Wednesday, December 19, 2012

More Fun In The City!

So, there we were in NYC and quite unexpectedly, Bryant Park! (See my last post if you haven't already). Breakfast with the birds at the cute little tables & chairs...with our Starbuck's. Quite nice. After walking around the park and discovering the little shops inside and the ice skating rink, we came across a beautiful fountain in the center of the park.  I love water in almost any form! Ocean, fountain... it doesn't matter...the movement & sparkle! I had to make my way over to see pretty!

Then it was time to take a walk outside. More beautiful things to see!

The fence lining the park was wrought iron embellished with golden tops!

Such a lovely touch! I felt like I was in Paris :) N'est-ce pas?

Then, there it was.....The New York Public Library! This is the side entrance facing the park......

The photo below is part of the front....

Remember, "The Day After Tomorrow " with Jake Gyllenhaal and Dennis Quaid? The one where the earth is icing over everywhere and Jake G. runs through the front door of the NY Public Library just in time before the whole building ices up & crackles???!!! This could be the one! :)

A fuller view of the front.....

And that was our unexpected visit to Bryant Park and the wonderful New York Public Library grounds. Next time, I have to go inside!

All of this took place on my way to the Chrysler Building, which I hadn't gotten new photos of in awhile.


This is all just a quick peek at what I found on my last trip down to the city! More will be released on Etsy as quickly as I can edit & post!

Taking a bit of a mid-winter blog break for now! See you all back here in January!

Cheers! :)


Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Serendipity in the City!

Every visit to the city brings surprises. New York City, that is! I never know exactly what I will find, even when I have a plan of where I will be heading, which I always do. But that is great! I wouldn't want it any other way! Who doesn't love surprises, right? At least, the good kind.... and these were the good kind!

This trip was no different in that respect, but it definitely WAS different from every other visit there. But that is what made it so much fun!

It had been quite awhile since I had been able to get away, especially for someone who was used to going just about every couple months or so in the past. And this time, I hadn't really had much time to even think about it! We were just going to go down for the day to see what we could find. "It's all about letting you get lots of photos," hubby said. Well, yes, lots of photos, of course, but it really is even more than that! It's the whole experience...the sights, the sounds, the amazing range of things to see & do, and so he left it all up to me.....anyplace I wanted to explore. Woohoo!!!

But the truth was, I really couldn't seem to find any time to even plan anything! I was just too busy with everything else. The night before I made a half-hearted attempt to check a few things out, but sleep was much more important. (Not that it is easy to sleep the night before! My mind can be awake all night just imagining all the things we could do :) But I had to get some sleep, so I would be awake, alert, & able to navigate around the city like a native New Yorker, which I am not.

I love Starbucks as much as anybody, but I didn't want to spend the whole day with my face in a big green & white cup of foamy, cinnamony.....oh well, of course I did, to some extent...but I didn't want to overcaffeinate myself to the point of no return either! So, I shut off the computer & closed the laptop (twice the googling, makes everything faster :), and went to sleep.

The next morning, off we went! When we finally got there, it was a bit later than usual. Lots of traffic this time of the year! As we headed along 42nd Street, with the thought of some new photos of the Chrysler Building, my fav, hubby said, "Where's a Starbucks around here?" I told him, "Give it a minute, they are on almost every other corner." I don't have every Starbucks mapped out down there, but then, I didn't need to. They really are, EVERYWHERE! Literally, moments later, I pointed and told him, "STARBUCKS!!!". Off we went for our usual lattes. Yes, he likes the pumpkin lattes, too :) It was packed, no seats anywhere. A lot of the Starbucks in NYC seem to be like that. Lots of coffee and goodies...lots of people waiting in line, but lot of cafes without enough seats, or even any seats. So, off we went, back outside with our steaming cups of frothy yumminess! 

Though I have been to the Chrysler Building many times, I had come down a different way. First of all, I was walking, not taking a cab or bus. We looked across the street and saw umbrellas and tables and chairs. How convenient! Perfect! Of course, I had heard of Bryant Park! I am sure I had probably even gone by it in the past on my way towards somewhere else. I don't recall ever being inside it.

