Wednesday, June 13, 2012

An Old Dawg Tryin' a New Trick ...

I've often thought a solid background was best for photographs of my jewelry. In a more formal situation, that may still be the case, but I was bored with white today when shooting photos of some new earrings. I've admired those jewelers who use intriguing backgrounds as a complement for their jewelry. Some are overwhelming, but some get it just right. I'm not much of a weaver of enchanting stories about my jewelry. I'm a fairly simple woman. I like seeing it successfully done by others, but don't seem to have the knack.

However, I thought I would photograph the earrings against an art quilt I purchased from Cindy Rinne a goodly number of years ago. It's entitled "Fire" and is dated 1996. I love the quilt, so took it down from my wall and photographed my earrings on it.

I think the photographs turned out quite nicely. The earrings have been uploaded to, and if you want to see more of Cindy Rinne's fabulous art quilts, please go to

She often incorporates her poetry into her quilts. As she terms her art, "Nature's edges in stitch and verse." You'll be glad you take the time to check out her work. She's also on Facebook, for the latest in places where she's performing her poetry or exhibiting her "stitches." My apology to Cindy that her quilt isn't better photographed here, but I wanted to share with you the whole.

Fire 1996
by Cindy Rinne

Bouy, oh bouy!

Click on the above link and you'll see the latest, and VERY cool, Etsy Treasury in which one of my photographs is featured.Must be nigh unto Father's Day, as many of the Etsy treasuries are more of a masculine approach. It's ALL good!

I love that this photograph was featured. It was taken in Birch Bay, right across from the water. I miss the water tremendously. At least I have memories, and photographs, to enjoy again and again.

Fishing Nets n Bouys
Curator: Paula of

Treasury: Fishing Fanatics Dreamin' of the Catch

Latest in my attempt to find a place to sell my photo cards. I've encountered another gallery that has several too many photographers and they just aren't interested in yet another one. So solly! The search continues.

Monday, June 11, 2012

Curtains ...

I was included in another Etsy Treasury. No, that's not quite correct. Linda Hawkins was drawn to one of my photographs. She put together a treasury entirely of curtains. It struck me that me, myself and I wasn't chosen, but Linda's perception of story held forth in my photograph of curtains at an open window.

How many seemingly common things serve delightfully as metaphor? Some are universal and others very, very personal. Imagination is awesome, thank goodness for this!

It's Curtains For You
Linda Hawkins, Curator

Waiting At the Curtain

Linda creates intriguing masks. It makes sense that a maker of masks would have an affinity for  curtains, doesn't it? Talk about metaphor!

Sunday, June 3, 2012

The Language of Flowers

I recently finished reading Vanessa Diffenbaugh’s novel “Language of Flowers.” Story about a contemporary young woman, orphaned as a baby, with unsavory experiences through state adoption agencies/orphanages, and how she deals with life outside of the system once she turns 18. In one of many foster homes, she had acquired knowledge of flowers and their use during Victorian Era as messages, and memorized the meanings of flowers. She’s ill equipped to interact and communicate well with others, but unerringly knows just the right flower a person needs. The concept intrigued me.

Since I seem to take a lot of floral photographs, I thought it would be interesting to find out the meanings of the flowers around me in my sister Melba’s garden.

Right now on my desk next to my computer is a vase of exquisite peonies in full blossom. They take away my breath; they are so elegant and magnificent! There is a sense of abandonment to their full out blooming!

I googled peony and found several different meanings. For thousands of years the Chinese have revered the peony as representing Riches and Honor. The Japanese, too, have a similar meaning.

On a different tangent, there is a long history of use of peony in Japanese tattoos, where peony takes on a connotation of masculine disregard for consequence, or a devil may care attitude. However, it strikes me as odd that, as an element of tattoo, the peony is sometimes a reference to the Virgin Mary in Catholic societies. Although in retrospect, I suppose the Virgin Mary had to have extraordinary bravery in her time and society in carrying and nurturing Jesus.

Then in the Victorian Era, with its exchange of notes and letters, the meaning of peony became one of bashfulness or shame. One look at a peony and you’ll see there is nothing bashful about a peony, more like unabashed. I don’t understand the shame connotation, except maybe the flower is so lush, it was deemed that it should be ashamed.

I look again at all of these meanings that have been attributed to the peony and I can see similarities in meaning colored by context of different eras and social conventions.

The peony is going to be what it is, regardless of the era, regardless of cultural mores and human labels.

