Sunday, November 30, 2014

Black and White Inspiration…

My daughter tagged me on Facebook to do a Black and White Photo Challenge a little while ago.  The challenge was to post a black and white photo every day for five days.  When she first tagged me, I simply didn’t have enough time to get it done.  I wasn’t spending much time with my camera or my computer except for mostly “work” related things, but I put it in the back of my mind and determined to get to it.  And I did and will post the five photos today.

When I first saw the tag, I kind of cringed internally because I really didn’t have time for it, but ultimately I was glad for the tag.  It got me out with my camera and thinking about what to do during this kind of difficult time between fall and real winter when things outside are rather dull.  I have found over the years that if you look hard enough, there is always something interesting to be seen.  But the simple practice of inspiration is often not that easy to come by and a little push is appreciated.

So starting in January (or maybe before), I think I might embark on a Fifty-two Week photo project.  Problem is I am not sure what theme I want to go with.  I did one a few years back when I took a Purple Monkey with me everywhere and got him into all sorts of situations.  He’s here on my Flickr site.  But what to do next…  If you have a suggestion, I’m more than willing to consider it.  Meanwhile, I am going to do my best to not let the hype of the Season get me down.

Yes, I'm bad at math, but I do know there are more than five photos here.  There are a couple of rejects amongst them.

Friday, November 28, 2014

Let the craziness begin…

1.  I was sorry to see in the paper this morning that author P.D. James has passed away.  I have been reading her books for years and have found them intelligent and enjoyable.  She was 94 so I guess it is not unexpected, but it’s always sad when the world loses a great mind.

2.  I have been inordinately busy and I’m getting kind of tired of it.  And I’m saying that while heading into the busiest time of the year.  Bah humbug!

3.  We had our first real snow of the season on Wednesday.  The traffic here was so bad on Tuesday that I have to think that people were leaving early to avoid the weather just to get stuck in all that traffic.  It made me feel good to stay put.  We have avoided traveling this time of year as much as possible opting for our small family gatherings and dinner out at a local restaurant.  Works for us.

4.  Our Thanksgiving was quiet and easy.  We went to dinner in town at a place called Avellino.  We went there last year, too.  I smell a tradition in the making.  I like it there.  The service was good but leisurely.  I appreciate not being rushed through a big meal.  And, most importantly, the food was good.  I am truly thankful that I didn’t have to cook yesterday except for breakfast of bacon and eggs.  And the eggs came from a friend who has chickens.  Nothing like the color of farm fresh eggs to brighten the morning.  Another small thing to be thankful for.

5.  Guess it’s time for a vacation one of these days.

Linking to Tanya's Willy-Nilly Friday Five!

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Door to Door...

“I’m a door-to-door salesman. I sell doors. If I can’t knock on yours, because you don’t have a door to knock on, I know you’ll be interested in what I’m selling.” ~Jarod Kintz

Last week, when I went out to Northampton, Massachusetts, to visit my daughter Carrie, I took some pictures of doors.  Here are a couple I particularly liked.

Looking at these photos made me wonder in my mind where the best place I’ve ever been for photographing doors.  As way leads on to way inside my brain, it made me start thinking about Scotland and the doors I saw there.  So I went back in time and stepped through the portal into my computer’s memory and found that I had, indeed, taken a lot of pictures of doors when we were in Scotland.
  Here are a few.

Of course, we humans often use open doors as metaphors for choices we make in life or, when the door is closed, being blocked from those choices.  Alexander Graham Bell said, “Sometimes we stare so long at a door that is closing that we see too late the one that is open.”  I think he was probably right.  But that didn’t keep me from spending a lot of time staring at my old photos of doors in Scotland, when there are probably hundreds of doors right here in Sturbridge that are waiting for me to turn the knob.

Friday, November 14, 2014

Willy-Nilly Friday Five…

1.  I actually got something done this week and here it is:

It was my first real attempt at Aran Crochet.  I enjoyed doing it and it turned out well.  I can see more of this in my future.

2.  I went out to visit my daughter Carrie who lives in Northampton, Massachusetts yesterday.  She was proudly carrying her “new to her” orange purse...a gift from her dad.  It is a pretty sweet bag, I must admit.

3.  After Carrie and I had lunch, we did a little antique browsing.  I do love poking around in antique shops even though I don’t really need or want anything much.  But I did find something yesterday that called out to me.  And it’s this:

I’m planning to repurpose this old ashtray as a fondue fork holder for our annual Christmas Eve fondue do.  I think that it will give it a much nicer second life.  I am rather enamored of the shape and color of the piece.

4.  After we left the shop, we saw this little fellow tied up waiting for his alpha.  Dogs tied to poles always look so lonely to me.  It’s like he’s saying to everyone who passes by, “Are you my mother?”

5.  Got up this morning to our first “snowfall.”  I am putting that in quotes because it didn’t amount to anything and by the time I was taking the dog out around 8 am, it was bright and sunny and sounded like it was raining out because everything was melting at a precipitous rate.  Other parts of the country have gotten hit a lot harder than we have.  But it’s early days yet.

Linking up to Tanya's Willy-Nilly Friday Five!

Thursday, November 6, 2014

Good Stockbridge Fences…

Greg and I took an afternoon in October to make a trip out to Stockbridge, Massachusetts to the Norman Rockwell Museum.  We had just a matter of days left to see the special exhibit there titled “The Unknown Hopper” featuring Edward Hopper’s early work as an illustrator.  We were glad we did as we are both fans of Edward Hopper but had had no idea that he started his career as an illustrator.

For me, it was interesting that Hopper found his work as an illustrator constraining and only did it to make ends meet.  Once he sold his first “real” art and his career as an artist started to take off, he quit his job and dedicated himself fully to painting what he wanted, when he wanted. He said of his art, “Maybe I am not very human - what I wanted to do was to paint sunlight on the side of a house.”

This is probably Hopper’s most famous painting.  It has been imitated over and over again.

Rockwell, on the other hand, is well-known as an illustrator extraordinaire.  Today, most Americans are very familiar with his Saturday Evening Post covers even though he died in 1978.  Rockwell said, “Some people have been kind enough to call me a fine artist. I've always called myself an illustrator. I'm not sure what the difference is. All I know is that whatever type of work I do, I try to give it my very best. Art has been my life.”

My personal favorite Rockwell illustration called The Problem We All Live With shows Ruby Bridges, a six year old African-American girl going into an all-white public school in New Orleans in November of 1960 as she is accompanied by four US Marshalls for her protection.  I find this piece to be very moving and heart wrenching.  This photo was published in Look magazine in 1964.

I make no judgment here.  Two different people, two different ways of looking at art.  Art and the admiration of it, after all, are among the most subjective matters on the earth.   I’m just glad that these two exceptional talents were able to contribute such beauty and insight to this world.

But I digress from my purpose for posting here today.  Today is Good Fences day and I did manage to take a couple of fence photos while we were out in Stockbridge.  They may not be art, but they are illustrations of good fences and  even though it was a very gloomy, grey day, I tried to give them my best.

Linking to The Run*A*Round Ranch's Good Fences!

Thanks, Theresa!