Sunday, February 28, 2010

Beauty is in the eye of the Beholder

Beauty is in the eye of the beholder 1 of 2 Midland, Texas Beauty is in the eye of the beholder 2 of 2 Odessa, Texas
"Nothing but Mesquite" and "Not a Woman in Sight/Side" 1,2
Midland, Texas and Odessa, Texas

Today's Happy Bit:
Been a long time since I entered the weekly 2 Things Challenge. This week is "Ugly/Pretty." For fun, I'm not saying which I think is which.

Anyone can join. Any medium welcomed. A challenge and a hoot.

Saturday, February 27, 2010

Old Man's winter Beard

Old man's winter beard
"Old Man's winter Beard" more at Flickr
(Clematis drummondii, aka old man's beard, aka Texas virgin's bower)
along a fence line in a field of mesquite
Midland, Texas

Today's Random Happy Bits
This quote by Texas legendary author, J. Frank Dobie, "If people are to enjoy their own lives they must be aware of the significance of their own environment. The mesquite is, objectively, as good and beautiful as the Grecian acanthus."

Texas Monthly, January 1986, "Voice of a Mythic Land" photo and one page article about J. Frank Dobie.

Friday, February 26, 2010

Nothing But Blue Skies

Nothing but blue skies, between Midland and Odessa Texas
"Nothing But Blue Skies"
Between Midland and Odessa, Texas

Today's Random Happy Bits
Succeeding at an annual project, again.
Laughing with other women.
Friday afternoon with no one but myself to answer to.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Electronic Winter Bouquet, in the Manner of John M. Mora

In the Manner of John M. Mora
"Electronic Winter Bouquet, in the manner of John M. Mora"
Digital invention using Apophysis (2.08 3D hack) and Gimp (2.6)

Very late one night, I played with a newly installed copy of Apophysis. Apophysis is a fractal-making, free software. After playing awhile, I came up with this image, a piece that I could appreciate because of the privilege of following John M. Mora's work. That was Tuesday.

On Wednesday, I read John's post announcing he would stop blogging to attend to life's other priorities. "For now." I'll miss having regular doses of his work to see, but owe him thanks for his innovations in art. I wish him the best in everything.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Fallen Bouquets

Fallen agave, West Odessa, Texas Fallen tree, West Odessa Texas
Fallen agave stalk and fallen tree
West Odessa, Texas

Random Happy Little Bits
Movie: Rapa Nui
Place: Easter Island
Admire: natural adornments

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

I have, too.

Leucophyllum, Texas Sage 11
Row of Texas sage at an abandoned house
West Odessa, Texas

I have, too! Been busy that is, even though I've gone quite a number of days without posting here. Here's some things I've been up to.

Well Hello
  • Taking photos. (Surprise!)
  • Uploading photos on my stagnant Flickr acount.
  • Being the last photography buff on the planet Earth to fall in love with Flickr.
  • Buying a year's subscription to unlimited uploads on Flickr for a mere 25 bucks.
  • Trying to stump Flickr with my weird organization desires. Flickr doesn't bat an eye.

  • Thinking a lot about creativity.
  • Emailing with Kris, my Creative Roundtable cohost.
  • Uploading that discussion on CR, "10 Ideas to Boost Work's Value"
  • Creating a couple of bird icons to represent Kris and me. Kris is the tall lithe bird. I'm the short squat bird.

  • Experiencing some warm fuzzies for the feature-rich program (with a "meh" name) XnView, to create contact sheets for my photos. Oo la la and it's free.
  • Enjoying the photo resurgence of A Man A Woman with a completed Issue 5 and new Issue 6. Woot!
  • Facebooking with friends and family. Uh huh, that is too a word.
  • Painting until I ran out of prepared canvases.
  • Playing with the grandkids until I ran out of gas.
And there you have it. The many hats :)

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Double Fun!

"Virgin's Yellow Room" and "Under the Aqua Sea"
Double Exposures with my photos, using Gimp 2.6

I've been getting used to using Gimp, the open source image software program. For years, I loved Photoshop, but I had a computer crash so decided to venture to something new. Something I could, ahem, afford.

These two images are my celebration of learning how to repeat the process of "double exposures" that I had enjoyed doing so much in Photoshop but didn't believe existed in Gimp. An afternoon dedicated to play ("What does this do, I wonder, hm?") revealed the missing holy grail!

Say, this ties in nicely with this week's current discussion"Thinking Outside the Toolbox" at Creative Roundtable!

Monday, February 15, 2010

Weedy Alley Trees

"Weedy Alley Trees"
West Odessa, Texas

All this week on Creative Roundtable, we'll be posting a very interesting series called "Thinking Outside the Toolbox." We've collected stories by various contributors who tell about an Aha! moment when they used an unusual tool or used a tool in a not usual way.

Look for the first installment in that series late in the day today.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Happy Valentine's Day

Prickly pear pad
West Odessa,Texas

I've been saving this heart photo just for today, just for y'all!

Saturday, February 13, 2010

A Contrast of Weeds

"A Contrast of Weeds" 1,2
West Odessa, Texas

For Monday's Creative Roundtable, we'll be discussing "Thinking Outside the Toolbox." With multiple contributors, we'll be sharing stories about using tools in innovative or nontraditional ways. Hope you'll join us, adding your comments about tools you've used creatively.

