My spirit soared all week

It has been a wonderful week on many levels, allowing my spirits to soar as in years before, shedding winters bleakness to embrace the light of spring, I began to be creative once more. Capturing many floral images, including a number of tabletop product photographs for today’s post. For a time being, the weeks of distraction seemed to disappear even though my visit to the cardiologist resolved little, if anything, while things that needed to get done, including this post were set aside to be addressed many days later.

The previous Saturday a package arrived from England, it was my winnings from Jeanne’s give-away at Collage of Life. The package, to no fault of Jeanne’s husband who mailed all five for her, appears to have taken the long way via the Panama Canal, whereas Donna’s traveled over the North Pole, for hers arrived one week before mine and we are practically neighbors. Later I learned from Jeanne that one of the remaining three packages arrived in Australia while the other two to Germany and France were also delayed, making it seem they were being hand delivered by row boat over the English Channel. So trying to figure out the postal delivery system is best left to the bureaucracy who really never know what is going on anyway. All in all, you see the package arrived safely and with no damage.

It would take several more days before I finally managed to get around and start setting up a display with the canvas book bag that Jeanne had sent and one that I would share with my wife, who in the last year and a half has become an avid reader. We both thank you for your kindness and generosity.

A few days later our mail delivery person came to the door with a package from Elizabeth (her new blog is knittnkitten’s blog) with whom I was partnered in a tea swap held by Patty over at Artfully Ooglebloops. This was my first swap or Internet participation of any kind and I had been looking forward to it. So when I was handed an overly large package with some considerable weight to it, I was very curious and headed for the kitchen, grabbed a knife and started opening it without thinking that I would want to take a picture of the package first.

Apart from several tea samples, Elizabeth also included a jar of homemade lime marmalade, which at first I thought was lemon, hence the lemon in the picture. She had taken a former pastilles tin and added plenty of loose leaf Earl Grey tea with lavender from a Berkeley teashop. The other three packages are all from Primula teas are of a green tea infused with the scent of jasmine, then rolled up into a flower that will unfurl as hot water is added. Each package contains a different kind of a flower and I will look forward to seeing them open up in my glass teapot. She also included a container of an Alpine berry herbal tea from Two Leaves and a Bud tea company that I will try this Sunday afternoon with a couple of slices of toast and your lime marmalade.

An hour after receiving Elizabeth’s package, the UPS driver came by to hand over a square package, one from my friend Anna in Houston. She recently had posted at one of her blogs, My Ephemera, drawings she had made of a cluster of red Japanese maple seeds. Her seed samples were considerable larger than those from my red Japanese maple tree, so I asked if she would be so kind as to send me a cluster since I raise trees from seeds. Having had success with seeds from my green Japanese maple but not the red, I am hoping that Anna’s seeds will make a difference and germinate.

Though I only requested the seeds from her maple tree, Anna decided to add a little something extra to surprise me. The package rested on a black and with bandana and was beautifully wrapped in a sheet of handmade paper and tied with raffia to which she added a card of one of her images and attached a heart. Upon opening the package, I discovered a set of oversized cards with envelopes printed on watercolour stock; the image Anna used was of one of my irises. Here thoughtfulness and loving care for our friendship was evident in each element of the package and the gifts treasured there within.

When I looked at the remaining seed clusters still in the box, the light from the kitchen widow moved over them in such a way, I could not resist the urge to take several close ups studies, especially since the once deep burgundy colour has shifted towards a purplish tone.

It certainly was a little more than a week of excitement, most of which was euphoric there was one other surprise that came via an email. Jeanne had bestowed an award to my blog, a Happy 101 award to say thank you. In many respects this award I cannot claim just by myself, as I feel it needs to be shared with my readership, who are responsible, visit regularly and support me through their comments.

I bring to a close this post the same way as it was started, with a photograph of a blooming tree. May it delight you as it has brought me pleasure in capturing its fleeting beauty.

