Singular Images

January 31, 2019

Ghost

Filed under: Art, Memory pods, Photography, Projects/Series — Tags: , , , , — Douglas Stockdale @ 9:41 pm

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Ghost (Memory Pods) copyright 2014 Douglas Stockdale

Part of resuming my work on my Memory Pods project has been to re-examine some of the earlier photographs. Case in point is this photograph that I had titled Ghost. In the context of the larger body of work for my investigation, this somewhat abstract photograph is a portrait of the plant without any of the seed (memory) pods at the very end of its’ flowering cycle.

The image of Ghost could represent a person in the later stages of dementia or Alzheimer’s disease; all of their memories have faded and deteriorated until the person is left with none of these essential elements. The person has not passed away, they are still present, living, breathing, eating but they cannot provide any meaningful interaction as to who they are or were. They do not know their family; either their children or spouse or any of their close friends. They do not know where they are and do not know to ask as to what is going on. They just are; essentially a living ghost of their past selves. Thus we are left with some very shallow points of contact with this person; the very tip of the memory iceberg while all the remainder of the memory has all but faded away into a gray fog of nothingness.

When talking with someone who has a near dementia type experience such as a traumatic brain injury, (i.e. TBI, also known as a concussion) they can recall some of the recent fuzziness in their memory; coming up with blanks when trying to explain something. Unable to find the words. Nothing coming to mind, just a puzzling blank.

The version of Ghost below is probably closer to the narrative of their TBI experience, while for me, the image above is more in line with a portrait of the person who is in the dark chaos of dementia. Below is the original version that I created in 2014 that I still think is a great image.

Cheers,

Doug

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January 7, 2019

Memory Pod exhibit sold-out; great start for 2018

Filed under: Art, Memory pods, Photography, Projects/Series — Tags: , , , , — Douglas Stockdale @ 7:00 am

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Untitled (Memory Pods) copyright 2015 Douglas Stockdale

A little more validation that my Memory Pods project is the one that I need to focus on in 2019; earlier this week when I went to my L.A. gallery (Fabrik Projects) to pick up the remaining photograph from the Holiday exhibit I was told that the last photograph had been sold earlier in the day. Wow! Apparently someone arrived while the exhibit was being taken down and they still wanted to walk the remaining exhibition. They were smitten by and purchased my last remaining photograph. Very, very nice.

My first ever sold-out exhibition!

This is a very great way to start the year and a strong validation of the Memory Pods project. As I posted earlier, I will continue to further develop this project in 2019. Appears that the gallery director really liked this body of work and perhaps I my have another solo exhibition in the works.

Over the holidays I had started to re-examine this project, such as the redevelopment of the currently untitled image in this post, above. I had photographed this still life composition in 2015 and the image had continued to hold my interest. Until recently I was unsure of how I wanted the final image to appear. Over the recent holidays I started to work on it again trying to place further emphasize on the fading and decomposing qualities of memories (memory pods) as an abstract process. I think that this is a stronger version of this photograph and more in line with my pre-visialization.

I also added a black edge border to the photograph as part of defining the limits of the image as one might think of a using a matte to outline a framed photograph. Another visual aspect to consider (yes, I also have a version of this that does not have the black border). So far, so good.

Cheers,

Doug

December 31, 2018

Best wishes for a Creative New Year in 2019!

Filed under: Art, Memory pods, Middle Ground, Projects/Series, Trabuco Flats Mystery — Tags: , , — Douglas Stockdale @ 12:45 am

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Untitled (Memory Pods) 2014 copyright Douglas Stockdale

In my last post I recounted my accomplishments for 2018, which is the first half of my end-of-the-year two-part series, while today’s post is the second part that is more about looking ahead at 2019. At the end of 2017 I did not announce very many stated goals for 2018; essentially I wanted to self-publish my artist book Middle Ground. That appeared daunting enough and I really wanted to focus on that publishing task to make it a reality.

So a few goals for 2019; one part is developing deeper relationships with my friends while looking forward to new connections; one part is moving at least two of my long term projects forward and third part is making some infrastructure investments that support my creative processes.

