Sunday, May 27, 2012

Special Flowers

This is one of three pieces I entered in the Juried Vernon Art Center Show. The others were a print/collage and a fabric/weaving piece. All the flowers except the roses were photographed in my yard last summer. It is wonderful to have so many photo ops just outside my door!

Today I take my entries to the Windham Regional Art Council Show at Art Space in Willimantic. Each artist can use four linear feet.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

A Productive Year of Art

The Windham Regional Art Council's annual show is coming up in June. That makes me realize that it has been one year since I have been pursuing my art seriously and putting work in shows.

My first show here in Connecticut was at the Windham Art Council show in June of 2011. Since then I have had two solo shows, been in three juried shows, won a grand prize for a photograph, and shown in two additional shows. I sold a framed photo at the Digital Art Show sponsored by the Vernon Community Arts Center and also sold two matted photos from other shows. Not bad for one year!

I have learned so much, all by reading, research and experimenting. And I'm loving it! Now what I would really like is an agent so I can just create and let someone else market my work.

The deadline for the Windham Art Council Show is this Sunday, May 27. For the juried show at the Vernon Community Art Center, I have to deliver my work on Friday, May 25. Keep your fingers crossed that I get a piece accepted into that show. It is always good to be accepted  by a jury.

Here is one of my newest pieces. Should it be in the upcoming shows? The really fun part here is creating the backgrounds. I can experiment with photos, layers and textures! The tulip and the butterfly are from two different photos, both taken in my yard.

Friday, May 11, 2012

New Friends - Old Friends

Spring is flying by and I don't have much to show for the days. I have had lots of lazy enjoyment and read a ton of books - pure escapist fare. I am still not feeling like doing much. Maybe I should stop worrying about that and roll with it. Normally I try to accomplish a few things every day that I can look back on at bedtime and feel good about. Is reading a book a day enough?

I have a new friend. We met at the Windham Garden Club meeting and she has already been here for coffee. We hit it off instantly. She has moved here from Virginia but is originally a Connecticut girl. JP is the outgoing type of person who hugs you when she meets you.

Moving here at this stage of my life - (being old) - has made it a real challenge to meet people. Normally one connects through one's children. My answer was to join clubs and get involved. JP is doing the same thing. The problem is that when you are the newcomer everyone else has their friendships formed and groups in place. There don't seem to be a lot of new people here in Windham.

An interesting thing about JP is she is a fellow blogger. Now I can say I am friends with a blogger like many of the rest of you. Check out JP's blog, JP-aquietcorner. She is referring to me as Mona but I told her it is okay to use my real name. (An artist has to spread her name around :)

The place where I had the most friends, Cooperstown, NY, had lots of new people in town because of  the Imogene Basset Hospital. A few of us started a Newcomers Club. From the original six, the Club grew to over thirty members. Never having lived near family, I learned how important it is to create a support group of friends. Maybe because I grew up in a small town, I love seeing people I know when I go to the store or the post office. My sister on the other hand didn't like people knowing her. She wanted to be anonymous.

Mr. B and I are blessed with having "old" friends still living in Massachusetts where we used to live. We have been friends with that couple for forty years. We knew each other when we were younger, slimmer and were new parents. C and I have gone up in clothes sizes together. Fortunately I have stayed a size behind her so she gives me her lovely hand-me-downs!

Speaking of Mr. B, he has found out I refer to him as "Mr. B" and is not happy about it. Too dull he says. I think he would prefer me to call him "Stud" in my blog.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

No oomph

In my last post I explained that I have had Shingles and can't find any enthusiasm for doing anything. Happily, I can report that I am completely over the Shingles outbreak which was in my mid-section. For the first time in three weeks I can wear blue jeans instead of loose sweat pants. But I have gotten lazy. Too used to lying around and reading and being waited on.

I do keep trying to return to my art and this work is an example. This is created from photos of leaves so I named it, yep - Abstract Leaf. The effort was such that I had to retire to my bed this afternoon with a good book, a coke and a bag of Lays potato chips. Heaven on earth!

That is where the title "No oomph" comes in. I don't have any! Everything seems to be just too much work! I had better find some and quick though. In May I have a solo show at the Willimantic Food Co-op where I am a volunteer working member once a week. Also there are two opportunities to show and sell photos coming up in the next two weeks. And they don't even have to be framed, just matted.

At the moment, two of my photos are on display in a show at the University of Connecticut Library.

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

New Work - Spring Green and Yellow

Two weeks since I was last here!  I have had several minor illnesses but the last one not so minor. I have had shingles. It seems I had a relatively mild case but it definitely involves pain. And I'm not rid of it yet.

