Brushes Down…

Last night I put the very last brushstroke on the final painting for this years’ Granary Gallery show.

Whew. These last few weeks have been an artistic marathon.

Now it’s a sprint to the finish line.

The show opening is August 4th.

The trailer needs to be ready to roll out of here a few days before that,
and there is a slew of work that needs to happen before then.

My pals at Artworks, in Mechanicsburg have been busy getting the frames joined for me and we scheduled the delivery for later this week. That gives me a little time to clear some room for them.

So, varnishing, comes first.
And it’s summer. The middle of a very hot and humid…
and throw a few more humid-ers in there…summer.
A while back I invested in an industrial humidifier for the studio. This has been quite helpful for just these type of varnishing days. Controlling the heat and humidity in here means that the varnish dries quickly and evenly and I don’t have to wait for the weather to cooperate, which…being July…it won’t.

After that I can shoot them.

With a camera.

Our business, HN Artisan, Inc. is set up to own the copyrights to all of my work. For all the possible uses of said copyrighted images, now and in the future, which include prints and publications, I need to obtain the best possible reproductions for the archive. And that needs to happen before I send them out and into galleries.

I used to farm this part of the operation out, which was wonderful while it lasted, even though it meant many trips to lug the paintings up and back in stages over the course of several weeks, so that the entire group of paintings was never in one place until the very last few days.

With my dear photographer John Corcoran easing into retirement, I scrambled to work out another option. Technological advancements, and time invested in learning about them, has led me to pick up the photography ball myself.

I’ve had some months to study and experiment with a new camera, fancy lights and another round of tutorials to brush up my Photoshop creds, and so far so good.

But now it gets real.

This year I have done another 8 foot painting,
and I have to shoot it, and there is no place in my world big enough to do that easily.

You may remember that last year our pals Matt and Paul came over to attempt to shoot last year’s big panel.

While it was the start of a great friendship, but we had no success in coming up with an archive worthy file.

Over the winter I pondered this dilemma and decided to explore a tip which David Fokos gave me. Having been to my studio, he suggested rigging something up…to shoot down.

Laying the panel flat and suspending the camera above, then moving it in a grid like pattern across the entire panel and “stitching” it together in Photoshop.

Trick to that scenario is that the camera MUST be positioned at the exact same distance from the panel every time the camera shifts.

Long winding internet searches lead me to this…

A cool company, 80/20 makes erector sets for adults, and I got them to cut aluminum square tubing to my specs and then Kory and I assembled this frame. It was extremely difficult to figure out how to make this able to be DIS-assembled but we…ok he…muscled the plastic joints enough times that it can be done.

This has been set up in the garage for several weeks, remember that painting marathon ?, well now that is over and it’s time to step this photography game up.

I went with the aluminum rather than building this out of wood for the higher precision tolerance, that’s an artists’ rather than an engineers’ technical description, to keep the camera equidistant from the panel.

The top bars on this frame have a lip facing up. This was designed so that a small “sled” could ride inside those flanges and slide evenly along the top rails. Here’s a look at the sled and the clamping gear I bought to try and secure the camera to it…upside down.

I will work on that tomorrow morning when it is not 95 degrees out there.

Theoretically, the panel will be placed on the inside of that large frame laying horizontally.
The sheet suspended above is to capture insect droppings from the garage roof, no it’s not an ideal workspace for artwork, but it’s the only space I have where I might be able to control the variables which include lighting and distance.

When …IF …I can get this dialed in, then Paul and Matt have promised to assist with the lighting and shooting of said panel. I better throw some more beers in the fridge for that.

So there’s a behind the scenes peek into the studio and the progress towards the big show of the year.

I’ll leave you with some pics of this morning’s wonderfully peaceful garden adventure.

With those hot temps here to stay, it was time to clear out the early spring bed for some heat loving veggies. So down came the pea towers. You can just see Herself hidden beyond the wheelbarrow full of pea plants using her super powers to pluck all of the last pods…I LOVE it when she joins me out there.

The before…

and after…

AND…the greatest gift …

Turns out the garlic was spared the nasty allium leaf miner after all !!!!

Yes, 100% of the plants are bug free.

The bulbs were smaller than usual, but that may have been a result of the pea towers blocking a good bit of light from them, among other factors.

Only last week I was crying in my suds that for the first time in years I had to ask Pat to by garlic from the super market. It was terrible by the way.

And now…voila… mother nature has blessed our greenhouse with a drying stack of bulbs.

Oh my heart is smiling all over again just writing that.

Ok back to my day job.

Stay tuned…the GG Show drumroll has begun and the lineup of new paintings will hit this blog page any day now.

In the meantime you all stay frosty out there.

H

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