Tag Archives: Photography

Beat the storm 

There I was clearing off the windshield while the radio filled the interior: the mayor of Boston asking people to stay home. I would have stayed home, I love staying home on days like this, but it was the final day of the Carrie Mae Weems show in Harvard Square and I had a plan with a friend. 

The last two Louvre photos feature stacked chairs that were at the ready for a closing presentation. The peony prints were art in and of themselves but were also tribute specimens that the artist collaborated to develop in honor of W.E.B. DuBois. She also created a garden. 


The garden is in Amherst and already on my summer wish list of day trips. 


It would have been nice to meet the artist but it was also nice to have a fairly urgent reason other than my own impatience not to stay.


I will spend part of the afternoon curled up with Finn and the heating pad listening to her speak on YouTube. 


If I weren’t posting on my phone I’d insert more links. She is easy to find. Really worth finding. So are some of the reviews of her work. 

Turning into November

Time went a little wonky this week. K was in India. I spent a lot of time alone. Sleep, not so great. And, Faulkner’s been taking me on a slow ride in “Light in August”.
IMG_1143Mostly I enjoyed the solitude, the expanses of quiet. And today, with snow and the time change, It is officially another season. A season were ARE MEANT to be more quiet.

One friend sends an email saying she is putting the “NO” in November. Another announces a retreat from social media. In another email, I read: let’s leave the space empty. This is the time of year to pull inward. It helps to be clear.

Even though Halloween is so last week, I have to report that its mood drew me to the studio bin labeled, “body parts”. A few beings ‘fell out of my hands’ (as Mo might say). They gave me sparks of pleasure and in a very real way, kept me company. Those of you on FB have already seen ‘the Plaid Boys’… but here are a few more shots. ‘Argyle Girls’ to come! And a few of my seasonal felt mice.
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thin places

IMG_7345 Listening to this * yesterday got me remembering the Irish belief that the Other World can be accessed through ‘thin places’ in our world. Thin places are places of transition, or inbetween times.
IMG_7355On this point, from Fire in the Head**:
“For Irish poets, the edge of water — where bank meets river or shore meets sea — is a place of wisdom, enlightenment, and mystical knowledge. Water, fog, mist, and dew have long fascinated the Irish, possibly because the island nation is surrounded by the sea… But any edge or border between elemental realms, any liminal zone between two complementary terrains, or a place where opposites meet is, in the Celtic imagination, a place filled with magic.”

Here is a sampling of ‘Edge Pictures’, some of place, others of time, and a few of both.

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New Hampshire, The Flume

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Lake Champlain

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Lake Champlain

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Shaker Workshop, Arlington, Mass.

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New Hampshire

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* (Krista Tippett talking about her grandfather and faith on “The Moth”. Her website is onbeing.com).
** Fire in the Head, Shamanism and the Celtic Spirit, by Tom Cowan

Road trip

The world’s largest skateboard.  To be found, naturally, at the skateboard camp, Woodward, where we dropped Dan recently (that’s him in the foreground).

Pennsylvania was HOT and dry, although I understand that they received some rain since our trip.  You can see how hazy it was.

Blogging has changed me since the last trip down.  On my mind frequently during the drive — seeing the beautiful barns, some in fine repair and others not — was Virginia Gertenbach’s work — both her blog and her quilts — and notably a recent article in “Quilting Arts”.

I like to take pictures as we are driving.  Part of me still revels in the non-filmness of digital photography — all those blurs of nothing can be deleted at no cost to me! I also like ‘drive by shooting’  because it frames reality very differently from how I, as picture-taker, do.  I  like to view the randomness of the camera’s eye.  Sometimes, I get something really interesting that I would never in a million years have framed  ‘on my own’.

The picture below was taken while driving — not exactly speeding along, for obvious reasons — but not stopping to carefully frame a picture either.  One of the buggies was filled with a sweet grouping of children under the age of ten and I would have love to have captured an image of them, but that is one of the foibles of drive-by photography.  The reason I like THIS picture, though, is it lets the viewer feel the oddity of cars and buggies occupying the same road.

Saying YES and being GLAD

reservoir-sky-lav1CLOSE_edi
“I think you should get bitter as you get older.
It means you’re paying attention.”
Craig Ferguson

So often, with children and opportunities to volunteer, one can find oneself up to the eyeballs in unpaid work, wondering, “Did I really say ‘Yes’ to this?!!”.

