Monday, December 31, 2007

Landscapes, wet pastels (art) 2007

I'm posting all my 2007 wet pastel landscapes at the end of December, though they were done over the course of a year, most were done during the fall of 2007.

Wet chalk and wet construction paper pastels: these are mostly 6x9" in-class demos. Some are 9x12". Many are experiments, or are not finished. If I don't finish them in class, I can't go back and finish them when the paper's dry as they're generally far too fragile to re-wet and add details. I usually only have about 10-15 minutes to complete a pastel as I have to teach the kids too!

This lesson evolved when my after-school art kids asked if they could do chalk pastels. I wasn't wild about the idea as I like more painterly colors, etc. But I also love to draw. So we did some pastels and I was disappointed in our results. I noticed that one child developed a cough from inhaling the chalk dust. (It bothers me too). His mother insisted it was only a cold (I think she was afraid I wasn't going to let him participate as he totally loved art). But.... I wondered: how can I reduce the chalk dust? Water. When I worked at a horse training stables, we used to sprinkle the indoor arena sand to keep dust levels down.

I discovered a technique of wetting both paper and chalk and it's akin to painting with sticks of chalk. (I've used both oil sticks and Aquerelle watercolor crayon sticks so it was a natural progression. With the Aquarelles, I weted the stiff morilla board first, or sprayed it with water after the crayon was applied. But I didn't want to use white paper for chalk pastels—besides, morilla board is astronomically expensive to use in the classroom.

So I experimented with all kinds of paper and the ONLY paper that would work was my former school painting/drawing nemesis, construction paper. It has a tooth (texture the chalk needs to adhere to) and the glue that holds the woodpulp together softens and the chalk adheres directly to it. Riverside acid free construction paper works best. Most schools have the worst grade cheap construction paper, but it will work, though it's more fragile and will easily tear.

An added bonus of using chalk wet, the colors are more painterly and vibrant. Cheap kid chalk or hopscotch chalk generally won't work, it's often too hard and will tear the paper, but the heavy teacher white chalkboard chalk is a perfect blending tool with a buttery consistency when wet.

We add black details with the waterbase stabillo pencils at the end of the session. (I also remove black chalk from the pastel sets). Pieces are very fragile until the construction paper dries. I put them on paper towels and in a sunlit window to dry.

Adult pastel sets often have toxic chemicals in them—like vermillion, cadmium and cobalt. Don't use them with kids! make sure the chalks have non-toxic AP labels.

Chalk pastel on construction paper, 6x9" or 9 x 12".

Landscapes, wet pastels (art) 2013
Landscapes, wet pastels (art) 2012
Landscapes, wet pastels (art) 2011
Landscapes, wet pastels (art) 2008
Still life (art) 2007

When this piece dried it was much lighter.
After Monet

The color fades as they dry 

One of my first pieces

Still life (art) 2007

Drawn at Cleveland Elementary School, in-class demos. Wet pastel. Probably Fall, 2007.

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

Tristano & Son (Amie Street)

NB: A double album called "Jazz Memories" came up on Amie Street Music. For pennies a song, I downloaded a veritable candy store of music: 31 tracks from the gods of jazz. And I'm not even a big jazz fan. Celtic music is more my thing. But "Jazz Memories" is an extraordinary compilation from the great jazz masters including jazz divas Billie Holiday, Sarah Vaughan and Ella Fitzgerald, with jazz legends "Satchmo" Louis Armstrong, Count Basie, Miles Davis, Thelonious Monk and Duke Ellington, to name a few. These are all clean tracks of major hits from major labels—not muddied side B recordings. What's not to like?

go to Amie Street News to read the review in situ. (Alas, Amie Street is no more—bought up by Amazon.)

Seeing the name Lennie Tristano on the track, "Judy" (perhaps named for Lennie's vocalist Judy Niemack?) startled me. My grade school classmate Steve Tristano's mom was named Judy too so the name Tristano took me down memory lane and I found myself enthusiastically recommending it on Amie Street despite the fact that I know nothing about jazz—which landed me a guest blog spot on Amie Street! I'm pretty jazzed by the whole thing. (Pardon the pun on oh so many levels!)


