Monday, December 10, 2012


I realized that these are not only records of objects, both as a photogram of a direct object and also the negative, but the papers serve as a record of the day, time, and weather conditions. I started about half way through writing the date, time, and temperature on the back of the paper before setting them out.  One more way of including the hand of the artist!

It has been a strange fall/winter. We had no snow for the longest time and then finally a big bit for Thanksgiving. Back to the strange weather - it was 41 degrees and then started raining just a week later.

I had put out several papers to expose in the sun on the top of the canoe. Sometimes (there is so little daylight normally) when it has been extremely cloudy I leave them overnight to get the first possible sun the next day. In this case it rained the next 4 days. I left the papers since some of the ones were the very fragile paper stock that would rip when wet. Guess what? Then it got cold and the papers iced up and stuck to the metal of the canoe. So I left them again in the hopes that they would a) thaw b) get some sun.

I finally had to take them off (they did thaw) because we were slated for a huge storm. Well the storm went to the south of us so we only got about 6". But it had been extremely cloudy for almost a week after the 4 days of rain. So the papers have seen very little sun.

Saturday, December 1, 2012

From T.S. Eliot’s The Four Quartets:
You say I am repeating
Something I have said before. I shall say it again.
Shall I say it again? In order to arrive there,
To arrive where you are, to get from where you are not,
You must go by a way wherein there is no ecstasy.
In order to arrive at what you do not know
You must go by a way which is the way of ignorance.
In order to possess what you do not possess
You must go by the way of dispossession.
In order to arrive at what you are not
You must go through the way in which you are not.
And what you do not know is the only thing you know
And what you own is what you do not own
And where you are is where you are not.

Friday, November 30, 2012

Rundown to the next residency

It has been a lot of work trying to get a huge set of papers burned and printed. I'm trying to close the gap now with some final pieces. It gets harder with little actual sunlight as the UV light only takes a few papers at a time. Unlike the yard which I can lay out several at once.

I will have a few more photos soon. But right now I've been putting in somewhere around 30 hrs a week on these things and I'm just about done. I haven't counted yet but I know I'm running out of storage room!

The latest writing is getting posted here - the artist statement. If I get a chance I'll try to link up the other papers.

I'd like to mention to anyone reading that if you are working along any of these lines, I'd love to hear from you. Let me know what you've tried and how it's going or what you're ideas are!

Artist Statement

In examining the meaning and expectation of what a photograph is, this work creates a tension and confusion in the viewer. Meaning comes from seeking to understand and organize the pieces as if a puzzle, making the viewer implicit in the work.

In the Haystack series there are multiple readings and several levels of associations that make the certainty of what it is even harder to pin down. This deliberate confusion invites questions, provokes reactions, and realigns thought patterns. By choosing to deny the traditional beauty, image, and preciousness of earlier photographic traditions, tension is introduced along a tight line of understanding and misunderstanding. Puzzling out meaning and re-aligning the idea of what constitutes a photograph is elemental in my work. 


Saturday, October 27, 2012

Making marks

In a photographic sense I have been making marks on paper by burning and slashing the paper and then adding cyanotype to create a print.

Not only each paper receives the coating differently and responds to the varying amount of light I expose it to, but each type of paper gives a different result also.
To construct the final piece I need to make many more so back to work we go.....!

Sunday, October 14, 2012


I have been working with different papers. This is several burned and torn pieces of white Kraft paper using cyanotype.
Because these papers are not traditional water media when rinsed in the final step of the cyanotype they became too fragile and tore easily. Having burned them in the beginning the paper fibers were so weak in some cases that the whole paper tore into one giant gaping hole. To remedy that I began to sew a simple repair.
It was during my reading of Lyle Rexer's Photography's Antiquarian Avant-Garde: the New Wave in Old Process that I read about Bea Nettles using a sewing machine. I have seen her work and cookbook but didn't realize she had been shut out of the all male darkroom due to using a sewing machine.
I enjoy the additional feminist element. I hate that images and ideas can be classified or read as domestic or feminine. That of course is another issue of the baggage that all of us bring to what we see, hear, and think which I need to leave for some future time.
I have a lot more reading to do so I will leave now with this view 

Some writings

Here are something that I have wanted to post but have been busy and have not found time for until now.
My mentor Susan Dunkerley Maquire had me write out a description/evaluation of several pieces I showed her. This was an exacting exercise which I took a long time over. It was very interesting in how it developed the awareness of the pieces.

