Thursday, February 28, 2013

PPF: Dualities

Happy Paint Party Friday! I'm offering up an art journal page today titled "my dualities." I started with a green and black painted ink-blot I created a long time ago and built the page from there. I'm really pleased with how it came out. I love all the little paired embellishments and images throughout. It's art for art's sake.  A concept which I like, but which I don't practice often enough. This recent post from Michael DeMeng, titled "The Importance of Being Artist" reminded me once again of the importance of art in my life. Check it out; I think you'll enjoy it!  And, to see others engaged in painterly art, check out this link.

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Questions About the Summertime Photo Scavenger Hunt

I know that we're still in Winter, but the first day of Spring is just three weeks away!  And lately, I've been thinking about the Third Annual Summertime Photography Scavenger Hunt which I will host this year. And I'm getting excited!
But I had a couple of questions.  First, about timing. I have traditionally run the Hunt beginning on the first official day of summer (June 21 this year) and ending on the last day of summer (September 21).  But I've had some feedback that people actually tend to start their summertime activities earlier than that, and I was thinking about whether to change the time frame from June 1- September 1. Any thoughts?
Second, I was wondering about whether to set up some specific forum where people can post their photos (i.e. a facebook group, a flicker site or a yahoo group), rather than relying on people posting on their blogs. I kindof like seeing all the photos pop up on folks' blogs, but it can be a little difficult to keep track of everyone who is playing along. Thoughts?
Those of you who have played along before, let me know your thoughts please.
For those of you who don't know what I'm talking about, check out this link.
Looking forward to your feedback.

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Look Up//Look Down #8

This week's installment of look up//look down features a winter's sunset and a photo of my deck that I call "winter lichen." Thanks so much to Helena for starting this meme. I'm really enjoying it.  If you've been enjoying these pairings, you should check out this link at Digital Photography Studio about telling a story with a diptych.

Monday, February 25, 2013

My Photographer's Eye

Vignette #9 Cozy
She really wants to be a good dog. I know that. And I know she's trying. And I believe she'll get there (someday). It's just that (right now) she's still a puppy. She can't help barking and chewing and (occasionally) having an accident in the house. And it's annoying. She gets on my nerves, and I (occasionally) yell at her, calling her a "bad dog." And I feel bad about that.
So, I took this photograph to remind me that she's really cute. . . especially when she's curled up nice and cozy.  My photographer's eye can capture this part of Aria. And help me recall this next time I find a chewed up shoe or book or ipad .  
My Photographer's Eye is a semi-regular series designed to feature my instagram photography and a brief accompanying narrative. You can see the other vignettes in this series by clicking on this link

Sunday, February 24, 2013

Hello Monday

Hello Monday . . . a meme started by Lisa Leonard.
Hello Baseball . . . now that soccer season is over, Henry is moving right into baseball. His first game is tomorrow, and he's got cool new shoes and his team hat.
Hello Movies . . . I've actually seen a few things lately . . . Silver Linings Playbook (which was a bit more of a downer than I was expecting); Argo (which I really liked); Flight (which was surprisingly slow); The Perks of Being a Wallflower (which was really disturbing, but so well acted). Seen anything you would recommend?
Hello Reading . . . I'm actually reading a novel (first time in a long time) - The 19th Wife by David Ebershoff. It's my book group book, and I'm hoping to finish it in time.  There's a small problem, in that it's on my ipad, which now looks like this:
Aria, the big dog, chewed up the corner of my Ipad! It was in its cover, so she wasn't hurt, and it stills works. But, seriously??? This dog has a serious chewing problem. Have you read anything good lately?
Hello Back to School . . . the kids had last week off, but they're back today. They both got (most) of their homework done.
Hello Sore Legs . . . Clara and I did another four mile run, and as the miles start to add up, we're both feeling the wear and tear a bit. I've become a big advocate of ice.


For the last four years, I've watched this boy play soccer for his High School team. He has grown so much in his skill, his leadership and his character.  And I have loved being a part of it.  The boys lost their playoff game today, and his high school soccer career is over. He'll play a few more tournaments for his club team and may even play in college. But driving home today, I was struck by the significance of watching his last high school game.  Maybe because I know it's the first of many "lasts" I'll be experiencing this year.  I'm proud of him and the fact that he's ready to move in to the next phase of his life. But, oh my, I'm going to miss this!

