Posted in Beads, Garden, Jewelry, Photography

Jewelry Photos Are Tough

I wonder if my new glasses are affecting my ability to focus the camera. I needed new lenses because my prescription had changed. My glasses finally came in and I’m working on getting used to them. I’ve worn bifocals for 23 years and I’ve always had a line in mine. I don’t want the progressive lenses because I know way too many people who have them and don’t like them. Anyway, every time I get new frames, the line in my lenses is in a different spot. It’s a tiny difference, but it takes my eyes a couple days to get used to where the line is.

I have spent the last couple days photographing jewelry and I’m not happy with the results. I have beads out of focus in nearly every photo. I’m going to have to reshoot – for the second time – the earrings and this time try having more space between the camera and the earrings.

Here are some of the earrings I’ll be putting in my store, DebThumanArt.com, over the next day or two. Yes, I know these photos aren’t the best. That’s why I have to reshoot almost everything. Thank God for digital! I’d be spending a fortune on film and developing otherwise.

IMG_2435IMG_2397IMG_2392IMG_2388

I tried putting together a necklace from a pattern I found. I must have ripped it out a good half dozen times. Now, I hate what I made. It will not lie flat.

IMG_2336IMG_2337

I’ve been hiking. It’s a getting healthy thing. I need to lose weight. I need to increase my endurance. I’m hoping the weight loss will help with the neuropathy. I’m not sure why it should, but that’s what I’m hoping.

Jim and I went hiking on Thursday. Remember how Jim hated my Canon DSLR and only wanted to use the Nikon point and shoot? He refused to learn how to use my camera. So there we were walking up the mountain when Jim appropriated my camera and refused to give it back. I did get a couple shots.

Marching trees 8-3-17

Every time I reach this spot, it looks to me as if the trees were marching up the mountain.

There are several abandoned buildings along the path to Dripping Springs. I’d love to be able to go inside this building, but it’s roped off. The Bureau of Land Management maintains this part of the Organ Mountains. No going off the path – it’s a fragile ecosystem. No playing in the abandoned buildings. No picking the flowers.

Abandonded building 2 8-3-17Dripping Springs 1 8-3-17

Notice the cactus growing out of the top of the wall in the background.

We did get to where the water was flowing. It’s called Dripping Springs, but this wasn’t dripping. Too much water and way too noisy for dripping. This may not look like much of a waterfall, but for the desert, that’s a huge amount of water.

Dripping Springs 2 8-3-17

And we made it to the end of the trail.

Dripping Springs 4 8-3-17

We set up at the Farmers & Craft Market on Saturday. Finally, we had a Saturday without rain. I’m selling my art each time we set up, but I’m not making a whole lot of money. I’ll keep at it, though.

Jim is painting the house. We discovered the windows leaked because the stucco paint had failed. New sealer and new paint solved the window problem. The house is a soft, almost mint green. It’s going to have peach trim, a marine green/blue metal roof and a purple door. I haven’t figured out what color to paint the garage doors.

I’ve been taking photographs of the zinnias, cactus and nasturtiums that are blooming.

Zinnia 8-4-17

Zinnia 3 8-4-17

Nasturtium 8-4-17

Nasturtium 6 8-6-17

Nasturtium 4 8-6-17

Nasturtium 3 8-6-17

Nasturtium 3 8-4-17

Nasturtium 2 8-4-17

Nasturtium 1 8-6-17

Cosmo 8-2-17

Cactus 3 8-2-17

Cactus 2 8-2-17

I’m linking with Nina Marie here. Stop by and see what other artists have been doing this week.

