Saturday, October 29, 2011

Fernwood power pole art

I promised to take you on a tour of some of the painted poles in the Fernwood.  This funky area is a mix of lovely old houses, crumbling houses, three storey apartments and some interesting commercial areas.  It's home to students, families, retired people, and low income people--a really mixed area with some challenges, one being graffiti.  But it's also a hub of the arts and the political.  The painted power poles reflect all of this, don't you think?

Most of the poles are the old wooden ones, covered with staples, which makes painting them quite a challenge.  But I think they look very cool.  The state of the pole often dictates what kind of art can be developed.

A lot of people go for flowers or images from nature, done in many different styles.

In some cases the staples add to the effect, like in this one where they give texture to the leaves.

This one with the red sun stands in front of the Belfry Theatre, converted years ago from an old church, where a local production company puts on plays.

These ones are more on a pattern theme.  I didn't stop to read the words on the leaf pole but I bet they're fascinating.

The pole below shoes the difference between painting on a rough and a smooth surface.  It's easier and more refined on the smooth pole.  I really admire this one of  two blue herons done on a cement pole just down the street from my house.

Frogs, giraffes, trees, houses, underwater scenes, and even cartoon figures appear on the poles.

Some of them work better than others I think but I admire the spirit and energy of the people who are trying to take back their neighborhood from graffiti.  I think it's perfect for The Fernwood.  

Which pole is your favorite?

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

October leaf mosaics

The other day I caught these leaves backlit by the setting sun.  They just warm the cockles of my heart.

When the sun shines I think maybe late October could be my favorite time of year.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Take time for beauty

An absolutely stunning video came my way the other day.  I was mesmerized by the dancing flowers that appear with time lapse photography.  To think that this beauty has been hidden from us simply because we live at a much faster pace.   This video shows flowers opening before your eyes and each has its own personality that manifests through its movement.  Take a few moments to discover the life of flowers here.

How lucky we are live now when through the internet we can discover beauty like this.

Saturday, October 22, 2011

A garden on a power pole

This week's project was transforming the telephone pole in front of the house on Yukon Street.  There is a lot of graffiti in the neighborhood and recently people have begun to take back the poles by painting them with designs and images.  I spent a lot of time thinking about what to paint on the pole. It's right in front of the house and so anything painted on it has to work with house as a background.

I decided to paint a garden of hollyhocks.  It took me three days to complete it.  Here's how it evolved.

I wanted a blue sky background so began by painting the pole blue with some white clouds.  Then the sketch of the flowers.  Even Harry got into the act with paintbrush.   first attempt was garish and floaty but we kept working on it.

On the second day I added more dark at the bottom to ground the pole and then made the flowers at the top smaller and added more buds.

On day three I refined the colors and attempted a bit of shading. The final touch was the flying bird.

There still needs to be more detail around the bottom but I think it's close to finished.  It's not exactly what I had pictured in my head but I think it's an improvement over the original ugly power pole.  If I get tired of it I can simply paint over it with a color to match the house--but for now I like the garden on the power pole.  Soon I'll take your on a tour of the other arty power poles in Fernwood.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

One simple bowl

The other day I took 57 photographs of this bowl.  I'm taking an online course through Find Your Eye Photography to learn the ins and outs of my new digital camera.  Our first assignment was to photograph something in many different types of lighting.  From the 57 photos I selected these three as versions that I liked.

It's surprising how much I've learned about my camera and about finding the light in photographs through this exercise.  I knew that it was all about the light but I didn't realize just how many different ways it can affect the image.  I'd been taking photos of things on my kitchen counter in the harsh halogen lights and wondering why the photographs didn't look like what I saw through the viewfinder. Now I'm beginning to discern some of the reasons.

This little handmade bowl was given to me by a Japanese student I tutored some time ago and it's really lovely.  It's simple and unassuming and I think I could keep taking pictures of it for a long time.  I'm recalling a book I read once by a woman who chronicled her attempts to draw a simple bowl and the things she discovered along the way.   Amazing what can be learned from a simple bowl!

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

What gave rise to "Occupy Wall Street"

Click on the image to enlarge it so you can read the captions.  This says it all!

Monday, October 17, 2011

White grape jelly

This year our most recently planted grape vine overwhelmed us with lovely fruit.  Sorry, I can't tell you what kind of grape it is because it was given to me a couple of years ago.  The grapes were planted for their appearance as they climb over a little arbor on the side of the garden shed. 

We never even thought they'd taste good--but they do.  They're really sweet and tasty.  

I picked three big boxes of them to give away and there were still some left over.  In the end I decided to make grape jelly with the leftovers.  I did this last year with grapes from my other vine so I knew what to do.  It's really not that hard.

Pick the grapes, wash the grapes, put them in a pan and mash them, then place in the jelly bag to drain their juice overnight.

The next morning, boil the juice up with pectin and sugar, put in the sterilized jars--and you're done!

Here's what the finished product looks like.  Isn't that a lovely color?  And I have to say that this jelly is absolutely delectable.  Don't you wish you were on my Christmas list?

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Complementary colors

Over at the Kat Eye View blog, she's exploring the color wheel and creating dynamic color schemes using complementary colors and triadic variation.

A true complementary scheme uses colors from opposite sides of the color wheel.  Like orange and blue shown here (from Venice).

Or red and green like this one (from the farmhouse we stayed at just outside of Lucca).

Triadic variation is using two of the three colors in a triad on the color wheel.  Could be blue and red, orange and purple, or (as here) orange and green.  

As you know, I love color and was happy to go through my archives and discover some examples of these colors in my photos from Italy.  This one was taken at the Campo di Fiori market in Rome.

Kat is doing a series on Exploring with a Camera at her very excellent blog.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Some photos of Italy

Just going through some of the photos from our trip to Italy for a slide show I'm preparing.  These are a few of my favorites.