Monday, September 29, 2008


I spent the day working on updating my website which never seems to go smoothly. I guess when you learn by doing, mistakes and hurdles are inevitable. Today's transfer is a photo of a photo. This is my maternal grandmother Marie. I wish I had had the chance to get to know her better; I think she was a pretty interesting lady. She took a train trip out west with her friend Marian when she was in her 20's and Marian still had slides from that trip that she shared with us when I was in my 20's and had started to get a little wanderlust myself. There are photos of the two of them hiking and exploring the rugged west in skirts and nice shoes. I like to think I got my sense of adventure from her.

September 29: Marie

Sunday, September 28, 2008

New Urbanism and Black Stew

On Saturday we visited a new urbanist development here in Orlando. It was a very attractive place with lots of park space and trails as well as a town center with restaurants and a grocery store, but it kind of gave me the creeps. It was too perfect and controlled, and while it seemed like a great place to raise a family, I don't think I would find it very creatively stimulating. I think even though older homes and neighborhoods have their issues and idiosyncrasies, they also have a character and uniqueness not found in new construction. When we are ready to buy our next home, my vote is for something that inspires.

I have finally come to the end of the daisy shots and moved on to pomegranates. The pomegranate I ripped into was not very tasty, so after the shoot I decided to get rid of it. I am fascinated by the novelty of our garbage disposal and tend to put anything down it I can, much to Ian's disbelief. I put half a pomegranate down and a thick black stew started bubbling and rising in the sink. I left the disposal churning for a while thinking it would unclog itself, but this approach was not successful, so I went in search of the plunger we do not own. I started to panic a little, but I didn't want to call Ian so I used a plastic lid to try to plunge the sink. Again, no success. I went to gym to run off my worries. I came back and turned on the disposal while shaking it below the sink. Eventually the black stew disappeared down the drain and Ian never knew what I had done; I will think long and hard about what I put down the sink in the future.

Pomegranate (plan) 09.28.2008

Pomegranate (elevation) 09.27.2008

Shadows 09.26.2008

Thursday, September 25, 2008


It was so nice out today, that I decided to turn off the a/c and open the windows for the first time since we moved in. The fresh air felt great, but the noise of traffic from our busy street was quite distracting. Haunchy was freaked out most of the morning and hid under my desk. I found the noise put me on edge and made concentrating very difficult. I remember reading in a Taoist book once that the city can wear on one's soul and that we need to escape to the countryside for meditation. Certainly, there are few things less conducive to meditation than cars and sirens, but I think in general cities give as much or more to the soul than they take. On a short walk this afternoon I was reinvigorated by all the people and activity happening on the streets below me. I came across protesters, shoppers, runners, beggars, picnickers, wanderers, children, business workers and landscape crewmen all within a few blocks of home.

I made some Polaroid prints before that reinvigorating walk, while feeling slightly distressed due to the traffic filling my apartment and my brain. I was having a lot of trouble pulling the film out straight so I kept getting cut off edges on my prints. This is another shot of the daisies with the figure facing forward this time. I hadn't wanted the eyes in the frame but they somehow edged their way just over the line.
September 25: Blooms and Silk (Front)

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Polaroid Sketchbook Project: Daisy Diptych

The weather has begun its shift away from the oppressive heat of summer. I walked out of our apartment today and was greeted by a pleasant breeze instead of the usual wall of humid heat. It is a welcome change and though it may not come close to the autumn I so cherish, I think I will enjoy the winter down here.

In high school, my best friend and I were obsessed with blue and orange. We liked the idea of complimentary opposites, as it embodied our relationship. I was blue- calm, quiet, shy and she was orange- fiery, energetic, outgoing. She got married this summer and carried a beautiful bouquet of orange. This diptych reminds me of her and makes me smile.

September 24: Daisy Diptych

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Deadlines and Figures

I have a few ambitious posts up my sleeve for this week. The first is a request from a friend who asked what exactly it is I am doing with these Polaroids. I have started shooting some digital pictures for a tutorial post on Polaroid Image Transfers and Emulsion Lifts that will show me in action. I also recently had the opportunity to see an interesting exhibit and presentation by artist Maggie Taylor and I am working my way through a review of the work which I will post soon. Why these announcements and not just the real deal? Well, I need a looming deadline to kick me into high gear and I figured a public pronouncement might just work.

I haven't explored the figure with the Polaroid transfers yet, but I was pretty happy with softness of this one. With the northern light from my window and the glow created through the transfer process I think I could create some interesting figure studies.

September 23: Blooms and Silk

Monday, September 22, 2008

Polaroid Sketchbook Project: Backlog

The latter part of the week just flew by. I had several Polaroids shot, dried and ready for emulsion lifts on Friday, but with our busy schedule and travel plans I did not get around to finishing them until this morning. I am still playing around with the daisy shots I took. I enjoy having the freedom to make so many iterations of a single idea; I don't usually give myself enough reign to play like this.

