Wednesday, December 21, 2016

Winter Art 2016

Winter Still Life Art, 2016  #0898 
After photographing over 120 still life portraits and now installing them into Monthly Desk Calendars and Weekly Planners I came to the conclusion that I had never created a December winter still life that wasn't Christmasy.

So I gave myself the assignment to create one before December 23rd when the holiday entertaining would occupy most of my time.

What did I know about it?  It had to have blues and whites, include a flower arrangement placed in a white vase and had to be a colorful self portrait that had a winter feel.

Where to start?  While Karl was shopping for the Ugly Christmas Sweaters for everyone at consignment shops I accompanied him through the door but ventured off to the ceramics shelves  to see what I could find.  I didn't know exactly what I was looking for but I intuitively knew that I'd know it when I found it.  At the third store I found this beautiful white figurine of a young woman holding a bouquet of cascading flowers.  I picked it up and wondered if she was "the one."  I asked two of the sales associates if she could be a winter angel and they both agreed.  Thus, she was "the one" and would be the main character in this still life.

I envisioned a white ground cover that represented snow. When I found a large white infinity scarf at Target I thought it would serve two purposes: keep me warm when I wore it and create the illusion of snow cover in my still life.   Things were coming together.

When?  You wouldn't think that the ability to leave early on a Friday afternoon because of a huge snowstorm approaching would be interpreted as the sign to drive directly to the local flower store and buy a blue and white flower arrangement.  But it was. And I did.  The bonus was purchasing white ceramic figurines of bunnies and birds.  So now, it was really coming together in my mind and I knew I would start to work right after dinner.  However, as my mother always said, "clean up one mess before you start another." My desk top where I would have to shoot was a total mess so the first hour was devoted to that task as well as taking down the art on the designated wall that needed to be blank.  Once the wall was blank I had to choose a fabric backdrop from my current inventory. No time to go shop for a new one at 9:00 p.m.  After testing a couple of fabrics I chose one and then had to iron it.

Last steps between 11:00 -12:30 a.m. were to pull my newest books from the book shelf and find a colored liquor that worked with the cool palette.

I did half a dozen test shots with various layouts and then called it a night. At this point I was tired. Tomorrow I would make the best of whatever light came through the east window.

When will there be enough light on a very dark, cold December morning? That is a question for a gambling photographer who cannot predict when or if the sun is going to break through the clouds and how far south will be the angle of the sun if it does shine through.  It may never brighten up the table top and all my beautiful objects d'art ready to be photographed.

The answer is simply to photograph a variety of poses throughout the late morning and early afternoon and have some fun with it.  In fact, I even drove over to the local antique store and hit the jackpot by finding a couple of additional ceramic figurines, birds, to add to the menagerie.  That was a fun surprise.

Time, as always was of the essence for two reasons, the sun was going to move west and be totally out of the picture, literally, and we were entertaining friends for dinner.  I had some tasks that had to be completed so I couldn't play all day.

Not to brag but the result was about half a dozen fun combinations of winter angel, floral, sweets (beverage and cookies) and ceramic figurines.  All my new favorites. I chose this one to display here because it has the required elements of what encompasses my favorite still life portraits.

So this with image I can say Happy Winter!  Enjoy the cool colors and all that winter gifts to us.

Saturday, August 6, 2016

August: Basil, Flowers, Tomatoes

August 6th Still Life #9342 
How do you mark time?  I look out the window and see my flowers, tomatoes and basil growing. Each week I look at their progress and estimate if they can be harvested in time for my birthday wish.

My wish is to be able to eat fresh tomatoes on August 9th.

This year I was gifted with a dozen fresh tomatoes in my urban garden so the timing was lovely.

Monday, August 1, 2016

Dance With The Light

Dance With The Light, 2016 
When the prism light shines -
in that moment,
stop, smile and dance with the light

Magical moments can be the unexpected moments. You're on task to do something, like get ready for work.  Suddenly, you stop in your tracks. You see the angle of light shining through the crystal butterfly shaped prism dancing on the surrounding back wall.  

There's no "real" music playing. But you imagine that you can hear it and the light is dancing to the music.

Time stands still as you feel joy and happiness from that simple moment.

You didn't control it yourself. You didn't have to "work" it.  You simply were gifted with this magical moment that made you stop, smile and dance with the light.