I realize it is very easy to get wrapped-up working on projects in the studio so I need to work on getting out a bit more often in conjunction with doing a better job of staying in touch with all of my friends, family and new acquaintances. A friend of mine reserves at least a couple of hours each Friday as a stay-in-touch day; of course this was started a bit before the advent of social media. So I am going to try to do that each Friday; phone calls and maybe emails and Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn do not count. I am also going to expand my Friday task list to work on increasing my collection of gallery rejection letters; like the lottery, if you don’t play, you can’t win. So I need to make regular submissions and more networking for my various projects.

Last year I think one of my un-stated goals was after self-publishing Middle Ground to start working on the publication of my next book; either my project Gardening for Ordnance or maybe Memory Pods. I had this grand idea of finishing a book each year, only because books were something I could work on in the background while doing my day-job. The recent gallery representation and selling my art-work at Fabrik Projects this year has turned that idea upside down. I can now anticipate getting my projects exhibited and obtain more feedback while developing these projects into a book; I think the publication will happen, but may just take a little bit longer to develop. Which is a good thing.

The continued interest in Memory Pods is bringing this project to the forefront going into 2019, such as the revised image above with this post. One thing I would like to experiment with this year to support this investigation is acquiring a short extension tube, probably 21mm to start, for use with the 120mm Makro for the Hasselblad. I think that the Memory Pods project is one I will be basing a lot of my gallery submissions on this next year. After four years, I think I have a nice body of work for this project, and I will be adding more to it this year. Kind of struggling with the publication pre-visualization of this project for a while now, but perhaps I might make progress on this as well this next year.

I have the introduction of my Trabuco Flats project pretty much worked out and much of the body of this project but unsure of how to close the project. I also have the book concept developed and a local printer who thinks that they can print and bind this book as I have intended. One thing I think I need for this project and hope to acquire early next year is a moderate wide angle lens, probably a 50mm CF f/4, for the Hassleblad to use conjunction with my stash of very expired film. So I will continue developing Trabuco Flats in 2019 as well. Appears that this project is taking precedence over Gardening for Ordnance for a while, although these two projects overlap a bit, so working on one can support the other.

The other investment I need to make is going to be a new larger printer since my 14 year old Epson 4800 printer is working only about 75% of the time (which is to say that one out of every four prints does not print well, with the trailing edge of the image banding). I have my eye on a 24″ wide Canon, but I will need to move a lot of things around in my tiny studio space to make this happen. A 44″ wide printer will just not fit, so I will defer to my friend Mark to create the 40″ x 50″ prints when I need these. Hopefully I will need Mark’s printing support more often this next year ;- D

So I want to close this year with a big Thanks to you all for reading what I irregularly post here from time to time, your comments and feedback and wish you all a very creative New Year. I know that I am going to do my best!

Cheers!

Doug

December 28, 2018

2018 End of year wrap-up

Filed under: Art, Memory pods, Middle Ground, Photography, Projects/Series, Trabuco Flats Mystery, Workshops — Douglas Stockdale @ 9:56 pm

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Loss (Memory Pods) 2016 copyright Douglas Stockdale

It’s the end of another year, so time to celebrate new friends, closer relationships, accomplishments and good times. So today I am looking back and in the next day or so, I will be looking ahead as to what I would like to accomplish for 2019.

The life of an artist also has its ups and downs, sometimes success and sometimes not. Earlier this year I wrote about dealing with stress, which for many folks goes well beyond being an artist, so worth reposting the link. I also find looking back at all of the year’s accomplishments to help keep things in perspective; life is best lived one day at a time and that living is a process of putting one foot in front of the other, whether at a crawl or a sprint. Interestingly, of the many things that went well this past year, only one or two were really anticipated, while many of the others were great opportunities that materialized and I was ready to take advantage of the situation (maybe another good post for next year; be like a Boy Scout and “be prepared”).

So Chronologically, here are some of the really nice creative things that happened this year.

Middle Ground; self-published my limited edition (E of 99) artist book last spring, which I had in development for the past year and half. I also learned about the vexing intricacies of leporello (accordion) book binding. I had not anticipated that my living room was going to be a dedicated book production area for almost two months.

