.  Check them out…

Playpen prison.

Creepy vintage doll. Can you imagine the look on a kids face opening this up for Christmas?

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historia en los corazones… [story in hearts]

You know I have a difficult time doing anything simple.  I started painting these hearts, and was about halfway done, when I had an idea.  Yes, I usually change direction midstream on art projects.  🙂  The hearts have meaning because we love all of the kids at Casa Hogar Elim, but how about if they tell a story?

I painted these on the wall in the teen girl’s dorm at CHE, on a column near the new fridge, as we were redecorating their space.  The colored-coded and carefully numbered hearts tell a story and reference a scripture in the Bible.

Can you figure it out?

Here’s one hint:

The scripture reference is in the old testament.

I’m going to use Google translator and make this in Spanish too.  Not sure how that will work…

Usted sabe que tengo un tiempo difícil hacer algo simple. Empecé a pintar estos corazones, y fue realizado a mitad de camino, cuando tuve una idea. Sí, por lo general el cambio de dirección en medio de la corriente proyectos de arte. 🙂 Los corazones han sentido en que amamos a todos los niños en Casa Hogar Elim, pero ¿qué tal si le dicen a una historia?

Pinté estos en la pared en el dormitorio de niña adolescente en CHE, en una columna, cerca de la nevera nueva, como nos decorar su espacio. El color-codificados y cuidadosamente numerados corazones contar una historia y una referencia escrito en la Biblia.

¿Puedes averiguarlo?

He aquí una pista:

La referencia de la Escritura se encuentra en el antiguo testamento.

New clues.

The hearts represent 5 numbers.  Three of the numbers are the scripture reference and two are clues.


a new set of paint brushes…

My light painting endeavors have stepped up a notch.  I made a new set of paint brushes.  No, I didn’t pull out chunks of my hair and attach it to wooden sticks, I’m talking about light painting brushes.  Never heard of light painting?  Here’s how it works…

If you have an SLR (digital or film), place it on a tripod and set the camera on manual.  Set the aperture on F8 (works well for most simple light painting, although you might have to adjust) and the shutter on the ‘bulb’ setting.  If you can get a cable release for you camera, most of them have a lock feature that will keep the shutter open until you close it, that way you don’t need to be at the camera holding the button down the whole time.  Hold the shutter button down and have people ‘paint’ with the flashlights.  Oh, and this process must be done in the dark or in extreme low light.  Anything that has light on it will show up in your photo.

Now that you have the details on the camera end, let me tell you about the art tools.  Your flashlights are your brushes and color gels are your paint.  You can do this without the color gels, but I like using them, well, because I love color.  This photo is of my new set.  I had a set of color gels leftover from my pre-photoshop days.  These are the same as theater light gels.  Cokin makes the photography set and a company called Roscolux makes some as well.  For the new flashlights, which I made to take down to Casa Hogar Elim for the kids to play with, I used duct tape to attach the gels and color coded them with the duct tape.

The black cards on the left have a set of colors I made from gels and photo mat boards.  They have velcro on the back so I can attach them to a flashlight easily.  And no, you don’t have to get that fancy with it.  You can just hold a gel over the light.  Simple.  I do a lot of this so I have an entire suitcase of flashlights, from pen lights all the way up to my Cyclops.

Cyclops is a very large flashlight… 15 million candlepower.  The light bulb in it is a car headlamp, if that gives you a reference point.  I have some color gels that fit over Cyclops.  This ‘brush’ comes in handy for light painting buildings or any really large spaces.  Cyclops is rechargeable and cost about $40 at Costco.  You can also get some nice 1-2 million candlepower lights at any retail store.

Some other types of lights that work well are pen lights for drawing, LED lights are good, but make sure to get the very bright ones.  I prefer the warm light color of the incandescent type bulbs versus the new LED’s.  Not as energy efficient, but if you’re picky about the warm tones…

Okay, let me show you some examples of light painting.  I did a series for an art gallery showing a while back.  The show was called ‘excessable’.  It was photos of how we have so much excess in our culture and the entire series was light painted.

These were all painted with several different types of flashlights, each exposure lasting anywhere between 3 and 10 minutes.

Here’s a photo from light painting with the kids at Casa Hogar.
You can also do light painting using black and white.  This is from a film camera, my Nikon 6006 with Illford B&W film.  You can also get the ghost images with the light painting by painting a person or object, then moving it and painting the space where it was.

This is one of those art things you have to experiment with a lot to get a feel for what your final images will look like.  It is a lot of fun though!


10 days until Christmas…

Yesterday I was pondering my favorite Bible verse, Romans 12:2.  It’s so applicable to the Christmas consumerism and might just be another clue in finding the Christmas spirit.  Here is the verse in two popular translations.

