Up on the Roof in France with “The Drifters”

On the roof, it’s peaceful as can be
And there the world below don’t bother me.

I’ve been singing The Drifter’s 1962 major hit, “Up on the Roof” for weeks now.  I can’t get it out of my head! Why this random singing of a song that was written before I was born? The culprit is this postcard sent to me for a Liberate Your Art side swap:

“Rooftop in Apremont-sur-Allier” by Louise Mamet

The rooftop photo was captured by my blog pal Louise of Drops of Everything.  Louise has such a unique perspective. I always enjoy her postcards and her blog.

This particular photo features the rooftop of an old home in the “adorable village” of Apremont-sur-Allier in France.  I am really interested in architecture–I especially enjoy studying the similarities of architecture in different areas of the world–so this was the perfect selection for me.

Louise sent her postcard in an envelope and included a splendid postcard advertising an exhibit at the Grand Pressigny–La Femme dans la Préhistoire  [Women in Prehistory]–a subject right up my alley.  Now, I just have to figure out how to get to France by the end of November.  😉

La Femme dans la Préhistoire

She also included one of her business cards which is so perfect I can’t resist sharing it here.

Photo by Louise Mamet

You can find more of Louise’s photography on her blog: Drops of Everything and on Facebook.

Louise prefers postcards in envelopes, so when I sent a postcard to her I included a postcard reproduction of artist/illustrator/graphic novelist Eric Drooker’s  “On the Roof” to prolong our visual conversation.

“On the Roof” by Eric Drooker

Up on the roof, up on a roof
Everything is alright, everything is alright

I didn’t realize when I sent the photo that I’d be introducing Louise to a new artist, so that was a bonus.  And your bonus–the perfect song to end the week.  Take a listen.

Maybe, you’ll be singing “Up on the Roof” too!

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.

Ciao!

Photo Magic: Exploiting the Possibilities

I’ve been playing around with photos more than usual lately, altering them in PhotoShop and iPhone apps.  I love putting them through multiple processes just to see what evolves.  My selections for Liberate Your Art 2017 came out of such photo-play.

The postcards I sent began as a purple orchid and a pink coneflower.  Both were captured at the New Orleans Botanical Garden in late January–a blog post for another time.

Here’s the orchid–original and altered.

Purple Orchid, Original New Orleans Botanical Gardens, 2017

Magical Orchid, 2017

The orchids were protected in an enclosed, temperature-controlled space. However, the coneflower survived outdoors despite the winter weather.  It offered one of the few glimpses of color in the Garden that cold January afternoon.

“Coneflower,” Original, New Orleans Botanical Gardens, January 2017

I “transformed” the coneflower in many ways and couldn’t decide which to choose for LYA, so I decided to have all of them printed as postcards.  I selected randomly for the swap.  Here’s a peek at 10 of the 15 edits.

“Coneflower Magic,” 2017, Collage Made with PicsArt

Even though I struggled (as usual) with selecting photos for LYA, I chose these not because they represent my best work but because I had so much fun with them.  Since so many things have been so serious and heavy this year, I wanted to share lighthearted images.

A photograph can be naturally beautiful, flawless even, but there’s still something liberating about exploiting the possibilities of it.

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!

“Art Takes Courage”–Liberate Your Art 2016 Side Swaps

The party is never really over with Liberate Your Art.  It is pure pleasure to find a “random” postcard from another LYA participant in my mailbox.  I had the good fortune of sharing with many other photographers and artists long after the swap and the blog hop.

Wanna see?

“Dandelion in Snow,” Photo by Christine

Christine of Flagstaff, Arizona has been a faithful postcard sender since our first interaction shortly after Liberate Your Art 2016. She sent the dandelion with the blessing, “May you find peace and love everywhere you go.  Enjoy life.  Share and trust.”

“This Spring” by Christine

This was not one of Christine’s LYA selections.  She shot the photo in the spring and lamented the crazy weather–snow in May with wind that took the petals off the trees.  Fortunately, she was able to capture the beauty before the ravages of unpredictable weather.

And for the last LYA 2016 postcard, Christine sent a photo of gulls she captured in Mexico on the Sea of Cortez.

Photo by Christine

“Six Sand Pipers Walk on Water,” Photo by Christine

She also reminded me that “Today is the tomorrow I worried about yesterday,” so “live it up and enjoy!” Christine introduced me to the fabulous Love Notes community and regularly sends postcards to many in the group. [For the record, I know the postcard depicts only three birds].

