Posts Tagged ‘Photography’

Reflections Image and Word: She Killed the Moon


Art Every Day Month – Day 28.  That means after today, we have two days left! How did this happen? What seemed so difficult to keep up with is almost over, gone in a blur.

I am putting in another pairing from the Reflections – Image and Word exhibit at the Arts Council of Kern.  I took the photo to go with LisaAnn LoBasso’s poem.  I blurred it a bit on photoshop and deepened the color, but it was a spectacular moon night when I took this.  If you click on the link you can see the photo in its original state.

She killed the moon by  LisaAnn LoBasso

Today she is two percent.

Waning crescent. I cannot find her anywhere.

Two percent exists in the dark sky.

She seems invisible.

I wonder if she is searching for herself, like I am now.

Is she dead?

My husband says I killed her when I took his keys, his wallet—his heart.

Shoes, his only asset.

In this blacktop day.

I want to fly into the sky like Imrryr, like a bird

Shooting, like a star, shooting like

My father, on the ranch.

I want to profess. I didn’t kill her! I didn’t, I didn’t kill the moon.

But then I realize as the day hides beneath her shroud,

And the cowboys come home.

I did kill her. Yes, now, tonight

At the early break of light, I am trying to find that sliver.

Of us both.

Yellow, waning, two percent.

A crescent ready to unfold and open.


Buckeyes – no, not the teams, the trees


Art Every Day Month Day 20.  I’m wondering about my sanity at the moment because my husband and I made a quick trip to the cabin for one night.  We were seeking snow, we hoped in all the right places.  100% chance of snow this afternoon.  Uh, no snow.  100% chance of snow tonight.  We’ll see.

But here I am with a particularly bad internet connection and I must do AEDM! I haven’t missed a day – how can I miss today?  Therefore, you’ll have to forgive me for a somewhat lame entry on buckeye trees.  It just happens that I took some photos on the way up here and buckeyes are rather beautiful.  They’re said to be named because the seeds/nuts look like the eye of a buck (deer).  Native Americans mashed, cooked and ate them; they are rumored to have medicinal properties, especially for rheumatism; and at one time they were the cure-all for everything.

So here’s a photo I took in spring when the buckeye tree was in full bloom.  I do believe it’s the same tree I photographed today!

Summer came and went and now, in October, the buckeyes are falling from the tree.  If you wanted to grow a tree from the buckeye, you’d take off the husk, keep it damp, and then plant it along with many others so at least one would take.

Here’s today’s tree.

A little sparser.  And then closer…

and closer….

And finally, the buckeye falls.

When the husk is removed, the nut is shiny and brown. Edible if cooked and mashed but slightly poisonous raw.

Let’s hope tomorrow brings forth something a little more creative for every day.

Images, words, poetry, and Jim Morrison


I’ve been writing about the show that opened tonight at the Younger Gallery in Bakersfield.  Well, it looked great!  Beautifully hung, wonderful poetry and photography.  I feel more than lucky to have been included, especially since it was invitation only.  I’ll post a couple of photos from the show and one more poem and photo.

I took the photo in the Alta Cienega Motel in Los Angeles.  That’s where Jim Morrison stayed most of the time he was in L.A.  and I went down there with William Jordan, a former student who was enamored of The Doors, so we could hit all the area Morrison landmarks.  William is the boy in the photo and we’re in Morrision’s room.

The poem, Signs of Morrison, is written by Nick Belardes.

One night in Paris

or Toulouse it happens.

Somewhere in a city

where dreams of artists

get trapped in motels,

or up in the clouds of neon signs

and then down around ankles

like bunched pants, it happens.

Somewhere, in a black and white sky,

in a doorway,

or just near a doorway,

there’s a man.

He’s looking into a camera

and wondering

just who he is in that mirror,

and where he’s going.

He hums a song,

smiles at the nearby radio

and at the roads

curving over distant muddy hills.

He’s passing through.

Just passing through.

Morrison is topical again since Florida Governor Charlie Crist is working on pardoning him from the indecent exposure charge long ago in 1969 during a concert in Florida.

The next two photos show how the show is hung.  If you live in Bakersfield, do come visit the gallery.

