Friday, September 30, 2016

Week 39 - 2016 in Photographs

Day 268
 The leaves are beginning to turn golden in the high country and a killing frost can come at any time. So it seemed appropriate to dedicate this week to flowers. If they are not in a greenhouse like the hibiscus below they will not be with us much longer.

Day 267

Day 269

Day 270

Day 271

Day 272

Day 273

Sunday, September 25, 2016

You choose

If given a choice
on how
we see things
choose beauty
over evil
over dark.

If given a choice
on what
we hear
chose kindness
over rudeness
over screams.

If given a choice
Speak of beauty
Sing in tune
Focus on
the positive
and give all
the same choice.

J. Binford-Bell
September 2016

Saturday, September 24, 2016

Week 38: 2016 in Photographs

Day 260

Lots going on in the fall. It gets busy in a resort area even while the tourist season is ramping down. It is when everything we have not had enough time to get done stacks up with everything which has to be done before winter. Photography becomes my escape from the busy, busy, busy list of things to do. Remind me of that when I gripe about what did not get done before the snow flew.

Day 261
But it is so beautiful now. Each day seems to bring new changes in the colors and the light, and in the activity of birds and animals also preparing for the change of seasons.

Day 262

When I doubt this habit of posting a photo daily through the year I just look back at the folders for each week of previous years and see them as a visual journal of life. Of my life. And the living things around me.

Day 263

The Iceland poppies were a surprise this year. It took me a while to remember scattering seeds a couple years back. So their blossoms this fall were a gift.

Day 264

As are the skies this transition period between summer and fall.

Day 265

Day 266

Friday, September 16, 2016

Week 37 - 2016 in Photographs

Day 253

A week in the neighborhood. Wasn't aware most of the pictures I posted in the 366 Day photographic challenge this week were in my neighborhood. Six of them were taken on the morning walk with my dog. Photograph 253 was on a drive to Eagle Nest and so only 10 miles from my house.

Day 254
 Photo 254 was a reflection in my studio window at the end of a morning walk. I think my grim expression was just concentration. As the days move toward winter there is a change in the morning light. Photography is all about light as so familiar things I pass on our walk(almost always at 8) look different. Like the old rail fence just down the road.

Day 255

 Or the house at the end of the road. Especially in morning fog. It is a vacation home and yet of late nobody seems to vacation there. If I let my imagination stray I think of it as sort of haunted. A house without an owner because they died somewhere else. 

Day 256
 And of course there is the Sentinel Pine just across the road from me. On this occasion it was without its usual ensemble of crows, magpies and a hawk or two. Out on the evening hunt I suppose. I think the afternoon rain storm had just passed and I was standing on my driveway checking on the status of the sunset.

Day 257
 And the photograph below is of the same tree from a different perspective and at sunrise. Magique and I have taken to some of our older and more strenuous walks now that we do not have to gauge them for a very old poodle. Mardi loved her morning walks to within a couple days of her passing. She, however, chose the route and they did not include hills.

Day 258
 I conclude the week's review with morning light on yellow wildflowers. They are Cowpen Daisies I believe. 

Day 259

Friday, September 9, 2016

Week 36 - 2016 in Photographs

Day 246 - The Memorial Garden

 My best friends have fur and my most constant companion is my camera. My cave is my studio. The landscape is my spiritual retreat. I do better with the written word than the oral ones because I can edit the former. But there are times that I do not have any words. It is then I let my art speak for me.

Day 247 - Glorious Hollyhocks

Day 248 - Star Burst

Day 249 - Fire in the Grass

Day 250 - The Three Wise Birds

Day 251 - Cloud Explosion

Day 252 - Spawn of the Mountains

Thursday, September 8, 2016

Fall Creeping In

I was awaiting summer
Sowing seeds in the damp soil
Today Fall comes
creeping in
on a different wind.

The upper meadows
have a golden cast
Green leaves of the aspens
seem nervous
quaking in the breeze
A subtle rattle when I pass.

The skiers
push the season
like a five and a half year old 
saying he is six.
The summer residents
pack up to fly south.

I stand
on my deck
awaiting dawn
it is later today

The flowering plum
 has red leaves
 Did it bloom this spring?
Was I too preoccupied with summer
to notice?

J. Binford-Bell
September 2016

Tuesday, September 6, 2016

How it Begins - A Creative Process Blog

Clouds Illusions

A friend was visiting my studio yesterday and asked me what I was working on currently. The trouble with an open studio is you are not always in the midst of a fantastic painting. Sometimes you are at the beginning. Or even before the beginning. Which raises the subject of where does a painting begin.

At this moment in time I am at the beginning of a new horse painting so I led him to the table where there was a rudimentary sketch of three horses walking across white space. It laid upon two sets of stretcher bars. I was trying to decide which size to stretch for the horses I had drawn. It really would not be a horse painting but a cloud  painting with horses. The painting would have to be bigger to allow more room for the clouds. Next question is should the horses be smaller.  

