Posted in Beads, Jewelry, Photography, Pottery

Where Have All The Downtowns Gone?

I start a new adventure tomorrow. I’ll be setting up my booth at the Las Cruces Farmers & Craft Market for the first time.

Do I have enough stuff made?

I’ve got earrings hung on a display case Jim made for me.

Will people like my work?

Photographs will have to wait for next week because the display case is loaded, closed and ready to go.

Do I have enough small bills and coins to make change?

I’ve got photographs slipped between a plain mat and a cut mat then put into an archival bag and sealed. I’ve got boxes to display the photos.

Will people buy my work?

I’ve got a few mugs, bowls and soap dishes.

Will people like my pots? 

Digital Photography School Facebook page is having a world-wide event tomorrow. Those who participate will take a photo of sunrise, submit the photo along with the time and place the photo was taken.

Did it have to be tomorrow?

I’ll have to get up extra early to take a sunrise photo.

I’m working on a new project. When I was at the Farmers Market a few weeks ago, I looked around and saw how dead Downtown Las Cruces is. Downtown across the US is dead. I decided to photograph the dead downtown. Then I thought a bit. I plan on photographing the empty buildings on the major streets that were supposed to be the new downtown. I’m also going to photograph the empty stores in the local shopping mall. There’s a very old section of Las Cruces near what is now downtown. I think that’s where downtown used to be before downtown was downtown. I’d like to photograph that as well.

Downtown 2 5-17-17

An empty walkway between two old buildings. The building on the right used to house the Public Defender Department when I first came to work for them. The toilet in the ladies’ room in the back isn’t attached all that well to the floor. In the kitchen in the very back, you can look at a corner and see the street. No, there’s no window in that corner. There’s a bad joint between two outside walls. The building should have been torn down 30 years ago.

Downtown 1 5-17-17

On the left is the rest of the front of the old building where the Public Defender Department was. To the right of that is the Rio Grande Theater which has been restored and movies again play there.

Downtown 3 5-17-17

This used to be a restaurant. Now it’s just space. I hope whoever takes over the space keeps the front doors. They have gorgeous metalwork.

Downtown 6 5-17-17

Main Street looking west down Las Cruces Street. Where are the people? Where’s the hustle, bustle and life? Gone.

Downtown 5 5-17-17

A few years back, Main Street was revamped and this is where the Farmers & Craft Market is held.

Downtown 14 5-17-17

Another very old building trying hard to keep tenants. This is the corner, more or less, of Las Cruces Street and Main Street on the west side.

Downtown 16 5-17-17

When I was very little, the doors of my house were never locked. Now, windows have bars. I’m not lamenting….I like having a gas line, a water line, a sewer line, and garbage pickup. When we had unlocked doors, we had an artesian well in the basement, a cistern to hold “city water” because the well water was seriously hard, we heated with oil, the sewage went into a septic tank that regularly needed cleaning, garbage was burned in an old, 55-gallon drum, and I spent quality time sitting on a branch up in the cherry tree because we had no neighbors and there was no one for me to play with.

Downtown 18 5-17-17

This is the dumpster in the parking lot behind the building pictured above. It’s a mural that has been adorned with graffiti.

What happened to Downtown? And to the major roads were Downtown was supposed to move to? And to the mall that was the New Downtown? Some is because of people like me who do almost all shopping on line. I don’t remember the last time I walked through the local mall.

I also want to photograph the Old Mesilla (ma-see-ya) Plaza. In New Mexico, the town plaza was the original downtown. The plaza still exists and thrives in Mesilla. But it thrives because of all the funky, weird stores surrounding the plaza. I think it’s the funky and weird that make survival possible. Although we haven’t been there in nearly 20 years, there’s a section of Portland, Maine where the dead spaces were turned into funky and weird shops.

I’ve no idea what I want to do with this series, but it has taken over the creative part of my brain and now, I have to do the series.

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

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 bipolar disorder, Emotions, Photography

Coping Without A Coping Saw

The water heater is fixed. I can now take a shower in the master bath, clean the master bath, soak in the whirlpool tub, and wash laundry in hot water. This is remarkably good. And remarkably appreciated. To celebrate, I am washing all the used towels in hot water.  My latest visit with my doctor convinced me that approach would be prudent.

