Monday, 24 December 2012

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

The holiday season is here. A time where dear friends gather together to share faith and companionship. A time of wonderful food and celebration. We wish for you all the joy associated with the season.
May 2013 bring success and great art to you all!

Thursday, 8 November 2012

Celina hot air balloon festival (continued)

In addition to my HDR attempts, I managed to get a few images of flight crews and festival attendees.  Attendance was sparse…probably due to the first chill in the air for this fall season. 

This young man was having a great time and was dressed for the chill.  

This ground crew member was a study in efficiency.  He didn’t waste one motion in laying out the balloon and controlling the cold air fill prior to the burner start.

Elena did such a fabulous job of creating balloon images but I did manage to be in the right spot at the right time to catch this one as it passed over my head with the burner full on.

Monday, 29 October 2012

Celina Balloon Festival

This weekend, we attended the 7th annual Celina Balloon Festival.  Russ was so excited; he felt the festival was a perfect example of a small town event perfectly executed.  Being from a rural small town, the events brought back pleasant memories of his “puppy days” back in Wisconsin.
Saturday, we were up and on the road to Celina well before dawn.  It wasn’t until we were well on our way that we discovered the temperature was 34 degrees.  Since we are expats from Russia and Wisconsin, cold weather will not deter us.  Fortunately, we arrived just as the sun cleared the horizon and we were confident that the warming rays of the sun will ensure our comfort…Not!!!!
Volunteers directed us to the event parking lot, a corn field, adjacent to the event.  Getting to the parking place was a fun ride in itself.  Undulating through the corn field was something that can’t be properly described, just experienced.
We walked directly to the balloon staging area so that Russ could set up to do some HDR images and I could do a walkabout within the staging area.  Unfortunately, it was so cold that only the smallest balloons could get enough heated air to lift off.  In any case, we got great shots…as they say…”Up close and personal.”

The festival was colorful and with such a variety of events, so much photo opportunities. So; over the next few days, we will post our images…Stay tuned.

Inside the hot air balloon.

Captain is ready to take off.

Fire it up!

This balloon was too large to fly in the cold.

Sunday, 14 October 2012

2012 White Rock Lake Studio Tour

We visited the “White Rock Lake Artists’ Studio Tour” and had a marvelous time.  It was the 20th year for this event and our first time attending.  First impressions were not great.  The map that located the participating studios was printed lavender on white.  Now it was a pretty map but when reduced to fit the web page, it became nearly impossible to read or follow.  Also, this beautiful little neighborhood is located adjacent to the Dallas Arboretum and with the parking issues associated with living close to a popular destination, the signage was foreboding and confusing.

Once you get past these initial hurdles, you are in for a treat.  This is a fantastic neighborhood of older homes or cottages, lovingly updated and maintained.  The studios were to die for and nirvana for creative persons.

As mentioned before, the studios and creative spaces were some of the finest we have ever seen.  Without exception, we felt a sense of tranquility, a sense of creativity and most importantly, a sense of joy that translates into the diverse forms of art created.

The artists in residence, as a group, are wonderful ambassadors of the creative process.  They delighted in answering questions, demonstrating processes and just talking art as if we were neighbors “over for a cup of coffee.”  As an individual often accused of having, “a gift of gab,” I was in “hog heaven” talking to the artists, other visitors and even had a conversation with a cat.
Let’s talk about the cat.  Walking the neighborhood, we spotted a home with two giant dragonflies decorating an exterior wall.  In the yard, a black cat was sitting observing with typical feline bemusement, my machinations to get a camera angle.  When I noticed the cat, I meowed to it for no other reason than it seemed “the right thing to do.”  To my surprise, every time I meowed, the cat responded in kind. 

The AB Rockin Studio specializes in the mosaics.  Here we found mosaics and glass fusion pieces that were unique and very original.  Sissy & Lynn teach and have an open night class most every Thursday evening.  We plan on stopping by with a bottle of wine plus our own bits & pieces to try our hand at being creative some future Thursday.

Sissy and Lynn:

Another fun location was the studio of Laurie McClurg.  Laurie specializes in the creation of cards and assemblage boxes.  Her creations are inventive, nostalgic and beautiful.  I enjoyed our conversation about images from the past being repurposed into art.  We also shared recollections and Mark Twain quotes about living in San Francisco.
Laurie McClurg
All the previous studio visits were within walking distance of a single parking space.  Then we drove a short distance to our final destination, the Whimsical Metal Sculpture studio.   There are at least six other studios are within walking distance of this studio.  We visited the studio of a print maker and another of a photographer.  We finished at the Whimsical Metal Sculptures of Cynthia Daniel.  Talk about a wonderful space to be creative…this would be one of the ultimate spots.  Cynthia repurposes familiar metal objects into delightful art pieces.

Cynthia M. Daniel:

We look forward to next year’s 21st annual event.

Saturday, 29 September 2012


 Cyanotype -  alternative photographic process .

Unlike dark room process, cyanotype images are developed in the sun; the process is simple but rather unpredictable, you have to experiment a lot, and,to me, this is the best part. I really enjoyed my first day of "cyanotyping".

Monday, 27 August 2012

What I did this summer

I’ve been missing for a while.  You see, I went around the corner of the learning curve and I got lost.  It was an awesome adventure…something akin to Gulliver’s Travels.  Except instead of various worlds, I visited a variety of image techniques.  

I’ve been busy chasing these bugs, inspired by Doug Landreth:

Painting in Photoshop,turning photographs from this:

to that:

Converting images to B&W:

I learned a lot about B&W conversion from the David Nightingale online course. The course is packed with information not only about B&W photography but also about Photoshop workflow.

Gluing papers:

And also cracked up everyone in the house by producing self portrait using polaroid transfers:

More later.

Friday, 3 August 2012

Russian diary - Peterhof.

Near St. Petersburg, are the spectacular parks at Peterhof.  Representing nearly two centuries of European aristocratic fashion that was built to the very highest of standards, these parks are remarkable for the variety of style encompassed in their layout and features.

One of the most amazing features of Peterhof parks is the unique fountain system that requires no pumps.  The fountains are supplied by a gravity fed water system.  The water follows a 22 kilometer system feeding fountains along the way and
skillfully placed to exploit the natural slope of the terrain.

Today, Peterhof with its 150 fountains and 4 cascades is known as “The Jewel of Russian Art”.