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.

Wednesday, November 13, 2019

Unintentional art . . .

Loading groceries into the car and suddenly I noticed how all the lines in the parking lot reflected onto the car, totally distorted and swirling around. It probably helps that the car is black, enhancing the abstract, artsy look.

iPhone photo.

Image copyright ©2019 Carol Leigh

Wednesday, October 30, 2019

Unidentified animal lurking in the shingles ...


Is he an alpaca? A floppy-eared giraffe? A long-necked bunny?

Whatever he is, I was startled when he suddenly emerged from his camouflaged location in Port Townsend, Washington.

Fun to see, fun to photograph. So I took two shots -- one full-frame for the overall effect, and one close-up for the details.

Clever art. Surprising art. Made my day.

Images copyright ©2019 Carol Leigh

Saturday, October 26, 2019

Unintentional Art: Dumpsters


My talent (and my curse) is that I notice little things, details, the "small picture." And that I can see artistry where others see nothing.

Here's a good example. Dumpster art!

While in Florida a few years ago, I spotted a dumpster that had this most wonderful background color and texture. And someone or some thing had scraped/gouged it. The bluish color and the vibrant yellow were pretty terrific. But what made it "art" for me was the "half sun" there in the upper right.

Naturally, to the amusement of my friends, I had to stop and take a shot. Chris, my spouse, totally understood. (Which is why I love him.)

But before the Florida dumpster, there was this heavily textured one I saw in Newport, Oregon. To me, it looked like a collage, with a grungy background, a rectangle of bright red, and then the narrow brownish strip running vertically, holding everything together. A no-brainer. Click.

Interestingly, somewhere else along that long straight street in Newport, on a different day, I again noticed a dumpster. Taking a second look, the "art" looked remarkably similar. So I photographed that one, too. Comparing my photos later I saw that yes, it was the same damned dumpster, maybe a mile or two apart.

I am nothing if not consistent in my concept of what makes "art."

Images copyright ©2019 Carol Leigh.

Wednesday, October 23, 2019

Pigeon in the glass, alas . . .*

What is it about windows that attract us? Especially ones we can't peek through, on old buildings, and with broken glass?

They are a mystery, an unseen world, a view into something unknown. And if there's a pigeon on the windowsill, well, for a photographer that's BONUS!

Taken in Bellingham, Washington.

UPDATE: We were back in Bellingham a couple of days later and the windows are now all boarded up. Heavy sigh.

*With apologies to Gertrude Stein, for transmogrifying her famous poem, "Pigeons on the grass alas."

Photo copyright ©2019 Carol Leigh

Saturday, October 19, 2019

Car shows this summer








The first article I ever had published was a photo essay in a travel magazine about car shows. Well, not about the shows, but about car “parts.” And the photos were pictures of hood ornaments, door handles, headlamps, etc.

My photographic predilections haven’t changed much since then, back in the early 1980s. I still immediately gravitate to the bits and pieces, rarely, very rarely, the entire car.

Here are a few images from the car shows Chris and I went to on Whidbey Island this summer. There are just four photos, actually, but two different versions of each. Why? Why feature both the full-frame image and a cropped, square version?

Two reasons. Instagram and marketing.

Instagram initially wanted pictures that were square. So that’s what I put there. Then they began accepting full-frame images. But all of my pictures I post online are in frames and they’re low-resolution. That’s on purpose. Makes them less liable to be stolen.

But a framed, non-square picture on Instagram gets chopped up and my pictures look stupid that way. So, square they remain.

And for marketing purposes, by offering my buyers on Fine Art America both a full-frame AND a square version, they have a choice. Easy.

Naturally, a lot of the pictures I make don’t work as squares, but some do, and here are four examples. All these pictures look good both in square and full-frame versions. You may prefer one over the other, but both versions look good. To me, at least!

Images Copyright ©2019 Carol Leigh

Wednesday, October 16, 2019

The white fawn story...with a happy ending







During the first week in May this year, a white fawn was born on or next to our property. We saw him all wobbly, trying to follow mom across our driveway. Here’s a link to that blog post: https://carolleigh.blogspot.com/2019/05/a-white-fawn-in-woods.html

The next time we saw him was July 18 and he had a very large wound on his right hindquarter. We figured maybe a coyote got to him. We worried.

Then on September 12, we saw that his wound was healing quite nicely. And finally, on October 7, it looked as though the wound had healed and he had no problem getting around.

I can tell by the pedicles appearing on his head that he is indeed a he. It’s going to be fun to watch him grow. Great story, no?

©2019 Carol Leigh

Monday, October 7, 2019

Motivation . . .

Although I've been creating art for a long time, there are times (more frequent than I'd like) when I feel completely uninspired, think that I've made nothing wonderful, I'm a failure, woe is me, etc.

