Photographs, a Historic Art Form

Photos

Cordelia Canniff & son with her Mom
There must have been no age restrictions on driving back then.

Here is an example of historic photography in my family. These are my Great Grand Aunt, “Cordelia Canniff”, with her Mother and child. I know where I get it from, cause this looks like fun to me. Just wondering….

What are the age restrictions for driving?

Do you think the roads might have been a little bit muddy?

History

Photographs are a form of art that preserve views of our humanity. A visual form of historic storytelling. Each old photograph allows us a glimpse into life long ago.  Words could not describe the spirit evident in their faces. I am touched as I gaze at the noble facial structure of Chief Joseph‘s portrait. I bet that a lot of persuasion was required to get the Chief to allow his portrait taken. We are fortunate that the photographers were successful. Their perseverance allows us the ability to see his personality, dress and culture perfectly.

I used to be the only fool carrying a camera with me, during the “stone-age” of my youth. People would make fun of me for this fascination until I showed great shots I got. This the view from the rim of the Kalaheo Side of the Kalalau Canyon in Kauai (Hawaii’s Miniature Grand Canyon). 

KalaheoKalalauCanyonRim
Kalaheo Kalalau Canyon Rim

This habit is life-long for me, here is a typical view of me with camera-in-hand in the 1990s. In modern day society, everyone carries a camera around in their cell phone so I am no longer the unusual person in the crowd.

Val with camera
1998 Val With Canon Camera

Filter the Volume

The costs involved in the use of the medium of film, nurtured a natural discernment of the importance of a subject before taking a picture. This narrowed down the volume of shots taken. Additionally, there were the considerations of the developing cost of the film and print which created another sorting of the images effectually  filtering the collection a second time. Buying a camera, and learning how to use it narrowed the photographers down to people with an invested interested in the field. This investment along with the costs involved in the film and development created a filtering process which greatly narrowed down public photography to the “most excellent shots in the batch”.

Identifying Stored Images

Estate sales, illustrate many avenues of photograph storage. documentation, filing and storage of shots is handled differently by each individual who points a camera. Some, simply leave volumes of unsorted and forgotten envelopes in boxes, while others carefully place shots into highly organized photograph albums. Some photographers take the time to identify each print with notes written on the back to identify the people, places and things being recorded. This printed method of history storage is dying. Boxes of photographs are being replaced with digital storage. Cloud, phone, tablet and disk .

Photographs in a box
Photographs that we leave behind.

Getting quite ancient myself, I find that I am focussing on downsizing, and minimizing everything. I gradually go through and sort out the stuff collected throughout my life. Within my household, I find that I have inherited multiple boxes of photographic memories from deceased family members. These gifts have assigned me the onorous task of sorting through photographs from a time long long time ago, electing to discard duplicates, un-identified, or out-of-focus shots in the process. Reducing the volume, but, still preserve the best and most important.

onerous |ˈōnərəsˈänərəs|

adjective

(of a task, duty, or responsibility) involving an amount of effort and difficulty that is oppressively burdensome: he found his duties increasingly onerous.

 It is important to try and pass down family history. I scan, reasonably repair and post to my own family tree on https://www.ancestry.com. The plan is to scan, then save to disk. Subsequently, pack up and send originals to the most closely related family member still alive. Hopefully, I will not burden any loved ones with having to go through a similar task when I am gone. End goal is no boxes of photographs in my studio when I pass.

Thank you to my relatives with manners and consideration!

I appreciate the past relatives who had the good manners to let me know who and what I am looking at. Those Grandparents, Aunts & Uncles, Moms and Dads, siblings who took the time  to scribble an ID message on the back, are absolute life-savers for the person working on family history preservation. See my great great great aunt’s photograph,  who had been ID’d because of a little note on the back which allowed me to see who she was on the family tree.

I suggest that the same consideration should be taken with digital files documenting family history that we are accumulating. We should be removing duplicates, bad shots, and storing them in retrievable methods.

Joe and Dora Fitts 1800s
Identifying our history is important, Joe and Dora Fitts 1800s

 

Memories in a Photo

Photographs & Memories

Jean and LawrenceHave you ever noticed how a single good photograph can instantly trigger teleportation back into a memory? The camera was a magical invention. Photography has had that amazing power for hundreds of years, the ability to capture a memory.  This thought is elegantly presented by the lyrics in an old favorite song of mine, “Photographs and Memories” by Jim Croce. Song writers are a special breed of artist too!

I was processing photographs on my computer this morning, you know, naming and filing or discarding if it is out-of-focus or a duplicate. I opened  a family folder and instantly began touring my past and, before I knew it, an hour had passed. There were some kleenex involved with the images of people no longer here or are far away. Here is a picture of my cousin Jeanie and her husband Lawrence taken years ago. I feel these people are never around for long enough. They were just here visiting for a short time and I miss them a lot. 