Sunday, July 31, 2016

Love In Light

"Love in Light" Still Life, #9221

You Are In Every Portrait

Self Portrait  #9136,  2016
Some say every portrait is a self portrait of the photographer.  In the case, it is the truth.

Saturday morning I went to the Mpls. Farmers Market with Karl's daughter, Carla.  She had to buy some Minnesota cheese curds to take back to her co-workers back in Colorado.  I had a small inkling that maybe, just maybe I'd buy some flowers if something called to me. My birthday is coming up and I could make an early still life that was autobiograpical.

I walked through the market and did a comparison shop of what flowers were available at the best price.  From the onset the purples called to me and I knew that the yellow lilies would be the perfect contrasting color.

Got home and double checked that the green background was still up and usable for today's still life. I did however pull the fabric more taut to minimize the striped lighting pattern this time.  Then assembled the following elements:

Poetry books, always Mary Oliver and my new collection by Wendell Berry
Cameras:  tiny crystal Swarovski camera and gold plated miniature camera
Wine glasses: three glasses that represent Karl, his daughter Carla and me with a nice white wine
Glass paperweight which displays a picture of me from 2nd or 3rd grade in my school uniform
Fabric to add color and texture

It could have contained more elements but I've learned that less is more.

Repetitive elements that almost always appear in my still life portraits are
natural light
poetry books
living flowers
beautiful vase
beverage vessels

To my mind they are all representations of love.

Sunday, July 24, 2016

The Worldly Owl

The Worldly Owl Still Life, July 2016


Morning Glory, July 2016 

"Look at everything as though you were seeing it 
either for the first time or for the last time.
Then your time on earth will be filled with glory." 
                                               Betty Smith
                              author of one of my favorite books
                                    "The Tree Grows In Brooklyn" 

poem: The Telephone by Robert Frost

Red Lily, July 2016 

The Telephone   

           Robert Frost1874 - 1963

“When I was just as far as I could walk

From here to-day,
There was an hour
All still
When leaning with my head against a flower
I heard you talk.
Don’t say I didn’t, for I heard you say—
You spoke from that flower on the window sill—
Do you remember what it was you said?”
“First tell me what it was you thought you heard.”
“Having found the flower and driven a bee away,

I leaned my head,
And holding by the stalk,
I listened and I thought I caught the word—
What was it? Did you call me by my name?
Or did you say—
Someone said ‘Come’—I heard it as I bowed.”
“I may have thought as much, but not aloud.”
“Well, so I came.”

Friday, July 8, 2016

poem: Museum

           by Keith Leonard (link below to audio and text)

"I walked the three floors
of the local antique store
and imagined white plaques

adorning each room

—but unlike museums
I could touch the displays,
and could take a seat
at a beautiful walnut table—
I could wonder about the moment
its palm-stained patina
went from simply dirty
to expensively antique—that
singular moment the thing
became slightly more
than a thing by simply
continuing to be
the very same thing—all its cracks
thick as the edge of a quarter—
all its smoothed over corners—
all its dark knots flourishing—
and I thought I could live
for awhile in this very
same body—and did, somehow,
and was loved, somehow,
into a third body, which totters
across the living room,
and whose knees I kiss
when he stumbles,
and the difference between
just now and not
is an aperture’s quick snap—
is breath-delicate—
it must have been Luck
—I see it—that saddled me,
the blind horse rising
and falling as the carnival
blared from the brass pipes,
as the carousel twirled
its crown of lights,
and one by one the bulbs
went dark—and so it is,
this life—this goddamn
lucky life—the organ
sounding off the melody,
the platform winding down,
and the horses still bounding."

About This Poem by Keith Leonard

“On a rare day, I’m reminded how paper-thin and tearable existing is—the aneurysm, the cancer, the errant car jumping the curb—and such chance mortality both terrifies me and fills me with gratitude, since many of those I love are still here, somehow, and I’m still here, somehow. This poem was written on one of those grateful days.”

—Keith Leonard"

I signed up for the "Poem of the Day" and this was the selection for July  8, 2016.  

Wednesday, July 6, 2016

Keep Something Beautiful In Your Mind

Keep Something Beautiful in Your Mind, Still Life #3789
John O'Donohue: "I love Pascal's phrase, that you should always "keep something beautiful in your mind." And I have often - like in times when it's been really difficult for me, if you can keep some kind of little contour that you can glimpse sideways at now and again, you can endure great bleakness."

