Sunday, October 30, 2011

And More Drama Queens

As you can see I have a new obsession, Drama Queens, but I think it is almost worn it's self out. It's been fascinating to go back through my files and see if I could create dramatic lighting in some of the photos. And while I love hops with their curling tendrils that wrap about everything in their path; trees, barns, telephone poles, it's time to move on as they say. The world is no longer green and vibrant, snow is on the ground, so this is my last gasp of summer. Today I face reality, winter is coming and this won't make it go away.
Fascinating hops

Friday, October 28, 2011

More Drama Queens

For the past few years I have been opening my photos in Photoshop using Camera Raw and the wonderful dialog box that comes up is full of hidden treasures, most of which I am only now beginning to use. It's amazing what you discover when you start to press buttons. A zillion more ways to play with the image, a lot of which you can do in photoshop but this feels more intuitive. I find I am doing more and more of things like curves, levels and white balance here than in photoshop. Wish there was away to re-open my photoshop file using camera raw, really don't want to save files as jpegs, which might do the trick. Meanwhile here are some more Drama Queens. Thank-you Camera Raw.
Grans Yellow Iris

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Putting The Garden To Bed

It's that time of year and J. and I have been busy whipper-snippering and raking and mulching, and putting away stuff and slowly getting the garden ready for winter. I am always surprised by how much color there is left at this time of year. Shades of deep coral and rust, deep yellows and such green grass you might think you were in Ireland. It's a great time to see the bones or structure of the garden, seeing what shapes are beginning to work, what needs help, what pleases me and what needs to be moved. And I love how it looks with its' duvet of duck manure.
Top left, looking east to the studios, Standing in almost the same spot looking south
Middle left, standing beside the arch in the previous picture and looking north,  from the front path looking west,
Lower right,beside the arch [photo 2] looking west,  front path looking south

Monday, October 24, 2011

Drama Queens

Thinking about Jonathan Singer and his  Botanical Magnifica, and doing  bit of research about the series I found two wonderful tidbits of information. First, to get his gorgeous backgrounds, he drapes a piece of black fabric around the plant, then takes his photo. And I wondered if playing about in Photoshop, I could get the same sort of effect. Haven't quite figured this whole thing out yet but some of the results are surprising. The black background certainly is dramatic and makes me pay more attention to the shapes and forms. The other wonderful thing I discovered is that it was printed by Cone Studios, perhaps the most innovative digital print studio and situated not far from me in the tiny town of  East Topsham, Vermont.  I feel a pilgrimage coming up.
White echenesia
Stamens , Clematis

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Lichen Galaxies

There is a chair outside the front door; a place where I sit and contemplate whenever it is raining and I can't wander about without getting into full rain gear. Beside the chair is a stone with another stone placed on top of it, actually balanced on it, and I have been looking with wonder at the mosses and lichens growing on it. One of the lichens is a wonderful mustard color and the shapes it forms are rather like a coral reef; while the whole pattern of lichens and mosses on the stone is like a galaxy. These yellow lichens are about the size of a match head, never seeming to grow as large as the grayish ones. I would love to know how they came to be yellow. Only a very few stones in the garden are marked with this yellow fairy dust.

Lichen Galaxies

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Made Me Laugh

For the past couple of weeks I have been working on a big project for a client, getting stressed at times. So when friends sent me these, I laughed. Hope you do too.

