Saturday, May 30, 2009

In His Image: Creative

I often hear people say, "Oh, I'm not creative," to which I ask, "Do you believe you were made in God's image?....Do you believe HE is creative?... Doesn't that mean that you must be creative?"....*
Trees, leaves, plants, flowers, and even people remind me of God's playful sense of creativity. We often see His sense of humor in his creations, too. Take seashells for example. Something hard was needed to protect the soft animal creatures, called mollusks. He could have made a generic shape, color and texture. Instead He playfully had fun with it, changing color, texture, pattern...Take a look at the variety our Creator used in the cockle shell alone !!!!! Creator-God: Master Artist and role model.

* If this resonates with you, I suggest you get Julia Cameron's book, "The Artist's Way" and work the process to rediscover your own creativity.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Early Impressions

Prior to the last photo class I took, I was to shoot 100+ images without regard to light, composition, balance, etc. This was very difficult for shoot without thinking artistically. The goal was to identify what things attract my eye. What I realized most is that I am attracted to texture...particularly mixed textures. It made sense and yet, felt odd. As a visual artist, I render smooth, gradual shading in pencil, paint and pen.
My brother, Wesley, and I periodically go "grazing" at the store. This is something we don't do often, but LOVE ! We will be gone for hours. We always find ourselves in weird, off-beat sections of the store...I noticed that we will point and look and, "wow" at the same thing at the same time...and it is usually texture-based! I commented on this and he said, "It makes sense. We both grew up in the same house." We are also drawn to the same shells when we beach comb together.

The home my parents chose to raise their kids in was built by a contractor for his daughter, who only lived there a short time. He had outfitted the place with all kinds of cool and varied textures...white gravel, framed in wrought iron in front of the fireplace which was double-sided in a rose, stone wall. there were copper tiles in the kitchen, more gravel in the bay window. Several of the plaster-walled rooms had one wall of a different kid of panelling.Outside there was brick, gray stone and wood. There were fields arund and forests nearby.
It is amazing to me how our surroundings, subconsciously affect our preferences. The youngest of 8 grand kids, I was the only girl. I was a tomboy and was always trying to keep up with my brothers and boy cousins. All the adults wanted to keep me in pink and ribbons and lace... As an adult, this has become my "comfort color"...the color that makes me happy...the color I wear when I want to feel loved or just plain comfortable. Early impressions may be more lasting than we think.
Next array of different shell textures...

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Time Changes Things

We had a learning experience this winter....don't drain the pool unless you are going to take it down IMMEDIATELY. A wind storm came up and blew it looked so sad. Thanks to a lot of work by Tom (& Wesley), it is back up and running. Our back forest is full of laughter and fun and shreiks of delight, once again. What a difference a few weeks make!
We used it as a reminder to count our blessings. we are still reeling from being fenced out of paths we have trod for a decade,,,,but are grateful for wat we do have, We ARE so RICHLY blessed !!!!

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Light From Within

I love how God lit these tulips from above and within! He does that for me, as well. A favorite quote of mine is, "He knows our needs even before we ask". This morning, I was thinking (not praying) about finding the perfect quotation...I love quotes, so choosing only one is quite a challenge. I picked up a devotional and headed outside. My eyes fell on a quote that I underlined a month ago: "Today, follow the Lord's will for your life and be ready to be surprised by His presence". (Lee A. Morris). How perfect !...and God brought it to my attention twice: a month ago, when I underlined it and this morning, when I picked up an old issue.
Prayer (or requests not yet made) don't always come that quickly. We usually have to be much more patient. "His time is not ours". When I was a child, I started regularly praying for patience. Many, many years later, when I taught preschool, parents would comment on how patient I was....It took me that long to realize how God had answered those prayers. Now that I am in middle school, patience is definitely required...and often. Patience IS something we can traffic, the grocery store....waiting for the perfect shot....It is to our benefit to learn patience. Not only is it a fruit of the Spirit, life becomes easier when we practice patience regularly.

To get these shots required a lot of patience.
This was an extremely windy, cumulus cloud-filled gorgeous morning. These elements made for amazing lighting, but it came in momentary glimpses. I stood for ages in my neighbor's front yard and took shot after shot. Truthfully, I wasn't really pleased with the end products, but I love the notion, symbolism and not to mention, I had invested quite a bit of time in the attempt to catch a suitable image. It was like shooting wildlife, lens to eye, finger on shutter and wait for the second the image comes in. Hard to capture the precise composition, particularly zoomed in this close and in a thrashing wind.

Monday, May 25, 2009

The Greatest Generation

On this day of remembrance, I would like to brag on my folks. In January of 1945, my dad was about to ship out to the pacific theater of war. Young kids in love, they didn't know if they would see each other again and were married. (After 64 years, Momma always likes to say, "Well...we think it's going to work out after all". They are still awe-inspiringly in love!)
After the war, the GI Bill enabled Daddy to finish school. His was a generation of engineers that went from glass tubes to computer chips. They were an invaluable asset to the space program. Born "Depression Babies", they went on to attain the American Dream.They nurtured their faith and raised 3 children to accept Christ as Lord and Saviour. Theirs is a generation that worked and saved for everything they had and never borrowed against their future. They are honest, hard-working and trustworthy. They have strong moral values, character and integrity. I admire my folks and all that they and their peers stand for and tried to instill in their children.
My folks taught me to honor God, country and our veterans. They always esteem the sacrifices made by a generation of boys and men to preserve freedom. In addition to all our vets, today let us remember and honor the faith and values "the Greatest Generation" upheld. Let us honor them, by following in their example.
(Thanks for everything, Momma & Daddy! I love you, both!)

