Big Smiles! - Portrait Preview {Massachusetts Photographer - International Wedding Photographer}

I hope the holidays went well for all of my friends and readers out there.  This holiday season I was booked solid between travel, spending time with the family and two portraiture sessions and a wedding.

Now that I'm back home, I'm available for booking, so send me a line if you want to work together in 2014.  I'd love to meet you and your family, do engagement shots or family photos.

Up above we have a great portrait shot from a Christmas Eve family photoshoot I did in Michigan.  These kids were practically all models, Rhiannon had a great energy and smile, and her brother Xavier was super easy to direct and had a natural sense of where to look.  They were such fun to work with, I wish I'd gotten more time with them.  We had a big family to get through, and they were some of the first that I got to shoot.

Thanks so much to the family.  I'll have a few more previews as I continue editing, and I can't wait to show them off.

Preset Preview

It's hectic here at Rains on the Plain!  My studio (and life) are busy busy busy right now, with many different projects (and laundry, always laundry). I'm working as fast as I can this holiday season, and I've got plenty planned for the new year.  My black and white collection of Lightroom Presets are still in the development phase, but I thought I would give you a preview of a new one.

This is Lo-Fi, a filmy black and white with subtle blue tones in the highlights that give it a dreamy, vintage look.

I also wanted to answer a question I got through email just in case anyone else was wondering - I do plan to make Photoshop tools in the future, but I haven't developed any for sale yet.  Hopefully 2014 will bring forth some Rains on the Plain actions and brushes for PS.  Until then, my presets and textures are available in my etsy shop.


Happy Happy!

Happy holidays to everyone out there!  I hope you're doing well.

I'm rather busy - but it's that time of the year.  I'm offering free domestic (US) shipping until Wednesday in my shop with the coupon Holiday13.

After that I'll be away until the end of the year.  The shop will be open, but there will be a notice about nothing shipping until January.

Thanks for being a part of my year.

Lightroom Presets Available

My first set of Lightroom Presets are available on etsy now.  It's an instant download if you buy it through them, so you can buy and be using them within minutes.  I've shown you a lot of pictures of them, but here's a few more.



Did you notice the changes to the blog?  I've changed the background from one of the blogger textures to one of my own.  This is Sour Apple and it's part of the Dramatis Texture Pack that I just made.

In a later post I'll share more about textures and how I use them, but I have some sample photos from the Dramatis Pack to show.  The Dramatis Pack includes the five free textures I previously made, so if you want to grab those before checking out the whole pack, feel free - they're linked on the side.


Fabric From Concept to Print

Some of the fabric I talked about before, like Fall Leaves and Victory are now available for sale.  I wanted to share how I draw most of my fabric designs for Spoonflower.  This is the drawing became the fabric called "Bao", which is one of my favorite designs that I've done so far.

First I start off with a pencil drawing that I make on cardstock.  I like using cardstock for this - the size works well for my sketching and for later scanning, and the weight of it feels good under my mechanical pencil.  If you're interested, I buy it in bulk from Cards and Pockets online and I draw with a Pentel Graphicgear 1000 with HB lead.  I use pencil first to see if I like what I've done, then go over it in ink.  Sometimes it's just the outline and other times I fill in the design.  It just depends on what I'm working with.  I think it's easier to fill in, because linework usually means that it's a busier pattern.  My linework is done with Copic black liner markers, usually in .5 thickness.

After I ink the whole thing, I scan it.  It's scanned in at 300dpi and I take a look at it in Photoshop.  There's no real up or down to the pattern at this point, I often rotate and change while I'm working on it, and then see what I like best when I am done.  Photoshop is a bit of a process for me - I have no real guide to tell you about.  I go around erasing the background, making layers and copying in the inked lines.  Most of the time, I work in black and white with a pattern like this one, for the sake of simplicity.  If I were going to put particular colors down I would do it in this step.

This is the most time consuming step.  I am remaking what I drew and refining at the same time.  This can take anywhere from days to months, depending on how intricate the design is and how busy I am.  When I made it, Bao was one of the most challenging pieces I'd done, and it took me a good amount of time to finish it up.

