Saturday, March 31, 2007

The Bridesmaids are NOT happy! -

"The Incredibly Hip Cut and the Hideous Gown"
digital collage by Mick Mather
It's funny, sometimes, the things that you recall when laying back, eyes closed, mind wandering in the free-association zone. Today it was the outright bitchy complaining of a trio of young women who were being fitted for their gowns. I had to admit, this particular travesty was lots closer in style to one of Little Debbie's Cakes than it was to a ceremonial dress. Anyway, it's Saturday night and, while there may not be that many receptions going on this time of year, my hat is off to all of the maids, sitting in agony and wondering where the darned limo to whisk the newly betrothed away can possibly be. Pass the brandy, please.

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Friday, March 30, 2007

Illustration Friday: Snap -

"She Couldn't Snap Out Of It"
digital collage by Mick Mather
Hmmm. Another struggle this evening but here's tonight's post and my addition to the theme, snap, at Illustration Friday. Our subject is locked away, at war with some inward turmoil that has her staring blankly into space, sitting upright but rigid. At sea, in a dark place and unable to snap out of it.

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Thursday, March 29, 2007

Thursday Challenge: Spring -

"Studying Signs of Spring Reflected In A Rippling Pond"
digital collage by Mick Mather
It was a near perfect Spring day if you forget about the icy chill in the air all day. Still, it was sunny and bright with that kind of blue sky that only seems to arrive around this time of year. The weekly theme at Thursday Challenge, spring, seems a perfect fit and I've been struggling with this old photograph for a few hours now. There's something soothing about rippling reflections in a small pond while the wind whispers hope for the new season....and, now, a pause for thought, more likely? A nap!

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Tuesday, March 27, 2007

It's What?

"One Spanish Shoe"
digital collage by Mick Mather
I liked the filtered effect of this piece from the moment it was layered into the mix of things. Even so, I've been holding it back without really having a very good reason. It finally hit me today while I was doing a bit of research on traditional vs digital collage. Sad to say, I've lost the site between yesterday and today but the drift of the discussion centered around cubism and the collage of Picasso and Gris, to name two Spanish artists who may have defined the movement. From collage to painting, leavened with a few hundred years of cultural memory seems to have led these two men in particular to the wonderful invention. Hand in hand, thereto, went the assertion by Gertrude Stein that, "cubism is Spanish." Whether you or I agree with those assumptions isn't the issue other than the fact that tonight's post has its roots in that ism. Gee! Who'd a thunked it?

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Cup o'joe -

"Waiting For Morning"
digital collage by Mick Mather
I've had a series in progress, created by my coffee cup at work, for well over a year. Each month I put down a 4 1/4" X 5 1/2" piece of white paper and set my cup on it for the next 30 days. Spills, spots, rings, splatters and what-have-you mark these pages, all from my morning coffee. It's been in a file for a few months now and it occurred to me that the next step in that project is at hand. I'll begin by scanning each page before I begin to play around a bit and have some fun. I'm not exactly sure where this will lead me and I'm not really thinking about it a lot at this point. Anyway, tonight's post is a toast to that forthcoming body of work.

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Monday, March 26, 2007

Moody Monday: Gluttonous -

digital collage by Mick Mather
This is the theme at Moody Monday this week and, I suppose, I went with the obvious. Each of you will bring to this what you will, no matter what I might say, but, rest assured, the meaning here is absent of malice. Without diving head first into a pontifical screed, this image is offered by way of a directive: be fruitful and multiply. That said, my intent applies to the creative, inventive spirit of man, not to procreation alone. The concept of good stewardship in that regard doesn't have to equate to frugality, although that's fine for those seeking a simpler path. The time-tested concept of supply and demand is a wonderful thing for leveling the playing field of a free market. The sticky wicket in all of this is more likely rampant consumerism fueled by a humanistic need for instant gratification transmitted instantly & incessantly by a variety of media. The fact that studiously thought out campaigns appear to be everywhere, aimed at the impulsive personality and designed to make them buy, can be viewed in a few ways. Gluttonous is surely one, caveat emptor is another. I prefer imports, exports and free trade in an open economy. Let's go shopping!

Sunday, March 25, 2007

Take that one, last step -

"Sandra Out Walking"
digital collage by Mick Mather
Last night I was getting tired, eyes drooping and I was thinking about going to bed. I thought to myself, "Just one more." All of a sudden an image that I was toying with for the fun of it started to click for me. Uh oh, wide awake now, filter this, layer that, turn it and burn it. Hmmm, tweak that old filter I rarely us. It won't work and you can go to bed. What? It looks fine...almost there, diffuse, one more layer, repaint that spot, leave that one go. Yup, this is where it took me and I couldn't be more pleased.

