About Me

My Photo
Somewhere in the Mojave Desert, California, United States
Gazing into the wonderful abyss called Life and wondering with great anticipation.....what's next !?!!

Saturday, July 19, 2014

Inevitable transitions

Yes, I am alive! Thank you for the nudges. What have I been up to these past few months?

  • Graduated the last little chicken from high school
  • Welcomed home a daughter-sailor from an 8 month deployment
  • Taught a 2 week image printing class at the local college for our gifted and talented students
  • Helped newly graduated son settle on a college for the fall and attended an orientation in another state
  • Quelled through and prepped photos from over 130 artists for our catalog for the Hwy 62 Open Studio Art Tours (happening in Oct/Nov)
  • Hung out with the 2 older kiddos in their habitat of San Diego (Thank you for moving there!)
  • Took on a consultant role with the California Desert Protection Act's 20th Anniversary (back to my conservationist roots!)
  • Planned a week long trip through the mountains of Colorado with 2 of my 3 kiddos for early August (Can. Not. Wait to go.)
  • Cleaned out closets (Step 1 of becoming an empty nester)
  • Hung out with friends
  • Was awarded the opportunity for one of my photographs to show in TIMES SQUARE!!! on an animated HUGE screen - July 24 at 8pm should you live in NYC
  • Thought about tackling the garage
  • Joined an online art workshop (Wheeee! Time to get messy!)
  • Picked out paint samples for the bedrooms (Step 2 of becoming an empty nester - redo the house.)
  • Thought about picking up one of my cameras and actually shooting with it 
  • Quelled through countless brochures and online sites to plan a walking trip abroad (Step 3 of becoming an empty nester)  First stop, my ancestral roots of Ireland.....

Interesting things happen when you see the end of one chapter of life coming firmly to a close. A little anxiety at first but then....Oh boy! All the possibilities pop up to do things raising a family solo didn't allow. Thankfully, all 3 of my kids are living in places I am excited to visit and explore (besides the fact that they live there.....).  They are all on solid paths which eases my mind tremendously. I'm proud of all 3.

"Aren't you dreading being alone?" many friends ask. 

"Absolutely. Not." says I.  Because I am never really alone. And there is always something going on. Always. I welcome the quiet days....

"How sad that all your kids are will be gone now." a friend comments.

"Why?" says I. "Isn't this how it's supposed to be? Raise them to live their own lives on their own terms? Besides, they aren't 'kids' anymore. They are adults. I dearly miss the cute little kids they were, yes. And I enjoy hanging out with the adults they've become - most of the time.  There's no sadness in that. Inevitable transitions. Celebrate them."

"Oh." says the friend.  I'm not sure she got it....

So - new stuff on the horizon. Lots of it!!!  My daughter and I will be creating a duo photo blog in the near future. I'm really excited about that. She has quite an eye for imagery and her international travels have afforded her insights into humanity. Can't wait for you all to share this journey with us. Stay tuned for the link!

Easing-the-transition stuff:
  • Photo / hiking trip through parts of the Colorado mountains 
  • 2nd year of Hwy 62 Open Studio Art Tours (with 4 other artists!)
  • Local photo / road trips to some new-to-me quirky places (looking forward to doing a trip log to share with you)
  • Playing with mounds and mounds of polaroid prints (just waiting for the paper to arrive to put them on!)
  • Monthly dinner gathering with friends in my comfy kitchen - prepping and sharing new dishes together
  • Visiting friends in Portland, Oregon (a place I've contemplated relocating to)
  • Getting those bedrooms actually painted
  • Doing more than just thinking about clearing out the garage
  • Stepping foot onto Irish soil.....

It's been a fairly mild summer, so far, in the desert. Many cloudy days - little rain from it - but relief from the blazing sun nonetheless. Here's a shot from a recent walk with my best hiking buddy, Toby.


The road may be long, but it is never lonely.....




Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Meandering.

Just a short post for now. The desert is far from bland and boring. Spent a few hours recently wandering among a rather vibrant spring from a mild winter. (More images in another post.)  I see potential for some new transfers. Perhaps patterns for sun printed scarves. Maybe a collage of quintessential bits of my mojave. I'm excited about the upcoming Hwy. 62 Open Studio Tours this fall. November 1 - 2 to be exact.

Querencia. Finding strength from the open spaces.

A quiet walk provides a lot of inspiration.



Sunday, April 13, 2014

Delicate wonders

Yesterday, these blooms weren't there. Today, the little shocks of color captured Toby's and my attention on our late morning walk. The wildflowers make us desert dwellers giddy with excitement. Hoards of visitors from all over the world plan their vacations with hopes of finding these tiny beauties in abundance. Some years we are disappointed. This isn't a "banner year" but the fields, trails, rocks, crannies, and roadsides are offering some lovely spots of color - some soft, some shockingly bright. There are some species rarely seen. These 3 (blurry from winds and the limits of an older smartphone camera) are common and expected signs of spring, and they were simply displaying their delicate splendor off the side of our road. Flowers. Tiny, perfect miracles of life.

