Friday, July 10, 2015

Expressive Digital Balck and White Landscape:

Several years ago while working on a commercial photography assignment I was asked a question which has stuck with me ever since.  The question?   Whats in your tool kit?  In other words, what do you need to get the job done?  A camera is a tool, and a powerful one at that.  Its not so much about the camera, but how its used.  Good photographs require the photographer to slow down, see, and personally express the world in front of them. 
Landscape photography is formed by the point of view of the photographer; it is a spiritual experience, the reflection of a culture. Historically, the great masters of black-and-white landscape used large-format cameras and traditional film processes. Now advances in digital technology have opened new opportunities for photographers who wish to explore the aesthetic and technical aspects of digital black-and-white landscapes. 

On location daily, we take the time to see and fully express the spirit of the black-and-white landscape as we discover a place and the secrets of its beauty. We consider the concept of landscape and how it is connected to the cultural, social, and geographical aspects of our environment.

In the classroom, we combine traditional Zone System methodology with new digital processes in Adobe Lightroom to forge a complete digital grayscale workflow. We learn to express in black and white our personal interpretations of landscape. Blending traditional, new, and emerging techniques and technologies, we discover the extraordinary possibilities of expressive digital black-and-white landscape work. 

Join us September 21-25 for Expressive  Black and White Landscape Photography.

be strong, be safe, Carlan

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Meet Roxanne Stout...

My art work explores the connection we have with the world of nature, how one moment can be forever remembered in our memory, and how putting together remembered moments make up the whole picture.
I would call myself a collage artist. I began as a painter as a very young child. And in college I studied biological illustration. The mysteries that nature shares have always intrigued me. 
I live at the base of the Cascade Mountains and from my home I look down on the Klamath River in Southern Oregon. Overhead is the Pacific Flyway, the ancient sky-path of thousands of migratory birds. This is my inspiration.
it was almost two years ago today that I taught at Pacific Northwest Art School for the first time.  We drove up from Southern Oregon and rode the ferry across to Whidbey Island where we rented a lovely house overlooking the water.
My workshops were a joy and as we created our hand made books the excitement was contagious. We stitched, printed, collaged, painted our hearts out all the while laughing and making new friends.
Since that time my life has changed and many exciting things have come my way. I spent the whole year working on nine chapters of a book for North Light Books called Storytelling With Collage: Techniques for Layering Color and Texture that will be released early in 2016.

I got a job teaching Mixed Media Art Journaling at Oregon Institute of  Technology where they have been expanding their art program.  I've had my art work in some wonderful shows and taught many beautiful workshops. I even have a magazine article in one of my favorite magazines "Mingle" that hits the shelves soon, on July 1!

If I could say why I love teaching Art Workshops it would be because there is nothing so wonderful as seeing my students faces light up while they create. To me art is more than just drawing and painting, it is the process of creation and it is this process that gives us so much joy.
I had an interview once by Connie Solara from Dirty Footprints Studio.... she asked me what my main purpose as an art teacher was, I said without even pausing that it was to help people find there light. I still feel that way You can hear the interview here... HD:Users:rocky 

In my Book Of Windows workshop July 10th-13th we will be completely immersed in bookmaking and creating wonderful pages based on the theme of windows, not only what windows look out upon, but what we see when we look inside of a window from the outside.
We will use all sorts of wonderful tools and materials that I have been saving just for this workshop, not to mention my stash of beautiful vintage finds.
We will take small field trips out to the beach or into the forest and picnic overlooking Penn Cove.
I  would love to inspire and guide you during my four day workshop, A Book Of Windows. If you love mixed media art... this is the place for you to be!!

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

What do Creativity and Sean Kernan have in common?  Quite a bit!  This talented and gifted instructor always takes it to the next level...follow Sean's latest link and "see" for yourself.

Sunday, March 22, 2015

How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love Black and White

Face it: digital monochrome is superior to black-and-white film and conventional printing. You'll understand this in my upcoming workshop, “Black and White and Not Quite.” To get a suggestion of why this is, read the sections What to Expect in the Workshop, and Getting to Monochrome below.

Blue Mosque (Istanbul) infrared capture

A Little History

I received my first camera, a Brownie Hawkeye, in 1957. I shot black and white print film. Now, nearly 60 years later, I'm again loving monochrome imaging.

During my early career as a photographer—when I covered NASCAR and NHRA races—I shot about ten times as much B&W film as color, principally because four-color offset printing was expensive and we didn't publish a lot of color in the magazines where I worked.

