June is my favorite month, mainly because the daylight lasts so long. Also, everything outside seems to be bursting with vibrant color: the greens of the ferns, the peony pinks, the spectacular spirea bushes.
This particular Goldflame Spirea shrub had grown over the garden bed onto the flagstone walk. It was so flamboyant that I photographed it. Later, I flipped the photo in Photoshop, and added an image of my sump pump cover to serve as the sun in a fabricated landscape.
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Most days now you can find me in my tiny boat on the pond, pulling out pondweed and piling it on the banks. It’s an endless chore but a calming one. And I’m grateful for it, knowing that one day I will not have the pond or the boat or the energy to do this.
If you turn this photo upside down you will see my pond so thick with weeds that the reflections of the nearby trees are nearly obliterated.
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For my fabricated landscape this week I challenged myself to turn the trunk of a shagbark hickory tree into an ocean. The sky I added above was taken from a photo of my pond during a rainstorm. In order to get the hazy light-scattering effect at the horizon line, I turned the photo of the rain-dappled pond upside down and whitened the edge where the sea meets the sky. This lightening allows for a peaceful calming effect. The texture, however, makes for an edgy kind of calm, one that could easily erupt into stormy chaos.
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In this fabricated landscape, a smooth rock from my garden hovers over a shagbark hickory tree that I flipped to its side in Photoshop, to create a shaggy windswept field. For me, combining scratchy and slick textures is even more engaging than working with colors. But I wonder, if I add blues, can I change this field into an ocean? This will be a small adventure for me on some rainy afternoon when, immersed in Photoshop, I will be distracted from feeling the hollowness in my heart.
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For months my bags have been packed, ready for me to go flying off to some beautiful bright place. It seems like ages since I last flew. But I remember flying above Ithaca, watching the ground below as it stretched out endlessly and disappeared into the hazy horizon. That’s what I was thinking about when I fabricated this landscape. After inverting my favorite photo of an allium seed head into a negative image, I set it over a shot of my driveway that, on an early morning in April, was riddled with the remains of the last snowfall of the season.
The hills around home are greening up now. It’s getting harder to imagine ever wanting to leave here. Maybe next winter. Maybe I’ll fly away before the first snow of the season, before I grab up the camera and head for the driveway to photograph the new day’s pattern of white patches, believing it’s beautiful.
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Even with the windows shut tight, the frog-song coming off the pond these spring nights is so loud it can keep you awake. The peeping, screaming, grunting or gulping sounds of each frog can reverberate all the distress already roiling around in your head. Or, if you settle your mind and limbs into the rhythm of it, it will lull you to sleep.
On the night of an almost-full moon I photographed clouds over the pond. Then I inverted the image in Photoshop, to depict the water below that teemed with new, noisy, messy and mysterious life.
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