Care

 

Endeavor to thoughtfully care for another living being.  By so doing, you will be led to earnestly consider issues facing the world around you.

 

 

The Black Warrior Riverkeeper, a nonprofit clean water advocacy organization, protects the waterway bearing its name.  They know that what is happening in the entire watershed area of the river affects the quality of the water, the flow of the waterway, the plant life, the animals, and ultimately the people who enjoy the river for recreation and depend on it for drinking water.  I am delighted to be joining hands with this great organization when I have a solo show at the Harrison Galleries in Tuscaloosa, Alabama featuring nature photography from both my pine and flower series.  On Friday September 14th from 5:30 to 7:00 p.m. will be a free event called “Celebrating Nature through Art.”  Join us for the reception with live music and a brief presentation by yours truly and Charles Scribner, the executive director of Black Warrior Riverkeeper.  You can also catch the show during the fun of First Friday in downtown Tuscaloosa on the 7th from 5:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m., and during regular gallery hours through September 21st.

 

 

As school gets started, I am thankful for the teachers who thoughtfully foster students in classrooms.  When we care for children, we understand how critical a quality education is, and also recognize that we never stop learning.  The Montgomery Museum of Fine Arts is aware of that fact and has great educational programming for leaners of all ages.  I will be joining the talented pen and ink artist, Melissa Tubbs, on Thursday August 30th as a part of the Build Your Brand partnership with the Montgomery Art Guild.  We will be talking about building digital and real world community.  Join us, or take time to explore something you want to learn more about.

 

 

Those who thoughtfully care for my mother and others who are cognitively impaired understand how important it is to have access to good healthcare, socialization, exercise, and music.  Isn’t it incredible how looking after another living being leads us to see beyond ourselves and acknowledge issues in the world needing our attention?  What or whom do you foster that increases your awareness of issues affecting our common good?  As we each do our small part, we are all shaping a better world.  Thank you for caring.

 

Practice, Practice, Practice

 

A pedestrian on 57th Street sees a musician getting out of a cab and asks, “How do you get to Carnegie Hall?” Without pause, the artist replies wearily, “Practice, practice, practice.”  How true that old joke is, and how thankful I am for the hours practiced by incredible musicians I have enjoyed seeing perform in that hallowed hall like those in So Percussion and the JACK Quartet.  Just as musicians can repeatedly approach the same piece of music and play it differently, I can repeatedly approach the same kind of flower and photograph it differently.  With two full years of “Flowers for Mom” and over 730 daily flower photos, stay tuned to see into which halls all of that practice will take me!

 

 

This summer has been a musical one for me as I have witnessed some incredible concerts including several by the Silkroad Ensemble.  The power of the arts is undeniable, and anyone who chooses to develop skills in an arts discipline is making their own life richer as well as those of the people who experience their art.  When in the audience of a Silkroad performance, one can witness brilliant musicians playing an assortment of instruments from around the world.  While the performers come from distinct cultures with extremely different musical training, they share a common goal of listening to and learning from each other to make wonderful music.

 

 

It may not be a realistic expectation for you to put in major hours on a daily basis to practice an art form, yet you can find a way to include being creative in your life.  I believe activities like baking a cake, arranging flowers, and building a tree house count as practice time because you are being innovative and making something that has never before existed as you can compose it.  In addition, when you do these things with your own hands, you better understand and appreciate others who also bake cakes, arrange flowers, and build tree houses in their individual way.

 

 

As said by the American artist, Robert Rauschenberg, “I feel strong in my beliefs that a one-to-one contact through art contains potent peaceful powers and is the most non-elitist way to share exotic and common information, seducing us into creative mutual understandings for the benefit of all.”  Find a way to get your creative juices flowing.  Revel in the time spent doing so, and applaud others who choose their own way to create and innovate.

 

 

Now over 4,000 people are following my Camera Journey on Instagram!  For a daily flower and cause to pause, follow me there.

Monarch Moments and More

Clematis Flowers for Mom July 15 Chautauqua

 

In Miss Rumphius, the classic picture book by Barbara Cooney, the main character was inspired as a young girl to explore the world and to find her unique way to leave the world a better place. Explore she did, before landing in her home by the sea where she became known as the Lupine Lady. The legacy of the real Miss Rumphius can be seen in the countless lupines that bloom along the coast of Maine. What a way to make the world more beautiful!

