Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Final Project

I have been meaning to post these for the last few days. I'm finally getting to it. I was going to procrastinate on it some more, but I decided to procrastinate on the procrastination. Besides I want to feel like I got something done on my off time today. I had a fourth project, but I decided to extend it and submit it as my final. Overall I was happy with it. I wanted to make sure that my final was a cohesive unit. I think I accomplished that. Some of the work at final critique in class made me feel vastly inferior. My hands were shaking as I hung my work up, because I just knew that I was going to get ripped to pieces. I really didn't get as much negative criticism as I expected, and far more positive than I anticipated. After all, my work was not so dynamic as some of the portraits I saw, and creating variety with the subject I chose proved to be a challenge. The good part was that my instructor used my work as an example of how to create interest and variety in a subject that normally wouldn't catch the viewers attention like a portrait would. People are naturally more interested in the human face. It's just our nature. He also described my work as not being about a product, but more of an art piece on my chosen subject matter. As an artist I guess that makes sense that I would have that description put to my work. I wasn't selling something. So perhaps I might not have a future as a product photographer. Maybe I just like to have my creativity left in tact and not taken away by art directors and companies. OR I MAY just want to make money someday. Would that make me a sell-out? I guess I have a good amount of time to ask myself that question. So as I let you all in on my work I'd like to only ask you one favor. That is to look at these photos as one body of work. As the artist I am tempted to comment on every little thing about it. I can't allow myself to do that. In fact, in class we aren't even allowed to open our mouths during the critiquing of our work. No explanations, no excuses, no nothing. So I'll shut up now and let you all just see my work for what it is.
I'll try to come up with some interesting stuff for my next post since I don't have Lighting for Photography II until the Fall. Oh! Another class I'll be taking is an astronomy class and the nerd in me is jumping for joy and excitement that this class actually fulfills a requirement for my degree. Since it will be an online class I can actually do it on my own time. With as much interest as I have in the subject I don't think my tendency to procrastinate will come into play. Wish me luck!

Saturday, April 7, 2012

Third Project or The Flop

I said I'd post again after my third project, and I am back and keeping my promise. Hooray for me! I certainly wish I could say that my project went over excellently and that I am positive of a good grade. Sadly my set of photos were underexposed and they certainly didn't look that way in camera, but on the computer they told a different story and I think I'll pay for it with a lower grade. You see, we're not allowed to touch the photos to do any post processing at all. Otherwise I could have helped them along a tad like I've done here for you. The point of not allowing post processing is to make sure that we get the lighting right in the studio. I think I got the lighting right. It was my camera settings I really didn't pay attention to as well. I was rushed and sloppy and I paid for it.

This is an important skill for me to learn though. The instructor told us a story about going to some event or other with 200 other photographers. He said there were probably 3 of them that knew lighting. The rest did not. He said they complained about not getting a lot of work, but the truth of it is it was because they just didn't know the stuff I am learning now. So I'm glad that this was a learning experience for me if nothing else.

Our third assignment was to do dramatic lighting for portraits along the lines of Hurrel the celebrity photographer. He gave us some classic lighting techniques and told us to use them to light our models face in a way that worked for the type of face that the model had. One of the main points of the assignment was to celebrate the fact that people are different and to light accordingly.

I used my other daughter, Roxanne as my model, and she is a more patient soul than Isabella is. She did really well. Here are the photos I submitted for a grade.

That's all for now folks.

Friday, March 16, 2012

Second Project. Not the first.

I should apologize for not posting for so long or something. I'm an unreliable blogger and I know it. I blog when I can or when I have something to say or when I feel like it. I do miss writing and the blogging community though.

For those of you who were wondering, life without the ex husband in the house has been much more peaceful. I try to ignore the occasional harassment via text that I get. It's not worth the argument. All in all, I think I'm doing well. Though I am sorting through some emotional stuff that has to do with finding myself after a long time of living according to the expectations of others. Wish me luck on that.

I have almost completed my writing class. I'm sure I'll get a decent grade. Though perhaps not an A. After all, it is essay writing, and that is not really my strength. I have completed two projects for my Lighting for Photography course. The first project I count as a disaster. I didn't do very well, but it was my first time working with studio lights. Basically, I had to photograph a round object and try to get a certain light ratio. I'm not showing you all that one. I will show you all my second project. I like it a lot better and I hope my grade reflects the hard work I put into it.

I will tell you all that scheduling the studio time proved to be a problem. I was able to work alone the first time and I thought I could do it the second time. I went to the studio as some of my classmates were leaving, and they told me emphatically that I would absolutely NOT be able to work alone. Two of them helped me set up and one of them stayed with me and assisted me in adjusting the lights throughout the shoot. I can't tell you how grateful I am to him for being such a gentleman and sticking around to help me. I really could NOT have done it without him. One other person I have to give credit to is my beautiful daughter who was my model. It was a long process and she was tired and hungry and only lost patience once I was already done with the shoot. For Isabella that is quite an accomplishment. The project was to do one low key portrait and one high key portrait. For those of you who don't know, "low key" means primarily dark tones and "high key" means primarily light tones. So without further ado here are the two portraits I turned in for my grade.