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Saturday, March 24, 2007

NEW from The Making Faces Series -

"A Glowing Smile"
digital collage by Mick Mather
Not much to say this evening except for the fact that a flurry of creativity this week has resulted in four more images in this series. Once again, as a reminder, these are hastily thrown together with short shrift given to clean edges or blocking out unwanted background. Usually, 3 or 4 faces are assembled and layered before the final work of manipulation in the array of super secret filters begins. Anyway, I need something mindless to entertain me this evening...rot, wot? TV? Did I hear yer say, TV? Sounds about right...I'm in!

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Friday, March 23, 2007

Illustration Friday: I Spy -

"Selfportrait of the Artist as a Corporate Spy Uncovering Company Secrets"
digital collage by Mick Mather
Lots of places to go with the I Spy theme at Illustration Friday this week. I have to admit, it was a difficult array of choices and I probably should have stuck with the apple image and book cover take-off on Asimov's "I, Robot". Apple, you may be asking? Northern Spy, you see. Just the sort that might end up in one of Al Fasoldt's pies! Sorry, Al, but the workplace intrigue, that turned out to be little more than an office affair, was impossible to resist.

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Thursday, March 22, 2007

Thursday Challenge: Green -

"Split Rock Green"
digitally manipulated photograph by Mick Mather
First, this image fit perfectly, in my own mind, for the week's theme, green, at Thursday Challenge. It happens to be one of a number of photographs that I have in the files for a new series that I'd like to finish through the spring and summer. This body of work, called Henderson Skyline, consists of photographs of the tallest structures in the Town of Henderson in Jefferson County, New York. From this silo near Flat Rock to the Lighthouse at Tibbett's Point, I've photographed a number of other structures, including some bird houses, atop poles, some fifteen or twenty feet off the ground. The concept is a bit tongue-in-cheek since this area is mostly low, rolling farm country with a scattering of bedrock sticking up through the topsoil in a number of places, but, I digress. So, what am I waiting for? Truthfully, a collaboration with another photographer is exactly what's kept this project on the back burner. Any takers?

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Wednesday, March 21, 2007

The Inventor -

"Lake of Tears"
digital collage by Mick Mather
There's a story here. I've decided not to tell it. If you're out there and found your way in here, study this evening's post and write a story for me. Not a long story, a short, short, short one. About a paragraph at the longest length, any shorter tale to tell will be just fine. You can email it to me or leave it in the comments box; either way, I'll put it here, with this image as soon as possible after receiving it. If more than one? None? Gee, I really hadn't thunked over it that fur! Let's see what happens.

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Tuesday, March 20, 2007

What's it all about?

"Her Treasured Collection"
digital collage by Mick Mather
There's something about the subject matter that we, as artists, must wrestle with. If not constantly, at least at one point or another and from time to time. For me, the figurative work that attracts me is, in a strange way that I'm not sure I can explain properly, is akin to functional design. That is, the collage works that I create are not mere manipulations of existing snapshots of life, rather, they're a built environment and created with a purpose. That purpose is to tell a story, sometimes visually, at other times an image is accompanied by words. For a number of years now - for those who are new to this place and/or haven't followed the sliver of a thread - I've been struggling along with bits and pieces of three or four sequential, graphic stories. I feel like I'm making headway with one of them...of course, the key phrase is "feel like". Back to the drawing board.

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Monday, March 19, 2007

Moody Monday: Celebratory -

"Cortège de Célébration"
digitally manipulated photograph by Mick Mather
The weekly theme at Moody Monday is celebratory. After letting the word percolate much of the afternoon, I went on a search through my file of photographs and, as always, a good time was had by all - celebratory in and of itself! Anyway, this is the image that jumped to the top of the list for me. Next, I decided to go with a fancy, French title - because everything sounds so much sweeter, larger than life or death and, yes, I'll say it again - celebratory - in that language. Finally, off it went to the super, secret filtering lab where the swing shift didn't do such a bad job of it, yes? C'est tout!

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Sunday, March 18, 2007

NEW from The Making Faces Series -

"She Wanted To Be Happier"
digital collage by Mick Mather
I seem to have hit a brick wall. Very little of what's coming out is satisfying to me and a lot more of it isn't working in a way that lends itself to exhibition. While it concerns me, it doesn't concern me greatly - I'm thinking that I'm on the verge of yet another discovery or, at the very least, a left turn in the work. That said, I revisited this series of work again today for purpose of critical review and found more than I'd expected had passed the test of time. So, here's another from that series while I get back to working with the other, seemingly uncontrollable, issues with my recent work.