Since then color became more popular: It became more affordable for consumers but also for publishers and professional photographers; Kodak, Agfa, Fujifilm and others offered a wide variety of color negative and transparency films. With the advent of digital photography, color became the default image capture mode (although monochrome could have been, and would have been superior).

About a dozen years ago, I had an idea for primarily monochrome output in which I created images with mostly sepia tonality, leaving in just a dash of some of the underlying colors. Then I started processing HDR images, again with an overall toned monochrome feel but a hint of original color peeking through.

What got me thinking about B&W even more was the availability of infrared-converted digital cameras. My first was a Canon G10, which really got my creative juices flowing when I took it to Istanbul and Bulgaria. In case you don't know, IR images come out of cameras (at least when you shoot raw) reddish monochrome. OK there are extended range IR conversions that produce false color IR, but I didn't go that way.

I recently had a Nikon D7100 converted. The lower noise in the D7100 images, coupled with the ability to use better lenses, has me again enthusiastically shooting IR.

Make no mistake: I still use my color camera to capture images destined for monochrome treatment. Right now that's a 36MP Nikon D800. With a full-frame sensor, wide dynamic range and low noise, it provides great raw material for black and white processing.

Color conversion to monochrome

What to Expect in the Workshop

Throughout this four day “non-linear” workshop we'll alternate between theory, examples, demonstrations, field work and processing.

So you take home some compelling new imagery from Whidbey Island, we'll discuss how to identify and visualize good subjects and compositions. You'll see how black-and-white shooting differs from working in color and can provide opportunities way beyond color. To mix things up, exercises will give you a chance to demonstrate to yourself some often misunderstood principles of photography, providing concrete ways to better control what you capture.

We'll also mix up shooting locations, covering iconic scenes and some of my secret spots. We take good advantage of the shorelines, forests, farms and structures that make Ebey's Landing National Historical Reserve a visual treasure.

Color/monochrome comparison

Getting to Monochrome

Speaking of processing, we're going to cover many workflow options in the workshop. With so many choices, I'll help you zero in on what's the right path for you when you see me step through the ins and outs of:
  • Lightroom
  • Photoshop
  • Nik/Google Silver Efex
  • Topaz B&W Effects
  • DXO Filmpack
  • On Software Perfect B&W 9
In addition to the actual conversion processes, we'll explore how to maximize color images for later monochrome conversion. Just as we choose the right color scenes to create compelling monochrome photographs, we can optimize the color content of our captures to achieve our artistic goals in B&W. 

I most cases, you can download a 30-day trial version of these programs just before the workshop, then decide which to invest in after you've seen where each might best fit your workflow.

Some programs and topics we'll explore include:
  • Raw file conversion in Lightroom, Adobe Camera Raw and DXO Optics Pro
  • Working in the LAB color space
  • Creating luminance masks and employing them to optimize single exposures and bracket sets.
  • Adding pop to color precursors or mono images with Topaz Clarity
  • Performing local adjustments without masks in Nik Viveza 2
  • Building maximum tonal range from bracketed exposures in HDR Efex 2 … or Photomatix, Photoshop, Enfuse or a great HDR program you've never heard of.
  • Adding finishing touches (such as selective color and toning) and preparing for printing.
Join me to sharpen your general skills and learn how to consistently produce B&W photographs that will have viewers saying, “Wow!”

Saturday, March 7, 2015

Pigments of Your Imagination

LOVE alcohol inks. My new book is #1 on Amazon in painting!!!!!! YEA Join me for a FUN workshop in August

Thursday, February 26, 2015

Playing with Dye!

I always love to come to Whidbey and teach at what I still think of as the Coupeville Arts Center!! That's a sign of how far back I go with the school and the wonderful people who organize and manage the classes. We always have a great time, and the students are exceptional. Many of them become my friends, which is a double bonus of teaching. Later this spring I'll be teaching a class focused completely on using MX fiber reactive dyes. The dyes are versatile - you can print with them, fold up fabric and put it in a bucket of dye to create patterning, pour dye over the cloth - stencil and stamp. The possibilities are endless and the effects can be random or very controlled - depending on what "look" you're after. One of my recent interests with the dyes is using as little water as possible, in an effort to share environmentally sound practices with my classes. So we'll talk about that, too. I expect students will complete several yards of fabric (and/or scarves) by the end of the week - and will then have a stash to use for quilting, clothing or home dec - I never know where the fabric will go once the workshop ends, but I DO know we'll have a gorgeous rainbow colored stack of cloth completed, and I can hardly wait. If you aren't signed up yet, come and join me. You'll LOVE it!

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Musings from Seth Apter, Mixed Media Artist...

