an everyday photo, every day | photography • art • poetry

nature

Butterfly Visit

portrait of dogs with butterfly investigating
portrait of dogs with butterfly investigating

The butterfly lands on the top of the frame of the portrait.

A Hackberry Emperor butterfly explores the frame of one of my prints at an outdoor event; I got so many good photos but this one, where you can see both the butterfly’s shadow on the mat and reflection in the glass was extra special. It was what the butterfly did after this that was most interesting though.

portrait of dogs with butterfly investigating

The butterfly investigates Sophie’s forehead.

I’ve had animals react to my portraits before but never butterflies, and I was captivated by this butterfly’s activities on Saturday morning as I organized my display at Tails for Trails. Butterflies aren’t unexpected in places like trails in the woods and I often see them landing on all sorts of unusual things like cars and human structures, so landing on the top edge of the frame of one of my paintings on display isn’t all that unusual. I was all over it with my special lens combination intended for extreme close-ups since I could get close to this butterfly without it thinking I was a loon and flying off, and I got a number of nice photos of it on the frame. I learned when I got home and identified it with the detail in my photos that this activity was typical for a male, hanging out atop a tall object to watch for girl butterflies, and resting upside down on tree trunks.

portrait of dogs with butterfly investigating

The butterfly lands on a “branch” in the painting

He began walking down the glass of the portrait and exploring the faces of Sophie and Ellie in the portrait, or so it seemed. He walked over both of their faces and then thoroughly explored Sophie’s nose and mouth; it was feeling a little Silence of the Lambs-y when he was sitting over Sophie’s mouth, but then again it was just a print of a painting. But when he attempted to perch on the branches of the Japanese barberry in the painting and landed on the leaves at the bottom, which would be a natural camouflage in life, I thought my skills had reached new heights of affirmation.

The art was actually a giclée print of the portrait of Sophie and Ellie, so I’ll have to tell the folks who made the print how convincing it is.

portrait of dogs with butterfly investigating

The butterfly lands on the leaves.

But most telling for me was the fact that I knew both Sophie and Ellie have passed, Sophie just within the past year. In the portrait you see the two on their porch, but their yard actually adjoins a local trail, and in the photos the two were “being very good”, intently watching the people, but not barking. Butterflies are thought to be the spirits of departed souls joining the mortals for a visit, and thi sbeing a benefit dog walk there were plenty of people and dogs to observe.

Below is an animated gif showing all the most interesting images of the butterfly in action. Slide shows have been a little bit of a problem on some devices, and creating an animated gif is actually quicker for me than setting up a slide show, but it means you don’t have any control over the images since it just keeps displaying over and over. It should be visible on all devices, though.

portrait of dogs with butterfly investigating

The butterfly investigates Sophie’s forehead.

He spent the most time on that painting, but he also visited another—trying to get to the flowers, perhaps?

butterfly on painting

The butterfly also found another painting he liked

And read a little more about the Hackberry Emperor butterfly.

I also posted this story on The Creative Cat.


Colored Lights

buttercups and forget me nots
buttercups and forget me nots

Colored Lights

They are just about gone, but I couldn’t pass up one last photo of my favorite combination in my back yard each spring, the buttercups and forget-me-nots.

. . . . . . .

For a print of any photo, visit “purchasing” for availability and terms.

All images in this post are copyright © Bernadette E. Kazmarski and may not be used without prior written permission.


Happy Birthday, Rachel Carson

rachel carson tribute
rachel carson tribute

Happy Birthday Rachel Carson

The back yard was lovely this morning, and I owe the reading of Rachel Carson’s books to my observance of my little wild space. I’ve managed to retain that “sense of wonder” each time I look at the world around me. I photographed this fleabane just this morning, covered with dew and shining in the sun as if it was celebrating.

Rachel Carson was a Pittsburgh area native who attended now Chatham University, whose books and work were a great inspiration to me, both as a person who observes and honors nature and as a woman who wanted to walk my own path.


Poem for Sunday: Bridal Wreath

bridal wreath
bridal wreath

Bridal Wreath

The bridal wreath is blooming around so many of the older houses in town. Bridal wreath is an old-fashioned shrub, blooming briefly around Memorial Day in waves of snowy white blossoms, then to return to a nice, quiet dark green bush.

I read this poem initially at my 2009 poetry reading, “Change of Season”, soon after I’d written it. I read it again at “In This Valley”, my poetry reading to celebrate Carnegie’s 120th birthday, since I felt it was one of those poems that had described life in this town for many, both those mentioned in the poem, and especially my memories of the neighborhoods when I was little. Every house had bridal wreath spirea growing in front, and everyone was immensely proud of it when it bloomed. Cuttings and small shrubs for planting were given to young married couples who’d purchased a new house. As I read, I was surprised to see heads nodding in agreement and smiles. It was familiar to us all.

This poem was inspired by an actual home, more on that after the poem. Because the bridal wreath blooms at this time of year and because the lives of the couple I mention are deeply touched by wars, I keep this poem for Memorial Day.

