Thursday, January 31, 2008

Thursday Challenge: Black -

"Gatehouse at the Edge of the Black Forest"
digitally manipulated photograph by Mick Mather

- original photograph by Ann Ballard -
For the theme of black at Thursday Challenge this week, I cropped a photograph taken by my good friend and poet, Ann Ballard ... you can see the original here along with a very succinct vision of how I've come to think about photography as a visual artist. I often get the feeling that I'm the odd man out at the photomeme sites I contribute to each week, even though I've made it a point to keep 99.9% of the posted work completely photography based. What I see that predominates, especially in digital photography, is a purist standard. There's nothing wrong with that in my humble opinion - unless it reaches the stage of an oppressive philosophy where there's no room for anything else - and thus whistle as I work happily away. I know there are a lot of other artists working the way I do and I'm always delighted to see that work, always delighted when it inches incrementally forward in acceptability. Still, there's barely a developed square foot in all of this worldwide acreage. Not a complaint there either, mind you, just an observation.

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Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Everything just ... stopped -

"Preceding A Point of Conversation"
digital collage by Mick Mather
I know you've been there, at some gala affair. You cross the room, heading for the bar with the simple idea of an aromatic panatela and another Pimm's. Eyes meet, a stutter in your step, a second glance from her ... an exchange that defines a lifetime in an instant. The diverging path is before you, the philosopher's advice perfectly clear, the road less traveled. The approach, her averted gaze, coy but expectantly hopeful and you deliver: "Everyone believes in something, I believe I'll have a drink. Care to join me?" Sweet dreams are made of this!

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Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Running very late -

"Where & When"
digital collage with typoGenerator by Mick Mather
I fell asleep. Now I'm running so far behind there's no way for me to get caught up ... so, here you go. Nighty night!

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Monday, January 28, 2008

Moody Monday: Organized -

"Selfportrait of the Artist at an Organized Marquee"
digitally manipulated photograph by Mick Mather
As I've said now and again, it's always a treat to be able to work something new from The Selfportrait Series into one of my weekly meme sites. At Moody Monday this week, organized is the theme and there are more than a few references that apply beyond the arranged, organized letters on the marquee. Hang on, we're going to take a thrill ride on a series of non-sequiturs here. For example an arrangement of pyramid skylights for the underground parking garage and the total, combined effort of nations during World War II ... this photograph is of the War Memorial in Downtown Syracuse, New York. C'est la guerre, c'est la vie, c'est l'amour de liberté!

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Sunday, January 27, 2008

When the passion's gone, then what?

"Life is Strange I"
digital collage & painting by Mick Mather
For a variety of reasons driven by any number of conditional circumstances, there are times when the wind just goes out of your sails. For the creative, artistically driven individual that suffers through such doldrums - just like everyone else by degrees - what is one to do? For me, you sit down with a blank canvas (a digital space in my world) and bring anything you can to that place and get to work. Tonight's post took the form of a handful of elements that were arranged as one might do with a traditional collage - albeit created digitally. With a few twists and turns to supply a digital background before moving to the secret array of filters and manipulating software, the end result was utter failure. Not a good thing to happen considering the mood and tenor of the times. It was a mess and I had nothing to lose by going one more step. So, taking a terrific tip from my very good friend, Mary Stebbins Taitt, I attempted my second "smudge painting" (you can see my first effort here - sorry I didn't mention this one earlier Mary). Using the smudge tool in one of my favorite photo editors. I began blending and softening and playing around until ... BAM! Here we go, here it is, this is what I'm talkin' about! As I sat with this, pondering, reviewing, touching up the final areas and looking at it again, all I could think of was an old album by The Doors, Strange Days. Yeah, strange.

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Saturday, January 26, 2008

NEW from The Mister Existence Series -

"Sister Existence Alone in Her Room"
digital collage by Mick Mather
It's absolutely comical sometimes, the way a series of work lies dormant and then, all of a sudden, new work explodes out of the Secret Visual Laboratory! Last night I was just fiddling about, playing and having fun, trolling though FFFFOUND!, getting inspired and then getting to work. The piece changed dramatically over the few hours that I worked on it and this is the version that I decided to go with. It seemed to fit the series perfectly so, here 'tis!

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Friday, January 25, 2008

Illustration Friday: Tales and Legends -

..."Far, far away, across the pampas and beyond the guardian forest where colors merge with fog and dusk and gray. There, in the land of milk and cheese, resides the magic box. A wizard holds the oft sought revealer of truth, plying and turning, switching the worn, grooved buttons this way and that. Always the iconic image of an ancient one who has lost the perfection of his smile appears. Offerings are made, advice is sought and given...then, visions of what may come to be arrive with a warning: ignore your teeth, they'll go away"...

