Sunday, March 29, 2020

Root beer 5 cents . . .

During my "at-home-isolation," I'm making the best of my time by experimenting with a variety of things, looking at older photos and tricking them out on the computer, as well as spending time in the studio making collage papers and new collages.

No rush. No pressure. No "have to."

So I came across this sign I photographed in a barrio in Tucson maybe six years ago. After playing around with it a bit, I declare it done.

Will I offer it on Fine Art America? Probably not. But for right now, in these strange times, it was a welcome respite from what we are seeing all around the world.

Copyright ©2020 Carol Leigh

Wednesday, March 18, 2020

Self-isolating at home . . .



Around the yard . . .

Here on Whidbey we're pretty isolated in a rural area, so we don't have the same concerns a lot of other people do about keeping our distance. I can take a walk up and down the road without (usually) meeting a soul.

We (again because of our remoteness and the unpredictable weather) have always made sure we're pretty much stocked up with the necessities and so we haven't had to make our way through any grocery stores for the past month.

What we're really missing is physically visiting people, televised pro/college basketball, and eating out in restaurants.

First world problems, right?! Oh, poor us!

The good thing is that my art studio is right here, so I can continue making things. And I can always find something to photograph in our yard and/or up and down the road. So that's what I'm doing.

This winter a number of alder trees fell over, making it easy for me to just see what's on the ground and shoot the bark (top photo).

Hellebores are the first flowers to appear in late winter and deer don't eat 'em, so that's what you're seeing in the second photo.

And then this species of Usnea lichen festoons a lot of the trees. The lichens look very pale green and lacy against a more solid background.

(Each photo taken with an iPhone.)

My heart goes out to all the small businesses we have on Whidbey who have had to close, with employers and employees wondering when will things go back to "normal."

And my thanks go to all the health care workers who are also in a sort of limbo, wondering when a tidal wave of sick people is going to hit all the medical facilities. Or not. Hopefully not.

So we do our part to live an isolated existence, stay clean and healthy, and wish for an early end to all this. We have 16 currently confirmed with the coronavirus in Island County (Whidbey Island and Camano Island), and no deaths.

Wishing you all health, peace, love, and happiness.

Copyright ©2020 Carol Leigh

Friday, February 28, 2020

Small pleasures . . .


"Blessed are they who see beautiful things in humble places where other people see nothing."
-- Camille Pissarro


That's the beauty of being an artist. We see things slightly differently.

So when I noticed these condensation bubbles on the inside of a water bottle, I fell in love. Look at the different sizes of bubbles. Look at the patterns they make as they follow the bottle's contours. And how the backlighting creates a lovely warm glow.

What's not to love here?

We are so blessed to notice things like this.

Copyright ©2020 Carol Leigh

Wednesday, February 12, 2020

Chaos reigns . . .



CHAOS REIGNS . . . Here’s what my worktable looked like last week. There’s a lot going on, but no destination. I decided to make small (4x6”) postcard-like collages, but don’t know what I will do with them.

Any interesting little extraneous bits of paper end up going into a couple of Moleskine cahiers. Neither one is full yet, and so I keep going. But THEN what?

Gotta say, however, that all this does look pretty cool. And it’s fun to make random things. I just seem to have a problem FINISHING anything! And even when finished, THEN what?

Signed, Confused in Coupeville

Images copyright ©2020 Carol Leigh

Wednesday, January 29, 2020

Focus . . .

Time moves on. You become more aware of mortality -- your own and others'. You begin seeing a larger picture. Beauty is easier to find. You have done so much in your life, and you want to do so much more. But your body begins betraying you just when loved ones need you to be strong. It's tougher to carry a tripod, heavy camera, and a long lens. Everything takes just a little more effort.

So it's often hard to focus. And when you DO focus, it's in shorter bursts because it's tougher to stand at a work table for any length of time, and it's tough to sit as well.

But obviously it's easier to whine! And feel sorry for yourself, as though you're the only one going through this.

