Friday, February 26, 2010

Winter Crossing

One reason I love winter as a photographer is that a world of white makes an excellent blank canvas. You are free to fill the wondrous snowy white with a dash of imagination and colors of your own choosing, or indulge in serendipitous discovery.

In the midst of this whirling snowstorm, glowing background trees hint at things beyond my realm, with perhaps change to come. One never quite knows, with Aslan moving about. This pool of water near the Wood Between the Worlds holds in its waters the colors of Earth. The bridge beckons to other adventures, in whichever direction you go.

Meanwhile, I will enjoy this moment while it's still winter ...

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Barn Hibernation in Late Winter

Another seasonal scene from Mapleside Farms in Brunswick, Ohio. When I'm actually out taking pictures with overcast skies, it's hard to tell what the result will be. So much depends on the weather and lighting conditions to set the day's mood. It's a matter of working with an image like a sculptor works in stone or wood ... bringing out the form hidden beneath the exterior.

Even in the deepest darkest winter, there are hints of light and beauty. These glinting hints reflect in the sky, from snow-covered rooftops, from finely-curving snowdrifts covering a sleeping land. An invitation to dream ...

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Cape of Forochel

Traveled all the way to J.R.R. Tolkien's Middle Earth for my latest winter landscape scene. Found a fierce beauty in the twilight there.

From the Encyclopedia of Arda:

"In the distant north of Middle-earth, between the far reaches of the Blue and the Misty Mountains, lay a wide icy bay of the Great Sea. This was the mighty Icebay of Forochel (the name Forochel means 'northern ice'), which extended far into the coldest regions of the north of Arda. To the north and west, the bay was sheltered from the Sea by the curve of the Cape of Forochel."

"The hardy and secretive Men who lived among the snow and ice that surrounded the Icebay of Forochel. They were said to have been descended from the ancient Forodwaith, and had habits that seemed strange and mysterious to those who lived in warmer climes. The igloos, skates and sleds they used were incomprehensible to the Hobbits, so that the authors of the Red Book's1 commentaries could only say of the Snowmen that they, ' in the snow, and it is said that they can run on the ice with bones on their feet, and have carts without wheels.' "

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Winter Evening at Mapleside Farms

Mapleside Farms in Brunswick, Ohio is home to an apple orchard, gift shoppe, and restaurant. It's also one of the best sunset spots in Northeast Ohio.

During the summer months, you get all kinds of people hanging out to enjoy the sunset. People who:

  • have just come from a good meal inside,
  • are driving by who stop their cars and sit in the parking lot,
  • bring a blanket to lounge on the sloping hill,
  • bring their kids to look at the pond at the bottom of the hill,
  • play golf and make life challenging for those of us at the pond trying to take pictures while golf balls go whizzing past our heads (okay, so far that's only happened to me on one memorable day),
  • take pictures when no golfers are about,
  • enjoy an ice cream cone ... although I'm not sure if ice cream will be sold this summer or not. Here's hoping!
Come the winter months, there's only one person fool enough to venture forth into the great outdoors to enjoy the beauty of nature. That would be me, the self-proclaimed Queen of Narnia. Any sons of Adam and daughters of Eve who travel here after the leaves have gone and before the apple blossoms spring forth all head quickly inside to warm themselves. I say, they're missing out.

Now that night has fully fallen, I'm home enjoying the quiet with a cup of green jasmine tea and a peaceful and appropriately-scented candle of apple and cinnamon.

Wishing all a cozy winter weekend ...

Thursday, February 18, 2010

My Business Card Background

The above photo, Winter Trees in Orange, offers a vivid glimpse of a snowstorm several years ago at Mapleside Farms in Brunswick, Ohio.

It was suggested that a softer version of this image would make a nice design for a business card background, so I had some professionally made. It's thanks to this business card that I've ended up as a featured artist at the Niagara Arts and Cultural Center in Niagara Falls, NY. I had left a supply of business cards in a display rack at the Market Street Art Center in neighboring Lockport, NY. Someone from Niagara Falls picked up a business card in Lockport so I'm now happily affiliated with both galleries!

One cool thing I've noticed is how different people perceive color based on how they react to the card. One person called it pink, another called it blue, and to me it looks mostly orange. I wonder what that says about the personality of each beholder? In the softer version not shown here, I can agree that much of the orange is faded down into shades of pink. But what fascinates me even more than the color issue itself is how people can look at the same thing and reach very different conclusions.

