Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Looking for fall

The colors are slow to change here, and sometimes they just don't. Sometimes things will be just inching along towards a colorful display and then a frost will hit and all the leaves get kicked off the trees. So a couple of weeks ago, I went off with my hubby and our friend Kyle in search of fall colors. As it turns out, there is a great resource online for just such a thing for our area. We went out to Parowan, UT and took the gravel road up to Yankee Meadow and then onto the reservoir. The drive was relaxing and traveling through varying altitudes gave us a variety of shots.

I used my Polaroid SX70 Alpha camera for the square shots and my Keystone 60 Second Everflash for the others. I love that I can decide what mood I want by choosing the format and color tones based on camera and film choice. And, as always, I love unpredictable nature of using expired of experimental film. I mean, who would have thought that snow would come out looking more like a creamy sunshine yellow or that a field of aspens would come out so rosy? 

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Retablos, 2011

Remember when I wrote about the retablos at the Lawndale Gallery? Well, guess what? They're in and they're up. And because I'm so very excited to be a part of this along with my mom and our friend Louise, I'm sharing photos that Lawndale put up on their flickr page...

First, Louise's cool Sphinx Moth:

Louise Schlachter, "Ghost Orchid - Sphinx Moth" -- Iridescent ink 

Retablo 258. 

Louise has had moths as a long-running subject in her pieces.  They are really well drawn, scrawled, and painted into being and each one of them has its own personality. She also makes the most interesting background textures for her moths-- some look like bark, some like lichen-covered stone, some like leaves gone all blurry... You can read more about her HERE.

Then my mom's piece: 

Janina Stout, "Survived Wild Fires IX / 2011" --Acrylic, burned wood and glue

Retablo 155.

My mom got to experience some of the Texas wildfires up close and personal--a little too close for comfort, really. But her little family there as well as the property survived, and now she gets to share her story visually. 

My piece: 

Janel Macy Jasper, "Leo at Rest" -- Acrylic, drift wood and cotton embroidery floss

Retablo 072.

I actually intended on having the nail put under the drift wood so that there would be a space under the wood and the retablo, but I like what they did with it, too. This piece is in memory of our dear little kitty Leo. I found him as a kitten in a window well and took him and his sister in. After finding a home for his more social sister, Jon and I ended up taking him in "temporarily" but he won us over with his antics and love of cuddling. He went missing one day around the same time as our neighbors moved away... and he hasn't been back since. We only hope that he is as loved wherever he is now...

To see the rest of the retablos, check out Lawndale's set on Flickr. They also have a link on their homepage

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Dia de los Muertos

So, every year, the Lawndale Gallery in Houston does a fundraising event for Dia de los Muertos (The Day of the Dead). They provide tins for artists to paint on, draw on, etch, cut into, etc... The pieces are to be informed by the practice of painting retablos, or ex-voto. It is a devotional art and is traditionally done in a folk style. But that's not to say that an artist can't know of the tradition of the retablo and then veer far away from its roots (and still come up with something amazing).

Dia de los Muertos was a part of my childhood growing up in Houston, Texas. My mother further informed me about it when she did a few projects associated with the holiday while she was working towards her teaching degree. I love the mystery and the personal stories of retablos. I can't wait to see them in whatever fashion I can.

The gallery has already started putting up pieces for this year, but the rest won't be posted until later. If you want, you can check out  to see the ones from 2009 and 2010. There are some really inventive and creative pieces in the mix.

The Lawndale gives out the tins for free, and when returned, the completed pieces go on auction. Part or all of the proceeds of the sale then go to help run the gallery (depending on what the artist wants). I'm all for keeping the Lawndale up and running. And I am so excited to be a part of this tradition. Normally it is only locals who can get their hands on the tins before they run out, but this year I got permission from the gallery to have my mom pick up a tin for herself as well as one for me. She mailed me a blank tin, I took it in, thought over it, and painted a little something, and then mailed the finished piece back to my mom, who then took in her piece and mine to the gallery. So exciting! The only thing that could make it better would be to have even more loved ones involved.

I've met a few of the artists that will be contributing work this year, but I am most excited about having a piece at Lawndale along with my mother and her (and my) dear friend Louise. These are two women that I've looked up to for ages, and it is just such a happy thought to be in a show with them.

Here is a photo of the three of us taken at The Big Show at Lawndale back in 2008:

Photos of our retablos and more stories of our paintings to follow...

Monday, August 29, 2011

A photographic history of a chevron quilt

This post is about my first ever totally completed quilt. I made it as a gift to my friend with a new baby girl. I wanted to make something for a girl and yet with a modern kick. So I chose to make a pink and white chevron quilt. (Inspiration found HERE.) And while pink isn't usually my color of choice, I figured it was time to try something new. Plus I hoped that by making it in pinks I'd get less attached to it and it would be easier to give away. It was fun trying something new, but I was wrong about not getting attached to it. I really enjoyed making this quilt. There was a lot of work involved, but I am so happy with how it turned out. It is no where near perfect, but I still love it.

(Click on any photo to see it bigger)

This quilt was made with lots and lots of half-square triangles. 

Tons of half-squares and lots of pink and white

I then pieced those half-triangles together into a zigzag quilt top: 

Laid out on the lawn.

Detail of quilt top

My dog decided to get involved

For the back I went almost all white back with little blocks of color from the front of the quilt that made a band that alternated different sized sliced of pinks with white. Photos of the back will follow. . . 

