Deep in the mysterious blues of ocean currents, jellyfish float through secret existences. An abstract alcohol ink painting on yupo paper.
I’ve spent the past couple of years struggling to hold my camera due to issues with my hands and arms. I was accustomed to living a life full of my pure love for photography – handholding 300mm lenses while stalking herons, keeping my body still in awkward positions for long periods of time to try and fulfill my vision for a photograph, planning trips and schedules around what, where, and when to photograph. I became incredibly frustrated, going through periods where I wasn’t able to photograph at all, and other times I had pain-filled outings that were struggles, no longer moments of joy. While I’ve never studied photography formally in a classroom setting (I’ve spent hours pouring over books and online lessons and experimenting with different techniques), I did study other traditional forms of art earlier in life. Painting in oils was a particular passion of mine at one point, and I wondered if my hands and arms could handle any sort of painting, so I could once again create and surround myself with color, shape, and movement.
Due to space constraints and concerns about fumes (I have a parrotlet who is sensitive to harsh chemicals), I decided to try painting with alcohol ink. I immediately fell in love with the rich colors. The somewhat unpredictable results both surprised and delighted me, and also helped me shake free from my own sometimes harsh expectations of what I create. Watching the inks interact with each other as they slip and slide, blend and meld along the slick surface of the yupo paper is a fun and almost mesmerizing experience. Unfortunately the inks themselves are incredibly strongly scented, even after they dry. I set up my inks and paper on an uneven wooden balcony so I don’t expose my little parrot to the fumes, and to reduce my exposure as well. I awkwardly crouch over my “work station,” dripping and smearing, blending and scraping. I close my eyes and see vivid flowing colors once again. And hey, my new, smaller, camera (Sony A7R) has now allowed me to begin to explore my life through a lens again…while I continue to struggle, all in all my world has expanded.
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