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Art of the Fig or Fig it. Depending on your mood.

fuji-fig copy

I have discovered figs at 71 years old. Never too late. I saw a 17th century still life painting with them and decided to try a 2016 version. Later on this month some will be available for prints up to 36in by 36 in.  I’ve got another small carton of figs to photograph waiting patiently on the counter.  My Italian hairdresser told me to slice the fig in half and press an almond in the center of one half and then attach the other half like a sandwich and bake it in oven for 20 minutes. So far, I haven’t eaten one of them.  Later this month, I’ll post a series I did following cataract surgeries. In between eye drops, I’d look at roses in gardens and at the store and see eyes. Everywhere, eyes.

The Photo Gardener is the link to photos available for printing.  Email me for more information:

On the Move Under Montana Skies: Franklin, Mass


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Easter Promenade


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White Anemone & Hackers


The night before Easter and my website has been hacked in the weirdest way.

My hosting company is trying to figure it out and I’ve been on the phone or deleting stuff all day.

I was going to post a gorgeous double sugar tulip and a bit about the art of scanning  but the site, though up and running, still does not allow me to post any new images.

Tomorrow is another day, Scarlett.

And, this is double exposure of a scanned white anemone but I’ll have to wait till the website is up and running to post a little video about how I use the scanner.

And, some of the swear words I’ve developed while using it.


Making Animated Poppies


Some have asked me about making the videos that I sometimes post on this blog.  I wish I had one way as I keep trying to experiment with ways of doing it.  Sometimes I use IMOVIE, or ScreenFlow, or Lightroom.  Or combinations of the audio from Audition with the video sequences.  I have made them more complicated than need be on many a occasion.  My latest is to try making an animated gif from a file of photos.  It took me a full four hours! of experimenting to produce this one of Provincetown Poppies in Photoshop.

I had googled “how to” do it and got the most extraordinary range of conflicting videos that I basically had to take a little bit from one, apply it, then take a little bit from another to apply it.

I think after I do about ten of them, I’ll make my own video on how to do it so folks, like me, can at least find one video that takes them from start to finish.

But, still, learning something new is always fun.  And, I used parts of Photoshop that I didn’t know existed and I’ve been a user for years.  Years and years.  I just threw out some of the original CDs of earlier versions.  The Adobe Cloud has made that whole “installation” process a whole lot easier as I remember dreading having to install a new version as the “key” process would always get screwed up and I’d end up on the phone with Adobe.

Blizzard Art & Apps

So, historic blizzard on its way– but only six inches for my region. Hooray!  I’m sorry DC but truly last year was enough for Boston.

I am free to think of art rather than hunkerin’ down and fears of losing power.

I am going to try and make some ‘blizzard art’  today using IPHONE apps!  The ones I used in this short video are the NOAA Radar app, Adobe Capture app, and IMOVIE app.  All on my phone.

This is part one.  PS. My most favorite app find this year has nothing to do with photography but is called, Captio, and it allows me to write a note on my know all those deep thoughts we have while we’re walking around…and with one tap send it to my email box.  All other note-taking apps were multiple taps.  So, freedom, thy name is Captio. Check it out.

Hope you are safe and warm and being creative.


So, as I was saying…Creativity takes time.

Francis Bacon’s Studio

Ha!  Happy New Year!  I cleaned up my studio so I’m back.

(It didn’t look quite like Francis Bacon’s studio image above but honestly it was close and more importantly, it felt like this image looks.)

It’s January in New England and we are having a torrential May rainstorm.  On the way to the store this morning I took a photo driving home.  Here’s a little gallery of three versions.  I ended with what I call my Van Gogh Driving Shot.

Then, I wanted to share a short video about two photos of asphalt markings in an industrial park’s parking lot.  Proof that you can be creative with anything.

Lastly, I am going to post a “stages ” video on one of the following photo transfer/encaustic/ painting thingies that I do in my next post ( yes, in 2016, I am going to post at least twice a month, if not weekly..I swear!) but for now I’ll show you four 5 X 5 (my new favorite size) of a variety of things that I grow and/or I buy in the supermarket.

Single most important thing I did in 2015 was develop a daily creativity habit. Every day, and I mean every day, despite the workload of the day, I did something: photograph, write, a combination of photography and writing, or simple, pure fun because I have no expectations whatsoever-gouache painting with stencils and stuff.  I also watched many more painting videos than I did photography, although I did add to my filters toolkit throughout the year, as well as being on a first name basis with Dick Blick and B&H photo.

I hope you have time to develop a daily creativity habit, too.  Honestly, I remember reading a book years, and I mean years, ago that recommended it and after I read the book and did the exercises, I said, “Hmm…this is a good idea.”

And, that was that.  Up until 2015, when I put it into action and hopefully in 2016 will just do more of the same.

Let’s be creative, together, shall we?

I’m not kidding it’s 3:00 in afternoon and it is so stormy that it looks like midnight.  Gouache fun below.


Step by Step Dahlia: From Garden to Photo Transfer to Encaustic Back to Photo


Greetings!  I’m baaack with a short video on what I did to my favorite September flower: the dahlia.  A famous midwestern newspaperman in the 40’s said “Women should raise more hell and fewer dahlias” but, honestly, I think they are worth the time and effort!

