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View over Prague from the Castle: New Oil Painting

Oil Painting Prague's 1000 Spires, View from Prague Castle

“Art enables us to find ourselves and lose ourselves at the same time.” – Thomas Merton

Oil Painting Prague's 1000 Spires, View from Prague Castle

The Best of Intentions: Oil Painting

Have you ever started a project and then life gets in the way? This seems to happen every time a fun project comes up, whether it’s a book I can’t wait to read (Kate Morton’s newest novel, The Clockmaker’s Daughter, just arrived!) or a painting I’d like to try to paint. For me, the painting above began as a blank 36″ x 24″ canvas I placed on my easel last November 2017. On Saturday, October 13, 2018, I finished the edges, signed it, and hung it to finish drying. I am relieved and thrilled to be able to move on!

First work on the painting

Prague painting: Still a lot of work to do!
Prague painting: Still a lot of work to do!

Prague 2018

My family and I visited Prague again this summer and it was just as beautiful as I remembered it. Our family lived just outside of Prague in a village called Horomerice from 2009 – 2013. One of my favorite things to do after dropping my boys off at school was to meander into the city with my camera in hand. The month of October seemed to be the month with the best photographs, maybe because the tourists had fled for the season or because the fog settles in some mornings. The history seeps from the crevices of the buildings and stones and seems to speak out loud.

This summer, the heat and the swarms of tourists stifled the feeling of the history I’d had in cooler months when we lived in Prague. The photograph I based the painting on was taken in the month of October from the lane descending from Prague Castle and Hradcany.

View over Prague from the Castle

In this view that I’ve painted, many stories can be told about the buildings and their significance over time. The main tower in St. Nicholas Church of Mala Strana (left in this painting) served as one of the main spying points for the Nazis and later the Communists during their occupation of Prague. The Powder Towers in the foreground and background held significance from the time King Charles IV (also Holy Roman Emperor , who lived 1316 – 1378) along with his Charles Bridge connecting Old Town across the river to the Prague Castle. The Old Town Hall Clock Tower holds the famed Astronomical Clock (more than 600 years old), but also was the site of the 1618 defenestration of Prague. White crosses mark the cobblestones below the windows. And center, Tyn Church stands at the centerpiece of Old Town Square. When we lived in Prague, the Pope came and visited Prague, which meant every surface was polished to a high gleam for his visit, especially at Tyn.

Prague painting and Jennifer -- happy!

It took time for me to understand what to paint and how to paint it, including color values and shading — months, literally. I think the most important part is that I have finished it. Now, to enjoy it. 🙂

Prague painting

 

What types of projects have you started and then had trouble finishing? What helps you to get to the finish line?

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Creating Beauty: It Matters

Peonies from my garden

“Make your tiny corner of the world beautiful, even for one brief, anonymous moment. It matters.” – Nichole Nordeman

Creating Beauty: It Matters

A couple of weeks ago, I looked through photos on Instagram and saw a photo taken by Nichole Nordeman in the O’Hare Airport in Chicago. She had been stranded there on her way home to somewhere in the South, missed her kids, and simply wanted to get home. But because of Hurricane Ivan plowing its way up Florida and into Georgia, most flights in the US were grounded.

The video she took was quick and crooked, but the atmosphere was palpable. In the crowded airport, a young man with a backpack sat down at a piano and began playing music. And in the crowds, stranded, frustrated, for a brief moment, there was beauty.

Nichole says she realized then the value of beauty. Somehow, beauty can take a dire situation, cause us to pause and reevaluate, and adjust what had been soured. Beauty can soothe a wounded heart, bring respite to a weary soul, and alleviate the heaviest of burdens. Life is better with some form of beauty to lift us.

Why Beauty Matters

For some reason, the words Nichole wrote, above, struck a chord with me. I immediately wrote them down and now have the phrase hanging at my desk at work and in my kitchen at home. It is the absolute truth:

Make your tiny corner of the world beautiful, even for one brief, anonymous moment. It matters.

It does matter. And remembering that on a daily basis, moment by moment, resonates with me. It is, and always has been, my life purpose. To create, capture, and share beauty.

Some pieces I have been working on lately have been:

  • a new manuscript, one I am very excited about
  • several new canvases
  • and about a thousand new photographs of many settings and things

Creating fuels me. I can’t not create.

