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Thursday, July 31, 2014

Looking Upward and Onward

Happy Thursday to you all out there in cyberland. I hope you are doing well and are finding some fun and creative things to do with yourselves. I have been immersed in a photography class in the later half of the summer. It has been fun and very challenging thus far. But, well worth the time and effort. One thing I like about these classes is I am challenged to think and find new ways of looking at the world around me. As a budding photographer/artist I am still trying to find my voice or vision so to speak. It is in moments of sheer exhaustion that I realize some nice little insights. Since I started down this rabbit hole of photography, I have been in a big rush. To where you might ask? Well, it is one of those strange things I seem to get myself into. In the back of my mind I hear this voice saying,"Hurry up and develop your style. You need to get noticed and start that career of yours". So, I put a lot of pressure on myself to make everything count as if my artistic career depended upon it. Ultimately this creates many stumbling blocks, procrastination's and feelings of defeat.

Now that I am aware of this self sabotaging process I can better manage it. Looking at each class, each lesson and each day I am out shooting images I am creating myself. The thing is I am now telling this voice relax. It's OK we will find our voice. Perhaps the best part is the learning of new things, processes and techniques. I feel as if I just opened this great big toy box filled with all sorts of possibilities. I am not too old to start over or to reinvent myself. That in and of itself is a big challenge.

About this set of images. This weeks class was about looking up and how we can interpret that idea. I literally looked up in most cases. So, I chose a few examples to give you the idea. The first image is one I took on one of my walks home from my studio. It was a nice cool day with a bit of sun. There are a few interesting landmarks along the way and this sign really struck me as odd and fun at the same time. I chose to treat it as a black and white image to give it more of a fine art feeling.

The next image above is one I took while our class walked to a local gallery/coffee shop to see the current show. I loved how warm the light was falling on this little church. Though I am not particularly religious oriented, I love old churches for some reason.

Finally, we have a shot of a Ferris wheel that I took at the Circleville pumpkin show. I like how the vignette gives this shot a vintage cinema feel.

The bit of good news I hinted at some weeks ago is that I have been invited to show in a local photographers studio gallery. His name is Kent Krugh and his work is amazing. Click on his name to go and see some of his work. I was so honored to be asked. He shares a space with two other photographers whose work is also quite good. But, I felt a kinship with Kent's work right from the start. Dates have not been set yet. It is my job to come up with enough pieces for a show. I want them to all be related thematically. So, I am using this summer to try and get that accomplished. In other news I have entered a photo in the Cincinnati Public Library's current photo show and will hear in mid August if I am one of the lucky artists. Lastly, to round out the number of shows I promised myself I would tackle this year, I am entering yet another show at the Manifest Gallery. It is a part of their participation in the national Fotofocus series of exhibitions. This is the fourth of the four I promised myself I would enter. It is my way of showing the Universe I am trying.

That's it for now. Hope you have an awesome weekend ahead and keep doing what you love and love what your doing.

Saturday, July 26, 2014

Ghostly Images of the Former Self

Happy weekend and Saturday to everyone out there who ventures a visit to my blog. Hope you are doing well. This post is dedicated to this weeks photography class assignment of soft focus images. I decided to show just two this time around. Because they really speak to me in a few interesting ways. Both of these images were taken with a piece of hosiery or gauze placed over the lens. This creates a soft focus right in camera. The camera had to be manually focused as the auto focus would focus on the texture of the gauze which I did not want.

This first image is one I took of a doll sleeping in a chair. I place her and the chair on my bed because it offered the biggest ground. I love how ghostly she looks in the image. I am very much attracted to the idea of capturing images of ghost or apparitions. There is something so ethereal about that. Once I got the shot I then proceeded to convert the image to black and white. I thought the process was quite successful.

In the second image the dolls face and upper body were shot using the same process. I thought this produced an even more ghostly image. This process evoked a sense of those early Victorian photographs of the dead at their funerals. It is a nice process to keep in my play book as I would like to explore this technique a bit further at some point.

Well, that's it for this entry. I hope you all have a great weekend. Next weeks assignment is titled Looking Up and that will be a fun one to explore. Until then keep on keeping on.

Saturday, July 19, 2014

Saturday Solutions

As I posted in the last installment, here is the cat girl character in a full pose. You can see the little dress I designed and made for her. I think it suits her. I love these little sleeping characters. My attempt at redoing the faces on both dolls is a bit crude by most artists who do this sort of thing. But, I like them nonetheless.

This is a picture above of the sleeping princess character. You can see I used a dress originally made for a Barbie doll and just altered it to fit the monster high body. I am still not sure if I am going to redo the dress totally or make a new  one from scratch. I like the contrast of the pink to her greenish skin tones.

