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Weekly Photo Challenge:  Narrow

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Umbrian Hills

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Sonnet 13        by Mark Jarman

Drunk on the Umbrian hills at dusk and drunk
On one pink cloud that stood beside the moon,
Drunk on the moon, a marble smile, and drunk,
Two young Americans, on one another,
Far from home and wanting this forever—
Who needed God? We had our bodies, bread,
And glasses of a raw, green, local wine,
And watched our Godless perfect darkness breed
Enormous softly burning ancient stars.
Who needed God? And why do I ask now?
Because I’m older and I think God stirs
In details that keep bringing back that time,
Details that are just as vivid now—
Our bodies, bread, a sharp Umbrian wine.

Quilt from Council Quilt Show 2016 in Council, Idaho. 

Weekly Photo Challenge:  Details

Summer Solstice

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Watercolor printed on tiles by Lauren McCarter

Summer Solstice by Carrie Richards

This was when the whole world measured time
This is when the light would turn around

This is where the past would come undone
and the spinning earth will mark a new beginning
Let’s go back in time, to when it all began

To the breaking of new dawns
Where moments bright with fire, would light the chanting song
Where pagans worshipped sun, and danced among the trees Wore strange masks of covered straw, and blessed cold ash with awe Wreaths hung upon the door against all spirit’s, dire
and when the winter’s grasp let go, the sun reversed the pyre
This was when the whole world measured time
This is when the light would turn around So that spring arrives, and seeds will sprout and grow
Oh, radiant sun, stretch the day, shorten night
Return earth’s darkness into light
This is where the light will turn around
And this was where the past has comes undone

 

Lauren McCarter is a watercolor artist living in Boise, Idaho. She generously gifted this art piece to me at a time when I needed a boost. Thank you, Lauren!

 

Dear Spinning Planet

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Eastern Tiger Swallow Tail feeding on Comfrey

Dear Spinning Planet,

Thanks for turning me upside down these couple of weeks. All in all, it’s good to go topsy-turvy now and then and look at the  nature of life from the flip side. It gives me an angle to see that I am only a small part of nature. I’m not alone in going upside down to find my provisions. Misery and providence, isn’t that the point Mr. Hugo wanted to make?

So my kid’s in jail and I won’t go her bail and she gets herself out soon enough – yet again. And it’s the blame game – yet again.

So 4 friends die or have memorials in as many days and I can’t get to all of them. I feel like a refugee trying to keep my balance as they all fall down.

So my van gets clobbered by a hit and run driver after one of the memorials.

So my old rescue dog gets attacked by a pack of 3 pit bulls and when I give her permission she clobbers them well enough to give a slight window of time so their owner can pull the lead dog away with many bites to his arms. And the gang follows the leader. We make our get away escaping the unrealized massacre.

So he apologizes lavishly yet denies that more than one dog was attacking and we will let the judge hear us and decide. And that’s a big disruption in my schedule. And it’s what a multitude of residents and dog owners ask me to go through. And I will.

And I discover I belong with a local, national, and international community  that supports me in more abundance than I would have felt had I not tumbled over in this short avalanche of unfortunate events.

Now, tell me, Spinning Planet, that you will relax for a while and steady the current just for me so I can regain my harmony and shift my attention to the butterflies who have arrived in my gardens and the mule deer in my back yard who gave birth to twins just here and now. I still have strength to peer through disorder and flow with nature. And I remember that I am only a small thing, all in all.

Very sincerely yours,

me

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Central Bumble Bee on Comfrey
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Mama mule deer with twins to the right of the pine trees

 

About Eastern Tiger Swallow Tail

About comfrey here and here

About bumble bees and other pollinators here and  here 

About mule deer

 

 

 

 

Blossom time

I have only wildflowers and no fruit trees blooming this spring so when I saw these cherry blossoms photographed by Incahootswithmuddyboots I felt inspired to give it a go at painting them with watercolor. This is my 4th completed watercolor painting and the only one that is not landscape. I made it on a small 4X4 paper. I think I’d rather go big like the kites I painted (acrylic) when I tried to imitate Georgia O’Keefe’ blooms. Did you know she painted the same subjects in many different ways for years on years? That’s the way to study technique. Check out the many cheery spring blossoms on Incahootswithmuddyboots’ post.

