At The Beach

Making Time

I’ve heard it said that people make time for the things they love. Or maybe it’s that we should make time…

For what’s important. Things like family and friends and chasing after dreams or sitting down to finish that book that was started weeks ago.

Other important things always seem to make their way up front first, demanding the time, things like laundry and dishes and bills and answering e-mails. For some it’s hard to set these things down for a minute and go watch a sunset or run outside after a rain and look for the rainbow. But I love moments like these. These refresh me and give me the energy and creativity for the all the other important things.

Sometimes I have to gather up my family and pull them along with me on late sunny afternoons to enjoy this place we live in.

We pause long enough to get sandy and be tumbled along in salty waves. We look for shells and seaglass and read books. And we let the stress of the long weeks at school and work get carried away by the tide.

And we’re happy for making the time together.

There is a time for everything,
    and a season for every activity under the heavens:
    a time to be born and a time to die,
    a time to plant and a time to uproot,
    a time to kill and a time to heal,
    a time to tear down and a time to build,
  a time to weep and a time to laugh,
    a time to mourn and a time to dance,
    a time to scatter stones and a time to gather them,
    a time to embrace and a time to refrain from embracing,
    a time to search and a time to give up,
    a time to keep and a time to throw away,
    a time to tear and a time to mend,
    a time to be silent and a time to speak,
    a time to love and a time to hate,
    a time for war and a time for peace.

Ecclesiastes 3:1-8
Photography, Time for Art

Creating With Light and Memories

Preperation

 

Cyanotypes – Printing With the Sun 

Lazy summer days. These are the days I long for. Summer days hold the most beautiful treasures. Summer is slow and hot. Sometimes it brings the adventure of long-awaited vacation, sometimes endless days of boredom. And somewhere in between something magic happens. An unexpected new interest pops up.

Summer memories linger and stick together and ask to be seen and thought of in a different way. Those moments of lazy boredom mixed with adventure become inspiration for new creations.

Three summers ago I picked up a sun print kit when my family and I were camping along the shores of Assateague Island State Park  –a long and beautiful barrier island off of Maryland and Virginia, with wild horses! You may know her famous sister island from Marguerite Henry’s children’s book Misty of Chincoteague.

AssateagueDream

Since that trip three summers ago, I’ve wanted to experiment with the sun print . The alternative photography process is called a cyanotype. Paper is treated with an iron solution which is light-sensitive. Here you can place an object directly on the paper and expose it to light, creating a photogram or essentially a negative image. You can also use  large format negatives to create a positive image.

For my first experiments I opted to order Cyanotype Paper from B&H Photo Video  and create my own photograms.

 

I grew up in the days of film and I miss creating this way. Photography in high school and college was a full hands-on experience in creating art. There was a slowness to the process which necessitated a lot of thought; selecting–and knowing–which film to use, loading the film into the camera, being limited to 24 or 36 frames, and thinking about each shot as a single image.

Once the shots were taken, a delicate and particular process began to even be able to see what you had selectively captured.

As I type this I can’t help but think of the time spent for a single image and how much I enjoyed that process.

The process of photography itself felt like a meditation in creation.

Now when I head out with my camera–whether it’s with my always-with-me and most accessible iPhone 7plus, where I share my photos on Instagram, or my Canon–I am no longer limited by the number of photographs I take. The way I interact with each image has a vastly different feel. I no longer spend this meditative time with a group of images, unless I am purposing to use them for a specific project.

A few weeks ago I found a local artist who was offering a workshop making cyanotypes. My summer start making sun prints had left its mark. I couldn’t wait to sign up and learn and create.

The process of creating cyanotypes brought back those memories and feelings of just starting out in photography.

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We mixed chemicals and waited.

I looked at each object I wanted to make an image of, I considered the paper I had and cut it to the size I wanted for each image, I brushed on the chemicals in a darkroom and waited for my paper to dry. I then composed my image in the darkroom before bringing my paper out into the sunlight.

 

I waited for the sun to expose the image and then brought the paper back into the workshop to wash and stop the developing.

 

This process was slow and unhurried. We met from 12-5. Those five hours flew by. I could have stayed in that space for hours more.

Now I can’t help but dream up ways to take over and convert a small portion of our own  house into a mini darkroom and get lost in the creative process of making more cyanotype prints.

FramedHeartIMG_7214

What is it that you love to create? The thing you could spend hours doing and it feels like no time has gone by?

 

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Books, Children's Books, Picture Books, TBTPictureBooks, Thrift Shop

Why Share a Picture Book?

mom

I’m celebrating along with Picture Book Month this November!

When my Grandma Annie had to move from her home and downsize, as the family photographer, I was given a tin of old photos. In the tin I found this beautiful photo above of my Grandpa reading a picture book to mom when she was just a little girl.

I love how sharing a picture book with children transcends generations.

So, why share a picture book? 

Share For the Joy of Learning & Discovery

A few great reasons and many great books–

Debbie Ridpath Ohi, a children’s book writer and illustrator, has a great article, Why Picture Books Are Important on her website.

“an unread picture book collecting dust on a shelf is just paper and cardboard. The magic begins when a child or grow-up reader opens up the book.” -Debbie Ridpath Ohi

Share For the Memories

I think an important reason to share picture books, one no study can measure, are for the memories made from reading together.

My Grandma Betty saw my Facebook post about my collection of vintage picture books from thrift stores. The next day I got the sweetest e-mail from her,

“I have five books my Mom used to read to me. In Dutch. I hauled them out when I read you look for old children’s books and as I flipped through them so many memories of my Mother came back.” 

She even blogged about it. Read her post, Memories.

I love reading with my kiddos. We read picture books (wordless and wordy!) and long chapter books with daring adventures (Treasure Island was a favorite).

I hope my own children can look back fondly of our time reading together and, like my Grandma, remember how much they were loved.

Here’s one of my favorite picture books. Wordless and Wonderful! photo 3

photo 4

I was so excited to find this one in a thrift store. It’s a first edition from 1975. It’s a discarded library copy, so it isn’t in perfect condition, but I love that it was an original.

This book by Mercer and Marianna Mayer is a wordless picture book. The only skill a young reader needs, imagination.

I’d like to think of this as children’s self-help in the area of sibling rivalry. Just look at those little frog faces! If you have kids, those looks are familiar. I may have seen similar looks from my son to my daughter and my daughter to my son… I think that’s why we have so much fun with this book.

One Frog Too Many is still in print. This is my children’s copy.

photo 2

Happy Picture Book Month!

What’s one of your favorite picture books?