Glow

Every phase of the moon is magical.  Each has a beauty all of it’s own.  Like the moon, each and every phase of your life is glorious.  Embrace change.  Love every phase you enter.  You are a miracle of the universe.  Allow yourself to glow……..Livonne

Glow

Glow

Advertisements

Transformation

We must allow our yesterdays to die to ensure tomorrow’s transformation……Livonne

I’ve wanted to shoot a mermaid for a while now.  I have created a few mermaids but I haven’t shot them specifically to be a mermaid.  I have taken photos that I’ve eventually made into one, but haven’t specifically had the vision of one when shooting.  So I began to plan one.

I found a pink mermaid tail on Ebay a while ago and then a few weeks ago started looking for a mermaid.  A friend gave me the number of someone who might be interested and I was thrilled when she said yes.  I was very lucky that this particular lady also creates costumes so she set to work making a matching top while I worked on a head dress.

I knew I wanted her in water but how to do that when you live in a place that can turn very cold, very quickly.  Planning an outdoor shoot is always precarious, so I had to think outside the square.  I was walking through a department store when I saw a cheap blow up pool and grabbed it.  Trouble was, it was bigger than what I was planning but that didn’t cross my mind when I walked out with my purchase.

It was only when I got it home that I thought about the logistics.  Not just blowing it up but also finding where to put it.  I decided I wasn’t going to let small details get in the way of this, so I borrowed a electric pump and set it up in my lounge.  I placed a tarp and a thick blanket underneath and set it up near the back door, so if I needed to drag it out quickly in case it leaked, I could.

The lovely Kirsty from KLB Images came and helped me set it up, fill it and be my eyes and ears (assistant) for the shoot.  She notices details I don’t always see which is great.  I get so into the story that I miss things that matter, like hair across a face or a crooked headdress.  I worked on my beautiful model’s make up and hair while the pool was filling (courtesy of a hose from the hardware store, attached to the kitchen sink) and eventually we were ready to go.

My lovely mermaid Lenore was an absolute natural.  I could tell she’d done dance by her movements.  The way a person positions their hands can make or break a photo and she had the perfect hands.  She got in the pool (thankfully filled with warm water) and away we went.

With all the things happening in my life at the moment, I knew I wanted to portray the message that keeps appearing at the moment.  That is that if you really want a new life, you have to be prepared for the death of an old one, or at least parts of it.

My mermaid looks beautiful but tragic, caught in a fisherman’s net and seaweed, unable to save herself.  However if you look closely, she is beginning to transform into a human with her tail splitting open to reveal legs.  Just as the caterpillar appears to die before transforming into a butterfly, so the mermaid has to say goodbye to the ocean to become a beautiful young woman, walking upon the earth.

Of course, I watched The Little Mermaid as I was organising it all.  I love Ariel and while her story was a happily ever after, she had to give up a lot to gain the love and life she wanted..  It’s all about priorities and compromise.

Transformation

Transformation

21912796_10155692108917346_994401024_n

The set up

My Reality

I’m not crazy. My reality is just different from yours……..Chesire Cat

I just had another memory pop up on Facebook that tells me it is 2 years since I turned my friend Trish into the Mad Hatter.   While I’ve featured one of these images before, why not re-share for an anniversary.

I’m so busy at the moment with lots of different projects so all is a little quiet on here as the images I’m doing for an exhibition won’t be seen until they are hanging on the wall.  Even the models won’t see the ones I choose to exhibit until they’re in place.

Today though, I’m delving back into my fantasy bag of tricks and have a mermaid coming to visit this afternoon to have a photo taken.  I’m quite excited about this.  After all, Ariel, The Little Mermaid is my favourite Disney princess along with Cinderella.  Stay tuned for these images over the next week but for now, I hope you enjoy revisiting West of Wonderland.

 

Dancing with Opportunity

Opportunity dances with those already on the dancefloor…….Unknown

A few weeks ago, I was having a glass of wine while I sat at my computer browsing Facebook.  It was late at night and I should have gone to bed but I wasn’t sleepy.  I was quite bored as there wasn’t much happening anywhere online and I didn’t feel like working on any photos.

