The Unbearable....

lightness of being a woman.

The Unbearable Lightness of Being a Woman

Taken with a 50mm lens, at f/1.8, the focus here is on the bouquet of dried roses, with the body of a woman in the blur.  The image speaks of the process of aging, of staying vital and beautiful as the years mount.  There is such pressure on women to look a certain way, to conform to a certain standard of beauty.  And even though we age, the arbitrary standard never does.  It is always young and firm, bouncy and round, supple and sinuous.   

Unlike a good wine, with humans, aging is complicated.  We continue to get better in certain ways, and yet we decline in others.  There is a give and take that occurs.  What we gain in wisdom, we lose in elasticity.  I had a friend who was in her 90's and she said that when she randomly caught a glimpse of herself in the mirror, she wondered for a second who that old woman was, the one looking back at her.  When asked how old she felt on the inside, she said, "I feel about 25, maybe 30."  And then she smiled, and I could see her as the ten year old girl she had once been.  Her eyes still had that twinkle, that spark, even though her face bore the marks of the passing of the years.   There was a lightness in her spirit. 

My friend was a lot like this bouquet of flowers.  When I look at them, they are dried, wrinkled, crispy, and yet I see beauty there in the creases, evidence of having lived.  I see perfection in their imperfections.  I keep them around because of the memories associated with them.  They remind me of one of the happiest occasions of my life.  I see beyond the dessication.     

There are other photos in this series, which I will be sharing and writing about soon.  Please stay tuned for more.

Until next time...


Ghosts of September

With the senescence of autumn, the landscape takes on a loneliness; a barrenness, despite the skeletal remains of plants and trees dotting the hillsides; a sense of melancholy.  The lush, noisy days of summer are gone.  A quiet settles over the land.  On frosty mornings, the solitude is almost palpable.  

My latest series of sepia-toned portraits in the landscape reflect that sorrow, that isolation, and the loss of something both rare and fine.

November's Child

The Distance From Me to You

The Leaning Tree

If Only

In the Changing Light 

I Remember

The formal gowns in these photos relate a sense of being all dressed up with nowhere to go or of the party being over, a sense of something that was but no longer exists.  The black shawl speaks of protection against the elements.  The gowns contrast in texture and context with the rustic backdrop, whether it be the fluffy heads of dead goldenrods and asters in the meadow or the log siding of my house.

Seasons change, time marches onward, people come and go from our lives.  Birthdays come (mine is next week); we grow older.  These photographs honor those inevitable changes and our ability to not only withstand them, but to persevere with grace and one's sense of self intact.

Happy November.  Happy dio de los muertos.

Until next time...


We Have a Winner!

This photograph from my Ladies of the Lake Series was just awarded a third place ribbon in the "Visions of Southern Illinois" Art Exhibit, 2014.

Lady with Black Umbrella

It was taken in August, 2014, at Cedar Lake in the Shawnee National Forest, just after sunrise.

I am honored and grateful to have received this award.  It encourages me to keep pursuing my vision, to keep following my heart.  To sweeten the honor even more, there are multiple people interested in buying this photograph (printed versions of all of my photographs are available for purchase.  I have a professional printer that accommodates 13" x 19" paper, and I use archival ink and papers in my printing.  These prints have an amazing depth of color!).

And, most of all,  I'm extremely grateful to all of you lovely readers who take time out of your busy lives to read these posts and offer me your on-going support and encouragement.  

Thank you!

Until next time...




Catch the Wind

"When rain has hung the leaves with tears... Ah, but I may as well try and catch the wind..."  These lyrics are from one of my favorite songs, Catch the Wind, written by Donovan Leitch, which makes a great soundtrack for an autumn day. 

The day these photos were taken, the leaves were heavy with rain, and a wind blew up from the southwest.  Overcast skies deepened the colors of the season.  Wind wrapped itself around my body, twirling my hair, as I stood in the meadows that line the perimeter of my property.  

Autumn Breeze

The Valley Below

Catching the effects of wind in a photograph is something I strive for.  Wind changes everything, not just the way my hair falls or the drape of my skirt, but also the landscape.  Nature seems to either lean into it or bend with it, depending on its force and the direction from which it is coming.  

Isn't that what we do in this life, when something strong and fierce is bearing down on us?  We either lean into it and fight to hold our ground or give into it and let it blow us away.  I am one who is working on staying grounded, on not allowing myself to be blown away-- except by beauty and good poetry and authentic emotion and, above all, love.  Those elements are an entirely different story! And not only do I want to catch the winds that brings those things my way, I want to harness them and ride them as far as they will take me.

