Friday, December 30, 2016

Foto Art Friday – December 30, 2016
Into Tomorrow
As I thought about creating this week’s piece, I reflected back on this past year – after all, isn’t that what one does when the end of the year rolls around?  And, then, I thought, that instead of looking back, looking forward might be a better way to approach this time of year.  This piece reflects that change of mind set.  Vintage music and a copyright free background make up the foundation of this piece, while specialty brushes of coffee rings and written words provided the finishing touches.  My own image of some trees in winter along a deserted country road brought to mind the idea of looking forward into the unknown – into tomorrow.
Into Tomorrow


Wednesday, December 28, 2016

And Other Views…..
My photo op drive also gave me other views, and I thought I’d group these all together, while letting the trees stand alone.  Altho taken at the same time, some thoughts may be different, while others just reinforce some realizations. 
 Old Homestead
Of course, if there’s a deserted cabin or homestead to be found, I will find it!  And, they do seem to dot the landscape here.  What a tale this cabin could tell us!  I’m not clear whether it’s still being used to hold feed for the cattle, but it looked pretty “alone” to me, sitting out in this field, with an old windmill alongside.  Still, the colors of the sky and grass, and of the cabin itself, lend a warmth to its station in life, doesn’t it?
Old Windmill
This image gives us a totally different perspective, doesn’t it?  The white-capped mountains in the distance reminds us that it’s likely cold outside, and the black & white finish makes the entire scene seem a bit desolate.  Add to that, an old windmill, no longer in use, but still standing tall, and the overall effect is of something forgotten.  A lost homestead, a former life – it’s for you to decide.
When I saw this scene, I felt a sense of community.  If you look closely at the foothills of the mountains, you can see a few farms/ranches.  Yes, the mountains sort of dwarf them in comparison, but I get a sense of the plucky, tough people that call those farms or ranches home, and make a life there.  Their lives may be physically tougher than ours, but they certainly have much grander views to compensate!
Abandoned Cabin
I found this little guy along a train track that ran along a highway leading to a very small town.  I would have loved to explore him up close, but there was a fence in between us that made that impossible.  Still, I love the rough wood, in several shades of gray, and the resilience that I felt just looking at this cabin, still standing, after years out in the middle of nowhere, withstanding winter storms, spring winds, and the strong sun of summers gone by. 
Church Bell
As I wound my way toward home, I saw this wonderful church bell perched in the steeple of San Vincent de Paul Church, in the tiny town of Punta de Agua, New Mexico.  This church was established in 1878, and is quite the tiny little church.  However, my focus was on the church bell.  I don’t know if it still rings out, calling people to worship, but I love the character of it, and the simplicity of the cross standing tall over it.  In a way, it’s a tribute to this tiny town, still standing and vibrant so far off the beaten trail.
Slice of Past Life
Still in the town of Punta de Agua, I came across a deserted building.  The open window would be mostly hidden during the summer months, by the leaves of the tree in front of it, but during this time of year, I could see thru it and into the remains of a past life.  An old stove is all that is left of what must have been the heart of a home, the kitchen.  The touch of turquoise around the window pane makes me believe that this was a well-cared for home sometime in the past.
Private Property
Another snippet of a deserted building in Punta de Agua.  The sign letting me know this is considered Private Property, speaks to a time when life inside this window was bustling with activities and daily chores.  I would have loved to step closer to look inside the window, but I felt I needed to respect the sign.  What’s inside?  A story left untold perhaps.
I decided that it had been too long since I took myself out on one of my photo op drives.  Generally, when I do this during the winter months (and it officially turned “winter” just a few days ago), I venture out during a snowstorm, so I can get some wonderful images of the landscape and trees covered in snow, or in the midst of a snow globe type environment.  This day, it was brilliant sunshine, and the only snow was on the distant mountain tops. 
Old Fenceline
Winter in New Mexico can be many things.  Today, it was blue skies and dead grass that appeared to be golden.  Add in a rickety gate on a barbed wire fence line, and you have a curiously warm feeling image of a tree in its winter sleep.  Winter days can sometimes seem never-ending, and the fence line sort of mirrors that feeling, as well as the sense of space that comes from being in rural New Mexico.
Fenceline Tree
Further down the road, and actually on a small dirt road off the main route I was taking, I came across this perfectly proportioned tree, with, again, a fence line leading me toward it.  If you look closely, you can see the snow-capped mountains in the background, sort of hidden by the tree.  It looks as if the fenceline, and the road alongside it, lead to the mountains.  Ah, but here, looks can be deceiving.  Just like the tree looks rather dead, but yet, makes me imagine what it will be like in the spring and summer, full of life.
Roadside Beauty
On the same dirt road, but a bit closer to my main route for this part of my journey today, I found this wonderful tree and view.  The things that draws me to this image are the lines of the fenceline, dirt road and power/telephone poles all leading to what seems to be a single point in the distance.  It sort of reminded me of how many different experiences in our life can end up leading us to the same realization of where we’re meant to be.  Which path shall we follow?
Gnarly Tree
I truly love the look of this tree.  I have to give you a bit of forewarning – keep an eye out for it in future photo collages of mine!  It has such wonderful character.  And, no, it’s truly not dead.  At least, I don’t think it is.  I believe it will once again bloom when the warm winds of spring arrive.  However, for now, I thought it was so stark, that only a black & white version truly suited its personality.
New Mexico Winter
Ah, a change of perspective!  Isn’t it amazing how viewing the same tree differently can affect how we see it?  In this image, the wonderfully magical New Mexico light has transformed it.  Yes, the tree and its companion are still without leaves, but the blue sky and light of the white wisps of clouds almost make the tips of the tree seem like they are alight!  The mountains in the background, with their snow caps, remind us that it truly is a bit nippy out there in the brilliant light.  It’s just a much more optimistic view of the same tree – and reminds us how a change of perspective can affect how we see our own reality!

