Monthly Archives: December 2012

A Month in the Life… A Tisket, A Tasket

drawer

I am in purging mode.

Part of this is going through all the old art magazines. I do some each evening as a form of relaxation, using my iPad to snap a photo of anything I want to keep for inspiration or reference, and then giving the magazines away.

The other evening, I happened upon a couple of those Studio magazines that are put out by both Stampington and Interweave – you know – the ones that show you photos of these wonderful, PRISTINE, studio spaces “Where Women Create”. Looks more like “Where Women Have Been Cleaning 24/7 for Two Weeks To Get Ready for These Photos” to me.

I started thinking about what it would take for my studios to be in an article, and I laughed myself silly.

In one of those mags, they first ask the artist which media they work in. Most of them say mixed media. I could say that too, I suppose, but I don’t identify with what that term has come to represent. So, when someone asks me what media I work in, I have started to answer, “Well, I don’t do ceramics or sculpture.” because it’s a much shorter list.

And that is why my studios in a magazine would be such a joke.

I am a lucky girl and I know it. I have not one, but three messes studios in which to create (and not clean!). They are not central to our living space, so I can’t really be classified as a hoarder.

You have only seen one of them and there is a good reason for that. The Garden Room is a studio as well as a greenhouse, but it gets purged twice a year when the plants move out to the garden, and when they move back in. And I mean purged – remember my Alcohol post? So the Garden Room studio is clean except for some stray leaf droppings.

The other two studios you haven’t seen because they are such an unholy mess you wouldn’t believe it. No room for camera crews, that’s for sure.

I call them my clean and dirty studios, but don’t let that fool you. They are both a mess.

The “clean” studio is a spare bedroom, about 15′ x 15′. It is my office studio and is home to the computers, scanners, printers, etc. You really don’t want flying paint or snips of wire getting on or into this stuff. There is also a large area for doing watercolor and art journaling when the Garden Room is too cold for that – although I haven’t seen the surface of either desk for a long time.

The “dirty” studio is a single car garage with concrete floor and standing height worktables, built-in shelves, etc. I do all kinds of stuff out there: shipping for Cre8it and Sheer Heaven, all my jewelry activities, and anything else that needs a lot of space and makes a lot of mess. I have all my hunky equipment out there – bench shears, polishing wheel, huge paper trimmer, Sizzix, Xyron, and other like things. I have actually gotten parts of that studio purged, and one day, I will show you pictures. It’s rather odd that the dirty studio is cleaner than the clean studio, but that’s the way it is at the moment.

Anyway, as usual, I digress.

I have a vision for the clean studio, and it has to do with baskets.

LOVE the look of mixed baskets used as drawers.

I saw a piece of furniture at Hobby Lobby that I looked and looked and looked at, but did not buy, because I couldn’t figure out a place for it. And it was expensive.

My Mom offered to get it for me for Christmas, and by then, it was gone.

So then I REALLY wanted it.

We went down to the Hobby Lobby in Albuquerque, and they still had one. YAY!!!!!

The place I had decided to put it is on top of a little file drawer thing that is part of a desk set in the clean studio. That would put the baskets at an easy access height. But the basket shelf has legs, and I thought there would be a problem because the legs would probably land just at the edges of the file cabinet.

Yesterday, I went into Gopher mode and I tunneled my way right into that corner and CLEANED IT!!!!

Then, the moment of truth.

Mark carried the basket shelf in and set it on top of the file . . . wait for it . . . the suspense is killing you, isn’t it ? . . .

basketshelf

Can you believe it?!? The fit was so exact that it could have been made to “straddle” this file! Isn’t it pretty?

I was so excited that I started to dance around, but stopped when I fell over one of the piles of crap stuff that still remain in the “clean” studio.

What a cool Christmas present! Thanks, Mom.

But my sister had also gotten me a very cool Christmas present when we were shopping in Santa Fe together.

As soon as I saw this in a gallery, I was in love . . .

twiglamp

So, Cassie stepped up.