So I focus on "small pleasures." The little things I notice and enjoy. The way the cottontail rabbit comes running up when I'm putting out seed for the birds. The sounds of owls hooting back and forth and being able to tell who is hoooooooo. The way the person I'm eavesdropping on talks about landing in the "sticker bushes." Sticker bushes? I love how that sounds! And who ever actually says "sticker bushes?"

And this quote, "Procrastination is totally a good thing. You always have something to do tomorrow, plus you have nothing to do today." Author unknown. Wish I'd written it.

So instead of focusing on what might be considered negative in my life, I am attempting to focus on what is positive. The camera/tripod/lens combo might be heavy, but how lucky am I that I can still maneuver it? Just the fact that I have the talent to create interesting photos of everyday things is a gift. That I have a plethora of art ideas; all I need to do is act on one of them! To focus!

And I'm so lucky to have a spouse who loves me unequivocally and enhances my life so much. I need to focus more on that.

Image ©2020 Carol Leigh

Tuesday, December 31, 2019

Monthly Favorites -- September through December, 2019




And so 2020 comes to an end. It was the best of times; it was the worst of times. I'm focusing on the best.

In September I created "V is for Vivian" based on a picture I took of the letter "V" on the F/V Vivian, a fishing vessel out of Astoria, Oregon a number of years ago. I particularly like finding all the little elements I added here and there, including the reflection of lines and a mast from a sailboat I shot in Port Townsend, Washington last year.

In October, I worked on some photos I took at a car show on Whidbey Island, and liked this old Corvette Sting Ray, shot from the back. I particularly like the simplicity and the subtle yet dramatic shadowing

While visiting friends in San Diego, I collected and brought home some eucalyptus leaves. In November the leaf photos were then combined with a handmade background. I like how it's all the same leaf and I managed to make each one a different color. Weird, I know, but wonderfully fun to do.

And then finally, sometime last week, I made a photomontage that has an unusual color palette, at least for me. The colors come from a gelatin print I made, to which I added my photos of an 1890-ish Japanese pre-printed postcard, an old postage stamp, cancellation stamps, my own calligraphic scribblings, and more. I like that it's different. A good ending to the year 2019, and a good beginning to 2020.

Wishing you all a very happy new year. May it exceed your expectations!

Images copyright ©2019 Carol Leigh.

Monday, December 30, 2019

Monthly Favorites -- May through August, 2019




Continuing with my monthly favorite blog photos posted here throughout the year, the first picture isn't a very good one, but it was the surprise and wonder of the moment that impacted me.

A newly-born white fawn was born on our property during the first days of May. He could barely stand at this point, and mom was urging him to walk across our driveway, which he was reluctant to do.

We followed his rapid growth and adventures throughout the year, including a nasty bit of time where he had been attacked and bitten by a coyote. The wound was really big, but healed well. I saw him a couple of days ago in the company of a yearling buck (a regular-colored one) and he looks just fine. Whew!

During a June walk around Greenbank Farm, I liked how the yellow iris were growing along the side of the pond, the perfect blue sky with clouds, and the red-painted buildings. It's rather postcard-ish, which is unusual for me to create. But I gotta say, I do like it. And it's not bad as a cellphone shot.

In July I posted an abstract image of an Enso circle. I made the plaster background, drew the circle, and added a bit of handpainted paper to create a horizon line of sorts. I'm  pleased with my combination of handwork and digital work. Plus the colors are pretty cool!

And then in August, all the energy in my hosta plants was going into producing flowers, so the leaves began drying out and curling up. I was about to clip off the marginal leaves, when I found myself delighted by their curves, curls, and colors. It also helped that a recent rain had left water droplets all beaded up on the leaves.

I must say I'm looking forward to late summer of 2020 to revisit this abstract leaf project!

Tomorrow I will post pictures from the past four months and then consider this little series done for 2019.

Images copyright ©2019 Carol Leigh.