The times when my creative fuel runs a bit dry is when I listen to what the world is saying about the worth and value of created things — if no one takes notice, then it must not be worthwhile.

I wholeheartedly disagree. If it creates beauty in a tiny corner of the world, then it is worthwhile. It matters.

Because the act of creating has changed our own selves, and perhaps touched others in mysterious ways. We don’t know. We may never know. But that isn’t the point–to know how many followers click like, etc. The unknowing doesn’t make the impact of what we have created insignificant. The unknowing is part of the beauty.

Beauty matters.

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Portfolio: the Amazing Places My Photography Has Gone

Gondola Parking in Venice

“You don’t make a photograph just with a camera. You bring to the act of photography all the pictures you have seen, the books you have read, the music you have heard, the people you have loved.” – Ansel Adams

Photography is a joy to me. I’ve written about it here many times. It restores the magic of wonder, of seeing the world around us in a pure light, and freezes precious time. When a photograph speaks, we have to sit up and pay attention, and ask the question why.

Sometimes, cool things happen. And then there are times when really cool things happen. A few really cool things have happened regarding my photography.

It’s true: I love to take photographs. I’ve brought my current camera around the world, and have posted a lot of photographs here on my site. But I never would have guessed the things I capture would mean something to others, too.

The Amazing Places My Photography Has Gone

Amazingly, this wired world has brought people here who connect with my photography. Some of these great people who have found their way to my photography include:

  • the European Music Archaeolology Project, the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland
  • City of Prague, Tradefairs project, Frankfurt, DE
  • Zurich, Switzerland design studio, private display
  • Jewish Museum of Milwaukee,exhibit
  • U.S. Museums, Stitching History from the Holocaust traveling exhibit backdrop
  • Boston Cecelia Concerts
  • Dream of Italy PBS travel series, tv show
  • Dreyers Forlag Oslo publishers, Drommon Om Europa book cover
Drommen Om Europa book cover
Drommen Om Europa book cover
  • Brevard Zoo, Florida Shorebird Alliance
  • Capitol Prague Cafe, D.C., wall mural
  • and others, private collectors, worldwide

Portfolio

I have a few favorite photographs, below … they’re from travels or from my backyard garden. A few more are on my Portfolio page of the site, and a portion of those are available at RedBubble and at SmugMug.

Aegean Sea, Nafplio, Greece
Aegean Sea, Nafplio, Greece
Charles Bridge, Prague
Charles Bridge, Prague
Prague's 5 Bridges
Prague’s 5 Bridges
Gondolas along the Grand Canal, Venice, Italy
Gondolas along the Grand Canal, Venice, Italy
Prague's Charles Bridge
Prague’s Charles Bridge in fog
Baronne Prevost Rose
Baronne Prevost Rose
English Rose bouquet
English Rose bouquet
shorebirds
shorebirds

 

Sunburst, Florida Gulf Coast
Sunburst, Florida Gulf Coast
Tiger Swallowtail butterfly
Sometimes brokenness = beauty

In all, I am very grateful. Thank you to all who have enjoyed and shared my photography.

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Inspiration for the Artist: The Gift by Lewis Hyde

A recent oil painting

“The artist appeals to that part of our being …which is a gift and not an acquisition — and, therefore, more permanently enduring.” – Joseph Conrad

In January, I read Elizabeth Gilbert’s BIG MAGIC, on the art of creative living. I loved it, made notes, shared it at GreatNewBooks.org, and noted one of the books which inspired her: The Gift: Creativity and the Artist in the Modern World, by Lewis Hyde.

The Gift by Lewis Hyde

The Gift by Lewis Hyde

At last, I have it on my reading stack. I have begun at the introduction and can hardly move past it, the content is so thought-provoking.

The first concept Hyde mentions: “Works of art exist simultaneously in two “economies,” a market economy and a gift economy. Only one of these is essential, however: a works of art can survive without the market, but where there is no gift there is no art.”

Where there is no gift, there is no art. Of created works, only art endures.

My question has always been, How do we know what is art? Who is to say that a modern painting with colors seemingly haphazardly thrown onto a canvas is more lofty and enduring than a random painting done by a non-artist? Or who is to say one work of fiction is more meaningful than another more formulaic book?