Back to the Tristano memory lane: since my grade school classmate Adair Daley (Lara) is off somewhere writing about her childhood days growing up in Lagunitas, and it looks like I'll have to wait for the next high school reunion in 2010 to see her as her SF Chronicle email bounces—by then, I know beyond the shadow of a doubt, that even more of our gray cells will be severely challenged—I thought I'd better contribute a few Lagunitas memories of my own to the great sphere of blogdada art now while I can still remember most of it.

Steve, b. in 1952, died Nov. 21, 2015

In the late '50s, I went to Lagunitas School in the San Geronimo Valley out in the wilds of West Marin in Northern California with many interesting, if not downirght quirky characters—including Lennie Tristano's son, Steve.

During recess, after a jazz assembly performance by stride pianist Ralph Sutton (Pete's dad), we found ourselves alone in the classroom, and Steve went over to the piano to strut his stuff.

We weren't allowed to touch the old carved oak upright so this was pretty big deal. Steve opened the lid (we gasped at his audacity) and then he gave it an experimental trill. Soon Steve was honkeytonking tunes on that piano for us like "Tea for Two" and Scott Joplin's "Maple Leaf Rag," and he played the rockingist "Boogie Woogie" you ever heard.

What was amazing (in retrospect) was that Steve played all these songs by ear. We'd certainly never heard it before. I thought it was perfectly normal that some kid could pound out music like that. What did I know? I wasn't even eight years old yet. The ivories trilled. Steve pounded it down. The ebonies remembered their tropical homeland.

We could literally see the cenozoic dust motes rising up and in the sun from the top of that old blond upright piano that never played anything racier than "America the Beautiful," or "The Star Spangled Banner."

Eight-year-old Steve, the jazz piano prodigy, was standing on the piano bench hammering out a series of his famous father's locked "hand progression chords" by ear—this was long before the other piano man Elton John even knew there was an Elvis. We were all dancing and rocking out in that classroom like American Bandstand—not that we had TV reception in The Valley. When Steve arpeggioed the keys, I thought for sure the floor was gonna open up and swallow us whole for sinnin' like that.

Classmate Taydie (Helen) Bostwick was a dyed in the wool Elvis fan‚ she even had her hair cut and greased back like Elvis so she haughtily sniffed at our gyrations, shoving her glasses up the bridge of her nose with her bird finger because there could be only one King and Elvis was it. Amen.

To be fair, we used to listen to Elvis records at Taye's grannie's house above the Lagunitas store after school. Taye's grannie talked kinda funny but she was from the South, maybe Memphis. Even we could see there was no love lost between Taye's grandmother and her son-in-law, Charles, who was quite the acculturated New England antique snob—replete with an accent.

But this boogie woogie that Steve played was visceral, electrifying. We were mesmerized. Come to think of it, Taye might have finked on us. Last I heard she was in an all cowgirl band in Vegas or Reno—in search of the Flying Elvises, I suppose.

When the recess bell rang, our 2nd grade teacher, the matronly, rotund Miss Burge stormed into the classroom and had a fit of absolute and anacreontic apoplexy—replete with vibrato shriek (she was also the school music teacher).

I guess Miss Burge could hear us down the hall. Miss Burge surveyed the scene and turned red, then spidery purple, her fleshy jowls trembling with rage as she closed the piano lid and she checked for damage.

The air resonated with a harmonic flock of hidden notes and they landed in her stiff beehive coifed blonde hair—gone all awry. We were even more mesmerized by the extraordinary sight of Miss Burge coming undone like that. Truly a memorable day all around.

The piano survived Steve's musical onslaught but the damage was already done deep inside all of us. We were Boogie Woogied by the blind piano man's son. We experienced a religious bop-tism by fire.

That moment we could never go back to who we were, amorphic, unformed and unsophisticated kids shoehorned into the adult nostalgia of an invented childhood a la Robert Lewis Stevenson's "A Child's Garden of Verses."

