#ThursdayTreeLove | In Winter…

In winter
    all the singing is in
         the tops of the trees — Mary Oliver, “White Eyes”


An urgent deadline made me miss #ThursdayTreeLove last week, but all the tree photos hiding out in my phone will not allow me to forgo participating in the first TTL of the year. So, here I am, a week late, with snow laden trees from my very first tree walk of the year. Oh, how I wish we could capture pure delight with our cameras!


These photos were snapped January 4, two days after our first snow. We don’t get snow very often in the South, so when we do, we’re [Southerners] usually over-the-moon with excitement. I did not take the time to go out and play in the snow the evening/morning it fell. I planned to the next day when everything was all white and pretty, but the freezing temperatures kept me indoors.


When I returned to campus two days later, I was pleasantly surprised to find the trees on campus still beautifully adorned with snow. I raced to my office, dropped my bags, grabbed my camera and spent the first moments of the workday with the snow trees.


I shot with my phone and my camera. I am sharing the phone photos because choosing from among the far-too-many camera photos is a task for another time. [Click images 2-5 to view full-size versions of these photos in a Flickr album. Eventually, I’ll add the DSLR photos. Eventually…]


The Lion King is running in Nashville, and Cats will be here in Huntsville soon. I will miss both. People are not always cautious, so I am still wary of large group events. Sometimes, it seems the coronavirus is robbing me of life and fun, but spending time with the trees on a gorgeous day more than makes up for it.


I am joining Parul Thakur for #ThursdayTreeLove every second and fourth Thursday of the month. If you would like to play along, post a picture of a tree on your blog and link it back to her latest #treelove post.

Dreaming Art: Liberate Your Art Side Swaps

As in years past, I did a little side-swapping after the Liberate Your Art blog hop.  April and May are pretty crazy-busy around here, so I don’t check my post office box as frequently as I should.  When I finally checked, there was a mailbox full of postcards waiting and I jumped for joy when I saw the collection of art.

Here’s a quick look at nine of the ten postcards.

The first postcard came from my faithful postcard pal, Christine B. I met Christine via LYA 2016, but our friendship has grown via Love Notes, which she introduced to me last spring.

“Thistles,” photo by Christine B.

Christine captured this photo in England. She writes that the thistles remind her of “spires” and provides the etymology of the word: Spires–Derived from Old English, spir, meaning a sprout, shoot or a stalk of grass.

Lisa C. sent a great big “howdy” from Texas with her “Dream” photo:

She shot this image as a storm was coming in and later “photoshopped” the tree into the photograph.  I love cloud formations and the unique shapes they make.

You can find more of Lisa’s nature photography on her blog, Chasing the Sun.

I’ve swapped with Sherry H. for the past few rounds of LYA. She sent her mixed media “mountain bird” with greetings from Amook Island (Alaska):

Mixed media art by Sherry H., Amook Island Creations

She printed a simple but inspiring message on back:

Conceive. Believe. Achieve.

Sheila D., with whom I’ve also swapped almost every year I participated in LYA, sent a beautiful watercolor of blues, greens, and purples–a field of purple wildflowers (yay!):

“Wildflowers,” Watercolor by Sheila D.

Sheila encourages, “Keep sharing your art with the world!”  You can see more of Sheila’s watercolors on her blog:  Sheila’s Corner Studio.

Suzette R. sent a textured yellow rose:

“In the Thicket of Things,” Photo by Suzette R.

She shared a quote:

Surely a star danced in Heaven on the day you were born. –Flavia

An interaction with Suzette a few months ago led to the creation of Karle’s Wings. [Thanks, Suzette!]. You can find out more about Suzette and take a look at more of her beautiful photos on her blog, Notes from the Road.

Pat M. of Serendipity shared a gorgeous mixed media magnolia on canvas.

“Magnolia,” mixed media by Pat M.

This piece began as a photo to which Pat added paper for texture and then oil painted.  This is definitely a technique I will try this summer. She also shares a quote:

To be an artist is to believe in life.  –Henry Moore

My “neighbor,” Patsy (PJ) from Tennessee, shared an interesting painting:

“Painting in a Book,” by Pasty L. (PJ)

The painting was completed in an altered photography book using acrylic paint and oil pastels.  The colors come from the original photos on the page.

Janice D. creates beautiful and inspiring mixed media pieces, some of which have a prominent place on one of my inspiration walls. She shared her “Dreamer.”

“Dreamer” by Janice D.

