April 15, 2014

Kicking back

Been laying low ...
one moment at a time as they say while
my wonky tooth figured out what was gonna happen next.

I suppose one advantage to having a root canal during tulip season
is that driving to and fro across the Skagit valley
is nothing short of   splendid
and although I'm allergic to a large number of antibiotics
at least I am not allergic to Novocaine.
A  not-so-small blessing
that has kept me sane.

I stitched on the wishing cloth awhile
because there was calm in that

and admired the sea reflections having dance time in the belly of the boat.

But mainly I swooned over spring,
the miles of GLORIOUS color,
and although I won't be doing much of anything besides
watching my own grass grow the next couple of days
at least I tip-toed amongst them.
[apology to Tiny Tim for the lame reference]

What a surreal experience  ...  being ruled by a measly tooth.

: : :

See you a bit later.
I'm heading for the hammock.

April 3, 2014

Recipe for continuing with great abandon

the best choice is simply
to raise both hands while
holding tight to a heart full of courage,
take that giant leap of faith, 
or that long walk into the dark ...
dare to do it  -
ride the biggest wave of your life


a gift may be waiting.

March 28, 2014

My tools

Work friends.  Ordinary objects and vials of pretties.
A collage from my week ...
simple things I can't live without.


Photo mumbo-jumbo:
shot with DSLR
cropping & adjustments in Snapseed
antique effects added with Vintage Scene
final adjust & copyright added with PicMonkey

Joining in with the gang over at Kim's place for Friday Finds ...
lots of great stuff to be seen over there, go peek.

Kim Klassen dot Com

March 25, 2014

Taking our cues

Sometimes when I begin a post I have a fairly clear idea of where it's headed
and other times, as happened here, it veers off into another direction entirely.
This one has become an open thought, just some observations
about how connections can happen
and where they might lead,
so I'll leave it as that.

Backing up a bit, here's where my thoughts started ....

Michelle and "the boyz" had an impromptu practice session yesterday
so Isla and I headed over to the training facility to join them.
Working with our dogs is one of the great joys in our lives
and I'm certain it's the main reason M and I have became such good friends.

Sam, her Golden, is twelve years old now but still learning
new tricks.  This is a bit of platform training used in Freestyle
and Sam's just accomplished "four on" [all four paws square on the platform]
so he's been clicked for the positive behavior
and gets a yummy reward.

Benny, who's eleven, is learning verbal commands to understand
which platform M wants him on.  Here she's said, "Behind,"
and Benny has moved into position  -  M clicks
[clicker in her right hand] 
and will hand him a treat backwards.

Our dogs take turns - while one is on the floor working
the other dogs are enclosed in their crates or pens.
It's a great way for them to learn discipline while in close proximity to other dogs
and the crates also become their "safe spots" where they can always feel secure
and chill out if they need to.
We keep the exercises short & fast ... that way, the dogs stay fully engaged
and it's easier on the handlers, too, in the long run.

The dogs seem to love the practices as much as the humans.
We're building a mutual language through teamwork but perhaps best of all,
we're building comaraderie across species.

Here's the newest addition to M's doggy household, the spritely Border collie, Craig.
A youngster by comparison to his "old men" brothers,
he's barely three and believe it or not  HE  has become Isla's first boyfriend ... 
oh my, is she ever so sweet on the Craigster ... shamefully so.
They look like brother & sister - must get some portraits of them together soon
[more of that story another time].

Although he arrived with sheep herding skills under his withers,
M has some   additional plans   for this fine fella ...
as in
her next Agility companion.

So how might one teach a herding dog new tricks?
Practice, patience, practice, determination, patience, practice,
mixed together with a lively batch of hand signals,
verbal controls, body language
and endless amounts of positive reinforcement.

Taking the cue for "bow."

So far so good.
M is nothing short of focused & dedicated ... as for Craig,
OH what a happy dog he is !

