Sunday, September 8, 2013

Throw a Change-up

In baseball when the batter gets to know a pitcher too well the signal will come for a change-up. No, you don’t have to know or watch or even like baseball cause what I am really talking about is doing something different from what you have always done. That’s a change-up for artist.

Sure we all have things we really love to focus on. I may have mentioned that I like people, especially female, lady women type people and so when I want to do something a bit different from what I have been dong I naturally think about doing a lady, female woman type person.

Sometimes that means taking a picture I did years ago and having another look at it.

Maybe I want to do something radical and crazy and so I take an ordinary portrait and give it a shake or two.

Maybe I want to use that portrait as a starting point and just change the color pallet so that I get the same image with a different sort of look.

 Maybe I want to take a portrait of something that isn’t a person. You don’t have to do people when you take a portrait. They are just the thing most often used and for a good reason, they are terrifically interesting and varied and you can find them almost anywhere.

But you can find other things too.

Cats have so many facial expressions as we do and they are usually good natured about showing off. They will mug endlessly and they don’t ask for a big fee or make you get a model release or threaten to sue if you use one of their pictures in your latest add campaign for Cat’s Meow Camo Duck Dynasty Special Express Waders.

Can you take a portrait of an it?

Sure in fact some things just beg to be taken and used and are glad of the chance to serve.
Take this old guy, left to rot away in Charleston harbor. Now maybe the owner doesn’t have the money to fix it up and re-float it or maybe the insurance company just wrote it off or maybe the poor ole guy just sprang a leak and went down for the last time and no one cared enough to even haul it away from the dock.

But there is a world of character in this old guy or gal depending on your inclination where gendering ships comes out and if you don’t act fast the hulk will be gone before you know it and any opportunity you might have had will be gone.

But let’s say you are a car guy. Yes, a girl, female lady woman type person can be a motor head, but let’s face it most women are too smart to invest the annual income of Sierra Leone into a 1957 Edsel and think that they have done something wonderful so let’s say guy just for the sake of brevity which some of you will agree this blog desperately needs and move on to the point which is cars can be wonderful subjects for portraits.

You think not? Okay take a look at this fantastic yellow Auburn Boat-tailed Speedster. It’s like looking at an image of Ramone Navarro, sleek, stylish; evocative it ain’t a sub-compact that’s for sure. And like that famous silent era movie star it has an elegance which there just isn’t any of in this Ipad Age.

So you get am image of the whole car and what do you have? An image of the whole car. Now that isn’t such a bad thing and might just be enough for most people but for an artist there has to be more.

Whadda think? I’m guessing that this makes for a much more interesting look and gives the feel of a portrait while only showing just the merest tiny bit of chrome.

 This guy begs to be featured in a Poupon Grey commercial and the owner certainly felt that way. He left a jar of Poupon Grey on the convenience tray in the back seat. And yes, I did think about that but for me the right way to show off this suave, debonair gentleman was with the wing mirror mounted so far forward that it would never do in L.A traffic.

I’m pretty sure that the military has a rule about using images of its equipment without expressed, written permission, but that shouldn’t stop you form using one if it is just for a way to kick start your creative juices. Our Coast Guard guys risk life and limb every day and they have some pretty specialized equipment to help them. That stuff makes all of the little pleasure boats look like chopped liver. Why not take a look at what they use to haul our fat out of the frying pan and see if there isn’t an image worth working with.

You can always go back to what you were doing. It’s the break that’s good for the soul and then you can get right back to the focus of your own obsessions.

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