Inspired by Photographer Yousuf Karsh

I spent a bit of time this evening looking through one of my books of portraits by Yousuf Karsh- “Karsh Portraits”, that I’ve kept in my studio now for about ten years now… A book that once was my grandfather’s, and my Mom felt I should have with the copy of the portrait of Grandpa that I have now hanging on the wall over the Giclee Printer… After Grandpa had passed she told me that he had wanted me to have them…

I sat here in the new studio, legs up on the milk can I use as a drawing stool, reclining some in my computer chair, the hardcover book in my lap… Opening carefully the now worn hard cove, as to not loose any of the article clippings that are within, as well as the letter to Grandpa from Karsh he had taped inside… I read the letter again, and then all of the articles, remembering grandpa sharing this with me so many times over the years…

My Grandfather- Vernon deTar, Past Professor Juilliard School (organ and church music) from 1947 to 1982 http://www.countrygraphics.us/VernonLdeTar.html

The look on Karsh’s face when Grandpa let him push the some of the keys to the great organ in the Church of the Ascension in NYC… The deep note you could feel deep within your chest that shakes every muscle and bone from within and the look of wonder and childish joy on Karsh’s face made me laugh I recall… He watched as Grandpa played a few pieces, then after took some photos of him near the the keyboards and he looked up and said, That’s the one…

We spent some time after, sipping some coffee as he admired the church, Grandpa telling him of the artwork and great stained glass illustrations that the church has within…

Then Grandpa told him I wanted to be an Artist, and had an interest in photography… Karsh looked at me with a smile, then very stern, as if his dark eyes where looking into me deeply… He asked if I had a camera and was shooting photos, and I pulled out my kodak 620 film camera that once was my father’s in the early 50’s… He smiled as I told him of spending hours feeding chipmunks and chickadees to get them to eat out of my hand, so I could get a close up photo with the camera of them…

Karsh Portrait of Robert Frost

Karsh laughed, telling me that was a good idea, then said with a serious look; “To be a photographer, you need to understand light and shadow, and be able to capture your subject eyes in a photo, tell a story with it, capture their soul- practice and keep practicing”… He asked if I had been to the Met and recommended I should go, which Grandpa said we where planning on going the next morning, Karsh approved…

Karsh Portrait of Picasso

He then looked at me and said; “You need to study the great artists and how their works where created, study as much Art as you can, look to the great Renaissance Master’s, learn through their works and keep practicing”… He then reached out and ruffled my hair and winked at me, then started talking with my Grandfather again…

Karsh Portrait of Georgia O'keeffe

I was suddenly started watching one of the men that was with Karsh, take his large camera apart putting it in boxes… I remember how fascinated I was with such a huge camera that would need a tripod to take photos with, and not just hold in your hand and that you would need two men to help take just one photo- so simple the thoughts of a 14 year old… A few months later I got my first 35mm camera from Grandpa, as he later told me that Karsh had recommended he get a camera a bit more up to date and easier to process to keep me interested in photography… Grandpa often referred to Karsh over the years, when ever I was visiting…

Karsh Portrait of Einstein

It wasn’t until my senior year of high school I started to grasp who this photographer truly was, that enticed my Grandfather to buy my my first 35mm camera… I started to laugh a bit to myself, as I at the time only looked to Grandpa deTar as “Grandpa”, and this fellow was just a photographer, not then having much of a clue just how much that that day would influence me in the future…

I sit here in the studio now, just looking at the photos, the faces, the eyes and wrinkles upon the faces, the eyes again, then the fullness of the locations and how he was able to capture not only the light, control the light but to also show the person from within- these great people of history…

Each time I do this, I notice more and more and understand what Karsh’s advice meant- I want to learn more, see more and practice more… A memory Yousuf Karsh, and what an inspiration he was in my life…

For more information about Yousuf Karsh

 Visit his website at: http://www.karsh.org/

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Should HP Create a Quality Art Printing Partnership?

Recently HP, ProofTag and the Wilhelm Imaging Research all partnered together to create the ARTrust (www.ARTtrustonline.com) offering a new print identification and authentication solution for photographers & artists using HP Pigment Ink Printers…  This unique print identification is a non-removable, numbered Bubbletag™ for each artwork, which is registered on a website and accessible for visual control by the public or anyone the artist designates.

