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Writing on Stone Provincial Park

October 21st, 2015

Writing on Stone Provincial Park

Destination: Writing on Stone Provincial Park, Alberta - Canada

Quite a long time ago I had heard about a place near the Montana border called Little Jerusalem. It was said to be a coulee that contained one of my favored subjects - Hoodoos also known as Cap Rock. These rock formations are formed of sandstone shaped by various weather conditions. Found in many places on the plains of the Northwest, but often inaccessible. The Little Jerusalem rock formations near Sweetgrass Montana is such a place. I had forgotten that you needed to gain some permission to access the backcountry and missed seeing them.

Somehow I managed to find out about a place just across the border from Sweetgrass, near the town of Milk River in Alberta, Canada. It was here I set my sights upon for a quick weekend road trip. Spur of the moment road trips can often reap huge rewards if one is open to them. Follow along this trip with the photos in my Road Trip Gallery.

Photo 1: Daybreak - I didn't get quite an early enough start to my morning and as I followed along the Middle Fork of the Flathead, heading toward the sunrise, I kept looking for a place to pull over and capture the sunrise. It's a winding road and I'm not overly familiar with it. The sky started to get very red in far distance. I wanted so bad to stop in the middle of the road but knew that was unwise. Finally I found a spot near Cascadilla Creek to pull over and get into the open along the river. The sky still showed some red under the cloud cover and had me oowing and ahhing.

Photo 2 - River reflections was in the same area as Daybreak only facing the other direction after the sun rose. Autumn has almost ended and the leaves have fallen, but some still hold out for the next big wind.

Photo 3 - East Glacier along highway 2 is a small village area and is where Glacier National Park meets the plains of the northwest in Montana. This little structure caught my eye for all it's broken down character, interior and exterior, so evident.

Photo 4 - I've never spent much time on the Hi-Line, or the portion of Highway 2 that runs east and west across the northern half of Montana. There are towns along the route that have been there for years, most of which I have yet to visit. I skirted the highway and went through the town of Cut Bank where I glanced over by the local fire department and saw an old fire engine. The door had written on it "East Glacier No. 4, Volunteer Fire Department". I loved all the old gauges and the fire hydrant it is parked by so of course had to capture it. I decided to present it with selective color of the truck and hydrant.

Photo 5 - As soon as you leave Cut Bank there is a large wind farm to the east. Glacier Wind 1 and Glacier Wind 2 are wind farms providing power to over 50,000 homes. They are amazing to just listen to the sound of the blades turning. They don't move that fast but you can still hear it. The old homestead I photographed is done in black and white to give a feeling of the old and new contrasts together.

Photo 6 - Heading north out of Shelby Montana you'll come to a little town off the highway called Sunburst. Such a big name for a little town. There are a few rocking horses (oil rigs) along the highway in these parts, but otherwise just fields of grain. Sunburst population is just over 300. The wonderful grain elevator is a focal point in the town.

Photo 7 - Finally arrived at my destination of Writing on Stone Provincial Park. Considered a sacred landscape that has a spiritual significance to the Blackfoot people who have hunted and travelled the Great Plains. I was surprised by this sign at the entrance. I wondered if I would see dozens of snakes moving across the road at different points. Alas, I saw none.

Photo 8 - 11 - Hoodoos. I'm always fascinated by what weather does to stone, especially sandstone. Surreal landscapes develop in places where winds are extreme and temperature fluctuate to the max. Hoodoo or Cap stones are formed in this manner. The environment of these places are very fragile and yet people disrespect the land by defacing it with their initials or other graffiti. I carefully traversed the area being careful to keep an eye out for snakes.

Photo 12 - Evening on the Plains was so beautiful I had to capture the sky. The night was warm for early October. Unfortunately the winds picked up blowing continuously all night at a steady 40-60 mph. My tent held down by my own body weight stayed put but I didn't get much sleep.

Photo 13 - Sunrise on the Milk River in golden light tones. The Milk river is a tributary of the Missouri River and runs 729 miles long in the U.S. and Alberta. It ends just east of Fort Peck, Montana. Given its name by Captain Meriwether Lewis who described the river in his journal: "the water of this river possesses a peculiar whiteness, being about the colour of a cup of tea with the admixture of a tablespoonful of milk..."

Photo 14 - Driving toward Shelby the wind was still howling at a steady 50 mph plus, and the tumbleweeds rolled across the landscape like herds of animals fleeing a fire. Sometimes they were caught by the barbed wire fencing, the only thing to stop them in their tumble, or they would keep rolling across the prairie. Often they would cross in front of my vehicle missing me by inches. They wouldn't hurt anything, but it was odd how they always made it past the rig.

Photo 15 - Ethridge Grain Elevator where the wind really blew me from my steps! I had to get a shot of the grain elevator at Etheridge, Montana. The wind was blowing so hard that it actually dislodged a piece of the siding on the structure and had it flying through the air for about 200 yards. It nearly hit my rig as I watched it sail through the air. Along the railroad tracks the wind actually hit me at my back and pushed me in my steps. I love these old elevators and it was worth the encounter with the high winds. I don't know how anything stands up to those high winds they get out there on the plains.

Photo 16 - Taking the Backroad. Leaving the Canadian border at Sweetgrass I decided to give the Little Jerusalem rocks a go. To find them that is. After all, it was in the same direction I was headed, albeit, in a round about fashion. Making sure I was on the right road, where all roads look alike, and none are marked, I headed into the backroads of Montana. What did I find? More roads. Nice wide gravel roads with scarcely a reason for a nice wide road. The Loop road leads back to Sunburst, Montana and unless I was on the wrong road I found about a conglomeration of approximately six hoodoos. Otherwise I saw none. I did see a deep ravine that most likely had some formations in it, but it was inaccessible. Thankful I had visited the Writing on Stone Park, I just enjoyed the long road back into Sunburst.

Photo 17 - Hello Bison. I'm always thrilled when I get to come out of Browning and see the Bison on the range. It's quite exciting to see them and this time I captured a bird that was having a face to face with one.

Photo 18 - Mountains of Fall is the finally to the trip, ending with the mountains of Glacier National Park.

I Buy My Work Too

August 27th, 2015

I Buy My Work Too

I have often purchased my own work to check the quality and because many of my photos I fall in love with. One recent capture I've purchased from the New Product listings - Shower Curtains.

I had visited a site that has ancient Cedar trees 1,000 years old, some of which are more than 8 feet in diameter. I was hoping to get the feeling that I was again standing amongst these giants just before I stepped into the scene and into the shower.

Hurray, I was successful in getting that feeling. The image is enlarged a bit to fit the size of a shower curtain but it doesn't lose much in quality. It was as I expected for a fabric print. The curtain quality was very good and I'm happy with the way it turned out and the effect. It feels like I'm standing at the base of the Giant Cedar.

Fires in our area are threatening this special area and I'm fearful the trip I made might have been the only one before they are all destroyed. I will treasure my images of them forever more.

Kudos to Fine Art America and Pixels for producing a very nice product!

Whats in a Name

June 22nd, 2015

Whats in a Name

Remember "Mr. Ed"? He was a talking horse in a syndicated TV show that ran from 1961 to 1966. The show's concept resembles that of the "Francis the Talking Mule" movies in which an equine title character talks.

