Monday, September 29, 2008

Weekend Wedding

I can't express how stressful I find it is to photograph weddings. There are so many people watching every little thing you do, and you have to herd them all together and make sure they don't blink. The thought of being responsible for the tangible memories of someone's big day is just more than I care to deal with. So nobody was more surprised than me when I agreed to do the photos for a friend's wedding this past weekend.

I'm so glad I agreed to shoot their wedding. It was at this tiny log-built chapel that is in this little, isolated town on Laramie Peak. There are just a dozen or so structures in the town, and most are authentic log cabins from the early part of the last century or older. This chapel didn't even get electricity until 10 years ago, I'm told. It was absolutely charming and perfect for the small gathering.

Here's the outside, and the new happy family.

The groom and his new step-daughter. Aren't they adorable?

And my favorite picture of the day, the bride. She was so relaxed that it was really a pleasure to do this wedding. The scenery behind her is what you could see from the picture window in the church. It was so unique and so lovely, and the hour and a half drive (mostly on dirt roads) was just gorgeous since the trees are changing colors right now.

Friday, September 26, 2008

Things Are About To Get...

THIN, here on this blog. And CRAZY in my life. As you know, I just bought a house this week and I am cleaning it from top to bottom and will begin painting it joyous tropical colors starting Monday. I promise photos and paint chips, but, my posting will be spotty at best for a while, so please do bear with me. I also have company coming Monday (boys, on a hunting trip, thankfully) and will be doing my best to serve them up a little slice of Southern hospitality while simultaneously painting and moving. Wish me luck!

P.S. - I will also be suspending my Saturday ETSY PLUGs until I have the time to do my fellow artists justice.

Much Love!

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Ends and Beginnings

Today was my last day working as the secretary of our little Guernsey church.

I am moving to the next town south (30 miles away) and thought with the price of gas and such, it was time to hand over the reigns.

I am excited to say that when we are done moving, which I plan on dragging out over the course of October, I'll be working full-time as an artist. That sounds funny to say...they need a sort of intermediary name for someone who is TRYING to be an artist but isn't quite there yet.

I will miss Pastor Jane and all our wonderful conversations, as well as a chance to serve the church. There are lots of ways to serve, but it is sometimes hard to figure out what fits you. So mostly I am sad to give up the opportunity that I know I was called to. But, other ways will manifest themselves, when the time is right. Life is funny like that.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

The Meadow Step By Step

I don't sketch a lot because I'm always afraid it will be too good and then I'll never be able to reproduce it. So I just get basic shapes and then go for it. I tried horizontal first, then vertical, and then went back to horizontal.

This is definitely not step one but I was so discouraged the first day I worked on this that I nearly quit. My tree outlines didn't look like trees and I had no idea how to approach the grass. But, I did try again after a night away from it and liked what I was saw.

The ferns took quite a while since I drew them as separate elements in Photoshop and then sort of arranged them together and repeated them to make bushes. I think I had more than 200 layers when I was done, mostly of clover, ferns and flowers.

I decided the yellow flowers should be covering the meadow, but I still needed to add purple ones, as in Stephenie Meyer's description of the scene. I wasn't sure how to do that, and after trying a few different ones out, I gave up for a few days and thought about it.

It finally came to me that they could be just like the yellow ones. But it still wasn't quite there yet. I also looked a lots of photos of the Hoh Forest in Washington to get an idea of what the forest looked like. I decided I was missing that middle layer of foliage, that comes from little trees and large bushes.

After giving it some more thought, I came to the conclusion that I needed a lot more purple flowers. I tweaked a lot of little things, like adding shadows of leaves and ferns in the shadowed distance. Finally I got to the final product (see in the post below).

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

The Meadow Illustration

After a few weeks of work, I finished my first digital illustration. It's called "The Meadow" and is based on a scene from Stephenie Meyer's book "Twilight." It's for sale now in my Etsy shop.

I've been wanting to do a digital illustration since I worked at the paper. I only had time to do very small elements (a snowflake, etc.) so it took a bit of confidence and a lot of bumbling around on the computer to remember how to make things come alive. I'm very pleased with how it came out, though if I have a weakness it is not being able to let go and declare something "done." That may be why I find photography so suitable for myself. I'm always "done" right away.

I'd like to do a few more scenes from the series, but it will have to wait until I have moved. But the ideas are already churning in my crowded little brain.

Monday, September 22, 2008


I finally got around to seeing Outkast's quirky musical, "Idlewild" and I loved it. If you are familiar with Outkast's edgy music, then you can guess that this was no ordinary musical. It really pushed the envelope in all sorts of inspiring ways.

Set in the early '30s, it tells the story of two friends, Rooster (Patton) who runs a seedy nightclub and Percival (Benjamin) an undertaker who plays piano at nights. This opens the stage for some wonderful choreography and musical scores.

The costumes were also amazing, from the dancers skimpy little numbers to the beautiful suits worn by the men.