Volunteer work is work, make no bones about it.  It can be fun and offer a host of positive (and often unexpected) benefits — friendship, discovery of skills one didn’t know one had, satisfaction of a job well done.  Some of my volunteer work has spun off into paid work, which is often the fantasy of an organized, creative PTO Mom.  But!  With college a mere heart beat away (three years is a heart beat), volunteering feels rather unadvised in my case (I am considering NOT grocery shopping this week to save money)…

So the question is, how can I get through this commitment to help decorate the halls of the high school for the after prom party without believing myself to be a complete and utter fool?!!!    My older son is not even a senior!!

Here’s how —

1) I am learning a lot about photoshop.

I’ve used the ‘cut out’ filter for a long time — a natural for a quilter who tends to see images in terms of blocks of color — but I have learned how to ‘bucket’ color in to areas with the express intention of making a more interestingt ‘cut out’ image.  In the Brookline landscape above, I brightened sections after cutting out and then cut out the entire image again, in order to enliven the lower right corner, which had gotten dark and uniform in the process.

2) I bought myself some paints, which I think will have benefits down the road.

3) I am so clear that I will never, ever do this again.

4) I finally got to see the inside of a neighbor’s house that I’d been dying to see.  I’d heard for years that she has beautiful taste (she does).

5) I have listened to some good music online doing my research that I never would have listened to otherwise.

The theme is all hush hush, but here is a stylized picture of the hall I am responsible for.

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I have managed to find a way to incorporate my recent obsession with a collection of beech trees in Brookline…

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My longstanding obsession with rooves is also making its way into this hallway.

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Streetlamps are also making an appearance.  Cleaning out an armoire a couple of weeks ago, I came upon some pictures I made when I worked at a copy shop in San Francisco in the early 1980’s.  They’re a cut up and re-imaged house photograph with a street light.  This copy machine had a dial that scrambled (or skipped) passes of color, producing what is now easily done with photoshop.

It’s true we are drawn to the same images over and over, isn’t it?

color xerox, 1980

color xerox, 1980

Isabella St., Northampton, MA

Isabella St., Northampton, MA

Beacon St, Newton Center, 2009

Beacon St, Newton Center, 2009

I guess this is yet another example of how radically computers have improved our lives.  The color xerox machine I used to make the top two pictures was almost the size of a small car, used carcinogenic toner, and did not provide a preview of the color-changed result.  Each copy cost a couple of bucks!

Since I’m behind on my Journal Quilts, some of the new photoshopped images will go directly onto fabric and become quilts!

Self Portrait

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This quilt is not quite done.

I like it because it created itself while I was cleaning out fabrics I don’t want —

(WHAT?!! you ask?!! Fabrics you don’t want?!!).

There was some serendipity involved.  Some sense of ‘clearing out’.

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I turned myself green with Photoshop Elements 3.0.  Then, used an iron-on transfer (this was before I started splurging on pre-treated fabrics for my inkjet).  I burned away some of the image with my iron — intentionally or not, I no longer remember.  It lay around the basement for years.

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The photo of my dad is a scanned sepia-toned photo that was printed on organza.  It is probably dated around 1949?  Not sure, he is quite a young man in it.  I found it on the floor near the paper cutter while cleaning up.

The whole thing doesn’t QUITE look the way I want and maybe jars of Matt Liquid Gel Medium are lining up and calling my name, but it is getting there.

Why do I like it when a thing comes together quickly?

I also like the transparency of some of the layers…

Spring in New England

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We had a brief snow squall over the weekend, and frigid temperatures yesterday and today.  Great light, though.  Really great light!

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I am beginning to collect some urban textures for a next project.

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Also, I am really looking at roof lines, because as I continue with house quilts, I want to vary the simple triangle roof I have been making for way too long.

newtonville-rooves

waiting-for-ortho-two

It felt good to step out of the very, very crowded orthodontist’s office (door to the far left in drawing above) and pull out some packing paper I had garbage-picked a few weeks back and DRAW.  Which means to LOOK, and SEE.  Shadows, lines, the cold, cold wind — so much better than flipping through an old Redbook (they don’t even get PEOPLE at this orthodontist) in a stuffy room full of other annoyed people.

Tomorrow — the Small Town quilt update…