Solo exhibition, gallery representation and an Artsy.net featured artist for my project/artist book Middle Ground at Fabrik Projects, Los Angeles at the end of Spring.

Book designer for Christine Kaplan’s self-published photobook On My Walk that was launched at the UCLA Health’s “Back-yard Concert” & fund-raising event during the summer.

Started another new project, Trabuco Flats, while working on my Gardening for Ordnance project when I happened upon what the OC Sheriff called a “suspicious circumstance” (what they thought looked like an old sunken shallow grave). Start of a mystery investigation. So I now have three long term projects that are on-going. Yikes.

I attended a number of Los Angeles area art and photo exhibitions, book events and art fairs meeting up with old friends while making numerous new friends and acquantances. The Jasper John’s retrospective exhibition at the (Los Angeles) Broad Museum was one of the highlights of the summer.

Provided artist talks and portfolio reviews with a number of local artist organizations, including LACP, Palos Verde Art Center PADA, and during my solo exhibition at Fabrik Projects. I also inked a book design workshop with the Medium Festive (San Diego) for next March 2019 (limited space still available).

Ended the year with the Holiday Sale exhibition at Fabrik Projects and very honored to sell the two photographs (including Loss, above). I quickly framed another edition of Loss for the gallery exhibition (I can now talk about this as it was someone’s special Christmas gift) and provided a third framed photograph that was in reserve, both of which are still available for a special price until the end of this year (yes, a couple of days from now). The sale of these two photographs from my Memory Pods project has reignited the creative flames and I have been working on this over the holidays.

For my photo book review site, The PhotoBook Journal, we had some nice accomplishments as well. This is the tenth year of publishing this book review e-zine and in conjunction with the growing editorial team, we have published over 500 contemporary artist and photo book reviews. Wow.

I am sure that I have missed something, but overall, I think it was a pretty good year and now getting ready for 2019. Yes, I did purchase some photographic equipment, such as a new (used) lens for the Hasselblad, as well a bunch of new brushes for my acyclic painting (that I resumed my interest in painting might be another subject to post for next year). More about what I would like to accomplish for 2019 in another post shortly.

Cheers!

Doug

PS (update); also realized that in 2018 in conjunction with Gerhard Clausing, we started to curate a series of on-line exhibitions with the Photographers Exchange, a group of photographers who meet monthly at the Irvine Fine Arts Center, Irvine, CA. I curated three on-line exhibitions for 2018 and I will have another, “Water & Ice“, in early January 2019. We are planning to continue this series through 2019 and probably beyond.

below: cover of Middle Ground (Note: copies of this artist book edition are still available)

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November 29, 2018

Fabrik Projects 2018 Holiday Pop-up

Filed under: Art, Art Market, Memory pods, Photography, Projects/Series — Tags: , , — Douglas Stockdale @ 4:45 am

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Loss, Memory Pods, 2014 copyright Douglas Stockdale

I will have a couple of framed photographs on exhibit at Fabrik Projects for the month of December as part of their “2018 Holiday Pop-up”. This is a group show that will feature artwork that is reasonably priced for the holidays. My photographs are from my Memory Pod series, and Loss, above,  recently garnering an Honorable Mention at IFAC’s “All Media” exhibition.

The exhibition opening reception is this Saturday, from 6pm to 9pm at the gallery, located at 2636 South La Cienega Blvd, Los Angeles, California and the exhibition extends through the end of December.

Joining me for this group exhibition are a diverse group of artists, including Amadea Bailey, Yuri Boyko, J.T. Burke, Jessie Chaney, Martin Cox, Betsy Enzensberger, Cia Foreman, Astrid Francis & Bob Francis, Rob Grad, Sarah Hadley, Maureen Haldeman, JJ L’Heureux, Elizabeth Kitchen, Brandon Kusher, Patrick Ramsey, SameSource, Marilyn Sanders, Linda Stelling, Jane Szabo, Sharon Weiner, Glen Wexler and Nancy Wise.

