Thursday, September 21, 2017

Glenholme School, Rotorua, Young leaders Classroom number, mosaic project.

 We all had a lovely four days making these creative mosaic classroom numbers. 
The pupils were very hard working, well behaved and a credit to their school, Teachers and Principal.
 Here  are  photos to show how they did.
Twenty Questions.

 Q. What do you think of mosaic making in my studio?

A.  " We loved it".

Q. How often do you need to stretch when you are making mosaics?

A. Every quarter of an hour

Q.  How important is it to focus and concentrate on mosaic making so that you get into a meditative  state while you create a rhythm called Andamento?
A. Essential, if you talk too much you miss the magic of the experience.

Q. How does making mosaics make you feel?
A. "Happy, we wish we could make them every morning".

Q . What did it smell of in the studio to make you feel calm and relaxed? 
A.  "Yes, and the nice music in the background, making art is great for relieving stress and hand and eye co-ordination".

Q. Was it hard to make the mosaics?
A. No but you need to use the right mosaic cutting tools, glue, substrate and grout and Resene paint or else it can fall off.
You also have to focus and apply yourself or the job won't get finished.
Mosaics are time consuming but the result is so lovely.
Q. How do you care for your mosaics and make them last a long time? 
A. Keep them out of the wet and cold, protected under eves because you don't want them to crack in frost.
Q. How important is it to get a professional mosaic artist  to teach you how to mosaic quickly and with minimum of mistakes?
A. Very important because if  you  don't know the right materials to use and the right cutting techniques especially for Rotorua conditions; they won't last very long.
Q. Why is it great for school students to make mosaics in a mosaic  studio and garden?
A. You can get to see all the beautiful creations that are in the studio and garden for inspiration.
 You can look at  books on mosaics and walk around  the sunken  wishing garden that lives beside a fresh spring stream.
Q. How many students can you fit into your studio at a time?  
A. Ten, this gives people room to work around the table and keeps the noise to a minimum.
Q. Do you like teaching school children how to make mosaics?
A. yes I love it. it is one of my favourite things to do because children are so enthusiastic, fresh and full of hope.
I don't have children of my own so  the contact with them keeps me young at heart and I can keep up with current trends.
Q. Why do you recommend  Resene testpot paints to paint around the outside of your mosaics?
A. Because Resene testpots are made of lumbersider with a built in undercoat.
The paint is made for outside conditions.
Resene testpots come in lots of brilliant colours.
Q. How important is it for young people to have opportunities to use their hands in a creative way?
A. Vital. They pick up practical skills and can increase their confidence and competence with  hand eye co-ordination.

Mosaic Group Project Enquiries Welcome 
Phone 346-3435
Text 0273513887

Saturday, September 2, 2017

Rotorua Tree Trust. Photographic class results, Lesson Two. Twenty Photographs.

Dance of the Drunk Tui

From 2pm in  the afternoon on Friday we went to the Tree Trust  for our second two hour lesson.
Our timing was perfect.
It was in between rain showers when the sun came out and the Tui were drunk with delight over Cherry Blossom, nectar.

The cherry trees are at their peak now and look great if you put your  camera onto AV,  your F stop down to 4.0 and your Iso to 100 or 200.
You can get a blossom  hazy bokeh effect in the background.

We didn't have large zoom lenses.
I have a Canon 24 to 105 so it's impossible to get a close up shot to the Tui who are high up overhead, flitting quickly from tree to tree.

The best I can hope for,  without spending thousands on a huge lens is to take a lot of shots and then import  them into photoshop and crop them as close to the Tui as I can; taking into account the rule of thirds.

 This is not ideal as you can't get the eye sharp but it is such a glorious site at this time of the year that you are best to see what nature will give you.

 With photography unless you have the gear you can't always get exactly what you want, but it's nice to explore and surprise yourself with what you can get.

More close up blossoms.

Manipulated in Photoshop with Nik software.
You can always change the direction of your Tui in Photoshop.

I took my fish eye lens along and did some twirling of the camera to get a circle effect with the ground curving.

I placed photos on top of each other in Photoshop and it made the scene look like a fairyland.

Imagine being a drunk Tui in a tree would you be feeling a bit woozy?

Maybe your world would start spinning around.

As an artist I really like to view the world from an imaginary perspective and I love seeing how surreal  I can make things look.

 Do you  want to take photos that are unusual because you love being different?

 Do you  want to work from  your  intuitive right hand side of  your  brain without being too concerned with technical perfection? 

 You could learn to take arty photos and print them out on a canvas, spray a special varnish over them and they would look pretty much like an abstract painting. 
You could cut up some small blocks of wood. 
Print out some photos and attach them to the wood and give them away as presents or have a mini exhibition. 

With photography and the benefit of my really reasonably priced  "one on one" photography lessons you will be flying with creativity and enthusiasm quickly.

Artists are welcome to contact me to commission a special photo or pay me to teach them how to take an arty photo.
All photos are copyright.