Then ... the Poppy ... I wonder about its back story ...

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

what? white, white, white!

A very recent photograph listing has been featured in an Etsy Treasury:
Curator: Sarah Giannobile
Photo: White on Wood

It continues to amaze me that the all-time most frequently featured photographs of mine happen to be WHITE. The most popular ones are shown here:

White on Wood

White on White

Bouy, Oh Bouy

Arc on White

Don't Rain on My Parade
Okay, so the last one is more colorful, but I have over 100 photographs listed on my Etsy shop, and these shown above are the ones featured over and over again ... and over again, and again.

I might add, none of them have sold. Go figure!

I'll keep trying to figure out the logistics. It's frustrating, BUT, it doesn't diminish my zeal for clicking that shutter!

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Photo Albums of Yesteryear ...

This afternoon the collective family in Spokane held its birthday bash for February-born members. It snowed, we were all bundled inside a small abode, photographs were being snapped by proud grannies amid the chaos and conversations. To which, someone quipped that the photographs would simply end up in some dog-eared old photo album.

It brought to my mind an interesting question. With digital photography and social networking as prevalent as they are, how many people still actually print out their family snapshots and stick them in a photo album, or even a shoe box? And generations from now, who and how will our progeny stumble across these old family photographs?

The times they are a-changin'

Today I was tinkering around with some shell photographs I had taken a couple of years ago. I wanted to see how various effects changed the visual impact of the image.

Watercolor Effect

Dry Brush Effect

Watercolor Effect

Contrast, No Effect Filter Used

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Love is love and love, and also love ...

Sweetheart Roses
I had my way with this digital photograph of mine,
along with adding watercolor effect to final image
 Here it is Saint Valentine's Day, the day which has come to commemorate love. I was curious to see if this was just another commercial Hallmark moment, conjured up to make beaucoup bux on the sale of Valentine Day cards. But I was grimly mistaken. Google it if you are of a mind, ironic history.

But in the here and now, couples are gazing into each other's eyes, heartbeats a pitter-pat, cards/flowers/chocolates/dinners/movies/trips/jewelry/other presents are offered as tokens of undying love. Such is the way of it.

Not being currently in an intimate relationship, my tokens of love were shared with my sons, grandchildren, siblings and dear friends.

Following my divorce aeons anon, I would chaff at being a single on a spectacularly couples day. I went to dinner with galfriends, or went to a movie, or stayed home and emotionally stewed.

But, no more.

I'm quite content to let my definition of "love" embrace more people, and if not specific people, then acknowledge that we all need to be more accepting, tender, tolerant, compassionate ... loving ... of one another. Is this but a rationalization? Perhaps, but I'll continue the intent and eventually it will comfortably slip right over Saint Valentine's Day and perhaps infiltrate the other 364 days of the year.

Oh my! I was simply going to share the digital photo I played around with! I hadn't even considered all this other stuff coming into the mix. I'm obviously still a work in progress.

Had fun working on the image. Did it rather after the fact, so it wasn't shared with my loved ones. I may print out some cards with the image and continue the lovin'!

AND ... today is also Paul's (my older son) birthday! Congrats, my son, my son! I well remember that rainy, wonderful morning we brought you home!

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Patterns in Pale

Just three more days and the first month of the new year will be kaput; amazing to me, simply amazing.

Since the finale of Project 365, I've felt a little adrift, without sense of direction or photographic purpose.

Hey! Good News! I finally sold my first photograph from my Etsy shop! I've been uploading inventory to that shop for over a year, and other than an acrylic painting that sold to a kind fellow in The Netherlands to give to his wife to hang in the kitchen, no photographs have been purchased through the Etsy venue. UNTIL NOW! I'm thrilled. I just shipped it off to Australia. (What? Don't people in the US of A want my photographs? One wonders!)

My photographs continue to be featured in Etsy Treasuries. Here are the latest:


Treasury: I Should be Sleeping
Curator: Natalie Eberly of TheSilkMoon
Photo: Cannot Sleep a Wink

Treasury: Getting Sleepy
Curator: Macedoine
Photo: Cannot Sleep a Wink ... yup, two different curators included the same photograph to their treasuries on the same day!

