26 Instax Packs - #16

26 Instax Packs - #16 - Fuji Instax Black Frame in Diana F+ with Lomography Instant Back. Shot around Lake Marburg and Downtown Hanover.

26 Instax Packs - #15

26 Instax Packs - #15 - Minnie and Mickey Instax frame in Lomo'Instant Automat. I took the metro rail down to Washington, D.C. to visit Alan on one of my days of July vacation. He had just gotten a new car and happily drove us around to visit the Renwick Gallery, Rock Creek Park with the historic Pierce Mill, and then the Jefferson Memorial.

I shot most of the photos at Pierce Mill, trying to capture interior window lit photos, some of them turned out ok. I also tried the double exposure portrait on a texture technique, but my camera batteries died so I  wasn't able to print it out until I got home. 

26 Instax Packs - #14

26 Instax Packs - #14 - Alice in Wonderland Instax frame in Lomo'Instant Automat. Brenda and I drove out to Gathland State Park near Burkittsville, Maryland to visit on a Sunday afternoon. It was pretty hot that day, and the bugs were relentless, even after spraying ourselves with Off! I wanted to see the ruins and former estate of war correspondent George Alfred Townsend. We visited the museum there - what remains of the main house from the estate. The War Correspondents Memorial is a pretty impressive entrance to the park. The Appalachian Trail passes through the park, though is was much too hot for us to venture out onto it.

After visiting the park, we drove through the small village of Burkittsville, seeing many of the homes adorned with Rainbow Pride flags. It was a nice Sunday drive with a stop on the way home for lunch at Ledo's Pizza in Frederick.

Outdoor Sketchbook Class

Create-A-Thon 2017 summer update - Over June and July this summer, I took an Outdoor Sketchbook class at the Adams County Arts Council in Gettysburg. For this class, I broke out a new sketchbook and sketched in pencil almost daily for four weeks. I averaged about 1 - 2, ten minute sketches each day trying to capture the essence of the outdoor object I was trying to draw. Mostly trees and flowers, with a few urban objects thrown in.

This is very different from the way I normally sketch, usually drawing in brush pen, marker, or watercolor, mostly from my imagination, creating cartoon characters or making repetitive patterns. I learned some very good drawing exercises for sketching from nature using a light pencil technique - something that I definitely needed to work on. 

Another activity this summer has been attending my son Isaac's Portrait Drawing class on Thursday nights at Waldo's in Gettysburg. This class is also venturing out from my drawing comfort zone, though I have frequently gone to figure drawing sessions. When making figure studies, I usually focus on trying to capture the essence of the pose rather than a detailed portrait study. I want to draw something quickly, unable to focus on a subject intensely for a long period of time. This class gives me the opportunity to study the face and learn a thing or two from my son!

And lastly, I'm in the middle of another drawing challenge while also trying to complete World Watercolor Month. I'm participating in Sketchbook Summer, for the month of July where I'm working on filling up an entire 8 1/2" x 11" 110 page sketchbook (on both sides of the page). This has been challenging, trying to fill up an average of 7-8 pages each day to keep pace with completing the sketchbook by the end of July.

Over the past few months, I've been taking a break from traditional film photography, and focusing on instant photography, specifically Fuji Instax film. I'm in the middle of 26 instax packs - a six month Instax Mini film project. I'm shooting on different Instax Mini Films including themed Instax Mini Film character frames that I've bought from ebay. I use different cameras in my collection, mostly the Lomo'Instant Automat and a Diana F+ with Lomography Instant Back.

Stay tuned for upcoming Create-A-Thon art techniques that I will be trying in the coming weeks.


World Watercolor Month

A very busy July for Create-A-Thon 2017! I have several creative challenges that I'm working on this month, one of them being that July is World Watercolor Month. I thought I would take the challenge of painting in watercolor everyday this month to get back into using my watercolors on a regular basis. Though I haven't been blogging that much so far this month, I have been very busy working everyday on my artwork.

I took a week of vacation in the beginning of July and while not trying to plan every minute to be filled with one thing or another, I did have a few projects in mind for my vacation. Because I'm working on several other creative challenges this month, I thought I would try to keep the watercolor challenge manageable by limiting myself to 6" x 4" paintings everyday. Last summer, one of the YouTube channels that I subscribe to, thefrugalcrafter Lindsay Weirich had a very useful tip for making your own watercolor blocks. I had purchased two 9" x 12" Arches Watercolor Pads at Plaza Art when they had a half price sale last year with the intention of making my own pocket watercolor blocks. I wanted to use them with the same Sakural Koi Watercolor Field Kit as mentioned in Lindsay's video to carry around for watercolor sketching when inspiration strikes. I was able to get the watercolors for about $5.00 with an A. C. Moore half off coupon and a reward club certificate.

I took one of the Arches Watercolor pads and cut it down to 6" x 4" sheets, totaling enough sheets to make four 10 sheet blocks. I then clamped the sheets together evenly on top of a heavy cardboard backing with clothespins and glued the edges with a hot glue gun as shown in the video. I cut down scrapbook paper that I had in my stash to cover each of them to make 4 cute little watercolor blocks.

Here are some of the paintings I've made so far this month (some are on Fluid Paper as well as Arches). 

