Money, money, money……..

I had very vivid dreams last night, of being young and being introduced to a world i hadn’t been admitted into yet, one where you held power if everyone knew your name, you held power if you were associated with that name. I know what it means and this morning i have woken up feeling pretty powerless over my future.

I am trying pretty hard to create a new future for myself and my family, i am studying social media, watching webinar’s and reading up on best practice, finding representation in shops to sell my art but it is all so frustrating. I wish Covid would just fuck off, why now when now is the time i am finally free to do what i want, go where i want, any time i want, why now?

My creativity is coming in fits and starts and i seem to be relying on older work to get me through this, i just find the frustration levels so hard to deal with. I could sit in the corner and do nothing all day and feel bad if i let it get too much but im made of stronger stuff than that and the corner can just go and do one! I have money to make, bills to pay just like everyone else so why do i feel as if i am standing still in one place?

Deep down i know what i want to do! I want to have my own shop/gallery and i want to help other struggling artists to grab the attention of collectors, shoppers and anyone else just passing but it feels like its just out of my reach. I know what i need, a shop, money, artists, money, stock, money and oh yeah money and a shop. It just goes around and around and makes me feel like im failing, it is the perfect time now, christmas is around the corner, people are buying gifts etc and i feel like i am missing the biggest opportunity of my life.

If you have any useful ideas drop them in a comment please, i think one of the real reasons why im struggling is because i no longer have my sounding board, my back up, the person who believed in me no matter what…. my Mum and i need her. This time last year she became so poorly, her cancer so aggressive and hospital admission was just around the corner, ultimately her passing away early December. I miss her and feel like im floundering around in life at the moment, free but not quite free because of covid holding things back. I suppose i could use that as an excuse for a long time but ultimately it stops at me and i am the only one who can make this happen. I need to pull on my big girl knickers ( pants ) and just do it, so i will!

A little experiment that went awry.

Today was one of those rare days when i had the house pretty much to myself, husband off on a film shoot, kids on half term but hiding in their bedrooms playing computer games, so i decided that i was going to take this as a sign that it was ok to make art. I had been looking at some of my Polaroid images and decided that i could sacrifice two in the name of art. I wanted to experiment!

I can safely say that the first experiment was a complete and utter disaster! I put one of the Polaroids into the microwave and turned it on, within seconds it had burst into flames and i couldn’t turn it off in time to save it. I ended up with a small plastic lump, no way was that going to become a photographic image. In the bin it went.

Experiment two was better, i didn’t put it in the microwave this time, i held it over a flame on my cooker top, just enough to heat the back up, then i cut down the sides and peeled the back off leaving the developing chemical residue on the back of the film. This meant i could then do a ‘Lift’ of the emulsion and put it onto paper.

I decided to use gold foil on the paper so applied that first, then i placed the film into a bowl of boiling water and waited for the emulsion to bubble and lift from the film. I then used the clean film to place the emulsion into cold water and slipped the paper with the gold foil under the emulsion and removed it from the water. After a little maneuvering i had the image on the foil in the place i wanted it, i then dried it off with kitchen towel and after it has dried and been flattened i will mount and frame it in a simple black gallery style frame.

polaroid lift on a gold foil background

Maybe tomorrow i will get enough time to use my Polaroid Lab and print off some of the images i have on my phone!

You can’t NOT write about Covid 19

How many weeks have we been in lockdown in the UK now? Feels like its been MANY months to me! You know when you suddenly realise you can’t actually remember the last time you actually worked, well that’s me, I no longer recall my last sale, now that is a SCARY thought!

Last year was, you could say, quite a year. I have cared for my Mum for over 8 years as she battled cancer and last year, after being in remission, it came back. She passed away in December thank God as i know she would not have made it through Covid 19. But i hadn’t been earning even before that as i was a full time carer, so when and what was my last sale? Who the hell knows but i would like to know what and when my next one will be so follow the link and have a browse around my FAA website, support the small businesses, a small sale goes a long way. Thank you.

https://karen-lawrence.pixels.com/

My first post of the year

I don’t know what to call this post as i haven’t written anything here for a while, it’s not that i haven’t been busy I’ve just been busy in a different way. I have had a difficult working year up until now, nothing seems to have gone right and at every turn i seem to have been hindered in one way or another and not able to make my art.