Until next time...



Rainy Days of Autumn

In southern Illinois, fall typically seems to be the rainy season.  This October seems to be no exception.  We have had rain and clouds for four days in a row.  Some people might see this as depressing or dreary.  They may tire of the grey skies and the damp.

I, however, love the grey days of fall.  When the leaves start changing color, beneath a cover of clouds, they glow with a vibrancy that belies their slow, inevitable demise.  These days invite contemplation and reverie.  I tend to write more poetry in the fall, to daydream more, to journal more, to read more.  For one who is an introvert, it doesn't get any better than this.

The other day, while driving back from a photo shoot, I stopped at the scenic overlook near my house and snapped a few photographs with my black umbrella.  There was a drizzle coming down, punctuated by heavier bursts of rain.  Mist rose from the valley below and billowed around me.  A light wind swirled through the tree tops.  It was absolutely magical!

These days of autumn are golden.  May you enjoy their quiet beauty.

Until next time...



In the part of the world where I live, we are in the midst of that golden season, when fields are emblazoned with panicles of various goldenrods (solidago ssp.), whose loose flower scapes billow on the breeze, and native sun flowers (helianthus giganteum), whose flower heads actually track the sun the sun as it traverses the sky.  Even on the cloudiest of days, there is a luminescence to the landscape, a softness, with the intensity of summer light gradually subsiding, as the wheel of the year turns slowly toward autumn.


'Neath Darkening Skies

Fields of Gold

At Summer's End

Gold doesn't just glitter. When nature wields her paintbrush, the entire landscape is aglow, radiating warmth, healing, and peaceful energy.  

Until next time...


Black Umbrella

Black umbrellas have long been a favorite theme of mine in both paintings and photography.  The first time I saw the painting Paris Street; Rainy Day by Gustave Caillebotte I was mesmerized.  There is something about the way the light kisses the umbrellas in that painting that captivates me.  

I have always had an affinity for umbrellas anyway.  They embody the romance of a rainy day and seem to be among the most feminine of utilitarian objects, with their sensuous lines; fabric stretched tightly over sheltering ribs, like a corset; the perfect curve of the wooden handle, the elongated tip at the top pulling it all together.

This series of photographs pays homage to the umbrella, to its flirtation with the morning light, and the mystery created beneath its protective arms.

Lady with Black Umbrella I

Lady with Black Umbrella II

Lady with Black Umbrella III

Lady with Black Umbrella IV

The lake in which I am standing in these photographs further adds to the mystery, the whimsy, and the painterly quality of these images.  And the umbrella brings a new element to my Ladies of the Lake Series.  To me, this seems the perfect marriage of light and shadow, of depth and atmosphere, of the practical and the improbable.

Until next time...


Ladies of the Lake-- Part II

The second installment of my Ladies of the Lake Series depicts women in the same four dress colors, but this time, their heads are visible.  In these images, part of the story is told in the Ladies' hairstyles and facial expressions, in addition to the color of the dresses.  The mood of the photograph and the nature of each photographic subject changes depending on whether the hair is long and loose or neatly pinned, whether she is looking down or off to the side.  Unencumbered hair has a naturalness, a sensuality to it.  Upturned hair has a polish and an elegance to it.  Flowers remain a predominant theme in these images.  

As always, morning light adds magic to the scene, similar to sprinkling everything with pixie dust.  The lake changes every time I venture out, even though I am out there at the same time for each shoot.  The light has a huge impact on the color tone of the lake.  Cool, overcast mornings produce a mist that rises in thin plumes and murky blue-grey water.  Clearer mornings result in water that appears very green.  

Lady in White I

Lady in Pink VII

Lady in Grey III

Lady in Black I

When out in the water, I feel myself becoming a part of the lake itself.  At those moments, it is not just something that envelops me, but I take on its liquidity, its luminescence, allowing them to soak into my being, as I stand submerged, completely still, waiting for the shutter to click. The herons at the shoreline, the occasional jumping fish, the flock of geese overhead all seem to accept my presence there as the most natural thing.   And so, each morning at dawn, she calls to me, this lake, luring me from the comfort of my bed to venture out into her green waters and become one with her, if only for a little while.  Though sleep still tugs as me, though my dreams remain unfinished, I happily oblige.

By the way, if you wish to see an enlarged version of each image, simply click on it, and it will open in a lightbox.

Until next time...


