Thursday, February 26, 2015

Fun in the Studio!

This past week, I've had fun playing in my studio.  Here are the pieces I created - two different frames of mind are reflected - upbeat for spring, and more of an vintage feel.  All were fun to create and hopefully to view!
A Tree in Winter
(10" x 5")

I keep noticing how leaves sometimes just don't want to let go and fall off trees, even in the dead of winter.  This piece reflects that - the tree is bare but for one leaf still hanging on.  The piece is on a wood substrate and includes text pages, an image of a tree I photographed and then printed on rice paper, paint, a stamp pad dragged over the piece and some metal leaves. 

Paris, 1924
(10 1/2" x 7 1/2")
Here's another piece with a more vintage feel to it.  For whatever reason, this piece seemed to want to be about Paris.  I again used a wood substrate with text pages and paint to build up some layers.  I then placed pieces of a napkin on the various wood pieces, some stamps with a air mail feel to them, some stamps that had a definite French air about them, and a couple of vintage postcards, one of a scene in Paris from back in the early 20th century. 

Spring Romance
(10 1/2" x 9")
Now, my creative muse switched to a much lighter frame of mind, looking forward to spring.  Can't you just feel romance in the air when you look at this piece?  Paint, decorative tissue paper and lace sit on a wood substrate.  I then topped it off with an apparent piece of what I like to think of as a love letter, some butterflies and a spring bloom. 

(9 1/2" x 6 1/2")
Thinking of spring does bring out the whimsical side of me, and you can see it in this piece!  This time, I sprayed alcohol inks onto the text covered wood substrate, and added flowers, a butterfly and a bird made from polymer clay.  I also used bits of leftover fabrics and added some stenciled text to finish the piece.  Makes me happy just looking at this piece!
(Note:  If you want any of these pieces for your home or as a gift, you can find them in my Etsy shop at )

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

February, 2006

It's fairly cold out here this morning, altho nothing when compared to the Midwest where I used to live.  The nip in the air reminded me of a magical photo shoot that happened back in February, 2006, when I was taking a digital photography class at The Morton Arboretum in Lisle, IL, a western suburb of Chicago.  I dug back through some old images and found the shots from that morning.  Since I can't recall what I was thinking back then, I thought I'd just include some quotes about winter to accompany the photos. 
"We cannot stop the winter or the summer from coming.  We cannot stop the spring or the fall or make them other than they are. They are gifts from the universe that we cannot refuse. But we can choose what we will contribute to life when each arrives."
Gary Zukav

"Let us love winter, for it is the spring of genius."
Pietro Aretino

"Winter is a season of recovery and preparation."
Paul Theroux

"You can't get too much winter in the winter."
Robert Frost
(Boston may take issue with that statement, tho!)

"At the Winter Solstice, the wind is cold, trees are bare and all lies in stillness beneath blankets of snow."
Gary Zukov

"While I relish our warm months, winter forms our character and brings out our best."
Tom Allen

"In the depth of winter I finally learned that there was in me an invincible summer."
Albert Camus


Saturday, February 14, 2015

Foggy Morn

Because it’s so dry here, we don’t often have foggy mornings.  When we do, I love to truly enjoy them, and the other morning that meant going out to photograph it with my super ace puppy photographer assistant, Miki!
Typically, you should be able to see the plains leading to the mountains behind this little bush, but the fog this morning totally blocked all of that out. I played with a special effect on the image, adding a sort of luminosity to it.  I do really like it; it has a sort of warmish feeling, and makes the entire scene a bit more cheerful, in a way.

This is one of my favorite scenes to photograph – it’s the fence line of one of our neighbors.  I especially liked it on this morning because the fog makes the trees softly fade into the background which is a milky color.  The frost on the fence makes it look a bit chillier than it actually was outside, tho.

I really like the feel of this shot.  My friend has the most photogenic property around!  I always manage to find a really cool vantage point for a shot.  This one is of the very front of her property.  I love the fence and the bare branches of the trees.  Again, due to the fog, there’s an intimacy to this image that happens because you really can’t see any background.  It’s just you, the fence and the trees.  I found a very cool effect that makes it look like the image is printed on crumpled vintage paper and that just adds to the soft mystery of the image – as if you just uncrumpled it after finding it in a trunk in the attic.

Here’s another image from almost in the same spot.  I simply moved over a few feet and captured the same fence, but a bit further down than the previous shot, with a different tree in the image.  I also picked a different effect for the image background.  It almost looks like the image is printed on a very fine linen type of fabric or canvas.