Photo: Garden of Good Luck
Curator: Kath Burrows from MagpiesHaunt
Treasury: Year of the Dragon

Treasury: Awake
Photograph: Morning Tea ... I love this pleasant photo/good patterns
Curator: Jessica Esther Hoflick at CitrusTea

But for today's upload I'm sharing a few photographs that are pale in hue, but which I found to have interesting textures:

Birch Bark/Detail
I was drawn to the "scribbling" on the outer
layer, with the pristine inner layer
recently exposed.

Unedited iPhoto of a fence of
welded metal wheels.

I love the abstraction of this photograph
of froth left over from my eggnog
Filmgrain effect

I think I may have shared this one
with you before earlier this month. It's a close up of an
abandoned wasp nest. I loved looking into the egg chambers.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Busy or Disorganized?

I was busy all day long. But as I reflect back on yesterday, January 10th, was I really that busy making progress or was I busy trying to dodge and work around clutter and disorganization? Moving this to get at that takes time and effort.

At dinner last night--it makes stuffing our faces with greasy pepperoni pizza sound so civilized--we discussed societies that make a point of cleaning up and repairing their homes and yards and business affairs before the end of the year so as to start the new year with a fresh energy. We Americans generally talk about new year's resolutions and getting organized, but elsewhere it seems to be more of a deliberate setting up of a state of readiness, of openness to new opportunities. It's more than just organizing one's closet. I remember when I lived in Japan how all had to be done before the strike of midnight ushering in the new year.

We're already in 2012 and I didn't make it a point to be ready, open, energized. It's already nigh unto noon, but I'll do a Celtic Cross spread, make a list this afternoon, and get on it posthaste!

On the topic of disorganization, when I was at the thrift shop the other evening, another example of disorganization came to my attention. I had a good chuckle over this bevy of Barbies and hope you'll see it the same way. (I did say I was going to photograph more people this year. Do naked Barbies akimbo count?)

Discombobulation of Barbies
All those Barbies, so blue-eyed congenial under duress. But the elephant is neat and tidy.

Kitchen Counter Pachyderm

Well, off to do my 2012 tarot and see what potential is ahead for me ... once I get organized, of course.

Saturday, January 7, 2012

The path photographed but not taken

While out walking my 4-legged companion, I was drawn again to the river, something about moving water. What can I say? Maybe it speaks to the traveler in me. Moving. Going somewhere else. Restless staying in one place. This is a very nice place, don't get me wrong. But in any case, the river pulls at me. Who am I to struggle against it?

I'm shooting directly into the sun; flawed thinking, eh? Well, so be it. I played with a Poster Edges effect filter and I like the grainy, inky blackness of the image, with just the mere suggestion of shape and the rippling water.

I was up on Summit Drive, I think, and there are numerous paths down the hills toward the river. One was rather indistinct, maybe it hadn't been used in awhile, but I liked it. If I had better shoes on for it, I would have followed it to see where it went. I also liked the shape of the trees in the background, there's a geometric shape to them, a nice background for the feathery grasses.  Maybe it's the strong vertical of the tree right in the middle of the composition continuing the path upward.

Looking in the other direction I saw the path carpeted with newspapers that had blown down and were caught by the tall grasses. There was something fetching about the incongruity of the newspapers in such a natural setting.

The Path Not Taken

The Printed Path

So, these are my uploads for today.

I went to a thrift shop on Maple in North Spokane this evening, wait until you see what I shot there!

Friday, January 6, 2012

Elephant? What elephant?

Still no project in mind; I'll just keep shooting photographs.

However, I was out driving around and parked along the side of the road. When I finished my errand, heading back to the truck, I saw this first photograph. Couldn't pass it up. (click)

The morning was frosty, and there was some frost caught on the woodgrain on the barrier posts. (click)

(click) (click) (click) I'll share those with you later.

But I forgot to mention that as of January 4, 2012 my baby boy, Owen Eugene West, is now 33 years young! What a blessing my sons are to me!

I know, I know! You want photographs not all this family schmaltzy-waltzy.

Photographs du jour:

This photograph and the next one
are of the wood posts to which metal roadside guards
are bolted.
These two posts were butted up one against the other.
In the next photograph the posts were corner to corner.
The frost doesn't show as strongly as I had hoped for.
c'est la vie

 and pachyderm ...
(edited with poster edge effect filter)

Thursday, January 5, 2012

A walk in the park

It wasn't exactly a park, but it was outside and there were trees; close enough. Suki and I don't go for walks frequently enough. Ah-HA! A New Year's resolution, if I ever saw one!