Thank you for your visit


First day of spring

Winters solitude
comes to an end while a harsh
brittle cold lingers
in the morning when dew clings
to a blade of uncut grass

The once abundant
clusters of silver clouds now
transformed into an
abundance of grey shadows
dance to a gentle breeze and

meander through my
geological garden
of antiquity
There erupting into a
moment of euphoria

a wind chimes random
orchestration crescendos
then descends softly
into a harmonious
utter motionless stillness

On this capricious
day when the sun has reached the
vernal equinox
she will announce to us all
spring has finally arrived

Photo: Dutch Iris, my garden March 19, 2010


Spring is close by

In eleven days we mark the first day of spring and while many places still feel like winter, I though I would share a few surprises from yesterdays trip home after dropping my daughter off in Santa Cruz. By all accounts it was a beautiful day with rain showers and periodic breaks of sunshine, with pockets of warmth, followed by strong winds and even a down pouring of hail. And I loved every minute of it.

Just north of Santa Cruz but before Davenport I came upon a field of blue flowers bathing in the sun. Cars were speeding by as I made my way down an embankment and then up the hill. For the next half hour or so, I stood, photographing the flowers, which after many years simply spread unabated into a visual spectacle.

I was on my way to the cove where upon my last visit during a heavy storm I discovered the two heart-shaped stones. Since then I had a strong yearning to visit this location as I felt it had been calling me all these weeks.

The opening to the coastal access is nested between eucalyptus trees and easily missed. The wind was blowing hard and I felt under-dressed even with a heavy jacket. On my way to the shoreline, a rain shower erupted, but I remained undaunted and continued on. As I reached the edge of the cliff, the rain stopped and I began witnessing nature’s impressive display of light, clouds, and a rainbow.

Tansy-leaved Evening Primrose

On the way down to the cove, I noticed between the grasses a yellow flower beaming with joy. It seemed to be shouting for attention as strong gusts of wind had it swinging back and forth, shaking any drops of water from its yellow petals. There were a few more individual clusters of evening primrose a little further on, however a number of their flowers had been battered by previous heavy rainfall, that the petals were damaged.

After gathering a few large pebbles for the garden and finding another heart shaped rock, I continued to drive north towards Pigeon Point Light House. Just before the official entrance to the lighthouse, I pulled over on to a dirt road the field hands use to gain access, so that I could photograph the ocean and the dramatic cloud formation that was unfolding.
The ground was soft and soaking wet as I made my way towards the ridge. Sheltered in a thicket of shrubs I noticed something bright and after a quick glance I proceeded onward towards my objective, knowing I would return to the where nature held a surprise.

Tough-leaved Iris

Though I already knew a future post about this trip would be forthcoming, I decided that I could not keep to myself natures treasure of a single blue iris emerging from the surrounding darkness and shinning in the rays of a late afternoon sun. I needed to share, bringing some cheer to those still suffering winters hold, even though we to are still in our midst of a northern California winter. I still had one more place to visit before heading home. The hour was getting late, my appearance a mess and though very tired, my spirit held firm. Next stop, Bean Hollow.

By now the winds had increased, the heights of waves multiplied from earlier in the day, and their ferocity had also become more pronounced. I headed on down the steps onto a beach of tiny pebbles, watching a group of small birds chasing a retreating wave, while collecting shells the ocean had surrendered. Without warning, I was standing in the middle of a brief hailstorm. Once it passed, I took a few more photographs of the setting sun and then returned home.

This day would not have been possible if I did not take my daughter back to school. I would have not experienced the beauty and drama of nature as I did and the adventure does not end there. For back home there waited another surprise, a letter from a concerned friend, who knew of my medical procedure of last week.

Eva Macie — A Creative Life

Eva Macie from A Creative Life, sent me a beautiful hand made card that she had crafted with loving care. A collage of different papers, speckled with a little bit of fiber and dashes of gold leaf, a few lines and an outline of a heart. All I can say is that it was the crowning of my day, making it a most memorable one indeed.

Anna Mavromatis — my Ephemera . . .

As I bring this post to a conclusion, I wish to publicly express an earlier joy that arrived without any expectations in the mail a couple of weeks ago. It came from Anna Mavromatis, my Ephemera . . ., in response to receiving full resolution files of two irises that appeared on my other blog. She had sent me a print of each, along with a Thank you card that she too had made herself. Anna’s technique employed the use of a computer to assemble a botanical scan and that of a bee with a photograph of a woman, then printed on her mono printed-paper she had made earlier.