Ladies of the Lake

Since childhood, I have been enthralled with the mythical Lady of the Lake, a magical creature from the Arthurian legends.  She is known by different names in different legends, including Viviane, Ninianne, and Nimue, which, for me, furthers the mystery surrounding her.  Her most notable feat is rising from the lake to bestow upon Arthur the enchanted sword, Excalibur.  She is also known to bewitch Merlin, who is completely enamored with her, and persuade him to share the secrets of his magic.  Following a battle in which King Arthur is wounded, the Lady of the Lake is one of four queens who deliver his body to Avalon, a mystical island, so that he can heal.  In all tales she is powerful, smart, and beautiful.

In my series, there are four Ladies of the Lake.  Each Lady is characterized by a dress of a different color-- grey, pink, white, and black-- which evokes a different mood.  The grey dress is ethereal as it emerges from the pearly water.  The pink dress is soft, romantic.  The white dress speaks of innocence. The black one is seductive.  The Ladies also emerge from the lake bearing a bouquet of flowers, including pink roses.  Pink roses happen to be among my favorite flowers and are said to symbolize gratitude and love.  I associate flowers in general with youth, beauty, life, and feminine sexuality, making them the perfect symbol for my other-worldly women.




More Ladies of the Lake photographs to follow in upcoming posts.  Stay tuned.

Until next time...



Rainy Day Images

Rain fell softly, early that morning.  Mist spilled across the bluff top, rising from the fertile valley below, enveloping the tree canopy in a cloak of wonder.  The ancient bluffs barely took notice.  How many rain showers had they seen during the eons of their existence, gently wearing away their grey sandstone, layer after layer, a geological shedding of the skin? They stood stoically by as the drizzle fell, immune to its magic.  I, on the other hand, rejoiced.  

There is a certain enchantment in the air which I only feel during times of rain.  Perhaps it is the charge of electricity in the air that accompanies a lightening storm, when atmospheric nitrogen becomes available to plants, nourishing them with every flash of light .  Perhaps it is the way that rain is the great sustainer of life as we know it.  After a rain, everything is renewed.  Or perhaps it is the way the light is softer, lacking harsh pockets of sun and shadow that accompany the sunniest of days.  I feel a greater connection to both the rhythms of nature and to my inner world during a rain shower.  Some rainy days are an invitation to stay indoors, to indulge my contemplative side.  Other rainy days beckon me to come out to play.  This particular day was one of those.  





Leaning In


Until next time...



Great-Grandma Esther's Apron

In these images, which were taken last week, I am wearing an apron that had belonged to my great-grandmother, Esther.  She died in 1972 when I was a small child, and unfortunately, I have no memory of her.  My mom has told me over the years that I am similar to her in some key ways.  I find it fascinating how some traits that we think are uniquely ours actually are passed down through the genetic code.  I look at my grandma, my mom, my daughter, my aunts, my cousins, and I see the physical resemblances.  Those are obvious and understandable to me.  It is the personality traits that interest me more.  Both Grandma Esther and I shared a deep fondness for beauty and have a way bringing that in our homes and our lives.  And so, I have always felt this connection with her.  These images honor that connection.  

These photographs also celebrate morning light, and the rural landscape that surrounds me.  Grandma Esther lived in rural areas of both southern Wisconsin and northern Wisconsin, and so we have that in common also.  The photos seem to speak of times past, yet I am unable to place them in a specific era.

Smelling the Roses

The Long Walk Home

Gather Ye Rosebuds

Until next time...



A Change in the Air

As one who lives way out in the country, I am much more deeply connected to the changing seasons than when I lived in town.  Although it is early August, the air already speaks of the coming autumn.  The nights have been cooler, the light more golden.  The meadow that comprises a large part of my yard, my own little wildlife habitat, is preparing itself for the dance of the goldenrods.  When these native plants come out to play, entire fields and hillsides rejoice.  It is the last hurrah before the blaze of autumn and the hush of winter, almost a season in itself.  

These photographs celebrate this slight change in the air as time marches forward and honor a moment of solitude in the natural world.

Until next time...





Most of the photographs I create are shot at dawn.  The light of dawn is softer, dreamier than at any other time of the day.  When mist hangs over the land, the effect like atmospheric alchemy.  Everything it touches turns to gold.



Seeing Double

This morning, after a rather fit-ful night's sleep, I awoke with a burning to create some new images that represent communion with the soul or over-self.  This series consists of composites that were created in the camera, not during post-processing.  It tells the story of encountering, making contact, and ultimately embracing the spirit-self.  

Even in the throes of fatigue, inspiration can strike.  Every time I heed its call, I feel more deeply in touch with those deeper parts of myself, as if the process unfolding in this new photo series is actually occurring on another level within my being.  Art mimics life, and life mimics art.

Until next time...