Pat sent a distressed crow with hugs from the Pacific Northwest.

“Birds-Eye View,” by Pat M.

The problem with not posting things soon after receiving them is I misplace all sorts of pertinent information, like whether or not Pat has a blog or how we even connected.

Laurie of Color Poems shared a sweet photo postcard of peonies, chives, and atmint from her garden.

“From My Garden,” by Laurie

Laurie and I “met” three years ago via LYA 2013. She has since been a loyal supporter of “Pics and Posts” and of me personally.  Along with well wishes, she shared a quote on the back of the postcard: “With the coming of spring, I am calm again.” –Gustav Mahler

Sheila Delgado is a multi-media artist I met a couple of years ago through LYA.  She’s been enjoying new ways of painting my favorite flower–the sunflower.

“Sunflower Twins,” by Sheila Delgado

Sheila also printed a bit of creative inspiration on the back of her card.  She appropriately selected a Georgia O’Keeffe quote:  “To create one’s world in any of the arts takes courage.”  Sheila features more sunflowers and other art on her blog: Sheila’s Corner Studio.

Louise’s postcard made its way to me from France. She shared a view of Venice.

“Venice” by Louise Mamet

Louise, a professional photographer, described her visit to Venice as “magical.” Check out her stunning photos at Drops of Everything.  If you have time for little else, check out her post on the “swimming pool turned museum.”

Kat van Rooyen is a certified zentangle teacher and a photographer. Can you guess what she sent?

“Zentangle,” by Kat van Rooyen

The original was drawn on Canson watercolor paper with a Micron O1 Sakura pen. Kat’s artistic wisdom graced the back of the postcard: “No one can see through your eyes: no one can speak your art. Create!” If you want to know more about Kat and/or zentangles, find her at Hearts Untangled.

Sherry, who lives on a remote island off Kodiak Island, Alaska, sent her mixed media piece with hugs and a John Muir quote–“In every walk of nature, one receives more than he seeks.”

“Conceive, Believe, Achieve” by Sherry H., Amook Island Creations

I originally met Sherry through swap-bot, but it’s such a delight running into her through LYA.

When Janice posted her extra postcards in the LYA Facebook group with an offer to share, I could not pass up the opportunity of getting my hands on this elephant!

“Indian Elephant,” Art by Janice D.

To use a teeny-bopper/college student expression, this elephant is “everything!” Both my mom and my little one collect elephants, so I really wanted the elephant for them.  The purple–my favorite color–is a bonus. 😉 Beyond the purple, I appreciate this piece because elephants are soooo hard. Okay, for me any drawing presents a bit of a challenge, but I remember drawing elephants for my little one when he was actually a little one.  He celebrated all my elephant art and even though his aesthetic sense has developed quite a bit, he still encourages more than laughs at my drawings and sketches.

Find more of Janice on her blog: Janice Darby Photography.

I swapped art tools with Lynn, who describes herself as an”environmentally conscious” artist: I sent her a pencil and she sent me lots of pencils.  Even trade, right?

by Lynn

“Soul Colors,” by Lynn R.

Lynn can be found at the Studio at Piney Creek Acres or, if you don’t want to make the trip to Pennsylvania, at Trash Bubbles and Life’s Little Bits.

And finally, this impressive magnolia was from a 2015 LYA side-swap, but it came long after the 2015 posts. I love the quote on the front of the card.

“Sweet Magnolia Blossom,” by Shelley Shockley

The heat of the sun awakens my spirit

just as it unfurls the petals of the

first magnolia bloom of spring.

If memory serves me well, Shelley and I both included magnolia photos among our 2015 selections. There are so many types and they’re all simply breathtaking, so it’s nice to include others’ magnolias in my collection.

Want more of Shelley? Check out her blog: Consider This: Visual and Verbal Views from Collinwood.

If you missed my two earlier LYA 2016 post, you can find them here: Tardy for the Party and My Photos into the World.

Ciao!

NaBloPoMo November 2016

Liberate Your Art 2016: My Photos into the World

Yesterday, I shared the postcards I received via Liberate Your Art 2016, so today, I’m talking about the postcards I sent for the swap. If memory serves me well, I sent four postcards out. Some older and some newer.