I’ve been battling a mixed episode for the past week. A mixed episode has features of both manic and depressive. Meaning I feel like both knocking out walls in the house to do some major remodeling and jumping off a cliff – neither of which I will do. No, exercise does not help. If I get myself going on my elliptical machine, rather than calming down, I get more agitated.  The best I can do right now is grab my camera and take a walk.

Hearing that the vile, cheap, greedy bastards in the House of Representatives – and New Mexico’s representative Steve Pierce voted for this – I fell far below center. When Jim retires, I will be uninsurable. If I can get disaster insurance, at a cost of $2K or more a month, it won’t cover my thyroid condition or bipolar disorder. All coverage for mental illness is eliminated. Without insurance, I cannot afford the blood tests to monitor my thyroid levels. Without insurance, I cannot afford my thyroid medication – which is keeping me alive. Without insurance, I cannot afford my mood stabilizer. So. Will I die because my thyroid doesn’t work? Or will I die because I can’t escape the depressed end of the mood swing spectrum? May every one of the motherfuckers who voted for this bill and everyone in their families be barred from having health insurance and get a life-threatening illness. That would be justice. And so I am both depressed and enraged.

On to happier topics. Yesterday, I went out to photograph white yucca. On Wednesday, Jim got his eyes examined and while I waited in Walmart for him to be finished, I worked on my novel. The scene I was working on gave me the idea to photograph the yucca from below. So I did.

Yucca has a creamy white flower. The camera saw it as having yellow and green tints. I played around with tints and hues. I got some interesting results, but nothing that looked like a yucca flower.

Yucca 2 5-11-17Yucca 3 5-11-17

The sky is way too dark and the flowers have a green cast that doesn’t exist in real life.

I played around with tints, hues and other cool color stuff I could find.

Yucca 2 5-11-17 color alteredYucca 2 5-11-17 color altered grunge vintageYucca 9 5-11-18 Use this one played w:color replace sky color

After asking on the Digital Photography School Facebook page, I played around with my editing program, and found the adjustment for white balance. Then I learned how to use it.

Yucca 5 5-11-17 Use this oneYucca 7 5-11-17 Use this oneYucca 9 5-11-18 Use this one

I like this one above the best.

I played about with overlays and other goodies and got a few shots I like.

Yucca 8 5-11-17 grunge, edge, watercolor pencil HDR water color pencil

The agave is progressing towards seed production. If I had a microscope, I’d be tempted to cut a couple individual buds each day, cut longitudinal sections and watch the seed development. Agave 1 5-11-17Agave 2 5-11-17

There’s a place on the North Shore of Oahu where you can stand on the beach, peer through the trees and watch the surf. I tried recreating that idea but I’m not sure if I like the results.

Agave 3 5-11-17

I’m linking with Nina Marie here.  Check out what some other artists are doing. There’s some great inspiration in those blogs.

Posted in Emotions, Photography

Art: The Antidote to Misery

The Great Laundry Event has passed. I discovered I’m allergic to the laundry detergent I’ve been using. I bought some detergent that has very little added and then washed all the bedding, all the towels, and all my clothes. I stopped counting loads at 12.

We’re still using the guest bathroom because there’s still no hot water for the master bathroom. The part finally arrived and Jim will call the plumber on Monday to see when we can get the water heater fixed.

Because of recent events in Congress, events that will cause me to be uninsurable at which time I won’t be able to afford medication that keeps me alive, I’ve needed to find refuge in art.

I’ve been doing a bit of work on the novel which is now starting to sound like a novel. As opposed to sounding like me. Sigh. I’m not so sure sounding like a novel is wonderful although it will help to get my book published when I finally finish it. I do find it interesting that when I listen to network news commentary on officer involved shootings, the commentator clearly has done no research. This is disturbing.

I’ve been working on photography the past few days and I’ve decided to concentrate on the photos that most other people don’t take.

Yucca 2 vignette

Lots of people take photos of blooming yucca; the one above is a soap yucca – New Mexico’s state flower. Not that many take photos of the seed pods that develop after pollination and the dead stalk after the pods have spread their seeds.

