Sunday, July 26, 2009


This picture has no real artistic merit, but it is an example of being in the right place at the right time. In Manhattan, on the edge of the Upper West Side, there are paths that run along the Hudson River. Walking along there just after the sun had set, we saw a large gander "herd" his gaggle out of the water and up onto a pier. They waddled towards the end of the pier and stood looking out as if they were admiring the New Jersey skyline and the deep blue sky. We took our cue from the geese and stopped to look too.

Sunday, July 19, 2009


This is my favorite picture of "Atlas," the large bronze statue that stands at the front end of Rockefeller Plaza in New York City. Well, he kneels, rather than stands, and he supports the heavens, not the earth, on his shoulders. I shot him from the back, not the front. The facade of St. Patrick's Cathedral, which is across the street, fills the background. For me, this one photo is a reminder of what makes midtown Manhattan so grand and memorable: broad avenues lined with notable architecture punctuated with arresting art. It's also a reminder that it can be good to turn around and look at things from the less obvious angle.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Annabel Hydrangea

Before she moved, my friend Becky gave me a small cutting she had started from her favorite hydrangea. It seems to like being in our front yard. This summer it has doubled in size and number of blooms. While I have always thought of myself as a blue hydrangea type of person, these big snowballs have won my heart. This should not surprise me. In my artwork, I gravitate towards pale fabrics, creamy laces and mother-of-pearl buttons. I love the challenge of creating contrast and texture within such a narrow range of values. Look closely at this photo and you will see so much more than white. There are grays, ivorys and yellows. Because the colors are so subtle, the multitude of curving petals takes precedence. Texture is the belle of this

Sunday, July 5, 2009

Make Your Own Fireworks

The highlight of Independence Day in our nation's capital is the fireworks display. This time, we walked over towards the Iwo Jima Memorial. Running a bit late, we decided to join the growing crowds on a weedy green island that is actually part of a busy highway's exit ramp. With the roads blocked off and a view of the Washington Monument in front of us, we enjoyed the shooting stars, sparkling chrysanthemums and melting fountains of color that filled the night sky. I knew ahead of time that this would not be a good spot of taking photos. So after we returned home, inspired by the display, I gathered my growing assortment of lighted decorations and carnival jewelry. Many of them blink. In a dark room, I twirled the camera, snapping slow exposures. A previous posting shows this technique aimed at outdoor Christmas lights. My big surprise this time was the little dashes formed by the blinking lights. This image also makes me think of the Aurora Borealis. I can't wait to print and cut up some of these "light pictures" into collages. Make your own fireworks, make your own fun.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Spools Of Thread

Last week, Carol Shinn taught a class at the Quilt/Surface Design Symposium. Spread out around her trusty old sewing machine were these box lids full of cotton threads. Every time I entered her room, I was drawn to the jumble of spools with their soft sheen and subtle variations within each color grouping. This picture explains why so many of us have chosen to work in thread and fabric rather than acrylics or watercolors. Carol's photo-realistic artworks are awe-inspiring. She has written what will surely be considered the bible of machine embroidery. It's called "Freestyle Machine Embroidery." You need a copy. Trust me on this. I have never recommended a book before, but I am blown away by this one. To see Carol's art, go to