Wednesday, January 30, 2013


An Important Notice..........

About two years ago, I started taking on line photography classes. 
Kat Sloma and Kim Klassen got me hooked.
Those fantastic experiences seemed an appropriate time to start a Photography Blog devoted to my budding skills and interest in the finer nuances of photography.

I have met many wonderful people through Photography and Prose.

But the 

has come.

I was beginning to feel like I was neglecting one or the other blogs.    
Occasionally what  I wanted to share was appropriate for either art or photography.
Photography is as much a part of my life as is Art, the two complement one another.
It seems reasonable to combine them.
I hope you will agree.

 I will be posting both art and photography to 
I hope you will enjoy the mix!!!

To celebrate my decision to Simplify,
 next week I will be hosting a drawing for an 
Original Painting.
(Details will follow next week with a photograph of the painting. Just in time for Valentines.)

Photography and Prose will be left open for viewing of all past posts, but no new articles will be added, unless at a later date I change my mind
(I have been known to do that!!!!!smile)

I do have some fun photography experiences to share!!!! And some new art techniques.

If you haven't subscribed to S Furner Fine Art feel free to do so....don't want you to miss the opportunity to  win an original painting.

This message in a Fortune Cooky sums up how I feel about my years of blogging and 
YOU,  the readers:

Sunday, January 27, 2013

How to Build A Lion's Head

CHINESE NEW YEAR--the Year of the Snake.

Not being particularly fond of snakes, wild or caged, 
let's concentrate on the Lion.
My lovely Singapore-daughter Sarah, who is seldom without her camera
sent me some great photos of a Master Lion Head Designer/Builder,  
after she visited his studio and workroom in Singapore.

The genius behind it all, this gentleman, is the last artist making these beautiful AUTHENTIC, TRADITIONAL Lion heads,  in Singapore.

His Studio and Workroom

It takes volumes of materials to create these magnificent pieces of art. 
He uses bamboo specially carved, mulberry paper to tie the pieces together, rice paper to cover the head and lamb's wool for the fur-like decorations.

And what holds it altogether.....the humble pan of glue and a well used brush! 

WOW the final product. 

This lion head is valued at 15,000 Singapore dollars because it has real gold on its head.  Without this "little" detail it would be closer to 1,300 sgd.
Yes that is a great deal of money. 

Thank you Sarah for sending this fascinating bit of 
"art" our way.

There will be more Chinese New Year coming soon. 

Cross posted on S.Furner Fine Art

Thursday, January 24, 2013

"H" as in HARDWARE

On the Main Street of Matthews, our little suburb of Charlotte, graces a centuries old Hardware Store.
Renfrew Hardware
Father to Son for decades and decades.
The building looks old, smells old and has a true antique ambience.  The windows are cloudy and at times dusty, filled with antique stoneware and butter churns with warped paddles, aging farm implements once highly valued for easing farm work, each standing shoulder to shoulder with the aging of time.

When we lived in Havre de Grace, we had a similar but smaller hardware store.
It was very "grubby" and once you stepped over the threshold of creaky boards, the vista was a "squirrel's nest" of all things possible and improbable, the nuts and bolts of repair and building.

We are fortunate when we have buildings with a deep, rich  history,  serving us in the present and into the future.
They remind us that there was a time before i pods, cell phones and computers, where good service, friendly chatter were very important and a part of everyday life. They stood as distilleries of information, informality and the "human element."
I am glad they are still with us.

Bonnie, who sponsors, Photo Art Friday, gave us the general direction of "working with hardware."
I am excited to see how everyone interprets this week's challenge.

Immediately I thought of something old that once served an important purpose.

Rusted implements are beautiful standing on their own: they have been of service; they have made life and work easier;  with age, the rust and patina represents a crown of good works.
The paintbrush which long ago lost its bristles, I discovered on the shore of a meandering beach in Sri Lanka. It was buried by the rubble of an old shack that had been devastated by a storm.  It just seemed fitting to bring it home.

No longer do I sew. That activity belongs to days gone by. Recently I was going through a box of sewing odds and ends and found a bundle of rusted safety pins, a golden thimble and some floss. Memories unfolded as I attempted to pry open the rusted and bent pins. Rust flaked everywhere, staining my fingers, the lingering of past moments when these were an amazing invention of necessity that made a difference. 
The invention of the safety pin has saved many a lady's modesty; held things together that were once cumbersome; kept a diaper on a wiggly baby and has not changed the way they work for centuries.

Simple, rudimentary hardware.
Do you have a piece of "hardware" that you can't live without? 

For those who like details both photos were texturized in a similar fashion:  Fool's Gold texture, screen mode, mask for removing pixels and a few other odds and ends.  

Saturday, January 19, 2013

First SNOW in Two Years !!!

Growing up in the Western part of the United States, snow was a part of our lives.  We cleared the ice and snow from car windows with plastic scrapers, wore heavy rubber boots and real-wool winter coats, shoveled 2-3 foot drifts from the walks and driveways, LEARNED to drive in snow more than 2" deep, built crooked snowmen with sticks and stones, swirled snow angels in the deep drifts of pure puffy snow, sledding was taken for granted and skiing was a privilege on weekends, and school was never ever canceled due to weather conditions.
Snowy weather was as normal as
 peanut butter and jelly sandwiches.

