I’ve finally taken the time to move “Today” from a free site to a self-hosted site so I have more control over the template and lots of other little details. Please click over and follow me there! I’ve moved all my photos and posts to the new site and this is the last time I will post on this site.
Thanks for following me!
. . . . . . .
Cold nights and warm days, the frost lingers in the shadows. This palette of amber, russet and slate blue is most pleasing.
. . . . . . .
I think of the trees around me as I think of my friends, those constant presences that are more a part of us than we know. Perhaps they have no chance but to stand where they are, but they learn to bend and stretch and live as full a life as possible intermingled with all that lives around them.
“…stand in peace and harmony with my neighbors,…bring shelter and comfort to others indiscriminately,…” Years ago I was inspired by the simple existence of the trees around me to write a poem in honor of the way they grew and lived intermingled with all that grew around them because they had no choice. Perhaps that thought is what I have to add to today’s discussion about violence and fear and immigrants and learning to live in peace on this planet.
Like a Tree
To live my life like a tree,
to grow steadily from small beginnings,
fervently when possible, and quietly adapt when necessary,
stand in peace and harmony with my neighbors,
bear my fruit appropriately,
bring shelter and comfort to others indiscriminately,
and when my season is over
graciously give my gift to the earth
for the benefit of myself and all around me,
and without fear
patiently wait for my moment to return
poem © 2000 Bernadette E. Kazmarski
Here in Western Pennsylvania with our miles and miles of tree-covered hills it’s as if someone is air brushing the landscape, and as the leaves spread and grow the hills, which had before seemed flat now take shape and dimension. Because I am compelled to photograph and paint these colors I run here and there when the morning sun catches the trees, or the purple clouds of an afternoon storm gather behind the brilliant lime of the tree tops, or the evening sun shines, angled, through a grove of trees.
Because I paint Western Pennsylvania, nearly every one of my landscape paintings contains a tree, usually more than one, and often the trees themselves are the subjects. I have gigabytes of photos of trees, just for the trees’ sake, not to mention ones where the trees are the supporting cast. The other day I ran an errand entirely on winding back roads so that I could drive 10 miles per hour and photograph the beauty unfolding at every turn, even if they weren’t particularly good photos; the change had come so quickly that I was completely distracted and it was either that or have someone drive me or I’d wreck my car.
I have looked at this tree every day I’ve lived in this house, but one morning last year I followed my little black cat Mimi into my neighbor’s yard, just across the fence line, no fence, from our yard, and looked up at the tall maple tree from a different angle. What a great view, all those colors and shapes and little bits of sky, I guess I’ll sketch it, I thought.
Back in early June, on a lovely sunny day just about noon, I was leaving a morning event and on errands traveling the back roads just for fun, knowing this narrow back road had some wonderful spots. The trees had finally reached full cover in the woods and all along the trails and I simply could not get enough.
. . . . . . .
Read the rest of the poetry from my first ever poetry reading and art show at Andrew Carnegie Free Library & Music Hall, in 2007 entitled Paths I Have Walked.
About Art of the Watershed and the Collected Poems
A series of seasonal images of the Lower Chartiers Watershed
“I have travelled a good deal in Concord,” said Henry David Thoreau in Walden, his paradox of exploring a small town and its surroundings teaching him as much about human life and the interactions of nature as if he had traveled rare and exotic places about the globe.
I’d love to paint faraway exotic places, but in the interests of time I stay close to home for my hiking, bicycling, canoeing, walking and painting excursions, that being the valley where the Lower Chartiers Creek flows.
I’ve seen some exquisite sights on my adventures, and committed them to various media. The most moving are the ones I’ve chosen to paint large and in detail so that I might convey at least a portion of the grandeur that moved me beyond awe to action, sharing the places right around us though most people would never see them. Thus was born the series offering an image indicative of the watershed in each season.
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 fi nd 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.
And visit my poetry page to see more about my poetry and other writing, and to purchase Paths I Have Walked.
Visit my website to see the full set of paintings included in the “Art of the Watershed” series.
This bit of tattered bark is hanging on to the branch by just a few silk threads woven by resident spiders, or so it seems. Today’s winds can’t break the silk.
. . . . . . .
It’s one of the last mornings when leaves are still on the trees, but frost is on the rooftops and a misty, frosty haze defines each of the trees in silhouette as they march off over the distant hilltop, and yellow sun edges everything in the most delicate gilt.
. . . . . . .
A beautiful sunny day will be followed by a rainy one, considering the shapes of the mare’s tail clouds.
. . . . . . .
This painting is entitled “Safe”, 15″ x 20″ , done in soft pastel on Strathmore pastel paper.
