We used to have a beautiful Day Lily in my front yard; it was one of my favorite trusty perennials. One year on a rainy summer day, I was out in the yard and saw the water on the leaves of the Lily and hurried to get my camera. It just looked so beautiful. Another photo from self-developed film and printed by me.
Sunday, January 24, 2010
This was my first attempt at photographing water on leaves. It was just lightly raining when I took the photo, and the droplets looked so perfect atop the leaves. They just begged to be photographed, as do so many things in nature. Another photograph from self-developed film and printed by me.
I love trying to capture texture in a photograph, especially one that's black and white. This texture is from the oldest tree in front of my house. It's really kind of fascinating to look at the bark and all its patterns and texture. If only it could talk. Another photograph from self-developed film and printed by me.
I used to grow green beans quite a lot when I had my own garden. The Hubs put up this wire for the beans to grow up on. One winter I happened to notice some rather neat ice formations on the wire and dried up bean vines, so I grabbed my camera and snapped this photograph. Another photo from self-developed film and printed by me.
Nature photography is really something I am quite partial too. There is so much beauty and inspiration to be found in nature, in my opinion. These wild weeds were found In the Field as I drove to a friend's house in the country one day. Just thought that they'd make a neat photo. Another photo from self-developed film and printed by me.
One day I found this baby bird sitting in my front yard. I hurried to grab my camera and get a photograph. He definitely was not able to fly, but he could take steps. And there are plenty of critters in our neighborhood that could have tried to get a hold of him. I found a nest up in the tree above him, so when the Hubs got home, he put him back up there for me. That bird wasn't going to be some critter's lunch on my watch! This again is self-developed film and printed photo.
This is a traditional black and white film photograph of an old, abandoned building. This is another where I developed the film and printed the photograph myself. I love the texture within this photo, created by the vines that have grown up over it and are now all dried up.
Saturday, January 23, 2010
On our trip to Saugatuck, Michigan, we were able to take a sunset cruise on the lovely Star of Saugatuck, an authentic steamwheeler. It was one of my all time favorite trips that the Hubs and I have ever taken. There's a saying, "it's not about the number of breaths we take...but the moments that take our breath away." This sunset cruise was one of those moments, and I'll never forget it.
The first photo was taken just as we were leaving the Kalamazoo River out into Lake Michigan. The second photo was taken moments later, once we were fully on the lake. That sunset was magnificent!
Saugatuck, Michigan is an absolutely wonderful little town near the shores of Lake Michigan....what they call the "Art Coast of Michigan." It is full, and I do mean full, of art, galleries, gift shoppes, harbor-side bed and breakfasts, and wonderful little cafes and eateries. And if you like dune rides, then Saugatuck is a must-visit destination spot if you're near that part of Michigan.
The Hubs and I got a room and in an amazing bed and breakfast called Bentley Suites (highly recommended!). Our B&B was right on Kalamazoo Harbor. On our very first day there, we walked the boardwalk and were greeted by these Saugatuck Ducks. Yes, folks, if there are ducks around, I will find them and photograph them! This was the first of many photos I took that weekend.
After living in Ohio for over 20 years, within an hour or so drive, the Hubs and I finally managed to take a trip to Port Clinton and Put in Bay. We had a really good time, as there is lots to do and see. It was a nice ride on the Jet Express from Port Clinton to Put in Bay. Once on the island, we traveled around by golf cart (no cars allowed!) that the Hubs enjoyed driving far too much. We also took the tour of the Perry's Victory and International Peace Memorial, which is a 352 foot Doric column, rising up over Lake Erie. It was built to honor those who fought in the Battle of Lake Erie in the War of 1812; and to celebrate the lasting peace between the US, Britain, and Canada. It opened in 1915, and is situated 5 miles from the longest undefended border in the world.
Now that you've had your fill of Ohio history and trivia...this photo was taken near the top of the tower; well, it's the very top level that any humans can get to. The architectural detail at the top is just beautiful. Yeah, I took photos out over the water too, but this one is actually my favorite.
This is a photograph of yet another old building in Ohio, this time some sort of metal barn structure. Again, this is made from film that I developed and printed myself, old school style. I love the texture in this photograph.
Ohio has no shortage of old, dilapidated buildings and structures. The photo below shows one I found when the Hubs and I were driving around to find things for me to photograph. This is a photograph made the old fashioned way: with film that I developed myself and printed myself. I love traditional photography, even though it seems to be a dying art in our digital age. But I still hope to one day have a darkroom upstairs in my home so that I can continue to make more photos like these.
