December 27, 2010

I'm Published!

This is the issue of Cloth, Paper, Scissors that I have been anticipating!! Earlier this year I submitted several of my artist books to their 2011 Artisan search and to my delight, I was chosen as one of the five finalists in the "Art Journal/Book Making" category. While I wasn't chosen as the winner, I knew that one of my works would be spotlighted in the January/February 2011 issue. So...on Christmas Eve my copy arrived...I quickly opened it and found my work on page 30...spotlighting my "Windows" book along with the fabulous work of the other finalists. So exciting!!

I then put the issue aside and continued on with my family's Christmas Eve plans, not picking up the magazine until this morning. Giving it a closer look...I still haven't sat down to read it cover to cover....I also found that a response that I had given  to a "Cloth, Paper, Scissors" Facebook posting was also in this issue!!! Wow! (This is on page 22.)

Looking through this month's issue, I can tell there are a lot of great articles and a lot of fabulous art spotlighted. I feel so honored to be included in with all this great work. Now to find some time to sit down to take it all in...but first I need to go out and buy a couple more copies!!!

December 24, 2010

Christmas Visitors

"Fox" by Melissa

Early this morning, as I looked out over our backyard from my upstairs bathroom window, I saw the dark forms of deer moving about the green-space that is at the end of our yard....separating our yard from the yard behind us. It isn't unusual to see deer back here and my first thoughts were to go out and chase them away from my trees and bushes. I didn't this time...cause I guess, "It's Christmas!"

At lunch time, I was fixing a sandwich while chatting with my youngest daughter, Melissa. Looking out the kitchen window this time, I once again saw the deer. For them to have lingered this long was worth noting as they usual come and go. Melissa came up to the window to see them and as she approached, she called out, "There's a fox!" And sure enough...there was! (She has a good eye and good luck...she's the one who first spotted the bald eagle I wrote about in an earlier posting...) As plain as day, a fox ambled out of the woods, stopped to look around a bit, and then ambled off.  Again, I wasn't too surprised to see a fox here...but this was the first time that I had!! Now...I didn't have my camera with me at the time, but she did. So this is her picture of the visiting wanderer. Looks fake in the picture...but I assure you that it's not.

By the time I did get my camera, the fox was gone. The deer...still I did manage the above shot before they too, ambled off.

Such a wonderful thing to happen on Christmas Eve. A quiet happening which makes it all the better, don't you think?

December 12, 2010

Last Minute Shopping....Anthropologie Style by MissieRabdau

Here's a fun treasury filled with wonderful last minute gift ideas. My thanks to MissieRabdau for including my little collage, "My Own Little World" in her newest treasury, "Last Minute Shopping...Anhtropologie Style. Make sure you check this one out as well!!

December 9, 2010


Okay...I know this isn't the greatest of pictures...and usually I wouldn't...but once you know the story behind this you'll understand...and also understand the bad pun I've tried to make with the title....

We were driving down Rt. 126 by Indian Hill's water reservoir on our way to the Duke Energy Christmas Train display. (Which is why I had my camera with me...) My daughter yelled out, "Bald Eagle!" Well...we knew of reports that one or two had been seen here, so we quickly made a turn around and pulled up close to the tree in the picture. Sure enough, there was a bald eagle in the tree!! I got my camera out of its bag and tried to quietly get out of the car....but I guess not quietly enough as the eagle took flight as soon as I did. Now...there was another car parked and the driver had gotten out just before I did with his camera....and we both started taking pictures as the eagle flew away. It wasn't until later that I realize that I had caught the top of his head in one of the frames...and the bad pun just came to me...bald eagle...bald spot....I know not that funny...but...

I was very apologetic to the guy about chasing the eagle away, but he wasn't upset as he had been there several times before and had gotten some great shots of it. So I guess I'll just have to go back's not far from where I live...and try to be quieter!!

