Photography & art making HAVE been going on behind the scenes despite a blog postings drought the past two years. I’ve been working intensively on photography ~ challenging myself with new subject material, upgrading my skills & equipment, entering competitive shows and winning awards!

evening santa rosa mall courtyard with hand sculpture and flowering pear tree

Santa Rosa Mall entry courtyard with hand sculpture and flowering pear tree (2012)

Was genuinely surprised ~ and DELIGHTED ~ over winning two first place blue ribbons, a second, and fifth place award at the Sonoma County 2011 Harvest Fair last October!! Significantly, this was the first time recently, I’ve entered conventional photographic images along with my D’Gravure™ digital etchings. Both approaches won awards. Quite an honor given all the incredible photographers we have in the area!

I’ve also been building various photo albums on Facebook. It’s great fun getting feedback from family, friends, and friends of friends ~ a wonderful opportunity to meet folks virtually, and occasionally in person. One goal for 2012: get my image collections on-line here, important since Facebook is changeable and ultimately participants – artists – photographers don’t have any say over the FB venue.

My newest photographic theme is Suburban Sonoma County. I’m always photographing flowers & trees, then added landscapes and seascapes in the past decade….but found myself surprised when my sister commented “An unusual photo for you. Really great” about Sebastopol Autumn Reflected (NOV 2010), one of my Harvest Fair entries :

hwy 12 in sebastopol with red truck and autumn tree

Sebastopol Autumn, Reflected (2010)

Her comment made me realize I rarely photograph any local ‘suburban’ scenes even though it’s what I often admire in Victoria’s ‘Brooklyn’ album on Facebook. So here goes!

The following sampling of diverse suburban themes only hint at what’s available to Sonoma photographers:

hand sculpture in santa rosa mall courtyard

The Hand, one of my favorite local sculptures. | Santa Rosa Mall Courtyard

I’ve just searched on-line for an hour or more to no avail looking for the sculptor’s name who created this popular white marble landmark in downtown Santa Rosa. I’m a bit incredulous that the information is no where to be found!

In the process, came across LOTS of photos of the Hand and other ‘hand’ sculptures as well as some great articles on public art:

From the July 19-25, 2001 issue of the Northern California Bohemian:
People frequently pose for pictures beside the Hand, while others stop in their tracks to vociferously hurl names at it.

As [sculptor] Dennis Patton so cleverly remarked, is exactly what public art is for….“You may like it or hate it. You may think it’s beautiful, or you may think it’s ugly. But art should always stop you in your tracks and force you to express your feelings about it.”

Well said. And whether we like it or not, there happens to be plenty of stop-’em-in-their-tracks art on public display throughout the North Bay.
Read the rest of the article for the Bohemian’s driving-and-walking tour suggestions.

~ ~ ~
Artistic License

Public art stirs up debate across the county
By Paula Harris
IN THE UNCERTAIN world of art, one person’s illuminating masterpiece is often someone else’s offensive eyesore. Plop that piece of art onto public turf and you turn an interesting question of aesthetics into a hot-blooded political tug of war.
Read more from this 12-9-1999 Sonoma County Independent article

Landscaping features may function as sculpture, like this mound of mossy boulders at The Lakes office complex just south of the Luther Burbank Memorial Highway (Hwy 12).

white daffodils among mossy boulders the lakes office complex santa rosa ca

White daffodils among mossy boulders offer textural contrast to brick & glass architecture. | Santa Rosa CA

Posted a comment on my sister’s Facebook album yesterday about how urban eyesores in all their ugliness make intriguing photographic subjects. Stopped to photograph a couple of dilapidated buildings this past week. One was in Petaluma on Kent Street, the other in Santa Rosa on West College Avenue by the railroad tracks.

old weather worn wooden door and rusted mailbox

Old weather worn wooden door and rusted mailbox | Petaluma CA

A great old brick building, walls and windows covered in ivy, a sagging bench near the sidewalk, and even a custom mouse hole entry in the door. Knock, knock. Is anyone home?

old rusted mailbox with orange flag

Does the postman still deliver mail to 15 Kent Street? | Petaluma CA

dilapitated wooden bench near collapse

A dilapidated wooden bench on it's last legs. Have a seat, if you dare! | Petaluma CA

Noticed an old industrial building one rainy day during rush hour on West College Avenue east of the railroad tracks. I have a friend who sees hearts in many of her iPhone captures, which she calls ‘Hearts In Situ.’ I’m a heart-on-my-sleeve kinda gal and long time heart doodler, so when I spotted a cement heart patch on this ugly abandoned building, knew I had to go back to photograph it.

worn wooden door and cement patches in abandoned industrial building

Love-Is-Where-You-Find-It (ie. photos featuring heart shapes) | Santa Rosa CA

wrought iron gated entry in industrial building

Even the wrought iron gate has a couple of hearts!

And the upper stories are a canvas for another sort of popular public folk art…

geometric graffiti in red and blue kora muk lurk life

Kora Muk Lurk Life

One of my renown graphic design instructors at the California College of Arts (Oakland CA), Michael Manwaring, admired graffiti artists’ folk art creativity. He assigned us design projects suggesting we look for solutions inspired by these anonymous artists’ work. I’ve been appreciative of graffiti’s artistic merits ever since.

Railroad tracks could be seen as a type of  public sculpture, albeit functional, that inspire our imaginations as well.

unused railroad tracks with storm clouds in the distance

Railroad tracks heading north from Santa Rosa will be undergoing renovation for the Sonoma-Marin 'Smart Train' rail project.

Read more about SMART updates. Looking at railway tracks stretching to the horizon always stirs my dormant travel bug. Whoo! Whooooo…

Have many more images to share from my Suburban Sonoma portfolio, but will save them for another post.
Enjoy your weekend!



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