Yucca 8 5-5-17 use this oneYucca 6 5-5-17

Yucca pod 1 5-5-17

 

I played with the photos of the pods.

Yucca 6 5-5-17 edge, grunge 3Yucca 6 5-5-17 edge, grunge 3 fbric

The base of the yucca is interesting so I took a shot and played. The original shot is the last one in the series.

Yucca 2 5-5-17 colored pencil, grunge 2 HDRYucca 3 5-5-17 negYucca 3 5-5-17 neg grunge 2Yucca 2 5-5-17

There’s a huge agave in my back yard, so I took odd photographs and played with the results.

Big agave 4 5-5-17
Original photo of a deal leaf from the large agave.

And what happened when I started playing.

Big agave 4 5-5-17 negBig agave 4 5-5-17 neg grunge fabric use this one

Big Agave 2 5-5-17
Original photo of the base of the large agave.

And what happened when I started playing.

Big agave 3 5-5-17 neg vintage grungeBig Agave 2 5-5-17 neg grunge 2

Big Agave 1 5-5-17
The large agave.

Big Agave 1 5-5-17neg grunge

The played with agave.

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

Posted in Beads, Fiber, Photography

Sometimes it goes right, sometimes it goes wrong

I’ve got an idea for an art quilt floating about in my head. In order to map out the idea, I need to get the perspective right. To that end, I put the telephoto lens on the Canon and went for a walk. I did get several helpful photos. While I was shooting, I took some shots that I could play with.

Yucca 2 3-30-17

Shadows 1 3-30-27 grunge x 3

Shadow 4 3-30-17

Shadow 3 3-30-17 vintage grunge

Shadow 2 3-30-17 adj

Power pole 3-30-27 played with

 

Grass 1 3-30-17

The NMSU Art Gallery has an exhibit of photography by a photographer whose name I promptly forgot. The exhibit was equally forgettable. I was hoping to be able to study some of the photographs and pick out what was good about the shot and how I could apply that to my photography. I did learn a few things, but not what I expected.

I learned:

      1. Bad shots taken by a brand name photographer aren’t any better than my bad shots. Crap is crap.
      2. It’s not necessary to put the subject in the center of every photograph.
      3. If there was a reason why about a dozen photos contained every person, pet, graffiti, building, power line, and anything else that was nearby into the photos, I haven’t been able to figure it out.
      4. Whoever curated this exhibit didn’t know very much about photography.

I found a free crochet pattern for a cat bed. I thought it would be nice to make such a cat bed. I grabbed my Jo-Ann’s coupons and headed for the yarn aisle. I spent at least a half hour picking out yarn. The cats like green. They refuse to even get in the cat bed. Yes, I did know this was going to happen before I started the project.

IMG_7412

I’ve gotten more beads and I’ve been working with them. Alas, I’ve been managing to make lots of ugly earrings and an ugly bracelet. I’ve been cutting apart quite a few pieces. Eventually, I’m going to know how to use two hole beads.

I’ve been looking at Art Deco jewelry online in google images to get some ideas for designs. Useful, but I’m not sure how I’m going to translate diamond jewelry into seed beads.

If you’re keeping track of the agave bloom, the stalk is now about eight feet tall.

I’m linking with Nina Marie. To see what Nina Marie and other artists have been working on, click here.

Posted in Beads, bipolar disorder, Photography

Photos and an etsy store or What I Learned At The Farmer’s Market

I’ve been documenting the progress of the bud on the agave that is about to bloom. Jim & The Agave 4 3-25-17

Two days earlier, the stalk was only as  tall as Jim. He’s 6’2″. Soon, if I want to get Jim and the entire stalk in one photo, I’ll have to be taking Where’s Waldo shots. You know the ones – there’s an itty bitty person in the enter of the photo and way too much stuff surrounding the person. Agave, sometimes called Century Plant, only bloom once. Then they die. Yes, there will be a photo record of the bloom and death of the agave.

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I took that photo about 7:45 PM and had problems because the only way to avoid getting a house in the background was to put Jim between me and the sun. That’s why the sky is blown out. I got some great advice on how to avoid this and I’m looking forward to testing out some of the suggestions.

