Thursday, August 17, 2017

I Love My Job

I am so blessed to spend my days doing what I love. Yesterday I visited the UAB Women and Infant's Center to photograph two very special boys. These little guys have made incredible progress, and we're hoping they will go home in just a few weeks. Meanwhile, Mom and Dad spend a lot of time with them.

"To love what you do and feel that it matters how could anything be more fun!" Katherine Graham.

Friday, August 11, 2017

Thursday, August 10, 2017

Birmingham Rouge - Dr. Pepper!

I thought I'd continue the Birmingham Rouge theme as I'm doing the same on my Paris Through My Lens blog this week. Today, we return to Blackjack Stables and Farms. LOVE this old Dr. Pepper drink cooler. Fun Fact: Dr. Pepper originated in 1885 in Plano, Texas but Birmingham also had a Dr. Pepper Syrup Co.  Every Saturday, the Pepper Place Market is held in the parking lots around that historic building.

Wednesday, August 9, 2017

Tuesday, August 8, 2017

Through The Screen Door

"Shut the screen door, you'll let the flies in!"

I heard that a million times growing up in the South. This is a view from Lake Martin, just south of Birmingham. Families all over are getting in their last beach/lake trips in before schools start next week. Too soon!

Sunday, August 6, 2017

Birmingham Rouge - Feeling Cranky??

If you are my age, you knew immediately what this is. For the younger set, it's a hand crank ice crusher. My grandmother had one and always crushed the ice for our Cokes ( Coca Colas from a bottle). For memorabilia and much more, shop What's on Second that has relocated to First Avenue. You can't make that up. Who's on First? You know the rest.

Wednesday, July 19, 2017


Patient swimmers at Independent Presbyterian's Summer Learning Program. They spend 6 weeks at the Children's Fresh Air Farm in Bluff Park with academics in the morning and all kinds of wonderful enrichment activities in the afternoon. Swimming classes are a big favorite.

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Queen of the Road

Queen Anne's Lace is one of my favorites, but let's face it, it's not a prissy garden flower, it prefers the side of the road. I've dug them up and lovingly planted in my yard to no avail. My friend Cathy Adams has an outrageous green thumb and they flourish in her garden. I can enjoy with my camera!

Monday, July 10, 2017

Where Artists Create -Celeste Pfau

I hope you have enjoyed meeting Celeste as much as I did.  She is a multi talented , creative, gentle soul,  and I will enjoy following her artistic journey. I hope you will as well.

What place inspires you ?

"I love going into forests! especially old growth forests! I have had the good fortune to visit a few in my life...  The Red Wood Forests in the Northwest... the Forests in the southern part of South America in Chile where my mother is from!  These Forests have an energy in them that is very powerful and awe inspiring, These forests have trees in them that are much older than anyone alive. This is very special!"

If you could explore another medium, what would that be?

"Basketry. I love 3-dimensional work and I also love natural fiber! I think their is a lot of artistry in the weaving of natural materials! I would learn traditional techniques and then use those techniques to make the images I want to explore."

COMING SOON, painter and children's portrait artist Emily Morgan Brown!

Sunday, July 9, 2017

Where Artists Create - The Process

One thing I learned hanging around with Celeste, printing is a messy endeavor but well worth it. First the paint is spread on a lucite panel, then smoothed with the brayer. The arranging of the plant material is fascinating to watch as she chose carefully but still managed to let her creativity lead the way. Then the fabric was laid over and covered with muslin. Cranking the big press took some effort. The uncovering was like opening a present on Christmas morning.

Creatively, what would you like to explore?

"I want to explore all the senses. When I make I am not just composing with my eyes, I am also composing with what the material feels like, sounds like, smells like!

So when I think about showing my work the ideal situation would be  a entire experience. Their would be certain pieces you could touch..pieces you could get inside of...pieces you could eat? 

I like creating these environments and especially like to collaborate and do it with fellow visual artists as well as musicians, dancers, writers, poets, any one really! 

The hardest part, is that it takes A LOT of time and effort, financial and emotional everything has to align for these kind of creative experiences to happen or to be sustainable."