I don’t know the answer. But I think Hyde is on to something.

The next: “A gift is a thing we do not get by our own efforts. We cannot buy it; we cannot acquire it through an act of will.”

True. I can’t buy or bargain my way into being Mozart. There is a gift element to his talent, as well as a gazillion hours of hard work.

Inspiration for the Artist

The third big thought of the introduction is: “Inspiration as a gift. As the artist works, some portion of his creation is bestowed upon him. An idea pops into his head, a tune begins to play, a phrase comes to mind, a color falls in place on the canvas… With any true creation comes the uncanny sense that “I,” the artist, did not make the work.” Some element of what has been created does not seem to come from the artist him/herself. The inspiration comes in the act of working.

A recent oil painting
A recent oil painting

I recently worked on the oil painting (16″x24″), above. It has been sitting on my easel for months as I’ve tried to work out what to do with it. It has no less than ten layers of paint on it, all trying to depict what I see.

I don’t think the above painting is a piece of art, but merely something I’ve worked on that expresses something I see. I knew in each version that what I was trying to achieve would eventually come out.

For me, the hardest part of creating is starting at the blank canvas; the next hardest part of creating is not giving up. Now, I feel satisfied with it, though I am not sure exactly why.

“That art that matters to us–which moves the heart, or revives the soul, or delights the senses, or offers courage for living, however we choose to describe the experience–that work is received by us as a gift is received.”

Or, ART matters.

What is it about a certain piece of art that connects with someone deeply? I can read a book or article and, depending on what I’ve experienced, determines how I feel about the piece. I can see a painting and it moves me, or hear a song and it transports me. What is it about art that makes it ART?

I’d love to hear your ideas in the comments…

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5 Reasons Coldplay’s Concerts Are the Best

Coldplay, Chicago Soldier Field, July 23, 2016

“Look at the stars, look how they shine for you…” – “Yellow” from Parachutes, Coldplay

It’s no secret I’m a Coldplay fan. Well, maybe not even a fan — their songs and albums form a large part of the soundtrack of my life. I blame it on “Clocks.” It’s genius, I think — played on almost all black keys on the piano. And then the lyrics. It’s the first Coldplay song I loved.

My family and I saw Coldplay in Prague when we lived there in 2012 (I wrote about it here), and this past weekend I had tickets to see Coldplay in Chicago with my oldest son, 17.

In Prague, a newspaper there wrote an article about how the Coldplay concert in 2012 was the first concert post-Communism that the Czechs really got into, really celebrated. That really spoke to me then, and it still speaks now.

After my second Coldplay concert, this time at Soldier Field, I can now say that it’s true. Coldplay has the best show. It’s impossible not to become caught up in the music.

5 Reasons Coldplay Performs the Best Concerts on the Planet

  1. Lights everywhere.

Everyone gets a lighted, automated-to-the-music wristband —

Lighted wristband at the Coldplay concert
Lighted wristband

Coldplay, Soldier Field Chicago, the fun! from Jennifer Lyn King on Vimeo. (30 second video)

2. Fun!

The band, its lights, its music, and the sound is irresistibly fun.

Coldplay, Soldier Field Chicago, July 23, 2016 from Jennifer Lyn King on Vimeo. (30 second video)

3.  Audience / band participation.

Sing-alongs. The band is authentically having fun, too.

Coldplay live at Soldier Field, Chicago, The Scientist, July 23, 2016 from Jennifer Lyn King on Vimeo. (30 second video)

4. Confetti, lights, music, dancing …

All of it equals one amazing time. This was my favorite part of the concert (– 53 seconds of pure joy):

Every Teardrop Is a Waterfall, Coldplay live at Soldier Field, Chicago, July 23, 2016 from Jennifer Lyn King on Vimeo. (53 seconds)

5. The energy —

The whole stadium was electric. And I’m not talking about the thunderstorms that wiped out the first two opening acts with about 300 lightning strikes and 3″ of rain, or the thunderstorm that stopped the Coldplay set about 5 songs early and caused the entire stadium to evacuate.

No, the feeling of being in an atmosphere of color, joy, happiness, sound, and fun is almost irreplaceable. I’ve been to many big concerts at giant venues. None equals, so far, the amazing feeling of being at Coldplay.