I can snap myself out of it by viewing what I've made over the years, and Pinterest is a great place for me to do that.

There's nothing like seeing a LOT of my art spread out on one page. I see pictures I'd forgotten I'd made. I see pictures that I distinctly remember making and I wonder why I didn't keep on making a series of THAT.

Here's a link to my work on Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/caroleigh2013/carol-leigh-art/

I also see how scattered and varied my work is. Other artists have a "look," a "style" about their work that makes it immediately recognizable as theirs. So I worry that I don't have a style. But just briefly.

My attention span is apparently short. I get worn down and weird(er) if I'm making something that's similar to something I've previously made.

As a result, I've learned to embrace my scattered-ness and accept that this is who I am, and why force it?

My ever-growing Pinterest board is one way for me to show my work to a larger audience. It's also how I bump myself out of artistic self-pity and rejoice in what I've made over the years.

Do YOU have a Pinterest board that features your work and only your work? If so, let me know. I'd love to go over and take a look.

Copyright ©2019 Carol Leigh

Friday, September 27, 2019

How I began my day...



How I began my day . . .

Early this morning, before I got  out of bed, I picked up my iPhone and read the news headlines. Big mistake. Big.

But then something popped up. The opportunity to hear Gershwin’s “Rhapsody in Blue” on YouTube. So I did. All 17 minutes and 38 seconds of it.

In a world where narcissism, sarcasm, and destruction seem to be the norm, here was a soaring crescendo of vibrance, skill, complexity, and talent that lifted my spirits.

That’s how I chose to begin my day. With amazing music, with hope, with a certain amount of exuberance.

We choose what we allow into our lives, our minds. I chose Gershwin’s “Rhapsody in Blue.”

What did you choose today?

This photomontage, called "Flotsam," is copyrighted ©2015-2019 by Carol Leigh.

Thursday, September 5, 2019

"B" is for "Bellingham." "B" is for "Boats."



Last week we went up to Bellingham, Washington to see author Louise Penny at the Mt. Baker Theatre. (Great talk, highly recommended if you're a fan of her Inspector Gamache/Three Pines series of books.)

So the next morning we hit the fishing boats at Squalicum Harbor. All three of these are cellphone shots, with a panoramic photo at the top, and then my usual up-close, frame-filling boat "bits."

A fun evening at the theater and then a delightful photo walk among the boats the next morning. Feeling so lucky.

©2019 Carol Leigh

Tuesday, September 3, 2019

Recent work: "V" is for Vivian . . .


This is a composite of the fishing vessel "Vivian," in Astoria, along with a number of other images also taken in Astoria -- one of my favorite photo locations.

I offer two versions -- a full-frame image and a square version -- so that buyers have a choice. Frankly, in this case, I prefer the top picture because the "3M" at the top isn't cropped, nor is the word "Astoria" at the bottom.

Either way, I'm fond of the complementary blue and orange colors, the overall grungy and weathered look, and the subtlety of ropes and masts in the background.

This has been a good year for selling boat "bits" for some reason, and this is a good addition to the mix.

Here's a link to the picture(s) at Fine Art America/Pixels: https://carol-leigh.pixels.com/featured/1-fishing-vessel-vivian-astoria-oregon-carol-leigh.html

Copyright ©2019 Carol Leigh.

Sunday, August 11, 2019

Around the island: great blue heron nest




Last Thursday morning we were waiting for the ferry “Salish” to finish offloading cars/passengers at Keystone Landing in Coupeville. An extremely foggy morning. We were going to walk aboard, arrive in Port Townsend 40 minutes later, and just walk around town for a few hours.

I’d heard there was a great blue heron nest on one of the pilings next to the ferry, but that the chicks were going to fledge “any day now.” And yes, as I stood at the landing, there were the pilings, there were the four chicks. The ferry (the green bit in the upper right) was offloading at this point.

Let me blow up this photo somewhat so you can see the birds a bit closer.

Apparently, according to a knowledgable woman, the adults fly off when the ferry arrives, and return with food once the coast is clear — literally, when the coast is clear.

And there they are, all four chicks, hunkered together. One markedly larger than the others. (You know it’s a bad photo when you have to put an arrow pointing to the subject!)

Once aboard, I took the stairs up to the top deck, only to find I couldn’t get quite as close as I wished, but it was still pretty amazing to see.

One of the chicks was having a very bad hair day. I could relate.

The adult heron had the ferry schedule memorized. As soon as the boat began departing the landing, she swooped in, neck swollen with tasty fish, and prepared to feed the chicks. The ferry departs surprisingly quickly, and seconds later the birds were well beyond my lens.

Terrific start to a very good morning in the Pacific Northwest.

Images copyright ©Carol Leigh 2019