Here's a close up of the eagle from first picture...just in case you didn't believe that it really was a bald'll have to do your own close up of the the guy's head....

December 6, 2010

First Snow

Early December

We had our first "measurable" snow this past Saturday. It started late Friday night/early Saturday morning and snowed throughout the entire day. When it was all done, we had received maybe 2 inches of snow. The day was cold, gray, windy....a true winter day! Being this close to Christmas made this snowfall even more perfect, particularly that night when all the outside lights came on...just beautiful!!

When I woke up that morning and saw the snow falling I decided then and there that I really didn't want to make the drive downtown to my weekly figure drawing class...which I truly enjoy and don't miss often...but today, I just wanted to hang out in my sweats and watch it snow. I also just needed time to father had a stroke over the Thanksgiving week-end and I had just visited him in the hospital the day before. He didn't look good at all. Makes one I really wasn't in the mood to draw. Good news is that he stabilized enough that day and on Saturday...the hospital discharged him to a recovery and rehab facility. It's now up to him. None-the-less, Christmas will be different.

Oh yeah...I didn't take this picture on Saturday...we didn't get that much snow. This was taken in my backyard last winter...but the fence line did look somewhat like this so I thought, why not? Let it snow, let it snow!!

December 2, 2010

Good Cheer by TwigsandBlossom

My thanks to TwigsandBlossoms for including my photo, "Snowstorm No. 4" in her newest treasury, "Good Cheer" . Please check this's full of wonderful items!!

Winter Dreams

As a way of introducing my new Etsy shop, Reflective Images, I created this treasury featuring winter photography and silver and black jewelry. If I have to say so myself, this is one of my prettiest!!

Check this out at: Winter Dreams

December 1, 2010

Introducing my new Etsy shop - Reflective Images

Jar and Books
Several weeks ago I made the decision to create a separate Etsy shop spotlighting my photography. I just felt that this was getting lost in my Clearer Reflections  shop which will now be dedicated to my paintings and collages/mixed media pieces. Along with some newer works, I've been moving my photos from Clearer Reflections over to my new shop...doing one or two a day to take advantage of Etsy's way of listing the newest items my photos a "first in line" advantage for at least a couple of hours.

Sanibel Sunset
My new shop is called Reflective Images and will feature my traditional photos....those created using film and printed in my darkroom, digital....those created and printed digitally, and what I'm calling "alternative"....where I mix things up a bit. I invite you to view my shop and let me know what you think! 

November 23, 2010


Recently I've been told by any number of people that "oh, you're retired so you have time for that..." or "you have all the time in the world...." And I guess they're a point. I try to point out to them that I don't have any more time then they day still only has 24 hours just like theirs. The difference is in how I use this time. Unlike them I do have more leeway on what I do with the time...for the most part I make the decisions on what and when I do something. I have a lot more flexibility when I make appointments and when I run errands and so forth. Which is a point....

Now I know this is going to sound like a whine...but...I have found that with this discretion, comes new responsibilities! I find myself wondering...what should I be doing right now? Should I do this first? much time should I be spending on a particular task or project? Or how about this....wondering if I should be doing something else while I'm doing...something else. Like right now! As I write this post, in the back of my mind I'm wondering if the paint is dry on one side of a project I'm working on so I can paint the other side....or I just remembered that there was a photo I meant to edit so I could get out on my Etsy site. See....a whole new set of constraints!!!  Yes, "I have the time" but now it's become...."am I using it the right way?" I can't blame any "waste of time" on someone else. It's all me. Yet....I wouldn't want it any other way....because I am learning that it's not wasting time to stop what I'm doing and enjoy a fall sunset. And I'm looking forward to quietly enjoying the Christmas season...'cause I have the time!

November 20, 2010

Necessity Gifts every woman would love by MissieRabdau

My new Etsy shop, Reflective Images, has only been up for a couple of days and already one of my new photographs has found itself into an Etsy wonderful!!! My thanks to MissieRabdau for including my photo, "Snowstorm No. 4" in her newest treasury, "Necessity Gifts every woman would love". With Christmas only weeks away, there are some great gift ideas to be considered!!