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Thursday, January 24, 2008

Thursday Challenge: Nature -

"Walk Out of the Darkness"
$50 Unframed - LUCAS GALLERY

photograph by Mick Mather
I posted this photograph a number of years ago and it's always been one of my favorites. Since it suits the theme - nature - at Thursday Challenge this week, I decided to use it again. It's the stark, sudden shift from dark to light that always speaks to me when I view this photograph and, as a boy who spent most summers in the woods, this is a comfortable and familiar sight for me. Just as an aside, I was torn between this image and another photograph of yet another tree. You can see it here at No Matter What Shape - The Archive.

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Wednesday, January 23, 2008

NEW from The Mr Existence Series -

"Man and the Moon"
$50 Unframed - LUCAS GALLERY

digitally manipulated fractal flame & collage by Mick Mather
This is a series of work that goes all the way back to my earliest days of digital drawings in MS Paint. You can see the piece that got me started down this road in this block-of-4 artistamps or, since you're here, why not go see the whole series. Come to that, yes, I know I have some work to do to make things continuitous as regards Mr. vs Mister but, what the hey! I'm too busy looking at the current addition to worry about that right now ... hmm, I better send myself an email reminder. Anyway, there's a connection here with the lower right artistamp and we must ask the question, is Mr. Existence tired of being The Man in the Moon? Here, he seems to holding the moon at arms length having just accomplished some prestidigitation using the distraction of a yellow handkerchief. Applause, applause!

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Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Thinking back, thinking ahead -

"Struttin' Down the Boulevard"
digital collage by Mick Mather
Even as we go through an arctic cold front and a major blizzard, I dream of the day when all the pretty girls will once again stroll down the street. Bedecked and bedazzling in short shorts and heels, sporting accoutrements of the day and the style of the season. (Sigh!)

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Monday, January 21, 2008

Moody Monday: Complicated -

$50 Unframed - LUCAS GALLERY

digitally manipulated photograph by Mick Mather
The theme at Moody Monday this week - complicated - made me think of a photograph taken at a dentists office last spring. The subject matter was a children's toy and you can see the original here before a little bit of cropping and minimal resizing. After running the original through the various filters here at the Secret Visual Laboratory, what you see above is the even more complicated result. What could be better?

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Sunday, January 20, 2008

You can't hide from the infrared beacon -

"Night Light"
digital collage by Mick Mather
I was playing around again this afternoon, wondering what to do with a very, dark photograph that may have been taken in very low light or at night. My mind was wandering off into the realm of infrared sensors, night vision technology and motion detection imaging as it might occur in, let's say, a sci-fi thriller such as The Terminator. Or, how about the original Star Trek - The Motion Picture? I can almost hear the voice of V GER in it's humanoid embodiment - taking the form of Llia, a Lieutenant on the Enterprise portrayed by Persis Khambata - that says "carbon units have infested your planet - must eliminate all carbon units".

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Saturday, January 19, 2008

Happy Birthday to You -

"Birthday Roses for Kirsi"
digitally manipulated tempera-on-paper painting by Mick Mather
First, again I want to wish one of the beloved Finnish Sisters a very HAPPY BIRTHDAY! These roses are for you, Kirsi, with wishes for many happy returns. Please feel free to print this out and have it framed (send the bill to Rob, of course). Is it time for cake now? :D

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Friday, January 18, 2008

Illustration Friday: Plain -

digital collage by Mick Mather
..."the muted and fading colors of Charlotte's world sabotaged the uplifting effects of a new outfit. Even the wide-brimmed hats, intended festive accents for her seemingly failed picture post card world, were quickly assimilated by the grayness of a grim reality...she was plain"...

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Thursday, January 17, 2008

Thursday Challenge: Small -

"Little Wing"
$50 Unframed - LUCAS GALLERY

digitally manipulated photograph by Mick Mather
This week's Thursday Challenge theme is small. After looking through my photo files, this little sparrow seemed to fit the bill - no pun intended. As I worked on the creating the manipulated layers that comprise the whole, a particular piece of music that was on my mind and I named the piece after the Jimi Hendrix song. If you want to hear my favorite version of this to date, check out the live, acoustic version by Monte Montgomery.

