so i might as well turn it into art

I’ve been taking pictures for a few years now without the slightest idea as to what I’m doing. By that I mean that I have no working knowledge of how photography works. I know so little, I feel embarrassed each time I pick up my camera and point it at things.

But I’m a stubborn sort of woman and I keep pointing and shooting and agonizing and researching and at this moment in time I have amassed approximately 8,000 pictures that live in my computer.

and i really should do something with them

So I’ve been looking into the vast unknown tips and tricks inherent in Photoshop and Lightroom and looking at things like textures, borders, and all sorts of other things that a 60+ year old artist with luddite leanings feels a little weird doing.

anyway…

I need to make all this shit work artwise so that I don’t feel like I’m pissing away time and money. Here’s my first attempt at making a photograph look like something remotely interesting. If anyone feels compelled to comment, I’d be interested in your thoughts.

Red Bird on a Wire by Linda Saboe

Red bird on a wire

edit: Textures by RuleByArt.com. Great stuff to be had there.


things i don’t want to talk about and some pictures

There has been a lot going on lately, most of it not so good and I just don’t want to talk about it. Or type about it. Or even put it on Facebook.

I don’t want to talk about how my sweet dog, Loki is suffering from stage 3 chronic renal failure.  I don’t want to talk about how she needs subcutaneous fluids three times a week for the rest of her life. I don’t want to talk about how we are constantly failing to administer her fluids successfully at home and have to keep running to the vet and will probably just give up and have the vet do it every time. I don’t want to talk about how utterly distraught I am over this. And I know it’s not very constructive, but I don’t want to talk about how I feel about anything — I’d rather break something with a loud, crashing noise.

So, instead, I’ll show you a few pictures I took of some of the things growing on the deck.  This one is a closeup of a tomato flower which will hopefully turn into a sweet little plum tomato.

tomato flower

tomato flower

 

And then there’s the opposite end of the deck-tomato spectrum with this huge, not yet ripe Black Krim.

Black krim tomatoes

Black krim tomatoes

 

These very tiny flowers of watercress are looking all artsy-mysterious dressed in a cyanotype filter.

flowering watercress

flowering watercress


buds and bolts

Spring has been unusually hot this year. This week we’re looking forward to our first heat wave with temps up into the 90s and lots of humidity. Thunderstorms are in the forecast too. I know I shouldn’t complain about the weird weather because, well, after all, our congresscritters just held a vote declaring that climate change is real but it’s not our fault. Humans had nothing to do with it. So there.

In the meantime, random climate change has caused some of my plants to flower and bolt early. Here are a few in my yard that are well into summer even though it’s only May. Even though it’s not our fault.

First to bolt was my lovely sorrel, which I planted in a deck pot last spring. She rose up with gorgeous, lemony leaves, of which I managed to eat two or three before she bolted practically overnight. She puts forth such delicate little buds on long, gangly stems that it’s a pleasure to look at her instead of eating her.

sorrel buds

sorrel buds

The arugula saw the sorrel bolt and decided it was done and sent up these pretty little flowers.

arugula flower

arugula flower

Of course, the tomatoes should be sending out flowers — I just hope fruits follow quickly.

tomato flower

tomato flower

I swear there were no flowers on the nettles yesterday but today there are plenty.  I guess this year’s crop will be harvested for seed instead of leaves.

nettle flowers

nettle flowers

I’ve never had so much yellow dock spring up and immediately bolt than this year. There’s gonna be a lot of root digging later on.

yellow dock

yellow dock

And this little pennycress is included because she’s just the cutest little thing. I love that she has pods and buds all at the same time.

pennycress

pennycress


new lens and old, shaky hands

I bought a new lens a few weeks ago. It’s a largish (for me) zoom lens (Sigma 70-300mm).  As soon as I opened the box, I ran out to play with it.

and was very disappointed.

Not in the lens so much as the fact that I couldn’t seem to hold it steady enough to get a decent shot. It’s been a few years since I had a largish zoom and apparently, my ability to hold a steady grip has diminished as my years have advanced.