26 Instax Packs - #13

26 Instax Packs - #13 - Pikachu / Pokemon Instax Mini Frame in Lomo'Instant Automat camera. It was Father's Day, so Brenda and I picked up my stepfather to take him to breakfast and go for a ride in search of unexplored areas of the Gettysburg Battlefield. I've lived in Hanover since 1990 and visited Gettysburg numerous times over the years with my family and more recently photographing different parts of the landscape. I've always been drawn to the boulders strewn about the battlefield and surrounding areas, and there is a special tree at Devil's Den that I like to photograph and sketch. Every now and then, Brenda and I will discover a new part of Gettysburg on one of our drives. I recently saw photos from another photographer of the Rose Farm barn ruins, but I was not familiar with that area of the battlefield, so it was this that we sought out to discover on our Father's Day drive. 

It was a much sunnier day than the last time I shot with this camera, so the outdoor photos turned out much brighter. 


26 Instax Packs - #12

26 Instax Packs - #12 - One Piece Instax Mini Frame in Lomo'Instant Automat camera. It was an overcast day at Evergreen Cemetery in Gettysburg, PA, just on the verge of rain. These photos came out very dark, I probably should have used the +1 exposure compensation on the camera. But maybe, the darkness contributes to the mood. I missed the framing a little on the closeup shots, but I usually just point the Automat in the general direction of what I'm shooting using the focusing distance recommendation for the closeup lens. I'm not familiar with One Piece, which is apparently an Anime Show featuring a pirate, but I liked the little skull and crossbones on the packaging when I saw it on ebay.

Ballpoint Pen Scribble Art

Week 24 - Ballpoint Pen Scribble Art made with various brands of ballpoint pens in a Fabriano Venice 6x9 sketchbook. I've admired the drawings I've seen on Instagram and Youtube made with this technique and how a picture can magically come out of loose scribbles using a ballpoint pen.

After attempting a couple of scribbly drawings, I searched YouTube for other artists demonstrating their technique for some pointers. I also found a short, informative class on Skillshare called Ballpoint Pen Drawing: Scribbling by Alfonso Perez which was quite enjoyable to watch. The class was well organized with a section on different styles of scribbling, how to start your scribble drawing leading up to a final project assignment. I practiced the techniques he demonstrated and felt my scribblings were much more successful.  I was able make a ballpoint pen scribbly drawing almost every day for the past two weeks, finding it to be very stress-relieving and rewarding. Though, I occasionally found myself with ballpoint ink on my fingers from drawing with the super inky Papermate Inkjoy pen.

Because I enjoyed this creative activity so much, I thought I would try a digital version with the Apple Pencil on my iPad pro and on The Slate that Brenda gave me for Christmas.

I made a free form scribble drawing on The Slate with a Bic Crystal pen, which was connected to my iMac at work. The Slate is a tablet where paper is attached to the surface and strokes of a pencil or pen are recorded on your iPad or Mac. See my review from earlier this year here. There was an update available for The Slate and it was much improved from the last time I used it. The Slate software, Imagink, recorded my scribbling so that I was able to export the video file for uploading. The strokes of the Bic Crystal pen were very accurately recorded in the Imagink software, though the line pressure was the same darkness on the screen compared to the actual drawing on paper where some areas had less pen pressure than others.

I thought I would also try this technique on my iPad Pro with the Apple Pencil. I used the Procreate app, with the technical pen brush set at the smallest diameter. Scribbling with the Apple Pencil was effortless, there was no lag while drawing. The scribbling on was much finer than the other drawing methods. This technique could lead to other variations of this style with different brushes in Procreate.

I really enjoyed this drawing exercise, so much so that I spent the past two weeks exploring it. 

Next up in Create-A-Thon 2017, a year long creative exploration project - make a hand bound sketchbook.

26 Instax Packs - #11

26 Instax Packs - #11 - Pinhole photography with Diana F+ with Lomography Instant Back using Fuji Instax Monochrome film. I was in the mood to shoot some instant film and decided to set up a couple of shots around the house with things from my collection - a skull model that I just finished building, a troll from my mother's troll collection, and a dragon that Alan made from clay when he was growing up.

I made a few adjustments to my method of making pinhole photos with the Diana F+ from the last attempt that I made on Pinhole Photography Day. The previous photos had turned out very blurry due to the camera shaking when the shutter button would release after a long bulb exposure. This time I used the shutter stop to keep it open in the bulb position after placing a piece of electrical tape over the pinhole. This way I could make the exposure without activating the shutter button, and causing camera shake.

The results from this method worked much better. After shooting a few photos out in the grass with my skull and troll (I don't know what my neighbors think I'm doing) I went inside to experiment with taking pinhole flash photos. This was very interesting as I had not thought of doing this until I heard about it on a photography podcast. I like the effect that I got with the skull and dragon with the troll in the background with glowing eyes, caused by the flash. I should mention, this photo was taken with the Diana lens on the camera using the Pinhole setting, which turned out a little sharper than the Diana without the lens using the pinhole.

I was pleased with the results from this pinhole photography experiment and would like to try flash photography with my Ondu MKII 6x6 and Holga WPC. 

26 Instax Packs - #10

26 Instax Packs - #10 - Skyblue Instax Mini Frame in Diana F+ with Lomography Instant Back. Wanting to shoot a pack film, but not knowing what to take photos of, I spent and hour or so at Codorus State Park on a pleasant Saturday afternoon with my Diana camera. I still need to work on getting the right expsosure and composition with this camera, but I do like the photos they look pretty sharp when they're right.