Drawings – beginning stage

Nature’s beautiful colors are really filling in. It’s been especially fun to be out taking photos of flowers in bloom.

Ahhh… color!

And I’ve been slowing going through, editing and adding photos to my “nature” gallery on my imagekind website ( http://www.artbycarol.imagekind.com ) – only a couple have made it so far.

I also shared recently that I started a couple of drawings, so I thought I’d share them at stages.

This is the beginning stage (after about a week or so) – each with the inspiration piece:

splashing horse

splashing horse




Neither is very impressive looking at the moment, I know.

My talent in art has always come easily to me. I think I’ve been taking it for granted, though.

Instead, I want to remember (and relish in) the passion and challenge and pure joy that comes out of pouring heart and soul into my artwork — whether it be drawing, painting or photography.

And that takes patience – something that does NOT come easily to me!

I think it also may seem like this is not a lot of drawing after an entire week or so. Believe me, I get it!

It used to be that I could – and would – knock one of these out every day (and in college, I had to do at least one a day, if not more!)

But art is a process that, to me, isn’t about how fast you can produce or how many pieces you can do in a day –  remember a few sentences ago I said I wanted to relish in this!

Obviously for me, the process is about slowing down, taking my time, and returning to my basic skills.

So, be patient with me, and we’ll see how this goes!

Thanks for stopping by.

Have a great day!

Serious art

Sometimes when I set out to spend time with the computer, editing is the furthest thing from my mind or agenda.

But as I continue on this artistic journey, I find that breaking out of the comfortable and into the abstract is becoming more of a desire than a chore.

And I’m finding also that at times editing can take a rather pedestrian photo and make it (at the very least) a bit more fun.

Oscar Wilde once said: “Art is the only serious thing in the world…

and the Artist is the only person who is never serious.”

I don’t think he was being literal (at least I hope not!)

And as far as being serious? I personally wouldn’t go so far as to say ‘never’ – but I certainly attempt it less often!


Did you know?

Apparently there is this amazing phenomenon that happens every single day – it’s called “the Sunrise” (I can hear your oooo’s and ahhh’s!)

Of course I say “apparently” because this chick does not get up to see the sunrise on a daily basis. (I’m not crazy!! hehe!)

And, on those rare and special occasions that I do drag-butt out of bed and have the presence of mind to have the camera ready to go, I can capture some really beautiful scenes:

Through the trees.

Through the trees.

And show evidence that there are those who rise much, much earlier:

Criss-cross trails.

Criss-cross trails – beautiful colors!

Now, we all know that I could wax philosophical here about how there are only a fixed number of sunrises and sunsets to be enjoyed in a lifetime, which is why this self-proclaimed “not-a-morning-chick” gets out of bed and captures a sunrise every now and then (sunsets are so much easier!)

But I won’t…

because we are all lucky enough to get 7 whole sunrises ever week!

Ok, I’ll stop.

For now.

Casting Shadows

I’ve been thinking that I’d really like to go on another trip somewhere… soon!

Which reminded me that I started a new “tradition” for whenever I go on a trip somewhere new:

I take a photo of my shadow.

It’s an official and permanent mark that I’ve been on that very spot (without vandalizing or jail time! hehe!)

Here I am at Alberta Falls in Rocky Mountain National Park:



I also have some friends that participate:

also at RMNP

also at RMNP

I’ll even snap one while walking on the sidewalk:

a friend & I in downtown Milwaukee (although it could be anywhere, couldn't it?!)

a friend & me in downtown Milwaukee (although it could be anywhere, couldn’t it?!)

Just a fun, silly, innocuous thing to do while vacationing or travelling.

I plan to have a shadow photo taken in every state in the US.

See? Time to get back out travelling again!

Question is – where to first?!

Photowalk 31

Doing a little post-shutter-click editing and made a couple of winter black & white photographs.

If the settings aren’t right, you can run the risk of having a blob of grays instead of a good black vs. white contrast.

And it turned out to be a little more difficult to get a good result than I thought it would!

This one is from a nearby park with a creek that runs through it.

From a nearby park with a creek that runs through it.

Blowing snows plays on the solitude of the bench.

Blowing snow contrasts the shadows of the back side of the bench.

Dense area of trees in another park nearby -- shows it's a bit more difficult to contrast when there is subject density... but the trees are cool!

Dense area of trees in another park nearby — shows it’s a bit more difficult to contrast when there is subject density… the shape of the tree branches are cool!

Black & white works well with winter (alliteration, you know I love it!)

I’ve been taking notes on the specifics of the day (time of day, cloudy/sunny, etc) as well as the camera settings so I can continue to improve my skills.

There’s always something new to learn and try!

Color or B&W

Today I’ve been doing some social media marketing for a friend’s business. Between edits and re-writes, I’ll take breaks waiting for approval or suggestions.

