Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Amy Butler Fabrics




I love fabric. Always have. In fact, I still have scraps leftover from projects my mom sewed when I was a small child. I never let her throw any of that stuff away. And, to this day, I feel the need to collect fabric (oh that I could afford to have yards of all of these just stashed away in my studio). All the above fabrics are from Amy Butler and really speak to the bold, graphic, yet sophisticated sensibilities of my generation. There are dozens of fabric sellers on Etsy that offer these beautiful prints, and for more info, visit http://www.amybutlerdesign.com/. There are features on Amy's studio and even free patterns for all kinds of cool crafts.

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

A Rocker and a Gentleman


I'm a little behind the times, I know. But I love this cover from Spin's April magazine. It's so classy and elegant while still being hip. It also featured one of my favorite bands, R.E.M. I love how these days, you can be a rocker and a gentleman. If you can find a copy, read the cover article - it was really an honest look back at R.E.M.'s career and a look forward to their new album which is supposed to rock.

Monday, April 28, 2008

Spring in Yellowstone


Spring in Yellowstone National Park looks a lot like winter, my husband and I found out last weekend. We took the doggies and visited the first two days the roads were open to the public. The wildlife was everywhere, and the blanket of snow over the park was pristine. We spent two days in the park and camped a few miles north. The conditions made for less than stellar photos, but when it comes to buffalo and elk, I really can't help myself.


Then we headed over to the Bighorn Recreation Area in the Bighorn Mountains for the last night. When we awoke the next morning, there were seven Bighorn sheep in our campsite. They grazed for an hour and it was amazing to watch them nimbly hop up the steep cliff faces across the road. Of course I didn't have my camera handy. But I did when this guy ran out in front of us when we were driving out of the area.

Sunday, April 27, 2008

What I Like Even Better


What I like even better is to be featured in a Treasury! Thanks so much to AdroitJewelers for using my "Water" photo (second row, far right). She's put together such a great list using images that all have dew, rain or water on them. Click here if you'd like to see a larger version of my featured photo.

Saturated Spectrum II



I love making Treasuries in Etsy. You get to select items yourself to feature on a page, and other people browse through them. It's graphic designy fun to make them beautiful.

Saturday, April 26, 2008

ARTLAND USA in HD

If you are lucky enough to have an HD television and also have HD channels, then look for the Gallery HD channel. You can geek out on artful programming all day, but I really suggest the show ARTLAND USA. It is now in reruns, but for two seasons it featured two hosts travelling across the country to view art and talk about it with townspeople, artists, curators and the like. They made stops in many big cities to view art you might expect to see, but they also featured roadside attractions, architecture and artists' workspaces to present a well-rounded view of art in our country. The hosts were likable and knowledgeable and gave the viewer great insights in their interviews. From Fallingwater to Carhenge to the Velveterium, every mile of their travels was fascinating and filmed quite dynamically. Do check this program out if you have the chance. Visit http://www.artlandusa.tv/ for airing times.

Friday, April 25, 2008

Unexpected Surprise


Right now I'm reading a 1963 edition of Ernest Hemingway's "Green Hills of Africa." I was delighted when I opened it and found these 'decorations' as they are described in the book, by Edward Shenton. Aren't they wonderful!?!





IMAGES COPYRIGHT CHARLES SCRIBNER'S SONS/EDWARD SHENTON

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Just One More Thing

And then I'll get to the art and design, as promised.
I'm no portrait taker but I love these photos of the family.
There's my husband, Brian.


Our one-year-old, Happy

and our puppy, Little Bear.


Sadly, Miss Maggie is no longer with us.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Funny How Things Turn Out

So, here I am in Wyoming. I knew before moving that there would be no job equivalent to what I left in Pittsburgh, and I struggled with that for a few months. But, moving out here has really given me the time to focus on my art, and that is such a blessing. In the year and a half I've been in Wyo, I've been so productive with my photography. It didn't come easy. It took a while for me to see the beauty in this part of the country. But I do now, and I'm such a better person for it. And now that I feel I'm in a groove with my photography, I've had time to pursue other things, like painting and digital art and beading and scrapbooking. I've even had the sewing machine out once or twice. It's funny how things turn out.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

On To Wyoming

After just a couple of years in Pittsburgh, we moved to Wyoming. My husband got a job leading a robotics testing facility and urban training site (and yes, it's as cool as it sounds). So we packed up our Honda Civic, with Miss Maggie in the back, and drove out to Guernsey, Wyoming. It's a town of 1147, give or take a few, located about an hour and a half north of Cheyenne. It was a bit of a culture shock, I admit. I thought I was from a small town in S.C., but I was wrong about the small part. Guernsey is officially small. We live about 100 miles from a Wal-Mart or a movie theater, but honestly, I don't miss it all that much. Guernsey, or the surrounding towns, has just about everything I need, and everything it doesn't have, I can order off the internet. Thank goodness.