Later on, I will go deeper into the park and surrounds in search of more....with a better lens to capture the intricate details...the higher elevations are starting to show. I do believe I need to do some color transfers of this year's display.

An encouraging reminder of what's to come after a long, dark spell....

Beavertail Cactus blooms

(blurry) Canterbury Bluebells. My favorite. 

Apricot mallow. Desert tortoise delicacies. 

Saturday, March 22, 2014

Seeking Shelter (aka Querencia 2)

I am having trouble picking up my camera lately. The spark of creativity is buried underneath a pallor of human unkindnesses. Can't watch the news or read the internet or walk through the staffroom without feeling personally assaulted in some way. The world outside is coming alive with wonderful spring light and peeps of color. The air is warm and alive with happy chirps and the whir of wings as life gets busy making more life.

But I stare at it from inside. Unable to move. Tears spill over without warning. There's a sharpness to my speech. Breathing is shallow as it burns in my chest. I feel like a thousand elephants sit on top of me. The only solace is my walking buddy, Toby, who insists on his daily walk - which we do. Most of the time. And I always feel, a little, better. I turn off the tv. I limit the internet to communicating with friends and family on "good things",  researching fun lessons, or playing a mindless game (or 2) of (dare I say it), CandyCrush. But I can't avoid the other day to day stuff. Either way I turn, someone is ready to pour a pot of boiling oil on me or someone else or anyone in their way. There is so much unhappiness and spite around. It's blocking the view.

Self rescue. After a brisk 2.5 mile walk with the Tobster, I started quelling through files of images for my "Querencia" project. While this image isn't especially artistic in an 'oh wow' kind of way, it certainly touches on where I can retreat and draw my strength from. A simple, armless, cushy chair flanked by books on one side and a Chinese red side table with objects that impart great love and mutual respect on the other.

The walrus tusk was my late husband's. He found it in Alaska, back in the early 1980s, on some beach in the Aleutian Islands - I think. He was a bush pilot, bringing scientists to remote places for study. The tusk was just laying on the beach near the walruses the scientists were observing - as the story goes. For several decades, it sat in a dusty shadow box, not sure where to place it. Then, a dear artist friend saw it one day, less than 2 years ago, when he delivered some metal sculptures I bought from him. He graciously offered to make me a stand to showcase the simple beauty of this sentimental relic from my past in exchange for some of my framed photographs. Deal!  Resting on the base of the tusk display is a painted rock. A gift from a former principal who knew I was struggling within a toxic marriage. "A paperweight, a soul to watch over you, or a tool to get him to listen to you," she impishly told me. Three souls. One display. Reminders of kinder times.

None of these people are alive anymore. All passed far too young and fairly sudden. My husband was in his 30s. My sculpture friend, maybe 60. My principal friend, 45. I think of them often and miss them dearly. All had a great sense of humor, were wonderful and fun company, and knew what unconditional love was. They all had many, many friends. People loved being around them - each in their own personal way. You could be assured of much fun and merriment in company of any one of them. When I sit in that chair, with a book to take my mind off of things I cannot change, they are there with me. Nudging me forward. Reminding me of all the love I have received and of all the love I have to give - in spite of those unhappy souls who cannot see their own worth.

Querencia. Being grounded. That place where one retreats to gather strength and feel safe and be reminded that it really is okay.

I feel, a little, better already.


Sunday, March 16, 2014

Americana Culture

Happy 'almost' St. Paddy's Day! I am going to slightly veer from my quest to present my photographic findings of what Querencia is to do a bit of plugging for a friend of mine. Bear with me. I hope what I share is enlightening to you - and if not, pass it on to someone who would appreciate these bits of Americana.... I'm all for independent projects - people who have a passion to preserve and educate as they also entertain us.

Candacy Taylor. Creator of Taylor Made Culture. An amazing, energetic, inspiring and gifted woman with a passion for preserving our Americana roots. From the waitresses of coffee shops and diners to Bingo Halls to inner workings of beauty shops to female bull fighters. Candacy unearths and brings to light the fine details of what many of us have taken for granted in our daily lives.

If you are a baby boomer, you'll remember those vinyl padded turn stools on a Saturday afternoon or Sunday morning after church - sharing a meal with family or friends served by a woman who not only brought you your meal but addressed you personally because you were a regular. To many, these women were 'just waitresses'. To these women, this was their career - something they took heart in and did their job with love. It wasn't just a job for them. It was their life. And still is for those handful of diners and coffee shops that still exist in certain communities - usually smaller, rural ones - today. My town has one. C & S Coffee Shop. The same women have worked it for years. I find it comforting to step inside and allow time to stand still for awhile. The coffee is consistent and always good - served with a smile and a joke and story or two....