Lone Boat, 2004

Lone Boat, 2004

I captured this photo of a boat sitting in the water at the approach to Goree Island in Senegal.  I shot the original photo on my first “real” digital camera, an Olympus Camedia.  I’ve always liked the colors in the picture, and I have other photos of this boat and others like it. The boat’s colors drew me in.  I altered the photo in the Superphoto app for iPad.

Colored Pencil, 2011

Red Pencil, 2011

I read the “Broken crayons still color” quote somewhere and decided to make this postcard in honor of women in my life who feel “broken” by life and circumstance. I wanted each woman to remember to embrace the parts of herself that are broken and realize that there are ways to be broken and still be whole, healthy, and beautiful.

I shot the photo while playing around with the macro settings on my first Canon Digital DSLR (the Rebel). I added text to the photo using the Rhonna app.  It is stunning when printed on Red River Paper’s polar pearl metallic stock–every photo looks better on that paper, really! I was tempted to forgo professional printing and print the photos myself!

Blossoms Blanket, 2015

Blossoms Blanket, 2015

The fallen cherry blossoms are almost as pretty as the blossoms on the tree. They form such a beautiful carpet of soft pink petals on the areas surrounding the trees.  I captured these last spring while walking through campus on the way to lunch with a friend. I altered the original photo in Superphoto.

Sadly, I completely missed the cherry blossoms and pear blossoms this year.  I almost missed the dogwoods.

And lastly, I sent “Grace.”

Butterfly and Grace, 2015

Grace, 2015

This is a photo you may have seen before. I posted it last July with the title Everything Changes. Then, it was paired with a Frida Kahlo quote.  I can almost guess my state of mind when I added that quote, but as I contemplated the photo and how it was “achieved,” I felt that it would be more appropriately titled “Grace.”

The moment this photo was taken was “grace.” My camera and I have been on “vacation” from each other, but every now and then (like the afternoon this photo was shot), I experience a moment of reprieve and of artistic “blessing” in which the colors and the environment cooperate and allow me to exhale at a crucial moment. I’m not sure I’m particularly fond of the photo itself, but I love the combination of pink and green with a touch of yellow.  For me the quote makes this photo. Though I have altered versions of this photo that I actually like better, I decided to send the original for the swap.

So that’s it for now. See something you like? Let me know, and I’ll send it your way.

Stay tuned for a final LYA 2016 soon. I have a few side swaps in transit, so I’ll blog the “after party” when those come in. Until then…

Have joy!

 

 

 

Tardy for the Party: Liberate Your Art 2016

Imagine my chagrin when I checked my email the morning of April 18th and realized that I’d completely missed the Liberate Your Art 2016 Blog Hop! I was sick for days about it. I blamed Tax Day and the madness of April for my missing out. Oh well. I eventually dusted myself off, and now LYA is my first blog post for May.

Again, I participated in Kat Sloma’s Liberate Your Art Postcard Swap, a swap she founded to encourage artists of any medium to share their art with the world. The postcard party just completed its sixth year.

This year there were:

  • 1050 pieces of art liberated
  • 175 artists participating
  • 12 countries represented

I received all six of the postcards that were sent to me this year. Here they are:

"Innocence" by Amy Irwen

“Innocence” by Amy Irwen, November 2015

Amy hails from Rosemount, Minnesota. She created a handcut collage made of paper, ink, paint, and gel medium transfer.  The attacks on Paris in November 2015 led her to create this piece, a commemorative of lives lost.

LYA 2016-4

Art Journal Painting by Linda Richards

Linda sent greetings from Sunny California.  She shared a reproduction of a painting she had done in her art journal while visiting her son in Missouri.  This image with earth tones and splashes of reds, yellows, and blues is calming and exciting at the same time.

"Journal of My Soul," Rosanna Pogaun

“Journal of My Soul,” Rosanna Pogaun

Mabuhay from the Philippines!  Rosanna sent her beautiful flower with God’s blessings of love and a reminder that the good news is written on God’s handiwork as well as in the Good Book.

"Twilight Eagle," by Diana Brady

“Twilight Eagle,” by Diana Brady

Diana also hailed from California.  She shared her “twilight eagle” with a gorgeous purple sky and the silhouette of trees in the background.  On the back of the card, she penned a poem by an anonymous Native American poet:

What is Life?

It is the flash of a firefly in the night.
It is the breath of a buffalo in wintertime.
It is the little shadow which runs across the grass and
loses itself in the sunset

Light and Bird Mosaic

Light and Bird Mosaic

While we’re on the subject of birds…The artist who created this gorgeous mosaic did not sign a name, but wrote a brief poem on the back of the postcard:

Light and Bird
fused
in the
transparent
morning
sky…….