Anyone else have a business card success story to share? Or maybe a story of how you created your art seeing one thing, only to have other people tell you they saw something else? Please feel welcome to share your insights, adventures, and experiences.

Monday, February 15, 2010

Nobody Expects the Ruby Slippers!

Amazing! Yet another Wizard of Oz coincidence!

On Friday, February 12th I drove up to the Niagara Arts and Cultural Center in Niagara Falls, NY. The Niagara Arts and Cultural Center is hosting a Women in the Arts Exhibition: Celebrating Women’s History Month "When All the Artists are Women" from February 12, 2010 through March 21, 2010. Four of my photos are on display at this exhibit.

Seeing the ruby slippers was so stunning I was stopped in my tracks. The slippers, by the way, are the work of Dawn Exton and bear the title, "It's Miss Oz to You." For the tidy sum of $1,000, they can be yours. They're made from leather pumps, steel, silicone, and paint. Methinks I'll pass, if only for the reason that my handmade wool green Emerald City Socks are far more comfortable than these spiny slippers look!

For the record, here's a link to the Emerald City Socks.

You know, I'm glad I've started documenting these Wizard of Oz coincidences in my blog. Otherwise, who'd believe it? And who knew this kind of zany X-Files experience would happen so frequently? And who knows where it all may lead, and what new adventure is just ahead along the yellow brick road?

Forget the Cowardly Lion and the Tin Man. I want Mulder and Scully on the case. Now!

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Flown South

This fine art photo, taken several years ago, shows a heron rookery in the Cuyahoga Valley National Park in Brecksville, Ohio. The Great Blue Herons have flown south for the winter, leaving behind a scene of still beauty in glimmering metallic tones of gold and aqua.

Nearby Cleveland, Ohio, just a hop, a skip, and a jump away was recently ranked number one by Forbes magazine on its list of America's Worst Winter Weather Cities?!?

Personally, I think there's some mistake, as a Cleveland winter is normally absolutely gorgeous. What the editors of Forbes * really * meant to say was that Cleveland is absolutely at the top when it comes to the best winter weather ever!

The crazy thing to me about the Forbes list is that Buffalo, NY of Blizzard of '77 fame didn't even make the top ten. Wow. I grew up in the Buffalo area, which more than likely gave me a lifelong fondness for snow.

So how do you feel about the Forbes "America's Worst Winter Weather Cities" list? Is your city there? Does it deserve to be? Do you like the weather where you live?

Enquiring minds wanna know ...

Monday, February 8, 2010

Hemlock Creek Bridge, Painterly Version

Just wanted to see how a winter photo I posted earlier would look if I fancied it up a bit. The Hemlock Creek Bridge is located at the Bedford Reservation in the Cleveland Metroparks. Another reason why I love living in Northeast Ohio. Hope everyone is enjoying this glorious beautiful season today.

Saturday, February 6, 2010

March for Life January 2010, The Showdown

Notre Dame's appearance at the March for Life was itself newsworthy. The two banners in the photo above tell the story.

First you have the official Notre Dame Right to Life banner complete with the university logo and the phrase "fightin' for life." Approaching in the background you have a banner that reads, "Father Jenkins: Free the Notre Dame 88."

Who are the Notre Dame 88? A group of pro-lifers arrested on the Notre Dame University campus for peacefully protesting President Obama's presence at last year's commencement. Among those arrested was an elderly Catholic priest named Father Norman Weslin.

Who is Father Jenkins? Father Jenkins is himself a Catholic priest and the President of Notre Dame who bestowed an award on pro-choice President Obama at the commencement. Father Jenkins will not drop the charges against the Notre Dame 88. And Father Jenkins attended the March for Life!

Those interested in more information on Father Jenkins and the Notre Dame 88 may read the latest article on LifeSiteNews at the link below.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

March for Life January 2010, College Roll Call

The following colleges and universities deserve to be on the honor roll for their attendance and participation in the March for Life. What a wonderful witness from the young adults of America. We've already seen in a previous blog post a banner for Franciscan University, and have noted the presence of Notre Dame . Here were some other schools that I came across on January 22:

Princeton University.

Yale University.

Rutgers University.

Northeastern University.

Christendom College.

Franciscan University of Steubenville.

Thomas More College of Liberal Arts.

The final installment of this March for Life series will be the next post, on Notre Dame.