I read this statement by Irish poet John O'Donohue an hour ago and it make me think of the experience I had recently while I visited a longtime girlfriend of mine. Debbie was my wild hippy friend, originally from Minnesota like me, but we were both living in San Francisco when we knew each other best (1975 - 1985). Passionate about life, love, family, friends and so much more. When she got into something she dove in 100%.

But today she's recovering from a stroke that occurred about two months ago. She is currently going through physical therapy to regain use of her, now paralyzed, left side.  I recently visited her in her private room at Walker Methodist Transitional Center.  She had finished dinner and was in bed watching TV.  We talked about her health and the music concert she'd gone to the previous weekend. She'd bought the tickets months ago long before the stroke and the six weeks in extensive care.  I told her I was so amazed that she and her daughter had rode over and back on a Metro Mobility Van. I saw the photo of them on Facebook with the #strokewontstopme,

While we chatted I enjoyed looking at all the photos and items of comfort packed in her room and especially on her dresser and window ledge.  Simultaneously, she asked for and was administered her evening medicine of pain pills and more.

Being who I am, and how I see things, I couldn't help but notice the beautiful orchid plant on display on her dresser near the window. It was hard to truly appreciate it because of all the other items around it. As the sun shone through the window and across the orchids I was prompted to move everything off the dresser top and onto the floor so that Debbie could appreciate this beautiful moment of sunlight on the flowers.  While lying in her bed, she helped give me directions on how I could compose the portrait so she could see the movement of light and shadows better.

It was only ten minutes or so of enjoying this beauhtiful scene before we lost the sun and everything fell in shadow. But it felt as though we both had shared the gift of beauty together and we both had seen and felt something precious before we had to go back to the reality of her stroke and the long recovery she has ahead of her.

The photos turned out so nice that I had them made into a set of greeting cards which I will hand deliver to Debbie on my next visit.

There are times I feel that my ability/need to see beauty and create photographs is trite. But other times, like on this day, it felt important and significant.

John O'Donohue quote above from:
August 6, 2015

Saturday, July 2, 2016

Red, White, Blue

Red, White, Blue Still Life #8722 

Yesterday's still life photos were pretty good as I created what I knew were going to be simply Version #1 with more variations to come. I didn't know what was going to happen next but I was open to change and new flowers coming into my life.  I thought I'd have a chance to purchase some store-bought flowers for myself on Saturday when I was out shopping.

Little did I know, however, that at 9:00 a.m. my neighbor Sarah S. would call to say she picked up a few things for me at the local Farmers Market and she was going to stop by for just a minute.  When she got out of her car she grabbed her things and started to quickly walk to our front door. 

I looked at her and then shockingly looked at the large bouquet of flowers that she was holding in her hand. I couldn't believe my eyes.

With a huge smile on her face she presented the flowers to me saying that she thought I'd like a 4th of July holiday bouquet.

I thanked her profusely and told her that she was a mind reader. I had been wishing that I could get a bouquet of flowers today specifically with a 4th of July themed still life in mind.  What a kind and generous neighbor we have with Sarah S. We're so fortunate that she is our neighbor and we've become good friends. 

Today's  Red, White, Blue Still Life came together with the following elements:
  • Red cotton fabric for a background
  • Red, white, blue scarf that I had purchased on Friday to wear and also use as a table cover
  • Books pulled from the shelves that hopefully, spoke about Americana in general rather than Independence Day, specifically
  • Glasses of red wine
  • Two white wooden bird sculptures embossed "DREAMS" and "LOVE" that I thought could be interpreted as emotions expressed about America.  
It is also true, however, to say that the words "DREAMS" and "LOVE" also expressed how I was personally feeling today about family, friends, my well being and my country.  I am so grateful for all that I have as a citizen of the U.S.A., as a member of the Houser family, my connection through marriage with the Blomseth family and my dear friends.

Sunday, June 26, 2016

Follow the Light

Follow the Light  #8535

Nothing like coming home an hour early from work and noticing that the urban wildflowers in the alley were in full bloom and the orange Day Lilies were beautiful in the afternoon sun. Even though I am aware of so many people traveling and vacationing now, I'm happy to be home enjoying my local environment and my neighborhood flowers in bloom.

I hear over and over again that some people find the Day Lily to be an undesirable weed while others plant them and wish for their return in gardens each summer.  I'm of the mind that they are a worthy flower that I look forward to each summer.