An artist network that I had joined previously but never really looked at suddenly sprang to mind.  I always try to listen to those sorts of messages, so I went to the network to see what was there.  In the opportunities section, I found a call for artists to join a series of workshops which would be partly held at the Art Gallery of NSW.  Without thinking, I applied as applications closed the next day.

I’d forgotten about it by morning if I’m honest, so when my phone rang and I was asked to submit some images and a bio, I didn’t even remember what I had applied for.  I looked it up online,  sent my images through and was unbelievably blessed to be accepted.

So on Wednesday this week, I made the over two hour journey into the Art Gallery of NSW in Sydney and nervously waited to meet the other participants.  Wow!  What an amazing group of people.  We spent two days in the gallery, discussing art which probably isn’t generally my cup of tea but the more we looked at it, the more I understood it.

Often at galleries or exhibitions, we simply walk past the images that don’t grab us immediately so we miss the chance to embrace a different style of art.  The Art Gallery of NSW is an amazing place to visit and the Archibald Prize is currently on display so it’s a great time to visit.  We have another day next week at the gallery before we start to create in workshops at a studio in Western Sydney.

I am so excited at the thought of stepping outside my art comfort zone.  I’ve worked really hard to hone my skills over the last few years and am finally feeling confident in what I produce.  So to suddenly be presented with an opportunity to work collaboratively with other artists who work in totally different mediums and styles is incredibly exciting.  Nerve wracking but exciting.

Who knows where this will lead?  It could lead to great places or to nowhere.  But wherever it leads, I’m going to embrace the journey and have some fun with fantastic and inspirational people along the way.   It can only be a good experience.

In between this I’m also getting ready to shoot an exciting new series of images for an exhibition here in the Blue Mountains.  I’m busily sourcing costumes, locations and people for this and having a ball doing so.  I’ll talk more about this once the shooting starts.  There are also just everyday shoots I have planned to do and next week will have a mermaid swimming at my place.  Life is good!

For now, here are just a few shots I took on my iPhone at the gallery.  I was too busy soaking it all in to remember to take many photos and only had the phone on me anyway..  The shiny, imposing sculpture of Capt Cook is the work of Michael Parekowhai, a New Zealand artist and the painting is by American artist  Jamian Juliano-Villani.  The gallery is certainly worth a visit if you’re in Sydney and lunch in the beautiful Domain is always a treat.

On Gossamer Wings

Think of the happiest things.  It’s the same as having wings….Peter Pan

A while ago I went to a garage sale and saw the most gorgeous little gold dress.  I knew I had to have it.. It was a simple design but I knew it belonged on a faerie.  I didn’t see it as most people would…. I saw the gossamer wings that belonged on the back of it and the sparkles of faerie dust that would dance around it, making it sparkle in the sunlight.  It made me so happy to put it in my car and take it home.  I put it straight onto a mannequin so it could inspire me to create my faerie.

I met the lovely Annica and knew that this dress would be perfect on her.  So, along with Kirsty,  the best assistant in the world (and one hell of a sports photographer), we went to a little creek here in Katoomba and got our glitter on.  We climbed over rocks and sticks to get the right look and I have to say, when I’d finished I was thrilled with the result.  I changed the colour in one of the images and left it gold in the other.

It’s not always the big wins that make us the happiest.. Finding the perfect dress for a shoot may not be someone else’s idea of perfection but it is mine.  Sometimes it’s the smaller things that put the biggest smiles on our faces.  And thinking of the happiest things IS the same as having wings.  Yes indeed!!

DSC_8843

On Gossamer Wings

DSC_8920

Reflections

If These Walls Could Speak

If these walls could speak, the screams would echo through the ages….Livonne

I am so far behind the eightball with this website this year and I just realised I hadn’t posted about an exhibition I was involved with earlier this year.  I was chosen as one of the artists to present an exhibition at the historic Woodford Academy in the Blue Mountains.

It was aptly named If These Walls Could Speak, and if you’ve ever been to the Woodford Academy you’d know why.  It is one of the oldest buildings in the mountains and has a long, varied and sometimes tragic past.  Very important in Aboriginal history, the land became the site of a hotel and later in it’s life, a school.

