Friday, April 21, 2017

Latest work: "Mapping the Mountains"

I have the attention span of a hummingbird. So easily distracted.

I'm creating a variety of stained, painted, bleached, inked, folded, spindled, and mutilated papers for the handmade book I'm working on, but often I'll stare down at this pile o' papers and the way one sits atop another catches my eye. Aha! A collage!

So I begin pushing papers around, adding this, adding that, then bring them into the computer, add even more elements, and the next thing you know, this picture happens.

I've now uploaded it to Fine Art America and call it "Mapping the Mountains." Here's how I describe it:

Warm-colored aged and dyed papers, ink splatters, a page from an antique Japanese ledger, a hand-drawn circle, and more come together in this piece. I detect a sense of mystery, of exploration, perhaps an old map.

Will this ever sell? As usual, I hope so, but I never know. But if it does, then hooray, right? And if it doesn't? Well, then, hooray again, because I've made something original, something no one else has made, and something that pleases me.

And now, back to the handmade book. But wait! The tulips are blooming in the Skagit Valley right now, so it's off-island this morning.

©Carol Leigh
All text, photographs, and other media are ©Copyright Carol Leigh (or others when indicated) and are not in the public domain and may not be used on websites, blogs, or in other media without advance permission from Carol Leigh.



Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Daily bit of creativity, #018: Canisters

I posted this on Instagram and Facebook, too, along with this quote from a chef named Tyler Florence: "Fifty thousand dollars' worth of cabinets isn't going to make you a better cook..." The concept being simplicity.

Not that I cook.

But I'm good at finding pithy quotes!

©Carol Leigh
All text, photographs, and other media are ©Copyright Carol Leigh (or others when indicated) and are not in the public domain and may not be used on websites, blogs, or in other media without advance permission from Carol Leigh.

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Daily bit of creativity, #017: Watering Can

I’ve always loved the lines — straight and curved — of this little watering can. It sits in my kitchen window. I used my iPhone to take this shot, of which I’m not totally enamored, but it’s given me an idea for a little project. A challenge. Can I take 10 decent shots of this guy? Gonna give it a try, using a real camera. We shall see . . .

©Carol Leigh
All text, photographs, and other media are ©Copyright Carol Leigh (or others when indicated) and are not in the public domain and may not be used on websites, blogs, or in other media without advance permission from Carol Leigh.

Thursday, April 13, 2017

Latest work: "Depth Gauge Five"

Not too sure about this one, so I'm letting it "steep" awhile.

I photographed a rusty metal tank, a number "5" on a weathered depth gauge, and an extremely grungy painted wall to create this mashup of color and texture.

Sometimes these things come together so quickly, so smoothly and they look great. Other times it takes hours, and I'm still not sure. Which is the case here. We shall see. . . 

©Carol Leigh
All text, photographs, and other media are ©Copyright Carol Leigh (or others when indicated) and are not in the public domain and may not be used on websites, blogs, or in other media without advance permission from Carol Leigh.

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Daily bit of creativity, #016: Japanese tray



I have this, for lack of a better word, "tray." I think it's Japanese. I bought it years ago at a flea market on the Oregon coast. I probably paid less than $15 for it.

Standing up as you see in the first photo, it looks like a heater vent on a wall. Boring.

In the second photo you can see some of the details on it. Cool stuff.

But what to do with this "tray?" In Oregon we had it up on the mantel, leaning against a rock background, and it looked good there, resting partly on a framed Ansel Adams print. No heater vent vibe in that location.

Here, however, it's a different story.

So I made a bunch of tag-like things, set the tray down flat, and then inserted a number of the tags into some of the slots.

It looks pretty good. Some people (Chris) say "add more tags." Others (CJ) say, "less is more." I'm not sure this morning. But I AM making more tags, just in case.

I have no clue. I like seeing the piece like this, with the tags and their strings sticking up. But there's a part of me that wonders, "what the heck IS this, and what's it FOR?"

I try to stifle that more critical side of me, to simply stand back, wonder, and enjoy seeing what I made.

©Carol Leigh
All text, photographs, and other media are ©Copyright Carol Leigh (or others when indicated) and are not in the public domain and may not be used on websites, blogs, or in other media without advance permission from Carol Leigh.

Monday, April 10, 2017

Nautical bits in Anacortes




I took Rich and CJ to one of my favorite areas to shoot yesterday. Luckily, they liked it!

Afternoon sunlight on the side of a ship created very cool shadows.

