Thursday, June 28, 2012

Flower Art Friday #10 - June 29, 2012

gerbera4


Welcome to Flower Art Friday #10! I can hardly believe we have been at this for ten weeks now. Thanks so much to everyone who shared birthday roses and wishes with me last week. You made my day extra special!

Today's image meets the challenge put forth by Bonnie at Pixel Dust Photo Art to create something a little "painterly." As usual, I lost track of my steps but I can say I did use Topaz Labs and RadLabs both on this image. For texture, I used the following:

Pixel Dust Photo Art "Age It"
Kim Klassen's "Peony"
Florabella Collection "Vintage Damask" paper.


Odds were that our top images from last week would feature roses, and that's exactly what happened.

Hans was #1 again with this lovely dew-kissed creation...



Mona's unique take on the theme was truly special and comes in second place. I just adore the colors and tones...



MG Atwood makes it to the top once again with her singular beauty. Lovely bokeh on this one...



Tied for third with MG was Ruth at RH West Photography's sweet creation with lovely colors and awesome texture work...






Congratulations winners! Grab your badge!

flowerartfriday

Before we get this party started, here's just a quick reminder of the rules before we begin.


Flower Art Friday is a weekly gallery featuring your floral themed creations. We will have themes from time to time, but these will only be suggestions and you may feel free to deviate if you like. Obviously the theme revolves around flowers,and works submitted can be photos, digitally manipulated photos, textured photos, or mixed media collages.

Check out my resources page for information on some great sites that provide free textures, clip art, and tutorials.

The rules are pretty simple. Your link should go directly to your blog post or flickr post, and I ask that you post a link back to my blog in return. Post only your original work, and give credit appropriately to the source of images, clip art, or textures you may use in your piece. It would be awesome if you would grab my badge and include it in your post.

flowerartfriday


You also get to vote for your favorites. I will feature the top three picks on my blog next week, so if you participate please note that you are also giving me permission to repost your photo here. I will also be sending you a little email reminder to come back and vote and when the winners are posted.

I can't wait to see what you have in store for me this week!







Today's Linkups

kimklassencafePhoto Art Friday



Wednesday, June 27, 2012

My Photos On Canvas Experiment Results



cuppa


What does a cup of cappucino have to do with printing photos on canvas?

Absolutely nothing.

But, when is NOT a good time to share a cup of coffee? Besides, over at Beyond Layers we are sharing our cuppa cuppas, so I'm throwing in with this one. I have an embarrassingly large assortment of coffee mugs, but this one is not mine. This cuppa was enjoyed at Merridee's Breadbasket in Franklin, TN. There's not much more to say about it than that, so let's move on.

I have completed my great photo art printing experiment and wanted to share the results. As I've mentioned, I'm participating in a traveling art gallery which meant that I actually had to get my work printed. Having no experience in such things, I decided to try different online companies and compare the results.

All images printed were approximately the same size - 16 x 20 stretched canvas with either a 1.5 or .75 inch stretcher bar. They were gallery wrapped and were suitable for hanging without framing. When I had the option, I went with a black border but some did not provide that option.

I created a little spreadsheet with the results that you can view here as a google doc.

To summarize, out of the five vendors I tried, there emerged one clear winner and one clear loser.


The Winner - Winkflash


I cannot say enough good things about the quality of the canvas, the workmanship, and the customer service. I actually ended up ordering three canvases from them. One did have a small defect in production, but returns are super easy, they replaced it quickly and refunded the shipping cost.

The price at $35.00 with the promo and only $6.99 for shipping, this was the cheapest of all the ones I tried and the quality was as good or better than any of them.

The only downside was the fact that there was no color border option, so you do have to account for how much of your image will wrap around the side. With some care, this is not a huge issue.

As far as I know Winkflash doesn't have an affiliate program, or I'd be all over it. So, my promotion of them is totally unbiased. I did find them through an ad served to my site through Google Adsense though, so chances are you will see an ad pop up here because I'm talking about them.

