Thursday, October 29, 2009

Crossing the pond again

The bags are packed and waiting in the hallway. It's only two small carry-ons, since losing my luggage was a bit too much adventure last year.

I'm hoping you will join me through the eyes of the camera these next weeks, as I'll be working on a Royal Caribbean Cruise ship sailing to Spain, Italy and France... and then doing it all over again.

I'll wave at you from Barcelona!

Monday, October 26, 2009

Around home

Perhaps it's only me, but in the autumn light everything appears honeyed.

Crisp morning air, russet apples, trees marching in rows down a field... it all seems coated with a thin film of gold.

I was out on my daily jog, trailing three silly-looking dogs and snapping photos like a tourist yesterday when two car-loads of strangers drove by slowly and stopped.

They gazed at me with questioning looks, and I could almost hear them thinking, "Looks ordinary to me. What's she taking pictures of- that dumb branch?"

After a moment I could see them begin to laugh, and off they went.

But there I stood with my mouth hanging open in awe.

Isn't it absolutely amazing how gorgeous a branch can be? Even an ordinary one.

Then the dogs and I trotted toward home, geese sailing overhead and wind ruffling our hair.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Design from a grasshopper's leg

There he was, nibbling on my winter squash, bold as brass.

I know it, I should have squashed him, but instead I hollered over the fence, "Susan, there's a gorgeous grasshopper over here!"

Susan's boys are still young enough to be fascinated with the things I find captivating... you know... grasshoppers, frogs, snips & snails & puppy dog tails. That sort of thing.

Pretty soon I was taking a bug's eye view, giving the little guy his own photo shoot.

Isn't he amazing?

People are always asking me, "where do you get your ideas?"

If I told them how inspiring this grasshopper's leg decorations are, how endlessly fascinating his segmented abdomen, how lovely his brassy wings, nobody would believe me.

But today I learned a world about design and beauty and balance. There was a whole lesson there for me, placed in my own backyard by the Creator Himself.

And He packed it all in one neat and tidy package: a grasshopper sitting on my winter squash.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Samuel and the garden hens

Mornings gathering eggs are magical.

The only thing that can make it even sweeter is the laughter of a little boy.

The pictures tell it far better than my words can do...

(Insert giggles here.)

The chicken wanted a bird's eye view of Samuel, and Samuel wanted scrambled eggs for lunch.

Those hens gave up and decided to take the ladder down to the ground floor...

Love that wee little barnyard in the corner of the garden.

Eggs hide in the straw.

Rain drips from eaves.

There's bread rising on the back of the stove.

And a little boy visiting.

Life is good.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Bonfires & other autumn delights

One of the joys of living in a rural area is the fun of gathering for an autumn bonfire.

And so it was that we gathered last evening in Jim & Becky's horse pasture for marshmallows and hot dogs, served up by the crackling fire to the accompaniment of laughter and wagging tails.

Behind our home, the barn is looking worse than ever. I wish our neighbors would fix the dear old thing. One of these days it's going to blow down and I'll be sadder than sad.

The cornstalks are still standing in the field beyond but the crop is past. Summer is only a memory now.

We're still delighting in blue skies and crisp morning air, even as we look to the rainy days ahead.

Still hiking on the occasional glorious autumn afternoon, and feeling dwarfed by the majesty of the mountains. Can you even spot me in the photo?

I've been working on a series of botanicals, and snapping reference photos to use in my work.

But believe me, it's not all hikes and bonfires around here! Tomorrow I'll share sneak peeks at the messy studio, the snippets and scribbles, and the finished art emerging from the scissors, pens and brushes lately...

Friday, October 2, 2009

Autumn's burnished colors

I just love the afternoon light in autumn, and the way it turns my walks to golden moments.

In autumn, everything seems burnished somehow, and my favorite shades of russet and copper and yellow surround me.

I'm punch-drunk on color.

Under decaying logs on the forest floor, mushrooms pop up...

On maples and aspens, birch and cottonwoods, the leaves make a spectacular farewell. Some say our Northwest fall is nothing compared to the Eastern woods, but I was a California girl, and I find our autumn nothing short of splendid.

Along the river I find gems all around my own home...

rose hips...
brambly hedges of blackberry...
gently drifting ginkgo leaves...

It's time to bake a pan of apples in celebration, and eat them by the fire while the rain drips from the eaves.

Summer was grand but nothing beats autumn, does it?