If you’ve been following my blog over the last year or two or three, then, you’d know that the last postcard sent for the “official” LYA swap, comes from Kat, the swap’s founder, coordinator, and all-around awesome person. She sends her card as a “thank you” to participants.

LYA 2016-5

“Gatekeeper” by Kat Sloma

Trees are among Kat’s favorite thing to photograph, so I wasn’t the least bit surprised to see the trees. I love the way she “stacked” this photo allowing the trees to serve as primary frame for the moon but still hold their place as focus of the photo.  You can find more about how Kat crafted this photo here: Masking in Stackables (Mobile Tutorial).

She typically includes the a LYA motivational thought on the back. This year:

LYA 2016-6

And Kat’s last word of the swap–

[Kat Sloma] I created this year’s final celebration art piece to remind each and every one of us that we are on a journey. We may start on the path of liberating our art timidly, fearful of the response we are going to get. Art is such a personal thing, it can feel like we are putting a piece of our heart and soul out there, where others may reject it. But you know what? The more you liberate your art, the easier it gets. The more confident you get. You just have to keep taking small steps.

Kat Sloma’s Final Piece for LYA 206

Kat typically ends the celebration with a piece she creates. Notice how she weaves the postcards sent for the swap into her “final” creations. She writes:

I created this year’s final celebration art piece to remind each and every one of us that we are on a journey. We may start on the path of liberating our art timidly, fearful of the response we are going to get. Art is such a personal thing, it can feel like we are putting a piece of our heart and soul out there, where others may reject it. But you know what? The more you liberate your art, the easier it gets. The more confident you get. You just have to keep taking small steps.

Thanks, ladies, for all your beautiful work!

Now, of course, we can’t “participate” in the swap by simply receiving postcards. We have to create something and share it with the world, so tune in tomorrow–or maybe, the next day–when I’ll share the postcards I sent for LYA 2016 as well as postcards I received in “side swaps.”  I still have many left, by the way, so if you’re interested in a “side swap,” let me know.

Want more artistic inspiration?  Check out the LYA 2016 Blog Hop.  Hop to it!

 

 

Liberate Your Art 2015: A Quick View of the After Party

This year, like last year, I engaged in a little post-Liberate Your Art swapping and received more beautiful artwork to add to my LYA collection. Although many started swapping even before Kat Sloma sent the postcards, I preferred to wait till the blog hop to begin swapping–I like the element of surprise.

Here are the post-swap cards I’ve received so far.

Shelia Delgado

Watercolor by Shelia Delgado

Sheila of Sheila’s Corner Studio shared this pretty watercolor.  Instead of having her postcards professionally printed, Sheila printed her own, front and back.  She shared a personal note wishing me a “fantabulous” day and included a couple of quotes:

One eye sees, the other feels. Paul Klee.

Imagination needs moodling–long, inefficient, happy idling, dawdling and puttering. Brenda Ueland.

“Crow in Flight” by Marsha

Marsha of Winnipeg, Canada sent this “heavily textured” photograph of a crow in flight.  She shot this photo a year ago. Marsha works with various art forms–photography, quilting, watercolor, gelatin monoprinting and more.  You can see more of her work on her blog, Coolquilting.

“Shipyard of Camaret,” by Louise Mamet Photography

Louise sent these ships with best wishes from Brittany, France. You can find more of her photography at Drops of Everything: Sharing Steps From My Path of Life.

Mixed Media by Heli

“Old Ways Do Not Open New Doors,” Art Journal Page by Heli

This one wasn’t exactly a direct swap.  Heli’s postcards took the long route from Finland to Kat’s address in Oregon and didn’t arrive until after the swap and blog hop were over.  Kat called for five volunteers to send Heli a card and she sent cards to the volunteers on Heli’s behalf.  Poor Heli. She even paid for expedited shipping. I’m pleased that I volunteered.  This is such a beautiful work of art. It is likely a reproduction of an art journal page.  Heli’s blog, Art Journal – Coloured Stories, features many of her art journal pages.

Finally, I received two mixed media cards from Janice who challenged herself to break out of her usual mode of art (photography) and ventured into mixed media this year.

