Friday, July 31, 2009

Friday Shoot Out--Food

For this shoot-out, street food in South Jersey, is, in one way, best represented by produce stands! Where I live in Vineland, there are many of these as well as farmed land. It is one of the things I love about it! Especially the fields of sunflowers which are in their infant stages right now. One of the pictures is of the farmland, just a piece of the vast expanses found in Vineland.

I also shared the Vineland produce auction, one of the biggest of the area. This picture is of one building among several. Then, Five Points Farmers Market. It is called five points, I believe, because five roads used to converge there; however, one of the roads is now blocked off.

The picture of Pat's was taken for multiple reasons. I pass by it everyday and my eyes and thoughts are always drawn there. Some places hold their ghosts. In the sway of the shredded plastic and the ravaged wood of the sign, spirits echo its past existence, reminiscent of loss. Yet, around its decay, life goes on.


Friday, July 24, 2009

One Great Blog--A Review

As someone fairly new to the world of blog, I sometimes check out the "blogs of note" section and search around for something interesting. There is one that is really standing out and I felt the need to write about it.

The blog is At first, the poetic title caught my attention. I am a poet at heart since poetry was my first art; I wrote my first poem in the fourth grade and never stopped. The blog itself lived up to its title's promise. The author of this blog, Sobrina Tung, is a born writer. She masters content, rhythm, and humor.

It is the typical "all about my life" blog but is anything but typical. She has a boyfriend, Alan, who is in his twenties and battling cancer. Sobrina openly discusses this. She takes you in and you follow her, taking you into the depths of sadness and then bringing you to fits of laughter. When reading this blog, you feel like you are talking to your best friend, who is philosophical, real, and hilarious.

Friday Shoot Out Reflections

Reflections is such a great theme for photography. When I told M, my boyfriend's eleven year old daughter, she was inspired to paint the above picture. I heard a person recently make the statement that we do not always know who we are affecting with our actions. I'm sure that when the founders of the Friday Shoot-Outs began, they had no idea they would inspire creativity in an eleven year-old! Thanks to the founders of this great project for that (as well as the many other great things that have come about from the friday shoot outs)!

When reflecting on reflections, I think in terms of duality, which I am always attracted to. Duality in any art medium has great value. Capturing two objects that appear identical often highlights the details of each as the eye seeks the differences.

In addition to M's art work, I have also included a picture of two planters on my balcony (I am still waiting for them to bear fruit!), a neighbor's potted flowers, a nieghbors bee stakes, and a reflection shot of a nearby lake. Hope you enjoy reflecting on my photos (and my puns!)

Monday, July 20, 2009

Review of Plain Truth by Jodi Picoult

I just finished Plain Truth by Jodi Picoult. I enjoyed this one better than her novel that was recently made into a movie, My Sister's Keeper. I liked My Sister's Keeper but thought the twist at the end was a little too "how can I make this ironic", which robbed it of some genuineness.

However, Plain Truth, while also having its "ironic twist", seemed more genuine and more resonance. Her presentation of the Amish community brought many of their values to the forefront while also showing them as real human beings. The main characters were interesting and provocative as was the plot.

Jodi Picoult does not quite hit the literary mark that I prefer and have gotten from other sources. However, I do generally like many of her descriptions, characters, and storylines. Particularly in this novel, I felt a connection to Ellie and Katie and I liked how human they were. These two characters were so different from each other demographically (age, culture), yet understood each other in a deep way and were spiritually similar.

The parallels and divergences in comparing them as characters really highlights what is universal about women and our feelings surrounding the ideas of "mother". On a bookmark scale from one (burn after reading) to ten (I'd read this book ten more times), I will give this novel a 7.5.

Friday, July 17, 2009

Friday Shoot-Out Yard

I technically do not have my own yard, so I "borrowed" the yard of others in my town of Vineland. The majority of these pictures were taken on a "photo walk" with my boyfriend's daughter. She is eleven and has a fantastic eye for photography. She gave me permission to post two of her photos from the walk--she took the three red flowers and the squirrel.