NIVDon’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect.

The MessageDon’t become so well-adjusted to your culture that you fit into it without even thinking. Instead, fix your attention on God. You’ll be changed from the inside out. Readily recognize what he wants from you, and quickly respond to it. Unlike the culture around you, always dragging you down to its level of immaturity, God brings the best out of you, develops well-formed maturity in you.

This one short verse floods my mind with vivid images, many of them exist as photo light paintings in a collection I’ve entitled “excessable”.  I was also inspired to paint this abstract rendition of Romans 12:2 earlier this year.

The details on this canvas were painted with cookie cutters and guitar strings.  I always start painting with brushes, but end up painting with my hands and three dimensional objects.  I guess I do that because I like the feel of the paint and the energy that goes into the painting by touching it.  I also like finding objects that produce intriguing impressions, creating a visual adventure on the canvas.  You can often find the ‘hidden’ eye candy in my art pieces if you look long enough.

The cookie cutters symbolize our current culture and represents the expectation placed on us to conform to our society.  The guitar strings could represent the ‘strings attached’ to us, but truth be told, I just love painting with them.  This painting was auctioned off last month to raise money for the Sons of Lwala benefit.

I’m thinking about Romans 12:2 lately because I desperately want Christmas to be different this year.  Does anyone realize that we’ve all been sucked into this vortex of materialism, buying things because we feel we have to, not because we want to?  If it’s the thought that counts, what does this say about how we feel and what we think of people?

The more I take notice of my surroundings, the more I see a contrast of rich and poor.  Also of good and evil.  However, I also see that people are slowly coming over from the dark side, doing random acts of kindness and serving mankind in very creative ways.

We have the ‘tinselectomy’ thing going on at the church and they’ve asked people to blog stories of helping others or stories of something nice that was done for them.  The problem is, this can’t be done anonymously, so most choose not to share their experiences.  They don’t want to be boastful or prideful about it, but we need to find a way to get their stories out there as an inspiration for others.

In talking to people and simply paying attention in my day to day activities, I’m witnessing so many stories!  People are doing wonderful things for their friends and for people they don’t even know.  I’m going to share some of these stories without using names.  There are so many, and I’ve tried to update my journal frequently to record all of them, but I know I’ve missed some.  I’ll just share a few of them.

The most recent story happened yesterday.  My friend called me to see if I needed anything, as I had a sick child at home.  I needed some Sprite and crackers for him, but I did not want to take him out of the house.  She brought everything he needed and also something for me.  All of my neighbor’s, together, picked up my other child from school and brought him home.

This friend that brought the supplies, whom has been out of work for several months, has a job interview in a couple of days.  To understand this situation a little better, her husband has also been unemployed.  She mentioned her coat being in hock at the dry cleaners.  She needed to get it out, but didn’t really have the money to do so.  Another friend overheard this, went to the dry cleaners, picked up her coat and brought it to her.

She didn’t get the coat right away, because she and several others were out serving lunches they had made for the day laborers, the guys standing in the cold, waiting for any paying job they can get their hands on.  These men sometimes don’t eat for a couple of days at a time.  We plan to make this an ongoing ministry once the Christmas season passes.

Knowing these men are standing in the cold, another guy I know, but not very well, bought a bunch of coats to give to homeless or impoverished people.  We have experienced some incredibly cold temperatures and I’m sure those coats are going to be much appreciated.

Many of these men have families they are trying to support.  Our church sponsored a party for the kids last week giving them some toys and an opportunity to talk to Santa.  Another friend, knowing many of these families don’t have cars, not only tried to arrange transportation, but she gave rides to anyone needing it.

I could go on writing stories all day, spanning from friends collecting money to buy a shower chair for a special needs orphan to paying for a person in line behind them at a restaurant.  Although these people have chosen to remain anonymous, their hearts are in the right place.  Are they experiencing the Christmas spirit?

Do you want to participate?  There are plenty of ideas available on the internet, or just try this simple exercise.  Look closely around you, through the lens of kindness and mercy, and you will see things you’ve never seen before.  Your mind will be transformed, as will your heart.

Also, if I peaked your curiosity earlier on the ‘excessable’ collection, here are some of the images.  Not really Christmas related… or are they?


a portrait of society

I have several friends that are job hunting right now, searching for an opportunity in this non opportunistic economy.  Although I’ve been very blessed by having not only having a job, but one that I love, I still feel the stress.  Stress for them and their situations and stress knowing it could be me.

Last week, I received a forwarded email from a friend with a job listing she received from an online job search site.  Before I respond to it, I’ll let you read it.

