#ThursdayTreeLove | The Dance of the Magnolia

There is something arresting and unearthly about a magnolia tree in flower. Something that dances between divinity and dementia.  —Pavithra K. Mehta, Magnolia Tree

Louisiana girl that I am, the Southern Magnolia is [naturally] one of my favorite trees. I’ve been trying to “perfectly” capture the magnolia blossom for years. I remember stopping to photograph the blossoms whenever I could before our move from New Orleans because I wanted the perfect magnolia from New Orleans to deck one of our walls.

I managed to capture a few satisfactory shots before we left. They’re far less than perfect, but the expertly composed shots of the flower by my brother [on display in my parents’ home]  and other photographers encourage me to keep working on it.

“Inside the Magnolia”

So, here are my meager magnolia offerings for #ThursdayTreeLove. I shot some on campus a week ago just after a rain shower and some at my cousin’s house a couple of weeks ago before my grand color exploration with the tiny one.

I felt the photos needed texture, so I added just a little [hopefully] without compromising the natural beauty of the flowers and tree.

The magnolia leaf, so elegantly formed, remains strong and glossy even after its fall.

Some of the blossoms deserved the stroke of Impressionism, so I “painted” some.  I’ve come a long way with my art skills since I made a mess last week–thanks to the Impresso app. 😉

These are in various stages of bloom. My photo of a tightly closed bloom is “meh” at best, so I’ll spare you that one.

“And the time came…”

The tricky thing about photographing magnolias is finding ways around the height of the tree. The campus trees are really tall, but I was able to get nice “beneath the blossoms” shots.

“Twinsies”

“The Underside of Perfection”

The gorgeous “end” of the flower.

“Bald and Beautiful”

And finally, here’s a quick video I made of one of the magnolias on campus enjoying the company of the other trees. Thanks to Amanda, one of my photographer friends, for the tip about Pixaloop, which gave me the moving clouds and birds.

I quote Pavithra M at the beginning of this post. Her short piece, “Magnolia Tree” powerfully communicates the essence of the magnolia and our attraction to it. Be sure to click over and give it a read. But should you neglect doing so, I leave you with her closing words:

I think about this outlandish tree that races back to Time’s cradle, and its flowers that open alarmingly wide as if to swallow the sun, the way it gives itself madly to the moment. With radical generosity and no reservation. And what would be possible–if we could learn to live like that.


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.

#ThursdayTreeLove | A Second Chance with the Japanese Magnolia

Spring is definitely here in Northern Alabama! I’ve been enjoying the buds and blossoms and looking forward to those that are on the way. I was on spring break when the Japanese magnolia on campus blossomed, so I completely missed opportunities to photograph the tree. However, when my cousins [who live nearby] posted a photo of a newly farmed patch of land on their property, I spied in the background the pink blossoms of the tree!

The magnolia was in no way the focus of the photograph, but those blossoms commanded my attention.

A few days earlier–while photographing the purple tulips–I remarked to a friend that I missed the magnolias this year. I can’t remember what prevented my pausing for a few shots [after dropping my son off at school]. Was it rainy weather or a desire [read: need] to spend all free time during the break sleeping?

The tree offered forgiveness for my neglect of its earlier splendid display, and I thanked it for a second chance to accept its beautiful gift.

This particular magnolia usually blooms in late winter–a much needed burst of color after the long, gray winter.

The tree is known by many names–Japanese Magnolia, Saucer Magnolia, Tulip Trees (which is what I first called them).

After I posted a photo on Instagram, a friend told me she had never seen the Japanese magnolia before, so I’m sharing a couple of links with a bit more information about the tree.

Spring’s explosion is short-lived, so be sure to take some time to notice the flowering trees. I’ll be back with more tree blossoms for our next #ThursdayTreeLove–if I can wait that long. 😉


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.

Ciao!

“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