Posts in Category: people

Artist at Work. Happy Sunday!

Catherine Hamilton talking art with John Sill at the American Birding Expo in Columbus OH

“If your eye is generous your whole being is full of light!” Jesus.

The first American Birding Expo attracted a handful of the best bird artists in America. I hope to see the art selection expand in future years. This is Catherine Hamilton talking her art with John Sill, both accomplished and well known artists. Catherine spent her days so far at the ZEISS booth and I got to spend significant time with her…and heard her show her portfolio to hundreds of people. I have come to appreciate her love for both birds and art. She certainly has a generous eye!

I love discovering the spirit in people I encounter. I have known Catherine for several years now, and recognized the spirit in her right away. We have shared several adventures (minor adventures) and talked a lot. On the way back to the car after a long day at the expo last night, as we walked along in silence, she said “I am so glad we are already at the point where we can be together without feeling like we have to talk.” (Which is something, since Catherine is a talker! And I mean that in the best possible way 🙂 We are comfortable together. And that is, of course, the shared spirit. We have not talked about what she thinks of the spirit…of the light she is so full of…and certainly not of where she thinks it comes from. It is not necessary on my part. I am so comfortable with her that I know exactly where it comes from. The generous eye is the generous eye, and the light, as far as I can see, and as much as I know, is the light. There is only one good and loving God over and in all, the light of the world. That is my faith. And it is always good to see it in another. Happy Sunday!


Harvey Ried on Banjo

Harvey Ried. Punkinfiddle Festival, Laudholm Farms, Wells ME

The yearly Punkinfiddle Festival at Laudholm Farms in Wells Maine is a celebration of harvest and folk music, and a fund-raiser for the Wells National Estuarine Research Center. Lots of kids activities. And music on the porch of the Education Building. This is Harvey Ried, a well known local musician with several albums and several books of Autoharp and Banjo instruction. He and his wife, Joyce Anderson, play a variety of folk and old-time music on the fiddle (Joyce), guitar, autoharp, and banjo (Havey).

Sony HX90V in Superior Auto. Processed in Lightroom.

Working Iron. Happy Sunday!

Blacksmith working iron, Common Ground Fair, Unity ME

Blacksmith working iron, Common Ground Fair, Unity ME

When I see a wrought iron fence or baluster, still standing from the 18th and early 19th century, I don’t really think that each twist and curve, each leaf shape, had to be hand forged from iron in fire, with a hammer on an anvil…but, of course, it was so. I suppose today they are machine twisted and laser cut, laid out and sheet welded…done in a matter of moments, but traditional wrought iron was an art embedded in a craft, and each individual piece of the pattern took time and care to form. A four foot section of railing would have taken one craftsman blacksmith a full day to forge.

These shots are from the blacksmithing demonstration at the Common Ground Fair in Unity Maine. As I mentioned yesterday, The Common Ground Fair features demonstrations of a variety of folk and primitive arts and crafts. The Blacksmith shed is one of the most popular. In a small rough wood-shingled building, about 16×12, two blacksmiths, two anvils, and 2 furnaces work continuously all day long. One side of the building is open from head height on a 10 year old to just above my eye-level, and the crowd is 5 people deep on the 16 foot side all the time. The Blacksmiths keep up a running commentary on what they are doing as they work, and layer in a good dose of history and blacksmithing theory as they go. It is fascinating. I could have stood there all day…and I suspect there were some 10 year old boys who did.

This is another effort to fulfill my commitment to you and to myself to look for the beauty and inspiration…the spirit…in humans and the human condition as well as in nature. The Generous Eye has to see the spirit in our fellows or it is not generous at all. It is not hard to see the beauty and the creative spirit at work in a traditional craftsman or woman…in an artist or an artisan who shapes raw materials into something both beautiful and useful…beautiful in its usefulness…or useful in its beauty. Our trouble today is that we are, too often, separated from the process that makes the things we use, and the things we enjoy. We forget too easily the human labor…the beautiful work…the creative energy…the spirit of creation…the living breathing souls…that are behind every little thing we surround ourselves with…from cars to cameras to tea kettles and toilet paper. Some of us buy a few “hand made” things to remind ourselves, or go once a year to the Common Ground Fair, and some of us maintain a hobby that allows us to work with our own hands. We do try to keep the Eye Generous so that we can see the spirit in all we are and all we do.

Personally I am thankful for events like The Common Ground Fair, or the PunkinFiddle festival yesterday at Laudholm Farms, for the reminder of the dignity and beauty of human labor. No one participates more directly in the creative action of God than the human artist and artisan. It is good that we remember that! It is even better when that spirit informs our own labor. Happy Sunday.

Sony HX90V in Hand-held Twilight Mode.

Common Ground Fair

In the Maine Fiddle Camp tent, Common Ground Fair, Unity Maine

A few weeks ago, in a The Generous Eye post, I made a commitment to myself (and to my followers) to take more pictures of people…to look for beauty and inspiration in human faces and forms. I spent the day at the Common Ground Fair in Unity Maine…the Maine Organic Farmers Association fair…and had an opportunity to put my commitment into practice. It is not easy for me. It does not come natural to point a camera at a stranger…right out in public…but it something that I want to work at. The Common Ground Fair draws an interesting crowd. Hippies, want-to-be-hippies, former hippies, and back-to-the-landers from infant to senior citizen…and quite a number of family farmers who have converted to organic at least in part as a way of keeping the family farm alive and in the family. They have Ox pulls, sheep-dog trials, herbal and holistic medicine lectures, a building full of rabbits and another of chickens, folk and primitive arts demonstrations, at least 3 stages of folk and ethnic music, a large area of alternative energy and green-building displays, a food court with a huge variety of healthy food, two farmer’s markets, a fleece market, etc, etc. I captured this moment in the tent sponsored by the Maine Fiddle Camp. Friday was the first day of the fair, but already this one was wearing out.
Sony HX90V in Superior Auto mode at 95mm equivalent field of view. 1/100th @ ISO 80 @ f5. Processed and cropped for composition in Lightroom.

Coco Loco. Happy Sunday!

The Mariachi Band at Coco Loco in Bay City MI

While at the Midwest Birding Symposium we searched Yelp for a good Mexican Restaurant. Coco Loco had a good rating and the reviews sounded promising…the name was certainly intriguing…it was not far from our hotel…so, why not? Quite a place! The decor was over the top, the atmosphere was fun fun fun…and they had an old style four piece Mariachi Band roaming the floor. The food was not bad either. I, of course, had my Sony HX90V in my pocket, so (uncharacteristically for me in that setting) I took quite a few pics…trying to catch a bit of the fun while remaining as unobtrusive as possible. I am not that much of a tourist yet 🙂

This couple had a request for the band…something slow and old and romantic…and they were clearly moved by the experience. As was I. I felt a bit like an intruder zooming in this close, but that is why I carry a real camera and not just a phone…even into restaurants. I don’t think they knew I was there. No flash…just Hand-held Twilight Mode.

As I say, this is not a typical image for me…I am more into nature, landscapes, birds and wildlife, etc…but I know I need to take more pics of people, and I am trying to remind myself of that at every opportunity. The creator of all who shares a spirit with us is evident in nature, of course, but there is no expression of the creator’s love more complete than what we see in each other…the children of God…as we live out the spirit of creation. A generous eye certainly must see, and respond to, the light that is in each of us…and I am called to celebrate that love as much in humanity as in nature. I want to do that. It does not come natural yet, but I intend to make it so…to begin to photograph my fellows with as much joy as I photograph a dawn or sunset…or a bird. We will see what success I have…

Let this be a beginning, and a commitment. Happy Sunday!