Monday, March 31, 2008

NEW from The Mister Existence Series -

"Sister Existence Goes to the Big City"
digital collage by Mick Mather
I've had a run of successful pieces for The Mister Existence Series, all of them (including this one from last week) dealing with our beloved, if twisted, sister. I suppose this is all well and good in the end, since I have about 3 grueling weeks ahead with more night time and weekend meetings than I've had for quite a while at my work. I do hope you'll bear with me as I put so many up at once. It can't be helped at this busy, developmental part of the cultural season. Cheers then!

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Sunday, March 30, 2008

Fun with fractals -

"Whatever Blows Your Skirt Up"
digitally manipulated fractal flame collage
A new plug-in has entered the array at The Secret Visual Laboratory and I'm still in the middle of playing around with the possibilities it offers. It also gives me pause to go back and use some of the old filters that I use rarely and working on this was quite a bit of fun. The title is a clue to what you're seeing but be prepared to consider a radically different perspective if attempting to discern the human form within. The basic elements are a pair of fractal flames that were layered and sent on to the photo editors, manipulators and plug-ins. That said, this post is one of those completely experimental pieces that managed to escape. Enjoy.

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Saturday, March 29, 2008

Paying attention -

"She Was A Dark Haired Beauty"
digital collage by Mick Mather
I can't remember how often, if at all, I've discussed my working method. All of my digital images are comprised of many layers, the initial handful being straight cut & paste in, of all places, MS Paint as a bitmap file. Once these early layers are satisfactory, the final image is then sent to a variety of photo editors, filters and manipulating software plug-ins. The first task is to blend and soften edges, or define a few if necessary, preparing things for the final round of manipulation. At this point it all becomes playtime as I add and layer one effect after another. The editors and plug-ins that I use are way beyond the push-button type and every single one of them has a long list of graphic, pattern and stylistic choices - although, from time to time, one of the old single click, preset filters is just what I might need or want. In addition to the array of effects, every editor also has anywhere from a dozen to scores of other settings - brightness, saturation, direction, line thickness and too many more to mention - each one with a gradation of choices in themselves. So, creating digitally is really no different than drawing or painting, one just needs to use and master a different set of tools. Did I just say master? Well, I'm working on that!

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Friday, March 28, 2008

Illustration Friday: Homage -

"Selfportrait of the Artist Paying Homage to Lord Byron"
digital collage by Mick Mather
As is the case from time to time, one joyous occasion arises whenever I can get a twofer. Here, again, I have an image that fits both Illustration Friday as well as The Selfportrait Series. The theme this week is homage and, as I gaze upon the pensive figure of George Gordon Noel Byron, it is his own tribute to the Mythological Greek figure, Leander, that is on my mind. While living in Greece, Lord Byron made the same swim across the Hellespont, from Abydus to Sestus, that Leander accomplished nightly in order to be with Hero. Homage? I should say so!

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Thursday, March 27, 2008

Thursday Challenge: Furniture -

"The Long Table and Chairs"
digitally manipulated photograph by Mick Mather
It's absolutely uncanny. Lately, I've been working on new pieces that feature furniture when up pops that very theme at Thursday Challenge. That said, I'm really not here right now, I'm at a meeting where the topic of discussion is, hopefully, a popularly priced Syrah and whether or not to indulge in another. You know, checking the bouquet, the clarity, the subtle overtones and the finish. Mona? Leave the bottle!

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Wednesday, March 26, 2008

NEW from The Toast Series -

"Toast #5"
monotype by Mick Mather
Vacation is a wonderful thing except for the fact that a weeks worth of work is still waiting to be done when you get back. I'm struggling a little getting caught up and tonight I'm going to post something from the files that's been waiting for a day like this when I'm, once again, done in! As you can see, this is Number 5 from The Toast Series and it happens to be the most abstract of the lot. My thanks to Judy Hand and Lisa Sarsfield for assisting me with my thinking about the question-of-the-month. Well, boys and girls, enjoy - or: go do likewise!

