Archive for the ‘Photography’ Category

Art for Art’s Sake and for Fun!

March 14, 2011
S-light of Hand, by Cheryl McDonald, 2011

S-light of Hand

Something that I have noticed about having a camera in my hand, is that I am no longer just a casual observer in life, I become involved in the process and also a documentarian of the process.

Last week I joined the local Artist association and at my first meeting was witness and participant to an extraordinary event of the creative process.

Matt Wardell, setting up and explaining the project, by Cheryl McDonald,2011

Matt Wardell, setting up and explaining the project

Matt Wardell, an artist from Los Angeles had come to give a presentation/demonstration of his art process. Well, his art process very much requires group participation. He set up a pair of walls with a few found objects, posters, lights, etc. and asked the audience to complete the piece.

Matt Wardell and DAL members building the project, by Cheryl McDonald, 2011

Matt Wardell and DAL members building the project

Teamwork by Cheryl McDonald, 2011


There were lot’s of found objects, hats, plastic fruit, flowers, the flotsam and jetsam of life, along with drills, hammers, staplers and other tools with which to apply these things.

The liquid animation begins, by Cheryl McDonald, 2011

The liquid animation begins

The final pieces of the project were several people who were pushing things and pouring things through the walls. The project became animated!

It was fun, crazy, unorganized teamwork that happened right there in the meeting room at the city recreation center.

I had brought my camera as I am learning to shoot events and thought this might be a good time to practice. I was not expecting what happened, but as the evening progressed I found myself sometimes a participant and sometime the documentarian of this event. The levels of participation of the other members of the audience was also very interesting to me. One person left completely. Many people made suggestions from the audience or sat and watched, enjoying the chaos and process that ensued and there were several who got involved stapling, drilling holes, finding ways to attach things to the walls. The final project was chaotic and colorful and imaginative and of course, temporary because it all had to be taken down immediately by the end of the evening.

The Project Complete, by Cheryl McDonald, 2011

The Project Complete

So what was the point of this exercise? Well, for me, it was the process, the cooperation of people who barely knew each other getting involved in the fun and creation. It was silly, imaginative and completely unnecessary in the scheme of life and that was the joy of it. There was no requirement for framing, showing, selling- it was creativity at it’s best and most basic level.

So not only did I get an interesting event to photograph, but I was also given a reminder of what creativity is all about. Sometimes we artists get so caught up in the idea of making art as a profession, we forget the reason we started creating in the first place- it’s FUN.

Cheryl McDonald is and Artist, Photographer and Graphic Designer, currently living in Ridgecrest, CA
to see more of her work go to or


A Bright Spot in the Forest

March 4, 2011

A Bright Spot in the Forest by Cheryl McDonald

Do you ever have weeks where you think everything is going along great. You feel good, projects are going well, you have an awesome sense of joy and excitement about what is coming to fruition and then suddenly one morning you wake up in a cold sweat and wonder- “What will become of me? Where am I going? And How am I going to get there?”

That is what happened to me this morning. I was awake at 3:30 having a worry fit about what will happen in the future! So after some deep breathing, some writing in my journal and a prayer to bring me back to sanity, I fell back to sleep and when I awoke a couple of hours later, there were ideas and directions on what to do next right there in my mind where just a few hours ago had been chaos and fear. Wow! Sometimes I feel like that little yellow flower in the image at the top of the page- surrounded in the deep dark forest fighting for just a bit of light and fresh air.

Living the nontraditional life that I live, can be an interesting challenge. Learning not to listen to the fears of others is probably one of the biggest challenges. What I am working to accomplish is beyond reason sometimes, and yet deep down in my heart I know that I am on the right path and that this creative path that I am on is bringing much to this world that is needed.

Finding the path of our destiny is difficult for many to figure out. For me it has been easy to know but harder to follow and stay focused. Each day I find more and more to be grateful for and more that I can share. Each day I have all that I need and more. When you think of your version of security, can you really say that it will be there forever, no matter what? I know that the flow of life that I experience daily is as secure as it can get. No matter what, and that is what I know today.

Cheryl McDonald is and artist and philosopher who now lives in the desert in Southern California. To see her latest work please go to or

The First Snow of the Season

November 22, 2010

A Light Layer of Snow by Cheryl McDonald

My sister Denise called- ” Looks like the mountains are covered with snow, thinking about going to shoot clouds, would you like to go along?”

It had been cold and windy all morning, I managed to get some wood in the back yard sorted and stacked just before the storm hit here. Rain and Hail. I looked out at the mountains and said “sure let’s go!”

We packed our cameras, picked up some hot tea and headed for Walker’s Pass. It has been a long time since I lived this close to snow and I had forgotten how beautiful a first snow can be. The desert was still in Fall wardrobe, some rust colored dried flowers and dried yellow sages mixed with the Joshua trees that stand like sentries watching over the land. The air was crisp and cold, fresh and the smell of snow was in the air.

Snow Covered Desert by Cheryl McDonald

Joshua's in the Snow by Cheryl McDonald

Joshua Bristles and Snow by Cheryl McDonald

We drove about half way up the pass and the snow was getting pretty heavy.  We did not have chains or four-wheel drive and we didn’t want to chance not making it back down the mountain. So we had to be satisfied with what we found. No problem! The snow covered desert, the clouds rolling fiercely across the deep blue sky. It was all magnificent.

Branches by Cheryl McDonald

On our way back to town I decided that a sunrise trip North was in order. Denise was otherwise engaged- it being Monday and all, so Georgia my chihuahua and I set off this morning at 4am to capture the sunrise on the face of Mount Whitney.

Moonset, Sunrise over the Sierras by Cheryl McDonald

A beautiful drive in the dark up 395, the full moon was hanging over the Sierras ,and I was getting very excited, as I realized the full moon would be setting over the mountains and the sunrise in the east would be happening at the same time. I was suddenly grateful for the clear skies as I anticipated the photo ops to come.

Red Stone by Cheryl McDonald

When we got to the Alabama Hills behind Lone Pine, CA, the pink cast of sunrise was edging it’s way across the landscape turning the already red rock to a brilliant orangey pink. I don’t think it had snowed this low yesterday as the hills were dry, but the snow on the mountains was beginning to sparkle as the sun came over the horizon.

Golden Monuments- Alabama Hills by Cheryl McDonald

Mount Whitney at Dawn by Cheryl McDonald

And then the magic began to happen. The sky was turning pink and mauve and lavender and the brilliant fullness of the moon, clear as if it was hanging right in front of me, began to shimmer in the sky as it cast a beautiful clear light on the pink face of the Stone mountains standing before me. It was an incredible gift and I felt honored to be in the presence of such magnificence.

First Snow by Cheryl McDonald

As the sun continued to rise, the light turned to golden and a little further up the road we found snow on the ground and again we stopped and enjoyed. Even Georgia got out of the car and played in the snow. It was so cute to see her romping and playing in snow!

Careful Steps by Cheryl McDonald

Georgia in the snow- by Cheryl McDonald

Dressed for the Cold by Cheryl McDonald

Once we had our fill of morning light and 24 degree temperatures, it was time to head back home.

Mount Whitney with a sprinkling of snow by Cheryl McDonald

But as we drove down 395, I looked to the west to see the next storm making it’s way over the mountain tops.  More snow is forecast and a significant chance for a freeze here at home is predicted. Who knows, maybe there will be another roadtrip at sunrise tomorrow!

Another Storm Coming by Cheryl McDonald

Cheryl McDonald is a artist living at the base of the Eastern Sierras. She works is watercolor and photography and gives workshops and travel workshops in both mediums. To see more of her photography please go to