Sunday, 30 January 2011

Life Cycles…

Yesterday was one of those unique Texas January days where the temperature was a moderate 70 degrees. Since an ice storm with temperatures in the teens is predicted for this coming Tuesday, we elected to go on a photo safari rather than do some yard work. Not really a difficult decision.

One of our favorite destinations is the little town of Pilot Point. In just under a hour drive, you can turn your watch back 100 years and be totally in sync. What makes the drive really interesting is the coexistence of the shattered dreams of history with the new prosperity found in North Texas.

This time we focused on a road from the community of Celina to Pilot Point. Photo opportunities presented themselves over every hill and around every curve. Over the next few days, we hope to share our interpretative vision from this journey.

Walking just a few feet, Elena captured bicycling through the decades. While photographing an abandoned 1950’s style bicycle, she looked up to see someone going down the road with the latest gear. The tricycle was found in a little cafe down the road. Thus the title, Life Cycles.

Sunday, 23 January 2011


Ever since I read this post on Carol Leigh blog
I wanted to try this action, and once I've wrapped my arms around it I got totally hooked. So far my images fall into three categories:

Anything goes



Saturday, 22 January 2011

Happy Birthday to our dear friend Oleg!!!

In our society we tend to use the term “dear friend” casually. Often we refer to a mere acquaintance as a dear friend, sometimes diminishing the importance of true dear friends. In this case, Oleg is a “true blue” “dear friend.”
Oleg is the type of friend that never lets your brandy snifter run dry and politely listens to the insipid conversation that the brandy stimulates.
Oleg has a smile so sincere, that it brightens a room with warmth rather than that cold blue white of bleached teeth.
Oleg is a real man who runs daily and eats correctly. He is master of the gas grill and an inventive cook.
Oleg is a meritorious scientist with an enormous curiosity and the confidence to say “Wow, I didn’t know that.”
Science has taken Oleg to California but those of us remaining in the Texas community will raise our glasses high today and say, “Happy Birthday, Oleg. We love you and miss you.”

Sunday, 16 January 2011

The best of week one.

The best of week one was definitely watching Misty's videos. Everything she does seems so easy and effortless, but I already know how much effort it takes to finish even a simple sketch. My picks of the week are:

Ideal me, self portrait, believe it or not.

"Picasso face", self portrait, and I think it looks more like me.
Colored pencils.

Illustration to the poem.

Butterflies. Stabilo pencil and crayons.

Saturday, 15 January 2011

Today’s Bird Adventure

Elena takes one or two walks nearly every day. Located just a few yards from our door, is a creek that meanders through our sub-division. The city fathers in one of their rare moments of wisdom, created a marvelous green belt and trail along this creek that provides a 1.6 mile walk (yes, I have measured it) with trees, underbrush and thanks to “knapsack guy,” an abundance of wild flowers. (Knapsack guy will be the subject of another tale…later.)
We are experiencing a “cold snap,” a period of below freezing temperatures that has run on now for a few days. Elena soldiers on, with at least one walk a day. She bundles up looking a lot like Kenny from the TV show, South Park. Enough of the back story.
This morning, Elena rushed in from her walk. “Russ, get your camera and your butt out the door. The Robins are here!” Dutifully, I replied, “Yes Dear.” I donned my aviator leather coat and my Sherpa hat, with camera around my neck and off we went in lockstep. Sure enough, dozens of robins were swarming the underbrush for the berries now exposed after the leaf drop. What a sight, and such politeness. The robins would sit in the trees, with about six at a time dropping down to get some berries. Then they would return to the trees and six more would repeat the ritual. This went on and probably is still going on when we had to return home to warm up and get to our work.
In the midst of all of this activity, one lone cardinal, most probably thinking to himself, that this was his private winter smorgasbord and who were these interlopers gorging themselves at his expense. For us, the flash of red among all of this activity, made a wonderful photo op as you see here.
Another tidbit of useless knowledge… It is alleged that robins are non migratory. They follow a food chain based on ambient ground and air temperature. The magic number is 36 degrees. In winter, they forage for fruit, seeds and berries through latitudes offering temperatures at or above 36 degrees. Earthworms and bugs are available although not abundant above this temperature. This cold snap we are enduring most probably pushed these robins south for food. Hopefully, they will eat for a couple of days giving us additional photo opportunities.

Monday, 10 January 2011

Warming up

Today is the official First day of Misty's class.

A bit overwhelming, tons of information, lots of assignments. First thought: "Is it possible to accomplish this in one week?" Second thought:"Been there, done that".

Last year's class with Misty was very challenging for me. But the discovery that I actually could draw, and that drawing brings such joy, and can be such fun, left me no doubt about doing it again.

