The Beauty At The End Of The Journey

I’ve always had a great love of daffodils or jonquils or whatever they’re called. My mom used to have a beautiful row of them in front of the house when I was a kid

"Peeking" © Lois Bryan Photography and Digital Art
“Peeking” © Lois Bryan Photography and Digital Art

… and when I could smell their delicious fragrance not only did I know spring had finally sprung from out the depths of winter, but that my birthday was coming. Somehow the smell of jonquils and the smell of birthday cake seem to go together even today!

Though my art is photography based now, as a kid, I was the one with pencils and papers never far from my elbow. One of my first “important” works was the colored pencil recreation of a vase of Mom’s jonquils, long past their prime.

Back in the day … long, long ago in a very small-town-world, the depiction of a dead or dying flower was an unusual and unique concept. So much so that my art teacher requested the piece and entered it into something or other that summer. Of course we never found out what happened to it, and of course we never got it back. But my mom, well into her 70s, still bemoaned the loss of that little picture.

Not a clue why I never attempted to recreate it for her during her lifetime.

Beauty At The End © Lois Bryan Photography and Digital Art
Beauty At The End © Lois Bryan Photography and Digital Art

Many the jonquils / daffodils in my own garden at my present home are the bulbs and offspring of the bulbs given to me by my Mom. And every spring when they bloom, I carefully allow some of them to live out their beauty in a pretty crystal vase, right to the end of their own personal journeys.

As always, clicking the images will take you to their spot on my website where you can view them with a much less intrusive watermark.

The Awful Truth About Decision Making

I never used to have any trouble  making decisions.  My path seemed straight and narrow and, except for a stumble here and there along the way, the relatively inconsequential kind most of us make, I kept to it fairly well.  There was right and there was wrong and that was pretty much that.  But.  As I get older, there seems to be a bit more gray area in life than there used to be.  Take for example my photography / digital art ….

This is a newish version of a popular image on my website, Chanticleer, this one with more blue tones in the sky and a few other nuance-y tweaks that I’m probably the only one who notices.

Chanticleer In Blue © Lois Bryan Photography and Digital Art
Chanticleer In Blue © Lois Bryan Photography and Digital Art

A few blogs back  ( Colorful Drinks On The House ) I announced that I’d made up my mind to go ahead and, if the spirit moved me, add different color variations of similar images to my photography / digital art galleries. I hadn’t been doing a lot of that. But after some thought and nosing around seeing what other contemporary photography / digital artists were up to, I decided to cut loose and add variations more often.

Then I promptly changed my mind.

With Chanticleer, here, I gave a lot of thought to switching the original out and adding the above, but as popular as it’s been, I decided not to mess with success.

I guess it’s one of those cases where I reserve the right to change my mind … even when I can’t make up my mind.

But I wonder, does the old adage that it’s a woman’s prerogative to change her mind  still hold water in this modern day of women’s / equal rights?  Do women no longer have that special back door … or … does it mean that men get to change their minds now, too?  (Apparently, they didn’t used to??)  I have the feeling we’re all supposed to be very self-aware and sure of ourselves these days, so my vague musings probably seem quaint and old fashioned to this forward thinking, determined and assured younger generation.

So, there I was earlier today, sitting on that same cold hard fence of indecision a lot of us have  spent time on,

Flame Trees © Lois Bryan Photography and Digital Art
Flame Trees © Lois Bryan Photography and Digital Art

doing exactly what I said I wasn’t going to do … adding a second version of an image to my website that had a  slight but, to me, significant change.

The reason for the addition actually makes sense, in a rather round-about way. I’d uploaded the original to my website, and it became fairly popular within a relatively short period of time.  But before that short period of time actually had time to elapse, I’d created some greeting cards from it with a slightly different color tone, the one included above.  And that newer edition of the card has been one of my most popular.

Now, every time I sell that card, I feel myself leaning toward that version … and … every time the original wall-art version sells, I lean the other way.

Basically, I’m getting a bit sea-sick.

So here I go.  Hopping off the fence and changing my mind again.

Foggy Country Road © Lois Bryan Photography and Digital Art
Foggy Country Road © Lois Bryan Photography and Digital Art

I guess the awful truth about decision making is it’s really quite ruthlessly easy once you’ve made up your mind.

