Inspired by the Creativity of Children

Last week I went back to the ceramics studio after a break of a couple of months or so. Over the summer the art center runs a large number of classes for children and the place is very busy. I was finding it a bit hard to get started again and then I looked through some of the ceramics that the kids had created over the last few weeks.

I think they have done a fantastic job. One of the best things about the children’s work is that many of them (especially the younger ones) have no real constraints in their minds. They are free to just take an idea or prompt from the teacher and run with it.

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After seeing these great works, I am reinvigorated for the fall ceramic season…!

~Richard

Beautiful Britain – Southwick

It’s been over 7 years since we last visited the UK as a family and I thought our recent visit would be a great opportunity to write something about good old Blighty for a few posts. It will motivate me to process my photographs and also is relevant to promoting the art group I run at Quintessentially British, which now contains over 11,000 images of “Britishness” by more than 700 artists. Ironically, I haven’t posted that many images of my own to the group since I set it up 5 years ago, so this trip was an opportunity to get some more images to post!

So, I’ll start with our first port of call – literally – Southwick, in West Sussex.

Southwick is a small coastal town situated on the River Adur on the south coast of England. There have been settlements here from at least the Roman times and the town is first recorded in the Domesday Book (1085 AD). Like many nearby towns, it was the extension of the railway lines in the 19th century which really caused the town to expand becoming a popular place for tourists to visit and take the sea air.

Although largely eclipsed by Shoreham-by-Sea to the west and Brighton & Hove to the east, Southwick still has a thriving commercial port (called Shoreham Port, even though it’s really in Southwick and Fishersgate), serving both commercial and navy vessels in docks on the River Adur.

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There is a nice village green with traditional pub on the edge, railway station and a couple of new windmills placed adjacent to the pebble beach, almost as an advance guard to the huge wind farm that is being developed off the coast in the distance.

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A bit of something for everyone, perhaps? Certainly a nice place to sit in the sun and enjoy a “99” (soft ice-cream cone with a chocolate flake).

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How Quintessentially British!

~Richard

#r2bcheerful1 – Summer

Yesterday I wrote about the Reasons to be Cheerful photography challenge and explained that I have started it now as I wanted to kick off with the word “Summer.” Well, apparently our summer officially ends this Thursday in Pennsylvania so here’s my image:

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Summer to me is associated with days the beach, both as a kid and an adult. This image was taken in the summer at Cape May, New Jersey with my little Recesky plastic camera, a fun device I described in a prior post. I am not a sailor by any means, being the sort of guy that gets seasick when crossing a bridge, but I still loved the look of this beautiful little wooden sailing skiff pulled up on the sand.

A Reason to be Cheerful, for sure!

~Richard

#r2bcheerful #r2bcheerful1

52 Week Challenge: Week 33

WEEK 33: Artistic: Collaboration – Doesn’t matter what you shoot, just do with another artist. Share vision and ideas. Collaborate.

 

For this composition I decided to look back to a brief visit I had to the UK in the early summer. My mother is an amateur watercolorist and oil painter with a keen eye on composition. As we were standing outside her kitchen door enjoying the sunshine in a bright, cloudless sky she pointed over to her fence and the rambling rose that was overhanging it and suggested that I take a photograph because of the beautiful bright red petals. I thought the arch of the flower made an excellent frame for the chimney pot on the neighbor’s house.

A collaborative artistic effort.

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~Richard

6 sentence story – Done Fishin’

It had been a hot day, all day long, and the kids had enjoyed playing on the floating dock and catching fish. Now they were tired and had been tucked up in bed with their dreams of the big ones that got away. Tomorrow would be a new adventure, as it always was for the youngsters.

As the old man looked at the forgotten net, lit by the fading sun, he recalled his own childhood adventures. They were a lifetime and a continent away. Yet reassuringly similar.

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~Richard

How Does Your Garden Grow?

A late blog entry today as I was busy in the garden (or “yard” as my colleagues insist on calling it!). This year I finally got my act together, built up a few more raised beds, filled them with topsoil, compost and a little vermiculite and then, most importantly, added an leaky hose irrigation system.

So far, I am pleased with the results. We are on our third crop of broccoli florets, having realized that just removing them causes the plants to produce more; our potatoes, squash and cabbages are doing well; and our tomatoes are starting to plump out. The fruit on the raspberry canes and blackberry bushes we planted two years ago are starting to ripen and even the asparagus bed has taken off, although that will be a long term project! The only thing that has been a disappointment is our strawberries, which we cannot seem to get to thrive 😦

I am looking forward to getting outside in the cooler morning weather tomorrow to harvest some of this bounty before the temperatures hit the mid 90s °F again (~ 35°C) but I did manage to wander the estate (!) and get some pictures to remind me how fortunate we have been.

~Richard

 

Strawberry Solstice

I always thought, misguidedly it would appear, that Midsummer’s day was on the 21st June. However, I now stand fully informed by the interweb that it can fall on 20th,21st or 22nd June. As a consequence of my misunderstanding I missed my posting for the Summer Solstice, since I was away on a family trip to Hershey, Pennsylvania.

However, coincidence being what they are, on my return yesterday evening I thought I would potter about the vegetable garden and do some watering and weeding. (Bear with me.)

We have recently moved our strawberry bed (for the second time) and it has been spectacularly unsuccessful over the last two seasons. Therefore, I was more than happy to see half a dozen or so bright red strawberries beaming up at me in their freshly watered, and recently bird-proofed, bed.

I duly picked these for my beloved to have, as these were the first of the season and always remind me of our June wedding day xx years ago, when we also had the first strawberries of the year (back in the days when fruit was seasonal). After drifting into the house to browse the web, I found that Monday was not only the Summer Solstice, but also the rare incidence of a “Strawberry Moon”, which occurs roughly every 50 years or so.  

Now, I have never heard of a Strawberry Moon, but apparently it was so-called by the Algonquin tribes of North America who believed that a full moon in June signaled the start of the strawberry season.

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What an odd coincidence…

Happy Midsummer’s Day to all!

 

~Richard

 

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