Saturday, January 31, 2009

January 2009



Digital Collages, Digital Art:

Typical West Texas View

Beal Park
Midland, TX

Okay, it's not really an entirely typical west Texas view.

I've been seeing this pagoda from Midland's Loop 250 for several years now and only just recently took time to view it up close.

So what's a Pagoda doing in Midland Texas? According to this KWES news story it was donated in 2001 by Midland's sister city in China, Dongying another oil and gas town, sending artists to build it in its present location. Originally Midland had hoped to create an international park, but funding has prevented that vision. Lack of funding has also allowed for this gift to languish in disrepair and vandalism.

The city has estimates its repair and move to a more protected location to cost $70,000. They are looking for donations to fund the project.

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Hey Dude

"Hey, dude."
Beal Park at sunset
Midland, Texas

It got up to 76 degrees F here yesterday. As I was driving home from nearby Midland, I stopped at a park to get some sunset pictures. I was in good company, lots of people out enjoying the unseasonably pleasant weather. The people, the sunset, and this hill made fun silhouettes.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Sandhills at sunset

Sandhills along Ranch Road 1601
South of Penwell, Texas

This is a rare stretch of public road these days that goes a few miles without an electric pole in sight. Even better that it is also along an extra beautiful vista of scenery, these sandhills. It has become a new favorite photo sweet spot for best friend Donna and me. (She should be posting her photos of that area soon.)

It's interesting to get to know a place first during winter. You see its bone structure clearly. I've also found a couple of plants that I have no idea what are, nor any really good way to identify them without their blooms or leaves or other green parts. Rather than being disappointed by that, I am enjoying the pleasure of waiting for spring when all will be revealed.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Master Naturalist (in training)

Gold fish swimming in urban forest pond
Wadley Barron Park
Midland, Texas

"Urban forest?" Who knew there were any forests in West Texas? We denizens might answer with a wink and a nudge that oh sure we have lots of forests of mesquite. But, in all seriousness, towns and cities of West Texas have created forests. Our urban homes, parks, businesses, and all the places we humans like to landscape have made an ecosystem. Is it a natural ecosystem? A real ecosystem? These fish swimming in a Midland pond don't have any doubt it is. And since taking my first step toward officially becoming a naturalist on Saturday, I don't either.

Donna, myself, and a class of about 20 other enthusiasts signed up this year to become certified Texas Master Naturalists. Thanks to Mr. Burr Williams at the Sibley Nature Center in Midland, we have begun our year-long adventure to the great outdoors, and will venture out as far as Lake Lancaster and as near as our own backyards.

Each month in 2009 we will meet to be trained in eight ecosystems of the Llano Estacado, accruing at least 40 but up to 64 hours of training. In addition, we must gain 8 hours of advanced training and donate 40 hours of volunteer work this year and every subsequent year to maintain our certified status. Through this program we can move beyond being mere enthusiasts to stewards and educators.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

The Coolest Thing Ever

Ran Gogh Gallery aka The Art Colony
42nd & Dixie
Odessa, Texas

New to Odessa is a funky art gallery! It was opened this month by Randall Horn who goes by the artist name of Ran Gogh. He was born and raised in Odessa, but you might have heard about him after he moved to Van Horn, Texas where he lived for some time and specialized in Van Gogh renditions. He was featured in the book The Face of Texas, the photography of Michael O'Brien. And he had been featured in the television show The Texas Country Reporter back in 2006.

He has now moved back to Odessa, where he works by day as a corrections officer. And with him, he moved his gallery back home. Out of love for art and himself experiencing the difficulty in getting his painting displayed in traditional galleries, he has opened his gallery to other artists. For free. He only collects the sales tax. Now that's a serious opportunity there for all the artists in the community.

Currently, he has about seven other artists on display, including Melody Hernandez, who's abstract you can see on the left. On the right is Mario Marquez's black and red "Che" cut out and painted on corrugated cardboard. Ran Horn has room for about 40 more artists, including photographers.

These last two paintings are by Horn himself. On the left are examples of his Van Gogh renditions, and on the right is an original tribute to Georgia O'Keefe. I think it's lovely how he has both her young and old self together, standing through the years in front of her Ghost Ranch mountains. I'd love to own and enjoy that one. Hm, who knows? Wonder if he has layaway.

You can contact or learn more about Ran by going to his website, It's not yet updated with the new Odessa location information, but there you can see more of his paintings and Ran himself.

Friday, January 16, 2009

Abstract Series #1



Abstract Series #1

I have a secret industrial side.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

At Home in the Sand

"At Home in the Sand"
Off Ranch Road 1601
South of Penwell, Texas

Although definitely a desert now, the area in which I live once used to be an ocean around 250 million years ago. Do you think this sand is a remnant of that era? I don't know. Perhaps I will beginning this Saturday when I take the first class of the year long Master Naturalist program through the Sibley Nature Center, taught by Burr Williams. I'm excited!