On our anniversary trip to Marblehead on Lake Erie, the Hubs and I visited many historic and scenic sites. The rocky shore in this photo was right along side the historic Lighthouse, and across the bay from Cedar Point amusement park. We could actually see it from the shore, off in the distance. I just loved the texture I saw in the rocks and water. I had to get a picture.
The Hubs and I, ever fond of trips to water locales, ventured off to Muskegon, Michigan one summer weekend for our 25th wedding anniversary. The weather did not cooperate, our hotel room had no air-conditioning, we got lost more than once and it was a seriously Murphy's Law kind of weekend! One of the few highlights of the getaway (for me) was this duck, who was floating on some wood tied to a dock. I swear that bird was posing just for me! He must have sensed how the trip had been going and took pity on me. It made my day. I think I may need to paint this little quacker one of these days. He's too cute!
If you're ever up in Northwest Ohio, I strongly recommend a trip to Marblehead. It's a wonderful little town on the shores of Lake Erie...and it's full of historic sites and lots of quaint little art and gift shoppes. This old lighthouse in the photograph below is but one of the visual treasures you can behold in Marblehead. And here's a restaurant tip: Big Bopper's is the best place to find a magnificent, and amazingly affordable, breakfast! I'm sure the rest of their food is great too, but we were only there for breakfast.
This photo is of the shore of Lake Michigan, taken on a trip to Saugatuck with the Hubs for an anniversary weekend. I took this to remind me what I'd love to see when looking outside my back door (or front door, as the case may be) on a daily basis. If only that were possible. I never get tired of looking at the sand and surf.
The Hubs and I took a trip to Lake Erie one summer for our anniversary weekend. I have quite the fondness for water and beaches, so those locales are always my first choice for any trip we are able to take. And if there's a bird around when I have my camera in hand, you can bet I'm going to snap a photo of it. I love photography, and I think birds make excellent subjects. I'm not sure if the bird pictured below is another variety of Herons or not. It rather looks like one, but I'd never seen one this white before. (It goes without saying that while I love birds, and I am by no means a bird expert.)
Here in Northwest Ohio, we have these birds called Herons. I don't recall ever seeing them before I moved here. But then again, maybe I was just not paying attention. Either way, I find them to be beautiful birds. So when I saw this one during an outing to Independence Dam State Park one summer, I had to get a photo for my photography collection.
Once upon a 4th of July, as the Hubs and I were settled in at a local park to await the annual fireworks display, the sun was setting. I brought my camera with me, as this was the year I got my digital camera, and I wanted to try it out. I was glancing around through my viewfinder, looked up at the sky, and this is what I saw.
To me, it looks like a leaf in the sky. I'd never seen anything quite like that before, or since. I really think it's beautiful, and I'm so glad I was able to capture it that day. What a great way to start a new collection of nature photography!
This mosaic dragonfly is yet another potential candidate for my someday watercolor greeting card line. I chose a dragonfly, because my mom loves them. And I chose the mosaic look, just to try something different with my watercolors.
This beautiful winged creature is yet another watercolor butterfly I created, with the hopes of it becoming a part of my (someday in the future) watercolor greeting card line. This is my favorite of the two I've posted so far. I really think that flowers and insects make perfect subject matter for the watercolor medium.
At some point I toyed with the notion of starting my own line of watercolor greeting cards. It's still something I'd love to pursue at some point, but I just haven't gotten around to it yet. This watercolor butterfly is one of several I did on watercolor card blanks, as practice for the potential real deal. I love the translucent look of watercolors, which seems to lend itself well to these delicate and beautiful winged creatures.
This rose painting, Pretty in Pink, is the first and only floral painting I've ever done in oils. It was a gift for a close friend for Christmas one year. I was pleased with the results, considering it was a first effort for this subject matter in oils. But it also gave me a new found respect for anyone who creates any florals in oils.
Friday, January 22, 2010
Another super fun and easy fairy craft...the Fairy Dust Jar. All you need is a small bottle, some glitter, some embellishments, and some paper for the tag. I used a copper wire to embellish an old bottle I had around the house. My husband is a plumber, who happens to dig a lot of holes, and crawl under a lot of houses during the course of his job. So he is always bringing home some neat little bottles. You could also check your local thrift store or antique store for some. Once you've got one, just fill it up with your favorite glitter.
You can add any type of embellishments that you like: beads, small feathers, ribbons, decorative buttons...the possibilities are almost endless. Then top it off with a paper hang tag that reads, "Fairy Dust." Use a fun, old style font for that perfect fairy touch.