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Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Stop, Look & Listen -

"The Model"
digital collage by Mick Mather
Some of you who know me will understand that I love a good visual joke. Tonight's post is one of those images that seem just fine at first but then, slowly, it appears that something isn't quite right or is off in more than one direction at the same time. The shifting is subtle, not all that clever, but something that I enjoy doing just for the fun of it from time to time.

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Monday, March 24, 2008

NEW from The Mister Existence Series -

"Sister Existence at War With the Moon"
digital collage by Mick Mather
After a 10-hour day at work plus a few more with colleagues at an Irish Bar, I was pretty well done in by the time I arrived at the secret visual laboratory. Fortunately for me, tonight's image fell right together. Just as fortunate is the fact that it was inspired by Susupetal and her well-documented distaste for the long, cold, gray winters of Finland. Here, then, our Warrior Queen stands victorious over the Moon and not a few of the stars, paving the way for the Sun.

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Sunday, March 23, 2008

Good, good, good, good vibrations -

"Dreaming of Summer Sun"
digitally manipulated film still by Mick Mather
I was noodling around with a new filter and more than a few of the old ones during my vacation that is now, sadly, crashing to a close. Another fact of life here in my part of the world is the amount of sunshine we've been having - yes, temperatures are still cold, but it's a joy to see that big, yellow thing in the sky. So, as the buzz of another spring begins to build I'm already deep into visions of sun, sand and pretty girls at the beach and a classic tune by the Beach Boys.

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Saturday, March 22, 2008

NEW from The Selfportrait Series -

"Selfportrait of the Artist on His 60th Birthday"
digital collage by Mick Mather
t o
M E ! ! !
- march 22, 1948 - march 22, 2008 -

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Friday, March 21, 2008

Illustration Friday: Pet Peeves -

"Cheap Distractions at The Indigo Cocktail Lounge"
digital collage by Mick Mather
Another tough theme - pet peeves - at Illustration Friday this week. Since I've been working on this piece off and on for the better part of the month, I decided to go tongue-in-cheek and make it fit in here. In the long run, is this really a pet peeve? Not exactly for myself since a situation like this, as often as not, can be good entertainment. So, for who ... or is that whom? Bar tender! One scotch, one soda, one beer ... curtain please. :)

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Thursday, March 20, 2008

Thursday Challenge: Experimental -

digital collage by Mick Mather
The theme, experimental, offered this week at Thursday Challenge almost seems as though it were tailor-made for me personally. Most of my photo collage work is experimental using filters to alter each image. In this case, a bit of gaussian blur was employed at various stages of layering and experimental filtering. In the end, it was a 1960's psychedelic, posterized look that I was after. Sweet.

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Wednesday, March 19, 2008

If it's objective, can it be abstract? -

"A Square Peg and a Round Hole #22"
digital drawing & collage by Mick Mather
I suppose we can ignore the question since I believe that a titled piece is no longer abstract. Sure, the visually expressed image may very well be, but once you've named it, you've objectified it in a way. Since taking this series from the monotype form to digital, I've been able to explore a whole new visual range that I like very much. Still, work that goes "untitled" has always been a botheration for me - indicative of an artist that won't, or more likely can't, take responsibility for their own work. Hmm, seems like I always raise more questions than answers, eh? :)

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Tuesday, March 18, 2008

NEW from The Mister Existence Series -

"Sister Existence Swings Out"
digital collage by Mick Mather
For more than a few weeks this piece, even though finished as far as I was concerned, was still a bit of a mystery for me. One of the things that I enjoy most about the collage work that I do is the tearing apart of images, completely removing contexts. During reassembly, whatever I find useful is reconstructed and soon takes on a whole, new context. Tonight's post is one of those times when that new meaning escapes me, at least for a little while, and ultimately defines itself over time. Along the way, the criss-crossing of the odd synapse gap includes no less than Dancing With the Stars and a mid-1980's pop group out of Manchester, England known as Swing Out Sister. Go girl!