I was teased relentlessly during those years that 'Francis the Talking Mule' was running. It didn't bother me too much because I loved those two shows.

Throughout my life, my name is generally misspelled because the female version is spelled with an "es" (I am female) and the male version with an "is". My parents didn't know there were two different spellings, so I got the "is" on the end.

I never liked my name and disliked hearing it spoken. It's only been during the last decade that I've decided to live with it.

The reason I bring this up is that I've stopped using the name I had for my photography which was "daysray". I had invented the name based on an image I had shot many years ago. It was taken in Homer, Alaska - mid-day, with dark, luminous clouds overhead. Then the clouds broke and the sun came spilling through the clouds with brilliant rays of sunlight. I thought of it as the 'days rays'. It stuck with me and I used it as my business name for a long while. Well, it seems there is someone else using that now and they were birthed with the name so not much chance of them giving it up.

I am now in the process of transitioning to a new logo (above). I'm looking over my body of work to see what it is I really want to focus on. I've also moved so you will be seeing some new areas as I get out and explore my surroundings.

Final outcome of experiment

March 12th, 2015

Final outcome of experiment

This is about rust and my semi-failed attempt at making a rusty surface for texture.

I wanted to display my abstract images of old autos in our local Art Walk. My idea was to keep the spirit of the work by having my images printed on large, 24x30, sheet metal (22 ga. cold rolled steel). I wanted to treat the metal and make it rusty so the texture of the rust would be felt on the piece. I found a neat instructable on ( on how to rust metal and found it worked really well to make rust! I did a few tests on smaller pieces. Those came out nice but the rust was flaky.

It wasn't a complete failure, but not a complete success. The rust you can make is artful just by itself in my opinion.

The goal: create a textured metal sheet to print on.

The result/problem: no matter the amount of "pickling" or etching of the metal I couldn't get the 'rust' to stick. The only difference between the test piece and the larger sheets was I sanded the large sheets with 60 grit paper and I didn't "pickle" the test sheets because I missed that step. I went ahead and clear coated the test pieces knowing they didn't have a good adhesion. However, the printing turned out marvelous so I forged on with trying to get the large pieces to have the same effect.

The image below is what the creating of rust on the metal looked like during the process. After many hours and failed attempts, I ended up cleaning off the metal back to it's original state and then used a spray on texture. I then had my images printed on this textured surface.

This project was very challenging. The fun was in watching the rust develop on the metal. It created some awesome images. The pieces still turned out nice but I didn't feel they had the 'spirit' of the aging metal I had hoped to achieve. The final outcome with the hanging mechanism I made is shown above. The steel photographs are now for sale.

Sell Art Online

Learn to Appreciate Digital Art

March 3rd, 2015

Learn to Appreciate Digital Art

As an Artist, I am always expanding my knowledge and skills; growth through experience. Since my beginnings in photography and Digital Design I’ve come a long ways. I believe I’ve made huge strides in my photography and I feel I’ve stepped up my Digital Design a notch as well.

Photoshop has become a dirty word in some circles. Many people feel that because something is created on a computer it isn’t Art. Digital Art can be a huge challenge that few understand. Learning to use a software program is always the first step in creating something on a computer. Most people never have to learn a complex program and think that it is as easy as the ones they might use on a daily basis like MS Word.

The programs that are used by Artists are complex and most Artists never use the programs to their fullest extent. That’s because the programs are so large and do so many different things that it takes years to fully put into use all the different features of some programs.

Professional software programs like Adobe Photoshop, Illustrator and Corel Paint, are used in many high end Art professions like Graphic Design, Commercial Design, Interior Design, etc. These programs, along with a variety of others, are used as well by Artists.

They are large and complex programs and can take several years of use to become good at using them. I began using them when I returned to school at the Art Institute. I was using these programs throughout my 4 years there, becoming proficient in using them in the way I needed to accomplish my tasks. I was putting to use about one-quarter of what the programs will do.

Learning to use a complex software program is only the beginning. Creating Art with those programs requires a creative mind with vision. Once the software is semi-mastered it doesn’t mean you can get your creative vision successfully out of your mind’s eye and created in the program. Digital Art creations don’t just materialize without a good grasp of design elements like composition, color, balance, value.

Mastering a complex program, creating a work of Art, and getting it out of the computer and in front of an appreciative audience is an incredible challenge that is a daunting task; not for those who are looking for an easy way to create and sell some Art. Successfully convincing people that Digital Art is an Art form is gaining some momentum, but there is and will always be nay sayers.

The next time you open and write an email, use MS Word, Excel, or any other computer program, think about how long it’s taken you to learn these programs and any other new program and then ask yourself if you could spend 4-10 years learning a program. Perhaps then you can look upon a Digital Art piece and say, “Wow, that’s really something!”

Winter in the Rocky Mountains

February 15th, 2015

Winter in the Rocky Mountains

One of my favorite Montana drives is just outside the little frontier town of Augusta, Montana. I can't imagine what it must be like to have these views in your backyard everyday. The area sees all types of weather during any season. This year is no exception. It's quite dry. Where the snow typically blocks forest service roads there's now clear access to many back-country areas.

While we are enjoying the milder weather, it will mean trouble this summer if we don't get more snow; in the form of wildfires and drought. This portion of the mountain range provides a great many ranches and farms with irrigation as well as feeding hundreds of rivers and streams.

Still, I love to drive into the mountains. The trip getting there is as nice. The plains are quite and you hardly see anyone in any direction. Peace is found in the silence of the land. The sky is ever changing, dictated by storms from Canada or if the mountain is high enough, itself.

When nearing the mountains the wind is generally howling through the canyons. This time of year is when the elk are on their wintering grounds, driven down out of the hills by winter snows. They congregate and graze on the grasslands of the plains. They have come as usual, but they have no need to stay out on the grassland now. The snow line is far up the mountain and they can stay in the safety of the trees and feed on the flatland at night.

The beauty of this land always leaves me in awe as I turn every corner in the road.

Abstract Fractals

January 30th, 2015

Abstract Fractals

I've always been fascinated with the seemingly abstract designs of Fractals and thought I would do some exploration on the subject. The one shown here made me think of Seashells. So colorful, not like any I've ever found, but I can dream of a place where those colors exist on a faraway beach.

Did you know Fractals occur naturally in nature? Clouds, vegetables, color patterns, lightning, and snowflakes are some of them. An important use of Fractals is known as Fractal Geometry. Relative to the thousands of miles of coastline, there wasn't an accurate way to measure them until it was discovered they could be measured using Fractal Geometry.

Benoit Mandelbrot, a research scientist found through the use of a computer and complex calculations that he was producing repeating formations that were the very similar at any scale. His work produced what is known as the Mandelbrot set. He coined the term 'Fractal' in 1975 to describe repeating or self-similar mathematical patterns. So glad he did because I love the shapes and complexities of them!

You can see my explorations into this realm by selecting the more info button. They are available on select merchandise. I hope you enjoy viewing them as much as I enjoy making them, and if you find one you would enjoy looking at everyday go ahead and order one! You'll love it!

