Once Upon a Time
our daughter attended college on the island of Oahu.
She was there for four years.
From Maryland to Hawaii is a bit of a "paddle." But we did it several times.

I can still see the ghostly crabs skitter into their tiny holes when my shadow crept too close to them.

When I put a large conch shell up to my ear, I can hear the call of the ever-cresting waves.

Opening a can of coconut milk brings the aroma of sweet sipped milk from freshly cracked coconut...
Or slathering on sun tan lotion with a hint of coconut aroma.

While our daughter was in classes or teaching there were long hours on desolate beaches.  And it was during this time that several children's stories burst forth in my imagination. 

I was either writing down snippets of stories of magical mermaids with lavender hair; underground houses of tiny personified crabs; or "legends" of where the black sands came from.

In another rather battered book I kept sketches of things I saw or imagined.  Someday, I mused, these would serve as illustrations for one of my stories or perhaps a series of cards.....SOME DAY!!

While searching for something that was misplaced (nice way of saying LOST) I happened upon half of a sketchbook of drawings from that idyllic time on the hot Hawaiian beach.

If I share them I won't lose them again, I reasoned...and they could make fun coloring book pages...

Feel free to copy and enjoy for personal use. But please do not reproduce for resale or on a blog.

Third Thursday, Already!!!

Hi everyone, it seems totally amazing that it is the 3rd Thursday in February..which means taking on the challenge offered on Brenda's blog How to Feather an Empty Nest. 
Brenda has an infallible eye and determination to get the very best photos she can. It is always enlightening to visit her blog. And her prose/writing matches the skill of her photography.

I have posted so many times this week that I am feeling a bit like a nuisance, but do want to support Brenda and take on the challenge of 3rd Thursday.
The challenge: do something you haven't done, I take that to mean: exploration.

Many of us who are enjoying photography and editing are no strangers to adding texture to our photos.  Brenda is doing a fantastic job...see her "shutter" photo for example.  For me it has been a learning curve.  Recently I learned of photographer, Melissa Gallo who is turning photographs into paintings via painted textures. I thought I would give it a try...well it is pretty late at night and it has been a long process, so what I have to offer is no where near what Melissa accomplishes. But I had fun trying.  I have as my models three photos:  Blossom, a beloved dog of my son and daughter; Baby Bits, our 1+ year old granddaughter; and a painting of two Indian girls who have fallen asleep during a Hindu Festival.

The painted textures completely changed the appearance of the original photos. And since it was my first try, I really don't have directions to was truly hit and miss. But I think you might enjoy a different approach with textures.  

Miss Blossom in her Tutu

This was my first attempt at painted textures. I should have removed the distracting background before proceeding.  Learned that the hard way!!!

Baby Bits

Choosing the correct photo makes a big difference. The fewer distractions the better.  I should have "cleaned up" my original photos before using textures. 

Little Girls Sleeping on the Ground

This is an original oil painting I wanted to experiment on.
I actually liked what the textures could do....I came up with a number of variations but chose the following to share.

Quite a change from the oil painting.  
These were my first attempts. I definitely love the process and hope to improve with lots of practice....but when I ask myself?

I do think that Melissa has a great idea here and soon we will see more of this new technique.  I should try making my own backgrounds...certainly a lot of paint in my studio!!!

Thanks for viewing...what do you think of painted textures?
Maybe next month I will choose this same challenge and see how I can improve and cut the time down in doing so.  Until then thanks for sharing some time with me.

Making a Breakthrough

What does it mean to make a "breakthrough?" Prying off a stuck cap on a tube of oil paint? Or getting your supplies all organized ONCE AND FOR ALL? Breaking in a new pair of TIGHT shoes. Maybe, heaven forbid, reading your camera manual first to last page?

I hadn't really thought about "breakthroughs," but Kat at Kat's Eye Studio has and she questioned us about our own personal break throughs. 
Now she was referring to photography, but honestly it can apply to anything that we do.. put our shoulder to the wheel type of work....and hope you come out on TOP!
Two things finally surfaced in my mind. One matches her own example.

Breakthrough one:
developing an interest in i phone photography, developing those teeny tiny photos
 into something eerily beautiful, spunky and funky, dark and mysterious or grungy, worn-like my tennis shoes.

Breakthrough two:
this is really the biggie.  i have been working hard at shooting in manual on my Big Mama.  so many things to think about: aperture, white balance, depth of field, shutter speed, lens size......  i read and read, checked out books, read my manual with a magnifying glass, suffered, fell apart, screamed and gave up a dozen times or so....but slowly, really slowly you know like the tortoise winning the started to sink in.....hate to even think of all those shots I lost due to lack of understanding...there is always tomorrow I would tell myself.

This weekend we received an AWESOME snowfall...not piddly like the last one I shared with you patient readers....the real mcCoy.  I woke up early, the house shiveringly cold, the sun just peeking over the roof tops....BIG QUESTION?
Do I stay home, make hot chocolate and read a great photography or art magazine?
Or do I hunt for my rubber boots, find my gloves, hat, scarf, jacket and GEAR! and head out the door
knowing I will freeze to death and perhaps my camera, too.