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Monday, March 17, 2008

... and the rest o' the day to you! -

"Curse for the Banshee"
digital collage by Mick Mather
To those o' ye celebratin' the wearin' o' the green:
" ... beware the dark corners,
the shadows in the low road
and the distant weep 'n wail,
a'sure to curdle the blood
of men braver than I.
In time with the Tabor,
beat the stepping ground
by yer blackthorn stick,
best to warn away the trick
of the bean sí song of death
... "

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Sunday, March 16, 2008

More playtime -

"Hive Activity I"
digitally manipulated fractal flame by Mick Mather
I took an old fractal that wasn't really going anywhere, tossed it into my digital drawing software and started to play around. After adding a half dozen drawn elements, carefully layered over the top to obscure the parts I didn't care for, it went into another editor for some well deserved, heavy filtering. The first few rounds of that are almost always experimental but, rather early in the game, out comes this image that reminds me of nothing quite so much as a hive of bees. So, here you have it, enjoy!

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Saturday, March 15, 2008

NEW from The Mister Existence Series -

"Mister Existence Unleashes the Dog"
digital drawing & collage by Mick Mather
I was playing around again the other evening when tonight's post began to emerge. I ran the base layer through a number of editors, using a few new tools along the way, and then popped it into one of my favorite digital drawing programs. A completely stylized line drawing of Mister Existence was multiplied, layered, knit together and re-layered before tossing the whole thing back into the manipulation blender. By the time I was done, the darned dog was off the leash and about to go for a romp in the park ... I think! :)

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Friday, March 14, 2008

Illustration Friday: Heavy -

"The Messenger Leaves A Message"
digitally manipulated photograph by Mick Mather
..."The media
controls your
Kill yourself

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Thursday, March 13, 2008

Thursday Challenge: Green -

"Long Thin Green"
photograph by Mick Mather
I offer another straight photograph for this week's theme, green, at Thursday Challenge. That's right, untouched by filters or editors aside from a gentle cropping. I should say that one of the things about early spring that I love the most is the riotous, to say the least, variety of green that can be found almost everywhere. The other thing I've always enjoyed about the last gasp of winter just preceding that time is the amount of red, orange and purple that begins to reassert itself over the gray and flat brown of the slumbering season. If you look closely, you'll see a little of each in this vignette of green.

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Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Drawing With Leighlund Series -

"Scribble Face"
digitally manipulated drawing by Mick Mather
- original drawing by Leighlund Ruth Vincett -

One of the interesting things about working with digital filtering tools is the happy accident that occurs now and then. In fact, just such a happy accident happened in tonight's post and I'll show it sometime over the weekend or next week - I'm still manipulating it and haven't yet decided where to proceed before I can say it's finished. That aside, this is also part of the project where I begin with a drawing or scribble from my cache of beautiful expressionist scribbles from that equally beautiful child, Leighlund Ruth Vincett. Right now, the two of us are mostly excited about Poppa's upcoming birthday on March 22nd - Leighlund is my party planner and last week I was able to have a peek at the planners book. There's a single page with two check off boxes - each with a nice little check mark in it - one for each must have party category: balloons + cupcakes! Sounds good to me, who needs more? :D

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Tuesday, March 11, 2008

NEW from The Telephone Series -

"Telephone #18"
monotype by Mick Mather
I'm still sick but managed to drag myself in here long enough to post another piece from The Telephone Series. Enjoy ... back to bed for me.

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Monday, March 10, 2008


"A Note From Home"
digital collage by Mick Mather
Tonight's image should be self-explanatory. I'm deathly ill - nauseous, migraine headache, floopy tummy, chills & sweats, fever, aching joints - I don't know how I made it through the work day and I went straight to bed this afternoon. I've only got up long enough to check email, cancel appointments for tomorrow and give you all fair warning that I'll be incommunicado for a few days. I hate being sick.

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Sunday, March 09, 2008

Digital painting -

"Jumble Box"
digital drawing & painting by Mick Mather
This piece goes back a ways. In fact, this immediately preceded work that quickly became the Reinventing the Wheel Series beginning in the summer of 2007. It all came about while playing with some new editing tools in the secret visual laboratory after running some playful blobs of color and a few squiggly lines over, under, sideways and down. Since this weekend saw the arrival of Daylight Savings Time for the Eastern section of the United States, I have to say that I'm a little bit off schedule. Yup, I feel a lot like tonight's post - like a Jumble Box!