Until you change your mind.

…….

As always, clicking the images will take you to where they’re located on my website for viewing with much nicer watermarks.

 

 

Apple Pickin’ Time

A cluster of three perfect red apples dangles just out of reach at wonderful Old Bedford Village, but not out of reach of my lens.

Apple Pickin' Time © Lois Bryan Photography and Digital Art
Apple Pickin’ Time © Lois Bryan Photography and Digital Art

One of my favorite places to take pictures, Old Bedford Village, located in Bedford, Pennsylvania, USA, is a “living history museum” with reconstructed homes, churches, schools and shops to visit and explore. Plenty of interesting activities through most of the year to participate in that will take you back in time.

The official website for Old Bedford Village is:
http://www.oldbedfordvillage.com

Original photographic image taken with the Nikon D300 and the 18-200mm VR Nikkor lens in early October of 2009, just as the leaves were beginning to turn golden. Image treated to lots of fun edits in Capture NX2 and various versions of Photoshop to give it an artistic feel.

As always, to view the image with a much less nasty watermark, just click and you’ll be taken to my main website.

new shopping page now included!

Just a quick announcement about a new feature here on my blog … if you glance up to the top right of this page, in addition to the “About” tab which tells all the juicy tidbits about my private life … (well, no, not really ) … I’m including a “Shopping” page!

So, hey, the holidays are coming, right?  Now, don’t close this blog, run go grab a fresh cup of coffee or tea (or if it’s dark where you are, a nice glass of wine or bottle of brewski) and come back and click that “Shopping” tab and let’s take a visual journey through my images.

Clicking on one of the small thumbnails will bring you to a purchasing page.  Please note, depending on your browser and device type (computer or pad or phone) …

.. the product shown will be a print, but you will find the “7 Additional Products” notation and either be zoomed to a breakdown of more image choices from canvas to framed and matted to greeting cards to phone covers, or they’ll be floating around on your screen someplace.   Trust me.

Cool beans, huh?

So now, remember … though the holidays ARE coming  we don’t have to wait for Christmas … let’s start thinking about the beautiful autumn season here in the Northern Hemisphere …

The Road Home ©Lois Bryan Photography and Digital Art
The Road Home ©Lois Bryan Photography and Digital Art

Let’s freshen up that guest bedroom … and that nook near the stairs … and ooo … something fun for the kitchen … and GIFTS … come on … you know Aunt Sally loves butterflies …

Seeking Sweetness © Lois Bryan Photography and Digital Art
Seeking Sweetness © Lois Bryan Photography and Digital Art

As always, clicking the watermarked images here will take you directly to my website … but you can find these and oodles more “h”ever so conveniently by just clicking on my new “Shopping” tab right here!! (Actually UP, up here … top right … see it?)

Easy-Peasy!

If you’d like to be notified of new bog entries, scroll all the way down on this page and fill out the “notify me of new posts” form.

 

Windmills On The Horizon

Rural central Pennsylvania in autumn can be a brilliant vision. The fields patch-worked along the rolling hills and valleys turn the most delicious shade of old gold. Carved among the corn fields are pastures where milk cows graze in the last of the season’s warm sun.

Windmills On The Horizon © Lois Bryan
Windmills On The Horizon © Lois Bryan

One of the things that we are seeing in these glorious bucolic settings are the huge turbine windmills that now march across our horizons. They are the subject of much controversy among those who live here. Seen from a distance like this they are somewhat quaint. Up close … kind of scary.

This particular image is based on a photograph I took October 20, 2013 between Pavia and Roaring Spring not far from Blue Knob, Pennsylvania with the Nikon D7000 and the Nikkor 18-200mm vr lens. Much tinkering in Photoshop CS6 to create the painterly look you see here which included significant hand-painting with the Wacom tablet. My thanks to Jerry Jones of Skeletal Mess for the texture … one of my favorites.

As always, to get a better view of the image, a click will take you to my website where the watermark is less hideous and where you’ll find purchase options.

I can’t wait to get back to the mountains again with the camera … always a favorite activity this time of year.  (And yes, I’ll stay well clear of the windmills!!)

Scotland’s Vote and Thoughts On The World In General

In my “About” section I warned that I might stray off-topic (art, photography and digital art) from time to time … looks like today is going to be one of those times.

