Posts Tagged ‘landscape photography’

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 Journey, Evolution and New Life

February 21, 2011

Pillars by Cheryl McDonald

Evolution is an amazing thing. We talk about evolution as if it is something that happened in the past, not something that is happening daily. We forget that evolution is about change and that is what we experience everyday whether we like it or not. This year is full of new beginnings, great amounts of creative energy are flowing throughout the world. Major changes are happening in most of our lives. I am excited about what is evolving and see new opportunities for change and evolution daily.

Creativity does not stand still. Artists and scientists and all of those who create are not very good at settling for what they know, they are always looking for the next answer to questions that are constantly erupting in their brains or consciousness. It energizes me when I know that there is a new project or experience coming my way. It is nice to remember where I have been and the portfolio I have created, however the reason I create is not for the finished product so much as for the experience of the creating. Being in that “zone” is an experience that I look for, yearn for more and more. The flow of energy is amazing. And the finished product is for me an expression of the voice of the Divine.

My newest means of creating for the last couple of years has been digital photography. Learning to use the camera, capturing a feeling, an experience a moment in time that will never come again has been an exhilarating experience for me. And now I see that the camera is a tool that will now be a part of my creative arsenal along with the mediums of drawing and watercolor and computer technology. Learning to use Photoshop for more than just processing pictures or paintings for print is giving me the means to create images from various mediums to create art that is new and exciting. I am starting to imagine how all of these mediums can come together to express. It is awesome. My latest series is called the Journey and so far it is only images created from combining photographs, but that is about to change as well. Stay tuned for what comes next.

This week is also exciting for me because I get to start sharing what I know about painting and the creative process with others. My first watercolor class here in Ridgecrest begins Thursday night. I love the synergy that is created when creative people come together. We learn from each other and that creative energy just flows on and on.

How has your creativity evolved? What new mediums are you incorporating into your work? Can you see how this process brings new life to yourself and your work? These are questions I am working with and struggling and at the same time loving the process of rebirth. But that is how new life begins isn’t it. And so it is!

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