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

still life

Front Line

Front Line
Front Line

Front Line

The front line is definitely in charge here.

Another in the “Lost My Marbles” series. It’s a year ago today I rinsed the marbles, used in jars with plant cuttings, and laid them out to dry in the sun on the faded table on my deck. I’m so glad I did that on a sunny spring day.

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All images used on this site are copyrighted to Bernadette E. Kazmarski unless otherwise noted and may not be used without my written permission. Please ask if you are interested in using one in a print or internet publication. If you are interested in purchasing a print of this image or a product including this image, check my Etsy shop or Fine Art America profile to see if I have it available already. If you don’t find it there, visit “purchasing” for availability and terms.


That Green One in the Back

marbles on a table
marbles on a table

That Green One in the Back

I actually photographed these marbles back in March, just as the days were really lengthening and very, very bright. I have about 60 photos, and I like them all, and every so often I pull one out for my “Lost My Marbles” series, especially when I need a good dose of sun and color, like today.

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All images used on this site are copyrighted to Bernadette E. Kazmarski unless otherwise noted and may not be used without my written permission. Please ask if you are interested in using one in a print or internet publication. If you are interested in purchasing a print of this image or a product including this image, check my Etsy shop or Fine Art America profile to see if I have it available already. If you don’t find it there, visit “purchasing” for availability and terms.


All Apples

green apples
green apples

All Apples

It’s just that time of the year.

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


Green and Shadows

Onions and asparagus fern
Onions and asparagus fern

Green and Shadows

Some things make their own still lives.

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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.


Original Artwork: Winter Still Life

pastel painting of ceramic bowl of apples on crocheted cloth
pastel painting of ceramic bowl of apples on crocheted cloth

“Winter Still Life”, pastel, 10″ x 7″ © Bernadette E. Kazmarski

That deeply angled winter sunlight reaches farther into the windows than summer sunlight, into the corner with the fruit bowl. I’ve been looking at the late afternoon sun hitting this vintage ceramic bowl where I keep my apples and enjoying the shapes of the apples, the reflections on the bowl with its uneven design in indigo with gold leaf brushed into the pattern here and there, the crocheted cloth and the mix of direct and reflected light on the apples, the bowl, the wall, the painting above.

The light changes too fast so I can’t sketch it on site, but of curse I’ve also photographed it, and worked from a series of photographs over a period of minutes as if I was working in the moment. I’ve found that when I work from only one photograph I feel a little stiff with the subject and a series of images feels more natural.

Granny Smiths are just about my favorite apple and are the most likely to be in the bowl and the reflection of their color on the walls around gives the scene an overall green cast. In the original painting, the crocheted cloth is a little more yellow than you see here.

I painted this yesterday along with a few other simple sketches of winter landscapes.

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

Also see other pastel paintings and original art.


Winter Vegetables

winter vegetables
winter vegetables

Winter Vegetables

One brief stripe of sun
last chance
before sunset,
the pause to smile
when leaving,
turns onions and potatoes
to bronze, rubies and gold.

Another new poem, like the Winter Sunset haiku. Perhaps it is the sunset in these dark days that is so inspiring.

poem © 2014 bernadette e kazmarski

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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: Clementines

pastel painting of clementines on shelf
pastel painting of clementines on shelf

“Clementines”, pastel, 10″ x 5″ © Bernadette E. Kazmarski

A pastel sketch of my current crop of Clementines on the shelf in my kitchen.

This sketch is drawn entirely in Sennelier soft pastels on Fabriano Pastello Tiziano paper in the warm gray threaded tone. I wanted to use the laid texture of the paper to help convey the lightly pitted texture of the Clementines, and then also to soften the edges of everything to help capture the softened angled light from the window. The light comes mainly from the left, but several fruits are also catching a softer mid-tone highlight from a window in the next room to the right.

I had sorted them out of their bin since only a few were left and went to get a little basket for the. As I came back I saw the composition—the top of the cherry bookcase, my crocheted dresser scarf, the green-toned wall and of course the little stars themselves. The light comes in at a very slanted angle at any time of the year, especially winter, and for most of the day it’s reflected light from the sky with a cool tone and softened shadows. It doesn’t last very long, and I knew it was near the end of its journey on a short winter afternoon so I snapped a few photos and started a quick color sketch, but it was days before I got back to it. Glad I did, or those Clementines would have certainly lost their sweet and bright character in the meantime!

It’s the nice thing about art that you can leave out things you don’t like to be there. This shelf sometimes becomes a catch-all for things, and though they were actually in the scene I just left them out. There are also things hanging on the wall, and it’s a stucco wall that’s white which I rag-painted with vanity yellow and pale mint green. In this corner the shadows are dull and I debated having a cool gray-green wall to really bring out the orange of the Clementines, one of the reasons I began with this tone of paper, which you can see at the very top. I decided instead I wanted to keep with the rich tones in the rest of the sketch and worked the shadows in green—it’s not at all a realistic choice of tone or color or even quality of shadow, but I like it, and it works. I also decided to leave a loose edge at the top, I’d visualized it this way from the very beginning. I may have liked a loose edge all around but I ran off the paper on the sides.