Being a decisive person, it took me about 1.5 hours to say YES, get your body up and out and go 
photograph the snow with its deep purple shadows, quivering branches with clots of snow ready to plop, contrasts of deep green evergreens with dollops of white clinging to needles. 
YES...lets get on with it. Think adventure, time alone with nature and how ridiculous you look with rain boots, baggy jeans, 1920's cloche knit hat and camouflage backpack.... 
First hurdle:  the frozen car we leave outside as we have too much STUFF in the garage.  Second hurdle: finding that under the pristine snow was an inch of ice!  In Charlotte we don't carry around window scrapers, but my collapsible orange umbrella did the job, sort of. 

The cold air revived my sluggish brain and gave me the oomph to get to Squirrel Park...which is actually a bird sanctuary, kid's playground and walking trails.

Third hurdle: Could I do it. Could I take all photos in manual without a panic and HUGE hesitation.

 Virgin snow lay all about me, the first person at the park. 
And there I  stood, camera perched on tripod, feet freezing in rubber boots and hands cold as icicles (not easy to take photos with gloves on.)

Let's Rock.....

The photos I would like to share were shot in manual with an old film camera zoom lens.

This gorgeous day seemed like a Breakthrough to me.

Shooting snow presents a few problems to work through. Reviewing my photos I can see where some of my calculations weren't quite right. But probably the biggest factor was the glass in the lens. Today's lenses can shoot incredibly sharp images.  But I am happy with what I got....and in retrospect, realize there wasn't as much snow as I had imagined!!!!!  But some is infinitely better than NONE!

Enough Breakthroughs for Now....there are many more to come!

The Superfluous

Some may think that painting, sculpture, music, writing, photography, doodling, humming, ETC.
are superfluous.

"The superfluous, a very necessary thing."    Voltaire

That which brings joy to one's heart, is the "cherry on top" sending a sense of satisfaction, pleasure and happiness through out the day.

I am been making mention of how much photography and painting  have in common. 

As an example, today we call, it in the iPhoneography World: Street Photography,  capturing people, animals, circumstances, events in their EVERYDAYNESS.

Finding people fascinating, I was 
"capturing the off moment" before there was a name for it.  After awhile, some photos of these (usually people photos) just stood out....they were meant to be transferred to painting in whatever technique  I might choose. It is really one of my favorite ways to paint.  Get the general feel for the people, surroundings and abstract them with oil or acrylic....usually oil as it is so malleable.  

These are a few of my favorites.

Painted the cover of  a sketchbook...Girls in uniforms being marched in one straight line....reminds me of Madeline. 

Dog walking in Paris.  I added the Parisian architecture from photos and painted a woman and her dog from a separate capture.

Hindu women patiently waiting, watching the FireWalking procession.

Rockefeller Square where two young girls were eagerly exchanging the latest news. At first I only took photos from side and rear, finally got brave and took one from a front point of view.

I am missing this sloshy style of painting and have promised myself to get back to it.  This style of painting is usually on a small 8 x 10 canvas and in oil.  I don't always clean my brush but let the colors mix together...there is heavy texture and lots of "smooshing."

Being SUPERFLUOUS is great fun.

Looking for the WOW! Contrast

Talk about CONTRAST.  Our generally mild weather turned to that particular form of cold that produces SNOW!!!  Yes, quite a contrast. 
Flakes the size of cotton balls floated down from dull gray blue skies. So exciting. 
Nah, it wouldn't last, but it did.  I managed a few shots before the evening turned to blackness.

This is a great deal of snow for us.  I stood barely outside my door to take this shot as it was snowing quite hard and I didn't want snowflakes on my lens.  What I like about this photo is the CONTRAST of cool and warm.  The birdseed is a wonderful rust color against the bluish green of the yard.  Thank you Mother Nature.

 Oysters on the Rocks anyone?  We have a pail of seashells sitting in the yard.  The snow turned to ice, encrusting the shells with a beautiful glaze of translucency.  Again the contrast is about color and texture, shapes that are similar but not similar.

There are several things I enjoy about this photograph besides some favorite art books... blue is the complement to the orange rust of the wicker.  The weave of the basket is enhanced by the  dark shadows playing through out the photo.  

This photo was taken the same morning as the above.  The early morning sun was streaming through the windows, casting long golden rays, dark shadows forming from the window encasements.
This photo is about the contrast of Texture....the rough, excavated clay of the bowl in contrast to the smooth, translucent seashell. It is also about Light and Dark... the shell casting a very dramatic shadow.

Kat Sloma, who is  sponsoring this series of classes, Find Your Eye: Journey of Fascination, has been intrigued by trees these past few weeks. She has many beautiful photographs of trees you can see on her blog/website.
With her in mind, I am sharing this particular tree outside of our home.
There are several forms of contrast:  Cool and Warm, the golden sun reflected branches against the cool blue sky.  Light and Dark.
Strong diagonal branches which lead one's eye up and towards the right.