A thick rope was laid out on the ground, looking quite snakelike.

A window reflecting clouds and sky, bright yellow buoys, and galvanized metal are gradually being taken over by blackberry vines.

And finally this depth gauge caught my eye, the vertical column of numbers sandwiched between solid navy blue on the right and horizontal patches of metal on the left.

Fun day. Alas, we take them down to the airport this morning. It's been a week of laughing, relaxing, lots of exploring, laughing, reading, just hanging out, and did I mention laughing?

©Carol Leigh
All text, photographs, and other media are ©Copyright Carol Leigh (or others when indicated) and are not in the public domain and may not be used on websites, blogs, or in other media without advance permission from Carol Leigh.

Sunday, April 9, 2017

Hello, I must be going . . .

Photographed at a nursery in the Skagit Valley. Crazy and fun days this week, with good friends Rich and CJ, power failures, lots of cooking, entertaining, going here and there.

And LOTS of new ideas for my ongoing Kyoto book. Off to Anacortes, more to come.

©Carol Leigh
All text, photographs, and other media are ©Copyright Carol Leigh (or others when indicated) and are not in the public domain and may not be used on websites, blogs, or in other media without advance permission from Carol Leigh.

Friday, April 7, 2017

Flowering trees in the Skagit Valley

Tuesday we all went over to the Skagit Valley to check out the tulips. Well, they're running a few weeks late this year, but there were lots of flowering trees as well as fields of brilliant yellow daffodils.

I concentrated on the trees, looking for lovely flowers and soft backgrounds. Shallow depth of field softened the backgrounds even more, and a bit of post-processing in Photoshop gave me the look I was hoping for.

A lot of times I take photographs with no preconceptions in mind. Not this time! I knew exactly how I wanted these flowers to look when I was done. Ta da!

©Carol Leigh
All text, photographs, and other media are ©Copyright Carol Leigh (or others when indicated) and are not in the public domain and may not be used on websites, blogs, or in other media without advance permission from Carol Leigh.

Thursday, April 6, 2017

Latest work: "Game Board"


I was showing my friend CJ some of my "works in progress," images that just weren't coming together right. Rather than throw them out, I leave them in my "Works in Progress" directory, hoping that perhaps in time I'll figure out what to do with them.

Three years ago I was working on this concept. The colors caught CJ's eye, so I began playing with it. She made some good suggestions, I added a few things, and this is the result.

If either or both of these sell, you can be sure she'll be reminding me of her input! And then sending me an invoice . . .

©Carol Leigh
All text, photographs, and other media are ©Copyright Carol Leigh (or others when indicated) and are not in the public domain and may not be used on websites, blogs, or in other media without advance permission from Carol Leigh.

Monday, April 3, 2017

Daily bit of creativity, #015: Kyoto book paper/ink testing


I think I have a handle on the format of the Kyoto book, the type of binding I’m going to use, and am 95% sure of the paper I’ll make it from.

The process leading up to this point has been fun, involving a lot of experimentation with various papers, seeing what different inks and paints look like, how they react, etc. Here are two pictures of miscellaneous “testing materials” over on the work table.

So what’s the next step? The printer is still problematic. Once the ink cartridges I ordered come in, I’ll begin testing photographs once again.

In the meantime, I will begin creating pages, sort of generic pages, double-sided, page “sandwiches,” with one type of paper sandwiched between two others, all glued together. The individual papers are lightweight, giving the book flexibility, yet will be strong enough to take all the manhandling, the aging, the inking, the painting, the collaging, etc.

Do I really know what I’m doing? Not at all. Should I be taking bookbinding classes before giving this a go? Nah. I mean, how hard could this be?! Heh, heh . . .

©Carol Leigh
All text, photographs, and other media are ©Copyright Carol Leigh (or others when indicated) and are not in the public domain and may not be used on websites, blogs, or in other media without advance permission from Carol Leigh.

Friday, March 31, 2017

What I'm working on . . .


For the past 15 years or more I've been entranced with the military bunkers in the Pacific Northwest. I love their age, their solidity, their mystery.

And then there's the grunge. The dirt. The overall patina.

For someone like me, who loves abstract lines, forms, designs, and textures, visiting these places is akin to visiting Disneyland when I was nine.

I would like to make a handmade book featuring my photos, and I'd like the photos to be black and white.

Why? Because look at the difference here. My original photograph shows the way this bunker interior has been painted. It's powder blue, for heaven's sake! And the walls look smooth, well-kept. It's boring.