Bridal Wreath

Blooming in drifts so dense and tall they hide the entire porch
The bridal wreath greets the May bride
Though she first crossed the threshold decades ago when the shrubs were new,
And placed a vase of the blossoms on her first dinner table,
Has since raised her children,
Lost her son in Viet Nam
And her husband to cancer,
Her daughters moved out
And she has held her grandchildren and great-grandchildren
Through it all the bridal wreath unfailingly welcomed her in the morning every May
In the neighborhood lined with large, neat family homes.
Now the paint is peeling,
Drawn window shades hang in tatters
The bride herself is gone,
Her home the only one remaining on this dusty deserted block
Yet the bridal wreath blooms as fervently as ever this May
Remembering her.

Bridal Wreath ©2009 Bernadette E. Kazmarski

Below is the actual home that inspired this poem. Nothing special about it except that it is the only family home left in what had been a block of these homes, and it’s fenced off because it was shortly thereafter bulldozed for the CVS that now stands there.

House with bridal wreath.

House with bridal wreath.

Read more poetry here on Today or visit my poetry page to see more about my poetry and other writing, and to purchase Paths I Have Walked.

 


poetry book

Paths I Have Walked, collected poems.

I’m proud to offer a folio of my poetry

Paths I Have Walked: the poetry and art of Bernadette E. Kazmarski

FROM FOUR ANNUAL POETRY READINGS AT ANDREW CARNEGIE FREE LIBRARY & MUSIC HALL IN CARNEGIE, PA

People who attended one or more of my poetry readings encouraged me to publish some of my poetry in a book from the beginning.

Once I completed my 2010 poetry reading, my fourth featuring the final piece of artwork in the “Art of the Watershed” series, I decided it was time to publish something and it should be those four poetry readings.

Poetry books are not best-sellers; it’s difficult to convince a publisher to risk effort on a beginning poet, and while self-publishing is the best option it’s not inexpensive and once you’ve got the book, someone’s got to market it. Plus, I’m a graphic designer and I designed books for years, and I want things my way.

All of this is a recipe for a little bit of trouble, but I decided the book was well worth the effort so I designed the book myself and had a set printed—no ISBN or anything formal, but it’s a start! I’m really excited to offer it.

Books are 4.25″ x 11″, 40 pages of information and poetry, with glossy covers featuring “Dusk in the Woods” and little thumbnails of all four pieces in “Art of the Watershed”.

$8.00 each plus $2.50 shipping (they are oversized for mailing first class).

You can order one on my poetry page, or in my Marketplace.

About the books and the poetry readings

My biggest inspiration for poetry, prose and artwork is the world right around me, and I enjoy the opportunity to share it from the perspective of one who walks and hikes and bikes and carries a camera, art materials and journal everywhere—even around the house—so the inspirations are fresh.

In December, 2006, two of my poems were chosen to be published on a section of the Prairie Home Companion website entitled “Stories From Home/First Person” for submissions of writing about the place we feel most familiar. I’m a long-time listener to PHC and reader of Garrison Keillor’s books as well as a daily listener to The Writer’s Almanac featuring news about writers and writing and of interest to writers as well as a poem, all compiled and read by Keillor himself. I was astonished to find my poems were among the first chosen from apparently thousands, and so happy to be able to share them with a potential audience of so many similarly inclined writers and readers.

My poetry readings and art exhibits were the vision of Maggie Forbes, executive director of the Andrew Carnegie Free Library & Music Hall, after learning of my publishing of those two poems. I owe her many thanks for encouraging me to present this combination of my visual and literary art, a first for me. I love that building, every inch of it, and the opportunity to bring people in to visit is an honor.


Bowl of Sunlight

Buttercup in the Sun
Buttercup in the Sun

Bowl of Sunlight

This buttercup looks like a bowl of sunlight.

My little smartphone camera isn’t terribly sophisticated and has no shade around the lens for when the sun shines toward the lens. Playing around getting macros of buttercups in my back ayrd I thought I’d intentionally capture those sun flares.

Here’s another.

Buttercup in the Sun

Buttercup in the Sun

. . . . . . .

For a print of any photo, visit “purchasing” for availability and terms.

All images in this post are copyright © Bernadette E. Kazmarski and may not be used without prior written permission.


Sketch: The Bench in Spring

pastel painting of bench in spring trees
pastel painting of bench in spring trees

“The Bench in Spring”, pastel, 6.5″ x 9.5″ © Bernadette E. Kazmarski

I’ve been trying to scan this painting for two days and I still didn’t capture the range of greens very well and the sky is a little odd, but overall it is what it is. It’s another street sketch that I began outdoors and finished at home from a photo. This is one of the benches leading up the hill to Andrew Carnegie Free Library & Music Hall, a view I see frequently in all seasons. The trees were just perfect this day, all just leafing out and so full of so many different shades of green. Already today they are darker green and denser.

In the meantime the row of trees to my right cast a deep shadow on the street which contrasted nicely with the lacy nature of the trees above.

I’ve been scurrying around trying to get a few spring sketches in while the leaves are still so colorful—it really only lasts a week, at most.

This is sketched in mixed soft pastels on multi-media paper, just enough tooth to hold pastel but no real finish.

Click any image to find out more about it or visit my Landscapes and Still Lifes Gallery. If you’d like to sign up to receive this e-newsletter, which I usually deliver seasonally, click here to add your e-mail address.

See other original art and landscapes on “Today”

Click here to see an archive of original art.

. . . . . . .

For a print of any photo, visit “purchasing” for availability and terms.

All images in this post are copyright © Bernadette E. Kazmarski and may not be used without prior written permission.