After creating the digital piece, I uploaded it to Spoonflower.  This is a remarkably easy process, once you have an account with them you can do uploads.  I chose a mirrored repeat for my piece, and I liked the way the shapes joined and the stars blossomed between them.

Before you can sell any pieces, you have to order test swatches, to make sure that it prints the way you intend.  For the most part, I am happy with the digitally printed versions of my fabric, though there have been some exceptions.  Luckily, Bao was not a bad print, and it came out like this when I got the printed sample.

It's worth noting that you have to order each colorway separately.  I made Bao in a good number of color combinations, and each had to get its own swatch.  The upside is that switching colors is also made easy on the Spoonflower site, there's a tool that reduces your artwork to a set number of colors (two in this case) and then you can choose new colors.

I hope you've enjoyed this look into my work!


Dramatis Textures on Sale

My Dramatis Texture Set is on sale in my etsy shop now.  I handmade all of these textures, 24 in all, with six additional PNG overlays.

I hope to have another set of textures and my lightroom presets on sale soon, but I'm taking some much needed sick time right now.  You can still shop my store however, and save 20% on your order over $8 USD until Friday with the code GRATEFUL13.


Happy Thanksgiving!

The end of November is a good time to reflect and start thinking about the year ahead - I can't believe we are almost to 2014.  It seems like not so long ago, I was just getting used to writing 2013!  But that's the way time goes, slow and then all at once.

As an extra special thank you, use the code GRATEFUL13 for 20% off all orders over $8.00 USD in my etsy shop until December 7, 2013.

Speaking of change, I've been growing.  My shop will now have a new sale section and I'm making my editing tools available to the public.  Starting on November 29, 2013, my own collection of Lightroom Presets and Artistic Textures for editing photos will be on sale.

I'm still giving away a set textures and presets to a lucky winner on my blog.  Go here to enter.

Happy Thanksgiving (or just Thursday if you aren't American)!


Image credit: J. Beck

This weekend was really productive for me (despite having access to the Elder Scrolls Online Beta), and I've gotten a good amount of work done on my Lightroom Presets and textures.  So much so that I want to do a giveaway for my readers.

So here's the deal, leave me a comment on this post and you'll be entered.  Tweeting, following this blog and my etsy shop are all good for extra entries, just leave me another comment and tell me you've done it.  If you tweet, use the tag #raindroptools so I can see it.

That's it!  You'll win 34 Lightroom Presets that I designed and have been showing off all last week on this blog and a set of new textures that I've been working on.  The fine print is that you can't resell my textures or presets, use them to make your own and sell them or claim them as yours.  You CAN (and should) use them to alter photos you want to sell (of course) and/or use them for personal photos/creative edits/scrapbooking etc.

Leave your comments here!  Your tweets, following, etc won't count unless you leave me another comment telling me you've done it.


Waterfall WIP

I'm excited to share another photo with you all, this one a snapshot from a quick trip to a herring run.  The little waterfall isn't natural, but no less pretty for it.  When you live in a not very mountainous place like I do, waterfalls of any sort seem like treasures.

This picture is a work in progress still, but I am very proud of this black and white.  It's another of my new Lightroom Presets called "Radio".

I'm super excited to unveil the whole set next week.  Today I'm off to work on some writing and paint some textures as well as cleaning up around the house.  I've got a whole weekend full of Elder Scrolls Online planned, and I don't want to sit in a messy house!

Have a good weekend!

New Presets Coming Soon

I've been working on a new collection of Lightroom Presets that I'm going to put up for sale.  But first,  here's a preview of one of my favorite presets.

This adjustment is called "Crimson Calling".  I made it to bring out the reds and purple tones in a photo, to deepen and darken them so a true red becomes a more crimson shade.  It's a dramatic effect, but I'm really loving the way it works on photos.

Here's a preview.

Isn't it lovely?!

In addition to my presets, I'm also working on a new texture pack.  Both will be available for sale next week.