We made a trip to the Gulf coast to visit family this weekend which was a lot of fun. We met up at an architectural salvage store where I found a few small creatures and props for future photographs. Sunday we went to a great nearby thrift store; I always find photo fodder when I am there. Last year I found my orange tutu and this time I found a dress and some nightgowns. In the afternoon we went to the beach and I happily discovered a new swimming buddy in my 5 year old niece...we had a blast.

September 19: Netted Bunch

September 20: Shroud

September 21: Peeking
September 22: Unveiled (lighter and darker...trouble deciding again!)

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Polaroid Sketchbook Project: Wrapped

I bought some Gerber daisies to take photographs of and I was fascinated by the protective wrappings they were packaged in. Here is a shot of them all cooped up in platic sleeves and netting. The daisies will be slowly revealed throughout the week as they shed their garments. Ian and I went to a local vegetarian restaurant tonight for Green Drinks where eco-minded people get together, drink organic beer and learn about interesting things happening locally. It was a lot of fun and we met some really great people.

September 18: Wrapped

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Polaroids and Presents

The cold still lingers and my cloudy brain makes writing anything coherent quite difficult, but alas the Polaroid Sketchbook Project must go on. I need to make a trip to the photo store to get my slide film processed, but I have not felt up for the walk and I'm afraid I currently lack the ability to balance myself on a bicycle. And so, without my fresh film, an old character returns; the sprouting tater. Standing on its end like this the sweet potato reminds me of a grotesque figure sprouting arms.
September 17: Arms

And now for something completely different...puppies! I made a watercolor puppy portrait of Ella for a friend who will be receiving a belated birthday gift very soon:)

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Polaroid Sketchbook Project: Orange Inside & Out

It is Tuesday already and I am behind on my prints for the week. I came down with a nasty head cold yesterday which makes me feel a little woozy and disoriented, but I pulled myself together long enough to create two prints. I think this week will have a theme: orange.

September 15: VW Bus

September 16: Japanese Pumpkin

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Polaroid Sketchbook Project: AHI

AHI: Andrew, Haunchy and Ian. The original image for this and the Concrete Turret were shot on expired slide film, so the color is very flat and muted. The transfer process removed even more color and contrast so that this is a ghost of what I really saw the day I took the photograph. I may go back in and add some color with watercolor, but for now....

September 14: AHI

Printing Press

On Saturdays my printmaking instructor offers an open studio, so I spent some time etching a plate yesterday. My first attempt at making a plate of the swan drawing did not go so well. In fact, it went so poorly I don't really want to post it here. My second plate however, is coming along much better. It is a drawing of a fairy thorn: in Irish tree mythology, hawthorns are thought to be home to fairies, mischievous and ill intentioned creatures, and should be avoided after sunset. This is the first proof of my plate. I plan to work into it a bit more this week.

Fairy Thorn (Etching)

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Polaroid Sketchbook Project: Concrete Turret

September 13: Concrete Turret

Today's Polaroid was taken at my local libray. We have a really great library system here in Orlando and we live a few blocks from the main branch. It is a fascinating and enormous building; it consumes an entire city block. The exterior is made of concrete poured into rough hewn cedar forms which create an interesting pattern. It reminds me of the work of landscape architect Lawrence Halprin; works like Freeway Park in Seattle or the series of fountains he created in Portland, OR.

Lovejoy Plaza Portland, OR

Freeway Park Seattle, WA

Friday, September 12, 2008

Polaroid Sketchbook Project: Two Tutus

I created two emulsion lifts today; one is the Tutu from Monday and the other is Tutu 2. I thought they were light and fun for a lovely Friday. Ian returns to me today after a week of travel, so cheers to a great weekend!

September 12: Tutu 2


Thursday, September 11, 2008

Polaroid Sketchbook Project: Tomatoes

After visiting the two local farmer's markets, it became clear there were no actual farmers at these markets. There are cheeses, crafts, orchids, plants, art work, baked goods and produce from Chile. This seemed a little odd to me considering the said names of these events. I had imagined there would be many local farmers down here with the extended (or never ending) growing season, but ostensibly, this is not the case. I was disappointed by this, but not discouraged. I would just have to find another avenue to local food. I found Homegrown, a co-op, which works like no other co-op I have been to: we order our produce online and pick it up from the store on Thursdays. It isn't nearly as fun or interactive as a bustling farmers market (with farmers), but it allows us to buy local organic produce.

September 11: Tomatoes

These are tomatoes from our co-op, in Polaroid transfer form. I printed the darker image transfer first. When it seemed a bit too dark I tried a lighter print. I am a bit torn between which I prefer, but I am leaning toward the darker, as the highlights on the tomatoes are a bit more subdued.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Polaroid Sketchbook Project: Sprouting Tater

Ian bought a sweet potato a few weeks back. While it sat in a basket in our kitchen waiting to be eaten it started to grow beautiful purple sprouts. It was a tasty addition to a curried lentil dish.