And, finally, toward the end of our walk, as the fog was beginning to life, we passed a building with a vivid red door that shows up as a soft red in the fog.  I love the touch of color the door adds to this dreamy scene.


Tuesday, February 10, 2015

New Mixed Media Art

I just thought I'd share some new pieces of mixed media art that I've created on wood panels.  They are all different, and I hope you enjoy viewing them as much as I enjoyed creating them!
This was actually a gift for a friend.  It's made using text papers, paint, polymer clay flowers and butterflies I created, and fabric scraps.  It's lighthearted and fun, and written underneath everything you can see, is the phrase "friends are flowers in the garden of life".  How true.

It was a very wintry snowy day, and I felt like capturing it somehow in my art.  This piece has text, paint, background papers created using CitraSolv and magazine pages, and some images of mine, printed on rice paper, and finally a few fabric strips.  I outlined some parts of the cabin with a white marker, to enhance it more.  I wanted to capture the feeling of how a cabin can be a refuge in the woods during a snowfall. 

This piece is a bit of a contrast to the previous one.  This one primarily uses pan pastels with stencils over text pages.  I also added some ephemera, a leaf and key, and both a polymer clay and wood heart.  I've created a house shape within the piece, and I think of this piece as Home & Heart.

This last piece was created using a vintage photo of my husband's great grandfather when he was a wee baby.  There are layers of hand made paper, stamped paper, lace and twigs from our garden on a wood substrate covered by text, paint and tissue.  All the stories I've heard about Jeff's great grandfather makes him seem almost larger than life, and I love the contrast this piece has with that adult persona of him.  In this piece, he's a vulnerable innocent baby - who knew the adventures his life would hold!

Beach and Water in Jamaica

What's the first thing you think of when someone says "Jamaica"?  For me, it's thoughts of the beach and beautiful water!  And, so, welcome to our Jamaica vacation 2015!
This image somehow just looks better as a sketch.....and so I converted it!  Of course, one of the things that one thinks of on a tropical island is relaxing on the beach under a palm tree.  This photo sketch only looks like a dream - in Jamaica, we call it reality!

I love this image.  I was standing looking down from a cliff (a small one!) into the water.  I just love that you can see deep into the water.  It's sort of magical and I love the turquoise color!

On the way to the spa in the resort, you'll pass by this small waterfall.  Check out the pink tropical bloom.  You just start relaxing before you ever hit the massage table.....

How perfect is this shot?  And, yes, here in Jamaica, we ARE at the end of the rainbow!  This was taken from the restaurant where we were enjoying breakfast.

I know, this isn't a typical scene in Jamaica.  But, one morning, it looked like it would be rainy and stormy all day.  As we wandered down to breakfast, I captured this image.  I really like the mood of this image......and yes, the weather did improve!

Saturday, February 7, 2015

Animals Around the Pond

The pond that was in the back of the resort held some very interesting inhabitants.  Mostly birds, but some entertaining reptiles call the Pond home, too!
I captured many images of egrets, but this is my favorite.  There are many egrets here - flying overhead, milling around along the side of the road - in short, everywhere!  This one is special because it looks so at home here in its lush home.
I'm not certain what this little guy's official name is, but Jeff refers to this guy as a Camp Robber.  He kept sort of hopping, following us, and then looking at me curiously, as if he wanted to ask me something.......maybe for food?

I tend to refer to this beauty as (of course) Polly.  She looks fairly friendly, and will actually eat out of your hand.  However, if something startles her (or is it him?), he will grab hold of the hand that feeds her.  She did it to me the last time we visited here, and it certainly did HURT!  She didn't break any skin, but I did have a nasty bruise.
Isn't this guy a beauty?  I love the look of him as he sits on this floating log.  I'm told he's a variation of kingfisher, and I love his sort of muted colors he's displaying here.
Here's another kingfisher with an unlikely buddy!  The turtles seem to like the same areas as the kingfishers and I was able to capture this image of them making eye contact and perhaps reaching some kind of understanding.  About what?  I have no idea!
You need to click on this image to enlarge it to see the fun little game that the turtles seem to play on a log in the Pond.  First, one would sun himself on the log, only to the joined by a second.  However, then a third turtle climbs aboard and upsets the delicate balance.  They then go thru a slow motion tumble into the Pond.  And, starts over again!
I really love the dreaminess of this image.  The reflections of the trees in the Pond create a sort of watercolor effect.  The one piece of reality in this image is the black bird.  I'm not certain what he is, but he has a sort of red crown.  You can't see it in this image, and it's not all that important in the overall scheme of things.  He just adds to a magical moment.