But see it in black and white and the vibe is totally different. It's appropriate. And look at all the texture we can see in the black and white version. Shadows become SHADOWS. Soft lines become stark and bold. And texture is revealed and enhanced, texture we might not have noticed at first. Now it's all in your face. And that's what I love.

Now that the weather's getting warmer, I'll be out there with my tripod, going from room to room, exploring, searching out elements such as this, composing, looking, looking, looking, creating.

And the goal is a small, handmade book. A book that will reflect the texture and grit and mystery of these cement remnants here in the Pacific Northwest.

Wish me luck! Am still working on the Kyoto book as well . . .

©Carol Leigh
All text, photographs, and other media are ©Copyright Carol Leigh (or others when indicated) and are not in the public domain and may not be used on websites, blogs, or in other media without advance permission from Carol Leigh.

Thursday, March 30, 2017

Eight years of March blog posts








I went back to all my old blog posts to see what I was shooting/posting in March. Every March since 2009. These are the ones that looked good to me this morning.

This first one is a "drive-by shooting" taken as we were exploring some back roads in Oregon in 2009. Chris drives and I shoot out the window. This little tree just screamed "spring."

In March of 2010 I took a long-exposure shot of waves crashing on rocks in Seal Rock, Oregon coast.

I don't know why the picture of the gull and the sign makes me smile every time I see it. The gull seems to be trying to read the sign and I just find it delightfully absurd. Oregon refers to car break-ins as "car clouts." I'd never heard that term before. Taken in March of 2011.

In 2012, I photographed this snowy scene, again from a car window, as we traveled over a pass from California to Oregon. We were driving very slowly, enabling me to use a fast enough shutter speed to make sure the trees were sharply focused.

And oh, Hawaii in 2013! (Hello, Jan Hagan!). I walked around the back streets of Lahaina, seeing what I could find. Loved this door.

A bright yellow forsythia was in full bloom in March of 2014, down at the bottom of our back yard on Whidbey Island.

In 2015 I created a faux postcard featuring old drawings of parrots and some Russian postage stamps.

And then in 2016 I made a series of six images I called "Winter Rains." Yesterday I sold two 40" x 40" versions of them to a customer in Missouri. They should look really good as canvas wraps.

Feeling so completely un-creative today, so it's good that I have a variety of blog posts to draw from!

©Carol Leigh
All text, photographs, and other media are ©Copyright Carol Leigh (or others when indicated) and are not in the public domain and may not be used on websites, blogs, or in other media without advance permission from Carol Leigh.

Wednesday, March 29, 2017

It's a good day . . .

. .  to be calligraphically cryptic! When the tides and the light are right, you can often see the interesting patterns that sand worms create on the beach. I don't know what this guy was trying to say, but he was doing it beautifully.

©Carol Leigh
All text, photographs, and other media are ©Copyright Carol Leigh (or others when indicated) and are not in the public domain and may not be used on websites, blogs, or in other media without advance permission from Carol Leigh.

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Daily bit of creativity, #014: B2B2B





My back-to-back-to-back (B2B2B) book is finished. It’s the second one I’ve made. I’m not satisfied with it and so am probably going to make another, one with more continuity to it.

All the pages in the book are made from paper I use to clean my brushes, to experiment with rubber stamps, handwriting, inks, etc. Once the paper is “full,” I pick it up, roll it up, save it for something like this. I then put down a fresh sheet of paper on the work counter and the process begins again.

So what you’re seeing are a few pages from the book, including the front cover. The page in the second photo is made from a piece of paper I wrapped around some rusty things and let sit outside in the rain for a few days. I added the four little squares there on the left. The number “7” is a stencil I added after I’d cut the paper to size.

The people I’ve shown this to have all mentioned how tactile it is, how the paper looks old, is thick, and is actually kind of soft. The more this book is “fondled,” the better it’s going to get! So I have it sitting out on top of a wooden cabinet in the living room, just so people will touch it and flip through it.

I have two more projects I’m working on: a handmade book about Kyoto, and an assemblage piece of sorts that I’ll show you soon.

P.S. The colorful mobile I made last week is no longer hanging from a tree. It’s been relocated to the deck so that we can see it more clearly. The background still consists of green trees, so the “feel” is the same. Having fun!

©Carol Leigh
All text, photographs, and other media are ©Copyright Carol Leigh (or others when indicated) and are not in the public domain and may not be used on websites, blogs, or in other media without advance permission from Carol Leigh.