Knowing that the purple silk background was still installed and ready for a photo I went downstairs to my inventory of vases and chose a tall, clear glass vase that would work well with the long tall stalks of the Day Lilies and other flowers growing nearby.  

Yes, of course, I made several variations with fruit, vegetables, wine and cheese but sometimes there is nothing better than following the  light patterns at sunset on my front porch home studio.  So here it is.  Simply beautiful afternoon light, at sunset, on our urban wildflowers growing within steps of our home.

           by Wendell Berry  

Geese appear high over us,
pass, and the sky closes. 
as in love or sleep, holds
them to their way, clear
in the ancient faith: 
what we need is here. 
And we pray, not
for new earth or heaven, 
but to be quiet in heart, 
and in eye,
What we need is here.

Monday, June 20, 2016

I Almost Made It

Almost, Still Life #8508, June 2016
I almost made it through the whole day Sunday without having the urge to create a still life photo on the front porch studio of our home.

Got up early in the morning and after a quick cup of coffee we hopped on our bicycles for a beautiful bicycle ride that took us to the Minnehaha Parkway, to Minnehaha Falls, to the River Road, then up to the Greenway Bike Path and finally home on the 20th Avenue bikeway.

After a nice breakfast Karl started his "labor of love" i.e. getting the BBQ smoker prepped for the four hour beef rib cooking process. That would be his treat for himself, to work his magic at the grill
Neighbor Sarah S. stopped by and said she'd love to go to the Stone Arch Bridge Art Festival in Mpls. if she had someone to go with her.  I volunteered to tag along so spent a couple of hours with her sight seeing all the amazing art on display.  She bought a few gifts for family members and was very happy with her purchases.

Later, while Karl and I ate his delicious beef rib dinner I watched the light change on the porch.  I made no moves toward changing the nice relaxing pace of our dinner and enjoyed every bite.  I even started my usual routine of cleaning the table and washing the dishes until, about 60% through my task I was struck by an idea for a portrait that I thought I could create fairly quickly since I still had the newly purchased and installed background fabric, a lovely purple silk cloth that worked beautifully the day before.

I assembled
  • my favorite purple paisley shawl
  • the flower arrangement from the previous day
  • a short stack of poetry books that I had on the coffee table
  • two glasses with port in the bottle left over from last night's dinner
  • fresh blueberries in a fruit bowl
In a matter of approximately twenty minutes I made several variations all based on the angle of the sun. This one was the sweetest with the light brightly illuminating he blueberries, beverages and books.

I felt it was a good accomplishment achieved in a short amount of time so I put everything away for the weekend and finished off washing the dinner dishes.

I almost made it through the day without that evening still life creation, but I'm glad I didn't.

Still Life, Father's Day

Still Life #8425 for Karl, Father's Day 6-19-16
So many ideas, so many variations with the portrait elements but, so little time.

On the occasion of Father's Day I felt that I needed something new. That prompt sent me off on a quest to find new elements that would work to create a still life revealing some of Karl's personality, interests and talents.  Lucky for me a newly found shop on Chicago Avenue in Mpls. brought the purple satin fabric and the white  "Love" bird to me.

After my usual exercise of ironing the fabric, Karl helped me choose some of the elements used for the first several variations of the still life focused on

  • his passion for the culinary arts BBQ sauces and spices gifted by his daughter, Carla,  
  • his package containing Season 3 of The Game of Thrones, 
  • whiskey in shot glasses and 
  • fresh vegetables pulled literally off the kitchen counter.  

I loved watching the afternoon sun shine on the satin fabric. I couldn't help but think that the rich purple color reminded me of our MN Viking purple and gold team colors which was also appropriate because that is part of Karl's story as well.

I called it a day, literally when it was time for our Father's Day eve dinner and felt good about what we had created.

Tuesday, May 31, 2016

"The peonies are getting ready to break my heart"

Wild and Perfect Peonies, May 2016

 Peonies: A Poem By Mary Oliver

"This morning the green fists of the peonies are getting ready
to break my heart
as the sun rises,
as the sun strokes them with his old, buttery fingers
and they open —
pools of lace,
white and pink —
and all day the black ants climb over them,
boring their deep and mysterious holes
into the curls,
craving the sweet sap,
taking it away
to their dark, underground cities —
and all day
under the shifty wind,
as in a dance to the great wedding,
the flowers bend their bright bodies,
and tip their fragrance to the air,
and rise,
their red stems holding
all that dampness and recklessness
gladly and lightly,
and there it is again —
beauty the brave, the exemplary,
blazing open.