Sunday, December 29, 2019

Monthly favorites -- January through April, 2019




When we're children and we're asked, "What's your favorite color?" "What's your favorite ice cream?" "Who's your favorite teacher?" We have answers. Answers that are instantaneous. Definite answers. "Blue." "Chocolate." "Mrs. Middendorf."

Our scope as children is limited. Out of a world of choices, we actually know very little, don't have much to choose from, so choosing is easy.

We age and experience so much more. So choosing, say, a favorite color, I think, "favorite color for what? My favorite color car? House paint? Coat? Flower? Parakeet? Wine?"

Who can choose (as an adult), without narrowing things down? Without questioning the question?

So when I say "monthly favorite" for January, I chose the top red picture. It's not necessarily my favorite, but rather it's one I'm particularly proud of. I made the background paper. I created the faux calligraphy. I knew how to combine the two and enhance them to make this bold, Asian-esque, picture. I find the image striking, exciting, and different. Of the pictures I posted in January of this year, this one hits the most notes for me.

In February, it snowed. And it was glorious! I've not experienced a lot of snow and when it happens like this, I feel giddy, like a kid again. I stood on the front porch, nice and dry and protected, and clicked away. Then just watched. Big fluffy snowflakes softly falling, the leafless Japanese snowbell tree standing out beautifully against the darker woods in the background, the quiet, the raven call ... aaahhh!

The picture that impacted me most of the ones I posted in March was the Deception Pass image. It's not necessarily the best thing I've ever produced, but I worked hard putting it together, combining a variety of images that tell a story of sorts. Of where we live, what we see, how people make a living here, etc. Included in this mix is the aft section of the F/V Deception Pass, rust, worn and scraped metal, a silhouette of a fishing boat, and more. A lot of what I make is a combination of right brain/left brain. Right-brain intuitive combinations, and left-brain conscious choices, such as the complementary colors of orange and blue.

And then in April we were visiting friends in San Diego, and I always find things around their house, their yard, their neighborhood to photograph. I found this bunny-fied wreath just to the left of their front door and had to photograph it. It's charming, makes me feel happy, and it made my friends take a second look at the specialness of their wreath, enough to encourage them to take pictures of it themselves!

It's almost 2020, and nice to look back on what I've made throughout 2019. Time has sped up. Seeing these photos encourages me to slow down and reflect. These aren't necessarily my "favorite" pictures, but they're certainly some strong memories.

Four more pictures to follow tomorrow from May, June, July, and August.

Images copyright ©2019 Carol Leigh

Wednesday, December 18, 2019

Unintentional art . . . corrugated metal


"Unintentional art" generally refers to anything that was created with no real artistry in mind, something functional, ordinary, accidental, but, from the standpoint of an artist looking at it, is amazingly, accidentally artistic. I find this sort of thing all the time and take exceptional delight in it.

Here's an example. While walking down a street in Kyoto, I came upon an old rusty metal wall. Most people wouldn't take a second look. Except me.

There's so much to love about this little scene. The weathered metal, the wavy corrugations that give the metal depth, the gorgeous color of the rust, the complementary colors of blue and orange, the mysterious door with no handle, no doorknob, the soft light which creates a lovely glow.

Teaching photographers to see is a huge challenge for an instructor. I've always said, "You can't shoot it if you don't see it." Awareness is everything. So this bit of unintentional art, accidental art, commonplace materials, if you are aware, jumps out and just begs to be photographed. Or painted. Or simply admired. A wonderful gift to those who really look.

©2019 Carol Leigh

Wednesday, November 27, 2019

Having fun with eucalyptus leaves






Earlier this year, while in San Diego, I collected a bunch of eucalyptus leaves and brought them home, thinking maybe I could do something with them.

Well, I was right, and am having fun creating fancifully-colored pictures of these simple and elegant leaves.

Whenever appropriate, I'll make both a square and a rectangular version of the picture, offering my clients a choice, and that's what you see in the last two images.

Wishing you simplicity, elegance, and peace this holiday season!

Images copyright ©2019 Carol Leigh.