The service also offers:

  • Unique identity of each print for instant visual verification via the Internet
  • Most secure solution in the world for print identification and authenticity
  • No limit in substrate or paper type for photographers and artists, which offers greater creative possibilities.
  • Longevity rating for the papers and media tested by Wilhelm Imaging Research (above 200 years, above 60 years, or unknown if the media has not been tested by WIR)

You can visit the HP page describing this new partnership here: http://h10088.www1.hp.com/cda/gap/display/main/index.jsp?zn=gap&cp=20000-20058-20295-20457^298704_4041_100__&jumpid=re_r10931|en-us|apr10|ga|ipg|features|arttrust|ppage

This new service is at a cost of about $25 for each piece of artwork or photo, with a minimum of 10 Tags you will need to order…  Odd they don’t have a phone number to call to get information about this service, or an affiliate program for Art printers to offer this service… I’m looking into this now, waiting for a response from ARTtrustonline.com

Now this is a great idea, for the Higher End Fine Artists, curators and collectors, I will be looking into offering this myself for my own artwork and also as a service for other artists and photographers…  But this got me to thinking….

You would think HP would have some sort of Partner Program that a Business could post on their website, Official HP Media Provider, with the print longevity if I use only HP Paper, Ink and Canvas products…  Maybe even offer courses on Mounting and Laminating large images for art, as they already share these in Video’s in their YouTube area…

Yesterday I calling HP to try to find out if they offered a “HP Partner” or Certify an Art Print Shop that uses HP Printer/s & HP material, or some sort of certification of print longevity ratings, which is very useful for heritage institutions, museums, and auction houses similar to what ARTtrustonline.com offers…  Think I spoke with 4 different people at HP during the course of an hour, being transferred here and there- Everyone I spoke to weren’t sure if HP offered such a service or partnership…  I can be certified to sell; repair and I believe all sorts of HP customer service training and certifications, but not showing Quality of HP Printing…

Today I received a call back from someone in the HP Graphic Design and Sales Department ( @ 1-888-772-9897), explaining this idea and asking if they had such a Program, Partnership or Certificate for Fine Art Printing Services such as the one I will soon be offering…  He too was not sure if they offered such a program, but saw what a great idea and marketing it could be for a Fine Art Print Shop and a benefit to HP…  He told me he would look into it and if there wasn’t any, he would recommend there should be…

With HP having  YouTube video’s such as “Ideas for presenting large format” 

where they have a Design Technician showing “Finished Artwork from their Design Jet printers…  It would be so easy to set up an online certification for such imaging finishing too… It could be HP helping some of their Business Clients that provide a great visual Art Printing services…

Now I have found a site that show off their HP Partnership logo and showing it on a webpage that is only highlighting Large Format Printing Service… Further down below the HP Partner  logo they highlight half their large format printers being Epson Printers…  I view this as kind of False Advertising, as HP for what I understand doesn’t offer one for Printing Quality- this being misleading to the consumer…

What do you think, Should HP support a Registered Partnership for Quality Art Printing Partners, that share with you the quality of the inks and say, Mounting & Design for the Arts?

Would you feel safer ordering your fine Art Replications from someone who was backed or Partnering with HP or do you just shop for the best price?

A Paper, a Pen, a Table to Sit at…

A paper, a pen, a table to sit at and a window to look out of that sheds it’s light within, opening it to let the smells of summer in…

Crunch, crinkle, crack, tip pity tap, tap, tap, as an idea gone astray is crumbled up to find the floor missing the basket, a newer and better thought begins to be shared upon a new piece of paper…

Chirp-chirp, tweet- tweet softly flowing through the window as birds singing their morning songs of good mornings that flow through the open window…  The slow movement of white, orange, purple and pinks that seem to have been painted on an blue background, as if mountains of clouds that ever move, grow and change of landscapes like mountains that float in the sky…  Soft breeze that send trees slowly swaying, leaves shimmering, shifting in the windows view outside…

I wonder of how many artisans of the past have enjoyed such simple things to create with… Thinking to photos of other artists, writers, musicians who have done the same, allowing the creativeness of thoughts to be shared, filling an empty sheet, then maybe another and another after… Painting with words, notes, pencil lead that grays the hand, and pigments that stains the fingertips through creation… Letting the creative juices of ideas and thoughts stain and shade the parchment allowing them to share their own insights…

This day of technology, electric paper, screen’s like portable TV’s that fill our lives…  Tap, tap, tap, tip pity tap, click, click- tap, tap, tap, the sound of the keyboard under fingertips without inks, no pencils, no erasers or white out needed, missing what so many artisans of history have used to create the great works of old of so many years of creativity…. Electric sketch pads, notebooks with batteries that hold libraries and file cabinets, exchange of ideas in an instant over wires and cables, fans a buzzing, sometimes wondering if this is truly natural…