But I didn’t know where I would put it.

Right. How about on top of the new basket shelf?

basketshelflit

Swoon!

I just sat and stared at it for an hour last night.

I am now very inspired to continue the purge until the “clean” studio is actually a clean studio.

And baskets will be the order of the day for that project.

A Tisket, A Tasket. Do you have a Basket?

Show us.

(But do resize your photo to 600 pixels wide so we can see it.)

REMINDER:

The Inktense Workshop is $10 off through tomorrow.

A Month in the Life… Orchid in Winter

orchid

I love new discoveries.

I love flowers.

But, as much of a flower nut as I am, I only like them alive. Mark is not one of those guys who can get away with a quick stop bouquet as a gift for any occasion.

So, I generally skip right through the flower displays at the entrances of super markets. But Trader Joe’s often has living plants as part of their display, so I pay more attention. And they often have Orchids.

I must admit, although I am in awe of their beautiful structures, I have always been intimidated about forming a close relationship with Orchids. What little I had heard about them convinced me that their need for a moist environment was not in keeping with my beloved, but very dry, habitat.

Last week, I was just in need of a beauty hit. That’s all there was to it.

So, I adopted this orchid and brought it home to the Garden Room (which actually is pretty humid).

I read the tag.

When the blooms fall off, you go through all kinds of shenanigans for months until the plant is ready to bloom again. I do not do well with shenanigans, so I figured this relationship would be short lived. After all, my Hibiscus blossoms fall off after just a day or two.

But the blossoms on this orchid showed no signs of fading.

On Christmas Eve, as is our habit, we partied with good friends at their gallery in Santa Fe.

There on the counter was the same orchid – with the blossoms in beautiful condition – just like mine.

“I guess you’ve been to Trader Joe’s too,” I said to my friend, Mary.

“No, those were a gift from someone during Indian Market,” she said.

WHAT?!?!

Indian Market was in mid August!

And their gallery is not even humid.

So, orchid blooms can last that long? Happy day! I really must learn more about them. Anything you want to share?

ADDING PHOTOS TO YOUR COMMENTS . . .

I have installed this possibility for you.

In my opinion, the Comments section of this blog is just as valuable as the main posts. That is where we can have our conversations and share our opinions. I think it will be great to also be able to show and tell.

The procedure is very easy. There is just a button at the bottom of the Comment box to add an image, and that is all there is to it.

You can add JPG, PNG, or GIF files and that is listed there in the Comment box.

If your image is not the right format, you will be told before you post your Comment.

SIZING…

The blog is capable of resizing, but does not do a very good job of it.

So, I suggest that you Resize your photo to no wider than 600 pixels wide at 72ppi. That is the width of the column and your whole photo will show up nicely.

Whenever I say RESIZE, I see a lot of eyes glass over. It is perceived as a very hard thing.

It is not a very hard thing.

If you have any version of Photoshop or Elements . . .

Open your photo and choose Image Resize from somewhere in the menus (different location in different versions).

If you can’t find it, hold down Option and Command on the Mac, or Alt and Control on the PC, and type I (for Image).

This box will pop up…

resizewindow

First make sure Resample Image and Constrain Proportions are checked.

(It is important to do the next two steps in order.)

Second, change the number in the Resolution box to 72.

Third, change the Pixel Width box to 600.

Click OK.

You now have a perfectly resized photo for use on the web.

SAVE AS the photo with a new name so you don’t change the size of your original. Make sure you are saving as a JPEG or PNG.

Choose this new version from your computer to Upload to your Comment.

SHARE A WINTER FLOWER . . .

Let’s test our new Comment feature.

If you have a beautiful flower anywhere around you at this time. let’s see it!

A Month in the Life…Silver Linings

cutestdogphoto

I think this may be the cutest dog picture I have ever seen! The slightly bloody paw bothers me a bit, but does not seem to be bothering this pup at all. More about dogs in the snow in a moment.

Happy Holidaze . . .

I hope you all shared a lot of love, good food, laughter, and stimulating conversation. Our holiday was all of that and more.

The Silver Lining . . . All is Well

I have been lucky to have been very visible online for a dozen years and to have avoided computer hell as much as I have.

When your first warning emails showed up right after the last post, about Google hanging the dreaded Malware sign on us, I honestly thought it would be a small thing to fix.

You and your computer were never actually in any danger whether you read the post or not. The trouble was that some ding-dang Russians had posted comments on some of the archived blogs that contained links to sites they run where they try to scam people. Somehow, they had gotten through my spam comment filters. You would have had to find that comment, and click on the author’s name to get there before you would have been vulnerable to anything. I know you didn’t do that, so no harm was done.

Once we found those comments, we were able to scour through all the Comments on all the archived Wisdom Woman blogs and get rid of them. Every time we thought we had found them all, we asked Google for a Review (which they will only do every 12 hours or so), and they would still find a culprit in there. It took 4 days, but we finally got the all clear from Google.

My server guys then said I HAD TO upgrade my version of WordPress to increase the security, or they would charge me to help the next time.

Problem was, that pretty theme I was using with the slideshow and all, was not compatible with the upgrade. When I installed the new version of WordPress, to my horror, the whole blog disappeared. And the server guys were off having their holiday. If you tried to go to the blog and got a plain white page, you hit that period of time.

So, the silver lining to this cloud was hard to find. At the point when I yelled F-YOU!!!!!!! at the computer screen, I knew I was over the top and had to take a break.

But, there is a silver lining after all. Out of all the thinking and rethinking about my online “brand” that went on while I was crawling on my belly through the total history of my websites, came a new plan for everything. I have been looking for that new plan for a long time, and there it was under all that cloud.

I’ll be letting you know all about it as I go along, but this plan should bring all the wonderful content that is buried all over the place like dog bones, back to the forefront, create enough growth that I still won’t have to mess up everything with advertising, and be a good thing for all of us.

Now, speaking of dog bones, back to dogs . . .

Dogs in Snow

snowpup

Photo by Pamela Hubbard

Here is a link to a wonderful photo experience that will make you smile – guaranteed. If it could make me smile during my time in computer hell, it can make anybody cough up a grin or two. . .

Dogs in Snow

And, speaking of snow . . .

snowartbeck-6

Trampled Snow Art by Simon Beck

As I have said so many times before, I am in awe of artists who create like this. The work is so arduous and the lifespan of the art so fleeting, the planning stage so complicated, and in this case, the working environment so challenging (cold), but the results are breathtaking and absolutely unique.

Enjoy these works in snow . . .

Just FYI Stuff . . .

The looks of this blog will be changing over the next week or so, as I search for the theme that best serves us all, AND one that will stay compatible with WordPress updates!

I also want to remind everyone that the new Inktense Soup to Nuts Workshop is discounted by $10 until the end of the year.

Start date will be January 15, 2013. Don’t miss this one no matter what your favored art genre. Inktense does everything!

Inktense – Soup to Nuts

A Month in the Life… Back on Track

An enhanced ability to visualize and empathize, and hyper-sensitivity are the blessings and the bane of the artistic personality.

I have never had children of my own, so I really can’t imagine the hell that the families in Newtown are going through, but when Mark called and told me what had happened Friday, I felt as though I had been punched in the solar plexus, and knocked further off my tracks than anytime since 9/11.

I was quite literally speechless, and when I have nothing meaningful to say, I just stay in silence.

You may have been as surprised as I was to learn that this is the 40th school shooting since Columbine.

That is not tolerable, and we need to fix it. I am not a gun person and I think some things have to happen there, but I think the other important element here is to focus on our mental health systems so these boys can be helped before it comes to this. You have probably read the post written by the mother of another young boy who could easily take this path. If you have not, you should . . .

I Am Adam Lanza’s Mother

She is not Adam’s mother, of course, but she can see that possibility in her future, and the help she needs is not available.

I am never quite sure what we, as individuals, can do. I feel so powerless at times like these. But at least there is conversation now and perhaps we can make that lead to some lasting change. I hope so.

Blue Birdies of Happiness . . .

I had to do something that felt positive during my mostly  silent and reflective time this weekend. So, I created some earrings using little bird charms that remind me of my signature bird.

They are made of sterling silver ear wires and beads, Swarovski crystals, and bright, shiny plated birdie charms. They come in a choice of six crystal colors.

I put them in my Gift Gallery here and in the real gallery too.

I got carried away and made some very cool packaging for them too . . .

Lesson Learned:

If you want to stamp images on gift boxes, you will probably find that the middle of the image does not stamp, because there is no support benaeth the middle of the cover.

I cut rectangles of cardboard that fit inside the cover and stacked them up until they were taller than the depth of the cover. I taped them together into a block and set the cover on top. The image stamped perfectly.

You stampers probably knew all that already, but I didn’t.

I think this stamp came from Hero Arts.

The Birdies are Here

Yes I can Priority Mail by tomorrow.

An Exciting New Workshop for 2013 . . .

Inktense – From Soup to Nuts

Inktense are the wonderful dye based water soluble pencils by Derwent.

I started using them in my art journal in 2006 when they first came out. I am a color junkie, so I fell in love right off the bat with their brilliant hues.

And lots of other things about them pleased me – like the fact that they became waterproof after being wet and dried.

And we found out they worked great with Sheer Heaven transfers.

It was a lot to love, but I kept experimenting.

For almost 40 years I have been in search of a way to get my high color watercolor paintings onto canvas, with no success. Last Summer, while fooling around, I found how Inktense could be that vehicle. It sent my love affair over the top.

And I haven’t even talked about fabric and wood . . . and then they came out with color blocks!

So, when deciding on an exciting real world (non-digital) workshop to offer next year, I decided on Inktense – I could share the love.

This will be a long and light workshop. That means the lessons will be easier to digest, but there will be more of them – 12 Lessons/12 Weeks.

The first session will be live in an online classroom, so I can perfect the workshop with your feedback, and we can all share. It will run from:

January 15 – April 5, 2013

I have also lowered the tuition by $10 through the rest of 2012 – an early bird special for you.

The description page is here:

Inktense – From Soup to Nuts

If you do not have any Inktense Pencils or Blocks, Dick Blick has a new Selective Set at 45% off. 22 Pencils, 10 Blocks, and some accessories.

Here’s the link to give to Santa:

Inktense Selective Set

I have lots to do and I better go do it!

 

A Month in the Life… Zippers and iPads

Zipper Jewelry

I promised to show you some details from the gallery and I have not had a chance to take those photos, so I will start here by showing you one of our best sellers. These are NOT as displayed in the gallery – they are lying on my worktable in the studio. In the gallery, I hang them from a little tree.

These make awesome stocking stuffer gifts or gift embellishments, and you can make your own if you have some chain nose jewelry pliers and a wire cutter, and know how to open and close a jump ring. That’s all there is to it.

Not only are these great little gifts, that can go into a handmade card for someone, they can also be attached to any gift which has a zipper or other loop (purses, backpacks, jackets, etc.) Oh, and even wineglasses, I guess – since they can have zippers now!

Here is the page from my Jewelry Sketches Journal (which I keep on my iPad). It shows you exactly how Zipper Jewelry is assembled . . .

Just use the wire cutters to cut the chain into one inch pieces and use the jump rings to attach it to a lobster claw clasp at one end, and some sweet charm at the other.

You can find the lobster claws, jump rings, and lots of charms in the jewelry section of Michaels, Hobby Lobby etc. You can find sets of jewelry tools there too. Etsy has many charm sellers in the Supplies section, and I like giving them my business when I can.

I use lots of charms for special interests as well as just pretty ones, and we sell the daylights out of these, so you know it will be an appreciated gift.

This idea is one of my Holiday Gifts to you, dear Readers.

You’re welcome.

iPad Studio Workshop Lives On!!!!

It is funny how I make decisions and I won’t bore you with the details, but somebody did something that got under my skin.

At first, I was miffed.

It made me think “Well . . . THIS. . . and THAT! Grunp . . . grump . . . grump.

All that wasn’t doing me much good.

And then I realized that a decision I had been struggling with had been made by this incident.

Yippee!! Happy . . . happy. . . happy.

Every cloud has a silver lining. It just might take a little while for the cloud part to get out of the way so you can see the silver part.

ANYWAY . . .

The wonderful iPad Studio workshop will continue as a Whenever, self-paced workshop. In the same classroom with the 125+ students who are already there. So the sharing can continue. There are no assignments or deadlines, so everybody works at their own pace.

I will not be selling the Workbooks individually because they build on each other, and the workshop should stay intact as a body of learning. Only the first Workbook will be sold on its own as an option, so folks can get a taste of the style. That $15 purchase price can then be deducted from the full tuition if/when you join the workshop.

Students really like this workshop.

Here is one piece of feedback that warmed my heart:

I am so happy! This course is absolutely wonderful. I just love how you make it so that I can understand everything. I have such trouble trying to read instructions, I don’t think I am dumb but I just cannot seem to do it. Your courses on the other hand I can understand and I am so IN LOVE WITH IT ALREADY AND I AM ONLY  ON MODULE 2,

I don’t think I could ever say enough or praise you enough for the content, the ease of instructions and comprehension, but more than all that – the amount of time and effort that you have put into this for us all. I can honestly say that there is no way I could ever learn this by myself. You must have spent countless hours doing this, and I for one am SO GRATEFUL.

I have bought a few of the apps you mention but I am just not smart or savvy enough to work out and discover what they do.

I am having such a blast,THANK YOU THANK YOU

And thank you again

Judith

Sent from my iPad

Now if that wouldn’t make me smile, nothing would. Bless you, Judith!

This season, Santa will bring many iPads to smiling artists everywhere, and we have a place for them to learn how magical a gift that is. Get your letter off to Santa if you haven’t already.

Gotta go make Zipper Jewelry .

You too.

A Month in the Life . . . The Gallery

From 6pm Friday evening, with the exception of a few hours of studio time yesterday, I have been being a social butterfly.

I found out I am not really very social. It’s more tiring than anything else I do! I find myself in the middle of a party, wishing I was home with the dogs. Do any of you ever feel like that?

Friday night, there was a cocktail party at the Gourmet Pet Food store (Eldorado Country Pet) for all the merchants in our center, and most of them came. It was fun. We sat around on bags of dog food and drank wine and ate hors d’oeuvres. Our veterinarian ate a Christmas cookie on a dare – it was a dog cookie. One of the ingredients was chicken livers.

On Saturday, there was an all day open house throughout the shopping center, with live music all afternoon  by one of my favorite local bands. Then we had dinner at the restaurant next door with some neighbor friends (the Elk bone ones in fact, but don’t worry, we had pasta).

On Sunday, I got up early and locked myself in the studio to get some jewelry and other things done for the gallery, because, in the afternoon, Mark’s car club was having their Christmas party. We got our first big snow of the season, but we braved it anyway. I went straight from flip-flops on Saturday to snow boots on Sunday.

That was weird. The snow boots, not the car club party.

At the party, they did something fun that might work for any large holiday party. They had shopped the dollar stores etc. and bought a hundred or so small gifts of every kind imaginable.

Then, there was a list of strange questions like “Who has NEVER worn a Halloween costume? Who does NOT have a middle name? Who has EVER survived a natural disaster?  Who has EVER kissed a camel?” etc.

If you fit the bill, you got to go up and choose a prize. I was on a roll for awhile – until they got to that kissing a camel part.

On second thought, maybe the party was weird.

Anyway, I am getting lots of email asking to see the gallery.

And to my friend, Lani – I am so sorry you did not find us. We are right across the courtyard from the Pet Food store, so I don’t know why they couldn’t direct you. Did you ask for the Art Garden or He Says… She Says…? We go by both.

For anyone who wants to come visit, we are in the courtyard of the Agora Market Center in Eldorado at Santa Fe, which is a village located five miles southeast of Santa Fe via I-25 North (not a typo – strange but true).

It’s the shopping center that has the market – on the right as you turn in the main entrance to Eldorado. We are in the courtyard between the Post Office and the restaurant. Store phone is 505-466-1225 if you need it.

The photo above is a partial shot of the gallery from outside. We usually have quite a few things outside the store because it is protected by a portal. The furniture you see is made by a local artist.

In the photo below, we are looking across the courtyard at the whole front of the store – which runs from the second column you see to the sixth column. The courtyard is open to the sky, and the chairs and tables are the outdoor seating for the restaurant to the left of the gallery.

At the doorway is a little entrance area, and from there, looking right, the gallery looks like this . . .

The doorway leads to a smaller room that has more goodies.

If you walked to your right around the lamps, turned around and looked back, it would look like this . . .

The area starting from the Persian rug is where Mark’s consignment stuff is. Combining the two – the old and new – is tricky to put it mildly.

This gives you a beginning idea of what the place is like. It is less than half the size of the original gallery in the center across the street, but this is a much better location, and we have more than tripled our sales.

I will be back tomorrow with some detail photos.

Right now, I have to grab some more studio time! Lot’s to do!

moonrise

A Month in the Life. . . Only One Moment

There are moments in life when you know you are looking at something you will never see again.

Look at this photograph and think about it for a minute.

What is going on here?

Maybe you would see something like this on the ocean.

But the nearest ocean is over a thousand miles away.

Is it a sunrise?

No, the color isn’t right.

Is it a sunset?

Again, the colors aren’t right. If a sunset looked like this, there would be life-threatening storm clouds to worry about.

This is a moonrise.

With contrails running through it.

It was the night of November 30.

I was just taking the Huskies out for their  final “relief” before bed.

And this sky was just there waiting for us.

It’s a very good thing my camera is never far away.

If there is a heaven anywhere, I think it is right over there.

kittytube

A Month in the Life… Elk Bones, Tube Cats, and Wine Glasses

I sat down with the laptop last night to do my post.

Within 45 seconds, I knew that if I attempted to type a post, it would look like this:

ZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZ . . .

Not only because I was SO tired, but also because, when I do fall asleep at the keyboard, it is usually with my finger on a key. I just figured it would likely be the Z.

The Kitty Tube . . .

So, about that Kitty tube. If this isn’t the most wonderful photo of a perfectly behaved and docile feline, I don’t know what is. This is my Mom’s cat, Missy, relaxing in her new toy.

Ordinarily, she is not relaxing in this new toy. She is usually leaping and rolling and popping out the hole in the middle. Mom says it’s her best toy ever.

Look for it at Walmart. It collapses flat like those leaf baskets for the yard, when the cat isn’t rolling it all over the house. Great holiday gift for your feline friends, and friends with felines. Inexpensive too.

The Elk Bones . . .

We have some neighbors who have Northern dogs like we do. They also have friends who hunt (eeew!) Mark accuses me of still hauling around my Bambi issues in my life baggage. He’s right. Bambi’s mother-loss was very traumatic.

Anyway, my friend, Tanya, who is from Australia and much less of a wuss than me, brought over some Elk bones for my dogs. (double eeew!) She said my dogs would think they were in heaven and it was good for their teeth.

I could not handle the whole idea, and made Mark dole the bones out to the dogs last evening.

They did think they were in heaven. They also thought they should break off shards and eat them. Both of us spent the next hour running between one and the other to take the shards away, and getting growled at – by the dogs and by each other – because I didn’t want to touch the bones, and Mark didn’t want to get up out of his chair that often.

There was something very primal about the whole thing.

I have tried to be a vegetarian but my physiology does not agree, and after a week or so with no meat, I start to feel the need to go hunting myself, God forbid. So, I remain an involuntary carnivore.

I try to stick to shrimp and roast chicken and thank those critters for their sacrifice and apologize and feel the appropriate amount of guilt.

I will say it publicly: “I am so sorry, shrimps and chickens. Please forgive”

And to the Elk: “It really wasn’ t my fault.”

Wine Glasses . . .

I spent most of yesterday talking to artists and making the final orders for the gallery for the holiday season.

I have been searching for VERY COOL wine glasses because I think they make great gifts. And I love wine glasses. And I love wine.

I especially love these blue wine glasses, created by Debb Cusick, a stained glass artist in Colorado. I ordered them with the horse motif, and also a Gecko and a Shaman design. I like the reflection in this photo too.

I LOVE clever ideas. When I saw these wine glasses, created by Kathryn Gooding out in the San Francisco Bay Area, my traffic was stopped. What a completely wonderful idea!

To me, the most creative results happen when incongruous things are combined and it works.

And this beautiful design is by Kathryn also . . .

The grape clusters are made of burgundy colored Swarovski crystals.

All these glasses are etched by sandblasting and they are BIG. Over nine inches tall. They will hold lots of Chardonnay, and that is a good thing in my book.

I am wondering whether my local customers will understand the idea of wine glass as artwork and pay the $24 to $30 price tag for each glass? We shall see.

Would you pay $24 – $30 for a beautiful wine glass?

A Month in the Life . . . Eye Candy

I haven’t really reported on the Garden Room this year, but with the fifteen Hibiscus and the help of my alcohol spray, things are looking pretty good.

It is pretty tricky to photograph any orange, yellow, or red flower in any bright light – the color bleeds out. So, I took this one in the dark – almost – at sunrise with the iPad camera, which somehow, seems able to do what most real cameras can’t. I don’t get it, but that thing takes the best photos in the lowest light.

Photography is changing so much as the result of the digital age. It is becoming so many different things that sometimes you must wonder if the original art form will continue to exist at all.

And then you run across something like the National Geographic Travel Photo contest.

National Geographic is like the Holy Grail for photographers. I don’t mean photo-shooters. I mean *real* photographers who understand photography as a fine art form.

The editors at National Geographic have set the bar so high that even the best of the best, feel honored to have their work accepted.

National Geographic editors are notorious for upholding standards that most folks don’t even know exist. For example, they will not even look at landscape photos that were shot at anytime between dawn and dusk because they know that dawn and dusk are the only time the light lends itself to awesome landscape photography.

I forgot about looking for the contest results in July, and was just recently reminded to go look.

There are 40 photos to view and each is accompanied by a little story about where and when it was taken. A couple of the photos are not what I would call up-to-snuff, but enough of them are heart stoppers to make this a celebration of excellence, a great travelogue, and a reassurance that photography is not a lost art. Not yet anyway.

Enjoy the journey:

National Geographic Travel Photo Contest

witchesballdetail

A Month in the Life. . . Witch Balls

Did you stare very long at this beautiful thing?

Beware!

They say you learn something every day.

And sometimes, lots of people know all about it already. But you don’t.

So, this is a Witch Ball – something that has been around for a couple hundred years or more. But, it’s new to me.

I LOVE art with a story, and this is a humdinger.

Supposedly, a witch or any other bearer of less than wonderful energy, will be so enthralled by the beauty of this glass orb (usually about 6-7 inches in diameter) that she will get trapped by the glass threads within, and be rendered harmless.

So, the Witch Ball will protect your home from evil.

I like that.

When I saw photos of the beautiful Witch Balls hand blown by glass artist Virgil Jones of North Carolina, I had to have them for the gallery.

In real life, they are even more beautiful, and I was enthralled when they arrived.

“This is amazing,” I said to Mark, I can’t stop looking at this Witch Ball,”

“Well, I guess it’s working then,” he said.

Mark treads very close to the edge sometimes.

Have you ever heard of Witch Balls?