Sadly, Miss Burge did NOT see Steve's obvious inherited talent. She did not reward his gift. Punishment was her forte. And so she played her heavy hand at that. Steve was undaunted. He had his own music locked deep inside a fortress no one could penetrate.

Steve lived in Lagunitas near his grandmother's house. I lived with my grandmother on the border between Lagunitas and Forest Knolls. I used to get Steve's mother Judy all mixed up with Scott Weaver's mother. They looked so alike with their curly raven hair and they were both kindly women. At least to me.

Scott's mom made doughnuts from scratch...the most heavenly concoctions on earth. How she found the time to make doughnuts with all those kids running loose was a major miracle. One winter afternoon I was riding my horse through the hills and found myself trespassing in their back yard on the lower slopes of Mount Barnabe.

Mrs. Weaver invited me into the kitchen and I ate fresh doughnuts dusted with granules of sugar. I forgot that I was miles from home destined to riding the lonely tree caverned fire trails in pitch darkness with an overactive imagination. Luckily my sensible horse could see the way home. But that's another story.

It was a long walk home from the school too and cars were rare in The Valley, so if there was an event at the school, we sometimes hitched rides home with the Suttons and Tristanos. Pete's mom, Chuck (Charlene) Sutton who could sit on her long blonde hair, drove an old two-tone gray-green VW bus and countless kids could pile into it. It was handy when she lived on our road.

I used to visit the Suttons when I was young as there weren't many kids to play with on Arroyo Road and I was madly in love with Pete by age six. He was tall and blond, like a viking. I guess Chuck was seeing Grover Sales the art critic in those days because Pete's dad Ralph Sutton was a jazz musician in New York. I only found that out decades later 'coz Grover Sales had written a dedication to Chuck on a poetry book of Lew Welch's but that REALLY is another story.

The Suttons moved to Lagunitas up the hill near the Tristanos which meant for me, a longer walk home. I only went to that house on the hill a few times. It was dark and gloomy under the dank redwoods. I didn't like it. Then I got too shy to visit but I often rode by their place on my horse.

But I do remember meeting the blind piano man Lennie Tristano at the Lagunitas Store. In those days, I had a curious notion: I thought you had to be blind to play the piano as Scott Weaver's older brother, Kent, the Valley piano tuner, was also blind.

When a well-meaning neighbor offered us her old piano, I said No! and hastily took up the guitar in order to preserve my eyesight because I was going to be an artist when I grew up. We were wise enough to know that the adult world was full of contradictions. However, Steve had two perfectly good eyes to see with. So that theory was shot down. Fine eyes they were, he had his father's strong dark eyebrows. And he could play the piano like he was born to it.

We all lived charmed lives. Then the 60s happened... Steve found oblivion in a needle. Last time I saw him was at the Forest Knolls bus stop, really the old train depot. He boarded the magic bus, maybe he saw something on the horizon and like so many of our generation, he never came back.

I heard Steve went to the great beyond, others say he resurfaced somewhere in Oregon. Hard to sort out the truths from the half-truths but any which way you think it, he was a casualty of the drug wars.

Steve's best friend, Pete Sutton was in our grade too. They were thick as thieves with Johnny Kaufman and Scott Huntsman. No room there for girls. Just like their fathers.

Alas, their fathers, Tristano & Sutton may have been great jazz legends, rightfully repatriated and posthumously inducted into the Big Band and Jazz Hall of Fame, but they were among the vast army of invisible fathers... I saw them maybe once or twice.

We children of the Beat Generation were all mostly fatherless living out so far from town. We grew strong like the women who raised us. We marched to our own drum. Some marched farther than others, and some never came back.

© 2007 Maureen Hurley

Saturday, December 1, 2007

Cool Jazz Rooms

"Jazz Memories" by Various Artists, is a stellar introduction to the Ultimate Jazz Experience—Whether you're relatively new to jazz, like me, or a dyed in the wool blue note aficionado, this compilation is an extraordinary 20-year retrospective of jazz history with some of the best works from the golden age of jazz.