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Cherry Blossoms

cherry blossoms from Incahootswithmuddyboots Zunday Zen

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Work in progress. I can see now that I should have referenced the image on screen instead of this poor print of it.
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Deepening the hues and learning about layering transparent watercolors over other hues to see them blend. 

 

 

Forest foraging

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Forest foraging today provided spicy watercress (Nasturtium officianale) and sweet yellow avalanche lily (Erythronium grandiflorum – Pursh) to lively up my salad. Though I was seeking illusive morel mushrooms, I found other delicious and nutritious plants to harvest on my spring trek. I grazed as I hiked and brought home a small harvest to embellish tonight’s salad.

5 things to know about Nasturtium officianale

  • It’s related to mustard greens, cabbage, and arugula and tastes spicy like them.
  • It keeps well a few days submerged in water and stored in the fridge.
  • Modern science has identified more than 15 essential vitamins and minerals contained in this one herb – more iron than spinach, more calcium than milk, and more vitamin C than oranges.
  • It is known for preventing or treating cancer.
  • Vitamin K is by far the most prominent nutrient in watercress, with 312% of the daily recommended value. It forms and strengthens the bones and limits neuronal damage in the brain, which is helpful in treating Alzheimer’s disease.

5 things to know about Erythronium grandiflorum – Pursh

  • Since it often appears at the edge of receding snow banks it is often called snow lily, glacier lily, yellow avalanche-lily,  and it’s known as dogtooth violet, trout lily, and fawn lily. People who live in my community call it deer tongue but that is more often used for a different wild flower.
  • It’s related to the Lily family and it’s stamens can be white, yellow, or red. Usually all the flowers in a patch have the same color stamens.
  • You can eat the flower, seeds, and bulbs. Leaves are edible, too, but only eaten in emergencies as bulbs need the leaves to provide nutrients to sustain the plant.
  • This edible wildflower grows in western Canada and U. S., especially in the Rocky Mountains.
  • Elk and deer relish the foliage. Grizzly bears and black bears use their claws to comb through the soil unearthing the nutritious bulbs.

More posts about edible wild foods are here and here.

Weekly Photo Challenge: dinnertime

 

Edible Incredible!

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avalanche lily, sweet flowers fresh or in salad
blue violas
wild viola flowers in salad
emerging morel
emerging morel, saute in butter
dig in morel
almost through the forest floor
Trilium parasol
Morels are often found beneath trillium parasols (blossoms are gone on this one).           Don’t eat trilliums
camus
Camus roots are extremely high in protein
emerging coral
coral fungus just pushing through forest duff, saute in butter or dry and grind for soup stock

I love spring forage in the Rocky Mountains!

Weekly Photo Challenge:  dinnertime!

Sky Rise

Today’s post features photographer Shane Felton who created all these photos. Shane keeps his eyes on the sunrises and skylines in the Rocky Mountains, especially Idaho and Montana where we say we have Big Sky.

“What is the good of your stars and trees, your sunrise and the wind, if they do not enter into our daily lives?” E. M. Forster

Montana Sunset adjusted and cropped

“Yesterday and tomorrow cross and mix on the skyline. The two are lost in a purple haze. One forgets, one waits.”  Carl Sandburg

Boise skyline adjusted

“People are like cities: We all have alleys and gardens and secret rooftops and places where daisies sprout between the sidewalk cracks, but most of the time all we let each other see is is a postcard glimpse of a skyline or a polished square. Love lets you find those hidden places in another person, even the ones they didn’t know were there, even the ones they wouldn’t have thought to call beautiful themselves.”
Hilary T. Smith

 

sky texturebright sunrise on citystadium sunrise

“It agitates me that the skyline there is forever our limit, I long for the power of unlimited vision…If I could behold all I imagine.”
Charlotte Brontë

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“On the morrow the horizon was covered with clouds- a thick and impenetrable curtain between earth and sky, which unhappily extended as far as the Rocky Mountains. It was a fatality!” Jules Verne

blue shapes

“You cannot, in human experience, rush into the light. You have to go through the twilight into the broadening day before the noon comes and the full sun is upon the landscape.”  Woodrow Wilson

hello moon

“For most people, we often marvel at the beauty of a sunrise or the magnificence of a full moon, but it is impossible to fathom the magnitude of the universe that surrounds us.” Richard H. Baker