I have often been asked to describe my artistic style – something that I have a challenging time doing. In thinking about this question, I typically look for commonalities in my work, regardless of the medium. In doing so, I have noted that I favor certain color palettes, aim to create surface texture, often utilize text as both a design element and method of communicating my message, and integrate found objects into many of my pieces. But, the aspect of my work that truly stands out to me as a defining characteristic is my love of layers. While this does not necessarily differentiate my work from others, as many people use layering in their art, it may just be the most important aspect to my creativity.

I love layering. Paint. Paper. Objects. Anything really. Part of it is the look that is created when layer after layer is applied to a surface. There is a depth that is developed that just cannot be made any other way. As a new layer is added, it is both informed by and brings changes to the previous and future layers. Even the earliest layers that cannot be seen help determine the look of the finished surface.

Layers are about adding and subtracting. Covering and revealing. The artist’s hand is evident in every choice. Two artists, layering the same two colors of paint or paper, will create completely different pieces. Two hundred artists will do the same – and by the same, I mean different!

Layers create history. They add a sense of time passing and a feeling of experience. In this way, they echo our lives. And this may be the most salient reason why I love to layer. Layers in my work are symbolic of the layers of my life. You can look at a picture of me and see the surface but there is a lot underneath that you do not see. It is those layers that really define and determine who I am. In this case, it truly is a case of art imitates life.

In my upcoming workshops at Pacific Northwest Art School, my love of layers will be shared with all attendees. Both the literal and symbolic aspects of layers are highlighted in both my own workshop, Cover to Cover, as well as my collaborative workshop with Orly Avineri, If Walls Could Talk. I hope you will consider joining me there.

Thursday, February 5, 2015

We Have A Winner!!

Thank you ALL so much for your kind comments on my blog post!  The response was overwhelming, and I wish I had a set of Golden paints for each and every one of you.  But I can give you a couple of downloadable "handouts":
THE WINNER IS... Christine Jermyn in Toronto.  Congratulations, Christine!  E-mail me with a shipping address and I'll get the paints out to you.

Meanwhile, since I can't do a blog post without some kind of image, I'll show you what I'm working on in the studio: a series of "pieces" (really, they are just experiments) exploring all-over atmosphere, color, texture, without strong contrast of any kind. 
Well, this one has a bit of contrast, but really soft edges.

I like the really monochrome aspect of this one.

I like these last two, but they stray from my initial intention of being mostly monochrome.  Will keep experimenting. We may do a series like this (with all technique demos) in the Abstract Painting workshop.  But you could try it on your own.

Thanks again for all your terrific comments. 

Sunday, February 1, 2015

Working in Series with Jane Davies

Hi.  Jane Davies here.  So glad to be guest posting on this blog!

Like many artists, I work out ideas through a series of paintings, rather than individual pieces.  The series format helps me focus on process, and not get too precious about any one piece.  It helps me keep in the flow of art-making.  I am not concerned about whether the resulting pieces "hang together" or not.  I use the series as my process, which is why my class (May 31 - June3) is called "Abstract Painting: Series as Process".  Here is a little video of the development of one piece, the first in a series, in which I talk a little bit about my inner process as I work:

This shows some of the sequence of the piece.
This is almost finished, but I need to let it sit for a while, and do many more.  This is 10"x10".

The piece in the video is loosely related to this series. You can read more about this series and see some of them in process here.  These are 10"x10".
Take a look at Abstract Painting: Series as Process, and if you can't make it to the workshop, I hope you'll enjoy working on your own series.  It's FUN!!  I will be giving a slide presentation on Monday, June 1, 5:00 - 6:00 pm, on The 100 Drawings Project.  It is free and open to the public.

MEANWHILE, I have a GIVEAWAY for one lucky winner.  I'm offering a set of Golden Fluid Acrylics!  Ten 1-oz bottles of fabulous, intense color.

All you have to do to enter into the drawing is comment on this blog post.  Identify yourself uniquely ("Mary in Minnesota" not just "Mary", for example), and then go to my blog on Thursday, February 5, where I will post the winner.  If Lisa lets me, I may post it here as well, but will definitely post the winner on my blog. Good luck.  And keep making art!

Thursday, January 15, 2015

What a terrific article this is! Writer Elizabeth Meade Howard really captured Sam and his work.   Really shows the depth and breadth of our faculty and shows in a nutshell what a master level instructor is like...follow this link and become captivated at how Sam Abell captures and "sees" an image....