 

 


Sketch: Spring Sidewalk

pastel sketch of trees and shadows on sidewalks
pastel sketch of trees and shadows on sidewalks

“Spring Sidewalk”, pastel, 6.5″ x 9.5″ © Bernadette E. Kazmarski

Suddenly, it’s spring, and most days are really sunny! After this winter it’s totally captivating, and distracting. I can’t go anywhere without seeing possible paintings. Like this one, which I photographed as I didn’t have my sketching materials with me because, for the past couple of months, there hasn’t been anything I wanted to sketch, really. I’ll have to pick up the bag when I leave the house, along with my camera…so much to carry.

In part it was the loveliness of the row of trees, but it was also the deep shadows contrasted with the brilliant sunlight, the vivid green grass and young green leaves. It’s just a simple walk down a sidewalk, changing each minute of the day, and each day of spring, but still so special.

This is sketched in mixed soft pastels on multi-media paper, just enough tooth to hold pastel but no real finish.

Click any image to find out more about it or visit my Landscapes and Still Lifes Gallery. If you’d like to sign up to receive this e-newsletter, which I usually deliver seasonally, click here to add your e-mail address.

See other original art and landscapes on “Today”

Click here to see an archive of original art.

. . . . . . .

For a print of any photo, visit “purchasing” for availability and terms.

All images in this post are copyright © Bernadette E. Kazmarski and may not be used without prior written permission.

. . . . . . .

This sketch is part of:

 


Family Outing

Canada Geese on the creek
Canada Geese on the creek

Family Outing

Mom and dad and the kids out for a little practice swim on the creek.

This would have been so nice if I’d had my DSLR, but I’m glad to have seen them nonetheless. They are paddling upstream, and a little farther down was another two adults with a whole bundle of little fuzzballs floating on the water. I couldn’t even count them, way more than two geese typically have, but that explained why the first two only had two.

It’s rare that I don’t have the good camera with me, but when I forget it or leave the house too fast I’m sure to see something like this shot of the great blue heron that would have been fantastic with my good lens.

great blue heron

Great Blue Heron

 

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For a print of any photo, visit “purchasing” for availability and terms.

All images in this post are copyright © Bernadette E. Kazmarski and may not be used without prior written permission.


Periwinkle Blue

periwinkle, creeping myrtle
periwinkle, creeping myrtle

Periwinkle

More things are blooming each day. The Periwinkle sent up a few test flowers a couple of weeks ago and now it’s blooming in areas I forgot it was growing.

. . . . . . .

For a print of any photo, visit “purchasing” for availability and terms.

All images in this post are copyright © Bernadette E. Kazmarski and may not be used without prior written permission.


April Cloud Study

original pastel painting of clouds
pastel painting of clouds

“April Cloud Study”, pastel, 9.5″ x 10″ © Bernadette E. Kazmarski

A very overcast morning cleared up and turned into a lovely spring afternoon—and it looks like this!

Once the weather turns warm and sunny the world begins coloring up nicely, and so it did one April afternoon. I decided to take some time to paint the clouds, literally and figuratively, standing out in my back yard with my pastel for about ten minutes—and by that time the skies were completely different.

Below is the framed version. I used a scrap of sanded pastel paper and it was cut unevenly, so there is a little bit along the left trimmed off that I liked. Well, that’s the way it goes.
The mats are 1.5″, white on white, with a little bit of a channel behind them so the pastel will fall behind the mat instead of on the mat. The frame is 12″ x 12″ and I was so inspired by the colors that I refinished it to coordinate with the painting in shades of blue green and lilac from the painting and a white crackle finish overall. You can find this painting in my Etsy shop.

original pastel painting of clouds

“April Cloud Study”, original pastel, 9″ x 9″, 2013

And there are many more! Click any image to find out more about it or visit my Landscapes and Still Lifes Gallery. If you’d like to sign up to receive this e-newsletter, which I usually deliver seasonally, click here to add your e-mail address.

See other original art and landscapes on “Today”

Click here to see an archive of original art.

. . . . . . .

For a print of any photo, visit “purchasing” for availability and terms.

All images in this post are copyright © Bernadette E. Kazmarski and may not be used without prior written permission.


Why Dandelions are Essential

dandelion with honey bee
dandelion with honey bee

Why Dandelions are Essential.

Where else can a hungry honey bee find a meal early in the spring when nothing else is blooming? This little cluster of dandelions is a lifesaver for a bee with spring coming so late and many plants blooming even later, or not at all after a series of freezes. This is another in my series of “Save Our Native Bees” images. Please download and share!

Dandelions are native to all temperate areas of the planet and in that way are familiar to bees all over the planet, providing nectar and pollen as early as warmer temperatures awaken bees. Many other pollinating insects rely on them for a meal as well, such as butterflies, and despised as they are they are important for attracting pollinators to gardens everywhere.

I just don’t understand the hatred of a pretty little yellow flower. I’m so glad to see them in the spring—sometimes they’ll actually bloom during the spring thaw, between the snows, and they’re good to eat too. Their long tap roots break up hard soil and bring minerals up to the surface where plants with shorter roots can access them and they help fix nitrogen in the soil. All those minerals and the vitamins that are locked into the leaves of any verdant plant, as nutritious as any cultivated cooking green we might grow like spinach, chard or mustard greens, are in those pointy leaves for us to consume, and from root to flower dandelions have been a staple in the human diet and healing pharmacy for as long as humans have been foraging. The yellow flowers have been used to make a famous dandelion wine, and also a pale buttery yellow dye. I find them pretty inspiring for artwork as well.

