A Primitive Camera of Sorts

TreesCloudsSky, originally uploaded by carolsLittleWorld.

…And, for my next trick, I’m going to disappear. Allow me to explain. Tomorrow, I’m going to a “special” photographer’s workshop. It’s one in which they use primitive cameras-very primitive cameras-so primitive, are these cameras in fact that they aren’t even cameras at all. You see, starting tomorrow, I go into the studio for two days of intensive drawing. (Pencils! Paper! Such primitive tools! What do you mean, there’s no shutter release button? You heathens!) Yes, yes, it’s true. I’m going to get all charcoal-y (or even worse, pencil-y) on you.

[Oh the horror! Oh the humanity! My kingdom for some film and a darkroom.]

All kidding aside, drawing is good for the soul. (Keep telling yourself that and maybe you’ll believe it, right?) Drawing is the basics of art-there’s really nothing simpler than taking pencil to paper, right? (Ok, so how come my local art supply store has entire aisles stacked with pencils of different grades, thickness, color, etc. Simple my bottom…I’ll show you simple…simple is black and white film!)

Lately anyway, it seems as if this Texas heat has me not wanting to go outside. I can’t paint (turns to pudding when it’s 105 outside-trust me on that one.) And, for ages, I’ve been meaning to do some charcoal drawings of Chase (he is mostly black and curly, you know. Don’t you think he would look great in charcoal, assuming I can draw, that is?) So, I’m going to retreat indoors and draw. Get back to the basics. Get down with the sketch book. It’s been too long, I’m too tired-I could use a bench, and, well, I just feel like it, so I’m going to do it.

Which brings me to the next question in my mailbag. Janice from Isle of Wight has asked me about my background. She would like to know what other media I work with and a little about how I got started in the arts. So, I thought I’d tell her (and, um, I guess, you too.)

When I was young, I used to do (what I then called) ceramics. I used to paint on clay. I did it for many years. I painted a series of beer steins that had picnic scenes on them, I painted Christmas trees, I painted a lot of stuff. But, all the while I really wanted to be a rock star. Or, you know, maybe a best-selling novelist. I learned to play a few different instruments (flute, guitar, etc.) and seriously considered applying to Columbia’s school of journalism. (Seriously. Me. Can you imagine?) Basically, I was all over the map, with a few things always coming around to haunt me: writing, music, and art. So, what did I do? I went to college and studied science. (Yes, I know, doesn’t make sense to me either.)

I’ve always had a serious interest in the arts though. Even when I was young (and broke) I used to paint in my spare time. I would buy one canvas, make a painting, put gesso back over it, and start painting again (someday, I hoped I could afford more than one canvas.) I never had a camera back then, at least not a mechanical one, even though I used to always sort of “take pictures in my head.”

When I moved to Austin, after grad. school, I took up photography. Since I had a job then too, I bought myself a nice Nikon camera. It was an old F-series match needle camera. I still have it actually and, yes, it still works. Within a few months of buying that camera I had my first photography show, here in Austin (where I live now) at an ice cream parlor. You can probably figure out where my love of the camera has taken me without me going into too many more details here.

But, photography is not all that I do. I’ve been drawing, painting-oils, acrylics, water (gouache, mostly but some light bodied watercolors as well) and lots of other stuff for a long time. I’m one of those “lazy painters” they always talk about-you know the type-I like to basically paint with my camera. But, I do other stuff too, including, yes even painting with paint instead of the old Nikon. At some point, I’ll post more from my other media, maybe I’ll even get “un-lazy” enough to photograph some of my paintings and upload them so you can see them. But, for now, at least you know a little bit more about what I do.

As usual, if you have any specific questions or want to ask me about anything, please either leave a comment or email me. I can’t promise I’ll get back to you immediately but, as time and projects permit, I’ll do my best.

Until next time…


  1. Janice / Dancing with Sunflowers
    August 8, 2009 / 7:04 am

    Hi Carol, Thanks for the art biography! I love that image too. It's interesting to have a scientific and an arty side – you get the balance. So for you the photography is 'lazy art' – saves you messing about with the colours and the time-consuming creation of the image from scratch. On some level I'd like the options, but can't draw to save my life and so prefer to focus on improving in one or two areas where I do have a chance in hell of producing something decent! I think Chase will look great in charcoal. It must be hard for him too in all this heat. I mean, what's the best time of day to walk a dog when it's 105 degrees?! Even when we get to the 80s I avoid certain times of day for Lucy. Have a good weekend and I'm sure you'll produce some fantastic sketches of Chase. (I'm going back to Cowes!)

  2. mythopolis
    August 8, 2009 / 7:52 am

    I really like today's photo!!

  3. Carol
    August 9, 2009 / 12:33 am

    Hi Postcards!

    I've been walking at 6 am. Horribly early, I know, but it's about the only time that it's not too hot outside. Even at 9 am, it's 80+ degrees out. Phew! It also helps that I cut Chase shorter in the summertime-even though I love him with his curls, he's black and tends to get very long, so I have him clipped when it gets too hot out.

    Thanks, Mythos! It's a leftover shot, but I kind of like it too.

    I hope you are both having a wonderful weekend.

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