After we finished, Isla and I headed to the beach.
I needed some stones for a project and anyway,
the bright afternoon was excuse enough to head outdoors.
We walked and walked 
and as the little stones clinked into my bag
I rewound thoughts from our day; 
about training, and learning ... how much dogs and humans have in common,
thoughts about how all of us take cues from our surroundings,
from what inspires, excites, 
and also from those who purposely or not
encourage us towards new directions.

Like Craig.

The beach experienced some leveling over winter which made for easy rambling.
Piles of driftwood were displaying their silvery lines
in the chilly sunshine, exposing their story, 
showing what they're made of ...

which reminded me of some lines back home.
This piece is finished now

and this stone is my next cue ...

March 18, 2014

Seeing double

When I think back on the countless hours spent in darkrooms
attempting to create [at the least] something a little bit  interesting
by combining two disparate negatives into one print,
well, I sit here shaking my head.  Not a time waste exactly, no I wouldn't want to say that,
but I never was very good at it and I never did come up with
a single picture worth hanging onto.

What did happen, I guess, is that I never lost my love for composites
and recently when my faraway friend happened to post a super cool photo she
created with a phone app 
- an app I'd never heard of, one that superimposes two images, adds filters & effects 
all in about three seconds - 
let's just say
I couldn't download that puppy fast enough.

This app, named Diana Photo,
 has what I might venture to call an uncanny ability to "choose" which images
to stack together to bring out the best of both worlds
and in my case, it keeps choosing pairs that feel entirely significant and appropriate
to what I'm doing with life, my work, and how I feel about where I live at this moment.

Silly, really.
Of course an app can't  KNOW  but when Diana began to combine my dye bundles
with sand & sea 
and dyed cloths were superimposed with tree leaves & blossoms ...
you can see my point perhaps?

She even went so far as to match up one of the [rare] front-on portraits of dear dawg
with the driftwood piles on her favorite off-leash beach;
the very same driftwood she played on, photographed on her 4th birthday ...
two photos taken five years apart
from an album numbering in the thousands !

HOW does Diana know???

Tis not all serious stuff, not by a long shot.

Endless supplies of whimsy occur from the combos ...
dawg as evidence,
bedecked here with her own tail ...
all part of the rolling-the-dice fun & darn good for some fine belly chuckles
[although I think dawg would be mortified].

What I'm really after, what appeals most, is the symbolic double vision.
Hard to put into words ...
simplified, it's about taking a subject I've shot in one context,
"randomly" layering it with a subject from another, 
creating a final image that has - somehow - through overlapping effects,
intensified in meaning.

Double exposure.

So far I've had my beaded world appear

and seen my work under water here in this isolated island place I call home.
These have me looking at kinship to tides of all kinds
real and imagined ...

symbolically speaking, that is.

Here I am.
Self portrait within my watery world,
wondering how in the heck a little 99 cent app could have
brought up so much introspection.


Diana Photo app for iPhone is HERE
for Android HERE


Linking up with the gang over at Kim's place for Friday Finds
as this was truly my biggest "find" of the week ...

March 11, 2014

Here they come

Finally had myself a leisurely stroll through the garden.
Amazing what one can see when it is not

My old friends are reappearing ...
it's so good to see them!
so I made the rounds, said a few hellos, took their portraits.

Both the white & red flowering currants are already near to bursting,

important for the hummers who have little else to feed on when they arrive
[which should be any day now].
I did spy the first pair of tree swallows this afternoon, a sure sign
that spring is winging in ...

Call me a plant nerd, but I have an enormous soft spot for clematis and 
how they appear to regenerate new limbs from
absolutely dead-looking wooden stems ... it's a wonder
and I marvel at the process every year.

And I also marvel at this beauty, the evergreen Clematis 'Snowdrift'
for she's  scented
and this year she's almost covered the arbor ... standing under there
is going to be something quite close to heaven itself.

open !

A BIG welcome back to my reliable dye friends, too ... rose leaves,

maple leaves

and my dear old scrubby friend, the native willow
who generously gave me such deep, rich color last fall.
More on that story will follow
because although my friends here have been laying dormant all winter,
I have not.
I've been finishing a few things and that feels mighty good ...