And if you want to have fruits in your orchards and vegetables in your garden, nothing welcomes pollinators like a bright yellow dandelion.

So many chemicals are used to kill dandelions on lawns every year and this chemical use contributes to nonpoint source pollution of our waterways, the largest category of pollutants in the nation. Maintaining your lawn as a habitat and cutting your grass as tall as possible generally keeps them under control—I’ve never gone after the ones in my yard, never use any chemicals at all, and this spring I have about six dandelions. A friend with a new home and an undeveloped lawn was angry about the dandelions that sprung up opportunistically before the grass was even planted. She hated having a front yard full of dandelions. I asked her, after she sprayed them, what did she have left? Dirt. How attractive was that? At least she’d had something blooming before she killed them.

So honor this beautiful and willing flower that has added so much to our health and the beauty of our human lives on this earth, and had not been at all humbled by our attempts to ungratefully kill it off once we decided it no longer fit our ideal of beauty and usefulness. And most importantly, let if feed our endangered bees.

Sources:

Wikipedia: Basic Information

Maine Organic Farmers and Gardeners Association: Ten Things You Might Not Know About Dandelions

Mother Nature Network: Save the Dandelions. Save the Bees.

US EPA: What is Nonpoint Source Pollution?

Off the Grid News: 8 Uses for Dandelions

 


Beauty and the Beast

thorny locust thorn and leaf
thorny locust thorn and leaf

Impressive

The tender leaf, the fearsome thorn, on the same branch, sprouting from the same spot.

Once more, the thorny locust, this time a sapling, in spring. For perspective, the thorns are about 2.5″ long. In spring they are softer and will bend a bit, not until winter do they develop their full strength, but if pressed straight on from the point they will do some damage. I did not test them.

Note the faint spiderweb above, and how tiny the spider must be to have spun that silk.

thorny locust thorn and leaf

A branch of thorns and leaves.

 

 

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For a print of any photo, visit “purchasing” for availability and terms.


Everything Matters

frog in pond
frog in pond

Everything Matters

Including a homely little frog who found a home in a reclaimed golf course pond, taken on Earth Day 2006 in a conservation area. Happy Earth Day.

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For a print of any photo, visit “purchasing” for availability and terms.


Poem for Saturday: To Come Again in Spring

photo of spiderweb
photo of spiderweb

Tiny Spider

As the spring unfolds with longer days and milder temperatures, we remember what has passed.

It was the tiny spider in the delicate, worn web that inspired this slideshow from 2009 and poem from 2011.

Each year I leave the plants in my garden standing for the birds, insects and other residents of my garden to use for winter accommodations. In spring of 2009 I began preparing the garden section by section and happened to see this spider and her delicate web outlined in the spring sunshine. She had died long before but continued to cling there all winter long, and her web held up against any number of storms.

Her eggs would have been laid on the stem adjacent to her web which would catch the first insects in spring, and when they hatched the little spiders could have their first meal of the insects caught in the web and use her web as a launching pad. I found it so moving that on that bright early March afternoon I went through my garden looking for other such images.

All the other native plants had left behind their skeletons, and the effect of these was haunting, like finding a ghost town or an unknown world.

I had to let them say their last goodbye. I photographed each desolate construction with attention to extreme details you might never notice to show the intrinsic, transient beauty of these empty shells. The sepia tones are the natural coloring of the plants in the stark spring sunlight, that interim color palette between the blues of winter and the greens of spring. Below is a link to a slideshow I composed and posted on my website; when you view it, you’ll see that many of the plats I’ve photographed are criss-crossed with tattered little webs.

To Come Again in Spring

In this sepia scene
of late-winter twigs and matted leaves
I found the small tattered orb she had built that lasted the winter,
this tiny creature no larger than a grain of sand
now curled in the center, her spirit long gone
from her desiccated body,
yet her tiny children,
awakened by a warming spring sun,
will emerge from all the crevices
in the plant she chose as their birthplace
and find that her final creation
helps provide their first meal,
delicate strands catching the earliest gnats,
though these too be
the children of other mothers;
and so the returning songbirds will catch
the tiny spiders as they leave their web of safety
and find sustenance to begin their families
all toiling through the year to grow and thrive
to prepare for the dark of winter
and to come, again, in spring.

Poem To Come Again in Spring © 2011 B.E. Kazmarski

I read this poem at my 2011 poetry reading at Andrew Carnegie Free Library & Music Hall, but did not set up a web page for that reading, and it is not included in my poetry book. Perhaps a reason to finally build the page from that reading, and get started on a new poetry book…

Read more poetry here on Today or visit my poetry page to see more about my poetry and other writing, and to purchase Paths I Have Walked.

And click here to bring up the slideshow of the images I took this day.


poetry book cover paths i have walked

“Paths I Have Walked”, collected poems from poetry readings.

I’m proud to offer a folio of my poetry

Paths I Have Walked: the poetry and art of Bernadette E. Kazmarski

FROM FOUR ANNUAL POETRY READINGS AT ANDREW CARNEGIE FREE LIBRARY & MUSIC HALL IN CARNEGIE, PA

People who attended one or more of my poetry readings encouraged me to publish some of my poetry in a book from the beginning.

