Sunday, October 15, 2017

Photographic Art from My Visit to Eden's Organic Garden Center and CSA Farm

About three weeks ago I shared my trip to Eden's Organic Garden Center and CSA Farm. I mentioned in that blog post that I had turned a couple of the images I had taken there into new photographic art prints. In this post I will give a bit of a back story on how those images came about and show my photographic art images created from them.

While I was waiting for the tour of the farm to begin, I shopped the organic produce offered for sale from local farms. I selected a couple of different types of squash and placed them on the counter. The purveyor was not there to check me out at that moment. I looked at the squash laying on the counter and thought it had the makings of a still life image. I took the liberty to add some greens and beans to the composition and scoot some of the other items on the counter out of the frame. I took a few shots and returned the items I had moved to their original locations as best I could. The size of the squash dictated a landscape orientation for the image and one whose aspect ratio worked well for a 5x7 print, which is what I developed from one of the images I shot.

At one point in the farm tour, I glimpsed a commotion out of the corner of my eye. I turned my head to see something flying away from a large spider web. I asked if anyone else had seen what had happened and we went to look more closely at the web. No one else had gotten a better look. The spider was a large orb spider, however its web was missing its signature Z pattern. We surmised that a large grasshopper or cicada had likely been what we had seen escaping from the web and it tore up the Z section as it got away. I managed to get a few shots of the orb spider in its disheveled web before the tour resumed. I titled the resulting 8x10 photographic art print "Just Missed".

You can find more information about Eden's Organic Garden Center and CSA Farm on their facebook page. They host small neighborhood farmers' markets on the 1st, 3rd and 5th Saturdays of a month from 9am to noon (April - Dec.). Look for their sign out front and drive all the way back down the driveway to the big shade tree by the barn.

Thursday, September 28, 2017

New North Texas Botanical Artist Group

I attended the organizational meeting of the Botanical Artists of North Central Texas. It was held at Botanical Research Institute of Texas and organized by Dennis Benjamin, who works at BRIT. There were just over a dozen artists there. Most of the artists' main artistic expression was through painting or drawing, however there was at least one artist who also sculpts and another branching out into photography, in addition to my photographic art.

Dennis shared his reasons for establishing the group. He wants a way for botanical artists in the region to share their joint interests. The group is designed to be informal, inclusive and welcoming of all mediums and styles, but with a botanical focus. The initial plan is to become an Artists’ Circle of the American Society of Botanical Artists, with the long term goal of creating a certificate program in botanical art, possibly in concert with a regional academic art program, such as TCU, SMU or UTA.

The group welcomes additional members. You can find out more information on its Facebook page. Several activities are being planned for the upcoming year.

The poke salad image was taken by me in my backyard and digitally altered. The lilac fibre cap mushrooms (Inocybe lilacina) are a watercolor by Dennis Benjamin.

Friday, September 22, 2017

Eden's Organic Garden Center and CSA Farm in Balch Springs

I had the pleasure of taking a tour of Eden's CSA farm earlier this year. I got there early and prior to the tour I observed as some other visitors were given a cup of scratch and headed off to find and feed the free range chickens. I stopped in at the Garden Center to check out their produce and what a lovely surprise to be serenaded by a harpist when I walked in. (A member of the CSA donates his talent on market days.) I picked out the largest butternut squash I have ever seen and a pattypan squash too.
They looked like the start of a still life when I placed them on the counter so I added some beans and greens to the grouping and took some photos that I hoped I could use for my photographic art. (I have since turned one of them and an image I took of an orb spider in its web into new photo art offerings. I will share them in an future post.) The squash was so large we enjoyed it sauteed, baked and made a big batch of squash soup. It had a wonderful flavor and texture.

The stated mission of Eden's Organic Garden Center and CSA Farm is, "To bring healthy, clean food to the
people of this community in a way that reunites them with the source of that food. To teach people how to grow, harvest, store and prepare great food." If you are interested in learning more about Eden's, in buying some locally grown organic produce, eggs and meat or in becoming a member of Eden's CSA (community supported agriculture) farm, I encourage you to visit when they host a small neighborhood farmers' market each 1st, 3rd and 5th Saturday from 9am to noon (April - Dec.). Look for their sign out front and drive all the way back down the driveway to the big shade tree by the barn.

Friday, September 15, 2017

EDC to be at New Urban Traders Market Location 9/16/17

I first heard about Urban Traders Market from a fellow artist shortly after they organized last year. She had a favorable experience with them so I was interested but was too scheduled at the time to check them out. I finally had a chance to visit one of their markets at their summer 2017 location and was pleased to see that their stated mission was evident from the look of the market and from visiting with vendors.