Reflections: image+ word – Arts Council of Kern’s new exhibit opens tomorrow


Tomorrow Reflections: image + word opens at the Younger Gallery, sponsored by the Arts Council of Kern.  I have seven photos and two poems in the show and I can’t wait to see it hung!  I love the concept.  So for today’s Art Every Day Month post, I’m giving a little preview of the show with a photo of mine and poem by Nick Belardes.

Journey of the Brown Beetle  by Nick Belardes

Flip it over!

No! That’s mean.

Ay! Cabron!

Let’s just watch it crawl, dimwit.

To the highway?

Even across the highway.

To the barrio?

No way! Not the Barrio. Johnny One Eye will eat it.

Where then? To the desert?

Of course to the desert.

Past the dog bones?

Through the rattlesnake graveyard.

That’s a scary place. Indian spirits.

And up Miner’s Hill.

Into the valley?

And all those shrubs in Jesus Valley.

Where the old saints live?

Where they suck the cactus.

And that old hermit who drinks Coors like grandma?

And wears the same makeup.

Wow! He’s strange.

Most of the Saints are.

It will never make it.

It will die when it gets there.

Then can we flip it over?

No. Let it dry up where it stops.

But the shell will break.

No it won’t. It will last forever.

A brown shell in the desert?




Reflections – image + word


Sailing into the second half of Art Every Day Month, I’m going to post about an exhibit sponsored by the Arts Council of Kern ( on this link you can find the show poster and view it) that opens Friday here in Bakersfield.  It’s called Reflections image + word and features three photographers and three poets.  I’m one of the photographers and I also have a couple of poems in the show, but I wouldn’t dare to call myself a poet.

Here’s how it works.  The six of us assembled, talked, and then submitted poems and photographs to each other.  If someone felt pulled to a particular poem, that person would submit a photo.  If a poet felt pulled to a particular photo, that person would submit a poem.  The curator, Nicole St. John, chose the final entries and the show opens Friday.  It’s a wonderful concept and I think it’ll be a terrific show.  I won’t give the whole thing away, but I’ll post a couple of the poems and photos.

The first photo is by LisaAnn Lobasso.  She called it Another Farm Gives Way, but I put my own interpretation on it with the poem I wrote.


Usable by Susan Reep

Old, rusted, antique, as useless as typewriters.

Cast off but not discarded.  Yet.

Is that what happens to old things? To old people?

Her skin was trim, her body thin, but it wasn’t new.

Does old come when your body starts to sag?

If so, she was ok.  For now.  In image.

Being naked and feeling naked are different.

Being naked filled her with exhilaration, excitement, freedom.

She stood straight and proud.

Feeling naked exposed her from the inside out.

It all rose to the surface. Insecurities and doubts.

Her stride would break; she’d want to wrap her arms

Around her body to keep everything in, private.

Would it feel different to be walking in a new tractor store?

It may have been a bad idea to come out here seeking

The freedom of open spaces, the confidence of solitude,

The comfort of the farm.

It might have been better in spring when everything was new.

Well, not everything.  She’d still be in the midst of old,

Rusted, antique cast-offs.  Worse, they weren’t even important enough

To cart off.  Just cast off. Obsolete. A warning.

What good was her trim, thin body that would someday sag.

Better that form follows function.  It’s the use, isn’t it?

Being usable, not used up. Contemporary, not contemplated.

The new was sleek, smart, fast and firm,

But it didn’t tell stories.  The stories were in

The rust, the uselessness, the age.  The antiques.

What stories they could tell if they could speak.

Seeking freedom on the farm, the solace of solitude.  Not so bad

After all.  Because she could speak. She could speak for now.

She could even speak for others. She could speak for the future.

She could speak for the past. She could speak for her body.

She could speak with her body. Her new body, her slim, trim body,

And the saggy baggy body yet to come.

The one that would be full of stories.

Used up, maybe. But usable.

Little Girl with a Baseball

I submitted a photo that  Nick Belardes liked it so he wrote a poem.  The photo is one I took years ago and kept in the back of my mind, knowing someday I wanted to use it for something.  I think I’ve posted this before, but it never hurts to do it again.  Anything about baseball deserves a second posting, especially with such a poignant poem.


