Thursday, April 12, 2018

Introducing 'AlisonArtCyanotypes' and the Mother's Day Sale

Since November I've been making progress on building my Etsy shop by adding products that I believe will sell on that platform. I've decided to build an Etsy page featuring my prints and notecards. I think of my Etsy shop as a way to offer work that is affordable, yet features original artwork that I am proud of. My cyanotypes are a pretty good fit for that, given the ease of the process (for me), and the opportunities to experiment with materials and content while growing a portfolio. As an artist, I am often working on research and attempting to exhibit fine art photography projects in galleries. And it takes me many months and even years to get to show my fine art projects. Rarely do I sell from these bodies of work (Yet!). While I pursue commercial gallery representation (an entirely different blog post), I still wanted to make work that wasn't as research intensive and easy to produce.

But marketing my own work is quite the challenge. After being an artist full time for less than a year, I realized that if I were to hire anyone for my business, it would be a person who specializes in marketing. I am happy to do my own book keeping at the end of the day. After all, it has taken me since November to remind myself to write a blog post about my cyanotypes! And for what little I've done in announcing the shop and my work on social media once I made it, I've actually made some money from selling cyanotypes. In this respect, social media has been helpful but I want to increase sales on my Etsy shop, so I'm going the blog and email announcement route too. And once I have a booth at an art fair, who knows, I might even get myself a 'following.'

But before that, in this blog post, I want to share my latest sale, my Mother's Day sale. We often purchase flowers for Mother's Day and I realized that, leading up to the holiday, I should offer a floral print for sale (or two or three). The result is 11 prints available on my Etsy page. All framed. All ready to ship. The flower prints fit nicely with the other botanical cyanotypes I made. And, I decided to add color with watercolor paint to my prints for this sale. I created three limited editions. One print features snippets of a Flowering Quince Bush, a bright red/pink bush flowering in Tower Grove Park recently. I hand colored all of the Flowering Quince prints. One edition of four prints feature Magnolias, two of them hand colored, and the other edition is of four Forsythia prints, with two of them hand colored. The sale part is that I am offering free shipping, quick shipping (everything is made and I even have bubble wrap and custom boxes on hand), and very affordable gift wrapping if you do choose to purchase one of my spring flower prints to give as a gift. As I am about to depart on my third residency for the year, I am hoping to sell this work to help support my art practice. Next week, I will be in Nebraska City at the Kimmel Harding Nelson Center for the Arts for a month.

In addition to introducing and showcasing work from my Mother's Day Sale (Spring Flowers Prints), I also wanted to post photos of the different kinds of cyanotypes I have been making. When I sold some of my cyanotype work at Urban Matter, a south city shop featuring handmade work by local artists, I was thrilled! Upon meeting one of the owners, she suggested I continue making cyanotypes on canvas and turn them into wall hangings. I did and she's purchased even more of them. I had a small trunk show at the Osage Arts Community in January and sold 3 pieces, which was a boon.

As I create my cyanotypes, my hope is they just as easily leave my home for another. I do put them on my wall. I enjoy them and think, 'I'd keep this and have it up.' But my goal is for you to have some affordable art by me too.

Above are the hand colored cyanotypes, the Floral Botanical prints, available as a part of my Mother's Day sale. The image in the left corner shows the gift wrapping for the sale!

Two editions for the Mother's Day sale, the Forsythia and Magnolias, have regular blue cyanotype prints because I decided I liked them without color too!

I started a Leaf series of cyanotypes. Here's two examples, (not for sale)

Some cyanotypes on canvas as wall hangings. (I think the goldenrod is at Urban Matter)

My trunk show at the OAC in January!

Thursday, March 29, 2018

New Orleans on Film

I had been to New Orleans once before and just started shooting film for a project I later called "Wanderlust." At that time, in 2012, I was just beginning to photograph with my Crown Graphic camera again after years of not shooting consistently. My goal was to bring my Crown Graphic every time I traveled. Most of the film shot then in New Orleans, back in 2012, wasn't very good. I was nervous and had issues with exposure, focus, and dust! Six years later, I was determined to photograph in the St. Louis cemetery and Garden District again.

I will probably never give up shooting film, specifically large format, 4 x 5 film. It's exciting to see the film after hand processing it, scanning it, and editing-figuring out what worked and what was a good idea at the time. My challenge now is to not second guess a shot, to use the film I've loaded and not hesitate if I am compelled to photograph, no matter who is around. Obviously, New Orleans is unlike any American city I've every visited and it's always a gift to be able to go there. After my first trip, I watched "When the Levees Broke" by Spike Lee and will probably rewatch it soon.