*sigh*

After much discussion and reading and research, I’ve been trying to play with the ISO, shutter speed and other settings in hopes to compensate for my pitiful hands.

two things that i used to be proud of was my exceptionally sharp eyesight and my steady hands. both are in decline and it makes me sad.
but anyway…

So today I spent the whole day working on this and I think I’m making some progress. I don’t like using a high ISO because I hate noisy photos, but I may have to learn to live with that in order to get reasonably good shots without hauling a tripod all over.

Here’s the best of the bunch from today and a few using smaller lenses from last week.

These three are of a cardinal who was very busy with his mouth full of seeds or bugs or something. I think he was trying to impress the little female who was flitting all over the yard.

cardinal on a wire

cardinal on a wire

This last one is my favorite.

cardinal on a wire

This hanging basket is over on my neighbors deck. I shot it through a little gap in the bushes and trees that are between our yards.

hanging flower basket

This is from the other day/same lens. This is also the iron hook that fell off the deck and smacked me good. Luckily, I turned away and just got a nasty bruise on the side of my body and not a cracked skull.

iron hook

And the rest of these are of flowers in the front yard, shot the other week using a smaller zoom, which apparently I’m also having trouble holding steady. <insert frowny face here>

white/green tulip

very tiny daffodils

orange tulip

philadelphia fleabane

philadelphia fleabane

yellow/green tulip


stuff in my yard and a new lens

I have this lens that a dear (but sadly departed) friend sold me many years ago. It’s a Sigma zoom 28-300mm and it was my favorite lens. And then it broke. No more zoom. So, this many years later, frustrated by not being able to zoom and wanting to get close to the things in my yard, I impulsively bought another lens. This one is a Sigma 70-300mm. It’s a relatively cheap lens as lenses go, not as versatile as my poor broken one, but I think it will serve my purpose. I’m not a “photographer” by any means and I barely know what I’m doing (never quite getting the whole f-stop thing). I just like to take pictures.

So, without further ado, here’s some test pictures with the new lens of stuff growing in my yard.

Cherry blossoms in the gully.

cherry blossoms

 

more cherry blossoms

Variegated Solomon’s Seal among the Pachysandra.

variegated solomon's seal

 

A tangle of violets taking over the side bed in the back yard.

tangle of violets

 

Some chickweed in pots on the deck.

chickweed

And of course, the lovely potted Elder sending out her leaves.

elder leafing out

And, the stately but thorny Devil’s Walking Stick (there are several varying in height from about 3 ft. to possibly over 10 ft. I can’t tell. I’m too short.

devil's walking stick

 

And here, for no other reason than to show the world that even though these guys owe their very existence to me (I did sculpt them, afterall), it doesn’t stop them from judging me. *sigh*

gnome and gargoyle


spring is sprunging…er…spranging…er…it was nice out today

It was a very nice day out today. I managed to assess the winter damage, put the grotto to rights, turn compost, ready the container garden on the deck and even uncover the back walk. And even even take some pictures of the feats.

Deck containers are ready for planting.
containersready

Daffodils!! The story goes that my maternal grandpop won prizes for his daffodils.

daffodils

Elder budding

elderbudding

more elder buds. This is the artsy stuff. See the artsy shadow?

elderbuds

Purple crocus!

crocus

Witch Hazel needs some help. It was a hard winter.

witchhazel

Feverfew will grow anywhere. Even in macadam.feverfewdriveway

And, of course, my favorite spring friends: dandelion and dock.dandiliondock

Not everything was all that wonderful. Winter was strangely harsh this year. Not a ton of snow (except in March) but a lot of frigid temps that killed off or distressed some of my plants and unfortunately, more than a few animals.

Upstream doesn’t look so bad, but…

upstream

Downsteram was a mess.

downstream

And then I found a dead fox that made me very sad.dead fox

And the catbird skull which now lives in my office.

catbirdskull

Winter’s leftovers will be dealt with next weekend.

xmasleftover


march roars

March snow storms are usually the worst ones in this neck of the woods. Something about rising temps, wetness, the tilt of the earth, or maybe just Winter’s last violent gasp? I dunno what exactly, but they are heavy, treacherous to drive or walk through, but often the most beautiful of the season. Isn’t it the way of it, that the more dangerous a thing, the more beautiful it is?

