Wednesday, February 28, 2007

NEW from The Maps Series -

"Sisters of Mercy in a Small English Village"
digital collage by Mick Mather
I'm not quite certain about furthering this series of work. As I intimated a few weeks ago, working with maps, diagrams, schematics and blue prints has been a regular, if infrequent, occurrence 'round here. A recent week of viewing art in New York City uncovered a literal ton of work by a lot of artists who were doing the same thing. I immediately cut back on the constant pursuit of these elements in my work, and yet, I keep coming back to it. Anyway, here's another piece in that remains to be seen where I'll be taking this. More at, where this will be taking me!

Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Doing the math -

"Running the Numbers"
digital collage by Mick Mather
Since I have a workshop this evening, this post is up early today. Presenters extraordinaire, Al Fasoldt & his wife, Nancy, will be talking about content in relation to web sites, web pages and weblogs. Without something to show 'n tell, what do you really have. About 20 to 30 minutes of this workshop will feature this blog from the back room to the show. Alright gang, hang onto your hats...away we go!

Monday, February 26, 2007

Moody Monday: Spiritual -

"Spirit of Little Falls Creek"
photograph by Mick Mather
It happens rarely, but tonight's post is a straight photograph with no manipulation. As I began thinking of this week's theme at Moody Monday, it was the Native American concept of the spirit that struck me. While flipping through my photo archive, this foot-high waterfall spoke to me again...I closed my eyes, recalling the hymn of these singing waters on a bright, summer day when this was taken. I bet most of you can summon forth memories of your own days like this, when everything around you is alive and engaged. The trick is attaining that state of silent grace, to stay quiet long enough to hear the raucous debate.

Sunday, February 25, 2007

Brushing up -

"The White Scarf"
digital collage by Mick Mather
There seems to be something soothing and satisfying about one of the new filters I've been playing around with. It's a test-drive packet where you get to try most of the features but you need the paid version before you can save or retain the results without putting a massive amount of time into the discovery of a good work-around. Be that as it may, it's the concept of play that I'm really talking about here. Taking risks, walking 10 steps beyond the point where you've told yourself to give it up, walking into unfamiliar territory and jumping into the deep end of the pool . As I believe I've been mentioning, off and on, since around last Thanksgiving, I'm in one of these development periods where I practice what I preach. Three months later? I'm getting very comfortable with the hard turn taken back then and it's beginning to pay off. Come on in! The water's nice and warm!

Saturday, February 24, 2007

NEW from The Selfportrait Series -

"Selfportrait of the Artist Looking Through A Shaded Window"
digital collage by Mick Mather
No time to chat, the evening seems to have gotten away from me and I'm late, very late, for a special event. Since I've had this new piece tucked away for just such a time, I'll leave you with it and make my dash! Ta!

Friday, February 23, 2007

Illustration Friday: Communication -

"Powering Up To Test The System"
digital collage by Mick Mather
The Illustration Friday theme this week, communication, put me in a bit of a wacky mood. All I could think of was an old, old photo of me on the cover of a local music fortnightly, circa 1980, wearing headphones made out of two tin cans. That set the tone, pointed me in the proper direction and after a little surfing for an appropriate industrial image, this collage of the engineers testing a newfangled, tin can telephone system was the result. The surprising thing was, when the serially connected generators automatic shut-off was tripped by a common house fly, the system still worked just fine. Actually better, since the whine of the spinning cores were no longer inputting their fair share of the decibel load. My support group seems to think I'm making progress...I'm not so easily convinced!

Thursday, February 22, 2007

Thursday Challenge: Fast -

"A Quick Clean Up"
digital collage by Mick Mather
One has to see the variety of meme photoblogs like Thursday Challenge as a blessing when it comes to blurred and bad photos. In the digital world, anything can be fixed and, those that still suffer afterwards, can be manipulated into a new glory. Such is the case with the photograph of my youngest granddaughter that lies at the bottom of tonight's image. The week's theme, fast, saw the original as little more than a smokey, blur. The little punkin' pie is working the room with a favorite Christmas gift of the season past, a toy vacuum cleaner. One of my new filters did a crackerjack job of turning this into a marvelous little oil painting! Now, alla you go do likewise!

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Out of nowhere -

"Her Incomparable Hat"
digital collage by Mick Mather
Sometimes, things just seem to appear, out of nowhere! In tonight's image it's the incomparable hat and I love it! Allow me to run off into the night, another madcap laughing, before the men in the white suits get hold of me!