I have been battling with ill health for many years now, i have fibromyalgia and osteoarthritis among other things which have both got to a point where i have struggled with every day life. The arthritis in my hip had become so bad that just to walk i was taking morphine and paracetamol to get me through it. I have a great Doctor, she helps me so much and we both decided that we had to do something about the hip, she told me about the prerequisites for having the hip joint replaced and armed with multiple leaflets i went home to talk it through with my family. We would need to put a lot of thought into it as i am a carer for my mum who has cancer and i am the only driver in the house, the one who gets everyone everywhere on time. There is a lot resting on my shoulders that would have to be delegated carefully to others.

One thing on the list for the hip replacement was weight, body mass, i hold my hands up and can say that yes Chris and i have let things slip a bit, ill health and medication with side effects of weight gain weren’t helping me and i was told i needed to loose weight.

 

I guess in my heart i new that this year was going to be the year things had to change, i looked deep inside and new that i couldn’t go on with the way things were and made a pact with myself that i would do everything possible to fix my hip. I committed to loosing weight to take the strain off my joints and so far have lost over 2 stone and dragged Chris in with me which has been good for him too.

At the beginning of April i went in for surgery and had a total hip replacement. I was a model patient, did everything i was asked to the best of my abilities and pain threshold, which wasn’t easy i can tell you! Now at home i am forced to sit quietly with my feet up wearing the most ridiculous white pressure stockings, taking many short walks throughout the day. I am healing  incredibly quickly and recovering well but oh am i bored!

 

Chester Arts Fair

 

November is the start of the truly busy time for craft fairs, artisan markets and most notably for myself, the Chester Arts Fair. This will be my third outing with a Deepbridge sponsored arts fair and hand on heart i have to say i just love them. You are guaranteed a very healthy footfall, fabulous art work from truly great artists who are all very friendly and you are guaranteed to find something to buy at reasonable prices. If you fancy visiting, Christmas gifts and all that, i have added a ticket to my Facebook page that you can download for free and this will give you free entrance in to the Arts Fair.

 

 

chester, arts, fair, grey, friars, tickets, complimentary, deepbridge, blackmango, spikeymouse

Chester Art Fair

Dipping your big toe into the Craft Fair pond is ok if you are prepared to put in the time and money, stand behind a table all day and not make any where near enough to live on. I have dipped my big toe in the Craft Fair pond, found the traders very friendly but the shoppers very tight with their money.

I have 2 VIP tickets and 10 weekend tickets for those who REBLOG this post. Good luck.
If you are trying to make a living out of your art it is quite disheartening when shopper after shopper looks through your work, has a chat and then walks away empty handed, no matter how hard you try to sell them one of your fabulous photos. Looking around there are various options open to you, give up, carry on as you are, look for exhibition space or go for bigger more prestigious art fairs.
I decided to ‘have a go’ at the Liverpool Contemporary Art Fair, nestled among the galleries and established artists from all over the world and it was great! As it is a ticketed event you knew that who ever stopped by your stand was actually in the market for some new wall art and had the ready cash burning a hole in their wallets. The fair prints the tickets, has the website, hires the space and stands, invites the VIP’s and you use your social media to advertise and turn up.
That’s why we decided to do another and signed up for the Chester Art Fair.walking on water
Deepbridge_Arts_Fairs_Chester_2015_
Chester Arts Fair

Liverpool Contemporary Art Fair

dazzle shipArt Lovers,

Liverpool Contemporary is nearly upon us! Opening Saturday 26th June, no where else in the North West will you see such a large collection of contemporary and affordable art to view and buy. Entry is free all weekend so pop in to the Royal Liver Building and browse from our range of visual art, sculpture, glass work, ceramics and photography.