Monday, March 27, 2017

Daily bit of creativity, #013: Journal bits

When in doubt, draw cats!

©Carol Leigh
All text, photographs, and other media are ©Copyright Carol Leigh (or others when indicated) and are not in the public domain and may not be used on websites, blogs, or in other media without advance permission from Carol Leigh.

Sunday, March 26, 2017

"Weathered Pages"

This is a photomontage I created at the beginning of 2014 and it's been sitting patiently in my "blog images" file all this time, waiting for me to upload it here. Not sure why I never did, because I do like it.

The inside cover of an old book forms the base, and to that I just kept adding old papers and ink. Ahhhhh!

©Carol Leigh
All text, photographs, and other media are ©Copyright Carol Leigh (or others when indicated) and are not in the public domain and may not be used on websites, blogs, or in other media without advance permission from Carol Leigh.

Saturday, March 25, 2017

Daily bit of creativity, #012: Mobile project finished

Here’s the mobile hanging from a cedar tree branch in the front yard. It looks smaller than I thought it would, but I wanted to start small, just to see if this would be something I could stand making on a much larger scale.

Gotta say, it was tedious painting the sticks.

I used a few beads in between each of the sticks to separate them nicely, and that was fun to do.

I especially like looking out the kitchen window and seeing the unexpected touch of color among all the green trees and brush. Makes me smile.

To make a big one would be a huge project. Not sure I’m up to it right now. Could be a good winter-time activity toward the end of the year. We’ll see! Now on to something else...

©Carol Leigh
All text, photographs, and other media are ©Copyright Carol Leigh (or others when indicated) and are not in the public domain and may not be used on websites, blogs, or in other media without advance permission from Carol Leigh.

Friday, March 24, 2017

Daily bit of creativity, #011: Burned driftwood

I burned marks into a piece if driftwood to see what it would look like. Well, it's kind of cool, but not cool enough for me to put on a wall in the house, so I strung it up in a tree in the front yard.

It's near the handmade paintbrush that hangs from another tree . .  on the other side of the yard from a barnacle-covered piece of wood dangling from a different tree . . . next to a mobile I made in Nevada City, California out of cherry tree twigs and beads and a piece of obsidian . . .

I won't bore you with the rest!

©Carol Leigh
All text, photographs, and other media are ©Copyright Carol Leigh (or others when indicated) and are not in the public domain and may not be used on websites, blogs, or in other media without advance permission from Carol Leigh.

Experiment #0753

©Carol Leigh
All text, photographs, and other media are ©Copyright Carol Leigh (or others when indicated) and are not in the public domain and may not be used on websites, blogs, or in other media without advance permission from Carol Leigh.

Thursday, March 23, 2017

Yesterday's sunrise

A quick iPhone shot of yesterday's sunrise, which was quite pretty behind the trees. The day ended with a rainbow in exactly the same spot. One of those days where sunshine and passing rain showers collided, creating surprise and beauty all day long.

So where's the rainbow shot? Well, it's total garbage. If it were a physical print, it would be hanging from a tree somewhere in the yard, where all of my art rejects tend to go. Good thing the yard is big and we have lots of trees!

©Carol Leigh
All text, photographs, and other media are ©Copyright Carol Leigh (or others when indicated) and are not in the public domain and may not be used on websites, blogs, or in other media without advance permission from Carol Leigh.

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Daily bit of creativity, #010: Bad Art

This is not good. Well, I think it’s good, but it’s really not.

Yesterday morning I got up really early and began working on this piece. It went through a lot of changes before I began feeling it was coming together. I prepped it for uploading to Fine Art America. Named it "Ecliptic Shadows." Keyworded it. Wrote a description.

My final step is always to look at the image at 100% to make sure I’ve not accidentally cloned something improperly, to make sure everything’s in focus that should be in focus, etc.

And that’s when I discovered my mistake. My big, big, mistake.

This is a photomontage, and the big brown semi-circular element is a scan of a monoprint, a print I’d made using a gelatin plate. I’d painted an image on the plate and then, before the paint dried, pressed a piece of clean white paper onto it, transferring the paint from the plate to the paper. It looked good!

My mistake was that in pressing the paper onto the gelatin plate, the paint you see toward the top of that circle was thicker and it squished down more than the rest of the paint. So even though the print was scanned and perfectly in focus, that squished area looks soft. Really, really soft. It’s a sharp image of a blobby section. It looks out of focus.

I had spent hours on this photomontage. I was finally satisfied with it. But in my rush to create something, I was careless. I should have examined the focus on that section of the circle before I did anything else.

