Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Find Your Eye ~ Looking To Other Artist

Visiting an art exhibit was new to me. I don’t have an excuse, I just rarely view art!  That is definitely something I will change in the future!! As part of an assignment for Find Your Eye with Kat Sloma, we were to visit an art exhibit and study the art. We were to take notes and then reflect on what we liked or disliked and also, note which works of art inspired us. We were to look for elements that we could bring to our own photography.
I will say, this was a fun assignment. I had the best time getting out and exploring the exhibits I went to. First, I visited the Arkansas Art Center. The highlight of that trip was an exhibit that featured Norman Rockwell paintings and Kevin Rivoli photographs side by side. Rockwell is know for his capture of daily life and Rivoli used his camera to capture “Rockwell type moments”. You really should drop by and see his photography here. Both artists documented life in small town America. They showed a passion for ordinary things and moments involving home, school, work, or church. I love the emotions they captured. They inspired me to be more aware of the everyday moments that tell a story.
I was so intrigued with this exhibit that the rest of the museum was kind of a blur. So a few days later, I went back and walked through the other exhibits. I must admit, art is a mystery to me.  I wasn’t brought up around art and rarely have I made an effort to see any. Most of the time, I just don’t get it! I mean really, a monkey with fruit on his head. That was a painting I definitely didn’t like. I also didn’t care for some of the portraits, they seemed so unreal, cold and lifeless. I guess the saying “to each his own” goes a long way in the art world.

There was this one painting by Al Allen called “Morning Musing” that I stood in front of for a long time both times I visited. It was polymer and oil on canvas. It was very simple, very clean lines, and strong light. I was surprised it grabbed my attention! It was a painting of a window with three long sections of eight panes each. As you look through the window you could see the drapes behind the window. Wonderful texture, light, and shadows. But, what was so stunning to me was the shaft of morning light that fell across the window. It was gorgeous! Since I’ve been learning about photography, I’ve read about light and seen photos with light, but for the first time I really saw how light could impact art. There was something magical about this shaft of light, something emotional, something that touched my heart. I wanted to open the drapes and let the light in! I found several other great pieces of art that also captured light beautifully, Dale Chihuly’s glass and Robert Cottingham’s graphite on vellum drawings. Cottingham sketched ordinary objects, but the forms and shapes were brought out by the light and shadows.
There was another exhibit of watercolors and drawings by 19th century French Neo-Impressionist Paul Signac.  I liked the lines and muted colors in his watercolor port scenes. In reading the background material about his works he said he received the bulk of his training from his relationship with other artists and most importantly, from looking at art. He surrounded himself with art and artists. Sounds like our assignment, going out and surrounding ourselves with the artwork of others.

Since I love to take photos with details of nature, I was drawn to this fascinating group of 14 tiny canvases. These were on display at  the Historical Arkansas Museum.
 It was an unusual display with 14 action figures painting on canvases that were about 1” x 3”.
The tiny details were amazing. I'm glad they allowed photos, because it's hard to describe.

As I looked back at my notes  describing the art I liked, several words were repeated.  I want to become more aware of these elements that I was attracted to in the artwork and use them in my photos.

As I mentioned above, light captured my attention.
I was drawn to strong vertical, horizontal lines, curves and swirls
I was attracted to the amazing details in the charcoal, pencil, and pen and ink drawings
Beautiful colors
It didn’t seem to matter whether they were subtle colors or strong colors.

Black and white and monochromatic
This attraction surprised me. I rarely convert pictures to black and white and seldom are my photos monochromatic. Maybe this is an area that I should look into and pursue. I tried black and white with this photo I took at the Historical Museum. This young woman dressed in pre-Civil Ward clothing was showing me a Murphy bed.

This was an amazing learning experience that I will definitely do again.

I would like to tell you a little about Kat Sloma's blog The KatEye View Of The World. I have learned more from her wonderful blog than anywhere else. She is an excellent teacher, blogger, and photographer.  Why should you visit her blog?
1. Her blog is absolutely wonderful!!!  Her photos are amazing and her thoughts are always inspiring!
2. Find Your Eye E-courses, Photo Courses with Heart and Soul. This is my second class and I have learned so much!  So much, that I will continue with her next class. I can see an improvement in my photography from the assignments and photo journals. She is registering now for a September class Find Your Eye: Starting the Journey.
3. Come Exploring With a Camera

I don't recommend blogs and classes very often. But I highly recommend Kat's.  If you love photography and want to learn how to improve, she has a lot to offer!! 