A couple of years ago, my son had the wonderful opportunity to spend a semester abroad.  He attended Edinburgh- Napier University and fell under the spell of Scotland and all of Great Britain.

Hogwarts ... Edinburgh Castle, Edinburgh Scotland ... © Rich Bryan / Lois Bryan Photography and Digital Art
Hogwarts … Edinburgh Castle, Edinburgh Scotland … © Rich Bryan / Lois Bryan Photography and Digital Art

Because of this, the recent vote in Scotland regarding separation from Great Britain seemed very close to home to our little family, tucked away here in the US, as we watched events unfold with breath held.

I read an insightful analysis by Paul Mason in “Mashable” on the Scottish vote.  And as I thought about what he wrote,  more of the puzzle pieces of what we’ve been reading in the news lately started to click into place.   Not just in Scotland, but all over the world, might not one of the  keys to understanding the events we hear about nightly be  mind-sets and circumstances, in Mr. Mason’s words,

“… empowered by greater access to education and info-tech; political classes that seem remote and self-serving.”

?

It’s easy to blame everything on money and financial power brokers.  But I believe Mr. Mason has given us a glimpse behind the curtain of the incredible upheaval we see all around us in the world today.  And for some of us, these are more than events viewed in the news … for some of us, this upheaval is our own towns … even in our own streets.

“Scotland Votes No to Independence. Now What?”

I encourage you to give it a read.

Rapunzel, Rapunzel

Recently, my husband and I took a day trip to beautiful Winterthur, near Wilmington, Delaware.  It’s a glorious estate, once owned by the du Pont Family, filled with history and reminders of a gracious way of life gone by.

Unfortunately for me, it’s also currently being renovated, so the exterior is mostly covered in green plastic.

Winterthur All Wrapped Up © Lois Bryan Photography and Digital Art

Bummer news for a photography-hound like myself, of course, but great news for the house!  This also meant any interior shots, which we are allowed to take, were pretty dark.  Yes, I should have switched out the 50mm lens to my beloved 18-200mm and topped the camera with the speedlight and pointed it up to bounce, but I didn’t want to hold up the group I was with.  Sometimes you regret playing the nice guy … but oh well.  Live and learn!

Lots of pictures to be included from this little trip as time goes by, but I wanted to add a couple here … the first is of a beautiful staircase in the gardens.  This is “The Stairway to Bountiful.”  Funny how image names come to me.  I was editing this one during the Emmys and someone on the tv mentioned the play “The Road To Bountiful.”  I couldn’t help thinking this might be a fun play on words and on themes.

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The Stairway To Bountiful © Lois Bryan Photography and Digital Art

And there was a wonderful tower-like structure that I named “Rapunzel Rapunzel”

Rapunzel, Rapunzel © Lois Bryan Photography and Digital Art
Rapunzel, Rapunzel © Lois Bryan Photography and digital Art

I enjoyed working on this one very much, trying out a new digital painting technique.  Previously, most of my photographic paintings have been done in Corel Painter, but this was done completely in Photoshop CS6 (not the Cloud).

I really love learning new editing tricks.

As always, clicking on the images will take you to my website where you can view with a much better resolution and less nasty watermark.

And if you’d like to be notified of new posts, scroll all the way down on this page and fill out the “notify me of new posts” form.

One Room School

It’s the beginning of September and all the kids in our neck of the woods are heading back to school.  In fact today probably marked the end of the first week for many if not most.  Going back to school brings back the memories, doesn’t it?  Even for those of us who’ve been out of the classroom for more years than we like to admit!

In honor of this time of year, I thought I’d haul out a personal favorite, dust it off and show it off here.

"One Room School" © Lois Bryan Photography and Digital Art
“One Room School” © Lois Bryan Photography and Digital Art

To get a better view of the image, just click to be taken to my Pixels.com page where the watermark will be more reasonable and purchase options for wall art, greeting cards and cell phone covers will be available.  If interested in licensing, just let me know.