Fall Leaves and Underpainting

Here's another new fabric I designed on Spoonflower, appropriately titled "Fall Leaves".  I confess I meant to enter this piece in the weekly challenge for the leaves design, but I didn't finish it until after the deadline.  Oh well, at least it can still be enjoyed.  This is a little different from most of my other designs, because this was entirely done in color pencil and I like the way it came out.

Fall colors can be such a wonderful thing to capture on film, but harder to render the nuances of them while drawing.  I think of all paint, oils really make a beautiful fall scene because of the vibrancy of their colors.  But the disadvantage to using oil paint is that it takes a while to dry, so I decided to use color pencil to get more immediate results of my color mixing.

One thing I did try with this fabric that I haven't really done before was underpainting.  Empty Easel has a great color pencil underpainting article here, and I utilized the most basic concepts in making this design.  Since I only had the three leaves and not a full landscape, I just did the basic shape and filled in the leaves with the complimentary color first, then went back over it with my chosen colors.  I think it added nice depth to the drawing itself, but I'm not sure how it will come out in printing.

I've got a few more seasonal and decorative designs to put on Spoonflower this week, and then I will order some swatches.  Hopefully they will get here in time for all the approved fabrics to go on sale in December.

Slush Pile: A view of the hill

Beacon Hill shot from Boston Common.


This is my latest Spoonflower fabric, I print I call "Victory" in the petunia colorway.  This took me a lot of time to draw by hand, and even more to color in photoshop - but I love the way it came out.  There's a version that's black and white and grey too, but I think these colors look phenomenal.  I haven't had a chance to have it printed yet, so I don't know what it looks like in person and unfortunately, that means it isn't available for sale yet.

I'm drawing a lot of inspiration from the shows I've been watching, and it's interesting to see it transfer to my work.  I don't watch a lot of television, so keeping up with a current series, even if I am four or five episodes behind is a novel change in my routine.

It was either last week or the week before, I drew and inked two more designs that I just put into photoshop to work on.  It's been a busy time, but it's great to see lots of work getting done!


Jam Nebula

Here's an old painting I recently reworked and put up on Society6 for sale.  It's not a true depiction of an actual photographed region of space, but rather something fanciful.  I like the colors, the deep blues and purples and how cool the overall tone of this nebula is altogether.  This is one of the few times I've painted space with someone in mind, but I was inspired by my husband's love of space and particularly space-centric types of movies and games.

We're at the point in fall where I start to do more painting and still life than outdoor photography.  I rather like the shift - it gives me a chance to rest my gear and hiking boots, and organize my messy office into something livable.  I've got my pastels and watercolors out, and hopefully something new will come soon.


My Favorite Joke

I have told you all my favorite joke?  Well, this was my favorite joke when I was much younger, so it's pretty tame.

First the set up - you get the person to ask you what you do for a living and then what the hardest part of it is.

"What do you do for a living?"

"I'm a stand up comedian."

"What's the hard-"


Okay, so that joke was pretty good when I was in the fifth grade, but I doubt it will bring down the house now.  Still, I think about the principle of it a lot.  Timing is hard - and it's especially important in my chosen profession of photography.  There are so many times when I've lamented shutter rebound or that I didn't already have my camera out.

But the payoff is the other side of the street.  I get great images and not all of them come from careful set up and prep.  Sometimes it's just the someone is smiling sweetly without noticing the grin spreading across their face, or the wind calms down just enough to make the branches stop swaying for a moment, or a particularly good patch of light shines right down on my subject.

On my last vacation, I woke up my husband after I'd been out for an hour shooting away, because I didn't want him to miss all of that magnificent mist rising off of Lake George after heavy rains the day before.  He was a little grumpy with me at first, but we were standing over the railing looking at the dissipating tendrils of fog over the lake and he looked over at me and said "I'm glad you woke me up."

I love what I do, and timing is everything.



This piece is called Snowflower, and it is one of my newest prints.  It's a very special piece, because of the artist and serene beauty that it conveys.  I consider it one of my favorite photos that I've taken this year.

Rains on the Plain in conjunction with Black Diamond Celebrity Gifting are gifting this wonderful photo to Tyra Banks for her birthday this year.  I am so excited to be a part of this!!!!