Amazingly, the night before, I had seen photos of it on the net...and, here...completely unplanned and "Serendipity," (Love that movie! But then, you probably know that from my facebook page :) A "happy accident!" We were in Bryant Park! And, yes, even in winter, it was delightful! (Big nature lovers, you know! Must be those daily walks in the local park we started back in the summer.)

Tables & chairs were inside the gates, surrounding at least two sides of the perimeter. I could just imagine how wonderful it must be in the spring & summer. We set our cups, cams, and little brown & green bags of yummy cakes down, ready for a quiet breakfast in the park!

As it turned out, we weren't alone. We were being watched. There was a rustling in the bushes right next to us. In no time at all, we were "visited" by some little feathery friends. Breakfast in the park became breakfast in the park with the "birdies"! :) They obviously were used to being fed. They hopped right out & stared at us till we started sharing our "Cinnamon Swirl Cake" crumbs, which only took about a second or two! They were so cute! I think they got most of mine! I kept tossing crumbs and snapping their pictures! We thought it was a great way to start our day there! Sometimes it is the "quiet" simple things that really make it special when you least expect them!

Afterwards, we headed around the park. Little open air shops were along the center area of the park. More tables & places to sit....

Further over, we found a skating rink...who knew???

And there was more! I had a few things I still had to check out!

See you here to share more soon! :)


Monday, December 10, 2012

Back from the City.......

I am just back from NYC a few days now, and I am looking forward to sharing some new photos and experiences with you soon!

With back-to-back activities, & not being the world's greatest sleeper (who has time for that???!), I had to grab a little R&R (rest & recuperation). But I am working my way through the images, and hoping to have them ready this week.

Till then, have a great one, & see you here soon! Really! (I hope! :)


Saturday, November 10, 2012

Please Pass the Vitamin D!

Here in the northeast, as winter approaches, our days can get pretty gray, (actually, not so pretty!) under cloudy skies.

I love all the seasons, but I miss the sunny days of summer at this time of the year. I hate the gloominess! :(  Especially inside!  I open the curtains wide in the daytime to leave in as much light as possible. As the day goes on, and it starts getting darker, I run around putting on lights, & lighting candles.

So, here I am sitting in my kitchen after another gray day. As the darkness sets in tonight, I look out on the garden lights and remember summer fondly. Days full of sunshine and being outdoors. How to cope with the "winter blahs", which will surely come?

Vitamin D is a real necessity in this part of the country in the colder, darker months. So, I grab for the vitamins first. Then I put on the white "twinkle" lights in the window facing the garden.  They don't actually twinkle, but they brighten the room and my mood. Lights in the window, and lights in the garden, looking out through the window. They remind me of the amazing lightening bugs that were all over the yard just a few months ago. That's good.

Plants in the kitchen, the strawberry plant that is still producing strawberries (!), lavender, & herbs, in the other window become my indoor garden. That's good too.

I light a scented candle.....starting to feel better now.

The kitty on the table, "smiling" at me as I pet him, becomes the stand-in for the bunny that played nearby all summer long. Hmmm...maybe it will be okay.

Now, if I can just figure out how to have breakfast & lunch outside and give my indoor studio the same feeling as my outdoor (on the porch) studio, I just might be okay.

Pass the Vitamin D, please!

Till next time :)

P.S. Love to hear how you cope with the winter blahs!!!

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

"Huckleberry & Finnie"

 Yes! Photo shoot accomplished! I am happy to say, I did not get lost again in the countryside!

And I got to meet two of the sweetest, most easy going horses, I could have ever hoped for! (Not too mention, a gorgeous blue sky with puffy clouds :)

This past weekend, I packed my gear again, and we headed off to the farm. Beautiful sunny day, no rain, no gray sky as there had been the weekend before. Perfect!

So, let me introduce you first to...."Huckleberry"
Huckleberry is a beautiful reddish brown horse. He was so cooperative and thankfully seemed undisturbed with having a new visitor.

And then there is.....
                 Sweet "Finnie".......

Finnie was so curious! She wanted to get close, a little too close! And I think she loved my camera too!

Hmmm...Let me explain something here........

