Friday, September 30, 2011


Yellow Bridge Road
Original photograph by J. Binford-Bell


I was so very good 
At saying goodbye
Crossing that bridge
And gone.

Always the first
To call it
Hit the road
See Ya!

Years of experience
Of packing up 
Moving on
The end.

So why can't I say it now
Good Bye
I know you left
Let go!

It's been a year since
Your departure
And still I cling 
To Memory

You crossed that bridge 
Before me
But you never let me know
You were leaving
You never said

But even worse
You never let me say it either
Mi Amigo.

Jacqui Binford-Bell
September 29, 2010

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Decisions, decisions, decisions

Volkswagen Acid Trip

I think I believed that developing my photography into an art form would make it easier to find and enter exhibits. And I thought it would give me a lower priced alternative for visitors to my gallery to buy for their home or as gifts. It has done the latter. People I find are also much more likely to purchase a framed photo for their offices than a painting.

However being a photographer as well as a painter has only made entering exhibitions more difficult. Few exhibitions, unlike fairs, have categories which allow the artist to enter three photographs and three paintings. No it seems to be just three per entrant regardless of what the medium. For the 35th International Bank Show  and sale in Raton I submitted only photographs. I did this partly because of lower prices in these economic times. Now faced with the Moreno Valley Arts Council Fall Show I opted for one photograph and two paintings.

I have tons of photographs I would like to submit but I also have two recently completed paintings I would like to exhibit. My frequent readers have seen these with poems.

Canyon Celebration

But I have several other photographs I really like and am currently looking for an exhibit for them. But I am also planning on doing a series of small matted prints for Christmas sales at the studio. Or the next exhibit

Ray dance

Escape Route

Red Door


So many photo opportunities!

Raven Moon

Raven Moon

Waiting in the rain
For the emergence of the light
Witch and familiar
Casting a spell.

Witch and Raven
Trading places in the rainy night
Gown for Feathers
Wings for legs.

Dancing on the shore
Wet from the rain
Emerged the full moon
Illuminating the soaring bird.

Raven and witch wait
For the spell to be ended
Lifted with the parting
Of clouds for the raven moon.

September 2011

Monday, September 19, 2011

Dark Dreams

Snake Charmer by Henri Rousseau

Dark Passages

Mysterious images
Lingering into waking
Demons reflected
In the bathroom mirror
Things that dawn should have vanquished.

Hidden jungle paths
Snakes and strange birds
Dark figures charming the dreamer
The breath dense
With Ominous portents

Snatches of images beaconing
A return to the dream which will not vanish
Sleep impossible and understanding beyond reach
What the mind asks over coffee
Is the meaning of the charmer?

Jacqui Binford-Bell
September 2011

For more poems inspired by the 1907 image above see Magpie Tales.

Time is a River

Grand Water Passage

Slipping through Time

Between silent walls
Slices of time across the eons

Across a river stilled
Silenced by the narrows

For the plunge
Bucking over the rough

To the distant roar
Water cascading

Away this still peace
 Worry about what will

The towering walls
Prevent an avenue of retreat

Forever onward
Until our time

J. Binford-Bell
September 2011

I have been down many a river and canyons in the west where I live and there is always something eternal about them. They are teachers of lessons I have yet to fully learn.

The "illustration" Grand River Passage is one of my paintings which has been featured here on Creative Journey. And part of my project of a poem for every painting of significance.

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Come the Fall

September Dawn

Fall has arrived to the high country of northern New Mexico. And with it the rains we missed this summer and the moist laden dawns. The tourists are largely gone and the hills ring with the call of elk.

Come the fall

Shrouded in morning mists
The elk herds are gathered
Each by a proud bull
Bugling into the silence
And echoed.

The challenge
Swallowed by the fog 
Lying in the valleys
Where the cows are waiting
The clash.

Antlers paired
Rattling like dice 
In the palm of the mountains
Calls of triumph

Come the fall
With the sounds of victory
The silence of defeat
The valley waits
For the first snow
As fall departs.

J. Binford-Bell
September 2011

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Gossamer Ties

The Revernant by Andrew Wyeth

Gossamer Ties

The image was as gossamer
Threads woven into a ghost
A spirit painted of rays
Standing still in the breeze.

It was that very stillness
That woke me
Called me from some dark dream
Held me pinned with its stillness.

I yearned for him to beckon
So willing was I to follow
To leave this life
And go into that light he was.

So still did he stand
I knew the answer was no
Be still
Your time is not yet.

I breathed out his message with the pain
Inhaled the vanishing gossamer threads
The image gone
I remained still.

And waited for morning
The gossamer ties of sun
To anchor me again to the day
To live still without him.

J. Binford-Bell
September 2011

Go to Magpie tales for other links to great poems. Tess Kincaid provided our inspiration with the Andrew Wyeth work at the beginning.

Thursday, September 8, 2011



Wild horses trapped
A top a canyons mesa
Exit blocked
All vegetation eaten
Rescue late.

Mustangs in a panic
Hungry wolves circling
Alone on a pinnacle of rock
Sound of hooves
Echoing on sandstone.

Wolves howling
Ravens cawing
The desperate attempt to survive
Leap the gap to the next mesa
Off Dead Horse Mesa forever.

J. Binford-Bell
September 2011

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

The Creative Process - Tip Toeing into a New Media

I think all artists play around with a lot of different art forms. It is hard to hold the creative eye down to just one way of expressing itself. But we hopefully excel at one and put most of our energies and time and money into one. For me since 2006 that major focus has been painting.

It is cheaper to tip toe financially into painting. You can do it without the $1200 easel. You don't have to buy every oil color available at first. Or invest in camel hair brushes right off. I slipped in with watercolors on paper and did all my own matting and framing.

Photography is a bit harder to slide into cheaply. Digital cameras and lenses are pricey but then I had a digital camera to record my paintings for websites which I built myself. You no longer need darkrooms but you need got photo processing software. I started with Adobe Photoshop which is one of the more expensive but I needed it for editing pictures I took of my art work and was going to put on my website. Good programs have gotten cheaper. But all take rather top of the line computers with lots of RAM and hard drive. There are some photo processing programs on line so you don't need the RAM but still need the storage and back up, etc.

Then there are printers. Tip - you cannot pick these up at Wal-Mart. Few beginning photographers have the money to invest $3000 or more on a giclee professional printer. And maintenance is actually more intensive on them when you use them less. So you develop a good relationship with a professional photographer that does prints on the side or as his major income. My skill at matting and framing from watercolors is a definite plus on keeping pricing down.

And for me that is what photography is partly about - having a more reasonably priced art form to sell in my studio - increasing my price point range. In this economy artists need to use every trick in the book to stay afloat. And diversification is done even by major corporations. You begin by taking stock of your assets: I have the studio and the display space. I have the knowledge of how to find and apply for exhibits. I had the camera, the computer and software. Photography was a natural way to go because of what I had for my painting business. Would have been stupid to try ceramics. Boy, is that hard to tip toe into.

It is hard to know, however, everything you do not know. Sure I have done photography for years but the digital revolution has changed the landscape. And now paper companies are jumping on board with better papers for the media. Back to reading books, taking workshops, and having conversations with professionals ahead on the knowledge curve. It can really be quite exciting.

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Mother Nature is a Bitch

Mother Nature is a Bitch

First it didn't rain
Not a drop for months
Nary a cloud to filter the sun
The earth parched
Crops withered.

The earth was fired like ceramic
Even the seed drill could not pierce
When the first drop fell it bounced
Every drop of rain rolling 
Across the crust.

Prayers it would rain
Changed to prayers it would stop
That the creek would not rise
The levees not break
All unheeded by the gods.

From the upstairs windows
They watched the fields turn to seas
The tractor float like a boat
The silo tobble
Before the bass boat came.

Eventually the rains stopped
The waters receded
Sun dried the river silt into tiles
Turning farm equipment
To entrenched monuments.

The rusting truck a marker
To dashed hopes
And cherished dreams
The family farm abandoned
To Mother Nature.

Jacqui Binford Bell
September 2011

Visit Magpie tales for more participants in Mag 81 poetry rally.

Lots of comments below have mentioned that I have captured the cruelty of farming. We had a farm when I was very young. Later my father introduced me to many ranchers. And as an adult I was married to the son of a farmer in Kansas. It was from him I got the phrase - Mother Nature is a Bitch. And it seems of late that even those that don't live in farms - residents of the gulf and the east coast, forest areas of Arizona and New Mexico, grasslands of Texas, flood plains of the Mississippi - are constantly seeing proof of the same.

I dedicate this poem to all that have watched the waters rise, the flames rush closer, the winds crest, the tidal wall breached.

Art Sunday - Post Processing


Photography has been in my life for as many years as crayons or paints but until lately I saw it primarily as a tool to aid in painting or as a way of recording the events of my life - the scenes that played in the background. But the age of digital photography has changed that. Today I find myself often "painting" in pixels.

Some disdainfully call it photoshopping, or photo manipulation. The spindoctors in the photographic world have come to use the term post processing, and making correlations with dark room processing with film. I tiptoed in and around the subject for some time. I have had a computer program for digital manipulation of images for longer than I had a digital camera. I would have digital images put on a CD when I had my film processed. I used Photoshop to crop, reduce an image to lines to print on watercolor paper for painting, or airbrush out that annoying artifact in a picture. After succumbing to my first digital camera in 2006 (primarily to record my paintings) I explored adjustment of brightness and contrast. Delicately.

My new digital camera having more megapixels requires a bit more playing with brightness/contrast and hue/saturation. It is the nature of the beast. So is my curiosity. What if games ensued primarily with marginal photographs. Take the bridge across Coyote Creek above.

Coyote Creek Bridge before post processing
I was attracted to the patterns of shadow, planking, and unmelted snow. Years of working with film cameras makes me pretty good at framing a photograph but immediately I wanted to crop off the top of this one. But I also wanted to accent what I saw - the patterns - so I post processed further with hue/saturation over the top.

For an artist that has been attracted to patterns and textures since darkroom 101 in college pushing the limits of my Corel Paintshop Pro program was exciting.

 The original shed roof

Post processed shed roof

It also brought out the artist in me. No longer was photography just a way of recording a scene to take to the studio and use as a basis of the painting. It became a digital painting. I have a friend I met at an art fair that takes this one step further. She prints her image on canvas and then adds texture and detail with paint. It becomes hard to tell where the photograph ends and the painting begins. Art fairs are trying to find a term for this new "mixed media." So far I don't think they have exactly hit on the fact that it is just photography until you add the paint.

Volkswagen original image
Volkswagen post processed

The key in "digital art" as in all art is the artist. There exists those that think because the world has invented another technical tool they can do it. But if they don't have the eye to take the original photograph or manipulate it correctly no amount of technical toys will help. Photo manipulation programs are just darkrooms for the modern photographer. And at no time since the advent of complex color film kicked us out of the basement darkroom have we had such control over our final image.

There are the purists that think Ansel Adams would be rolling over in his grave. But he was as fond of darkroom manipulation of his image as most were in the day of B&W film. I think he would be ecstatic about post processing on a computer. But he also would not toss out the importance of the original image. No amount of digital manipulation will turn a bad photograph into a great photo image. You have to have an artist's eye.