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Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Moving right along -

"The Running Gears of Hell"
$50 Unframed - LUCAS GALLERY

digital drawing & painting by Mick Mather
There's been a healthy return on investment when it comes to my time spent viewing artwork. I should point you to another favorite site, FFFFOUND!, that I've been checking a lot more often these days - a daily posting of some amazing images to be found on the internet. It's a tagging or bookmarking social website that anyone can use to keep track of their favorites without using up megabytes of space on their own hard drive. Well, for now, registration is closed while the site is in what it calls private beta, whatever that means. Anyway, you can still scroll through the new additions as they go up, jump to other, similar images in the sidebar, or click a member name to see their bookmarked images. That said, the piece you see here was inspired by something I saw over there last night. At the same time, it's tied to a recent conversation I was involved in regarding Old Irish Sayings. As can be seen here for example, when an Irish woman is caught at less than her personal best appearance, she might say, "Off with yer blarney, then - I look like the running gears of hell!" Well, here they are! :)

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Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Far out, man -

"Retro Hippie Girl in Glasses"
digital collage by Mick Mather
I actually knew a girl in the 1960's that looked just like this. She was the best friend of another girl that I was infatuated with at the time - maybe I still am. Sadly, they both went away to college, I went away to the military and never again did any of us meet. It's quite funny that I remember the friend but not the girl. C'est l'amour.

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Monday, January 14, 2008

Moody Monday: Sharp -

"Selfportrait of the Artist as a Sharp Dressed Man"
digitally manipulated photograph by Mick Mather
- original photograph by Michael Moody -

It's always a special treat when I can get something for The Selfportrait Series into one of the few weekly, meme sites that I contribute to. The theme is sharp this week at Moody Monday and I thought this photograph of me and the lovely Tanya might just work. If two for the price of one isn't enough, I get the added bonus of poking some fun at myself again by using the title of an old ZZ Top song, "Sharp Dressed Man". My gratitude and thanks, as always, to good friend and fabulous photographer, Michael Moody for capturing the moment in the first place. Nobody move! Did anyone see a diamond cuff link on the floor in here?

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Sunday, January 13, 2008

Peeking past the blinds -

"Peeping Tom"
digitally manipulated fractal flame & collage by Mick Mather
While working on two other pieces for another blog, Outer Dust Rings, some of the trial runs and alternate takes didn't quite fit over there. Happily, one of them did seem appropriate for posting right here - this one to be exact - and here you have it. Now that I've made the official introduction, it's time for me to scrub up, put on a suit and head west to Rochester, New York to attend a wake.

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Saturday, January 12, 2008

Barbed wire string thing -

"Cowboy Guitar"
digitally manipulated torn paper collage by Mick Mather
Gee wizzikers! Even the weekend is throwing me curves and giving me fits with time obligations that are keeping me from the important things - your double shot is sitting on the mahogany, Susu ... pick up! Anyway, here's another post from the COLLAGE-A-DAY Series. I gotta saddle the horse and ride! :D

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Friday, January 11, 2008

Illustration Friday: Stitch -

"Not a Stitch"
digital collage by Mick Mather
Today was a nice reward for another grueling week at the office, evidently, in more ways than one! The theme at Illustration Friday this week is stitch and I believe this post is self-explanatory. A good thing, too since I'm off to see my favorite band, The Gonstermachers. So, with a stiff belt of 12-year old Jamieson's Irish Whiskey on my mind, I bid you adieu ... we'll chat again later. :)

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Thursday, January 10, 2008

Who knew? -

"Out of Sorts"
digital photograph by Mick Mather
Over the Christmas Holiday it was discovered that my granddaughter, Leighlund, had acquired a case of erythema infectiosum, or fifth disease. The visible symptoms appear as a bright red patch on the cheek although a lace-like, patchy rash can also accompany this "slapped face syndrome" in other areas or all over the body. Not that this is of any great import to this week's Thursday Challenge - for the theme of favorite - except for the fact that this darling child is Poppa's "favorite" subject matter and I often use images of her on this blog. I should also point out that this photograph has not been manipulated other than a little cropping and resizing. One of the things I love about digital photography is the fact there no longer seems to be any such thing as a bad photograph. Even the out of focus, blurred images like this one have a use if you search for one. :)

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Wednesday, January 09, 2008

Another long, long day -

"Yellow Top, With Navy Suit and Scarf"
digital collage by Mick Mather
Yes, again I have to post quickly and run off to greet the day and my grueling schedule. So, what better way than with a bit of a kooky nod to fashion posed in a somewhat industrial setting. Do feel free to meet me for a cocktail at 4:00 - it's always best to get properly prepared for those 6:00pm meetings. :D

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Tuesday, January 08, 2008

Can't stay more than a minute -

"Thinking of You"
digitally manipulated torn paper collage by Mick Mather
Sorry, again, to post and run but my normal down time at the office seems to have disappeared early this year and already I'm putting in more 10-12 hour days than I'd like to at this time of the year. Before I dash, this series of work - called COLLAGE-A-DAY - was accomplished simply and quickly. I describe the process in the comments section of this post at Julie Sadler's terrific blog, Collage Clearinghouse. Have a look over there will ya? I gotta fly!

