Monday, March 30, 2009

Collar Pick up Glass and Photos

Photo Collage
by Tom Willa
Here's some digital design from a photo shoot at Viscosity. I pretty much got lost in the photos, what you see above is Hugh working the process where sections of cane are fused together to form the vessel which than is blown and formed by glass artist. There is a name for the technique but it eludes me. I have been experimenting with different lenses yesterday was a 50mm 1:1.4D which worked out because it was fast. The depth of field is the tricky in relationship to f-stop, the shutter speed to image clarity, all have to be balance to the intensity of the light. I used some of the my camera auto focus functions to help. I positioned my self where I would be shooting from, then adjusted the shutter speed to a wide open aperture before the molten glass was in the scene. I had to tell myself while shooting that any slower the 1/100 shutter speed would create focus difficulties. I was pretty satisfied with this approach, the three photos above are the pickup, smoothing and finishing with adding a lip and handle. I used Photo shop to manipulating the photos size and shape into a document adding a gradient to finish up. Updated March 31,09

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Onset Sphere

Onset Sphere
6x9 Soft Pastel on Art Spectrum Colorfix
11x14 matted $55
By Tom Willa

Here is another gem of glass being made. Hugh has a wonderful new creative sculpture series, Culture Cells, that he has designed and currently is in the process of producing. (See image below.) It involves a lot of optics, spheres and cold work to make one. We visited the gallery while he was making a sphere component for one. I snapped the photo because I could sense the glass starting to transform into a sphere. In my painting, it was my goal to capture that moment where the bubble starts to takes on the characteristics and form achieved by Hugh's efforts.

Culture Cells
By Hugh Willa

Wednesday, March 25, 2009


Baby and Auntie B
By Tom Willa
Painting seems to be slipping away from me this week. But I had a pretty good weekend shooting in Spokane. This is one of photos from this last weekend, eat your heart Mayberry. Today was a real estate shoot for a residential property. I have to do some photo editing to do later. I really enjoyed the event shooting because there is so much energy with the people as opposed to kitchens and bedroom photos. I just felt like saying "Hi" to the blogosphere.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

On The Bench, Vase:

Glass Vessel
Designed, Blown and Photographed
By Alix Cannon
Here it is, the Vase which was produced by Alix Cannon The painting On The Bench resulted from my observing her craft this vase a couple of Sunday mornings ago. The two solid color masses dramatically accentuate the lovely clear cane middle, while the fluid shape also contributes to the majestic beauty of the vase.

Friday, March 20, 2009

On The Bench

On the Bench
by Tom Willa
8x110 Soft Pastel on ArtSpectrum Colorfix
On the Bench is the result of our latest trip to the glass blowing studio. It also sums up a lot of where my creative efforts are taking me this year. It was painted in the studio from a photo. Photos, yesterday I finished up a real estate photo shoot for David Edwards in Issaquah. It was a magnificent home with wonderful windows, an office and great layout.
I really love taking photos and painting. I am off to shoot a family event tomorrow. I am going to try out a 85mm lens. Sometimes the peace of pursuing what we have passions for is little consuming. That relationship creates a larger conflict when you are trying to make a living. The contrasts in this latest painting represents some of those emotions. Warm and cools, spheres and linear, abstract and realism kind of sums up how it feels some days.
I will route an image of the finished vessel and post it for you to see at a latter date, time to finish organizing for the shoot which also involves doing a traveling packing and a quick yoga session to keep me sane

Monday, March 16, 2009

Flower Vase

Flower Vase
12x18 Soft Pastel on Art Spectrum Colorfix
Another rainy week, I appreciate the suggestions about the wall color, thanks. I come to an impasse on deciding which one will be there when this is finished. I also decided to give it a rest before it enters the overworked collection. The list: I touched up the the tulips shadow to include a little more local color, the reflection gained some red, the vase has taken on some blue tint.
I've decided to pursue glass being created in the studio. Our visit to Viscosity and pick up a plate for a friend from Hugh yielded some photos. My goal is to capture a sense of intensity and motion of the molten glass while being formed. That, should be what you have to look forward from me creatively speaking.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Flower Vase

flower Vase
Soft Pastel on Art Spectrum Colorfix

Winter flower paintings are a tradition for me. It started way back in 05 with a trip National Botanical Gardens in D.C.. This year the flowers are in a vase in the living room/photo studio. I am seeking anyone who has an opinion, which background works for you? I didn't labor very much in Photoshop but wanted to give you the impression of changing background wall colors. The blue was supposed to cool down the wall but the temperature and value may have driven it into the warm range. Anyway please if you like one better than the other let me know? Many mahalos and happy trails, Tom

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Glass Blowing

On The Pipe
6x9 Soft Pastel on ArtSpectrum Colorfix
By Tom Willa
$55 matted for 11x14 frame
Here's today painting. I wanted to paint in March and post it. Miki started working on a Series about glass blowing her first painting is posted. She has captured the furnace's heat with her painting. Glass blowing is difficult and intense subject to capture in a painting. She is definitely my source of inspiration. My design layout was to capture the molten glass which is the beginning of the bubble. Additionally in the background is a paddle with some freshly made cane cooling on the floor. My next painting should be a winter floral with a vase blown by Hugh. To see glass blown by Hugh visit French Curves their etsy page.

