Inspiration In A Beautiful Day

This summer the weather has been either beautiful. To find inspiration in a beautiful day you have to expect the unexpected. You have to be willing to take whatever comes and to be spontaneous. Most times you don’t even have to look for it.

And so it started

I’d like to tell you about a beautiful day that had endless solid blue skies and big clouds with definitions. That day was filled with activities I enjoy most. It started with early morning coffee on the deck. I’m not talking 7 a.m. but 5:00 a.m., a half an hour after the morning sky starts to turn from black to tired gray. A bird was calling in the wood that I’d never heard before. The call was so clear the cliche “cut through the air” came to mind. I sat there for a long time before going inside.

After breakfast

The garden is looking great this summer. We have had a fair amount of rain in the evenings. My Lenten roses have had two blooming cycles! The variety of lilies are extra tall and the hydrangea is loaded with blooms. Whilst finding the hidden weeds to pull I was delighted to see my first blue dasher dragonfly of the season. He was beautiful and enjoying a sit down in the early morning sun on a phlox stalk.

Early afternoon

Sitting in the Adirondack chair with my big floppy hat reading a great book. I try to read once a day when events will let me. Reading, like gardening feeds my soul. Up until that time the sun was relentlessly beaming down making the woods smell heavenly. A shadow cast down and for a moment my eyes on the page sighed a sigh of relief. Looking up I saw clouds, big burly clouds of white with gradients of gray. They were handsome so I decided to try and take a picture. Below is the result.

A photograph of big billowing clouds with a very blue sky.
Dramatic and inspirational.

The evening

Dinner table conversations with my family sometimes gives me inspiration for my work. I have two nearly adult children home for the summer. Though I see how much they have matured, I realized my job as a parent is to keep encouraging them to follow their passions. Reaching goals or having dreams doesn’t stop at a certain age. In fact, if you think about it, aspirations and goals never stops in a human life.

We all need a little reaffirming of our dreams so I decided to do something with the picture of clouds I had taken earlier. The results are the canvas print and tote bag shown below.

May you be inspired to rise above.

Photograph of a blue sky with clouds and inspirational quote.
Canvas prints in various options
Tote bag with photograph of a blue sky with clouds and inspirational quote.
This tote is available in two sizes and two styles.

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Colors Of May

The colors of May are varied and numerous. Delicate white, soft pink and bold orange are just a few of the colors of May in our yard. From wildflowers to domestic nursery plants these flowering plants on this post are popping up all around me. Here is a small sample of the colors of May I am sharing with you today.

The first offering are the fragrant white and pink apple blossoms. This apple tree produces lovely flowers each spring though we never seem to have apples to show for it.

Pink and white apple blossoms.
Pink and white apple blossoms are very fragrant.

Blue eyed grass is quite ordinary looking until their small five petaled lavender colored flowers appear. Often found in ditches and along woodland edges, I find them just as lovely as nursery plants in bloom.

Blue eyed grass flowers
Blue eyed grass blossoms provide lovely color in a small way.

This flower of the Mock Olive bush is one of my personal favorites. These small but fragrant blossoms are hard to spot but worth the look. Growing beside the driveway it appears to get larger each year.

Mock olive blossoms
Hung like little white fairy bells the mock olive flowers are so pretty.

The columbine varieties always are prolific in the spring. Below I’ve captured a delicate pink and a large collection of the common purple varieties.

Pale pink columbine.
Delicate pale pink columbine is a spring treat.

Every fall I sprinkle the columbine seed pods all over a stone patio we rarely use. Each spring we see a huge number of these hardy columbine spring into color.

Purple Columbine And  Cedar Shingles
Columbine are easily planted by seed each fall.

This bold orange spike of flowers are called Siberian Wallflowers. I had never seen them until I planted a wildflower mix on a hill I didn’t want to mow any longer. What a surprise to see such colors in May!

Orange Siberian Wallflower
The Siberian Wallflower is anything but quiet.