I had mentioned with the last sketch of fruit that I was eyeing those Clementines…

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If you’d be interested in purchasing this sketch, please contact me. Likely I’ll frame it and add it to my Etsy shop.


Sketch: Afternoon Apples

pastel sketch of apples on counter
pastel sketch of apples on counter

“Afternoon Apples”, pastel, 5″ x 7″ (paper size) © Bernadette E. Kazmarski

A pastel sketch of Granny Smith apples, mixed pastels and pastel pencils on 2-ply vellum bristol.

An independent produce seller visits my neighborhood every two weeks, in the growing season carrying all local grown stuff, in winter fruits and vegetables that were good deals from some of the larger local suppliers, along with local cheese, butter and honey. We used to call these guys “hucksters”, but that almost seems derogatory compared to this entrepreneur, who is also a small farmer himself, who took the chance to knock on a few doors and start getting customers.

We also exchange conversation about our holidays and the things we’ll be cooking. He had a special on Granny Smith apples, which I like to eat and bake with (so I guess an apple crisp is in my future), and I joked that I’ve also painted them and I should count the purchase as a tax deduction for materials. Immediately I envisioned two apples on the table by the dining room window in the cool indirect winter light. And so I did paint the apples, two of them at least. There was a baker’s dozen of apples in each bag. Should I claim a deduction for 2/26 or 1/13 of the cost? I may also paint the peppers and cucumber and maybe a few more apples. I think I’m creating an accounting nightmare. I’ll get more out of the apples if I just eat them. But I think you’ll be seeing a few more little still lifes like this. I’ve been eyeing my Clementines too.

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If you’d be interested in purchasing this sketch, please contact me. Likely I’ll frame it and add it to my Etsy shop.


Sketch: Hat and Flowers

pastel sketch of hat and flowers on swing
pastel sketch of hat and flowers on swing

“Hat and Flowers”, pastel, 8.5″ x 6″ © Bernadette E. Kazmarski

Kind of sweet and sentimental and actually the last sketch I did on my roundabout trip to the grocery store with pastels and camera. When I came home and parked my bike to unpack it, I untied the bunch of wildflowers I’d gathered and my sketching hat from the back of my bike and set them on my porch swing, then removed the bungies holding my bags of groceries underneath where they had been.  I put everything in the house and came back out to get my hat and put the flowers in the vases on my porch and yard, and immediately felt another sketch coming on.

This is the straw hat I wear when I sketch. I can’t stand in the sun for too long without protecting my eyes, and especially not when I’m literally studying the sunny landscape for the time it takes to do a sketch, but I can’t wear my sunglasses because they change the colors. So I wear a straw hat, which puts my eyes and my entire face in shade so I can focus without squinting and see my colors without any modification. This particular hat is a pretty tight weave so it provides a deep shade, and the brim is the perfect width, not so far that it falls into my peripheral vision, but far enough, and stiff enough, to simply provide a cover. It fits me well, too, especially fitting a lot of my thick longish curly hair up underneath, though I do add a pin to be sure it stays in place. To paint From Hammond Street I was standing on a bridge above the creek, enjoying the breeze, and a few times, without the pin, the hat would have sailed off and down to float in the creek.

The wildflowers are some of my favorite colors at this time of the year for their brilliance. The longish stems of tiny yellow flowers on the right are yellow sweet clover, and its scent is intoxicating, that legendary scent of clover that grow in bunches just about anywhere. The yellow green bunches behind them are wild parsnip, an easily adaptable plant that can grow from two to six feet tall and kind of looks like a really big parsley plant with panicles of tiny yellow-green flowers; think of a large yellow Queen Anne’s Lace, though that comes later. The pink flowers are crown vetch, related to wild sweet peas that’s planted on hillsides and roadsides to hold soil in place and control the growth of other plants. The burgundy is a grass with lovely graceful burgundy seed heads that I just can’t identify!

You can also see this photo in my slideshow of photos from last week, and you can see this variety of flowers in an arrangement I had in my front yard last year.


Shadow Patterns

apples in basket
apples in basket

Shadow Patterns

Did an image ever stop you as you walked past it as if it had reached out and grabbed your arm? This one certainly did for me as I walked past it in my kitchen, and it was quite the auspicious moment. The sun shone through the leaves on the birch tree outside, but they were moving in a light breeze, one moment the apples were in total darkness, the next they were alight with direct and reflected sunlight. The sun shining into, on and through the basket remained constant, and something about the basket’s shadow makes it look as if the whole thing is floating on the surface of water.


Simply Blue

blue glass vase
    Simply Blue

Simply Blue

This was a nice little interruption to my cleaning, having washed the tiny cobalt glass basket I use for toothpicks and placed it aside on the white enamel table right where the sun could shine on and through it. Love the reflections and refractions.


