Saturday, July 23, 2016

Foto Art Friday – July 22, 2016
Midnight Garden
Last weekend, I photographed a place I call the Secret Garden that’s part of a local nursery here in New Mexico.  I loved this birdbath overflowing with petunias.  I converted the image that I took to a watercolor painting effect, and kept thinking it reminded me quite a bit of something one could see in the Bonaventure Cemetery in Savannah, Georgia (made famous by the book “Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil”).  This piece is a tribute to that.  The background is music because it seems like such a lyrical piece.  Paint splotches (Credit: soul poison and on_thin_air) and an abstract background created by me make up the blended layers to this piece.
Midnight Garden

Monday, July 18, 2016

Bright Blooms
Of course, the stars of any garden are the bright, or at least striking, blooms and plants that we see.  This garden, on this morning, certainly did not disappoint.  Beautiful blooms galore….and one that was so striking I had to include it even tho it’s doesn’t meet the definition of the word “bright”…
Pink Beauties
These blooms were right next to the one the bee was busily working on.  Altho I really liked the original image of them, I felt they needed a bit more of a special touch, so I converted the image to a pastel painting effect.  It really highlights there simple beauty and just the joy that seems to leap from their petals.
Rose Unfurling
I’m not generally struck by roses unless they are in full bloom, but there was something about this rose, with its one petal unfurled, that captured my attention, and I just felt like I had to capture its gentle awakening.
Tousled Petals
There was certainly nothing gentle about this bloom.  It fairly yelled “Look at me!”….and I did!  It was a bit of a windy day, so perhaps that’s why the petals on this sunflower were rather tousled looking!
Bright Center
Now, we’re shifting gears back to the gentle nature of some flowers.  This lone little blossom just seemed to cry out to be noticed…..and with the very bright center, I couldn’t help but do just exactly that!  I love the contrast between that bright center and the soft subtle, yet rich, color of its petals and the surrounding greenery.
Royal Color
This is the same blossom from a different angle.  And, it’s amazing how much brighter the petals are – it’s just the slightly different angle and how the sun plays off the flower.  Now, the entire flower seems equally bright when compared with the yellow center.
I love how these sunflowers just seemed to “pop” against the dark background of the area around the pond.  It almost seemed as if they were glowing!  They are such happy flowers, I couldn’t resist including them in this post.
Hosta Blooms
The hostas were blooming, too, on this morning, and I was lucky enough to be able to get up close and personal with some of those blooms.  I never realized how lovely and delicate they are.  I felt as if I breathed too hard, they would just fall apart.
And, finally, I’m ending with a type of plant more commonly thought of growing in the southwest – cactus!  This is a variation of a yucca plant, I believe, and I really loved the graphic nature of its broad leaves.  As I processed this image, I thought the graphic nature of the plant called for this image to be a black and white image, so thru the magic of digital processing, that’s what it became!

Garden Residents
I have heard there’s a snake that lives in this garden, but I’ve never come across it.  However, on this garden visit, I did come across a couple of other residents that seemed agreeable to having their photo taken…..
Bee Shadow
This little bee was hard at work, getting nectar from the daisy type blooms.  He allowed me to get up nice and close to him, and altho I didn’t get a very good angle for a direct image of him, I was in the perfect spot to get a great image of his shadow!  I wish I could say I noticed this as I was taking his photo, but, I didn’t.  It was such a great surprise to me as I processed this image!
Perched on a Blossom
This may be the most perfect image of a butterfly I’ve ever captured.  What was so wonderful about this little guy was that he stayed put on this blossom for several seconds, just slowly opening and closing his wings, as if allowing me to get just the best possible shot.  I have 2 that I like, but I think this one might just show him off the best.

Peaceful Place
There are times when I just need to get back close to nature, in order to renew my spirit.  I’m lucky to have a great place to do that fairly close to home.  What makes this place even more special is that it’s only available for a few months each year, and only on the weekends.  It’s a nursery in the small town where I live, and this garden is what I think of as a Secret Garden.  It’s not advertised, and it’s not even apparent that there is a garden hidden away when you first enter the nursery.  However, after one visit to it, you’ll never forget it.  I was lucky enough to visit it this past weekend…..

Petunia Fountain
Every time I visit this garden, I notice something new and wonderful.  Today, it was this birdbath that has become a sort of fountain with petunias overflowing the rim.  I especially love the lushness of the greenery surrounding it.  Hard to believe this is in the middle of New Mexico!  Looking at this, I was reminded of the Bonaventure Cemetery in Savannah, Georgia, where we visited earlier this year.  It’s the same sort of lushness that was everywhere in the cemetery.  I was so taken with this image, I decided to also convert it to a watercolor image (see below).  I couldn’t decide which one I liked more, so I thought I’d share both with you.
Petunia Fountain – Watercolor
Waterlily Bud
Another place I truly love in this garden is a lovely pond that’s sort of tucked away.  On the morning that I visited, I didn’t see any waterlilies in full bloom, but I did notice this little beauty, just sort of peeking out at me.  I love its reflection in the water, and the sort of small pool of water sitting on a nearby pad.
Pond Reflection
As I wandered around the pond, I came upon this spectacular view, peeking out from some weeping willow trees that are along the pond.  You can see the lily pads are the far side of the pond, and all the trees that sort of hover over this watery jewel of the garden.
When I lived in the Midwest, I loved hostas.  They are generally rather a shade loving plant, so I didn’t really think I’d ever find them growing in New Mexico, but in this garden, anything is possible!  Here is a row of them, growing just as happy as can be!

Friday, July 15, 2016

Foto Art Friday – July 15, 2016
I just received some vintage handwriting pieces that I’ve yet to scan into my computer to use in my art.  However, that didn’t stop me from imagining a piece that has some vintage writing in the background.  I found a piece that I had scanned some time ago – a love letter – and immediately felt this was the beginning of this piece.  I used a photograph of some lovely green foliage I took at the San Diego Botanic Garden, as well as one of a waterlily that I took at the same place.  I blurred the foliage image and blended it with the vintage love letter.  I then placed the water lily on top of that, and did some gentle blending.  I didn’t want to do too much, and lose the water lily, but I did want the letter to still be visible.  I added some brushes of vines and decided the piece was finished.  Sometimes, less is more.  Credit: Falln Stock (brushes).
Love Letter

Friday, July 8, 2016

Foto Art Friday – July 8, 2016
There’s been a lot of conversation lately about transparency, or the lack thereof, depending on one’s perspective.  And, as I was looking thru some of the deserted cabin images I took a couple of weeks ago, I noticed that one image of a cabin really spoke to transparency, as it no longer had a door, and I could see right thru it.  I thought that the history of this cabin was, in a way, an open book, and fairly transparent.  The land used to be ranch or farm land, so most likely the people that inhabited this cabin worked the land in one way or another.  So, I thought an open book image that I had would be a good background.  I then notice some of the text of the book page that I had included – “grand blessing of life” – and decided to highlight that phrase. It just somehow seemed appropriate for the history of this cabin.  Credit:  Specialty brushes by soul poison and SS.
Open Book

Friday, July 1, 2016

July 1 Foto Art Friday
Right now, my life isn’t really all that adventurous, and I find I’m rather missing that.  But, the bird in this image certainly appears to be in the middle of a wonderful adventure, and I imagine his heart is singing with joy because of that.  So, for this piece, I used a piece of vintage sheet music as a background, and layered and blended a couple of images of the sunrise that I shot a few days ago.  I then added the quote from Helen Keller it’s one of my favorites.
Daring Adventure