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