Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Stand in It

thanksgiving 2012

thanksgiving 2012

thanksgiving 2012

thanksgiving 2012

Pursuing happiness, and I did, and I still do, is not at all the same as being happy – which I think is fleeting, dependent on circumstances, and a bit bovine. If the sun is shining, stand in it – yes, yes, yes. Happy times are great but happy times pass… The pursuit of happiness is more elusive; it is life-long, and it is not goal-centred. ~Jeanette Winterson

I had a wonderful Thanksgiving weekend with family and am still basking in the afterglow of the good memories...Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday because it's purely about spending time with the ones you love. There are no other requirements than to enjoy each other's company (and eat too much food). Deadlines and to do lists fall away for a few days while you simply connect with the special ones in your life. There was movie watching, walks, long conversations about life, laughter...as the quote above says, there was no seeking out of happiness this weekend. It was simply there amidst us, fully present, asking nothing in return...which is how happiness usually works. The weather was beautiful the day after Thanksgiving and we all took a walk...here are a few shots I got of the trees and gorgeous sky. I'm also including a photo of my daughter and her boyfriend because I just can't help myself...aren't they a gorgeous couple? *beams*

I'm linking up to Kim's Texture Tuesday today, which has a "free & easy" theme. I used her "peony" texture on all the tree photos, at Multiply/100%. I also put them through Radlab to tweak them a bit. Thank you for stopping by - if you celebrated, I hope your Thanksgiving was a good one!


Monday, November 19, 2012

Autumn's Tears


"Listen …
With faint dry sound,
Like steps of passing ghosts,
The leaves, frost-crisp’d, break free from the trees
And fall"
. ~Adelaide Crapsey, 1878-1914, November Night

And autumn bids a sad farewell, her tears glittering on the fallen leaves like jewels.

To all my U.S. friends, I'm wishing you a Happy Thanksgiving week filled with good food and the love of friends and family!

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Still Life

Still life

As in life, we are in art, always becoming. ~Wanda Montgomery

This week's prompt for Photo Art Friday is "still life". I chose a photo I took of three tiny glass vases with baby's breath in them. I used Bonnie's "Splash of Gold" texture at Linear Burn/80%. I also used her "Mauve Threads" texture at Hard Light/100%. These two textures brought so much to my very neutral photo - I loved the results! I also put it through Radlab several times to tweak it. PSE makes me fearless...I love that anything I do can be "undone" with one click if I don't like it. It gives me permission to try anything with no repercussions. Removing that fear opens up so many possibilities and my creativity has free reign. Now if only I could become this fearless when painting on paper! Gah...I need to work on that. My fear of making a mistake there really holds me back.

The next week will be very busy with Thanksgiving looming...we have company coming and I have lots of prep and cooking to do. I may not be here as much until after the Thanksgiving holiday. Thank you for stopping by!

Original photo:

Photo Art Friday

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Scavenger Hunt Sunday

The prompts for this week's Scavenger Hunt Sunday were nature, vintage/retro, whimsical, cooking, and week's best. I'm happy I was able to participate again this week...click below to join in!

Sperryville, VA
1. Nature. Another one of my Sperryville photos...I love the curvy road in the distance.

window view
2. Vintage/retro. We stopped in an antique store while out on our country drive. It was enormous, and I captured this shot near one of the windows...I love the lighting. I could've bought the whole store! Such beautiful vintage items...

3. Whimsical. The front porch of the antique store...those mushrooms are very whimsical. I took some liberties with some layers to add a little more whimsy.

4. Cooking. I had to go to the archives for this one...I didn't due any fancy cooking this week (or any worthy of photos).

Occoquan, VA
5. Week's Best. This was at the Occoquan Park recently - I actually took the photo a couple weeks back, but just edited it this week. I hope that counts? I love the mums with the water in the distance.

Friday, November 9, 2012

Pieces of Her Heart

Sperryville, VA
Sperryville, VA
Sperryville, VA
Sperryville, VA
mountain view

I'm linking up today to the Reflection of You blog with their weekly prompt "5 on Friday", which simply put is to post 5 of whatever floats your boat...what could be better than that? Since I have so many fall photos I thought I'd post some more - there are too many to count this year and I hate the thought that so many of them won't be shared. So here are five more autumnal country landscape images I've captured in the last couple of weeks. There's something so serene and calming about this set of country fields and sloping hills...something melancholy, too, which might be more my own mood as I say goodbye to fall. The bare trees are a reminder that the bleak winter is approaching...they always remind me of majestic, maternal beings standing strong while also mourning the loss of their "little ones", those beautiful vibrant leaves that have decided to let go and take their own journey. I'm sharing a poem below I wrote about this. I hope everyone has a great weekend - thanks for stopping by!


As autumn swells with meaning
Unfolding its languid spell
The tree unloads her glory
Flaming leaf souls falling
Cascading in a tremulous light
Glowing with tangy innocence
Coming undone against earth's skin
While bees drift in a quiet vigil
Fading with the summer
Like a comforting dream
Coming to an end

And the tree fasts over them
Her ribcage heavy with wish rings
A majestic mother fretting
For her beloved children
Her bone structure revealed
By the gaunt, gray smile of winter
Cradling them with care
Soothing them in the shuffling wind
Yearning to save these pieces of her heart
Her bare limbs praying skywards
Beseeching, ragged in the ripe air.

