Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Week 30 - 2014 in Images

Day 204 - Waiting
The fullness of summer was upon us in this last week. And everywhere it was evident be it in the napping of cats in the windows or the last poppy blooming in the front yard.

Day 205 - Last Poppy of the summer

The poppies were a gift this summer. Seldom do they bloom as fully and for so long. Their large and delicate petals fall victim to the storms of summer. But while the monsoons came they fell gently until after the last blossom was spent.

Day 206 - In all their glory

And then came the hollyhocks planted in the lee of the studio and under an eave to keep the hail from shredding their beauty.

Day 207 - First Hollyhock

Each morning any cloud which lingered from the rains of yesterday began to gather and build into the deliverer of rain in the late afternoons.

Day 208 - Gathering Clouds
And the moist air after the months of drought was absorbed by every living thing.

Day 209 - Red Cabbage
And wildflowers which had not bloomed in such abundance for years turned the fields purple, and sometimes, it seemed, the very air.

Day 210 - The fence line
And so we near the last days of July.

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Week 29 - 2014 in Images a day at a time

Day 197
The lush but brief mountain summer continues. And because of the gift of rain things are green. Because of the drought of past years every thing is rushing to reproduce in the short time allotted. Great news for nature and for the photographer.

Day 198
I first noticed this wild mountain rose growing through the sign post a couple years back. I figured it was a fluke but every year it works its way up higher through the square sign post. No good angle for a photograph without wires and signs but then that is what this is about - Life going on against the odds and man.

Day 199
The geese this year also did very well. Getting three of their four goslings to fledging stage. No doubt the wet spring and summer has also helped them.

Day 200

And my poppies, oft ignored, managed a wonderful display this year. At one time 17 of my salmon colored poppies were blooming at once. No mean feat because heavy rains can destroy the delicate flowers. Yesterday I took a picture of the last boom for the archives.

Day 201
And the birds have been everywhere this year. Good bugs and good seeds and good wild flowers. That does not keep the hummers from emptying the feeders daily. I have out three. And mornings there can be thirty waiting their turn. So hungry they hardly notice me and the camera.

Day 202
I have taken a lot of goose pictures this summer of my local pair and goslings. The one below is one of my favorites because Mom and Dad are paired up while the brood does their thing close by. All summer long they have swam or grazed in goose step as it were. One adult in back and one in front for protection of the three in line between them.

Day 203

Some time in August, toward the middle, the breeze will change direction and the air take on a hint of crispness. Fall will have arrived. A killing frost usually waits until September, hopefully toward the end, but migration will begin during that Indian Summer in between.

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Nothing Out of Season - Mag 229

The Corner Grocery
Prompt provided by the Mag 229

No bananas

Apples and oranges
grapefruit from down in Texas
potatoes from Colorado.
Pepsi Cola just 5 cents
with return of deposit.

No kiwi 

Mango or dragon fruit
nothing from across foreign seas
quality meats and groceries
grown locally
Snuff and tobacco in tins.

No Made in China

Flour from the local mill
All picked and trucked by union labor
No big chain markets
or box stores
Just cousin Joe at the local store.

J. Binford-Bell
July 2014

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Week 28 - 2014 in Images

Day 190 - Off Main
I know it says week 28 but most of these photos were taken in week 27 and in fact on one day - July 2nd. That was the day I drove Big Blue and the UHaul full of art up to Trinidad, Colorado in the predawn hours so I could get the parking space directly in front of Gallery Main where my solo show is going on through July.

I parked and then got out with my camera to take advantage of the empty streets for a few photos. It had rained earlier and everything was very fresh. The early morning light was perfect because it cast few shadows.

Day 191 - On Main

Because I live in the wilds or near them much of my photography falls in the nature or landscape categories but I love photographing architecture and Trinidad, Colorado is my current favorite place to do that. The buildings come from a time when architects and builders took time with details and textures. Love the brick work on the building below.

Day 192 - Above Main

Yes, the two nature snaps were on the same day. When I arrived home in the afternoon after having successfully hung the show. What a trip that was. No, not the drive. The hanging.

Day 193 - All that Remains
When the petals fall off the poppy there remains a rather wonderful seed pod. The fuzzy purple of its top is overshadowed by the petals until they are gone.

Day 194 - All its Glory

Thankfully poppies do not all bloom in a single day. They mete themselves out slowly. In this photo is a newly opened bloom and in the back a bud just splitting to release another blossom. They were on the same plant with the seed pod in the photo above.

Day 195 - Morning
When, on the drive to Trinidad, I emerged from the mountains on to the eastern plains heading to Raton the clouds opened up to give me peaks of the rising sun. Dawn revealed the distant volcanic peaks holding on to the last bit of rain.

Day 196 - Rain

BTW we are officially in the Southwest Monsoon Season. The moisture is being funneled up through Mexico from the Gulf of Baja. It is carried up over our mountains where it meets with heat from the valleys and produces afternoon and evening thunderstorms. And much needed moisture for the grasses feeding the cattle and antelope on the plains.

Sunday, July 13, 2014

Magpie Tale 228 - Steps

Steps provided by The Mag: 228


So many steps
from so many feet
young and old
going up 

So many steps
over so many years
steps of joy 
and pain

So many steps
each leaving behind 
over time 
a mark

J. Binford-Bell
July 2014

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Week 27 - 2014 in Images

Day 183
Flowers figured huge this last week. Whether they were the delicate blooms of moss in a pond or the orchids in a friend's greenhouse or my the hardy flowers in my neglected flower beds.

I spend much of my garden time with vegetables because they are edible and prevent trips to the store. The flowers that grow in my care are those which require little to no care like the delicate yellow columbine below.

Day 184

And they bloom because of showers and not my diligent watering of them. The monsoon season in the New Mexico mountains has begun. It is forecast to be better than the average and we need it because of the drought. Clouds get a lot of attention this time of the year.

Day 185

I took my paintings to Trinidad, Colorado's Gallery Main last Wednesday, the first day of the photographic week. And in the days preceding I was busy packing and getting the UHaul trailer, so rather than walking around with camera in hand I kept it handing during my normal chores and snapped quick picks. Orchids are always good for that.

Day 186
And the painted chair is a great prop for them.

Day 187
And the poppies in the front yard required no walk abouts. I was post processing the photos from the hanging of my show Meraki and could not resist giving this poppy below some added attention. It has bloomed on my day away. Amazing flower the poppy. It unfolds to huge dimensions out of the bud and does it in a very short time. The winds and heavy rains do them in quickly so you have to be quick at recording them.

My biggest orange ones are against the house. This week the salmon colored ones in the bed across the driveway have been blooming and will figure large in the photos in the coming week.

Day 188
As will clouds, no doubt. The surrounding mountains manufacture them from the upflow of moisture from Mexico and the Gulf of Baja. They grow in what seems like just minutes from small whiffs of clouds to huge formations taller than the mountains they cap. It is rather fun to watch. Especially when you have the time and the camera.

Day 189

Sunday, July 6, 2014

Magpie Tale 227 - The photo

1850's Tintype provided by The Mag

The photo
framed to be displayed
was buried at the bottom
of the old stagecoach trunk
in the corner of the basement.

The trunk
had drawn her interest
a very unique antique to be restored
but too heavy to be moved
and so she had begun.

The dig
through her family's layers.
Moving from colored glossies
to Polaroids
and black and whites
to tintypes.

No labels
no dates beyond the medium
No names of the family members
enshrined in Kodachrome
or silver print.

 No name
of this relative of the past
with the strange glasses
and the headless cat
lying on the very bottom of the trunk.

J. Binford-Bell
July 2014

Thursday, July 3, 2014

The Creative Journey - I am Good Enough

A portion of the long west wall

Let me rephrase that: I AM GOOD.  It is tough being an artist. I do not believe it is anything you necessarily WANT to be. It is something you HAVE to be. Even in my two year hiatus from painting I had to express myself in my photography and my digital manipulation of those photographs. I won prizes with my paintings and prizes with my photographs. I sold both. I have been represented by galleries. Once did eight high end art fairs a year. But always there was that question of whether I was good enough. And in the quiet of the studio facing a newly stretched canvas the answer was usually no.

But with my work for Meraki in the UHaul behind Big Blue heading to Trinidad's Gallery Main and my first one woman show in Colorado the answer was YES. But largely an unsupported yes. The artist works in solitary confinement and sees the results in bits and pieces. As you select and pack you choose what seems to be arbitrary criteria like how they are framed, are they all on the same platform, do they play well together. And then you pack them away for the trip. You are sure you do not have enough to fill an entire gallery. You regret saying, "Oh, sure, no problem" months ago.

The Unpacking

I have fortunately had lots of show hanging experience in my association with Katherine McDermott's Art Space Gallery. But they were never all my works and groupings were determined by artist. So when all the paintings were out of the boxes I was almost overwhelmed with the decisions yet to be made. Yes, an option was to have the Gallery Main staff and director to do it all. But a more experienced artist friend said I would regret that. I should be involved.

All out of the boxes and against the wall was my first opportunity to see my choices all together. Frankly I was floored. I did all that seemed to scream in my head. Yes, I did all that. Now how best to show it off. This was my opportunity and I did not want to blow it. While taking breaks from the painting process I had read things about presentation. Believe me there are lots of opinions. Tops level, bottoms level, middles at eye level, all uniformly spaced, grouped or clustered. The latter seemed to resonate with me. And it went with an 1800's building with no level floor and a sloping ceiling and uneven walls.

Two groupings separated by a large painting

Groupings were determined by color or size or subject. Groups were broken up by my larger works set just a bit more apart from the groupings.

3/4ths of the East Wall
And middles at eye level largely. Note it is necessary to pick a set of eyes for this. Peggy Westmoreland of Gallery Main is not short like me so her eyes.

Detail of west wall

We alternated between walls. As an photographer I am aware of turning around to see what is behind me. I did not want the patron to this show to do that and be jarred by the other side. And I determined my groupings from my studio experience of smaller spaces but wanting the visitor to the studio to see two or three or four paintings they could buy and arrange in their living room.

Center of East wall

Gallery Main is a large gallery but it only took us three hours to hang 46 paintings and place all title cards. I was thrilled when an early press visitor compliment Peggy and I on the presentation. I urge you to see the show Meraki in Trinidad if you get the chance. For me on very many levels it has already been a huge success. Now I want it to be a great success for this non-profit gallery which uses its commissions to fund art classes for children. Our schools no longer do that so we need to step up.

Door to student area on left

Front window of Gallery Main in Trinidad, Colorado

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Week 26 - 2014 One Image a Day

Day 176

And the year is now half over. All my paintings for the Meraki Show at Gallery Main in Trinidad, Colorado are packed up. Today I will load them in the UHaul Trailer and take them tomorrow up to the gallery to hang. And all the focus I have had on painting will be over. Or Not. I already have three more canvases to stretch. And two different ideas dancing around in my head for what to paint on them.

But there is no doubt I will have more time to give to photography. And I look forward to that. The land has a fullness about it, a lushness which you can breathe in. The monsoon season is setting up and this next week has a chance for thunderstorms every single day.

Day 177

First poppy photograph of the summer. My plants are heavy with buds. They do not fare well in heavy rains so you have to dash out with the camera to quickly record them. And I will. The orange/red ones have a fire to them but I love the light and delicacy of the salmon colored ones yet to bloom.

The ponds I photography are blooming too. Small delicate blooms which rise above the water level on this stalks in vast numbers. It has been an interesting challenge trying to record the feel of this blossoming of the waters.

Day 178

Day 179

Summer is not all about flowers. With the monsoons building it will be a lot of clouds like the opening photograph of dawn. But it is also about trucks and bugs. The weather is more pleasant for long walks and drives with the camera. The truck is Eagle Nest but the Volkswagen is just down the street.

Day 180

And the gazing ball is on another walk. Nice weather allows you to linger and see what is around you.

Day 181

Like the family of geese gliding across a still pond in the early morning light.

Day 182

And there is more wildlife out enjoying the fruits and grasses of summer. I have captured a lot of photographs of elk and geese. They have not made my 365 Day Challenge photos because while they are good photos their specialness is only that they are great captures.