From my old portfolio site: Polaroids

I found my backup folder to my old portfolio site on my external hard drive. It’s nice to remember these images.

These actually aren’t Polaroids…Polaroid film went dunzo years before I got the chance to really explore them. It’s a shame. I love the look of Polaroids. I like when there are blurred parts and streaky parts and out of focus parts. It looks like a human took this picture and not some robot – at least not a boring robot.

Impossible Film has been trying to keep instant film going. It’s pretty expensive but they are still doing lots of development to make the film better. I took these on an early batch, when annoyingly the gel part that makes instant film instant would peel off unpredictably.

Why bother with instant film?

Look at these colors. Look at the glow. Look at the softness.




See some more polaroids from film director Tarkovsky in this book.

Instant Light, Tarkovsky

I used the early version of this film, would be curious how well the film works now:

Art I Like: Laura Letinsky

She is probably the queen of color in the photography world. I mean I seriously can’t think of anyone who does color photography better. From what I can tell, her secret to great color and lighting is long exposures in low light. Which means she must use a tripod.

I suck at tripods. This is when art requires some kind of practical common sense skill and is a total fail for me. I mean maybe the really nice pro grade tripods work better, but every time it takes me forever to get the darn thing setup and try to get my camera mounted on correctly. And then once the camera is attached I realize that my frame is totally wrong and I have to juggle extending the legs or rotating the entire camera or pulling the tripod back.

Anyway her colors are saturated in a subtle way – in areas like the shadows or the slight glow of a slant of light on the wall. It elevates the otherwise ordinary things that are in the pictures. The colors are glowing and more beautiful than in real life but not soooo saturated and over the top as to feel fake and digital.

Laura Letinsky
Laura Letinsky
Laura Letinsky

My top Flickr Photos

I have been on flickr for a long time, maybe even before they were bought by Yahoo. I recommend them as a backup source because they offer something ridiculous like 100 gb of free storage and their app has  saved many images of mine because the iphone os upgrade ate all of my space. I have used both dropbox and flickr to share images, and for that purpose I think dropbox is superior – faster upload/download speeds and allows you to easily download multiple images in a zip file. I tried to download photos in bulk from flickr to share with a friend a few months ago and it was stupidly difficult.

Anyways out of curiousity I checked the Stats page on flickr to see which images of mine were the most popular:

Ah, the epic ferry ride to Nantucket Island. This was late evening near the golden hour when the blues were super saturated and the sky was this interesting shade of reflected blue and dusky pink.

This was a slightly decrepit house in Pittsburgh with awesome texture and I love the pattern of the leaves reflected in the screen door. This was around 2011? when flippers were able to get whole houses for less than 10k.

wabi sabi

We unfortunately left this monstera plant behind in Pittsburgh in our cross country move in my Toyota Camry. I’m still looking for a great monstera or ficus plant to keep the green going all year round indoors.


This is actually a fairly recent photo that I took of some dried blue hydrangeas from my coworker’s garden. The awesome vintage looking pot is actually from Fred Meyers. I was surprised this was so high on my stats page, it’s one of the few that is digital and not film, and I don’t really trust the colors of digital but I guess there is this cool saturated and complimentary color scheme going on.


Old Saybrook, a coastal town in Connecticut. The cloud makes this shot as clouds often complete landscape compositions. The rocks are so interesting on the east coast.

Old Saybrook

An Oil Still Life in Progress

This is a painting that will probably take me a long time. I’m deliberately going about this painting in a methodical manner, using techniques like the grid system and going through with a true underpainting and then glazing layers on top. When I critique my work (like the watercolors I posted earlier) I find that my biggest issues are with composition and value. So that means getting better at drawing and finding the tonal range and also being way more patient. All of which painting in oil like this is helping me to do. I also love luminous shadows which look really great in oil paints.

Right now in this oil study I am concentrating on finding the darks and the mid tone values that will  serve as a foundation layer for lighter values that get applied later. It’s how the painting will hopefully glow.

I didn’t get to the whole painting this time which you can tell by the areas that are still pretty white- that’s not deliberate.

For the Hellebores- I used burnt umber, ultramarine blue, and some alizarin crimson. Alizarin is transparent and staining and also is good for bluer reds. For some of the lighter ranunculus, I just made a grey out of the burnt umber, ultramarine, and naples yellow. There’s also a poppy or something with more open petals that’s got a little bit of cadmium red, which is less blue than alizarin and more opaque. At this point it is so tempting to go lighter and get into the details. With oil painting, it’s actually harder to go over light paint or you get this muddy creamy effect so I’m trying to keep it dark. Its something that you kind of have to reverse your brain around, that you want to go dark first and then build form by removing value or adding lighter shades. I’m not describing it well but I ‘ll try to post better examples later.

For the greens of the leaves and the pot I started using sap green plus some of the burnt umber. If I hadn’t been so lazy and impatient with my umber drawing, I probably could have glazed right over with just the sap green.


I had some lovely Pinot Gris and Pinot noir at a local vineyard near Portland with an unreal view of Mount Hood today.

That should give me enough liquid courage to post some of my recent watercolors. Normally I hate everything I do until I hide it away and look at it a few years later. A friend has encouraged me to blog more and show more works in progress.

Some watercolors of the dark foliage I have been obsessed with lately.

    I like the colors on this one but feels a little too flat.

 Lilacs. I like the green in the leaves.

Crystal Springs Rhododendron Garden

I literally have a Google spreadsheet with a list of places I want to go to in the Pac NW area. We’ve hit several of the places already, and I would love to go back to all of them: Smith Rock, Waldo Lake, Crater Lake, etc.

I kept saying I want to go see the rhodies at the Crystal Spring Rhody Garden. Finally, a few weeks ago we went and they also happened to be hosting a daffodil competition. I kid you not.


Look at all the darling daffodils, they would make for a great pattern or acrylic painting.


Always lovely hellebores in my favorite shade of dark magenta


   So many perfect azaleas 

Art I Like: Jamie Sweeney

I met Jamie Sweeney in college, and we haven’t been in much touch since then. But I found him recently on Instagram!

I remember how we went to an indie band Spoon (if you couldn’t have figured out from the name that it was an indie band) concert over in the darling town of Northampton and how on the drive to North Adams or Pittsfield I made him listen to Regina Spektor’s Fidelity on repeat because that’s what I do when I like a song, I listen to it exhaustively until I just can’t listen to it anymore.

Anyways he was cool because he was studying large format photography and who does that except awesome people?

For people who don’t know, large format photography means you have to take a ginormous amount of time to setup your exposure and then you literally crawl underneath your cape to take the picture, like a super hero or something.

See I’m not lying:


I want to do large format photography too, except on top of some Vanagon surrounded by miles of forests somewhere in Montana, Wyoming, or Pac NW.

photo of Ansel Adams from

I like these photos of mundane objects that are elevated by the medium: [I wanted to post some of his black and white silver gelatin prints that I remember he did of a close up of a wooden model. But I can’t find it. Put it back on your portfolio Jamie!]

And recently I found these woodblock ? screenprints?  of crocheting and knitting patterns. So simple but delightful.

#printmaking #knitting

A photo posted by Jamie Sweeney (@jksweeney) on

Working on 2nd layers of next knitting print #printmaking #knitting

A photo posted by Jamie Sweeney (@jksweeney) on

Printing first layers of the crochet block #printmaking #crochet

A photo posted by Jamie Sweeney (@jksweeney) on

#printmaking #knitting

A photo posted by Jamie Sweeney (@jksweeney) on

I heard on Instagram that he’s starting an Etsy page. Yay!