Tuesday, October 14, 2014

the perfect fall day.

I'm moving to the desert soon, so I decided to spend one of my last free days in my damp Pacific Northwest back yard in my favorite forest.  I breathed in as much fresh air and verdant green as I could, and said goodbye to the flora and fauna I've come to know and love so well.

I feel utterly clueless when it comes to identifying mushrooms.  I need to begin learning the names of the ones I photograph, but if you have any insight on what these are in the meantime, I'd appreciate it.  Here are a few snapshots from my day.

Monday, October 13, 2014

exciting things this fall!

I haven't posted in a long while.  Here are the exciting things:

It's officially mushroom season. Yay!

I'm moving in a few weeks to the Arizona desert.  I'm excited/scared/happy/sad/stressed/relieved. More to come on that topic soon...

I just participated in a wonderful exhibit at Ghost Gallery with another very talented Seattle artist, Michelle Smith-Lewis, where our black and white botanical works were on show.  Michelle displayed some incredible tintypes and I included some of my floral macros.

I finally have my artwork up in downtown Tacoma!  Spaceworks Tacoma has generously given me two display windows in the old Woolworth's building on 11th and Broadway to feature some of my environmental portraiture within 3-d "artscapes".  I designed around the theme (and accompanying title) of "ghosts/dreams" and my fingers were sore for a very long time from hot glue burns and tying all those little bundles of sticks.  I'm very happy with how it all turned out.  The Tacoma News Tribune wrote a very nice piece on the windows.  They'll be on display until early December, so get down there and check them out.

Saturday, August 2, 2014

square format landscapes

I've been playing around lately with how I edit photos, trying to break out of my desaturated/low contrast/vignetted photo editing box.  :)  I've fallen in love with square format landscapes, with super vibrant colors.

I never thought I would love nature and landscape photography so much when I started out!  It felt very scary and didn't think I could achieve pleasing results because I don't have high end camera gear (I don't really have great low end gear for that matter...)  But it's nice to know I can capture a moment with what little I do have and like it, which is almost more pleasing at the end of the day.

Monday, July 28, 2014

Tacoma Neighborhood Gardens

My family takes evening walks together frequently.  I don't usually bring my camera, because when I do our walk inevitably takes twice as long as it should, and the kids complain.  :)  There's just so much to see in our beautiful North Tacoma neighborhood, I can't help myself!

Here are a few more recent shots of neighborhood garden flowers.

UPDATE: These images were chosen as part of the Ghost Gallery's exhibit in 2014,"Our Kingdom." aAlongside Michelle Smith-Lewis, an amazing Seattle area artist who works with tintypes, I got to showcase these botanical macro works. It was so much fun!  A bit thanks to the gallerist, Laurie!!!

Monday, June 30, 2014


Marcella Greiner, my grandmother

A few weeks ago, my beautiful grandmother Marcella passed away.  She was a kindhearted, hardworking, funny and unstoppable force of nature who loved her kids, grandkids and great-grandkids to pieces.  Some of my best memories as a child are from summers on her farm down a dirt road in small town Washington, Iowa.

Basketball Champion (holding the trophy)

Grandma always made me feel special, and always let me sneak an extra whoopie pie or two from the ice box when we came to visit all the way from Washington State.  Summers were hot and full of lightning bugs and barn cats, thunder storms and firecrackers.  We'd drink endless bottles of Coke and Fanta that we dare not throw away - those were worth a few cents each in Iowa!  Grandma would work hard all day cooking from scratch and taking care of her guests, with routine breaks for cigarettes at the kitchen table.  We'd sit up at night and watch out the back bedroom window in her house as the thunderstorms lit up the sky and rivers of rain ran down the little backyard hill.  I could never rise early enough to eat her famous beignets (those were long gone by the time I woke up).  I was too young to really remember the chicken's getting their heads cut off, but I'm sure my siblings could tell you a story or two about that as well.  Her gentle teasing and raspy laugh followed by a gentle squeeze were cherished by one and all.