“Love, Peace, and Joy” by Janice

This dreamcatcher postcard will be framed and placed in my office at work.  I was secretly coveting the image (below) when I saw it in a number of LYA blog posts and Facebook posts, so I was thrilled to find it in the envelope with an encouraging message written on the back:  “Share your passion!”

“All You Have to Do Is Fly,” by Janice

Check out all six of her LYA 2015 creations on her blog: Janice Darby: Photography Through My Eyes.

Thanks, ladies, for the cheer you added to my crazy May and hot June days. Thanks for creating art and for having the courage to liberate it!

Haven’t had enough? Check out the video Kat put together (of one postcard from each participant):  LYA Video.  The video is in the middle of the post.

Enjoy!

[Note: A few people requested a swap, but forgot to share contact information.   Please leave your email addy in the comments section and I’ll be in touch today. Thanks!]

Let’s Go to the Hop: Liberate Your Art 2015

What a maddening month (so far)! I’m happy to take a moment out of my busy end-of-the-academic-year life to focus on pretty things and happy mail.

For the fourth consecutive year I participated in Kat Sloma’s Liberate Your Art swap.  Again, I sent my art out into the world and have had various expressions of art land in my mailbox in return.

This year I received five of the six postcards that were sent to me.  That’s a little improvement over last year when two postcards went missing. I also received two extras in private swaps.  Here are the postcards I received.

Liberate Your Art 2015:  At Work

Liberate Your Art 2015: Postcards Received

I know this isn’t a very creative or interesting display, but the postcards are “on exhibit” in my “temporary” work environment.  There was an electrical fire in the building that houses my office, so our entire unit is slightly displaced in another building on the basement floor.  Although I can look out (and up) the windows and see beautiful trees all around me, my office walls are bare.  Fortunately, I had the LYA postcards in my craft pouch, so I used them and a couple of photos that I was using as bookmarks to add a bit of color and beauty to the wall I face as I’m working on my laptop.  There’s nothing like a wall of words and art to make me happy all day long!

Let’s take a closer look:

"Summer's Memories (Nellie's Flowes)" by Jane Ross

“Summer’s Memories (Nellie’s Flowes)” by Jane Ross

Jane of Reston, Virginia shares this beautiful reproduction of her mixed media art.  She includes an Australian Aboriginal proverb on the back of the postcard: “Those who lose dreaming are lost.”  She also encourages, “Let your imagination soar”–advice perfectly aligned with the soaring birds in her art.

KnoHerPhotos

“Tiny Tumbleweeds” [my title] by KnoHerPhotos

Jeannette sends greetings from Oregon.  I love these “tiny tumbleweeds” and the shadows they cast on the surface.  Jeannette’s “art starts with her camera.”  Mine too! You can find more of Jeannette’s work beautiful work at KnoHer Photos on either Facebook or Flickr.

"Natural Beauty" [my title] by Cathy

“Natural Beauty” [my title] by Cathy

Cathy hails from Arkansas.  This still life is simply elegant.  She also sends an inspirational quote. “Write it on your heart that every day will be the best day in the year” (Ralph Waldo Emerson).  You can find more of Cathy’s still life photos on her blog, Gramma’s Little Corner.

"Mondrian 2.0: A Tribute to Dutch Painter Piet Mondrian (1872-1944) by Will Conway

“Mondrian 2.0: A Tribute to Dutch Painter Piet Mondrian” (1872-1944) by Will Conway

Will of Dover, New Hampshire sends wishes for a creative and rewarding year of art.  I am delighted to be introduced to another artist.  Mondrian is new to me.  Like many LYA swappers, he included a quote: “All art is autobiographical.  The pearl is the oyster’s autobiography” (Federico Fellini).

"Imminent Downfall," by Kat Sloma

“Imminent Downfall,” by Kat Sloma

My last postcard of the “official swap” came from Kat, our lovely swap organizer.  Needless to say, this tribute to autumn is clearly a favorite.  Kat writes, “When you liberate your art, the world is a better place. Thank you!”  This does little justice to the word art she places on the back of the postcard each year.

So here it is–

"Kat's Postcard Back," LYA 2015 Thank You

“Kat’s Postcard Back,” LYA 2015 Thank You

I took a little liberty and added the texture.  The postcard back is white. You can find out more about Kat’s photography, the swap, and the courses she teaches by visiting her site:  Kat Eye Studio.

And here are the bonus cards.

