Monday, August 25, 2014

Summer Garden: Lilies

calla lily, lily, pink, pink calla lily, pink lily

    Recently I talked about the splashes of color in my garden when some early summer lilies bloomed (link here), and now, before the summer completely slips away, I would like to share more of these favorite flowers of mine.  The blooming time for each of these three varieties shown is very short - just a few weeks from bursting buds to fragrant blooms to a faded memory.  One reason why I am passionate about photography is because things can change so fast, and it's nice to have a record of those changes.  
The Calla Lily above is one that I purchased as a potted start, and it has been growing slowly, yet steadily, for three years.  The cluster of leaves that grow out of the ground has definitely gotten bigger, and I see one or two flower blooms every summer. 

These two Oriental Summer Wine blooms, below, came from a variety package I planted last year, and I am happy to report that all six not only managed to grow, but bloomed as well. And although they are fragrant, their scent is no comparison to the Star Gazer Lily. 

Oriental Summer Wine Lily, Oriental Lily, Oriental, Lily, white lily, White Oriental Summer Wine Lily
Oriental Summer Wine Lily, lily, pink lily, Pink Oriental Summer Wine Lily, Summer Wine,

The Star Gazer, below, another of the Oriental-type lilies, has that wonderful scent that I've come to think of as a quintessential fragrance of summer, along with the Night Blooming Jasmine that my mother had in her garden when I was young.  So, if you're looking to add a romantic fragrance to your garden, look no further than this beauty.  If you look very closely, you can also see the spider that surprised me by its ability to mimic this flower; you can read about that experience here.

Star Gazer Lily, Oriental Star Gazer Lily, Pink Star Gazer Lily, Pink Oriental Star Gazer Lily, Pink Lily
Thanks for stopping by!  My plans for upcoming posts include Pocket Scrapbooking, Summer Garden: Dahlias, and Exercises In Collage.  See you again soon! 


Monday, August 18, 2014

Weekend Life: Family Reunion

home, lights, night, party lights, dusk

Don't you just love it when all the pieces fall into place, and an event that you've planned and worked so hard to make happen, actually works out?  Our family reunion this weekend was just that kind of thing; a culmination of emails, arrangements being made, and effort large and small on the part of so many. 

My step daughter Kaede and her new husband Joey drove down from Seattle for an overnight visit.   I wrote about Kaede last spring when we attended her beautiful wedding here. They brought along their puppy Louie, who is a Miniature Pinscher and Terrier mix.  Although it was a short, quick visit, we managed to squeeze in a lot of conversation, catching up on what's been happening in our lives, and listening to her dad Jimmy tell some of the interesting stories of his life. 

Joey, Kaede, June, family

Here are a few photos I managed to catch during the event:

snacks, appetizers, brie, crackers, gouda, cheddar, licorice, red pepper spread, horseradish, figs, tomatoes, salami. food, Fiestaware, lemongrass, shamrock, sunflower, pearl gray
apple pie, homemade, baked pie

Our daughter Audrey loves party planning and is very good at it.  We had  decided that our main evening meal would be a simple hardwood barbecued salmon, and her choice of items for our appetizers, the meal itself, and the pairing of the wine, all reflected her eclectic taste, yet was easy to prepare.  An apple pie that I made early Saturday morning rounded out the evenings fare, and I think it's safe to say that everyone enjoyed the meal and had a good time - even Louie.

Louie, dog, family pet, miniature pinscher, terrier

Kaede and Joey left for home on Sunday morning.  We were sad to see them go.  We all agreed that we would see eachother again after the new year.  

Thanks Kaede and Joey (and Louie!) for brightening our lives for this very short time. See you soon!

rose, coral rose, climbing rose, coral climbing rose


Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Backyard Friends: Woodpeckers

Woodpecker, Downy Woodpecker, bird, backyard bird

    The natural world is full of surprises.  Take woodpeckers for example; I would have never known that these two very different looking birds, the Downy Woodpecker (above) and the Red Shafted Flicker (below), are actually related.  They both belong to the family Picidae, which means tree dwelling and insect eating; they each have "zygodactyl" feet (two toes facing front and two facing rear), strong sharp bills for digging into trees, and sticky tongues for eating wood-boring insects.  Many Picidae have patches of red and yellow on their heads and bellies and their stiff tail is used as a prop.  Their distinct flight is deeply undulating; as they fly from tree to tree, they will drop towards the ground, and then, with a few quick beats of their wings, swoop back up again.  

woodpecker, red shafted flicker, bird, backyard bird

This Red Shafted Flicker is about 12 inches in length and has a red moustache patch on its face.  Whenever I see this bird come to my feeders it is always solitary and never stays very long.  