Once I completed my 2010 poetry reading, my fourth featuring the final piece of artwork in the “Art of the Watershed” series, I decided it was time to publish something and it should be those four poetry readings.

Poetry books are not best-sellers; it’s difficult to convince a publisher to risk effort on a beginning poet, and while self-publishing is the best option it’s not inexpensive and once you’ve got the book, someone’s got to market it. Plus, I’m a graphic designer and I designed books for years, and I want things my way.

All of this is a recipe for a little bit of trouble, but I decided the book was well worth the effort so I designed the book myself and had a set printed—no ISBN or anything formal, but it’s a start! I’m really excited to offer it.

Books are 4.25″ x 11″, 40 pages of information and poetry, with glossy covers featuring “Dusk in the Woods” and little thumbnails of all four pieces in “Art of the Watershed”.

$8.00 each plus $2.50 shipping (they are oversized for mailing first class).

You can order one on my poetry page, or in my Marketplace.

About the books and the poetry readings

My biggest inspiration for poetry, prose and artwork is the world right around me, and I enjoy the opportunity to share it from the perspective of one who walks and hikes and bikes and carries a camera, art materials and journal everywhere—even around the house—so the inspirations are fresh.

In December, 2006, two of my poems were chosen to be published on a section of the Prairie Home Companion website entitled “Stories From Home/First Person” for submissions of writing about the place we feel most familiar. I’m a long-time listener to PHC and reader of Garrison Keillor’s books as well as a daily listener to The Writer’s Almanac featuring news about writers and writing and of interest to writers as well as a poem, all compiled and read by Keillor himself. I was astonished to find my poems were among the first chosen from apparently thousands, and so happy to be able to share them with a potential audience of so many similarly inclined writers and readers.

My poetry readings and art exhibits were the vision of Maggie Forbes, executive director of the Andrew Carnegie Free Library & Music Hall, after learning of my publishing of those two poems. I owe her many thanks for encouraging me to present this combination of my visual and literary art, a first for me. I love that building, every inch of it, and the opportunity to bring people in to visit is an honor.


The First to Bloom

squills spring flowrs
squills spring flowrs

Squills

The first things to bloom, the Siberian squills, such a welcome shade of blue, but the crocus and daffodills and forsythia aren’t far behind.

. . . . . . .

For a print of any photo, visit “purchasing” for availability and terms.


May There Be Pots of Gold at the Ends of Both of Your Rainbows

double rainbow
double rainbow

Double Rainbow

And at…both ends of both of your rainbows! I had to piece together the one below.

double rainbow

Double Rainbow

. . . . . . .

For a print of any photo, visit “purchasing” for availability and terms. For photos of lots of black cats and other cats—and even some birds as I first published this post there—visit The Creative Cat.


Poem for Sunday: To Come Again in Spring

photo of spiderweb
photo of spiderweb

Tiny Spider

As the spring unfolds with longer days and milder temperatures, we remember what has passed.

It was the tiny spider in the delicate, worn web that inspired this slideshow from 2009 and poem from 2011.

Each year I leave the plants in my garden standing for the birds, insects and other residents of my garden to use for winter accommodations. In spring of 2009 I began preparing the garden section by section and happened to see this spider and her delicate web outlined in the spring sunshine. She had died long before but continued to cling there all winter long, and her web held up against any number of storms.

Her eggs would have been laid on the stem adjacent to her web which would catch the first insects in spring, and when they hatched the little spiders could have their first meal of the insects caught in the web and use her web as a launching pad. I found it so moving that on that bright early March afternoon I went through my garden looking for other such images.

All the other native plants had left behind their skeletons, and the effect of these was haunting, like finding a ghost town or an unknown world.

I had to let them say their last goodbye. I photographed each desolate construction with attention to extreme details you might never notice to show the intrinsic, transient beauty of these empty shells. The sepia tones are the natural coloring of the plants in the stark spring sunlight, that interim color palette between the blues of winter and the greens of spring. Below is a link to a slideshow I composed and posted on my website; when you view it, you’ll see that many of the plats I’ve photographed are criss-crossed with tattered little webs.

To Come Again in Spring

In this sepia scene
of late-winter twigs and matted leaves
I found the small tattered orb she had built that lasted the winter,
this tiny creature no larger than a grain of sand
now curled in the center, her spirit long gone
from her desiccated body,
yet her tiny children,
awakened by a warming spring sun,
will emerge from all the crevices
in the plant she chose as their birthplace
and find that her final creation
helps provide their first meal,
delicate strands catching the earliest gnats,
though these too be
the children of other mothers;
and so the returning songbirds will catch
the tiny spiders as they leave their web of safety
and find sustenance to begin their families
all toiling through the year to grow and thrive
to prepare for the dark of winter
and to come, again, in spring.

Poem To Come Again in Spring © 2011 B.E. Kazmarski

I read this poem at my 2011 poetry reading at Andrew Carnegie Free Library & Music Hall, but did not set up a web page for that reading, and it is not included in my poetry book. Perhaps a reason to finally build the page from that reading, and get started on a new poetry book…

Read more poetry here on Today or visit my poetry page to see more about my poetry and other writing, and to purchase Paths I Have Walked.

And click here to bring up the slideshow of the images I took this day.


poetry book cover paths i have walked

“Paths I Have Walked”, collected poems from poetry readings.

