Monday, April 18, 2016

Lily in Wonderland: Nature's Art Show

Bleeding Hearts, Lily Silver 2006

My photography passion explodes in the spring. Since I'm a nature photographer, I fall in love with springtime every year as the wonder of plants and flowers emerges.  As I live in a cold, northern climate, I must endure the long winters. Typical winter here in Wisconsin lasts from November thru March. We get snow in March, and sometimes even in April here in the north woods.

Crocus, Lily Silver 2005
When the world thaws and the grass is becoming green, I'm once more thrust into a wonderland of art--nature's art. Flowers offer a burst of color, but they also come in such unusual shapes and forms, it's as if Mother Nature took time to individually design intricate sculptures from the most delicate material imaginable. 

Copyright Lily Silver, 2005

So, each spring, I go wandering in my backyard--in other people's back yards, and in parks to capture the lovelies with my camera.  I've found the most amazing flowers, some I can't identify, and others that are really just common everyday flowers we overlook in our busy rush of life. 

Lady's Slipper,  Lily Silver 2007

I also like to keep photos of floral plants for painting, as one of my art hobbies is watercolor painting.  What ever your particular medium in art is, I hope this spring you will feel revived and learn to look at these delicate sculptures produced by Mother Nature for a short time in a different light. The art gallery is open every spring, and guess what, 

      It's FREE Admission:  

Just go to the nearest city park or woodland trail, and you'll find a spectacular art show in full bloom. 

Lupines in a field, Drive by, Lily Silver, 2009

If you are lucky enough to live near a public garden or floral preserve, you'll find plenty of inspiration for art work, or just a feast for the eyes on a lazy Sunday afternoon.  

Purple Fringed Irises, Lily Silver 2009
Close up of Fox Glove, Lily Silver, 2010

And once more, here is a lovely example of Mother Nature's delicate artwork, handpicked and placed in a simple glass of water:   Bleeding Hearts in a Glass. 

Bleeding Hearts in a Glass, Lily Silver 2004

Let's go, let's go find Wonderland!  It's all around us, just waiting to be discovered!   Paint, draw, snap that photo, and find serenity and joy in the reawakening of nature this spring. 

Happy Wanderings,    Lily Silver

Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Winter Doldrums: Why Art is a Natural Cure

Missed Appointment by Lily Silver, 2005
Well, here in Wisconsin our get out of winter free card has expired. We had a lovely December from the first until December 28 (yesterday). My yard was free of snow, there was no snow here in Northeastern Wisconsin. It was even balmy for part of the month, with highs in the forties, and even close to the mid 50's. I went to the grocery store in Mid-December wearing only a sweatshirt, no coat. That was a treat. Of course it was destined to not last! We had a green Christmas. We had 27 and 1/2 snow free days in December, and then--BAM. A snowstorm dumped 12 inches of snow on us, and driving wind gusts that made near blizzard conditions.

My car, buried in snow after my honey finished snow-blowing today
That's ok, we're used to that this time of year. In Northern Wisconsin, we've seen snow storms as early as November, and the snow here doesn't melt until nearly April. We had a good run.

A cemetery statue in winter, Lily Silver, 2007

Winter is here, delayed, but here to stay. And long, cold winters bring depression in some folks. Trapped inside all day, Cabin Fever can set in by mid February. The darker days also contribute for those who suffer SAD or Sunlight Affected Disorder.

How do we fight winter's dark, depressing days and long dark nights?

Pastel Drawing using bright colors, Lily Silver 2015

With Art, of course. We create. Yes . . . Create Art, and you'll lose yourself in your project and not notice the gloom outside. You'll focus on your project, be it a drawing, a painting, or a mixed media collage. Photography is a good therapy, too. I love to go out after a snow storm and capture rare moments of glistening snow on trees and ice drips, before the sun melts away that stunning coating.

Girls are More Fun collage, a work in progress, Lily Silver, 2015
So, find a new project, one that will take a week or more to complete, and let your creative muse flow. You'll come home from a full day's work and have your art project to look forward to. And if you are home all day, retired or a stay at home mom or dad, having an hour or so of art to liven your day will lift your spirits in this dark time and give you something to look forward too each day or evening. Creating art will help those endorphins, give you a natural boost or high as your brain is flooded with Seratonin. You can even bask in a natural sun lamp while you work as an artist lamp that emulates the natural light of the sun will be theraputic physically while the act of creation will lift your spirit as your brain focuses on something besides the gloomy steel gray skies and snow dumps.  

When I step into my Art Studio, the world fades. I spend hours in there, often into the wee hours of the morning, because I lose track of time while I'm there.
I typically have several collages going at the same time. 2015 studio view

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Celebrating Sunflowers!