On the bright side, after not feeling creative for so long, I am now interested in working again. Today I did this piece I call  -  Spring Green and Yellow.

Saturday was the deadline for taking entries to the Digital Art Show sponsored by the Vernon Community Art Center. It was too good an opportunity to miss, so I summoned my energy and framed three pieces. I looked at the other entries and there was some great work being brought in. Wednesday is an opening reception I plan to attend.

Hopefully I will continue to feel better every day and my enthusiasm will return. Mr. B has taken excellent care of me. I had meals in bed and snacks delivered to my recliner and a sack full of library books. All I did was sleep, eat and read! For days!

Sunday, March 18, 2012


I'm baaaaack! That is how I feel after changing my blog to diverse views. I didn't like not seeing my header. Maybe I could have customized it some more, but the feedback was, everyone liked the old look best. I felt confident in changing because I knew I could easily switch back. Not the case! I did what the instructions said to "restore former template" and it didn't work. Thank goodness I had backed up my template. I had to call in the big guns (my son-in-law) to reload the old template. By that time I was so freaked out I was afraid to click anything! As usual, the "help" option was no help.

Mr. B and I went to dinner at the house of new friends. The connection we made when we met was discussing chickens. They have chickens in the backyard; I grew up on a chicken farm; Mr. B worked with poultry for a large part of his career. So you can imagine much of the conversation was .... Chickens. We veered off into compost, and one guest told us about her red wiggler worms. They make great fertilizer, she says, for a small amount of kitchen scraps. They have to be kept between 60 and 70 degrees so that means in the laundry room, an extra bathroom or a warm basement. But don't worry, she assured us they don't smell!

Here are pictures of the backyard flock. We all went out and visited them before dinner. And we left that night with a dozen eggs!

I'm linking to Little Red House for Mosaic Monday. Check out the website for other lovely mosaics.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Take Time Out for Life

Isn't it amazing how ideas come? I was looking at online tutorials about digital art. This is the result. There are tutorial online that teach everything! I can sit in my recliner and learn! Here I made the background and imported the clock after I cut it out of another picture. There is also a texture layer here. I learned how to put the texture on without affecting the color of my picture. The quote is my own - a variation on time to smell the roses.

What do you all think about my new format? Is it just too weird? I can restore to my old format. Just to be certain, I backed up my template before I made the change. The comment window is still here but you have to scroll down after you click on comment. Please leave feedback so I know if anyone likes this. I can't decide!

Blue Hydrangea Montage

I'm enjoying making these montages with flowers. Hurry up spring. I want to see real flowers again. 

It is amazingly warm for March in Connecticut. The forsythia I brought into the house is in full bloom. Both my rose bushes survived the winter and have small leaves. 

This blue hydrangea is in my front yard. I hope it has even more blooms this summer.

This is the background I created to put the hydrangea on. 

Friday, March 9, 2012

All Alone in the Night

This is a beautiful view of the earth at night from the International Space Station. This was posted March 5, 2012 on NASA's website. Check for the Astronomy Picture of the Day.

Was anyone else amazed at how much electricity is used to light up the night?

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Sunflower & Goldfinch

This is created in Photoshop Elements using a background I created and two of my photos- the sunflower and the bird. To finish it, I used a Dry Brush filter. 

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Digital Art

Sometimes in an art show I see amazing things created on the computer. So I went searching for digital art and found many online sites that will let you create and then save to your computer.

After making the basic design I layered part of a photo over the colorful design. You can just barely see tree limbs. Over that I put a texture layer then erased some of it. The eyedropper tool in Elements let me choose a color from the design for the border.

Saturday, March 3, 2012

Further Experiments with Montage

You may have seem my other posts as I started to experiment with Photo Montages. Inspiration from Jo was my first effort. Then I tried a dark sunflower with Learning from the InternetPurple Hydrangea Montage was much more elaborate. 

Golden Montage was my last effort. 

This one, my Woods and Stream Montage is the result of my pushing myself to try something very different. After it was done, I realized the woods with the stream below look like all one photo when they are actually two photos taken at different times and places. I'm not certain how much I like this one. It may grow on me. But I'm glad I tried something out of my comfort zone. In order to learn, I have to keep trying new things. 

Friday, February 24, 2012

Rosamunde Pilcher - Favorite Author

First let me explain that I am an "Associate" of Amazon. That means if you click on one of my links that leads you to Amazon and you purchase anything through my link, I get a small (read teeny-tiny) commission.  I shop on Amazon a lot. My children give me very generous Amazon gift cards.  So when I am posting about something that is sold on Amazon, why not provide a link for you to use and perhaps purchase?