Thursday, December 22, 2016

December 23, 2016
Winter Snow Globe
We were having some winter weather here in New Mexico when I was contemplating this piece.  It was a semi-snowy, icy day, full of sleet, and it just felt so cold looking out the window of my studio and home.  Because of the icy sleet, I didn’t venture out to photograph scenes, but instead looked back on some images from other winter storms, and found this wonderful image of a willow tree in a past storm.  The day today was sort of snow globe-like, altho no snow stuck to the ground.  The snow and ice just sort of blew around, reminding me of a snow globe.  For this piece, I used some sheet music as a foundation piece, and then layered that with a Citra Solv background piece I created a while ago.  It has a bit of text in there, but the reason I chose it is because it helps to create the snow-globe effect.  Specialty brushes add some nice touches to finish off the piece.  Hopefully, this piece makes you want to snuggle up with a comfy throw wrapped around you, a good book to read, and maybe even a lovely fire in the fireplace.
Winter Snow Globe

Friday, December 16, 2016

December 16, 2017 – Foto Art Friday
Fly Away All
During late fall/early winter, I photographed this empty bird’s nest that was nestled in a large bush just off our back patio.  It reminded me of the summer, when I would sit on the patio in the early morning, listening to the birds chirping and flying around greeting the day, and seemingly wishing me a good morning!  I would also hear cheeping, most likely the baby birds that once called this home.   But, they are gone now, and only dead leaves are left in the nest.  They have all flown away…..and least until next spring!  The thought of the circle of the seasons keeps me from feeling too sad.  I don’t know – could this be another bird’s nest next year?  Home to yet another bird family of little ones?  I hope so!

Fly Away All

Friday, December 9, 2016

Foto Art Friday – December 9, 2016
In A Deep and Dark December
There’s been quite a bit of wintry weather going on all over the country, it seems.  I felt like I wanted this piece to match the week’s weather, so I went back into my image files and found this image of a wintry day here from about a year or so ago.  I layered it with a number of different backgrounds and effects, blending and merging them until this result happened.  As I played with this piece, the old Simon and Garfunkel song “I Am A Rock” kept repeating in my head, specifically the line “in a deep and dark December”.  I knew I just had to name this piece for that line, as it certainly does look like a deep and dark December.
In A Deep and Dark December

Friday, December 2, 2016

Foto Art Friday – December 2, 2016
I have an image of some Joshua Trees that I took which I had converted to a black and white photo.  I loved the sort of creepy feel the trees had in that particular image and decided to play on that feel for this piece.  I merged a background I made using Citra Solv and a book text page.  I then added the image and blended it with the background so that the trees were highlighted.  More blending and merging of digital elements allowed some of the text to sort of “pop”.  The two trees that are in the foreground gave the piece its name.