This piece with a semi-representational figure was not followed up much through the rest of my time working with the cyanotypes. I have spent quite a deal more time on creating the imageless pieces I have posted and will update later. This figurative image was done before the intense reading of Uta Barth that I was doing. I had been looking into the idea of traces and loss of complete image as a way to explore how memory works and sometimes fails. Reading Uta Barth and her idea of seeing tied into my exploration into highlighting how we look.

Here then is the description of one image.
Description of #4.
This is a traditional landscape format with a single female figure in a soft palette of pale to mid-tone blues. The isolation of the subject framed by fragile tree branches sets a lonely distancing tone. The lack of distinct and specific detail in the image area immediately challenges a fast traditional reading of a representational photograph.

The paper buckles and warps generating a depth that contradicts the traditional flat plane of photographic papers. The image is blurry and blocky where the figure and face should be, this loss of information raises questions about the meaning as well as reinforcing the feeling and depth of isolation.

The texture of the paper is evident not only in the in the paper’s rough surface but in its thickness which can be seen when the edges buckle. The uneven color coating is also another element of texture while referencing photography’s traditional use of light (and dark). Irregular staining creates blemishes in several areas of the paper, indicating the hand of the artist and adding an element of chance to the process. This milky sense of a veil separates the gaze of the viewer from a traditional engagement or entrance to photography.

Together these features create a piece that challenges expectations of what photography means.  

Monday, October 1, 2012


Just to keep you updated. I have shown a few of the beginnings of this new series. In exploring the cyanotype, I am using chance as well as planning to make these images.

You can see the marks on the paper from burning. I also have cut several to see how they will react/form after rinsing when I hang them to dry.
Here you can see the coating I spread over the paper. This is to help create a starch layer to give added color so the cyanotype doesn't sink into the paper too deep. And with that I have added a salt resist.
This is a finished piece (minus the burning) with a salt resist.
As you can see they are really removed from the traditional representation images associated with photography. I hope to get into the readings I've been doing later. Right now if you are interested the books to read are by Lyle Rexer. Very informative and they say all the things I've been thinking but hadn't put into words yet!

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Chasing the Light

Here's a few pics from the meeting with my mentor Susan. In considering how the work functions - having been exposed to the properties of light and chemicals - it now doubles back on itself by using by using existing light to create a constantly changing view/piece.

These are all cyanotypes that have undergone destruction and distressing of the paper. They are printed on watercolor paper and coated with cyanotype then exposed with various images to create traces of light and dark. The key words here are deny, destruction, and deterioration.

I began by denying the representational image, the traditional idea of what a photograph is, the assumption of viewing something precious/beautiful, the flat plane of the photograph, and the machine precision of current reproductions. Here chance has been allowed to play an integral part. In rinsing the pieces, I have allowed them to take on shapes as they lay drying on various bushes in the yard.

In the various readings I have been doing and in my thinking after each reading, I began to think of photographs not of recording time so much as a deterioration of a memory. Death, destruction seem to me to be key elements of the "other" side of what a photograph is. Not only does the physical photograph deteriorate over time but our memories and connections with that image change and collapse over time. So I set out to emphasize that through the destruction of the paper. I also wanted to foreground how we see so many photographs in a slick glossy or matte presentation on a beautiful pristine surface.

Starting the next phase are these pieces. Here they are shown in their beginning stages. After they are sufficiently roughed up they will be coated in cyanotype and laid out to process under the sun (if the sun comes out again).
I hope it quits raining soon (although we really needed the moisture) so I can get a fire going.

Monday, September 10, 2012

Both Light and Dark

The work that I'm doing is about "seeing" and denying the expectations of the photograph. What is a photograph? What makes is photography? We see so many visual images today that many of us are unable to really look anymore. There is also the whole other discourse today about representation in photography.

Here is the shell at the beginning. A cyanotype on aquarella water color paper

Here is the shell after. I wanted to open it up to create a fragile skin that references decay, destruction, and change. Hopefully you will take away a sense of the use of light both in the process that created this and how it interacts with the piece as it now exists. Also I have eliminated the traditional flat wall hanging orientation.

My mentor Susan has had a lot of good questions and ideas so hopefully (cross your fingers) this will not fall like a lead balloon! (ha ha funny reference!)