Monday, April 21, 2008

The Steel City

We moved to Pittsburgh for robots. Well, my husband got a job designing robots at Carnegie Mellon, so we moved and I started working for The Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, designing the front page of the features section. I grew so much there as an artist, and at such a fast rate. I worked with great folks who were willing to just let me run with things, and I think the results were terrific. I loved all the deadlines, because I never had to dwell on an assignment for too long. Sometimes it didn't feel like long enough, but that's newspaper for you. I think the Trib is where I really began to recognize graphic design as art. Sometimes I made what you see on the front page...other times I just combined it or arranged it, but I think the end result is still art, in a somewhat ephemeral form.

Sunday, April 20, 2008

First 'Real' Job

So after college I moved to Jacksonville, N.C., where I got my first 'real' job. I was hired at The Daily News to do photo correction, mostly, and I worked nights, mostly. Some of that time, though, was spent learning the fine art of graphic design. I had taken some classes in this at school, but I really learned most of my groundwork here, from the fine folks that took me under their wings. Here are a few of my favorites.


Thursday, April 17, 2008

Obsessed




I became particularly enamoured with this one particular building in the Vista area of Columbia.

I called it the Bassett Warehouse, (because that was what was painted on the side) but when I researched, I found out it had been a number of things. It had been built as a printing plant for the Confederates, and it burned down when Sherman marched through Columbia. After that, it was resurrected as a warehouse to store liquor for the state of South Carolina under the dispensary system, until prohibition was enacted. It was used next during World War II for the U.S. Seed Loan Program. Later it was used for a paper company and then the furniture company, Bassett. The exterior had deteriorated so much, though, that it has been out of use since 1977. Well, until recently. Just a few years ago it was renovated (which probably cost more than the sale price of the building) and made into a Publix. I was overjoyed to hear it had not been torn down. The Vista has really become a hip part of town, and the preservation of the industrial buildings has really been key in establishing its atmosphere.

For photos of the revamped Bassett Warehouse, visit the Historic Columbia Foundation. It doesn't look like I remember it, but it has been so many things I'm glad it was given the chance to have yet another purpose.

If you'd like to read more about the history of this building, I have an article I wrote some years back on my photo site, Victoria Bennett Beyer Photography.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

So I like buildings (with character, of course)

After a while, a pattern emerged - in addition to flowers, I always seemed to be taking pictures of old buildings (not all of which were falling down). I started driving home on the weekends to take the back roads, and visiting the industrial districts of Columbia (where I went to school at the University of South Carolina). Even my journalistic endeavors began to focus on historic preservation.





Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Discovering Macro

In high school I was on the yearbook staff, and much to the chagrin of my schoolmates, I was constantly snapping photos of them. I'm sure they thank me when they flip through those books and see all that bad hair. A big turning point also came in high school, when a boyfriend gave me an Olympus OM-1 that his father was going to throw away. It was my first SLR and I still use it today. It opened up a whole new world of control and dimension that blew my mind.

I continued to pursue journalism in college at the University of South Carolina. I got lots of practice as a reporter and copy editor, but there were fewer opportunities for the more artistic side - photography and graphic design. Though, I must credit U.S.C. with creating a very balanced program in spite of what I just said. I took every graphic design course the journalism school offered, and took a single course in photography from the art school. This course opened my eyes even further. My teacher showed us how we could turn our lens around to get a macro effect, and after I took this photo, I was hooked.



It's not the greatest thing ever, but in this photo I saw a style I had never before experienced. It was bold, and graphic, and suited my artistic sensibilities perfectly.

Monday, April 14, 2008

Let Me Introduce Myself

My name is Victoria Bennett Beyer and I'm an artist living in Wyoming. Photography is my first love but I also enjoy creating digital graphic art, painting, scrapbooking and dabbling in general.
It's been a long, strange trip from my younger days in South Carolina to now, in my life.

To catch you up:
My parents gave me my first camera when I was in elementary school, and my first memories of really being interested in photography come from a trip across the country that we took when I was ten. I have an entire album of blurry shots of the Grand Canyon and of the buffalo in Yellowstone National Park.





From then on, I took photos of everything.