November 19, 2010

Spring Grove Cemetery


Several weeks ago, my wife and I journeyed across town to Spring Grove Cemetery. This is a place where all those of importance in Cincinnati are laid to rest...the place is filled with beautiful gardens and well as knock-your-socks-off monuments! In any case, I had my trusty Holga camera and Nikon N6006 film camera with me...the Holga loaded with color negative film, the Nikon with  classic 35mm 400 ASA black and white film. 


The day was warm and somewhat overcast...perfect for cemetery pictures. The place is huge so we only explored a small part of what was there. Two hours and a bunch of film later, we called it quits for the day. 

This was the first time that I have used color negative film in the Holga and it has been awhile since I processed C41 film but earlier this week I did just that and you are looking at some early results. I haven't processed the black and white film but given what I see with the pics from the Holga, I can't help but think there are some great images to be found. I'll make sure to post an update when I have more ready to show. In the meantime, you can see more of my Holga pics on my Flickr site:

November 18, 2010

Skip's Junk Yard

This past Saturday I joined other members of "Club Blatz", a group of intrepid photographers in the Greater Cincinnati area, for a photo safari at Skip's Junk Yard. Skip's, which can be found on Wooster Road outside Mariemont, is an emporium of old motorcycles and cars...a paradise for those needing parts as well as photographers! For our $10 "admission fee" we were given pretty much free rein over the entire establishment for 2 hours. So at 12 noon we all descended, paid our fee, and the air was filled with the sounds of joy and shutters going off...

Now I have driven by Skip's on any number of occasions over the years, always wanting to get inside with my camera, so the day was a dream come true! I didn't know where to start!!!  Overwhelmed, I stood there for a couple of minutes taking in the sight of old motorcycle after old motorcycle lined up, old cars posing...waiting for their "Big Blue" here. Taking a deep breathe, I took my cameras out of the bag...and went to it, reminding myself that with digital I had at least 1,000 exposure at my go ahead and shoot!!!

The only downer of this session wasn't discovered until two days ago when I processed the color film negatives I shot using my plastic Diana. It was  as I took these rolls of film from the processing tank that I realized that something terribly wrong had happened...there was nothing but light leak flares on the negs!!!  Checking the camera, I discovered that seemingly the exposure lever on the bottom of the lens had been moved to the pinhole setting...which meant the aperature was well, pinhole size! So next to nothing got in.....three rolls of film wasted!!! Now while I fault myself for not checking this setting, I rarely move it from the cloudy setting so this had to happen when I took the camera out of the bag. Of course, I really think "Diana" did it herself as she was jealous that I was giving more attention to my digital Nikon.  She has now been taped up with black tape to prevent the lever from moving...and to take care of some of the light leaks. I hope she's into bondage and black tape...

I've only posted a couple of the photos but if you would like to see more, please go to my Flickr site and you can see them all:

November 16, 2010

Nov. by HelenGotlib

Here's a new Etsy Treasury for you to enjoy. My thanks to HelenGotlib for including my Handbound sketch journal in her newest Treasury, "Nov." Do check this out!!

November 15, 2010

Dancing with my Muse - Part 2

Several weeks ago, I posted my thoughts about the "dance" I feel I do with my muse every time I come into my studio. I also stated that I didn't like my recent painting that came out of one such dance. I still feel that I should have listened to her and not picked up my paint brush. (I did eventually pick up my cameras and from the initial results, I should have listened to her as I'm quite happy with what came about. You can go to my Flickr site and see these for yourself: 

In any case, I did receive a couple of comments asking to see the entire painting. I have hesitated as I'm still not happy with this painting, but I thought that before I put it into storage...with the idea that I will take it out sometime later and reconsider...I would go ahead and post a pic of the finished painting. Now keep in mind as you look at it that the pic is not "studio quality" but  a quick grab-shot that I took before starting out on on of my photo safaris. Still...give me your thoughts on this. The pic doesn't show the textures that the close-up does, but those textures still remain. Is this a keeper...or a candidate for a rework? Be's only a painting.....


November 12, 2010

Life is Good

Today goes under the heading of "Life Is Good." While I had to do my usual Friday chores (pay bills, clean bathrooms, etc.) is was a beautiful Fall day to be outside. Sunny, the 70's, clear air...perfect day! So I got my inside chores done as quick as I could...and then it was outside! The yard needed some work and everything needed watering...still no I got that done. was time to play! I pulled the cover of my Heritage Softail and went for a ride!!!

As she and I hit the road, I had no where in particular to go in mind...just for a ride. I could tell that she want to run fast so I decided on a route that would let us do that. But you know how things can be sometimes....half way into the ride it was obvious that neither of us really wanted to go far. So...I stopped at a near by gas station, topped her off, and headed home. Once home, I prepped the gas with stabilizer 'cause I knew that this would probably be the last ride for a long time if not for the season. I wiped her down, checked everything over, parked her in her spot in the garage and covered her. Hopefully I will be able to take her out soon, but given the way the weather is here in could be March or April. Oh, I'll take the cover off her on a regular basis and check in...but rides will be few.

I didn't get to ride her as much this season as I had planned. Hernia operation in the spring then a hot summer kept me from riding much. So I'm hoping for an early warm-up next season so I can make up for lost time!! 

As I said in the beginning...this was a "life is good day". Now if I can only figure out a way of getting out of my Friday chores!!!

November 11, 2010

Silks and Chocolates

There was a time when shopping for her was silks and luscious chocolates. The chocolates are still much appreciated...the silks not so much so. Nonetheless, here's a shopping list for you to consider!

November 8, 2010

Dancing with my Muse

You know how it want to this certain painting using a limited palette...but your muse keeps telling you that you're crazy and that you really want to do something else entirely different. And the longer you fight her the worse it gets...'cause in the end, she is always right. I call this "dancing with my muse"...or maybe it's more like a continual courtship. In any case, when I started this painting (I'm only showing you a small section of the beginnings of this...) my muse kept telling me that I didn't want to be painting, that I wanted to pick up my cameras and shot lots of film...and then dust off my darkroom and get printing!! I didn't listen to her and kept painting. The painting is done...but I don't like it. (That's why I'm not going to post the finish product just yet...) I should have listened to her!! 

While I haven't taken out my cameras...they are packed and ready to go. I have two "photo safaris" scheduled this week...the processing chemicals have been purchased and are awaiting my return. Then it will be hours spent in the red light of my darkroom, breathing in all sorts of nasty fumes and getting irritated when I have to do yet another exposure to get "it right"...but in the end, happy when I do. Hopefully my muse will still want me to do this....of course she has been known to change her mind right after she gets her way.....always works that way...don't you know!!

November 4, 2010

Get Your Read On by aziedesigns

Here's a fun new treasury to consider. Lots of holiday gift giving ideas in this one!! My thanks to aziedesigns for including my Hand Bound Artist Journal in their Team Discovery Treasury Challenge, "Get Your Read On."  Do give this a look, a comment, and a click or two!!!

October 31, 2010

Twisted Tales by YesfiasHouse

My thanks to YesfiasHouse for including my assemblage doll, "Ginger" in their new Etsy treasury, "Twisted Tales". Ginger is certainly in with some wonderful company. Please check out this new treasury to see all these fun creations!

October 28, 2010

Shop Locally!

Sometimes we forget that there are great artisans in our own neighborhood! Check out these Etsy shops from the Loveland, Milford, and Cincinnati, Ohio area. Who of them may be a neighbor and you didn't know it!