Black Diamond Celebrity Gifting Division is a full-scale Public Relations Firm that focuses on bringing exposure to the creative talents and unique products manufactured by Small Business Owners. Many small businesses are evaluated by Black Diamond and inclusion is based on a selection process that leverages the uniqueness, marketability, and professionalism of a small business and its product line, and determined by current trends.

Thank you BDCG for this opportunity!


One of the issues between my stores that I've started addressing is the offerings.  My S6 store and etsy don't offer the same photos and I wanted to explain why.

I started my S6 store and quickly added work to it.  If you aren't familiar with Society6 at all, then here's what you need to know.  When you go to my link, you see all of my offerings.  When you search from the front page, you only see what has been put into the Society6 store.  Upon uploading a piece for sale, other members can place hearts on my work and promote it.  If it is promoted enough, it is let into the Society6 store.

That makes it difficult for me, because I can't predict if a piece is going to get a good response or not.  There's much more in my store than can be found from the links on the homepage.  When I started, it was a good option for me because I had no way of printing or storing stock in my home.

Etsy, on the other hand, is completely managed by me.  Every piece is available for sale and you see my whole store upon entering.  It came a few months after my S6 store, and has primarily photography.  This is because I'm most confident with my photo printing service and don't want to print illustration work until I am sure it will be done correctly.

At any rate, my etsy shop stocks some prints that may have been deleted from S6.  I wanted to make etsy a haven for my photographic work, and with the treasury system, you never know whom it might inspire.  The tagging works completely different on etsy, and it gives every piece a fair shot at being seen, even if you never visit my store directly.

Even so, there are a few photos available on S6 still that never made it to etsy.  The most likely cause for this is my own fault - switching computers.  I got a faster computer with a 2TB storage drive, and I moved most of my artwork over.   Most of it.  Society6 has one upload and I'm done, their printers handle the rest of the printing and resizing.  I like to print from a full sized file and do my own resizing (especially for large format photos), so I have to dig through the archives and find a few of the photos that I missed when I switched over.

All that means is there are a few "new" old images coming to my etsy shop that have been in my S6 shop for a while.  The above "The Devil's Isle's", is one of them.  The Devil's Isle's is an old name for Bermuda, where this dreamy scene was shot.  It's long been available on S6 and I am happy to finally be getting it on etsy.


Society6 has been expanding its offerings as of late, and I wanted to share with you the new mugs.  This mug is mine, from my painting of the Orion nebula called Orion Snapshot.  I haven't bought a mug yet, so I am not sure how it looks in person, but it looks great in the preview.

I'm trying to get back in the space art groove here, after focusing (no pun intended) on photography for so long.  Hopefully I will get a lot done this weekend and have new items on both Etsy and Society6.  For you fabric fans, I've done a new print called Victory in two different colorways over on Spoonflower.

Society6 must be getting in gear for the holidays this year - and I need to catch up!   In addition to mugs there's new tote bags and all of the older offerings - pillows, laptop skins, phone cases, etc.  Have a look!


Slush Pile: A Recent Walk

From a recent walk on a lonely beach at low tide.


Fall Flirt

A new fall photo on this fine Friday.

I adore the color in this piece, I really do.  I worked ou it for quite a while to get the background to the correct shades and texture.  This could almost seem like a holiday piece - it flirts with that line between fall and winter.  Look for this piece in my etsy shop soon!  Have a good weekend.

Fall Desktop Wallpaper

I've made a new fall desktop wallpaper for download.  There are multiple sizes available here for download.

You can also still download my Summer Lovin wallpaper from the same folder. 

It already feels like fall is coming to a close here - all too soon!  Hopefully I will be able to capture those last colors of warmth and hearth before it starts to ice over and we go towards winters icy charms.  I do like winter, but the colors of fall are always so much more enticing to the photographer in me.  The leaves that are left on the trees are still pretty and colorful, so I'll drink my coco and enjoy it while I can.


