Category Archives: Articles on travel

Travel articles including trips where art is a large focus. Food, travel and general interests including food reviews.

2019: A New Year

A new year, an unblemished calendar but what to do? How can I make 2019 a special, productive year? 

The question definitely has to do with my readers but at the same time, I can’t deliver meaningful content unless I know what my readers and subscribers are wanting or even expecting.

I have decided to break my posts into specific columns so you will have an idea of what to expect and there will be a constant theme going through my content although varied as it might be.

I used to create the blog on Blogger and than share it with multiple network channels but I am trying to localize all the content through the website.

Here are a list of the upcoming posts and what I envision for the year.

Hagerman National Wildlife Refuge original photography by Artbygordon

The Artist’s Window: It’s how the artist sees the world, how we find light and what makes the ordinary extraordinary from an artist’s view. 

Hagerman National Wildlife Refuge original photography by Artbygordon

Depression for the Layman: How to live with depression and tips and tools to live a good life despite the illness. I will be putting all the pieces into a book with other self-help books in the works.

Hagerman National Wildlife Refuge original photography by Artbygordon

From A Kayak: I’m trying to bring this back; it might be a view from a tree, a view from a platform-it’s just going to be different places in nature.

The Grackles 2017 Artbygordon

ArtbyGordon: New Series, new subject matter and my reactions and thoughts on art and being creative. Artbygordon and life creatively will merge into this catchall for living a creative lifestyle and breaking the boundaries of the expected.

Remnants of the Garden Artbygordon

Gardening: From the beginning to end of the garden and different aspects of life woven through a life filled with nature and gardening. On a practical note: all the winners and losers, maintaining order in a chaotic garden and other thoughts on life and creativity.

Road to Hagerman Artbygordon

Travel and Writing: This will be the travel side of my blogging. I will highlight at least one place through each month-it could be reviews on food, venues, concerts-anything travel with a little bit of nature added in for color.

The Reluctant Military Dad: This is a new piece of the puzzle-it’s about being a single dad and letting go. It’s about my son in the military and the aspects of a dad watching his son become something great. 

General parenting insights and topics about raising kids in today’s world-being a step dad to my oldest son and all I’ve learned on this journey of parenting.

The next thought, what my readers are wanting and what to add to the blog-I would love to hear what people would like to read about.

I am excited about 2019 and feel my brand and its scope is growing.  Please be a part of the Artbygordon newsletter to get up to date news on series, appearances and latest writing and photography.

Capturing mood in Photos: Finding Inspiration

There are several elements that lend themselves to a mood in a photograph. I used to look for abstract patterns but my final image never added up to my passion or interest.

You can’t fake the inspired image, you can do well with textures, composition, colors and shapes but if the photographer has no interest in his or her subject neither will the viewer.

There are several elements that always find themselves into my work, whether it is painting, photography or even writing.

Dragonfly on Zinnia Artbygordon Original Photography

Nature: Always the center for most of my work, nature is where I get my peace and inspiration from. Nature has always been a comfort and my strength.
Recently I have learned not only to find beauty and peace but also the isolation of light and the abstract patterns that continues to interest me.

For more on abstract images for home and office go to https://artbygordon.com/?page_id=1006
Photograph of Redtip Photino-Abstract image Artbygordon Original Photography
To see what other prints are available https://fineartamerica.com/profiles/steven-linebaugh.html

Abstract Patterns: This is a recent motivation for my art and photography. I am continuing to find where light creates patterns or abstract images out of nature.

I have also learned to find light in the midst of a flat landscape. I isolate nature at it’s simplest form.

Duck at Sunset Artbygordon Original Photography

I like to keep the image simple and as iconic as possible.
The clean empty space is what creates the atmosphere of solitude.

Florida during a storm: Artbygordon Original Photography
The Artist Window Series: Artbygordon Original Photography

Simplicity: Isolating nature has become a trademark of some of my most recent images and I’m planning on expanding with still life indoor and out.