Here are a few shots of the dolls I have changed the hair up a bit. The first is bee girls new do and he new antennae. I used a black sheep skin wool for the hair and wire and glass beads to create the antennae. She looks like a wild child and ready for some action. 

This is puma boys new hair. I like this wild look. It reminds me of the characters in the musical cats. I also added a bit of furry fluff to the end of his tail. He too is a bit of a wild child.

Thant's it for today. I need to get busy with some work on my upcoming phto assignment for my class and get some much needed studio work in. I want to finish up the set for the first few images before I move on to other ideas. Hope you all have a great weekend out there.

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Sleeping Beauties, Sleeping just Sleeping

My first attempts at redoing the faces of little monster high dolls just so happens to be for some sleeping characters. Yes, it might be a cop out from making eyes. But, really I need two sleeping characters. When I saw these little beauties unfinished, they seemed so serene and thought immediately of some sleeping characters. The blond is definitely going to be a princess of some sort. Not sure yet. The other is going to be her friend, they were bewitched and have fallen asleep in the forest.

Can't you just see my little Jasper and his lion Ruff coming upon them in the forest on one of their adventures? I sure can and what interesting things would happen? The first image is of the little cat like friend. I gave her really deep red hair and a tiny little black nose. I will post some better pics of the full body later. Her dress was hand made by me but, you can't really see it here.

Blondie is the one who will play the part of the princess. I don't have names for either of them yet. That will come soon enough. I put a pink fairy princess dress on her for now. I am not sure I will keep it intact or alter it. But, one thing is for sure. I am having a blast making up the characters as I go. Today I also put new hair on two other dolls. One is puma boy and the other bee girl. I will post pictures of them once they are done.

Tonight is the second class for the Creative Photography Assignment class I am taking. We are supposed to share some of our favorite images we have created to date. Next week will be our first actual assignment. It is on using soft focus in creative ways. Saturday is going to be a nice day in the big studio finishing up the set for the first set of images. Oh, and the big news I hinted at is that I will be showing in a local photographers studio at some point in the next few months. He is a very well respected and awesome photographer and nice guy. Details will follow once I know more. Have a great weekend one and all.

Friday, July 11, 2014

Cyndy Lou, Who?

I decided to play around with some lighting fun tonight. So, I got out one of the dolls I have in my collection and posed her on my computer station. I have a nice direct light from an LED desk lamp that shines down upon my desk. So, I posed Cyndy Lou on a jar of Golden brand Pumice gel to give her something to sit on.

The above image was processed into black and white after uploading it to Adobe Lightroom. Once I cropped and tweaked I sent the picture to On One Perfect B&W to create the image you see here. I love playing with available light as it challenges me to work with what I have on hand. My little pocket Nikon did a pretty good job. For me it's all about the feel of the image and I tend to be very intuitive when I do shoot a picture. Sure I pay attention to the exposure and such. But, I like the unexpected results. Sometimes it's great and sometimes it's a bust. Also, the type of camera is not as important as being free to just let go and have fun. I have learned a lot this way.

This image was processed in Alien Skin's Exposure 5 software to give it the look of the Technicolor film used in the Wizard of Oz movie. It's a lot of fun playing around with this sort of thing.

Just started a new photo class yesterday. It is a repeat of the one I took in the fall. You can take this class multiple times and still get something out of it. Anywho, I thought it would be nice to post a fun thing after my soul letting yesterday. Have a great weekend y'all.

Thursday, July 10, 2014

The Art of Becoming, A Little Thursday Wisdom

It is funny how the tiniest of things can change your perspective on life. For a few years now, I have been on this quest to find myself or should I say find out what I am here on this planet to do. Sure, some of you might think this is an obvious question to answer. But, for someone like me who has through a very complicated life I have lived, learned to question everything even my own soul. My heart or soul whatever you want to call that inner voice kept calling out for me to listen to it. Many times it would act out almost like an angry child. But, finally a few years back I decided to stop and take the time to try and listen. It was really hard at first.Because I had spent so much of my time focusing on the outer world that I could barely hear that inner voice once I decided to try. We spent many long hours meditating, chanting, praying, affirming and making art in the name of self healing together. A long and exhausting process that would have untold benefits.

What was surprising to me was how much this process would change my world and what I thought was the norm. So I went through the typical questions of who am I, what am I meant to do or what am I here on this planet to do? The big what am I destined to do here? After many ways of getting into this question I have discovered a lot about myself. This whole idea of the who am I question is really simpler than we might think. Many times I think because of our spiritual or religious beliefs we are lead to believe in some grand lofty idea of what we are here for. I don't know about you, but I am no saint. I don't really want that title anyway. But, what I discovered is that we are already who we were meant to be. The problem is that we get in our own way and don't see our true selves. What are you passionate about? What drives you to really want to be on this planet. I mean beyond the responsibilities that we manufacture. What is you greatest dream? Those are the questions that will give you the answer. It took me lots of soul searching, listening to my inner voice to realize this for myself. I dream of creating art. I eat, sleep and talk art all the time. I have so many projects that I want to do running in my head at all times. I even dream about making art and living as a full time artist  Duh, Cody you must be thinking. But, in my defense I have had the you must have a serious line of work thing pounded into my head just like most of you have all my life. Even some of my well meaning friends kind of do this.