The Lafayette and St. Louis cemeteries are perfect for black and white film photography. The day I went there was sunny with puffy white clouds diffusing the light, which is also very good for black and white photos. (I did manage to get a sunburn though.) Below are scans of the film, the shots that I found most successful, with no Photoshop 'dusting' or major edits, yet. I'll do that work in the darkroom. Even though I tried some new techniques to remove little dusty bits, I'm realizing that a brush with an anti static cloth is probably my best bet to remove as much dust as possible and just keep my fingers crossed. Even with the dust bits, I love the way film looks. I will add, only in New Orleans in a cemetery can I walk around with an old, large format camera and not have a single tourist talk to me about it. I suspect it is because everything there is a little old and a little strange and my thing isn't all that novel.

St Louis Cemetery No. 2

St. Louis Cemetery No. 2
I underexposed this but I like it too. My motto is it's not right if I haven't underexposed it.

Mary Hill Don't Cry, Don't Lose Your Foot. Note the tourist in the background. 
Cemetery with the Power Ball sign

Downtown New Orleans

Monday, March 26, 2018

New Orleans

I spent a few days down in New Orleans. Spring has arrived in full down there and it was a pleasure to walk around and photograph with three different cameras. Included in this post are the images made with my digital camera. I look forward to processing my 120 and 4 x 5 black and white film and posting soon.

French Quarter at night

Artist Studio at Night

A Tourist

Lafayette Cemetery

Garden District Dog

Saturday, March 10, 2018

Hall of Mosses

Earlier this week when I was at the Hypatia in the Woods residency, I drove up to the Hoh Rainforest to hike and photograph in the Hall of Mosses. I admit that I picked this location because I wanted to visit a national park but I was a little concerned about doing a difficult hike by myself with a camera and felt that this location would reveal some beautiful plant life and it would not be as likely I'd encounter a wild animal. The short story is I did anyway (Elk). All the literature I read about hiking in the Olympics advises to not hike by yourself.

Well, after driving 3 plus hours into the rainforest where there was still snow on the ground, it was clear to me I was in a mountain and that there had to be bears and mountain lions there. Sure enough I exited my car and read warnings that bears are seen often and at close range and to not hike alone. And, there was a problem of Elk charging at people too. While I love all animals, I will happily respect the their space and I do my best to avoid wildlife.

Luckily, there were plenty of people on the trail so I decided to go for it. I was still mostly on my own though. Below are photographs of my very fearful and distracted hike. By the end though, I was totally blown away by the place. The Hall of Mosses is truly unlike anything I've ever seen. The Hoh rainforest is very special, the only rainforest in the continental United States. It deserves preservation. It was a sunny day too and the way the light filtered between the tallest trees I've ever seen, it was like being on a movie set. After the hike, I ended the day at the beach (more photos to come). It was probably one of the best days I've had in a very long time. So I recommend it.

Over the next few days I will be editing the images I took at the residency. I photographed while in residence more than I have in years. My goal is to keep editing and perhaps have a project to show soon.

Monday, March 5, 2018

nature in shelton

Right now I am interested in how humans are connected and yet disconnected from an outside nature, a nature that we feel we need to explore, conquer, admire, or kill. How do we sanitize or corrupt the wild parts on our earth? Is it possible to coexist? Is it possible to re-wild? Are we really going to destroy this beautiful place? All these thoughts came to me when I first saw the mural at the laundromat. It is a really nice mural, especially for a laundromat. The people in the region are genuinely excited about seeing Orcas. Except the Sound's pollution makes it difficult for marine life to thrive. The pollution is caused by us, our industry on the water, and the growing amount of people living on the water. It's utterly depressing. But I'm still hopeful we can stop trashing our beautiful earth. 

Sunday, March 4, 2018

blue and green and my red hair

I have been focusing on photographing in the wooded area near the cottage but I plan to try a few more photographs along the water in the next few days. The water is beautiful, especially with overcast skies, but yesterday everyone here welcomed the sunny day.

Thursday, March 1, 2018

there are ticks here

I was having a good time, creating very romantic photos, connecting with nature and all that today. I saw two eagles and a humming bird. But then I found a tick burrowing into my side and that about set the tone for the remainder of the evening: fear, anger, and disbelief. I will not be doing this again without bug spray. Here are photos of me enjoying nature before the tick incident shut down production.

This place is magical, except for the ticks. They are not magical.