Friday, September 7, 2012

Getting set up

I've tried to give a little more insight into the process I'm going through to make these images. Here is a piece of Araquelle Watercolor paper that I have scratched with a kitchen knife.
The cuts are randomly placed and don't go all the way through.
I also laid strips of photographic paper on Kraft paper. This is the heavier weight Kraft paper. I haven't been seeing this around as much as the thinner paper which is more prone to tearing when soaked.
After letting it dry I hope to coat in cyanotype.
Next I have to look through several images to create more paper negatives. I have been working through each image more slowly this semester to think about what I want to place as image, how I want to create it, how I want it to read, and what I want it to say. That doesn't say that everything will work out exactly the way I envision but I'm trying to allow some chance with a lot of thought.

Monday, September 3, 2012

The Fruits of Summer ......

What I've been working on this summer has to do with the process of sunlight on paper. I've included a few of the pieces that I've done and I'm posting a few more. After meeting with my mentor, I'm putting some of these pieces into a "digital studio" where I can study them and figure out ways to do 'more'. She had a very interesting story about Pablo Picasso using photographs of his work throughout all the stages to help him decipher and fine tune his work. I've also got a few more artists to look up, some I recognize the name and others are new. So there's a lot to do.......
Here's the front view.  This piece is made of several layers and the papers include light weight Kraft paper and tissue paper. I tried to print digitally and it kept jamming the printer so I figured I'd see what it looked like and if it would take the washing to make a cyanotype. It is very much about destruction.
I like how this happened into a shell. I was washing it out and then left it to dry over some plants outside. I have been playing with the idea of what a photograph means to me and the idea of liberating the photograph off the wall. That means a question as to how it would 'stand or sit'.

This again was laid on the bushes to dry and as it began to curl I liked the position and way it was folding and only helped it a little.
                                                                   Landscape 1
To me these are interesting enough but not a finished work. I am going to see if I can find that certain something that makes it 'finished'!

Monday, August 20, 2012

Following the Sun

I've been reading interviews and other papers on the work of Uta Barth and connect with her idea of our perception and ways of seeing. I like her earlier work a lot. The latest series with the interiors are interesting and I have to agree I've always liked the idea of the play of light on surrounding surfaces but it's just not as compelling to me.

Here is my version or take on photographing in the style of Uta Barth. We went camping before the kids head off to college. The play of shadows and light on the road was appealing enough that I took out my camera. Then since I had been reading about the space the viewer occupied in relation to the focus point of her work, I started to think how about trying to photograph this "in the style of"

Then it went into thought of how she chose her images that seemed like typical backgrounds for portraits and snapshots.
Which at this point I wanted to try more abstract and something that I am always interested in - water and sky....

And that was really fun. I wonder where this will lead?????

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Using the sun to advantage

I have been working on coating different types of paper with cyanotype to see what happens and get a feel for how each takes the process and final wash as well as accepting the image.

I used a paper backing of Kraft  paper and on the front used cut strips of Epson photographic paper. This was a leap in assuming that photographic paper would accept the cyanotype. The image didn't come through but I'm not sure that it's a problem. I was interested in producing both image and non-image this semester.

I had dipped the paper in a tray of cyan so actually both sides were coated. When I put it out in the sun I found both sides produced a latent image. The result of dark and light is perfect and goes back to the idea and importance of light.

When I rinsed it and left it to dry it curled up on itself. I am happy with the lack of flatness. My considerations have been how to present it. I am thinking I would love it have it show both sides but don't know if I want it hung or presented some other way.

I've done a few other papers including Canson Mi-teintes and regular water color paper. The amount of time in sunlight for creating an image is pretty long. Again each paper had differences and difficulties. The Mi-teintes was pretty fragile and tore a bit during the rinse. Again it wasn't a problem for me as it highlighted a weather beaten feel.

I'm also looking at completely deconstructing the idea and image of a photograph. I took a printed photo (printed on rice paper) and ripped it up. Then pasted it on a background that was painted, mono-printed, and had wax drippings. This is a more traditional presentation on a flat surface.

I have no idea how others will view this. I wanted to really question what a photograph is and what we expect to see.

Friday, July 20, 2012

Getting under way

I have been doing a lot of reading. Also trying to get the direction of the work off to a good start. I've been photographing some of the pieces I brought to the last residency and it's tough. They are either so reflective they shine too much or they lose their color quality. Also have one or two other new ones. In looking at Marco Breuer and Liz Deschenes, I've been putting a lot of thought into how to use what they do and add my own personal twist. It's hard!
New Pieces detail and large view:
In this I am making a more sculptural body out of the photograph. That's a curl in the upper edge.