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Peony: A Unique Look

This image just puts me over the top ! I think it is so beautiful ! I find it very comforting. The lines create great movement throughout the composition. The varied hues create a sense of subtle depth, which leads the eye into the image. I turned this one every angle and kept coming back to the one as it was shot. There is a certain tension in it. I especially like the angled lines against the softness of the form, particularly in the second petal down. There is something unsettling about how the composition and the frame meet, which adds to the juxtaposed effect. (BTW< I took this leaning over,completely upside down).
On the "Day of Firsts" post (April 2), I put up 2 pictures of an iris. Nearly everyone prefers the I posted it. I prefer the latter one. I would be interested in your comments on that one as well as on this one. Also, let me know if you, "just don't get it" (for either one)...I would be very interested to know that.

Here is the image turned 90 degrees...It is somehow reminiscent of The Venus de Milo, or perhaps angel wings. There is a subtle sexuality to it like this.

Here is a wider shot, to help put it in perspective and enable you to understand the subject.

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Bob the Peony

This is Bob. Bob is a peony, named in honor of an old neighbor of ours, from our Maryland days. His yard was completely circled with peonies from his mother's house. The fragrance is luscious...similar to roses but not as overdone. This year, Bob the Peony had 31 big, gorgeous blossoms, right across from our front door. Without HVAC, we have had all the doors and windows open and our home is filled with the fragrance !!! Fantabulous!

Our neighbor, Bob, was the "old guy on the street who always knew everything that was going on". It was an oak-lined neighborhood of Post-WWII, GI-Bill, Cape Cod-style homes. Bob was retired and when he wasn't tending his gardens, he would stand at his open door, watching. When he would spy something unusual, he would call his wife, Jean. I loved to mess with Bob. At the time, I thought I was allergic to grass and wore a white, dust mask to mow the lawn. This aroused Bob's curiosity. As time went on, I developed my "lawn mowing uniform": white lab coat, hard-hat and dust-mask with white, storm- trooper, wrap-around sunglasses. I wore this outfit even in humid, 100+ degree, D.C. sauna conditions. Bob always called Jean to the door. Both would stand, with hands to open mouths and watch me mow the entire lawn. Never once, in all those years, did either of them comment on any of this....but every time I cut the grass, I donned my outfit and saw them from the corner of my eye.(I wish I could remember the tree-trimming outfit I wore...I think it was a tarzan sorta thing......)

I like to make events out of mundane tasks. I have been in search of the perfect, white, froo-froo GOWN for weeding my gardens....I believe in making life as fun as possible... entertaining the neighbors is just an added bonus!

Friday, May 22, 2009

Job Hazards & Crack Cream

My hands get so nasty from being washed so much. They give my auntie fits! I wash and wash and wash. They get so dried out, they split open and bleed. Zim's Crack lie... is DA BOMB to heal / prevent this. Paint gets caked into the dry cracks. This picture is from a month or so ago. A few weeks ago, they were caked with white earthenware, it is papier mache'...we are making pinatas, masks and Daruma san, goal-setting dolls. FUN ! FUN !!!!
Today, we start glazing. Time for my end of the year mantra, "Load the kiln, fire the kiln, unload the kiln, load the kiln, fire....." It is so awesome to see the kids' faces when they get their pottery back!! "Pretty, Pretty, Shiny, Shiny". It is truly magical!!! One of the BEST parts of my "job" !!!!

Monday, May 18, 2009

The Clouds Have Cleared

I have been ill and in a fog for weeks...I literally feel like I lost several weeks... I've been sleeping from work to work...through weekends and all. Awful, really. So unlike me to be unmotivated for anything and feeling in a daze. I have written a few letters (in my journal) and even some posts... but never anything to send or I have been viewing the world through a bubble.
Sometime between 3 & 3:30, I felt some energy return...for the first time in weeks. I Picked up London, got some fat, juicy night crawlers and went fishing. After that, we headed out to his last baseball game. It is good to be alive again !!! This picture is how I feel...and it's all GOOD !!!!

My Girl

Do you recall the sound the Wraiths make in "Lord of the Rings" ? It is this bone-chilling screech that you feel to your innermost being. Sunday morning, I went out on the deck and heard just that other way to describe it. I looked up and flying low, was my girl...for 3 years she nested behind our house at eye-level. next, she moved betseen our home and London's school. I always know it is her because of the missing feather. For all those years, no matter where she has lived, she has always enjoyed her mid-day hunt behind my classroom.....
Anyway, Sunday morning, I heard her make that very sound the Wraiths made...She was flying low and being harassed by a crow. They made a couple of very low passes, all the while her screaming....They circled off and all was quiet, but it was a bit unsettling.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Random Images

I have been ill for the last few weeks and quite in a fog...not sure if that was from meds, sleep deprivation or illness. I have been able to do some shooting. Here are some of my finds.....