This was the second photo walk that we have taken together and it is a great way to enjoy a nice day as well as explore and practice the art of photography. I know that I take a lot of pictures of flowers but they are so perfect for photography because of the variety of colors, textures, and shapes that they provide. Another wonderful thing about flowers and photography is the way the light hits the petals and the way shadow pools.

The red tub picture took a lot of attempts to get. I drive by the yard almost everyday but there are no shoulders on the road and there is almost always someone behind me as I am going by. I wanted to capture it, though, because I think that the people that use the red tub as a planter were very clever in their landscaping! I really love the whole vignette they created with the red tub as the centerpiece. Hope you enjoy!!

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Seeing in Black and White (and Shades of Gray)

Two of my passions are psychology and literature which makes it no surprise that I am a "gray" person. To me, practically nothing is black and white; everything has a caveat or multiple caveats--nothing is simple. This characteristic is a strength and a weakness at times; even not being black and white is not black and white!!

When it comes to the visual arts, though, there is great value in black and white. I love black and white ink drawings and black and white photos. There is something in the colorlessness that is attracting and provocative, if done right. Some of the most beautiful photographs I have seen have been black and white. I am not sure why this is but it is definitely something I want to explore in terms of photography and drawing. As I do, I will share it in my gallery blog.

I am a little behind on putting my art in my blog gallery because I have not really created art lately. Life has been chaotic due to birthdays. Many people I care about have birthdays at the end of June and beginning of July. I ate enough birthday cake to cover me for ten years!

I put a black and white version of a previously posted flower that I took in my friend's backyard. Also, as I have mentioned before, I love mandalas. There is an artist who has done really wonderful black and white mandalas; that website for those interested is I came across this website through googling mandalas--which I recommend anyone to do because so many wonderful websites come up!!

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Friday Shoot-Out Texture

Sorry I am late!! Here are my pictures for this week's theme of texture. I loved this choice and really like the idea of trying to capture texture through photography. Texture is typically a tactile sense so the job of the photo is to let the viewer have the tactile experience through a visual element. That is the real challenge for the photographer. I know that I did not master this and will continue to work in this area.

I really love photography and love being part of the friday shoot out to see everyone's different styles. I do have my favorites, too, of the friday shooters. Some of you shooters do some incredible work!! One question I have is what is the ideal number of photos for these posts? Most of the time I do 3 to 5 but would do more if that is what would work better.

The photos I have included are, a "by the side of the road" shot that I thought had interesting textures, a "trees" shot because I think that trees have such varying and interesting textures, a shot from the National Zoo in Washington because seals skin are interesting in terms of texture, and a shot of water that had an interesting texture in its dips and currents. I can't wait to do more! Hope everyone has a wonderful weekend!!

Monday, July 6, 2009

Happy Birthday to the Dalai Lama

Today is the Dalai Lama's birthday which is fitting that it is so close to our independence day. Part of finding inner peace is finding independence from attachments to material things. Also, to remind ourselves of the importance of love and compassion and to be our true selves is definitely worth contemplation and celebration.

I tried to remind myself today to be an embodiment of compassion towards all sentient beings. Then, I saw the new Transformers movie and found myself being judgmental! The actress, Megan Fox, was dressing in a way that I thought was overkill and her lips were obviously surgically enhanced. My inner feminist was coming out and I became judgmental of her. Love and compassion sounds easy, but it takes time to spiritually evolve and deal with our human flaws. I will continue this journey and not beat myself up about it too much--got to have compassion for myself as well!! The picture above is a statue of bodisattva of compassion taken at the National Gallery in Washington DC.

I send out love and compassion to all sentient beings and pray for the greatest good for all sentient beings everywhere. Happy Birthday, Dalai Lama!!

Friday, July 3, 2009

Friday Shoot-Out Celebrating Life

It is interesting that this was the choice for this week since yesterday marked the 35th year of my life! As a Cancer, I am a water sign and am drawn to the ocean, so I included some shots from Sea Isle and Wildwood. One of the shots was more suited to last week, the umbrellas with the rainbow colors, but I did not get the shot until last Saturday. I also included pictures to celebrate America since tomorrow is Independence Day. The moon and stars are because the moon is Cancer's planet. That is why I feel energized when there is a full moon! Happy 4th of July everyone--have a great weekend!!