Phase One

One of my favorite blogs to read, Young House Love, had a post up about doing Phase One changes on their new house.  Someone wondered wasn't it a waste of time and money to do little remodeling changes when they could just be saving up for the big redo.

I think about things like this a lot - not just in reference to my house, but also my work.  When I post Works In Progress, it might take a long while before you get to see the end product.  They're like my Phase One projects.  I like them, I can live with them and sometimes they don't need a lot of changes after that.  But I don't know that when I set out to create it.   For some photos it takes me a bit of just living with it and seeing what changes I'd like to make to bump it up.

Think of Works in Progress as a Phase One for my photos.  The changes I make at the outset in Lightroom help build a foundation on which I can make more interesting texture, light, saturation or hue changes.  I use Lightroom to open my photos, so nearly all of my beginning changes take place in there.  Sometimes I do make other adjustments in Photoshop, but it's usually all Lightroom.

Times is a great way to see if the changes you make hold up.  I don't like to open my photos right away after taking them, but give them a day or two.  When I open them, I have some distance from taking them, and can enjoy them again.  I edit as many as I can in a day with Phase One edits,  and take a few into Photoshop for further adjustments.  But some I just wait on and see what inspiration time can being to the next step.

Here's a new finished fall photo that I took about two weeks ago. The colors are brilliant - just what I love about fall.


Slush Pile: Friday Evenings

Still life with books.  If I were to reshoot this, I'd change the angle of the handle on the cup.

Visiting Inspiration

I had visitors for the long weekend, which made it both lovely and a little stressful.  But I did get a lot of work done - and quite a few more fall photos will be going up for sale soon.  After they left, I got spectacularly sick, so it's been mostly rest and coughing for me this week.

You know, like so many people I mean to get out more and go for walks.  I want to make my every day into something special and beautiful and memorable.  I mean to get out more, but then it rains or I start working on a different project and before you know it, it's been three days or a week.  Sometimes I just walk in the rain and do things anyway, because I know that if I don't, I'll likely get busy and let it slip to the back of my mind.

Last week I went out to the park to take photos, and I didn't get very many that I liked.  It was work - I was out there to do my job in the fall, but I was lacking in inspiration.  It wasn't as much fun as I usually have, and there wasn't a lot of hiking or anything involved.  Hiking is one of the things I like the most about nature photography.  I even had my hiking boots on, but I didn't do much walking off the path.

This past weekend reminded me of how much I like my work, especially when it comes to just being able to do everyday things and make them beautiful.  We went for long walks on the beach, ate ice cream and I drew some new fabric designs.  I think I've been more productive and inspired this weekend than I have been in some time.  Sometimes it's a good thing to have visitors, even as infrequently as I do.  It's given me a refreshed perspective on getting things done.

Here's a new WIP to add to the collection:


A Work in Progress

Such a lovely photo isn't it?  I haven't quite thought up a name for this one yet, but here is a work in progress.  It's from a sunny fall day at the beach, but it could be any sunny, gorgeous day, with gently lapping waves making soft treads upon the beach.

I like the colors, but I think it could do with a little more umph.  So I'll take my time, add some texture and try to do some new adjustments until the photo itself really sparkles and stands out.

In other news, there's free shipping until Oct 13 in my Society6 store by clicking this link.  Not only does Society6 offer my space art prints, but also accessories like phone cases and laptop skins all featuring my art.  The offer excludes throw pillows with inserts, framed prints and stretched canvases.



This tiny picture is one of the few I have from a disposable camera I had a few years back.  I say a few years, but I think it was around the 2006-2007 era of time, when camera phones were a new thing and I still had a hot pink razr.  Ah, the not so long ago olden days!

The scene is New Hampshire, whereabouts, I can't remember.  What I do remember is getting this roll of film back and being very pleased with the results - I think this was my first serious foray into photography.  Not that I knew it at the time, I still had years to go in Human Resources and Payroll before a combination of factors would drive me towards another path.  This roll came out with quite a few good shots, most from the same day trip to New Hampshire.