I’m proud to offer a folio of my poetry

Paths I Have Walked: the poetry and art of Bernadette E. Kazmarski

FROM FOUR ANNUAL POETRY READINGS AT ANDREW CARNEGIE FREE LIBRARY & MUSIC HALL IN CARNEGIE, PA

People who attended one or more of my poetry readings encouraged me to publish some of my poetry in a book from the beginning.

Once I completed my 2010 poetry reading, my fourth featuring the final piece of artwork in the “Art of the Watershed” series, I decided it was time to publish something and it should be those four poetry readings.

Poetry books are not best-sellers; it’s difficult to convince a publisher to risk effort on a beginning poet, and while self-publishing is the best option it’s not inexpensive and once you’ve got the book, someone’s got to market it. Plus, I’m a graphic designer and I designed books for years, and I want things my way.

All of this is a recipe for a little bit of trouble, but I decided the book was well worth the effort so I designed the book myself and had a set printed—no ISBN or anything formal, but it’s a start! I’m really excited to offer it.

Books are 4.25″ x 11″, 40 pages of information and poetry, with glossy covers featuring “Dusk in the Woods” and little thumbnails of all four pieces in “Art of the Watershed”.

$8.00 each plus $2.50 shipping (they are oversized for mailing first class).

You can order one on my poetry page, or in my Marketplace.

About the books and the poetry readings

My biggest inspiration for poetry, prose and artwork is the world right around me, and I enjoy the opportunity to share it from the perspective of one who walks and hikes and bikes and carries a camera, art materials and journal everywhere—even around the house—so the inspirations are fresh.

In December, 2006, two of my poems were chosen to be published on a section of the Prairie Home Companion website entitled “Stories From Home/First Person” for submissions of writing about the place we feel most familiar. I’m a long-time listener to PHC and reader of Garrison Keillor’s books as well as a daily listener to The Writer’s Almanac featuring news about writers and writing and of interest to writers as well as a poem, all compiled and read by Keillor himself. I was astonished to find my poems were among the first chosen from apparently thousands, and so happy to be able to share them with a potential audience of so many similarly inclined writers and readers.

My poetry readings and art exhibits were the vision of Maggie Forbes, executive director of the Andrew Carnegie Free Library & Music Hall, after learning of my publishing of those two poems. I owe her many thanks for encouraging me to present this combination of my visual and literary art, a first for me. I love that building, every inch of it, and the opportunity to bring people in to visit is an honor.


Chihuly in the Alley

ice on dry plants

 

ice on dry plants

Chihuly in the Alley

Just the way the illuminated ice followed the natural forms of the dried morning glory made me think of the elements of Chihuly’s style with glass; the one element it’s missing is color, but the sun provided a few ultraviolet flares here and there.

. . . . . . .

For a print of any photo, visit “purchasing” for availability and terms. For photos of lots of black cats and other cats—and even some birds as I first published this post there—visit The Creative Cat.


Valentine’s Day, a Photo and Poem

two cardinals
two cardinals

Two cardinals on Valentine’s Day.

What bird matches the colors of Valentine’s Day more than the American Cardinal, especially that bright red male cardinal? The female is a browner shade and it might seem unfair that the male gets to be so showy while she is somewhat drab, but the female sits on the eggs while the male flies around as a distraction to predators, literally risking his life to make sure his lady and the next generation are safe.

This morning the male cardinal let the female eat first after what seemed some courteous encouragement on his part, then before I could photograph all birds disappeared as the Cooper’s Hawk landed in the maple tree. So much for the annual Valentine’s Day cardinal photo. The photo above is from 2012; I let PhotoShop combine the two photos I had taken of the cardinals because I couldn’t fit them into one shot. I’m not sure what it did with the missing tree branches, but at least the cardinals are where they should be!

two cardinals

Valentine’s Day Breakfast for the Lovers

All birds are pairing off already, as this couple of cardinals to the right demonstrate. This usually begins soon after February 2, that magic day when winter changes over to spring and all the creatures feel the stirring of the cycle, including the groundhog. The young cardinals have been showing off with spectacular aeronautics through the trees and all over the backyard, which is lower than my house so I get to see them from the top with the sun shining full on their feathers.

On several different occasions in the spring I had seen a male cardinal run off to the feeder to get a sunflower seed and bring it back to his lady, offering it with a bow. One of these occasions happened to be Valentine’s Day a few years ago. Honestly, I’m not anthropomorphizing (interpreting animal activity by human traits), because I later read in an article about birds that this is a ritual that cardinal couples undertake during courting. Perhaps the two below are on a honeymoon since this was taken in summer.

two cardinals feeding each other

The Kissing Cardinals

I wrote a poem about it after reading the explanation. Happy Valentine’s Day.

Valentine’s Day

He doesn’t have to give this gift to her
and she doesn’t have to receive it
as she could easily feed herself
but she perches on a branch
while he flies to the feeder
grasps a sunflower seed
and flies back to perch next to her;
they tilt their heads as if to kiss
as she accepts this seed of his love,
the bright red cardinal’s first act of courtship
to his dark red mate
on Valentine’s Day.

“Valentine’s Day” © 2008 Bernadette E. Kazmarski

I read this poem as part of my 2008 annual poetry reading and art exhibit, “Winter Twilight”.