Here are some photos from a few hours ago. There’s much more snow now, and if accuweather is to be believed, still more to come.
march snow

march snow

march snow


camp tables du jour with an immediate ikea upgrade and a surprise

(I started writing this  last month, but never posted it. Things tend to get away from me. Finally, posting with updates).

We’ve been in this house for almost 15 years, and I have yet to manage to carve out a permanent work/office/studio niche. Over the years, I’ve had to move my office about four or five times for various reasons (people coming, people going, etc.). For the past four years, I’ve been sharing my husband’s office space, which eliminated our only guest bed, and my art stuff has been living on a small camp table in the sunroom with the bulk of the art supplies down in the basement. Not the most efficient work set up. And no more overnight guests.

When my younger son needed a place to stay while work was being done on his bathroom, the only place he could sleep was on the couch in the living room, which was not ideal. The cats enjoyed watching him sleep, but it would have been better if he’d had a bed to sleep on in a room with a door to keep the cats out.

The day after Christmas, our dear iguana died (I’m still very sad) which opened up about four feet of floor space in the sunroom.  This sad state of affairs prompted me to move my stuff out of Brni’s office so that we could put a bed back in there for guests.  But I soon realized that there was no way I could fit my huge computer desk in the sunroom and still have room for me. My solution is less than ideal, kind of terrible looking, but I think it might work out okay. Here’s my new setup.

campoffice1

Milo is dubious about the whole thing.

campofficemilo

(update: 3/5/15)

And as it turned out, I found I needed an immediate upgrade to a more efficient and not so ugly workspace. There’s just no inspiration when surrounded by ugly.

so….

Off to Ikea I go, right before Brni’s birthday (big party/a future post for that) to get an affordable setup. I found components I could put together with loads of drawer space for all my computer and art stuff, plus an underneath shelf space in the corner for things I don’t use frequently (like my powdered pigments, wax, paints, and other things that I use to create cold patinas on my sculptures). I even have space for my sculpture stand. The table tops (three of them) sit on the drawer/shelf/file cabinet units, maximizing space and making the whole thing really sturdy. It took me two days to assemble the drawer units (four of them) with Brni’s help when my thumbs gave out.

my deskI really like this set up. Except for the hideous panelling on the wall. I plan to rip that out in the Spring, replace it with drywall and install above the desk shelving.

The day after I put it all together, Brni surprised me with a belated birthday present. This most fabulous, awesome-est printer!

awesome new printer

My very old Epson R800 gave up the ghost last year and I just couldn’t bring myself to spend the money to replace it, so I stopped doing my own printing. But this! I can do so much more with this (huge) printer and the quality is superb. There are nine pigment inks with four different blacks! I’m beside myself with the joy of it all (thank you, dear huzban’).

And Milo is so much happier (parrots do not like ugly either).


time flies for no reason i can fathom

Honestly? Three months since I put anything up? Appears I have a bit of catching up to do.

Since Poor ol’ Punkinhead made his appearance around Halloween, I’ve finished up a few sculptures. The Chameleon came out very satisfying, was in a show and sold the first night! Go lil’ lizard! Here he is.

Jackson's Chameleon

Jackson’s Chameleon

There’s a couple new sculpts that were fun to do — visual puns of sorts.

Sheep in Wolf's Clothing

Sheep in Wolf’s Clothing

Tortoise and Hare

Tortoise and Hare

Also managed to do a few illustrations, one of which I kinda like. This was for a story, “Bookends” by Michael Wehunt,  which appeared in The Journal of Unlikely Entomology, Unlikely Story, Issue 10.

Cicada Lullaby

Cicada Lullaby

 


punkinhead out for tricks or treats

Poor ol’ Punkinhead was out trick or treating last night but managed to scare most doors to close too quickly to get much in the way of treats. Poor ol’ Punkinhead still wishes everyone had a Happy Halloween.