Saturday, July 8, 2017

Where Artists Create - The Studio

For these large printing pieces Celeste Pfau uses the printing studio at the Alabama School of Fine Arts. In the foreground you can see the natural materials that she gathers for her botanical prints. Many of these can be used more than once which I found interesting. Below, some tools of her trade.

Tell me about your creative space.

" My creative space is nomadic, I do different parts of the creative process in different places. For example I collect my natural materials anywhere and everywhere: when I am running an errand and I see a plant that has leaves that have fallen I go pick it up.If I am on a walk and and see a material I want to use for a print I gather it. If I am a passenger in a car or train or airplane I make sure the work on a piece of art or sketch! I also  take photos often as a creative form of expression and that can happen anytime and anywhere and in any place.

 It is very important to me that I never feel stuck or unable to create... I make with what ever I have around me..I don't think there are any good excuses when it comes to not making. You can always use what is around you at the time. My creative space has to be clean and neutral at during the beginning of the creative process, and then as time goes by and I get deeper into the pieces I am working on  the space transforms as I am making my work. I am always expanding and contracting the space depending on what I am working on."


Friday, July 7, 2017

Where Artists Create - Meet the Artist

I spent an afternoon with Celeste Pfau while she worked her magic in the printing studio of the Alabama School of Fine Arts, where she was a student and uses the space when it's available.  It was a fascinating experience,  following her through her botanical print process. I'm sure I overstayed my welcome! Come back tomorrow and have a look around her creative space!

How would you describe your work?

"My work is serious in its playfulness. I use my intuition often to create it. No two pieces are exactly the same, but I do often work in series and explore certain compositions again and again until I get to where I am interested in going.. I do not sit and think and make nothing.. I THINK and embrace the creative process through DOING! Nothing is wasted. I do eventually find ways to use most everything I make even the left over papers I produce when I am creating my prints."

Thursday, July 6, 2017

Where Artists Create - Celeste Pfau

Today begins another chapter in my Where Artists Create Series,  featuring Birmingham print artist Celeste Pfau. Come back tomorrow and meet her and then we'll take a trip to her print studio and follow the fascinating creative process.

Wednesday, July 5, 2017


                                   After holiday photo I had to share.  Happy 5th of July!

Sunday, July 2, 2017

Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Rotary Trail

New walking/bike trail in downtown Birmingham connects Railroad Park and Sloss Furnaces!
I had the pleasure of showing the Magic City to two dear friends from Los Angeles. Kathy and Dan Watson were coming through town from a big Rotary convention in Atlanta. Kathy shared this additional information that I'm happy to add to this post.

"In 1986 Rotary International was instrumental in beginning the push to eradicate Polio. Since then, other organizations, including the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and individuals have followed suit and 2016 there were only 40 cases in the world, and it is confined to 3 countries in the world. This year, to date, there have been only 5 cases reported. Rotary is an awesome organization!"

Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Waking Up Is Hard To Do

I was in Homewood yesterday and stopped by Sweet Peas Garden Shop on Linden. Their shop kitty was sound asleep, but my camera click woke him up!

Sunday, June 25, 2017

Sunday Church Series - The Cross

This reflection from a stained glass window in the small chapel located at the Saint Bernard Abbey cemetery in Cullman, AL.

Today I join James' Weekend Reflections HERE. Please have a look at the photographs posted from around the world!

Saturday, June 24, 2017

Color Wall

What an unexpected delight. I was driving east on First Avenue North and spotted these great graphics. I turned around, and shot this out of my car window!

Thursday, June 22, 2017

Where Artists Create - Back Porch Shadows

From time to time we will revisit some of our artist's studios. Today we're visiting the back porch of Kevin Irwin's wonderful studio, built in 1880. It's very small, but offers a view of downtown Birmingham. Happy vines have wound their way up to the second floor and promise a green carpet for the table and two chairs. 

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Learning From The Best

If you're from Birmingham, the name Frank Stitt is a household name. Frank Stitt owns 4 of the best restaurants in Birmingham and has been a James Beard Award finalist for 9 consecutive years. It all started when he opened the world class Highland Bar and Grill in 1982. Since then, he and wife Pardis have added Bottega Cafe, Bottega and Chez Fonfon.  I will always contend that the reason these four restaurants have maintained the level of excellence over the years is that every night, Frank and Pardis are visible in each and every one.