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Saturday, March 08, 2008

The Toast Series -

"Toast #7"
monotype by Mick Mather
As promised, here's one of the monotype prints from The Toast Series. As you may recall, this came about as a direct result of The Telephone Series - another example of which can be seen here at No Mather What Shape - The Archive. Basically, each telephone began as a shape that looked like a piece of bread and, after finishing all 26 telephones, I began to fiddle. Soon the layers began looking more like slices of toasted bread and a series was born! Once again, each image is iconic in nature - the toast posted here being the most stylized. They were fun to do but, since I continued using telephone book pages for the most part, I'm dissatisfied with them. There's another grouping of experimental, trial runs done on a variety of other papers that I was even less satisfied with and I may revisit these somewhere down the road. More to come ... eventually.

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Friday, March 07, 2008

Illustration Friday: Garden -

"Selfportrait of the Artist as a Garden Stake"
digital collage by Mick Mather
The Illustration Friday theme-of-the-week is garden and as I was poking around in the dictionary, a thesaurus, photo files and a garden catalog, I spotted more than a few decorative garden stakes. Oh boy! Something for The Selfportrait Series here I bet! Yup ... :D

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Thursday, March 06, 2008

Thursday Challenge: Games -

"A Game of Seduction"
photograph by Mick Mather
So sorry to have posted so late. Meetings, meetings and more meetings meant that the entire day slipped right through my fingers. For the theme of games at Thursday Challenge it occurred to me that the little preen and strut we perform in order to attract a mate ought to be a good qualifier for this week ... and so it is! :)

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Wednesday, March 05, 2008

Back street -

"Man on an Empty Street"
digitally manipulated photograph by Mick Mather
- original photograph by hpy -

Shortly after seeing hpy's photograph of a car-lined village street I became fascinated with the single individual down the block. In her post, the fact that so many cars impeded the charm of this backstreet view was quite an issue. Through the magic of cropping and a bit of repainting I was able to create a different mood than what was originally captured and at least the cars are gone. Thanks so much, Hélène, for permission to use this one. :)

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Tuesday, March 04, 2008

NEW from The Selfportrait Series -

"Selfportrait of the Artist Explained by a Lecturer"
digital collage by Mick Mather
I'm still chuckling over a recent question from my good friend, Shani Thomas, who asked if I was geeky after seeing this older addition to The Selfportrait Series. The truth is, no matter what I may have to say about it, we simply cannot qualify our own geek factor. While the jury is still out, there does appear to be an explanation through the course of at least one lecture regarding what's inside my crazy head and what it all must mean. :D

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Monday, March 03, 2008

Moody Monday: Beautiful -

"Eye of the Beholder"
$50 Unframed - LUCAS GALLERY

digitally manipulated photograph by Mick Mather
This week's theme at Moody Monday is beautiful. As I was going through my photography files, this one popped up and asked me to look again. As I studied the variation and repetition of forms and shadows it occurred to me that beauty is almost everywhere we look. I believe the title tells the rest of the story here ... enjoy.

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Sunday, March 02, 2008

You asked for it ... again -

- click to view larger image -

"Telephone # 20"
monotype by Mick Mather
I know that I promised to show at least one of the images from this series of monotypes. I'll likely show a few more since listening to something that my friend, Lisa Sarsfield, had to say in a comment recently. To briefly recap, my thinking was that these were not quite there as regards perspective and, for me, even the composition feels a bit forced. I've since changed my mind a bit because of the iconic nature of this series, The TV Dinner Series and The Toast Series yet to be shown. As before, stay tuned. :)

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Saturday, March 01, 2008

Only the name -

"The Spanish Man"
digital collage & digital painting by Mick Mather
This post began as a digital collage that I was more than happy with now that I think about it. I took it into another set of filters just for fun and to see what would happen. After that, another editor was pressed into service with the smudge tool that I'm learning to like more and more and finally to a third for the final result. Somewhere along the line I began tweaking, dozens of them, to get the rough hew of his features just so. In the end, this b & w version trumped all of the more colorful versions. Oh yes, I almost forgot, I couldn't help but think about Susupetal's recent vacation to Spain. So, this one's for you, Susu! :)

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