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Posted in bipolar disorder, Clay, Garden, Jewelry, Photography

An Interesting Brain Is Not A Boring Brain

Life is never dull when you’re bipolar. Sometimes, my moods are a reflection of what’s going on in my life, only instead of moods, I have MOODS. Sometimes, my moods have nothing to do with my life. A couple days ago, I was the most depressed I’d been in a long time. Not suicidal, but severely depressed. Jim asked if I had a pill for depression. Who, me? I got all sorts of psych meds. I took one of my emergency psych meds. Twenty minutes later, I was back at center and I’ve stayed there. Sometimes, I feel like a hockey puck after a slap shot. Sometimes, I wish I weren’t bipolar. Most of the time, I try to make something good of it. Like telling people what a bipolar brain feels like. The more we talk about mental illness, the less mental illness will be stigmatized.

Jim and I got senior passes that allow us to get into National Parks, National Monuments, and Bureau of Land Management areas for free. The pass is available to any US citizen or legal permanent resident 62 or older. Now, it costs $10. On August 28, the price will rise to $80. The passes are good for life.

I took my camera and went to Dripping Springs – a BLM area in the Organ Mountains. Having a senior pass, I didn’t have to pay the $5 entry fee. I wanted to get to both the abandoned, falling down building and to the spring at the end of the trail. I didn’t make it. I got about 1/3 of the way there and turned around. I seem to be out of shape, and there’s only one solution – go hiking more often. Jim and I have plans to hike Baylor Canyon and Dripping Springs next week.

Dripping Springs 1 7-23-17

I haven’t been able to figure out why I like this photo. When I took it, I was concentrating on the line of trees leading to the top of the hill. It looked as if the trees were marching to the top.

Ever the suppressed botanist, I found something blooming that I could shoot. Dripping Springs 4 7-23-17

I’ve no idea what plant this is.

Dripping Springs 8 7-23-17

Photographing fog on the mountain isn’t easy. This is the best out of a number of fog/mist shots I took. I really should have used the telephoto lens for these shots, but I didn’t bring it with me. Switching lenses outdoors in the desert is a great way to destroy the camera’s sensor and I have only one camera body.

I’ve been working on experimental ceramic pieces. Here’s a bird bath that’s low to the ground. We have quail, ground squirrels and rabbits who can’t reach a traditional bird bath. I used a styrofoam wreath base as a slump mold and made a hollow base.

Bird bath 1 7-28-17Bird bath 2 7-28-17

The design needs a bit of work, but the critters aren’t critical. Or picky.

I’ve also been working on lanterns. I considered the size of the pillar candles sold by Pier 1 and added an inch. I haven’t tested the lanterns yet. For the first efforts, I used a hole cutter to poke holes into the lantern. Then I bough a set of tiny cookie cutters and cut animals out of the second lantern. Yes, that lantern is an ugly color. Jim took all the glazes that had only a little bit left and combined them. I cut out little animals and put them in the bottom of soap dishes. This dish will go in our bathroom. Look carefully and you’ll see a crack in the side.

Lantern 1 7-28-17Lantern 2 7-28-17

Soap Dish 1 7-28-17Soap dish 2 7-28-17

A friend sent me 20 pounds of buttons and I’m in the process of turning some of them into earrings. I haven’t finished them because my sewing room is a disaster. We have a stucco house, and when the stucco paint fails, it rains inside the house around the windows. We’ve got 4 windows where water was leaking in. Two of the windows are in the sewing room. Things got moved in a hurry so that sewing machines and the serger wouldn’t get damaged by the water. Storage boxes got moved. I want to make sure that the paint Jim put around the windows solves the problem before I move everything back.

Earrings 3 7-28-17Earrings 2 7-28-17Earrings 1 7-28-17

Sunrise, sunset.

Sunrise 2 7-22-17Sunset 7-25-16

I’m linking with Nina Marie here. Stop by and see what other artists are doing.

Photos and jewelry are for sale in Deb Thuman Art here.

Posted in Beads, Garden, Jewelry, Photography

Life Cycles and Beads

I’ve been working on photography and designing jewelry. The photography is going better than the jewelry. This week, I learned how to adjust the white balance so my yucca photos have creamy flowers rather than green flowers. I’ve got the white balance on the Canon set for sunlight, but the Canon doesn’t seem to understand white flowers.