These would make great party favors for a little girl's fairy-themed birthday party, or even for a baby shower. They'd also be really fun gifts for any fairy collector you might know.
Fairies can be a great source of inspiration for crafting. Captured Fairy Jars are all the rage these days. Do a Google search for them and you will find lots of results. They are really fun and easy to create, and so affordable too. You can use any jar you have around the house (just clean it up really well). And if you're a crafter like myself, you always have spare ribbon and flowers around you can use too.
You can use copies of vintage photos for your little fairy girl (or boy), or even photos of your children or grandchildren. Then just find a photo of some beautiful butterfly wings, attach them to the photo, and you have your fairy! I used a piece of a cheap eraser to mount my fairy girl on and then set her in the jar. I added yellow craft roses all around her, which are pretty to look at, but also serve to hide the eraser. Then I topped off the jar with a coordinating ribbon and yellow rose.
These would be really fun crafts to do with your kids. They'd also be great table decorations for a party or shower.
I have always been fascinated in the world of fairies. What's not to love about the idea of small, winged, fantasy creatures that live among us without us ever seeing them? A little bit of fantasy and escapism is good for the soul, and for me, it's often a source of great inspiration.
This is an oil painting I call the Sparkle Fairy. I had never painted a fairy before, as I primarily draw or sketch them. This particular fairy entered my consciousness and held me captive until I put her on canvas. Not a bad first effort as a fairy painting goes, though there's always room for improvement.
This is another experiment with the mixed media technique, also used in my Trees in Orange painting. I'm very inspired by nature and completely in awe of its beauty. So in my artwork and photography, nature is often the subject matter.
I didn't use quite as much tissue paper on this painting as I did in the Trees in Orange painting, but I think it worked just as it was meant to in this painting.
This painting is the result of my first experiment with mixed media painting. I actually did this as a project with my students when I was still teaching art at Defiance High School. It was something new and different and it was really fun to do.
First I created a simple sketch of the trees I would have in the painting, then I lightly transferred the sketch to canvas. I used tracing paper to trace the full size trees from the canvas, so that I could then cut pieces of thin poster board to lay on top of parts of the trees in the design, to create a relief.
Once all the relief parts were cut out, I used a watered-down glue mixture to adhere them to the canvas. Then I took tissue paper and tore it up into various sized pieces, and used the same glue mixture to "paint" the tissue paper all over the canvas. The goal was to create texture, as little or as much as desired, all over. This was allowed to dry overnight.
Once the textured relief background was dry, it was time to paint. I used acrylic paints, mixed with a bit of a slow-dry blending medium, to aid in blending the colors (I'm used to painting with oils, so acrylics always challenge me!). I chose a complimentary color scheme, using oranges and yellows on the trees so they would really jump off the canvas.
Once the painting was finished and dried, I used thinned out burnt sienna oil paints (thinned with regular paint thinner) to get some shadows and contrast in the texture on the canvas. I alternately brushed on some paint, then rubbed off the excess with a clean rag. It's not super easy to see that detail in the photo. Another thing the thinner did, especially in the background, was to lighten parts of the blue color, giving it really nice changes in value.
The finished painting was left to dry for several days, then sealed with a clear acrylic primer to give it a sheen. Normally I'm not one for an ultra-shiny painting, but for some reason, it just worked for me on this painting.
This is an oil painting that I created as a Christmas gift for my mother-in-law. She likes birds, and there are a fair amount of cardinals here in Ohio, and cardinals are just really beautiful birds. At the time I decided to paint this, I hadn't painted a bird since I was in high school. And trust me, that was quite some time ago. I really love painting birds and other animals. This painting made me realize that I should do it more often! He's a fat little bird, isn't he?!
I absolutely love Nicolas Cage. He is a wonderful actor and has been in some of my all time favorite films (The Rock, Con Air, Peggy Sue Got Married, Gone in 60 Seconds, National Treasure...just to name a few). I will go see any film that has Nicolas Cage in it. I'll be honest though, I don't like all of his films. But I will go see them simply because he's in them, which merits my attention. If I love them, I buy the DVD's when they come out; if not, I skip them. But Nic always gets me in the theater from the get-go.
And there's something incredibly intense (and not entirely unattractive) about Nic's face. He has very striking masculine features, which made him the perfect choice to be the subject of my very first celebrity painting in oils. And as far as I'm concerned, this first celebrity painting was my best.