 

Milkweed Chautauqua Flowers for Mom July 5

 

Because of many individuals like Miss Rumphius, Chautauqua Institution, in western New York, is filled with gorgeous blooms that are a treat to thousands of summer visitors. The “Flowers for Mom” series was born in this place that sparks creativity in me and so many others.

 

Thistle Flowers for Mom Chautauqua July 17

 

The Chautauqua Bird Tree and Garden Club provides amazing programs to foster the beautification of the Chautauqua grounds in addition to teaching summer visitors about gardening, pollinators, bats, birds and more. I give them my deepest thanks for encouraging the hands of the many gardeners who nurture the flowers that inspired me. In this place where it all began, on July 16th at 12:15 p.m. in Smith Wilkes Hall, I will be speaking for the Monarch Moments and More series. If you are amongst those reveling in the many offerings of Chautauqua on the 16th, I hope you will join me as I talk about “Flowers for Mom.” On August 2nd, I intend to return to the very same Chautauqua roadside spot to begin Volume III of my daily photographic journey with a shot of Queen Anne’s lace.

 

Monarch Butterfly Flowers for Mom Chautauqua

 

If you are one who nurtures gardens, I give you my thanks. If you are one who enjoys the flowers, make sure and thank the gardeners! Here’s to each of our unique abilities to make the world a better place. Now go about seeking beauty today. It abounds.

 

Callaway Garden Flowers for Mom

 

If you are curious, check out my redesigned website. Let me know what you think. Share photos of flowers you discover in the Flowers for Mom Facebook Group and join the discussion with others around the globe. Thanks for joining the Camera Journey!

Flowers for Mother’s Day

Have you ever planted lantana and watched it grow and flow over the border of your flower bed?  When I began photographing a flower a day on August 2, 2016, I never dreamed the project would still be going at the 650 day mark, much less flourish and grow in unexpected directions.

This photographic odyssey has become a celebration of nature in addition to a way to honor an Alzheimer’s journey.  Through the discipline of deliberately connecting with nature on a daily basis, I have come to understand that every individual needs to seek ways to engage with the natural world.  As shared by Michael McCarthy in the recent On Being podcast about nature, joy and human becoming, “We have a link to the natural world that goes to the essence of who we really are.”

In a presentation this week by some of the amazing researchers at the Emory Alzheimer’s Disease Research Center, one of 27 active centers in the nation supported by the National Institutes of Health, it was explained that inflammation in the body and related health issues such as diabetes and vascular disease are present as long as two decades before Alzheimer’s symptoms begin to present themselves, so the time to do something to prevent the disease is today.

While some factors are beyond our control, there are things we can do for our long term health.  To me, that circles us back to nature.  We can decrease inflammation by reducing stress, avoiding toxins in our environment, making good food choices, and exercising.  Each of those things can be done when we spend time outside and when we develop a passion for appreciating and nurturing our earth.  So doing allows us to better care for ourselves as we aim for a healthy future.

As “Flowers for Mom” bloom beyond their original border, it is a gift to exhibit and speak about the series, so do let me know when you discover unique opportunities for sharing this work.  One day, modern medicine may discover a cure for Alzheimer’s, but that day has not yet come.  So, on this day, I encourage you to celebrate nature!

On Sunday, we celebrate Mother’s Day, so how about some flowers in honor or memory of your mom or someone special in your life?  Join the blooming Flowers for Mom Facebook group to share photos of what you plant or give to that special someone.  Do it for your health!

Becoming Real

According to the Velveteen Rabbit, “Real isn’t how you are made…  it’s a thing that happens to you.”  Perhaps a photographer’s project becomes real when she puts down the camera and agrees to be interviewed on the other side of the lens.  I hereby present “Flowers for Mom” in a humbling piece created by the talented Ronny Taylor at Troy University.  

Clearly, this Camera Journey adventure has bloomed well beyond me.  Now go forth and seek beauty in your days.  It’s always there if you simply pause and look.  If you are inspired to add to a garden celebrating mothers, you can make a special Mother’s Day tribute in honor or memory of a loved one.  Pick your flower by April 20th and let it bloom for years to come in the Jackson Hospital Healing Art Collection.

If you have not already joined the Facebook Flowers for Mom group that I just created, please do so you can celebrate nature as we all share flower photos, help identify flowers others find, and more.
“Once you are real you cannot become unreal again.  It lasts for always.”
The Velveteen Rabbit
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