Yucca 1 5-18-17 use this oneYucca 6 5-18-17 use this oneYucca 15 5-18-17 use this one

I’m also working on taking the shots other photographers don’t take. Blend that with an undergrad degree in biology where my work was concentrated in botany and microbiology, and you get plant photos that you won’t ever see in a seed catalog. This is a red yucca that is nearing the end of blooming.

Red yucca 5 5-18-17 use this one

This is from a Mexican palm tree. It’s the cross section of a leaf that closely resembles the cross section of a blade of grass. Palms and grass are in the same family.

Cross section 5 5-17-17 use this one

I’ve also been looking up at the sky in the mornings and I’ve gotten a couple good partial moon shots. If I get the moon in sharp, the sky gets dark. If I get the sky closer to what I saw, the moon isn’t so sharp. I like both of the shots.

Moon 1 5-18-17Moon 2 5-18-17

I’ve been working with two-hole beads and trying to come up with designs. It’s not as easy as I thought. I keep getting bad color combinations and having to remove all the beads and start over. The problem is there’s no way to know how the bracelet is going to look until I get a couple rows done. I’m working with some beads the color of watermelon, and I’m having a hard time figuring out colors. I thought flat black would be nice. It’s not. It looks like tiny mouse turds. Probably not something someone wants hanging on her/his wrist.

Bracelets that may or may not get finished. I need to decide if I like them enough.

Coral & blue bracelet 5-18-17Yellow & slate bracelet 5-18-17Green & White bracelet 5-18-17

Earrings that are complete and will be sold.

Blue earrings 2 5-18-17Blue earrings 1 5-18-17Bamboo tile earrings 5-18-17Copper square earrings 5-18-17Green & Crystal earrings 5-18-17Green rondell earrings 5-18-17Teal & Crystal earrings 5-18-17Teal star earrings 5-18-17

The agave has moved past bloom and is now in seed production. Eventually, the pods will split and the seeds will come flying out.

Agave 4 5-18-17 use this one

I’m linking with Nina Marie here. Check out what other artists have been doing this week.

Posted in Beads, Fiber, Garden, Jewelry, Photography, Quilts

Life Force – The Real Super Power

The desert has a life force. I’ve been photographing the progress of the agave in the front yard as it sent up a stalk and began to bloom.Agave 3 4-24-17

We have been having WIND the last week. The agave couldn’t withstand 60 mph winds, and sometime Wednesday before dawn it blew down. I tried to dispel my sadness by photographing the flowers up close, something I could never do while the agave was standing.

Agave 2 4-25-17Agave 3-4-26-17

Yesterday, I noticed that more of the flowers were open.

Agave 1 4-27-17Agave 2 4-27-17Agave 3 4-27-17

The agave is going to bloom, produce seed, and die – even lying on the ground. In that way, agave life is like human life. Knock a person down, and even damaged, the person gets back up and goes on.

The cacti are blooming.

Cactus Flower 4-25-17 use this oneCactus flower 5 4-25-17 cropped use this one

Prickly pear.

Cholla flower 4-25-17 use this one

Cholla pronounced choy-ah.

Red Yucca 11 4-21-17Red yucca 9 4-21-17

Not a cactus, but a red yucca. It’s smaller than the more common soap yucca that produces larger white flowers.

Bird 4-24-17 cropped

As I was photographing the agave, I saw this bird land in a tree. One of my Facebook friends identified it – Black Vented Oriole. It’s native to Mexico and Central America and, according to the map I found on line, is roughly 100 miles outside of its habitat.

I’ve been working on the sexual assault quilt I started a couple months ago. I’ve finished quilting NO in assorted spots and I’m now quilting around the letters of the words. I used a variegated cream thread for NO and I’m using a variegated purple thread for around the letters. The horizontal stitching with dark thread is temporary. It holds the layers together while I’m quilting. Once I get the quilt squared up and the edges sewn down, I’ll remove the lines and put on the binding.