When the film was processed, I got back prints and digital files.  I don't know where the prints are these days, but they might be around for scanning.  I've been remiss in organizing anything to do with film photography - especially old negatives and the like.  The photo above, I wound up editing the digital file when I got photoshop in 2009, and now I can't find the original.  I suspect it was on a laptop that died.

Still, it's wonderful to look back.  I haven't seen a disposable camera for a very long time now, but once they were all the rage.  I think I still have an old one around my office someplace, and I have no idea what would even be on it.

Ode to Autumn

Autumnal inspiration from the Keats poem To Autumn

Season of mists and mellow fruitfulness
Close bosom-friend of the maturing sun
Conspiring with him how to load and bless
With fruit the vines that round the thatch-eaves run;
To bend with apples the moss'd cottage-trees,
And fill all fruit with ripeness to the core;
To swell the gourd, and plump the hazel shells
With a sweet kernel; to set budding more,
And still more, later flowers for the bees,
Until they think warm days will never cease,
For Summer has o'er-brimm'd their clammy cells.

I just love this time of year.

Slush Pile: A Cyanotype

I've wanted to make a cyanotype inspired photo for a while, so I figured I'd start with this night time picture of Boston.  It's from the same roll as my last slush pile picture, but a little later in the night.  The various blues in this piece came out really nicely, and it looks a little eerie as well as interesting.

I made this starting with the cyanotype present effect in Lightroom and then moved it to Photoshop to add texture, blurring and the vignette.

Anyway, hopefully by the end of next week I will have more items up in both of my shops, since I'm doing a big work push right now.  I want to get a good inventory going on before the holiday sales start.  Sign up for my newsletter so you can get coupons and the like for the holiday season.


Too Busy!

Hello Fall!

I knew you were here when all the kids in my neighborhood started trudging to school at ungodly hours and the warm nights started to fade.  It's very nice to see you again!  You know how much I adore you, but honestly, I can't keep up right now.

You see fall, you beckon to me with your cool breezes and wonderful colors.  I want to be outside and snapping away, taking photos left and right before the trees all get bare and we have to welcome winter.  But I'm a little busy right now.  It's a sad compromise we make as adults, being busy with work in its various forms.  We pay a heavy price to be considered grown up enough to have ice cream for breakfast.

Ahem, my questionable eating habits aside - I'd like to note I'm expecting visitors as well.  Aside from the work that's keeping me busy, the arrival of houseguests make it feel extra important that I finish the projects I half started and abandoned in the heat of the summer.  That said fall, I will try to enjoy as I'm outside sweeping the walkway and bagging leaves.

Just one little tiny favor fall - you know I'd never ask this if I didn't adore you, but I have to speak up. I was really getting used to those longer days and now before you know it, the dark has descended outside.  So maybe you know, a little less of that for about a week or so.  Nothing drastic, just a little longer evening so we can enjoy the decent weather.  Just think about it, old friend.  And before I go let me say thanks for allt he fantastic pictures I have managed to get.  Not so much this year, but definitely last, because fall you've got colors that would make Spring jealous, if it were the jealous type.

tl;dr - I'm truly busy, so no new fall photography as of yet.  Hopefully soon.  Enjoy some old ones below.



Slush Pile: An Oldie

This photo I took back in 2009 when I was on a boat cruise in the Boston Harbor.  I reworked it a bit, because that was when I was still getting my sea legs for photography and this picture wasn't angled properly.  But even straight out the camera, it's a stunner.

I put it up today because I was lamenting this summer that I didn't have much inspiration.  But lo - Night Photography!  The perfect task for summers.  It's nice at any time of year, but the warmth of the summer makes it especially appealing.

Rush, Rush

Alright, I have a confession.  I've been playing Saints Row IV a lot recently, and I don't think I"m going to stop anytime soon.  I don't normally play games where you have to drive, for some reason the controls always make me react too slow, but Saints Row and its particular brand of fun work for me.  I admit I like the fourth game a little more because you have super speed powers and can run instead of driving as much.