I thank you both, Anna and Eva for your beautiful
and thoughtful gift that I shall treasure dearly.



This month’s sidebar worth mentioning


As anyone who has taken the time to randomly look at art blogs, soon discovers that there are many exceptional artists, easily humbling ones own art. So for the last few months that I have selected an artist of exemplary qualities with a link on my sidebar, along with a noteworthy exhibit at a museum, I have noticed not too many of my visitors took notice.

What I failed to realize is that the greater majority of sidebars are static and visitors pay little attention, except for the blog roll and ‘Follower’ widget. Even though I had recently redesigned the sidebar to just the essentials, I soon discovered this was not enough for visitors to pay attention to the sidebar. Therefore from now on, I will post on the first of each month my recommended highlights, beginning with this month, March.

The selection process is based on work that I personally enjoy or find interesting, while equal consideration is also given to the artistry, quality of craftsmanship, and consistency of the artists work, along with the technical abilities. With so many qualified individuals, the process is never an easy one, even if I were to change it to a weekly event.

Bateau à Giverny
2009 © Dianne Poinski

This months selection is fine art photographer and artist Dianne Poinski, who’s hand coloured black and white prints have a romantic old-world charm of a time when photography emulated a painters vision.

What attracted me to her work is Dianne’s fine display of artistic sensibilities, the selection of subject matter and how it is composed within her viewfinder. Her prints have a nice tonal value and a good balance between what parts are hand coloured or not, all of which come together in her completed artwork.

When you visit her blog you will find not only beautiful photographs, but also numerous posts of interests with subject matters ranging from creating hand coloured prints to marketing issues concerning any artist, regardless of the medium. Dianne writes with honesty and a pure sense of clarity, speaking to us with confidence, but also revealing her vulnerability with equal honour. A visit to you blog and website is well worth your time.

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The Art of Painting
Johannes Vermeer van Delft 1665/1666, Inv.-Nr. GG 9128

Recently Katharine of Katharine Cartwright Studio discussed an artist's 'pilgrimage' in connection with the book ‘Art Without Compromise’ by Wendy Richmond, who believes major art exhibits are designed to maximize attendance by appealing to the lowest common denominator, thereby are lacking in intellectual and cultural nourishment. Wendy believes a pilgrimage to see a single work of art creates a stronger connection to the art and in return enriches her with intellectual and cultural nourishment. So this month for my selection of a museum exhibit, I have selected the Kunst Historisches Mueseum of Vienna, where an exhibit centers around a single painting, Vermeer’s ‘The Art of Painting’.

The exhibit is curated by Dr. Sabine Pénot and Mag. Elke Oberthaler, who focuses on a single painting that Vermeer kept in his studio as a show piece for his potential buyers. The exhibition studies Vermeer’s use of pigments, binding media and technique, including the use of an optical instrument known as a camera obscura with which Vermeer reportedly constructed his paintings, along with the props found in the painting are also reviewed.

Loans from various museums and private collections, together with historical documents from the Dutch archives, we are given an in-depth view of the painting. Rounding out the exhibition, additional paintings, sculptures and films by contemporary artists are who were inspired by Vermeer’s ‘The Art of Painting’ are also featured.

The exhibition runs from January 26 thru April 25, 2010 and though I will not be able to see the show, I believe it is an event that should not be missed if one is in the area, as it is a very different kind of exhibit.

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Song of the River

As I bring this post to a close I wish to mention that Roxanne E. Stout of ‘River Garden Studio' has recently publishedSong of the River’, a small book featuring her writing and art about the nature and wildlife along the Klamath River. Do have a look on her blog, where she displays numerous excerpts from the book.

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If you have not visited The DIRECTORY, please have a look as I keep updating regularly with new links to resources for artists of all medium. Of note I would like to point out Project Guttenberg, where you can download for free more than 30,000 ebooks for your computer, iPhone, Sony Reader, Kindel or other portable devices. If you add yourself as a follower of The DIRECTORY, you will receive monthly updates as to what is new and if you feel this is a valuable resource, please add my banner to your blog with a link to The DIRECTORY, as this would be very much appreciated.