The Downy Woodpecker is only about 6 or 7 inches long and its red patch is on the back of its head.  Similar to the Flicker, this little bird is also solitary, but it does seem to hang around a bit longer.  It's a bit comical watching the Downy as it climbs straight up the support beam to the feeder because as it hops upward its head bops from side to side as if it is peeking around each side.  So funny!

I'm glad though that these birds are opportunistic feeders and enjoy eating the suet cakes I keep in my backyard, allowing me the opportunity to see them out my kitchen window, and take a few pictures of them as well.


Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Hannah Höch, Pablo Picasso, and Henri Matisse

Hannah Höch, Cut With The Kitchen Knife, Dada Through The Last Weimar Beer-Beely Cultural Epoch In Germany, Pablo Picasso, Guitar, Sheet Music and Glass, Henri Matisse, gouaches découpés
When I first started being fascinated with the collage art form, I began looking at the art historical record for examples of works that best express those principles and elements that I am most interested in: variation and dynamics, color and texture.  I love the challenge of creating interesting compositions utilizing thoughtful designs, and in doing so I have come to favor three artists of the past, Hannah Höch, Pablo Picasso, and Henri Matisse.  Each of the three were born in the late 1800's and were artists in what we now call the Modernist Art Movement of the early 20th century.

Cut With The Kitchen Knife, Dada Through The Last Weimar Beer-Belly Cultural Epoch In Germany

Hannah Höch is most famous for her Dadaist photomontages created during the heyday of the post-World War I Weimar Republic era in Germany, which lasted about fourteen years.  In the example shown above, Cut With The Kitchen Knife, Dada Through The Last  Weimar Beer-Belly Cultural Epoch In Germany, she challenges the social and political events of her time.  And she was a master at it - her ability to deconstruct the everyday images from her local newspaper and reassemble them into new images is astounding.  The variety of images, their precise placement, and the way in which the shapes play off of each other, creating a perfectly balanced composition, keep my eyes interested and curious. 

Guitar, Sheet Music and Glass

In about 1912, Pablo Picasso began an exploration in what is known as papier collé, or pasted paper, with the guitar as his subject matter.  Both the technique and the choice of subject matter are said to have been borrowed from his friend and collaborator Georges Braque.  In this image, titled Guitar, Sheet Music and Glass, which is possibly his first in this exploration, color and texture play a great role in setting the still life scene and in creating the shape of the guitar, but what draws me the most to this image is the idea of using everyday objects as art materials.  The 'stuff of life' reassembled: wallpaper, sheet music and a newspaper, all make an appearance here

gouache découpés

Henri Matisse was faulted by critics of the day for his participation in what is now known as the Fauve Movement, which took place from about 1904-1908.  The shock of color they utilized in their paintings drove one critic to call them Fauves, or 'wild beasts'.  I wonder though, if perhaps Matisse's role in this movement is what influenced his bold choice of colors in his later years when he took up gouaches découpés, or 'painting with scissors' as he called it.  This particular collage, which I have been unable to locate the name of, is a good example of the striking color combinations the Fauves were so well known for.  Matisse's use of a simple complimentary color scheme, combined with what is obviously scraps and pieces of hand cut paper, create an asymmetric organic shape that stimulates my eye and keeps it moving, and the colors make me happy and excited.  

I have been a student of art history for a while, both in the academic world and as a personal interest.  A few years ago, though, I decided that it was time to create my own art instead of just looking at it.  But I will say that studying what has come before is a worthwhile activity, as well as getting out into the downtown art galleries where I live.  I would encourage anyone who thinks they are interested in creating art to first, look around you, then look within you.

Thanks for looking!
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