Winter’s Dust 2

A flutter in the chest. A small bird, caught inside. Almost weightless in its restlessness. Almost. At times nestled in, curled up, resting. At times. A flutter in the chest. Wing-beats and sharp feet. Pulchritude and ache in equal measure. Almost.

© Karen McRae, 2012

Incidental Exposures

The days seem intermediary. Frosted only at the edges. The autumn colours have faded – to sepia – to grey – to misty blues.

But for some reason these are colours I can sink into. Literally.

There have been a few times when I thought my boots might be lodged permanently in the clay bottom of the creek. But so far I’ve managed each time to wrestle myself out on to solid ground. When your mind is absorbed in one thing, you may not notice that your feet are being absorbed by another…

Each of these images is an in-camera double exposure. Layers of light and shadow on a rippling surface.

© Karen McRae, 2012

Drawing on Water: A Collaboration

Smoke and Water, Elena Caravela & Karen McRae

Swimming Underwater, Elena Caravela & Karen McRae

A few weeks ago when I was editing images of water reflections, a couple of the images brought to mind the work of another artist. It’s hard to describe what specifically sparked this association but I’ll try to explain.

Partly, it was me looking at these images and already seeing things in the reflections – drawings on water. – my own perceptions. I thought these could be a starting point for something, or someone, and that someone turned out to be artist (and fellow WordPress blogger), Elena Caravela. Elena is a wonderfully accomplished multidisciplinary artist/author who does work that includes children’s book illustrations, drawing, watercolour and oil painting. I admire her work enormously.

It was something about her magical drawings that sparked the idea to suggest a collaboration with the photographs as a starting point. I sent her an email asking if she would like to work with me on a project and I was delighted that she agreed! In truth, Elena did most of the work on this project.

What I thought might be interesting is that I already had ideas about what I could see in these images and I wondered what Elena might see and how she might develop them. The drawings above are the final result with Elena interpreting them in her own wonderful way. Click on each image to see them a little larger and experience all the enchanting details.

Here is what Elena had to say about the process:

“I did not want to interfere with the images too much. I knew right away that I wanted to maintain much of the structure and color. In fact I did not introduce any new color, and used only what I found within the images. I worked digitally in layers directly over Karen’s work, not touching the original but taking my cues from it.”

“Each photograph presents its own special charm. After turning it on its side, the negative space in the “frog” piece spoke to me immediately of dreamy water creatures in motion and rippling below the surface. The “figure” piece was quite the opposite. It was its fluid line and dynamic composition that captured my attention. The swirls appeared to me as smokey figures frozen in perilous escape. The smoke alternately dissipates and collects, providing just enough presence to tell its story.”

Below are the images as I sent them to Elena:
What do you see?

Since this work is entirely digitally based I thought it might be fun to throw a few random words into this particular artist statement generator (I love that such a thing exists!) and see what would happen – An artist statement about nothing and everything:

Caravela/McRae’s work investigates the nuances of modulations through the use of slow motion and close-ups which emphasize the Symbiotic nature of digital media. Caravela/McRae explores abstract and shaping scenery as motifs to describe the idea of infinite space. Using water loops, non-linear narratives, and allegorical images as patterns, Caravela/McRae creates meditative environments which suggest the expansion of space…

Elena’s website and blog. Please check out her amazing work. 
A huge thank you to Elena for all the work she put into this! I love what has developed.

© Elena Caravela & Karen McRae, 2012

Reversing Light

Wishing there was a bit more time and light in a day to fit in all the possibilities.

These were taken with natural light, but in my studio, rather than outside. The background is a smudgy black chalkboard.

*Addendum: My mother just sent me an email asking “isn’t there anything else you can photograph?” Perhaps it’s time to change the subject… =)

© Karen McRae, 2012


I’m just working through some images for printing and I realize that each time I look at the above image it makes me think of a little bird’s nest on a spindly stick – small seeds in winter coats nested inside.

It’s interesting to me how once an idea like that is planted in my mind, it seems I always reference that image the same way. I no longer see it for what it actually is.

In the image below, I always imagine it to be the face of a rabbit. That’s what immediately came to mind the first time I looked at it and that idea has stuck.

Alright, back to work. I’ve run out of words…

© Karen McRae, 2012

The Pull of Light

It’s difficult to resist going out on a bright Autumn day when so many of these are coloured grey.

There are other things that need doing.

I try to push away the urge pick up my camera but the light becomes important. Important, because it moves so rapidly through the sky. The light is in a race with the dark hours and these days the dark is winning.

But outside there is the sound of crisp leaves shuffling in the breezes. The gentle coo of the mourning doves. Cool air and frosted grasses. And did I mention sunlight?

Who could resist?

© Karen McRae, 2012