Fucking Arm - use this one 4-26-17

Some of the rage has dissipated, but I’m still furious. This past week, Law & Order Special Victims Unit had an episode loosely based on the crap that has happened to women who work for Fox News. The ending, where there’s a criminal conviction and the jerk goes to prison, was wishful thinking. Maybe. Someday. Until then, and forever after, it’s my body and it belongs to ME.

I’m also working on bracelet designs although I need to give that a rest. The thread keeps getting tangled. I keep missing a bead with the thread. Beading is becoming more frustrating than satisfying. There will be photos when I am satisfied with what I’m making. Although it does occur to me that I should keep a photo record of the duds so I can see my progression and improvement.

Last week, I had orientation so I can sell my art at the local Farmer’s & Craft Market. I had to show the organization that runs the market samples of my work. That’s when I discovered I can get better photo prints from Walgreens than I can get from my printer at home. I want to sell my photos in which I played with editing. These are some from the past week.

Agave 3 4-24-17 water color grunge 2 tiny planet underwater 2Agave blossom 4-25-17 watercolor, HDR, vintage light, vignette erodeRed Yucca 11 4-21-17 edge vintage 2 light grungeChives 2 4-12-17 light, saturateMoon 4 4-21-17 crop use this one light leak grunge 2 edge 3

There are mundane aspects of my life. Pieces that defy art. I developed an allergy which caused itching. I thought it might be to gabapentin which I had been on just long enough that I’d go through withdrawal if I came off of it. Then I realized the itching was where my underwear was. I “washed” some clean clothes, including underwear, in just water. When I put those clothes on, the itching immediately stopped. I bought some detergent that is for sensitive skin and then laundered all the towels, all the bedding and all my summer clothes. I stopped counting loads at 12. Living in a desert, I was able to hang nearly all of the laundry on the clothes line.

I’m linking with Nina Marie here. Check out what the other artists have been doing.

Posted in Beads, Garden, Jewelry, Photography

Immersing Myself in Art and Healing

Thank God for pasta! I got side tracked taking photos and processing them and didn’t put anything in the crock pot. So dinner will be pasta.

I’ve been making art and feeling a whole lot better. I’m calmer. I’m not depressed as I was a couple days ago.

I wanted to take some photos of a partial moon. When I got up this morning, the sky and moon were perfect.

Moon 6 4-21-17

Moon photos can be boring, so I played around some.

Moon 9 4-21-17 light 2 vintageMoon 6 4-21-17 leaksMoon 4 4-21-17 crop use this one light leak grunge 2 edge 3

The agave blooms aren’t all that spectacular, but I took a few photos anyway.

Agave 6 4-21-17 vintage 2Agave 4 4-21=17

The only thing to do with a boring photo is to play with it.

Agave 2 4-21-17 vintage edge 2 vintageAgave 4-21-17 cropped edge 2 vintage grungeAgave 5 4-21-17 edge vintage textue use this one

The red yucca have only a few days when the blooms are worth looking at.

Red yucca 10-21-17Red yucca 8 4-21-17Red Yucca 5 4-21-17Red Yucca 11 4-21-17 edge vintage 2 light grunge

I’ve been working on jewelry designs. So far, I’ve come up with ugly earrings, an unwearable bracelet, and I’m sort of stuck where I am making the current bracelet. I’m using two-hole beads and it gets tricky when I add rows. You think regular beads are addicting? Try two-hole beads. Even more addicting!

Yesterday, I went to orientation for the Farmers & Craft Market in Las Cruces. One can’t just pull up and set up. Vendors have to be residents of Dona Ana County and show proof of residency. Everything I get mailed to me comes to my post office box, and that wasn’t acceptable for proof of living in the county. My driver’s license lists my post office address. The tax bill, which has the physical address, comes to Jaworski, James and Deborah. Thuman is missing. Fortunately, they accepted my voter registration card.