Here are some links regarding Candacy's works. I hope you'll explore them. Learn something. Reminisce a little. Support her cause. Pass it on.....

KCET Artbound Article: Candacy Taylor and Counter Culture

Indiegogo Project: Counter Culture   (The funding campaign ends in early April!)

Artbound Video: Beauty Shop Culture with Candacy Taylor

Taylor Made Culture: Candacy's webpage with all of her projects and the history of how all this started

Sunday, February 16, 2014

Querencia

Happy New Year! Happy Valentine's Day! Yes, a little more than fashionably late but I was just not feeling compelled to write the usual things as the calendar changed over to a new set of digits. No resolutions. No over-the-shoulder reflections. No sappy promises for plans of a fabulous whatever. I'm trying a new approach. Just do it. Dream it. Live it. Stop talking. Just do..... 2014 saw me turn 55 and will see me become an empty nester as my last 'baby' steps out into the world and makes his way. There is a lot of restructuring energy going on these days with not a lot of time to sit and wonder about it all. Time is fleeting and feels even more so these days.  I'm trying to develop the fine art of slowing down and savoring the richness of the moments presented to me every day as I also take advantage of a multitude of opportunities crossing my path.

Dream it. Live it. Just do it.

Nothing is wrong. Everything is right. I've just resurfaced from a particular busy spell in life....  The fall brought my first big public participation in our local Open Studio Art Tours and it's been a happy madhouse ever since. The 6 Chicks Popup Gallery was a great success. Our 2 months went on to 3. While I'm happy to have my weekends back, I miss it. Met some wonderful people. Had the thrill of seeing some of my works go off to live in NYC, Michigan, Las Vegas, Boston, and local abodes. Loved meeting the folks who visit my magical corner of the desert.  Intriguing conversations. Friendly, warm souls.


<----- A lovely couple who purchased one of my favorite little rag matte paper framed prints - joshua trees silhouetted against one our iconic sunsets... now gracing the wall of their NYC home...















After 6 Chicks closed its doors, (We decided it was time for a creative hiatus...) came several weekends of workshops for me. What to make now? Where to go with it?  It's a process trying to figure all that out and, sometimes, a bit of unraveling needs to be done to get there. And sometimes, a lot. I was told that I'm "all over the map" with my photography and that was after only seeing a few snippets. New to the world of portfolios, I didn't really know what to show, so I showed a little bit of everything. At least the things that have sold or gotten some notice. Yes, all over the map would define that collection. Portraits. Street photography. Moody desert photos. Accidental captures that turned out 'pretty good'.

But what's my story? I had the pleasure of attending a "unearthing" workshop recently that turned me 180 degrees to figure that out. Visual Narratives -  taught by Susan Burnstine (One of the most intriguing fine art photographers I have had the pleasure to meet and be inspired by), and sponsored by Medium San Diego (a wonderful independent organization whose 'mission is to foster awareness and understanding of innovative photography'). I left there with words like "harsh", "fragile",  "regret", and "survival" to mull over as 'my words'. But those weren't it. None of them tasted right. Not alone anyway.

And that is where "Querencia" comes in. Querencia is a beautiful word that struck me to the core even before I knew what it meant. In Spanish, “querencia” describes a place where one feels safe, a place from which one’s strength of character is drawn, a place where one feels at home. It comes from the verb “quere”, which means to desire, to want. This could mean that favorite sweater worn almost religiously when you need to feel comforted; that coffee cup reached for every morning because of the way it feels in your hands; that time of year when you step outside and go "Aaahhhh...." and wish every day could feel like this;  the group of friends you have dinner with every month at your favorite cafe. Querencia is where we gather our strength.

Our bodies know querencia. If we pay attention, we can find it even when we are miles away from our physical structure known as 'home'. And sometimes, that structure - the house, apartment, condo - doesn't feel like home at all. It's just a place to land at the end of long days filled with busyness....

Querencia. All creatures crave it. The doves that desperately make their haphazard nests in precarious places over and over again. The cactus wren that tucks its nest deep into a cholla to return to spring after spring. The swallows who travel great distances back to where they were born to propogate their species - as do the migrating whales, sea turtles, salmon, and geese. I follow a fellow photographer/artist whose "Querencia" is her traveling camper van and her dog, Max. Those wheels take her all over the United States while she documents life as she experiences it. On the road all the time,  just her and her dog, yet she has "Querencia".  (You can read about her adventures here: Alison Travels ) I've seen where 'home' was literally a lean-to shabbily structured out of found materials. Certainly not "appropriate" by upper and middle class standards but "Querencia" to the inhabitants.