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Queen Wilhelmina Rod Run 2011

Mr. H. and I own a street rod, a 1940 Ford pickup. When time allows, we travel to street rod shows. We traveled this weekend to Mena, Arkansas the location for the annual Queen Wilhelmina Rod Run. Let me explain a little about why they're called street rods. According to the National Street Rod Association,  "A street rod is the most practical type of old car. By definition a street rod is: An automobile of 1948 or earlier manufacture which has undergone some type of modernization, to include any of the following; engine, transmission, interior refinements, and any other modifications the builder desires. A street rod is to be driven to events under its own power and is to be used as a safe, non-racing vehicle for total family enjoyment." We enjoy the comforts of power steering, power brakes, and most definitely air conditioning!!  You can restore an antique car to it's original state, but it isn't practical if you want to drive it.  For one thing, the motors and transmission aren't made for the faster pace we travel on our highways. Another problem, in you have a breakdown you can't visit the local parts store for new parts.  Most parts have to be ordered and take weeks even months to receive!  So, if you have a car and want to drive it, you modify it. Now that you have more information than you want, we'll get on to the pictures!!

At Mena, the festivities begin on Friday night in the downtown area. They block off streets around the train station for the street rods to park. There's always a great crowd of people who come to see the vehicles. I love listening to their comments and stories. Many times we've heard "my grandad had a truck like this" or "I learned to drive in and old truck like this". 

This is my favorite truck a 1931 Ford Pickup. I love to hear it run. It's like a soft putt-putt. Reminds me of the truck in The Fox And The Hound, only this one has a prettier paint job!

On Saturday morning, we headed up the mountain to Queen Wilhelmina State Park for the actual street rod show. Love this drive, it's beautiful with curves and trees and gorgeous views!! I'm glad I don't have to drive I can just enjoy the ride!! 
There were around 200 cars, every make, model and color you can imagine! We always take a lot of pictures of the trucks. This is a 1935 or 1936 Ford. We thought about painting our truck yellow. I'm glad we didn't, but I really like this one in yellow!!

This late 40's Chevrolet has the most beautiful paint job.  It's such a pretty shade of blue, which is my favorite color!! Look at this reflection of the yellow truck!!  Pretty amazing!!

This is our spot for the day. We have awnings that we set up to keep the sun off us, plenty of water and snacks. We never forget the snacks. We walk around looking at all the cars and then we just sit and visit. Later in the evening we're treated to a fried fish dinner with all the trimmings.  It doesn't get much better than that...beautiful scenery, great friends and tasty fried fish!!

This was one beautiful car, a 1937 Cadillac.  Look at the clear reflection of other cars in the back fender.  I think it looks like a mobster car.  Can't you just see men in dark suits riding on the running boards with machine guns in their hands.

This photo is for all my Arkansas friends and relatives. The University of Arkansas mascot is a Razorback. This guy most really love the "hogs!!"

Not only beautiful cars, but beautiful skies.  The weather was pretty hot! It was 108 one day with humidity!  But, you know, you don't seem as miserable when you're having fun.

On Saturday night, we all gather on Main Street. We got downtown early so we could find us a good spot with some wind blowing!
The street fills up with cars and the people begin to arrive. I love those mountains in the background! There's a live band playing and a street dance. Although, the only people who ever dance are the kids.  They are so fun to watch!  I am not a crowd person, but this doesn't seem to bother me!  Strange!! Another strange thing, among all these people we never once saw a policeman!  This is a great, friendly town!
We stopped at couple of the overlooks. Pictures can't even begin to show the beauty of the Ouachita Mountains.

For some reason this truck just keeps driving right into my pictures and  I can't resist it!

This shot is for my grandsons, who are obsessed with trains!  I know they'd love to climb up in the cab of this one at the State Park.

We have some really great friends that we travel with. 
Robert and Cleva own the first car, a 1933 Chevrolet five-window
Charlie and Earlanna own the middle car, a 1931 Ford slant-window
(their car is named Miss Betty after my Mom who was born in 1931)
And then, once again, our truck, a 1940 Ford.
We also traveled with another couple who don't own a street rod but came along for the fun, Ray and Neva

On Sunday we head down the mountain on our way home. We're hot, sun burned, tired, and a few pounds heavier, but happy to have spent time with friends. There was a lot of laughing and story telling going on!  These days will never be forgotten!!