Friday, February 22, 2013

Faces 7-10

Still playing around with the Paper 45 app and making faces for Ayala's 29 Faces challenge. I'm sure I won't get all the way to 29, perhaps closer to a dozen if I'm lucky.
Just more quirky watercolor faces with stories to tell.  "Ben likes turtlenecks."
I hope these made you smile!
Tomorrow, I'm off to watch my boy and his soccer team play in the quarter final match of the California Central Coast Section Tournament.  Good thoughts, well wishes and lucky charms gratefully accepted! I'll be back tomorrow with the results.

Thursday, February 21, 2013

PPF: Back to My Paintless Pages

It's been a while since I worked in my paintless art journal (paper and pens only). I pulled it out and made a few pages.  This one reads "Somedays I feel like I can take on the whole world!"  Nice to have an optimistic page. The vintage image is my mother. I used a transparency and did most of the collage work on top of it.
The lighting and white balance in this one is a little off, but it was fun. It's about how I need to let go of my need to stay on schedule in order to focus on what is paramount.
This page features one of my favorite quotes, "When love comes to ask, 'What do you know?', I will reply, 'This girl, this boy.'" Used stamping and pen work to create the patterned paper. Plus some yellow washi tape to make everything come together.
Finally, a page about how much I miss taking a trip up to the snow. Although we are not the biggest (or best) skiers, we usually make one to two trips up to the mountains for a ski weekend each winter. We missed it this year (and last, I think). I like the combination of patterned papers and handmade papers on this one quite a bit.
Do you have any favorites today?
I'm posting this to Paint Party Friday! If you want to see more painterly goodness, check out this link.
P.S. To my PPF friends who haven't visited in a while, please check out this post to learn about the commitment I've made to join Team In Training (or click on my photo to the left).

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Look Up//Look Down #7

A rain storm blew in today. Aria (the big dog) is such a puppy that she was confused by water coming down from the sky and couldn't decide if she wanted to go out and play in it or not! Gypsy is decidedly not a fan.
I've been following along with Helena's meme to post a weekly photograph looking up and looking down, as have others. I've been particularly taken with Amy's posts which capture household life and people. My photos have been mainly about nature or architecture. You can see my earlier pairings by clicking on this link. I chose the pair for today to bring a bit more "life" into my pairings. Have you started to notice differences among the pairings posted by fellow bloggers? Are there any that are catching your eye?

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Let's Talk: Photo Cropping

Remember this photograph? I posted it here, as a potential selection for my January Photo-Heart Connection. At the time, I promised to talk more about the photograph and the young man in it.  He's one of the other seniors on Henry's soccer team and holds a special place in my heart because he's the only other one who has played soccer all four years with Henry. When they were freshman, the program was in a bit of disarray so no one else went out for the team. This year, they're both Captains and the team is thriving. He is also just a terrific kid - polite, hard working, responsible.  His older brother was the first one in the family to go to college, and we're hoping that Andres follows in his footsteps. 
As for the photograph, I love it because it emerged during processing from this original:
On Senior's Night, we give a nice framed action photo to the seniors as a going-away gift. Since I'm responsible for this task, I shoot lots of photos of the seniors during the season to try to capture something special.  I took this picture of Andres walking off during half-time. Although I liked his expression, I thought it was an unremarkable photograph.  But when I cropped it using the rule of thirds (and brightened it up a bit), I ended up with a photograph that I loved. By placing him in the left third of the frame, rather than in the center, he becomes the focal point. I've left enough of the soccer goal to give context and the depth of field is just right (background soft, but not blurry). I'm really happy with how it turned out. 
Usually, I try to frame my photographs while I'm taking them, so that I don't need to crop them in my computer. For action shots, though, I usually don't have that luxury. That's when cropping on the computer really helps.
What about you? Do you crop photographs on the computer? Or compose them correctly in the first place? Do you think about design rules (like the rule of thirds) when cropping or just play around until you find something you like? Got any other cropping tips to share? Let's talk about it . . .
"Let's Talk" is a semi-regular series designed to inspire frank discussion and sharing of information on issues relating to photography, art and blogging. 