She will taunt you

When you’re ten years old,

And she’s three.

She’ll hold your baseball

Like it’s a mystery orb

And won’t give it to you

When you want it back.

When she’s fifteen,

And you’re Twenty-two,

She’ll only watch you

If you’re winning.

“It’s just a game,” you say.

You know that isn’t true.

And she never believes you anyway.

When she’s twenty-three

And you pitch your first game in the majors,

She’ll finally say you were meant to be

a ballplayer.

But she still won’t write you letters.

Or tell you you’re the best she ever saw.

When you start coaching AAA,

She’ll remember all those games

You once played.

You will call her up,

And she’ll say what you looked like

From the stands.

When she’s fifty,

She will hang photos

you didn’t know she had.

Like the time she had that magic orb

When she was three.

After the show opens, I’ll share some more.  If you’re in the Bakersfield area, the details are on the poster in the link.  I think you’ll recognize the photo on the poster.

Poetry and Photography, a preview: Little Girl with a Baseball


The Arts Council of Kern will be mounting a show toward the end of October.  The working title is Poetry and Photography, and it’s a really cool concept.  Three poets and three photographers were asked to collaborate, matching poems to photos or vice versa.  I’m honored to be asked to participate.  The other two photographers are amazing, and the poets are knock-your-socks-off fabulous.  I have been needing an infusion of new ideas and ways of thinking so this came at just the right time.  I’ll have two poems in the show as well as photos, and I wanted to share one collaboration that is close to my heart.

My granddaughter Annabelle is six now, but  I took a photo of her at her second (or was it her third?) birthday party that I’ve always wanted to do something with.  I loved the way she was looking at the little boy, and he was looking back at her,  as if it were a stand-off of sorts.  Or a dare.  Abbo had his baseball.

I love baseball.  I love the poetry and the ballet of baseball.  I love watching the diamond just as the batter steps up, the pitcher winds up, lets go of the ball, the batter swings, and the infield and outfield move as if choreographed, one way or the other, like a corps de ballet.  It’s just so beautiful to see it all happen.  Besides Star Trek, baseball is one of the things I love best.

I put the photo out there, and one of the poets, an honest-to-goodness published author (look him up on Amazon and buy his books), Nick Belardes, snapped it up.  The poem is so romantic and wistful, so full of hope and heartbreak, and so full of promise that it captured me immediately.

I don’t want to ruin the show so this is just a teaser, one little teeny part.  It’s nice to put it out before baseball season is over.  The boys of October are but days away, the Padres are six games away from the wild card, and since the Dodgers are bums this year, I’d like to see the Padres win something, finally.  Giants fans, sorry, can’t do anything for you.  You’re still the enemy to those of us who bleed Dodger blue.


She will taunt you

When you’re ten years old,

And she’s three.

She’ll hold your baseball

Like it’s a mystery orb

And won’t give it to you

When you want it back.

When she’s fifteen,

And you’re twenty-two,

She’ll only watch you

If you’re winning.

“It’s just a game,” you say.

You know that isn’t true.

And she never believes you anyway.

When she’s twenty-three

And you pitch your first game in the majors,

She’ll finally say you were meant to be

a ballplayer.

But she still won’t write you letters.

Or tell you you’re the best she ever saw.

When you start coaching AAA,

She’ll remember all those games

You once played.

You will call her up,

And she’ll say what you looked like

From the stands.

When she’s fifty,

She will hang photos

you didn’t know she had.

Like the time she had that magic orb

When she was three.

New Collage for Latination and a Peacock


I finally finished the collage I was making to submit for a show at Metro Galleries called Latination.  It has to be Latin-themed in some way, even loosely.  If you click on the link you can see more about the show, and if you click on the Gallery Info tab and then click artists, you will see me!

Anyway, here’s the collage.  It took me a long time to get this right.  It was the bottom right section that was troublesome but I think I have it.

Materials are paint on canvas, vintage fruit crate labels, and my own photos of the sky.