Lights, Color, Sound: Coldplay in Concert

The Coda:

Rain and lightning overpowered the show about 90 minutes in, and officials called for the stadium to evacuate. By that time, most of us, especially on the field, were swathed in cheap plastic ponchos. The $3.33 I spent on my poncho was the best purchase I’ve made for a long time. The heavens truly opened up and dumped down rain by the stadium-full.

To evacuate, we slogged through rivers 3 – 6″ deep of running water almost the whole way to the north end of the park area, a mile away. The crowd on the other hand didn’t dampen. “Whoa-oh” from some of the choruses continued in song during the mass exodus, flashes of lightning and crashing thunder the accompaniment along the way. And, some turned the walk into a slip-n-slide through the water-covered grass. I had water streaming in my eyes, and it was hilarious.

I loved the Coldplay concert at Chicago’s Soldier Field, apocalyptic weather and all. When Coldplay comes around again, I’ll be there.

Thanks for the fun, Coldplay, and for bringing light and joy to so many around the world.

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My Favorite Spot on the Charles Bridge, Prague

Prague's Charles Bridge

“There is something particularly fascinating about seeing places you know in a piece of art – be that in a film, or a photograph, or a painting.”
― Sara Sheridan

I wanted to share a photograph for Light, an innovative new camera company, and their Vantage Point project displaying the best shots of a favorite place in your hometown or a place you have traveled. Since I love photographs that take me places, I decided it would be fun to participate. The compact camera looks pretty fun, with multi-aperture capability in a small and light new gadget that would fit in a pocket. I’d love to try it.

I’ve always toted around my Nikon, a seven-year-old camera body D90, with two lenses. I love hearing how other photographers who embrace their photography as a dedicated hobby / semi-profession plan their lenses. One of my co-workers has oodles of lenses. When he asked me what I shoot with, I smiled, a little embarrassed. I’ve never been one to want to accumulate unnecessary things. I have two camera lenses: the one the D90 came with, an 18 – 105 mm kit zoom lens, and a heavy zoom lens with a range of 70 – 200 mm. I love and use them both equally.

When it comes to a great photograph, I think several elements have to work together. Lighting is always number one for me. Then composition, subject, and then the illusive choices selected by the photographer’s eye. When a photograph has it all, it’s magic.

One photograph I’ve taken and posted here on my site before is the photograph I took on Charles Bridge, in Prague. My family and I lived in Prague from 2009 – 2013, and within a couple of months learned fog is a norm for Prague, especially along the Vltava River. Remember the first Mission Impossible movie starring Tom Cruise? The story began with gunshots on a mysterious bridge shrouded in fog. That was Prague’s Charles Bridge along the Vltava River.

I’ve written about it before. The Charles Bridge is a place where I spent a lot of time, holding a steaming cup of coffee from the Lavazza cafe near St. Nicholas Church on Malostranske square. The Charles Bridge speaks. If you stand on it long enough, especially in the off-season on a day with few tourists, you can hear its stories: of Kings and processionals, of whispers of centuries of wars and hostile occupations, of floods and near-miss disasters, of changing governments and protesting people, of peace, fleeting as it may be. The stones have stories. You can feel them.

It is this that the photograph captures, I think. There is a sense of something more than light, composition, and subject. That is why I love this photograph and want to share it again, here. It is my all-time favorite photo I’ve taken, so far.

Prague's Charles Bridge in black and white

The Light Co is posting their favorite photographs of places on their Pinterest site here. And if you’ve shot photography with the new Light camera, share what you think with us — I’d love to hear!

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Georgia by Dawn Tripp: a Must-Read Book of 2016

Georgia Georgia by Dawn Tripp

I remember the first time I came across Georgia O’Keeffe in high school art class. Her paintings of Southwestern-themed landscapes and cow skulls made an impression, but the color-saturated forms of her flower close-ups are images I can still see in my head. Her work is unique, brilliant. I love her poppies, their gigantic shapes and ripples and forms. Every time I see a Georgia O’Keeffe, I pause. I guess that would make me a lifelong fan.