Grandma and Grandpa's road

Growing up, I was one of eighteen grandkids, and one of only four girls.  I fell into the unfortunate age/sex category that usually yielded teasing and/or ignoring by older boy relatives (and sister), but I persevered in my tagging along and was occasionally included in a game of spoons, sleepover at Aunt Ann's or ride down a dirt road in my cousin Jamie's land barge of a sedan.  But when I wasn't included, Grandma always had a hug ready and somehow kept me busy despite my pouty lip.  When I was young, she'd get out "Tommy Town" from the toy closet, and we'd often head to the Amish mercantile where I could buy gum.  Sometimes she'd get Grandpa to take me into town to the Pizza Hut (YES!) to be spoiled with a slice of pepperoni and cheese alongside my younger cousins (remember those Land Before Time toys, Abby???).  Sometimes I'd get to play bumper pool on the patio or I'd help her bake, but I especially loved when I got to get out the console and play Pitfall on THE ATARI!  She always made sure I had a good time.

My daughter with her "GG"

I saw her less often than I'd have liked as I grew older, and I wish I could have had more time to know her better as an adult.  My kids loved talking to "GG" on the phone and I'm so happy they got to see her once more last fall.  They got to know her unforgettable laugh as well.  She was a great lady, loved by many - down to earth and so hospitable.  At her funeral, I got to hear so many heartwarming, funny stories about her.  She endured pain and hardship alongside her many successes throughout her long and fruitful life.  She left behind a large, beautiful and loving family that came together after her passing and found some comfort in one another.  I believe that's her greatest accomplishment.

Rest in Peace, Marcella Greiner.  You are loved and you are deeply missed.

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Morning. Garden. Shallow Depth of Field.

A beautiful sunny morning.  I read an article on improving your camera skills, and one of the tips was to spend the day photographing with a certain focal length or f-stop or shutter speed.  I chose an f-stop of f/1.8 (or thereabout) and took full advantage of the dappled sunlight to capture some of these darling buds of May.  Even Linus had a great time.

Friday, February 21, 2014

trusting yourself

I've found my calling as an artist, as a photographer.  It's all I want to do for the rest of my life.  I want to find inspiration, to create and to share my vision with the world in order to find connection.  

I have always been an artist, ever since I was young.  But until very recently, I never felt it was a worthwhile pursuit.  My talent wasn't really acknowledged growing up and if it was, I was never really encouraged to pursue an artistic career because my family was very practical and art was somewhat of a fantastical idea rather than a solid plan to build a future on.  But being an artist on the inside and repressing her so hard made life very difficult.  I wasn't "normal"- I couldn't hold down a normal job and felt trapped and miserable in a normal life.  I always felt strange and broken.

My environmental portraiture centers around this life experience.  My fears, dreams, nightmares, anxieties, disappointments are all featured in the works I've created.  Much of my life has been lived with negative/sad/angry/disappointed/fearful emotions swirling around inside me.  Picking up my camera and using my artistic gifts to create works that express what it feels like to live with these feelings of incompleteness and abnormality has offered me an incredible sense of catharsis and relief.
I now acknowledge that I was designed this way for a reason - to experience a normal life abnormally and feel what I've felt to make this work, express myself artistically and emotionally and connect with others who might feel the same way.  I could never render these images if my life had turned out any other way.

To all the loving people who maybe to help or fix my discontent - this is why I resisted!  To the people who have felt like I do (the artists in denial/repression/confusion) - you may feel different, feel crazy, feel like you'll never fit in, but you are not alone!  We are one and I hope my images offer you a sense of connectedness, amidst their landscape of isolation.

Express yo'self!

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

it's been so long...

Winters in the Northwest are tough for me.  It's soggy and gray and chilly and I spend lots of time indoors, which makes me feel like a trapped animal (in cozy slippers).  When we do get a sun break, I'm out the door as soon as possible.  

I was lucky enough to get out to the forest for an hour or so before it started pouring again last week.  It was quiet and solitary and raindrops adorned plants and trees and spiderwebs everywhere I looked.  The magical thing about the forest is that you don't have to walk more than a few feet, stop, look around, and you'll be transported to a magical world full of tiny wonders.  You can escape from the dreary ordinary world.

This is how I've fallen in love with the magic of macro photography, and why it feels like my therapy, my meditation.  It's what keeps me going through these long winters.