I am inspired by the photograph below with cattle on a rise before a huge bank of clouds. I didn't take that photograph yesterday, but it has stuck in my mind as if I did. There are photographs you cannot upload from you mind and clear the memory card.

Cloud photograph with cattle

When I was researching horses in the beginning of my of my period of horse paintings I took a lot of photographs of them. None of them were running. Especially the horses on a rise with the sky behind them and the horses in just twos or threes working their way across a field of tall grass and flowers.

Most were eating. And through all the paintings of stampeding horses I have done and sold those of horses just standing in fields have stuck in my memory card as it were.

So what has been bouncing around in my mind is three horses on a rise with grasses and wild flowers at their feet and a huge sky full of clouds behind them.


I take a lot of photographs of I have a lot to choose from. I have included a few in this blog which echo in my mind. They are just inspirational starting points. Always wise to remember I break away from the traditional representation of physical objects, even the horses, and express my independence from visual references. My photography is the only realistic depiction of my world and that not necessarily so.

I will try to keep you informed of the progress of this budding painting. This blog was to try and determine just where and how it began. If you have any insights please leave a comment.

Monday, September 5, 2016

Dawn Chasing Away the Storm - A Creative Process Blog

Dawn Chasing Away the Storm
Been a while since I have done a creative process blog. First I figured it was because I had not been painting much. I have been busy doing other things. But I have also been taking progress photos with my tablet as opposed to my camera. So this morning, when I decided I need to do a process blog, I had to figure out how to get my tablet photos to my desktop photo files to use.

The first part of any process blog is to get all the key photographs of the painting's progress in one folder. This actually helps me clean up my picture files because I can delete all the multiple snaps in other files.

Sketch transferred and masked out

For this painting I used a drawing from a much earlier painting. One I had done and sold without ever actually getting a finished photograph of it. Or at least I could not find it this morning. That painting was 16 x 20 and done before I began stretching my own canvases. I have come to like the long and thin horizontal or vertical sizes best. This one is 14 x 30 and the original drawing had to be altered to fit. I added on the sides and cut on the bottom.

Sky poured

I am also in my stormy cloud period. Though I must confess I was thinking more along just a sunrise sky. But as I pour my skies they often get to dictate where the painting is going. Which is fine by me but sometimes it is just a surprise. 

I was dedicated, however, to dawn.

Sun and mountain peak highlights

I like to believe I have some control over the clouds if not the sky. And I found myself attracted to the idea of storm versus dawn. The war was going to have to be fought on the peaks of the Ortiz mountains. 

Shadows on the peaks

I confess to being stopped briefly at this point. I have driven the road through these mountains often. And it a photograph I took on a New Year's Day morning which inspired the original painting. In that photograph and the painting there was a road. Because of the colors I could introduce I changed it to a stream. And a dry winter morning to a lush August dawn.

The green valley
You may also notice changes being made in the storm clouds and the shadows on the peaks. Introduction of new colors seem to dictate changes in the ones already laid down.

Canvas covered
It is usually at this point I want to cover all the white canvas to assure myself I have a direction which will work. I confess there are a lot of steps taken from this point to the finished painting at the beginning of this blog. Changes in values and increase in shadows and a glaze of white over distant mountains to add depth. I did take progress photos all along the path. I do this at this stage more for me than the thought of a future blog. I find I get to intimately involved in the painting and it blinds me to its faults. A photograph gives me the space to look at it critically.

A midpoint on the journey

At this point in the process I was not happy with several things. Mostly shadows. I needed more shadows especially along the main mountains. I did those at the foot of the mesa first and liked where it was going. And it can be slow going. I found myself getting rather impatient. Between this stage and the finished painting above is the deep shadow at the foot of the mountains and the whitish glaze on the mountains beneath the sun. And so many little changes in the clouds I am embarrassed to even mention them. Watercolor on canvas allows for colors to be picked up and replaced. Canvas does not wear out like watercolor paper.

Dawn Chasing Away the Storm
14 x 30 on Artists Canvas
I have posted it again for you to more easily compare the finished with the step above. And of course I added the birds. It is in the process of finishing this painting I came to realize I am an abstract painter. "Abstract art uses a visual language of shape, form, color and line to create a composition which may exist with a degree of independence from visual references in the world."

Sometimes I think my independence is getting greater.

Saturday, September 3, 2016

Week 35 - 2016 in Photographs

Day 243

 Definitely a hodgepodge week. I was busy with waning days of gardening and getting my deck built and staining it. Too much to do in too little time it seemed and so the camera stayed in the camera bag more than it should. In fact some of the photographs in this week's blog were actually taken the week before. But then the Icelandic poppy seeds I had planted years ago decided to reach maturity and bloom.

Day 244

And the rains brought more wild flowers out to dance in the late August breezes. The monsoonal flows continued and so every afternoon was graced with new arrangements of clouds casting their shadows on the surrounding mountains. No need to go far afield to capture a landscape or cloudscape.

Day 242

Day 240

Day 241

Or a fantastic dawn. My new deck is proving to be a wonderful platform for photographing the dawns.

Day 239

And new to the approaching fall are the morning fogs. More of these next week.

Day 245