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Monday, January 07, 2008

Moody Monday: Lofty -

$50 Unframed - LUCAS GALLERY

digitally manipulated photograph by Mick Mather
The Moody Monday theme of the week is lofty. This particular photograph is of a commercial flight climbing into the sky having just departed from Hancock International Airport, banking sharply to take a southwesterly heading. One that will soon offer passengers in the starboard window seats a spectacular view of most of the finger lakes similar to this one by John Francis McCarthy of Skaneateles, New York. Can you say vertigo? I knew that you could!

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Sunday, January 06, 2008

Under the ice -

$50 Unframed - LUCAS GALLERY

fractal flame & digital collage by Mick Mather
This post was influenced by the transitional weather we experienced here in Central New York during the month of December, 2007 - before and after it all turned into a lot of snow. We had a bit of freezing rain but, mostly, it was sleet. Driving in that sort of mixed precipitation can be a bit on the wild side although not such a big deal when you take road conditions into consideration. Anyway, we had one day with gusting winds that made the view ahead look a lot like this for a time. Oh, the introductory title above the image is one of the songs on an album by Todd Rundgren's 1960's pop group, Nazz.

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Saturday, January 05, 2008

Taking it to the street -

"When Reality Comes Apart at the Seams"
digital collage by Mick Mather
As I've mentioned recently, I've been looking at a ton of artwork, most of it found in that most wonderful phenomenon known as the PDF Magazine. There's a lot of fresh work to be seen from artists, designers, photographers and street artists. For our purposes here it's the "street style" that's been steadily creeping into a lot of agency design work that interests me. Too much of this specialized artwork is stolen or copied when the ad industry should actually be hiring some of these artists to bring a fresh perspective to the field. You know the parable guys: "give a man a fish and you feed him for a day - teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime". As with other industries - music and publishing to name two - advertising has become stale, it's been that way for more than a generation and it too fails to recognize the paradigm shift that is likely to make them irrelevant in less than another decade. WAKE UP PEOPLE! Hmm, a bit of a rant here, innit? :D

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Friday, January 04, 2008

Illustration Friday: 100 % -

"Selfportrait of the Artist at 100%, Twice"
digital collage by Mick Mather
The theme at Illustration Friday this week, 100%, was as much fun to work on as it was to pose for. Jet setting like this in the "Swinging 60's" was one of the things that excessive, successful, fast-tracking rock & roll stars seemed to aspire to. It sure looks like fun to me - and woe to those wicked, heady days and debauched, boogie nights of the decade to follow that saw too many lifestyles that included just this sort of scenery blow right up ones nose! Fast forward to 1989 and the release of the comic spoof, "Weekend at Bernies", where one counter culture mantra was flummoxed by the cold, dead body of Bernie: "Live Fast, Die Young and Leave A Good Looking Corpse"! Uh huh.

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Thursday, January 03, 2008

Thursday Challenge: Shopping -

"The Little Bridal Shop"
$50 Unframed - LUCAS GALLERY

digitally manipulated photograph by Mick Mather
Shopping is the week's theme at Thursday Challenge. I took a number of photographs this summer in the boutique shopping district known as Armory Square. This bustling little 4-square block area of small shops is a wonderful example of mixed-use development that includes residential living as well small business office spaces above the retail shops, restaurants and pubs. The bridal shop seen here is located just down the street from this lovely summer scene of al fresco dining that is part of The Candlelight Series of Concerts during the summer months. Bon appetite!

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Wednesday, January 02, 2008

In and out -

From the COLLAGE-A-DAY Series
digitally manipulated torn paper collage by Mick Mather
I'm still not quite back to 100% after having those darned teeth removed. This is supposed to be my first day back at work (since December 21st) but I'm not going to the office. I do have an art exhibit to hang this afternoon and it's unlikely that I can dodge that. So, I think a little more rest before that happens is what I need. Here's another old collage piece that was scanned and sharpened a bit that will have to suffice for today ... and with that, back to bed I go.

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Tuesday, January 01, 2008

First things first -

"Happy New Year"
typogenerator & digital collage by Mick Mather