Read more poetry here on Today or visit my poetry page to see more about my poetry and other writing, and to purchase Paths I Have Walked.


poetry book

Paths I Have Walked, collected poems.

I’m proud to offer a folio of my poetry

Paths I Have Walked: the poetry and art of Bernadette E. Kazmarski

FROM FOUR ANNUAL POETRY READINGS AT ANDREW CARNEGIE FREE LIBRARY & MUSIC HALL IN CARNEGIE, PA

People who attended one or more of my poetry readings encouraged me to publish some of my poetry in a book from the beginning.

Once I completed my 2010 poetry reading, my fourth featuring the final piece of artwork in the “Art of the Watershed” series, I decided it was time to publish something and it should be those four poetry readings.

Poetry books are not best-sellers; it’s difficult to convince a publisher to risk effort on a beginning poet, and while self-publishing is the best option it’s not inexpensive and once you’ve got the book, someone’s got to market it. Plus, I’m a graphic designer and I designed books for years, and I want things my way.

All of this is a recipe for a little bit of trouble, but I decided the book was well worth the effort so I designed the book myself and had a set printed—no ISBN or anything formal, but it’s a start! I’m really excited to offer it.

Books are 4.25″ x 11″, 40 pages of information and poetry, with glossy covers featuring “Dusk in the Woods” and little thumbnails of all four pieces in “Art of the Watershed”.

$8.00 each plus $2.50 shipping (they are oversized for mailing first class).

You can order one on my poetry page, or in my Marketplace.

About the books and the poetry readings

My biggest inspiration for poetry, prose and artwork is the world right around me, and I enjoy the opportunity to share it from the perspective of one who walks and hikes and bikes and carries a camera, art materials and journal everywhere—even around the house—so the inspirations are fresh.

In December, 2006, two of my poems were chosen to be published on a section of the Prairie Home Companion website entitled “Stories From Home/First Person” for submissions of writing about the place we feel most familiar. I’m a long-time listener to PHC and reader of Garrison Keillor’s books as well as a daily listener to The Writer’s Almanac featuring news about writers and writing and of interest to writers as well as a poem, all compiled and read by Keillor himself. I was astonished to find my poems were among the first chosen from apparently thousands, and so happy to be able to share them with a potential audience of so many similarly inclined writers and readers.

My poetry readings and art exhibits were the vision of Maggie Forbes, executive director of the Andrew Carnegie Free Library & Music Hall, after learning of my publishing of those two
poems. I owe her many thanks for encouraging me to present this combination of my visual and literary art, a first for me. I love that building, every inch of it, and the opportunity to bring people in to visit is an honor.


Geese and Ripples

canada geese on water
canada geese on water

Geese

A sunny winter day with big clouds can offer interesting lighting; in this case a huge cloud traveled over the geese and me, while all around the sky was bright and the hills were lit by winter sun. All the light in this image is comes in at an angle and reflects onto the geese and water, cool winter light enhancing all the shades of blue as the geese calmly paddle along on Chartiers Creek in Carnegie.

. . . . . . .

For a print of any photo, visit “purchasing” for availability and terms. For photos of lots of black cats and other cats—and even some birds as I first published this post there—visit The Creative Cat.


Sketch: Frosty Morning, Just Before Sunrise

pastel painting Frosty Morning, Just Before Dawn, pastel © B.E. Kazmarski
pastel painting     Frosty Morning, Just Before Dawn, pastel © B.E. Kazmarski

“Frosty Morning, Just Before Sunrise”, 17.25″ x 9″, pastel © Bernadette E. Kazmarski

It looks like this out there this morning.

I’ve always liked this view out my back window, and this morning’s hazy frosty look with the valley in shadow but the bright sky was very inspiring. I decided to finally do this sketch that I’ve been visualizing for years.

The colors in this aren’t entirely accurate plus certain parts of it smeared when I put in into my scanner, so I may try photographing it tomorrow and replacing this image if the colors are more accurate. I began it first thing then put it aside as the light changed, later working from the photo I’d taken and just from my visualization. It’s 10″ tall x 18″ wide.

Not just the colors of a snowy, frigid morning, but the steam rising from all the chimneys were part of the inspiration as well, I’m not sure why, but when everyone’s furnace turned on at the same time is when I knew I had to paint this.

The four houses across from me I’ve sketched a number of times before, but in this case I’ve also included what is Main Street in Carnegie off to the left, the little collection of square-cornered things are the buildings there with steam rising just as well.

The one element I did leave out was the trees in my back yard which were just featured in a dawn photo the other day. They were just too chaotic and detailed, and when I visualized the scene I realized my visualization had left them out. There is plenty of interest here without them. You can also see a portion of this scene in a frosty photo from last year before the heavy snowfall and ice knocked down a number of trees on the left.

This painting is done in hues of only four colors, a Prussian blue which is a cool blue tending toward slate blue, haze blue that is a warmer color with a red tint and has elements of violet, and one shade each of yellow and pink.

This was one of those times when the photograph just wasn’t going to work.


Rock Face

limestone outcrop with face
limestone outcrop with face

Rock Face

I looked up and saw the profile of a face in the rock.

. . . . . . .

For a print of any photo, visit “purchasing” for availability and terms. For photos of lots of black cats and other cats—and even some birds as I first published this post there—visit The Creative Cat.


Poem for Sunday: A Little Thaw

A Little Thaw.
A Little Thaw.

A Little Thaw.