Blue Sunset with Duck: Artbygordon Original Photography
Sunset Duck in Rowlett Artbygordon Original Photography

Texas Gardening Part 3: The Spectacle of the Candlestick Plant: Senna ALata

Senna Alata: The candlestick plant has a strange and dramatic flower and is a host plant for several sulphur butterflies. You will need to give this plant some room because it grows out of its boundaries but the display is stunning. No questioning why they call it a candlestick plant as the blooms look like tall yellow candlesticks.

Another aspect of this plant is that it’s so easy to grow, very little watering and I’ve never fertilized any of my plants. After the  flowers are exhausted, the seeds are very abundant. You will see many seedlings the next season or two.

This is the visitor you can expect, the caterpillar of the cloudless sulphur. Every year I get a few of them and I’ve had this plant in my garden every year for probably the last ten years.

Another senna that looks much like the candlestick plant is the Popcorn Senna (Cassia didymobotrya). This plant also attracts the sulphur butterflies and looks like a paler version of the candlestick plant but it also smells like its name suggests.

Makes great photographs.

Candlestick plants love the heat and I don’t think I have ever watered them. In the evening they close up their large mimosa like leaves and the whole plant looks like its praying. I will always have them in my garden and am in the process of selling their seeds as well.

The whole reason I started wildlife gardening was to attract wildlife to my garden and being able to photograph the cloudless sulphurs, clouded sulfurs and several cabbage whites that come for the nasturtium, my work has been rewarded and I love to be able to photograph the plants and butterflies as well.

A New Series: Wildlife Gardens in Texas: Milkweed plants for Monarch butterflies

This is the first post in a series on Wildlife gardening in Texas.

Mexican Milkweed available at your local gardens

I have always been a lover of nature and wildlife gardening seemed
a natural connection to my writing, photography and painting. If you
build a wildlife friendly garden, they will find you.

My garden has been the subject matter for many photography posts, art and writing. There are several species of plants you need to have
in your garden and the fact that they are native will make your garden almost care-free.

Monarch on Maximillian Sunflower

You need to feed the adult birds, allow spaces for birds to
hunt for food without chemicals, raise their families and drink.
You need to feed the caterpillar young and have a place for the adults to feed on nectar, again no chemicals.

The first plant you need to have to help the monarch butterfly
population rebound is milkweed. There are all different species but try to stick with the native species.

Mexican Milkweed

Another plant that is available more than the native species is mexican  milkweed, also known as blood flower.  It’s a tall plant that can reseed and it feeds the young of the monarch.

Frostweed

For the adults, they love Frostweed and Zinnias. Both of these plants will attract them to your garden and you will not need to do much to keep these plants wild. Zinnias actually will grow well from seed and frostweed will reseed itself and feed many other species of nectar loving butterflies.

Zinnias and Sunflowers

Next post will be on Passionvine, what they attract and their ease to grow. Stay tuned. The next  post will be next week at this time.

Passionvine

Build it and they will come

For more photos of garden https://artbygordon.com/?page_id=475









Fruits of Labor

I set up fruit for a still life and it’s been sitting on a table for the last week and nothing has happened. There is a distinct difference between being inspired and just not shooting. After a bit of a break and getting back to being present in the moment, See Wichita post, suddenly the images made themselves known.

 

It is seeing the way light paints objects that drive my creative response. It’s how the background blends and fades into varying colors that are ethereal and muted. I felt like these images were what I was searching for, why I went and bought blood oranges and pomegranate.

 

Suddenly with a bit of creative magic, the mundane suddenly shows itself and there is a brief moment where the artist finds the beauty and excitement in the everyday.

 

As quickly as I set up one shot, another quality of light made it known and suddenly one shot turns into multiple images. I am planning on adding these images to the artwork for home decor, just abstract enough to be interesting and yet I hope there is a sense of place in the images. Please feel free to let me know what you think and as always, thank you.









Wichita Mountain Wildlife Refuge

A sunset on Mount Scott as I rushed to capture the last bit of light.

The Wichita Mountain Wildlife Refuge is an amazing prairie with sweeping buttes, free range longhorns and bison and many small brilliant blue lakes.

I can’t say enough about the feeling of being away from everything. There are prairie dogs in open fields and meadowlarks in bright yellow flocks rising and falling in rich brown fields of native grasses.