I am NOT from the country, and these horses looked VERY big to me, especially inside the fence, up real close & personal! (Long horsey nose in my face, close!) Not to mention, watch those hooves....and be careful of the electric fence around the perimeter!

They were so gentle and easy going. My friend, who owns these lovely horses, told me they especially like being out in the field earlier in the morning when it is cooler. But they were very cooperative this sunny afternoon. A gentle wind blowing through their manes and tails may have helped!

Out in the field, when they weren't trying to get right in front of me.....they grazed...(Is that the right term for horses???)

A lovely afternoon in the peaceful & beautiful! I could get used to this very easily. Although, I never lived in the country, I had spent quite a bit of time there as a child visiting and staying over weekends with family friends. I never forgot the wonderful sunny summer days, picking wild strawberries, & enjoying the pleasures of country living! So many happy memories there!

But this was my first real encounter with horses :) Several carrots and handfuls of grass later.....heh heh, no not from these hands, not ready for that yet! I'm still working on petting them while avoiding those big horsey teeth...I know I'm such a city chicken!

After they had amazingly seemed to pose here & there for me, it was time to say good-bye.....

....until the next time, when I might not be quite so shy....
    I hope!!!

Who knows where my camera will lead me next...?

I have learned that I don't always have to go "somewhere else" to find beauty & new things to explore...
It is truly all around us. 

Just look around you, & find yours! 
It might be closer than you think.

Keri  :)

Saturday, September 1, 2012

New changes!

Hi there!

Very busy, just a quick note!

I will be off today on my previously scheduled photo shoot in the country. Hoping all goes well! :)

Pretty pink Zinnias from last weekend........

"Flowers in the Sun"

I am also looking forward to sharing some new goodies with you here and on Etsy soon! So, I am trying to get the finishing touches on everything!

New changes! 
Have a great weekend!


Thursday, August 30, 2012

Under the Pergola, Past the Gazebo.....

While spring in the park is lovely, summer at the park has its charm as well. The long white pergola, which is covered in spring with wisteria, starts to fill in more with green leaves, as it makes its way across the beams.

As you pass under the vines, there are benches where nature lovers and joggers can sit and catch their
breath. Looking up through the greenery, you can see beautiful blue skies as you watch the clouds go by. 

Making its way up the white pergola are purple clematis. Gorgeous starry shaped blossoms, they line both sides, along with pink & white wild roses! Heavenly!

As summer goes by, the vines spread out more and more across the top and down the sides, until it becomes an amazing tunnel of green! The pathway leads down to a pretty white gazebo in the center and then continues on.

Coming out on the other side and following the path around the pond, there are two little ducks that have been here since birth. They seem to be content to stay, though all the others have left.

They have a nice big pond all to themselves....surrounded by pine trees, a willow tree & more.....

 As the season moves on the pretty yellow water lilies start to fill the pond. The ducks love eating the flowers!

Rain or shine, the park is a favorite place for many to connect with nature and renew the human spirit!

And you just never know who you might meet there! :)

Till next time....
Have a great day!


Monday, August 27, 2012

"Lost in Paradise"

"Serendipity". "The occurrence and development of events by chance in a happy or beneficial way." Don't you just love when life surprises you?

This past weekend, I had a photo shoot scheduled in the countryside. I had been waiting for some time to take photos of horses (didn't want to say "shoot horses") in their natural environment.

The area really wasn't too far away from where we live, and hubby, (who thinks he has a built in GPS), was driving. He said he knew exactly where they were and would not need directions. (of course :)  So, with cameras in tow, off we went......out in the countryside, left here, right there, up this mountain, down that road, around several bends, etc., etc., etc. 

They say when you go somewhere, leave yourself plenty of time "to get lost & found again". Good advice! We were definitely not where we were supposed to be.  We called for clearer directions, but we were way off in the other direction. They weren't even sure where we were! Thankfully, it was a kind friend who loves to spend every minute she can with her horses. We rescheduled and called it a day.

We then followed the country road out, hoping to find civilization again,  and finally ended up back down another mountain, which put us back in the city, very close to home! No horse horses...missed the shoot  :( But most of all, I felt bad about my friend waiting, though I knew she visits them often and didn't mind at all. I had already planned to give her some nice photos from the day and now maybe a little something extra.