In love with the Art of Andy Goldsworthy

December 31st, 2014

In love with the Art of Andy Goldsworthy

I’m in love with the Art of Andy Goldsworthy

I was first introduced to the Land Sculptures of Andy Goldsworthy through a film called “Rivers and Tides” back in 2002. Directed by Thomas Riedelsheimer, this wonderful documentary follows Mr. Goldsworthy through several days and projects, revealing his art and connection with the land.

His creativity is a joy to watch come alive. He has an innate ability to use objects of nature to create Art that builds on what Mother Nature made, pushing them into brilliant objects that are themselves, the essence of the land.

One might wonder how Nature could be improved upon, but you mustn’t think of it like that. It is more of an ‘extension’ of Nature, empathy with the earth.

Working with snow, ice, leaves, bark, rock, clay, stones, feathers petals, twigs or whatever is at hand, Andy creates abstract pieces that he photographs when complete before they begin to spiral into decay.

If you Google Andy Goldsworthy images you will see many of his fabulous works that elicit a resounding WOW, especially when you find out how he made them. I don't want to post any of Andy's Photographys as they belong to him and I don't have permission. There are however many online that you can see. Check it out, you won’t be sorry!

Why Artists are Impossible Husbands

December 31st, 2014

Why Artists are Impossible Husbands

What would now be considered humorous, was considered the standard view in 1910. Here is an article and is worth the time to read just to see how high society, and perhaps most of society, viewed Artists.

From the The Spokane Press, February 13, 1910
Details of the proceedings in the matrimonial week of Mrs Howard Chandler Christy (click on the More Info button at the bottom), and Mr. Howard Chandler Christy, the well-known illustrator. Mrs. Christy points out the unwholesome moral atmosphere of student life and studio work which few Artists can resist.

Why Artists are Impossible Husbands

To marry an artist is to begin life in a topsy-turvy world. Were I advising a sister, a friend, or my own dear little daughter, Nathalie, about the way to happiness, I should say: "Never marry an artist." For this advice I should have the best of reasons�a broken heart, a broken life, Ideals dead and hope shattered. Had I at nineteen, married, I will not say not Howard Chandler Christy, but a man of a different vocation than his, life might be for me now a beautiful thing, not a thorny place of despair.

To sum the whole situation up in advance, let me say that an artist is an impossible husband from the very nature and environment of the particular field of human endeavor in which he labors. From the very earliest moment until the end of his career he breathes an atmosphere which is unreal and out of harmony with the ordinary wholesome restrictions and restraints of civilized life. The artist is surrounded from beginning to end throughout his entire career with false conceptions and unreal ideals which other men are not entangled with. From the moment a young man begins to think seriously of art as his profession he hears that student life means a free and easy existence in a little world of Bohemia, where men and women are on equal terms and no questions are asked.

Timidly, perhaps, the art student begins his work, but he soon accustoms himself to undraped female figures in the "life class�. His next step is to feel no embarrassment in the presence of a mixed class of men and women students where unadorned models of both sexes pose.

The Glamor of the Latin Quarter

More and more he is thrilled with the wonderful tales of life in the great Latin Quarter of Paris, where students from all over the world assemble. Before long he finds himself in Paris, and, instead of the charming Trilbys which he has pictured in his mind, he meets the coarse, vulgar and abandoned women of the student quarter. He is disillusioned and disappointed, but he finds that other artists accept these creatures as their companions, and he soon comes to relish the life of abandon. There are no restrictions, nobody holds him to accountability, he goes and comes as he pleases; he lives where he pleases and with whom he pleases. He finds that "artistic license is a phrase which covers a multitude of sins.

Eventually the artist emerges* from the repulsive surroundings of French Bohemia and, perhaps, establishes himself in a studio in New York. 'Here he probably chooses a Trilby of rather more grace and more cleanly habits that the creatures of the Quarter in Paris. But the same moral blindness follows him to his studio in America.

And when the artist marries, and even If he Is very sincere and earnestly resolved to be a worthy husband, the very atmosphere of the studio and the necessities of his work are against him. It is not difficult to see that the free and easy relations of artist and, model in attic studios are not wholesome and do not make for decency and a higher appreciation of womanhood. Some artists, it is true, rise above the degradation of studio life.

I have known many artists. I have known almost none who really were good husbands. One of the foremost Illustrators is a bachelor and I have heard that he has told his men friends he intended to remain unmarried because, to quote his words: "I and my tribe are not fit to become the heads of families." I respect this handsome bachelor illustrator. He Is, at least, honest In his warped, irregular life. Better a frank sinner than a hypocrite.

Artists and Orgies

The artist lives in his world and is governed by his own laws, which means no laws. He is a moral anarchist. He tacitly accepts the rules that govern the conduct of other men, for the other men, but he has not the slightest intention of obeying them himself.

Regular meals, regular sleep, faithfulness to his marriage vows, abstinence from drink and other vices, are right for other men, but not necessary for artists. Oh, never for artists! He knows but one law —the law of impulse.

The good husband, as every woman knows, is the man who prefers the quiet home life. Show me the artist who cares for his home and I will show you a glittering exception, a joke in. the artists' community.

The good husband is not "imperfectly but perfectly monogamous. He prefers his wife to all other women in the world, and he allows no other woman in the world to doubt it. No woman can even smile in her sleeve at the wife of a good husband. I recall no artist whose wife has not been smiled at by some woman, perhaps by several women. The wife may not be aware of it —some women are strangely blind.

The good husband is always a good father. The artists I know are spasmodically good fathers. They love their offspring while they are about. When absent from them they quite forget them. To prove my case let me recall the most daring affinity man. Who was he? Ferdinand Pinney Earle, the artist. It was In the artists' colony In New York that the plan of calmly putting away his wife, and with her his child, for another woman, was first carried out. The man who coldly executed this plan, and whom the world loathes in consequence, was an artist.

What orgy in New York which has not had an artist as its originator? "The girl in the pie" dinner took place at the studio of an artist.

The nameless scenes described by Evelyn Thaw in the hideous unfolding’s of the notorious Thaw case took place in studios.

From the time he begins to think of becoming an artist until he ceases being an artist, or until he dies, the young man who lives and works in the studios lawless being. He does what he likes because he likes it. He cares for no one but himself, and the vagabond life which he covers under the name of art He begins his artist life at some art school in this country and then he begins to like the rapid life. He takes out naturalization papers in the land of Bohemia. He drifts naturally to the Latin Quarter in Paris, which is the capital of the Land of License. There he acquires a new costume, new habits and an entire disregard of the decencies of life. He acquires even a new vocabulary, whose first and last words are vice. He buys a velvet coat, a slouch hat and a flowing tie, and when he puts them on he feels that this queer costume makes him a man apart, one who is above and beyond the ordinary observances of life. He takes some frowsy companion of the underworld. He eats at irregular times. He sleeps at Irregular times. He works at irregular times. He becomes a pirate on the high sea of life, flying the blackflag of license.
Picturesque But Unkempt

Any of the "decent hostesses in Paris will tell you that I It Is an ordeal to have at dinner the unkempt creature from the Latin Quarter who has happened to paint an unusual picture, and gotten himself talked about by the critics. His clothing Is not neat. His manners are bad, he Is half man, half beast. Even the habits of cleanliness have been forgotten. He usually has lost regard for all the conventions, event that of cleanliness. But suppose that the artist finishes his Latin Quarter education, suppose he turns his back upon the hideous life. He intends to reform. He does reform. He marries a good girl. They start their own little altar fire. He intends to lead from that time a model life.