Let's play a little game with this one, shall we? The painting below is one of my favorite actors of all time, so I knew for sure I was going to paint him. However, even though I like the painting, I don't think it's immediately obvious to anyone (other than myself) whom this is a portrait of. Let's face it, I'm not a professional portrait painter...I do this only out of a love of painting and my fondness for a given celebrity. So I can't always hit one out of the ballpark! Painting is primarily about the journey for me...even if the destination isn't exactly where I thought I'd end up.
So see if you can figure out who this is. Take a guess and leave a comment. I'd love to hear from you!
I've always been an Elvis fan...it's always been a sort of requirement for being in my family. When my Nana was still alive, if she found out you didn't like the King of Rock and Roll, she wondered what the heck was wrong with you, and immediately didn't trust you! Luckily, when I met my husband-to-be, he liked Elvis too, or I might not be married today.
At any rate, Elvis was a perfect choice for one of my Celebrities in Blue series. I'm about 80% happy with the results of my efforts. I may have to paint the King again one of these days, but here is my first effort.
Thank you. Thank you very much.
I decided at some point a few years ago that I was going to paint all of my favorite celebrities, using only shades of blue, in oils. Oils are my first choice of medium when I am painting, and using blue just seemed like a good idea at the time. Perhaps I was inspired by Picasso's Blue Period? Who knows.
One of my favorite female actresses is Angelina Jolie. I think she is mesmerizing on screen, incredibly talented, and as equally beautiful. She has an amazing face, which I really wanted to capture on canvas. Unfortunately, after painting her twice now, I have come to discover that I'm just not good at painting her! I may try again one day. Who knows. But I've painted her twice now and even though I like the paintings in general, I don't think they look enough like HER. So, Angelina, if you ever see this, I do apologize. I just can't do justice to your true beauty! But I sure did try.
These panels were made to fit an old Hoosier cabinet, the top half of which we inherited when my husband's grandmother passed away. Not sure where the bottom half of the cabinet went (sure wish we had it!), but the top half had been completely painted. It's been totally restored now. It was lacking the original panels that would have been in these two doors, so I created the glass panels to replace those that were missing.
These are both leaded glass panels that match other pieces in the kitchen. With the arched shape of the interior part of the panel, I was trying to mimic the glass doors that are on my China Hutch, which have a very similar shape. And the diamond shape appears on my floor and in the glass panels I created for our ceiling light fixture in the kitchen. Burgundy and green colors appear through most of my house, and the kitchen is no exception. So these colors tie in there as well.
This piece is another stained glass light fixture, but this is one I created for a customer of the Hubs. He kind of volunteered me to make one, which I was not thrilled about. Even though I like working with glass, something of this size (and the pattern that was involved) was very labor-intensive, and time-consuming as well. One panel is challenging enough, but three? It's just not something I want to do too often (if ever again), LOL. But this did turn out very well, and the customer was pleased.
The pattern I created was made to closely resemble the ceramic tile the customer had put in her newly remodeled kitchen, both in style and in colors.
This is stained glass light fixture that the Hubs and I created for our kitchen. He created the wood parts (and the "guts") and I created the glass panels. The 2 side panels are traditional leaded gas; the center one was copper-foiled, as an experiment. I do not like the center panel as a result! One of these years, I will redo it. But overall, the fixture turned out great. The panels match other glass pieces we have in the room.
I'm not a fan of abstract art myself. I totally appreciate it, but it's just not my favorite form of art. That doesn't stop me from creating abstract pieces for other people though. The piece below is one that I did for a friend's daughter, as a wedding gift. She likes abstract art, so I thought a stained glass abstract piece was in order.
The colors on this are blue and white, with some textured clear glass mixed in. The blue is almost cobalt in color. What I like about this piece is that it looks like something different to everyone who sees it...kind of like the inkblots on a Rorschach Test.
This was a really challenging piece to design and create, but I love how it turned out. It hangs over the front door of our house, like old transom windows used to do. I love butterflies, and they are symbolic in this stained glass piece, as they represent my daughter, Jennifer, my husband, John, and myself. The butterfly on the far left is me, the little one (natch) is Jennifer, and the one on the right, with the outstretched wings, is my husband. My mom told me once that it made her think of John as protecting us. I think that's very fitting.
The colors are much more vivid in person. The background glass is a marbled-look green, while the butterflies are red-violet. It's all leaded glass, which is my preference because it's easiest to work worth (though not the healthiest, I admit). I don't create glass every day though, so I don't worry too much about the lead exposure.
There is really something very rewarding about creating a drawing, which becomes a pattern, which becomes a lot of tiny, cut pieces of glass, which ultimately become a beautiful piece of glass art.