Monday, September 17, 2012

The beginning

Well, I am making an effort to actively blog and keep people in the loop when it comes to what I have going on in the studio. I have become rather efficient with juggling motherhood and a career, however I am still in search of a part time babysitter/nanny for 2-3 days out of the week. The search has been rather exhausting, and despite living about a hour outside of DC, I am located in the middle of "nowhere" Loudoun County Virginia.

It is hard to find someone who is near by to me or willing to make the drive out this way to watch a 16 month old for a few hours a couple times a week. But regardless, I am managing and I think I am doing quite well with it.

This week I begin working on a large commission of a chestnut warmblood with a little girl for a client located in New England. She sent the following pics;


I am creating a larger 16"x20" colored pencil piece and have been brainstorming ideas in my head over and over. Since the reference shots are not ideal for compositional planning but still serve as a means to study my subjects' likelinesses, I sought out to take my own quick reference shots. Typically when I receive images from clients for fine art pieces and or illustrative/commercial work, I always end up shooting my own references or purchasing stock etc. In the end I want the best piece possible, one that the client will thoroughly enjoy forever!

I brainstormed a bit with the client over ideas/musings I had. I want to create an image that tells a story, in this case a bond between a human child and a horse. A moment captured! My mind envisions a young girl out in a scenic field with her chestnut gelding interacting in a very gently loving way. I feel having the horse depicted in the stall is too limiting and being able to see him entirely is a key goal. In my mind the image is mostly about the horse so I want him to play the larger role in the artwork and be the central/dominant subject.

My colored pencil work has been collected quietly by many clients over the years and as far as I know I am the only person who works with colored pencils they way that I do. I haven't met anyone who utilizes the methods entirely the way I do yet. Its been a process of trial an error until I perfected the technique that I have come to use. I will be sharing those techniques here!

I haven't a name for my technique yet and everyone is always shocked after seeing my works to learn that it is colored pencil I am using. Most people think its either oil pastel or acrylic until I tell them otherwise. I will be documenting my step by step progression on this piece here on my blog. I am really trying to make a valid attempt at documenting everything and showing everyone what I do.

Since leaving the teaching world I have been able to focus entirely on my art and photography and for the first time ever I am doing what I love and loving every minute of it. While I was teaching I was rather quiet about my art career as I didn't want to create a "conflict of interest" especially since in the commercial realm some of the subjects I work with  are adult natured, I didn't want to ruffle feathers or draw an unnecessary attention my way.

Now, however, I have free reign to create and lately I feel like the artsy Mad Hatter who has just stepped forth in an explosion of artistic fury and I am liking it! Ah, I digress, now back to the reference shots I took.

A new boarder at my friend's barn has two little girls, Karlee and Emma and a big chestnut mare. I asked her if she would be willing to allow me to use her girls and her mare Porcia as reference for my artistic endeavors. She was very excited and agreed.

The reference shots were just quick, nothing fancy, no pro photography work, to get concepts and ideas that I had in my head, hashed out somewhat visually so I had something to work from. Of course I did squeeze in a session with the little girls and took some nice pictures of them for their mom as a way of thanking her for allowing me to use them :)

BW version from above

There are still a lot more images from this session :)

I took several reference shots of the girls randomly and candidly interacting with their mom's mare Porcia. These shots are not fancy, they merely represent conceptual ideas that are dancing around in my head for this work of art. I am closely studying the horse and her body language a well as the girls'. I must be spot on when depicting emotion and capturing that "magic" moment. The girl's head in the image is going to be facing the horse so her body language and the way she is interacting with the horse has got to be perfect in order for me to tell the story I am wanting to tell.
Here are some of the shots (keep in mind that the horse will be the client's horse and not the horse pictured, I am only using her image as a reference source, same goes for the little girl). I have made notations by the images I favor.

This image is my favorite in terms of the horse reaching towards the little girl. I would depict the horse's entire body along with this reach if I choose to use this. The client is also currently looking over the images and will share with me the images here that speak to her the most.

I like the little girls legs and lower portion of her body here in this image

I like the girls upper body positioning and her gently touch on the horse's nose

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Back At It Again

Check out our video here: Our World

I admit that I am only human, and as such, I deal with the everyday "real" life, just like every other human out there. Sometimes I pretend I am some sort of Demi-God who can fashion extra time out of strands of stars. Reality serves to remind me that as a creative professional and a mere mortal, I need to be considerate of the fact that, Art is long, and Time is short. (Who was it who first said that Keats or Rilke? I cannot remember.)