Punkinhead


chameleon in progress (and i need a new camera)

The chameleon I’ve been working on is just about done. Some finessing will happen as it dries, but the sculpting part is done. I’m kinda pleased how he turned out but I am not so pleased with the pictures. My beloved Pentax K10D is dying. I can barely get it to focus and the noise levels are crazy even in good light and itty bitty ISO.

but i have no money for a new one so i’m sad

anyway…

Here’s my not so wonderful picts of the chameleon. If he makes it through the fire and somebody loves him and buys him, I’ll get a new camera. 

chameleon

chameleon

chameleon

chameleon facing the other way


better pics of poor fillipe

Found better pics of poor Fillipe. He was embarrassed by the ones I put up before. I hope he forgives me now.

Fillipe the Frog and his Fly by Linda Saboe

Fillipe the Frog and his Fly by Linda Saboe

Fillipe the Frog and his Fly by Linda Saboe

Fillipe the Frog and his Fly by Linda Saboe

 

 

Fillipe the Frog and his Fly by Linda Saboe

Fillipe the Frog and his Fly by Linda Saboe

 

Fillipe the Frog and his Fly by Linda Saboe

Fillipe the Frog and his Fly by Linda Saboe

 


fillipe the frog and his fly

My huzband showed the security guard where he sometimes works a picture of my (then) unfinished frog sculpture. She immediately named him Phillipe. I don’t know why.

Here he is, all done with his colorful patina. I changed his name to Fillipe because well, he’s a frog and preferred to have his name spelled with an f.

Two views below…not the best phone photo. sorry.

Fillipe the Frog and His Fly by Linda Saboe

Fillipe the Frog and His Fly by Linda Saboe

Fillipe the Frog and His Fly by Linda Saboe

Fillipe the Frog and His Fly by Linda Saboe


new illustrations

I have five illustrations in the new book, Bad-Ass Faeries: It’s Elemental, edited
by Danielle Ackley-McPhail, L. Jagi Lamplighter, Jeffrey Lyman
, which is now available at Barnes & Noble and soon elsewhere.

Here’s three of the five. You can see the rest of them up in the illustration gallery link way at the top of this blog (*points skyward*) or, of course, by purchasing the book.

I’m pleased with the way they turned out…hope you all like them.

Water Beings by Linda Saboe

Water Beings by Linda Saboe

Fire Beings by Linda Saboe

Fire Beings by Linda Saboe

Air Beings by Linda Saboe

Air Beings by Linda Saboe


cock has wings

The Cockatrice is almost done…hollowed him out last week and yesterday, he finally sprouted his wings. He’ll be flying off soon to stare evil people down and turn them to stone.

Here’s two quick view…

cock has wings

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

cock has wings

 


cockatrice gets a weasel

I should be farther along with this sculpt than I am, but last week the back went so I didn’t get to the studio. But today there is progress! The cockatrice now has a weasel, which is the only beast immune to the cocks stoney stare.


Cockatrice in progress with weasel

Alas, he still has no wings.

Cockatrice in progress-no wings yet

But there will be dead things.

Cockatrice in progress with dead things


lion gargoyle has a new home

Incredibly, the Lion Gargoyle has found a new home. He left me today for life with a fabulous family who live in the wilds of Phoenixville. I find it very fitting that gargoyles live in Phoenixville.
Thank you, Jean and Michael!

Lion Gargoyle by Linda Saboe

Lion Gargoyle by Linda Saboe

 

Lion Gargoyle by Linda Saboe

Lion Gargoyle by Linda Saboe

Lion Gargoyle by Linda Saboe

Lion Gargoyle by Linda Saboe

Lion Gargoyle by Linda Saboe

Lion Gargoyle by Linda Saboe


a cockatrice

I was doing a little casual research looking for more ideas for my Unlikely Gargoyle sculpture series and came across this wonderful image on what I think is a cathedral in Switzerland of a dragon with a cocks head. I showed it to Brni and he said, “Oh, a Cockatrice!” A Cockawhat?

Apparently, this is a mythical beast with the head of a cock and the body of a two-legged dragon. The Cockatrice is able to petrify anyone with just a glance. The only creature immune to this fierce beast’s glare is the weasel.

hmmm…

It appears I must do a Cockatrice as my next Unlikely Gargoyle. And then after that, I just might do that weasel.

a humble start…

cockatrice in progress

cockatrice in progress


unlikely gargoyles – a squirrel in time for spring

Finishing a sculpture is more than a good feeling. It’s kind of like the day after you give birth and you have to keep staring at the results. And sometimes poking the baby to make sure s/he’s still breathing.