This building is said to be haunted and I have to tell you, when I went there to scope out what I wanted to create for the exhibition, I felt the energy of past inhabitants.  There is an eerie feel about the place.  I ended up creating five images, all based on the spirits that I felt while I was there.  It wasn’t my imagination playing tricks on me, this place has some lingering spirits and they make their presence felt.

I walked upstairs to one of the bedrooms which is said to have been inhabited by Jessica McManamey who was the daughter of the original school master.  I went to the window and had an overwhelming feeling of wanting to jump.  I could then feel a frenetic energy swirling around in the room, from one place to another and to another.  There was a feeling of being trapped.  It was then I knew I had to create what I felt and Longing to Escape was the result.

Walking back down the stairs, I walked into what was the original bar room and on one wall is a beautiful Cartouche painted around the door frame.  I felt an overwhelming sadness surround me and our wonderful guide told us that it was probably painted by an itinerant artist in exchange for board and lodgings. He inspired me to make Creating the Cartouche.

Walking out into the courtyard, we walked into the kitchen.  It felt like a happy place.  Jennie, my friend who was with me started to smile and told me that there was a lovely lady in there with a huge wide smile and her name was Mabel.  While I didn’t see or feel her, I felt the contentment, so decided to create Mabel’s Morning.

Walking right out back into the garden felt a bit creepy to be honest but I put that down to having heard the story of Mary James who is said to haunt the place and is known as the Lady in White.  She was said to have killed herself though her husband was charged with her murder but eventually acquitted.  As she is the most well known of the lingering spirits, I knew she wanted her story to be told and so created Searching for the Truth.

At the front of the building is a plaque which commemorates the Transit of Venus in 1874 when early star gazers came to the property to get the best view of this event.  Out in the courtyard, I imagined their excitement when they saw the planets up close through the telescopes, in a time when they couldn’t look at the surface of a planet by Googling it as we have the privilege of doing so tried to convey this with the Transit of Venus.

I was pleased with what I created in these 5 images though they were very different to the kind of work I usually do.  I also created the Online Catalogue which is worth a look.  There were 9 artists and 4 poets in this exhibition, wonderfully curated by Susan Cochrane with the assistance of Saskia Everingham.  You can have a look at all the work that was included as well as read a few bits of history by clicking here.  If you are ever here in the mountains, try to go for a tour of the Academy or perhaps join one of the ghost tours presented there.

Colour Me In

He found the colours to paint her when the world had left her grey….Atticus

It’s not hard to pick that I’m a colour person.  I can admire black and white images but I never feel quite right doing them.  I love colour.  It makes my soul sing.  It brightens a dull day.  I wear a lot of black but in my art I do a lot of colour.  Black, white and grey are an amazing backdrop for colours and that’s what I usually use them for.

I’ve often spoken about the romanticism of old photos.  The ones I especially love are the ones that were hand coloured.  Someone would painstakingly paint every detail in a soft wash of colour to recreate as naturally as possible the reality of the image.  There is an old wedding photo of my mum and dad’s  which was hand coloured and it is simply beautiful.  So I’ve been trying to teach myself hand colouring using Photoshop.

I’ve watched a few tutorials on Youtube but so far haven’t really had a go at it until today.  I got a photo that I’d done of the beautiful Libby in an Audrey Hepburn inspired shoot.  I did it in black and white as I wanted to recapture the old Hollywood glamour.  I loved it but it wasn’t really me.  So I decided to try my very first digitally hand coloured image.  The dress she was wearing was originally a beautiful burgundy satin  but I decided to change it to green.  Her eyes aren’t green but I wanted them to match the dress.  Getting a good skin colour is probably the hardest of all as it’s so hard to recreate.  But I just had a bit of fun with it really and I’m really pleased with the result.

I’m sure as I practise on a few more I’ll do a better job but for the first time, I don’t think it’s too shabby.  Time to get a few of the old family photos out I think to  really help hone this particular skill.

hand coloured vs bw