Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Scenes & Seasons of Mid-Missouri

One of the reasons I love photographing Mid-Missouri is because there is such an abundance of beautiful places to point my camera. This video slide show will give you about 3.5 minutes of central MO, through my eyes (and lens). If you've spent any time in the area, I'm sure you'll see places you recognize. I hope you enjoy, and feel free to share it with your friends!

Thursday, November 27, 2014

An Attitude of Gratitude, or Happy Thanksgiving!

Here in the U.S., we set aside one day a year to focus on all that we are thankful for.  I’m thankful every day, but I think it’s good to have a holiday to remind us that gratitude is important.   I'm a list maker, so here's my list of people and things that I’m giving thanks for today:

·        My husband, Bruce, who works hard to provide for us, seven days a week, 365 days a year, as farmers don’t get weekends and holidays off.  He shows me that he loves me in a thousand little ways, like checking my oil before I leave on a road trip, helping me set up and tear down at art festivals, and giving me fresh flowers on special occasions, because he knows I love them, even though he doesn’t think fresh flowers are a good use of money (he’d rather buy a plant, and I like those too, lol).

·        Two wonderful sons, Cody and Jake.  I've always been proud of them, both for who they are and what they've accomplished, but as they are growing into young adults, I’m especially proud of the men they are becoming.  They are each fortunate to have really nice girlfriends who I think the world of, and circles of friends for fun and support.  This was never more evident earlier this fall when Jake had his truck accident, and his group of friends was there from the start, holding him up, keeping him company, bringing him McDonald’s milkshakes and helping him keep up on his schoolwork.  I love those kids!

·        I’m thankful that my parents are both still with us, and still lead active, fulfilling lives.  I’m thankful that we live close by, so that we can be there for each other. 

·        Brothers and sisters – my brother who drops anything at to come and help when he’s needed, and his amazing wife, who I’m glad to call my sister.  And speaking of sisters…I didn't grow up with any, but I've been really lucky to get four sisters-in-law in my adult years…Bruce’s three sisters, Cindy, Linda and Terri, and Mike’s wife, Jean.  Having so much family close by is a blessing for us, and for our children.

·        Peace Church – my church family.  That phrase “church family” may sound cliché, but I mean it.  It’s a community in the best sense of the word, and I’m grateful that I get to be an active part of it.

·        I’m thankful for photography, and the creative outlet it has provided. God has given us a beautiful world to live in, and I’m thankful for the opportunity to shine a light on bits and pieces of it…one image at a time. 

My list could go on and on…from a roof over our heads, to food on our tables, to the people who influenced us who are no longer here, to those that sacrifice to keep us safe…I don’t know where to stop.

Happy Thanksgiving, and may God bless you and yours!

Thursday, November 6, 2014

Why Should You Buy Local Art?

"Country Lane"
You may not be able to afford an original painting by Vincent van Gogh or Andy Warhol -- after all, who can?  But that doesn't mean you have to settle for cheap reproductions of “The Masters” or mass-produced posters more suited to a college dorm room.  Instead, I’d like to suggest that you buy art locally, both for your own home, and as gifts.  As a fine art photographer, of course I’m biased, and have a vested interest in the subject.  But my feelings on the subject go deeper than the desire to sell my own photography.  I’ve always been a list maker, so here’s my list of seven reasons why it makes sense to buy local art.  

 1)  It’s unique.  Anyone can go to a chain store and buy reproductions or wall-hangings that were mass-produced in China, but when you buy a local piece of art, you have something special.  When friends and family see it in your home, it becomes a conversation starter!

2)  You can meet the artist.  When you buy local artwork, you have the opportunity to meet and connect with the person who created it.  There’s probably a backstory to your piece of art, and hearing it from the artist adds emotional value to the work.  Life is all about relationships, right?  So how much more will you enjoy the art in your home if you have a chance to meet and talk with its creator?

"Fall on Fox Hollow Road"
3)  Become a collector. Many of us have collections:  quilts, glass bottles, coins, etc.  We collect things because of their beauty, or their rarity, or for sentimental reasons…lots of reasons other than monetary value.  Collecting local art fits right in with that reasoning.  Whether you add to your collection based on the artist, or the type of art, or the subject matter, you’re bound to find plenty of options among local artists and artisans.

4)  Surround yourself with familiar scenes.  Local art often revolves around local scenes and themes, showcasing the beauty of nearby rivers, scenery, natural areas, or architectural landmarks.   Why not add art to your home that celebrates the places that are special to you and your family?

"Country Egg Skillet"
5)  It makes you feel good.  We like shopping locally, that’s why we support our local farmer’s markets, hair salons, florists and auto repair shops.  Buying local art is an investment in your community.   Instead of sending those dollars out of your community (or even out of your state or country), let’s keep them right here at home!

6)  Aesthetic Value.  Sometimes buying art reminds me of the old “which came first, the chicken or the egg?” debate.  Do you buy artwork that blends in with your décor, or buy something that will be the focal piece of the room?  Either answer can be right, it’s just a matter of what’s right for you.  People often come into my art festival booth, point to something and say, “That will go great in our living room!”  On the other hand, artwork will be around long after your couch has worn out and been replaced…so it might make more sense to choose art that you love, and let it influence the rest of the room.   Which leads me to my final and best reason to buy local art…

"Shake, Shake, Shake!"
7)  Because you love it!  Your art choices reflect who you are.  Have fun with it and surround yourself with what makes you happy. 

If you also believe in buying local, please feel free to share this post! 

Monday, November 3, 2014

Peaceful at the Park

There's something so inviting about a park bench.  It says "Hey!  Slow down, take a break and sit for a while."  So I take a few minutes to sit and watch the ripples in the pond, or the kids playing on the nearby playground, or the squirrels scurrying around, collecting nuts and seeds to store for the winter.