Next came the longest portion of the whole process-- quilting. This was my first time experimenting with free-motion quilting. I alternated patterns doing free-motion squiggles on the white zigzags and long thin zigzags on the pink (to echo the overall design of the quilt). I created a lot more work for myself going this route, I realize now, but it is what I wanted to do. The top thread was a pale pink and the bottom thread was white.

squiggles and zigzags

Quilting detail

After spending a couple of weeks attacking the quilting in short bursts it was done. And after straightening my edges and making sure the corners were square, it was time to round the corners. I used a bowl as my template on one corner and just copied that over and over-- it was a lot easier than I thought it was going to be.

Again, I had a little helper while doing the photographs for this portion of the process...

Notice the cute pup as well as those crisp edges
Then it was time to get to binding. I made my own bias-cut binding 2" wide and then got to work pinning it down on the quilt back. 
Cute roll of binding just waiting to be put to use.
I machine sewed the binding on the quilt back and opted to hand sew the binding in place on the front. Call me a glutton for punishment. It went by much more quickly than I'd anticipated. Slow as I am, I completed it by the time it took me to watch a few shows on Netflix (spread over a couple of days). 

A few teasers of the finished quilt--


Back (detail)

Back with panel of pink slices

Now, onto the whole picture: 

So, I hate our cinder block walls, but just look at that sky against those pinks. 

Quilt back (notice the rounded corners)

This last shot was thrown in to show the texture of this quilt. This is the just completed quilt, and I expect that it will get all the more crinkly and lovely as it gets washed. 

And while I have ended up entirely smitten by this quilt, I am still giving it away. It has been a great experience and I realize now that I have it in me to complete quilts. I have a few others planned and a couple more sketched out already. 

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Sequoia National Park

Last weekend was my first trip out to Sequoia National Park and it was a blast. I loved every minute of it. The only thing I wished for was more daylight hours. Alas, there was only one day on our schedule for running around and taking in the big trees, so we made the most of it.

We walked around the Round Meadow and not only got to see so very many giant trees, but also two brown bears. It was so exciting!

Enough story-telling. Here is photographic evidence of this wondrous place:

I love how Polaroids can capture a moment and give you a physical image instantaneously. And yet, I had a couple of other cameras out and about on this trip as well. I dusted off my Holga and two other less often used cameras. Each camera has its own personality and asks me to take photos from different angles and in different ways. I've found that certain cameras are made for certain shots. So once everything is said and done, I should have a few different flavors of California to share. I can't wait to get that film developed. Alas, there is no where local for me to take my 120 format film around here. This means that either I'll have to start developing at home, or I have to deal with paying shipping. Currently I've just been waiting for my infrequent trips north to get my developing done in  huge batches, but that gets old, you know?

Thursday, July 28, 2011


I'd first written about putting together my DIY TLR camera on my old blog HERE. I shared a few other photos HERE. That was back in December of last year. So it has been a while since I've shared any photos taken by my plastic wonder. Too long.

To make up for it, here are a few I've taken over the last month and a half--

Desert Willow in bloom at the Virgin River.
I love the vignetting you get when you get close to your subject.

Roaring Virgin River

One of my favorite orchids

Off of Babylon Road in southern Utah.
I just love that soft-focus!

Perfectly broken down shed.

Red Cliffs Desert Preserve.

Waves in the sand.

Reflections at Red Cliffs Recreation Area.

Quiet, peaceful, contemplative spot.

Quail Lake

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

A place to return to

One of the local spots that I like to go back to over and over again is the Red Cliffs Recreation area. Normally it is somewhere I hike with friends, but on occasion, I like to go when I know it will be quieter and I walk through the hills and canyons alone.
On one of those quiet days, I took the following Polaroids:

standing in sunlight

its' complicated
season attraction
Of the above photo, my Flickr friend Jacki wrote, "Like a dream that fades into the light when you wake..." I really love her way with words. For me, words and images occupy separate and distinct places in my brain. If I am thinking in imagery terms, that is when I photograph what is around me. If I am thinking in terms of words and verbal connections, then I write. But writing about my photographs has never been my strong point. It is something for me to work on, for sure.

view of red cliffs
This last image wasn't actually take at Red Cliffs, but just outside, in Leeds, UT. It is a pioneer-era building that is now on the edge of a mobile home park. It was such a contrast. There was this old stonework building still holding on, still claiming the shape of a home after 120+ years, and it was next to so many pre-fabricated quickly constructed homes. 

The blue-toned photos were taken using Blue 100 Type film on my Polaroid 350 land camera.
The remainder of the photos were shot on my SX70 Alpha camera using PX 70 Color Shade film from The Impossible Project. These were some of the first photos I shot on this film.

Monday, July 18, 2011

Polaroid Week Favorites

Here are some of my very favorite images from Polaroid Week. Not all of my favorites, but a lot of them. Enjoy!

If you close the door, the night could last forever... by ludwigwest

Untitled by abdukted1456
Untitled, a photo by abdukted1456 on Flickr.

Untitled by ludwigwest
Untitled, a photo by ludwigwest on Flickr.

Grand Canyon NP, AZ by moominsean
Grand Canyon NP, AZ, a photo by moominsean on Flickr.

  by deader than yesterday
 a photo by deader than yesterday on Flickr.

Horsies in the rain by emilie79*
Horsies in the rain, a photo by emilie79* on Flickr.

Dune, at Sunset by dreamscapesxx
Dune, at Sunset, a photo by dreamscapesxx on Flickr.

'Roid Week - Last Day! - We Made It! by Jezlyn26

fetch by Urban Gazelle
fetch, a photo by Urban Gazelle on Flickr.

leads me back by er_code_blue
leads me back, a photo by er_code_blue on Flickr.

Lil' Squinty by jbhalper
Lil' Squinty, a photo by jbhalper on Flickr.

bed head by .{kim unscripted}.
bed head, a photo by .{kim unscripted}. on Flickr.

These last few I couldn't pull the actual photo, so you'll have to click to see these: