Mr. Grackle in snow – Picture by: Lausanne Davis Carpenter
The best remedy for surviving a twelve-hour day in cubicle-land is to spend my early mornings on my own goals. I have posted on LDavisCarpenter about the challenges of writing historical fiction and am starting a Flash Memoir side-project while chipping away at my novel.
I am reasonably confident in my non-fiction abilities but creative writing is – whew. I know how long it takes to develop any new skill so I want to use my life experiences as material for word-crafting practice – before I am faced with final edits of my long fiction. Flash Memoir seems like a good choice for distilling memories into words that transport a reader to another’s time, place, thoughts and senses. I also think it will be fun to capture snippets of my own crazy life in this form.
Meanwhile, you can see last summer’s mural on the Marsh Hawk Studio blog. I still plan to do a process post showing the steps to creating it but those pictures are on my other laptop which an Office update recently corrupted and can no longer access the internet. (Yes, thank you very much.) I will soon update the Long Ago & Far Away blog with notes on Conn Iggulden’s Genghis Khan series.
If I can ever get my blogs up to date AND have a day off – I’ll be back to writing my novel.
***About Mr. Grackle – just a fellow at my feeder on a snowy morning back in VA. Those eyes look like I feel most mornings before tea.
A lot has happened since my last post, but enough of that.
These four images were included in a local juried show here in Jacksonville, Florida this Fall. This week they are on their way back “home” to a gallery in the county where they were originally shot: Mathews, VA.
They are approximately 12″x18″ prints matted and frame up to 18″x24″.
They will be available in the Bay School’s Gallery on Main Street. Three of the images were taken at Bethel Beach Nature Preserve – right down the road from our old homestead. The forth is along the road towards Winter Harbor.
These were shot through a dirty, snowy window but I’m amazed at how well some of them turned out. When we have weather coming I move the feeders close to the lee of the house, away from the high winds that come off the bay. That also puts them very close to the kitchen window so I and my cats can be distracted by the birds all day.
This group is from this past weekend. The Blizzard of 2010. I’m not sure they should have attached that label to that storm since there is yet another coming through tonight. We will be right on the snow, ice, rain fringe. This is the third storm in about 12 days. Very unusual for coastal Virginia. So, I will, once again, be praying that my power holds and I don’t become dependent upon my way too small woodstove to keep me, the kitties and all of my expensive paint products from freezing.
After a night and a day of snow and steady winds today was glorious. By this afternoon I’d mustered the courage to bundle up and head for Bethel Beach Nature Preserve. It was only in the 20s but there was little wind so, although I was out there for nearly 2 hours, I was perfectly comfortable in all my layers.
Walking was tricky. It was impossible to tell where solid ground ended and snow-covered marsh began. Even stepping cautiously I still ended up knee deep in marsh grass voids several times. I didn’t end up in any water though. Whew!
Here’s a selection of the 250 plus images I shot. This is my first real attempt at shooting snow. I worked from an aperture priority and kept an eye on my histograms – adjusting exposures accordingly. It’s very hard not to blow out the highlights but I learned a lot.
These images are scans of old slides taken during a 6 week trip to Uzbekistan in 1995. I have stacks more sitting with all my other old slides waiting to be cleaned, sorted and scanned. Maybe I’ll finally get to that project this winter?
The image of the two older fellows was taken in the market in Osh, Kyrgystan on a day trip from Andijan in the Fergana Valley. That market was one of the two places on this planet where I most felt like I’d stepped back in time. Even there, if I looked up to the surrounding hills I could see Soviet style apartment blocks.
My other time warp experience was in Fez’s traditional Market the following year. I’ll post some of those shots eventually too.
Our local plein air group met for the last time of the season today – or I should say two of us turned out for it. It was chilly but sunny. As you can see, the colors peaked about a week ago.
After several attempts at plein air I have decided this is not the way I paint – certainly not with intent to actually finish, or even start a studio painting. I’d always thought it would be the elements that would put me off but it turns out to be more about approach and materials. Plus, coming at this from years of painting stage scenery and murals, I realize that I really do like to paint large. 24×36 inches feels small to me and that’s just not an option for the old plein air/alla prima method. I will, in future, join in these sessions because the camaraderie is great and there is so much benefit in drawing and painting from life. But I will treat them like sketchbook sessions rather than attempt to radically change my style in order to partake in the current plein air craze. Know thyself. Right?