Back home, my husband & I felt bad things ended up the way they had. We rechecked the directions and where we had been to see what could have possibly gone so wrong. It had seemed so easy!!! Then he suggested we try to find the farm again, that very day, and "yes," he would follow directions this time. (thank you very much! :)

Off we went again, cameras, cold drinks, & snacks. (Just in case we ended up spending the night in the woods, though I didn't tell him that! LOL.)

A short time later, breezing along through the countryside again......"turn left at the firehouse".....we passed a firehouse with the correct road sign. (Why hadn't we seen that before???) First of all, the firehouse building was BLUE! Who looks for a BLUE firehouse???! So, I insisted we go back, though hubby thought it was further down. We had to turn around at this little shed, and upon gazing out, we saw this field of flowers, we had never seen before. Very shortly after, it all came together, and we were there! Too late, of course, but we found it for next time. We eventually realized the road could be entered on one end, and later made a U turn off the mountain, where it came back out onto the same road. We had apparently gotten on the road, (having missed the BLUE firehouse!) at the further end, putting us far away from where we were going.

At this point, we decided to check out the flower field on the way back to take a few pictures so it wasn't a complete loss. I AM SO GLAD WE DID!

The closer we got, the more beautiful the scenery was. I hopped out and took a few photos (several...... lots!........who am I kidding here, right?) from a short distance away. Then, I started walking closer and closer, until I was right next to them! It was so gorgeous, no matter which way I looked! Hubby was very patient, as I clicked away....
"Champ de Fleurs" translation, Field of Flowers

As I took pictures of this amazing view...I looked around and could barely believe we had ended up here! If we hadn't gotten lost and come back to figure out why, I might never have seen this special place. Mountains, rolling hillsides, flowers, and hay piles rolled up neatly beyond! Though the day was a bit pretty!

"Lost in Paradise"

 Up close was even better, if possible....just one of many flower "portraits" taken that day! 

 "Merveille" translation, Dream, Wonder, Marvel

At this point, I headed back and saw my husband waving to me to hurry. When I got in the car, he told me he had just noticed a "no trespassing" sign posted! I guess it must have been a field planted especially for commercial purposes, the local farmers market, or whatever! I was even more thankful that I had been able to shoot so many photos undisturbed, and of course, I left the field as I found it. No flowers were injured in the making of these pictures. :)

And so, what did I learn that day? Just may not know if you are lost, or if you are right where you are supposed to be..........until you see how it turns out later! 



P.S. All photos above, now available on Etsy, with more to come from that lovely day "in paradise"! 

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Walk in the Park: Under the Wisteria

Almost daily, I take a walk in a local park close to home. Like so many other places, it has so much throughout that feeds the eyes and the soul!

Nothing relaxes me much more than getting close to nature. Whether I am watching butterflies, hummingbirds, bunnies, or fireflies in the garden, seeing the mighty ocean, watching glorious sunsets reflected in every wave, or just enjoying fresh air, sunshine, and the simple beauty of a park, I am deeply grateful and just want to breathe it all in!  I want to save it with my camera or paint & brushes, or just impress a mental image to be remembered at a later time when least expected. Enjoyed once again, almost as much as the first time, perhaps, more. Memories.... happy moments, soften life.

So, here are a few more moments captured from these daily treks.....with more to come later.

One of my most favorite areas is a beautiful long white pergola & gazebo, which lines about one half of the duck/fish pond on one side.  In springtime, the white beams are covered with flowers of gorgeous pinkish lavender and white wisteria blossoms, which tumble across the top and down the sides. A stunning sight...... walking under them is a bit of heaven!

For a peek earlier in the springtime, see some of my previous blogs here:

More views of the park to come! :)


Tuesday, August 14, 2012

The "Tuscan Side" of My Garden

I have almost always had a garden. I've planted everything from the usual lettuce, tomatoes, carrots, peas, etc., to strawberries, haricot verts, (french green beans) and potatoes. (Fun! Digging for buried treasure & finding out they actually grew!) I even tried an extremely small patch of corn that did not produce anything except stalks :)

Last year, I didn't do my garden in the traditional sense. With my new Etsy shop just opening at the end of January, time was very limited. So, other than the usual herbs that came up by themselves, I kept it simple and just put even more flowers than usual in pots on my front & back porches, along with some extra herbs. (Love the way flowers look in pots outside European cottages (think England, Ireland, France, & Italy!) and Greek courtyards (think "Mama Mia"!)