Old Color and New

basket of gourds on rocker
basket of gourds on rocker

Old Colors and New

I was stunned by the volumes of bold texture in every element of this photo including the shadows, and the contrast of the warm weathered tones of the gourds, basket and woven rocker seat with the turquoise of the rocker itself. I look at this all the time, but not until the angled evening light came between the houses  and washed over just a part of it, just the tops of everything, that these mysteries were revealed.

This rocker and a few other features starred in another photo from last fall, “Autumn Colors”.


Reflecting on Each Other

apple and tangerine
apple and tangerine

Reflecting on Each Other

The sun shone on my apples and tangerines, lovely colors at any time, but vibrant and visually delicious when the sun shines on them. But when I downloaded the photos I saw the other magic—the two were reflecting on each other in the sun, orange on the green apple, and green on the tangerine’s pitted skin.


Old, But Colorful

brook with rocker on deck
brook with rocker on deck

Old

I swept the snow this morning with this old broom and leaned it against the old rocker with the old basket on it, on the old deck. Old is not bad, old is weathered and worn to show it’s been there. I should really replace the broom some day but I never remember until I need to use it, though all the broomstraws are broken off at the first string that holds them together, which is also unraveling, but still quite red, while the handle still has a little of its original turqouise. It all makes a fine still life.


Two Antique Chairs

two antique chairs
two antique chairs

Two Antique Chairs

The style and craftsmanship of things made a century or more ago always intrigues me, especially since these chairs have been in every day service in a public library for all that time, and they are still sound and sturdy, though more attractive than comfortable. The room is large and bright, but they are in a dim corner, and the uncertain light softens their edges.


Blue and Green

still life of green apples and blue pitcher
still life of green apples and blue pitcher

Blue and Green

Not seasonal, but a sensational combination from the day the autumn sun made everything beautiful.


Objects, Abstract

red onion on green plate
red onion on green plate

Objects, Abstract

I photographed this everyday vegetable in my kitchen when the sun angled through the window, highlighting only that, but reflecting in a few other places. It wasn’t want I’d been intending, but I like it better than what I’d been literally shooting for. It’s a red onion, as you might guess from the little tail in the lower right. It’s on an olive green glass raised platter and I’d been trying to get the contrast between the maroon onion and the yellow green glass, but the sun moved before I got the full shot. It just looks like a collection of visual elements until you see the onion.


Details

potato bag with reflected light
potato bag with reflected light

Potato Bag

Reflected light is magical, and a wrinkled paper bag eternally interesting; this common potato bag just seems to have it all for the brief seconds the sun hits this cabinet and reflects back onto it.


Lace and Shadows:2011

photo of sun and shadows on lace

Lace and Shadows

The sun at this time of year is magical, long and angled, brilliant among the bare trees, alighting even the simplest of household items and creating abstract images or interesting patterns of light and shadow.


Lace and Shadows

photo of sun and shadows on lace

Lace and Shadows

The sun at this time of year is magical, long and angled, brilliant among the bare trees, alighting even the simplest of household items and creating abstract images or interesting patterns of light and shadow.


Onions

onions

Onions

Something magic happens when unexpected sunshine angles into a window and illuminates something that otherwise would be pretty unexciting. I see these onions every day, if not these exactly then two or three others, and I do like them but don’t find them nearly as inspiring as when the sun warms and deepens their colors and casts a chance shadow from the asparagus fern like Chinese characters with a message, perhaps of a happy new year.


Purple Tulips Looking for Spring

photo of purple tulips on red table covering

Purple Tulips Looking for Spring

The first lovely sunny day after all the days of snowfall, and I think I forgot how bright it could be with all the light reflected from the snow.

Here the delicate purple tulips, placed on the table the previous night for the art display at my poetry reading, have turned toward the sun through the course of the afternoon, just like all the rest of us.

And anything looks richer placed against the backdrop of the rich, deep woodwork of the library’s windows.


Two Antique Chairs

photo of two antique stick chairs

Two Antique Chairs

The style and craftsmanship of things made a century or more ago always intrigues me, especially since these chairs have been in every day service in a public library for all that time, and they are still sound and sturdy, though more attractive than comfortable. The room is large and bright, but they are in a dim corner, and the uncertain light softens their edges.


Apple

photo of a perfect apple on a beat up windowsill

Apple

I set my apple on the windowsill so it would remind me to stop and snack later. It also provided a welcome still life subject. The apple’s roundness, perfect smooth skin and blended coloring, in the prime of its existence, contrast well with the windowsill that’s seen 100 years of use, blemished but welcoming.

I’ve been working with my local public library in the final renovations for the resident G.A.R. post, one of only a half dozen such post-Civil War veteran’s organization posts in the country; once there were about 7,000. The room will have its official unveiling on February 12, but I’ve been photographing the restoration process as well as preparing some framed artifacts and framing a show of photographs of Abraham Lincoln. Problem is, it’s all a big surprise and I can’t use any of the photos I’m taking yet—and that’s why I haven’t had a new photo for several days.

For more information about the post visit the library’s website at www.carnegiecarnegie.com.