The Loser - Best Canvas


I cannot say enough BAD things about this company. Had I done just a little googling, I would have known better than to try them as the complaints are many. The only thing poorer than the quality of this product was the customer service.

They did not come even close to the promised turn-around time for shipping. I ordered 2 canvases on the same day and they arrived a week apart. I tried to cancel the second one after I saw the poor quality of materials on my first shipment but they shipped it any way. It was terrible, too.

The canvas material was quite thin, very loosely stretched and were poorly packaged. Each of the three canvases had DEEP creases around the stretcher bars, and one of them was actually wrinkly right in the center.

Trying to resolve the issue has been a nightmare. The phone lines are always busy, and email inquiries resulted in form letters and offers to reprint. I declined the reprint offer and asked for a refund, but they shipped the reprint anyway and it was worse than the first.

Finally, I managed to get an RMA and Fed Ex shipping label and sent them back today. They have agreed to a refund. I'll update on that later.

I was (keyword: was) a member of their affiliate program, but I've removed their ads from my blog AND blocked Google Adsense from serving ads to my page for this company. The price with promotion was nearly $38, but shipping was $14.90 so it was quite a bit more expensive than Winkflash.

The difference in quality and service was astounding.


I hope that this information is helpful and if I try out other vendors I'll update the spreadsheet and let you know.

Don't forget we open Flower Art Friday #10 tomorrow morning. Hope you've "picked" some flowers to share. :)


Today's Linkups


beyondlayers







Monday, June 25, 2012

Beside Still Waters

lake


This week's Quotography theme is water so I pulled from recent archives to find today's image. This shot was taken in Sewannee, Tennessee in front of the Templeton Library. When I'm on retreat at St. Mary's Sewannee, I walk up the hill to this spot each morning and spend time sitting quietly by the still waters.


Today's Linkups

Quotography at {My}Perspective



Sunday, June 24, 2012

Monday Mosaic - Week of June 25, 2012

Just a reminder you can still vote for your favorite from Flower Art Friday #9 until midnight tonight.

David Ryan Harris


My weekend kicked off with another trip to 3rd & Lindsley to see David Ryan Harris perform. You may recall last week I mentioned that I planned to see more live music and purchased tickets for several upcoming shows. This was the first in that series.

The first and only time I've seen Harris perform was in 2008 when he played in a poolside set with Edwin McCain and Shawn Mullins on the Cayamo music cruise, but I was impressed. He did not disappoint this time either.

If I were to be completely honest, I was feeling apprehensive about going and almost backed out. I wrote about it the next morning with my journaling group. The prompt was Alison Luterman's poem Invisible Work. There were many essays that I could compose on the basis of this poem, but my experience the night before was top of mind.

Here is the poem and below my essay:

Invisble Work
by Alison Luterman

Because no one could ever praise me enough,
because I don't mean these poems only
but the unseen
unbelievable effort it takes to live
the life that goes on between them,
I think all the time about invisible work.
About the young mother on Welfare
I interviewed years ago,
who said, "It's hard.
You bring him to the park,
run rings around yourself keeping him safe,
cut hot dogs into bite-sized pieces fro dinner,
and there's no one
to say what a good job you're doing,
how you were patient and loving
for the thousandth time even though you had a headache."
And I, who am used to feeling sorry for myself
because I am lonely,
when all the while,
as the Chippewa poem says, I am being carried
by great winds across the sky,
thought of the invisible work that stitches up the world day and night,
the slow, unglamorous work of healing,
the way worms in the garden
tunnel ceaselessly so the earth can breathe
and bees ransack this world into being,
while owls and poets stalk shadows,
our loneliest labors under the moon.

There are mothers
for everything, and the sea
is a mother too,
whispering and whispering to us
long after we have stopped listening.
I stopped and let myself lean
a moment, against the blue
shoulder of the air. The work
of my heart
is the work of the world's heart.
There is no other art

The garment of loneliness is one I have wrapped around myself - like Harry Potter's invisibility cloak, it enables me to go about the world unseen as I go about my invisible work getting through the necessary tasks of living and moving on.