And just for fun I did a small painting.  It’s only the second one I’ve ever done, and considering I don’t know how to paint, I think it’s pretty good.  As art, it’s pretty bad.  But I had fun.  I copied a picture I took of a peacock.  If you click on the “My Photos” tab at the top, then enter the Animal Gallery, you’ll see the photo – it’s number G1-14.  You can also enter the Photo Gallery on the sidebar.

I am under no illusions or delusions that I’ll be a painter.  But since I’m not trying to be, I guess I can do what I want, no matter how crude it is.  I was just thrilled to get the color right and actually have it resemble a peacock!

That’s all, folks.  It’s hot in Bako now – we’ve had a good run this spring of wonderful, mild temps, but now we are in Bakersfield summer mode – over 100 degrees.  Funny how draining that is even when the house is air conditioned.  I’m not complaining, though.  I have a house and I have air conditioning, which probably puts me in the top tier of comfort around the world.  And I have the time to do things like try to paint.  It may all collapse on us one day, but for now I’m very grateful.

Go Take a Hike


Has anyone ever told you to go take a hike?  I told myself to do that very thing yesterday.  About 1:00 in the afternoon I decided to find a trail my friend Chris McKee told me about. Just a short distance from the cabin.  I loaded my pockets with important things like my lipstick, my small camera, water, phone, car keys, and set out.

I was a good girl.  I let my husband know where I was going since I would be alone.

The trail of the bear?  That got me wishing I could see a bear but knowing I wouldn’t.  But I did want to and thought how I would jangle my keys and make lots of noise if I did see one.  No dice, though.

So I set out – I was walking too fast.  I kept telling myself to slow down, I wasn’t in a race, I should look around.  So I took many short breaks to look around me.  In “My Photo Tips” on the tabs above, which don’t seem to be working quite right – but I talk about that – always take a look behind, to the sides, etc.  I took my advice.

Here I am, on the trail and happy, wearing that damn shirt I bought at WalMart about 7 years ago for under $5 I think.  It won’t wear out!

Here’s the trail.

Elevation started about 6,000 feet and went up to over 7,000.

First I saw a bunch of pine cones.  All kinds – they should have been labeled.  Close up, a pine cone could be many things.

This could be little hillocks with just a trace of snow.  Or something.  I started wondering about Fibonacci’s sequence in nature and couldn’t believe math had entered my mind, or anything to do with it.  Anyway, I think pine cones follow Fibonacci’s  Golden Ratio.

Now this was cool.  What a great shape; such a graceful tree.

About now my knee was hurting a little.  Oops – forgot the Aleve.  I have chondromalacia patella in my right knee, whatever that is.  It’s an ailment common to runners; however, I never run.  I am overweight – but I get a runner’s problem instead of a weight problem.  Go figure.  Anyhow, I adjusted my gait a little and went on.

Look!  It’s a rock. A rock for the ages. (Slap myself.)  It does have an interesting pattern though, which I could tell you about if I was remotely interested in geology.

I have to digress here – when I was teaching fifth grade, I was almost the only teacher in the school who did science.  I found a tape in the library called Igneous Rocks – yes, a title to excite anyone – but it went with our unit so I showed it.  Who would have known that volcanoes fall into the igneous rock category!  It was the most popular tape I showed all year.  And yes, I do mean tapes.  Schools are always eons behind in technology.  I had to buy my own DVD player.

How about this pine cone?  It landed upright, apparently, when it fell, because I’m pretty sure it didn’t come from that little tree.

About now I was getting hot.  I’d only brought one bottle of water because I didn’t expect it to get hot.  I was rationing.  There was no trail map so I didn’t know how long this was going to be.  I’d picked up a pamphlet at the trail head and it had numbers where you could stop at markers and read about how it would have looked from the point of view of the Tubatulabal Indians who were native to the Southern Sierra Nevada.  However, I put the pamphlet in a crevice where I thought the next person might see and use it.  Why?  I never saw a sign post with a number, and the trail map said “not to scale.”

I saw a butterfly.  I saw a marker. Sign post #12.  Where were the first 11?  Now I wished I had the not-to-scale map so I could find out how many signs there were.

It was a beautiful day.  But I felt a little shivery.  Uh-oh.  It wasn’t all that hot, but I’ve had heat exhaustion three times previously and I know the signs.  I wasn’t going to take any chances. I turned around and went back the way I came.  I was probably almost at the  mid-point anyhow, but I couldn’t risk finding out.