Category: Writing, Editing & Translation
Description: Single white male seeking open minded creative female writer please, to edit and rewrite some internet personal datng ads.  That can attract and convey that I’m a multi dimensional open minded male with a caregiver overall character.

I’ve been fortunate to have some long term relationships with some beautiful openly Bi women that lead to some SAFE unforgettable fun times. I’ve been very open with those I date.  I believe in having open honest communication rather than playing games and wasting time.

So my point is I don’t necessarily need to walk on that side but would like to have about 4-5 racy different ads that are very candid in letting the reader know that I don’t judge people and if they are, OR were straight, bi or curious with mild to wild desires now and then, that’s fine. But among other things point out that I’m a very accepting, financially and emotionally secure, non jealous type of person.

I would like to place the ads onto various sites and have the ads be tasteful yet a bit edgy.

My first uttered word after picking my jaw up off the floor was “wow”.  Is this for real?  This clearly combines everything bad about the dating world and everything bad about job hunting, creating a disturbing portrait of our society.

The single white male that posted this has not only put a lot of time, effort and thought into this, but also spend a good amount of money doing it.  I would love to hear his definition of some of the words he’s chosen here: caregiver, long-term, safe, emotionally secure…  It’s not really the ad that makes me uncomfortable, it’s the fact that he’s looking for a professional writer to make his personal ads, and making all of this sound fun and acceptable.  I know this world exists and there will be plenty of women that will respond to his “well written” ads, but I suppose the part that bothers me to the point that I’m writing this, is that it’s intersected with my world.

I’m not a very judgmental person, and if this is the lifestyle he has chosen and he has women choosing to participate as well, then that’s his business.  I’m a single mom, not very actively dating, but let’s say I want to change that at some point.  I would not like to run into this guy, or anyone like him.  Seeing online dating through the eyes of friends, they have run into this type of single white male.  The problem?  These friends have similar values to mine and yet they are getting matched up with men or women that in no way resemble what they are looking for.  Do guys like this lie on their profiles or are the people matching software programs written that poorly?

Now let’s talk about my friend that received this and other friends I have that are job hunting.  (I suppose hunting is a good word since you have to gear up, find one, then fight for it)  I have several friends that desperately need a job.  Imagine the job hunt…  You wake up in the morning to check your inbox and you have four or five emails from job search sites.  Out of thousands of jobs, you get the four to five responses.  The above listing was one of many like that, a listing for questionable freelance work.  I seriously doubt any of my friends would ever consider replying to a listing like this one, but the fact that this type of listing comes up and they have to weed through stuff like this, well, it just has to be frustrating.  Where is the real job they need?

I do call this a disturbing portrait of our society, despite that, I plan to be a speck in the corner of that portrait that represents goodness.  Goodness in God and goodness through positive influence.  I know there are many good specks in the portrait and when you stand back and look, those specks make a beautiful impression, overlaying the sometimes unfavorable reality.


light painting with the kids

I love it when I can share art with kids!  I am in Nuevo Laredo, Mexico at Casa Hogar Elim orphanage.  Last time I was here, we did photography light painting with the kids.  This time, I brought lots of flashlights for the kids to use, and with a supply of color gels to color the flashlights.

Not familiar with light painting?  Simple, and yet most cool process.  If you have an SLR, place it on a tripod and set the shutter on ‘bulb’.  Hold the shutter button down and have people ‘paint’ with the flashlights.  Anything that has light on it will show up in your photo.

The kids down here love to light paint.  When we break out the camera and flashlights, they know exactly what we’re doing.  They get so excited and like to see the photos right after we take them.  With that being said, I have to hold on tight to the camera because the stampede of children will come after every photo.  The excitement on their faces is awesome and it’s wonderful to watch them come up with creative ideas for the next shot.

Enough words.
Photos below.  J



JESUS is everywhere

Wow.  I have thousands of stories from just 5 days.  Where to start…

Not only did we spend a lot of time at Casa Hogar Elim, many of us wandered out into the surrounding areas.  We went into “las colonias”, the local neighborhoods surrounding CHE, the middle school, a few stores and into the city.  I noticed a lot of graffiti on walls, but was surprised about the theme of it.  At first I thought it might be a random thing, but as I continued to look around, I saw the name Jesus a lot.  Now my first thought is that some guy named Jesus (he-sus) has way too much spray paint and he gets around.  Also, my lack of Spanish means I’m probably posting photos with no telling what on them, however these people worship Jesus all the time and He is in the forefront of their lives.
And as Sloan said in an earlier post, they love to know our names.  Not only do they want to know our names, but they write them down, like in this photo.  “Jesus te ama” is Jesus loves you.  This is one of many pieces of paper like this.