Monday, March 9, 2009

Winter Rhododendron

Snowy Rhodie
9x12 Soft pastel on ArtSpectrum Colorfix
By Tom Willa
$75 matted
ready for framing
Winter seemed to be making its' presence felt today. This is my painting for today. I did this painting when the snow started back in December. It pretty much sums up my feelings about winter. I love the beauty of it but, always am ready for spring. Today, I spent a lot of time reading some technical photographic material and trying to figure out how to make Picasa and my blog create a slide show. I think my Picasa albums have some strange setting that is keeping me from sharing them with you. I hope to be able to share another new painting this week. The easel is my friend and the computer can be a large pickle.

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Spring Bloom

8x10 photograph
by Tom Willa

Some days it is good to think about the future. I was at a yoga class the other day where we were doing all the breathing from the core, finding a focus area, etc. while trying to find the balance of the tree pose. The instructor told us about choosing a focal area, focusing down being the past, focusing straight ahead being the present and focusing up being the future. I think this is my tribute to springtime, after a couple of days filled with sunshine, rain and snow showers this is my way of looking up into the future.

Saturday, March 7, 2009


15x18 Soft Pastel 0n Art Spectrum Colorfix
By Tom Willa
$165 matted
Here's one of my first paintings of this year. It may not seem to you that "out of the box" compared to some of my other paintings, but it was a challenge and fun to attempt. I attended a presentation by by Bill McEnroe at the annual meeting of the Northwest Pastel Society. I really like his "Sequim Lavender" painting.
I was inspired to attempt a similar creation. I was impressed at his intention being to honor barns in his painting. My intention was to honor the seagulls and the ocean. I also wanted to make sure I didn't overwork my painting. I decided to use a pane of glass with an area of magnification to take it "out of the box."

Friday, March 6, 2009

Custer Road, Lakewood, WA

Custer Road, Residential Property
By Tom Willa
Today was a beautiful Northwest day. I got the call to this morning to shoot a listing. I scheduled it for an afternoon session. Tomorrow I'll do the editing for this listing but I wanted to share what keeps soup in the pot.

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Plein Air through the window

Late Winter Stump
9x12 Soft Pastel on Art Spectrum Colorfix
By Tom Willa
$75 matted
Here is the painting of the stump in our backyard. It was completed in the warmth of the studio. I was motivated by the return home from Arizona with the desire to paint plein air. The painting took on the challenge of having the easel in place inside the studio for a few days. The stump catches light on sunny afternoons but has a cool feel on the typical Northwest overcast day. My value study sketch was completed on a sunny afternoon while most of the painting was executed during one of those overcast days. I had the desire to meld both of these winter day temperatures together for the feeling of spring being around the corner.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Twilight Daisy

Twilight Daisy
18x24 soft pastels on Art Spectrum Colorfix
By Tom Willa
On Hold
This painting is about soft summer dusk lighting. Additionally, the intention with this floral creation is to present the beauty of a flower in bloom. I emphasized the contrast between dark and light, used warm and cool hues to encourage the viewer around various focal areas. The beauty of the flowers reminds me of the beauty of people. Sometimes one should slow down enough to experience it. Although, once you have that beauty it creates a joy that lingers within one for quite some time.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Studio Portraits

Lisa Smile
by Tom Willa

Lisa Serious
by TomWilla
Studio photography is fun when both the model and the photographer are committed to achieving a photo that captures a range of emotions. I think many people would appreciate studio images of themselves or their families as time passes. The controlled lighting of the studio creates the opportunity for a formal arrangement which captures beauty and personal aura.

Monday, March 2, 2009

Glass Blowers

Glass Blowers
7x5 By Tom Willa
This another photo from our trip to Uptown Glassworks in Renton. The team is putting together a sphere using an Italian technique. The rods of cane are fused together to form a cylinder. The cylinder is then shaped into a vessel. In this case, Alex is shaping the creation into a sphere. That is simplification of the process.
Capturing pictures around the a glass studio is an interesting challenge. Nothing is still (hands, people, even the molten glass are always changing) , the temperature of the the glass is around 2000F, the intense light from the furnace and the glass can be an interesting contrast to the studio lighting. It is a tough assignment for a photographer. I love to capture the concentrated intensity of glass blowing. It is like shooting an event from a documentary point of view, the opportunity for shots come fast and "look this way and freeze" is not an option.

Sunday, March 1, 2009


12 x 9 soft pastels on Art Spectrum Colorfix
by Tom Willa
$75 matted
I enjoyed the Arizona desert around Sedona very much while attending a mentoring workshop with Michael Chelsey Johnson. I challenged myself to obtain a deeper understanding of color temperature while employing the relationship of values. The discussion about these aspects of painting helped me greatly to comprehend the importance to producing quality creations.
This is a studio creation where I made a concentrated effort to reinforce those concepts. It is a Friday night special after recovering from the journey home. It is designed from a photo I took outside the house where we stayed. I found the colors of the cactus vibrate with a combination of warm rich reds and yellows complimented by cooler green blues. The desert was filled with color temperature relationships that were breath taking.