Luminosity

To my beloved youngest sister on her birthday:

Taking life from the real to the magical and from drabness to brilliance, luminosity is the agent of glorious change. Little Sister is such an agent in many lives as well, bringing beauty and joy to us solely by existing, let alone having the sweetness and humor and wisdom that fill her with the warm inner light I so treasure. Simply, my world would be far smaller and more limited to the dull version of reality if it weren’t for the presence of her gracious illumination!

With that in mind, here is a series of illustrations of that progression of luminosity to celebrate the gifts of sisterly love.

graphite drawing

digital illustration

digital illustration

digital illustration

Rain Dances

It dances across my imagination, rain. It is flowing and musical and magical and, most of all, it catalyzes cleanliness and growth that reawakens the graces of the living world in ways that very few other things can possibly do.photoIt is what I think of as the soundtrack to my dreams, rain. The softly bubbling, rippling, tuneful and prayerful sound of rain in the background, after even the slightest dry spell, is as lovely in its way as a kindly lullaby, as the warbling of some exotic winged thing in a  woodland on a magical evening, perhaps even as a gentle reminder that the creative spirit of the universe weeps both with sorrow and with joy in harmony with all her creatures.photoOn every greensward, in every park in Spring, the land smiles with contentment even while the rain still falls, when rain is in its right place. This is a gift happily awaited by all who thirst–every creature and all the sweet, sweet growing things that fill our garden world. Whether it is thought of as saving for a rainy day or being saved by a rainy day, as much as I bask in the sun at every opportunity, there will always be a part of me that relishes and desires the generous presence of a kindly rainfall.

(I’m pleased to say that it has been raining here for the last number of hours. Life is good.)

In Dreamland

I live in my imagination. And I’m an artist. And further, I want to invite others into my imaginings, at least some of the time. I haven’t got endless resources when it comes to the skills and tools and knowledge it might require to make images that other people can indwell in the same way I experience them. When I ‘go to my happy place’, so to speak, I’d like to be able to take others along with me. It’s always so magical there that I want to share the delirious sweetness of the experience with anyone else who might like to try it.photoMuch to my surprise, I discovered recently that one of the characteristic things I do, and have done for as long as I can remember, is a technique that is now embodied in a photographic format so tremendously popular that it’s taken even to the point of software being developed to help accomplish the trick for you and dramatically called HDR (High Dynamic Range) imaging.  I am less dramatic myself, apparently, as I’ve always simply thought of my little tweak as good old-fashioned exaggeration. What this discovery (at this late date) says the most is that I’m slow to catch a clue. But it’s also somewhat heartening to me to think that despite my lingering ignorance of HDR–among innumerable things of which I am miraculously ignorant–I have actually been practicing techniques aimed at accomplishing what is newly center stage again in the visual art world.  Who knew. Me, being fashion-forward. Ha.photoI’ve long since striven to bring out the contrast and depth and the separation between different components of my visual compositions by intensifying various parts of the art a bit beyond plain statement of fact. I suspect that most of us at least feel that we see (never mind experience) the things we see with greater intensity than we could hope to fully convey to those around us. A little push might be required to help others to enter into our worlds fully. More saturated color. Wider contrast between the lights and darks. Sharper definition of edges, even to the degree of incorporating bits of ‘outline’ to imitate the separation our eyes naturally make in transitions between unlike values and textures and colors in the real world. And, in photography, since I can manipulate my pictures readily now that I’m a digital shooter, exaggerating those qualities in various parts of the photos by changing the pixels.photoThe joke’s on me, of course, because lacking either a camera that has HDR bracketing and stitching capabilities or the know-how or software to use any sophisticated quick-click methods to accomplish this look, I still plod through it by selecting the tones and textures, the areas of emphasis and low-contrast, and saturating or desaturating different parts of my pictures all by laborious hand-tooled means. My true artistry may be my unique ability to be both forward-thinking and backward-doing at one and the same time. But I’m okay with that, if it makes it easier for other people to find their way into my images. You’re all welcome in here too, you know.

Fly by Night

graphite drawingBeguiling Moonlight

Every autumn evening, at the end of day,

The moon’s pale eminence sends out a silver-shining ray

A-glinting through the branches and glimmering on leaves

And shimmering on spiderwebs tucked underneath the eaves

And calling all the kitty-cats from shadowed alleys out

To torment all the night-birds still fluttering about,

And drawing from their houses the dogs behind the slats

Of shuttered sleepy windows to torment all the cats,

And pulling on the heart-strings of every sleepy child

To call each one to play out in the moonlight, in the wild,

To dance among the cat-kins and soar among the birds

And leap among the moon-mad dogs and sing the magic words

That cast a spell of loveliness on creatures so, and soon,

We’ll fall asleep, each one of us, under the autumn moon.

Under Water

Fantastic Ocean

The sea has calls upon my soul, upon my heart, upon my will,

And if I drowned, I think I’d still rejoice the sea swallowed me whole,digital collage

For in my sight and in my dreams, the sea’s awash with magic grace

Not known by any other place than in its bottomless extremes,digital collage

And fantasy entwines with things that make imagination soar

Like birds and butterflies and more wild creatures than are real, whose wingsdigital collage

Embrace the spirit of the sweep of wave and current, saline skies–

Loveliness dazzling my eyes with all the treasures of the deep.digital collage

Black & White in a World of Color

digital painting from a photoI was just strolling along and running errands, minding my own business, when I spotted this little twosome toddling along a nearby lawn. The way that they bobbed in unison, then in counter-rhythms, then in unison again, side by side, made me think of piano keys. They were like visual music, these birds, unselfconsciously creating a silent but cheering melody as they made their way across the grass. And they were in sharp contrast, being mainly black and white, to the Technicolor world all around them which suddenly seemed a little dull and plebeian by comparison.

And I thought, that’s how art works for me. It’s not that it’s always spectacular in its showy presence, brilliantly executed or wildly original–just that it strikes me at the right time and in the right way to make me see both the art and its context a little bit differently. It’s one of the reasons that I so love black and white visual artworks, in fact: that the simple removal of the known and expected colors of the subject can make me see the mundane as magical and contemplate the distinct wonders of things that ordinarily I might pass by without noticing. I suppose it would be good if I could learn to do this with a whole lot more of my world a whole lot more often, and perhaps I would refresh my sense of wonder enough to truly appreciate how fantastic ‘ordinary’ life really is.photo montage