© Sherri Brannon

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Fallen Leaves

fallen leaves

Pleasures lie thickest where no pleasures seem:
There's not a leaf that falls upon the ground
But holds some joy of silence or of sound,
Some spirits begotten of a summer dream.

~Laman Blanchard

This week's Photo Art Friday prompt was "lines". I wanted to pick an image that had lines but also some softness, so I found this photo I took in Occoquan, VA of some leaves on a brick walkway. I like the lines created by the bricks, but also love the random placement of the fallen leaves. I used Bonnie's "Heavenly" texture at Difference/86%. I also used a reverse layer mask and an old engraved book cover to bring in the tiny floral background (Lighten/60%). I also used the artistic effects Dry Brush (Normal/48%) and Cutout (Normal/35%). As always, there were several tweaks in Radlab throughout the process. Mainly, I just played and played till it looked pretty...I could do this all day long. :)

Original images:

Photo Art Friday

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Country Roads

Sperryville, VA
Sperryville, VA
Sperryville, VA
Sperryville, VA
Sperryville, VA
Sperryville, VA

I'm linking up with Kim Klassen's Texture Tuesday, and this week's theme is "anything goes". I've been continuing to edit my photos from our trip to the mountains last weekend and thought I'd post some more. Unfortunately, we had clouds for the whole trip so there aren't many sunny images...but I was still grateful to get the trip in before Sandy came! As I drive around running errands this week, the trees are slowly losing their color...before long, all the leaves will be gone. This makes me a bit sad...the long countdown to spring is about to begin!


Sunday, November 4, 2012

Scavenger Hunt Sunday

About two months ago, I had a real busy week and missed one of my favorite prompts: Scavenger Hunt Sunday. I thought I'd get right back on it and here I am weeks and weeks later with my first submission in awhile. It's nice to be joining in again! For those of you who haven't participated, it's a lot of fun - each Sunday, you get five prompts and try to capture pictures during the week to then share the following Sunday. This week's prompts were wild, welcome, adventure, vibrant, and classic. Click on the button below if you'd like to see more photos, or to see what next week's prompt are.

Sperryville, VA
1. Wild. My husband and I took a country drive (and up to the mountains) last weekend to see the fall foliage before Hurricane Sandy blew all the leaves away. This photo was while we were driving up through the mountains near Shenandoah National Park. It got very cloudy and the tips of the mountain were hidden by fog. Pretty wild to see! :)

Sperryville, VA
2. Welcome. There was a lovely bed and breakfast in the town of Sperryville - this was their porch. The mums and pumpkins were very inviting and provided a warm welcome to any visitors.

Sperryville, VA
3. Adventure. I love our country drives - it's a mini adventure for us because we never have any real destination in mind and we turn down random country roads to see where they'll take us. One of those roads led us to this lovely view.

Sperryville, VA
4. Vibrant. We pulled off at an apple stand and this was the view in the distance. The vibrant colors of the trees along with the sweet sheep in the background (and the black birds in the tree!) made this my favorite capture of the day. I was so excited to get this shot! And I also got some apple butter and pumpkin butter...delicious.

Sperryville, VA
5. Classic. I got so many beautiful photos of the fall trees, but this one is such a classic country scene...the beautiful hills, the open field, the grazing cow...gorgeous. It was a really fun day!

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Golden Song

red leaves

I will take the sun in my mouth
and leap into the ripe air
Alive with closed eyes
to dash against darkness.
~E.E. Cummings

I love fall so much...the crisp weather, the glorious colors...it's my favorite season for photo taking and I am in awe at the beauty of it every year. But alongside the joy, there is an unspoken sense of dread at what's coming...winter. It's my least favorite season because I hate the cold temperatures and the barren landscape, which suits my mood during these months. I always fight with the winter blues, so the months of January through March creep by at a slow, gray crawl (December is so busy it takes care of itself!). I have to try hard to stay positive and happy, so it becomes more important than ever to eat right, exercise, and get enough sleep... and also to keep myself occupied with creative things! So, while I can in October and November, I drink in the vivid landscape and soak up the vibrant colors outside my door.

This is my submission for Photo Art Friday...I played with a photo of some brilliant red leaves on a fence. I used Bonnie's "Cobblestone Road" texture at Color Burn/97%. I also used her "Oh the Joy" texture at Darken/84%. Using a reverse layer mask, I added an old fabric texture for the background (Darken/75%) and also used Gradient Map, white to black, at Color Burn/59%. I finished by putting it through Radlab several times to tweak the tones, etc.


Autumn sings its golden song
From trees stained with
The dyes of flames
Dappled sun shines crisp
Atop leaping fires
Threaded through leafy veins

Swollen memories wait
On the underbellies
Of every turning leaf
Poignant and keen
Pensive and gold
Singing to me fervidly

And then I watch
As the leaves begin to fall
Swirling at my feet
Careworn fragments
Etched with fading lyrics
From a brilliant refrain

In that moment I pray
For silent strength
Laying my hand across
A heart that remembers
Everything is turning while
Spring is faint and far away

Distant birds swoop
Over bleak hills that sigh
At the sadness of it all
The wind moans and
Branches sag with the weight
Of winter in the air.

© Sherri Brannon

Original Images:

Photo Art Friday