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Donna's Dream

"Donna's Dream"
Saturday's Sunset on Ranch Road 1601
South of Penwell, Texas

We had a most amazing sunset on Saturday, and that's taking into consideration that we often have amazing sunsets around here. This one, though, was quite possibly Once in a Lifetime. Not only was the sunset simply on fire, but it almost blew our minds when we looked to the east and saw the full moon rising up off the horizon. The moon was displaying its big shining belly right in the middle of pink and orange sunset clouds.

No matter where you live, that does not happen often. And Donna and I were there with cameras, hardly knowing which way to turn.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Winter, West Texas Style

"Winter, West Texas Style"
Intersection of 42nd & West County Road
Odessa, Texas

A Norther blew in yesterday. In addition to bringing the cold with it, in West Texas that means lots of dust.

Jomamma, come on. You know you miss it! ;)

Monday, January 12, 2009


Time Machine Master Gardener's Demonstration Garden
Odessa, Texas

It's been a while since I've been to the Time Machine garden. Last time I was there, everything was still in bloom. Today a big surprise awaited me. All the blooms were gone, but the grasses were stunning and I found these beautiful acorns, from a Bur Oak I believe. This one, nestled in among the leaves, looked something like a flower.

Saturday, January 10, 2009

"No Cars Go"

"No Cars Go"
January 2009
Digital collage: Photoshop 5.5, my photo, Toni Frissell photo from U.S. Library of Congress

Had a bit of insomnia last night. So I had to dream while awake.

Many thanks to the Montreal band, Arcade Fire, for their talent and song, "No Cars Go."

Thursday, January 08, 2009

Fields of gold

"Fields of Gold"
Donna walking in field off Loop 338
Odessa, TX

South Farm Road 1788 Sunset

"South Farm Road 1788 Sunset"
Near Midland, TX

We photographers are supposed to hate telephone poles, highways, and, for good measure, invasive species like the Salt Cedar in the foreground. But if you think about it, it's contrary to our real lives not to have these in our photos. One day, some member of the Jetson family will see our photos, see the old highlines, the cars we drive, the clothes we wear, and think, "How quaint was life back then.'

Wednesday, January 07, 2009

Blogger Issues

As per Blogger...

Blogger Status
Wednesday, January 07, 2009

We're currently experiencing issues with the photo upload feature which may prevent users from adding photos to their blogs. We apologize for the inconvenience, and hope to have it resolved shortly.

Posted by Brett at 14:52 PDT

Tuesday, January 06, 2009

Whimsy Bird

Logo for Whimsy Bird
in progress

The last few nights I've been working on a logo for my oldest daughter's soon-to-be opened Etsy store, Whimsy Bird. I think I've hit upon just about what she was looking for with this one.

My daughter paints and fires decorative ceramics. (She has her own kiln, just like her great grandmother did.) They are really adorable and she takes custom orders. When it officially opens, I'm sure I'll blog about it with a link.

Monday, January 05, 2009

Listening to the Grass

"Listening to the Grass"
Odessa, Texas

Taking this picture made me feel like a kid again. Remember when you didn't have the buzzing of bills, or the crackle of relationships, or the nags of written lists sounding in your mind? When you could lie down in a field of dry grass, and the only thing you heard was the grass.

Sunday, January 04, 2009

Porcupine Watching

"Porcupine Watching: 1 Find a spot. 2. Take a seat. 3. Look way up."
(click on any image to see larger)
Off Loop 338
Odessa, Texas

Porcupine watching is hard work.Especially when the porcupine is sitting quietly watching you as you are sitting quietly watching him.

Thanks to 18X zoom, here's a look at the elusive creature. (I am now sounding like a Geico tv commercial.)

I'm guessing his teeth are made orange by all the bark he eats. His scat is also orange. How do we know? We looked down on the ground where he had been dining, obviously for a while.

Doesn't he have a cute hairdo? Cute at a distance, anyway.

Saturday, January 03, 2009

Lost in weeds

"Winter Tapestry"
Off Loop 338
Odessa, Texas

I love weeds.

This is part of a long series of photos I got home with yesterday. I sat cross-legged in a field of knee-high dry weeds, poking my camera through them. I set my camera to "telephoto," on my camera that's zoomed all the way out in macro. It creates this dreamy depth of field. As much as I love these photos when I get home, I love composing them in my view finder. It's a delightful, tiny world in which to get lost.

Friday, January 02, 2009

A new favorite place

"Shadow Walk"
Off Loop 338
Odessa, Texas

I hope everyone is enjoying the first of the new year as much as I am.

Recently my brother showed Donna and me a secret, special place close to home. We've been watching the leaves turn bright yellow, then fall in a carpet. We've been following the wildlife that lives there -- purple finches, mourning doves, owls, an American Kestrel, and a shy porcupine who loves to eat bark and who lives high in those trees. Today we saw half a dozen butterflies of different kinds. In January.

Thursday, January 01, 2009


One of the things I want to do in 2009 is branch out more, stretch my creative wings. For example, I love doing digital collages (as well as traditional paper ones). So, rather than just a photo a day, I'll be striving for a post a day.

December 2008
Digital collage: Photoshop 5.5, my photos, manipulated found image

New Year, New Banner

old year, old banner