Welcome Home

April 9, 2011

“Sweet is the hour that brings us home,
Where all will spring to meet us . . .”
     — Eliza Cook, “The Welcome Back”

Here are some images of welcoming homes in my neighborhood:

Basket of spring flowers on the porch

Pansies and watering can on the porch

Bouquet of tulips through a window

A neighbor's front steps

Withered flower in the Woodland Park Rose Garden

“The skies they were ashen and sober;
The leaves they were crisped and sere —
The leaves they were withering and sere;
It was night in the lonesome October
Of my most immemorial year.”
     — Edgar Allan Poe, “Ulalume”

Self-Propelled Flowers

August 6, 2010

“Butterflies are self-propelled flowers.”
     — R. H. Heinlein

Postman butterflies at the Como Park Zoo

“But these are flowers that fly and all but sing . . .”
     from “Blue-Butterfly Day” by Robert Frost

While I was in Minnesota, my sister-in-law took me to the Como Park Zoo in St. Paul.  They had a special exhibit of butterflies in a portable tent.  I was captivated by their bright colors.  It wasn’t until later, when I looked at some of my photos, that I noticed how ravaged some of their wings were.  Such fragile and short-lived beauty.

Seeing double

Aptly named Owl Butterfly

Blue Morpho with a hint of its hidden brilliant blue coloring

“Happiness is a butterfly, which when pursued, is always just beyond your grasp, but which, if you will sit down quietly, may alight upon you.”
     — Nathaniel Hawthorne

Finger perch

A yellow flower

Ode to Some Yellow Flowers
by Pablo Neruda

We are dust and to dust return.
In the end we’re
neither air, nor fire, nor water,
just
dirt,
neither more nor less, just dirt,
and maybe
some yellow flowers.

Yellow daisy

Unusual yellow peony

Flower made from five squares of folded paper

I admit that it’s a bit out of sync to make artificial paper flowers when the gardens outside are full to bursting with fresh blooms.  But I love to play with paper and was inspired by some instructions for making Japanese Kusudama, folded paper flowers, in a book filled with intriguing papercrafts:  Playing with Books:  The Art of Upcycling, Deconstructing, and Reimagining the Book by Jason Thompson. 

Playing with Books

The paper flowers were easy to make, and I love the finished product.  The flowers are constructed from five square pieces of paper, which are folded identically into five petals.  The book recommends using 6-inch squares, but I made my squares 5 x 5-inches and was pleased with the results.  Here are some step-by-step instructions:

I cut five 5-inch squares from old magazines

Fold each paper in half to make a large triangle

Fold two corners down to make a small square

Use your finger to open each flap and then . . .

. . . press flat

Fold up tips on both flaps

Then fold each flap in half and inward

To make a petal, fold inward and glue (I used paperclips instead) the innermost flaps together

Then glue (or paperclip) together the five petals

Finished flower

Decorative folded paper flower

Gift wrapped in recycled newspaper and embellished with folded paper flowers and paper curls

Flower Photographer

May 6, 2010

“Anything that excites me for any reason, I will photograph; not searching for unusual subject matter, but making the commonplace unusual.”
     — Edward Weston

Pale yellow iris

I never set out to be a flower photographer, but when I review my body of work from the past year, I realize that nearly one-third of my photographs are of flowers.  This was an unconscious choice on my part.  I set out to record my life through the four seasons of a year, and given the lushness of the Seattle landscape, my eye was naturally drawn to the ever-changing newest blooms.

I think my photographer’s eye has been influenced by Georgia O’Keeffe, one of my favorite painters whose work includes many, many close-up paintings of flowers.  I’ve savored many books about her art over the years, have visited her home in Abiquiu (which is now a museum), and have been to a couple of exhibits of her work.  It’s very possible that what I love about her flower paintings is what I try to capture in my photos.  I am drawn to the curving lines, patterns, and colors within a flower.  The abstractions please me.

Flowers are also ideal models.  It’s easy to secure their cooperation.  They pose so gracefully.  And they don’t require model releases.

I haven’t yet tired of taking flower photos.  I’m curious to see how this year’s photos will differ from last year’s.  I expect you’ll be seeing more of them in this blog.

One flower photographer whom I discovered last year, Jonathan Singer, now has a beautiful book out of his flower photographs.  It’s called Botanica Magnifica.  It was interesting to me to see that he did not always photograph the “perfect” bloom; you can see blemishes and tiny brown spots on some of the flowers.  Here is an example of his work from the book:

Jonathan Singer's Iris "Jean Marie" from Botanica Magnifica

Spring Equinox

March 20, 2010

“For, lo, the winter is past, the rain is over and gone;
The flowers appear on the earth; the time of the singing birds is come . . .”
     — Song of Solomon 2:11

Fresh tulips at the Pike Place Market

“There is something infinitely healing in the repeated refrains of nature — the assurance that dawn comes after night, and spring after winter.”
     — Rachel Carson, The Sense of Wonder

Exclusive Blue

June 15, 2009

Mountain bluet

Mountain bluet

Blue and yellow pansy

Blue and yellow pansy

Delphiniums

Delphinium

Delphinium

Delphinium

Delphinium

Delphinium

This bee loves blue flowers, too

This bee loves blue flowers, too

“Her flowers were exclusive blue.
No other color scheme would do. . . .
All blues, she found, do not agree.
Blue riots in variety.”
     — Robert Francis, “Exclusive Blue”

Grandmother's Flower Garden Quilt

Grandmother's Flower Garden Quilt

I made this Grandmother’s Flower Garden quilt entirely by hand in the late 1970s.  I used fabric scraps from a quilt featuring color wheels that I made for a class in Color and Design at the University of Minnesota.  Now that gardens are blooming with color, one can easily see how descriptive the name of this quilt is.

Yellow quilt block

Yellow quilt block

Orange quilt block

Orange quilt block

Yellow and blue quilt block

Yellow and blue quilt block

Blue and red quilt block

Blue and red quilt block

Red quilt block

Red quilt block

White Walk

May 26, 2009

Sometimes I want to rest my eyes from all the color surrounding me.  So I’ve been seeking out the color white on a few recent walks.  Lovely.

Miniature daisy ring on my front lawn

Miniature daisy ring on my front lawn

White poppy

White poppy

White flowers by white rock

White flowers by white rock

White flowers by white picket fence

White flowers by white picket fence

White lilacs

White lilacs

White flowers that look like white butterflies

White flowers that look like white butterflies

White daisies

White daisies