This image was snapped at one of my favorite photographic haunts, Old Bedford Village in Bedford, Pa.  This is the interior of one of the one room school houses there,  the Kniseley School.  It was originally built near Pleasantville, Bedford County, in 1869 and was used until 1932. This building was indeed an original school house, it is not a recreation, and was moved to the Old Bedford site as part of their “living history museum.” You can read more information about Old Bedford Village here:

Old Bedford Village

The image itself is a composite of two of my own shots, both were taken with the Nikon D300. The fields and barn seen through the windows are actually from farmland near Osterburg, PA, not too far up the road from Old Bedford. There was much tinkering in Photoshop CS4, 5 and 6 (NOT the cloud), plus the addition of a hint one of my favorite textures from Florabella to enhance the mood.

I’m not one of those women who lies about her age, but I don’t make a point of bragging about it either. That having been said, I’ve been around the block more than once and as such, I do vividly remember things that others may only have heard or read about. The school room pictured here is one of those things that goes right to my own heart. I spent my first three years not in a one-room school, but … close. The architectural features of the rooms in my little primary school were almost identical to what you see here. In fact, it’s with a laugh that I admit that the desks shown in this image are actually examples of the NEW desks we got somewhere along the line … I remember stuffing papers and books and so forth into a compartment that went under the seat (and boy was it messy in my case!!). I don’t remember seeing a dunce cap (if there had been one, I’m sure I’d have worn it more than once) … and though we didn’t have a wood stove in our classroom, I was very familiar with them from the homes of my grandparents and some aunts and uncles.

I think images that evoke nostalgia and memory of good times gone by are a blessing. I’ve had many people stop by my little picture and tell me about the happy memories it has brought back to them. That connection between artist and art and viewer is a bond that brings us all closer … and that’s always a good thing.

And also, as always, if the image appeals to you as a gift for yourself or someone special in your life, I’m happy to make it available on a wide variety of products.   An example would be a handy tote bag:

One Room School Tote Bag © Lois Bryan Photography and Digital Art
One Room School Tote Bag © Lois Bryan Photography and Digital Art

A click will bring you to purchase options for the tote bag, and if you have another product idea in mind, just contact me through this page and I’ll see if it’s something I can create for you.

And if you’d like to be notified of new posts, scroll all the way down on this page and fill out the “notify me of new posts” form.

 

 

 

Gourds And Leaves Of Autumn

I’ve been dipping into the digital paint box again, this time painting a photo I took early last November.  I had to be quick as my husband is very particular about not letting the leaves lay on the lawn for too long.  But “art” won this round, and I got my shot.

Gourds and Leaves of Autumn © Lois Bryan Photography and Digital Art
Gourds and Leaves of Autumn © Lois Bryan Photography and Digital Art

This classic image of fall, gourds and a fat pumpkin nestled in a pile of crispy golden leaves, features the colors of autumn.  They’re the favorites of many … sun-washed golds and oranges, punctuated by greens … and seem to exude feelings of comfort and often evoke the wispy ghosts of memory.

Original photographic image taken by myself in November of 2013 with the Nikon D7000 and the Nikkor 105mm lens. Digitally hand painted in a playful impressionistic style in Corel Painter 11 with some tweaks in Photoshop CS5 and CS6.

As always, a click on the image itself will bring you to a version with better resolution and more reasonable watermark, as well as purchase options for wall art and greeting cards.  And also, as always, if you fall in love with it and are looking for the image on a gift item (for yourself, too), just let me know!

If you’d like to be notified of new blog entries, scroll all the way down to the bottom of this particular post and fill out the “notify me of new posts” form.

 

Spilled Sweetness … Seeing the Beauty In The Everyday

My camera, macro lens attached, was sitting on the kitchen counter one morning. Well, to be honest, my cameras spend about half their lives all over the house, and the kitchen seems to be one of their favorite hangouts. I was fixing my morning coffee and, as I have been known to do, I managed to spill the sugar on its way from the sugar bowl to the mug. Not quite sure why that is, but it happens.

Spilled Sweetness © Lois Bryan Photography and Digital Art
Spilled Sweetness © Lois Bryan Photography and Digital Art

I liked the little trail of the granules, the way the sun was coming through the window, and the way the mug’s reflection looked in the shiny granite. So … as it does with photographers, one thing led to another and a nice snap of the scene seemed to be in order. As always, clicking on the image will bring you to a better resolution and options for purchasing. Image taken with the Nikon D300 and the Nikkor 105mm Macro / Micro lens April of 2014.