Querencia does not have a specific look. Home. It's where all Beings feel safe. It exudes strength, familiarity, comfort, a sense of belonging.

And so begins my body of work as I reach deeper inside. It might look like it is "all over the map" but then, so is "Querencia".

Where is yours?


Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Merry Christmas Eve

However you celebrate, or not, during this holiday season - let me wish you and yours a Merry Christmas and best wishes for good health and peace of mind this coming New year. For what else do we need to be happy? It's all really pretty simple. Underneath the facades, don't we all just want the same thing?

I hope you are abundantly showered with all that brings your heart peace...





Last year's photos but one with all of us home. There's an empty spot at our table this season. To all who are far away from "home", let the waves of love envelope you during your time away....

Saturday, December 21, 2013

#175: Happy Winter Solstice 2013

My 175th post!

Ah, the official beginning of the winter season cycle. With it comes the dawning of longer days as we make that push toward the Sun again. A simple post this evening as I hunker down on this longest night to reflect upon the past year. The Winter Solstice is about turning within, making peace, expressing gratitude, and setting fresh intentions as the horizon grows ever brighter.

Some Solstice reading for you:

Understanding the December Solstice

Yule Rituals: Feeding the Soul, not emptying the bank account...

December Solstice Traditions  (<----I like this one the best.)

Be well; stay grounded; and appreciate always. Here's to the light....




Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Look up!

Oh dear readers....thanks to those of you reaching out, wondering where I have disappeared to. I am alive and thriving and quite well - thank you! It has been a lusciously busy few months with more offers to exhibit my works than I have had time to keep up creating anew. Family and work life seem to take precedence over creative life at the moment. All great and happy challenges to have. You'll hear no complaints from me (save not enough time in the day, of course....) There has been an interesting change of energy in my day to day place of late. Karma come due. An oppressive weight has been lifted and I didn't have to do anything but keep my distance - and my mouth shut (Well, sort of...). Never realized just how bad it has been until that source went away. I can breathe again. And smile. And, maybe, I won't have to begin my days crying in the parking lot before I even walk in the door...

I will leave you with a photo (or two or five) of some of my latest portrait sessions. I so love making portraits of families. Have I ever told you why I have such a passion for that? Next post. I promise.

Until sooner (than later)..... Be well. Stay warm. Don't let the preparations and rush of this holiday season wear you thin. Enjoy the reflective and softer nature these winter days bring to us...

The "Jumping Js". No sit still, smile at the camera, and say "Cheese!" for these guys.
Loved watching the brotherly love and fun ooze out of these fellas...

A natural at hamming it up.
You could tell they respected and loved each other.

Photo sessions are hard work.
My images on fine art postcards and more traditional 5x7 greeting cards - selling like hotcakes! 




And, the Tobster. Patiently letting me snap his portrait with our fiery desert sunset skies overhead. This image is straight from the iPhone. A "Wow!" kind of evening and a reminder to always...

Look Up.

Sunday, November 3, 2013

The Domino Effect

November?!?! When did this happen? Seems I was just waving my daughter off to sea one warm end-of-summer day and now - time to think about the Thanksgiving gathering...

Usually this time of year I am out and about all weekend on the desert trails in and around Joshua Tree National Park. The weather has been, for the most part, outstanding. Perfect, crisp mornings - cool to warmish days. Beautiful skies with the occasional clouds wafting overhead. But. Other than dog walks each evening, I've been in my cave, making creative messes. First it was to prepare for the Hwy. 62 Art Tours. Now, it is to prepare commissioned works requested during the Art Tours AND for THREE more exhibitions - one beginning next weekend! Wow. Talk about dreams manifesting into realtime. I'm overwhelmed with gratitude. It is finally happening.

I am an artist.

