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.

Monday, March 13, 2017

Daily bit of creativity, #003

With this daily “creativity” thing I’ve (perhaps foolishly) started, I was poking around a bunch of cellphone photos, pictures I took of Peggy’s Cove Lighthouse in Nova Scotia last year. I’d tweaked this picture a lot in-camera, so now it was time to bring it into Photoshop on the desktop and see what else I could do.

This is what I made this morning. I also (again, perhaps foolishly) uploaded it to Fine Art America because hey, why not? I like this picture (today). But I can see how some (or most) people might not. I mean, what the heck are those boxes in the sky? And what about those red thingies in the lower right?

I believe that artists have to make work to please themselves. If someone else likes it, well, then BONUS!

So that’s my daily bit of creativity for today. Hope you enjoyed seeing it.

©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.

Daily bit of creativity, #002


I’m thinking about making a book, a handmade book, using some of the photos I took in Kyoto, as well as a lot of old papers.

(Have I made a book before? Other than the two rudimentary back-to-back-to-back books I’ve made this year? No. Will that stop me? No.)

The book will be not necessarily about the photographs, but rather the whole tactile/visual experience of the book in general.

The photos will act as a theme, the “glue” that holds everything together.

So it’s not like I’m creating a series of fantastic photos, meticulously post-processed, and then printed on the finest paper around. No. I’m using a series of very good photos, selected and post-processed specifically with this handmade book in mind, and printed on less-than-traditional papers.

I’ve been so excited about the book, visualizing the final results, how I want it to look, etc. It’s the photo processing that’s been weighing heavily in the back of my mind.

I’m not a photo printer. I dislike the whole process. It’s always been a challenge and I avoid it. And since I don’t use my printer much (like never in the past year), I knew nothing was going to go right once I began printing. Which was last night.

And nothing did. I’ve apparently got clogged nozzles and need to do some research before I can proceed further. I did print out this image, however, on a couple of different papers, then went into the studio to play with them some more to see what would happen.

I’ve gone from total despair, deciding to chuck the entire project (yesterday) to hmmmm, I can work with this and can continue on (today).

These are two versions of the same picture — a monk in a temple in Kyoto. I’m probably going to go with the first version. I used diluted ink on it and it’s too dark in some places and needs to be controlled better, but it’s a good start. I just need to practice.

As I progress with the book, I’ll continue posting updates here.

So what are YOU creating today? I’d love to hear about it.

©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 12, 2017

Daily bit of creativity, #001

This morning, just to keep my head in the game, I decided to post one bit of something I've created every day.

I work on a lot of art projects, photography being just a small part, and thought it might be fun to photograph stuff that I'm making, that I'm drawing, thinking about, seeing, experimenting with, etc.

And this is my first one. It's a gourd I made eons ago, with beads hanging from it and a crow feather stuck into some leather at the top. It sits on a shelf over my desk. There's a wall lamp immediately to the right, my only light source in the early morning hours.

The iPhone was right there, why not take a picture and see what happens?

Well, the picture wasn't so great, but it wasn't awful, either. I transferred it into the computer, tweaked it using Camera Raw, then used an effect from Topaz which I can't remember now, then added a texture. By this time the shot was really muddy, so I made an adjustment layer and, with Levels, lightened and brightened the image, trying not to lose some of the mood.

Is this a wonderful piece of art? Nah. I don't think so. But it's something different. And that's the important thing, that it's different.

That's what this daily project is supposed to give me -- the motivation to create something, anything, every day and post it here.

I did something similar years ago -- a photo a day. Man, it was hard! But it kept me thinking about photography all the time. And my photography improved.

This might be difficult as well. After all, if it were easy, everybody would be doing it, right?

Wish me luck. And be prepared to see some pretty awful art. But there will be a lot of good stuff, too. I guarantee it.

©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.

Beauty, birds, and boats





A bit of nature, a touch of red, and a single flower. It was a good day Friday for driving up to Anacortes and the top of Mt. Erie to take a look around.

When the weather conditions are just right, the view is spectacular. This wasn't one of those days, but it's eagle season, and we saw maybe 20+ flying around.

(And for the past two days, at least one eagle a day has perched in the trees in our yard. How cool is that!?)

This eagle hovered overhead for the longest time. Not exactly within range of my 70-200mm lens, but sometimes you just can't care.

And then down to the marina to see what we could find. Two red boats (Arrow Marine Services) were docked, drawing me in like a crow to something shiny. Love how they had hung a ladder off the side, creating a composition that's bold but somehow skewed.

And then I noticed some hellebores in full bloom -- can't ignore pretty flowers like these.

A good day. Feeling very lucky to be here.

©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 9, 2017

Latest work: "Primary Stripes"

A quick and simple little collage consisting of hand-painted papers I've torn and then glued down. Red, yellow, blue primary colors, fresh and clean.

©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 8, 2017

Urban simplicity...

Sometimes it pays to watch where you're walking!

©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 6, 2017

Latest work: "Galvanized Paint"


I've begun creating physical paintings that look like worn, weathered, galvanized metal, and am having so much fun creating them. Acrylic on paper, 15.5" x 28.9" and then tweaked just a bit in the computer to be offered at Fine Art America.

©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 3, 2017

Personal note to Carol F. and Ann L.

Because I know you're here every day, just thought I'd let you know I saw your book ideas and they are going to be wonderful! Excellent concepts and I'm sure they will stand out. Kudos to you both. xoxo

A page from my journal . . .

I've seen this in a number of my students. There are some who flit from this to that, eager, excited, passionate about photography, but there's no direction.

And there are others who are so meticulous about their process that they are blinded to what they are trying to say with their work, leaving it cold and empty.

To combine the two concepts, ah, there's the goal. It all comes down, once again, to balance, doesn't it?

And in case you can't read my handwriting, which is cool but often illegible, it's a quote from Twyla Tharp, a dancer and choreographer:

"Without passion, all the skill in the world won't lift you above craft. Without skill, all the passion in the world will leave you eager but floundering. Combining the two is the essence of the creative life."

©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.