Sunday, February 27, 2011

SSShhhhh....It's A Secret!

So much has been happening behind the scenes that I am unable to share pictures of yet but I can tell you a little about it.

Art and Soul Hampton 2011 is fast approaching and there is much preparation to be done.
First on the to-do list was the fatbook pages.  My first Art and Soul retreat was 2009 and I never even heard of a fatbook much less participated, but when i saw the finished product I knew I had to join in. 
A fatbook is a keepsake book made up of individual pages, all 4"x4", each page created and elaborately embellished by a different artist and then bound together with a theme.
 2010 was my first and it was great fun to be a part of. This year there was so many wanting to participate that our gracious host, Mary, offered to create and bind 2 different books, book 1 and book 2 but i chose to just be a part of book 1. I had 40 pages to make and spent the better part of the long holiday weekend last week completing them and then mailing them off. A tremendous amount of thought and work goes into each page. The theme for this year's Art and Soul is "In the Garden" which made for a great many good ideas to work with. I will share a picture of my pages as soon as the deadline for submission arrives.

Next on the list is the trades. If you have ever been to an art retreat you'll agree this is one of the most fun things to do. If you so choose, you can make up items to "trade" be it ATC's, charms, pins, jewelry, packages of ephemera, mini artwork,  whatever.  You include your contact info with the trade and it's a great way to meet new people and open conversations. You can follow the theme for the retreat or do your own thing, it's all good. I like to follow the theme and also to package my trades in a creative way.  It's always so nice to come home and go through all the loot and remember everyone you met. Typically I make about 50 trades.

Then there is the round robin that I have been participating in since we left Art and Soul a year ago.  A brilliant member of our "tribe", Joyce, suggested and is hosting a round robin to keep us all connected for the year between retreats. It consisted of each of us starting with an apron of our own, work style for most of us, and we had to embellish our own apron to start and then pass it along to be further embellished by each person in the group. We typically send out the next apron the first week of the month with the final apron being sent back to Joyce who will deliver them back to us upon arriving at the retreat. I can't wait to share pictures and stories of this, it's been hard to keep secret all year! I am awaiting the final apron to arrive so i can complete it and send it to Joyce. It was a wonderful idea and one that has kept us truly in touch with one another and has made the year pass by much more quickly!

Now to explain the photo at top-
I went to my first retreat as I said in 2009, Art and Soul Hampton.  It was there that I met the most wonderful, diverse group of kindred spirits I have ever known. Near the end of the retreat I said that I hated to leave as "I felt that I finally found my tribe". It was a feeling shared by all of us and we have developed lasting friendships over the past 2 years. The necklace hanging on my Santos in the picture was one I made for myself and also made one for every member of our "tribe" and gave to them last year at the retreat. The member medal is a component from antique Independent Order Of Oddfellows convention ribbons. The hand is for friendship, the roses are from vintage 1950's bracelets and although it cannot be seen there is also a heart locket dangling from the extender chain on the back both also for love and friendship. Each was made with czech crystals in the recipients favorite colors and capped and wrapped to resemble a vintage rosary. Vintage Haskell pearls, brass bolo chain, and rhinestone rondelles complete the pieces.
We all wore them the entire retreat last year and since coming home mine has hung on my Santos, where I can see and be reminded everyday of these friendships for which I am so grateful.

Soon it will be time to start gathering all my supplies and tools and packing to go to this year's retreat. If you happen to be going, I hope to meet you there and maybe even trade a little.

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Equal Time, A Book Review And Some Bragging

It's a dreary, cold, rainy day here on Delmarva so I decided to pull some nice Springy, bright sunshiney day pictures out of the archives to lighten things up a bit and to give equal time to my point and shoot.

For the past 3 years I have been using a point and shoot, also known as a super zoom, the Panasonic Lumix FZ-18.  Now there's a lot to be said for this little workhorse. First off the pricetag, way under a DSLR at less than $300. makes it very appealing. I don't think twice about throwing it into my bag and heading out the door.   Next it has a 18x optical zoom lens which is the equivalent of 28-504 ! As you know, a camera is only as good as the glass you have on it (lens) and in this case Panasonic teamed up with Leica and it has a Leica lens which accepts filters and attachments as well.  I always shoot with a polarizer on it.  It's the closest i'll  EVER come to owning a Leica!

Of course by now it's already obsolete, they change models faster than I can keep up so I think the replacement for it is now the FZ-40 which has a 24x zoom 14.1 MP and video and a few new features.  If you are considering a camera in this category I can't recommend this one highly enough, it has served me well.

1/125       ISO100    f 4.2

1/500      ISO 200    f 5.6
Just look at the incredible detail on these dragonflies

1/320      ISO 200      f 4.2
Let's give the girl a hand

1/160      ISO 100      f 4.2
Can you see the butterfly within the dragonfly?

1/400     ISO 160  f 5

1/250      ISO100    f 5

1/250     ISO100    f 5.6
I love close-up nature shots

1/200    ISO 125     f 4

1/250    ISO 100  f 5
One last look

1/200    ISO 100    f 4.5
Can you see the lady wearing the sunhat?

1/40      ISO 400     f 3.6
Ferry arriving in Ocracoke, N.C.

And now on to the book review.  
My muse is all about photography right now, what with the new camera and all and taking the class at Big Picture Classes with Elisha Snow. So while I was in B&N the other day picking up the latest copy of Artful Blogging, this book jumped off the shelf and into my arms and boy am I ever glad it did!
It is one of the most well written, easy to comprehend books on photography and digital cameras I have come across in a long time.
It covers everything beginning with a breakdown of the camera and it's functions, improving picture taking, design, light, people, nature and post processing. It's also not so technical as to make me read and reread a paragraph , it is written with the average camera user in mind.  Great book. Great inspiration.

Last of all, I wish i could post the picture but alas it is copyrighted- but I invite all of you to jump on over here to see a picture my brother Andrew submitted into a photography contest at and received the editor's choice award! WooHoo!
They also have a lot of cool looking classes i just may have to look into in the future.  Happy shooting!
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