I thought I might be able to fix it. But damned if I was going to rip the whole thing apart and spend more time at that point!

So here I am this morning. I tried a number of tricks to fix just that one layer, and none of them worked. I have to give up. It will never go on sale at Fine Art America. But it’s GREAT as a teaching tool!

And the lesson is this: Before you jump into any photomontage in the future, puhleeze check all the elements to make sure they’re sharp if you want them to be sharp, soft where you want them to be soft. Don’t wait to check until the end of the whole process, when your energy is depleted and your hopes dashed.

You do not want to begin your day with dashed hopes! Think I’ll go watch a cat video…


©Carol Leigh
All text, photographs, and other media are ©Copyright Carol Leigh (or others when indicated) and are not in the public domain and may not be used on websites, blogs, or in other media without advance permission from Carol Leigh.

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Daily bit of creativity, #009: Mobile sticks

Painting sticks to make a colorful mobile to hang from a tree in the yard. A silly little project, but fun. (Laura: Nothing like your huge TEEPEE that YOU'RE painting!)

©Carol Leigh
All text, photographs, and other media are ©Copyright Carol Leigh (or others when indicated) and are not in the public domain and may not be used on websites, blogs, or in other media without advance permission from Carol Leigh.

Monday, March 20, 2017

Daily bit of creativity, #008: Prints

Making prints to use (perhaps) in an assemblage piece I'm working on. We shall see . . .

©Carol Leigh
All text, photographs, and other media are ©Copyright Carol Leigh (or others when indicated) and are not in the public domain and may not be used on websites, blogs, or in other media without advance permission from Carol Leigh.

Sunday, March 19, 2017

Daily bit of creativity, #007: Journal bits

©Carol Leigh
All text, photographs, and other media are ©Copyright Carol Leigh (or others when indicated) and are not in the public domain and may not be used on websites, blogs, or in other media without advance permission from Carol Leigh.

Friday, March 17, 2017

"Bird" photography


While walking along the dock last week in Anacortes, I spotted some scratches on the hull of a fishing boat. I'm always drawn to this stuff because I can use the textures in my photomontages. In this case, however, I found the cutest little "bird."

The top photo shows you what I saw; the bottom photo shows how I framed the "bird."

A fun and happy little moment.

©Carol Leigh
All text, photographs, and other media are ©Copyright Carol Leigh (or others when indicated) and are not in the public domain and may not be used on websites, blogs, or in other media without advance permission from Carol Leigh.

Thursday, March 16, 2017

Daily bit of creativity, #006: Journal Bits


Art journals are just places to play, to explore, not necessarily to create the perfect page ready for framing. On this page, all I was doing was making marks with Tombow markers, seeing how the colors looked on this particular kind of paper. Photographed it with my iPhone and then, just because I could, turned it into an orb. Ta da!

©Carol Leigh
All text, photographs, and other media are ©Copyright Carol Leigh (or others when indicated) and are not in the public domain and may not be used on websites, blogs, or in other media without advance permission from Carol Leigh.

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Daily bit of creativity, #005


The fun part about keeping a journal is that it reminds you of things that were going on in your life, or things you were creating, at a certain time.

In July of 2010, I was apparently quite chuffed at creating this image of pen nibs. So I made a small note of it and added a few colorful things.

Art journals, journals in general, don’t have to be fine masterpieces. A few words, a few colors, and a memory is honored.

©Carol Leigh
All text, photographs, and other media are ©Copyright Carol Leigh (or others when indicated) and are not in the public domain and may not be used on websites, blogs, or in other media without advance permission from Carol Leigh.

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Daily bit of creativity, #004



I showed the first photo in this group back on February 6th, 2017, and how it’s part of a ledger book that is full of empty pages. When I work on a collage or something else and have extra bits of paper around, I’ll often glue them into this ledger book.

So here you see two hand-painted pieces of paper glued to the same page. I liked the color combination, so brought the (now a ledger) page into the computer and tweaked the color a bit, as you can see in the second photo.

From there I just kind of went nuts, adding and removing various items until I came up with the astronomy-isn image you see in the third photo. I uploaded it to Fine Art America, where I called it “Star Chart Landing Pattern.” All in a (fun) day’s work!

©Carol Leigh
All text, photographs, and other media are ©Copyright Carol Leigh (or others when indicated) and are not in the public domain and may not be used on websites, blogs, or in other media without advance permission from Carol Leigh.