All of the creative experiences, types of art and various classes I have taken were all leading me to a critical point in my life. Even non related things like health issues and relationship issues can bring you to a crucial point of realization. I Cody Goodin am an artist. That is what I am here to do. It is my passion, it is what makes up my DNA. There, I have finally admitted it to myself and the world. In addition, I am excited that at this point in my life I have found a particular art form that creates such passion in my soul. Photography and it's many forms really turns up that creative fire. Unlike any other art form or medium I have come across in my life. So, I have decided to throw myself into this creative fire. I am all in and not going back.

I was really worried that the friends I made while making other types of art wouldn't understand and walk away from me. A few have, but mostly they have applauded me and cheer me on. Now that I know I can move forward with confidence and conviction, I am excited to see what happens next. I am learning as much as I can to further enrich my photographic experiences. This art form is a really cool way to tell stories and try different possibilities that I couldn't do in other art media.

I have been planning a huge photo project for nearly two years now. It has gone through many changes, edits and what if's. Finally, I am at a point of just getting my hands dirty, my feet wet and plunging into the big void of infinite possibility. Thank you to all my friends, fans and collectors for hanging in there with me. I appreciate the encouragement and support. Now I would like to share three of my most favorite photographs I have taken with you. You have or may have seen them before. But, perhaps I have not expressed why they mean so much to me.

This is one I titled "Little Cody". It was a doll I created in honor of my inner child and the childhood I had that was so difficult. I wanted to honor the innocent that we all are born as. I shot him on a black background because it gave a since of mystery and also timelessness. It could be viewed as either light or dark which sums up life pretty well.

This is a photo of a character doll I created called the miser. He was a representation of my own selfishness and miserly feelings. Holding onto everything so tightly which gives it little chance to grow. It was also one of the first photos that seemed to generate such emotional reactions in people. It made me realize I did have something to say in the photographic image.

This doll is based upon a character from the Wizard of Oz called the China Doll. She is a store bought doll. I have moved on to using mostly store bought dolls lately. This is for many reasons which you may already know. At any rate, I love the light I was able to capture in this image. It really moves me and gives me a feeling of nostalgic innocence. It looks like a warm old movie from yesteryear.This was a look I had been trying to achieve and finally made it.

There you have it. I hope you didn't mind my little bit of sharing. It is more than I normally do but, felt compelled to share my excitement. I hope you all have a fantastic weekend ahead.

Thursday, July 03, 2014

Studio Time and My China Doll

Hello my fellow blog explorers and art seekers. I hope your week has been going well. As we head into another holiday weekend I wanted to post a little update. I have been on vacation for over a week now and have made a little bit of progress in the studio. Not as much as I would have liked but, at least it's a start. Above is a picture of the black back drop and staging table I have put together to do most of the photo shoots on. This is what I will build a majority of the sets on. The only time I will not is if the set requires a larger surface. The table is an old paper cutter table that was abandoned in the halls of the Essex oh so many years ago. It has served as our snack table during shows and as a table for classes. Handy little thing I guess you can say.

I have placed two 16 x 20 inch hardboard panels on top of the table and a piece of 20 x 30 inch black foam core on that. The black foam core is going to serve as the floor of the bedroom I am going to create for Jasper.

Here you can see that I have begun making the walls. I have the wall where a window and the closet will be located. I have added another piece to this to make it long enough to completely cover the back side of the floor. I also put the little closet door in the shot so you can see how it is going to look. I have painted the door already just didn't get a shot of it. The room set will have three sides but, no roof. I want this to be like a theater set. Once the walls are ready I will begin the painting of everything. Once the rooms is painted and put together, I can then dress the set. It will then be ready for a few photo shoots.

I plan on taking more in progress pictures so you can see the process and how I put everything together into the final shoots. I will also try and talk about the lighting and such too in case any of you out there want to try something like this yourself.

On a different subject the little china girl is starting to feel at home.

Here she sits gazing out the window on a lovely afternoon listening to the birds and feeling the warmth of the sun on her face. It is a rather lovely afternoon here in southern Ohio. It will be in the low 50's tonight.

Well, that's it for this time around. I hope you all have a great holiday for those of you in the states and elsewhere, a lovely weekend.