The story is a bit predictable, but that is forgivable because they really took a lot of risks with the score and the quirky visual effects that make the movie memorable (none of which I could find photos of). There are singing coo coo clocks, a talking rooster on flask, and musical notes that come to life in the form of stick people. There was so much attention paid to the details that it's a mistake to take your eyes from the screen when watching this. One good example is in the scene of the photo above. When they turn to walk toward the house, the camera moves down to their feet and the splash of the raindrops is simply stunning. I never thought romance could be encapsulated in a raindrop, but that's the strength of the movie. I highly recommend it if you are willing to watch something unorthodox. Do be aware there is a lot of adult content (seedy club, body parts, as mentioned above).

Saturday, September 20, 2008

ETSY PLUG - The Silly BooDilly

While roaming around the blogosphere a few weeks ago, I found mention of The Silly BooDilly's new functional quilts, and immediately knew I had found a good present for my mother-in-law's birthday. They were so striking, with beautiful color palettes and modern designs, but with of course all the nostalgic feeling of a beautiful quilt.

I was impressed with the detail and quality when I got it in the mail, and I'm happy to report that my mother-in-law loved it. Thanks Silly BooDilly, for a winning find!


There are a couple more in her store, and since she has gotten great response from the ones she has made, I feel sure Victoria will continue to create these unique lovelies. They can be used as table runners, or hung on the wall or draped over a beautiful chair in your reading nook.

Victoria's mini-quilts caught my eye back when I discovered Etsy, and I used the above middle one in one of my first treasuries. I love the organic shapes in the other two, as well, and these would look wonderful in any home whose decor bridges the old and the new.

The Silly BooDilly also has a supply shop, with wonderful vintage goodies and nostalgia, like the thread spools above and the book illustration and playing cards below.

If you like Victoria's style, check out her popular blog, where she shares news of her art, photos from her life, and fun art and decor finds.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

New Photography Collection

My latest photography collection is now up, despite yesterday's infuriating technical difficulties. It features twenty-something images I took when I was visiting in May. I lived in Pittsburgh for 2 1/2 years, and when we moved away suddenly, I was quite upset that I had not taken any photos of this hip city. I just got caught up in working, and fixing up my house in the 'burbs and took for granted that we'd be there for years to come. It's just one more example of my procrastination teaching me a lesson. So I am relieved to offer this collection, which does not pretend to fully represent the city (there is no bridge image, for example) but showcases lots of little parts that I love.

Mr. Angry

This is Mr. Angry. He knows what it feels like when your graphics on your Web site won't work right and when you get called up for jury duty the month you are both moving and taking a quick weekend trip to see your friend's new baby. Gurrrrrrrrrrrrrrr.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Bride and Prejudice

I recently saw "Bride and Prejudice" and was amazed by the bright, punchy colors in the film. I've always wanted to go to India simply to experience the colors and I'd wear a sari in a minute if it was fashionable.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Container Garden - Tomatoes and Herbs

We also did our vegetable and herb gardening in pots this year. And by vegetables I mean 40 tomato plants and one squash and one zucchini. Both Brian and I have an unnatural love for tomatoes, and they are rarely up to our standards here in Wyoming, as they are all shipped from out of state and you know they never are quite ripe. And we both come from South Carolina which I feel sure grows the best tomatoes in the world on the sea islands.

This year we decided we could not do without, but were not willing to make a garden patch since the soil and the sun and the dogs were less than conducive to that sort of undertaking. I had seen these upside-down tomato planters on T.V. (you know you are getting old when you find those "only on t.v." commercials interesting). We decided to make our own.

We cut holes in the bottom of the pots with a hole saw, and then placed in a piece of heavy cardboard with an X cut into it. We fed the roots of the tomato plant through the hole and the X, and then filled the pot with soil. I had already attached wire hangers to the top of the pot, and we hung them from hooks off the eaves of the house and the front railing of the porch. It all worked really well for the first couple of months, but now the roots are too crowded and they are starting to wither. But the process really worked well for the short growing season here in Wyoming.

In the tops of the pots we planted herbs, which I have used almost every night in cooking. We constructed a watering system of tubing that ran along the underside of the eaves and dripped into each container twice a day. This worked flawlessly, thanks to my husband's engineering.

I can't tell you how many tomatoes we have eaten this summer. I thought I'd have lots for canning, but we eat tomatoes in some sort of dish almost every day. My favorite is tomato pie. I know my food shots aren't the most appetizing, but it is so pretty when it comes out of the oven I had to share.

Monday, September 15, 2008

Container Garden

Fall in Wyoming is very abrupt. I grew up thinking September was just another summer month, but here, it signals change. This year, the first day of September brought the first cold day - in the 60s - when it had been 100 degrees the day before. So, with the temperatures osculating between high and low, my plants aren't looking their best. Fortunately, I took some photos of them earlier.
Since we are in a rental (but not for long!!!) we did all container gardening this year. The biggest surprise was the coleus. It got huge. I love what a punch of color it provides.