Imagine the sound of water amid a world of ice.

The limestone cliffs of the quarry seep groundwater dripping down the rock face into the partially melted quarry pond in a constant patter. The gray of the limestone and pale yellow of the wan winter sun color this image into a burnished antique gold.

The trail can be so noisy on a bright winter afternoon with all the water dripping and the stream surging with icemelt, and the birds making the best of a clear day to stock up on food. Even tiny bits of fresh green showed in protected spots, ferns and mosses just waiting for a sunny day to store up some energy to make it through the winter.

. . . . . . .

A Little Thaw

The silence of ice
hard-smooth glaringly mocking
a manufactured perfection
life, birth, spring
held captive in plain view
under a solid clear glaze
pale world strangely hushed
I tiptoe through
afraid to break the surface with my sound
but a snap, a crack, a drip, another
whispers return to life around me
once broken, the ice cannot hold its captives
dripping, pattering, babbling
life begins again
the stream torrent rushing
beneath the clear, fragile, broken cage of its captor.

poem (c) 2011 Bernadette E. Kazmarski

Read more poetry here on Today or visit my poetry page to see more about my poetry and other writing, and to purchase Paths I Have Walked.


poetry book

I’m proud to offer a folio of my poetry

Paths I Have Walked: the poetry and art of Bernadette E. Kazmarski

FROM FOUR ANNUAL POETRY READINGS AT ANDREW CARNEGIE FREE LIBRARY & MUSIC HALL IN CARNEGIE, PA

People who attended one or more of my poetry readings encouraged me to publish some of my poetry in a book from the beginning.

Once I completed my 2010 poetry reading, my fourth featuring the final piece of artwork in the “Art of the Watershed” series, I decided it was time to publish something and it should be those four poetry readings.

Poetry books are not best-sellers; it’s difficult to convince a publisher to risk effort on a beginning poet, and while self-publishing is the best option it’s not inexpensive and once you’ve got the book, someone’s got to market it. Plus, I’m a graphic designer and I designed books for years, and I want things my way.

All of this is a recipe for a little bit of trouble, but I decided the book was well worth the effort so I designed the book myself and had a set printed—no ISBN or anything formal, but it’s a start! I’m really excited to offer it.

Books are 4.25″ x 11″, 40 pages of information and poetry, with glossy covers featuring “Dusk in the Woods” and little thumbnails of all four pieces in “Art of the Watershed”.

$8.00 each plus $2.50 shipping (they are oversized for mailing first class).

You can order one on my poetry page, or in my Marketplace.

About the books and the poetry readings

My biggest inspiration for poetry, prose and artwork is the world right around me, and I enjoy the opportunity to share it from the perspective of one who walks and hikes and bikes and carries a camera, art materials and journal everywhere—even around the house—so the inspirations are fresh.

In December, 2006, two of my poems were chosen to be published on a section of the Prairie Home Companion website entitled “Stories From Home/First Person” for submissions of writing about the place we feel most familiar. I’m a long-time listener to PHC and reader of Garrison Keillor’s books as well as a daily listener to The Writer’s Almanac featuring news about writers and writing and of interest to writers as well as a poem, all compiled and read by Keillor himself. I was astonished to find my poems were among the first chosen from apparently thousands, and so happy to be able to share them with a potential audience of so many similarly inclined writers and readers.

My poetry readings and art exhibits were the vision of Maggie Forbes, executive director of the Andrew Carnegie Free Library & Music Hall, after learning of my publishing of those two poems. I owe her many thanks for encouraging me to present this combination of my visual and literary art, a first for me. Each year I am invited back to read my poetry and exhibit my artwork. I love that building, every inch of it, and the opportunity to bring people in to visit is an honor.


Sketch: Snow at Night

pastel painting of snow out the windows at night
pastel painting of snow out the windows at night

“Snow at Night” pastel, 11.75″ x 8.25″ © Bernadette E. Kazmarski

From the window at the back of my house I can see out over the valley and the hill beyond. When it snows at night the scene is transformed from black velvet punctuated by rooftops and streetlights and lit windows to a hazy wonderland of blue and creamy white, the familiar rooftops and trees given depth and dimension by the falling snow. Just like “Frosty Morning, Just Before Sunrise”, I’d been visualizing this little painting of the snow falling at night, the house with lit windows nestled into the snow-dusted branches and bramble and trees, silhouettes of rooftops beyond, the lights of Carnegie’s Main Street brightening the view behind them, then the haze of snowfall where normally I’d see only darkness. It looks quaint and kind of cliché, but it looks like home to me.

This painting is done in Sennelier pastels on Fabriano Pastello Tiziano paper, in the dark green hue. I knew that I could get the softness I wanted from the Sennelier pastels on this paper which has a nice soft surface to capture pastel, and though I wasn’t sure I wanted the texture of the laid finish it worked well to break up and soften the edges. I used three tones of Prussian blue which is a cool blue tending toward slate blue and tempered it with violet and gray in the shadows, then added pinks and yellows to the lighter areas. The windows, of course, are several shades of yellow.

If snow is what you’ve got, then snow is what you paint—I’m going to take advantage of it while it’s here. I’ve started another sketch from this morning when there was still snow in the air but the sun was shining.

See “Frosty Morning, Just Before Sunrise”, and also see other pastel paintings and original art.

This painting and others are for sale, please ask if you are interested.