Having said all that, these days, just give me a nice little salad garden, some wonderful herbs, pretty blue cornflowers (or "Bachelor Buttons") alongside sunflowers, big & small, and I'm happy! Oh......and lots of flowers hanging (Must have a fuchsia!) and sitting in pots everywhere. (Have to have a hibiscus!)

But this year, we decided to have it all. My hubby (yes, of course, I have a wonderful husband!) and I decided to "take back" our garden! Though it was almost still completely there, we lost a few inches in the width of the garden. Over the years, our garden has extended further and further, and now we had to dig a bit more up! So while not exactly as wide as before, it is quite long. With a bit of a late start this year, losing a few plants through the winter, and hungry animals in the back yard, (who ate my daisies?!!!) it was also not quite as full as planned. But, we are quite happy with it!

So, if you saw my last post, ("This Artist's Garden") you have already visited the first half of my garden. Now come visit the other side, the sunniest side, where the herbs, tomatoes, & sunflowers grow, when all goes well.

"Honey Bee Heaven"

To get there, as noted in my last post, you have to go past the "Rose of Sharon" bushes. (Also past a new little member of my garden family, which you will hear about another time, that has just been planted and needs to get comfy out there.) You must go past the lettuce and the garlic chives to where the hydrangea should have been, where the purple phlox used to be, where the new butterfly bush now is, beyond where the daisies should still be, and past the English Lavender.....

As always there is a sweet little bunny or two. (who definitely ate the pretty phlox by the garlic chives!) This one thought I wouldn't know the difference between him (or her) and my lavender. (The onion chives have been moved since this photo was taken.) Note driftwood... brought back from a beach on the coast of Maine!

Next comes what I call the Tuscan side....the herbs..... Greek oregano and/or Italian, basil, etc. (Also thyme & parsley.) The bunnies ate the parsley, but it is coming back. No blue flowers this year. They had to be moved after blooming and didn't quite recover! *sigh*

Then onto the tomatoes, big & small...and my happy little sunflowers.....

....and my happy big sunflowers...(This is actually a close up of one of the smaller ones.) The mammoths haven't blossomed yet, but will very soon. Again, a later than usual planting, so I am very happy to have any!

  "Happy Face"

So, now you have seen my garden, or at least most of it! Thank you so much for taking the time to stop by! I hope you enjoyed it. Love to hear your comments :)

Have a wonderful week, & see you here again soon!


P.S. "Honey Bee Heaven" & "Happy Face" are now available on Etsy!
You can find me at:

Friday, August 10, 2012

This Artist's Garden

Though it doesn't look anything like Monet's wonderful garden at Giverny in France, (how I wish it did :) and it does require a fair amount of back breaking work, it is a happy retreat when I walk out to visit it and see how everything is growing. It is also so much fun to sit out on my little vintage, cottage chic porch and watch the rabbits, birds, hummingbirds, glitter bugs, (lightening bugs aka fireflies) & everything else that passes through!
So, welcome to my garden! Relax & stay awhile :)

The first thing you will notice on your way out are the beautiful Rose of Sharon bushes......

Looking back toward the house from the garden.....

One of the many bunnies heading toward the butterfly bush (so pretty with butterflies everywhere!)
            after munching on the lettuce....

Down to the English Lavender I love & am waiting to see spread throughout. Gorgeous scent!

On your next visit, you will see the other end of my humble little garden that brightens each day :)

Hope you have somewhere that makes your day brighter too! :)


Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Part III....My Journey Continues...NYC!

And so my journey continues! From the beach, to "France" (sort of....see part II), to another City of Lights......New York City!

Although I had been to New York City from time to time in the past and had always enjoyed it, I had roamed around it a bit like any tourist, not sure of where I was going, but very happy to be there!