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Saturday, March 17, 2007

NEW from The Selfportrait Series -

"Selfportrait of the Artist In The Arms of a Desperate Housewife"
digital collage by Mick Mather
I've been working furiously and, all of a sudden, I find myself with close to a half-dozen new pieces in The Selfportrait Series. Yesterday's post, obviously, and now this one for tonight. I must say, I do have a lot of fun with these and this one in particular of the recent batch has tickled the crazy bone a bit more than the others. 'Nuff said, time to pull some stuff out of the fridge and cook something for dinner.

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Friday, March 16, 2007

Illustration Friday: Total -

"Selfportrait of the Artist Coping Badly With A Long Distance Relationship"
digitally manipulated collage by Mick Mather
The theme at Illustration Friday this week is total and, as you can see here, while the bill at the local watering hole isn't very high yet, there's the possibility of trouble afoot. While the bottom of the bottle isn't necessarily the last bastion of the heartsick, or even the first bastion come to that, it is a place to drown ones sorrows. Anyway, we also offer this one up as the latest edition in The Selfportrait Series while Joe the Bartender pours 1 more bourbon, 1 scotch and 1 beer. (Hic!)

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Thursday, March 15, 2007

Sweep that runway -

"Fashion Plate"
digital collage by Mick Mather
Without jumping the gun - well, okay, without jumping too much! - there's that feeling of Spring in the air! My own winter funk is lifting and I'm beginning to feel the energy. Soon enough the snow will be gone, the flowers will be popping up and all the pretty girls will have stored their winter clothes for something a lot more - let's just say colorful, shall we? So, tonight's image is a toast to the imminent arrival...raise your glasses - to Spring!

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Wednesday, March 14, 2007

An age ago and then some -

"Another Factory Girl"
digital collage by Mick Mather
Part of the fun in creating these digital collages is researching old photographs appropriate to the work-in-progress. At other times it's all about the light, the dark, the abstractness of the shapes that make up the whole. Happily, tonight's post falls into both categories. I'd say more but I'm off to a full day of meetings and I wanted to get this one up, in case a bit of pinot noir gets tossed into the mix at the end of the day! :)

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Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Like I'm not busy enough already?

"The Mirror People Cause A Commotion"
digital collage by Mick Mather
I have some old work that's been nagging at me to put a book together. This will be a sequential novel in the form of a travel guide - the sort that a tourism office might send you through the mail to entice you to make them your vacation destination this year. At the same time, this is a science fiction tale of a newly discovered planetary system that's actually a part of our own. Toward that end, the piece you see posted tonight will, eventually, be reposted at my new blog with some sort of a story attached to it. I've already begun this new adventure with another set of artistamps, a block-of-4 commemoratives. Like I said in the title to this evenings post - I don't already have enough to do!

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Monday, March 12, 2007

Moody Monday: Absent -

digital collage by Mick Mather
With all of the snow we've had around here this winter, more than our normal allotments of snow days have been used up. So many, in fact, some schools have had to shorten the winter break or lengthen the school year. My guess is that this situation more than fills the Moody Monday theme this week - absent!

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Sunday, March 11, 2007

Playing around the edges -

"Pork Cuts"
digital collage by Mick Mather
Believe it or not, this piece began with an empty meat tray and its gauze-like lining pad. These items were scanned, re-sized, turned and studied. Then, I got caught up in a few hours of looking at some digital artwork by an artist I hadn't previously been aware of and was stunned at the quality of the work that employed many of the new filters I've been going on about these past few months. A bit of such inspiration pushed me a lot further out than I'd intended to go today and this is the result. The short story here is that I was really out there, having fun, and come what may. Yeah!

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Saturday, March 10, 2007

Excerpt from The Inventor's Diary: "The Note" -

"A Billet Doux For Her Lovers Greatcoat"
digital collage by Mick Mather
..."I remember watching you fold a small piece of paper. Studious in the effort, keeping each edge trim, every crease clean and smart. Beyond was that old, doddering coat rack, a deep purple shadow of its contents cast upon the wall by cheap incandescents. I returned quickly to my own work, an image of fuzzy edges melding, one into the other, clear in my mind if not in that room. You had left by the time I returned and, donning the last remaining greatcoat, my own, I slipped a hand into the left pocket, finding the note. My heart beat a little faster and a warm flush came over me as I did carefully unfold. Then, that sinking feeling that foolish hearts find forever surprising. The name of the one you confess your love to isn't mine"...

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Friday, March 09, 2007

Illustration Friday: Wired -

artistamp design by Mick Mather
At the end of the last century I was busily creating artist postage stamps - or, artistamps as they're called in The Eternal Network. Deja Vu says that I've talked about these before and I'd happily provide a link back if I could remember where the other post on these artist-created commemoratives resides. Anyway, the theme at Illustration Friday this week, wired, seems tailor made for this issue, called "Chip Happens", and here's a block-of-4. Feel free to capture this image and print it out for any personal use that suits you...mail them, collect them, stick them up on the fridge, your cork board at work, whatever. If you do, send me a photo as a jpg file and I'll put up a new set at flickr.

