Pia shares Her Dark Half - Hello 2023!
This is not the place for bright and sunny things
So here we are, still somewhat fresh into the new year. How has it been for you so far? The new year entices us to give anything a fresh start. It's like a new slate that hasn't been tarnished or messed up - yet! Did you make any resolutions? And guess what - the world has already moved on and reminds you of your next duty: Valentine's Day. Yay!
No worries, I'm not about to get into that rant. As I announced in my previous newsletter edition, I'm changing things around a bit with my format and see what sticks. Of course I'd love your feedback - what you like, what you don't care for. I appreciate your input! Just like my inner demons, it's an ever evolving and changing part of my mind, err, I mean, creativity. Thank you for going on this exploratory ride with me. You, my brave and patient readers, play a big part in this and help me find my motivation! Oh, and ...Welcome, new subscribers - Happy New Year!
Ok, let's dive into our January Wrap-Up, shall we?
The Good, the Bad and the Ugly
It's been a really up and down month. I loved the non-stop rain (we need it), cold and blustery days, and long nights - in other words: candle weather. My kind of weather, because it's great for brooding in the corner and writing. In between all the storms, I managed to travel a little. Thanks to a good friend who invited me to fly out to Arizona with her, I was able to expand my photography horizons, which included a rodeo queen competition among other things. It was an eye-opening experience and I learned a few new things. Oh, and those rodeo girls are badasses!
I got a real taste of Arizona rural life. The whole deal. Horses, cattle, ranches, cowboy life. Very "Americana". The USA this (slightly jaded) immigrant used to see only in movies as a kid back in Germany. With my trusty Canon DSLR camera by my side, inspiration struck in the most unexpected places. I'd see sunny and happy themes; and then to my absolute delight, my dark half would show me the other side. Here's an example:
Ahh, look at this! So wholesome and sunny - a hint of daily ranch life where people work hard for their happiness. This cowboy is probably somewhere in the shade, taking a break from his labors. Maybe having a ham sandwich with a soda pop.
Cowboy Still Life
Or is he? Finding darkness in the brightest corners, here's my other version. What's with the shears and the chains? More importantly, what about the kiddy play horse in the tree? Are those old bloodstains on the railing? All I did was use a different angle, edit the colors and texture...and voila! You just entered the backyard of the Wolf Creek maniac!
Shears 'n Chains
All in all, it was a productive trip and it kept my creative juices flowing, away from the computer. Mid month, I got sick and became a walking biohazard for about a week. Knocked me down and kept me on the couch. Nope, not the 'rona or flu, just a really nasty cold.
Now turning to you for a sec...
In all my previous newsletters, I've never really gone into depth about using photography to express your creativity. There are so many ways and means to take a photo, so to start, let's keep it simple and fun! I'm sure you have a camera on your phone, a digital camera collecting dust in a drawer, or maybe a DSLR or even older-fashioned camera. If you have a functioning Polaroid and instant film paper frames, you're lucky and I envy you.
Here's my task for you - you can do it in the comfort of your own home, or anywhere outside. I prefer going out because I can combine it with some physical exercise like walking/nosing around my neighborhood or running from aggravated dogs. Grab your camera and take photos that show at least one of the following five elements in each one:
light. 2. shadow. 3. round (lines). 4. corners (shape). 5. textures.
What I love about going on a photo 'safari' is the way it makes you really look at your surroundings and pay attention. You might finally see things you've never noticed before; and it also helps you think outside the box. It definitely gets your brain into creative mode, yay! You can experiment with close ups, weird framing or unusual angles. Have fun with it and send me some of your favorites! Maybe you can even find dark and gloomy stuff for me.
Share-worthy stuff I saw/found out about:
(This is a new and experimental part of the newsletter where I do a quick round-up of cool movies/TV shows or anything else I came across during the month. The jury is still out on this one. Feel free to give me feedback.)
Since I was forced to stay home and watch a lot of TV (woe is me, heh) due to my nasal plague, I was able to catch up on a bunch of entertainment. Here are some titles that I think you, my dear dark-half-embracing readers, might enjoy as well:
AMC's Interview with the Vampire
I finally caught up with all of the Interview with the Vampire episodes and absolutely love the show! There are always a few naysayers who don't like that it doesn't completely follow the original book, but I think this is a great, edgy update. The characters are full of hot energy and the production design is brilliant. It goes dark places for sure and doesn't shy away from buckets of blood. The whole first season is out on VOD and I give it 5 out of 5 fangs!
Excited about the fact that Interview with the Vampire is so fresh and fun, I had high hopes for another Anne Rice property: The Mayfair Witches. Granted, I've only seen 3 episodes so far, and it's not bad, but I was really disappointed by the portrayal of the character Lasher. So...meh. He needs to be much more scary yet irresistible, mysterious and compelling for the stories and his influence to make sense! Nothing against the actor, just miscast. Still, the story takes place mainly in New Orleans and I love the overall vibe, especially that house! I'll keep watching, for now. Too early for my rating, but so far I give it 3 out of 5 burst blood vessels.
Of course I have to mention The Last of Us. Holeeee sheeed! I never played the video game, but from what I've been reading, the TV show is keeping very close to the source material - to the delight of its devotees. Only two episodes in, and I'm hooked already because it's creepy as hell and to me, it's a new take on the zombie thing. Both episodes start with seriously eerie and gripping intros showing glimpses of the outbreak's beginnings. Believable performances and familiar faces will make you care for the characters right away. Again, too early for my rating, but so far I give it 4 out of 5 mushrooms.
I finished watching the second season of Vikings: Valhalla and liked it better than the first one. Valhalla is set more than a hundred years after the events of the original Vikings. Granted, it doesn't have Ragnar Lothbrok, but the characters finally grew on me. This time we follow the adventures of legendary explorer Leif Eriksson, his sister Freydis and their friends. Fill your drinking horn with some mead and satisfy all your heathen/pagan cravings for an epic and bloody tale...Skål! Season 1 and 2 are out on VOD and a third season is in the works! I give it 3 1/2 out of 5 chopped-off heads!
The Menu by Searchlight Pictures
I didn't watch a lot of movies in January, but 'The Menu' lingered in my head for a little while. It wasn't quite what I expected, but it was original and absurd, in a good way. Excellent cast and lots of very dark humor, which I love. Tiny spoiler that might help (wish somebody had told me): It's not a cannibal movie. I give it 4 out of 5 marshmallows.
On my to-do list: The Lair and of course, M3GAN.
I can't believe January is almost over.
Oh, and one last note to yank you back to reality: The Doomsday Clock just got updated to 90 seconds to midnight!
I can't believe it's only January.
I made this!
Besides the photography and editing, I did a bunch of writing, mainly my "Diary of an Indoor Cat' for my Patreon and rad supporters. I ran out of time for any serious painting, besides a few doodles while learning software on my iPad (see murder kitty above). I added one of my original paintings (not a print) to my "Warrior" series in my Etsy store end of last year and thought I'd give it a little bump. Free shipping, ya'll!
That's it for this edition. Have a creative weekend and see you next month!
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Thank you from the bottom of my black little heart!
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