The double album collection features jazz divas including Billie Holiday crooning My Man, Sarah Vaughan's Embraceable You, and Ella Fitzgerald's sultry How Long Has This Been Going On—all national jazz treasures. A real surprise was Dinah Washington's Easy Living. I've only heard her warhorse renditions and it was refreshing to hear her sing a sweet ballad.

Then we have the jazz immortals "Satchmo" Louis Armstrong viscerally trumpeting us through Dixieland with Dear Old Southland, and Count Basie's bebop rendition of Shoe Shine Boy; while on the other side of the jazz continuum, we've got Stan Getz tickling the ivories, Thelonious Monk's classic Blue Monk as well as Duke Ellington's Lotus Blossom. And then there's the cerebral Miles Davis' groundbreaking Tune-Up (say, is that 'Trane on the sax?).

"Jazz Memories" is yet another Amie Street solid gold sleeper. I love the fact that we get to hear such a wide range of music on Amie Street Music—from new indie artist hot off the press, er, Garageband—to fabulous vinyl classics that I would never otherwise listen to. It made me curious and want to know more about these musicians. (Keep an eye out for a copy of Herman Leonard's companion book which has some great stories about the musicians.)

I was surprised to learn that the longest track on the album, Tune-up, which, at first I found difficult to connect to, was really two songs in one. About 4 minutes in, When the Lights are Low kicks in and it's sonorously beautiful with several solos.

From what I can glean, the track Tune-Up/When the Lights are Low is from Miles Davis' groundbreaking 1956 Prestige album, Cookin' With the Miles Davis Quintet.

There's a great backstory attached to the Prestige label—it seems that Miles had to fulfill his Prestige contract with new work and so he just kept jammin' with his newly formed quintet.

The music Miles' quintet produced during the 24-hour marathon mother of all jammin' sessions was so hot, it resulted in three groundbreaking albums including the last one Cookin'—which also debuted My Funny Valentine. Whether it's Rollins or Trane on the mellifluous sax is moot, it's still all pure Miles on the trumpet and it put both Davis and Coltrane on the map.

These are all clean tracks of major hits from the major jazz label vaults—not muddied side B recordings. Blue Monk is my personal fave and Art Tatum's Willow Weep For Me is a close second. No, make it Frenesi, no, make it St. Thomas...aww, just buy the whole album. I suspect we'll be seeing some more compilation albums from this label in the near future.

An aside, I noticed that some tracks seem to cut out early, most noticeably Jitterbug Waltz and My Man. But then I had trouble downloading the album and had to download it song by song. You can hear some faint hissing on Blue Monk but considering when it was recorded, it's pretty clean. I checked Tune-up against another
download music services and the Amie Street track is definitely cleaner, clearer, brighter.

As I sad earlier, jazz is not normally my forte, so I was delighted to find how accessible and personable the album was with its collage of songs with just the right juxtaposition of cerebral and visceral. "Jazz Memories" is one of those rare albums that opens up new rooms in your head.

                         —Maureen Hurley
© 2007 12/9/2007 for Amie Street Music

go to Amie Street News to read the review.

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Facebook photo album: Mo's silk painting (photos, art)

Mo's silk painting.

Painting on silk has got to be one of the most challenging forms of painting but the rewards are amazing. The silk glows with an inner light and the paintings are luminous. Many of my silk hoops came out of my stint at drawing and photographing flowers. But I work from real life as the human eye can see far more than the camera lens.

I tend to work in series and in a variety of media. I begin many flower pieces with a pencil drawing (see my drawing folder) but sometimes I just draw directly on the white silk. There's something so compelling about that flowing surface. Nile iris...I lost interest in the drawing, never finished it but it does show the gutta (like batik) lines. 9.5" habotai silk and clear waterbase gutta.

NB I prefer gold gutta percha but it's extremely unstable and often tarnishes or worse, goes gummy and ruins everything it touches. It's basically rubber cement. I also tried acrylic Neopaque and really hated it and it constantly plugged the metal tip I used to draw it with.