Are we forgetting the simplicity of creating that so many in histories enjoyed?  If you agree, then give the computer a rest…  Clear off a table near a window, upon it put some blank paper in a pile, a pen or pencil, an eraser and opens the window…  Sit enjoying the simple sounds and the view of the clouds that race across the sky, just sit there watching, listening- hear the whispers of creativeness fill you mind, and let it be shared on paper…

Foggy Mornings and the Simple Joys of an Artist

Foggy Morning

Another Windsor & Newton day, all in fog as if a water color in reverse… Slowly, so slowly the shapes, of lines and images of seeming shadows of the surroundings emerging out of the fog, to show the trees forming into view as the white mist slowly dissipates to show the beauty of color that fills the valley, as I sit sipping an espresso listening to the morning songs of birds…

For those who don’t know Windsor & Newton is a European watercolor paint I have grown to love over the years, it’s pigments so full and the slight sweet smell I sense as I open a tube still sends chills of the excitement of creation when looking at an empty sheet white watercolor paper…  Often the smell of good watercolor paper is fowl if you soak it for a wet wash of the pigment that flows off the sable hairs of the fine brushes that Windsor & Newton make…

The old pear tree starts to spread it’s branches and new leaves of spring out of the fog and mist, and further behind it the shadows of what I know are maple and oak trees that line the edge of my wetlands…  This Pear tree that no longer produced the large fruit it once did when I was young and in my teens, now rushing towards the middle 40’s the memories of youth, jumping and reaching, or bringing the ladder out to pick those sweet pears brings a smile…  I never really cared for the texture of the outer skin but with pocket knife in hand, I would carefully carve off it’s outer layer on one side to sink my teeth into it’s sweet body, as the juices would often flow down my chin, not caring taking another bite enjoying it’s sweetness…

I sit on the back porch staring at this old pair tree slowly coming out of the mist with memories giving me a smile…  I notice watching a pair of Morning Doves on a branch that seemed to be sharing their morning care together…  Their soft throaty voices queuing softly to each other, as they seem to also share morning kisses together…  Then the whooshing sound of their wings as one takes the step off the branch and spreads it’s wings to fly off into the white mist followed by the other…

Off in the mist out in the wetlands where the Doves disappeared in the fog I hear the honking of some of the Canadian Geese that nest out there…  Knowing that again a pair has taken as their home near an old stump where I have stacked branches in the middle of winter’s freeze a teepee that I know is surrounded by the swamp grass and still shadowed by an old oak tree on one of the islands out in the wetlands…  For 15 years now this location has had pairs that march their little goslings out that follower their mother with soft peeping voices that can only make one smile at the sight…  The little fluffy yellow with dark brown heads trying to keep up with their mother in the water under the and around the water’s brush…

I look to my old studio and the Dutch door I once upon a time built of thick pine board…

My Old Studio, built in 1982,renovated from a Chicken Shack in 1992 into my Studio

The need to get inside that now fills my mind and heart, the need and desire to create, wanting the smell of the sweet pigments of watercolors and inks that mix with the sounds of morning songs of birds…  the touch of textured cold press watercolor paper and hot press smoothness that are white needing only a soft pencil rough sketch to fill it’s emptiness…  I need to get out there and fix the storm damage of last fall, to unpack again those boxes of art materials and supplies, and dust off the old drawing table so mornings such as this I can be enjoying the views the sounds and smells while creating of images that hide behind the white fogs that are just empty watercolor paper… How I love to be an Artist…

Is it “Color or Colour”, as an artist I always wanted to know

Is it “Color or Colour”, as an artist I am often needing to type “Color” and I always get this word messed up in trying to spell them… Have you ever asked this question of all those words that are spelled differently based on where you are born or learn to read and write? Paint me a picture full of “colours” so I might be able to understand… Why do Americans spell words like “COLOUR” and “NEIGHBOUR” without a “U”?

Is it Watercolour or Watercolor Set?