For fun I'll show you one that didn't really work.

Well, that's all for now. I'll post again after project number three.

Monday, February 6, 2012

Guess What!

I am divorced! The now ex-husband is moving out this week. Things are looking up. I'm happy to be moving on to the next chapter of my life. That is all. For now.

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Guess Who's Back!

Hello to one and all who have stopped visiting my blog due to inactivity. My last post was a heavy one, and since I know you all want an update I'll give you just that. Shortly after writing my last post I definitively told my husband that I wanted a divorce. Things have been super tense since then, because he refuses to move out of the house. The good news is that I am only about two weeks from obtaining an official divorce and there is nothing more awesome in my mind than to be free of this dysfunctional relationship. My hope is that he will move soon, and give me the space I need and deserve. Let's all keep our fingers crossed for that.

I also have one major personal achievement to report. I actually got my butt in gear and lost some weight. I am relatively happy with the 23-25 pound loss (since September!). I guess I wouldn't be sorry to lose more, but I think I am liking the healthy curves I have going. Plus, if I'm being really honest the fact that I have breastfed 5 children has taken quite a toll on my breasts, and I'm not sure I want to lose any more fullness in that area. *ahem* Okay so maybe that was TMI, but I am being more straightforward these days.

In just a few days I'll be starting two more classes. I am happy to report I received an A in my color and composition class. I am less happy to report the B I got in my drawing class. I think I should have been graded on progression. I really hadn't worked with charcoal at all beforehand, and by the end of the class I had begun to like it and show a good amount of mastery. C'est la vie. I think the grading was actually done on the body of work presented instead of progression. The thing is that compared to some people in class my work may have looked like complete crap.

My new classes will be Writing 101 and Lighting for Photography I. I am actually excited about both. I definitely want to brush up on some writing technicalities, and the Lighting class is not just about studio lighting but light itself. The class is so popular that I almost lost my chance to get in by not registering the day registration opened. I feel kind of bad about the way I got in, because it was that students were dropped out of the class for non-payment and I swooped in on one of their spots. Is it strange to feel bad about that while still feeling totally excited?

In case any of you wanted to see some of my work from my art classes here it is, but keep in mind that this is the first time I have actually worked with paint and with charcoal. If you think my work sucks eggs I understand completely.

Well, That's it for now folks. I hope you all enjoyed this little update, and I think it is safe to say you'll be hearing from me more often, because I finally got a new keyboard.

Friday, September 2, 2011

Letting You All In on a Secret

Well, I'm back, and I've been putting off blogging for a lot of reasons, but mostly I've just been a little lazy. In case anyone wondered, Life really got in the way of my novel writing, and I put it up for a while. I got a good 12,000 words in. Not bad for a person who has never written anything that long... ever. I'll pick it up again eventually.

What I really am writing about today is to tell everyone something that I have come to realize in the last few months. Something that is both serious and enlightening. I only hope that what I am about to let you all in on will help someone else in however small a measure. So here it goes...

This is very hard for me to say. Arlee Bird from Tossing it Out once perceived about me that I am a very private person. That was just from looking at my self portraits. I thought about how right he was, but I never said so. I should have. Anyway, here it is... Really... I'm just going to say it.

Okay, I am a victim of abuse. That was hard to get out. Now I know what you all are thinking. You have all conjured up a mental image of what constitutes abuse in your mind and have assumed it's the kind you are thinking of. I am talking about something much more subtle. It was mostly always emotional and only sometimes physical and even though I always told myself (and was told) that I could never put up with certain things, unfortunately I have often looked back and wondered how the hell this happened. That I, who had said that I would never put up with these things have done just that.

I guess I have to go further back. I was 22. A year and a half before I had gotten out of what was an extremely abusive relationship where I was controlled and forbidden to even glance at another man. I had just gotten married to who I thought was the nicest man on the planet. Though if I look back there were warning signs that I completely ignored or simply didn't recognize. I already had two little girls from that previous relationship. I thought what a good man I had found that was willing to take me on with my two girls and to be their dad. So, for better or worse that is what he is.

I guess it really started about a week or two after we got married. He was very rude to my mother and when she called him on his rudeness he blew up and started yelling and being extremely belligerent and intimidating. I was so confused. Where had this person come from? He was extremely apologetic afterward, and I thought it was just the stress of being newly married, and after all it takes a while to get used to living with a person. That is what I told myself, but the blow-ups kept happening,and he became increasingly meaner to my daughters who were 2 and 1 at the time. I mean cussing at them and being extremely intimidating to them. I threatened divorce and he straightened up for a while. This became a pattern that I was too naive to see for years. He would blow up and become intimidating and then become apologetic and clean up his act for a while. It happened over and over and over again.

