Category Archives: season

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.

Sunset: Finding discipline in creativity

I am working hard to continue to find objects that can be used in abstract images for wall decor. Tonight I found the silhouettes of summers’ garden made dramatic imagery.

To create when nothing inspires is where discipline comes in. You are forced to see beyond a gray winter day and seek light when there is none available and I believe that is the fuel that feeds creativity when the muse doesn’t show.

I have also been in a situation where the scenery was so breathtaking you couldn’t do it justice even if you tried. I was in Glacier National Park and between altitude sickness and a feeling of being overwhelmed, it was hard to shoot something that was truly remarkable.

There is a great space where you need to work a bit harder to see beyond what is obvious and yet the light is perfect, this is the sweet spot and what follows is a landscape where the creative thrives.

 

 

Fear of the Canvas

florida_intercoastal

I’ve just realized why I have been avoiding painting recently, not really avoiding it but just having a harder time settling down. Many of the works have been in progress for quite a while so getting back to them is often like picking up a strangers painting.

The amazing point is when suddenly you stop thinking about what you need to do and just start slashing at the canvas with purpose. There are unseen shapes and connections of shapes that come out of the surface of the paint and you fill in the blanks instinctively.

A stumbling block is the fear, especially when you like what you’ve started but there is no room for timid strokes in painting or anything else creative. Once you stop and think or attempt the safe way you might as well save painting for later.

Painting should be bold, excited and even a bit reckless. My thought is every painting is a potential mistake that will never see the light of day. This is the time you learn the most, when you are free to forcefully and confidently paint without fear of failure.

One particular technique that takes a lot of time going back and forth is the light on water, it starts out overly dramatic and slowly becomes more realistic. There are points where the light seems right, others when there seems to be a bump in the horizon and you have confidently fix the problems and continue to focus while you see the image you’ve been working on go from good to worse to good again.

Another aspect is painting objects, straight lines and architecture, something that often needs to be reworked and perfected. You are happy with the background and suddenly you’ve just destroyed it with the object that you overlapped-often the background needs to be reworked with the object as you work to perfect both.

I am excited about the process and while I continue to get bits of time to paint, I am adding to an already large painting list. Let me know what you think of the new images.
swallowspsd

Christmas Miracles-(2011)- Part 1

I had an amazing Christmas-miracles abound. We tend to see things how we are used to seeing things and often miracles are overlooked because we were looking for or waiting for the wrong miracle and missed the great things around us happening. I believe the presence of something greater is around us all the time-it’s the feeling you get staring at a sunset, or the feeling of a winter storm on Christmas-a momentary feeling of peace that supersedes the everyday feeling of stress and crisis we go through.

I always tell a bride-usually it’s the bride as they are the ones that usually stress about a wedding- that everything will work out in its time and the things that don’t will be the things you remember or you can laugh about if you let yourself. I believe it’s the same scenario dealing with holidays, especially Christmas. For one day out of the year we expect to have peace, to be able to guess what our loved ones want for Christmas, to have the amount of money we need without going over budget and for the family and friends for one day to put down their differences and enjoy each other around the kitchen table. Every Christmas is the same-start off being conservative about money, start out being excited and by the time it is over you can’t wait to tear down the dried up tree and put off all the feelings of sadness or auld lang sine for the next year when we’ll try it one more time.

I have been schooled in miracles for the last two years because Christmas didn’t turn the way it was expected-it turned out better than I could have even imagined or tried to plan and it wasn’t any of the gifts or the perfect smile that a family member experienced from that extra special gift-it was the way the time went without the control of being able to sculpt this perfect day and that’s where the miracle comes in.

The word miracle can be overused, it is usually saved for some great deed, someone coming back from near death, the finding of funds when there were no possibilities, yes that is how we describe a miracle but just as the word love is often misused and mistaken for infatuation the very magic of the word is usually in the subtleties we would normally overlook. Which brings me to last years’ Christmas. My mom fell and broke her hip, how could we enjoy a Christmas season after something traumatic as that? I almost mentally wrote off the season-which is maybe the good thing-the problem with holidays are our expectations are often too high. So instead of shopping, we spent time at a hospital room and none of us could explain the fears we felt and the lack of control each of us felt about the fact that she was in for a surgery which science said she could not live through-first miracle maybe. The break was the best break it could be-if you could look at a broken hip like that but the doctors were positive about her prognosis.

I think one of the hardest things about a crisis during the holiday is the fact that children don’t need to be involved in the stress and worry, so that means just because a dads’ first instinct would be to lay down and watch some mundane show to ease the feeling of depression and worry-we need to go get a tree, decorate it, enjoy egg nog-without the nog and really feel the christmas feeling. This is where shear will comes in play-I don’t have the privilege to have  a bad season-my son is watching and learning how to deal with worry and crisis as well as expecting a Christmas he doesn’t want to have to remember as a bad memory. So I shop in between going to the hospital, wrap late in the evening and Christmas eve-don’t feel like I bought enough gifts for everyone-the usual dilemma and we all get through the process as well as we could possibly get through a holiday where someone you love is in the hospital.

Here’s the second miracle-it wasn’t a good or even mediocre day-it was special and beautiful in its own way. My mother learned things in the hospital she wouldn’t have, found strength in other people, allowed herself to give up control of her situation and shared her strength with other people-the gifts she got were more than we could have wrapped. The family joined together and felt that feeling of overcoming a crisis, there was hope for the New Year. My son and I got perspective about what Christmas really means and not what marketing would have you believe-we don’t deserve anything specific, we don’t need to overspend and put ourselves in debt to get ourselves and others everything we deserve-instead we got just what we needed-family-the closeness, the true bond, we watched other families coming together-we got perspective on our situations and appreciated things we would have overlooked if it weren’t for the wonderful misfortune of a broken hip. That is when you have witnessed a miracle when you call a misfortune wonderful-the presence you feel and joy is the unexplained phenomena that follows and just as a haunting can only be describe and understood by someone who has felt it, the same goes with the presence of God on that special, crazy, hectic day we call Christmas.

I will leave this year’s miracles for the next post so I won’t completely bore the reader as well as infuriate further whoever is looking for punctuation and grammar-this is what you call free thought, plain and simple. So I hope if this was even a bit interesting you’ll follow to part two when this year’s miracle is explained.