Monday, August 29, 2011

A Week In Review

My Favorite Photo Of The Week
My Favorite Photo Of The week will not always be the best I took that week. Sometimes, like this one, it will be a photo of a moment that I enjoyed. This picture was taken at the Historic Arkansas Museum, which features five pre-Civil War houses that are restored to their antebellum appearances.  Dressed in period clothing she sat in 100+ degree weather gently playing her lap harp.  I stood for a good while (in the shade) listening to her beautiful melodies.

The Simple Things
peeking through the garden

 Prompt Addicts - Creating Art
 Salt and Pepper
Added Ripple Blocks in Picnik

Sweet Pencils
Boosted color a bit and added Smudge with Picnik


Picture Inspiration - In The Bag 
 My favorite bag to take on road trips in our 1940 Ford Pickup.
Big Picture Classes

52 Photos Project - Silhouette

 52 Photos Project

Monday, August 22, 2011

Write Now!

I've been playing a little catch-up on my Write Now! class with Amy Sorensen at Big Picture Classes.  I cannot begin to describe how this class has helped me with my journaling.  I am not and will probably never be a "writer" where every sentence has perfect structure and every word is critiqued. I'm not striving for perfection in writing. I'm just striving to present the story on my scrapbook pages more interesting and informative.  Here's the latest pages I've done.

1. Journaling with a summery - taking a particular set of pictures and summarizing what is happening in an orderly manor without obviously stating what is seen in the pictures. We are trying to get away from the "we had a lot of fun making candy cane cookies" style of journaling.
the journaling reads:
Making CANDY CANE COOKIES is a tradition I began with my children when they were small. As they grew up and married, I then had to roll out the dough and make the cookies by myself. Now, I continue the tradition with my grandsons. At first, only Josh was enthusiastic about making the cookies. But, we were having so much fun that Drew decided to help. Well, sort of help, he didn’t like the feel of the dough and had to put his hand on top of his Mommy’s. Finally, Jake joined the fun. Making cookies with the boys was one of the highlights of my Christmas. A memory we will share, just like I share the memory of making CANDY CANE COOKIES with their Mom.

2. In the next assignment we wrote a rough draft about the photos and then learned ways to shape our journaling...breaking it into paragraphs, rewriting awkward spots, and making sure we focus on details to tell original thought of the story.
The journaling;

     Our grandsons are obsessed with trains When trains are included in our outings together they are ecstatic. A restaurant where trains run around the ceiling is the perfect place to take the boys. To keep sanity in the car, the destination for lunch was a surprise. It was worth it to see their excitement when we walked in the door! Their eyes widened, they squealed, they jumped up and down, and they danced around.
     We placed our order and found two booths side by side that could hold all of us. That’s when the boys realized that the small trains running on a track around the top of the room where going to deliver our food. Each train had a tray attached to the bottom which carried the food basket. The train dropped the basket on a shelf that lowered to the table.
        As we waited for our food, the boys just could not sit still. They were on their knees in the booths or standing in the aisles. Their faces were turned up watching the trains. Their eyes twinkled with delight. The smaller ones giggled!
       The excitement grew as each train passed overhead. Would this be the train that would bring our food. Finally, the train stopped above our table. Our food had arrived. They were fascinated to watch our basket being lowered to our table. Then, they got another surprise, our food wouldn’t fit in just one basket. Along came another train with the rest of the food. That doubled the excitement. It didn’t matter to them what the food tasted like. We had to keep reminding them to eat because they were so absorbed in watching the trains.
     Our smiles were as big as theirs. We were thrilled to be making this special memory with our grandsons!!

I usually scrap two page layouts. On the second page for this layout, I just wanted to include as many photos of the day as I could.

3. This assignment was very different, yet fun. We were learning to journal in the form of poetry. We were to read Patricia Fargnolito's poem "Naming My Daughter". Then, we were to choose a person to write about. I chose to write the poem about myself. Using her poem as a structure, we were to substitute our own words describing events and characteristics of the chosen person.
This is the description of her poem:  In the Uruba tribe in Africa, children are named not only at birth, but throughout their lives by their characteristics and the events that befall them.

My Poem
Naming Catherine
One who arrived early and fast
One who has older sister
One who has silky blond hair
Child who strives to do right
Child who is shy and quiet
Child who believes in God
Girl with love of music
Girl with friendships dear
Girl with desire to please
Catherine (Greek name meaning pure)
Sue (a name all her own)
Hardin (for father, preacher and house painter)
Wife of high school sweetheart
Wife of thirty-nine years
Wife of loving man
Mother to one lovely daughter
Mother to one delightful son
Mother to one who is in heaven
The quilter
The reader
The photographer
Gramma who rocks and sings
Gramma who hugs and kisses
Gramma who plays and laughs
Woman who loves and is loved
Whose cup runneth over with joy

I think journaling will be more fun for me as I scrapbook. I'm finding unique and fun ways to add words to layouts!