These two wildflowers are wonderful companions on the wildflower hill. The Baby Blue Eyed and the Thyme-leaved Speedwell grow close to the ground. The thyme-leaved speedwell is found where ever green things grow. Not to be mixed up with its’ cousin the common speedwell, these tiny white lobed flowers are hard to see.

Baby Blue Eyed and Thyme-leaved Speedwell
Creeping along the ground are the baby blue eyed and thyme-leaved speedwell.

This simple yellow flower is called a Fringed Loosestrife. In May, a large variety of yellow flowers all very seemingly the same blossom along roads, on lawns and in the forest. When you look closely you will find these yellow five petaled flowers are not all the same.

Yellow Fringed Loosestrife
This sweet little yellow flower was found by my driveway.

I hope you have enjoyed my post Colors of May. I’m sure you have seen blossoming colors this month whether it was in the dirt beside the road or in your own gardens. Because I enjoy putting names to flowers I find, I try to observe more nature than time allows. May every day be filled with the colors of nature for you.

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Colorful Birch Leaf

My favorite time of the year is fall. Perhaps because I love change and become excited in the changes found in nature with each season. The cooler days, different smells from the forest and cooking with gourds gives me that feeling of nesting to come. Farmer’s markets brim over with jams, homemade pickles and lot’s and lot’s of apple products.

Strangely enough I start reading more poetry during the fall and winter months. I enjoy the poems of Elizabeth Barrett Browning such as her 1833 poem “The Autumn”. I give you the first stanza below.

“Go, sit upon the lofty hill,
And turn your eyes around,
Where waving woods and waters wild
Do hymn an autumn sound.
The summer sun is faint on them —
The summer flowers depart —
Sit still — as all transform’d to stone,
Except your musing heart.”

Capturing the colors of fall are easy however, finding those leaves or scenes that are unique are harder to find. When I was younger I would draw the individual leaves during their transformation from green to brown. Admiring each leafs individual color patterns always intrigued me.

Colorful birch leaf of gold, green and rust brown.
Colorful Birch Leaf

I don’t draw them now though occasionally I still find ways of capturing them into immortality. The colorful birch leaf below is an example of the symmetry of changing colors. The veins of golden yellow, what is left of the green and its fringes of brown on the tips creates a magic only nature can know.

I share this image with you on a wooden canvas print. It is available in 8” x 10”, 11” x 14” and 18” x 24”. The wood is high quality birch wood (how fitting) and printed with eco friendly inks. A beautiful presentation with wood grain accents, this wooden print is stunning. Click on the image above to find pricing.

Enjoy your Autumn season.

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Tossing The Camera

Tossing the camera can net some interesting results. This method of capturing an abstract world on your digital camera is not for the faint of heart. I first learned this technique over ten years ago when I used a compact Canon SureShot for taking pictures.

Yellow swirling lights of yellow on a black background.
Yellow Bands of Light was taken at night facing an outside light fixture.

The key word is “compact” as it stands to reason you’d never want to do this with a SLR with detachable lenses. The older compact cameras have some heft to them. In order to try and control some of the blur you’ll need a camera that can spin in the air and be easy to catch.

Beautiful bands of light swirling around to create a tunnel.
Blissful Ignorance was taken while the camera spiraled down towards a child’s toy.

The process is fairly easy. Because you are creating motion blur you will need to set your camera’s shutter speed to be slower than you’d expect. If possible start with 1/500 S (that’s one five hundredth of a second). If there is not enough blue, you can vary the shutter speed for different effects. If you find your photos are too dark, make sure your f stops (or aperture) is set to let in more light. Rule of thumb, the lower the aperture number the more light can enter the camera.

Blue Jean legs seem to be running across a white background.
Leap Of Faith was taken when a child laying on a bed was moving her legs back and forth while I spun the camera.
  • So now it’s time to toss your camera.
    First set your shutter speed and aperture
    Press the shutter release
    Toss the camera in any safe method you choose
    Catch it before it hits the ground
A photograph of bold blurring colors of teal, pink and lime green.
Bright Ideas is a Littlest Pet Shop Playground.

Because this is an experimental process to taking abstract photos, the results are endless. Have fun!

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