I would also recommend the blue hole for a rugged hike surrounded by waterfalls and deep gorges. There is a holy city and a great network of trails that go all through the park.

For another story from a recent trip. Please see Wichita: Two Views of Mount Scott

Goals of month

My next trip will be in the Spring.









A Weekday at the Zoo: Alone with a Camera, a Different Perspective

 

A Cheetah watches the spectators, I loved the depth in its eyes.

I have wonderful memories of zoos growing up. My dad had a passion for travel and zoos were one our families’  favorite destinations. My brother and I have since  carried on that passion
for travel with our families.

A female lion watches intently at the guests in a coffee shop at the Dallas Zoo.

A matriarch chimp takes a moment from grooming to view its surroundings.

Caverns, aquariums and zoos are some of our favorite places for my son and I to explore and we have magnets to remember each one.

We have been to the Dallas zoo many times but it’s a different experience when you go alone. Even as my son got older, he would have specific animals he was interested in, usually he would antagonize the monkeys.

At the Dallas Zoo, a giraffe is alert for food, they have a place where you can feed them specific leaves they sell.

The experience was usually fast-paced but today I went alone. Even though I missed his company, it was a unique feeling being alone.

I spent the first thirty minutes watching the gorillas. I talked to the zookeeper and learned about each gorilla by name and she told me about the chimps.

I close-up of a Komodo Dragon, he was as curious about me as I was of him.

When you’re alone you get to stop, you have no agenda, only getting photographs of specific animals. I was able to enjoy each animal in a relax unhurried pace.

This isn’t something you see everyday. A bushmaster has a guest for dinner.

I spent much time in the reptile house and because it was during
the week, it was uncrowded. I got to listen to the zoo keepers information about the elephants and I I learned not just more about each animal but about the zoo and what they were doing to protect certain species.

A Green Mamba looks for the zookeeper to feed them.

There are so many more zoos I need to visit, across the country
and across the sea, so many more animals to enjoy. It is the child in me that loves to see animals and though I would prefer to see them in their natural habitat, I am glad zoos are a beacon for society to see that these amazing animals are worth saving.

A great African Elephant, I liked the texture of the trunk.

These are portraits from the animals at the Dallas Zoo. I hope you enjoy and will seek out a zoo near you.

A gorilla, I sat and watched him for a while, he was thoughtful and relaxed. I loved the feeling in its’ eyes.









Abstractions of Nature become Contemporary Art for Home and Office

Artbygordon abstractions of nature become art for home and office: Naturally Graphic

I love the patterns in nature. As an artist, finding a unique perspective that can show a viewer something they might not have seen before is a large part of my artistic intent.

I have always painted landscapes and seascapes but I could never perfect what is already real. I am competing with the greatest artist of them all: God. All I can hope for is to show the viewer an aspect of that image that moved me and perhaps move the viewer with the same or varied feeling.

As I have been photographing more regularly, I have found the need to see deeper than just the landscape. Especially when the light does not cooperate with the subject or doesn’t show up at all.

I learned to isolate parts of nature when my desire to photograph didn’t lend itself to the light of the day. On a gray winter day, when there is nothing but flat, bland light and no objects are discernible by any effective modeling,  I have discovered a new way of seeing the landscape.

I started seeing how images were painted by stray bits of light. Suddenly instead of a bland landscape, I was able to find just a piece of that landscape that could be a graphic object. I don’t even care if the final image is discernible, it is more the aspect of its abstract nature that intrigues me.

modern interior room with a beautiful furniture

I have started gathering autumn leaves, green leaves and patterns in water, in the past I would  have struggled to find something in abstract but now the image jumps out at me. It’s a muscle and to strengthen this way of seeing the landscape has changed my whole outlook on contemporary art.

I believe that bringing nature into the house can evoke a calm center as well as a conversation piece for visitors. I like how without representing a specific subject, the image evokes something without trying too hard to be abstract or artsy. I have found my way to the abstract and contemporary subject.