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Thursday, March 08, 2007

Thursday Challenge: Old -

"An Old Flame"
digital collage by Mick Mather
This weeks theme at Thursday Challenge is old, and it wouldn't be much of a stretch to illustrate a long standing friendship in the context of an old flame. For some of us, there do come moments of sad reflection over a missed opportunity. Be it real or imagined, it makes little difference when you lose your way. I offer these lyrics from the chorus of "Once Again" by Adrian James Croce. He shines a light of understanding on feelings such as these:

"Once again I find that I can’t sleep
Once again I want what I can’t keep
Won’t you please slow down I’m a step behind
You were out of sight but not out of mind
Have I stepped across an invisible line
If you don’t want to speak then just give me a sign
Remember how you treated me back when
Won’t you do it once again"

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Wednesday, March 07, 2007

NEW from The Making Faces Series -

"A Shy Self Awareness"
digital collage by Mick Mather
I ran headlong into this series and then walked away from it; giving it some distance and, like a decanted wine, time to breathe. I like the method and process used for these, quite a bit different from my usual approach, and I'm more than happy with the progress and development of these. Now, back to work!

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Tuesday, March 06, 2007

Another awful, winters day...

"Prototype At The Saucer Factory"
digital collage by Mick Mather
...temperatures that never got above zero, wind chill factor of minus 25 below. Brrrrrrrrr! So, what should a lad with frozed toes and frostbit ears do? Investigate the fusion department at the good ol' Saucer Works, natch! The shadows zipping past glazed, transom windows appeared familiar and alien at the same time but, once I opened the door to peek inside? Not a whirligig or flying thing in sight. The team leader was still busy at the reverse engineering table last I looked...nice sweater by the way. :D

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Monday, March 05, 2007

Moody Monday: Defensive -

"Defensive Posture (With A Knife)"
digital collage by Mick Mather
The theme at Moody Monday this week is defensive. A lucky break for me since, as often happens during the creative process, sometimes things appear that aren't really there. In this case, the filtering process reveals what seems to be a knife in the hands of the young woman standing in the doorway. Hmmm, a good story here - if only I had the strength to create it; but, it's been a long day and I'm in serious need of some mindless entertainment. TV? Yeah! That's it, that's the ticket!

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Sunday, March 04, 2007

Call me anything but late for dinner -

"The Recipe"
digital collage by Mick Mather
My fascination with everyday life, perhaps one might say the mundane, continues unabated and I seem to be on the verge of showing much, much more of it. In some ways, this body of work appears to be moving along a path that was quite likely familiar to the brilliant Dutch painter, Aelbert Cuyp. Known best for his masterful landscapes, rife with figurative realism, he occasionally offered us more serene moments. In perfectly formed vignettes that showcase the stewardship exhibited in an agrarian life, with nary a nod to the human hand within, he has always left me impressed with the idea of such simplicity. Need something a bit closer to our own century? This painting by Grant Wood gives me that same sort of feeling. So, in my own way and in my own style, a nod to both of these amazing artists in tonight's post.

Saturday, March 03, 2007

NEW from The Chairs Series -

"Three Chairs"
digital collage by Mick Mather
I've been working on a few images featuring a passion of mine, chairs. An artistic passion for the most part as I don't own many; but, of the ones I do have? Yes, I play favorites. Speaking of playing favorites, I was listening to Robin Guthrie (Cocteau Twins) while working this afternoon - a brilliant EP if you please. Have a listen to a cut called "Bordertown" while I pop out for some fish & chips...and, oh my! We're very low on brandy!

Friday, March 02, 2007

Illustration Friday: Hide -

"Hiding A Civil Unrest"
digital collage by Mick Mather
This particular image (insert your own scratching of the head here) even has me stumped. It was assembled over the Christmas to New Years Holidays, a period where I was really stretching and having fun. So, considering the spirit of that moment in time, and especially considering the spirit of the season, how in the world did the image of such a violent outbreak get through all of that? As above, I don't have a clue and I've been sitting on this one, never really expecting to have an opportunity to use it. Today, along came the theme, hide, from Illustration Friday and, as they say, the rest is history.

Thursday, March 01, 2007

Thursday Challenge: Entrance -

"The Gate"
digitally manipulated photograph by Mick Mather
I took this photograph over 10 years ago while teaching a photography class at the Schweinfurth Memorial Art Center in Auburn, New York. The dozen students and I would walk around the City looking for visual clues to a good photograph. Basically, without any technical details at all in that class, I was attempting to explain the artists way of seeing. As for this piece, it was lucky for me to find this one in the archive...the theme of entrance is what this week's Thursday Challenge is all about.