This other photo is of a chalkboard in one of the classrooms.  The kids love chalk!  Shortly after we arrived, the concrete was covered with chalk art, much of which had crosses, hearts and Jesus.  I haven’t even gotten to those photos yet.  They are absolutely beautiful.

All of this reminds me of a saying that is on my bathroom floor.  (Yes, I’m aware that is not normal and my bathroom floor is a whole other experience, but later…)  It says, “In America you’re seldom in a position where you NEED God.  It’s something that we need to experience – where we’re in a position where we have to actually TRUST God.”
I’ve been back a few days now and it’s difficult not to think about the experience of this trip every single minute.  I went down there to serve them, but that worked the other way around.  I think it was Elizabeth who had a Facebook update of being forever changed.  I don’t see how anyone could go there and not be forever changed.
Jody Wissing

are you expressing yourself or propagandistically supporting financial insanity?

n1355929489_107613_2584About two months ago, I got a really cool pair of shoes from a friend’s teenage daughter.  She said she was not wearing them anymore, so I took them home with me.  The shoes were awesome, great colors and artwork!  As soon as I got home, I put them on and went outside to play with the boys.  We got out the sidewalk chalk… well our version of sidewalk chalk… and started the outside art process.  I drew the skull that was on my shoe.

I had seen lots of merchandise with artwork like my shoes, but I didn’t really know much about it.  Ed Hardy.  Stuff that people are paying insane amounts of money for.  $109 for a short sleeve t-shirt?!?!?!?  Are you kidding me?

Okay, so I have been know to shop at The Buckle on occasion.  I love their stuff, but not as much as they do.  Even if I had that kind of money, I would not pay full price for it.  I typically avoid the mall at all costs, but I needed to go there for my annual visit.  I had the boys with me and they picked out my Christmas gifts there.  Each one picked out a shirt for me off of the sale rack.  As we went to pay, we passed a table full of Ed clothing.  I didn’t even stop to look since I knew I would never pay what was listed on those little tags.

When I went to wear one of the shirts, I realized it had loose buttons.  My laundry theory: wash similar colors together in warm water, dry on high heat and anything that comes out looking good is worth keeping.  Oh, great.  Another trip to the mall to make a return.

imagesThis time I went without the boys.  It was the day after Christmas and I’m really not sure what I was thinking, other than I just want to get all my errands run.  I decided to just return the shirt and not get anything else.  I think I’m probably the only person over 40 that shops there, because they did not see a teen with me, so nobody asked if I wanted anything else in place of the shirt I was returning.

2008_news_christian_audigier_ed_hardy_dsquared_t-shirts

On either side of me, there were teen girls shopping with their moms, making purchases with what was probably Christmas money or Buckle gift cards.  The girls were purchasing Ed hardy clothing.  One had a total of $87 and the other a total of $94.  Each girl only bought one t-shirt.  It really saddened me that this is an acceptable way to teach kids how to spend money and how our society endorses financial prostitution.

ed_hardy_duvet_and_bed_setsOn the way out of the mall, I saw an Ed Hardy bedding set at Macy’s.  Don’t get me wrong, I think his stuff is really cool, however I think it’s ridiculous that it costs as much as it does.  Just for a queen duvet cover and 2 pillowcases… $299.  Saddened once again that Macy’s was nearly sold out of this stuff, I left the mall.

I had one more return to make at Marshall’s.  As I was once again standing in a long line of people waiting to return something, I saw another teenager shopping with her mom.  They were checking out, and once again, the girl was buying an Ed Hardy t-shirt.  It was not the one she really wanted, but it was an Ed shirt for $30.  I suppose she thought that any Ed Hardy shirt was better than no Ed Hardy shirt.  I had a respect for them for shopping at a discount store, but whether or not the Ed stuff is discounted, or like in my case free, what statement are we making by wearing it?

  • I support financial insanity
  • Food… $12, gas… $40, mortgage payment with late fees… $2367, Ed Hardy t-shirt… priceless
  • My shirt cost more than yours! 😛
  • The tattoo would have been cheaper
  • So what, my parents paid for it

Ok, I’ll stop now.  Should I start my own clothing line?  I could, but that would make me another victim of our society.  I think I will write a book (Allison will have to do this with me) about self expression through clothing.  How to treasure hunt at thrift stores and modify clothing to make your own personal statement.

Off to treasure hunt now…  Oh, and I will probably still wear my free shoes, but as usual, I will modify them and make sure I tell everyone about treasure hunting.


clean

cleanThis is a light painted photograph that was part of my series called ‘excessable’. 


smokin’

smokin’This is a light painted photograph that was part of my series called ‘excessable’.  


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