And, speaking of “hell”, it took me forever to get comfortable with podcasting for my other blog, Art of the Diet.  But, finally, I’m into a weekly rhythm and no longer scare the neighbors with shrieking or require an ambulance and an EMT available outside my studio.

I’ve photographed all summer but this is the first photography tutorial I’ve done since June!

At any rate, it’s fitting that I return with a dahlia because next to double sugar tulips (they even look like dahlias) they are one of my favorites to photograph.

Hope your creative juices are flowing and do not require an ambulance on standby!

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O, Yoo-hoo!! Creative Souls, Listen & Watch this.


Oh, yoo-hoo!  Creative souls who read this blog, here are three things you might like, even need, to see and to hear.

I am knee deep in wires and condensers and pop screens for microphones and hating the sound of my voice,  but I have run across three fabulous creativity pieces.  The first is a short video on how the above air sculpture by Janet Echelman was erected over the Rose Kennedy Greenway in Boston along and over Atlantic Avenue.   The second is a short video by Ira Glass about creativity and the other, a 30 minute podcast about a sculptor, Arlene Shechet, (Sh-ek-et) whose 20 year retrospective, I just saw at the Institute of Contemporary Art  (after passing under the Janet Echelman sculpture) in Boston. WOWZER is all I can say to both.  Photos don’t do it justice.  One room of the Shechet exhibit, and not even considered her showstopper room, knocked me totally off my pins.  She made large pieces of paper out of cotton and then did stencils and pigment  and plaster and god knows what else to it.  I swooned from one to the other.  Here’s one example:



I left with ideas whizz-banging from one side of my head to another and, to add to the buzz, that very night a podcast, “The Modern Art Notes Podcast”, which I listen to regularly,  released their interview with Arlene Shechet! So, Kismet, indeed.

It was this interview that made me think anyone with artistic leanings might benefit from the part of the interview where she talks about having to reinvent her studio rules of experience to match her life: mother, caregiver of parents, wife, teacher –in other words, she didn’t have all day, every day, to work on her art, and yet she had to figure out “how” to do her art with the time she had for it.  Her choices of material, how she used it, what she didn’t want to do, what she did, was just audio gold to me.

After seeing this exhibit and listening to her process, I thought she articulated reasons for doing art that I’d never heard before but resonated with me and inspired me to redo a few of my rules as well!  Her work is not done justice in photos but, all I can say is, from start to finish of this exhibit, I had a smile on face, not because I understood what the hell she was doing but simply that whatever it was I was smitten.

First, the video showing how the art installation over the streets of Boston was installed one day in May.

Greenway Echelman Sculpture – Installation Time-Lapse – 5.3.2015 from Julian Tryba on Vimeo.


Second,  the short Ira Glass video

THE GAP by Ira Glass from Daniel Sax on Vimeo.


And, here’s the Tyler Green interview with Arlene Shechet on “Modern Art Notes Podcast”.

I’m supposed to start podcasting regularly by Aug 1st and by then I should be back doing my “other” stuff.  In the meantime, I hope your work is going well and will enjoy these three creative snacks.   Sorry, everything is about food these days.


Learning to Podcast . Next? World Peace.

PODCAST-TITLEONLY-[Recovered]tWhat have I been doing?

Learning how to create a weekly podcast out of my daily blog, Art of the Diet, that I’ve been writing since February, 2015 and am committed to do till February, 2016.

Let’s just say learning how to do encaustic photography is a stroll down a country lane compared to this, although, I’ll admit I don’t need a fire extinguisher in the room while learning podcasting online.

But, I’ll share a little of it just in case anyone is crazy enough to want to do their own.

I found some “free” tutorials about podcasting.  There are alot of those.  I chose one whose menu of choices is so high energy pow! pow! I am sure I am going to be receiving emails from him for the rest of my natural life.  No sooner did I click to sign up for a podcast thingie then I was supposed to click on a webcast thingie and then click again for a podcast paradise thingie.

And, then the rotation started over.  I clicked so many times I feel sure NSA thinks it’s a terrorist code signal.

The first thing I actually did, totally out of sequence of what you should do btw, is design the art for the ITUNES directory.   This is my wheelhouse, after all.

And, this turns out to be very important and had I not listened to that particular tutorial I might have gone merrily off into unwise territory and over-designed it for sure.

To demonstrate why I think his tutorial helped me, look at my art in this menu.  I laid it on top of another podcast’s art that I subscribe to.  Since I am no where near uploading the podcast, I show you this as part of how I decided to go with this design.  After every design I did, I superimposed it on this menu to see how it looked.  What was I looking for?

I just wanted to see if it “popped” out of the queue.  Was it readable?  Did it communicate what the podcast is about? Would someone look at it and think (in a good way), “Hmmm…wonder what this is?” Or would someone who had gone to ITUNES looking specifically for it, be able to pick it out?

What do you think?  I think it does what I wanted it to do.  I used Adobe “Illustrator” to do it. I’m no where near as skilled in Illustrator as I’d like to be but minimal skills on some projects turns out to be all you need.

So, now I have to unpack the microphone that just arrived with a “thud” on my doorstep (I love Amazon Prime and its USPS Sunday mail delivery) and figure out “Adobe Audible” which I just downloaded as part of my Creative Cloud membership. has a five hour tutorial. Five flippin’ hours.  The guy whose free podcast tutorial I listened to has a YOUTUBE one that lasts 7 minutes.  Guess which one I’ll do first?






Pat Coakley