First step is to draw the design on stretched silk with gutta percha, or water-based resist. Sort of like batik.

The Chinese gardener at Neil's ashram was ill in the hospital so they made a healing quilt for him. Mine was the only silk piece. I was on display at the Oakland SYDA ashram for quite a while. I had a pot of cyclamens as my model and a surprise night guest: a snail who appears in other silk drawings. 9x9" habotai silk, dye and gutta. 2004? 2005?

Panel for a silk wall hanging for the 2005 international SPIN conference in New Mexico. Mt St Helena, a coyote howling at the moon. A bluejay and a salmon, all totemic animals.9x9" habotai silk, dye and gutta.

Detail of a panel for a silk wall hanging for the 2005 international SPIN conference in New Mexico. This one was never used. I forgot to include a border for seam allowance and had to redo it all over again in 45 minutes and ship it to England in the evening post . 9x9" habotai silk, dye and gutta.

Mt St Helena—Alexander Valley. I don't even know where it is—it's part of an international silk quilt travelling the world. Last I heard it was in Sydney, Oz. Hard to tell, but there's also a poem written on it in gold in the furrows. 2005

The silk wall hanging for the 2005 international SPIN conference in New Mexico. Mine are 2nd row, first on left and last row, last on right. I was the only artist who had two panels. Isabella Wentworth of England created this project and most of the continents are represented. It traveled from GB to Iceland to New Mexico to Australia, where it resides today.

Celtic fish and eel. After 9/11, I drew about 50 Celtic hoops and didn't paint in most of them... This one I finally finished in 2006. I think having to adapt complex Celtic designs to fit 9 inch silk hoops was so challenging that it offered some respite from the horror that followed. 9.5" habotai silk, dye and gutta. 2002/2006

Waterfall at the end of the mind... Wildcat Beach, Beltaine. (May Day). This is the waterfall below Pelican Lake at Double Point above Bolinas. I camped there with a bunch of crazed fifth graders and that night we saw rare white deer under full moonlight. A poem came unbidden and some lines are scribed on the silk. 9x14" habotai silk, dye and gutta. 1989

Tengo Dinero. Cabo San Lucas before it was Miami beached. 9x14" habotai silk, dye and gutta. 1989

The first poem painting I ever made—only there was never a poem, I sent this idea as a valentine to a friend, and then I did another for the Sonoma State Art Auction, which the Dean of Humanities bought. He asked me if I had others. I said no but I went home and did this one which became part of a series of poem paintings. Illuminated manuscripts were my inspiration. I later had a show of the pieces at the California Museum of Art. 9x14" habotai silk, dye and gutta. 1989

Gauguin's The Savage Dream... my childhood friend Micaela Carr sent me her drawing of a gecko that wound up in this painting. I'd just returned from Peru and the Galapagos. Gauguin lived in Lima as a child. 9x14" habotai silk, dye and gutta. The direct scan doesn't do the piece justice. 1989

Three scarves. Orchids for Mina, roses for Justa and poppies for Mari. 9x45" habotai silk, dye and gutta.  2004

My cousin, a watercolorist said: Those roses are stunning! I answered: They had a short shelf life in the hot sun. A friend, Shiva grows hundreds of types of roses so I gathered the ones I liked and then drew them from life. This became a scarf for a Cuban friend's mother in Miami.  2004

© 2007 Maureen Hurley All works of art and photographs in these albums are © copyright by Maureen Hurley and may not be used in any endeavor or context. Got that, Facebook? November 10, 2007

added 2/2017 These are salvaged from Facebook, so I'm saving them here all in one place for the prose as well. They're extremely small files. Loaded with artifacts. No use printing them.

Facebook photo album: Mo's Drawings (photos, art)
Facebook photo album: Mo's Flower Pix (photos)
Facebook photo album: Mo's Landscape Pix (photos)...

