Lois Reynolds Mead

Art and a pink monkeyflower in a native plant garden…


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An ode to a Dutchman’s Pipe…

Ahh, the pipevine (Aristolochia californica) is blooming and I have not commemorated it yet. A California native plant, deer won’t eat it and it grows rampantly. That makes it good on a fence where deer could get at it on one side. It also is supposed to have a blue butterfly, but you could not prove that by our plant because we have never seen one here. We do get the uniquely shaped flowers and pods (left from last season). As luck would have it, the bloom coincided with my seeing the Georgia O’Keeffe show at the deYoung Museum. I came home from the show and knew I had to photographically deal with the blooms keeping abstraction in mind and muttering crop, crop, crop…what would Georgia do? These are not scientific renderings…just some play with some new apps with serendipitous results.
The work flow in general:
All were originally taken in the iPhone native camera, then, imported into and saved from the following apps. The saved version was then imported into the next app.
Snapseed (cropping and touch up of saturation, brightness and contrast)
TouchreTouch (I had placed a sheet of paper behind each flower for a plain background and sometimes when I cropped square I had corners I needed to touch up)
Waterlogue or Glaze (for a painted look) I often did this multiple times for various degrees of the paint-look
Blender (I used the saved image from TouchreTouch as the bottom layer with each painterly image on top flattening in between)
When I liked it the saved image went into DistressedFX for some aging. Some also went into PicGrunger for creases or cracks.
Please do not think reality…just form and shape!

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This flower is one of my garden’s highlights.


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Sartorial splendor…

I was feeling the need to add a little spice to my early morning walks. We walk out the door before it is light in the morning. We see a few cars on the street, and often beat the paper delivery man. No one is around but still I recognize my 15-year-old fleece jacket has seen better days. What kind of impression was I making on the flora and fauna?

At the same time we have been reading a new mystery series (thanks sister-in-law Jenny for the introduction!) about Bruno the Perigord detective where a character was described as wearing a waxed cotton  jacket, “that had become highly fashionable in France.”…light bulb! My walking partner, the bird-man, has had a waxed cotton jacket for fifteen or so years that has the most wonderful glossy patina buffed on the sides and pockets where the sleeves rub. This has been a perfect jacket for him as often he must check on a raptor rehabilitating in the aviary before light or after dark in the winter, come rain or shine or dusk of night, when he gets home from work. Good in the rain (the water just peels off) and (it has never happened) but quite a barrier, I think, if talons ever went prematurely for their food. I quested for a similar waxed cotton jacket for myself. Most of the ones I found after a google search were boxy and would have made me look like a linebacker, but I did find one, styled like a motorcycle jacket (Lois and a motorcycle jacket? If you knew me in person you would think that was an oxymoron. Even in my youth I did not go for bad boys…but, as they say, you only live once and it is never too late.) It had a significant sale discount so it became mine.

The jacket has put a spring in my step (even though there is no audience except the dog and husband) and energized my walking because I swing my arms much more, closer to my body. A girl must work on her patina after all. (How many years will this take me?) I do not think this jacket will actually make its way to France with us because it is quite hefty and June probably won’t need it, but waxed cotton is sweeping the world from France to California. Dare I say it is the new orange, therefore the new black?! Just this morning I got an email with this link on how to make our own waxed cotton camera bag. (I am surprised that they do not give these instructions with cautions about flammability  and fumes of the wax, but that is just the art teacher in me. Personally, I would not use my home dryer for this but dust off my heat gun. Remember the days of embossing powders…perfect use for the tool in the drawer!)

Last weekend we went to lunch in Healdsburg and in one of  the small stores around the Plaza I found the perfect gloves to spark up even this new jacket. I didn’t know it could be sparkier, but there you go. Fingerless, weathered but with a hint of flowers. Excellent for taking iPhone photos without freezing your hands off and waving at the neighbors as they pass in their heated cars on the way to work. It is sartorial splendor…gets me out the door and embracing my days…

HIS:

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Hers:

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For the hands:

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Here, from the runways of Milan and Paris, the bird-man and trusty companion showing the waxed cotton jacket put to use walking the Briones Reservoir.

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The Briones Reservoir is a lovely walk we sometimes take but it is virtually impossible to get a picture that does not include high power utility lines. I will take this opportunity to show you what a couple of iPhone apps can do for you. I always bring out Pro HDR when I walk here because the landscape is so wide-open and seems to beg for the lush color the app gives photos and in the picture above there was originally a white utility box sitting behind Katie’s head. Gone now. Thanks, TouchReTouch app.

More of the landscape:

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You can get rid of the power lines by cropping, pretending that they are so far in the distance that you can’t really see them, or by trying TouchReTouch App to erase them. Here is an example:

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Same picture but no power lines in the middle left…frames were put on the pictures with Snapseed app.


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A day with Monet…

Even though it was raining on Sunday the 9th of September, we decided to brave the trip from Paris to Giverny anyway. Totally thrilled with ourselves that we navigated the Saint Lazare railway station
(misplaced false confidence on our part because a week later in our attempt to take the train from Gare du Nord to Auvers-sur-Oise to see where Van Gogh painted we totally fouled up and missed the train we needed). This Sunday we were successful and the off-and-on rain gave the day a beautiful soft grey tinge, the flower petals in Monet’s garden dots of water, and maybe it cut down on the number of other tourists enjoying the space. I am now quite skilled with the iPhone touchRetouch App at removing bodies of tourists. It was virtually impossible to get pictures in the garden without people I didn’t know in them. I left a few with umbrellas for atmosphere, but I have to say I love the Retouch App!
Hopped the train to Vernon.

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We caught a bus right outside the station for the four-mile ride to Giverny.
From Sacre Bleu by Christopher Moore:
“Lucien walked through the back garden, rows upon rows of blooming flowers, built from the ground up on trellises and tripods, so that from the eye level to the lawn, there was nothing but color, roses and daisies and dahlias the size of dinner plates, all mixed wildly by color, if not species, so that there was no gradation, no pink next to a red, no lavender next to a violet, but contrast in size and color, blues over yellows, oranges nesting among purples, reds framed in greens. Lucien realized that from any window at the back of the house, one could look out upon nature’s palate exploding across rhe landscape. This was a garden designed by and for a painter, someone who loved color.”
We approached the house in grey drizzle and then the day exploded…

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From the porch…

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From the second floor bedroom (even a little flying friend seeking shelter)…

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From the pathways…

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The flowers…

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Yes, there will be a part 2 and part 3 of our day with Monet! Stay tuned…