And writes:

Never let it be said that to DREAM is a waste of one’s time, for DREAMS are our realities waiting.  In DREAMS we plant the seeds of our future.

Finally, Christine sent a second card–a sweet reproduction of one of her fabric cards.  I shared an original fabric card in an earlier post.

“Fabric Hearts,” reproduction of a handmade fabric card made by Christine B.

Christine sent the card with a wish that it will “fill [me] with love.”  This card is one of my favorites–I have a thing for hearts, like I have a thing for purple and sunflowers–so it’s headed for an inspiration wall.

I have one more postcard to share, but I’m saving that one for another day–maybe, tomorrow.

For now…thanks ladies, for the beautiful artwork that brightens my journals, my walls, and my days.

If you missed the postcards I received through the regular swap, you can find them here:  Experiment, Create, Play, and Liberate.


Liberate Your Art 2017: “Experiment, Play, Create & Liberate”

The LYA blog hop has begun!

As mentioned in a post a few weeks ago, I participated in Kat Sloma’s Liberate Your Art swap again.  The swap has been running for seven years. I’d “just missed” the first year when I found out about the swap, but I’ve participated every year since.

This year’s stats:

876 pieces of art liberated
146 artists participating
12 countries
30 US states and territories

The words that make up Kat’s theme, “Experiment, Play, Create, and Liberate,” serve as “clues to an expressive, playful, and free approach to making art.” She encourages participants to “keep those four words with us over the next year as we create and share our art.”

I’m happy to report that I received all six unique pieces of art sent my way. [As usual, April is insanely busy, and I haven’t had a moment to stage and photograph the postcards in my environment, so please forgive me].

“Angles and Lines” by Christopher A. 

My first card came from Christopher of Michigan, a piece of art he created in December 2016. Christopher’s circumstances “made” an artist of him and compelled him to take a minimalist approach to art.  He works with what’s available to him–a pencil and a piece of paper folded to make a straight edge.

He shares a quote that appropriately captures his circumstances and his art:

I’ve wanted to somehow convey to you the sensations–the atmospheric pressure, you might say–of what it is to be seriously a long-term prisoner in an American prison.  –Jack Henry Abbott

A few days later, a little bit of Hong Kong graced my mailbox.  Kris sends “love from Texas,” but as she points out, the scene is clearly not Texas:

“Not Texas” by Kris Mc.

I love everything about this photo–the composition, the tone.  There’s so much story in this image!  You can find more of Kris’s stunning work on her blog, on Instagram, and on Flickr.

Greetings from Gabriola Island (Canada) came next.

“The Road to Cold Mountain,” by Paul T.

Paul had fun creating this piece, entitled “The Road to Cold Mountain.” I find it intriguing.  I’d love to know more about it!

Siobhan sent a calming photo postcard with a clock tower reflected on a rippling river.

“1902 Clock Tower” by Siobhan Wolf

The photo was shot at Riverfront Park in Spokane, Washington.  You can find more of Siobhan’s work at Wolf Tales, her blog.  I love her signature line on the card… #bethelove.

Ella sent a whimiscal watercolor.

“Puff” by Ella L.

Ella completed this watercolor a few years ago.  She sends her card with wishes for the “joy of playfulness.” Ella is a freelance illustrator who works with children’s books and poetry among other things. You can find more of her work on her website: Ellapointe Studio.

If you’ve been following along for the last several years, you know Kat’s postcard always ends the swap.

When I retrieved Kat’s card, I had mixed feelings–excitement because the “long anticipated” Kat card arrived, but disappointment because the card meant the end of the swap and I have to wait a year before it comes around again.

Digital Painting by Kat Sloma

Kat surprised me this year.  Instead of sending one of her photos, she sent a colorful digital art piece.  I realize, though, I shouldn’t have been surprised.  She’d been posting digital paintings via IG: kateyeview.  Trees are one of Kat’s favorite things to photograph, so I like how this image pays tribute to one of her favorite subjects.

Thank you Christopher, Kris, Paul, Siobhan, Ella, Kat and all the other wonderful artists who courageously share your art.  Your creativity inspires me!

I am so grateful for you, Kat.  Thank you for consistently, patiently, and meticulously coordinating LYA.  Your work pushes all of us to strive for the best in our work as artists.

Fortunately, side swaps help us liberate even more art.  If you’re interested in swapping away those extras, let me know. I’ll post the postcards I sent on “Microblog Monday.”

If you want to see more “liberated art,” check out the video featuring art from some of the participants. For a more comprehensive view of the exchange, click the tiny blue frog below.


