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.

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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.

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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!

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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.

Colorful Drinks On The House

I do a good bit of reading on the internet and elsewhere about art and photography … tutorials, discussion forums, other people’s blogs, news articles … and one of the topics I’ve been reading seems to be somewhat controversial.  Not in the sense of politics-and-religion-controversial, but still, different people have very different opinions.  It’s about images being created in different tones.  Same picture … different colors.

On the one hand you have very well respected and very talented photographer / digital artists saying, pick your favorite and go with it. Adding identical images with different colors says to your potential buyer that you can’t make up your mind.  That since you, the artist, don’t even know what you want, how can you expect your client to know which is best?

That makes sense, doesn’t it?  And is somewhat the way I’ve been operating.

Drinks On The House in Smoky Gold © Lois Bryan Photography and Digital Art
Drinks On The House in Smoky Gold© Lois Bryan Photography and Digital Art

It’s not always easy, however, as I generally do several versions of an image before I gently send it out into the universe to be loved or hated.  And I’ve been known to walk off and let a very nice version sit and cool its heels in my computer for years.

But the other side of the argument also makes a lot of sense.  Taken from the perspective of the buyer who’s looking for a particular color theme as well as intriguing subject matter, the above image might not be their cup of tea … but maybe the following is:

Drinks On The House in Cool Neutrals © Lois Bryan Photography and Digital Art
Drinks On The House in Cool Neutrals © Lois Bryan Photography and Digital Art

The market for these differing color-themed versions then is opened up not only to the general public, but to designers and decorators as well.

The first image shown above is now available on my main website … clicking on it will bring you to a version without the confusing and icky watermark.  The second image will soon be added to my website as well.  As of right now, clicking on it will bring you to my photography / digital art’s main page.  Of course if anyone out there can’t wait for “Cool Neutrals,” just let me know and I’ll be happy to hurry it along for you.

And … there ARE more … Electric Blue anyone??

Drinks On The House in Electric Blue © Lois Bryan Photography and Digital Art
Drinks On The House in Electric Blue © Lois Bryan Photography and Digital Art

As always, If you’d like to be notified of new bog entries, scroll to the bottom of this page and fill out the “notify me of new posts” form.

 

Video Link To Latest Model Home Photography

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A few posts back I mentioned a quick video I did for my latest model home photography, and promised to add a link here for anyone who might be interested …

It’s a quick 2 minutes with shots of lovely homes in Delaware, not far from the ocean.  If anyone happens to be interested in finding out more about the community, feel free to contact me and I’ll be happy to help.

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Contests

In my “About” section, I freely admitted to a certain amount of shameless self-promotion, so I think it’s only fair to warn you, this particular blog entry falls squarly into that category.

A couple of the POD (print on demand) art sites I belong to offer contests or challenges.  I don’t take them very seriously, I mean I do try to make sure my entries match what the administrators are looking for, but I never expect winning or placing.  They’re just a good way of getting images out into the universe and of seeing what other artists have been creating.

A lot of photographers / artists take the contests very seriously, though, even to the point of soliciting votes from family and friends.   I don’t, so when one of my images comes up in the winner’s circle, I’m pretty excited!

Had a couple do just that over at Fine Art America, recently …

“Playful Wild Violets” tied for Third Place in the “Nature photography using DIGITAL PAPER TEXTURES” held by the “Fine Art Nature Images Using Digital Textures” Fine Art America Group on July 20, 2014.  My thanks to the group administrator, Cheryl Butler, and congratz to the other winners!

Playful Wild Violets © Lois Bryan Photography and Digital Art

And “Awww Don’t Cry” tied for Second Place in the “Hold The Raid” contest, held by Fine Art America’s “The Artistic Forager” group July 31, 2014.  My thanks to the group administrator, Alexandria Weaselwise Busen, and congratz to the other winners!

Awww Don't Cry © Lois Bryan Photography and Digital Art

As always, if interested, click on the images themselves to be taken to a better resolution version with a much more agreeable watermark.

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Beach Time

This time of year, I begin to yearn for the beach.

That first joyful roar of greeting from the ocean, my toes wiggling in the warm sand, a hot early-morning mug of coffee in my hands, a walk down to the water to get splashed by the icy little shore-waves, the gulls overhead welcoming me back.  I know I’m only one of many who feel the pull of the sea.

I’m an East Coast gal, and for several years  my little family and I had  a tradition of heading down to the Outer Banks of North Carolina to spend a week in a lovely home right on the ocean. As times change so do routines, even the best of them, and I’ve been missing my old haunt for several years now.

But my husband and I recently made a trip up north, and as we drove, he found a way to give me a taste of the ocean when he found beautiful Old Greenwich, a part of Greenwich, Connecticut.

Thanks to the enticing blue bits on the GPS system, we made our way to a charming spot … a thin peninsula, jutting out into Long Island Sound. Variously known as Tod’s Point, Greenwich Point and Elizabeth Neck (correct me if I’m wrong) … the area is perfection.

It's All Yours

In this view we’re looking out into Long Island Sound. Behind me is a flock of at least 20 long necked, graceful white egrets nibbling on the water plants at the edge of the narrow “neck” of the peninsula which backs up to Greenwich Cove. (The egrets, I’m sure, will appear in newer artwork themselves, sooner or later.)

The warmth of the sunlight, the colors, the breezes and the surprise of having the place all to myself were a tonic to my beach-starved soul.  Hope you enjoy the image … it was created with gratitude and great joy.   As always, it can be seen larger and with a more reasonable watermark by clicking on the image.

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Creative Titles

An interesting topic came up in one of the discussions I follow online recently.  The question was, “Creative Titles … How Do You Do It?”

I can’t tell you how important I think the title for an image can be. I actually have a couple of images I especially like that have been sitting quietly in the computer for quite a while.  I’ve hesitated posting them, not because I didn’t like them, but actually quite the opposite.  I liked them so well I felt they deserved a special title … but so far words have failed me. Conversely, if I’m messing around with a shot and a GREAT title comes into my head, I find myself giving that image priority. I guess it goes back to my first love – creative writing.

But as to “how” do the titles come? The Title Fairy, maybe???

In all honesty I will say when I ‘m taking a long drive and am in the car for a couple of hours, I’ll put on some of my favorite music.  Many times a line of lyric I’ve been listening to will jump out at me and I’ll immediately know that it … or something similar … will go perfectly with a particular image I’ve had in my files.

The following is “Take Me Home” and, as always, can be seen larger and with a better watermark by clicking the image:

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“Take Me Home” © Lois Bryan Photography and Digital Art

I really feel like the perfect title can add a great deal of dimension and deeper meaning to an image. Most of the time, my titles are just descriptive, but every so often I’m actually trying to say something … as with “His Pride And Joy” which follows:

His Pride And Joy © Lois Bryan Photography and Digital Art

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