Monthly Archives: October 2011

Postcards from My Dream ~ Dark Storms and Rainbows

There are days with bright sunshine. They are lovely, warm, and comfortable. Then there are the days of Lake Superior’s Superior Storms.
Saturday (10/15/2011) was one of those days with multiple warnings: shoreline erosion, high wind, and hazardous weather – a perfect day for the beach!

Super Superior Storm

The Beach Studio was not a safe bet, with trees falling right and left. Not wanting to be trapped in the woods on a two-track, alone with no chain saw to cut my way out, I ventured to a “safe” beach on a safe road, and WOW! I’m so glad I did.
In a period of 2 hours, I was able to shoot a Super Superior Storm including sunshine, monster waves, and was even blessed with a rainbow!
West winds howling at 60mph, I leaned with my back to the wind, booted feet planted firmly, listening for the sound of cracking trees while finding the sound of the rhythm of the waves in order to move out of the way quickly. Yes! I love these storms and am not afraid to embrace them. The energy is incredible and I become incredulously one with the storm. At the same time, protecting lenses and camera from the blowing sand and spray, unable to even shoot into the wind… Yes! Exhilarating! Yes, rewarding! Yes!

Risky? Maybe, and yet caution to the wind while knowing the boundaries, standing on the edge, aware of the logs and trees being tossed about like toothpicks, retreat plan in place. Yes! Changing light settings every other minute as the sun and clouds played tag with light and dark, becoming a human tripod in the wind, capturing sand blowing, a lone brave or foolish seagull struggling in flight, the spray on the waves, reflections on wet sand, dramatic skies. 250+ images. Fast. Did they all come out? Of course not. Some are incredible. Some are dramatic. Some are beautiful. Some are incredibly, beautifully dramatic. Just like Lake Superior when Mother Nature offers fury on the wind.

Dark Sky with Superior Rainbow ~ Lake Superior

These are dark images from a dark day. To brighten them would totally change the mood, the feeling, the heaviness of the clouds. A storm that washed the beach clean of stones, covered them with sand… a storm full of magnificent energy.

May you always be able to dance in the wind and rain of your storms ’til the rainbow appears!

Namaste ~ StarBear

Advertisements

Post-a-day 2011 ~ Teaching Learning and New Art

I make art. I write. I teach. Most of all, I learn. I am surrounded by beauty and beautiful people. OMG I am blessed!

Teaching~writing~creating.
I notice small things. I make big things out of small things.

About the joy of teaching:
“My” students are learning and excited about what they are learning. They are producing beautiful drawings and paintings. They are bringing them to class and sharing. They are motivated and doing more outside of class. They come into class and share AHA! moments that happened for them during the week. They are having fun with art and sharing with their kids and grandkids! They are seeing trees, colors, faces, shapes, light, contrast, textures, balance, the moon and the world in new ways!

Adults, they came into class thinking they “couldn’t” draw. They wanted to learn to draw. Oh! Did I already say how excited they are?… excited about learning and I am excited about how much they are learning and seeing. I teach from a fundamental principle of 90% of learning to draw, or paint, or make art is learning to see… then learning how materials work in the physical world, how our optical nerves register information and eye-hand motor skills. We practice. Then we practice some more – like riding a bicycle, practicing until AHA, we find our balance!
We look at art and what has been done before and why. We talk about art history, artists, why art, what’s art and what’s Art and who decides or decided. I ask a lot of questions, they think, then answer thoughtfully, listening to each other. I actually don’t “teach” much, I allow them to teach each other and me… shh! Don’t tell them. LOL! I’ve just learned to ask questions… and love seeing them think, watch eyes pop open and “get” their own answers, discovering, uncovering what they already know…

We are having fun, laughing a lot and are noisy and silly in the Library. Shhh! (Our Library is an exciting place to be!)

Teaching inspires me… opens my brain to new ideas and ways of looking at the world, people, my own work, what I know, what I have learned from GREAT teachers and friends and students.

About making art…
I first learned to see by looking, to draw by drawing, by daily practice… and now I make environmental art, noticing the small, putting many small things together, noticing shapes and colors and patterns in my messy studios. My students have inspired me once again… Less computer time and more studio time, working with my hands and physical materials.

As I tell these students, I once learned to draw like Michaelangelo, and he already did that and is dead! Revered, admired, copied ~ he did what he did so beautifully. The ability to draw is in each of us if we can write our name or make marks on paper or walls.

So, now I paint and draw with stone from a natural palette calling attention to small things. I paint with light, photographing nature and stones. For me, making art is an amazing balance between light and dark, heavy and weightless, lifted by laughter & joy and built on a solid foundation of ancient wisdom, observation, and yes, feeling. It is a dance requiring access to both sides of the brain simultaneously. Even that requires practice.. daily doses of right and left brained activity.

The color filled display of fall has fallen, leaves are on the ground, returning to nurture the earth through winter ‘til spring. The seasons flow and I will go to ground, as well, in a sense. Working with my hands and eyes and in my studios. I LOVE creating OMG responses, in myself and others.

This video says it so well: OMG moments from Louie Schwartzberg – Gratitude (shared by Cheryl Richardson)

Here is a tiny peek at my winter series in stone – many, many works in progress… this is part of one.