Until next time…create more art!

Liberate Your Art 2013

It’s that time again!  The highly anticipated “Liberate Your Art” (LYA) blog hop!!!  Kat Sloma, again, organized her Liberate Your Art postcard swap, and again, I participated!  This is the third year Kat has hosted the swap.  She uses LYA to encourage artists of all media to share their work.  It’s a great opportunity for artists, particularly amateurs like me,  to step out of their comfort zone and share their work.

Each participant creates five postcards (same or different) and sends them to Kat with postage and address labels.  Kat organizes the postcards and sends them out into the world–two per week for three weeks.  The sixth fantastic postcard is always one of her own–her way of saying “Thanks for participating.”  Sharing one’s own work is just part of the fun.  The real fun comes when postcards start appearing in the mailbox from the other participants.  There is a great big international mailbox party going on for three weeks. Here’s what I found in my mailbox:

"Columns," 2011, mixed media on paper

“Columns,” by Eric Adama, 2011, mixed media on paper

Eric is a mixed media artist from the Netherlands.  You can find more of Eric’s mixed media art on his blog, CERULEAN.  He shares a Matsuo Basho quote on the back of his postcard: “Every day is a journey, and the journey itself is home.”

"Santos Cage Doll, Protector of the Birds," hand-sculpted over paper mache base, 9-10 inches

“Santos Cage Doll, Protector of the Birds,” by Kitty Mitchell, hand-sculpted over paper mache base, 9-10 inches

The sculpture is interesting and I’d love to see more of Kitty’s work.  Alas, there’s no website listed.

"Paper Cranes"

“Paper Cranes,” by A. Whitehurst

Amy took this photo at her favorite place, the Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden in Richmond, Virginia. Amy’s cheerful postcard also includes a quote:  “Change your thoughts and you change the world,” Norman Vincent Peale. See more of Amy’s work here.

"Go confidently in the direction of your dreams," Henry David Thoreau

By Elissa, “Go confidently in the direction of your dreams,” Henry David Thoreau

Here’s another beautiful mixed media piece.  I love the cheerful colors of this one too!  Elissa, a mixed media artist and photographer, hails from Chiltern Hills in the southeast of the United Kingdom. Check her out right here on WordPress:  Gallery Dee.

"Memories #1"

“Memories #1” by Roxi Hardegree

Roxie sends her elegant photo with blessings to a “fellow creative soul.”  See her work at Creating Beyond the Layers.

"Adorned and Alone," 2013

“Adorned and Alone,” Kat Sloma, 2013

Last, but certainly not least, Kat sends her piece.  The perfect piece to round out my LYA 2013 collection.  It’s simple, yet complex, a little fun; the tone is bluesy and jazzy at the same time.

Kudos to Kat for organizing this swap!  216 artists from 11 countries participated this year.  They shared 1290 pieces of art.  Kat’s purpose for organizing the swap is to get artists to share their work and connect with other artists.  She talks about it on her blog: Kat Eye View of the World.  Thanks for another awesome LYA swap, Kat!

I can’t remember whether I sent 3 or 4 photos into the world.  I was a bit “out of it” and had to rely on my photog friend, Cakers, to choose photos for me.  I recall being home alone, sitting in my home office staring at photo after photo after photo.  I was still seriously reeling from my sister’s passing and nothing made sense to me.  I selected an album, loaded it to Flickr, sent the link to Cakers and asked her to choose and rank the top 5 or 6.  I went with 3 or 4 of her choices (Thanks, Cakers!).  Don’t forget to click an image to view larger.

I simply love capturing images that inspire, intrigue, amuse and feed my spirit.  For me, there is so much joy in holding my camera and freezing a moment or scene.  I enjoy sharing my photos as postcards, greeting cards, note cards, bookmarks and even calendars and digital scrapbooks.  I’m not trying to make a living through photography, but I do work toward improving my technique and presentation.

I also thoroughly enjoy–and might be addicted to–the photographic creations of others.  I am inspired by them, not just to pick up my camera, but to create something beautiful in this life.

Similarly, I am inspired by every piece of art I’ve received through the LYA swap.  The photographers, in particular, push me to step up “my game” and take the time to play more with my photos.  I really need to put my Adobe software to more (and better) use.  Well, that’s my goal for Liberate Your Art 2014–kick it up a notch! If only I had time to take one of Kat’s tempting courses!

What about you?  Is there an artist in you that needs to be released?

One more thing: Please check out the blogs of the other participants by clicking below.  Enjoy!