It's funny that as women some of us think that if a man isn't hitting us it isn't abuse. That is very wrong. We tell ourselves "Well, he only pushed me and that is only because I slapped him." He was defending himself. That is also wrong. A man may say he was defending himself, but let's be honest. How often is a man really intimidated by a woman's slaps? Sure he is annoyed. Maybe he is angry or infuriated that you had the nerve to slap him when he pointed out that you were a bitch or a whore (two really degrading words). How dare you lose your temper? After all we are supposed to be perfect and calmly listen to the "truths" he points out. Is he intimidated? The answer is no, but when he pushes you (which he claims is self defense) what it actually is is revenge. Are you intimidated and scared? Yes, you are. Will you think twice before slapping him again? Yes, you will.

If the physical stuff and the yelling and intimidation weren't enough there was the manipulative side to it all. Have you ever come out of an argument feeling like you lost? Well, that in itself isn't a problem unless it is every time. I would find myself wondering why I was losing every argument. I can't be wrong all the time can I? Why is it he comes out smelling like a rose and feeling superior every single time? It's because he was and is a MASTER of manipulation. He specializes in flipping things into the opposite of what they are. If, for example, I ask him why he didn't put away the things he used for his sandwich he would blow up and tell me about how I was being unreasonable and how I leave things out that I use all the time. Who was being unreasonable? Of course, he was for refusing to accept accountability for leaving the stuff out and for blowing everything out of proportion to the event. Then he flipped the conversation around by putting me on the defensive about how often I leave things out. Which might be a valid point if it were true. The only thing he has to do is insist that it is true. And here I am left questioning myself and feeling like I lost. This might not seem like abuse to some, but I assure you it is.

Manipulation, intimidation, and physical assault are on a list with another important element. Lies. Abusers lie all the time, and my husband is no exception. I won't go into all the lies he's ever told (and some of them are doozies). Suffice it to say he has used this one a lot. So much, in fact, that we would be here all day if I were to start enumerating them all. It makes it all the more insulting when he is confronted with a lie and denies it until he is blue in the face, and then accuses me of being the one in the wrong. It's absolutely infuriating.

Now you all might ask yourselves: What is the point? What does he have to gain? The answer is that an abuser has so many pay offs. First, (and this is very important) is control. Absolute control. They never have to ask permission, but you and your children do. He is the lord of the household. His wife and children are not people with feelings as acute as his but property. He also never has to be wrong. Nobody gets to disagree. He never has to take accountability for his actions. In short, the entire relationship is too rewarding for him to give up his abuse. He has learned to shove down his feelings of guilt for having hurt the people who love him, and he feels absolutely justified in his abuse (though he may act like abuse is wrong to others). He doesn't even think that he is abusive. He has his own idea of what abuse is and it is always worse than what he does.

Finally, I want to say that I know there are a lot of women out there who have it a lot worse. Though I am currently trying to become more independent so that I can get a divorce, some women may have a harder time and may be in danger if they try. If you are one of these women seek help. I would encourage any woman who feels she might be being abused to find a way to read Why Does He Do That? Inside the Minds of Angry and Controlling Men by Lundy Bancroft. He has an extensive background in dealing with abusers and gives the abused a real in-depth look into the minds of abusers. He also has advice for the abused. This book has really helped me.

So there it is. TMI perhaps, but I really hope I've helped someone out there who might not have a voice right now. I also am struggling with the hope that there are good men out there. Something I have been despairing of for years. Intellectually, I know that all men can't be abusive, but in my heart it feels like I'll never be happy. That I'll always be looking for something that doesn't exist. That I am damaged goods or have too much baggage or that I am not good enough to ever have anyone treat me like I am worth anything. I hope to be in a place one day that I feel the opposite of how I do now.

This has been a very emotional post for me and so I'll sign off for now. I'm off to read some blogs and bring myself back to the blogosphere and the land of the living.

Tuesday, May 31, 2011


I am an artist. That much has been plain to me since I was about 11 or 12 years old. The funny thing is I discovered I was a poet at the age of 9 after my mom and step-dad divorced. Art came later. I used to write silly little poems at nine that I would laugh at today, but I did love to write them. When I was a teenager I wrote such angsty stuff it's hard for me to look at it these days without getting depressed. Anyway, my point is that though I AM an artist I am also a writer.

Which brings me to the reason for this post. I have been toying with writing a novel for quite some time, but I am really, really bad with commitments that take that much time. It's all part of being a procrastinator who lacks confidence (might have something to do with the aforementioned step-father). I've decided to do it though. I formulated an idea I think has enough originality to be called my own and enough strangeness to be called science-fiction.

This is all to be done within the month of June for The Burrow's BuNoWriMo. I love those Burrowers. I've known them all since we were all on a Harry Potter fan site together called HPANA. They can pretty much get me off my ass (figuratively speaking) and start writing where no others can. Whether I'm being a guest contributor in their site features or doing the A-Z challenge for the first time because it was suggested by a certain Tart. They always manage to inspire me to exercise my creativity by putting words on paper (or a computer file). So my first book is not only going to get written because of the Burrowers, but IF it's any good at all I'll be dedicating it to them.

If you want to check out The Burrow go here: http://www.the-burrow.org/default.html or here: http://burrowers.blogspot.com/

And now I will leave you with some pure awesomeness. Combining two loves of mine: Colin Meloy's voice + Celtic= The best song EVER!