Here below are the best 6 reasons to visit the Liverpool Contemporary this weekend:-
Affordable Art for Everyone
The Liverpool Contemporary is the perfect opportunity to purchase artwork that you love and which inspires you, ranging from £40.00 – £10,000 plus.
World Exclusive Collection by L.S Lowry
For art enthusiasts, a £3 million collection by the much loved British Painter L.S Lowry will be on display with paintings never before seen in the UK.
Live Demonstrations and Artist Workshops
A full programme of live demonstrations by leading UK Artists will be running all day Saturday and Sunday. Starting at 11am and finishing at 4pm, make the most of your trip to the Fair and watch the artists in action.
Exclusive Darren Baker Collection
Leading Hyper Realism Artist, Darren is the official artist to the Professional Footballer’s Association, the 2012 Olympic Games and this year’s Ashes. A stunning collection, you wouldn’t want to miss out.
Located in the Prestigious Royal Liver Building
Taking place in the Royal Liver Building on the Waterfront, this magnificent building is an iconic symbol of Liverpool making it the perfect place to display such beautiful pieces of art.
Children’s Area and Café
Fun for all the family, our children’s area offers a range of arts and crafts activities for your budding artists, and don’t forget to visit our cafe area serving up hot and cold refreshments throughout the weekend.
You can download your tickets here https://gallery.mailchimp.com/d46ae5305f2d2b93309481b7d/files/complimetary_newsletter_ticket.pdf
or here
https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/liverpool-contemporary-arts-fair-2015-tickets-14896302241

Wanderings with Chris ……Hoylake is enjoying the Open Golf, again!

Eight years ago the Open Golf came to The Wirral, we had money thrown at us to improve Hoylake, which they did really well but it didn’t go all the way through it just kind of stopped up by the Anchor, still Hoylake was left looking pretty. We had thousands of bodies and their cars visiting and they were neatly parked in massive carparks and shuttled in and out. They (quite a few but not all) visited our pubs and wine bars leaving behind their money and going home with great impressions and wonderful memories and we are doing it all over again this month. We have Tigers, McIlroys, Scotts, players from all over the world and they have brought their caddies, managers, families and goodness knows how many other people all geared up to make their week go without a hitch. http://www.royal-liverpool-golf.com/ Our hotels and guest houses are full and if you wander down Market St after 8pm you can hear people commenting on how it feels like you are in a foreign country as there is such a great holiday atmosphere.
During July we have also held Hoylake’s festival of firsts, a fortnight of entertainment and art, the shops, pubs and bars have local poetry and art in their windows and on their walls, which add’s to the great feel of excitement in Hoylake. Thursday was the first day of the Open and i went to Hoylake with Chris to say Hi to our artist friends manning their art stalls hoping to sell their art to the milling hordes. There were plenty of hordes and some selling of art but i was more interested in the movement of Hoylake, the people and the change of pace. People pored from the golf club, jumped on buses and trains or headed for the pubs and bars, they spilled out over the pavements onto the grass and laughed and joked and drank. Prime opportunity for some great street photography.

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We wandered along Market St slowly, chatting to people we know, stopping and sitting drinking in the atmosphere and taking photos of the people doing the same as us. Along the way we walked past Jill’s Cookshop where i have several photographs entered into the Festival of Firsts art competition, in the window is the Lighthouse at Fort Perch and underneath it is….. a Silver award!!! 🙂 Way to go me! and congratulations to all of the others awarded.
fort perch lighthouse
Of course we were really excited and whenever anyone went to look in the shop window Chris would dash over and tell them that i took the photo, i think he is rather proud of me. After we hung out and chatted and took loads of photos we drove down to the promenade and drove along to the RNLI station just in time for a beautiful sunset, a great time to take some photos of the Grace Darling sculpture.