The images are from a site called CHOOSE HAPPINESS.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Outlined in Frost

 It's a melancholy sort of day, dark until almost 7am, dark again by 6pm, a cold, wet wind, tearing the leaves from the trees with teeming rain at times. A good work day, especially as I found images from last weeks hard frost. I love the crystal outlines, water hairs standing frozen against the light.
outlines of ice crystals

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Beauty in Mended

As I was putting away the huge movers blanket, that we use to wrap our works when we transport them, I was struck by its beauty. Not just in it's usefulness and practicality, but by the obvious care someone had taken in mending it. And I remembered first seeing Betty Goodwin's Tarpaulin works: where she had used old truck tarpaulins, hanging them and folding them. Somehow they were unspeakably poignant.
Movers Blanket
Betty Goodwin, Tarpaulin No. 2, 1974–1975 

Friday, October 14, 2011

A Find and an Old Friend

The other day I was searching for something on the net, and, as in the way these things happen, came upon a find. I had never heard of Jonathan Singer and his Botanical Magnifica and never seen his magnificent photographs of rare plants. The photos are striking and so is the size of the books. Like Aubdubon's Birds of America, the edition is a five-volume, double-elephant folio of 250 of his floral images. “Double elephant” is the technical term for a rarely used, very large book-paper size, in this case approximately 100 by 75 centimeters (39½ by 29½ inches). I couldn't help but be struck by the similarity in feeling to the work of Mary Delany, who, at the age of 72, created a new art form, mixed-media collage. Over the next decade, Mrs Delany created an astonishing 985 botanically correct, breathtaking cut-paper flowers, now housed in the British Museum and referred to as the Botanica Delanica.
Top 2 rows from the Botanical Magnifica, bottom row from Botanica Delanica 

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Another Poem

I have decided that visual poetry is for me. No more trying to spell correctly, or close enough that spell check can find the word. No, I'm returning to more ancient times and its back to the pictogram for me. Dots, swirls, gestures, rhythm, color and shape become words.  As I cut down the garden I find such beauty. The leaves are becoming translucent, almost skin like, while the spent flowers are forming their seed heads in the most ingenious ways. The lines of the plants have softened; things are beginning to droop. And yet even though I know we are almost finished for another year I find great pleasure in preparing the garden for winter. There is 10 tonnes of manure waiting to blanket it.
Another poem

Monday, October 10, 2011

An Absolutely Beautiful Day

Soft, warm, then really really warm, golden light filled day. Perfect cutting down the garden day. Even though the big whipper sniper kept wanting to have a break, make that a lot of breaks, actually maybe it's broke, didn't make any difference. Dinner outside, moon rising, moon shine gleaming on the tin roof, a once yearly spring rose opened one pale yellow bloom in honor of the day. Mmm, I could get used to this!
A golden light filled day

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Happy Thanksgiving

A hard frost the last 2 nights so I have been out early taking photos. It's such a treat, and one I look forward to every year. All the leaves and stems of the perennials and shrubs are outlined with white crystals. A magical time;  so brief as the frost melts away as soon as the sun hits it, but perfectly in time to wish you all a Happy Thanksgiving.
Frost outlining the maple leaves

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Drinking Coffee

Sitting outside yesterday morning, in the foggy cold, wearing my winter boots and coat, pretending it was fog and not rain, I looked up to see the tiny crab apples etched against the sky.
crab apples

Tuesday, October 4, 2011


One of the great pleasures of being away is having the time to find treasures, especially book treasures. I was delighted to find one on my list that a friend had recommended The Sound of a Wild Snail Eating, definitely not an adventure story, but beautifully written and very moving. It's a small book that I am eking it out, only allowing myself a chapter a day. The other 2 gems are tiny facsimiles of pages from  the Mira Calligraphiae Momumenta. Am amazing combination of calligraphy and botanical drawings. I have been wanting to make a book combining the images from Sophia's Garden with text somehow, so this is pure inspiration.
 Mira Calligraphiae Momumenta

Sunday, October 2, 2011


We ran away from home last week. I needed to smell and see the ocean. I wanted to fix in my minds eye that line between water and sky, to hear her sounds and John needed to see the area around Rockport, to see and feel the light, to find some places that he had read about. I love Maine. I love the sandy soil, the plain and sturdy houses with their weathered gray shingles. I love how in the small ports and harbours the buildings are all clustered together, almost on top of each other, as if there is such strength in their togetherness. And I love the smell and the light. Thanks Maine.
Wharf inRockport, Maine