Let me know if you would like more information about these photographs.

Cheers!

Doug

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October 5, 2018

Photo Independent 2018 exhibitor

Filed under: Art, Art Market, Memory pods, Middle Ground, Photography, Projects/Series — Tags: , — Douglas Stockdale @ 5:15 am

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Loss, Memory Pods, copyright Douglas Stockdale

Truly an interesting weekend and now the following week as I just found out that I have an opportunity to exhibit at this weekend’s Photo Independent 2018 being held in Los Angeles. I will be sharing some exhibition space with my book printer, Dual Graphics, thus my stronger emphasis on my artist books that I will have for sale; there are still a few editions of Bluewater Shore left, as well editions of Middle Ground and copies of my Guide to Self-publishing an Artist Book.

Yikes, still less than seven days notice; so I have to say there is some value in having some of my art already framed. There are some limitations on size and where/how to hang, so I quickly determined that I have four pieces (including the photo above that was awarded Honorable Mention at the IFAC 2016 All Media exhibition), that will work within the confines of this exhibition space in conjunction with my artist book sales.

Printer update; appears that my old Epson printer had a slight bit of temporary coherence, but then lapsed back into its printing coma. sigh. So evaluating alternatives and will there will be a bunch of printer discussions with friends at Photo Independent. I know that I would really love to have a 42″ wide printer, but there is absolutely no studio space for this size printing monster and since I am not selling this size prints yet, a nice dream. Perhaps more realistic is an upgrade to a 24″ wide and I can move some things around; it should be a tight fit, but do-able.

One thing I have come to understand for my book projects; I need a smaller printer to make test prints for the book dummy, etc, thus also looking at a 13″ printer since the 24″ wide printers have issues handling/printing paper smaller than 8-1/2 x 11″.

Last, with all of the past nozzle clogging issues of the legion of Epson printers that I have had, giving very serious consideration for a Canon printer.

Okay, still some things to do to prepare for this weekend.

If you are attending Photo Independent, look for me walking the isles or hanging out at the Dual Graphics/Douglas Stockdale exhibition booth.

Cheers!

September 5, 2018

Summer of 2018 is over

Filed under: Art, Art Market, Memory pods, Photobook, Photography, Projects/Series — Douglas Stockdale @ 6:38 pm

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Aging (Memory Pods project) copyright Douglas Stockdale

It is now September, summer vacation as most of us know it (as a former Midwestern that is after Labor Day), the kids are back in school and looking forward to the Fall weather. I took a short break from blogging here after the publication and exhibition of my artist book Middle Ground. So a bit of a quick recap of what has been going on for the past month and a half (no moss growing on a rolling stone).

In July I was a portfolio Reviewer for Los Angeles Center of Photography’s 2018 EXPOSURES during which one of those I spent time with was Melissa Lazuka, who has been developing some very cool artist books. Subsequently after discussing the issues of how to create a larger edition size she made a decision to create her artist books as unique books (1 of 1), but in a series utilizing the same layout, her photographs, but different ephemeral materials. And she just sold her first one shortly after I reviewed “Song of the Cicadas” on The PhotoBook Journal. It is very nice now one of my favorite photobooks for 2018. So check it out!

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Melissa Lazuka, Song of the Cicadas, copyright 2018

In early August the photobook I have been designing for Christine Kaplan, On My Walk, was published and released during a UCLA Medical event in conjunction with Teen Cancer America for their Backyard Concert series fundraiser. (Also attended this concert, which included performances by Jewel, Van Morrison, Don McLean (American Pie, a long version, of course!), Ed Sheeran, including an impromptu duet by McLean and Sheeran, and Roger Daltry). Christine was working on her book with me through the LACP Mentorship program.

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Christine Kaplan, On my Walk, copyright 2018

August was also the month that my little portable PC gave up the ghost and I made the transition back to using Mac’s again after 20+ years, opting for a 27″ iMac with most of the bells and whistles. Not a fan of the iMac bluetooth mouse, so that was switched out for a Logitech mouse which has been 100% reliable, which is more than I can say for the iMac mouse. I did lose a few things during this transition, but nice thing about using film, I just need to rescan the negatives.