We were going to go hiking yesterday, but it was a touch too cool and too windy, so we went to the Farmer’s Market instead. Las Cruces has a Farm & Craft Market every Saturday and Wednesday morning. I took some street shots and some shots to play with.

Agave are my favorite subject to turn into art.

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Some scenes from the Farmer’s Market:

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I found a couple dogs who were willing to pose for me.

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This one was intrigued by the camera. Note to self: carry a cloth to wipe the dog nose prints off of the neutral density filter. At least I had a filter and the lens was protected.

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I played around a bit with a few shots.

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Lots of flower venders on Saturday.

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I have some new photography equipment – a light cube, four LED lights, and a dandy mini tripod with a fast release. After turning the tripod around to get the Canon screwed to the tripod, and taking several photographs, I wondered what this little lever was for. Oh. So that’s what a quick release is.

I also got a shipment of new beads and I’m working with two-hole beads. I tested out the new photo equipment along with the new beads.

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I’m keeping this pair of earrings and I’ll be making another pair to sell. Because I only make one of each kind of earring, the next ones will be with very different colored Swarovski crystals. Or maybe small pearls. I’ll have to see what fits.

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I’m ambivalent about this pair. That’s why they aren’t on earring hooks yet.

I’ve got earrings listed in my etsy store here.

I love the new photography equipment.

I’m feeling more calm and centered each day. It’s amazing how interesting life is when one is bipolar.

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

Posted in bipolar disorder, Photography

I Feel Much Calmer

I’m back on my regular dose of meds, and I feel closer to center. I still pop up to manic more than and quicker than I’d like. Still, it’s good to feel more settled. If I had to choose between manic and depressed, I’d choose depressed. Manic is when I move at warp speed and can’t slow down. A bad manic event is when I’m so far above center that I can’t function. If I’m below center and depressed, I just withdraw.

I did some photography this morning. Cactus do bloom, but the blooms don’t last long. Here are photos of the Claret Cup cactus. I don’t know what the proper name is.

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This is my favorite shot. I’ve no idea how I got the background so dark, but I like it. I had waited a bit too long to take these shots this morning and I was dealing with harsh sunlight. Seeing the LED of the shot was tough. I got down on the ground to get this shot.

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Same cactus but shot from above. If you look closely, you can see some itty bitty baby cactus.

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This is an agave that Jim rescued from the trash pile. Usually, the plants are bigger before blooming, but this one wants to bloom now. Agave bloom only once and die after blooming. Yes, there will be photos to commemorate the progress of the strange, eerie bloom.

In other news, my Etsy store is open for business. You can reach my shop here.

I’m linking with Nina Marie here. Stop by and see what other great artists are up to. I love checking out all the blogs that link with Nina Marie.

Posted in Beads, Clay, Fiber, Jewelry, Photography

Feeling Calmer This Week

My chiropractor warned me this would happen. He told me about golfing with a friend who is retired. He asked his friend what time it was. The friend not only didn’t know what time it was, he didn’t know what day it was.

I didn’t know today is Saturday.

Some of this might be from being able to do the things I want or need to do when I want or need to do them. Some might be side effects of medication. Taking a muscle relaxer and pain pill makes sleeping easy. Taking a muscle relaxer and pain pill makes thinking difficult.

I feel more calm this week and this calm has a solid feel to it. I think, but can’t promise, that I’m back to normal for me.

I’m still working on texture tools for clay. This week’s project is a larger than usual piece of Tunisian Crochet. I want something large enough to texture an entire plate or platter. It’s almost warm enough to move the clay back onto the Summer Studio conveniently located on the back patio. We’re having patches of 70’s warm alternating with patches of 60’s WIND. Cold, wind, and wet hands aren’t a good combination.

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The wood you see in the background is the top of a coffee table Jim made in the late 90’s.

The more I think about using this texture, the more projects I want to make. This could be a great box or vase. I want to try slab built mugs using the texture pieces I’ve made. Mostly, I want to play in the mud again. Soon. I hope.