My favorite flower is the Sunflower. I tend to photography
them regularly, and try to paint them with watercolors.

Vincent Van Gogh's favorite flower to paint was the sunflower as well, so I feel I am in good company.

Here are a few of my sunflower photos for you to enjoy. Tis the season for capturing them on film, in paint, or in digital format.

After Van Gogh, 

Polaroid transfer from 2006

driving about in the backroads, 2007

Detail of ripe sunflower at Farmer's Market

A field of Sunflowers, near Algoma WI. 

If you are an artist, I'm sure you have a favorite flower that tempts your muse. If not, just enjoy the beauty of the season as Sunflowers are everywhere this time of year in the Midwest USA.

Monday, September 14, 2015

Texture and Color in Photography

Autumn leaves in Marquette, Michigan

Its been Two years since I posted here. This will change. I plan to make weekly posts of my art, in all mediums I work with.  The photo above was taken during a wonderful hike thru a state park on the way to Marquette. My husband and I had a wonderful afternoon exploring nature with our cameras and then went out to dinner at a romantic restaurant that served classic Italian food and featured red and white checkered tablecloths and candlelight.

The mud spot above was beautifully cracked with deep fissures, and the fallen leaves of every color added a layer of beauty in this rare shot.

Stay tuned, I will be posting Daily photos of Autumn splendor on my facebook page, Lily Silver. I will also post here between my other art posts.

Happy Autumn everyone!

Lily Silver, artist, photographer, writer and free spirit.

Saturday, September 28, 2013

Collage art: The Science of Love

One of my early Collage efforts that actually worked out well is The Science of Love.

My premise for this work is Shakespeare. I get lots of inspiration from Shakespeare's works.

Midsummer Night's Dream Quote, Partially obscured

 In this particular work, I was inspired by the quote from A Midsummer Night's Dream;  (above). It has to do with finding a certain flower, that when you rub the juice of the flower on a person's eyelids while they sleep, the first person they see when they wake up they will fall madly in love with.

So, I thought, what if a scientist decided to distill the juice of this fabled flower, and make a potion from it, so that the lady he adores will finally notice him and return his affections.

I used a lot of different images that depict the scientific method, including prints of old microscopes, Da Vinci's Matruvial Man, and the diagram of a heart.

Closeup of Matruvial Man and antique postcard of a young lady
 Above: I used different layers of Golden Fluid acrylics paints on Canvas, adding the image of Matruival Man in the corner, and then painting over it. I also did some paint daubs in green and in white along the edge of the postcard of the girl to emulate a flower bower. I painted her hair a deep shade of red, and pasted the word "Adore" to the image.

I imaged my scientist as being shy, quiet, withdrawn into his plant studies. He gazes longingly at his beloved,

She does not know he exists. So, he makes a potion to help love along, in the hope of bringing true love into his life.  Will it work? It is an experiment after all!

definition of science from the dictionary, photocopied,
Above, after the canvas has has several layers of thin glazing to bring out colors, I added the snippet of text photocopied from the dictionary, the definition of science. I layered it with glazes of Titan Buff to obscure some of the text to give it interest, and used blending techniques of paint to hide the corners of the pasted text page and to blend the addition into the painting. The butterfly was added from a vintage domain free clip art disk, printed on matte photo paper using an Epson Photo printer. The Thistle is an ink outline of a photograph I took many years ago, using the filter in photoshop to make the image into an ink outline.  Paint daubs and some French script text behind the drawing of the heart add depth and interest and also help to blend the images together in an abstract collage composition. 

Clip are of an antique microscope and some textured areas blotted with paint

I added the microscope, and some random block letters to the upper right hand corner, to complete the visual idea of science and the scientific method. I used some heavy gel medium to breat lines of raised texture below the microscope, and some more layers of paint and glazings to add depth to the area. Note how the letters from the French text seem to just emerge from the canvas. That's a lot of glazes of paint to make it look that way.

Full sized image, a 16 x 20 canvas collage using paint, text, quotes, postcards, found art, clip art, and lots of time and imagination. The collage took several months to complete. 
The Science of Love, by Lily Silver, 2011

Saturday, September 21, 2013

Collage Art: Yes, it really is ART!

Sunflowers, 2010 by Lily Silver, featuring old photos of my grandma, my father, and some of my own photography.

About four years ago I discovered Collage Art.

Now, that might not seem too big of a deal for most people, as Collage art has been around for a long, long time.

But, .......

Consider this. I graduated from College as a History and Art major, and had MAJOR class training in many art mediums; painting, drawing, ceramics, fiber art, 2D art, 3D art, screen printing, printmaking, calligraphy and photography.  Photography was my main emphasis as an art student, but as a college art student you are required to take lots of other media classes to get well rounded in art. 