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Photos Of The Week

My Favorite Photo Of The Week
He waits patiently. What's he waiting for? Me!! I'm taking pictures of a covered bridge in one of the nearby parks. The picture is not even focused well, but it's special to me!

The Simple Things
Just an ordinary weed spotted near a lake.
Simple beauty!

Prompt Addicts - Minimalistic Yet Meaningful
I spotted this door knob on an old church. I wonder how many hands have turn this knob and entered this church to worship.

Picture Inspiration  - Back To Basics
Serenity through simplicity
Simple ~ Serene ~ Calm
Big Picture Classes

52 Photos Project - Black and white
Sundial taken at a Layman Library in North Little Rock, Arkansas
52 Photos Project

It's been an amazing week!!

Friday, August 19, 2011


Serendipity: The occurrence and development of events by chance in a happy or beneficial way; the faculty or phenomenon of finding valuable or agreeable things not sought for

Today, I needed to visit an art exhibit. Easy enough! Not really, it wasn’t easy for me. I have a mild social anxiety disorder that limits what I think I can do. I struggle with busy places and new adventures. Photography has helped me tremendously! I guess I think I can hide behind the camera. It’s still hard though, to get out and to enter the unknown. Sometimes I just need an extra push. I got that push from Kat in our current assignment for Find Your Eye e-course. We were to find an art exhibit where we could study different pieces of art.  We were to get out of our space and explore other forms of art. That meant we couldn't use the internet for our assignment. I’m so glad she said that, those words pushed me to visit a museum. We were to notice how the art effected us, what appealed to us, and what didn‘t. Then, we were to reflect on our experiences and record our thoughts. We'll be using this experience in our photo journal next week.
I choose to visit the Arkansas Art Museum. That sounded safe to me, quiet with no crowds. Yes, it was safe, but that didn’t keep away my fears. I thought of all kinds of excuses not to go…I really don’t feel well…my head hurts…it’s too hot outside…I could do this another day…it might not be safe downtown. It took a lot of determination to get out the door. As I drove I experienced the usual rapid heart beat, the nausea and the dry mouth. I took a deep breath and began to think about photography and art.

Then,I decided to treat myself to lunch at Community Bakery before I went to the museum. I have been there several times and love the atmosphere It’s in an old brick building and when you open the door that wonderful bakery smell greets you and draws you right in. I’d forgotten just how good their chicken salad sandwich on a croissant is. As I sat down, I looked up at the wall beside me. Much to my delight, there was a collection of oil paintings by a local artist, Susie Henley. Serendipity!!  Just what I needed…art to look at. I studied them while I ate and took notes on my experience. By then, all nervousness and all fears were gone. I was having a lovely day.

I arrived at the Art Center and discovered I was just in time for a guided tour of a Norman Rockwell exhibit. Serendipity again!!! I knew the exhibit was there, but I didn’t know there was a guided tour. To my surprise, I knew the tour guide. We had gone to church together several years ago. She was a knowledgeable and delightful guide! After the tour I explained why I was there and she even gave me her tour notes. How sweet was that!

And guess what!! Each of Norman Rockwell pieces was paired with black and white photographs taken by Kevin Rivoli. Serendipity!! Third time!!  Paintings and photographs side by side!! Rivoli is a photo journalist that photographs “Rockwell” type moments. Both Rockwell’s and Ravoli’s art depict ordinary moments in ordinary days. They document life values in small town America. They want us to identify with something in their work, whether it be at home, school, work, or church. And identify I did! I loved both of their works. They brought feelings of nostalgia and love and family. I went around the exhibit with the tour and then again by myself, spending more time and reading all the information.

I also toured another section of the museum that had a variety of artists and artwork. These included oils, charcoals, pen and ink, collages, sculptures, and glass work. I sat in the quiet, studied the art, and took notes on what pleased me and what didn’t. I can’t wait until we find out what Kat will have us doing with our reflections on art!

I couldn't leave without buying a book about the Rockwell exhibit and a post card featuring artwork by Monet. From the half price table, I bought a pair of silver earrings and a child's book on art called "Children: A First Art Book."

Perfect Day!!
Thank you, Kat, for getting me out of my home, for pushing me out of my comfort zone, and for being the reason I had a wonderful day!