Sunday, February 17, 2013

Hello Monday

Photo Credit: Mark Foyer, Half Moon Bay Review
{Hello Monday} . . .  
Hello Soccer Playoffs . . . Henry's soccer team finished their regular season last week. And what a season it was!  They finished in first place, claiming the league championship with an 11-1-2 record. Their finish qualifies them to go to the California Central Coast Section (CCS) playoffs. It's very exciting for the boys, and I'm so happy that Henry was able to win a championship in this, his senior year. The photograph above was taken at their last home game, when the team honors the seniors and their parents.  I was thrilled that Paul was well enough to attend and am really grateful to Mark Foyer, our local sports writer, for taking this picture. Some days the things that used to be commonplace now seem miraculous.
Hello School Vacation  . . . The kids have this week from school. Unfortunately, I still have to work. I do at least have Monday off, and I'm hoping to do a bit of creating.
Hello Return to Fitness . . . It feels so good to be getting back to the gym and to running.
I hope you're looking forward to a wonderful week!  What are you saying hello to?

Saturday, February 16, 2013

Simply A Moment: Recognizing My Potential

Feb. 26, 2:36
The winter afternoon sun is streaming through the sliding glass door.  Aria is sleeping happily on the hardwood floor, soaking up its warmth. I'm sitting on the soft couch, reading blogs and watching TV. Gypsy is sleeping beside me, curled up on a pillow.  I'm not sure why they're so tired. I'm a little tired, too, but at least I have a good reason. I reach for my water bottle. The cool liquid fills my mouth and then flows down my throat. I put the bottle down. The plastic feels smooth and curved in my hand. I read the words and they fill me with pride. I earned the bottle for hitting my first fund raising milestone. I get up to let the dog out side. I feel a little stiffness in my hips and knees. I earned that, too, from having run four miles this morning with Clara and the rest of our marathon team. Sitting here, breathing deeply, I suddenly feel filled with the potential of my new undertaking. The sun shines brightly. I mute the TV, and hear bird song coming through the open window.
This simple moment is inspired by Alexa of Trimming the Sails. To read other January moments or to join in, check out this link.

Friday, February 15, 2013

My Photographer's Eye

Vignette #8 Harbor Views
I am blessed to live near the water, in an area of immense natural beauty. My photographer's eye encourages me to notice the harbor from different angles, in different light, capturing its many moods and colors.  I took this shot when Clara and I were walking the dogs up in the foothills above our house.  We had just trudged bounded up a steep hill and I turned to see how much light we had left in the day. The sun was just beginning to set. I love how you can make out a few details in the silhouette - the sailboats and break water and the radar tower. 
A few days later, Paul and I were walking along the Coastside trail, and my photographer's eye saw this:
The blue water, the white foam, the sandy shore all framed by the rusty bridge which runs over the creek bed. One harbor. Two views. Can you choose a favorite?
My Photographer's Eye is a semi-regular series designed to feature my instagram photography and a brief accompanying narrative. You can see the other vignettes in this series by clicking on this link

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Two Quick Valentine Linkies

I'm not a huge Valentine's Day person, but I did want to share a couple of Heart linkies. First, Kristin of 9th & Mayne is offering a free download of the watercolor hearts above.  Click here for details.
Also Alisa Burke has a whole lot of Valentine craft ideas in this post.   My favorite are the "healed hearts" above.
We don't have any big plans here for Valentine's Day (except for Henry, who bought his girlfriend a charm bracelet and is taking her out for dinner). Clara and I are going for a long run, and I think I'll get Paul some yummy dark chocolate.
Do you have Valentine's Day plans?

