What do you think…

What do you think gets us further in life…

Sheer determination?

Or peer pressure?

Happy May Day!

Midsummer Eve – by Edward Robert Hughes

Edward Robert Hughes (1851 – 1914) was an English painter who worked in a style influenced by Pre-Raphaelitism and Aestheticism.  Some of his best known works are Midsummer Eve and Night With Her Train of Stars.   He experimented with ambitious techniques and was a perfectionist; he did numerous studies for many of his paintings, some of which turned out to be good enough for exhibition.

For a time, Hughes was an assistant to the elderly William Holman Hunt.  He helped the increasingly infirm Hunt with the version of The Light of the World now in St. Paul’s Cathedral and with The Lady of Shalott.

I’ve always loved this piece and May Day seems to be the perfect time to incorporate it into a post; since not quite as many people are familiar with the summer solstice!

May Day is related to the Celtic festival of Beltane and the Germanic festival of Walpurgis Night. May Day falls exactly half a year from November 1, another day which is also associated with various northern European pagan celebrations.

As Europe became Christianized, the pagan holidays lost their religious character and either changed into popular secular celebrations, as with May Day, or were merged with or replaced by new Christian holidays as with Christmas, Easter, Pentecost and All Saints Day.   In the twentieth century, many neopagans began reconstructing the old traditions and celebrating May Day as a pagan religious festival again.


The earliest May Day celebrations appeared in pre-Christian times, with the festival of Flora, the Roman goddess of flowers, and the Walpurgis Nights celebrations of the Germanic countries.

The day was a traditional summer holiday in many pre-Christian European pagan cultures. While February 1 was the first day of spring, May 1 was the first day of summer, hence, the summer solstice on June 25 (now June 21) was Midsummer. Fading in popularity since the late 20th century is the giving of “May baskets,” small baskets of sweets and/or flowers, usually left anonymously on neighbors’ doorsteps.

Let us take our baskets early
To the meadows green,
While the wild-flowers still are pearly
With the dewdrops’ sheen.

Fill them full of blossoms rosy,
Violets and gay
Cowslips, every pretty posy
Welcoming the May.

Then our lovely loads we’ll carry
Down the village street,
On each door, with laughter merry,
Hang a basket sweet.

*information found in Wikipedia; poem found on comingholidays.com;

The Power of the Container

The Power of the Container

I love this

This is taken from the ‘new’ book, The Encaustic Studio: a wax workshop in mixed-media art, by Daniella Woolf – that I just got the other day.

She says…

“I have been gifted with a wildly fertile, actively creative mind.  I look at an object, a pattern, a tree, whatever, and my mind goes to town and morphs, morphs, and morphs.  I love to be in that creative place; maybe it’s similar to the experience of meditation for some.  However, if I don’t put a harness on it, it can run away with me or paralyze me.  I have learned to limit my options, perhaps by color, pen, or medium, but there must be some parameters for my work.

I call this having a container.  In some ways, it doesn’t really matter what those parameters are, but simply that they exist.  If I give myself free reign and infinite options with which to create, I can’t move.  The world is too big.  But if I give myself a few limits, I am golden.  I can soar and fly and go completely wild within this container.

(I used to) pick a project or give myself an assignment for the month, with limitations that would force me to explore new territory.  For example, one December I put these parameters in place: I would work only with black pens, white paper, and two paper shredders.  With these simple implements, I developed a new vocabulary for myself.  My handwriting and mark-making looked different with just a change of the gauge of the pen or the scale of the work.

Challenge yourself to work with limits.  Whether you restrict your selections of materials, colors, or themes, see how far you can go in your art with fewer inputs.  Limits create a container for your work that will allow you to explore ideas in depth and go beyond what you think you know about the things you have at hand.

I don’t know about everyone else but this is so true for me.  (I have the same problem when I’m standing in front of my closet and haven’t already decided what I will wear that day).