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

A dream of how it might have been -

"At Seventeen"
digital collage by Mick Mather
I was thinking of the lyrics to Janis Ian's big hit, "At Seventeen", as I was finishing this one. The working title, "Dreaming of You at Twenty-Four", wasn't quite right - although the numbers aren't very far part anymore from where I sit - arbitrarily then, I decided on the younger. Then there's the teenage angst described in the song which transcends the generations in it's sentiment from the young girl's perspective. Beyond that? The perception that another is prettier, more popular, favored and, therefor, of a higher social status is just that, a perception. I knew, and still know, plenty of the so-called "beautiful people" who suffered just as much over the same issues and for the same reasons. The rating system can be cruel at every level I suppose. In the end, though, who doesn't appreciate the classic lines of that sleek, shiny, new racing car?

Monday, February 19, 2007

Moody Monday: Fashionable -

"Reflection In A Grater"
digital collage by Mick Mather
Fashionable is the theme at Moody Monday this week. As I fumble, struggle and remain seduced by a certain array of new filters, I fear that I'm firmly held in that trap and may have to gnaw my own leg off sometime soon! Anyway, it seems to be all the rage to entertain in the kitchen these days if I can believe my eyes at some of the "family room" sized layouts at the Parade of Homes every year. So, tongue planted firmly in cheek, here's my image for the week.

Sunday, February 18, 2007

Still on a roll -

"Display Of Shirts In A Shop After Closing Time"
digital collage by Mick Mather
Today has been great fun in the studio and piece after piece rolled off the old assembly line. While it seems like I have the Golden Touch, believe me when I say that there's been a bit of junk along the way. That's to be expected and it's no great loss at the end of the day. Besides, as alluded to just above, I've made terrific progress. Tonight's post is one that's hot off the press and as I was working on it, got the idea that the subject matter, shirts, might be in a closet. As can be seen by the title, however, an even better idea popped up.

Saturday, February 17, 2007

NEW from The Making Faces Series -

"Abstract Girl"
digital collage by Mick Mather
I'm still quite carried away with this new body of work. One of the things that interests me is the amount of digital painting I seem to be doing with these. That said, there's no time to chat right now...back to work!

Friday, February 16, 2007

Illustration Friday: Gravity -

digital collage by Mick Mather
Gravity. One of those things in life that we all take for granted, yes? This was the weekly theme at Illustration Friday and I decided to go directly to one brilliant source on the matter, Mr. Al Einstein. Not a lot more to say except for the fact that I was listening to some wonderful music by Tom Bugs while tossing this t'gether.

Thursday, February 15, 2007

Thursday Challenge: Pink -

"Purple Haze Turning Pink"
digital collage by Mick Mather
The theme is pink over at Thursday Challenge this week. Since I've has this image laying around and not too sure where else to take it, well, why not pink? I know, I know, I've been flashing back to the 1960's quite a bit lately...examining my life is one of my fondest pursuits. I enjoy going back over things from time to time, not in a nostalgic way - although there's always a bit of that - but as a series of questions and a mystery or two seeking connections that may lead to some answers. Anyway, all very personal, this, thanks for allowing me to indulge.

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

A NEW Series -

"Pretty (With Ribbon)"
digital collage by Mick Mather
I never quite know how it happens. I've been working away here at HQ, just goofing around to see what might happen, when, BOOM! How did I get to this? Well, I know how, but what was the turning point? When did I start holding my breath for so long? Whatever it was that got me here, I'm pleased to have another series of work...called the "Making Faces Series", these are very rough, blocky and hastily tossed together collages. Then the fun begins as I maneuver them through all of the super secret filters and plug-ins, layering and manipulating 'til I'm happy with things. At the moment? Yes, I'm quite happy.

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

A proposal for a public artwork -

"The Really Big Mural"
digital collage by Mick Mather
I've been putting off work on this piece but today it commanded my attention. As the final few layers were being applied it began to look like a rather large mural on the side of an old building so I went a bit further. What I've ended up with is a very nice piece that can be used as support material to turn this into a real public art project or gallery installation. Hmmm, now I've done it! Another series of work is afoot!