Now on another path.....
Here's a photo transfer I started. I tried the Digital Ground Media for printing digital files but I wasn't getting a very good surface image. So I switched to trying a transfer.
The paper is partially scrubbed off. I'm not liking the loss of detail and emphasis. I think it probably works well with large graphic images.
 Inside looking down.
Now this is interesting. I've started by forming Kraft paper into a sculptural object (vase) and am going to see how well I can apply an image. I think I'll skip the photo transfers on this one.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Semester II

  It takes time to filter through all the information and reactions from the last residency. It was amazing to see the strong group of work from the graduating class.

I am moving towards a more abstract visual style and am also looking at disrupting the idea. expectations, and experience of what is a photograph.

This new piece is printed on velum and then encaustic.
I am interested in finding the best way to present this piece. I am thinking of perhaps having it layered over another sheet of paper. But I may try something more bold.

Monday, June 18, 2012

finish line

Whether we're ready or not, the end of the semester is here. I've posted a few of the recent ones I've printed to bring to the residency. It's been a tremendous battle to get the use of a computer for printing. And having switched to an Epson 4900 for the majority of the printing I have had a lot of technical issues to work out. I didn't get most other papers to use even with applying the Digital Media ground from Golden that is supposed to make all papers usable in the printer. I tried Kraft paper, thin drawing paper, cut photo paper, and water color paper (not the commercially treated kind - this had been used previously for a salt print that didn't work). I've had many tear causing a paper jam. That's what I've spent quite a lot of time working on. Just wanting to print on non-photographic paper. These images I went ahead and printed on regular ol Luster photo paper.

I think I have in mind finishing these up into a series. The square ones I have several other images that I thing will be a separate series. The road one, I am interested in the work of Uta Barth and looking to less identifiable subject or missing subject.
I'm trying to look ahead and figure out what my next step will be heading into the busy 2nd semester.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

I've been reminded that I haven't posted in awhile. I've not been sitting idle - it's just my computer quit and I've had to beg, borrow, and steal others to just try to finish papers and print images.

I'll do a very quick recap on some of the prints I've been making. I am actually thinking it will work out into a few different series. One I'm using the working title Lost/Found.

Ok so I now I have to go find the images. I left them on a different computer so I have to track them down and copy them.

Saturday, April 28, 2012

Maximum Settings

umbrella 1
Just when you think you have life under control - Boom! Something happens that makes it all collapse like a house of cards. Or just a little bit of Murphy's Law and you're late for that really important meeting. Or you just do really dumb stuff that you wish wouldn't be seen by anybody anywhere. I had several of those days. All the rain (we had no snow for probably more than a month in March) and the basement walls were leaking. Then I went to go to the artist talk and there was no parking for miles. OK just like a few blocks. And it was really warm out and I had worn a sweater as it was lots colder - Up North.

So I've been working on this solarization and it's pretty hard to get it to make that perfect image because as the chemicals wear out they change how they're working. And I get one really great image I like. I bring it home thinking it's dry and then a few days later go to put them away and it's stuck to another print. I did a quick search and found a hint to freeze it. Well it ended up pulling part of the emulsion off the face of the ONE print I really liked.

Now you say, I've been looking at the Starn twins and can't I make it work? Could be. But nothing jumps out at me. I could rip it up and re-arrange it - but once that's done then it's gone. I mean in pieces. Humpty Dumpty. Not gonna be put back together again. So I'm sort of stalling. I'm letting ideas drift around and hopefully I'll get the courage up to try something. I mean it doesn't look good with the white tear in the middle right now.
Regan with dogs
Regan in field
I've been using this time to do some field work. As you can see. I haven't let the two (2) snow storms that dumped about 8 inches of snow each time, stop me. Unfortunately I've shot two rolls of film that didn't turn out as planned. I am working with a pinhole camer and film, which I've used a pinhold camer and photo paper before and that worked, and the timing and weather has not been as I had hoped. Note to those out there who are interested in pinhole cameras or older non-digital techniques - National Pin Hole Camera Day is tomorrow April 29th!

There have been a few new artists I've enjoyed looking at, thanks to Molly Jergens and Sergio V. I was introduced to Stephanie Jung from Germany. If you haven't seen her work, take a moment and search for it. Really wonderful stuff.