When Dawn Tripp’s Georgia hit the literary scene, I saw the cover and immediately loved it. It is the perfect art for a novel based on Georgia O’Keeffe’s life, and probably will be my favorite cover this year. But for the story, I wasn’t so sure. I don’t often enjoy autobiographical historical fiction, as the voices imposed on the characters tend to be indulgent of the author’s obsession with a particular person of the past. I hesitated to begin Georgia for fear the novel would take me down roads I didn’t want to go with Georgia O’Keeffe, the artist. I didn’t want the novel to be a romanticized version of her life. Georgia O’Keeffe expressed herself and her life on her own terms. I didn’t want that to change in my mind.

Why did I pick up the book? I read a nice review from a respectable and unswayed source. She wasn’t a friend of the author, and likely chose Georgia because she authentically loved the book – much like what we try to do at Great New Books. I bought the book and hours after getting it home began reading. The first sentence sounded just like an artist: “I bought this house for the door.” I read on, through Georgia’s early beginnings, her poverty, and what drove her to New York City, where she met Stieglitz, who “discovered” her. I didn’t like him. And the more I read on, my dislike for Stieglitz increased. I had to continually ask myself why.

This is the masterful undercurrent Tripp wove into the novel Georgia, the disenchantment with a man who believes he has given Georgia it all. The narrative exposes gender politics at time when women’s rights had a different toehold on social dynamics. Women needed men to be their everything, and for a time, Stieglitz convinced Georgia it was true. It was this that kept me reading on. I had to find out how Georgia could come out from under a man so oppressive she lost sight of who she was, what she enjoyed, and what made her tick — for decades.

A powerful book is one that can help us see ourselves and our former or current states in the characters and the struggles they face. Georgia is one of those books. And then there is the language, lean and strong and perfect.

My favorite paragraph:

“The cottage feels empty, and the emptiness rings. Like a tingle under the skin. And for the first time in a dozen years, it occurs to me that perhaps Stieglitz is not my life, but a detour from it.”

The truth in those words have weight. And more …

“And then I remark coolly that art is, fundamentally, a personal struggle, and that women as a class are, fundamentally, oppressed.”

“A life is built of lies and magic, illusions bedded down with dreams. And in the end what haunts us most is the recollection of what we failed to see.”

In Georgia, there is no pretense, no romance, no false representation or glorification of a heroine from the past– there is only the beauty of a creative soul seeking to find her way to herself, and Tripp’s authentic voice pointing the way. Isn’t that what we all, at some point in our lives, seek to do? Find out who we are, what we are here for?

I loved Georgia. I’m sure it will be my favorite book of 2016.

This post has gone live today as well at GreatNewBooks.org. Please join in the conversation — especially if you have read Georgia. Thank you!

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Big Magic and the Art of Creative Living

Girl in the Garden oil painting

“We all need something that helps us to forget ourselves for a while — to momentarily forget our age, our gender, our socioeconomic background, our duties, our failures, and all that we have lost and screwed up… Perhaps creativity’s greatest mercy is this: By completely absorbing our attention for a short and magical spell, it can relieve us temporarily from the dreadful burden of being who we are.” – Elizabeth Gilbert, Big Magic

If you were to ask me what my favorite thing to do in life is, I would say it is to create. It doesn’t matter if it’s the blank canvas I set up on my easel last night waiting for daubs of oil paint or the novel I’ve been working on for what seems like forever, it is the act of creating that I love the most.

I often ask myself why. Why? What is it about creating something new and fresh and different that I love so very much?

The Art of Creative Living

There is a pulse inside me that pushes ideas out. Not that the ideas come out as fully created things. No, creative living is much more roundabout than that. Almost always, creating something worthwhile takes time. An idea builds up and finally, when I do have (or steal) some time to work on it, it usually flows, because it’s been waiting. But it’s not always been this way.

Once upon a time–20 years ago or so–I didn’t know what I wanted to create. I didn’t have an SLR camera or oil paints, and had never written more than essays or kept a journal. But I was interested in all of those things, if I thought about it. It’s finding our creative interests that is the important thing. Gilbert, in Big Magic, describes finding our creative angle through curiosity.

Big Magic

Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert

“Curiosity only ever asks one simple question: “Is there anything you’re interested in?” Anything? Even a tiny bit? … Following that scavenger hunt of curiosity can lead you to amazing, unexpected places. … Or it may lead you nowhere. You may spend your whole life following your curiosity and have absolutely nothing to show for it at the end–except one thing. You will have the satisfaction of knowing you passed your entire existence in devotion to the noble human virtue of inquisitiveness.

