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Capturing Art within Art

October 19, 2022

Japanese Screen Circa 1870 Meigi Era Shijo School of Painting
My photographer’s mind awakens to aged objects because of their inherent history; old things have so much to reveal. The above Circa 1870’s Japanese screen resonated with me the first time I saw it because of the dimensions of age that are apparent. Japanese Screens, called byōbu meaning “wind wall”, were used as room dividers and to create private spaces. Their history begins in China as far back as 206 B.C. however arrival in Japan during the 7th or 8th century marked the beginning of a long and uniquely Japanese artistic evolution occurring over hundreds of years. 

Kishi Ganku (1749 or 1756-1839)  
Kishi Ganku (1749 or 1756-1839)   Initially made of wood panels with metal, silk or leather hinges, Japanese Screens evolved to a lighter wood frame construction with paper hinges, and silk or paper stretched across both faces to create a perfect canvas for artistic expression. As the artistry of these screens grew their purpose expanded. They were used as diplomatic gifts, at funerals and births, in Buddhist and Shinto temples to emphasize someone or something of honor, and by wealthy members of society (such as the Samurai lords) to convey affluence and power.   

Kanō Sanraku (17th century)  

The variety of artwork and subject matter is vast. Byōbu artists used these special canvases to depict nature, celebrations, poetry, human and animal figures, stories and even instructions. Some screens are painted with black ink alone and others are bold and colorful. Gold leaf, now a signature byōbu style, eventually took these screens to another level of elegance. 

Konoe Nobutada, Waka Byōbu (Poetry Screen), Momoyama period (1573–1615)

The screen I photographed has a silver leaf foundation that reveals itself from behind the paint and dark overtones of age. The luster and hue of the screen change as the light of day changes. These details intrigued me, and seen more closely in tiny parts through my camera lens, the screen transformed into a unique new version of itself. 

Gayle Waterman, (Artwork from top left to bottom right) Path of Hope, Garden Path, Full Bloom, Fresh Start (2022)

Please contact me directly at if you are interested in these new smalls.




​If the Skin Fits, Wear It

May 9, 2022

Recently, I had the opportunity to photograph reptile skins selected from the vast supply available at my favorite boot maker’s business, Stallion Boot Company.

(Stallion Boot Company)
Out of thousands of options, I was drawn to the textures and patterns of reptiles. I’ve never considered myself a fan of reptiles, but once again through the inspiration of the lens, I was fascinated by the patterns that nature provides as a means of protection, evolution, and beauty. As I began processing the images in this body of work, I was surprised by the primal resonance that it created within me. It’s as if I connected to a prehistoric time when these creatures roamed the earth in great numbers.

(Citrine Lace, Diamond Python)
I was interested to discover through a macro lens that the textures and patterns of many reptiles mimic our ancient rock formations that created their kingdoms. The wrinkles in the python look like the sandstone crevasses seen in Canyonlands, Utah or along the Delores River in Western Colorado. The crocodile looks like some of the rock formations near Split Rock in Wyoming.

(Above: Split Rock, WY - Image courtesy of BLM)
(Rocky Road, Crocodile)
And the ostrich, more recently evolved from reptiles, has an eerie resemblance to the human skeletal spine.

(Night Crawler, Ostrich)
The wonder of these animals and their history is yet another reminder of how connected we are to all creatures, to the earth and to each other no matter how different we appear on the outside. In the future I’ll look at reptiles with a different perspective, as if these ancient creatures have wisdom to impart when we take the time to watch and listen. When we look deeply at the layers of the world around us, we’re inspired by the magnitude, wonder and design of creation and the connection among us all. Art is a great adventure in exploring and experiencing the world.

Click here to view the High Desert Collection in my Latest Images Gallery.


2022 Artwork for a Bright New Year

January 18, 2022

On a trip to Santa Fe in late spring last year, my friend and artist Peter Campbell and I were meandering our way to the Plaza on a seldom traveled road. Peter was the first to notice the interesting door below. He took a picture of it for future inspiration in his oil paintings. I went over to examine the door closely and discovered a lot of interesting aspects that would look good through a macro lens. Unfortunately, I didn’t have my camera with me so later in the year I returned to Santa Fe intent on photographing the door and discovering what abstract art was hiding in the church motif.

