Variations On a Theme

As a photographer, I’m always looking for the perfect shot.  Whether it’s a different angle, a different time of day, or countless other variables, I have to factor all of these in when looking for that image that shouts out “YES!  I’m the one you want!”

This means I end up taking anywhere from 10-30 shots of the same image.  There are a few times where I know I’ve got “it” within the first 5 shots, but it’s really rare.  I’ve also taken 10 or so shots of my subject and stopped when I thought I’d captured what I wanted to, but once I start cropping them in Photoshop, I find that one of my other shots is better than the one I thought I’d like.

That’s one of the reasons I’m SO glad there are DSL cameras nowadays.  I began taking my pictures on a Kodak Advantix, and wound up wasting so much film in my search for wonderful photos.  I do NOT miss the days of getting a roll of film back from the developers, only to find that a third of them are useless because they’re too blurry, or didn’t fully capture what I was looking for.

Sometimes, though, it’s hard to pick the “right” picture, because many of them look great.  And it’s not a matter of being so arrogant that you think all of your images are gems . . . there truly are times when I’ve taken multiple shots of a subject and a lot of them are keepers because they’re all at different angles.

Take, for instance, these images of the steps at the Athens National Library.  There were so many cool and unusual angles and lines to be found there, that I’ve got five different variations of it on our website.  In one case, the only difference is between color and black and white:








Personally, I’m more partial to the b/w one, but I also think the faint color of the original helps lend some age to the shot.

I’ve also got several variations on the actual staircase and pillars:








Athens_Library_Steps_6_BWThen there’s a far shot that shows the outside of the staircase and its glorious curve:

Athens_National_Library_StepsAnd those are just the ones that I chose to put up on our site.  I’ve got three or four more in my files that I haven’t posted because I didn’t want to overwhelm people with so many versions of one subject (tho, I do suppose that any one of those might appeal to a potential customer).

So, while it’s great that I can now take as many pictures as I want and delete the ones I don’t like, I guess the “problem” (if you can call it that) is now what to do if I have a few that I think look great.

But hey, there are many artists who have several variations of a theme in their portfolio: Andy Warhol, anyone?  ;o)

Mourning a technique?

Hello friends. Welcome, from the M•A•S.

Today, I need to talk about something sad. I am in mourning for some of my artistic endeavors. Thank you for your patience while I explain…

Through our M•A•S Artwork blog, many of you probably only know of my artistry through my photographs or my pointillism pieces. Some of you also know that I’m an accomplished artist in many other arenas too. I draw by hand and have done comic book illustration, hand-rendered pencil sketch portraits and traditional illustration. I also work in graphic design, doing things like brochures and business cards. After going back to school for animation, I became an animator, as well as creating game art and web graphics. And that’s just the tip of my particular iceberg.

Unfortunately, all this variety in skill sets also comes with a price. For years now, I have been having trouble finding jobs to keep me employed on a consistent basis. What I’ve come to understand is that because I am doing so many different things, my portfolio in any one specific area suffers by comparison to others who are only focusing on that one discipline. All of their time is devoted to a specific skill, such as game art. So they have more practice, and will have better material to choose from to make a kick-ass portfolio. Because of the economy in the last decade, there are hundreds or thousands of [place chosen job title here]’s out there from which to choose. Therefore, employers don’t need to take a chance on me and my talents or project that I could do something, because they can see hundreds of excellent portfolios that have done it.

That’s the reality, and I’ve accepted it. The hard part is doing something about it. In order to change the situation, what I must do is choose only one area of focus. I have never been able to do that before. I love being creative, drawing, using the computer, and making wonderful things happen in my images. The actual method, purpose or medium doesn’t matter as much to me. I don’t have that ‘one lifelong dream or drive that I must do [blank]’. So, to choose only one thing to do, feels like someone telling a florist that they need to only sell yellow daisies. No other flowers, no other colors. But they’ll be successful in the end and sell a lot of yellow daisies if they just stick with it.

So… that’s what I’ve been attempting to do, and it is one of the hardest things I’ve had to do in my life. I haven’t gotten to the point of having only one focus, but I’ve narrowed it down to a few. What that means is that there are several areas of artistry that I am no longer pursuing. They are styles and techniques that I love and are good at, but I’ve had to let them go. It hurts, and feels like the loss of a loved one. The silver lining is that nothing is forever, and if I need to, I can always go back to it and pick it back up. That seems small consolation at this point, but I’m sure I’ll feel differently in time.

Illustration of a grave with "Art" carved on the headstone and a vase of daisies on the mound of dirt

For now, I’ll have more time to devote to the areas in which I’ve decided to dedicate my focus. Those areas will blossom with the extra attention and time, and the art will flourish. Have no fear devoted followers, for my pointillism and photography are still part of the mix and I’m still creating new works. You will be the beneficiaries, and will see the results soon as I’ll have more time and material that I’ll be able to post in this blog and on our website. (

After reading over this blog before posting, I see that it can appear very morose. That’s not my emotion upon writing this. I intend it to be more like thoughtful contemplation.

Thanks for stopping in today, and I hope you enjoy our artwork. Don’t forget to subscribe to the blog, leave a comment and share. See you next time.