Monday, December 28, 2009

Facing Seaward

This one begins with a crow I photographed sitting on a big piece of driftwood. Well, the CROW was sitting on the driftwood, not I . . . I added handwriting, canvas, and shading to put it all together.

Note to Bev: Somehow crows and ravens speak to me more than gulls, so in this case I do get a feeling of more than "just a bird sitting on a log!" -- ©Carol Leigh


©Carol Leigh

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Through a darkened window

Here I combined photos of a boat, reflections in water, a bird flying, a "drive-by" shooting of trees, and more to create a moody image. ©Carol Leigh

Thursday, December 24, 2009


©Carol Leigh

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Rain in the Park

A weathered metal container adds to the look of this tree taken in the fog. ©Carol Leigh

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Four Points

The prow of a boat in the water and a "4" painted on a metal piling at the docks combine in this piece. ©Carol Leigh

Buddha Reflections

A couple of years ago I photographed this carved wooden Buddha in Santa Fe. The soft blue and brown colors come from the sky and clouds reflected in wet sand on an Oregon beach. ©Carol Leigh

Metallic Three

A "3" on the side of a building in Reedsport, Oregon combines with a photo I took of dripping paint. ©Carol Leigh

Clock in Blue and Gold

It's been a flurry of photomontageousness around here these days. This one's a combination of a clock face, clock hands, and a handpainted background. I love the colors and the textures, and as a Navy brat, the blue and gold always works for me! ©Carol Leigh

Saturday, December 12, 2009

466 Meyer

I have a huge file of montages that I call "in progress." I work on them for awhile, but nothing seems to be coming together, so I set them aside to look at later with new eyes. This is a case in point. I think it's been sitting in the "in progress" directory for a couple of years. Today I believe it's finally done. It's comprised of various elements photographed in Tucson, Arizona. I love the colors and the texture. ©Carol Leigh

Friday, December 11, 2009

Cuervo de San Miguel

Various walls I photographed in San Miguel de Allende come together in this piece, along with some handwriting and a crow I photographed here on the beach in Waldport. I also added shadowing, texture, smudges, etc. Is there no end to this madness? I hope not. ©Carol Leigh

"A person needs a little madness, or else they never dare cut the rope and be free." — Nikos Kazantzakis

"You're only given a little spark of madness. You mustn't lose it." — Robin Williams

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Sand Patterns

©Carol Leigh

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Japanese Three

A number "3" on a train car combines with a number of photographs I took of some pages in a Japanese book. I created two different versions, and think I'm partial to the orange-colored one. What do you think? ©Carol Leigh

Monday, December 7, 2009

Half Moon A

The components here were photographed in Half Moon Bay last year. Reflections in the harbor combine with an "A" I found stenciled on a school wall. I added Kanji characters here and there as well as some other elements. What I like are the blue and orange complementary colors and the strong diagonal lines, not only in the "A" but in the overall pattern. There are a lot of hard straight lines, offset a little bit by some curvature in the Kanji writing (even though it's quite muted). I could do this ALL DAY! ©Carol Leigh

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Free Flight

©Carol Leigh

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Between the Lines

Doing a lot of experimenting lately. Ha! This whole process is an experiment! This piece is a combination of handwriting from a 1910 ledger book plus my own handwriting lurking in the background. It would make a great cover for a journal, don't you think? ©Carol Leigh

Wednesday, November 25, 2009


©Carol Leigh

Friday, November 20, 2009

Below the Surface

This is a combination of photographs of metal, an old ceiling tin, an old key, one of my handpainted backgrounds, some paint splotches, and more. I like the feeling of something hidden, something to be revealed, treasure below the sea. ©Carol Leigh

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Glass Oak (Quercus silicas)

I don't usually work with these colors, but this morning (can't sleep — huge wind/rainstorm going on) they are appealing. An old, weathered A&P worcestershire bottle created the color palette. ©Carol Leigh

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Shadowy Golden Five

A "5" on a door in San Francisco plus shadows on a wall come together well in this piece. ©Carol Leigh

Nest Eggs

A bird nest, eggs, and my hand-painted backgrounds are what make up this montage. ©Carol Leigh

Friday, November 13, 2009

Four Windows

I combined a number 4 photographed yesterday in Depoe Bay, sand and rock photographed on the beach earlier this week, one of my handpainted backgrounds, and added various smudges. There's a peaceful feeling to this one, nothing like what's going on in my brain! ©Carol Leigh

Thursday, November 12, 2009


When I was creating this piece earlier this morning, I was wishing I'd taken more photos of flocks of geese when I was at the Sacramento National Wildlife Refuge last month. I love using those photos in my montages. I then walked across the road to get the newspaper, looked up, and there was a skein of 13 big geese flying right toward me, right overhead, in perfect formation. Low and slow. And I with no camera. Sigh. It was a beautiful moment anyway.