The people who run the market have to see what it is that each person intends to sell. I showed a pair of earrings and was told when I’m ready to sell bracelets, I have to show the people who run the market my bracelets before I will be allowed to sell them.

I won’t be setting up at the market until May. The people who run the market are trying something new starting in May. The market runs on Saturday morning and Wednesday morning. That will continue. The market will start running on Wednesday night. The thought is people who can’t make it to the market on Wednesday morning because of work schedules, will be able to make it to the Wednesday evening market. It’s going to be an interesting experiment for me.

At the moment, I’m performing another type of experiment. I know I’m allergic to something. Figuring out what the something is can be frustrating. I thought I might be allergic to medication I’m taking which would be tragic because the medication is working really well. Then I started to think about where I had the worst itching…..right where my underwear is. Hmmmmm…… Wonder if I’ve developed an allergy to my laundry detergent. Fortunately, I did laundry the other day. Now, I’ve got laundry in the washer and I’m not using any detergent. The clothes are clean and I’m hoping to wash the detergent residue out of the clothes. Sure would be nice if that solved the problem.

I’m linking with Nina Marie here. Stop by her blog and see what some great artists have been doing the past week.

Posted in Emotions, Garden, Photography

Terrified. Outraged. Shocked. Need Art.

I am shocked, sickened, and outraged by what my government has done the past week. The press secretary, who knows full well his every syllable will be recorded, reported and analyzed, denied the Holocaust, said gas wasn’t used against people – meaning as a Jew, I’m subhuman in his eyes, and he wasn’t fired. Stamp of approval from the Sex Offender in Chief who refused to acknowledge Holocaust Remembrance Day because only Jews are remembered. Every Holocaust Remembrance ceremony I’ve ever attended has included all groups who were targeted and murdered. I know the sex offender is evil. I haven’t decided if the fact he is an incompetent idiot is a good thing or a bad thing.

Under the shock and fury is terror. My most valuable possession is a piece of paper that says I am a Jew. If I need to leave the US in a hurry – and that fear is becoming stronger and more realistic every day, Israel has to take me in. Under the Law of Return, any Jew who asks is given “immediate” Israeli citizenship. Immediate being a term of art – it takes 3-6 months.

Yesterday, the US blew up Afghanistan except the Sex Offender in Chief isn’t taking credit/responsibility for dropping the ultimate non-nuke bomb and destroying everything for a mile in all directions. According to the press release, the government of Afghanistan knew in advance and was in agreement with this bombing. Except all of this was news to the Agfhani government. But the US extended deepest sympathy towards the families of the Syrians who where killed. Oops. Hey, mistakes happen.

Eventually, and probably sooner than we expect, the Sex Offender in Chief will piss off a foreign government to the point where someone will drop a bomb on us and make Pearl Harbor look like a day at the beach. But that’s okay. The defense contractors will make several billion dollars and that’s all that really matters.

When I was a kid, I had nightmares about a nuclear attack. Now, I have the same nightmares – only I have them when I’m awake. I have no better ways to deal with this terror now than I had when I was a kid.

And so I turn to art for comfort.

I’m still designing ugly beaded earrings, so no bead photos. Instead, we have botany. I have an undergrad degree in biology, and my concentration was botany and microbiology. And so I photograph what’s blooming.

Jim Agave 3 4-14-17 use this one
Jim and the agave.
Agave flower 2 4-14-17 use this one
The view from the ground.
Agave 6 4-11-17 use this one
It’s starting to send out branches and “blooms.”

I’ve discovered that slightly underexposing my shots of the agave allows me to bring out more details in post.

Ocotillo 7 4-14-17 use this one
Ocotillo close up of flower.

 

Ocotillo 1 4-14-17
Ocotillo – the top part of a huge bush in the back yard.

There’s a huge ocotillo in the back yard. This is roughly the top 1/3 of the plant.

Red Yucca 1 4-11-17 use this one

Red yucca.

Prickly pear 2 4-14-17 grungePrickly pear 1 4-14-17

The prickly pear are getting ready to bloom, and I wanted to play with a shallow depth of field. I like the way the background blurs out on these shots.

