Friday, August 28, 2009

Story Behind the Picture: Sail Away

I was three weeks old the first time I set sail in a boat. Even though I was born in land-locked Kansas, my parents still managed to find a lake on which to to enjoy the summer breeze and the gentle sound of waves lapping against the hull. Water has been the single constant in my widely-traveled it as a passenger or a rower, I've never wandered far from the pull of the tide or the banks of a river.

My most vivid memory is of the night we weathered Hurricane David aboard my parent's boat in Virginia. My father decided we needed to move the boat to a more sheltered location, and thought we would have plenty of time to make the trip before the eye of the storm drew close...perhaps the fact that he was a career Army, not Navy, officer should have prompted us to question his judgement. As David caught us in the middle of the open, unprotected water of the Chesapeake Bay, my mother strapped me in a life jacket and locked me into my little sleeping bunk below deck (more questionable judgement: are you supposed to lock someone into a boat that might capsize? Not much need for a life jacket if you're trapped below, right?). Obviously I managed to survive the night, but it does provide me fabulous ammunition with which to harass my parents.

I created this image because, when it comes to sailing, I prefer my seas calm and my winds fair. I prefer the days where the sun glints off the top of the water, scattering "poor man's diamonds" across the surface. I prefer the puffy white clouds that tower high above and take the shapes of animals as they float by in the gentle summer breeze.

Friday, August 21, 2009

Story Behind the Pictures: Alphabet Soup

This series of photographs was born from a mother's desperation (mine, to be more specific). During one of the rainiest weeks of the summer, my boys decided to the best activity they could conjure up would be to fight with each other.
All the time.
Every day.
After 34 trips to the naughty step (each) in a single morning, and loosing my voice from yelling, I realized I had two choices: sell the children on Craig's List or send them on a scavenger hunt of some sort. Inspiration came in the form of pain as I stepped on yet another little metal toy lurking in the shadows of the carpet (it was the airplane).

The alphabet scavenger hunt was on! As the boys brought me their treasures, all the prints that you see in the collection gathered in my mind. Danny insisted we use his beloved "Lamby" for the "L"...I had to gently explain that while a threadbare, flattened, missing-an-eye stuffed lamb might be the love of his life, it wouldn't really appeal to folks to didn't know Lamby personally. When I was uploading the images later that night, I found a photograph of Lamby. He must have snuck in to my studio and used the camera and tripod while I was making lunch.

Danny and Lucas are proud that the airplane their grandfather gave them, the baseball from their cousin, the car they bought on vacation, and the vintage wood dog from their great-grandmother's house are just a small part of this collection of prints/children's book. I'm just happy I didn't have to sell my children on Craig's List.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Story Behind the Picture: Sea, Sand, and Sky

This photograph was inspired by the Polaroid images of my childhood: the images that seemed to take ages to develop, no matter how much I waved them impatiently in the air. I loved the anticipation, the suspense, and finally, the satisfaction of seeing the picture coming fully to life.

There was something about the quality of the film that made it seem instantly aged, a faded warmth that 35mm film could never replicate, so I tried to recapture the same sense of history with "Sea, Sand, and Sky" by shooting in digital format through a vintage lens.

This is the beach on which I played, flew kites, and built sand castles as a child. I took this photograph as my own children chased seagulls and searched for hermit crabs in the early morning sunshine. I hope they have the same lovely memories when they have children of their own: memories of sea, sand, and sky on a warm summer day.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Midweek Update: "Alphabet Soup" now in print!

I'm popping in early this week to let everyone know that my series of "Alphabet Soup" whimsical alphabet art is now available as a charming children's book!

Welcome to the silly scavenger hunt called "Alphabet Soup!"

Learning letters has never been this fun! If the weather is stormy and you are stranded inside, never fear - your home is an alphabet safari waiting to happen.

Find a friend and start your search...what things will you discover?

Available now as a soft or hard cover book - click here to preview the book and purchase your copy today!

Friday, August 7, 2009

Story Behind the Picture: Flying in the Stars

Sometimes the most beautiful pictures are the ones we dream in our minds. I created "Flying in the Stars" on a particularly dreary and cold winter day after the boys and I spent the morning snuggled under a quilt, reading Phillip Pullman's "The Golden Compass." One of the characters is an aeronautical explorer who flies his hot air balloon into fantastic adventure, and Pullman's vivid words carried me into a world where we too could soar amid the clouds and stars. Later that afternoon, as the boys napped peacefully in their rooms, I started combing through my ten-thousand image library until I found the pieces to layer together in this collage. It's my hope that when you see this piece, you escape for a moment from the traffic and telephones and to-do lists. Let's go flying in the stars together.
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