But how can he? The man in another vocation may succeed in living down his foolish, fevered past. He signs the pledge and forgets the sprees of his college days. In time he becomes a fairly fit mate for the honorable girl he has married, a fairly fit father for the children the years bring to them. But not so with the artist. He cannot put his college days behind him. When he matriculated in the Latin Quarter it was for life. The hideous spectre of the old life pursues him. Sometimes when he is alone in his studio with some heavy-lidded, long-limbed, conscienceless woman, the spectre becomes flesh and blood and tempts him. The baleful influences of the studios have followed him. It overtakes and in some cases ruins him. All his surroundings make for Bohemian life in its lowest sense.

I do not say that there are not among models some good, honest girls.. But I do say that their lives do not tend to make them so, and that there are evil, conscienceless, vampire women among them. The artist, his moral sense weakened by the Latin Quarter life, falls easily a victim.

The good husband is the man of routine. The artist loathes routine. He hates to be asked when he will be home to dinner. It throws him into a rage to be asked where he has been. Yet the man who won't tell where he has been, has been somewhere where he should not be. The first step on the road to divorce is the husband's assertion, “Don't ask me where I have been, for I won't tell you.”

Sometimes the artist's wife, to hold his affections, tries to keep up with him. She tries to drink with him. She tries to meet his Bohemian friends and to like them for his sake. She tries to adapt herself to his irregular habits, which are not habits but caprices. And so, some times, the poor, miserable wife goes to the wall of disgrace and Infamy with him.

Sowing wild oats are bad for a man. They are worse for a woman. Her delicate organism will not stand the test of the wild sowing. She may sink a victim by the roadside, while he staggers on to the end. This is a dark picture, but true. The artist does live, in a topsy-turvy world. Measure his life by any practical standard and see how awry it Is. Compare It with the business man's. The business man's first thought is for provision for the future of his family. The artist scorns such material considerations. Never marry an artist.

Copyright. 1910, by American-Examiner. Great Britain Right* Reserved.

Howard Chandler Christy (1873-1952). Christy had become one of the most recognized magazine illustrators of his time, reaching a total audience of approximately 64 million Americans through an average of 4 magazine subscriptions per household. By 1910, Christy's estimated annual earnings reached $50,000. A single contract with William Randolph Hearst in 1912 paid him $18,000 a year. Magazines in New York such as McClures, Ladies Home Journal, Cosmopolitan, Redbook, Collier�s and Hearst�s commissioned Christy's illustrations for their articles. During this period he also developed strong relationships with book publishers Bobbs-Merrill and Moffat, Yard and Company.
Christy's first marriage was to one of his models, Maybelle Thompson, in 1898. Their relationship was a stormy one, documented in several newspaper gossip columns of the day. In 1908, after separating from his wife, abstaining from alcohol, and turning to Christian Science, Christy and their only daughter, Natalie Chandler Christy, left New York City and returned to the family farm in Duncan Falls, Ohio.

Not your Usual Still Life

May 30th, 2014

Not your Usual Still Life

When Fran sits down to create, it is within a 5 inch square. Using very tiny watch parts, Fran puts together the parts and pieces to create a work of Art.
Beginning with a stash of old pocket watch pieces the process developed in her vision as dials, gears, and stems into shapes that resembled organic forms; she meticulously places strategic parts.

As a Photographer she grabbed the camera and began a process of creating the still, photographing it, and then adding color and texture in Photoshop. The result is what she has termed -Mechanical Clockworks- seen in Hearts, animals and abstract configurations.
She is still in the early stages of the process but likes how the pieces turn into something unexpected. -I rarely know what I am making at the beginning. It just seems to appear and then I take it to the next level.-

The process can days to produce from start to finish. Fran lives in Helena Montana and also works as a Mechanical Drafter.

Photoshop Fake Flamingo

May 29th, 2014

Photoshop Fake Flamingo

Photoshop has gotten a bad rap...or has it? Use to be you had to say if you saw something with your own two eyes that it would then be considered 'real'.

But not anymore. With all the software tools to edit images with, like Photoshop for example, you no longer can tell what is real and what is fake. This includes all media. Anything can be taken into Photoshop and made different, added to, or taken out.

I was goofing around in Photoshop with an image I'd taken of a flock of plastic, pink flamingo's.

How ironic - it occurs to me that the Flamingo's really represented the false image I was making using Photoshop to create another false image. By false I mean to say, not the original image.

There is a large debate amongst artists that create digital work using Photoshop and other software tools as to whether or not their work is considered 'Art'.

Since I enjoy using these tools to create I like to believe I'm creating Art. The tools are different than the stereotypical ones we have used in the past; however, Digital Art is still created using the hands and the vision in our minds eye. That vision may not always turn out as we started out to think it would, but then neither has many a painting, sculpture, or other forms of traditional Art.

In this Flamingo image I removed the background. I then copied the Flamingo several times and applied different filters to each one. I added a textured background and another layer of a gradient back color. It wasn't meant to be 'Art' but it was fun to play around with and through the process of this kind of experimenting I learn to use the software to achieve a certain look that might be useful when I am purposefully trying to create a Digital Art piece.

What are your thoughts about Digital Art? Fake, real, or not really art?

Past Present Future

February 20th, 2014

Past Present Future

Past Present Future

Everything and everyone has a place in time. My latest ‘Mechanical’ pieces are the result of another experiment with the parts of timepieces.

Where typically I have the camera in my hands, these began as images made on the scanner.

What I found interesting ... (follow the link under the image to continue reading on my personal site)

A Gypsy Heart

February 13th, 2014

A Gypsy Heart

A Gypsy Heart
(condensed version)

I am a Gypsy at heart. There, I’ve said it. That doesn’t probably mean much to anyone except for those that know me, but if you read this you’ll discover what really makes me who I am.

This is the story of how my Gypsy Heart came into being.

My entire life has been about change and the ability to adapt to that change. We moved a lot when I was growing up. When I say a lot, I mean as I attended a different school every year of my school days. My father was in the Navy and we were transferred around the Southern California area quite often. There may have been once where I was at the same school for a year and a half.

It was sometimes difficult because I would just start making some close friends and then it was time to move. That was the down side. The up side was getting to meet new people all the time and experience that adjustment period to everything new, which was good sometimes and of course, bad sometimes. It was constant learning and trying to figure out where I fit into the world.

When I married and began a family of my own, I was thrilled to finally stay in one place. I found such contentment and joy. Roughly ten years later though, we made a big move and I had a familiar feeling - a challenge for me to adapt to a new environment. It was a feeling I liked.

That move was the beginning of many more that seemed to follow my childhood pattern of - move, adapt, move again.

My career has followed that pattern as well. I find when I’m not experiencing change or being challenged by it, I become irritable, frustrated, and look for a reason to ‘move’ on. As I've gotten older I've tried to fight that pattern, mostly unsuccessfully.

The last five years I purposefully put down roots to try to break the pattern that now seems so essential to who I am. Staying in one place for four or five years is pushing me to a breaking point however, and my Gypsy heart tells me it’s time to move.