Monday, February 12, 2007

Moody Monday: Toxic -

"The Electric Chair"
digital collage by Mick Mather
I suppose it's just me, but I seem to be on somewhat of a morbid streak lately. Quite by accident, since I'm responding to other influences than just the work itself. Even so, the theme at Moody Monday this week has resulted in what I can only describe as a particularly dark bit of black humor. As usual, the concept, for me, addresses the subject matter on more than one level. The chair itself as a means of capital punishment; the mental state of the criminal before, during and after the fact; the victim himself or herself; even the state of the state as regards this form of punishment; all of these, correspondents with the theme - toxic.

Sunday, February 11, 2007

A light breakfast -

"Cranberry Juice and Tea"
digital collage by Mick Mather
Just mucking about all weekend contemplating some recent work that might better have been left under cover. Without mentioning names, I feel like I've been in a bit of a slump over the past 10 days or so. The other night, as I was bemoaning my fate, up popped this little gem. I like it. It soothes me somehow and I moved from this one to another lovely piece. It will be shown later in the week and it's the first image in a long, long, long time to be posted in the practically dormant Chairs Series....wait for it!

Saturday, February 10, 2007

Stretching out and paying the price -

"Reflection of a Hard Driving Woman"
digital collage by Mick Mather
Some filters are so darned seductive it's hard to shut them off. Tonight's post is a case in point where I was determined to get some useful result without being what I call, "photoshoppy". If I haven't said this before - although I believe that I have - way too much of the digital art that I see relies far too much on filters and plug-in technology. Long story short, I can spot work that is photoshopped from 20 yards and I don't particularly care for much of it. For that very reason, I don't use the program, nor Illustrator, nor Corel Draw, not Painter or any of the traditional graphics software that can run into the hundreds of dollars. In the end, I suppose, the piece you see here is a little bit of crow for me to eat - being one of only a few pieces that I've allowed to escape from the "photoshopped" file. Like I said, some of the new filters I've been playing with are very, very seductive....forgive this transgression?

Friday, February 09, 2007

Illustration Friday: Crash -

"Crash at the Crackhouse"
digital collage by Mick Mather
The first thing that came to mind for this week's theme at Illustration Friday for crash, was a "crash pad". An open, trusting, brother-carrying-brother and light-hearted way to travel in it's day. It was quite common in the 1960's to make friends on the road, crash at their place for a night or two, then return to your journey to do it again in another town, village or city with a new group of like-minded souls. Perhaps even a real, hippie commune. Within a decade this wasn't the safest of choices for free or inexpensive accomodations. The groups of apartment- or house-sharing hippies had either returned to the world, disappeared or degraded into something much worse, the drug house. Come to that, hardcore meant something different back then.

Thursday, February 08, 2007

Thursday Challenge: Cute -

"Leighlund Ruth and Mr Penguin"
digital collage by Mick Mather
Hmmm, another duplicate theme - cute - first at Moody Monday a few weeks back and now this week at Thursday Challenge. Not my favorite concept to wrestle with so I believe I'll let my granddaughter take the best out of 3 falls with Mr. Penguin here. On the bright side, while working on this one a few other good ideas happened along the way. More to come; but, you a'ready knew that, yes?

Wednesday, February 07, 2007

Reverting to the inverted version -

"Phoenix (Inverted)"
digital collage by Mick Mather
Silly, silly me! For months now, I've been wondering and wondering why there were NO comments on this blog. I expected a drop once I was forced to back off from my own blog surfing but, a drop to zero? Anyway, last night I discovered that I must moderate and choose to publish any comments left. Duh! So, my apologies to all of you who've been dutifully leaving so many wonderful insights and kudos - I promise to correct everything, and already have. Come to that, someone asked to see the inverted version of an Illustration Friday piece - on the theme of phoenix back around the end of the year - tonight, you get to see it. Go here for a peek at the original post.

Tuesday, February 06, 2007

Forcing myself to work -

"The Japanese Print"
digital collage by Mick Mather
Please forgive the groaning tone in the title of tonight's post...while I'm still under the weather, I feel like it's all about to break free. I'm looking forward to getting back to my normal routine, believe that. With good thoughts now in mind, here's the image-of-the-day from HQ. After running collage elements - b&w and grey scaled newsprint images - through the array of super secret filters, things began to get interesting and seem to have taken on a somewhat printerly, Japanese woodblock look...sorta - kinda - very contemporarily speakin'.