These are from a 'wildflower' seed mix we tried. I don't know what they are exactly, but they were so pretty.

Saturday, September 13, 2008

ETSY PLUG - Paperhill

I bought a set of Paperhill's vintage wallpaper note cards as part of a birthday present that was nothing but Etsy stationary. It was so much fun scouring Etsy for beautiful finds, and it was so difficult to narrow it down. But I knew as soon as I saw these that they were a sure thing. They are flocked, meaning the pattern is raised - a delight to the eyes and the fingers.

Paperhill has many more sets of note cards like this, including the above, both of which I want so very badly (to keep for myself, of course).
In addition to wallpaper, Paperhill gives new life to lots of old things. Take this vintage slip, for example. It has been dyed a lovely blue and any minor repairs it needed have been made. It has a wonderful sense of chic that is hard to find in new items.

Paperhill also frequently reuses costume jewelry in ways that are nostalgic yet timeless. This necklace above is made entirely of old pieces, with the exception of a new clasp (and that's something you really do want to be new). Isn't it elegant?
Some of that gorgeous wallpaper also is used in these hip photo frames.

And, as if all that wasn't enough, Paperhill has a second shop devoted to vintage fabric. There are some really amazing prints in her shop that you can find nowhere else, and the prices are very reasonable, considering.

Friday, September 12, 2008

Two Treasuries

I happened upon a Treasury spot this morning and thought it was the perfect opportunity to lament the fast-approaching chill of fall. These bright items are doing their best to fight it off.
1. Mumbo-Jumbo Breakfast by susanestellekwas
2. Bright Colors Daisy Cards by peaseblossomstudio
3. Daizies - 8 x 12 print by LeaSeguin
4. Handy Pouch by merryberry
5. relax print by coridantini
6. Sunrise Sunset Pillow / Cushion Cover by UmberDove
7. Red swirls pillow cover by stitchindye
8. Hot Pink Leaf Block B12 by Outlined
9. 3 Letterpress Cards - Flowers and Swirls on Blue by BemiDesigns
10. Oh Print by stubborndog
11. Picturesque - Original Signed Fine Art Photography 8x10 by AriaImages
12. Pink Bubbles Cut Paper Art Giclee Print by colorflystudio

I also had the distinction of being part of offset's Mad Men treasury. I've never seen the show but I love the feeling I get from this collection so much so that I may have to rent it when it comes out. I found a lot of great artists through this, so I might as well share them with you.
1. i dream of tall buildings giclee print by libbymclinnphoto
2. Intoxicated No. 4 - 8x12 photograph by milemarker (THAT'S ME!)
3. Sunset Flight by archdelineator
4. Black and White Cocktail Dress by ErinMadMan
5. nyc neighboorhood screenprint - 8 x 8 by narchi
6. Suburbs- original fine art photography/digital collage by IsaFerreira
7. Original encaustic - Untitled no. 21 by mimidoodles
8. White 8x10 Print by ValeriaH
9. Baby Blue Typewriter 5x5 Fine Art Photo by FriendlyMade
10. Drink Code - Abstract giclee print - 13 x 24 by billoneil
11. Flock of Pigeons by sugarsusan
12. Paper Cut / 8 x 10 - 27 x 39 by SoZeSoZe

Thursday, September 11, 2008

New Purses in the Shop

My mom has created a few new purses and they are now in our Etsy shop. They are all "A Night on the Town" style in various fabrics. My favorites are the oriental print satin, some with flowers and some with butterflies.

And yes, that's me, doing some (not so) expert modeling since I really think you need a good shot of what a purse looks like on your arm. And since my husband refused.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

California Camping Adventure, Part XI

The day before we left a group of campers appeared with horses, five of which had got loose and were running around. It was entertaining to watch the mayhem, which would have been short-lived if it wasn't for this particular horse. We watched the poor guy try to catch this mare all day long. She would let him get close and then run away. Eventually the rider chased her out of sight, but we saw him right before we packed out and he reported that after many, many hours, he did catch the stubborn mare.

Our last day we woke up early and began to tear down our camp. Our packer/guide arrived around 7:00 A.M., a little ahead of schedule, but we were ready. Here you can see our little mule train, led by our guide in the front. That's my husband on the beautiful black horse, King. I was hoping to get grand photos of the mule train twisting down the mountain switchbacks, but by that point, I had figured out I needed to hold on to my horse with two hands going downhill. The ride down was a bit more stressful than the ride up, for both me and the horse. It made me nervous when the horse seemed nervous so needless to say, I was more than ready to end my second ever horse ride. I was sad when it was all done with, though, and we ate lunch with my grandpa at the restaurant to extend our stay a little while longer. We said our goodbyes, and drove out of the mountains so quickly and into the drier Nevada hills. It was such a shock to the senses after being in lush Kennedy Meadows. It was only a matter of an hour or so before I was missing it terribly. I can't even express how grateful I have been for this trip. It really was a perception-altering vacation, where nothing looks quite like it did before you had that experience.