I remember with a smile, my Mom telling me in looking at my spelling tests and writings of when I was young, her saying; “You would have done fine if you had been raised in the England”… And it didn’t make sense to me then, and still doesn’t in how I view words- in a dyslexic way… Kind of see it as long as the idea comes forth, that is all that matters…

But I have learned to try to use Spell Check and lean on it heavily and to read things out loud as often as possible of my writings… But the questions still comes to mind so often, when ever I spell check a document and Walla, there again, I spelled color- COLOUR…

As an artist it has always made me ponder this question, as many art supplies are made in Europe, and I use to fine the two different spelling’s of Color/Colour often in Commercial Arts Supply store in Syracuse- an artist’s paradise to wonder through and see of so many different art supplies under one roof… So many hours I would spend in this store on my way or from college classes to where I lived, and in buying the needed art materials I hadn’t bulk ordered through mail order Art supply services that saved me lots of money instead of paying full retail… But sometimes I didn’t have enough time to mail order art materials for an assignment and paying full retail was needed…

While I was in Rome and Bologna Italy, I wondered into a couple art supplies stores or shops… In one shop the bell tinged loudly as I opened the door, the beautiful smells of varnish, oils liquors and the sweet pigment fragrances filled my nose with a childish glee and excitement that only an artist, printer or paint shop person might understand… Here where art supplies not only in Italian, but also in French and also proper English UK spellings… There in large letter over a sign and tubes and blocks of painting pigments under the sign saying: “Windsor & Newton Watercolour”, it didn’t say “Watercolor”… Then under is on the different rows, was a paint sample pad, the sign in Italian it read “Campioni di colore” and under it “Colour Samples”, with the different watercolor names, their numbers and a wash of that tube’s paint beside it… Have to love the Italians with their mix of languages and culture!!!
Charles Taggart, EzineArticles.com Basic Author

So in looking up online which was the correct spelling, I found this link that explained why words are spelled different between American’s and the European’s proper English…

Here’s the answer: Wikipedia- “American and British English spelling differences”
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/American_and_British_English_spelling_differences

One of my Heroines- My High School Art Teacher, Julie Stevens Czerenda

I was in 9th grade when a new Art teacher was starting her year at my high school, from what my friend’s and I had heard, she was fresh out of college…  My friends and I had gotten into class just as the bell rang, sat down laughing, carrying on as often students do…  The new Art Teacher stood behind her desk, looking at the class student list…  She quietly in a soft voice introduced herself; “Ms. Stevens”, where she informed us she had just recently graduated from Saint Rose College in Albany NY, and how she loved art, then started her speech about what she expected from us students…  Little did I realize then how much this teacher would help change and influence my life then…

The past Art teacher, though a great artist herself, was also part of what is called the “Happy Hand” art teaching methods of the 60’s and early 70’s- keep the kids occupied creating things and all is good…  Problem is, in her last few years, the students started to get out of hand, not cleaning up and often threw clay to stick to the ceiling and so forth…

This new teacher- Ms Stevens, proceeded to tell her tail of spending two weeks cleaning up the art room, and it was clean…  As she told us this, her voice seemed to get agitated at the thought of what she had to done…  She had scraped the clay off the walls and ceiling, no easy feat with a 16’ tall room, – swept and mopped the floors, and even scraped the gum from under the tables and chairs- it seemed a “New Art Room”…  She started to bring her voice to a more powerful statue, and informed us there would be no gum chewing, no tobacco chewing, no sodas or drinks, “you are here to learn ART”…  She then turned quickly to point to one of my friends Mike,  told him to swallow what ever he had in his mouth…  The color of his face told all, as he seemed to turn greenish as he swallowed a mouth full of tobacco chew and was enough to make all the students also swallow their gum or what have you they where chewing on…

Informing us she might look small but she is a lot stronger then she looks, as her eyes focused mostly at my table of friends, who she could tell where some of trouble makers,  held up the local phone book and tore it in half…  You could have heard a pin drop and the hollow sound of the breeze as it came in through the window over the mouths that dropped and stare of astounded eyes focused on the town phone book, now in two halves in her hands…  Later I would find out she had spent the night perforating each page of the phone books for an easy tear…

This teacher meant business, and her business was to teach us art and no fooling around…  Little did I know I too would use this same method later in my life, when student teaching a class that had some 14 year old students that had made past student teacher cry and had gotten into fights with teachers…

On this note, her voice changed to a softer tone, telling us to use the paper and draw the flag that hung near the door for the last 15 minutes of class…  And that the next class we would build files for our work, have meeting with her one on one about our projects and she would be teaching us about drawing and shading techniques…

The years flew by, learning of light and dark, how to create different forms of shading techniques in pencil, pen and ink and water color…  We would be sat in circles around the subject of objects she would have us draw, paint and look deeper into the art history- artists and painters through out history- giving reference to their styles of shading or kinds of art they worked on…  Some of the student she also I would find out later, where just naturally talented or gifted in the art’s, their creativity and abilities she knew she couldn’t out do, but she couched us, challenged us and helped to mold us young future artists, art teachers and photographers and graphic designers of the future…

My friends and I had some problems, the glands and teenage youth filling our minds more with thoughts to girls then what we where suppose to be learning…