(Weeds are definitely in my toolbox.)

Friday, February 12, 2010

Look Up

"Look Up" 1,2
West Odessa, Texas

We don't have many tall trees around here (not natives, anyway), but we do have a couple of plants that will naturally grow tall: Spanish Daggers (yucca) and Century Plant (agave) bloom stalks.

I find both of these I photographed curious, though. The Spanish dagger has been "pruned" by something. According to the naturalist crowd on Facebook, it could have been done by a pack rat. A pack rat who doesn't mind climbing apparently.

I'm not sure I've seen century plant pods that look like this one before. There was another century plant next to it and its pods looked like, well, normal yucca-like pods. Did this specimen not get time to set its seed pods? Too tall for me to investigate!

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Walk and Talk with Me

Walk and Talk with Me, 1, 2, 3, 4 Feburary 7, 2010
West Odessa, Texas

1. This tangle is another view of Virgin's Bower, bereft of blooms or plumes. Those who follow my blog have an idea how much I enjoy photographing this plant. I've often thought of making a list of my favorite plants. Then changed my mind when I realized it would be easier to make a list of those I don't like. And right now, in February? I can't think of a single plant I don't like.
2. After you've been taking photos a while, you come to a sturdy conclusion: the lighting makes all the difference.

I'm such a predictable goofball -- when I see something like this, so beautiful to me, I literally gasp. When my dogs hear that gasp, they get excited, "Yay! We'll be getting out of the truck here!"

3. There are lots of old, abandoned houses in West Odessa. (Along with lots of building of new ones, odd as that may seem.) I suppose that's one of the reasons I live here, why I'm willing to put up with a lot of the junky-ness of it.

I have photo themes. Certain themes, like old clotheslines, will always prompt an immediate stop for photographing. The older, the better.
4. This day, I got a little far from home, ended up near the train tracks on the way toward Penwell. It seemed ironic to me that this train -- a really long one -- would come by just as I was thinking very badly of the knuckleheads who had been dumping tires and water heaters under the overpass there.

Why ironic? "Great, here comes more future junk."

Tuesday, February 09, 2010

Nature's Vignette

"Nature's Vignette"
West Odessa, Texas

This is a little scene from my outing with the dogs this weekend. I've shared photos before of the dwarf desert holly (Acourtia nana) all up close. This photo is how it appears in situ, and how it catches the light.

Previous portraits of the dwarf desert holly from this blog:


Monday, February 08, 2010

Under the Overpass

Under the Overpass, Near Penwell Texas
"Under the Overpass"
Near Penwell, Texas

My dogs, Ansel and Dixie, and I got out Sunday to take photos for most of the day. It's been a few weeks since we've had a real outing, causing me to begin feeling a touch discombobulated. Now I feel set right again. The dogs, too.

Sunday, February 07, 2010

Winter Garb 2

"Winter Garb 2" another unknown plant in its winter dress
Morgan Marsh, West Odessa, Texas

Friday, February 05, 2010

Winter Garb

"Winter Garb" unknown plant,
February 4, 2009 (last year)
Race Field, West Odessa, Texas

The weather forecast is mild weather the next few days, in the low 60s. I'll be visiting my two citizen science plots, Race Field and Morgan Marsh. Joy! I'm going to keep a lookout for this plant and bring some of its stems home. I want to take a look at its structure with my hand lens, and maybe try to get some extreme macro shots too.

I wonder what this plant is? It's impossible to look it up in my Texas plant books which only identify plants during their blooming season, not in their winter garb. In order to find out what plant this, I'll have to watch it until it grows again.

That's got me thinking about some kind of simple, ecologically sound staking system. What I want to do is to mark plants like this one so I can follow them throughout the seasons. This morning I remembered I have some dyed wool yarn which would be organic and visible. Rather than staking the plant itself — I don't want it showing up in photos — I'll look for long twigs lying on the ground to stake nearby, tying the wool on them.

Which brings me to my next question: Wonder how long before I begin to see my wool markers in the decoration of nearby pack rat nests?

In this Wikipedia article on pack rats, I learned some pack rat nests in the Southwest US have been carbon-dated to 1,000 years old, with recent research dating some to 40,000 years! Pack rats are a common desert mammal and their nests, called "middens," are interesting in their own right. Besides natural ingredients like mesquite, yucca, and cactus, it's not uncommon to see middens decorated with beer cans, bones, and scat.

Thursday, February 04, 2010

February Red

"Warm February Red"
Sam Houston St, Odessa, Texas

Oh, if my pomegranate tree only produced like this one.
"Cool February Red"
Sam Houston St, Odessa, Texas

It would be a real contest between the birds and me.

Wednesday, February 03, 2010

Where Have I Been?

Oh, where have I been? My head has been in the clouds!

I've been in my studio — aka the office, aka the craft room, aka the junk room — painting. Painting, a lot. And painting just about anything that seems fun to me. These all are acrylics, sometimes added collage elements, sometimes a touch of color pencils, on 8"x8" MDF panels.

I'm building up an inventory for opening an etsy shop.