“Get outside. Watch the sunrise. Watch the sunset. How does that make you feel? Does it make you feel big or tiny? Because there’s something good about feeling both.” Amy Grant

A message from the artist, Shane Felton. “I first started taking photos on a self retreat north of Garden Valley. Just me and a store bought instant camera (remember those anyone?). I had realized after a couple hunting trips I loved the hunt of big game, however I was not capable of shooting any creature with my rifle. I decided to try with the lens. I had about the same luck either way. Now photography is almost easy. My “phone” takes as good a picture as the nice digital camera my kids gave me for Christmas 5 years ago! I tend now to picture things many would consider beautiful, (a sunrise), but also those that most take for granted, the rise of a $250 million building, or quail tracks in fresh snow. In one of these sunrise pictures I actually intended the reflection. I think I’m just beginning.”

Blogger’s Note. As I study Shane’s photos I am struck by his awareness of sky and skyline and emerging light at that time of day when the sky and natural or built landscapes transform from darkness to light of day; that twilight time in the cool early morning. He presents us with a palette of hues that sometimes look as if they have been glazed in pastels, warmth with sunlight rising and cools from night lingering. Thanks for sharing your photographs Shane!

Please leave comments for Shane! He will appreciate your feedback. 

Weekly Photo Challenges:  Landscape; Future; State or Mind; Time.

Georgia O’Keefe Kite

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Georgia O’Keeffe Kite

I am making kites for props for a children’s theater performance, magical tales of the Chinese Monkey King. After cutting an old sheet to the measurements, I reached for my acrylic paints. A calendar of Georgia O’Keeffe’s flower paintings lay on the container. I had saved it for inspiration. I liked the center of this black flower so I painted it on a kite. I was thinking of a sea star while I painted. My mind wandered. Oops! I made it with 6 points instead of 5. And I added more colors for fun. When the 4 kites were painted this one just didn’t seem to belong with the others. It’s darker and abstract. The others are bright and cheery like this dragon kite.  I took this photo of the dark kite, inspired by art, then painted over it attempting to create a kite that will look more the theme of the others.

Georgia O'Keefe image

Here is the flower center, painted by Georgia O’Keeffe that inspired me. When this project is finished I think I’ll make some kites for my family and friends that really are copies of favorite art. Wouldn’t that be fun to see in the sky?

It just happens that this week’s photo challenge is “Life imitates art.”. The idea is to find inspiration in a piece of art, and go further: imitate it. My painted kite is not quite what I think this theme asks for, but it was inspired by art so this is my entry for this week’s challenge. Oh, and when all the kites are secured on their frames and adorned with tails I’ll show you how they turn out. Please come back and look again.

My second post for this challenge is an imitation of a painting, the American Gothic.

Life imitates art

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American Gothic Tree Planters

Last summer 2 grandsons and a neighbor helped us plant a maple tree for shade. I want to see how the tree and the boys grow, how we all change over years, so I took some baseline photos with help. The youngsters did most of the work, of course. Working with them is always fun. We thought we looked a little like the American Gothic painting even in the dorky glasses we tried on.

american-gothic

Here’s the original art that inspired us.

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We all know who really did most of the heavy work here. 
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What family was cropped out of the original painting? (Ah! a story idea!)

This is my second post for this week’s photo challenge: “Life imitates art.”. The idea is to find inspiration in a piece of art, and go further: imitate it. You can see more amusing American Gothic remakes here.

My first post for this photo challenge is here.

Vibrant

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Full Image

This week’s photo challenge is VIBRANT:  (adjective) full of energy and enthusiasm; quivering; pulsating; (of color) bright and striking.

I made this photo last April at Palouse Falls, Washington near Washtucna and Pullman, and Moscow and  Lewiston in Idaho. Below I cropped the image two ways for different looks. I think I still like the full image best. What do you think?

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Cropped 1

I took out that glaring bright rock face on the right. I need to learn to dodge and burn in Creative Suite. I was just not able to bring out the texture I know is in the data.

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Cropped 2

In this crop I took off the left side to give more attention to the rainbow and the contrasts in the image.

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Palouse Falls is magnificent. This rainbow attracted me almost as much. For the close up photo I used for the challenge, I moved to another perspective, and of course zoomed in. You can see more bloggers’ vibrant photos and join the challenge here.