People change a great deal throughout their lives. Here is a photograph of my 3-year-old son trying a lemon. What a great facial expression! 

Pat Sour FaceNext, is a shot of he and I taken in the Colorado airport in his twenties. Sorry for the graininess of the second image (“low-res” cell phone) camera. Truyly, time changes everything. Those two shots don’t even look like the same person, which is amazing.
Pat & Mom in Colorado

 

 

 

 

Back from Social Media Break

Social Media

First of all, disconnecting from social media has freed up about an hour a day for more important stuff to get done in my life. Being “social media free” is a good way to figure out priorities for me. I am back from a 6 week break, sabbatical, from the social media world. It has been refreshing to be “social media” free. I narrowed my involvement down to once-a-day for phone messages, texts and did not peruse FaceBook posts. 

lady texting
lady texting

Actually breaking away from thinking (obsessing) about FaceBook or checking my phone for messages. There are times that I need to return to the less busy existence where I simply get up and do my work or chores without interruption (bombardment) of tons of minutia that social media produces. This break has made me notice how much of a distraction that my phone or computer screen can become, and things go a lot better without that distraction for my spirit.

I have noticed a large majority of people only live on the fringe or border of their lives as they stare into their blue screens. They are only glancing at their lives going by on the side as they check into their social media sites. What a waste.

I walk through the grocery store seeing children trying to talk to a parent who is fully engaged with their phone? Is that phone screen more important than your child?

At a restaurant, you see a couple who looks like they are on a first or second date. Are they both looking at their phones instead of each other? How important is your date’s company while sharing this meal?

Hours of Phone Gazing

I certainly could not care less about seeing what you have found to share during your phone gazing today. Please don’t share what you have spent hours scanning through FB to find, unless you think it is truly worthwhile information to share. The fact that a male whale ejaculates 40 pounds of sperm and only 10 pounds enters the female, is not in that category for me. A dear cousin of mine shared that with his FB world today. Hmmmm, really? Please don’t use up my time with useless trivia.

Sharing with friends & family.

Having thousands of friends on FaceBook does not generate happiness. Numbers do not fill our hearts. It is the quality of friendships in life that makes my spirit soar. Having friends who get to actually see each other “face-to-face”, or at least want to do that (if to far apart) does make life worth living. I prefer communicating with another human being face-to-face whenever possible.

Friends and family are the people that are more important than any text message, phone call or FB event. I don’t respond to my cell phone while I am lucky enough to be spending time with them. I leave my phone off during dates, or meetings. A cell phone is a tool that I pay for to be able to make calls, look up info on the internet, and find directions when I choose to. I can return calls and texts later on at my discretion.  I am not a slave to my phone, and I don’t have to immediately respond to it. It is only a tool.

Blue Screens Rule

cell phone crowd
cell phones in the crowd

Above all, it is amazing how many people walk around with their phone in front of their face 24/7. If you enter a doctors waiting room, not a single person greets you. There are no welcome nods. All are looking at their phones, ignoring all the other people in the room? 

 Mindful living is something all of us could improve on. Does anyone pay attention to life going on around them now? Not much detail is noticed about life around you as you gaze into a blue screen. The outlying life in the peripherals is a sad and blurry missed scene.

cell phone texting dangers
cell phone texting dangers

Police detectives probably just hate interviewing witnesses now. Gazing at the blue screen and walking down the sidewalk, if a high speed chase were to go by and/or an accident happen right in front of you….

How much help would you be able to provide?

  • What happened?
  • What did the driver look like?
  • What color was the car?
  • What was the license number?
  • How many people were in the car?
  • What were they wearing?
  • Was there a gun?
  • What hand did the gunman use?

Finally, I don’t intend to miss my life or only notice it in the peripherals by allowing myself to be distracted by the endless trivia of social media. I have only one chance to live my life and I plan to be present and live it to the best of my ability, in the here and now.

Retirement Woelk Style

RetirementPete06

What does retirement Woelk style, look like? This World’s Best, trophy holding, Woelk just retired…. completing 31 years at Kaiser Aluminum Trentwood, Spokane Washington plant. Friday was his last workday. He has 4 weeks of vacation before his “real” retirement starts. So, he is actually “on vacation” so, this is really his first week of vacation. Doesn’t look like vacation to me, does it look like vacation to you? Hmmmmm.

RetirementPete05 RetirementPete04

In all honesty, I am glad he is getting the tractor fixed because we need it to finish getting the garden in, but honestly, this is NOT how I picture  retirement or vacation. Not even close.