I've played through Saints Row The Third and started the second in the series (just a note - this is not an ideal way to get through the series.) and have a good grip on the storyline.  Not that you need it, because I think The Third and IV were meant to be played without too much foreknowledge of the rest of the series.  I just really like them.  They came from a place that was a little grittier to become more lighthearted as things went on.

Anyway, video games make a large portion of the way I spent my downtime.  I also read a great deal, sometimes I get bored of one or the other and start gaming/reading more heavily, but the two are always there.  I like watching the visual story unfold in a game, especially one as silly and crass as in Saints Row.

So what does my love of games have to do with Paula Abdul?  In Saints Row IV the characters sing "Opposites Attract" together.  Which is a great song, but Rush Rush will always be my favorite Paula Abdul song.  Not too many months ago, I found out my husband hadn't seen the Rebel Without a Cause inspired video for Rush Rush, starring Keanu Reeves.  That had to be remedied immediately.

I've loved this song since it came out and I was recording it off the radio.  Some days I wake up with it in my head, like today.  It's great background while I ink another new fabric design.

Geordi LaForge

So that's a strange title for an art blog post, right?  I mean, Geordi LaForge is from a Star Trek show that's been off the air for a long time, and it had nothing to do with art.

Geordi LaForge image from Wikipedia

But that character, Geordi LaForge (played by LeVar Burton) was one of the most influential characters in my young life.  I watched Star Trek: The Next Generation from when I was in sixth or seventh grade until it went off the air not too many years later.   They had some great characters - it truly became an ensemble show, no matter what the original intent was.

Geordi LaForge was chief engineer of the flagship of the United Federation of Planets was my favorite character.  He made me want to be an engineer, a goal that guided and changed my life.  He was funny kind, reliable and a damn genius that saved the crew of Enterprise more times than I can remember.  Together with his best friend, the android named Data, they solved a good number of the problems encountered as they explored new reaches of space.

Geordi LaForge saved people with math and science.  He changed civilizations and uncovered history.  I knew that most engineering jobs weren't likely to be on a futuristic naval space platform of any sort, but all those really great qualities about Geordi, I wanted to be that too.  Even in middle school, I knew I was good in math and science but I could try harder, be more like LaForge.  I won a lot of awards in school, and found a love for physics as I studied more and more science and math to prepare for my intended major in college.  I went to a prominent engineering college.

But I wasn't a very good engineer, in the end, and my heart wasn't in the study of it.  That was fine with me, because when I chose to do something else, I knew it I had given it my all.  It just wasn't for me.  Turns out that changing your mind isn't that uncommon after all, and I had a lot of good company as I tried (for years) to figure out what I wanted to do with my life.

I find myself thinking about the steps it took to get here these days because I wonder a lot if I'm making the right choices.  There's no Geordi for me to look up to this time, and I sometimes founder.  It would be easier/safer/more secure if I went back and did something else with my life instead of creating art.  My car is sitting outside my house dead right now because I just can't get it fixed.  I need new glasses.  There's a whole list of things that I would love to get for my house that aren't at all frivolous, but I can't right now.

And you know what, I bet Geordi would say that's fine.  He loved his job, even with all its complications and the people the he lost, and the problems that never got solved.  His job could topple over his life, take up way too much time and energy, and put him in danger more than a few times.  But he loved it.

I love my creative career.  I like learning new skills or working on the old ones.  I get to challenge myself on a daily basis, and on the days when I am feeling too sick to work, I don't have to make myself like I did working in retail or administration.  My stores are always there.  You can stop by here and say hi to me and I'll get back to you when I'm feeling better.  I don't have to sit at a desk and listen to someone else talking loud on the phone or get sick from the smell of perfume anymore.  My arms don't have bites from paper fleas and when I wake up in the morning, I don't get sick as I prepare for the day.

Sometimes I don't have all the things I need, but then again, neither did Geordi.

New Fabric Designs

I've been enjoying the cooler weather recently, and catching up on my exercises.  My running habit evaporated over the summer, so I am getting back into it and going to the gym as the rains come more often now.  Autumn feels like a breath of fresh air to me.

I made a few new designs in my spoonflower shop and last week I finally got to see how they looked on fabric.  I'll be making them available for sale soon, but I wanted to share one with you.