My blog, like the author's poems, does not reveal the enormous effort it takes to get through all the life that happens between photos and stories. The slices of life I dish out like sweet little cakes, light and easy to consume, sometimes carry a hint of salty tears in the recipe, but it is easy to miss.

I don't want to worry anyone.

This is grief. This too shall pass.

Before heading to the club, I imagined what sort of sad little sight I would make - a middle aged woman, in a bar, alone, sitting by myself at a table for four because I wanted to be close enough to the stage to take pictures. What would they think? Why did I care?

And I, who am used to feeling sorry for myself
because I am lonely,


The doors opened and people filed in two by two as I made my way toward the table I had hoped to capture. A young couple made it there before me and were debating whether or not it was ok to take up a four-top for just the two of them. Uncharacteristic of me, I spoke up and said I was there alone and if they wanted to share the table, I was cool with that.

To my surprise, they happily took me up on my offer.


They turned out to be an absolutely delightful couple and sort of reminded me of my son and daughter-in-law. They were visiting here from Minnesota, and curious about the best places to see music in town. This was a spontaneous trip for them, and they were winging it. They were grateful for the information I was able to provide and I was grateful for the company (and that I wouldn't have to get the stink-eye from larger parties who wanted my prime real estate). We enjoyed a lively conversation about music, artists we loved, and basic info about ourselves (what do you do? do you have any children, etc...)

When the show was over, I wished them a great visit in Nashville and took my leave. I believe they stayed for the late night show, but my evening was complete. Just right.

"And I, who am used to feeling sorry for myself
because I am lonely,
when all the while,
as the Chippewa poem says, I am being carried
by great winds across the sky,"


As I drove home, I queued up some Harris tunes on my Rhapsody player and felt carried away on the winds, joyful, free, and so glad that I shed that cloak of loneliness for the night and took my place among the living.

the slow, unglamorous work of healing,
the way worms in the garden
tunnel ceaselessly so the earth can breathe
and bees ransack this world into being,
while owls and poets stalk shadows,
our loneliest labors under the moon.


It is sort of messy, this starting over, healing, and growing. It is quite possible that no one in that venue that evening knew the amount of effort it took to get me there. From all appearances, I was just having fun, chatting it up with my friends, and enjoying the show.


This invisible work I'm doing, now made partially visable here now, is making a difference. It is not all by my efforts alone. There are natural forces that aid my healing. I just have to keep moving through it.


I'll leave you today with a video of a song Harris wrote for his mother. Even though it made me cry, it also reminded me why I love singer/songwriters so much and enjoy seeing them live.



Today's Linkups






Thursday, June 21, 2012

Flower Art Friday #9 - June 22, 2012

birthday


Welcome to this special birthday edition of Flower Art Friday. The theme this week is "roses" since today is my birthday and the official flower of June is the rose.

Today's composition is related to my birthday on multiple levels. The roses represent the month of June and this Polariod 103 Land Camera belonged to my parents and was born in the same year as I (1965). I totally forgot they had this camera until I came across a Model 80 at Clairrene's Treasures when searching for glassware.

(I bought it, of course)

Mom pulled the 103 out for me and also let me have temporary custody of some of the early shots taken with the camera. The photo in my image was taken on my first birthday.

Also in the album of polaroids was this shot of me with the camera case in tow, waving bye to my mom-apparently on my way to somewhere else. Don't I look like I know where I'm going and happy to be on my way? Who would have guessed that cameras would eventually play such a big role in my life's journey?

Have camera, will travel


The texture I used for today's Flower Art is Kim Klassen's appropriately named "yesteryear." I acheived the tones in the image using RadLabs "Lux Soft", "EZ-burn", and "Vintage Tones."

Now, let's see who came out on top from last week's challenge...