About that time they announced the new location they would be moving to after taking August off and I decided to submit my application to become an approved Urban Traders Market vendor. Urban Traders juries their vendors to ensure variety and quality. They already had as many jewelry artisans as they felt they could handle so they offered me space on the approved list for a few of my accessories, my night lights, and the full range of my photographic art creations sans jewelry items. I am excited to
be part of their inaugural market at O B Mac this Saturday, September 16.

I have been following Urban Traders Market's Facebook event postings and it looks like there will be a fabulous variety of vendors and a popular food truck too. I hope you get a chance to check out their new location on Saturday. I think this group is very serious about creating a space where artisans can thrive, in addition to a fun space for the public to visit and develop a sense of community. Stop in and say hi when you come by.

Thursday, September 7, 2017

2017 Fall Gallery Night Show and Sale

There are many great locations, where you can view local art, that are participating in the 2017 FWADA Fall Galler Night this Saturday, September 9. Check out the guide to map out your day (most locations open by noon and continue into the night). I recommend you include The Fort Worth Community Arts Center on your list. Not only because I will be there with my photographic art but also because I find they always have a great assortment of art to look at. They also usually have adult beverages, beginning in the evening, to sip while you stroll past the art.

My work will be in the back gallery along with creations from members of the Texas Pottery and Sculpture Guild. The show and sale at the Community Arts Center will be open from 10am - 9pm.

Saturday, September 2, 2017

2017 Grand Prairie Arts Council Juried Show and Sale

The reception and awards presentation for the Grand Prairie Arts Council Juried Show will be from 2-4 pm on Sunday, September 17, 2017. Click on the images at the bottom of the page linked here to see some pictures of last year's reception and presentation. I was impressed with the venue and the spread at the reception last year. I thought it was a very nice thing to do for the artists.

I will be there again this year. I always enjoy seeing my work hanging among that of other artists. It is fun to hunt around the room to find where my art wound up. If you come to the reception or later while the show is hung and open to the public, you can hunt for three of my photographic art pieces that were selected to hang in the 2017 show. Look for "Aliens Have Landed", "Aspen Trunks Against Fir & Spruce", and "Profile".

The show opens with the reception on September 17 and can be viewed for free in the lobby of the Uptown Theater in Grand Prairie until 10am on Saturday, October 21.

Sunday, August 27, 2017

Low Tech Eclipse 2017 Images

I made it home with my eclipse safety glasses just before the moon's shadow started to eat away at the sun. I had in my mind to try a couple of different low tech ways of watching the solar eclipse as well. My colander's holes seemed to be too big. (However, from what I have learned since, don't give up on something until at least 60% coverage. The holes were big enough that you did not see any difference using them as a pinhole camera at the early stages of the eclipse but then neither did the tree leaves. The pattern from the colander might have been pretty cool at our 75% maximum coverage like the tree leaf solar crescents we got later during the eclipse.) The two sheets of cardboard, one with a pinhole were cumbersome. The best quick pinhole camera that I threw together was made from a shoe box.

I cut out a quadrilateral a couple of inches across, from one end of a shoe box with a hinged lid. I stretched and taped a piece of aluminum foil over the opening. I used a safety pin to poke a hole in the aluminum foil. I pointed the hole at the eclipse and the image was projected on the inside of the other end of the shoe box. I propped the shoe box up on the patio so that the long axis of the box was aligned with the incoming sun rays and took a picture of the projection with my camera. As you can see we were already pretty well into the eclipse by the time I took my first picture of the image produced by my pinhole camera. I had been watching the progress of the moon's shadow with my eclipse glasses while experimenting with the projection methods. The first bite out of the sun was at about 12 o'clock and the shadow progressed pretty much towards 6 o'clock until our maximum coverage.

I kept thinking about what a shame it was that my colander, with its pattern of holes, had not shown the early stages of the eclipse so I decided to add more holes to my shoe box camera and experimented with the size of the holes too. The middle hole of the middle row of the rest of my pinhole camera projection pictures was my original hole. The most crisp images were formed with the smallest holes that I made with a needle. The closer to maximum coverage, the crisper the images became. The bigger holes blurred out more as the moon's shadow retreated and eventually disappeared off the left edge of the sun as seen from my vantage point.

We were lucky not to have had a cloud in the sky. As the solar eclipse progressed you could sense the light being a bit dimmer outside. At maximum coverage from inside the house it was quite a bit darker than normal. It was so dark that it seemed like a big storm should be about to hit. It was a strange sensation for it to be that dark inside with a completely clear sky outside at one in the afternoon.

I hope you had the opportunity to safely view the eclipse. I am looking forward to the total eclipse in 2024. We will be in the path of totality for that one. We will also be in the path of an annular eclipse the previous October with 80% of the sun obscured.

Click on the image of the sun crescents to enlarge.