I’m coming to a realization that I need to accept this as part of who I am and stop trying to fight it. Someone who knows me well stated this so matter of factly that I was surprised I hadn't discovered it myself. It's who I am. Why should I change that?

I truly am a Gypsy at heart.


Fran Riley is an Artist, Photographer, writer, blogger and works in the engineering field.

The Wait of Paitience

January 21st, 2014

The Wait of Paitience

A while back I wrote a short story, (really short as stories go) about the life of a tree, from the point of view of a seed. I know, that sounds ridiculous. The story goes from it's sprouting through it's life experience as a tree. It was a work that spanned a couple of years and I would put it away for months at a time.

Each time I went back to read it I thought it was something I had saved from somebody else's work. It always struck me as good and that I really liked it. Then it would hit me, "oh yeah, I wrote that". It still makes me chuckle when I remember that thought.

Anyway, I finally finished it a year or two ago. I recently read it again and afterwards said, "hey, that's pretty good. I like it!"

Then, I thought, why not submit it to a magazine I sometimes subscribe too. So I have. Now I am left to wait...and wait some more. I submitted once before and they returned the piece fairly quickly. This time seems like it's out there still in the cosmos. I am anxious, wondering, and fearful of the rejection.

I'm always a pessimist so I expect to receive it returned any day now. That's what they do.

Rejection; there’s a word we all hate to feel. That word though is something everyone has felt. Be it a job we wanted, a failed attempt at friendship or closer relationships. Rejection has the biggest affect on us if we allow it to sit on our shoulders like it is a fault of our own.

I must admit, I am a pro at this. As an Artist I get to have this unpleasant feeling many times. Whether it is a story submission, or a work of Art, I always think it's good and everyone should like it as much as I do. Only then I discover (what the hell?) that my perception is way off and pretty much no one feels as I do about my own work. Now that's funny! Because we all think that way, right?

So here I will wait and wonder if my story was too short, or perhaps too long, or too boring, or too far fetched, or maybe the spacing of the words wasn't right. No, I've got it, it was the font.

Was that the mailman? Dare I look to see what ill fate awaits me?

Patience? Wait, I wrote the book on that.


Fran Riley is an Artist, Photographer, writer, blogger (impaitient one) and works in the engineering field.

My Journey Through Technology

December 30th, 2013

My Journey Through Technology

I am moving up into the 'older' population. There are certain things I hate about it, mostly related to an aging body and healthcare. But there are many things I have enjoyed in getting to these 'older' years. One of the most exciting has been the advancement in technology.

I don't claim to be a techno-geek by any means, but I do love the changes that have come about during my life time. I have been working on writing a story that takes place in the early 1970's. I constantly have to watch out for common mistakes like the characters using a cell phone. It seems so natual to write it, but that wasn't the way it was done during that era.
You found a pay phone.

In the early 1980's I got my first computer. I don't recall the cost. It was DOS based and fairly easy to learn the logic once I found magazines that had basic code for amatures. The code would build a small game or text based program. The idea that I could build that with words, numbers and characters was fascinating. Thus began my love with computers.

Soon afterwards came Windows 3.1 and all hell broke loose in the personal computer world. A few would go kicking and screaming into this world, but not me. I embraced it and tried to find uses for it. Not everyone needed this new technology and it's usefulness really wasn't established in business yet.

My excitement flowed over to my kids. They learned coordination skills on the computer using games like pacman, and Spacewars. My pre-school aged daughter learned her ABC's and math. As technology advanced so did the family, upgrading computers, monitors, accessories and of course games.

By late 1990's the entire family found the computer made tasks like homework, budgeting, certain communications, easier, and still, ever advancements of more games. Laptops came on the scene and they renamed them to notebooks for some reason.

I realized that as all this evolved I was enthralled to the point I wanted a career in the field. I started taking a programming class at the local college and quickly found that wasn't going to be my path. It was too brain draining. I wanted something more creative. Over the next few years (late 90's) I decided on a program I'd seen at the Art Insitute of Portland in Multimedia-Web Design. It seemed to be everything I was looking for.

Immersed in technology that provided creativity along with some coding I felt like I was finally on the leading edge of the technology that I'd come to love so much. I excelled in my classes and couldn't get enough. When I graduated during the crashing movement everyone in that field was available for work at the bottom of pay scale. I would be competing against people in the field that had been at the top of their game.

I was working as a purchasing secretary at an engineering firm during my school years. At graduation they offered to teach me Mechanical Drafting - using what else, a computer. The days of drafting on a board were long gone. Since the odds of getting a good paying job in my newly degreed field were nil, I stayed on with them and was taught CAD (computer aided drafting). It kept me involved in the technology I loved so much but not in the creativity that I so need.

Today, I still do CAD but feed my creativity through photography and using digital software like Photoshop. Which brings me to where I'm at technology wise today at the end of 2013.

My current technology: a recent upgrade from my old flip phone to an android, a half defunct kindle, two laptops that just don't suffice for digital work. I just purchased a new desktop monitor, and said, 'Wow!' after connecting it with my laptop. Next will be a new desktop, a Mac I hope. I haven't had a desktop in years.

Games? no games, no time. I have to tweet, email and check my art sites, upgrade, update, create and upload. I'm getting older by the minute and need to think about retirement.

Its been a hell of a journey to get here.

Regrets? That I won't be around to see the next 100 years and where it all goes.

Future Mechanical Fish

December 15th, 2013

Future Mechanical Fish

Having fun with some mechanical part of old watch parts, loaned to me by a very kind jeweler friend, I've created some shapes and had a lot of fun doing so!

It got me to thinking I would like to do more of this but in a more controlled way. Now the question will be where I can get a bunch of parts like this that I can keep and create things with. It's a one time creation, photograph it and then make something from the photo.

The down side to this is that many of the parts are so extremely small that if you spill any you're doomed to be on your hands and knees with a magnet and nose to floor to find them.

Got parts??

Holiday Gifting

November 17th, 2013

Holiday Gifting

When that all too familiar feeling comes over you of, 'what do I get them for Christmas?'
and you want something unique, why not think Art?

All my images purchased through Fine Art America comes with a 30 day money back guarantee.

You'll have a gift that supports the Arts and they'll have a long time memory of a special gift they received.

Use the discount code on anything on my website to get 10% off your purchase now through Christmas in my store. Code: PGJFNS

For the Locals in Helena Montana

October 27th, 2013

For the Locals in Helena Montana

Photographer Fran Riley will feature her images of decaying rust and digital Art works.

Be sure to visit her work in the "Rust-Room" to see some great images of Rust and Decay.

Hosted by CTA Architects Engineers at 316 N. Last Chance Gulch from 5 - 9 p.m., with live music provided by Michael Christian.

This wonderful event brings downtown businesses, local artists, and the Helena community together to experience a variety of art in unique venues.

Come celebrate the arts at the Fall Art Walk!

A Long Search and Life Lessons

September 26th, 2013

A Long Search and Life Lessons

There was a time, not too many years ago, that I became very intrigued with fallen leaves. I walked every day and had the opportunity to see so many different shapes and varieties. I saw that so many of the Maples were of the approximate same size. I suddenly felt challenged to find the largest one and in the process learned a life lesson.

Every time I went for a walk I was searching, often reaching down for what looked like the winner. There never seemed to be any that really surpassed the previously found ones. My expectations grew and then dimmed.