I got a special birthday bonus with two of our top reader's picks from last week featuring roses. This gorgeous, warm, rose macro from Hans received the most votes and I have to say, I just love it.



Birgitta came in second with this exquisite yellow bloom and reflection. So creative!




Ruth at R.H. West Photography joins the winner's circle again this week with these perfect pink roses



And tied for third place with Ruth is Mona's subtle and sublime tulip shot.




Congratulations winners! Grab your badge!

flowerartfriday

Before we get this party started, here's just a quick reminder of the rules before we begin.


Flower Art Friday is a weekly gallery featuring your floral themed creations. We will have themes from time to time, but these will only be suggestions and you may feel free to deviate if you like. Obviously the theme revolves around flowers,and works submitted can be photos, digitally manipulated photos, textured photos, or mixed media collages.

Check out my resources page for information on some great sites that provide free textures, clip art, and tutorials.

The rules are pretty simple. Your link should go directly to your blog post or flickr post, and I ask that you post a link back to my blog in return. Post only your original work, and give credit appropriately to the source of images, clip art, or textures you may use in your piece. It would be awesome if you would grab my badge and include it in your post.

flowerartfriday


You also get to vote for your favorites. I will feature the top three picks on my blog next week, so if you participate please note that you are also giving me permission to repost your photo here. I will also be sending you a little email reminder to come back and vote and when the winners are posted.

Alrighty then, let's link up!







Today's Linkups

kimklassencafePhoto Art Friday



Wednesday, June 20, 2012

The Color of Summer

caprese


There are quite a few sites and memes that I truly wish to participate in but I never seem to get around to for some reason. I'm planning to rectify that, starting now.

Bella at 52 Photos Project has great prompts and linkups, and her theme this week is summertime colors and nothing says summer to me more than a bright red, white and green caprese salad with basil picked fresh from the garden. Well, my dad's garden, that is.

This salad was served as a part of the father's day meal I hosted on Sunday, and was included in my Monday mosaic. But, it deserves a closeup, don't you think?

I also wanted to share a few more shots of the tablescape to share for the tablescape memes I enjoy. I don't know how some people manage to put together such beautiful tablescapes week after week. There's so much inspiration there. But, I'm going to have to stick to being a special occasion kind of gal.

Funny story about this tablescape. Most of the dishes are already in my collection, but I just fell in love with these bowls at T.J. Maxx, so I bought them for this occasion. Somewhere I read that you need twelve of everything, so I bought twelve, even though I was just hosting six.

fathers day 1


Did I happen to mention that I inherited a major dish fetish from my mother? Well, I got it in my brain that I needed some green stemware as well. I have some green glasses, but I've used them several times for tablescapes, and I wanted something new but vintage as well.

There's a cool antique shop called Clairrene's Treasures that I've started haunting, and I knew they would have what I needed. My son and I stopped in on the way to hang my art at Mozzarella Pizzeria, and sure enough they had a couple of possible options. One was a actually a bronzy brown that were beautiful and ornate but there were only six (remember the rule of 12). I thought the brown would work, but there were 12 of the much simpler green option.

I asked my son which he thought would work better, and he said, "Don't ask me, I'm not the one buying new glasses for a tablescape...I am the one who is going to have to call Hoarders."

I chose the green.

fathers day 2

The hydrangeas are also from my father's garden.

fathersday1


Well, that's it for me today. Don't forget tomorrow morning my weekly Flower Art Gallery will be open for new submissions. This week's theme is roses if you have them. :)

Today's Linkups

Food Photography Challenge52 Photos Project

Photobucket



Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Riding the Sound Waves


sound and color
Edwin McCain's lead guitarist Larry Chaney at 3rd & Lindsley - June 17, 2012



Even though I've mentioned in passing that I'm exploring the senses with Susannah Conway's e-course, I have not had a chance to give each daily assignment its due.