Finding a part time job has just not happened in this area of CT which has high unemployment. Selling my photos has not provided an income yet. I keep trying different things. So now I am trying being an Associate of Amazon. If I can figure out how, I will put a link on my sidebar that will lead to Amazon. My son-in-law is a big help with the technical things. Again, if you buy anything through any of my Amazon links, I get a tiny commission. You can tell the photos of the books were borrowed from Amazon.

So, that said, let me tell you about my favorite author. Have you read any books by Rosamunde Pilcher? If not, you are in for a treat. Her books are the kind worth owning because you can read them over and over. She was born in 1924 and sold her first short story when she was eighteen. Mrs. Pilcher grew up in Cornwall, England but reared her four  children in Dundee, Scotland where her husband, Graham worked in the family jute business. She first wrote under the name Jane Fraser and published ten books. At the same time she was writing as Rosamund Pilcher.

Her breakthrough book was The Shell Seekers, a novel in which an elderly British woman relives her life in flashbacks. It deals with the woman’s relationship with her adult children and describes life in Britain during World War ll. It sold five million copies and was adapted for the stage.

Often when I read, I skim through descriptions just to get to the information about the story. Not so with Mrs. Pilcher’s books. Her descriptions are a joy to read and I savor every word. They set the mood and atmosphere. You can almost taste the tea, smell the clean air, and feel the warmth of the fire. And they make me want to eat "sausages."

I just finished September Winter Solstice is one of my favorites. Mrs. Pilcher is described as “Queen of the Heartwarming Bestseller.”

If you would like to read more about her, Wickipedia has a good site, or her official web site.

Click here to go to her Amazon page where you can order her books - Rosamunde Pilcher.

Her son, Robin Pilcher, is a writer and I enjoy his writing as well. His books start with several unrelated stories, then he weaves the people’s lives together.

Below are excerpts from September which takes place in Scotland. These passages are examples of the lovely descriptions.

“It had rained during the night, leaving puddles by the roadside and gardens dripping with moisture. In Strathcroy, cottages slumbered, curtains stayed drawn. Slowly the occupants stirred, rose, opened doors, lit fires, made cups of tea. Plumes of peat-smoke rose, straight, from chimney -pots. Dogs were walked, hedges clipped, cars washed. Mr. Ishak opened up his shop for the sale of morning rolls, milk, cigarettes, Sunday newspapers, and any other commodity that a family might need to get through the empty day. From the tower of the Presbyterian church, the bell tolled.”

“Out of doors, the day, like a fickle woman, had ceased to sulk and decided, for no obvious reason, to brighten up. A wind had risen, freshening the air. From time to time, lozenges of sunlight fell upon the polished table, sparking from silver and cut glass tumblers.”

“I know, Edie. What can’t be cured must be endured.”
“That’s true enough,” said Edie placidly, and went to get the kettle and fill it with water. A cup of tea seemed to be in order. There was nothing, in times of stress, like a good hot cup of tea."

"As soon as she had arrived, she had set up the ironing board, and ironed the morning’s load of washing, fresh from the line. This was now stacked, crisp and folded, on the other end of the table, and emanated a pleasant smell."

"The stone wall felt warm in the sunshine, and she leaned her arms on this and gazed downwards at the flowing peat-brown water. Sometimes she and Henry played Pooh-sticks from this bridge, flinging sticks up-stream and then racing back to watch for the first, the winning stick, to appear."

"In the golden evening, Henry walked home. There were few people about because it was nearly six o’clock and they were all indoors eating their tea. He imagined this comforting meal. Soup perhaps, and then haddock or chops and then cakes and biscuits, all washed down with strong and scalding tea. He himself felt pleasantly full of sausages. But perhaps before he went to bed there would be space for a mug of cocoa. "

Monday, February 20, 2012

Learning Through Sheer Determination

Mary, who I will be joining for Mosaic Monday, has been using Web Boards from the CoffeeShop Blog. That presented a challenge I couldn't resist, except I couldn't make it work. Several times I tried and gave up. Tonight I was determined. I read all the tips on the CoffeeShop Blog. I installed the "Actions," a real leap of faith when you have to add things deep into your system and then throw away something that is already there.

Still it would not work. The instructions didn't make any sense. I wasn't seeing what the directions said I was. Finally I opened my Effects palette in PSE6 and there was a new little thumbnail. It still took some experimenting and I just stumbled upon the answer. But here is my Web Board.

These are photos of one of my recent pieces. This is proof that I haven't only been creating montages on my computer. The background is a small piece I wove and the top is a fabric. The bird nest is a basket I made from iris and daylily leaves. I put it all inside a wide wooden frame. The bottom photo is the creation in progress.