Do you love this world?
Do you cherish your humble and silky life?
Do you adore the green grass, with its terror beneath?
Do you also hurry, half-dressed and barefoot, into the garden,
and softly,
and exclaiming of their dearness,
fill your arms with the white and pink flowers,
with their honeyed heaviness, their lush trembling,
their eagerness
to be wild and perfect for a moment, before they are
nothing, forever?"

from New And Selected Poems by Mary Oliver

You Are Simply Irresistible

Simply Irresistible, March 2016
How can one resist an early morning bouquet of peonies that are hand delivered by a kind and generous neighbor?  I cannot.

I had packed up all my photography studio equipment four days ago because I was totally convinced that I had created everything I wanted to create with the flowers I had on hand.

But early in the morning I got a telephone call from my neighbor Sarah  saying she had peonies she wanted to share with me.  They were in full bloom which meant they were drooping and were going to be laying on the ground soon. She couldn't bring them in her own home because her cat, Rocky, eats everything in sight, including her flowers.  I was helping her out by accepting the flowers.

Needless to say, I accepted the flowers with much gratitude and appreciation.

I quickly pulled my posing table and table top mirror into action, posed the flowers in a vase as fast as possible and captured these simply irresistible peonies on my mobile device and ran off to work.

They are simply irresistible. 

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

The Business Bouquet

The Business Bouquet, March 2016
Two main things about this floral portrait prompts me to title it "The Business Bouquet."

The vase was painted at a Do It Yourself ceramic studio in N.E. Mpls. when my co-workers and I went all together for an afternoon outing that was a "business outing" so to speak.  I was taught the "painting with bubbles" technique and it was very fun, very creative and was the perfect style for me since I'm not a painter, really.

Tomorrow is the 19th annual Women In Business awards luncheon and expo hosted by the Minneapolis/St. Paul Business Journal (my employer) and it seemed appropriate that, since I was going to bring a vase and flowers anyway, I bring this vase filled with flowers from our garden.

Now, all I have to do is pack it up and try to safely deliver it to the venue without ruining the flowers.  Wish me luck.

Monday, May 23, 2016

Still Life On White

Still Life On White, March 2016

Still Life on White is another extraordinary collaboration with a little help from my friends.

It's funny because when I started this floral still life project ten years ago I was usually working alone.  It was just me, the sun and the objects being photographed.  I was able to pull things together pretty well with available props in my environment plus artifacts that my husband or I had collected.

Now it's quite the opposite. The portraits that I love the most have been created with the help of, usually, one of the neighbors on either side of my home.  Sometimes even guests who stop by for dinner gift me with a beautiful bouquet of flowers or something.  So unbeknownst to them, they are my co-collaborators on the portrait.

This portrait On White was partially pre-planned with the background ironed for 15 minutes to remove most of the wrinkles and hung up the day before.  I actually had planned it for a new business head shot to update my previous one that is over two years old.  But I was gifted with everything seen in the portrait so I felt compelled to put them all together in a portrait. 

Thanks to Sharon for the bridal wreath flowers in the vase, Sarah for the fresh onion bun and goat cheese rolled in dill and Patrick for the limoncello liqueur.

Headshot will be postponed for a couple of weeks, I guess.

Monday, May 16, 2016

Sweet Lilacs

Sweet Lilacs, May 2016
Lilacs, oh sweet lilacs, how I love the sight and smell of you every spring.
But oh,  how I hate how quickly your petals turn brown and drop.

The day prior to this photo session I made a mental note to myself that if I was going to photograph the lilacs from my garden it would have to be tomorrow afternoon. I couldn't predict the exact time or the quality of the light at sunset but I was going to start getting prepared.

I set up a background using a deep rich red throw for my couch and spent ten minutes removing the worst of the cat hair that still remained after washing and drying it.  Animal lovers understand, I'm sure.

Did a quick pre-visualization of the various flowers I was going to pull fresh from the garden tomorrow: lilac, bleeding hearts, bridal wreath and wildflowers. Next I set down a purple vase and also my deep purple infinity scarf that worked so well one other time.

Lastly, I set down my two brand new books that I had recently purchased.

I was as prepared as I could be since it was difficult for me to know what the light was actually going to be like 24 hours from now.  Now, all I could do was wait and see.

And so 20 plus hours later, the Sunday still life photo session began.

I filled the purple glass vase with water and went outside with scissors in hand to clip the flowers that would be placed in the vase.  My neighbor on the north side gave me permission to snip one branch from his lilac bush to fill in a gap that needed to be filled.  Thank you, Patrick.

Once the arrangement was designed to my satisfaction I knew I'd have 1 - 2 hours to play with various set elements before I lost the magic light at sunset.

This day was changes a go-go.  I hated the red throw as my background because it looked too orange in today's light. After five photos I looked around and saw a similar fabric in a light soft tan color. I decided to try that one and took about 15 pictures but wasn't in love with that either. The sun was just too high and too bright. It simply blasted out every bit of color and texture in the fabric.  I took down that second throw and looked at the base fabric which is actually simply a light blocker. But that didn't work either because it was again, too red.

Then I started to get nervous.

I looked at the flower arrangement for some inspiration and instruction.  Something told me to look through my inventory of shawls to find one with complimentary colors. Eureka, I found a beautiful shawl that worked perfect and clipped it at mid-height to the light blocking background.  A couple test photos revealed it was a good fit but it had a fold that was unacceptable and just had to be straightened. I raced downstairs to get my hand held iron and an extension cord and got to work. It only took 3 - 4 minutes for the iron to heat up and I ironed the shawl while it was hanging up.

Then, what next?  Something else was needed,  but what?  I did the typical liquor in a fancy glass but that was boring and cliche. Not today. I thought it would be fun to add my favorite set of Royal Albert polka dot coffee mugs which always make me happy.  How can polka dots not make one smile?

Outside for one last flower clipping, my neighbor Lori surprised me by shouting over to me "Do you want a couple of cookies, I made too many?"   I thought for a moment and then asked "What kind of cookies?" thinking I should say no (too many calories). She said "chocolate chip cookies."  So of course, I weakened and said "Yes, I'll give them to my husband.":  Sweet Lori walked over with a small plastic bag containing two cookies that I immediately brought inside and put on my husband's dinner plate telling him the cookies were for him.

But within minutes, I realized that was a terrible mistake.  That would have been the finishing touch to the portrait - flowers, vase, books, coffee and COOKIES!  What was I going to do? I couldn't take back the cookies from my husband.

Well, I did the only logical thing. I walked over to Lori's house and rang the door bell. She greeted me by saying "Oh good, you want more cookies, right?"  Sheepishly I said, "yes, actually, could I have three or four cookies that I'll photograph and return to you after I'm done?"  Honestly, she was delighted that I was  removing these oh-so-tempting cookies from her house.

Because time was now of the essence, I ran back in the house, dashed down the basement to get my tiny little dessert plates which would be perfect to hold the cookies and placed the final sweet addition to today's "Sweet Lilacs" still life portrait.

I find it delightfully amazing and wonderful how each of  my still life sessions evolve into their own little adventure story of how they are created "with a little help from my <sweet>  friends."

Each one is a gift that I give myself and, of course,  I gift my friend with a reproduction as well.

Sweet! .

Monday, March 28, 2016

Sarah's Gift

Sarah's Gift, March 2016
Have you ever been blessed with the kindest person in your life? And if you're extra fortunate they live near you?  I am that doubly fortunate.

My neighbor Sarah with an "h," (unlike my sister Sara with no "h")  lives across the street from us and in the last few years we've all become great friends.  We look out for each other, cook with each other, feed each other and try to do kind things for each other.

This lovely bouquet was a gift from Sarah to brighten up our house on a cold dark March Saturday afternoon.  I didn't over work the set and simply added the minimum amount of complimentary colors with a silky, shiny neck scarf and my favorite rich green background.

I think the flowers speak for themselves. Sweet. Simple. Fragrant. Thoughtful.

Tuesday, March 1, 2016

Just Because in Blue

Just Because in Blue, February 2016

I think I've fallen in love with this blue tone style of imagery.

"Back in the day" of film processing they called this style Cyanotype and it was a very rare photographer who created these well.  It was before my time but I always loved them.

Thanks to today's post-processing technology I converted the warm tone image into a Cyanotype-like portrait.

I used most of the elements from the Warm Tone portrait shown previously and added a few elegant items to make this classy and feminine.  As I said when I was a portrait photographer, women can rarely go wrong with pearls.