Meanwhile I continued to develop my project Gardening for Ordnance while promoting my artist book Middle Ground. In the process of working on Gardening for Ordnance, I recently came across what the local O.C. Sheriff is calling a “shallow” grave. Not something I was looking for, but something that I found & reported. The Sheriff’s (about six of them showed up) stated that they will continue to investigate; don’t know who buried what and when. Also in touch with the crime desk of the local OC Register newspaper. Since I am not a photo-journalist, I will leave this to someone else to keep track of.

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O’Neill Regional Park, September 2018, copyright Douglas Stockdale

As a result of completing a book review of Tara Wray’s photobook “Too Tired for Sunshine“, I have been submitting some of my photographs from my Memory Pods project for her TooTired project on IG. My attempts to indirectly create a portrait of my mother and grandmother in the later stages of Alzheimer’s Disease during which they experience profound sadness, confusion, anger and depression appear to resonate with her readership. Thus I am returning to this body of work which I have not spent much time with this past year while working on the Middle Ground project. So expect to see a bit more from me about the Memory Pods project during the Fall.

Last, Gerhard (Gerry) Clausing and I have initiated a monthly on-line exhibition series for the Photographers Exchange, a local photographic group that Gerry and I edit the blog. He and I will take turns curating this monthly on-line exhibition (I am currently curating the Contemporary Landscape exhibition) and see how this develops as we consider what unmeet needs that we can address with this. Regretfully at the moment this is an internal event for members of the Exchange, while Gerry and I consider alternatives for this social media channel.

Cheers!

July 6, 2018

Memory Pods – end of Season Four

Filed under: Memory pods, Photography, Projects/Series — Tags: , — Douglas Stockdale @ 1:46 am

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Memory Pods, June 2018, copyright Douglas Stockdale

Now that the heat of July has come in full force here in Southern California, the Aloe Vera seed pods that I am photographing for my project Memory Pods are all quickly withering away in their own unique style. As I wrote earlier in April, this is my fourth year of working on this project and since I am not sure of how I want to publish this project yet, I will probably work on it again next year. I will give me self some more time to reflect. I am pretty sure that I can exhibit this project now, which is an option that might allow some feedback. Another aspect to consider.

Meanwhile, there are still a few parts of these plants that are still getting my visual consideration, thus I will probably shoot another couple of more rolls over this weekend. Then its time to call it quits for photographing my subject in 2018. I am noticing that I am much more preoccupied with other projects since I can’t see the ending for this one yet.

This was the year that I acquired my used 120mm f/4 Makro for the Hasselblad to photograph this project. My takeaway is that this lens did not focus as close as I had anticipated, thus I am back to thinking about another extension tube (yes, don’t remind me that I sold two and vowed never to use these things again). The upside to this current camera/lens combination is that these are really big negatives and I can crop these extensively to create large prints. One visual aspect of using an extension tube on the 120mm lens would create an even shallower depth of field, which I seem to leaning into at the moment.

Something to think about during the “off season”.

So now back to the project that does seem to have my intense interest; Gardening for Ordnance in conjunction with a secret project that is developing in the background. fun, fun, fun!

Cheers!

 

April 11, 2018

Meanwhile, back on the ranch

Filed under: Memory pods, Photography, Projects/Series — Tags: — Douglas Stockdale @ 10:25 pm

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Memory Pods, April 2018 copyright Douglas Stockdale

While I am going slightly crazy preparing to launch a Kickstarter campaign for the Middle Ground project, the weather has warmed and my aloa vera are budding. It is Memory Pods season again!

This is my fourth season of working on the Memory Pods project at my studio. For this project I have not been waiting for a book design and pending publication to share, post, and exhibit the body of work. Main reason is I am still thinking about the design and layout for this pending book. Meanwhile I continue to experiment/play with my subject. Last year I did not become as obsessed with this project as I had in previous years and for this year I find myself working at more of a measured pace, anticipating the various phases as to what I want to accomplish. Seems like I am filling in more of the visual gaps that I am loosely considering for this project.