September 10: Sprouting Tater

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Polaroid Sketchbook Project: Attack Cat

September 9: Attack Cat

Haunchy just can't leave me alone when I get the camera out and start playing around with vegetables and herbs. Here, she jumped into my shot and started munching on chives. She was so keen on them, they had to be removed so I could keep shooting.

Monday, September 8, 2008

Polaroid Sketchbook Project: Tutu

Monday, Monday. I am still trying to find the best types of images for the transfer process and I am not convinced this is one of them. I think bold, simple forms come across better than something with too much movement and nuance. I will try this image as an emulsion lift later this week.
September 8: Tutu

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Polaroid Sketchbook Project: Reach

After a day of running errands, Ian and I returned home only to discover we needed to go to the grocery store to pick up some ingredients for dinner. The last thing we wanted to do was get back in the car; then we remembered that the new downtown Publix had just opened. It was quite exciting to walk the few blocks to the store. And for once we actually remembered our reusable grocery bag!

Today's Polaroid is an emulsion lift of a photograph of an old oak tree taken at a park down the street from our apartment. The colors were kind of drab in the initial transfer so I added some watercolors to liven up the live oak.

September 7: Reach

Saturday, September 6, 2008

Polaroid Sketchbook Project: Swans

There are two versions of today's Polaroid; I couldn't decide which I preferred. The original slide was shot slightly out of focus to get softer edges in the transfers. I might play around a bit more with out of focus images or perhaps I will finally build myself a selective focus lens. I want to see how far I can take the glowing blurred edges starting to emerge in Swan 2. The swans, swan boats and amphitheatre photographs were all shot in Lake Eola Park, just a few blocks from us. These themes will likely return as I start to figure out the best way to capture images for the transfer processes.

September 6: Swan 1

September 6: Swan 2

Friday, September 5, 2008

Polaroid Sketchbook Project: Jump

After a week of waiting, my film finally arrived today. The boxes were plastered in warnings of the inevitable disappearance of Polaroid 669. Until now, I have been playing around with expired film and it seems the fresh stuff pulls apart a little more easily which allows for a more seamless transfer process.

I decided to try another print from the striped tights series, this time as a transfer...

September 5: Jump

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Polaroid Sketchbook Project: Week One

It is already September 4th, four days into my Polaroid Sketchbook Project, and I am still waiting for the Polaroid film I ordered last week. Due to the nature of this project, there will always be a bit of lag time between when I shoot an image with my camera and when I create the transfer or emulsion lift. So, with that in mind I have decided I will start this week with a few prints created last week as I wait ever so patiently for my film to arrive. Ultimately I hope to have a post for each day's image, but this is week one, so cut me some slack!

September 4: Wrinkled and Blurred

September 3: Rise

September 2: Swan Boats

September 1: Deco Amphitheatre

Wednesday, September 3, 2008


I have always had an interest in printmaking. Perhaps it is the ability to use photographic material in processes such as screen printing or lithography that sparked my interest, but in any case I decided to take a class in printmaking at Crealdé. We are starting out with etching which requires vastly more drawing skills that I have developed, but I am going to just have fun with it and explore the possibilities of the medium. I started etching my first plate, a drawing of a swan. I am curious to see how I will be able to translate a blended pencil drawing into etched line work.

Swan drawing, pencil

My printmaking instructor creates amazingly detailed etchings of the Florida landscape. I am not sure I could ever create such beautifully detailed plates, but I do hope to find a style that suits me. I have started looking at the work of other print makers as it is a field I am relatively unfamiliar with. I checked out a book on Jim Dine from the library yesterday. Although I don't really relate to his use of the heart symbol or Pinocchio, I do appreciate his endlessly experimental approach to print making and I do find some of his prints quite compelling. The following two prints captivated me; I like the linework and textures as well as the mood.

Raven on Cloth by Jim Dine

Seven White Hammers by Jim Dine

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

One-Eyed Prophet

It is the rainy season here in Orlando, which leads to fascinating late night people watching downtown. When the sky opens, dressed up women run frantically toward cover, the street corner evangelists retreat with their megaphones and wet people shake off and shiver as they hit the cold air condition of the bars and clubs. This Saturday we stood on a sidewalk in the rain under an umbrella with a good friend who has been going through some tough times. As we three stood under our giant canopy, a one-eyed man approached. Ultimately he was looking for money, but on his successful path to this end he impressed us with an uncanny ability to read our friend’s situation along with our feelings and concerns; he even offered some much needed prophetic hope. It was an oddly uplifting experience, a reminder of the humanity that surrounds us on every busy street corner.