Just Because - Warm Tones

I don't ever really need a reason to buy a flower arrangement.  Sometimes it is simply just because I want one to brighten up my day.

Having friends over for a dinner, however, is always a good reason to buy a fresh bouquet of flowers.  So I visited one of my favorite florist shops with the intention of just buying a small, inexpensive, bouquet.

This day I actually purchased an already stylized bouquet because it seemed to call my name.  It was simple, yet varied and had nice muted colors, in other words not a big screaming at you arrangement.

But the surprise was that after paying for the bouquet I saw this moderately priced gold/bronze vase and I knew it would be a good investment for this arrangement and others.

As always I came home and watched the evening light through the windows of my home studio to see if it was going to give me some of her magic light and yes, she did.  So I started the process and let it organically evolve.

Just Because in Warm Tones, February 2016
Backdrop was set up from a previous session and I thought it worked perfectly.
Two surface clothes from my inventory of shawls
Flowers in the new vase
And then I paused and looked around my studio room to see what was calling to me saying it wanted to be included in the photo.

Since it was still a cold  February day outside my friend Doug Sievers' book "Trees In Winter" seemed the perfect literary addition to work as the base.

Beverages in beautiful glasses were added.
Two pears
The final object d'art was my glass bird - just because.

I played with the sunset light for about an hour and chose this one as my favorite.

Monday, February 15, 2016


Valentine Still Life no. 5529

Valentine Still Life Portraits Dedicated to Karl Blomseth who gave me all of this, and so much more.
“I love you because the entire universe conspired to help me find you.” Paulo Coelho.

Naughty Naughty

Valentine Still Life no.5521
Naughty, Naughty.

Sunday, January 31, 2016

How Do I Love Thee?

Falling In Love, 2016

"How do I love thee? Let me count the ways...

I love thee to the level of every day’s

Most quiet need, by sun and candle-light.

For the artist who falls in love with their own work ...  "thee" can be anything, from a person to a plant. Today, it was the Light. Capital "L."  For me, a life long photographer, it's always been and always will be about the Light.

At around 5:00 pm today the angle of the sun created a beautiful light and shadow pattern illuminating the fabric that still hung from last week's portrait session.  It was truly breathtaking and caused an internal alarm that almost shook me. I literally fell in love at first sight.  But I knew that I had a finite amount of time to create the artistic still life portrait I desired.

I started with the beautiful flowers purchased last week from Bachman's that were still looking good eight days later. I loved seeing them each and every day this week even though I was aware of  many minor changes as they aged and wilted.

While I was freshening the flower arrangement and changing the vase I was reminded of comments repeatedly shared by artist friend Jim Marion Foreman that "as we create our favorite art pieces we fall in love with them. We develop an intimate relationship with them that, in that moment, is an intense love affair between the artist and the art."

This was more true than ever today.  

I loved the first session of portraits that was just the flower vase when I was merely "flirting" with the sunlight and shadows. Then the Muse, who was my stand-in, caught my attention as she communicated that she too had an extraordinary attraction to the warmth and embrace of the sun. 

To add a thoughtful conversation to the budding relationship I added two big art books "so we'd have something to talk about" and liqueur in a glass so we could whet our thirst after talking.

As the sun went down and the colors became softer and warmer with a golden palette, the final token was shared, pearls. Pearls that spoke of our sophisticated, sexy and sensual affair that lasted only as long as the light illuminated our scene.

Standing in the dark later I couldn't see the vase or the Muse or the pearls but I remembered the deep love that we had shared during those moments together in the sun and the shadows.

How do I love thee?  
Truly, let me count the ways.

How Do I Love Thee? (Sonnet 43)
Elizabeth Barrett Browning, 1806 - 1861

How do I love thee? Let me count the ways.
I love thee to the depth and breadth and height
My soul can reach, when feeling out of sight
For the ends of being and ideal grace.
I love thee to the level of every day’s
Most quiet need, by sun and candle-light.
I love thee freely, as men strive for right.
I love thee purely, as they turn from praise.
I love thee with the passion put to use
In my old griefs, and with my childhood’s faith.
I love thee with a love I seemed to lose
With my lost saints. I love thee with the breath,
Smiles, tears, of all my life; and, if God choose,
I shall but love thee better after death.

Hands Are Full

  petrichor   heavy in the air   fills our hands