Monday, May 31, 2010

Outside: spring leaves

Some late spring leaves for a change of scenery...

I was out photographing the first irises to bloom, and saw the light hitting the leaves.

This is the rose bush, the only one in the yard. Miraculously, it has not yet been chewed into oblivion by those pesky Japanese beetles.

And this is the smoke bush. When the leaves emerge they're red, and then purple, and then become green. It's kind of like autumn in reverse.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

spring moments

Life gets busy sometimes, and when you look back, you really can't remember what you spent that time doing.

Spring, or as it ought to be known - winter lite - seems to have finally ended. Yes, I know, the calendar tells us that summer starts on 21 June. Well, over night we went from running the furnace to opening up the windows and turning on the fans. It's no longer less than 50˚ at night, and I no longer wear my coat to work. It's 70˚ in the morning, and humid as all get out. Yes, we went from winter-lite directly to summer, and that seems to be the way it happens every year.

So, I've been working on photos for my "sarahknight" etsy shop off and on & here and there. Sometimes the photos are old, sometimes the photos are shots I have taken recently. I've been in a "spring" kind of mood lately.

The first one is called "wide open spaces." This is the 'old' photo (yeah, it's like 4 years old, ha!).

The last 2 images are recent. I almost can't believe the dandelions already bloomed and turned to fluff already. Of course, there will be more and more of them for the rest of the summer... The last image is my first ladybug of the season. Yes, I know, it's really a multicolored asian lady beetle (Harmonia axyridis). Anyway, this little beetle was out in the yard sitting on the brand new butterfly bush I just planted. How sweet : ) Hopefully all bodes well for the bush.

As always, I invite you to check out my treasuries:

Friday, May 21, 2010

Outside: weeping peach

It's raining again... I really wish it would stop raining, or perhaps it could conveniently rain when I'm asleep, and then be completely dry outside when I'm awake... so, it almost seems like it was ages ago when winter ended and the weather was pleasant, when really, it was about 2 weeks ago.

Anyway, in between bouts of rain, the weeping peach bloomed.
It's always nice to see the bright pink blossoms.

Otherwise, I've been inside playing around on the computer. I like etsy's new treasury, and I invite you to check out the ones I've assembled:

Hopefully, there's less rain wherever you are.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Outside: Lilacs

Every year I kind of wonder why I don't end up with more photos of the lilacs... and then every year when they bloom I remember why: it wouldn't stop raining... cursed weather.
It did, however, stop raining just a few times, and I think I got a good showing. These were some of the first branches to blossom.

On an etsy note:
I invite you all to check out my treasuries, which can be found here:
: )

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Outside: pink blossoms

I admit, I'm not much of a vacation person. I'm not a world traveler, nor will I ever become one (unless, of course, that whole lotto thing pans out). So, instead, in the spring, summer, and fall (because it's just too cold in the winter) I like to go into town and meander around on the sidewalk with my camera.

Yes, I take pictures of other people's stuff; I'm a sidewalk tourist. Most of the time I have a vague agenda, whether there is a particular type of tree or plant blooming, or in the fall when I'm on the lookout for good looking leaves. I have, at times, done this just to take shots of tree bark. Yes, imagine looking out your front window to catch a glimpse of someone standing in front of a tree with a camera... Anyway, I have a lot of batteries and will snap a shot of virtually whatever catches my eye.

So, I think this is a cherry tree. Obviously, it's not my cherry tree, but they are my photos. It was just too awesome of a sight to pass up. I really wish there was a pink cherry in our yard (they're all white).

The last 2 pictures are from a later jaunt, when the blossoms had started to fall from the tree. There's something very pretty and enchanting about a sidewalk covered with petals. It's like fairytale snow....

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Picture Story: hummingbird on bleeding heart

I draw, I illustrate, I make pictures, I take pictures... and perhaps that is why I am so stymied whenever I try to write about one of my illustrations: I'm better with pictures than with words. And because I want people to draw their own conclusions and have their own thoughts and emotions and reactions when they look at my pictures.

So, this piece is adroitly titled: "hummingbird on bleeding heart"

And it can be found at my sarahkdesigns shop on etsy.
Quite obviously, it's an illustration of a male ruby-throated hummingbird perched on a stem of bleeding heart in front of a cloudy blue sky. Now, the hummingbird was drawn with colored pencil. He was composed with a whole group of hummingbirds that I actually drew for a piece entitled "hummingbirds & hollyhocks." And his female doppelganger appears in "summer hummingbirds."

Anyway, the stem of bleeding heart is something I photographed. I plopped the photo into photoshop, played with the colors and levels and all that, printed it out, and then drew over it with colored pencil. The sky was quite literally made from a digital photo of the sky which was put through several color adjustments and maybe a filter or two before being treated with a layer of color to make it brighter & more saturated.

Amusingly, when I planned this illustration, this was not what I had envisioned as the end result. This was actually supposed to be a picture of a hummingbird sitting on a watering can in front of a stem (or possibly stems) of bleeding heart. However, I wasn't thrilled with the way my watering can was progressing, and there was some issue with proportions and whether or not the composition would be horizontal or vertical... so, yeah, goodbye watering can!

Maybe someday I'll work up that composition with the watering can... someday.
For the time being I'm happy with the way this turned out.
And I look forward to next month when the ruby-throated hummingbirds should start showing up in the backyard, squeaking and squawking at each other as they get territorial over the bird koolaid in the feeder. They're a delightfully cantankerous bunch.

Monday, May 10, 2010

Outside: dogwood

There's this song by Tom Petty called "Down South" (which can be found on the "Highway Companion" album). I doubt it was ever a single, but it's one of my favorite songs on that album, and I've listened to it more times than I could recall. Anyway, there's a stanza of the song:
Spanish moss down south
Find the heroes of my childhood
Who now can do me no good
Carve their names in dogwood
It's a catchy song, but anyway, for the longest time I was always kind of thrown by the premise of carving anything in dogwood... because the only kind of dogwood I knew where the spindly stick-like bushes in the backyard with the clusters of teeny tiny little white flowers.
As it turns out, there's a difference between a dogwood bush and a dogwood tree.

And now having seen the 'tree' version of the dogwood - I better understand that lyric. That and I have now read the wikipedia page on dogwoods...

I am one of those people who just likes pretty pictures. So, these are someone else's very beautiful dogwoods (the trees, that is, the photos are mine). I wish I owned them! (Although, admittedly, I have no desire to carve anything in them, sorry MacGuyver)

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Ouside: Mrs. Menyhart's Wisteria

Mrs. Menyhart was my algebra teacher, and subsequently my algebra 2 teacher back in junior high. I have many many memories of her giving me that look that always accompanied something about "showing my work" as it pertained to my algebra homework. I'm right-brained, what can I say, I intuitively guessed the answer most of the time, and worked the problem backwards to prove myself right or wrong...

In the third grade when we had math tests I actually used to just do the problems that I liked the look of regardless of what order they happened to occur on the test. This was not to the delight of my teacher, of course, but hey, I was 8, and that was what came naturally. I've always had a curious relationship with math...

I seem to have gone off on a math tangent, which I'm sure is also a math pun. Anyway, Mrs. Menyhart was always the most delightful teacher, oh, and that she's British and has the accent certainly upped the charm factor. All these years later she's still delightful & she has a very lovely yard with lots of lovely flowers.

So, no, this is not my wisteria, it's hers, and she was kind enough to let me photograph it. What can I say — I like beautiful things and purple happens to be my favorite color. That and wisteria has the most wonderful scent, which obviously can't be expressed through the computer...

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Spring is for the birds

There is an age old argument over who was the better front man of Van Halen. So much so that songs have been written about it ("Van Halen" by Nerf Herder). You either think David Lee Roth was the consummate front man or you're a Sammy Hagar devotee. As it turns out, I come down hard on the side of Van Hagar. Yes, that's right, I said it: I prefer Sammy Hagar.

Now, I realize I may lose some friends or endure some scornful Roth-lover sniping... it is what it is. Anyway, Dave left the band, recorded some solo work, had that radio show, did that weird thing at the MTV something-or-other awards, there was some reunion, eh, whatever. Sammy Hagar is awesome!

Anyway, on some abysmal solo record David Lee Roth sang "Just a Gigolo" which contains the lyric: "life goes on without me." I've heard the song repeatedly on the "hair guitar" station at work, that and "Yankee Rose" — surely Diamond Dave must have recorded more than 2 songs, although if you listen to that station you would never know it...

Anyhow, since they play "Just a Gigolo" like it's one of only 2 DLR songs on earth, even though I'm not a fan, I still get the damned thing stuck in my head. And the quote is apt: life goes on without me.

That it does.

So, while I'm busy doing whatever I'm doing - life goes on without me. I have been busy lately, and it's been raining, so my time with the camera is limited. But the birds have gone on with their business nonetheless.

The pair of eastern bluebirds have 4 eggs in the box in the backyard, which the female has been sitting on diligently.

And the goldfinches finally discovered the feeder that I put out solely for them. Amusingly, they both make exactly the same expression when being photographed. As if to say, "you there, what are you doing?"

Hopefully you've been busy or happy lately, or at the very least well rested & fed : )