"Cakers Knitting," by Cakers

“A Knitting Selfie” [my title], by Cakers

My friend Cakers surprised me and sent one of her postcards when she sent her set to Kat.  She writes, “My art is knitting and photography combined.  Knitting is what I do to calm my mind.  Photography is what I do to express my creative side.”  She includes a quote about knitting “Properly practiced, knitting soothes the troubled stpirit, and it doesn’t hurt the untroubled spiriti either.”  Elizabeth Zimmerman.  You can see more of Cakers art–both knitting and photography–on her blog, Cakers and Company.

And finally, when I saw Sherry’s postcard on the LYA Facebook page, I immediately fell in love with it. She generously offered a postcard to anyone who wanted one.  I accepted, of course!

"Wonder" by Sherry Harmes, Amook Island Creations

“Wonder” by Sherry Harmes, Amook Island Creations

Sherry writes from Amook Island, a remote island off Kodiak Island, Alaska. Notice how she includes a tiny portion of the map in her mixed media piece.  She admonishes,” Conceive, believe, achieve!”

Thank you to all of the artists whose work now adorn my office wall (I’ll be contacting your shortly).  An especial thanks to Kat for committing so much time and energy to the swap year after year and all the helper-swappers in Oregon who give their time and assist her in getting things organized and ready for mailing.

As usual, I had a difficult time selecting photos.  I had postcards made of six and couldn’t decide which one to eliminate, so I let family and friends decide. Even though it was also a challenge for them, everyone voted (against) the tulip.

"A Tulip for You," Huntsville, Alabama

“A Tulip for You,” Huntsville, Alabama

Here are the postcards I liberated. You may recognize “Abandoned,” “December Rose,” and “Dogwood” from earlier posts.

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As usual I enjoyed the swap and am looking forward to next year.  The inspiring work I receive and the amazing bloggers I encounter through Liberate Your Art push my creative growth.   I find myself experimenting more with different subjects, composition, textures and colors.  Every year, it seems, by the time the swap rolls around, I’ve added new techniques, either in composition, or in post-processing.

In liberating our art, we give ourselves to the world.  But it is an amazing gift that we also give ourselves.  We lose self-consciousness and self-judgment and give ourselves permission to create beauty where we are and as we see it.

I have a few postcards left, including the tulip, so if you’re interested in swapping LYA 2015 postcards, just let me know in the comments or via email.  Also, if you’re interested in my 2012-14 Liberate Your Art posts, you may see them here: LYA 2012; LYA 2013; LYA 2014.

You can find out more about the swap and artists by checking out the Liberate Your Art blog hop.  Let’s go:  Liberate Your Art 2015 Participants and Blog Hop!

Playing with Black and White (Part III): Buildings

For the last couple of days, I’ve been sharing monochrome photography exchanged through swaps I hosted in “A Thousand Words,” a group of swap-bot.  You can see the first two posts here and here.

The third swap in the series focused on buildings–inside or outside, part or whole. My partner, Cakers, captured most of the images below while vacationing in Cancun, Mexico for the Christmas holiday. She sent four striking notecards that I can’t wait to write on with my white ink.  [Click an image for a closer look]

I love the interior of the one building (lower right), and the play of light and dark in all the shots.

I sent my partner three notecards. I can only remember two of the shots I sent. I’m thinking about using the B&W “version” of the photo below for Liberate Your Art 2015. The other is a modification of a 2012 photo.

“Abandoned,” Madison County, Alabama, 2014

I found this beauty one afternoon while my hubby, son, and I were on the hunt for great photo opportunities. Here it is in color–

“Abandoned”

And here’s the modification of an earlier photo–

Chapel of Peace, Whippoorwill Academy and Village, Ferguson, North Carolina, 2012

Chapel of Peace, Whippoorwill Academy and Village, Ferguson, North Carolina, 2012

You can see the color version of this photo in a December 2013 post.

Here’s a bonus shot from Midteacher sent for another swap.  Can I consider a stairway part of a building?

“Stairway in Traverse City,” Photo by Midteacher aka DBW

She loved the stonework and couldn’t resist taking a photo.  I see why!

I’m looking forward to more B&W/monochrome photo swaps in our little photo group. I just set up “Teddy Bears and Dolls” and “Trees.”  I’m excited to get started!

If you’re into monochrome photography, you should check out Leanne Cole’s blog. She hosts a series called Monochrome Madness. I haven’t gathered the courage to share any of my images there. Soon, though. Maybe.

Until next time…