Would I never discover the ‘best’ one or the ‘largest’ one that would exceed what I was finding?

Sure, some would be slightly bigger, but where was the really big one? There just had to be one in the hundreds that had exceeded the norm, one that had somehow grew bigger due to a better growing environment.

The autumn days grew shorter and with most of the leaves already fallen, so had my hopes of success. Maybe next year I said to myself. Then, one morning I over slept and rushed my morning routine to catch the 7:45 bus downtown.

Head down in my rush, just outside my door, there it was. Like a gift and an epiphany at the same time. There sat the largest fallen leaf I had ever seen. I started to pass it by and then stepped back.

It was curled on its edges and it wasn’t a perfect specimen. Did it qualify? Did it meet the expectation I had set? It was battered, and looked to have traveled a long ways. There were no nearby Maple trees. How did it get there? Where could it have come from?

I was going to miss my bus. Was my search over? My mind was reeling with split second thoughts. I picked up the leaf and decided to put it in the bath tub with water, thinking it would unfurl and I could get a better look when I got home from work.

I ran back out to see if the bus had come and it drove up just as I got to the stop. Breathless, I sat down thinking about this event and words were coming into my mind out of nowhere. I decided to write them down. This poem is what became of those words.

Look No More

Outside my door upon my path
A fallen leaf lay at my feet

The largest one I ev’r did see
So grand in size I could not believe
The one I’ve sought had now found me

From whence it came I cannot say,
Upon my path this very day
There are no others, nor limbs to tell
Which way the wind was when it fell

Its spread is wide,
Most aged and strong-
Weathered and red with sun

Strong veins to hold against the winds
No doubt the last one to fall
O, there are none such as this!

O great tree, a gift you have made
A reminder of life and beauty
And all that we seek
There all the time, just at our feet

By Francis Riley

My lesson from this was twofold -

Have faith that what you seek is often right in front of you.
Don’t set your expectations so high that you don’t see the beauty that is deeper than the surface.

Being in the Flow

September 25th, 2013

Being in the Flow

From Wikipedia: Flow is the mental state of operation in which a person performing an activity is fully immersed in a feeling of energized focus, full involvement, and enjoyment in the process of the activity. In essence, flow is characterized by complete absorption in what one does.
Proposed by Mihály Csíkszentmihályi this positive psychology concept has been widely referenced across a variety of fields.
This is a really interesting concept.

I read Mihaly's book 'Flow' when I was attending Art school a while back. The concept is easily identified, or I believe it can be, in your own personal life. Examples of this are when you're totally absorbed in something you're doing (usually an enjoyable experience) and you are so 'into' it that you are oblivious to what is going on around you. The rest of the world ceases to exist while you are in the 'Flow' and your focus is very much in tuned to the activity at hand.

Many artists easily experience the 'Flow'. The image above is how I perceive the brain's function during the time of 'Flow'. I recommend if you find this concept interesting to read Csikszentmihalyi's 'The Psychology of Flow'.

The Middle of the Night

September 21st, 2013

The Middle of the Night

It’s the middle of the night when I have profound thoughts about everything that’s wrong with the world and my life.

It’s the time I have thoughts about existence and what life will be like thousands of years from now.
It’s the time when I feel my pain from failed relationships. It’s when I finally give up the day.

I stir and hear the not so distant sound of the train whistle and wonder who the train calls out to? I hear the neighbor downstairs snoring; the cat sleeping against my legs, so weighted I can hardly move them.

Restless, my mind keeps working even in the middle of the night.

Archie Bray - Art Found in Unusual Places

August 26th, 2013

Archie Bray - Art Found in Unusual Places

The Archie Bray Foundation is a public, nonprofit, educational institution founded in 1951 by brickmaker Archie Bray, who intended it to be "a place to make available for all who are seriously and sincerely interested in any of the branches of the ceramic arts.

Now I have visited this site often as it is a wonderful place to take photos and many of the students works are scattered about the grounds. Many I've seen numerous times and often there are new ones in the most unexpected places. Most of these discarded works have no artist name attached and many have been in the brush for years.

This weekend I paid a visit and came across this most interesting sculpture. This fellow at a distance gave me a start because I thought he was real and holding a gun. Turned out he is pretty life size and is sitting in a wagon. The wagon and he are both ceramic. The hat was a real interesting touch.

Sometimes you find Art in the most unusual places!

This Day in History

August 9th, 2013

This Day in History

August 9, 1913
On this day in history:
New York’s ‘The Sun’ newspaper was 2 cents per copy, the Washington Herald was 1 cent, and here in Montana, the ‘Missoulian’ was 5 cents.

Pall Mall cigarettes sold for 18 cents a pack
An electric fan was $7.00
Women’s hankerchiefs 6 for .25

You could by a brand new ‘Rambler Cross Country for $1,650.00. The Rambler came with a Bosch duplex ignition, fine large black and nickel headlights and even a gas tank! Oil lamps, tool box, tool roll with complete tool outfit. For an extra $50.00 you could add a wind shield.

Nature vs Man

July 31st, 2013

Nature vs Man

Nature vs. Man
the Demise, Destruction and Vandalism of Montana Ghost Towns
Montana is rich in mining history and offers several opportunities to see camps and towns where that lifestyle once flourished. Some towns only have a few buildings or foundations remaining with remnants of daily life strewn about the areas. Others have met with destruction and vandalism of the worse kind.

Thieves have emptied them of their antiquities, hardware and fixtures, stripping them down so far as to even taking the structure itself. If it could be carried or hauled away it has been taken. Sometimes even the layers of wallpapers are gone or now have graffiti on the walls. Windows are no longer intact, long ago shattered; doors no longer on their hinges. What man has not taken, Nature has.

Years of weather have been as destructive as man has been. High temperatures in summer, freezing rains, snow, floods, and fire have taken their toll. Sun-bleached weathered wood, the grain deeply textured over time, water stains and ceiling deterioration due to rain and snow, and floors warped and caving in are seen in every building.

Architecture wasn’t a priority in many of these mining towns. Many of the buildings were built quickly to provide shelter and nothing more. Some that were built with rock foundations fared better and often are all that remains. Fire wasn’t unusual whether man caused or nature caused. Most of these ghost towns were high in the mountain ravines so were often subjected to forest fires, or flash floods.

Three towns in particular remain standing yet today with the help of the state in preserving these historic towns. Virginia City/Nevada City, Garnet, and Bannack are great examples of life in the late 1800’s. Virginia City is close in proximity to Nevada City and is the most authentic, containing objects used in daily life from the era. Wagons, blacksmithing, clothing, mercantile with food containers, pharmacy goods, and much more. Garnet and Bannack both have several building in tack with a few heavy items still surviving such as cook stoves, bedsteads, and heating wood stoves. Walls with patterned wallpapers or newsprint coverings can be seen in all and are a joy to see the period patterns. Often a room in a boarding house will have an iron bedstead, an armoire, and other items from the period.

These 3 towns all have residents that live in the town and help keep vandals from stealing or being destructive. Most others don’t have the luxury of a watchful eye. One such town in Southwestern Montana is Coolidge. This town has been vandalized and most of the buildings have collapsed. The same holds true for Southern Cross, a small settlement outside of Anaconda. The windows in the remaining buildings have had to be boarded up to preserve what is left on the inside.

The history of these places is a testament to the pioneers of the time and worth saving. Bannack , which recently suffered a flash flood and the loss of its historic Assay office, is being cleaned up and repaired by volunteers and workers. It’s unfortunate that we cannot protect and preserve all the mining towns and their history.


July 30th, 2013


Originality - (by Fran Riley, 2010)

The tunes playing are oldies but done by artists that are not the original musicians. Is that what writing is, regurgitating what others have done? Where does our imagination take over and create something original? Could I ever hope to write something in a way that hasn’t been done in the same way, in the same voice?

Rain continues to fall. Are the rain drops original? Have they not been in a recycling pattern since the first rain drop fell? Is there even a drop of new, original water?

If I sit here for hours will I think an original thought? What if I sit here for a day, in the same spot? Will I find a new way to think? What about a week, a month, a lifetime?

Originality; does it exist in anything? Can it be right that no person has a finger print like another? Of all the billions of people, no two are alike? They are physically alike (human) in every other way except DNA? So are DNA and finger prints the only original things in the universe? (Snowflakes don’t count since they are formed from water.) If snow is original, then three things are original.

Could a life be lived originally? How? Like this perhaps:
1. Do the unexpected, by yourself and with others
2. Expose yourself to the unusual or live outside your comfort levels/activities

Is it possible to have original thinking? How?
Can a mind be trained for such a thing after a lifetime of structure?
How do you know if you’re successful at having an original thought or creating an original written piece?

If I change my perceptions of all that I know to be truths in my mind, could I change my brain’s way of processing the information it receives? Could that create new imagery that would spark original thought and imagination?
How, tell me how.

Montana Memories Part IV Continued

July 26th, 2013

Montana Memories Part IV   Continued

The same mountain shared another of its secrets with me at a different time. I was alone again doing some pre-scouting for the hunting season. The hike began at dawn with the morning drenched in a heavy fog. I had looked the area over from the road several times so I knew approximately where I wanted to go. Knowing the fog would burn off as the sun grew higher, I started off.

After three hours, and several hidden mountain benches later, the fog began its decent down the mountain, opening up a lush, damp forest. The walking was quiet and I could easily go unnoticed. As I moved onward I found I was only halfway up the mountain at noon. I would have to turn back soon to get home by dark so no one would worry. Pausing to catch my breath and absorb some of the forest beauty I heard the crashing of brush from the other side of the nearby ridge.

I couldn’t be sure how far away it was. It was getting louder though. I could hear branches breaking. Something large was definitely running through the woods and it was coming right at me. Was it a bear I wondered? Curious, but not wanting to be caught in a vulnerable situation, I moved to a position between a few trees and took the safety off my rifle just in case.

I waited not sure if I would even be able to see “it”, as I was in an area providing limited viewing. Then the noise stopped. Suddenly a cow elk emerged over the ridge to stand twenty feet in front of me. She was magnificent! Her body wet with dew and her breath in the cool air steaming from her nostrils. Her eyes were huge and her body heaved while she rested, catching her breath. She scanned the area, knowing there was an air of something different.

She couldn’t pick me out from the surroundings as we both stood still, waiting. I felt as if I was cheating her senses and thought it fair that I should reveal myself to her. I murmured a sound and moved ever so slightly. I had hoped she wouldn’t leave suddenly, but instinct told her to not linger. We gazed at each other and she bowed her head, each of us knowing that it could have been a poor situation to be in under different circumstances. She ambled on up the mountain and as if to tell me to go home she bawled, a sound similar to the domestic cow “moo.” I left after that leaving the mountain to her.

Did I mention the berry picking? .....Continued tomorrow

Montana Memories Part II Continued

July 24th, 2013

Montana Memories Part II   Continued

Continued from yesterdays blog...

My first garden in Montana, actually the first gardening I had ever done, produced the largest potatoes I had ever seen. White potatoes, solid to the center, and nearly the size of a football! Everything grew despite my inexperience. I had a very bountiful harvest that year. I’m not sure if everyone feels like I do about gardening but I think anyone could experience a oneness with nature if they would give gardening a try.

For me, I thought of it as my therapy, something a doctor might prescribe for soul cleansing. Those were the days when I would be preparing the garden spot while the sun was warming the landscape. Getting the soil turned over is one of my favorite things to see. It looks so fresh and new when it’s first turned. Then, the new sprouts emerge with the dawn to start a journey of days upon days of summer.

When I sat amongst the seedlings, pulling weeds, I felt at one with the earth, and would ponder the generations that have gone before. I thought of my life and family as a handful of soil filtered between my fingers. They were stolen moments, the kind that make it easy to be content; easy to indulge your sensations and forget the busyness of the day. In the end you are rewarded with a harvest of garden delights and a purity of life.

Hunting was a new experience for me..... to be continued tomorrow!

Montana Memories - Part 1 published yesterday on my blog.

Montana Memories Part I

July 24th, 2013

Montana Memories Part I

The secret has been out for quite a while now. The rest of the world knows about the Flathead Valley, as is evidenced by the growth there. Montana holds my memories and probably those of many others. I have left my heart there in the mountains and the Valley we called home. Montana’s Flathead Valley will always be the best part of my life.

I grew up in the city, but life didn’t begin for me until I became a 'country' gal. One of the first things I learned about the country was that people were so friendly. You don’t notice that so much in the city amongst the hustle. You’re too busy playing a game of survival. Trying not to get mugged or become a statistic.

So, here I was driving down a country road, which is nearly all the roads in and out of town, when people I didn’t even know would wave at me - like I was their next door neighbor. I’d say to a passenger in the car with me, “who was that?” and they’d say they didn’t know.

This happened everyday of every trip down the road! Needless to say I was amazed. It became infectious. Soon I was waving before they could wave at me. I had never known that kind of openness and I was liking it! It warmed my soul. That was the beginning of a beautiful relationship with what I consider to be one of the greatest places on earth, Montana.

Montana taught me an appreciation for nature. I gardened, fished, hunted, (for the food it provided, untainted with hormones, etc.) rafted, and cross country skied. I found pleasure in the simple things like a picnic in the woods beside a stream during winter and summer. So many memories I’d like to share with you but it would be impossible to fit everyday of the 10 years I’ve spent in Montana into these pages.

A couple of memories I'll share and hope you can enjoy and share in a few of my memories in Part II, tomorrow!

Writing a Book

July 8th, 2013

Writing a Book

I've had a story brewing for several years now and have been inspired to get back to it. I had started research a few years back, mostly because I didn't want to sound to dumb about what my subject is, but since it's a work of fiction I might not come across sounding too dumb, lol.

I'm amazed at how the story seems to flow out so easily, but there are points at which I'm not sure of the direction. Being new to this sort of thing leaves me with a ton of questions like how long should the story be, how long should a chapter be, what do others find intriguing and will my story appeal? And a million other questions I won't bore you with.

So I will keep on and hope that I can get the story out, get it published - which is an entirely different subject. I will be e-publishing/self publishing it so we'll have to thing at a time.

It's hard to have so many things you like to do as it takes time away from the others when you're in the flow of one.