Last year I was experimenting with the two extension tubes with the 150mm lens on the Hasselblad (using 120 film), which turned into a mini disaster as the tubes fowled up the camera body. At the time I had thought my solution would be acquiring a 120mm Zeiss Makro-Planar, which I did during the off-season.

This is not a bad start. The photograph is investigating the “youth” stage for the Memory Pods, so I consider this a nice portrait of a “kid”. Also first chance to really work with this Makro Zeiss lens on the Hasselblad, which I was slightly surprised that I was not able to get in closer to my subject (image above is slightly cropped). Probably why when I sold the extension tubes I was asked if I really wanted to sell these if I were acquiring the Makro lens for macro photographic work.

So while diligently pulling together my Middle Ground Kickstarter materials and information, I will be taking some well deserved breaks for my Memory Pods project. And a good time to let my Gardening for Ordnance take a slight breather. Otherwise, I will be probably be going nuts.

Cheers!

December 31, 2017

Best creative wishes for 2018!

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Morning walk, Trabuco Canyon, 2017 copyright Douglas Stockdale

On the brink of 2018 I think is a nice time to reflect on the achievements (and maybe even some of the screw-ups) of this past year, while looking forward to the opportunities and possibilities of the New Year.

So what do I have a chance to pat myself on the back about for 2017?

A bunch of things are just the continuation of my on-going artists and photographic projects; writing my random thoughts for this blog, providing photographic/artist book reviews for The PhotoBook Journal, portfolio and submission reviews for LensCulture, portfolio reviews for Los Angeles Center for Photography (LACP), curating the photobook submissions & curatorial talks for Photo Independent, and providing mentoring to other photographers/artist on the development of their book/projects. Likewise I continue development of long term photographic/artist projects; Memory Pods, Middle Ground, Instant Nomad and Gardening for Ordinance.

Bluewater Shore; self-published my limited edition artist book  which was launched this spring at Photo Independent. I had been developing this artist book for the past four years, so it was really great to finish this publication, which was recently selected by Elizabeth Avedon as one of her Best Photographic Books for 2017, and made Viory Schellekans Best Photo Books of 2017. (Also a few copies of this edition are still available, so contact me if interested; doug@douglasstockdale.com)

Guide to Self-publishing an Indie Artist Book; an unexpected self-published book that I received a commission to complete in time for it’s launch at the Medium Festival of Photography this fall. This book draws heavily upon my Introduction to Photo Book design workshops.

Introduction to Photo Book workshop; In conjunction with Los Angeles Center for Photography (LACP) last spring, I led the first of two workshops this year for LACP. We are already planning the next workshop with LACP for fall of 2018, so watch for more details next year. These workshops have also led to more mentoring for photobook development with individual artist/photographers and organizations.

So what lays ahead for 2018? As the photograph above hopefully implies; an uncertain future on a path that only a few walk, with some potential hills (ups and downs) lurking ahead with the end of the path obscured by the trees. There’s also the thorny cactus lurking just off the trail.  Okay, it’s a bit of a classic metaphor, but I enjoy it all the same.

One goal for 2018 is the (self) publication of Middle Ground this spring (working on the book dummy during the holidays). Continue development of the other photographic projects. In discussions with my Associate Editor, Gerhard Clausing, about a ten-year anniversary photobook for The PhotoBook Journal.

On a personal note, I still need to lose another 5 pounds this year (did lose 10 pounds this fall) and get my blood pressure further down with modifications to my diet (a bit less wine, reducing the amount of salt, more fish, fruits and vegtables) in conjunction with frequently daily walks of a duration that is at least an hour. For the later, I am now venturing more off the beaten path that has led to the start of another photographic project about walking (I have a working title, but more about this in 2018 as I tweak the project’s artist statement). Maybe two walking project since I have been walking both the nature trails and the local ocean beaches, as well the local neighborhoods. I will continue to follow my muse and really interested to see how this all will develop!

So as we prepare for the New Year, I wish you all the very creative best for 2018!

Cheers!!

Doug

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