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

©Jack Graham

                                              “A good photograph is knowing where to stand.” ..Ansel Adams


You pack your vehicle the night before. You have studied the maps, GPS information etc to get you there. You have looked at some other images made in the location you are venturing to the next morning and are inspired to capture a scene in your own way. You go to bed and think of what might be. You awake, get ready and drove sometimes a long way to where you set out. You arrive and guess what? You’re planning and forethought is not what you see. Perhaps the weather is uncooperative and the forecast was wrong. Perhaps the wildflower bloom is late, or has already occurred. Now what? Having a sense of place can allow for some great imagery, just when you think things are not right.

As you arrive at the location that you planned to photograph, exactly, what are you thinking about?  Are you determining how the light might affect the image that perhaps you’d been planning for some time? Or do you have more of an opened mind to depict the scene as you see it on this occasion, in other words, making more than the best of a situation.

Often photographers have their mind set on how a certain location should look when they arrive to make the photograph. The have created in their mind, perhaps an iconic image of Half Dome or a famous lighthouse on the Maine coastline. So often Mother Nature drastically affects the results and ones best laid plans are negated.

A huge part of successful photography is a result of planning. However being flexible and constantly aware what you can do with a scene, taking the conditions you might not have planned for, into consideration can produce stunning images.

Different light, wind, weather, seasonal factors all can be used to your advantage when you are aware of them. Are there dramatic clouds that can be used as a formidable background? Are there wildflowers blooming that can be used as a foreground? Yes, the fog rolled in, but how can one use this fog as part of the image. These and more are things that should be going through your mind as you evaluate the entire situation before even setting up your tripod. I am constantly suggesting to fellow photographers to slow down and carefully evaluate the scene. Walking through the area can be extremely helpful in order to ascertain how you want to use the unexpected conditions in a positive manner to create your image.

After you have evaluated these factors, have put your mind in its right place, it’s time to get creative. Let your emotions form the feeling you want to convey in your photograph. Think about what you like about the location and how you want to depict the scene to the viewer. Remember, how you see the scene, and want to tell its story, it primary. The viewer of your image was not there, and does not have the same emotional attachment as you do. This is not to say you don’t take the viewer into consideration, but depicting the scene in the fashion you determine is your ultimate goal.

Always be aware of the unexpected. Perhaps a rainbow, or even lightning might appear out of nowhere. Think of these unexpected happenings as a bonus to your experience. Use as much or as little of these factors to add to your image.

More often than not nature photography is a compromise. Rarely, are the conditions the way we expected when we planned our day. Having the sense of place can make or deny the possibility of a stunning photograph.

On a recent trip to the southern Oregon Coast, the weather forecast for this morning was for partly cloudy conditions. Obviously this did not happen. The sea stacks against the threading sky made a formidable subject, so I first determined this might offer some possibilities. However, with just the sandy beach, even these monoliths were not enough. I needed a foreground. After walking around, I found an area where the tide, just beginning to come back in caused a nice pattern, and leading line into the image.

There are so many ways to add impact to a scene; one must investigate the location by walking around to find the right angle, the right foreground that makes the image work. I also know that because of the light, I decided that this scene would be processed as a Black & White image. Using a very slow shutter speed, I was able to slow down the water and enhance the leading line effect. And yes, the unexpected, but welcomed addition… there is a gull on the very top of the right sea stack.

                   Early Morning, Ridgefield National Wildlife reservation, Washington

It was a cold, damp morning here at the reservation and the heavy fog, though predicted was more than expected. The possibility of making some images here this morning looked bleak.
As I sat in my vehicle, I noticed a slight break in the fog and put my self into position, in the event something allowed the light from the sun to protrude through the heavy fog. For about 30 seconds it did just that. The whole valley lit up. I had to make a quick decision on o how I wanted to depict the scene. I changed my lens to a long telephoto and decided to only include about 1/3 of what I was seeing with my eyes. In the past I would have shot the wide landscape and felt that I captured the “trophy” shot. Here I decided to go for the close look and create more of an intimate scene.

Note that this image was taken in HDR. I combined three frames together using NIK Software’s HDR Pro. I am not a HDR photographer and really don’t care for the grunge look. However this image would have been impossible to capture the way it looks here without HDR.

                                Fall Leaves on the Forest Floor, Northern Ohio

Beauty in the wilderness can be easily discovered just by taking a walk and looking around. You may see vistas, grand landscapes but being aware of what’s right next to you is the key to a rewarding and complete photographic experience. The more you slow down and become aware of what’s around you, you’ll become in touch with the smaller aspects of the ecosystem around us. Your experience in the field will be rewarded with a varied array of images, not just the grand landscape,

These maple leaves had fallen the night before in a rainstorm in the hardwood forest in Ohio. I made this photograph just as they are, lying on the forest floor. Soon they would be covered in snow and ice.