And this photomontage? It's composed of a tree I photographed in the fog in Eugene, Oregon, some metal I shot near the docks in Newport, Oregon, and geese from the Sacramento NWR. ©Carol Leigh

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Silver Face

Another sculpture photographed in a gallery window in San Miguel de Allende. I combined that photo with a couple of other photos of shadows on a wall. Strange, but compelling. ©Carol Leigh

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Split Infinity

Rocks and strings. ©Carol Leigh

Monday, November 9, 2009

Corvus du jour . . .

Yesterday, between rain showers, I walked around the Port of Alsea here in Waldport. A crow sitting on a post caught my eye and thus became the subject of this piece. I combined the photo of the bird with three different hand-painted background photos (including one that had netting incorporated in it) as well as with a photo of some trees in a foggy park in Eugene, Oregon. ©Carol Leigh

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Weird . . .

I'm not even going to try to explain this one. Very strange. Very different. Not sure. ©Carol Leigh

Friday, November 6, 2009

Wash and Wax

©Carol Leigh

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Rapid Transit Art

I took a quick grab shot of wall detail at the Castro Valley BART station in California, tweaked it, and voila! ©Carol Leigh

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Something different

I'm working on a new concept. If I talk about it, I'll dilute it in my head, so I just present these two, with no explanation for the moment. Hope you understand. BUT I LOVE WHAT I'M DOING RIGHT NOW! HOO HA! Are these not cool? ©Carol Leigh

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Coast Walk

Pretty day here on the coast, so I took a walk on the beach. It was almost TOO sunny! Ha! I photographed this couple from quite a ways away and then added a photograph of a metal container I took at the docks recently as well as a photo of the sky reflected in the sand on the beach today. I mucked it all up a bit, and like how it turned out. I then zoomed in tight and selected out just a part of the overall photograph, which I think looks kind of neat, too. Fun stuff. And hello to Linda in Lone Pine! Good talking with you today. ©Carol Leigh


This one's comprised of clocks, one of my handpainted backgrounds, various smudges, texture from a wall in Mexico, handwriting, and more. ©Carol Leigh

Friday, October 30, 2009

Corner Three

This is a strange combination of a graffiti "3" from the side of a railroad car, a photo of the corner of a room, a palm tree photographed in Tucson, some smudges, and more. These things rarely end up the way I first envision them, which is why I love the process. They're the result of play and surprise and "what if." ©Carol Leigh

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Thanking Juanita

My neighbor, Juanita, moved up to Washington to live with her children. She gave me a number of things as she was clearing "junk" out of her house. Yesterday I photographed the end of a rolled-up nautical chart, purposely keeping it out of focus. I also photographed a glass fishnet float she gave me, using a flashlight to illuminate it. A nautical chart, a net float . . . a perfect combination. Thanking Juanita . . . ©Carol Leigh

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Flowers in the Window

Running on just three hours of sleep and am probably going to hit the wall any second, but I can't get photomontages out of my head and every time I walk away from the computer I have a new idea and have to get right back. I have LOTS of other things to tend to, but right now everything seems to be cranking. Does sleep deprivation enhance creativity? Or does it cloud my judgment so that everything I make LOOKS good but is really horrible? Ha! I'll have to check back in a couple of days (after a good night's sleep) and find out. Oh, the main component here? Reflection of a fishing boat in the water. Yup. Way too much fun. ©Carol Leigh


A fishing boat and its reflection in the water is combined with numbers I've photographed on dumpsters, trains, and the sides of containers. And now I'm going back to bed. ©Carol Leigh

Friday, October 23, 2009

Homeward Bound

Composed of photos of scratched metal from a couple of weathered fishing boats plus two images I took long ago of great blue herons in flight. What I like is how the photo looks as though you're maybe looking out a window at a twilight seascape. ©Carol Leigh

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Pears 446

Comprised of pears, an old math book, peeling paint, an old handwritten receipt, the side of a rusty bus, and more. ©Carol Leigh

