Sunday, May 31, 2009

Computer vacation

I've been doing The Artist's Way -- again (the first time was in 2003, when Ross was four years old). If you've followed this creative recovery program before, you know about week 4: the dreaded week of reading deprivation. You are supposed to NOT READ for a week. One of the points of the exercise is to discover how much time you spend reading, instead of doing your own creative thing.

Not only do I waste a lot of time reading, I also spend way too much time on the internet. Which is a form of reading, of course. So: I will not be reading blogs or my email this week, and not writing here, either. In fact, I'm going to stay offline entirely (unless I crack ;-} ). It'll be a good creative challenge. I hope to spend a lot of time at the sewing machine or with a crochet hook. See you next week!

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Alight

Maple leaf alight

Walking in nature and taking photographs -- these ease my sadness. The sunlight was so beautiful this morning in the maple trees, I had to take a few shots. One of my neighbors was walking his two boys to school as I worked. I said hello as they passed, then turned back to the camera, hearing one of the boys ask, "What is she doing?"

I am looking. I am healing. I am remembering.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Chaplin, our friend

Chaplin in the kitchen

Our old friend, Chaplin, is near his end. He can barely extend his tongue to drink water; the mouth cancer is taking its toll. Chris and I have decided that we will put him down tomorrow. Please, think comforting thoughts for all of us. Thank you.

Monday, May 18, 2009

Bright Eyes

The hat . . .

Blue/pink hat scrumble, finished

. . . has found a home.

Bright Eyes

Bright Eyes is a party girl -- a clown ready to paint the town and boogie down.

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Track meet

Ross had his final track meet of the season today. It was a llllooonnnnggg meet, but I was happy to give the Canon more of a workout. I used the telephoto lens a lot, and I tried out the continuous shooting mode. It's supposed to shoot 3 frames per second -- I don't think it was quite that fast, but it was plenty fast for me.

For example, continuous photos of Ross throwing the "turbo" javelin:

Ross throwing javelin (1)

Ross throwing javelin (2)

Ross throwing javelin (3)

Ross launching javelin (4)

This was my favorite shot of the day -- Ross in mid-air while long jumping.

Ross long jump (arms up)

There are a couple other shots here on my flickr account.

(I promise there will be some art/fiber postings next week -- I have been working, just haven't had a lot to show lately.)

Friday, May 15, 2009

Photography 101

I've been shooting a ton of photos. Sorting them has been informative. There have been many bad ones, but they are teaching me a lot about how the camera works. The truism holds: you learn more from your mistakes than from your successes.

There are a lot of new photos at my flickr account -- most of them not-very-interesting photos of my son. My favorites:

Pink/purple, pointy tulip

(a neighbor's tulip)


Fluffy dandelion

(backyard dandelion)

Chaplin and Ross on couch

(Chaplin takes a lap wherever he can find it these days.)

Tech Trek sign

(Rock on!)

Ross as Tolkien

(Ross dressed as J.R.R. Tolkien for his school project. Fake pipe made by my husband.)

Monday, May 11, 2009

The real deal

I'd noticed the very attractive Canon camera sales in the newspaper ads last Sunday. A particularly nice package caught my eye: A Canon EOS Rebel XSi, with the standard lens, plus a telephoto lens AND a camera bag. Essentially, the package was priced so that you got the telephoto lens for super cheap. I know folks who love their Canons, and I was sure that this would be plenty of camera for me. But the little doubts started creeping in: "I don't really need a telephoto lens." "That's a heck of a lot of money for a camera." "Am I that committed to photography?" "I shouldn't spend that much money on myself."

But come Saturday, I decided to be brave. I mentioned to my husband that I'd like to go camera shopping before the sales were over, and he was immediately willing to come with me. (He does love electronics!) After Ross' track meet and lunch, we drove to Best Buy. Chris told Ross: "Mark this day on your calendar -- your mom actually wants to go to Best Buy!"

Ross had to be patient while Chris and I checked out the XSi. Chris gave me his opinion, then wandered off to browse, leaving me alone with the camera and my thoughts. I was surprised to find myself a little scared! This seemed like such a huge step, to buy myself a serious camera. I had doubts that I could learn how to use it. I quickly dismissed those thoughts; I am good at teaching myself a lot of things. (And geez, I could always take a class.)

But, there was still the price tag to consider. When Chris came back, I looked at him and asked him if he was okay with me spending that much money on a camera. He looked at me and said simply, "You enjoy photography. You should have a good camera." It was simple, cut and dried to him. (I am blessed with a wonderful partner.)

I gulped a bit when I paid for the camera. Not quite as intense as when I wrote out the huge house down payments, but still. Then the butterflies in my stomach settled down, and I realized that this is the real deal. I'm a committed photographer now!

Canon self-portrait

Canon self-portrait (close-up)

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Shooting stars

Think of these photos as wildflower portraits, maybe like taking your high school senior to the local park for her yearbook photos. You carefully choose clothing and hairstyle, get ready to go, and the weather looks iffy, perhaps impossible. But you keep your appointment, venturing out with hope. Shot after shot after shot doesn't meet your approval. But then the sun peaks out, the wind stops blowing, and [click] -- you capture what you've been looking for.

These wildflowers said to me: "Mr. DeMille, I'm ready for my close-up!"

Shooting stars with branches

Shooting stars in grass

Shooting stars with yellow flowers

Monday, May 4, 2009

This weekend

Maple in the park

(maple tree at the park, Sunday evening)

As the trees bloom and "leaf out," I feel spring, here and now -- no more waiting!

I spent a lot of my weekend working on my yellow circles canvas, learning how to be more in the moment as I worked. I went through some feelings of hopelessness -- as I painted on the oranges, I felt I was ruining it. Fear raised its ugly head. But then I put my despair down, and got out a pen, and drew little brown circles all over the background. It needed a center, and I wanted to stitch, so I found a big canvas needle and reddish brown embroidery floss. After I traced circular objects with a pen, I discovered it wasn't so tough to stitch through the paint and gel. (A metaphor, perhaps?: Breaking through the surface of things isn't as tough as you think it's going to be.)

Yellow circle canvas, stage 3

It isn't quite done yet, and it isn't terrific. But what gets me excited is the fact that I am doing, and not giving up. Process teaches me more than my usual over-thinking. And, I can take another step in putting aside my perfectionism, by accepting this creation, warts and all.