Now, decades later we find ourselves in the Southern part of the United States.  We have longed for snow, just one snow fall please!  Well after two years we got our wish...
sort of.
Last night's weather report mentioned we might have snow, but most likely rain and ice.

Up before dawn, I checked for snow reflections out the windows...well sort of they were there...enough to get me dressed and out the door to really check it out.
Yup snow alright.
Also really slippery thick clear ice lurking underneath.

As soon as the sun broke over the tops of the houses, my camera started clicking and clicking and clicking...I prayed it wouldn't FOG up coming from a warm house.

This went on for two hours, until the full sun melted our much desired snow to slush.  Only the deep shadows and protected areas had remnants of ice.

I could show you 172 don't run away, just choosing a few favorites.  Now don't laugh. To us in the South at low elevations THIS is as close to SNOW as we will get !!!!!

Do I hear a giggle, laugh, snicker?  For us this is/hmm was

I know my neighbors driving to work must have really wondered if I had lost my senses to be standing in the semi-dark, wrestling with a tripod, taking photos of the ice and snow they had just chipped off of their windshields.

One just has to be a "romantic" to understand!

Thanks for dropping by.

Oh, yes, a reminder I have had to disconnect the "anonymous" 
link due to way too much spam.  You will need an Open ID or other account to leave a message.  
A few people sure know how to spoil things.

Friday, January 18, 2013

Moving around in Singapore

Yes, there is a recession in so many parts of the world,
however in Singapore, much like rampant growing bamboo.... major new museums, waterfront complexes and downtown buildings have emerged.
Singapore has to be an architect's dream.....everything imaginable is designed and built.

Gardens by the Sea is such an example. We saw the metal dome like shell being constructed.   Trees and plants from all over the world are "planted" in specific climate can wander through vegetation of Indonesia to the dry plateaus of Africa.

In one day we didn't see it all, but what we did see, was a dream-scape for any botanist.  

A special treat was the amazing display of autumn gourds, pumpkins, graceful sheaves of wheat and lavender splayed like a Geisha's fan.
Mixed into an autumn palette of color and texture were American style scarecrows and wagons of pumpkins.

The Little Muggers and we had loaded up our art supplies, knowing this would be a super place to do some sketching. 


Bonnie at Pixel Dust Photo Art has suggested the theme of In and Out for our Photo Friday Art submissions.  Bonnie has done some really cool faces for her submission, take a look when you can.

I keep going back to some favorite photos from last summer of our granddaughter running "In and Out" of the waves.
I decided to make each textured photo different, but have some common elements such as: ocean theme, text, font and textures that emphasized light found at the beach.


Thursday, January 17, 2013


Several years ago I started some fun photography online courses with Kat Sloma.(click on name)  In fact that is the genesis of starting this blog. 
There was a group of us who stayed with Kat's series and often left comments on one another's blogs.  It was certainly a feeling of "community."
(Kat is starting these classes again, you might want to check them out.)

One of my favorites, Brenda Gottsabend who writes How to Feather an Empty Nest (click on name) is worth a visit on a regular basis.  My but she has blossomed in her art/talent and website design. 
Brenda has an eye for structural compositions, light/dark, positive /negative space.  Her style is very distinct.

Everyone once in awhile I find myself taking a "Brenda" shot.  I see something I feel Brenda would "shoot" and go for it.  One day I will post some "Brenda-inspired" photographs.

Brenda is hosting a fun and challenging opportunity for all of us,  3rd Thursday Challenge. The only prerequisite is to try something "different" from what we normally do.  What might challenge us as photographers.
This is my first posting. 

Macro Shots

I have a dedicated macro lens. I love close up shots that peek into the more minute details; but the challenge for me is "clarity and crispness."
The challenge is due to a physical interior tremor that is permanent and only worsens with time. So handling a big, heavy camera with a tremor is a challenge in all circumstances, but particularly macro.

I do have a good tripod, but find it a "pain" to use, it really slows me down to the point I lose interest. But after my last batch of macro photos shot last week, and shown today on this posting, I realize I will have to use it.
My Thursday Challenge is holding/bracing the camera steady, and most likely moving to more usage of a tripod.  
(Anyone with tips on using a tripod quickly is welcome to share.)


It was a very rainy day. The sky rolled in gray batting, huge raindrops leaking downward and I worried about our bird feeders' seed becoming soggy, for lack of a better word.
When the steady rain wound down, it was time for seeing what damage  the rain brought. And while at it take some shots.

To counteract my tremor I decided to go for BIG BOKEH, thus masking some of the automatic blur I knew I would have.
Here are the good and not so good.



Note the tiny green leaf/middle of bottom tray. This is where I focused.

Charmingly, the seeds fell down on the broad green leaves. It reminds me of a fairy banquet. 

Focusing on a few raindrops dripping off the feeder and a bare branch, the challenge became very acute.

On our porch is one lonely, forlorn and drooping geranium ...simply clinging to life begged to be photographed.

I suppose these are more "distant" macro shots, but so much of the subject was interesting that I didn't focus in on a single minuscule element. I also recognize that I "like to tell a story" and that often times requires showing a bit of the scenery along with the star. 

I do love the close up, as long as the camera isn't focusing on ME!

Thanks Brenda !