Thursday, June 30, 2016

Playing with Dolls: In the Barn

Those who have followed my artwork will know that one of my favourite things to do is see how different and creative I can be with dolls and toys.

I have recently had some great ideas involving the old barn that sits adjacent to my house. My guess is it was built around the 1930's maybe earlier. The paint is coming off and some of the boards in the loft area are weak (I walk very carefully) but it is quite sturdy. Sadly, it will be dismantled someday as development is being planned for this area and all will make way for a through street.

The dolls in the barn idea began when I was sitting outside photographing birds. I looked at a knothole and thought it would be fun if someone was peeking out. Since I did not have a model handy, I got out my dolls.



It was exhausting because I would set up the doll inside, then the camera outside, and take shots. For each idea, I had to go into the barn to rearrange. Since the knothole was upstairs, I got a lot of exercise.



A few days later I remembered I had just bought a remote shutter release for my Canon Rebel. I wondered if the range would reach for what I wanted to do. So I set the camera on a tripod, went into the barn, and used myself as my model. And yes!... the remote worked great. I took a few experimental shots and here are the results... nice and weird! 
















It seems to fit that I use the barn for doll-creepy-creativeness. This is where it began. In 2011, I was working on ideas for an exhibit I was invited to contribute to called “Creepy Dolls.” It was for a store window display in a friend's import shop in Silverton, Oregon. I ended up making doll masks patterned after plague doctor and gas masks. They were very cool and someone bought them.

Stone Buddha has since closed (retirement) but I will always see this point in time as the beginning of my artistic focus. 


At the time, my studio was in the barn. At first it was very nice but in time, the heat, damp, cold, and bugs made me move back into the house. I do miss it.




This is the very first photo that led to a very fun path on which I still journey.

Friday, June 17, 2016

Sunspot No. 2553



Two days ago, I took a photograph I think might be a little rare for an amateur photographer. It was of a sunspot using a Canon EOS Rebel T5/1200D and a 75-300mm zoom lens. I posted pics on my personal Facebook, but I want to share them here so more people can see it. Yes... I am showing off!



I spend a lot of time outdoors with my camera, usually shooting wildlife like eagles, hawks, osprey, herons, etc. (I am truly blessed to live in an environment that provides these opportunities.)




In all honesty... this was a 'happy accident.' It was in the morning just before 8am. The sun was visible but clouds had moved in front giving a 'veiled' look showing the crisp outline. I liked the effect and thought I would see what I could capture in an image.

I knew not to look directly at the sun, so I aimed the camera and shot an image. I also knew that the direct sun could possibly damage the electronics in the camera so I shot quickly, one at a time... five in all.



Later, as I was looking at them on my computer, I noticed a dark spot. At first I thought a bird had gotten in the way. But the spot was in the same place of the sun in each image regardless of the placement in the frame. I was a little excited but had to leave for work.

As soon as I got home, I researched online and found that... YES... there was a sunspot in that very place!!! Sunspot #2553! And I got it in an image... this is so cool! I wonder if NASA would be interested!?


I claim all copyrights to my images and are not to be reused or reproduced without due 

credit to KmBennett Art/ Kathryn M. Bennett

Here are NASA images as proof:

from SOHO: Solar andHeliospheric Observatory

(click on image to visit source)



 Please 'Like' my Facebook page KmBennett Art





Monday, June 13, 2016

Waiting for Shadows

Magic is out there... somewhere. I know it is because I have seen it, touched it, tasted it. Often it is in the beauty of the earth before me. Occasionally it is in the air like a smell, a sense,... a quickening. Sometimes it eludes me, but that is ok because I still know it is there.


It is difficult to know what to do as the pain slowly overtakes. I search for solutions. 

I resist being a victim. 

I endure now and will tomorrow.

Creativity is within me and must remain in shadow for the moment. Soon I will look to the shadows... and find my answers. I will learn how to heal.



I feel so disconnected here on the wrong side of the valley. 


I miss everyone.