Often she would challenged me further, away from groups with more challenging demands then the rest of the class and I also heard she did this also with the other naturally gifted art students too…  She earned the respect from me and many students that Art was a great thing to learn- it combined all of the studies; Writing, Music, Science and Math- to do and the joy it brought us understanding in our creative talents…  Even those that might have been challenged in creating art, she pushed to learn and appreciate art…

It was from Ms Stevens I learned and became very good with using Pen & ink, her teaching me Stipple, Hatch and Cross Hatch shading techniques…  Instead of smaller pieces of paper, she would have me work on larger more complex pieces, pushing me more and more to do more, be more realistic, the foundations classes of visual problem solving…  Often she had me sit in a corner to keep me from wasting my time flirting with the girls…

The years went by, and I started to spend more time in the art room, going there often during study hall, to continue to work on the large projects of subject matter she challenged me with…  She also had us look up artists or illustrators, and it was July I thank for my finding this one illustrator- Murray Tinkelman who was a master of Pen & ink illustration…  Later I would have Murray Tinkelman as a professor, teaching me illustration, this because of Ms. Stevens…

Julie had worked hard to gain funds to increase the art budget, and added to the art room a ceramic wheel for making bowls, vases, goblets and such…  She was going to be taken an intro class on how to throw clay and work on the wheel the summer before and had plans on other classes on ceramics that summer…  She wanted me to try it out…  She sat me down, and told me to ball up some clay, get my hands wet in the water bin and get the wheel spinning, then throw the clay ball into the center of the wheel, and it would stick…  This seemed fairly easy in concept, but I didn’t quit make center,  the clay went flying off the wheel, hitting me square between the legs…  She blushed and tried not to laugh too loud at my pain…  Little did I know this too would entice me to know and try to become good at using the wheel at Syracuse University, gaining the backing and intrigue of one of the Master Professors in Ceramics, in my ability to use the wheel left and right handed, and my hand strength in being able to throw off the hump, using 25 pounds of clay at a time to build mugs…  An interest in another form of art because of Julie…

My Senior year I went off to Boces to take a Commercial Art’s Class, and there where the best artists of the different school systems, all challenging each other in their abilities in who was the best…  I helped that year too, when she asked me to use my 35mm camera to take photos, candid’s of people in school, as someone else had tried but so much of their photos where too blurry…  So much of the year book that year where photos I had taken…  She also taught me to follow though, as she didn’t give me credit for being part of the Year Book staff, as I thought I had better things to do, chasing girls and hanging with my friends, but a lesson learned…

It was this year; an illustration I did of an Indian head chief became the school hall passes, letterhead and the front of future yearbooks…  Little did they know the words I had hidden in the feathers about the principle back then…

Off to college I went, majoring in Commercial Art at Chamberlayne Junior College in Boston.  Later I would find my way to Syracuse University, majoring in Illustration under the guidance of one of the high school artist heroes, Murray Tinkelman…  My sophomore year, I started taking some ceramics, and junior year picked up a 2nd major- Art Education…  The ceramic interests was because of Julie and picking up Art Education also was because of her influence…  I finished with the Dual Major and master credits in Art Ed, Ceramics and Presentation…

I chose to come back to my hometown without a stoplight, and heard Julie was leaving the high school to teach elsewhere and had recently gotten married, she now being Mrs. Czerenda (though I still called her Ms Stevens and still have problems thinking to her as “Julie”)…  She wondered why I didn’t add my resume to fill the opening, as she told me she would have recommended me for the position, but I felt I needed to follow and build my own studio…  I just am wanting to wait till another time later in my life maybe to become a professor, but will use the influence and understanding of teaching art to help teach business people how to create websites and take photos of their products…

Julie now lives in Connecticut, has raised her son, and is now enjoying making jewelry and also teaching young children art, which I am sure she is loving as she is and always will love children and their enjoyment of creativity…

So my foundations of understanding drawing, painting, intro to art history, ceramics, photography, advertising, illustration and then later Art Education is because of the care, teachings and inspirations of my High School Art Teacher, Julie Stevens Czerenda…

Even now, memories and of the past show their images in my mind or dreams or with reading some of her blog or FaceBook entries, she still finds ways of sharing inspiration and ideas…

Julie, I thank you for opening the door to this great field of creativity and what would become my life as a Visual Problem Solver in the fields Art…

You can visit Julie Czerenda’s Blog: http://www.juliesheartsdesire.blogspot.com

And you can visit her Jewlery studio sales at: http://www.julescz59.etsy.com

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