Facebook photo album: Mo's Drawings (photos, art)

Mo's drawings

Few know my training is in visual arts. I love bold contour line and sculptural light. A car accident put me in front of a lot of flowers and since I couldn't do much else but sit around for about a year (and heal), I drew a lot of flowers. I used to think that cutting edge artists didn't draw flowers or landscapes, only Sunday painters, and here I was a SMTWThFS flower painter. The only edges I was cutting were my nails as everything hurt.

So I drew, and drew and drew until I got it. I also work in the schools teaching art to kids, so many of the drawings are quickies I've done in class. There are a few landscapes as well. I try to imbue them with energy because that's how I see landscape—alive, like a tawny beast.

But I prefer to work from real life as the human eye can see far more than the camera lens. The only exceptions are the Scottish landscapes. The fish and butterflies that have crept into this album are, for the most part, on the spot in-class 2-minute teaching drawings.

Shoes are amazingly complex to draw. There are so many details that it can be overwhelming. When I do this exercise with kids, they tend to scream because taking off shoes in school AND putting them on the table is way too crazy. The girls go squeamish and the boys go boisterous. Eventually they settle down and do some decent drawings. Sometimes I'll draw their shoes too. This is Freddie's shoe. I got the teaching idea from Greer Upton when we were in a group called Artists in the Schools of Sonoma County (ASC). (teaching drawing) 2005


Buddy's boot. One of my 2nd grade student's. 2005. (teaching drawing)

This little guy was so uncomfortable when I was drawing him, that he had constant fits of giggling so I had to draw fast. (teaching drawing) 2005

Little Jamie at the Clayton Montessori school had a deformed hand and she was like a small fragile bird but she was able to draw with that hand after I showed her some tricks of the trade. (teaching drawing) 2005

This old 1940s Argus camera was one of my first hand-me-down cameras, from my first boyfriend's father. I used it until it developed a light leak. Then it had another career as still life object. Countless kids drew it, took it apart. Note the film advance spool is really bent. Alas, my drawing notebooks were destroyed when my shed leaked. I managed to save only a handful of drawings from the 1980s.

Argyle Butte in Scotland (from a calendar photograph). 8x10" stabillo pencil. 2006?

Loch Tunnel, Scotland (from a calendar photograph). Marsha Connell, an artist I taught with in the schools of Sonoma County does amazing large watercolor landscapes and I can see a bit of her sensuous influence here. 8x11" stabillo pencil.©2006 Maureen Hurley

North side view of Mount Diablo from Clayton. I had a break between classes and since we were looking straight up the mountain, it was a pretty intense, if not unusual angle. 8x10 stabillo pencil. © 2005 Maureen Hurley

After a catering job there were hundreds of gardenias left over (it was a wedding) so I filled a trash bag with gardenias. Every large bowl I had was filled with them. There were so many I had to resort to filling the bathtub with flowers. Another lost drawing...luckily I have the xerox. Detail of a larger drawing, cheapie Bic mechanical pencil on xerox paper.

I only had three calla lillies, and I kept drawing them from every angle. I was too lazy to get another piece of paper. Then it reminded me of Diego Rivera's lilies. This version was scanned and colorized in Photoshop. 8x11, stabillo. 2000.

I absolutely love drawing star lilies, they're so huge. Unfortunately florists cut off the stamens and pistles which have amazing russet colors. I can't stand the heavy odor of lilies so they stay outside. 8x10" stabillo pencil.

Star lily and bud. 8x10" stabillo pencil.

Daffodils. Detail of one of my very first flower drawings (or rather a xerox of the original–which was destroyed when my shed roof leaked. I'm just grateful that I have the xerox. 2004, or earlier.

All works of art and photographs in these albums are © copyright by Maureen Hurley and may not be used in any endeavor or context. Got that, Facebook?   November 10, 2007

added 2/2017 These are salvaged from Facebook, so I'm saving them here all in one place for the prose as well. They're extremely small files. Loaded with artifacts. No use printing them.

Facebook photo album: Mo's Flower Pix (photos)

Facebook photo album: Mo's Landscape Pix (photos)

Facebook photo album: Mo's Flower Pix (photos)

Not a milk thistle, a cardoon, a member of the artichoke family. The color is outrageous.

