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Maira Kalman Saves Creative Souls One Quack at a Time

A portrait of creativity that could save my discouraged soul the old fashioned way:  One quack at a time. Thanks to Austin Kleon for this link (and many others)!

 

How do I tell her the chicken stinks?

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Twilight. A Bell Tolls.

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On a good day, twilight in the garden or on the road is like a bell tolling announcing a mysterious world.

On a bad day, I put my camera down and go home.

 

Cabbage Love

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Cabbage doesn’t agree with me if I have to eat it, but if I photograph it?  That’s another story. This purple cabbage was grown by a local farmer and I bought it at the Friday Farmer’s Market in Franklin, Ma.  When I told him I was a photographer he was very proud his cabbage had been chosen to be a model.

The textures, the colors, the patterns and shape are endlessly fascinating to me so I bet this will be a whole series.

 

Aging Eyes

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When eyes get old, a new fear is born.

The freedom to paint cakes and not eat them

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It’s 4th of July.  I celebrate the freedom of creativity.

I read in the paper that Robin Williams has returned for a tune-up of sorts to the Hazelton, Minn rehab clinic that he had gone to earlier in his life.  It is not, his spokesman said, because he lapsed in his sobriety but just needs to recalibrate.  I totally understand that.

He said in 2006 about his decision to go to rehab after 20 years of sobriety:

“It’s [addiction] — not caused by anything, it’s just there.  It waits. It lays in wait for the time when you think, ‘It’s fine now, I’m OK.’ Then, the next thing you know, it’s not OK. Then you realize, ‘Where am I? I didn’t realize I was in Cleveland.’”

I’m Weight Watcher member who reached my goal five years ago and has beaten the odds by maintaining it, but every day the truth of his last sentence could just as easily be “Then you realize, “What? I didn’t realize I ate the whole cake.”

I’ve had to learn to apply creativity to my diet.  I photograph cakes now instead of eating them.  It is a freedom of choice worth celebrating.  Creativity really is the best health plan.   I am now learning to digitally paint my photographs of cakes with Topaz filters.

The secret to not eating them?

I photograph them in the case at the store and don’t bring them home.

I’m in rehab every day, making decisions, sometimes bad ones, then, recalibrating, always aware that those lost pounds are circling the neighborhood just waiting till I say, “It’s fine now. I’m OK.”

I’m not fine. Never will be.  Cakes are pretty.  Three truths on this Independence Day 2014.

 I wish you the best, Robin Williams.

 

Fourth of July Dianthus

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Tropical Storm/Hurricane Arthur is beginning with intermittent showers and gray skies.  My studio has artificial lighting bounced off the ceiling, reflector moving in a semi circle above the camera lens, a 50mm at f/11, at these dianthus (I think( flowers placed in a tin tube bought at Home Depot.  The salesman was very nice and didn’t seem to mind that I had no idea what I needed except material like Edward Weston’s green peppers.  Something reflective, I said.  And, metallic.

This is insulation duct material.

 

Storm Approaching

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Today, July 3rd, 2014, a tropical storm/hurricane is approaching.  In January, another storm was approaching at twilight as I drove by the Franklin Town Dump.  Skies can make anything look spectacular!  Today and tomorrow, I shall go sky hunting for signs of “Arthur”.

Photographers love when summer begins with a storm that is threatening but not expected to make landfall.

 

Twilight Menace in the Garden

summer-flowers-coakleyTwilight is my preferred time to photograph my garden.

It can make even fragile flowers, daintily colored, appear menacing. Had there been just the slightest breeze and therefore some slight motion in this photograph it would have been the perfect setting.

Alas, no wind, no breeze.  Just a barking dog who lent nothing to the atmosphere except annoyance.

 

The Scanner is My Night

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A photographer, Giovanni Castell,  sometimes shines artificial light on gardens at night.  I love his results.  Of his work he’s said he likes to provoke, “a pleasant unease”.

“Unease” is not my conscious impulse but the scanner is often my night.

This tulip was just hours away from dropping all its curled scarlet petals to the floor.  By the time I removed it from the scanner, it fell apart in my hands.

Working with fragile beauty is a life lesson no matter what your impulse.

I wonder if Mr. Castell would agree.

 

 

Pat Coakley