The strong spiky shadows and leaves work well with the soft roundness of the blossoms.  Then I will always fall for red and green combinations. This is one of those flukes...I was just walking by and decided to take a few shots....I was pleasantly surprised.

This is a favorite photo for several reasons.  The contrast of the deep shadows with the play of light.  The star shape light that happened I haven't a clue. But I was happy to see it when I uploaded my photos.  The strong vertical line crosses the flowing horizontal lines of the waves, adding interest to a beach shot.

CONTRAST always adds flavor to our lives...imagine eating Asian food with out strong spices or curry with a sprinkle of sweet raisins on top?  Or slipping into a cool swimming pool on a blistering hot day?  The feel of cashmere against your skin on a frigid evening.  
Long purple shadows cast, as the red-orange of a sunset slips away.

CONTRAST adds variety to our lives each and every day.  And it is a necessary ingredient in photography.
Have fun with this and try it yourself.
Thanks Kat for the prompts and ideas.


Photography is an art form that  can take years and years to perfect, then there is still something else to learn and explore.  Painting is the same experience.  It takes years to develop a style, explore techniques, execute good works.  

Today I share photographs that in a way are "photographically-painted." No not with oil, acrylic, charcoal or pencil, but with textures and photo manipulation. 
There is the usual learning curve, much to be explored but one difference, I stay in one spot and it isn't messy!!!!!  No clean up!!

Bonnie at Pixel Dust Photo Art  gave us a free texture with a distinct Asian flavor which I was rather excited to explore. 

While enjoying this project I kept my focus on Aung San Suu Kyi a Burmese Visionary, the Burmese people, many worldwide  and I greatly admire. As I read some of her writings these pieces came forth.

  Like Aung San these pieces developed in slow, minute layers until they became a whole.

It is a collective wish that her country may live with more peace and tolerance than it has known for decades.


I asked the Funny Bunnies to be my helpers.
Carefully they folded each comment that was posted over three days time
into a neat little square
tucking them in a basket.

Each pulled out one paper square. 
Now we had THREE.
(Frankly they were pretty clueless as to what was going on.)

The first name drawn will receive a packet of
handmade cards.

Currie Silver

Second name drawn will receive a packet of handmade cards.

Bonnie (Pixel Dust)

and finally number three 

the winner of Lemonade Daisies is
Sherrie B

There were so many thoughtful comments left that it seemed like a lovely idea to have three gifts.

I look forward to you three ladies sending me your mailing address and full name.

(You can write me at

This was so much fun we will do it again.

As for the Funny Bunnies, they were such good helpers, that we tucked everything away then proceeded to make a Super Size mess creating Valentines! 

Abstract--Chinese Dragons, Oh, NO!

When I was a little girl with pigtails and flyaway bangs, digging my way to China in the vegetable garden, little could I have known (or was it a premonition of things to come) that I would someday visit Asian countries and absorb so many "flavors" of their culture.

When I was a little girl wearing knee worn denim coveralls and dusty shoes, skipping rope, know that I would someday stand face to face with enormous, hissing dragons that slithered about the street. 

When I was a little girl whose world consisted of barns, sliver-prone fences, skipping stones in irrigation ditches know that one day I would stand under an enormous tree in Hong Kong  tossing oranges for Good Luck?
When I was a little girl, my imagination was second to none, but the time came when imagination became reality.

Which leads me to a different type of imagination....the art of manipulating photographs, changing their reality.
At Photo Art Fridays we were given the challenge to create an abstract with a photograph. 
No digging in the family this meant going to China to get the real experience...and so it is with abstraction.

In homage to Chinese New Year---two abstracts

This brought out the artist in me!
Dragon paper doll.

Don't even ask me how I got from the photo below to those above. 
But I did use Bonnie's textures:  Dropped Petals, Technicolor, Fool's Gold. It was lots of fun even if I can't repeat it.

original (a bit boring)

Drop in at Bonnie's blog to see this week's abstract photographs. There will be plenty of imagination to go around.

Just a reminder that this is the last day to post a hello in the comments to participate in the Painting Gift Away.

The winner will be announced on Monday. Wish I had a painting for everyone who is joining me.  

And now I think it is time to order Chinese Take Out and start celebrating the Year of the Snake....

Oodles of Noodles

I recently learned a little trivia....archaeologists found an earthenware bowl containing the world's oldest known noodles.   Try this: over 4,000 years old.  That is one old noodle.  They were discovered in China along the Yellow River.  How they did this, I do not know, but the experts determined that the noodles were made by pulling and stretching the Kitchen Aid mixer, just strong arms and hands. 

(oh, and you know those popular instant noodles, in 1958 they were sold in Japan!)  

Love this folk art print, "Thriving Business" by Pan Ziaoling.
It shows the fascination of watching noodles being made.

Now lets zoom over to Singapore with the Little Muggers and visit an authentic noodle house, crammed between hundreds of tiny, shops.

The same fascination for noodles continues today.

This tiny noodle shop is packed with customers, all hungering for fresh cooked noodles.
We think the "noodle-man" was pretty cool to pose for  so many photos.

Don't forget to leave a comment and be eligible for the Lemonade Daisy painting.

See previous post for details.