Bloomin' stone

May your day be filled with creative living and dancing with the right side of your brain! Life is not set in stone, just some of my art work. 🙂

Namaste ~ StarBear

Post-a-day 2011 + Weekly Photo Challenge ~ Fall Gold

Golden Sky, Golden Sparks on Ancient Stones

Ten straight days of sunshine and warm temperatures, unusual for October here, brought the most amazing color to the woods this fall. A friend laughed the other day as he said, “I think my eyes may have improved, the color seems more brilliant and is everywhere this year!”
For me, this has created a wonderful dilemma: viewing and editing 150 images a day and what to share online, what to keep for the books I am working on? On Sunday, I went to Lake Superior, a favorite beach, at dawn. This is my personal church service, to thank Creator for all of the incredible gifts this year. I am grateful for the gift of light, of eyes to see, for the spectacular colors and changes of seasons and life.
I am also grateful for the gifts of my way of seeing and for the cameras which allow me to capture and share. I am grateful to Steve Jobs and Bill Gates for their willingness to dare and create what allows me and us to share this beauty. I am grateful for their willingness to try include everyone in their sharing. Because of their daring, we are capable of sharing globally. We can choose to share problems and we can share beauty. We can ask questions and perhaps find answers to global issues. As people Occupy Wall Street, I occupy the woods, the beach, in awe, gratitude and wonder.

I went to the beach in gratitude and returned home with one splendid agate, 150 photographs of nature’s splendor, and unlimited reverence for nature and the rhythms of life.

Golden Ripples, Golden Daze

Tide Pool Prism


Food for the soul, may you enjoy the feast of these simple images.

Namaste ~ StarBear

Weekly Photo Challenge ~ Fall: Marsh Magic

Yup… It’s still Fall. While blazing colors are still evolving in the hardwoods, there are other, less obvious, color changes in the trees, woods, and marshes nearby. Interspersed in the 20 miles of glowing color washed forest walls on the drive to work, expanses of marshland are quietly, softly and subtly making the transition from summer greens to yellow greens and gold. The Tamaracks may appear to some to be dying, as their tiny needles yellow, preparing to fall. Tamaracks are the one evergreen species that shed their leaves, needles, each fall.

Golden Tamarack

These trees, these places are some of my favorites. Not the crazy quilt of color, not as bright and blazing, and nonetheless beautiful. I find the subtle contrasts quietly taking my breath away as I stop to notice… gold all around.

Changing Marsh

Marsh Magic

Evergreen and Golden Marsh

May your day be filled with Nature’s Magic and breathtaking beauty.

Namaste ~ Starbear

Post-a-day 2011 + Weekly Photo Challenge ~ Fall Upstream

Fall. I fell for fall long ago. The beauty of fall is partly why I stay in Michigan, along with winter, summer, and spring. The changing seasons seem to match my personal rhythms, the flow of nature.

River Bend ~ Manistique River

While shooting these, and totally enjoying the day and the sun light, I thought there was a stick causing the ripples on the mirrored surface of the water. Upon closer inspection, it appeared to be a sleek furry critter, swimming upstream. Hoping it was a beaver, I watched it swim closer, then dive, disappearing quickly under the river bank. Probably a muskrat, although beaver and otter also live here.

Mirror Bend

Michigan often gets a bad rap as it is known primarily for the Motor City, Detroit, with the negatives. I grew up in Detroit, trained as an artist in Detroit, grew up on a tree lined street where once upon a time we raked leaves into big piles, then hid, jumped and played in them. After dark the neighborhood parents supervised bonfires of leaves. Sometimes we even roasted marshmallows over burning leaves. I can still remember the wonderful smells of those evenings. Do kids still do that? It was part of the rhythm of life, even in the city, a fall ritual as mornings grew colder and days grew shorter.

Just for giggles, how about a little different rhythm?
You can alwys listen to “Muskrat Love” (c. 1976) or “Muskrat Ramble” (c. 1926) by Louis Armstrong.

May your day be warm and filled with colorful rhythms of Nature!

Megwitch ~ Starbear
Copyright 2011 Betsy Lewis

Post-a-day 2011 + Weekly Photo Challenge ~ Fall continued…

For all of you who do not get to see this every day…
a few more views from roads travelled. The fall color just keeps becoming more brilliant? Raucous? Audacious? Spectacular? Gorgeous? Beautiful? Splendiforous?
Sometimes there are no words.
A friend of mine once coined the word “Brazilliant” to name one my images he owns. It was such a fun and discriptive word, I use it for the title.
What do you call the amazing arrays and displays of color in the fall? Nature’s palette is so palatable and yet so brief in its display. I am so lucky to witness this each year and it’s never the same and always thrilling. Enjoy!

Reflected Glow


Lake Anne Louise, near a tiny place named Blaney Park always offers spectacular views across the lake. Lined with mix of hardwoods and conifers it creates a perfect complementary color scheme. (I happen to be teaching color theory currently – can you tell? LOL!)

Hardwoods and conifers line the shore demanding attention...

I know the photo challenge this week has changed to “sunsets”, and I’m choosing to stay with Fall for now, so more fall is forthcoming to be celebrated while it lasts! I think it’s called “Making hay while the sun shines.” The sunsets will be fabulous this week as well – no rain predicted for 10 days, so also no storms to take the leaves away.

More soon!

Megwitch ~ Starbear

Post-a-day 2011 + Weekly Photo Challenge ~ Fall

Fall ~ So fall this Fall so far is mostly RED!
Oh! Poor me. Life is so hard! LOL!

This fall is RED... 20 miles of walls of color...


I am forced to drive each day this road to work within these leafy walls
lined with red of every tint shade hue…
dark and light and wine and glowing reds
ablaze against green against skies of gray and blue.
The road glows without sunshine and where is yellow?
Hiding, peaking, sneaking, teasing between other brilliant views.

How glad the woods, they be not shy
shouting color to the sky…
“Look at us” they call, demand.
“It is FALL and we are leaving!”

Envy not this place in which I roam
travelling to work, then returning home
within and through these walls of color.
Poor me! Forced to endure this beauty for hours on end
over hills, around a bend…
a brief time this willing prisoner will remain
within these walls of color to exclaim
in awe and gratitude and joy.

Megwitch ~ Starbear