October 26, 2010


Sue's Gift

In an earlier post, I reflected on how perhaps being chosen as one of the  finalists in Cloth, Paper, Scissors Artisan 2011 competition might just be the recognition I was looking for as an artist...that little bit that I needed to confirm my status as an "artist". Well...they announced the winners this past Friday and I wasn't one of them. To say the least, I was disappointed...and it's taken a bit for me to "get over it" and move on. Now, this isn't the first time I've received a rejection notice but this time it was "so close, yet so far"!!  I will be getting recognition as one of the remaining 20 finalists (4 of us in each of 5 categories) in the January/February issue of Cloth, Paper, Scissors so that in itself is great! 

It's interesting. I entered two categories:  collage/assemblages and book art/artist journal and was a finalist in the book art category which wasn't were I thought I was the strongest. I enjoy putting these books together but I still don't see this as my strength as an artist. So perhaps it's just as well I wasn't chosen. In any case, this experience has me refocusing my efforts on my collage/mixed media works...some of which will no doubt be artist books! I'll be ready for next year's watch out world! 

"Sue's Gift" was one of the books I entered. Here are pictures of the other two books I entered. I'd love to hear any feedback anyone might want to offer about these books. Thanks!


Traveler's Journal

October 24, 2010

People are usually the happiest at home by Musegirl

Now this is a fun treasury! My thanks to Musegirl for including my photo, "Jar and Books" in her newest treasury, "People usually are the happiest at home." Do take some time to look at all the items in this treasury!!

October 23, 2010

First Snow by cornnupcopia

Think snow. Think first snow. Then take a look at this beautiful treasury, "First Snow", put together by cornnupcopia. My thanks to them for including my painting, "Winter", in this treasury!

October 21, 2010

Smile for the Camera

While an undergrad at O.U. back in the 70's, I chanced to take several photography courses. At the time I didn't realize that I was at the center of a vintage camera revival that believed that the best way to learn photography was to start with the basics in the form of a Diana camera. (Back then they cost less than $5.00...not the outrageous prices charged today!) From there I "graduated" to more complex cameras that even for all their bells and whistles I still don't think they produce as strong of images as my Diana. This Etsy treasury is dedicated to those cameras that made their photographers think before they shot. Wise words any time.

Check this out at:

My Grandmother

Several weeks ago, I brought my 99 year old grandmother home from the rehab center. She had broken her hip in April and hadn't been home until then. During visits to first the hospital and then at the rehab center, she always maintained her feisty self...always claiming she didn't like being around old people and wanting to go home! The day had come finally and when my wife and I arrived, we found her sitting by her bed with all her things packed and ready to go! For someone her age, she really could move fast...even with a walker!! She's home now and doing fine I'm happy to say.

All during this period and once again when we brought her home, she was very insistent that she and I have a "talk" about what she wanted done after she was "gone". Now, I'm not uncomfortable with the whole idea of death and dying and I know that my grandmother is the same way. So...this past Thursday I went up to see her again to have that talk...and it was everything I thought it would be. As I'm going to be the executor of her will, she just wanted to make sure I knew who to "take care of" and who not to. And she wanted to make sure I wrote it down! Which I did! Afterwards, we had a piece of warm mincemeat pie that she had made that morning...yes, she still bakes....and talked about past times and those who had already gone. It was a good conversation...the type that made me wish I had had more with her....and hopefully will have more in the future. We've all told here we're already planning her 100th birthday party so she needs to stick around at least until then!!

When I made this visit last Thursday, it was a beautiful fall afternoon and I stuck to the back roads to get to her house so that I could enjoy the fall colors and also to give me time to think about what I knew we were going to discuss. I will have to make this trip more often....other things can wait.