RetirementPete03 RetirementPete02

This Machine Has Needed This

Every nook and cranny of the machine has been inspected, cleaned, greased and put back together and now he is taking apart the front-end to find the noise it made. Hopefully, it will stay fixed all season after this thorough go through. This is a Kubota we bought from Ann and Dan when they moved to Arkansas. I pray for safety and protection for him every morning. We own stock in Band Aid and Tylenol now.

RetirementPete04 RetirementPete02 RetirementPete01

Retiring Woelk Style isn’t Normal

Who Cares? I’ve never really cared much about normal anyhow. I’m Just As Guilty As Pete…I am working in the garden this week. Got the strawberry patch transplanted and spaced so they are not overcrowded. Hoping to be able to replenish the strawberry jam, strawberry syrup and strawberry juice this year. Un Huh! I will put up the before and after pictures of that in later posts.

Will get on the berry bushes and fruit tree bases clearing next so that they stay healthy and should be ready for when the tractor is back together and ready to plow and disc the rest of the garden so we can seed. We already have the other starts in the house waiting to go in.

But, I already had steamed asparagus for breakfast this morning. Yummm.  Our roses are budding, fruit trees are blossoming,  iris are getting ready to do their thing. Love the warm weather and the hummingbirds, life is great in the fast lane here in Elk. Never thought this ski bum would say that, did ya? Neener neener neener!

The Hummingbird Kids Are Back

7 Hummingbirds J1516
7 Hummingbirds J1516. 22″w x 30″h watercolor on 300lb. watercolor paper. Seven Hummingbirds surrounding a tree covered with Honeysuckle blossoms.
7 Hummingbirds J1516

Hummingbirds Arrive

The kids are back, noisy and darting around outside making a hummingbird heaven. Hence, witness the bright colored flashes of neon birds everywhere. We have already started to spend inordinate amounts of time outside watching them. Because, our deck is a buzzing hummingbird haven. How could this not be? Honestly, we are surrounded by forest and natural honeysuckle vines everywhere.

Spring is wonderful.

These birds are just amazing fliers, including abilities like; jet propulsion frontwards, backwards, sideways. They are also quite communicative, listen to them chirping, buzzing like in Start Wars, and scolding each other. Flitting in and out in a second. We do this hummingbird event all summer long, every year, check out other posts here. It almost seems like they need anger management sometimes.

Hum Bird YouTube Video

Here are some amazing clips put together already:

<iframe width=”560″ height=”315″ src=”https://www.youtube.com/embed/dIgyLDe2CCk” frameborder=”0″ allow=”accelerometer; autoplay; encrypted-media; gyroscope; picture-in-picture” allowfullscreen></iframe>

Okay, three quesses at what subject will be next for this old artist, now that the children are back home. LOL.

MUD season

Spring Mud 2019
Garden Spring Mud 2019

Mud

Followed by mud, and more mud is the weather prediction for today.

I walked down to the garden and can now see patches of ground peeking through the snow. This is the blackberry row and the apple trees on the lower end. How long do you think it will be before we can plant? Hello Spring! Melt down has begun, with the introduction of warmer temperatures.  I know it is practically ridiculous of me to complain when so many are losing everything, farm and ranch to intense flooding across the midwest but…. my little self still wants to moan and say, It’s a pain;

GOOSHY knee deep mud!

As the snow starts to melt into a much thinner level each day, little rivers trickle down the hill. Trickle, trickle into natural bog areas. Out of necessity, each town trip becomes a journey put off to the last minute and combined with others to decrease the amount of times up and down the hill. Each rut made becomes it’s own little stream.

Things Are Serious

When, getting up the driveway involves real work for the Subaru and chains are needed on the tractor….

  • Propane delivery is impossible.
  • UPS walks up the driveway to deliver an important package.
  • The dog smiles walking in with brown legs instead of white.
  • You realize your whole house is now a mud room.
  • So, why clean?

It’s funny, this happens every year for half a month or a whole month. I think, man we got to buy truckloads of gravel and fix this. But, that gets put off later when the roads allow heavy trucks on the road again. I’ve got an idea, maybe I should contact the Spokane Wastewater Management people and ask them to help take care of this problem for us. We are only 38 miles from the city, that should be an easy fix for them, you think? Or, is it just not a good idea to ever involve the authorities in solving real life issues? Our taxes are high enough already with no services. Un Huh.

The painter in me still loves the promise of those great bright greens, as things beginning to spring up next! Check out last years post. We have little starts planted all around the house getting ready to put the garden in below, when we quit sinking into middle earth with every step.