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

My Photographer's Eye

Vignette #6:  A Pause
It's only mid-day, but I've already accomplished so much. It's been a busy day, a very busy day, in fact. But good-busy. It's the kind of day I used to have all the time, back before Paul got sick and Clara got so stressed and I felt incapable of doing anything more than simply getting us all through the day in one piece. But, today, I feel different - confident and hopeful that things are returning to normal. I've worked hard, and I'm rushing to get to my afternoon class on time. I park my car, my head full of the day's lesson plan as I rush up the path through the park.  I am clearly in a hurry, but my photographer's eye notices the beauty of the day and sees the beauty of these old oaks and begs me to pause and capture this beauty. And so I do.
Vignette #7:  100% Loyal and True
To be honest, Gypsy is a little annoyed by the fact that we have gotten a new, big dog. One who chases her around sometimes and nips at her heels. One who gets jealous when her mom is petting her and sticks a big nose in-between us. And one who takes a long time to do her "business" outside. I'm standing on the steps waiting for Aria to finish up. I turn and see Gypsy, waiting, patiently. My photographer's eye sees a small dog, framed by a big house, waiting for her master, 100% loyal and true. I could never get her to pose like that if I had my big camera out. I am grateful that I am able to capture the moment on my iphone and preserve it with instagram before Aria comes bounding up to ruin the scene.
My Photographer's Eye is a semi-regular series designed to feature my instagram photography and a brief accompanying narrative. You can see the other vignettes in this series by clicking on this link

Monday, February 11, 2013

Look Up//Look Down #6

Kendrick Hall Rotunda, University of San Francisco School of Law
I work on Monday nights and tonight, during the break in my class, I was captivated by what I saw when I looked up and looked down.  So, I pulled out my iphone to take my weekly photo pair for this meme created by Helena. I think they make a nice pair. What connection do you see between the two?

Thank you . . . and a few thoughts

Yesterday I announced that I am training to run a half-marathon and fund raising to find a cure for cancer.  You can read the full post here.  I was truly touched by how quickly many of you responded to my request to join me!  Thank you from the bottom of my heart.
Sian Fair has a wonderful series she calls "So this is scrapbooking," where people share stories of how scrapbooking has affected them. Yesterday I had one of those experiences. Scrapbooking is starting a blog and "meeting" people from all over the world on-line.  Scrapbooking is meeting a few of them in real life and hoping/planning to meet many more. Scrapbooking is pouring your heart out to your blog friends when your husband is diagnosed with cancer and you world goes sideways.
And scrapbooking is asking those same friends to support you in raising money to find a cure for his disease.
And having them respond!
Thank you to everyone who has responded so far. Thank you to those who continue to keep Paul in your thoughts and prayers, and who support Clara and I in our training, even if you can't or don't choose to financially support our efforts. 
Thank you scrapbooking!
If you would like to help us raise money to find better treatment and cures for blood cancers, please click on this link or on my picture in my sidebar. That will take you to the home page for "Team Running for Dad" where you can learn more about our story and donate.
Tomorrow, back to regularly scheduled programming!

Saturday, February 9, 2013

Running for Dad . . . Please Join Us

Dear Blog Friends,
My daughter, Clara, and I are undertaking a new adventure. It is an adventure with a deep personal meaning for us, and I hope you will join us.  We have signed up with the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society's Team in Training Program to run a half marathon in San Diego on June 2, 2013.  We call ourselves "Team Running for Dad" because we are running in honor of  Paul, my husband and Clara's dad.
As many of you know, he was diagnosed with lymphoblastic lymphoma in July, 2012.  I shared the story in this post and regular readers will know that he bravely made his way through eight rounds of chemotherapy and that his cancer is now in remission. 
Through his experience, I have learned how much work needs to be done to find a treatment and cure for blood cancers.   Clara and I have decided to become part of this effort by raising money through Team in Training.  We have pledged to raise the rather enormous sum of $5,000 between us!
I am asking you to help us reach this goal by clicking on this link to make a donation at our fund raising page. If you would like to donate but are not comfortable donating on-line, email me at, and I will let you know how you can donate by check made payable to The Leukemia and Lymphoma Society
With a grateful heart, I thank you,