With sculpture, you have to know when to stop poking it. With kids, you can continue to poke them till they start poking you back.

anyway…

I think this one might just be done.

Squirrel Garboyle by Linda Saboe

Squirrel Gargoyle by Linda Saboe

Squirrel Gargoyle by Linda Saboe

Squirrel Gargoyle by Linda Saboe


i coulda been a gargoyle

The frog sculpt’s destiny as a gargoyle was thwarted by everyone at the studio who bemoaned that it was too much a frog to be a gargoyle and that I should make a different gargoyle frog. I proved too weak to fight and succumbed to artsy pressure. So now, the frog who could have been a gargoyle is just a frog drying and waiting to be fired. *sigh* 

frog drying

frog drying

frog drying

frog drying

frog drying


before frogs become gargoyles

they are just frogs.

Made reasonable progress on the little frog gargoyle today. Next week I’ll hollow him out (which consists of slicing him in two, scooping out the innards and then smooshing him back together. Sculpture is not a gentle art form. After that he’ll get his gargoyle wings, maybe fangs or a horn and some details on his skin.

but…

Everybody at the studio wants me to leave him as an ordinary frog. They said, make a different frog into a gargoyle.

argh.

Doing a series of unlikely gargoyles is going to be more difficult than I thought.

Here’s froggy so far…

frog (soon to be gargoyle) in progress

frog (soon to be gargoyle) in progress

frog (soon to be gargoyle) in progress

frog (soon to be gargoyle) in progress

frog (soon to be gargoyle) in progress

frog (soon to be gargoyle) in progress

frog (soon to be gargoyle) in progress

frog (soon to be gargoyle) in progress


patinas-a-go-go

So things get away from me sometimes and tend to bunch up. Which means I now have a rather large group of sculptures waiting to be finished. They’re all fired, some have the start of patinas, others are bare and probably embarrassed to be photographed.

sculptures waiting

patinas in progress

The poor gnome on the left has been waiting for almost two years for attention, and the abstract forms may be plotting rebellion. But the lion, even though youngest of the group, is just about done. The other gargoyle will be next in line as there is a show being planned featuring gargoyles, so he must be ready.

Sorry, gnome.


a series of unlikely gargoyles

I’ve decided to do more gargoyles. I’ve been making animal gargoyles for a while now but without any real direction or thought to a cohesive style or theme — basically, I’ve just been having fun turning animals into gargoyles.

Last month I started doing a squirrel gargoyle, which is now waiting to be fired. At the same time I was working on the squirrel, I was also working on issue 8 of Unlikely Story as well as thinking about how to update my website to a more active way of showcasing my art and maybe getting a little business (art is expensive to make and I’m running out of surfaces to place all the sculpts, so um — I need to make some sales so my house doesn’t look like a hoarder lives in it).

So today I started a new critter — a frog gargoyle. Here’s the progress in pictures thus far.

frog gargoyle in progress
Here’s a couple more angles.

frog gargoyle in progress

frog gargoyle in progress

It’s a bit hard to see, but the frog has a fly in his grasp.

frog gargoyle in progress

vultures have a patina

The vultures came through the fire intact. I was concerned about them cracking around the wings or necks, but apparently, the fire gods were smiling. I decided on a bronze-like patina for them, which I think came out okay. I see all the flaws, but I hope you don’t — or can at least forgive me for them. 

Now, I need to find a base to attach them to. I’m thinking simple but on the tall side. 

anyway…here they are.

Image


close avian encounters of a surprising kind

so…

Having finished planting some tomatoes and peppers in the deck boxes, I was leaning on the railing, contemplating nature and stuff, when a young blue jay swooped up from the gully and landed on the railing about 4″ from my elbow. He looked at me, I looked at him, and then a big male robin bombed him and a lightning quick scuffle ensued.

Blue jay beat wings to the other side of the deck with a broken tail feather and the robin, beak full of feathers, perched on the telephone wire and pooped his displeasure.

 


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