October 14, 2010

Wintergreen by birdsoforegon

My thanks to birdsoforegon for including my painting, "Fall" in their newest treasury, Wintergreen. This beautiful treasury if full of fall colors and creative pieces. You need to spend some time checking this one out at:

October 13, 2010

Disco Bundle - Taken Apart

Taking the "Disco Bundle" apart wasn't as exciting as doing so to "Barefoot Boy". While the papers and boards in this bundle showed signs of being outside for 21 weeks, it wasn't as dramatic as I had hoped. Everything was crinkly and a little discolored....but that was about it! Oh...there was a bug or two...and this "shape" which I thought was fun being on the dictionary page, "shape"...who would have guessed this would happen! In any's some more pictures of this bundle...apart!!


Sometimes I think we all take life to literally...particularly now with election season in full swing! It's good to have a little "abstractions" once in a while to keep the perspectives where they need to be. With that in mind I put together a new treasury based on abstract paintings. Check this out at: 

October 11, 2010 longer!

Title page from Barefoot Boy

Both bundles came down mid-week....I had a good time slowly taking them apart and photographing what I found. While I didn't find any real surprises, "Barefoot Boy" showed the most changes...and the most dramatic effects within itself. In fact, it totally came apart....covers separated from the page signatures...pages coming apart within the signatures! Lots of discoloring and marbling on all the pages. Barefoot's covers are a mess but its pages are in pretty good same...just a little discolored and wrinkled.

Both books are now resting quietly in separate boxes waiting for their next stage. I'm thinking that I'll turn the "Disco" bundle into a book structure of some sort. As for "Barefoot Boy"... I'm not sure yet. It doesn't seem appropriate to rebound it into a book structure...but then again....just maybe....

I have a bunch of fun photos of both bundles that I will share over the coming weeks. For this posting, here's some from "Barefoot Boy". Also check my Flickr site as I will also be putting photos out on it as well!

October 10, 2010

Internal Dialogue by BaysideGems

Internal Dialogue by BaysideGems

My thanks to BaysideGems for including my photo, "Insane Asylum" in their new treasury, "Internal Dialogue". There are many wonderful pieces in this treasury, so make sure you check this out!

October 9, 2010

The Eclectic Blue

After having many of my items appear in other Etsy Treasuries, I thought it was time to build one of my own! "The Eclectic Blue" is a collection of "blues"...not in a sad sense but a quiet, elegant mood. Please check out this treasury and the wonderful Etsy shops spotlighted by it!!

October 6, 2010

An Early Christmas Present!

Altered Bingo Card, Barbara Bell
In each issue of the crafting magazine, "Cloth, Paper, Scissors" (Interweave) is what they call a "Reader's Challenge". This is where they'll state a theme, give parameters and such and offer incentives to participate.  These incentives could be a "swap" with other readers, a straight-out competition with the hope of having your work published in the magazine...and sometimes both! 

I usually don't do these challenges but over the summer I decided why not?! So...when they announced a "Winter Holiday" Gift Swap I decided to take the plunge. We were to create a gift swap card of a particular size, etc. and with the theme of "winter holiday". Everyone who submitted a "gift" was promised one in return from another participant. And...the chance that your gift might be included in Cloth, Paper, Scissors follow-up article in their November/December 2010 issue.

I got busy and created a card around the "I Believe" theme...with Santas and the like. Sent it off, published photos of my card in the Cloth, Paper, Scissors gallery...and pretty much forgot about it as I turned my focus to other things. That was until this past Monday when in the mail arrived a surprise! It was my swap item...a beautiful altered bingo card (pictured above and below) made by Barbara Bell of Grove City, Ohio. Now I'll tell you what...even though Halloween is in the air, looking at this card certainly got me in the Christmas spirit!! What fun!!! Thank you so much, Barbara!!!

Altered Bingo Card, Barbara Bell

I don't know if Barbara's or my cards will be featured in the November/December 2010 issue but I'll be sure to put out an update if that's the case. If you'd like to see my card, just click on this link and it will take you to the gallery and my "I Believe" card!