Archive for February, 2010

Napa Morning

February 22, 2010
Golden Morning, by Cheryl McDonald, 2010

Napa Valley wakes up

Experiencing the early morning in the country is a cherished experience for many people, but for a landscape photographer it is particularly sweet. The anticipation of what the sunrise will bring causes a restless night sleep and giddy excitement as I pack up my camera and my coffee and head for the countryside.

The fog was thick last Wednesday morning as I headed out to Napa Valley. I wanted to see the mustard freshly bloomed and knew that with all the rain we have been having, that it should be particularly splendid. Driving in the dark up the Silverado Trail, my headlights reflecting in the fog, I wondered where the road would lead and what splendid sites I would see. I took a side road just as the sun was starting to glow over the mountains. I wanted to catch that first light on the landscape so I had to get myself parked and camera ready. As the light bloomed through the mist, I could see my surrounding and I was in the midst of the vineyard, mustard gleaming with dew. It was beautiful. The camera seemed to almost work on it’s own, capturing the beauty of this new day, glowing sunrise, green dew frosted grass, and bright yellow mustard. As the fog lifted it danced across the landscape creating lyrical choreography of mist and cloud among the trees, vineyards, and valleys. I wandered up the road stopping and experiencing each magical moment.

A Walk with the Goblins, copyright Cheryl Mcdonald, 2010

A Walk with the Goblins

The camera is a new medium for me. I have resisted it’s technology for years, focusing my creativity on more “hands-on” media. But this last year I have discovered the joy of shooting pictures as if I were painting a landscape. I have a great teacher, Glenn S. Capers. His landscape photos and street portraits capture rare moments in time. Glimpses of emotion that are gone in a flash- the click of a shutter captures them forever. For years, Glenn and I have traveled the roads of California taking pictures. I was taking them for resource material for my paintings and he was communing with Nature as she shared her most intimate secrets with him. I watched, I learned, and we have shared many great stories waiting for the light. I finally got up the courage to seriously study this camera of mine and learn to use it as a brush, painting light and shadow on the page. Glenn has guided me every step of the way.

This trip to Napa was, for me a test, to move from amateur to artist. I like my results and I hope you do to. To see more of these images- coming soon.

Glenn S. Capers

Glenn S. Capers is a New York photographer his work can be seen here. Please check it out.


Fun, Frolick and Feathers

February 15, 2010

Feathers Fly Free

I was out and about in the city yesterday- wanted to see the pillow fight in Justin Hermann Plaza. I had happened upon it a couple of years ago after getting off from work. Got feathers in my hair and on my dry clean only suit. But it looked like fun and I thought someday I will get back to this! Well I did, yesterday. This event started a few years ago as a “flash mob” event which is a new term I learned yesterday that means just that- someone decides they want to do something and so they put the word out on Facebook or Myspace or Twitter and people just show up and participate. What fun!

Well, last nights event was more than a few people- there were hundreds of people- it started in the plaza and then spilled out into Market street which became blocked with feathers and people. What a great way to spend the most “hallmark” of all holidays, playing and frolicking with a bunch of people you do not know or need to know. Just pure fun. Yes there were a few over-zealous pillow pummel-ors however they were few and far between, even the littlest fighters 3 and 4 year olds were having a wonderful time. Although I did not get into the fight- I decided to play with my camera instead of a pillow, It was great fun and a great adventure.

As for the clean up- I am sure it is still going on- if you need a feather in your cap today- I suggest Justin Hermann plaza!

Artist, Illustrator, or Designer…yes!

February 9, 2010

letting go-by cheryl mcdonald

The last couple of weeks I have been doing a lot of self- evaluation- again- I keep going through this I guess, because I just can’t possibly believe that it is possible to be able to promote all of the things I do! Most of the art and design gurus tell us that it is important to focus on one style or one medium or at least one profession- So I keep trying to figure out which of these things I should be working on. The trouble is I have successes in all of these things- illustration, fine art, and graphic design and I love doing them all! I also have several different styles and work in several different mediums, and am told that I do them all rather successfully. It is interesting to me also that all of these things sort of rotate through my life. And I am beginning to see that, that is how I should work them- Putting the money and attention and resources on the one that is creating the fullness and bringing the most passion to my life at the moment. I have had this feeling that if I could just get “someone who knows” to tell me what I should do, then I could just do it. Guess what, everyone has a different opinion on what I should do and where I should focus. All of them credible in their fields. What I am learning- actually re-learning is that I really need to trust myself on this, follow my passions which just happen to be all of these things and use all of the tools I know to share my multiple talents to create the beauty and truth and wisdom I am given every day.

What I also realize is that discipline is necessary to carry out what needs to be done to accomplish the goals I have for each of these aspects. And that also is only something I can do for myself. As a business owner, I am in charge of my day- so I need to follow through on the tasks that need to be done. It is my responsibility to do the promotion, the daily connecting with clients as well as the daily creating. How lucky am I to have to create everyday!

There are no limits and the more I learn, the more I have to share. I guess the real issue is just being in balance and that is a subject for another day.

Just maybe that is the beauty of the name of my company- Passions at Play Art & Design.

Art and Design are my passion, and my way of playing through life.