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Coastal Waters

Okay, for CJ, the "commentary" is that I created a background using a couple of photographs. Then I chopped up a photo I'd taken of a rusty fishing boat hull and riveted those three cut-up pieces onto the background. What caught my eye was how the rust pattern, with its blue and gold colors as well as the large foreground "sea stack" formation, look similar to what we find here on the Oregon coast. Hence the "coastal waters" concept. Glad you like it! ©Carol Leigh

Friday, October 16, 2009


For the past few days I've been struggling with my photomontages. Nothing working. No inspiration. Nothing coming together. Uh-oh. Is it over? Is the thrill gone? Has the creativity dried up? So I began looking at other art — paintings created with watercolors, oil, and pastels — and the problem was solved. It's tunnel vision. When all we look at are other photographs, we get stuck in a rut. Because all we're seeing are PHOTOGRAPHS! I recommend immersing yourself in a variety of artforms, from children's fingerpainting to sculpture to collage to garden landscaping. It's all about line, design, color, lack of color, and contrast. (And a lot more, but how long can this post be before you run off screaming into the night?) It was a moody pastel painting that inspired me to look at my photos differently and to use different tools to create a look I wanted. I wanted a relatively monochromatic scene and I didn't want letters or numbers. Been there, done that, let's put 'em on the shelf for awhile. So I selected a photo I took in San Miguel de Allende last year, added a background that I painted earlier this year, tweaked and combined and added a bit more stuff and voila! (Or, as I'm sadly reading more and more lately — "wallah!") My point? Creativity impasse removed by emerging from the photography tunnel and exposing myself to other forms of art. Could it work for you? Try it. You have nothing to lose. ©Carol Leigh

Friday, October 2, 2009

Ranchos de Taos

If you're familiar with the famous St. Francis church in Ranchos de Taos, New Mexico, you know there's no way to photograph this particular view. I blended a few different images and then toned them down to a mild sepia tint to emphasize form, light, and shadow. I love this photo for its subtlety, its depth, and its balance. ©Carol Leigh

Monday, September 14, 2009

Turning over an old leaf

Coming in from my morning walk I saw a weathered old rhododendron leaf in the grass that had some nice curls in it. I brought it in, photographed it, and then combined it with a background I had painted. Sometimes when I create these things they just take my breath away due to sheer surprise. I'm teaching my photomontage method next year -- a class in March and another in June. The March class is sold out, but I'm taking reservations for the June class, where there are just five spaces left. E-mail me if you wish to reserve a spot. The classes run for 8 weeks and cost $180. My address is carol at photoexplorations dot com. ©Carol Leigh

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Red Pear at Night . . .

Sailor's delight! Is it any wonder I think Chris is amazing? He just came back from the grocery store with not one but two beautiful red pears. "I figured you'd like to shoot these, and then afterward I can eat them!" And now he's up there making margaritas. And look what I did with one of the pears — which I think is quite lovely. It's sitting on an old algebra book. The most practical use of an algebra book I've ever found. -- ©Carol Leigh

Sunday, September 6, 2009


I haven't been uploading my latest photomontages because I'm creating a bunch of new ones for a special project as well as for my upcoming how-to online classes. But this morning, when this one came together, I was so jazzed that I had to post it. I love this one! ©Carol Leigh

Friday, August 28, 2009

"Hard-won cleverness"

To try to keep my mind working (the key word being "try"), I subscribe (via Google Reader) to a number of art blogs. Recently a painter asked if she should just give up. Is she ever going to be really good at painting. I always relate these things to photography. And there were two paragraphs in this blog that hit home. This is from the blog of Robert Genn. Here's the link to the article: <> He showed some examples of the painter's work, and here are the two paragraphs that resonated with me: Your work has a fine sense of feeling and atmosphere--rain, fog, etc., and a simple, understated honesty. But is this enough? Is there enough to really carry a viewer away? Is there possibly a sense in the minds of many potential collectors that they could have done one of these themselves? As I see it, and there will be many who will disagree, this sort of work is really a bit too facile and too easy to do . . . While there are exceptions to this, the hard, cold facts tell us that only a few top workers are truly thriving. The competition is tough. To the admirable virtues of feeling and atmosphere, one needs to leverage skill, craft and a degree of hard-won cleverness that the average person on the street cannot easily attain. When you add a personal style that distinguishes you from the others, opportunistic gallerists are more likely to check you out. What's my point? So much of what we do with the camera can easily be done by someone else. Are we doing something that is uniquely our own? Is there "a personal style that distinguishes you (me) from the others?" I have no answers. And now I'm off, in an attempt to "leverage skill, craft, and a degree of hard-won cleverness" in my work. -- Carol Leigh