Detail of Collage 'Vanitas', 2011, Lily Silver

Above is a closeup of Vanitas, a collage I did for my son for Christmas. My son is a Graphic Artist, and was receiving a lot of flack from his teachers at the time for his dark, gothic designs. I made a collage of all the great artists, from Van Gogh to Warhol, who did skull art. The term for art that depicts the fragility of the human life is called Vanitas, and the great Dutch painters produced elaborate paintings  called Vanitas, with flowers, decaying fruit, knick-knacks, all in a still life with a skull. This is Andy Warhol's skull image, along with the text description of the Vanitas form of art from one of my art history textbooks.

Guess what, in all my six years of college, I was never once exposed to Collage Art, except for in Art History classes, (I minored in Art History), and even that was in passing. The professors and textbooks talked about artists who used collage as a medium in the early 20th century, and just brushed over it. Honestly, Collage Art is often dismissed as not  'True Art' by the Art establishment, as they feel it doesn't require as much 'talent' as other mediums.

Well, I beg to differ. After being trained as a professional artist at the college level, and recieving a Bachelor's Degree, I can tell you that Collage medium is not an easy nut to crack. I've worked at it, for four years, and I still feel at times that I am missing it, not really making 'good' art.  It's tough to come up with an idea and incorporate different techniques and make it all come out right in the end.
I've had some major baddies, some I threw out or gessoed over.

Vanitas, close up, showing various techniques, blending of paints, text and image applications to achieve depth.
 Above, I used techniques such as paint blending, stippling, stamping, and numerous layers of thin paint glazes to add depth to the canvas. I blotted the canvas with a rag to get the grey mist or cloud image below the skulls. I used the blade of a palette knife to make the long black lines criss-crossing the canvas after the other paint dried. Sometimes the paint blots that I create make abstract images that are haunting or unusual. I never know what images will emerge from this technique, but it's always rewarding. Sort of like ink blocks. 

But I still love it, and I keep doing it.  Why I love it, I'll get to in another post, but I just want to come out of the closet on this and let people know that YES, as a professionally trained photographer and artist,  I love Collage Art. I love making it, and viewing it.

I love to be able to incorporate my own photography into these abstract creations, and adding text to the visual, telling a story with pictures, as Anne Baldwin stated so eloquently in her book on collage art.  So,  I will continue to cut, paste, stamp, burnish, assemble, paint, and write in order to make a very complicated and abstract piece of art that the snobby art critics, art professors and curators will say with  disdain  "That is not ART!"

Blimey,  as Andy Warhol said "Art is anything you can get away with!"   Yeah, Andy, thanks.  I agree. Art is subjective, each person has their own opinion, their own likes and dislikes that determine if they appreciate a peice or not. But, respect the work of the artist, please, whether it is oil painting, watercolor, photography, or Collage Art that is their form. It takes a lot of work. I've worked on some collages for months, others for years, trying to get the right juxtiposition of images and text o make a stunning composition.

It ain't easy, folks. But it sure is fun. It's my game of solitaire. My way of relaxing and trying to play with images.

Lily Silver, Photographer, painter, Collage Artist, and proud of it.

Vanitas, 2011, By Lily Silver, featuring the skull art of Artists of the Ages, all duly noted in the piece.

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Cool Images for summer heat!

I don't know about where you live, but here in Wisconsin, it's been hideously hot.

Yes, I know, it could be worse, we could live in a place that boasts 100+ temps.

But consider this, when your body has to cope with the wild weather changes of the extreme Wisconsin landscape, anything from 98 degrees and humid in the summer to 40 below zero and frigid in the winter, have a little pity on us folks, please!

My favorite summertime pics are beach pics.  But who wants to go melt at the beach, seriously, when it's so hot? 

Here are two images that will hopefully cool your spirit and provide a soothing balm. 

The first, is a frequent site at Henes Park in Menominee Michigan, the rock piles along the shore that people have been constructing for fun. 

Rock Piles at Henes Park Shoreline, Lily Silver, 2013

The second photo is a close up I took from the shoreline at Red Arrow Park, a popular beach where people go to soothe their need for water fun. 

These goofy birds were settled on the pilions from an old dock, perching together like a bunch of old men at a tavern spot.  The diversity of the gathered birds struck me. I used a zoom lens to take this shot.

Birds gathered at Red Arrow Beach, Lily Silver, 2013

Stay cool in this horrible heat wave, and remember to take special care of your camera and lenses.
If you have a 35mm, be extra careful about leaving it in the car as the lenses can get so hot, and the metal (plastic) as well.  We don't want to sacrifice our prize cameras this summer. Take it with you, don't leave it in the hot car.

Keep Clicking that shutter button!   

Lily Silver