I've always believed that owning art and adorning one's spaces shouldn't just be for the "wealthy" and status oriented folks. It needs to be for everyone. Art is an exchange of energy with a life of its own. Healing. Empowering. Entertaining. Creating soothing spaces or bumping up the tempo. Humans are creative and expressive beings - regardless of the economic bracket we find ourselves in. Thus, pricing one's work can be a challenge. There are quite a few discussions in my local art community around that aspect - being careful to not out price your work so it never sells or under price it either. There seems to be this *attitude*, for lack of a better term, that *cheaply* priced art isn't really art or that when an artist sells their works lower than someone in a similar medium, they are trying to 'undermine' others. I find the discussions quite intriguing. The perspectives are as varied as the styles of artists out there. One needs to consider many aspects in pricing artwork, like: the cost of materials; time investments to advertise and network; finances and bookkeeping; take classes and/or read up on techniques and trends that affect ever evolving styles in the art realms;  costs of traveling to patrons and clients for special orders; studio space and upkeep of all that - even if it is one's home; and, of course, the time it takes to create a piece - hours and hours and hours and days and weeks and months...  Then, there's the better known and more popular you become, the price tag goes up. How do you assign value? For such a subjective field - art - there are a lot of rules and judgement. My brother once told me, when I was first getting into exhibiting my works, that putting it out there to the public builds strength and character and a tough skin. You have to be secure in yourself  to let the criticisms and even praise roll off - otherwise, you are allowing the public to influence your artistic vision and sense of self. For me, I am most grateful when someone wants something I've created to look at in their home or work space. And for the rest, if I've shown them something new or intriguing or taught them another way to do something or provided a few moments of a pleasant diversion or even have given them something to debate over, then that is a winner, too. Engagement. Connection. Expression. Shifting and sharing perspectives. Humanness. Priceless gifts.


I am quite digging the transfer process on wood. I found these cool little wooden gift tags the other evening and am anxious to see how they take to the process.

I also bought (another) new toy - a way to take digital photos and print onto analog film, bypassing the polaroid camera. Mine is ailing. Out of one expensive pack of polaroid film, I may get 3 shots that work. A pricey way to play. Now, every piece of film works without getting jammed up and ruined from an antiquated camera. And all this from my cellphone shots. Pretty slick, no? 
Well, I'd better "get to work".... after I enjoy the rest of this glorious Sunday afternoon OUTside on a desert trail. Who knows what my camera might find to *paint*...

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Post Art Tours

Oh my! What a whirlwind few weeks... The Hwy. 62 Art Tours were a great success for me - and my friend I showed with. We had close to 200 people over the 2-day event. On Saturday, we literally had 10 minutes with no one in the studio. Just as I was about to make us some lunch, another wave came in.

Sunday had a steady stream of visitors with a much more mellow, relaxed feel. There seemed to be time to visit with just about anyone who wanted to chat and find out our stories even though our sign in log had 80+ signatures on it by the end of the day. I had fully intended to photograph every person who came by. I never had a chance to even pick up my camera.

Yes. We were that busy.

My favorite part of the day was talking with those who graced my space. Lovely, interesting people. Fellow artists. Friends and family members out enjoying the day together. Neighbors. Couples seeking original art to adorn their newly built homes or the walls of their offices. Seekers of new ideas themselves or simply wanting to get out and be inspired. The energy and vibe were upbeat, friendly, fun.

A side effect of communing with kindred spirits for 2 days was making some more than decent sales along with some commissioned requests. Both, a nice validation that I am on the right path. The dark, debilitating funk I've been in for months and months has dissipated.

*Poof*

The sunlight is streaming through.  My verve has been renewed....

Here is one image of a piece I sold. Love those red dots...




Saturday, October 5, 2013

Making Art: An exchange of energy...

Oh goodness - between work and the usual day to day things and trying to prepare for our 2013 Hwy. 62 Art Tours in my desert basin - I barely remember to breathe...!

I just wanted to share a few photos of what I've been up to. It's been difficult to choose a focus for the tours - this being my first time participating as an artist. I had grand plans of sun printed fabrics and fine art prints and a pop up portrait studio and and and ......

SO, I decided to keep it simple. More importantly, I went with what I love to produce - the things that cause me to lose track of time when I'm playing with images and surfaces to print them on;  the kinds of images that speak simply to me. After all, art has an essence of its own. I can feel it when an artist gets too commercial and begins to spit out a multitude of works focusing on the sale. It lacks that kind of energy, for me, that makes me want to loosen those already-too-tight purse strings. I don't want this venture to be a commercial one - although, making some money back from my investment of time and resources would be welcomed - I am honored when someone wants something I've created to live in their space.

Art is an exchange of ideas, feelings, energy. It captures and documents a moment. A concept. An unspoken need to express something deep within. It lives and breathes an extension of its creator. It is much more than a purchase to give or display. It's a connection between the creator and the observer. When you bring home a work of art - whether it covers over half a wall or a corner on the bookshelf, you are bringing home a piece of that creator. The energy of that exchange and connection between you lives on.

I have been a "tourist" of our Hwy. 62 Art Tours for the entire 11 years its been held. There are studios I'd never visit again all due to bad energy and arrogant vibes of the artists. Unwelcoming. Not so much as a "Hello!", "Welcome!", "Thanks for stopping by!".  Snide remarks when my company and I left without making a purchase. It didn't matter how "beautiful" or intriguing a piece might be. The vibe was not the kind of spirit I wanted to see in my living space. By the same token, there are studios and artists I look forward to seeing every year because they are always welcoming; always kind. They take the time to speak with me while giving me room to appreciate and soak in their creations. I want to bring that home with me, whether I can afford the price tag or not. Often, I'll make sure I set aside some funding so I can when the moment moves me. Sadly, many of those favorite artists will be missed this year as I am showing the only weekend they are showing as well....