This is a fun, colorful fabric I designed sometime when it was still warm.  I think the colors reflect the mix of seasons.  I like it - it would be great for a summer party tablecloth.

Slush Pile: Shore liner

Here's a picture I took last year on the bank of the Charles River at the end of September.  I really liked it, even though the blooms are mostly gone.  It's in a semi-edited sort of state, but the great colors stood out enough for me to share it.  This might be a good piece to apply my texture so blue to it and see what happens.

As I ease myself back into blogging, I thought I'd start out with a photo.  I didn't get to go out at all last week due to combination of weather and circumstances.  But that's fine, I love fall because it grows more photogenic up until the very end.

A few days of rest

I haven't abandoned you dear readers, but I'm taking a few days of rest while I can.  It's shaping up to be a promising autumn for me.  But what is art, without the breaks that clear the mind and bring inspiration?  I shall see you next week!

Long Weekend

In the US it's the beginning of a long weekend and I for one am quite ready for it.  The end of summer is a time for one last celebration of the heat and sunshine, memories for when the cold gets unbearable.  Although a little haze has been hanging over us here recently, due to dense coastal fog recently, it's been lovely and bright today.  A great way to start out the weekend.

I took this shot (wish) around this time last year.  It reminds me of warm days and cool breezes.

Do you have plans?  I've still got some work to do, but mostly I want to go out and shoot some new photos.  I haven't been out for a long session in far too long.  Have a great (long) weekend!

Slush Pile: Moonrise

It's been such a hectic day for me here, I almost forgot to post this!  But here's Moonrise a picture I think I took after a storm last year.  It needs to be cleaned up a little bit more, but I like the rough quality it has right now.  It's so rare that I can take decent night sky photos because of light pollution, so getting this shot was a treat!

Como la Cigarra

This morning I was going through my music, and for some reason I stopped at this song.  I love Mercedes Sosa's voice, and downloaded this a while back but hadn't listened to it recently.  This video is of a a really beautiful live performance of the song.

The reason I've put it up here today is because I think I needed to hear it, and share it.  My Spanish is a little rusty, but Como la Cigarra translates to Like the Cicada.  This song is about perseverance and overcoming adversity.   My rough translation in part is:  "I went on singing, singing to the sun like the cicada."

There's more about despair and the trials and tribulations that the subject has overcome, all to continue letting their song be heard.  It's really a lovely song, even if you can't understand Spanish.


Slush Pile: Cut Flowers


More Fabric

I've put some more fabric designs up in my Spoonflower shop.

These two patterns are Bao and Evangeline Greenery.  The pictures are of the actual printed fabric and they both came out wonderfully.  I am so excited whenever I see my designs on the fabric.  It's fun to work on the patterns beforehand, but there is nothing like the gratification I feel when I see the printed fabric.  It's simply amazing, akin to finally seeing a print of a favorite photo.  It's almost as if holding it in your hands makes it more real, if that makes sense.

August has been a long month.  I could go on and on about the dog days of summer, but suffice it to say that I am awaiting fall at this point.  I think around this time of year many people begin to feel like the heat has overstayed its welcome.  Count me amongst that number.

Still, I am working steadily on new textile designs, on old projects and photos.  I have some birthdays coming up to celebrate with the people I love, and visitors to prepare for.  It's going to be a busy, if a bit long end to the summer.


Follow my blog with Bloglovin

I've put my blog into Bloglovin to make it easier to follow! I've heard wonders about this service, especially from people that followed multiple blogs with Google Reader. Check it out, and thanks for following my professional antics and adventures. There's always more art where there's cookies.

Just a few more images for the slush pile

I'm still worn out and recovering this week, so I've collected and done a few edits on some photos I took back in 2009 to share with you.  I love surprising myself when I go through an old folder of photographs, because there are so many wonderful shots or times I've just lugged my camera around that I've forgotten about.  Some of these images I might turn into desktop wallpapers or continue to edit for sale eventually.

Anyway, do have a good weekend.  I hope mine is full of rest and warm, easy days.