Today I drew a blind contour of a kettle, doodled a bit and then drew an apple. I think this kettle will be my ongoing project. All this is Warming Up...

Sunday, 9 January 2011

Snow Day

As a school kid, this meant a day off from school. Once you knew the school buses were not running, after farm chores, I would explore the pastures and forest with my camera. I loved the cleanliness of it all. Often the only sound would be the occasional sound of a tree borne snow drift falling to the ground. There is also a special sound when snow is crushed beneath your boot.

As an adult, a snow day presents nothing but questions. Do you risk driving to work? Do you shovel the snow from the sidewalk or let it melt? Sadly, living in a city, you just don't find pristine beauty in fresh fallen snow. Instead, you find grit, soot, salt & sand.

Still, you venture out because you have a camera, a wonderful wife who also has a camera and the desire to share or capture the youthful experience of pristine memories. Today we found some interesting bits of ice in the foliage.

In Russia, snow days simply don't exist. Schools, factories and business don't let snow impact their operations (wussie Amerikantsy).


Saturday, 8 January 2011

Crusade #47. Wrap-from the stash to the page

I participate in monthly Crusades created by Michelle Ward.

This month we document in our journals any special day where wrappings were a part of it.

Journal pages made from wrapping papers and gift tags:


Each New Year is greeted with resolutions to do this or that. We speculated that the creation of this blog will stimulate creative juices and a lasting effort.
Misty Mawn's class "Stretching within" starts on Monday, January 10.

Before the class started we had an exercises to introduce ourselves, and the prompt was "I come from..."
What happened after this, was breathtaking, my classmates poured their souls out, fearlessly and bravely shared the most vulnerable and most beautiful moments of their lives. I'm so proud of being a part of this group.

I thought this would be the best way to introduce ourselves to our readers. Here are Russell's and mine "I come from..." efforts. Try it, you may surprise yourself ... and others.

I come from Wisconsin, America's Dairyland.
I have the Midwest work ethic...but I'm lazy.
I have many careers but still don't know what I want to be when I grow up.
I will die of old age before growing up.

I come from Wisconsin, land of intellectual curiosity tempered by Methodist restraint.
I went to California to pursue my curiosity and become a hedonist.
I'm a physicist that has never worked in his field. Humanity probably benefited from this.
I am a "jack of all trades" and a 'Master of absolutely none."

I come from Wisconsin and I went to California.
Camera in hand, in Hollywood, a photo-op around every corner.
Learned I was a great technician,
But a digital camera with lots of memory can make me an artist.

I come from Wisconsin and when I went to California, I left my heart in San Francisco.

Like Hollywood, San Francisco is a state of mind...there should be two states just as in physics.
Sea Cliff and Baker Beach are heaven on earth...but earthly heavens have a shelf life.
Can never go back and will never return.

I come from Wisconsin and I went to Texas
From an old Physics book, I learned about the automobile business.
Car dealers are the last of the true entrepreneurs
Marketing cars is not a bit different than marketing movies
Texas is like California, just better drivers and roads.

I come from Wisconsin and I went to Texas
Found a beautiful Russian scientist, two foreigners in a strange land.
We met and I haven't stopped talking since.
Our shared experiences demand a revisit to all places held sacred by each of us.
Art & photography have become the Rosetta stone for a shared language and vision.

Love is renewed...Life is great!


I come from...
A country which does not exist anymore,
I come through the doors, some of which will never be open again,
Carrying my memories, the best of them...

I come from...
The kindness of my mother and
The strength of my father.
The family ties, my children, amazing friends,
and someone, who thinks that I'm wonderful.

I come from...

The land of white nights,
A great river, sea and sand,
Sunrise over the lake,
Foggy mornings and rainbow in the sky,
Walks in the forest, campfires and stargazing.

I come from...
Getting satisfaction in hard work,
From bad days and good days,
From losing friends and finding new ones,
From hope and love,
From gardens full of flowers.

I come from...
My teachers and mentors,
Who taught me that the main question is: "What if...?"
Still learning, developing, keep surprising myself.

Wednesday, 5 January 2011


Each day I'm a wife, mother, scientist, artist. As a result time is precious, but with support of my family, I'm exploring a new vision of my disparate worlds through personal growth in the Art world.

My artistic journey would not be possible without my husband. As my true accomplice, photographer and writer, he is going to contribute to this blog.

Together we will share the dribs and drabs of our lives seen through camera lens or transformed into mixed media.

Everything you can imagine is real (P. Picasso). Join us, we have more ideas than you can shake a stick at.