Winter Walk

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Walk with me on a sunny January day in the Rocky Mountains.

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Contemplate a place to meditate next to the creek. Think of spring when iris blooms over the grave on the slope. Think of summer when you sway in the hammock strung between the trees.

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Spy on unwary quail that live beneath snow and branches.

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Discover a chickadee’s pantry where it has stashed seeds from your feeder.

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Let it show you how it cracks a black sunflower seed open for lunch.

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Wonder if it was a fox or cat that left its tracks along the creek, up the hill,

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beneath the pine, across the field, over the show covered chair, under the Elderberry brush,

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across the puddle (those are my show shoe tracks next to the animal trail), between strands of barbed wire,

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into the forest.

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Breathe deeply along the creek.

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Feel like you are being watched.

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Take your time knowing a pair of Red Breasted Nut Hatches.

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Catch a bubble and float away.

 

Weekly Photo Challenge:  Optimistic

 

 

Circle faces

I study round faces I found on masks and dolls and puppets in Sighisoara and Brasov, Romania last summer. Circles form the basic shape and eyes, nose, cheeks, and chin. Even eyebrows indicate circles. It makes a happy feeling. I’m ready to create masks and dolls and puppets, characters. Starting with painting circles appears easy, but will it be so? This little fellow’s hair grows around his face in a complete circle. What an enigma. I saw this hanging on a wall in a gift shop, just the face, nothing more. I think it would be a suitable face for Baby Brother puppet in a Baba Yaga play I am considering directing.

child face 2

A bowl full of angels. So cheery! This artist has it down, the circles, the faces. I don’t want to copy, but I think it would be a good practice for me developing my own style, to let it flow and see where it takes me. I don’t have to make angels, maybe I’ll make witches or Yule Boys, those mischievious tomten-like brothers who lick your spoons and bowls and slam doors and peek at you through windows at Yule time. I’m happy to wander through the creative process. Painted faces, can they be as espressive as 3 dimensional sculpted ones?

angel dolls in bowl

So simple, yet so effective. I like the pipe cleaners for arms and legs, adorned with beads.

Weekly Photo Challenge:  Circle

Children’s Theater

If you follow my blog, you’ve noticed I have not made many posts this fall. That’s because directing a children’s theater play took more of my time than I had anticipated. It’s all done now and I hope to get back to photography and writing daily and posting at least weekly on this blog.

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Charon finds Phaeton’s body.

But I have been blogging on a private blog I created for the cast and crew. I’ve made it a public blog now that performances are over and you can see it on the new page I started. Just look up in the menu bar for Children’s Theater or click that text in this sentence. I realized that children’s theater posts on this blog get a bit of interest so I gave the topic it’s own page.

If you have any interest in children’s theater or any performing art I’d like to hear from you. I designed the robe for Mother Earth in Phaeton and the Sun Chariot from a design sent in by a blogger who read my post seeking ideas.

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Mother Earth’s costume was suggested by someone who reads my blog. Thanks!

Next, I’ll be getting ready to go to classrooms in local schools to teach performing arts workshops. And in my studio, I’ll be designing masks and puppets, and writing scripts.

Go to the menu Children’s Theater.

 

Ornate as a Greek Actor

Directing the McCall Children’s Theater play “Phaeton and the Sun Chariot” by Wim Coleman, I was inspired to keep costumes simple like the ancient Greeks did. I dressed young actors all in black and adroned them with symbolic representation for their characters. In ancient Greek theater the actors wore everyday togas and wore masks to portray their characters and to change characters so I wanted my young actors and audiences to have a similar experience. I designed the costumes but it was my creative Costume Manager who created these wonderful ornate head garlands. Creative parents crafted the Sun Chariot. I will post more photos and information from the play after the show ends this weekend. I lost control of my blogging schedule as my rehearsal schedule intensified. For more images in the Wordpress Weekly Photo Challenge: Ornate click here.

Winter
WINTER
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SUMMER AND FALL
FLAMING MOTHER EARTH
FLAMING MOTHER EARTH
THE SUN CHARIOT
THE SUN CHARIOT
SIGN CREATED BY A PARENT, MASKS CREATED BY ME
SIGN CREATED BY A PARENT, MASKS CREATED BY ME