A weed, but a morning glorious one

The light fairly pulsed through the heart of the morning glory, only it was late afternoon.

Morning Glory on the refuse heap.

Hollyhock...related to hibiscus...look at the stamen

I had never really taken photos of flowers before, and so I became fascinated with composition and light. Georgia O'Keefe certainly was an influence but I found myself unable to really focus in tight and crop off parts of flowers (or people's heads for that matter). It was hard to chop off the prettiness of the center of the dahlia in order to focus on the petal structure and raindrops.

One intense cosmos. I never realized how many blooms have blemishes and flaws until I started taking photos of them. The human eye is more forgiving than the camera lens, or should I say, the computer screen—because that's where the flaws show up. I came away from this exercise with a profound respect for still life master photographers and the F 16 school of Edward Weston. I wonder how he and Ansel Adams would've taken to the digital revolution? I was primarily a black and white photographer so color often distracted me. I sometimes turned the jpgs into B&W in order to see what I was doing.

Pansies with cat whisker stripes.

Gazania, African daisy

Foxglove. No foxes didn't wear them. They were called folk's gloves, fairy fingers or fairy hats. We used to put them on our fingers. Digitalis by any other name, used to regulate the heart arhythmia. Very poisonous.

One of the few times the old camera did a good job. Depth of field wasn't its forte. I figured that it was little better than a throw away camera with an ASA of 100.

Then the wind came up right before sunset and it lacerated the poppies.

I had to do a rose cliche, get it out of my system.

Two calla lilies (or Aram lilies) so like dancers. I love the forms. Very Martha Graham

Narcissus. An overcast or a rainy day was too much for the camera, I rarely got anything in focus. I miss my old SLR Pentax K-1000 and being able to focus my good lenses but I don't miss the darkroom chemicals. This was my training ground switching over to digital. I took a lot of photos before I figured out what would work. The digital SLRs were still in their infancy and were pretty lousy.

What's summer without basil? A member of the prolific mint family, some 2000 species and counting.

An urban succulent outside a Berkeley office. I loved the stark contrast of plant and door and wall. The people who worked there wanted to know why I would want to take a picture of a scrawny plant. They couldn't see it with fresh eyes. The pot was merely an outdoor ashtray to them.

Same leaf. The camera couldn't pick up the intense reds and greens next to the black edges of the leaf. I didn't know about photoshopping with layers or jpg deterioration and so the original pristine image is lost. I may try & salvage it at a later date. I was so desperate to capture is extraordinary color that I even scammed the leaf.

When I saw the rays of light streaming through the canna leaf up at the compost heap, I thought I was seeing things. I ran for my camera and was able to get a few shots before the sun moved and all was restored to ordinary light.

Most of these photos were taken in the fall of 2005 and 2006 with my first 3.1 megapixel digital camera that was so bad, it cost a whopping $29. The memory card cost more than the camera. But it had a great close up lens, better than my Nikon, but off color and pixellation was hard to work around. In this fall leaf resting on a black car hood, the graininess works. Very Seraut. See the shafts of sunlight streaming through the leaf as if it was a prism?

Someday I'll get a decent digital camera that can focus on what I actually see. it seems most of my best photos are taken with poor field of focus challenged cameras. The light fairly pulsed through the heart of the morning glory, only it was late afternoon. Unbelievable, the new 7.1 MP Nikon camera iisn't as good as the 5.1 MP Nikon I was using after I watered my cheap made in China camera. Ah wheels.

added 2/2017 Google killed off Picasa, where I had the bulk of my photos stored, and left orphans all over the place. A nightmare for me, as I lost all my album prose, identifying people and places. To add insult to injury the photo albums also lost their creation dates, they were moved to the last edit date of the photo. These are salvaged from Facebook, so I'm saving them here for the prose as well. They're extremely small files. Loaded with artifacts. No use printing them.

Facebook photo album: Mo's Landscape Pix (photos)...