And that should be more than enough for anyone to say they lived a rich and splendid life.” – p 238

I agree. What are the little things that whisper in your ear? Listen to them. Try them.

The Myth of Creative Living

I think the biggest barrier to creative living is the notion that we must be successful with our creativity. No. Not so.

Gilbert talks about the pressure of succeeding and how paralyzing it is. She recommends keeping your day job. I agree. There is no quicker creativity killer than to believe your art has to pay the bills, steadily.

What about creating for the sense of creating? Just for the fulfillment of it.

For me, I know I’m a better person when I make time to write and paint. I need the time to be. There is a tremendous amount of magic in the timelessness found in the act that is creating. Gilbert writes this in Big Magic:

“Because when it all comes together, it’s amazing. When it all comes together, the only thing you can do is bow down in gratitude, as if you have been granted an audience with the divine. Because you have.”

Yes.

It’s like the trees along the side of the road in Ohio, where the tree trimmers come in spring and lop back to a thick nub so they don’t grow into the power lines above. We’re cut back and whittled down to fit so many roles and places where we may not really fit. Life leaves us as little more than nubs, if we let it pare us back. But just as the trees under the power lines grow despite being cut back, probably even more than before, up, toward the light.

We can be pruned back hard by life. But creativity is our chance to refill the well and grow back up toward the light. The success we have is in the accomplishment of creation.

The Trick of Creating

If we’re not creating for the million-dollar payout, we’re creating for the fulfillment and meaning it brings us. That is enough of a reason. But if we love what we’re doing, greatness may happen from the work and diligence at doing what we love. Then, the trick is to be hard at work if it were to happen by. Gilbert says, “If greatness should ever accidentally stumble upon you, let it catch you hard at work.”

Take a chance. Create. Not for success in terms of becoming the next big artistic wonder, but for fulfillment and the chance to live an interesting life. I’ll never regret painting as much as I do — I have a home filled with color and meaning, and a heart filled and running over. My paintings haven’t–and probably won’t–ever become a sensation commercially. Yes, I have some photographs in museums and one on a book cover, and other prominent places, but it isn’t the reason why I take photographs. It’s to capture a moment forever. The act of creating that moment brings me deep joy.

Joy

When we dare to create, we gain joy. We’ve all been given the gift of being able to create, whether it’s baking a cake, drawing with pencil, writing a journal, creating a garden, or redoing an old car. Creativity is essential for a full life.

So this year, what is it you will be curious about? What will you begin to create? As Gilbert says so well,

“The work wants to be made, and it wants to be made through you.”

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My 10 Favorite Photos of 2015

Garden Peonies, Sarah Bernhardt

“What I like about photographs is that they capture a moment that’s gone forever, impossible to reproduce.” – Karl Lagerfeld

At the end of a year, I have a tradition of going back through my favorite photographs I’ve taken in that year. On this blog, I have several years on record. In 2009 through 2013, my photographs were mostly of travels throughout Europe as my family and I lived in Prague those four years. Since ’13, my travels have been more limited to where I live with my family now, in Midwestern U.S.A.

Living in a mostly flat area brings its challenges. There are not many architectural wonders, awe-inspiring mountains, or vast bodies of water outside my back door, though Lake Erie and the Roebling Bridge really are spectacular. The challenge as a citizen of the world is to see the joy and beauty as it occurs — even in Ohio, there is beauty all around. What is important is to be able to see it as something to capture, to find the extraordinary inside the ordinary days.

Of course, flowers always will be one of my favorite photography subjects, especially ones from my backyard garden. In 2015, I also enjoyed capturing different landscapes — the ultra-blue waters of the South Florida Gulf and a foggy sunrise in Tennessee.