Spokane Watercolor Society Meeting

a vibrant landscapeArtist Date Night

Went to the Spokane Watercolor Society Meeting last night and had a great “artist date” night. The SWS meeting is the second Wednesday in the month downtown at Spokane Art Supply on Monroe Street 6pm. This artist group is a truly worthwhile organization to join, with lots of information on the web and Facebook if you want to check it out. If you’d like to get some real inspiration, by coming to one of the meetings, let me know. I’d love to take you with me. This organization spurs me to keep improving my skills.

Monthly Challenges

Each month at the Spokane Watercolor Society Meeting, we are asked to paint something in a specific theme of the month, or challenge. We bring it in and are able to show and tell with everyone, getting positive feedback and tips. I just love “hob nobbing” with fellow artists. Our challenge for this month was “Challenge”.

Hey, is there an “Echo” in the room? 

In line with my newly established goal of perfecting winter snow scenes in my painting *repertoire, I brought my First Snow Walk winter scene (image was shared yesterday).

Loving KindnessAlso, I brought-in the painting done for the previous month. Unfortunately, I was snowed-in and had to miss last month’s meeting. The challenge for the February meeting was “Love and Kindness” and that subject produced, a *plethora of ideas flooding my mind. I was trying to choose the best subject and it was impossible with so many ideas flowing through my brain. After a week of fiddling around, I noticed that one set of images kept populating the parade. Kids and dogs. Yep, that was my love and kindness entry. Always, I have always, felt the best of love from my woofie dogs! They want to be with you no matter what, loving you through the good, the bad and the ugly.

*2 NEW WORD USAGEs! Had to look them up to spell it right here. All that study is increasing my vocabulary.

Don’t forget our show coming up, on First Friday, April 2019, is the opening reception for our Member Show at the Inland Northwest Conservation Lobby, I posted info about it earlier. Please come down and see some really phenominal work! You have got to see Kelly Knouff-Burk’s wetland painting, it will take your breath away! There is so much talent in this group!

 

 

Walk in First Snow Through the Woods

first snow woods photograph

Almost every day, I get to see scenes like this as I walk outside the studio. My camera is a real happy camper. Luckily, I captured this picture during the first snow of the season. There was a small accumulation of snow and the day was warm. Sometimes, it feels like I live in paradise with the nature right around me.

There are tracks from our neighbors who had just ridden their ATV’s through it. There are a lot of Bambi tracks and Gobble Gobble turkey tracks too! Max and I are not the only ones enjoying this area.

We all love the outside up here in Elk, WA.  Our neighborhood is the one that started the, “You might be a redneck if……” craze. Checkout Jeff Foxworthy, the comedian here.

My goal right now is to conquer a fear of painting snow and get good at painting winter scenes. I figure the more I paint, the easier it will get. Hmmmm. We’ll see.

walk first snow WC washHere is the first study I painted of this view, as a horizontal presentation. After finishing the study, I am able to see areas to improve. Standing back a way gives me a good view to ponder how I want to proceed with the larger painting.  I’m not so sure I will go with horizontal, I think I like the vertical better.

Walk First Snow
Watercolor study complete for horizontal layout.

I will try a vertical layout next.

Photograph Memory Treasures

I found some birthday memory treasures while going through old photographs. We have been loving the outdoor skiing sports for a long, long time.

PeteVal1Pete and I were married the year before, and I remember that wonderful soft beard of many colors? In January of 2000 we were the parents of two young teenagers.

It was my daughter, Rachel’s 16th birthday, so, where did we do her party? Why, up at the ski hill of course! Skiing, what better way is there for a teenager to spend birthday energy? With a total in attendance of eight people, we had three newbies with us; Allison, Sarah and Colleen. Then there were the old-timer ski hill bums Cody, Patrick, Peter, Rachel, and myself. You classify as a ski bum if you go up on the hill every day off you get.

Newbies

AllisonPat
Allison skiing with Pat boarding by her.
Sarah
Sarah falling only a few times.
Colleen1
Colleen snowplowing
Colleen2
Colleen conquering the bunny hill.

Old Timers

Then there was the rest of the gang…

AllisonRachelSarah
Allison, Rachel, and Sarah

Not a lot of money but good food, friends and laughter.

AllisonRachelCody
Allison, Rachel, and Cody

Expressive body language…

RachelCody
Rachel and Cody
Cody
Cody

Lunchtime had soup sandwiches and birthday cake at our table. Cooler and thermos experts we were and still are. Remembering these days and your friends bring a warm chuckle to my heart. I wonder how everyone is doing now. You guys were a really fun group to hang out with, and I treasure these memories brought back by a small packet of photographs taken in January of 2000. We know that is the date because of the irritating red neon date on the bottom right corner.