Monday, July 25, 2016

Market

Visit to the Norcross Community Market

Like other farmers’ market events, the Norcross Community Market offers produce and goods not at all like super market products. This is a pleasant, friendly place.

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The market featured not just produce but “processed” products as well.

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These delectable looking cookies - aren’t. They are doggie treats!

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And lunch too!

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.:.

© 2016 Ludwig Keck

Sunday, July 10, 2016

Cafe Art and Photopainting

As far back as I can remember I have always been fond of dabbling, drawing, painting, and doodling. Photography has also been my hobby. When the technology became available to combine both, of course, I could not resist. What resulted from my early efforts I could hardly call art. It didn’t seem that any of it would be accepted by any self-respecting gallery. Maybe my favorite café might give me a couple of square feet of wall space. They didn’t, but I nevertheless called my creations “café art”.

Evening on the Marsh

To show my work I started the Café Ludwig sites and blogs. Actually there were, and still are, some people who cheered me on. There were even other artists who do similar work, hundreds, maybe thousands of them. Many of those fellow artists could be found online. To provide “gathering spots”, I started groups and communities; all called “Café Art”. You can find us on Facebook, Google+, and especially at Fine Art America.

When I coined the term "café art" for my own work I applied it to manipulated photos, anything that started out as a photo but is visibly no longer a "straight" photograph. In my own work that ranges from abstractions that have no hint of origin to images that are partially photographs with alteration by texturing, vignetting, softening and similar techniques.

Mind you, some of my "café art" got rejected by me at my own Fine Art America Café Art group for not meeting my own rules.

Hawk

Well, I could not sell anybody else on using the term "café art" to no one's surprise, and right from the beginning I referred to the work shown in the Café Art group as "photo-painting". That is a hijacked term as it originally, more than a century ago, meant a painting produced on a photo as a substrate and outline and painted over. In modern terms the "painting over" is done with digital techniques. Such techniques include "filters" and tools like Topaz Simplify, Topaz Impression, Dynamic Auto-Painter, FotoSketcher, and many other such utilities.

"Straight photographs" have all had a variety of enhancements applied. Some right inside a camera, many in "post-processing". There is a fine line between still being recognized as a photograph and something more artistic.

Reed Grass

Not wanting to set myself up as the prime authority on the matter I decided to let my artist colleagues make their own distinction. Members of my groups decide what they want to share in my groups. There is some amazing creativity on display there.

At Fine Art America art is for sale. The organization does a magnificent job of producing art products of outstanding technical quality, from museum-quality, framed and glazed, archival reproductions to shower curtains. Artists are understandable more fussy when joining a group. There have to be narrow definitions to distinguish the many groups from each other. My FAA Café Art group is for “photopaintings”.

Holiday Market

Label it "photopainting" and it is, subject to some other restrictions, acceptable at my Café Art group. Don't label it "photopainting" and by definition of the artists, it isn't, and it won’t be accepted. It seemed so clear and straight forward. I must have had the mentality of a four-year old.

Of course, this is controversial. Some artists do magnificent photo manipulations but refuse to call them “photopainting”. We have a lively discussion on the topic going on. So, yes, we see the world our own way - after all, we are artists. It is expected of us that we see what others don't, that we imagine what others can't.

Dreaming Ferns

I have illustrated this article with examples of my own café art photopaintings. These are available for purchase at Pixels. Click on them to take a look. For remarkable work by other artists visit the Café Art groups at Fine Art America, Google+, and Facebook.

.:.

© 2016 Ludwig Keck

Monday, May 16, 2016

Thistles

The dictionary says, “prickly, composite plants having showy, purple flowers”. They are a favorite target for my camera, yet they rarely make it into my blogs. I will set that right with a few recent ant some “ancient” photos. Just three weeks ago thistles were blooming by my favorite pond.

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Thistle Blossom

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Now it is time for thistle seeds. Instead of bees and butterflies, the thistles are now visited by finches and other small birds.

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One of my first “trademark” images for Café Ludwig was a stylized take of a butterfly on a thistle.

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Well, let’s see where the wind will take us.

.:.

© 2016 Ludwig Keck

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

The British Are Back

British Car Fayre 2015

Norcross again hosted the British Car Fayre on Saturday, September 12, 2015. Here are a few images from that happy event.

British Care Fayre - Norcross

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1933 Rollce Royce

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On exhibit - Jaguar and more

.:.

© 2015 Ludwig Keck

Thursday, August 6, 2015

Making Bourbon

For a long time I have wanted to visit places along the Kentucky Bourbon Trail. When my travel plans allowed some time, I chose to tour the Woodford Reserve Distillery. Definitely a good decision, it was a wonderful way to spend an afternoon.

Woodford reserve Distillery - visitor center

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Woodford Reserve Distillery is located in beautiful Kentucky horse country, you pass by meticulously groomed horse farms to get to the distillery. The modern visitors center and friendly staff makes you feel welcome and comfortable. I signed up for the tour and we were shortly on our way by bus to the distillery proper. The buildings dating back to 1890, now National Historic Landmarks, were refurbished in recent years yet retain their historic look and feel.

Still House

Our first stop was the still house. This historic limestone building is permeated with the sweet smell of the newly fermented mash. Our guide, James, did a fine job showing us the process by which grain is turned into bourbon.

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Mash Cooker

Corn, rye, and malted barley are ground to fine meal and go into the “mash cooker” were starches are turned into sugars. The mash is then fermented in large, cypress wood vats, where yeast converts the sugars into alcohol. Fermentation takes several days at carefully controlled temperatures.

Fermenters

Fermentation Vats

Mash

Now comes the distillation part of the process. Woodford Reserve used three large batch copper stills to extract the alcohol from the fermented mash, called “beer” in the trade.

The fermented mash goes first into the “Beer Still”, the largest of the three. Next comes the “High Wine Still” and the desired portion of the distillate goes to the final “Spirit Still”.

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The “Spirit Safe” allows for testing of the output from each still and controls are provided for directing the liquid to the desired destination. You can see the clear liquid flowing in the third window. The final step is to fill the fresh “bourbon to be” into new, charred, white oak barrels.

Spirit Safe

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The filled barrels go outside where the go on the “Barrel Run” to be rolled to the next building.

Barrel Run

Barrel Run

The next building is the “Barrel Warehouse”, also called rickhouse or rackhouse in the trade. It is here where the barrels age for many years and the bourbon takes on its final character. This building too is permeated with the smell of bourbon, the “angels’ share”, that works its way through the wood of the barrels. The product is periodically tested until the master distillers declares it ready.

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The barrels are taken to the adjoining bottling building where they are emptied, and the now golden bourbon is run through a final charcoal filter bed.

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It is Woodford Reserve bourbon now. The final steps are bottling and packaging.

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The tour then returned to the visitors center for the final part, tasting the product and learning the finer points of bourbon and how to drink it.

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My final tribute here - a couple of “café art” creations.

The horse sculpture greets visitors at the entrance. It was created by James Burnes from CorTen steel and cherry wood as “Western Tears” for the Woodford Reserve Distillery. Locally it is referred to as “Rusty” and I have called the painting “Yippie”.

Yippie i aye  --  Yippie i ohh

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Finally an artistic tribute to the masterpiece from the Woodford Reserve Distillery.

If you have not already found out, clicking any image brings up a larger version from my OneDrive album. The album contains many more photos and can be viewed as a slide show. If you wish to see the collection from the beginning click here: Woodford Reserve Distillery Tour.

.:.

© 2015 Ludwig Keck