My 10 Favorite Photographs of 2015

Garden Peonies, Sarah Bernhardt
Garden Peonies
Sunrise Along the Tennessee River
Fisherman and Sunrise in the Smoky Mountains, Tennessee River

 

“When words become unclear, I shall focus with photographs. When images become inadequate, I shall be content with silence.” – Ansel Adams

 

Skimmers at Little Gasparilla Island, Florida
Skimmers at Little Gasparilla Island, Florida

 

Daffodils, Hyacinths, and Tulips
Daffodils, Hyacinths, and Tulips

 

FloridaGasparilla_040615__0383

One of my favorite quotes on photography:

“You don’t make a photograph just with a camera. You bring to the act of photography all the pictures you have seen, the books you have read, the music you have heard, the people you have loved.” – Ansel Adams

 

Iris at Sunrise
Iris at Sunrise

 

The Goldfinch
The Goldfinch

 

Little Gasparilla Island, Florida: paradise
Little Gasparilla Island, Florida: paradise

 

Skimmers at Little Gasparilla Island, Florida
Skimmers at Little Gasparilla Island, Florida

 

Peonies from the Garden
Peonies from the Garden

Photography Portfolio and White House Custom Color

One of my end-of-2015 goals has been to upgrade my photography printing service, and I’m pleased to report that it is live through SmugMug with printing through one of the industry’s finest photo printing houses, White House Custom Color. I have ordered several different prints and can honestly say that the quality is exceptional and their work is guaranteed.

Jennifer Lyn King Fine Art Photography
Jennifer Lyn King Fine Art Photography

Click here to reach the site, or get to it through my photography page

Wishing you and yours the most delightful and joy-filled Christmas season. Warmly, Jennifer

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4 Things I Love This February

The Goldfinch

“Winter is the time for comfort, for good food and warmth, for the touch of a friendly hand and for a talk beside the fire: it is the time for home.” – Edith Sitwell

Winter is an enchanted time for me. I love the cold, dark nights and days of frost and snow (though the snow in Boston sounds horrific right now). I love the pots of soup my husband cooks up on winter weekends. I love time beside the fire, snuggling down beneath heavy blankets, and the warm hand of the one I love in mine. I enjoy a bit of hibernation, as we call it around our house, but by February, I’m feeling the nudge toward light, and spring.

4 Things I Love This February

Books:Secrets of a Charmed Life by Susan Meissner

  • This week at Great New Books, I’m recommending a book I enjoyed very much, Secrets of a Charmed Life by Susan Meissner. It is the story of Emmeline and Julia, two sisters evacuated from London before the Blitz bombings in WWII. If you liked Christina Baker Kline’s Orphan Train, Kate Morton’s The Secret Keeper, or Jojo Moyes’s The Girl You Left Behind, you’ll love Secrets of a Charmed Life. Click here to read more (live on Wednesday, 2/11/15).

 

  • Also, I’ve recently finished reading the stunning novel The Poisonwood Bible by Barbara Kingsolver. It’s the story of a Baptist preacher-turned-missionary who takes his wife and four daughters to the Belgian Congo in 1959. The voices of the females are captivating, and the story is oh, so powerful. I loved it.The Poisonwood Bible by Barbara Kingsolver

“For women like me, it seems, it’s not ours to take charge of beginnings and endings. Not the marriage proposal, the summit conquered, the first shot fired, nor the last one either–the treaty at Appomattox, the knife in the heart. Let men write those stories. I can’t. I only know the middle ground where we live our lives. We whistle while Rome burns, or we scrub the floor, depending. Don’t dare presume there’s shame in the lot of a woman who carries on.” -page 383, The Poisonwood Bible

 

Chocolate:

chocolatesThis chocolate is fueling me through the winter. My favorite is the Venezuela Dark Chocolate with Brazilian Coast Sea Salt. It’s a mix of salty with rich. I hope Costco will sell them forever.

 

Painting:

There is nothing like a new canvas on the easel, the smell of oil paint as it dries for weeks as I write daily, and the accomplishment of a painting created entirely with my own head, hands, and heart, where once there had only been a blank white canvas. This is my latest, of Venice, Italy.

 

Oil painting of Venice along the Grand Canal, by me, Jennifer Lyn King
Oil painting of Venice along the Grand Canal, by me, Jennifer Lyn King

 

Backyard:

We’ve had frequent snow and ice here in Cincinnati this winter, and in an otherwise bleak, brown landscape, I love seeing (and feeding) the birds. The backyard birds become long term residents, and if I might say also, friends. Here, two favorite photos I’ve taken this winter.

Cheerful, twittering wren
Cheerful, twittering wren

 

The Goldfinch
The Goldfinch

 

What do you love this February? Have a wonderful Valentine’s week, showing that extra bit of love to your loved ones. xo