The course, a freebie for pre-ordering her book This I Know, is chock full of great assignments and a wealth of information and internet side-trips to get lost in. My plan is to "explore" each assignment fully, even if I post about them here out of order and most likely way past the end of the 30-day course.

The lessons this week have focused on the sense of sound, and music in particular. So, I'm just going to jump in here.

As I mentioned yesterday, my son and I went to see one of my favorite singer/songwriters at one of my favorite venues on Sunday.

Edwin McCain has been crooning in the mixtape of my life for years, and I try to never miss a chance to see him live even if it has been awhile since I've queued him up on my mp3 player. I know I drug my former boyfriend to see him at least three times, have seen him several times with my oldest son and at least once with my youngest. Once I took my sister, and I've gone alone at least once as well. And, I booked a music cruise once and he was one of the main draws.

Before I go sounding all crazy stalker groupie, trust me its not like that. He's not the only singer/songwriter I like, just one that I've seen the most. His shows are just that good.

It has been awhile since I've seen him though. The last time I think was Valentine's day 2010. Perhaps best known for his songs "I'll Be" and "I Could Not Ask for More" which have been played at too many weddings to count - He's the perfect romantic troubador - gritty enough that he can be sappy without being cheesy.

My daughter-in-law danced with her father to this Edwin tear-jerker at her wedding.



My personal favorite of his albums is Messenger, which was released in 1999. It featured an acoustic version of "I'll Be", and some of my very favorite songs such as "Promise of You", "Sign on the Door", and "Prayer to St. Peter."

I'll be honest and say it wasn't exactly easy to sit through those songs as they reminded me of love lost and longing for that which seems destined to elude me. Listening to the songs live, with the drum beat taking my heart for a ride, the song of the instruments swirling and mixing with my blood, and Edwin's soulful, familiar voice peircing my ears with those lyrics that have threaded their way through my life over the years. Memories, hopes, dreams, and disappointment all coming together in a mix of emotions. Heavy stuff.

Generally speaking, I find it easier when in the midst of trying to heal a broken heart to stay away from music. It has too much power over my emotions and can send me to the depths and places I don't want to go. But, perhaps it is time to bring back the music and ride the waves as they come. I'm feeling strong enough to handle it now, I think.

To that end, I checked the schedule for 3rd & Lindsley in the coming months and found four shows that really interested me and bought tickets.

Just a little piece of me I'm taking back.





Monday, June 18, 2012

Monday Mosaic - Week of June 18, 2012

My weekend


For this week's Mosaic Monday, I'm featuring my weekend. Sometimes my weekends are a bit too busy for my taste, but this one was full of things that I loved. So full, in fact, that I took the day off today knowing that I would need some recovery time. We get our birthdays where I work, and even though my birthday is not until Thursday, I decided today was the best time to take it.

Speaking of my birthday, before I go on I want to mention this week's Flower Art Friday theme is roses in honor of the fact that the official flower of June the rose. Voting is still open for last week's gallery, so if you haven't voted yet, get on over here.

Ok, where was I? Oh yes, my weekend.

Of course, being Father's Day weekend, there were lots of preparations to make for dad's dinner. My sister and neice came up, which was really great. The tablescape you see in the mosaic and the food shots were from our celebration of dad.

Italian is my specialty, and summer is a great time for it with all the fresh veggies and herbs available. In the mosaic, you see a caprese salad made with basil from dad's garden. My favorite! I served another Italian tradition, proscuitto and melon, as an appetizer.

I gave up photographing the food to keep up with the serving of a traditional multi-course Italian "pranzo." You'll just have to picture in your mind linquine with a pesto-fredo sauce, rosemary garlic roasted chicken, and sauteed zuchhini with leeks. For desert we had a sugar free cheesecake (recipe here), and fresh blackberries from dad's garden. Dad actually contributed quite a bit to the meal come to think of it, as the hydrangeas are also from their yard. :)

My dad, sis and I all have to watch our blood sugar, so it was a challenge to keep it Italian and low-carb, but thanks to Dreamfields and splenda, we can have our pasta and cheesecake, too!