 

Interiors are from Adobe Stock-Photographic art Artbygordon









The Prairie in Blue Ridge

I got lost in the long flowing stalks of bluestem grasses, the great blue sky looming above where hawks dance in slow spirals. I sat on the cold, moist ground and listened to what it might have been like when bison and Indians roamed the backland  prairie.

The clouds drifted with a calm indifference, the wind breathed and than exhaled followed by a ritual silence. Meadowlarks flew in patterns from fences and crows called out breaking the stillness, it is like going back in time.

I guess the fact that the winter chill that settled in my spine and slapped my exposed skin with pins and needles would be a good incentive not to go to the prairie. I assume that’s why both times I’ve gone there has been no one there but I consider it my oasis of silence.

I am comfortable sitting on the cold ground. My breath is still, my senses charged with the sounds as I try not to miss anything. I can hear cattle in the background and even a truck in the far distance but for the most part all is consumed with the rush of the wind through the grasses.

All that moves is the grasses, swaying back and forth as if haunted and the clouds marching passively across the plane, I am in awe of the silence and calm.

I have been dwarfed by mountains, the ocean but never by a huge open field. I have images of our history and it’s inhabitants that made a life out here and imagine the distant cows that cry out now were probably the sounds of wagon trains and troops of coyotes, maybe even the bison.

The coyotes are still here, I see their tracks and scat but the bison are long gone. There hawks of all kinds, the red tail, the kestrels and the prairie falcon, their mood is pensive with a mission. They rise and fall in the golden field as it should be.

I learned about this place from a trail guide at the Blackland Prairie Raptor Center and I have been back twice. Yet another great place I learned about from the Blackland Prairie Raptor center, great people and wonderful birds with lots of knowledge, if you haven’t gotten a chance to go on the first Saturday of the month, I would highly suggest going.









A photographic journey of the birds of the Blackland Prairie Raptor Center:

Barred Owl from the Blackland Prairie Raptor Center Photo by Artbygordon

Protecting wildlife starts with saving habitat, maintaining native plants and fauna and protecting animals that have become injured or can not compete in their natural world. These animals become ambassadors to show our future stewards of the environment why they are so important and what makes them special.

Barn Owl from the Blackland Prairie Nature Center photo by artbygordon

Blackland Prairie Raptor Center is doing all of these important aspects of wildlife preservation. I visited their first Saturday of the month, it’s the only time they’re open to the public and they show the birds that pass through their center.

They keep the birds as wild as they can be, even the imprinted birds that haven’t learned to live in the wild are treated with the respect and dignity they deserve. It is quite an impressive operation and much of what I have learned about the Blackland Prairie is from talking with the naturalists there.

Barn Owl from the Blackland Prairie Nature Center photo by artbygordon

They take the time to show you each bird they have and explain their unique situations. I was impressed with how much the children knew about the birds and the difference between nocturnal and diurnal.

Preregrine Falcon from the Blackland Prairie Nature Center photo by artbygordon

Every time I go to the center I learn something I didn’t know. Here is a list of some more things I’ve learned from my visit today.

1. A flock of Kites is a kettle. The mississippi kite is expanding its range southward. With age comes the more grey plumage and it feeds on mostly insects.

2. I’ve never heard a barn owl hiss up close. They also shriek and it can be quite piercing to the ear.

3. The tuffs of feathers on the head of the owls break up their round shape and make them harder to see in the wild.

4. A barn owls ears are so intense they can hear a heartbeat and they can actually attack a mouse under the snow without even seeing them.

Screech Owl from the Blackland Prairie Nature Center photo by artbygordon

5. Owls have tubular eyes that are more fixed than other animals and therefore they need to swivel their heads to see.

After the bird show we took a hike on the trails and we learned about blue stem grasses, native grass and invasive non-native species. I learned about another place I had never heard of before today and I very much enjoyed my visit, the park is the Parkhill Prairie near Blue Ridge and it was an amazing visit where I saw hawks and vultures flying in their environment.

Red Tailed Hawk from the Blackland Prairie Nature Center photo by artbygordon

Great Horned Owl from the Blackland Prairie Nature Center photo by artbygordon

It was a wonderful day. A wonderful trip to Blackland Prairie Raptor Center all photos by artbygordon 2018