Bird 1 4-14-17 use this one

Mexican Bird of Paradise.

Iris end 1 4-11-17

The end of the iris for this year. I wanted to try some shots with unusual subject matter. Dead flowers are pretty unusual subject matter.

Prickly pear 1 4-14-17 edge grunge 2 water grungeIris end 1 4-11-17 neg edge 2 grunge 2Iris 1 4-14-17 negBird Paradise 3 4-14-17 edge 2 grunge

Above is the one I like best, and below is a close second.

Bird 1 4-14-17 use this one edge 2Agave flower 3 4-14-17 vintageagave 4 4-14-17 light grunge 2

And some playing around.

I’m linking with Nina Marie. There are lots of great artists and great art linked with her blog here.

Posted in Beads, Clay, Garden, Jewelry, Photography

Growing

I seem to be suffering from spring anxiety. No, I don’t need more medication. I need the weather to warm up enough and the wind to go away so I can open my Summer Studio and play in the mud on the back patio. This time of year, we have WIND – gust up to 50 mph, dust fog, and my allergies are activated. When it’s 60 degrees, the wind is howling, and the dust is filling the air, it’s tough to work with wet hands and wet clay while sneezing every couple minutes.

I’ve been unsuccessfully working with beads. I’ve managed to design a multitude of ugly earrings and one beyond ugly bracelet. No, there will not be photos. I’ve tried following a pattern, but what I created didn’t look anything like the photo. Perhaps it’s time to give the beads a rest.

I tried getting a shot of a partial moon and almost succeeded. One night, the moon was high in the sky making it difficult to photograph. There was light cloud cover and the moon was gorgeous with wispy clouds sort of partially covering the moon. By the time the moon had progressed enough that it was low enough in the sky to photograph, the cloud cover and become complete. No moon shot. The next night I got a moon shot, but it came out blurry. I used a tripod, there was no image stabilization, and I used a 2-second delay on the shutter so there would be no camera movement. I think I made an error when focusing.

I did some shopping on ebay and now have UV filters for both lenses, lens hoods to avoid those nasty circles that show up, and a dandy cleaning kit. Yesterday, I cleaned the lenses, filters and the sensor. I think I’ve eliminated the dust that was causing two spots to show up on each shot.

The agave looks like it’s about to send out “blossoms”. Unfortunately, I didn’t get Jim to stand next to the agave last night. When I do get a photo, it will be on my Facebook page.

Agave 2 4-7-17Agave 1 4-7-17

The agave is almost to the point where I will need to do the photo in two halves – upper and lower.

The garden is starting to come alive.

Peppers 1 4-7-17

Little pepper plants that did go to the bottom of the photo. I don’t know why that black line is there.

Parsley 1 4-7-17

Italian parsley, a perennial, is starting to come back.

Oregano 1 4-7-17

Oregano, another perennial is growing nicely.

Nasturtiums 1 4-7-17

Nasturtiums. They won’t last once it gets really hot, but they should look nice for about a month.

Iris 4-7-17

The iris show is over until next year.

Crops 1 4-7-17

Buckets of tomato plants and a  couple peppers. The peppers got hammered by the wind and we’re seeing if they will bounce back.

Chives 1 4-7-17

This is the second year for the chive plant. I should probably remove the buds before blooming, but I’m not going to. The flowers are pretty and the seeds will self-sow.

The sage is blooming.

Sage 2 4-7-17 use this one

Chocolate plants are blooming. They bloom in the morning, and by late afternoon, the flowers are dead.

Chocolate plant 1 4-7-17The red yucca is starting to send up a stalk and bloom.

Red Yucca 1 4-7-17

The Mexican bird of paradise is starting to have buds. The Mexican version bears no resemblance to the Hawaiian version.

Mexican BoP 1 4-7-17

I’m linking with Nina Marie. Check out her blog and the blogs of some other terrific artists here.