I plan to put this process to work this weekend – I’m expecting an order of supplies tomorrow (hopefully) …so we’ll see!

I’ll let you know how it turns out!

Image of my (glass) desk top taken with my cell phone and the ‘roidizer’ app.



Turbulance is a recent encaustic piece.

And here are some random images from here and there…for a bit of color inspiration.

If I were a Fairy

If I were a Fairy I’d…

follow the clover path…

pay a visit to the Wizards Gazing Ball and the Door to Summer…

watch my friends play tag…

shop for a new toadstool…

play hide and seek…

contemplate a new hat…

play tricks on humans…

visit the field of tall flowers…

tour the Cave of the Logs…

sit in front of a bon fire…

ride the wind reeds down…

visit the violet patch…even if it meant getting close to humans!

I got the Texas blues!

Consider yourself lucky if you get to travel to the Lone Star state this time of the year…its bluebonnet season!

The Texas bluebonnet became the official state flower of the Lone Star State in 1901.  Its scientific name is Lupinus texensis.  Other names for the Texas bluebonnet are buffalo clover and wolf flower.  Varieties grow in the western, southern and eastern regions of Texas.

Bluebonnets Grow Wild

  • Most commonly, you will find them in fields and along the roadside in their native Texas soil, though it is possible to cultivate them in your own garden. They can be grown in several regions, though they bloom best when they grow in Texas.

Cultivating Bluebonnets

  • Texas bluebonnets are members of the lupine family, and therefore prefer soil that is sandy and loose. For best results, do not over water these flowers. If you want to grow them in pots, make sure they drain well. It is easier to grow bluebonnets from transplants than from seeds.

Texas Bluebonnet Festival

  • Texans are so devoted to their state flower that there is an annual festival held in honor of the flower. The Texas Bluebonnet Festival takes place each spring in Chappell Hill, Texas. Chappell Hill is a small town with a population of approximately 600 residents. Vendors display their wares, which range from bluebonnet-themed jewelry to artworks inspired by the flower.

But you don’t have to travel far to find these blue beauties…they are everywhere you look!
Information from e-How.com, ‘Facts on the Texas Bluebonnet‘.  Images from the roadside – just outside of Dallas – (my camera; just a few hours ago!)

Sweet Violets

The Violet

Down in a green and shady bed,
A modest violet grew;
Its stalk was bent, it hung its head
As if to hide from view.
And yet it was a lovely flower,
Its colour bright and fair;
It might have graced a rosy bower,
Instead of hiding there.

Yet thus it was content to bloom,
In modest tints arrayed;
And there diffused a sweet perfume,
Within the silent shade.

Then let me to the valley go
This pretty flower to see;
That I may also learn to grow
In sweet humility.

Jane Taylor, Poet (1783-1824)
One of my favorite flowers; I noticed them as soon as I got out of my car this evening.  How wonderful to have them right outside my back door, greeting me as I come and go!
Images made with my cell phone and my new (favorite) app (the ‘roidizer’).

Adventure in the Forest of the Skinny Pines

Once upon a time (this past Sunday) I went on an adventure.

I went looking for the Garden of the Lost.

Legend says it is hidden in the Forest of the Skinny Pines

which is just North of the Tall Pines

over the fallen timbers












under the Heavy Red Branch

in the Land of the Sky Blossoms

left at the oak leaf












past the broken wagon













turn right at the hole to China













if you’ve made it to the Queen of the Long Shadows…turn around –

you’ve gone a hare’s tail too far












past the fairy’s door

hidden in a clump of clover

with Rossi standing guard

The Garden of the Lost!

And the all powerful, Magic Gazing Ball…

Make a Wish!

Spring has Sprung!

At least in this part of the world…

And I spent the better part of the day roaming around the yard documenting it with my cell phone (and that new app I mentioned the other day – ‘roidizer’).

I have two Redbud trees – one is in full bloom (but its small) and the other (which is much larger) is just beginning to put blooms on – as in these two images…
















I love how delicate and determined the blooms are.