Something new & exciting is around every corner. Buildings so tall! Lights so bright! I had never seen anything like Times Square before. The lights from all the theaters, restaurants, hotels, etc. surround you, & the huge screens (Sony, Toshiba, Coca Cola) are all bright & enormous! Native New Yorkers, tourists, and probably a good assortment of celebrities, all move "en masse", shoulder to shoulder, especially as day turns into night!

The energy & excitement in Times Square can make you feel like you too could sing on a float in a parade, or  dance to one of those Broadway tunes without missing a step! Or...if, like me, you are way too shy for that, you will just want to take pictures of EVERYTHING that does or doesn't move, till anyone who happens to be along with you for the day wants to throw you & your camera/cameras off the Empire State Building! (Yes, I have photos of hands in front of my camera lenses. Probably, most good photographers do :)

Back to the city.....The traffic is so heavy and never really seems to come to a complete stop. If the cabs aren't coming from one direction, they are coming at you from another! (Except when you REALLY need to get back uptown, it's getting late, & you have already tried to flag one down for the past 13 long, long, long, honestly, long blocks, which you have already walked. But it is so much fun being in one, and most "cabbies' are friendly & fun to chat with! Love the ride down Park Avenue, through the tunnel, flying & zipping along on my way down to lower Manhattan. I always try to get a glimpse at my favorite, the Chrysler Building, as we pass 42nd!

At any rate, I started going to New York City more frequently than before and eventually knew my way around, possibly even better than where I lived. But this time, I went for a different reason. I wanted to see some of the amazing art that I had studied about! I spent ALOT of time in the Met (Metropolitan Museum of Art), especially in the "Impressionists" galleries. (But seriously, who could resist seeing the ancient treasures of Egypt as well!) Amazingly, I saw works by Monet, Renoir, Van Gogh, & so many others! The very first painting I saw was a huge painting by Renoir of little girls sitting at a piano. The colors of their hair, their skin tones, clothing, and the detail left me almost speechless. There were glorious pastels by Degas of ballerinas dressed in every hue of the rainbow, glitteringly beautiful in their tutus! Paintings by very large painting where you felt like you were walking through a garden, looking down at the plants as you walked...and right in the lower right hand corner, there was a blob of yellow paint. I pictured Monet squeezing that last bit of paint out for the finishing the period at the end of a very important sentence.

Another trip to the city on one chilly fall day brought me to the MOMA (Modern Museum of Art), filled with contemporary art. The following photos were taken several years ago. Flashes were not allowed, and that combined with the camera I was using at the time created a VERY abstract effect! One that I actually found interesting considering they were taken in the Museum of Modern Art! The photos came out somewhat distorted, shadowy, and blurred, but kind of perfect for the situation!. :)

Visitors viewing the many works of art!

This one is one of my favorites! "Moment in Time"

I exhibited these and a few others in public, and happily they were accepted quite well! So afraid no one would understand what I was trying to say, but they "got it"! :)

But I kept waiting and watching for the special something that I just had to see! There were several panels of Monet's "Waterlilies"! Yes, the "Waterlilies"!!! Beautiful colors of blues, lavenders, pinks, creamy whites, & dark greens blended and swirled around each canvas! One more photo.....Please remember that these images were distorted & very blurry, & that I did not take this photo! I am also not a big pumpkin head with very frizzy hair! Though I do have a lot of hair and have been told I am really easy to find in a crowd, even in NYC! :) I am sharing it only so you can see the Waterlilies, if only in abstract form! Still beautiful!

"Monet & Me"

 Someday soon, I will have to go back again!

From there, what can I say? My love for art and the ocean...studying the Impressionists...being inspired by their work, both in books and in the wonderful museums of New York City,...led me to painting impressionistic seascapes, ocean photography, and painting seashells collected on the beach.

"Tropical Sunset"....

"I Dream of the Sea"......

"Seagull Serenade".....(all available on Etsy!)

Taking photos in New York City, whether the excitement of Times Square, the quiet, romantic cafes of Little Italy, or the beauty that is Central Park, gave me another world to share as well!

Though it seemed like one thing had nothing much to do with the other, all things eventually merged together  and finally became...... "ColorWorkStudio".