During our walk, I saw all sorts of cool things that caught my eye. Here are just a few of them.

I liked all of the intertwining mossy pine branches,
like a monkey puzzle

Bugs or woodpeckers
made a feast of this tree!

Spokane River in early morning fog
Oh, and an elephant ...

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

A very productive day ...

I finally sewed on all of the buttons on my sweater. What? Not very productive. Well, let me tell you. I finished a task I had started! I finished it! For me that is very productive. Oh, and I took the Christmas decoration boxes that Mel had neatly packed, and I put them in my storage unit; another something finished! I made my bed this morning; done! I fixed breakfast and coffee; done! I took a shipment to the post office; done! I returned a bottle of real vanilla extract--not just any phony faux vanilla, but real vanilla extract, and got my money back; done! I returned it because I had overlooked another bottle of the same in the pantry. Oh well. I could go on and on; it was a productive day.

However, I'm still vacillating on another creative photograph challenge. Like Noah Scanlin and his project back in 2008 to make a skull out of anything he could find, every day for a year, I could do the same with elephants. I don't collect elephants, so please don't send me any elephant gifts! But, I have snapped a shot or two of elephant objects.  Do I really want to do elephants?

Back in Birch Bay I could easily have taken a daily sunset photograph each and every day; beautiful, amazing sunsets.

I've shot literally hundreds of photographs of cabochons, beads, jewelry, and shells for inventory shots for my two other Etsy stores: West As the Crow Flies and Birch Bay Kay. So, that's not really a creative challenge.

I don't normally take photographs of people. I'm too slow, I usually get a shot with their eyes closed or some screwy expression on their face. But it would be a challenge. Speaking of people, I did take a photograph of this tie dye damsel I met at a recent arts and crafts show. With all those vibrant colors, how could I resist? Even her folding chair repair was colorful.

I'll come up with something.

In the meantime, let the productivity continue unabated!

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Today is Tomorrow ...

I got all set up to write my blog entry, thinking it was still today. But I wasn't paying attention and it is already tomorrow.

My sister has been busily and productively going through her house, organizing things and throwing away stuff she and Steve no longer need. I'm quite impressed. As I look around my room, it would definitely benefit from such industry and organization. Period. Good goin', Mel!

The main purpose of writing tonight is to right an egregious oversight. I went on and on about the Etsy treasury in which my violin photograph was featured, but I neglected to credit the curator, Laura Conowitch of Fabric Thread.  Thank you, once again, Laura!

I'm uploading three photographs today. The only thing they have in common is that they were all photographed at the same place.

My eye first went to the yellow on black in the residential driveway, then I noticed the stacks of firewood, and then walking back to my car I saw the cold foliage. Oh, I modify my statement, the other thing they have in common is that all are iPhotos.

Monday, January 2, 2012

Day 2 of 2012 ...

I was just catching up with my Etsy shop, which had fallen in arrears what with keeping up with two other Etsy shops.

While going through convos (Etsy email), I found my photograph of violins had been featured in a very special Etsy Treasury:

As it mentions, the title of the treasury is An Eclectic Scrapbook. The special part come into play in that it is a scrapbook of sorts of about 12 items about Spokane, WA ... AND MY PHOTO WAS INCLUDED!

I think this is probably one of the first times in the six months I've lived here that I felt a denizen of Spokane. It had a much greater emotional impact than I would have ever guessed.

The photograph featured was of the violins I shot at Violin Works on Garland Avenue, Spokane, WA. Garland is one of my favorite streets. There was another item that showed Mary Lou's Milk Bottle, also on Garland, just down from Violin Works. The Milk Bottle was damaged in a fire, but with community support the little restaurant is being rebuilt and should be open for business in April!

Me! A Spokanite! I belong! If I knew how, I'd play m'fiddle and dance a jig!

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Day One, 2012

Water's Edge/Loon Lake

First day of a new year. There are two words in that sentence that are human assigned constructs: day and year. They are what we humans spin our little lives around. It's a new year, so I should start something new or do something differently. It's the first day, so it's already gone--poof. Did I waste my first day of the new year? Did I miss some opportunity?

Right now is right now, and right now I don't have a sparkling fresh new plan or project. Right now I'm typing my blog entry, thinking about the rootbeer float I'm going to treat myself with as soon as I finish this task.

No new plan or strategy. The Grand Plan for 2012 will have to wait until tomorrow, the second day of 2012.

Hope your first day was a dilly!