Friday, February 8, 2013

This and That

I live in such a beautiful and interesting place. . . the other day Paul and I went for a walk on the coastside trail. This building is the home to the Tsunami Warriors (kayakers), a yoga studio and an artists colony.  It seems like a good illustration for a few interesting links:
***Kat Sloma is hosting the "Liberate Your Art 2013" swap. I've done it the past two years, and it's so much fun! Participants send in five post cards featuring copies of their original art and receive five back in return. To sign up, go to this link
***Carolyn Dube is hosting a FREE art journaling workshop, "Use Your Words,"  which focuses on the use of text but also promises to teach a variety of other techniques.  You can sign up here. 
***Sian of From High in the Sky published this fantastic list of potential scrapbook page topics, which could also very easily be prompts for art journal pages.
***Fourteen photographers have joined together in a weekly portrait project to document how they see their children. It's called "You Are My Wild," and you can check it out here.
***Bernice is sponsoring a free art journaling project "An A to Z of Me." You can see the prompts at this link and her responses at her blog, here. She sponsored a month long Gratitude journaling exercise in November, and I really enjoyed it. This time, in addition to having a topic, a quote, a scripture passage, a journaling prompt and an inspiration, she also has downloadable PDF's for each day. And its FREE!
Do you find any of these intriguing?
Got anything interesting to share?

Thursday, February 7, 2013

PPF: Faces 4, 5 and 6

Ayala is sponsoring her 29 Faces Challenge this month, so I thought I would post Faces 4, 5 and 6 today as part of Paint Party Friday. All of them are made on my ipad, using the Paper 53 app.  Each one is a distinct character, I think.
My first face today is Maura. She tries to hide her age but worries that she isn't succeeding. 
Next, meet Charlie.  You can tell what his story is just by looking at him!
Finally, here's Sybil. She's a bit of a free spirit, but mainly innocent.
You can check out other faces at this link and painterly fun at Paint Party Friday (here).

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Look Up//Look Down #5

Helena is hosting a weekly photographic meme, inviting a pair of photographs - one taken looking up and one looking down.  This week, I paused out back before going for a run. I was standing on the back deck and looked up to spy the underside of the top deck. I looked down to see my new running shoes.
This meme has really gotten me to think about how two images can pair with each other to create a story or highlight certain colors or patterns. Last week, I was all about blues and the coming of spring.  This week, I'm all about textures and grids, revealed through grays and greens. 
I used to follow a blog called 3191 Miles Apart, where two women each posted a picture from their morning. I loved examining the juxtaposition to find patterns and meanings. I liked it so much that I eventually bought the book they produced from the project, "A Year of Mornings." It's a beautiful, peaceful book which shows two lives captured through random images. Helena's meme has brought this all back to me. And I love it. I just added the newly revised (to me) 3191 blog to my blog reader and I'm looking forward to seeing what Maria Vettese and Stephanie Barnes are up to these days.
And I was wondering . . . what do you look for, what do you see, in the pairs of Look Up//Look Down photographs? Or any photo pair? I'd love to hear your thoughts.

Faces 1-3: Illustrations

Ayala is sponsoring 29 Faces, a challenge to create 29 faces in any artistic format during February. Here are my first three:

I sketched and painted all three of these on my Ipad, using the Paper 53 app. I'm becoming a little more confident with it. I like this series of faces because they seem like they could be three characters in a book. I've always been fascinated by artists who do illustrations, and I've often thought that my water color blob faces work because they do seem to have so much character.  Do you think these three have a story to tell?

