8.10.14

My Love Affair with Sunflowers



Of all the flowers I have painted over the years, the Sunflower wins hands down as my favorite. Why is this so?  The Sunflower shows stalwart strength yet vulnerable flexibility. She stands vertical..tall..adding contrast against the turquoise sky. She stands strong and capable to weather the winds and storms of life living raw and fully open.  

The Sunflower is maternal a provider of life, generous: offering nourishment to the many birds and animals that are drawn to her nourishing seed; snacks for we humans..raw or toasty and salted. The Sunflower shares her abundance with a gracious heart.

The Sunflower is beautiful in all her stages of development: as she unfurls her buds; is in full-open spectacular splendor; or naturally drying, curling, withering as she ages. Her life span is long, each living phase building on itself, becoming more and more unique.  


The Sunflower shares the painters' dream: expressive petals and leaves that curve and tangle; rich, deep, radiant colors of cadmium yellow, cadmium yellow- orange, orange, burnt sienna, bronze, red, deep greens. Her colors are intense like the lowering Sun at Sunset, thick, heavy with impasto stroke work.  The Sunflower reminds me of different cultures, each variety having its own strengths, lessons and values.

Painting the Sunflower in its many varieties, sizes and colors makes me happy, content and feeling like I am using my time wisely.   

SUNFLOWER, the very name makes me SMILE.  Sharon


23.9.14

Eyes Wide Open




Today while to much of the World seems to be in Chaos, may we find moments to Walk Slowly with our Spirits Open to all of the Positive and Good.

Thank you for taking a few moments to visit with me.  Sharon



LR:  KK Light Airy/ 4make matte   PS: KK Anne/soft light 60%    Thank you Kim for the wonderful presets, they are a joy to work with.  The original photos are intense with brilliant color, a few tweaks and it is like seeing an ocean through  a different filter.


17.9.14

The Slowing of Summer

               (sold)

The summer Fruit and Vegetable Stands have been without equal.  We have several right by our home, each a bit different.
We have never indulged in so many watermelons as we have this past summer.  On Sunday we ate, perhaps our last for the season, a sweet sun-ripened miniature watermelon.
Cantaloupes weren't as plentiful, but what we had were yummy.  
A nice change from the watermelon we consumed...and easier to cut!
Of course, mounds of strawberries, red grapes and raspberries are always tempting us.

                                                    Pink Pear  30x30  Available

This week the air feels different. Last night we had a storm of all storms...zinging lightening that never stopped, thunder that shook up the pups and adults, pelting rain that I thought would come straight THROUGH the roof. 

We stood under the shelter of the porch and marveled at the display of nature's wrath: after we turned off all electronics and lit candles!!! 

Stealthily sneaking in are the autumn colors edging their way into the thickly leafed branches, an abundance of peaches and ripe tomatoes are sitting center-stage.
Next will come the hearty squash, pumpkins, beets and carrots. 







Down the road from our home...love the women who work here..they place everything with an artistic eye.



Fruit and Vegetable Stands are 
EYE CANDY
for the Soul
Bon Appétit


5.9.14

Catching Sunflower Petals



"Multi-purpose" post in chapters.  

Chapter I
 I have never mentioned the photography equipment that I use, other than to say "Big Mama." And that is exactly what my Canon DSLR camera is...a hunkin' big camera. I also use Canon's L lens and they are beauties, but so heavy.  The combo gets to be a bit much to "shoulder".....so my interest has been peeked with the new compact APS-C cameras that are sprouting like tossed sunflower seeds.

After researching way too many hours, and deciding what I would sell in order to switch over, I finally decided to rent at least one camera.  Our local camera stores don't rent these as of now, which would be more convenient.  So again back to Google and finding some reputable rental businesses.  I decided upon Lens Rental. (click on name)

You must order a lens if you don't have an appropriate one in addition to camera.  I settled on a Fuji X-T1 and Fuji Prime 1:1.4  35 mm lens.  

It arrived carefully packaged...returning via Fed EX 7 days later.  I bought the insurance JUST IN CASE!  
 They emailed the pdf manual.  Oh, my goodness, over 150 pages long and teeny tiny print.  Yes, I did print it out, then proceeded to mark it up. 

In all honesty this is a big learning curve...everything is different: WEIGHT-YAY,  controls and buttons.  ( just over 1 lb. )  The bells and whistles are at first overwhelming, so I decided to start on page one of manual and go from there....working through the settings one at a time.   

Chapter II
The Sunflowers are glorious right now.  Down the road from our home is an acre of Sunflowers, they are propped in buckets at the fruit stands and  cellophane wrapped in grocery stores.  I buy a lot of Sunflowers.
 I decided to air dry the sunflowers as they withered.

Chapter III
Kim Klassen's email post for Be Still arrived.  Always fun to see what she is suggesting as a photography prompt and seeing what others do with it through link ups.
The lesson was on sharp focus.
I knew that my Canon with macro lens would do a fantastic job.  But what about the Fuji?

Chapter IV
This morning I awoke to mist and haze due to high humidity, the Fuji on the table, a vase of fresh sunflowers and a handful of drying, crumbling sunflowers.  Seemed like a good way to practice my manual reading from last night. 
These are the shots from the Fuji using macro mode. Since I shot with bokeh ( dreamy blur) and a sharp small focus, you may have to look closely for the sharply defined areas.






Conclusion:
Macro was quite easy to set up, and this light weight, amazing camera made it possible to really get close to the subject. My first shots were disappointing. So I exchanged a white cloth for blue, put light onto subject and tried again.  Much more interesting.  The prime lens was sharp and gave beautiful color.