I’ve been working on my photography more. The claret cup cactus in front of the house is blooming. I realized this morning that the light was perfect for shooting the cactus. Fortunately, I live at the top of a hill on a dead end street. Clad in my PJs, robe and slippers, I grabbed the Canon, lay down on the flagstone walkway, and took photos. It’s amazing how cold the flagstones are. These images are straight out of the camera. I shoot in RAW so I can edit better. No need for that this time.

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These two above were done with the macro feature. One of these days, I will treat myself to a macro lens. The macro lens is on the list with a new light box and a slab roller.

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Above, using aperture priority, f/18. In this shot, that setting works.

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That setting, f/18, is way too small an aperture for this shot. If I’d used a larger aperture, the house and the ugly shadows would have been blurred. By the time I got the shots downloaded, it was too late to go back out for more shots. The light had changed for the worse. I’ll try again later.

It’s tough to photograph a cat who refuses to pose. Here’s the best out of the lot.

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She’s a bit blurry because she moved faster than I could focus. Eventually, I’ll manage to get a decent shot of Cohen.

I made myself a pair of earrings using a new color Swarovski has. It’s called Cantaloupe and it changes colors depending on the light source. In natural light, the beads are a pale cantaloupe color. With fluorescent or tungsten, the beads are either a pale purple or a pale green. I forgot which color went with which light source. I’ve ordered more of these beads and I’ll be making earrings to sell using these magic beads.

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I’m hoping to get some earrings into my etsy shop this weekend. I need Jim to take photos of each earring on my ear. This should be interesting. He’s a point and shoot kind of guy and I’m a play around with settings kind of woman.

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

Posted in Emotions, Fiber, Jewelry, Photography, Pottery

My Brain Has Settled Down, But Not Yet Calmed Down

My brain has settled down, but not calmed down. I’m still in Manic Mode, but I have more control and I sleeping through the night. I’m functioning fairly well, but I’m still angry. Memories keep flooding back. The latest is from the early 1980’s. I was in the press box covering a hockey game. The man sitting next to me asked if I had any children. No. Then he offered to sleep with me to get me pregnant. I declined. Looking back, I wish I could have slapped the snot out of him. It’s the narcissistic, bully attitude that women have no bodily integrity, no worth, and need not be consulted on little things like sex.

I’m starting to put together a portfolio of photos of my art, and I’m making progress getting good shots. Someone on the Digital Photography School Facebook page suggested hanging earrings on a twig. My writing class is on Wednesdays, and when I parked my car, a nice twig was lying on the ground. Must be a sign from above. After much playing around, I got the following. As soon as I get additional shots, these will go into my etsy store. I’ll let you know when they are listed. I’ve also been playing around with different beads and different bead combinations.

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Meanwhile, I’m playing around with texture tools for when it’s warm enough to work with clay. Cold, wet, and windy isn’t conducive to great ceramics. At the moment, the temperature isn’t getting much above 60 degrees F. Couple this with wind gusts of up to 60 mph – 100 kph, and you get the worst of conditions for playing in the mud.

You have to look past the colors of the yarn. I grabbed leftover bits and experimented. These pieces will be pressed into clay for texture. I may use the impressed clay – which is a negative – to make stamps so I can stamp a positive version of the texture. I found my special crochet hook for making Tunisian crochet. The hook looks like a cross between a crochet hook and a knitting needle. Then I played around with stitches.

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Above are photos of the same piece but showing more of the texture. I like the basket weave flavor and I think making a positive stamp of this will make for some great pieces. I love shinos and glazes that do something. This texture will give lots of nooks and crannies in which glaze will pool.

I wanted to see what would happen if I used a yarn that had multiple thicknesses. Result is below.

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Here’s what happened when I used different combinations of yarns.

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Above is using one strand of worsted weight yarn.

Below is what happens when I used two strands of worsted weight yarn.

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And here’s what happens with I used one very light weight yarn and one worsted weight yarn.

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The texture changes with each yarn combination and I’m curious to see what the texture looks like when pressed into wet clay.

I’m linking with Nina Marie. Check out her blog here and see what others are working on.

Posted in Emotions, Jewelry, Photography

Anger & Earrings

I’m still angry. This week, something from 50 years ago came back and demanded to be thought about. When I was in junior high, I had to take an art class. Seating was assigned and I got stuck next to a boy who thought he was clever. He kept singing, “Hey baby won’t you take a chance. Spread your legs while I drop my pants.”