The abstract photographs below are my favorites of many images.  It was a beautiful day and a memorable trip that is shared with you in the artwork below. Please click on each piece individually for further details and vignettes. 

(Left: Winter Camp  -  Right: Sharpened Senses)


(Above: Strata)

(Above: Over the Top)

Artistic Origins

January 10, 2022

I’m fascinated with the origins of artistic expression. From the earliest forms that we see in petroglyphs on cave walls to the first photograph taken in 1826, both were an attempt to record the ‘moment’ or circumstance for posterity. Not only were these early achievements intended to document an event, but also to create a lasting, visual communication that could be shared through the years and ultimately across the world. In another sense, the artist was wanting to be ‘heard’, so to speak, and a visual drawing or photograph was a way to make an impact on the viewer and share a message that lasts. Think of the drawings on cave walls as a message board, in a sense, that has lasted for thousands of years.

(Left: The Chavet Cave Drawing from the Paleolithic Age. Red dot drawing thought to be a Mammoth. Image courtesy of Bradshaw Foundation)
(Right: The Altamira Caves in Spain, the Old Stone Age. Image courtesy of

Locally, there are petroglyphs in 9 Mile Canyon, Utah that are both obvious and bizarre. On a trip there several years ago, I would stare at them wondering what these early people were hoping to communicate or record, and what prompted them to do so. It’s this wonderment that causes me to believe that artistic expression is innately within each of us. The creation of art and our interpretation of it is as unique as our individual thumbprints. 

(Left: Medicine Man by Look Studio, harkening to and inspired by the early cave drawings)
(Right: Petroglyphs in 9 Mile Canyon, UT)

Through the years, artistic expression was required to record battles, family legacies, history, religions, love, and life. Over time we came to realize that the artist is in control of the expression of reality. It may or may not be accurately depicted. Whether beautiful or bloody, the canvas or wood or stone is the interpretation of the person who is creating the artwork.

The advent of photography gave us a means of recording “exact” reality at that moment in time. And yet today as all artistic expression has flirted with the abstract, even some photography has become less realistic. The approach I take with abstract photography is to record a sliver of reality, whether it is an old piece of wood or metal and present a suggestion of graphic interest that allows the observer to wonder and to dream. 

(Left: I love the watery abstract beauty of this first photograph of the moon. Image courtesy of MyModernMet.)
(Right: A current photograph of mine, Lioness Moon, also has a watery illusiveness.)

The recording of life is omnipresent today with verbal storytelling, text, photographs, video and art. And, it’s as easy as picking up your phone and pressing a button. Each of us can use our innate ability to make our impression and share it with the world. The creation of art validates who we are, where we’ve been and what’s important to us.

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Adding a new link

September 15, 2021

“To my mind one does not put oneself in place of the past, one only adds a new link.” - Paul Cézanne

(I Was. © 2013 Look Studio)

I was is the first in a series of images, the Chakra Series, photographed from a wonderful old vinyl chair at the home of my friends, the Coverts, in Cody, Wyoming.

My interpretation of this simple image depicts a child in the Mother’s womb, the beginning of a new link, as Cezanne describes.  The past tense title references the creation of a unique child from the DNA of its parents, the nine months of nurture, and the wonder and miracle of life that creates a new link to the past.

This series also correlates to Chakras from early traditions of Hinduism. The next image in the series, I am, represents our individuality.

(I am© 2013 Look Studio)

The cracks from the aging blue chair graphically depict a reminder of the focus that we gain through meditation and the essence of our being.

(Left: I FeelRight: I Can. © 2013 Look Studio)

(Left: I Love. Right: I Speak. © 2013 Look Studio)

(Left: I See. Right: I Know. © 2013 Look Studio)

I Speak and I Know are shown in more detail on my website.  If you have an interest in any other work in the Chakra Series, I will be happy to send you a link directly.  I also have small prints of the complete series framed in 11" x 14” white frames. Please contact me here. Thank you!
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