I ended up in the front yard and next thing I know I’m fixated on the brick walk path that leads from my front door.














































Taking so many of these images made me think about an article I’d read just yesterday in (Flea Market Decor’s Spring 2012 issue)  – about how someone made laser copies of an antique quilt and papered the wall with that (instead of hanging the quilt itself).  That’s a cool idea, don’t you think?

And I made enough images of the walk today that I could probably recreate the walk if I wanted to!  (I guess its a photographer’s thing).

Anyway…while I was focused on the patterns and colors of the antique brick I became aware of a rather noisy commotion going on up in the trees   A crow was really crowing and carrying on – so much that i had to wander closer to see if I could tell what all the fuss was about.

Then I hear the owl.

I looked in the direction of the sound and saw an immense silhouette on one of the branches way up high, but thought I must be seeing something else.  But, no, it was the owl.  He was huge!!

He took off and the crow proceeded to chase him!  I always thought it would be the other way around.  But apparently this wasn’t the case in this particular situation because that crow chased him until I lost sight of them both.  But I heard the crow fussing for at least another thirty minutes (where ever they ended up).

Spring is definitely here!

Oh, and before I forget…before and after images of the blue room.

Breaking the Rules one Photograph at a Time

I used to be in a camera club a few years back.  I would go to these meetings religiously because it was about the only way I could connect with other photographers.  We would always have a competition at each meeting and the winning photographs would continue on to the next level (regionals) and sometimes to the state and national levels.

To the members of this club the rules were carved in stone and it was mandatory for each new member to understand them clearly if they ever planned on having their photographs included in the winner’s circle.

All the winning photographs always looked the same too – …beautiful sunsets with orange and blue skies, pretty flowers in pretty vases on pretty tables, still life arrangements with fruit, etc., etc., etc.  And each one sharp as a tack with textbook exposure.

I’ll never forget the time one of the (senior) members was looking at one of my photographs (one that I was pretty happy with as I’d just gotten back from two  weeks at The Maine Photographic Workshops (now known as Maine Media) in Rockport, ME, and said, “Now see, if you’d only used a tripod here – you’d really have something!”.  I just smiled and shook my head in agreement and thanked him for the advice, knowing that at that very moment my camera club days were numbered.  Not because I thought I was a better photographer or because I thought I knew more than these people – it wasn’t that at all.  I just knew, at that very moment,  that if I continued to stick around i ran the risk of letting their limited thoughts and ideas on what ‘real’ photography was influence my ideas of what I thought ‘creative’ photography was.

And I haven’t looked back.

I learned a lot about the foundation of photography from these generous and friendly folks and appreciate what they shared but I also learned it was just the jumping off point.  Creativity can’t be boxed in like that.  It ceases to be creativity!

I enjoy making images using the Lensbaby, toy cameras, plastic cameras, pinhole cameras, I love SX70 film and Polaroid cameras, I hate hauling around my tripod, I love to shoot through the window or a dirty windshield, will shoot while jumping up and down, I like an occasional blown out highlight, I love really high key images, I’m a self portrait freak, I take more photographs of my feet than you’d ever believe, (I take pictures of other people’s feet!), I shoot at odd angles, no angles, wide angles, in the dark, in the bright light, in infrared, a LOT in infrared, use wacky filters, shoot from moving vehicles, use the wrong exposure intentionally… and I do all these things on purpose!

I’m sure you’ve heard the saying, ‘every photograph is a self portrait’.  It just means that the images we make reflect something of who we are and how we see the world because we put something of ourselves into the image.  It’s what makes that image our image and no one else’s.

I can spend hours browsing through images I’ve taken – it truly is an enjoyable past time for me.  These photographs aren’t necessarily great or award-winning but they hold some magic sometimes.

I guess its kind of like keeping a diary; a visual diary – full of memories and emotions that couldn’t be put into words if I tried.