After several weeks of this, I found the courage to tell the teacher. She asked why I hadn’t said something before. Because someone else had asked to have his seat moved and she didn’t let him. I spent the rest of the classes sitting somewhere else. I was happy that she moved my seat. I’d have been better served if she had told me how unacceptable his behavior was and how wrong it was to treat women like pieces of meat.

Some of the boys thought it was wonderful fun to pull up a girl’s skirt. I expressed my displeasure – an inkling of who I would eventually become. The response from one boy, “You’re not the coolest.”

It would take another 10 years before the boy’s behavior had a name: sexual harassment. It would take 10 years beyond that before women could begin to really fight back. Now, 50 years later, I see how damaging that boy’s behavior was. I see that my worth then was embedded in a part of my anatomy I couldn’t see without a mirror. It didn’t matter if I was smart. It didn’t matter if I had any sort of talent. It didn’t matter what goals and dreams I had for myself. All that mattered was if I was pretty. If I let the boys tease me and pull up my skirt.

Now, I understand. I think. I have worth and value. My worth isn’t concentrated in my bra and my panties. My worth is intrinsic. This is my body. I decide who touches it and when. I decide what behavior I will tolerate and what I will not tolerate. Treat me with dignity and respect or get away from me. I wish I had known this 50 years ago. 

I’ve been working on my photography because I need to assemble a portfolio and I need the portfolio to be really good. A friend gave me a gray scale, and I’ve been using that as a backdrop for my jewelry. I posted the photos on the Digital Photography School Facebook page and asked for suggestions. The result? Think outside the fishing line. I had been stringing fishing line across the light box and dangling earrings from the fishing line.

Nice, but I’m still having problems getting the entire earring in focus. I posted my photos on the Digital Photography School Facebook page and asked for advice. One poster sent me to Pinterest to see how other earrings had been photographed.

I did a little playing.

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I put the earrings on a piece of granite. This will work for some earrings, but the stones get hidden with some of the earrings.

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I suspended a piece of plexiglas over the granite to see if that would help with the color contrast. Nope. Showed off all the scratches in the plexiglas, though.

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Next, I tried putting the earrings on a quilted piece. I like that the best, but it does show off uneven free motion quilting.

Eventually, I will get this figured out.

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

Posted in Photography, Pottery, Quilts

Are We Being Taken Seriously?

I got to chatting with an art student yesterday. We were talking about designing a quilt and she told me she couldn’t sew in a straight line. No problem…. work with art quilts. She asked what happens when you sew the pieces together. I explained quilts don’t have to be geometric. I explained that an art quilt was sort of a cross between a painting and a quilt.  I sketched out the Tree of Life Quilt and explained that I used water color pencils and oil paint sticks along with fabric. That’s when she became intrigued.

This reminded me of a conversation Jim and I had with one of his art teachers. This particular teacher taught painting, and I don’t think he put quilts into the category of art. While he liked and accepted Jim’s art, he didn’t seem to think my art was Art.

Why is it that when it comes to Art, fiber and fabric are considered merely utilitarian? Ceramic teachers don’t discourage functional pottery. Design teachers don’t discourage combining functional and beauty. Painting teachers don’t discourage painting merely because it’s not functional.  What is it with fiber and fabric?

Is it because fiber and fabric have traditionally been limited to women? Think back about 15 years when male quilters were an anomaly. In some quilting circles, they are still an anomaly. A friend’s husband was ridiculed for taking a quilting class. The ridicule came from some of the women in the class. Now think back about 40 years when female and artist were words rarely used together. Women artists weren’t taken seriously. I suspect vestiges of that remain. The art classes I’ve been in have all had more female students than male students. Will Art become art if Art is practiced by women? Sexism is far from dead.

Maybe what we need is another Art Deco movement where we concentrate on combining beauty with function.

I’ve been playing with photography again. Here’s the original shot.

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The sun was getting low and the light was getting weird. Perfect time to take photos.

Here’s how I played with the shot.

And my favorite result:

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I’m linking with Nina Marie here. Stop by her blog and see what a number of artists have been doing.