30 Questions You Should Ask About Being A Photographer Now

June 25th, 2013

30 Questions You Should Ask About Being A Photographer Now

From Virtual Photography. I thought these questions had a lot of meaning and will quite possibly move me forward to a big change in my life. Check them out! Here's the first five:

1. How old would you be if you didn’t know how old you are?

2. What are you doing at your age and is it different from what you could be doing?

3. Which is worse, failing or never trying?

4. What would you try if you didn’t have to explain it to family and friends?

5. What’s the best part of your day?

Putting a Story or Poem to an Image

June 14th, 2013

Putting a Story or Poem to an Image

I love to write but I don't take the time to do it. When I do take time I love to take an image of people and write a story about them. I don't do portrait photography so I usually make my story using an image I've seen in a magazine. Can't do anything with the image of course but it really makes for an interesting story and inspiration to write. I'll post one such story in the next day or two when I switch computers. For now I'll share a poem I wrote to the image link here.


You told me I could do it
Anything I might want
You said I was good
and could make it

just look at me now
in despair
no one
what does it matter

One amongst the thousands
twinkling of stars
what did you

Fran Riley – 2013 Copyright
All rights reserved.

Trying out my New Macro Lens

June 10th, 2013

Trying out my New Macro Lens

I recently got a Macro Lens for my Canon 5D MarkII and totally LOVE it! I've always wanted to do some extreme close-ups and I think these filled my desire. What do you think? Is this something you'd put on your wall?

Sell Art OnlinePhotography Prints
Photography PrintsPhotography Prints

My Childhood Games

June 6th, 2013

My Childhood Games

When I was in the second grade I played this game called Hopscotch. All the girls played at school and at home. You would use some type of marker and begin with tossing it into the first box. Then you would hop through all the numbers and turn around at the circle and come back to the beginning, picking up your marker on the way back.

Who ever made it to the last number, often called "Home" was the winner. Some of the best markers were the small chains that were attached to a rabbits foot or charm, or like in our town (San Diego) where there were an abundance of a plant we called 'ice plant', a succulent that stopped nicely in the farther away boxes, was used quite often. We were inventive and creative with our markers.

Competitions existed and at one point I was the school champ and had the opportunity to go to the city's big competition event. I bombed out of it in some of the first rounds but had a great experience.

10 Design Strategies for Art Lovers

May 23rd, 2013

10 Design Strategies for Art Lovers

This article is from 'Houzz' a decorators paradise of Ideas. Found this article and liked the ideas presented. Here is Design #1 Strategy:

1. Use repetition of color and line. This art is so well supported by this room. The strong black-and-white graphic image is echoed in the black-and-white upholstery with lines that are similar to the curves in the woman's face. Even with the bright yellow accents in the room, the art is still the standout.

(image by Eclectic Living Room by Beverly Hills Interior Designer Tracy Murdock Allied ASID)

To read more click on the web link.

Why Barns Are Painted Red

May 14th, 2013

Why Barns Are Painted Red

Have you ever noticed that almost every barn you have ever seen is red? There’s a reason for that, and it has to do with the chemistry of dying stars. Seriously.

Read more:
Follow us: @SmithsonianMag on Twitter

Check out this Sculpture Artist

March 20th, 2013

Amazing work by Patrick Doughterty has been shown and featured in museums around the world.

" Combining his carpentry skills with his love of nature, Patrick began to learn more about primitive techniques of building and to experiment with tree saplings as construction material. In 1982 his first work, Maple Body Wrap, was included in the North Carolina Biennial Artists’ Exhibition, sponsored by the North Carolina Museum of Art. In the following year, he had his first one-person show entitled, Waitin’ It Out in Maple at the Southeastern Center for Contemporary Art in Winston-Salem, North Carolina." (from his Biography)

HOW TO HANG ART Vertically or Horizontally By Shoshana Gosselin

March 6th, 2013

Pick the Right Color Palette to Showcase Your Art by Shawn Gauthier

March 5th, 2013

The following is an article I found on Houzz, a website for just about anything to do with the home.

Traveling Montana - Archie Bray Foundation

February 23rd, 2013

Traveling Montana - Archie Bray Foundation

"Listed on the National Register of Historic Places, the Bray is located three miles from downtown Helena, Montana, on the site of the former Western Clay Manufacturing Company. Set against the wooded foothills of the Rocky Mountains, the 26-acre former brickyard is internationally recognized as a gathering place for emerging and established ceramic artists. The nearby mountains and brick factory ruins provide a backdrop for the creative environment; more important is the dynamic arts community created by the resident artists that come to the Bray to work, share experiences, and explore new ideas." (from the website)

As a photographer, I visit the former site of the Clay Manufacturing to find inspiration. It's an amazing place in a state of decay, which is one of my favorite subjects. Watch for more collages coming soon!

Butte Montana

January 10th, 2013

Butte Montana

Art Prints

The BA&P Hill Trail provides a fascinating glimpse into Butte's early history, winding its way through the town's historic neighborhoods and abandoned mine yards. The area was known as the "The Richest Hill on Earth" for its gold, silver and copper deposits. The former Butte, Anaconda & Pacific Railroad, on which the trail is built, was founded in 1892 to transport these precious ores from Butte mines to smelters in Anaconda. In 1913, BA&P also became the first freight railroad in the world to electrify.

Butte Headframes
Thirteen historic headframes—also known as “gallows frames”—survived the demise of underground mining in Butte. Subsurface operations at the Kelley shaft ended about 1980, but mining in most of the tunnels, drifts, and stopes served by the other headframes had ceased in the 1950s to 1970s. Today, they have become a trademark of The Mining City. "Richard Gibson"

Along the Rocky Mountain Front

January 1st, 2013

Along the Rocky Mountain Front

The area of the Rocky Mountain front from Augusta, Montana north to the Canadian border is one of the most stunning vistas to see and visit. The area is steeped in history and one area in particular tells quite a story. The Sun River Watershed project. This is only a teaser as there is much, much more information out there on the subject.

In the early 1900's planning began for the Sun River Watershed project which inclueded three storage reservoirs, two diversion dams, 131 miles of main canals, 562 miles of smaller side canals, and 265 miles of drain canals. The Pishkun Supply Canal extends 12.1 miles from the Sun River Diversion Dam to the Pishkun Reservoir.

The canal crosses under the Sun River in a massive 700-foot long siphon tube. The Pishkun Supply Canal passes through two other tunnels on its way to Pishkun Reservoir. One tunnel is 980 feet long and the other is 2,280 feet long.

J.C. Adams stone barn

January 1st, 2013

J.C. Adams stone barn

If you get to Montana, just outside of Great Falls is the J.C. Adams stone barn. It's still fabulously intact. My image "the Door Beyond" shows some of the interior.

This stone barn is a wonderful example of Romanesque architecture and one of the last vestiges of the old freight and stage trail. It is currently on the Montana National Register of Historic Places and the only barn of its kind west of the Mississippi. Located outside of Great Falls Montana the barn construction was begun in 1883, measuring 40 x 140 feet with a full size loft.

The west end was used for horses, the large center section for cattle during the winter, and the east end for wagons, buggies and a meat locker. The hardwood floor upstairs was used for hay storage and as a social gathering place, dances and even a roller skating party.

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November 25th, 2012

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