So here are some tidbits of what I've devoted many, many, MANY hours of my time lately. If you are in the area - I do hope you'll stop by as you enjoy this lovely desert I call home and visit other artist studios.

Hwy. 62 Art Tours  <-------- Click here for artist bios and locations of our studios.

































My main pieces are 4"x4" images transferred onto wood blocks. The images are my photographs. The process takes me a minimum of 2 days to complete. What you see in this photo ---------------------------->
is the middle step of taking off the paper backing. The image is embedded onto the wood via a gel medium. The paper backing the image was originally printed on is removed by dampening and ever so gently rubbing off. Then, I seal each piece with a clear acrylic medium. I also use sun sensitive cyan paper to print images on from a negative or by placing tiny items on top. The arrangements are placed in the sun to develop and then I adhere them to wood blocks or canvas with an acrylic sealant.  Also, this image shows the color version. I was pretty happy with the richness still coming through the transferring process.

All works are personally signed and individually created.




<--------- Here are my first BW images which I transferred onto the 4"x4" wood blocks. I think they are still my favorite.

While I may repeat some of my more classic images, each piece has it's own unique feel. No two pieces are alike.













A finished piece with a handful processing and almost dry enough to begin the paper backing removal process ---------------------->









And here are some finished BW pieces. These are not photographs glued onto the surface. The images are actually lifted off the original printed source - paper in this case - and adhered to the wood block surface within the gel medium. I love how vintaged they turned out. Each piece is unique in how the wood shows through the image as well as some distressing in the transferring process.



I will also have cards with photo images on them and a limited amount of 2014 calendars. Today (once I finally log offline...), I plan to fire up my large format printer and see about printing some larger images - 11 x 14 to 12 x 18 - onto some lovely fine art matte green rag paper (which means it's environmentally friendly, recycled paper with a fabulous, sturdy, museum grade feel to it). Some might be framed but most will not. 

The sun printed fabrics with my images on them will have to wait until another time. When I get them ready, I'll post here where to find them. 

Looking forward to this event! I do hope to be able to meet some of you.  If you are not in the area and are interested in purchasing a 4"x4" transferred image onto wood (and I have any left), please email me and I will let you know what is available and how to ship it to you.

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Diversions

Whew! After returning from my blissful week up the coast of California, my car was catapulted down the roller coaster track. I think I'm finally coming back up to the starting gate....

The past 3 weeks:

My daughter left for her scheduled deployment to the other side of the world. Tough saying "See you later..." but I'm excited that she's excited about this opportunity to experience and learn about all the intriguing cultures on this complex planet. It was an emotional parting that day...especially so when I heard tiny little voices around me saying, "Goodbye Mommy! Goodbye Daddy!". The ship was lined with Sailors and Marines as they 'manned the rails' upon departing the harbor. This is one shot I took as she came under the Coronado Bridge flanked by patrol boats and a helicopter for safe travels out to open waters. My daughter is one of those white uniforms - except she was dashing about on deck taking pictures also....



This event was closely followed (like the same day) with my start of school. I missed part of staff development but it didn't take long to settle in and start honing young minds on the ways to problem solve and work together as a team. 3rd year in a row - I'm blessed with another group of sweet, funny, pretty-darned-smart 9-10 year olds. Feels like playtime every day. In this snapshot, they had to design a bridge with all groups using the same materials and communicating via one team member per group as they consulted on ONE design for all to complete. Enlightening.....


And THEN, we had a torrential downpour last weekend - like 2 years worth of rain in 20 minutes. This is my street, completely submerged in a flash flood...shin deep; the wash behind my house, a raging river. Good friends just over the hill had an entire hillside melt INTO their home - 4 feet of solid mud, countertop high. We've been busy feeding them and gathering forces to help clear out and salvage what could be saved all week - on top of everyone trying to maintain a work schedule. I'm always in awe of how my community pulls together to support our neighbors when life throws a curveball.....


That same week, I had a slow leak behind the shower wall that managed to pool enough water to soak my walls and baseboard. There's a lovely hole in the wall with the leak detected and capped off. But it'll be a month before it dries out enough to see just how much remodeling will need to get done. I'll spare you the pictures of a beat up master bathroom.....

