Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Close Only Counts in ....

Recently my friend Matt and I visited Sweet Seasons Farm in Valley Head, AL. The Mannings have a beautiful home surrounded with pastures for their sheep, plus a  lovely wedding and event venue. Of course we had to explore the barn and the assorted  buildings housing chicks, puppies, geese and this interesting wall of horseshoes collected from near and even Europe!

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Made With Love

The Friends of Triangle Park, in my Forest Park neighborhood, donated funding to make this the sweetest little park. It's got a secure playground and wide open grassy area for running and playing. The picnic tables and benches are adorned with these handmade tiles by families who cared enough to make this park a year round favorite for our community.

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Sweet Shadows

Last Friday, my photo buddy Matt and I drove up to Valley Head AL to Sweet Seasons Farm. Thank you Paulette Manning for a warm welcome and tour around your beautiful farm and event venue. These shadows knocked me out.

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Hurricane Sunday

I slipped out a side door at the Birmingham Botanical Gardens' Antiques in the Gardens on Sunday afternoon. The rain slacked off, and I was able to catch this pretty waterfall in a small courtyard. Yes, it's October and Birmingham is still warm and humid and GREEN!

Thank you to all my friends near and far who inquired about our safety here in Birmingham as Hurricane Nate blew through. Thankfully we escaped with just some rain and wind on Sunday. We are grateful but still heartsick for the many still suffering from the past hurricanes. Please give to relief efforts for all of the islands affected.

Saturday, October 7, 2017

Loosey Goosey

Yesterday, my photo buddy Matt Hunter and I trekked north to Sweet Season's Farm in Valley Head AL. I"ve been trying to get up there and meet Paulette and Richard Manning for over a year. Today I finally made it. What a beautiful farm and event venue. Planning a wedding? You might want to check out their website HERE. Paulette gave us the full tour and the geese honked, posed, then waddled off. More to come.

Monday, October 2, 2017

October is.....

Meet Frances, whom I call "Francy Pants". She's so full of spunk and personality! I had the good fortune to photograph her with her brother Hill a few weeks ago.

Saturday, September 23, 2017

Escher Called...

Yesterday, I paid a visit to Oak Street Garden Shop in Crestline Village. While snapping pumpkins, I looked up and spotted the light and shadows. Without the blue sky and clouds to give the viewer a sense of place, this BW comes across as an M.C. Escher!

Thursday, September 21, 2017

Boys And Their Stuff

Sometime, when I go for a shoot for one thing, I find a treasure when I leave. Boys and their stuff. I loved this.

Wednesday, September 20, 2017


Sometimes the best photos are just outside my apartment door. My neighbor, Sazerac is our vigilant watchman.

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Sunset in the Ham

We don't have a showstopper NYC skyline, but we love it just the same.

Saturday, September 16, 2017

Where Artists Create - Donna's Cast of Characters

These make me smile every time I see4 them. For more of Donna's delightful characters, please visit her Etsy Shop!  My apologies to Donna for the corny titles I gave her work. I hope to be forgiven.

A grate man is hard to find.

This guy doesn't fit the mold.

VJ: What is the inspiration for your work?

DSS: Humor and whimsy are the emotions that started me wanting to create my quirky assemblage sculptures. I'm influenced by folk art, masks and sculptures from different cultures, characters, and animals from movies and nature; and even by facial expressions and gestures that I see in other people.

The Red Feathered Woodpecker

VJ: If you could explore another medium, what would that be:

DSS: Just recently I started using driftwood to create my assemblage sculptures. Using driftwood gives my sculptures a more primitive and tribal look. This allows me to further explore and be inspired by art from a greater variety of world cultures.

Her brain is like a sieve. So is mine.

Friday, September 15, 2017

Where Artists Create - The Studio

 Donna Sophronia-Sims' studio, is so small that it was difficult to get a wide angle shot. These detail shots will give you and idea of the delightful collection she keeps stacked on shelves on all four walls!

VJ: Tell me about your creative space

DSS: My creative space is a detached metal building in my backyard. I"m surrounded by found and discarded objects waiting to become something beyond their original purpose. I have to modify and join all of the pieces together. While I"m working one sculpture it is not unusual for me to glance over at another object on the shelf and  have an idea speak in my head. In addition, listening to lively music keeps me energized and drowns out other noises that could be distracting.

Thursday, September 14, 2017

Where Artists Create - Donna Sophronia-Sims

Meet my friend, neighbor and talented assemblage artist, Donna Sophronia-Sims. Donna creates what she calls found object robots and assemblage art dolls. Her studio is a small shed in her back yard that is chock full of found objects waiting patiently to become another whimsical creation.

VJ: How would you describe your work?

DSS: My robots, art dolls, and driftwood sculptures are assembled from old, damaged, rusty and recycled objects made of metal, wood, plastic and fabric. I may use the whole object, or modify it and use only fragments. I tinker with the found objects trying out different arrangements, until my intuition tells me it's right, into a complete work of art that reflects my humorous and whimsical goal. Some of my sculptures are attached to a base and some hang on the wall. 

It's fun and challenging to figure out the best way to join all the pieces together. Sometimes it's simple and sometimes complex. My pieces are primarily joined together using nuts, screws, rivets and adhesives. Steel objects are joined together with weld tacks. I use power tools for drilling or dismantling different parts.

Come back tomorrow and meet some of her Cast of Characters!

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

Where Artists Create - Driftwood Dude

This guy should put a smile on your face. He's the work of Birmingham assemblage artist Donna Sophronia-Sims. We'll poke around her tiny studio this week. Come back tomorrow!

Monday, September 11, 2017

Rain, Rain, Rain...

Hurricane Irma is promising to send a deluge to Birmingham on Monday and Tuesday. Whatever she sends our way, it can't compare to the devastation she and Harvey have brought to so many. Please share whatever you feel you can to the recovery efforts for those affected inTexas, Florida, as well as those in the islands. Not to be forgotten, those in Mexico as well as those across this world who have lost everything due to earthquakes, tsunamis, and flooding. There are so many in need.

Saturday, August 26, 2017

Where Artists Create - Emily's Gallery

To view all of Emily's amazing large scale charcoal and egg tempura botanicals on Belgian linen, please visit her website below.

I will be teaching From Snapshots to Creative Photographs at Vestavia Hills UMC's Conservatory of the Arts tis fall starting Thursday, Sept. 7- Oct. 5. To register, email Ellen Bryant at This class is designed for amateur photographers who want to improve their photographs. Working knowledge of your camera is required and any camera type from point and shoots to DSLR. Message me with any questions. Please share! Thank you.

Friday, August 25, 2017

Where Artists Create - The Technique

Emily Morgan Brown's charcoal and egg tempura botanical paintings on Belgian linen panels are breathtaking. I asked if she used acrylic paint and was amazed to learn that she used egg tempera which she makes herself using the dried flowers that serve as her inspiration in the paint. 

VJ: What is the inspiration for your work?

EMB: The idea for my work on linen stems from the ancient technique of grisaille (grayscale) painting. During the late Middle Ages and into the Renaissance as sculpture became increasingly popular, artists were commissioned to paint large frescos and panels to mimic the look of relief sculpture. 

I'm also really inspired by texture and movement, which is how I chose the linen and decided to let it hang loose on the wall like a tapestry. In an effort to be true to my subject matter, letting the flower move with the air feels more natural to me than trapping it in a frame or stretching it stiffly over bars. 
And of course, there's something inherently inspiring in using a technique and medium from the Old Masters 700+ years later. 

Thursday, August 24, 2017

Where Artists Create - The Studio

 Today, we visit Emily's studio. It reminds me of a playhouse and inside this cute little place, located the Brown's backyard, Emily creates her wonderful portraits and exquisite botanicals. Let's have a look.

VJ: Tell me about your creative space.

EMB:I work out of the studio that my husband built for me in our backyard. I have this perfect little room with great light and I get to watch my girls play outside with a babysitter. The best of both worlds as a working mother!

VJ: What place inspires you ?

EMB: I have to say my studio. I definitely get inspired by beautiful places and nature, but I try not to get too caught up in the feelings or rely too much on inspiration in order to produce work. I fully believe in what Picasso said, "inspiration exists, but it has to find you at work." My best work and ideas pop out while I'm in my studio at 3 am after I feel like nothing else will come. 

Wednesday, August 23, 2017

Where Artists Create - Meet Emily Morgan Brown

Emily Morgan Brown is a multi talented artist who has made a name for herself with her beautiful graphite children's portraits. Lately, she's off in a fabulous new direction, and I was lucky enough to visit her in her studio a few weeks ago. Join me this week when we will visit Emily's creative space and see her exquisite creations.

VJ: What place inspires you?

EMB: "I have to say my studio. I definitely get inspired by beautiful places and nature, but I try not to get too caught up in the feelings or rely too much on inspiration in order to produce work. I fully believe in what Picasso said, "inspiration exists, but it has to find you at work." My best work and ideas pop out while I'm in my studio at 3 am after I feel like nothing else will come. "

VJ: Creatively, what would you like to explore?
EMB:  I would love to create large scale murals. Studying something as small as a flower over such a large scale is really fun for me.

Follow Emily on Instagram @emilymorganbrown, 

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.