This  photo wold never win any awards and I admit is rather ugly;  but I liked the tail.
 It reminded me of a whales tail.
Sometimes ugly photos are interesting.
Why does everything have to look pretty and perfect?

Lovely bokeh blossoms again. These are some of my favourite type of shots of cherry blossoms.

Cropped close up of Tui, taking into account the rule of thirds.

Fish Eye Lens distortion

Closer cropped Tui.
 Note the catch light in the eye. 
  Many bird photographers try to achieve this and sometimes artificially put it in if they haven't got it.

More spinning, are you dizzy yet?

Close up silhouette of a Tui  

Playing around with Photoshop and fish eye lens and layering.

I think this is an improvement on the original whale tail Tui shot.

Is less more; more less; more more or less less? 
With my lessons, you can decide
I'm a busy, extroverted person.
 I like my photos to be busy with lots going on. 
I am a writer and  I often like my photos to tell a story or I like to string them together to tell a story. 

Do you love animals and birds? 
 I love making up stories about them and their relationships with my photos. 
You could do this too and you could write and print
 your own children's photographic word book. 

  Just  be warned; if you want to win lots of Camera Club Honours awards quickly; many of the judges like to see minimalism.
They like to see subjects with plain backgrounds, leading lines, well cropped and sharp focus.
Sometimes I practise this, but most of the photos I have won awards with, (I am now in Advanced Grade at Rotorua Camera Club), have been quite busy.
Most of the people who have given me honours have been women who are arty photographers.
 So there is a place for us.

Creative Quote.
Nature is so powerful. Capturing its essence is not easy - your work becomes a dance with light and the weather. It takes you to a place in yourself.

Annie Leibovitz

Individual Photography Tuition for Women Beginner Photographers.
Specialising in Canon DSLR's.
Get your camera off automatic and into the world of creativity and fun. 
$35.00 per hour in city limits, (minimum of two hours, maximum four hours), plus travel if out of Rotorua city boundary.

Group tuition of maximum 4 beginners available on request.
 Prices on application
Enquiries welcome for Wednesday, Thursday or Friday mornings.
Sunset and Night Tuition Wednesday, Thursday or Friday at dusk.  
Phone Janet  Keen 07 346 3435
027 351 3887

Sunday, August 27, 2017

Rotorua Lakefront. Mornings results from photographic class. Twenty Photographs

We went for a walk along the lakefront at 9am.
The light was a bit bright; it would have been better at sunrise but it was great it wasn't raining.

We looked at horizon lines; in particular making them straight and two thirds up on the picture plain

We looked at the importance of silhouetted vegetation for texture.

We looked for reflections and photographic opportunities in unusual places.
We were focusing on training our eyes to see patterns and textures.

Cropping of photos is also vital so that the eye is drawn in to focus on the essentials.
Or guided around the photo.

We stopped near the Pilgrim Geese, as it was their bath time.
We stayed there for around half an hour.

We waited and immersed ourselves in their gentleness and community.
 If you are taking photos of birds you have to spend a lot of time with them and be patient.
Try to get down to their level

These geese are some of my favourite subjects so I often take photos of them in the early mornings or late afternoon.
Repetition of subject matter is important as is trying different viewpoints.

The sunlight on their wings makes them look angelic

They often fall asleep after they have finished preening.
If you use your intuition you can start to communicate with them.
They are sending signals with their eyes that most people do not see.

We are not isolated from nature.
We are part of it and we are animals.
People forget this.
The more you slow down, be present and open yourself up to what nature has to offer you;  the more opportunities will arise.

I never go out with a set attitude of what I am going to take.
I don't want to always be in control.
 That way I obtain a pleasant surprise when something spectacular takes place, like the spreading of these wings.

I can always alter and manipulate my images into something surreal or different by using  photoshop and Nik software.

 But even when I'm manipulating photos in photoshop,  I will be open to the possibilities of what the technology will offer up.
Swans can look majestic as well.


I like to put textures on geese, I think it makes them look arty and mysterious.
They are less gentle than the geese and slightly and sometimes overtly sinister.
They are territorial.

I like to put them in invented, colourful worlds

I was doing some research on the Lochness monster and I was imagining that the Rotorua Lake had a Lochness  Goose monster

Or a Rotorua Lake, ghost goose monster  


 The lesson was characterised by peace and serenity and feeling what the  environment had to provide in the way of magical moments like......

Sweet Dreams  

Creative Quote of the day.
“Photography is a way of feeling, of touching, of loving. What you have caught on film is captured forever… It remembers little things, long after you have forgotten everything.”
Aaron Siskind


Individual Photography Tuition for Women Beginner Photographers.
Specialising in Canon DSLR's.
Get your camera off automatic and into the world of creativity and fun. 
$35.00 per hour in city limits, (minimum of two hours, maximum four hours), plus travel if out of Rotorua city boundary.
Group tuition of maximum 4 beginners available on request.
 Prices on application

Enquiries welcome for Wednesday, Thursday or Friday mornings.
Sunset and Night Tuition Wednesday, Thursday or Friday at dusk.  
Phone Janet  Keen 07 346 3435
027 351 3887