Monday, February 05, 2007

Moody Monday: Content -

digital collage by Mick Mather
As I've been abed (sick with something that isn't going away) a number of images have seeped into my vision and thinking. Most of them came attached to meaningful social change and upheaval, widely scattered over the decades. In order, as best as I'm able to recall, subject headings cover the civil rights movement; the emotional struggle of the soldier with such values as honor, integrity, allegiance & character when the work they're asked to do is diametrically opposed to each; social injustice that can, quite clearly, make monsters from innocents; the ever-increasing traffic in violence and terrorism in the streets; and, now, this week's theme at Moody Monday - content. The percentage of leaders that most of we societal lambs follow is small. The percentage of that body who hold the soldierly values named above is smaller still. So, what's wrong with this picture? The contented image of a young woman walking along embattled streets tells us little of the terror she may secretly hold. In the end, we all leave this place as alone as the day we were born into it. If the meek do indeed inherit the earth, I often wonder if that inheritance isn't the here and now...not quite the reward that's been promised. Are you content with that?

Sunday, February 04, 2007

NEW from The Mr Existence Series -

"Sister Existence Loses The Dog"
digital collage by Mick Mather
A promise is a promise...but, look! I'm feeling like crap and - do I really have to tell you? - it's SUPER BOWL SUNDAY!!! So, here's the new piece I said that I'd upload. Need background? Scroll back to yesterday. Now, let me see...yup, everything is all lined up over there. Chips, crunchy cheeto's, dip, olives, brandy, beer, coca cola, shasta grape, ice cream bars, choc'lit chip cookie dough ice cream, tootsie roll pops, deviled eggs, hot & sour soup, pork steaks, froot loops, milk, cheese, hot Italian sausage, smoked beef stick, spray-on cheese, dipping cheese...damn! I know that I'm forgetting something! Oh well.

Saturday, February 03, 2007

Sick as a dog? -

"Mr Existence Loses The Dog"
digital drawing by Mick Mather

The title of of tonight's post refers to the fact that I'm still darned sick...YES! Again! Anyway, while transferring some of my old work (stored on floppy disks) I happened upon a long forgotten series of digital works. The first, seen above, is a very simple drawing done in MS Paint on an ancient Windows 3.1 OS and was literally one of the first things that I accomplished in the mid-1990's. The drawing was soon turned into an artists' postage stamp, or artistamp as it's often referred to in the Eternal Network. Since I had always been interested in stamp collecting, creating my own commemoratives was a logical step for me and what you see above is, in philatelic circles, called a Maximum Post Card. I actually sent quite a number of these through the mail back then. Below is the block of all four digital drawings as they exist as artistamps:

Block-of-4 Artistamps
digital drawings by Mick Mather
A little close inspection will reveal that I was still working on my square smiley logo - affectionately known as the Cubic Rube - that grew out of a simple, self-imposed Y2K Design Project to take any popular icon from the 20th Century and then redesign it for the 21st Century. Over the years it's been simplified, refined and now does service as my digital signature; but, I digress. The other night I began working on a digital collage of a young woman walking her dog and, as the work progressed, the dog was edged out of the frame - lost! Light bulb moment and scramble, scramble to re-investigate these old pieces for tonight's post. So, a NEW series is born - would that be reborn do you think? - and I'm excited over the possibilities. Tomorrow night? Of course, I'll post the new piece...stay tuned.

Friday, February 02, 2007

Illustration Friday: Sprout -

digital collage by Mick Mather
I feel terrible as I've managed to catch yet another bug! My head aches, my nose is running and my sinuses...well, never mind. I was barely able to manage this satirical look at Brussels and Sprouts for Illustration Friday. I need my pillow...I need my mommy!

Thursday, February 01, 2007

Thursday Challenge: People -

digital collage & manipulation by Mick Mather
- original photograph by Mary Stebbins Taitt -

I don't do very many images where the subject is a group or a crowd. Thursday Challenge gave me that opportunity this week with their people theme. That said, it's immediately funny that it was only a few days ago that I posted something so similar as to make this event, well, shall we say "spooky"? Okay, maybe not that spooky. Some hotrodding around the photo files here at HQ gave me quite a few choices but, in the end, I decided to take a drive through the stacks of images lovingly donated by my good pal, Mary Stebbins. Yes, yes, yes, all the automobile references are on the up 'n up since Mary has recently moved to Detroit. So, something chopped, channeled and almost candy striped for ya this evening. Thanks, Mary!