Now, I am working on preparing for the Hwy. 62 Art Tours which is next month. A very pleasant diversion even though I feel SO behind in my creations. Fortunately, I discovered what I most wanted to focus on presenting for this year's show - transferring (not decoupaging...) my images onto square wood blocks. Not only does it look unique but it's very therapeutic.  I'm really digging how each piece is turning out. Each one original; a one of a kind presentation for some of my favorite images captured so far. What you see in the one block is paper pulp I've rubbed away. The image slowly emerges as I painstakingly, by hand, rub and peel off the paper backing. Each piece takes at least 2 days to create. I have a dozen so far - along with handmade greeting cards, some 8 x 10 and 11 x 14 fine art prints and a few framed prints. Better get crackin' if I'm going to have it ready in a month!



From here on out - at least until the end of October, my posts will reflect my progress in the studio in preparation for the Hwy. 62 Art Tours. If you are close enough to travel to the Morongo Basin the last 2 weekends in October, please stop. There are over 100 artists showing in the basin this year. A wonderful way to meet the locals, get inspired, and bring home something to add good energy to your surrounds.  I am showing the first weekend only - October 19 and 20.

Hope to see you then....

Saturday, August 17, 2013

Wait for the light

Oh my! Where, oh where, did my summer go? I start back into the throes of school preparations on Monday so this post will be a short one.


The following are two images from my summer workshop with Ralph Nordstrom - a wonderful human being and outstanding landscape photographer. I am not one who likes to sit in front of a computer working on producing my images. However, I did learn the value of understanding the post processing tools in bringing out the best perspective in what my camera captures. I also learned the value of patience and perseverance and not giving up too soon....  It was the end of our 3rd day. Gray. Chilly. Been up since dawn, looking for the light. McWay Falls is in a spectacular cove tucked under the bluffs in the Pfeiffer Big Sur area along the famed California central coast. There were several photographers, all set up with tripods and such, waiting to see if the sun would give us illuminating rays to brighten up the falls and rock faces before its final dip below the horizon. My bet was we would get 'skunked' again, like we had the other day. Fog too thick on the horizon. No real breaks that seemed to stay and let some fabulous light through. Too tired. Too chilly. Too hungry. Let's just go find a warm cafe someplace. Our workshop leader wouldn't hear of it. Wait and see. Be patient. Be ready! Because when it decides to shine, it will be quick. I didn't bring my tripod. That sure I was that there wouldn't be any interesting light to shoot even though the scenery was breath-taking.

I was wrong.

This photo is looking northwest-ish. The water begins to glow from the 'golden hour' sunset. The seaweed sparkles like taupey-gold baubles on the water. Parts of the shoreline are streaked with soft light. 


After I snap the shot, I see people running, literally running, to the other side as the rays reach behind us.... 

This is what I see:


Two, three minutes at best. My first shot was blurry. I quickly reset my camera settings to compensate for my lack of a steady surface and take several more quick shots. Got it!

Summer lessons learned:
  • Until the sun has completely dipped below the horizon for several minutes, never give up on the possibility of a great show
  • Always bring a tripod with you
  • Pay attention
  • Get up before the sun
  • Be comfortable with waiting for the right moment
  • Be ready
  • Pay attention
  • Wait for the light

Saturday, August 3, 2013

The Sketchbook Project: A universal language

This week, I had the privilege of spending a few days in Santa Barbara with an artist friend and her son. What brought us to share the adventure was the Sketchbook Tour, a mobile library of art books - coming from Brooklyn and landing in Santa Barbara for a couple of days as they toured the United States. My friend and I had both submitted art books we each made so we thought it would be cool to see our own touring books along with all the other creations, like over 27,000 of them, traveling the country in the mobile sketchbook library. (And, no, we didn't even scratch the surface of viewing the art books in this traveling library....)

Here is the link to the project: The Sketchbook Project in case you want to know the origin of this fantastic opportunity and, perhaps, join in the fun and submit your own creation. Art books are usually due mid January in order to prep for their nationwide tour. After the tour, they are housed, permanently, in the Brooklyn Art Library. For a small fee, you are sent a sketchbook and directions along with theme ideas. ANYONE can do this. Anyone. I highly recommend it.....

Maybe you can even catch them on tour near where you live. Check out the mobile tour schedule here: Where is the mobile library now?  Tell Steven and Sara I said hello!

One of the many best perks of this trip was getting to meet the co-founder of the Art House Co-op, Steven Peterman, and his wife, Sara. They are taking these art books (submitted from ALL over the world, by the way....) on tour in the mobile art book library. Just the two of them. Pretty awesome, I think. Great people. Wonderful vibe. I have already started working on getting the Mobile Library to land in my area sometime in 2014 or soon after....

A few scenes from my Sketchbook Mobile Tour experience...




Co-founder, Steven Peterman, with his wife and partner in Art House endeavors, Sara.






















First, get your special Sketchbook Project library card. A bit of information, a few clicks, and it's yours! And FREE, too....


