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Seashells as Metaphor

Both of these compositions are as I found them..."Still-Life by God".
I like the whole notion of shells as metaphors for life, forgiveness, and faith. Collecting shells is seasonal in that, specific shells are more likely to be found at particular times of the year. Spring-time brings a lot of the same shells in different sizes. I think it is awesome that this comes at the time of year when we remember Christ shedding His blood and giving up His body, so that we might have new life in a new, spiritual body.
Tom and I "escaped from D.C." 11 years ago and have certainly put on new "shells". We are now homeowners, lake / forest dwellers; grandparents, "older parents" of a young boy, dog and rabbit owners, have a get the idea. We have lost friends and family through death and circumstance, and gained new ones as well.There have been even more dramatic changes in our inner selves.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

My "Cross to Bear"

So many choose a rushed and hectic lifestyle. We take it for granted that if we can just get IN bed, we will get proper rest. This is not true for 50-70 million Americans who suffer with one or more sleep disorders. People think we are lazy, complainers, spacy, &/ or slackers. We have unexplained bruises at furniture level, suffer depression, drag our feet, and are prone to illness. It doesn't matter how much or how little sleep we get, we don't get quality sleep. Without the right kind of sleep, it is as if we had never slept at all. My husband says that I, "flop around like a fish on a pier." I awake in the morning with legs that ache as though I had been climbing stairs all through the night. My arms, and often my entire body feel weighted....and I start my day.....
I am not saying all of this to complain, but to explain. Perhaps you know someone like I described. (Have them look into a sleep study.) It is my hope that you will literally thank God upon waking feeling rested, restored, and renewed. Tom always adds to his prayers, "Thank you for our blessings known and unknown"...I hope you will pause to be grateful for proper rest.

Saturday, May 9, 2009

Please Don't Call Me "Religious"

Please don't call me "religious"...Religious people are the ones who crucified Christ. They continue to crucify Him today.
Folks in Jesus' time had gotten so caught up in the "Shalt nots" that they failed to love one another. That is why God sent Jesus, His Son. The vast majority of non-believing people I have met, were "raised Christian", and yet they do not know Christ. They have been so brain-washed by judgementalism that they do not know who Christ really was and IS.
If you want to get to know the REAL Jesus: who He was and is, why He came and what He is all about, PLEASE FIND OUT FOR YOURSELF. Start with the Book of John. If you want a quick biography, read the Book of Mark. John, Jesus' "beloved disciple" gives us a great understanding of who Christ really was.....Jesus hung out with sinners...prostitutes, thieves, working class stiffs....people on the edge & over the edge. Jesus spent most of his time talking about love and hope, putting others first, about forgiveness and new beginnings.....
What is your image of Christ? How do you represent Him? Do your daily words and actions align with your faith? Are you "religious"?

Friday, May 8, 2009

Hidden Before Our Eyes

The beaches in South Carolina are literally strewn with these tiniest of treasures throughout most of the year. Because they are everywhere in abundance very seldom have I ever seen passersby pause to cherish their beauty. Much of life is like that: that which is in abundance in our lives is taken for granted and goes unnoticed. I strive to live my life in such a way that I am grateful for the little things in life. Each morning, I begin my day by listing at least ten things that I am grateful for. Some days it is hard to come up with ten things. Other days, I can hardly tear myself away from adding to the list. This jump starts my day with an open heart and I find it easier to be giving to others.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Baby's Ears

These are my favorite shells to find and remind me of my Momma. I have a special eye for them...tiny and delicate they seem to jump right out of the sand to my eye. I always come home with pockets full of them. The intricate patterning our Creator, God put into them fills me with amazement.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Creatures at Nightfall

Sitting lakeside in the forest at nightfall can take some getting used to. Sitting still and quiet, the leaves on the forest floor seemingly come to life, as toads and frogs wake and make their way to the lake. To sit still, long enough, means they may hop and wait, hop and wait, RIGHT next to you!

I have heard that one should do something new &/or scary once a day. My first night at the beach, I headed out well over a mile from civilization. I discovered that the various, "Ghost Crabs" freeze when faced with a light. This guy reminds me of a kitten with his little "paws" tucked under him. When I turned off the light and sat still, the shells seemed to come alive with the skittering of these little fellows. Amazing how the beach could remind me of my forest home.

In capturing the above shot, I did a face plant with my telescoping lens, right into moist sand. The little Canon held up through the next morning, then suddenly seized. Having been shelved for the last 2 years, the HP just doesn't cut it anymore...I have a new "baby" on the way.....and I am very excited!

Sunday, May 3, 2009

A World Away

What a great getaway !! and what a world of difference from my forest home !!! Our Creator, God put so much care into so many, diverse things !! All for us, His beloved children and heirs to His Kingdom!!! From the tiniest minnow, to the infinite heavens !! From the tiniest crab to the vastness of the sands and oceans.... WOW ! What an Artist!!! What a Loving Father !!!