Friday, August 23, 2019

Zinnias are blooming on their tall, skinny stems this month and cheering me up even when I'm hot and sweaty from garden work.  I planted them from seed and didn't read the back of the packet--only looked at the portrait of an assortment of flower heads on the front.  Last year I had short zinnia plants with medium size flowers.  This year I have plants growing almost taller than I am (5'1") with the smallest zinnia flowers I've ever seen.  Nevertheless, I love them and they are so photogenic too.

I have added two new collages to the "Collages" page, and will have two more next time.  Just don't have them photographed yet.  Most of the new ones will be on exhibit for First Friday in York, PA --October 4, 2019.  The collection is shaping up and I'm excited to give them their day in the sun.

Here are a few images that I've been working on these last few days:

Thanks for stopping by!

Wednesday, August 14, 2019

August Greetings
 "The corn is as high as an elephant's eye....."     a few words from "Oh What a Beautiful Morning" from the musical, Oklahoma.  Love that song and it definitely fits the views of cornfields in York County this time of year.  Here in our garden it is high summer and we are never without something to do to make the plants and ourselves happy.  On really hot days, I work in the basement studio where the sun is always shining and it's never too hot or too cold.  In this way, I am keeping the creative flow going.  In the last few days, I've made a point to sketch outdoors.  I can never totally keep up with all the things that need to be done, so I might as well make time just to sit with a sketchpad.  That and taking a walk with my camera are balm to my spirit.  Also, my daughter-in-law and I have made a pact to draw or paint something (no matter how small or how much time) each day.  Sometimes I'm sketching chararacters from whatever we're watching on Netflix.

Here is a mini portfolio of a garden walk with camera--all shot with 50mm lens.

And here the elephant ear plant in dappled shade.

Hope you are having a good August.  Will be back soon with more about my art projects.

Sunday, July 7, 2019

I think the local cherry season has passed us by.  Above is a photo from last year's picking.  We picked 20 pounds, gifted some and ate most of them ourselves.  This year Barry has been bringing them home from the supermarket and they were very disappointing.  We've promised ourselves to pick our own next year.

June was spent traveling in Washington State with family which included a truly relaxing four nights at a mountain house rental.  Then we came back to finish cleaning up storm damage which occurred just before we left.  Major sections of two oak trees came down and broke lots of limbs on the way.  Many of these broken limbs got caught in the part of the tree remaining or in surrounding trees.  As a result, every time it rains or the wind blows, branches and twigs fall to the ground where we are obliged to pick them up.   I expect this will continue all summer.  On a good note, the gardens still look good and no damage to people or property.

Our tree peony was absolutely gorgeous in May.  I took a handful of photos and this blown out one was my favorite (I posted it on IG) and my sister's favorite too.  She requested a print!

The "maple leaf viburnum" is a woodland shrub that we welcome in our garden.  It blooms in May and produces lovely berries and autumn color in autumn.  Below is my photo of one blossom.

And now, coneflowers are blooming.  I captured some early birds.

Last is a diptych featuring the body of a ceramic sculpture created by a dear friend paired with a stack of rocks I made outside.  The top rock has been much photographed by me because of the face I can't help seeing.

Stay cool!

Saturday, May 25, 2019

Besides working with my old film camera again (still on the first roll), I switched out the 35mm lens on my Canon DSLR to a 50mm lens, which I have had for years but rarely used.  Above is the first photo.  The 50mm does not zoom--at all.  Instead of zooming with your hand, you zoom with your feet.  I am hoping that using this lens and not being able to zoom in and out, I will get better at framing what is in front of me and I'll slow down a bit in the process. I'll still use the Iphone for Instagram and reference photos, however.  So hard not to use an Iphone if you have one.

Over a year ago when we were in Slovenia, we had a local guide for one of our afternoons in the capital, Ljubljana.  He seemed the embodiment of the gentleman scholar and definitely an expert when it came to history, art, architecture and everything related and happening in the city.  Recently I gathered the few photos I took of him and made a little collection.  I wish I had asked for his card.  I didn't, and so I call him A Gentleman of Ljubljana.

And lastly, here is one of my recent paper collages which I photographed and then layered with an abstract texture image. You may notice I haven't glued all the elements in place, but I like what I've done so far, and look forward to working on it a bit more in the studio.

Have a good weekend!