Tropical Greenery

One of the amazing things about Jamaica are the incredible different types of greenery (or not greenery) that there are all around you.  Take a look -
Isn't this palm frond great?  I love the color of it, even if this one has seen its better day.  I believe this is a palm frond or leaf is in the process of dying, but the colors in it were so incredible, I had to capture it.

Another thing I really love is that even the green leaves have wonderful color variation in them.  Green is not my favorite color (altho I do like it) - however, I couldn't stop looking at these leaves and the variety of green was in each and every one!

And, the reds aren't shabby either!  I believe the leaves in the previous image and these are coleus leaves.  I'm not surprised these plants do not have any flowers with them.  All the energy of beauty has gone into the leaves.

These leaves combine the best of the red and green.  The brightness of the colors are so wonderfully joyful, the leaves seem to be reaching out to everyone to touch them with happiness.

This image is one of my favorites.  I love the lines of the palm leaves hanging down, reaching up, and the circles of the fence as a sort of balance to the lines.

Ok, so technically, this isn't an image of greenery.  It's a fabulous root system (or part of it) of a huge tree growing around the pond on the resort.  I love the gnarly details of the roots, and had to capture it.

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Jamaican Blooms

One of the most striking things about Jamaica are the beautiful and vibrant blooms that abound there.  Here's a sample of many, many that were at my feet, at eye level, and even in the trees above.....
The incredible blueness of these blooms almost make them seem like they are made up of the water that laps the shore just a very short distance away.  Of course, they aren't, but the vibrancy of the color almost seems liquid.
I'm not certain if it's the humidity there, but all the colors are incredible here.  I love the lushness of both the bloom and the surrounding leaves in this image.
These blooms aren't vibrant, but I'm including this image to show how even the whites seem somehow whiter down in the tropics.  Compared to the vivid hues of other flowers, these almost seem bland.  However, it's good to have a place to look that sort of allows your eyes to rest a bit!
This flower was overhead, the bloom of a tree that originated in Chile, and it's called a Poor Man's Orchid.  It's so incredibly delicate looking. 
Here's another very beautiful bloom.  Again, doesn't the color of the bloom look almost liquid?  And, I think the leaves look velvety, if that's a word!
Aren't these cool looking blooms?  These are also found up high in some rather large trees.  The interesting thing about these trees is that they contain almost no leaves.  In fact, they are almost ugly except for these flowers.  The thing I love best about this particular image, tho, is the little bee that I inadvertently captured - it's just below the bloom,  flying directly toward my lens.

Sunday, February 1, 2015

Reflections in The Pond

One of the really beautiful places in the resort was an area that I call simply "The Pond".  There is an abundance of wildlife there, which was captured in another few blogs, but this post is devoted to the pond itself.  It's incredibly beautiful and lush....
I loved this reflection.  I'm not sure what this palm is called, but I think of it as a sort of  a waterwheel.  It looks like it's moving and dipping into the water, but that's just it's reflection.  The water was so calm, the reflection is just about mirror perfect.

As I walked around The Pond, I saw more reflections peeking out from under some palm branches.  You can see not only the palm leaves, but also the clouds from above.  Again, it's the absolute picture of tropical lushness!

What I loved about this image is that it captures so many different types of palm trees and shrubs, all growing incredibly close to each other.  Again, the water couldn't be cooperating more - what a sense of calm and peace.

Jamaica Photo Sketches

One of the things that I loved about Jamaica were the wonderful little vignettes that just seemed to be all around me!  I thought they would make wonderful sketches.  Now, altho I've enrolled for a sketching class, I haven't had a single lesson yet, so I figured I'd use my software to create something like that!  Take a look -
One of the great things about where we stayed was that there were palm trees right on the beach area where we could sit and enjoy the water, sun and breeze.  This image really illustrates that.  In fact, at times we used the palms to shade us from the sun!

I love the relaxed feel of the beach, too.  This sketch really captures the feeling of a day on the beach - pull up a chaise, grab a good book, and chill!

As we drove to and from the airport, we would see the little towns with colorful shacks that held a number of shops - I really got a kick out of this little "outlet store" !

In this case, the colorful little shacks were, I think, homes.  Jamaica is a poor country, but the people seem to be quite warm and friendly, and their homes seem to match their personalities.