I've had some version of these photographs in mind for several years, and a week or so ago I had the opportunity to capture them.  The changing seasons give the trees such a variety of colors, that it's as though Mother Nature is saying "Watch this!  I'm really going to put on a show, and maybe this will hold you until spring when I bring the leaves and flowers back again."  I'm grateful to our local park board for maintaining this beautiful community park, and making it such an inviting place to spend time, either gathering with friends, or reflecting on your own.

"Park Bench by the Pond"

"Peace & Reflection"


These photographs and more are available at

Monday, June 3, 2013

Eighty Lessons I Learned From My Father

In honor of my father's 80th birthday, I thought I would compile of list of eighty things I learned from him, over the course of my life.  In all fairness, many of these lessons were taught by both my parents, but since it’s his birthday, Dad gets the credit today.  There are also some members of my family who would say that I haven’t mastered all of these lessons…but that’s hardly Dad’s fault, sometimes I’m a slow learner.  So here you go Dad –

Eighty Lessons I Learned From My Father:

1.      How to change a tire.

2.      How to parallel park.

3.      The value of unconditional love.

4.      Buy good tools.

5.      Don’t throw the first punch, throw the last one.

6.      The importance of well-polished shoes.

7.      Give a firm handshake.

8.      Take the time to do the job right the first time, and you won’t have to do it over.

9.      Don’t be a quitter.

10.  Always look a person in the eye when you talk to them.

11.  Don’t spend what you don’t have.

12.  How to tie a tie.  Yep, I learned from watching him.

13.  Take time for vacations.

14.  There’s value in hard work.

15.  A little sweat won’t kill you.

16.  Wear your “Sunday Go to Meetin’” clothes to church.

17.  Family comes first.

18.  Be patient.

19.  Take a nap after lunch.

20.  A good reputation in invaluable.

21.  Measure twice, cut once.

22.  Think before you speak.

23.  Take responsibility for your actions.

24.  Help your neighbor whenever you can.

25.  Go to church.

26.  Never stop learning.

27.  Don’t pay someone to do a job you can do yourself.

28.  Marriage is forever.  And that’s a good thing.

29.  Even crow tastes good if it’s fixed right.

30.  Make lists…there is satisfaction in crossing off completed chores.

31.  Discipline is a virtue.

32.  Enjoy a bowl of ice cream before bed.

33.  Education is important.

34.  Show gratitude – say thank you.

35.  If you see the tanker truck delivering fuel at the gas station, fill up somewhere else.

36.  Forgive quickly.

37.  Laugh often!  It’s good for you.

38.  Kiss your spouse in front of your kids.

39.  Listen more than you talk.

40.  Follow your dream.

41.  How to waterski.

42.  How to mow the yard, keeping the lines straight.

43.  Show affection to those you love.

44.  Practice generosity.

45.  The importance of service.

46.  Use your talents.

47.  How to ride a bike.

48.  How to roller skate.

49.  Buy used cars.

50.  The importance of loyalty.

51.  How to stand on my head.

52.  Always return (or leave) things better than you found them.

53.  Tell the truth.

54.  Don’t play with matches.

55.  Show your kids you appreciate their talents and efforts.

56.  There’s nothing like a good steak, cooked out on the grill.

57.  Respect your elders and others in authority. 

58.  Check your oil.

59.  Tip well.

60.  Appreciate music.

61.  Marry someone good, kind, and willing to work hard.

62.  Doing right is its own reward.

63.  It’s okay to cry sometimes.

64.  Persevere.

65.  Experience is what you get when you didn’t get what you wanted.

66.  When the oil light comes on, STOP!

67.  Raise your kids to be kind, strong and independent.

68.  Choices have consequences.

69.  Timing is everything.

70.  Keep your promises.

71.  You shift by the sound of the engine, not by the gauge on the dashboard.

72.  Sit still in church.

73.  Don’t watch the clock when you’re at work.

74.  Never swear in front of your kids.

75.  How to read a map.

76.  How to ride a motorcycle.

77.  When negotiating, the one who can walk away has the upper hand.

78.  Finish what you start.

79.  Any motorcycle is better than no motorcycle, but the best motorcycle is a Harley.

80.  There’s nothing sweeter than being called “Blondie” or “Angel” by a dad whom you adore.


Happy Birthday, Dad!  I love you. 


Gulfport, Mississippi, 1973

Friday, May 17, 2013

Happy Friday!

TGIF, everyone!  This weekend's TGIF special is a four-season composite of my favorite tree -- located on DD west of Ashland, Missouri.  One 24" x 20" stretched canvas print of "Four Seasons of the Mighty Oak" is available for $109 (regularly $186.77).  The TGIF promo runs until 10:00PM Sunday, May 19th, or until the one available canvas is sold, whichever comes first.  Last week's TGIF special only lasted an hour.  Have a great weekend! 

Click Here to See the TGIF Promo Details

"Four Seasons of the Mighty Oak"

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Spring Has Sprung!

That groundhog really blew it this year.  Not only did spring not come early this year (as he predicted), it arrived about six weeks later than normal!  But it's mid-May now, and the waited for season has finally arrived.

"Barn in Wild Turnips"

"Old Allis"
These photographs were taken in Hartsburg, just north of Peace Church.  The owner of the barn had commented to me last winter that I didn't have any images of his barn among my work, and invited me to take some anytime I wanted.  It's such a charming little barn, nestled against the bluffs, that I couldn't resist!  The old Allis-Chalmers WD45 sits nearby, resting up.  This field was planted in turnips last fall, and they went to seed -- which provided a sea of tiny yellow blooms in the spring.