ABOUT THE ARTWORK
This work was one of my new paintings for the 2015 Wings & Wildlife Art Show at the National Aviary in Pittsburgh. It’s called “Safe”, done pastel from my photo references. It’s the two does who have visited my backyard for the past two years. They would often scurry through my woodland garden to the overgrown area between all our yards when I came outside, and though they were in plain sight of about six houses they apparently felt they were safe—and they were, really, because when I looked at the reference photo for this I wondered why I’d taken a photo of the brush at the end of the yard, and then I saw the ears.
The original is framed with a 4″ white acid-free mat and a 1.25″ white painted arched wood frame.
You can find the original in my Etsy shop along with framed and unframed prints.
SHIPPING AND CHARGES
Shipping within the US is included in the cost of each print.
Prints up to 16″ x 20″ are shipped flat in a rigid envelope. Larger prints are shipped rolled in a mailing tube unless otherwise requested; flat shipping is an extra cost because it’s oversized.
The giclees are printed on acid-free hot press art paper for a smooth matte finish using archival inks. Giclee is the highest quality print available because the technique uses a dozen or more ink ports to capture all the nuances of the original painting, including details of the texture, far more sensitive than any other printing medium. Sometimes my giclees look so much like my originals that even I have a difficult time telling them apart when they are in frames.
I don’t keep giclee prints in stock for most of my works. Usually I have giclees printed as they are ordered unless I have an exhibit where I’ll be selling a particular print so there is a wait of up to two weeks before receipt of your print to allow for time to print and ship.
Digital prints are made on acid-free matte-finish natural white 100# cover using archival digital inks. While digital prints are not the quality of a giclee in capturing every nuance and detail of color, texture and shading, I am still very pleased with the outcome and usually only I as the artist, could tell where detail and color were not as sharp as the original. Digital prints are only available up to 11″ x 17″ and some of the prints are cropped to fit standard mat and frame sizes.
Digital prints have at least 1/2″ around the edges depending on the size of the print. All are countersigned by me.
Because the standard size canvas prints are not proportional to the original painting, canvas prints of this painting will have a portion cropped off.
I usually have at least one of the smaller sizes of canvases on hand, but order larger ones as they are ordered because I have limited storage space. Smaller canvases are a 3/4″ in depth, Canvases 12 x 16 and larger are 1-1/2″ in depth. I set them up so the image runs from edge to edge, then the sides are black or white or sometimes I slip in a color that coordinates with the painting. This canvas mirrors the edges of the image around the sides.
I do all my own framing and can custom frame a print for you. Please ask.
. . . . . . .
Another photo from the trail yesterday, how that road goes up and down and from deep shade to bright sun. I’ve ridden it on my bike many times and it’s very fun, but it’s also a beautiful walk. The colors just suddenly flared this weekend, just when it seemed we might not have much color at all for rain and then extreme heat.
. . . . . . .
I’ve been experimenting with my smartphone, trying to get the best photos from it, but it’s just not the same as my DSLR and an autumn walk clearly reminds me of that. I went out to a trail today to photograph two dogs who will be subjects of a commissioned pet portrait and we all had a good walk on the trail. I have more photos than I know what to do with, and I think I just like this camera better!
Above is a particularly lovely section of this trail, which had once been a road through a farm, then later paved for traffic, then the entire old farm made into a county park. This road didn’t receive too much vehicular traffic (except by me and a few others who enjoyed it), so at one point it was blocked off and a system of trails using the road, narrowed and repaved, and trails through the woods was set up. The sky in the photo below was not filtered by anything, only on a day with this much color is the sky this intense blue.
A little stream runs down the ravine and I couldn’t keep from finding the tiny waterfall. When I have more time I’ll work my way down to the stream and take a few other photos.
The colors of autumn were everywhere, in white and purple asters and yellow goldenrod, red and orange leaves and blue sky.
Here is my favorite photo of the dogs, Madison and Apollo, though it’s out of focus. Too bad I moved just a tiny bit and the camera refocused on the background instead of Apollo.
Here’s another photo of the two.
Much of what we walked on was waste coal from long ago deep and strip mines.
The park was established on donated farmland that had been strip mined and the soil had nothing for growing. While Western Pennsylvania is known for its hills, most of these rises and ravines were formed by waste from coal mining, known as overburden, gob piles and a whole lot of other names. Left on its own it will eventually host hardy maples and a few other species that can grow in the acid soil that collects between the pieces of coal, but for the most part nothing else will grow there. But if you know what to look for, you can see by the shape and texture of the landscape, and the lack of undergrowth typical of the woods, what is soil and what is coal waste.
. . . . . . .
Nature makes such inspirational color combinations. This morning’s ladybug inspired this afternoon’s design for an autumn flyer for a heating and cooling company.
. . . . . . .