Last week I took California friends to Chez Fonfon. As we waited for a table at the bar, I snapped this shot as Frank spent a few minutes in the kitchen, then some time with a waitress. If you're even in Birmingham, try one, try them all. You won't be disappointed.

Monday, June 19, 2017

Father's Day... a day late

Yesterday  I was honored to photograph two baptisms at my church. This family is very special to me and photographing the two cousins was a treat.  After the service we gathered for lunch to celebrate the two precious babes who were baptized together with friends and family gathered around. I loved this shot of new dad Stewart, sporting not a boutonniere but sweet baby Felix's bottle!

Sunday, June 18, 2017

Where Artists Create - Cleo, Art Dog

As I've shared, I"ve been photographing artist Kevin Irwin in her studio for many years. No studio visit is complete without a few shots of sweet Cleo. Like the rest of us, Cleo has gotten older and enjoys longer naps on her studio bed. Kevin woke her up for a quick shoot. I love this photo of the two of them together.  I"m including a few more of older photos that I love.

Saturday, June 17, 2017

Where Artists Create - The Studio

Now that you have met Kevin Irwin and gotten to know and appreciate her many artistic talents, I suppose you might want to see where all this wonderfulness is created! Kevin's studio is in an charming old building overlooking downtown Birmingham built in 1880. It started as a saloon and rooming house ( house of ill repute?), and later was a soda bottling plant in the 1920s, then a candy company and later the office for Perfection Laundry. The painted BAMCO ( Birmingham Auto and Machine Company) signage on the outside is still visible. Kevin's eclectic but very organized studio takes up the entire second floor while her husband Paul's Irwin Brothers Remodling occupies the ground floor. As a photographer, it's one huge photo op. The exposed brick and original wood floors, along with windows commanding some nice views of Sloss Furnaces and downtown Birmingham make for an eclectic space for Kevin to work and exhibit her art.

What is the inspiration for your work?  "My heart.  What hurts me and what heals me.  What inspires me and what makes me rage.  But what is most important is what makes me laugh and inspires me to appreciate the joy and humour in life.  HOPE,  always. " 

Friday, June 16, 2017

Where Artists Create - Glass Beads

Today we explore artist Kevin Irwin's beautiful hand sculpted glass bead work. For a photographer, the array of colorful glass rods, all artistically arranged by glorious colors is enough, but watching her light the fire and begin the intricate work of making her magical beads is challenging but fascinating. When this process is done, she begins creating her unique bracelets and necklaces.

If you work in more than one medium, which one is your favorite?  "I love glass work,  but my body could no longer do much of it… so I would say the clay work because I still get to use glass( glazes)."

Thursday, June 15, 2017

Where Artitsts Create - Working With Clay

It's really hard to say what artist Kevin Irwin is "known for". If I had to narrow it down, I'd probably say her whimsical ceramic sculptures. Whether it's a sleeping dragon, an alligator with Noah's ark on his back or those rascally squirrels that terrorized the Wiregrass Museum of Art in Dothan, Kevin's menagerie is loved and collected by many adoring followers. Of course she can't leave it at that. Nope. She crafts lovely plates, planters, and even the tiniest of clay beads to add to her amazing jewelry. You'll have to wait for that.

How would you describe your work?  "My story in clay.  A love note to myself,  A healing potion for myself and those that have my work.  A love note to all that share my journey .  It is a language that some can understand."

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Where Artists Create - Meet Kevin Irwin

Meet my multi talented friend Kevin Irwin. We have been neighbors and friends for about l8 years. I've photographed her in her creative space many times and will share a few older photos along with the ones I captured yesterday.

To say Kevin is multi talented is a bit of an understatement. In this one studio she creates whimsical ceramic sculptures, pottery, glass beads, tin and glass jewelry, watercolors and mixes of those mediums.  She's an entire series alone!

Come back tomorrow as we continue this creative journey!
What is the inspiration for your work?  My heart.  What hurts me and what heals me.  What inspires me and what makes me rage.  But what is most important is what makes me laugh and inspires me to appreciate the joy and humour in life.  HOPE,  always.