Friday, May 10, 2019

Good morning!  Above is a view from my bedroom floor where I do morning stretches, a bit of yoga, a bit of ballet, a bit of things I make up and push ups.  I've come to realize that meditating from this position has been a good thing for me.  Looking at the world from a different angle breaks down some rigid thinking.

Art making these last three weeks has been all about gardening and garden editing and creation.  Although Autumn is my favorite season, Spring is an unbelievably energizing season for gardeners.  I have been posting some photos and little videos of the garden on Instagram (@tuesdaycafe), but will be sharing here as well starting with my next post.  Today I added a Page (see above) titled "Country on the Edge of Town".  This is the beginning of collection that will include all four seasons on my neighborhood walks.  This is some of winter.  Here they are arranged as a group, but if you go to the page above you can see the images individually and bigger.

Update on working with the Minolta film camera:  Until I learn how to use this camera again (it has been over twenty years since I went digital) the picture taking is slow.  I need to put Minolta time on my calendar and pull out the manual while I'm at it.  

I made a note to look up early Japanese photography.  I'm not sure what prompted me to make that note, but after I post this, that's just what I'm going to do and I'll report back next time.  And here's something green for Spring.

Thursday, April 11, 2019

Lately I have made a point to spend some time meditating each day--actually it started during the winter.  I often feel my interests are so wide and varied that I drive myself crazy trying to keep up with myself.  My usual practice is to rise early and be the first person up in the house.  Can't tell you how much this quiet time means to me.  Since returning from Japan, I have also made a point to allocate some afternoon quiet time.  I make a cup of matcha green tea and remember our meditation session at a Zen Buddhist temple last May.  Then, in the time it takes to sip the tea, I am first concentrating on the beautiful color of the tea, the taste, then just focusing on breathing and then focusing my attention on something outdoors.  Now that the weather is warmer, I take this break outdoors.  Barry sometimes joins me.  The matcha gives me a lift as does the appreciation of nature.  I find the rest of the day is more productive and my spirits are lifted.  Tangible benefits are that I've become more productive in the things that matter to me most, including my photography and art practice.

In the studio, I've been working on a number of collages.  In case you haven't looked at the Collage pages, here are two I completed and had framed during the winter.  They are a bit over the top with collected patterns and images.

I'll have more collages to share in the coming days.  The current series is mostly focused on black and white media, including my black and white photography.  Below is one more winter image I want to share.  The images that make up this triptych were taken looking out our upstairs hall window.
Winter Window
Enjoy this beautiful Spring!

Monday, April 1, 2019

Spring has sprung!  Still mostly bare trees and brown leaves and vegetation in the landscape, but signs of new life are everywhere and everyone I meet seems to feel similar energy and excitement.

I mentioned getting my old film camera back into service in the last post.  Here is what I wrote to a fellow photographer this morning on the subject:

"I woke up at 5:30 a.m. and stepped outside to a wondrous display of stars and planets.  All was quiet except for the wind.  I was born with poor eyesight, but with glasses, I can see all this and I was overwhelmed with gratitude.  Sigh...  In your last email you mentioned the time it takes to get the photo effects we want.  That is so true.  Sometimes I wail inwardly that there isn't enough time.  It doesn't do me any good.  All we can do in photography and life is what we can do in the time allotted.  I was thinking of all this when I reread your email this morning and looked at some film scans of the last roll of BW film I shot in 2010.  In this day of digital photography and instant sharing, film seems so laborious.  Even so, I did purchase a new battery for my Minolta and two rolls of black and white film (Tmax 100 and Tmax 400).  I absolutely have to relearn this camera.  I've wasted one exposure trying to focus and had trouble with the other two because I've forgotten so much about how to operate the camera.  So I'm on hold waiting for the luxury of time to work on this.  In the meantime, I have my 2010 Canyonlands film images to look at.  I remember it was extremely windy that day and I obviously shot some of the photos from inside the RV.  I've attached two versions of the same image.  One is the original and you will see what looks like reflections and dirt in the sky area.  To make the image more exciting to me, I cut a section out of a third photo, applied some dark brush strokes (filter) and layered it over the sky area.   In the early 90's I had accumulated so many outtakes, that I started cutting out the best parts and reassembling them (collaging) to make a new image that I pasted on art paper.  I called myself the "cut and paste queen".  The digital world makes it so much easier, but I still do it the old-fashioned way too."

Here are the images: