Monthly Archives: January 2013

Which Seeds You Sow . . .

whichseedsIt is just past the first half of the first month of 2013.

I love New Years because, somehow, although it is just a date change, really, it feels like a chance for a do-over. The closest thing real life offers to an Undo/Redo key.

I am not saying there is anything wrong with the things I did in 2012. My God! I wrote 600 pages of iPad art instruction for one thing. One of many things.

But, I always think there may be a better method of doing the same thing.

For example, that iPad thing was a book of the month club, and why I thought that was a comfortable schedule, I’ll never know. It resulted in a fabulous body of knowledge that a person can’t find anywhere else, and which has the potential of enabling artists in ways that no one ever dreamed of, so it is a good thing.

But maybe I didn’t have to “hurry”.

I’ve been thinking about the phrase we ALL use ALL the time:

“In a Hurry”

Aren’t we all.

But I am thinking that’s not so good.

We are in a hurry so we can fit a lot in, get a lot done, feel accomplished.

But, in truth, we are not fitting more in.

There are a finite number of minutes in every day that we can fill.

We can fill them with intensive experience of a few things, but if we overload the things, we decrease the experience of each of them – because there are just so many minutes to go around.

Also, when we are “in a hurry”, we are actually “in” something. It’s an altered state that’s not so great.

Our physiology and psychology don’t like being in a “hurry”. It is not comfortable and ALWAYS produces stress, which is the worst “dis-ease” we can have.

Everything we experience when in a hurry is fogged over and shallow. It’s not as much fun, and we don’t remember it. How many times have you said “What!?! It’s Friday already?”

Where did that week go? I’ll tell you where. It went into oblivion and it won’t be back.

So, my only resolution for 2013 is to not be “in a hurry” about anything. Period.

So, far, it is working so well that I am amazed.

I finished the final workbook for iPad Studio and enjoyed the whole process. That workshop is now complete, and ongoing, and the best gift you can give yourself if you have an iPad. It is a self-paced workshop – in a classroom where students share their work, ask questions and get answers. You can sign up anytime and proceed at your own pace through the 11 Workbooks.

I have launched the Inktense Workshop (it goes 12 weeks so you can jump in anytime), and because I am not in a hurry, it has launched me back into real world art media in a big way. I am loving it. The sketch at the top of this post if from the first page of my new 2013 Journal. Done with Inktense pencils.

I am writing to you from Abilene, Texas.

My trip is to attend the Dallas Gift Show, but it’s a 10 hour drive to Dallas, and I decided to take two days and not hurry.

I was even all packed and ready to go ahead of time. That was really amazing.

And I am not hurrying off this morning. I am writing this post instead.

Do you think you could slow down and get more out of your life?

Walking in a Winter Wonderland


This was me as I went outside this morning.

No, Teddy did not get his walk. The “Walking in a Winter Wonderland ” in the title is only hypothetical.

It was 4 degrees, for heaven sake.

This may be no hill to climb for some of you, but let me say that we are not used to it around here.

Cold as it was, it was so beautiful that I ventured outside in my flip flops for a few photos.

The gal up top is not really me. She is a garden sculpture that represents me. Her name is Four Winds

Her pal in the next picture is Easy Mark (referencing guess who). Together, they stand outside the gate and act as our Guardians against evil.our-guardians

These copper pipe sculptures are created by Native American artist, Mark Fischer, who lives and works in Wisconsin. We have three of these so far. The third is one I call Garden Grace (but the artist calls her “Strawberry’). She holds a couple of Hummingbird feeders in Summer, and suet cages in Winter.

She looks like this . . .


The sculptures stand about 6 feet tall and are easy to install. You can see all the wonderful designs, and even purchase them, from Mark Fischer’s website . . .


I have two or three more on my wish list.

Our trees are never Winter Wonderland trees like they were this morning . . .


snow5Yes, those are what we call “trees” in the second photo. They are short and fat, but they are Juniper Pines and this is the only time they aren’t making allergy trouble of some kind.

But, the real visual treats were in the close-ups . . .




My real birds did much better than this. They were all flying around, drinking from the heated birdbath, eating from the feeders, and discussing how lowly humans not only can’t fly, they don’t even know how to deal with single digit temperatures! “Look at that crazy woman,” they tweeted, “she’s barefoot!!!”

The really glorious part was that we had glitter snow. I love glitter snow, but I can’t imagine how to capture it in a photo. Here’s my best attempt . . .


Here’s a little photo advice about taking pictures in snow.

Camera light meters are set up to expose everything with the settings that would produce a nice middle gray (18% gray, actually). This works for lots of things, but not things that are very dark, or very light – like snow. Both will be too gray and lose their intensity.

So, most of your snow photos will turn out gray.

Almost all digital cameras have what is called Exposure Compensation, which lets you increase or decrease the exposure by small increments. This is usually indicated by a Plus/Minus icon on some button on your camera. (look it up in your manual if you can’t find it).

A good rule of thumb is that snow needs an exposure boost (plus) of at least +1.

If it’s too late, the photos are taken, and the moment is gone, you can adjust Exposure after the fact in Photoshop or Elements. Look under Image Adjustments.

Always remember to return your Exposure Comp to zero when you are done shooting. Forgetting to change back can really overexpose the next photos you take if they are not snow pictures.

Do you have any favorite Winter photo? Share it with us in a Comment.

And speaking of Comments . . .

Challenge Winners . . .

Wow, I better shut this off before I give away the farm.

I can’t believe how astute you are, or how many of you must by lumber-women!

I would have thought our mystery photo was red meat, or any of the other great guesses you came up with, but those of you who guessed that it was found on a cut piece of wood were right. Here is the subject shot from a normal distance.


This is a tree by the entrance of Harry’s Roadhouse – a well loved eatery here in Santa Fe. One big branch had been sawn off. I was blown away by the color. This color is NOT adjusted, and the shot was taken with my iPhone.

Now, I don’t know if this is sap or pitch or resin or rosen or fungus or what, and I do believe it is a Pinon Pine tree, but if you guessed that it was something on cut wood, you won a Gift Certificate.

To claim your prize, email me at

and claim your answer. I will put your email address on my Gift Certificate list for future reference.

I will email back how you can use your Gift Certificate.

This was fun. You amazed me, and I will do this again sometime because it was so fun.

Eva, I loved the strawberry, and I think Suzanne’s macro was a straw? But, Therese, I can’t guess what yours is, but it is certainly beautiful!!

What In the World?!


Happy New Year, everybody!

I am going to start off the year with a little challenge . . .

Anyone who can guess what this is, wins a $10 gift certificate from Just leave a comment and tell me exactly what this is.

I love macro photography. It helps me to see things that are ordinarily passed over. It helps me be in the moment by holding me in the detail.

Although most digital cameras have a Macro or even Super Macro capability built right in, most folks don’t use it because they don’t know about it.

Every lens on a camera or every focal length of a zoom lens has an MFD or Minimum Focusing Distance. That is the shortest distance from the subject that the camera is able to focus. Get any closer and you are out of luck.

If you have ever experienced a situation when your camera just plain refused to focus, you were too close to your subject, If you had backed up a little, your camera would have been able to focus just fine.

The Macro lens on a DSLR (or the Macro function on a zoom lens camera), decreases the MFD and allows you to focus closer to the subject.

Super macro modes can allow you to be SO close that you have to be careful that the lens does not actually touch the subject.

MFD on a normal lens can be as close as a foot, but Macro can take you in to as close as a half inch on some cameras.

As you can imagine, this is something like deep sea diving. You find yourself in a new “landscape” where nothing is all that familiar. It is a wonderful place to get lost and forget any troubles. It is an experience that can give you religion if you happen to be doing macro shots of things in nature.

If you want to have a whole new experience with your camera, check it for a Macro or Super Macro shooting mode – usually indicated by a Tulip icon.

Set your camera to that mode and explore your familiar surroundings from an inch or half an inch away.

It’s a new world.

If you get a wonderful shot, share it with us in a comment.

Meanwhile, what is that at the top of this post?