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The sister to the Black Pearl in New Brighton. We watched the sun go down together then headed home to replace the hustle and bustle of Market St with the hustle and bustle of family life. (Read BEDTIME) We have two more days of the golf and then weeks of getting everywhere back to normal again. I hope they bring the Open back to Hoylake eventually it is an amazing event and an amazing opportunity for Hoylake and the Wirral.

What makes an image?

A good question. Does it mean, what is in the image, who took it, what did they take the image with, how did they process the image or how did they ‘see’ the image?

My secret, ‘shhh’ is that i ‘see’ the image i want to create, only in my head. I think it stems from art college and being told to ‘see’ the image i wanted to either draw or paint. So this means i have to travel around the Wirral, where i live, trying to ‘find’ my image. Once it is ‘found’ i then set about recreating the image from my mind and i may do this by ‘bracketing’ my exposures and using photomatix to merge the images or waiting for the ‘right’ kind of weather conditions. There may be a bit of post production using photoshop, or not. I use a Nikon D3100, so i manually bracket the exposures, occasionally i may get a good image with my phone camera, they do go through photoshop as they are generally either over or under exposed.

I feel sometimes that unless you are a ‘name’ then it doesn’t matter how good your images are and its a kind of snobbery, if you haven’t had the exposure and your name isn’t known then no one will take a chance and say ‘ well hey, actually this image is pretty good!’ This is a shame as there are plenty of unknown’s out there waiting to make their ‘name,’ its such a slow process.

Here are two images of the same lighthouse, can you tell which is the bracketed image and which not?

Image

Image

I want to be able to recreate the image my eye see’s rather than just a flat replica of what is in front of me, so i have been experimenting with what makes an image and i have decided that i ‘like’ the end result of ‘bracketing’ exposure’s and combining the images. The images seem more alive, they have more depth, so for me, at the moment, what makes an image? is best answered as ‘being able to see the image, using exposure bracketing and then combining the images together with photomatix and a little bit of photoshop too.’  It’s a bit more complicated than just point and shoot but i think it is so worth my while. I just wish people would buy my work!

If you are interested in bracketing exposures and how it works, this is a great article.                       http://www.thephotoargus.com/101/how-to-use-bracketing-in-your-photography/

An experiment with ISO

Today the house is quiet, (apart from the plumber as we are having a new bathroom installed) so i decided to have an experiment with the ISO settings on my camera. I have an image in my mind that i am working towards, i think i need more experience behind the camera before it will come out, please keep in mind i have only been using a digital camera for the past 10 months, so i have been taking bracketed photos of my hearth at different ISO to see what would happen. (I do know, i just want to SEE it)
So for those in the know, skip this part or add your own comments. What is ISO? Not to make me look stupid i went to http://www.geek.com/digital-camera-buyers-guide/iso/ and asked them. Their reply was ‘Simply put, ISO is the measurement of a camera’s sensitivity to light. The higher the ISO number the more sensitive the sensor is. A higher ISO number means that a camera will be able to shoot images in conditions with less light. ‘ But we know that a high ISO means noise BUT can that noise be useful in a photograph or not? Below i have five photos of my hearth each bracketed to a correct exposure, -2, +2 and using a different ISO setting. I then loaded them into photomatix and used the tone mapping and creative button.

This image is at 100ISO

 

 

 

 

 

 

This image is at 200ISO

 

 

 

 

 

 

This image is at 400ISO

 

 

 

 

 

 

This image is at 800ISO

 

 

 

 

 

 

and this image is at 1600ISO

 

 

 

 

 

 

The images become more and more ‘noisy’ especially in the blacks, so i guess that is why we always use 100ISO if possible!

I used tonemapping as i want to get as close to the image that our eye see’s as possible, this is why i am experimenting, i want to be able to produce HDR images that look like the real deal, not something thats been tinkered with in photoshop. I think i am getting there, i know that at some point i will need to update my camera for one that automatically brackets the exposures as you do get movement when you do it manually. But for know i am content to experiment and hone my skill with what i have.