Going back the same way had its advantages, however.  I saw these flowers – I think perhaps they are called Snow flowers although they don’t match google images exactly.  Anyone know for sure?

Here’s a close-up.

When I got back to the cabin (about a 2-minute drive), I looked online for the Unal Trail and found it was 3.6 miles.  I’m sure I went almost two of those 3.6.  I’ll go back another time.  I’m sure I’ll tell myself to take a hike again.

Finally. At last. Summer has come to the mountains. Bliss.


Finally, at last.

Snow is beautiful.  It’s most beautiful when you have magically been deposited into the cabin with all your stuff, so you can look at and appreciate the stillness and beauty.  It’s not so fun when you have to trudge through the snow, knee-deep, ferrying stuff up the stairs because you can’t get your 4-wheel drive car through the sort-of plowed road.


I remember that Creative Every Day Month’s thene for June is Bliss.  This is bliss – the forest in summer.  That is why I am ecstatic that summer has come to the mountains.  The best part is sitting on the balcony watching the blue jays, who ask for peanuts incessantly and I of course provide them. Once in a while I spot woodpeckers and yesterday saw a white-headed woodpecker for the second time up here.  The hummingbirds come to the feeder after trying to drink from our Chinese lanterns, and the nuthatches go up and down the trees looking for insects.

I was so excited I did an art journal collage page called Finally. At last. (click to make larger)

A walk in the woods

Went for a walk to see what was new out there.  Not much was new, so I had to do something to make the photos interesting.  I took out the color.

In the next photo, the electric and phone lines are crossed.  I used to think how ugly that was and why couldn’t it all be put underground.  Probably I thought that out of ignorance and because my parents were always so critical of anything not esthetically pleasing.  But now that we have a place in the mountains, the lines mean electricity, phones, internet, television.  Plus, I realize the difficulties of doing things up here.  Wires here are good. I like them.

I found an interesting tree- loved the shape.  What I didn’t expect was the background – it looks a little like snow in summer.

I passed a stump.  Then I went back and took three photos.  It’s a good example of point of view – everything depends upon your point of view.  The first looks like a stump, an obstacle to pass.

A few steps further, and a new perspective, it becomes a passage, a way through.

And yet a couple more steps, the same stump becomes a shelter.

The perspective of the passage narrows and you can just imagine taking refuge here.  If you were small.  I used to use examples like this when I was teaching point of view – I miss that part.  The teaching and the kids.  Don’t miss anything else about it.

Finally, I passed a little house that had so many patterns on it and a colorful barrel in front.  So of course, I took a picture.

When I got back to the cabin, I found Tiger and Lily doing what they do best.  (I brought the cats with me this time.)

Yep.  Sleeping in the sun.  For the cats, a blissful activity.

And – since the theme of Creative Every Day month is Bliss, I think you could call these photos bliss.  In fact, just the whole adventure of being here.  Bliss.

Cock-a-doodle-doo: a new collage and still life for Latination


Roosters. I have roosters on my mind. Why? I’m getting ready to submit some pieces to Metro Galleries for the Latination show this fall. The art has to be somehow connected to a Latin theme, even if only in color. Don’t know why roosters came to mind but they did, and so I worked on a new collage and a four-part still life.

The collage was different at first, but I wasn’t satisfied. I had flowers on it, but I took them off and added the thin translucent strips on the bottom. Now, however, they are gone. It just finally didn’t need anything else. So here it is the old way.

And here it is the new way:

I like this one much better.  I painted the background, then used vintage crate labels for the sun(flower), rooster, oranges, mission and hills.  The sky is from various cloud photos I took this year.  Trust me, in person, the version without flowers looks much better.

So then I felt like doing a still life.  I used this collage as the background, added some scarves and real flowers as well as a feather rooster we have, and photographed it in four positions.  I had the photos put on canvas so it’s a “four-tych” – whatever that would be.  The process is confusing I know – between painting, collage, still life, photo, and then back to canvas.

I will probably do one other piece for submission. Hopefully, at least one will be accepted.