The mobile library was open from 5pm to 8pm. It was stationed in the back parking lot of a micro brewery on this day. The following day, they were setting up behind the Santa Barbara Art Museum. Lots of great exchanges as we all shared our books checked out. Friendly, open vibe. Old friends met up; new connections made.

Goes to show you, art breaks down many perceived barriers....




























The event was to end by 8pm. My crew and I left around 8:30 - maybe even a bit later than that. Steven and Sara were still handing out art books for people to enjoy in the dimming light....



<---------   Here is Bonnie with her memoir art book. Her signature style - a beautiful collage of handmade and found papers with pictures and simple words of her very richly experienced life. It was an honor to read it. I understand a bit more why my friend is the special person that she is.....

(That's what art does to people. It lets you see inside....)


And here I am with my narrative book, "Fortunate Words".....each page had a fortune from a cookie with my interpretation of it in collage form ------->








<----- This is the art book touring on the shelf right next to mine. The artist is from, I believe, Viet Nam. Many of the books I randomly chose to read were from the far east.










Thank you, Steven and Sara, and everyone at the Art House Co-op and Brooklyn Art Library who has put a dream into action for the rest of the world to participate in and enjoy. Looking forward to meeting again....


Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Early evening hikes

Took a night hike last night with some new trekking pals. The weather was more than bearable. The horizons were lined with receding storm clouds after having deposited some much needed moisture on our parched landscape.

Here is a bit of what we saw.

At the beginning of the trail, this.......
























....and later on, this.....

























I never get tired of the light in my desert.

Breathing space.

Sunday, July 21, 2013

Toby's first vacation...

Ah, summer time....

Yes, I know I mentioned my next post would be about the pros of hiring a professional photographer. But I am feeling semi-productively lazy today - I'm working on it! My windows are wide open. French Cafe is wafting around me from Pandora. Thunder is rumbling in the distance. The smell of wet desert permeates the house. Heaven.....

I was playing around with some ideas, spawned from my recent respite up the coast with my son and our dog, today. This was our first vacay with the pooch - who is a very energetic 2 1/2 year shepherd mix - mostly Belgian Malinoise with something else with a floofy curled tail and strong herding/snuffling-for-small-varmits instincts, we think. And I am very happy to report that Toby did exceptionally well on this trip - which means that we had a great time, too. There is nothing like spending time away from home in a place that resonates to everyone and everyone has a great time - simultaneously. If you travel with family or close friends or anybody really, you totally get what I mean....

The small coastal community of Cambria has been my mecca for two decades. (That's Cambria, California for my international readers....) I discovered it on a return trip from a conference in Monterey while then pregnant with my oldest daughter. It is the one place that replenishes what the day to day 'regular' life can grind down. I am always in a much centered place when I return, whether I think I needed it or not. Over the years, I've met some lovely people I enjoy seeing while I am up there. It is now a familiar home away from home.

Our beach bungalow, built in the 1930s - just 500 feet from the beach with sounds of crashing surf to lull you to sleep at night. Toby thought it was a pretty cool pad to hang out at for awhile...




























Mornings, always chilly, were spent with a hot cup of tea by the window overlooking the garden - working on my daily journaling - waiting for the fog and the chill to be lifted by the sun....




























Another view on a chilly, foggy morning from a cozy bungalow kitchen...


Toby preferred teatime on the sunny front stoop, nose trained on all the new smells and sights coming from earth and sea...




























And then, there's his first walk along the ocean. The boardwalk can get busy during the summer. It is a couple of miles of bluff trails overlooking kelp beds draped with sea otters, tide pools, and sea lions basking on the rocks below. That particular stretch of beach is off limits to 4 legged family members so Toby had to stick to the boardwalk with its ever teasing band of squirrels...  Mmmm, take a whiff. Sweet grass. Salty air. Kelp. Wildflowers. Wonder what Toby's nose picked up?


The real test was a walk through town. Yes! Toby passed with flying colors! My son does a great job working with Toby consistently. Most of what Toby knows, he learned from his boy. It is very liberating to be finally able to take Toby to dog-friendly, public places. I enjoy traveling but hate leaving him home most of the time. Not only is it a pain to find someone to let him out, but he is such a people-dog - he'd rather be with his humans than do anything else....


This is Abner, an icon at The Garden Shed, my favorite shop filled with local artists and tradesmen along with luscious succulents and gardening tidbits. When my kids were little, elementary school aged, we used to love visiting Abner who snoozed in the sun someplace in the gardens. Abner is somewhere between 14 - 17 years old, the owner figures. I was happy to have found him lounging on a potting table this day, looking healthy and well. So were my kids...


The best part of each day was the daily romp on the beach. Toby had no trouble immediately tromping through the waves. Fearless. Doggie joyful. Happy to be with his boy....


Where will Toby's next adventure be................?