This was a big weekend for me personally as I hung my first gallery of my work ever! As I've mentioned a few times, I'm participating in a traveling community art gallery that was the brainchild of one of my photographer group friends. Since I'm also acting as webmaster, a lot of work went into getting to this day. My pieces will be displayed at different locations through out the city for the next six months. The art is available for sale, although just being able to show my work is a big freakin' deal for me. Selling something would be gravy.

While I was hanging my art, a nice woman came up and talked to me for a while and was quite complimentary. She is interested in photography as well, so it was great to chat with her a bit about that. It was really nice to see someone's reaction to my work while I was standing there. My son Andrew was there helping me, which made it extra special. I think he was proud of his mom.

After the father's day meal on Sunday, I managed to get my Sunday afternoon nap in before Andrew and I headed out to see Edwin McCain at 3rd & Lindsley.

3rd & Lindsley is my favorite venue to see live music in Nashville and Edwin is my favorite person to see there. I've lost count of how many times I've seen him perform. Andrew is a huge fan as well, and we've seen him together a few times.

Here's a great article about Edwin which explains why I love this guy so much. He's a true artist and a truly decent human being. He's real.

The lady in the lower right corner of the mosaic was Edwin's opening act, Sandra McCracken.

Whew! That was some weekend. Now I need a nap. :)


Today's Linkups







Thursday, June 14, 2012

Flower Art Friday #8 - June 15, 2012

Note for next week:

Since my birthday is next Thursday when our #9 gallery will open, I would love it if we could feature lots of roses in our gallery since it is the official flower of June. Themes are always optional, so if you don't have roses to share that's perfectly fine. But, I sure do hope to see a lovely garden of roses next week. :)


summertime


Welcome to Flower Art Friday #8 for June 15, 2012.   We open the gallery early Thursday morning and stay open until Saturday evening right before midnight.

My piece this week was inspired by summer and the sunflower was captured on my recent retreat. As usual, there was a good bit of random Topaz Labs and RadLabs play going on, and I had some fun with brushes, patterns, and fonts as well. The base texture is called "Clarity" and is from R.H. West's new free texture collection. Go get em!


Reader's Picks from Flower Art Friday #7


The top honor this week, with eight votes, goes once again to Karen at Pieces of Contentment who shared with us this rich and wonderful composition:



After that we had a FIVE WAY TIE with 3 votes each.

Lisa Gordon was pretty in pink this week with a beautiful image and some helpful information Be sure to check out her post here



Donna at Donna's Designs showed of her perfect pink peonies and I am so wishing I had some of these growing in my garden!



Summertime is on Anksu's mind, too, as evidenced by these beautiful blue hues...




We got a bonus critter in the act with MG Atwood's rose macro




Finally, we have a look into my friend Deborah's garden with this lovely climbing clematis. Check out that beautiful bokeh!



Congratulations winners! Grab your badge!

flowerartfriday

Before we get this party started, here's just a quick reminder of the rules before we begin.


Flower Art Friday is a weekly gallery featuring your floral themed creations. We will have themes from time to time, but these will only be suggestions and you may feel free to deviate if you like. Obviously the theme revolves around flowers,and works submitted can be photos, digitally manipulated photos, textured photos, or mixed media collages.

Check out my resources page for information on some great sites that provide free textures, clip art, and tutorials.

The rules are pretty simple. Your link should go directly to your blog post or flickr post, and I ask that you post a link back to my blog in return. Post only your original work, and give credit appropriately to the source of images, clip art, or textures you may use in your piece. It would be awesome if you would grab my badge and include it in your post.

flowerartfriday


You also get to vote for your favorites. I will feature the top three picks on my blog next week, so if you participate please note that you are also giving me permission to repost your photo here. I will also be sending you a little email reminder to come back and vote and when the winners are posted.

Alrighty then, let's link up!







Today's Linkups

Photo Art Friday



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