I can tell that should I ever switch camera gear it will be a very large investment, a large commitment of time to learn the new formats and replacing lenses. It is unfortunate that Canon, at this writing is lagging way behind Fuji, Olympus, Sony for APS-C cameras. Otherwise I wouldn't have to invest in lenses.

I loved the feel and weight of this camera.  The color is excellent.  The auto focus is fast. I was very happy with first choice. 
I might try the Olympus OM-D E-M1 at a later date.  
Lens Rental was an excellent company to rent from. However you get charged for everything separately.  Make sure you are aware of what COMES with the camera rental.  You also need to check a box to request a pdf manual.



This is just one reason why I love photography.  One of the littlest monkeys on our family tree.
SOOC shot with iPhone camera.  HMMM much less hassle than either the Canon or Fuji!!

Prime 35mm: 1.1.4  Macro setting


1.9.14

Romantic Seashells

Think upon the life of a seashell....
......its uniqueness of design, shape, color and dimension...
..... its life and occupants...
..... its petrified history...
...... each day as an amazing journey...

Wait, WE are no different.
Except that WE, you and I,  know Love, Compassion and Wisdom.





Sharing a few recent pencil, pen, watercolor sketches that have a similar feeling.



1. Cherish/Soft Light   2.  Dream It/Soft Light; Organic/Soft Light  3.  Book Rest/gray filter--
Kim's Textures
                 





24.8.14

Perpetual Student

 When I was a young mom, with five children close in age, I found that I needed to "get away" now and then....ANYONE RELATE?  My choice was to take a class...and so I did for years and years.

As I look back over SOOOO many years, I note a pattern as I am still taking classes. But is it a different experience today!!  Where previous classes were composed of sitting in a classroom or art studio with lots of people, today  (for me) it is "online learning" which can be done with or without communication.  

There is an explosion of online classes available: photography, illustration, painting, textiles to name a few. Believe me I have signed up for many a class.  Online versus "in person" has definite perks: don't have to get dressed up, travel, can do it at 3:00am, etc. However I have found my commitment level has not kept up.  In other words, I may sign up for a class, but not start it until it is finished, or start and stop...start and stop..and... and worse...just plain forget about it.  But it doesn't stop me from signing up for something that is totally enticing and "I am positive I will do it this time."  ANYONE RELATE?  

There are some marvelous instructors, some very intriguing subject matter... some of you might be interested in some of the best I have "hung out with."  Now and then I would love to share with you the classes, instructors and a bit of what I have done.

So lets start with something really, really, super really FUN.  
is hugely popular.
Mindy is a charming southern gal, with loads of ideas for
painting the cutest little characters....
I have taken several of her classes and actually completed a few of the projects with my own interpretations.  
This is a great place for those who are beginner, or wish to be beginner, to those with more painting experience.
The way she teaches painting and collage everyone can do. This is a huge plus...

I am taking Primitive Faces II...mine aren't as primitive as Mindy demonstrates but that is okay.  
These two I just completed this week. 




Two years ago I got the BIG idea of painting a "personalized" canvas for five or our grandchildren.  It was lots of fun and done in a bit of Mindy's artistic style. The pieces are large and framed in simple black frames. 


If you are so inclined to try a class, even if you know very little about paints and STUFF....Mindy's courses are a fantastic place to start.

Let me know what you think....or perhaps you have a suggestion of a great instructor and can add it to the comments section.



I would ask that you not print, distribute or use these images.  They are quite personal.
Thanks.

21.8.14

Moments of Still-ness

Moments of Still-ness a honey-sweet blessing when mixed with a full cup of Busy-ness.
And über busy would describe our summer.
It is good.
I am grateful.
Entering my life for the past two days have been welcomed moments of quiet, reserve, Still-ness and reflection. This I was waiting for, this I needed.

What "stills" my heart:


Discovering a new flower that looks like a split-petal daisy.  


The wonder on a child's face in her own moment of Still-ness.


While walking discovering a huge, red mushroom. It perched like a ruby red jewel from deep in the earth.

Ripe pears with creamy brie and crackers.



Turtle-Turtle, a tiny two inch box turtle found on our patio. 
Did she drop from the sky?
Quiet fun, naming her, pondering where she came from.

For me the beauty of Still-ness comes with slowing down enough to really SEE and FEEL the little 
tender mercies around me. 

iphone photos-unedited

25.7.14

Pedicures at the Beach Salon


Did you hear? there is a new pedicure salon down at the beach.
Come along we have to hurry it is a very popular place, the lines are forming!


First shed your shoes....hmmmm....boots.


Grab a seat, and drop those toes into a bowl of exfoliating bliss.


Finger tip massage, ahh, that feels so GOOD! Work your magic.



Today there is a pedicure special featuring mud packs, cost: only a few shells, oops, I mean shillings. 


Isn't this divine?  I could stay here all day. I wonder when the stars will come out.  Massage at Midnight....dream on. 




The Seahorse waving a red flag just warned me that there is a long line of hermit crabs waiting impatiently for their turns. 
Gosh I wish those uppity crabs would just crawl back into their holes, 
now I have to swish off my invigorating mud pack!!!! 


Making bubbles at the last minute with their secret ingredient, Sea Flake Suds, the final swish for super soft feet. 



Sparkling waves, blushing pink toes, petal smooth skin.
I wanted to have my toenails painted a soft lavender,
but I was told they are experiencing a challenge working on 
Olivia Octopus, who was ahead of me.

I knew I should have run faster!!