                                                     Rainbow over Hunt’s Mesa, Arizona

Seeing and predicting light and potential is important for photographers to develop. In time, many photographers develop an innate sense that “Something might happen here today” and remain in an area until that potential leaves.

I was high up on Hunt’s Mesa, overlooking Monument Valley one afternoon. It was quite cool and very windy. Rain showers were coming through every few minutes. I know this light. I know if one such rain shower would pass by to my right, there would be a potential of a rainbow. Obviously this is what occurred. This rainbow was not accident. I know that conditions were there for a rainbow, and I was not disappointed. The weather was less than perfect, but having a sense of place made this image possible.

                                                     Sunrise, Whidbey Island, Washington

Whidbey Island, Washington is one of the most bucolic locations anywhere.  Located only a short ferry ride from busy downtown Seattle, you feel like you are in another world upon leaving the ferry. Places like this are where one can relax, and not worry about having to make copious quality images. I have found that when I see photographers pressuring themselves to produce photographs, they usually fail. I always stress that we as photographers must slow down, enjoy where we are and not create that need to shoot hundreds of images, looking for that one gem. On this morning, I actually only shot three to 4 frames of this subject. I enjoyed the serenity of the location, the sounds and smells of the harbor. Low and behold, this image worked just fine. Had the light not been so cooperative, or the wind picked up negating the reflective water, that would have been ok too. I was in a place like nowhere else that morning.


                                           Palouse Region, Eastern Washington,

Sometimes, the simplicity of a location can transfer into a powerful photograph. The image above is one such location. This single building, out in the middle of a wheat field tells the story of where it is. Had there been other buildings, tractors etc. competing with the subject this image would not have worked. Look for locations and be aware of the power that you can transmit in your photographs.

Having a sense of place, and awareness is primary in developing your style, and overall ability to make some wonderful images. Isn’t that what it’s all about?

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

In an effort to keep things fresh this year we thought we would re-introduce you to our blog and utilize our very talented faculty as guest bloggers...this way you can see the world through their eyes and hopefully this will awaken, inspire and motivate the artist that dwells within all of you. Our first post was penned and photographed by the very gifted photographer Keron Psillas.

A New Year! Layering of Intent to support your vision. 

The beginning of a new year is an exciting time. Full of promise, of determination, perhaps some relief. I take this time each year to support my goals for the year with the teaching and wisdom I’ve gained from the last. This past year has been all about the teacher-student relationship for me, and many of my best moments in those relationships have come about because of my association with the Pacific Northwest Art School. 


A few highlights for me at PNWAS: teaching my Photography of Intent class again on Whidbey Island, assisting Sam Abell, assisting Arthur Meyerson, and offering public talks to the community and photo clubs. Ok. Nice list. But now consider this; because of my connections and students at PNWAS, I have the pleasure of growing my mentoring clientele, I created and produced two marvelous trips to Portugal for clients and students, and I was invited to participate in a project that is the brainchild of a PNWAS alumni.  
All of this fits nicely with one of the central themes in my teaching. When we have an intent with an image (or project or goal) we need to layer our intent to reveal a fuller expression of the original goal/concept. My concept? Expand my career in teaching and broaden my outreach. By layering the teaching with public speaking and mentoring, more students were reached and clients were gained. And this was layered with continued magazine work and another book published to continue to grow my stature as a photographer.  Because of all these layers, I was invited to participate in a journey to Cuba with a group of incredibly accomplished photographers.
Sounds great, right? It was, but the growing career is not the was the original goal. The reward is the joy I experience in all my endeavors. I am overjoyed when a student has an ‘aha’ moment. I am delighted when a student tells me that they’ve been inspired by some message I have passed along. I am thrilled when they create their own successes. My intent is to assist them in fully realizing their own creative potential. By layering on all the teaching that I have had the benefit of, along with my own observations, methods, and philosophy, I am putting my intent into action. 
I hope you will think about layering your intent in your next project or to reach your personal goals. And I hope, too, that you’ll take advantage of the spectacular resource that PNWAS has become. I am so proud to be part of the community...I hope to meet you there soon! And I hope you’ll return to this blog often. I’m looking forward to being a guest here again and talking about integration.
Here are a few images from my recent trip to Cuba. My intent was to create one meaningful image during my time there. I was keen to create images of the ‘everyday’, quiet images of quiet moments, each meaningful in their particular way. You can see all the images in my book: Four Days In Havana. Here’s the link  

For more information about my work and information about upcoming events, please visit my blog:  


to view our website, visit and to view Keron's two 2015 workshops follow these links!