Sunday, February 3, 2013

A Peek Inside My Life

Outside My Window... it's a cool, clear winter night. I love stepping outside to identify a few constellations and wonder at the beauty of the twinkling stars. 
Around the house and garden...  The laundry seems never-ending! It is so hard to keep up on house work these days, with a full work schedule and time spent taking care of the kids. On a positive note, I'm noticing the shadow of the butterfly wind chimes on our front door and decide to capture it in instagram.
I am thinking... about a very special project I am about to start with Clara. Watch for details soon.
I am thankful for... the warm reception I received when I returned to the gym this week.
From the kitchen... a lot of healthy food. I've gone back on to Weight Watchers and am recommitting myself to getting healthy again. I even lost two pounds last week!
I am wearing ... my running shoes. I'm starting to log some miles again, and it feels good.
I am hoping ... for a few more soccer victories this season for Henry's team. They are currently in second place in their league - one point behind the first place team. They play that team on Thursday! It would be so special for him to win a championship in his senior year.
I am reading... all the wonderful stories in Sian's Storytelling Sunday 3: Pick Your Precious. You can find about 40 wonderful stories at this link. I am also reading all your blogs but am very behind in commenting - I hope to catch up soon. 
I am busy creating... faces for Ayala's 29 Faces challenge. I am also finding photography very fulfilling right now and playing in my art journals when I get a chance.
I am hearing... and watching The Walking Dead Season 1 Marathon as a type this. I became hooked on the show this season (season 3), and it's really interesting to see how it all began. My other current favorite TV shows are Downton Abbey, Vegas, Nashville, Grey's Anatomy, Top  Chef, Project Runway, CSI, Parenthood, Grimm, Hawaii Five-O and Chicago Fire. I am anxiously awaiting the start of Mad Men and Necessary Roughness. I also enjoy Workaholics, The Daily Show, The Colbert Report, and Modern Family when I get a chance.
What's up in your life right now?

Saturday, February 2, 2013

The Wedding Buddha (Storytelling Sunday)

{Sian of From High in the Sky hosts a gathering of storytellers on the first Sunday of each month. For 2013, she invites people to share stories of the precious keepsakes in their lives. I'm sharing a love story, a propos for February. To read other stories, click on this link.}
I was on the verge of coming into my own.  I had been at college for two years and was beginning to have a sense of who I was and what I wanted to be, even if I wasn't exactly sure how to get there.  And that summer, I met a wonderful couple named Kris and Vince.  They were a few years older than me and had clearly already crossed that threshold.  They seemed fully realized people - smart, funny, well-traveled, great conversationalists and very much in love.  I treasured the time we spent together and aspired to be like them some day.  At the end of the summer, they were married in the Berkeley Rose Garden.  I was particularly enthralled with one of their wedding gifts - a simple white, porcelain Buddha. It's beauty and serenity, as well as its exotic nature, enraptured me. 
Kris and Vince moved up to Seattle to start their life together, and we kept in touch with Christmas cards and the occasional lunch when travel plans brought us to the same city.  Four years later, I sent them an invitation to my wedding.  They were unable to attend, but a gift arrived from them - a distinctive green box from Gump's. When I opened it, my heart skipped a beat when I saw this beautiful white porcelain Buddha. The fact that they remembered my reaction and sent that very special gift spoke volumes about the people they were.  
Now, almost thirty years later,  I still have my Wedding Buddha. It sits peacefully in our bathroom and reminds me that I was only truly able to come into my own when I found someone to cross that threshold with.

Friday, February 1, 2013

Photo-Heart Connection: Country Road

Once a month, Kat Sloma asks photographers to share the one recent photo which most strongly made a photo-heart connection for them.  This month, for me, it was pretty easy.  I adore this photograph which speaks to me of peace and light and the infinite possibility of the open road. I had been wanting to capture this place, this space, for a very long time and am so happy that I took myself on an artists' date to do just that.  Kat recently wrote (here) about being a "photographer of place." Her words spoke to me because I feel so  fulfilled by my photography when I am capturing a sense of place like this. 
To see other participants making a photo-heart connection, go to this link.
There were two other photographs which also touched my heart this month and almost made the cut (all three photos are much better if you click on them and view them in a larger size).
I was strangely drawn to this lichen photo I took. To me, it resembles a map and reminds me of the art work of Mary Nasser. It draws me in, as I think of all the pieces of lichen as islands and I wonder what their inhabitants would be like. 
And then there's this photo:
I haven't blogged about it yet, but I will.  This soccer player is not my son but the photo still touches my heart for reasons I will share at a later date. Sports photography, especially sports portraiture,  is another area where I feel fulfilled as a photographer.
Thanks Kat for encouraging me to review my photos from January and to think about the various aspects of my photography which truly touch my heart.  If you're a photographer and haven't yet joined in the PHC, I urge you to do so. It's a wonderful and revealing experience.