Your home for everything artistic

When one thinks about the performing arts, most of us probably tend to dwell on a few details. These may include such things as the acting, storyline or music and dance if it is a musical production. But there’s another part of the story that helps to create the magic, the set design.

Photo from Instangram@mkhughesdesign and Patreon

Painter and muralist M.K. Huges is one of the people who bring the action to life via her wonderful and engaging set designs. A graduate of Southern Illinois University with a Master’s in Theater (Set Design), she has experience working with the Alabama and Oregon Shakespeare Festivals and is now responsible for the sets on the numerous shows conducted at Point Park University, a Pittsburgh area school widely recognized for theater arts.

Photo from Instangram@mkhughesdesign and Facebook M.K.Hughes Design

For more info on this talented young lady, check out her official website or any of her social accounts including Patreon.

 

 

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Unless photography is our full-time occupation, and even if it is, many of us cannot afford to own a studio space. Sure, we can rent as needed. But if you have the space and aren’t opposed to having clients come to your home, you can easily set up a nice, professional studio without paying a bundle.

Here’s the basics of what you need:

1. Backdrops

You can either order some or make your own. I would suggest getting or designing at least 3, a black, a grey or white and one molted color blue or grey.

2. Lights

If you get steady lights it will be cheaper and you won’t need any triggers or sync tools. If you want to go a little more expensive, you can get strobe units for a reasonable price so long as you aren’t looking for the big brands.

3. Umbrellas

These are more affordable than soft boxes and basically do the same thing. They also come with some lighting units as part of the deal.

4. Accessories

You can check out my upcoming book on how to make your own reflectors, diffusers, product setup and more. I’ll be sure to let you know when it is out.

 

Blackout Poetry By Induco

If you’ve never heard the terms “Blackout Poetry,” this post has something cool in store for you.

No, Blackout Poetry doesn’t have anything to do with drunkenness as the sillier readers might have assumed. It’s all about a process that sounds simple but is actually quite complex.

As the artist that goes by Inducto calls it, the idea is to black out pages of text leaving only specific terms and phrases that create a new story.

Check out some of her work on Patreon and in the pictures here:

I have done quite a few music reviews over the years but I can honestly say I’m not sure if I’ve ever given an album a 5-star rating, until now. The fact is, even the artists nobody would ever expect to come out with a Christmas album are lining the retails shelves with holiday sounds. And in some ways, the impact has been lousy. You are probably going to end up with either a bunch of originals that are of poor quality or boring versions of the classics.

On this recording, what Lindsey does so well, with the help of a few friends (Sabrina Carpenter, Becky G, Trombone Shorty and Alec Gaskarth of All Time Low) is blend her own style that has made her a star with classic tunes while adding in just enough in terms of original songs to make for a very pleasant listening session.

The best among the originals is “Christmas C’mon” and the most interesting rendition of a cover is “Let It Snow.”

Overall, I’d be hard-pressed to find someone I didn’t think would love it.

As you probably realize by now, I enjoy being artistic with my photos. This being the case, one of the tools I find interesting is what are commonly referred to as gobos. I mentioned these in another post as any material that is placed in between the light and the subject to make a pattern out of shadows.

The biggest problem with today’s gobos are that they are big, heavy and tend to allow for just a single pattern making them inconvenient and costly. I recently invented what I call my “Universal Gobo” that solves ever one of these problems.

You can buy our Do It Yourself guide for just $3.00 and the materials should cost you less than $20. This is a lot nicer than paying around $20 each for those available in stores and over the web.

For the last decade, Taylor Swift has been a star in the music industry. However, based on the first couple of singles that have gotten some play from her new album “Reputation,” I can honestly say I set my expectations fairly low for this one.

While Swift’s first several albums were country with a bit of a cross-over into pop, her last release of “1989” was about 90% pop and 10% country at best. It worked out well. This is due to the notion that her sound remained very much hers and the pop style utilized was fairly authentic.