I’m not taking the kind of breaks that a normal person would take that would actually remove me from the computer (that would make sense! haha!) but rather I find myself, once again, going through my photos and playing with the editing tools.

And you know what I realized?

Sometimes simple editing is more impactful than anything all the fancy-schmancy editing tools can provide.

I admit, I can get carried away with some of the more “fun-looking” options (what a life I lead!) but today I found a photograph that, with the most simple of editing ~ from color to black & white ~ gave the feel of two completely different photos.

Look what I mean. First the color:


Now the black & white:


Same photograph but one feels alive ~ like you could just walk right into it and touch the evergreens; and the other is about contrast ~ stark and cold. (ok, well it’s a photo with snow, both feel cold! hehe!)

And I don’t know if it’s just me, but color photos read present-tense to me, where black & white seem to represent something out of the past.

Personally, I think both options are beautiful (pats self on back) but it is a good example of how different the same photograph can look or feel with just a little bit of editing.

Have a great Friday!

More editing fun

Yep. Found another fun editing tool.

This one plays with the photographs pixels.

I’ve found in playing with this that I like them more abstract so you can only kind of tell what the subject of the photograph is, but also that they look really different at different sizes.

I found this to be a bit of a drawback, but of course it didn’t keep me from playing and sharing!

me and my daisies!

me and my daisies!

this would make a cool paper collage...

this would make a cool paper collage… lots of glue…

So that’s what I’ve been doing on this cool and cloudy Monday. Fun!

Hope you’re having a great start to your week!

Please check out my earlier post https://artbycarolcook.wordpress.com/2013/11/04/remember-our-heroes-at-christmas/ ~ it’ll feel great when you remember to send a card to an active Military member this year!

Also, don’t forget if you’re local, the Opening Reception of the Small Works Show at Chait Galleries Downtown (Iowa City) is this Friday evening! Hope to see some of you there!


Whew! I’ve been busy today!

I’m taking a break from painting.

Yep. An actual painting.

On a canvas and everything!


I am creating a painting for a long-time friend for her upcoming wedding. The fun part is that the painting itself is a collaboration of sorts with those who will be attending.

I won’t give away more than that… suffice it to say it’s a great idea and an honor to be a part of it!

Unfortunately, I won’t be able to share the inspiration for the piece or the actual painting until (at the very least) it is in the hands of the bride and groom. You’ll just have to wait.

But it’s really good if I do say so myself!

Bob Ross

I love going for walks this time of year… when the leaves are all changing colors.

It’s truly beautiful.

It also makes me think of the painter Bob Ross (if you don’t remember him, you will when you see the pictures below!)

Anyway, as I walk I look at the trees and I can see him in front of that empty canvas and how he turned globs of color into amazing paintings.

He was so incredibly talented.

I decided to search his name online and some images came up that literally (yes, I used that correctly!) made me laugh out loud.

And I share them with you, now:

can you be anything but calm when watching Bob Ross???

can you be anything but calm when watching Bob Ross?

Happy trees are a given!

of course he did!

of course he did!

I shared the one above with a friend and she replied “…actually, I believe it was Burnt Umber” ~ now that’s funny!



Here’s something I doubt you know about Bob Ross (I didn’t until today!):
He enlisted in the US Air Force at age 17. Having held military positions that required him to be, in his own words, “mean” and “tough,” “the guy who makes you scrub the latrine, the guy who makes you make your bed, the guy who screams at you for being late to work,” Ross decided that if he ever moved on from the military, “it wasn’t going to be that way any more,” vowing “never to scream again.”

The last episode of his show, The Joy of Painting, was filmed in 1994 (obviously, you can still watch them on tv and online.) While his legacy and paintings live happily on, he passed away in 1995.

I still happily watch his show from time to time and sit quietly amazed and inspired at his talent.

Again, none of these are my images. I did not see who to give credit to from the search, but kudos to the clever minds that came up with these memes. Thanks for the chuckles.

Photowalk 20

Today’s photowalk is brought to you by the letters “U” and “P”



Sometimes the photowalks aren’t about a specific destination. Sometimes they’re about a theme.

Sunny Day...

solar flare through the leaves

(of course, I totally love the solar flare!)

clouds relflecting the sunset...

clouds reflecting the sunset

And there’s always something to be found on/around the pergola:

Mourning Doves nesting atop the pergola

Mourning Doves nesting

They both were giving me the stink-eye for getting so close, too!

There are seemingly unlimited ‘themes’ to choose from when I do my photowalks. I have a list that I add to regularly and I don’t necessarily cross anything off that list even though I’ve featured it here.

I also have some ongoing themes, too – like ones that take a specific subject through the seasons, or the alphabet/numbers.

And of course, there are more states to explore!

But today, I simply looked up.