In writing this I am reminded of another quote I have always loved by the solemn poetess, Slyvia Plath, who ironically didn't live out the full measure of her life to even come close to being all the things she desired to be.

“I can never read all the books I want; I can never be all the people I want and live all the lives I want. I can never train myself in all the skills I want. And why do I want? I want to live and feel all the shades, tones and variations of mental and physical experience possible in life. And I am horribly limited.”

There have been a lot of things happening here at Shadow Horse Studios, which many of you know, is the home of Glass Eyed Pony Photography. After a long hiatus from my photography and learning the ropes of motherhood, I am back at my photography and loving every moment of it. I am taking a step back from the craziness of the commercial art world and limiting the amount of concept work I do as well as illustrative work.

I would like to focus on my own fine art, mostly my wildlife and equine fine art in addition to working on my Waiting on Dragons digital art fantasy series. I have also ventured into the realm of online video tutorials and plan on unveiling my first video via my YouTube channel very soon. I also have a new shooter at my side, Iryna Krutchko, who hails from Russia.

I really do believe that there is a rhyme and reason to all things and that there is a certain destiny that unfolds for us all. I am in awe of the people who come into my life and I am even more blown away by the similar traits I share with them. The closest people in my life tend to be rather jovial, yet serious, interesting and unique out of the box characters who share the the same loves I do; art, photography, animals, computers, poetry, moments, and more! They are also usually as OCD about what they do as I am, and find a deep satisfaction in the constant pursuit of perfection.

Upon meeting, Iryna and I shared an instant connection. We both are horse crazy girls with a passion for photography and capturing life's moments, good or bad. She isn't afraid to express herself visually through her own personal photography work, much like I am, though I tend to do so with a lot of poetry mixed in. She sees the beauty in everything, even the "ugly" and what some people may consider the "uninspiring". I really respect people who are capable of seeing above and beyond, and she is definitely someone who does this well.

We also shared a similar yet very different circumstance to our lives, which has only given us more strength and drive to go out there do what we love. Iryna recently experienced a loss while I experienced a gain. Iryna had come to the States to be with her fiance but shortly after moving, she lost him in a motorcycle accident and has been slowly recovering and finding herself again and is ready to to spread her wings and take flight again!

Where Iryna lost life and I was gaining a life. I recently became a mother to a wonderful little boy named Connor. I cannot imagine my life without him and can honestly say I have never experienced a love so profound as the love I have for him. He is my everything, literally. I am being very open and sincere when I say Connor was my unexpected little gift and having to prepare for his arrival did throw a loop in my plans, but also gave me the reason to follow my dreams.

I knew I didn't want to be a starving artist, which was why I went into teaching for a little while as I worked as a concept artist and illustrator. I had been using my photography for stock and reference materials (mostly shooting models for fantasy work etc). I used to be a film photographer and was very serious about my photography at that time. However the advent of the DSLR suddenly turned everyone into a so-called "pro". I and I took to photographing just for myself and selling fine art prints.

I had bills to pay and I wanted to slowly build myself and my business. Teaching gave me a consistent paycheck, time to create, and the summers off to take on more work. But becoming a mother gave me not only the wings, but the strength and courage to plunge into my creative world as a full time endeavor. I can say now, Everything I do I do in part for my precious Connor. I found a renewed love for the camera again, this time the DSLR and I haven't looked back.

Iryna and I both are at a point in our lives where its time to spread our wings and fly, take our lives and our dreams, and fly high! Together we are offering affordable photography packages, weddings included, in addition to many other photographic services, including retouching and digital manipulation.

I am loving every minute of this experience even if it doesn't come easy. There are times I go without sleeping just to get marketing materials finished and images processed, logos, websites, fine art pieces, and illustrations for clients done. Did I mention I am somewhat of a Jack Jill of all trades? That's right, Shadow Horse Studios is indeed a one stop studio for all my clients' creative needs!

Of course with a 16 month old who is into everything I have have learned how to somewhat juggle real life with work life rather well. Aside finding my son in the guest bathroom sink after answering a phone call (how he managed to climb up there, I haven't the slightest clue), I can now consider myself a "working" mom.

I am lucky to be able to work and spend a large amount of my time with my son, every mother dreams of this opportunity. When I am working in my studio and find myself frustrated all I have to do is stop, take a deep breathe, and look over to the little drawing easel and toy area in my studio where my son is playing, and thank my lucky stars for being able to do what I love and be with my son.

I also have the support I need from many loved ones and of course my other creative friends who, for lack of a better way of describing it, have lit a fire under my arse to get me moving! Thank you all!