The album “Reputation” is really the story of two distinct halves. For the most part, the first half is a collection of rather cliché and overproduced pop with a bit of rap and hip-hop added in for some reason. It’s a major departure from her prior recordings and it comes across as forced and inauthentic. The second half is still pop but seems much more suited to her and relatable to her longtime supporters.

My concern here is that Swift seems to be reinventing herself. Sure, tons of artists do this over the years of their career. Some have done it several times like the “Material Girl.” Usually though, this is because their style has lost appeal. The problem here is a simple one. Swift is doing it even though she didn’t have to and that what she was doing suited her and excited a fan base.

The best tracks on this release are probably “Getaway Car,” “This Is Why We Can’t Have Nice Things,” and Call It What You Want.” The ones we could really do without include “End Game” and “Gorgeous” with all other being a mixed bag at best.

As mentioned, I came in with low expectations. When this is the case, it’s not hard to exceed such a notion. So, while I’d say she did do just that, it’s not a lot to rave about. I’d give her an average rating or something like 3/5. While that’s not bad, it’s on the lower part of the Swift discography.

Name:

Renee Boyett

Location:

Central Oregon

Where can people see and order your work online?:

There are several places but the profile at Deviant Art ChaosFay has the most extensive content. You can also visit Fineartamerica.com under my name or Esty at Nay-Nay Macrame.

Tell me about your work:

I’ve been creating macrame jewelry for 25 years now, starting when I was nine years old. I saw a girl in my class making a really neat bracelet and asked her to show me how she made it. I then started making friendship bracelets, but when I was around 13 or 14 my grandmother gave me a macrame book. In college, I expanded I started changing things from what I found in books and learned to create my own patterns and designs. It’s been a great way to relieve stress while creating something beautiful. For the past ten years, I’ve been participating in craft and art shows as well as conventions, selling my work and accepting commissions for custom-made pieces.

Piece titled: Wild Jade Growth

While I was in college I was able to refine my painting skills. I now create watercolor paintings, and my goal with those is to create something you could imagine in a dream or nightmare. Not realistic but at the same time recognizable. These I create on a whim, often taking up to a week from start to finish. My favorite things to paint are outer space and flowers. At some point, I’d love to have my paintings printed on quilt fabric I can use to create quilts featuring my own work.

Last, but not least, I’m a fourth generation quilter. I grew up around fabric, prints, colors, sewing, and quilting, and applied a lot of what learned growing up to my jewelry and paintings. In 2014 I had to take a three-year hiatus from jewelry making due to a ligament tear in my right wrist. I was able to make quilts and, with some lessons from my mother, I learned how to sew and quilt. In less than a year I went from making hot pads and table runners to a full-size quilt and several lap quilts.

In 2016 I had surgery on my wrist to repair the ligament tear that had been causing me so much pain. After many months of physical therapy, I was able to make jewelry again. I now have several jewelry commissions to work on and am accepting more. When not working on commissions I make things for myself or create quilted works.

Piece titled: Daning in the Moonlight

What does art mean to you?:

I rotate between all three of these to prevent burn-out and work through artist’s block. Creating and crafting is something I value more than nearly anything else. I can share a part of who I am and show people a piece of myself. It’s also been excellent therapy for me, both physically and mentally. I’m disabled due to physical and mental illnesses, and for the most part, have nothing but time on my hands. I’m up early in the morning, finish all the housework by 8am, and then have the entire day to find something to occupy myself. Boredom nearly ate me up during recovery from my surgery and for a couple months thereafter. It wasn’t until just a couple months ago that I could finally create macrame jewelry again without requiring an ice pack immediately thereafter. Now I’m rarely bored, and the rotation between all three of these – jewelry, quilting, and painting – has prevented me from injuring or irritating my wrist.
Piece titled: Autumn Bonfire
For me, this is a lifesaver. It’s helped me physically work through many of the things that have ailed me over the course of my life. If I’m feeling angry or frustrated I paint, when I need peace I quilt, when I’m joyful I make jewelry. It’s a good balance between mind, body, and spirit. Painting is my body, quilting is my mind, and jewelry is my spirit.

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