So that is my story......(Much longer than I expected! Forgive me! :)

I hope my little journeys "from the city to the beach" brighten, color, & enrich your world as they have mine!

Keri  :)

P.S. As on Etsy, all photos and art reproductions are featured in low resolution to protect the! :)

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Before ColorWorkStudio, Part II...or How I Found Myself In France...sort of :)

And so, my story continues.....

Art school, drawing, painting, sketching was a very big part of my daily life.....for a time.  But then, life got hectic, and I didn't have quite as much time to spend on it as I had in the past!

During those years, I started taking of family, friends, but mainly flowers and places I had been. I kept telling myself, "Someday, when I have more time, I am going to paint that." So, I would take my best shot. With no formal training in photography, my love for nature and the elements I had learned in Art may have helped; color, composition, balance, positive/negative space, etc. I was just doing it for fun, but I also wanted to capture all those special moments in a way that spoke to me as an artist. My eye was especially on the composition, as I tried to frame everything just as I would want to paint it later!

Along the coast of Maine......

In the background photo above, you see these rocks that looked golden when the sun hit them. If you found a piece broken off, they would often have sparkling quartz or some other mineral in them. Beautiful! These photos were taken years ago in early winter. The beach was deserted, and I was told the water was cold even during the summer. Seashells were seldom found here! (Don't know if I could live here! :)

For this photo, I was climbing over these massive rocks with a heavy camera (a refurbished Panasonic), and trying not to bounce the camera off them as I crawled over them. I was also trying not to ditch myself into the freezing sea beneath me!

My collection grew and grew......  I didn't know at the time, that I was actually finding another side of myself that would emerge more fully later. I wish I could tell you that I went back later and painted them all! LOL. But, no I didn't. Most of them just became fond memories of adventures once taken.

One of my favorite subjects even in the beginning was, (probably no surprise here :) yes, the Jersey shore!
I still remember the first time I stood in the sand and looked out at the ocean, its vastness that just stretched as far as I could see, the sounds of the waves, the smell of the sea, and the gulls crying all around me. I was in Ocean City, New Jersey.  It could have been anywhere. One look, and all my senses just came alive in a different way than ever before. So awe-inspiring! But I didn't paint it yet. Once again, I took photo after photo. For a long time.

And then, I had a little more time on my hands. My original love for art started to re-surface again. This time, I decided to study what other artists had done in the past. I had never really appreciated art history....(or any kind of history), until I studied art history on my own.  Not dates & blah....blah....blah history, but I grabbed every art book I could find about various artists and studied their paintings & techniques.

Why??? Okay, movie note here :) Remember Julia Roberts in "Runaway Bride" with Richard Gere? Remember the part where he told her she didn't even know what kind of eggs she liked, so she went and cooked up eggs benedict, scrambled eggs, eggs with hollandaise sauce, etc. and tasted them all so she could figure it out?  Well, I didn't really know yet what kind of art I really loved or wanted to do. There were so many subjects to paint and so many ways to paint a picture. I had experimented, but nothing really clicked. Nothing fit just right. Until, I started studying the French Impressionists!

 Monet's beautiful waterlilies!

 Degas's ballerinas, "Two Ballerinas"

No, unlike Julia Ormond, in "Sabrina", I did not "find" myself in Paris......but you might say I did "find" myself in France, at least artistically speaking! :) I studied Monet (my all time fav!), Degas (oh, those ballerinas!), Van Gogh (Starry Night!), Renoir (such tiny swirling brush strokes!), Sisley (loved his cloudy but pretty landscapes), Berthe Morisot ("The Housekeeper" with that cute little cat in the dining room :), Pisarro, the list goes on and many more! (And many great impressionists on this side of the "pond" as well.)

Yes, I finally knew what I loved and what I wanted to do! My fascination with light, texture, all fit. I loved Impressionism! Not the "what in the world is that" kind, but the "this is my impression/feeling I have about (whatever the subject may be)........painted LOOSELY, HAPPILY, with glorious COLOR, LIGHT, TEXTURE, and PASSION!

Next step......Part to New York City!

See you there :)