Wednesday, May 4, 2016

A Different Kind of Wildlife

I have been posting a lot of wildlife photos on my Facebook pages lately. I am surrounded by blue herons, mallard ducks, Canadian geese, red-tail hawks, ospreys, harriers, and much more.

But this time I think I will share something a little different.

Today was a trip to a doctor in Portland, Oregon for my parents. My sister asked me to ride along and, since I finally have a day off from work, I went.  Part of me dreaded it... (afraid of the potential stress) but it went relatively well.

Portland is the nearest large metropolis and the city is working hard at establishing successful mass-transit systems. I was impressed that from one window I could see a multiple of transport modes... car, bicycle, motorcycle, bus, streetcar, light-rail, sky tram, boat, yacht, and pedestrians.

I got some great shots of the landscape from the tenth floor waiting room.

We had hoped to ride the sky tram but it got postponed. Maybe next time.

Sunday, April 10, 2016

St. Francis - In the Garden


I should have posted this last week but things were a little hectic with life things. So... here it is!
When able, I attend Oak Street Church in Silverton, Oregon. I have been going since 1991and the people there are my 'family.' No matter how long it is between visits I always feel I am coming home. I hope to live in Silverton again someday.


For a couple of years, they have been having an art show around Easter time. I was unable to submit before, but felt I should try this time (in spite of living 60 minute drive away). The exhibit coordinator John chose the subject of Saint Francis of Assisi.


For research, I watched films about him on YouTube. This one I really liked and almost chose an image from it for my painting.


I ended up using a photograph I had taken of a statue at the Christian Renewal Center in 2005 while attending a women's retreat with my church sisters. This image made the project very personal for me.


I already had a 10” x 30” canvas I had antiqued with brown walnut stain. It was in my studio waiting for the right project and I knew it would work great.


I painted the white acrylic background and then black oil 'drawing'. I kept it simple for a few reasons. Mostly because St. Francis himself proclaimed simplicity. Also, because I didn't have a lot of time to give to it (work, illness, family issues, etc.)









I am happy with how it turned out. Restful... like a statue in a garden. So I named it 'In the Garden.'

I heard the event was a success with good music and food. I wanted to go but had to work. Maybe next time!


The painting will also serve a second purpose. I was asked to donate a piece of artwork for a silent auction to raise funds to help rebuild an orphanage in Puerto Rico. A friend at Oak Street Church is dedicated to helping them. So it was an easy choice to donate this painting. I like to think Brother Francis would have approved.

Friday, March 18, 2016

From my Camera: Things Above Me


I have loved photography ever since I was a young girl and my mom gave me a Kodak Brownie camera to use. Film came on a roll and the pictures usually came out blurry but I loved it anyway. I sure wish I had some of the images. The oldest I have are from when I took a class in high school.

With the advent of digital photography, I have been able to dive in.

Until a couple of years ago, I made do with a small pocket camera. Then I got a better Sony Cybershot camera and I really took off. It also helps that I am surrounded by incredible and beautiful nature. I recently got a Canon DSLR and after a few months of it sitting (I was intimidated), I have been learning what it can do.

I frequently post 2 or 3 of my nature photos on my Facebook pages. The best ones usually go on my art page KmBennett Art.

Today, I got so many pictures I am happy with, that I decided to post them here.

This morning began with a spectacular sunrise. I barely had time to snap a few shots through my window before having to leave for work. The moment I got home I put on the mud boots and grabbed my cameras…

The best thing that happened was… a bald eagle flew right over me. It was SO cool!

I got a lot of pics of the local turkey vultures who have returned from their winter’s migration. Last summer they were landing on my house… very unsettling!  This one was either checking me out, showing off, or both.

While out and about I was also visited by a mallard duck couple. They wanted to land in the nearby wetland pond but kept going when they saw me.

Other visitors were this young little robin…

…and a honey bee gathering pollen from the dandelions.

I think I did pretty good today (with a little help from Mother Nature)!