Rocky start to photography: LAPC

For me, it was a rocky start to photography. As I mentioned on my About page, I dropped out of Photography class in High School. I was failing the class. My focus was still unclear during those rebellious years.

College and beyond

A rocky start to photography
Maidenhair fern printed in my darkroom

In college, everything changed when I roomed with two Photography majors. In one of the places I lived we converted a bathroom into a makeshift darkroom. I spent a lot of time in that room, unrolling spools of film in semi-darkness and immersing prints in sharp-scented fixatives.

I also served as a part-time muse since the college required Photography program students to take one roll of pictures a day. The infrared picture of me below, dressed as a lion, was taken by my roommate Jill.

Infrared lion with wine
Me dressed as a lion with wine in infrared

During one winter break, we left our rented house to spend time with our families. I arrived back at the house days ahead of everyone else. A catastrophe greeted me. Unbeknownst to me, my out-of-state roommates neglected to pay the electric bill—they assumed our rent included electricity. The electric company turned off our power when no one was in town, and the house was ice cold. The pipes had broken in the ceiling, releasing a steady stream of dripping water. My first thought was, “Her photos!” I scrambled to salvage my roomie’s pictures from her drenched room. String zigzagged from wall to wall and I hung up the saturated prints.

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Cheerful words on my walk: Monochrome Monday

I saw these cheerful words on my walk in a local park. I’m thankful for the unknown artist who is making everyone’s days a little brighter. 😀

Cheerful words on my walk October 2020

See other examples in Encouraging words on my walk and Hopeful words on my walk.

Monochrome Monday

Black-necked stilt pen-and-ink: First Friday Art

Here’s a black-necked stilt drawing I created with pen-and-ink. The rushes surrounding these birds echo their tall slim form.

Black-necked stilt by Siobhan Sullivan 2020

Here’s a stilt I saw in the spring in Harney County, Oregon. Black-necked stilts have an almost regal quality to them. They move as if in a procession, slowly and deliberately.

Steens mountain tour, black-necked stilt in eastern Oregon 6April2018

Do you have artwork you would like to share? Include a First Friday Art tag on your post.

Music from my singing dog – Happy Howl-idays!

My dog, Tesla, loves to sing along to music. She especially likes harmonica music. Here’s her version of Jingle Bells.

You may not be able to hear it very well in the background, but here’s who Tesla was singing along with. This talented musician plays 10 Christmas carols in 5 minutes.

May music find its way into your holiday celebrations.

Where words fail, music speaks.

Hans Christian Andersen

25 Day Christmas Challenge – Day 25 Christmas Morning

Birds on my Christmas tree: LAPC & SS

Many of us won’t be celebrating the holidays with close relatives, but we’ve grown closer to bird “families” in our yards. Interest in birding is soaring and people are flocking to this activity during the pandemic. I’m sharing the joy of birds in these photos of ornaments I’ve collected over the years.

Bluebirds capture the essence of the sky in their plumage. I’m hoping we have more bluebird days to look forward to soon.

Birds in my tree 19December2020
Mountain bluebird

Flocks of whooping crane birds fill the landscape with their unique “unison” call. Maybe people can heed the call towards unison in the upcoming year.

Whooping crane ornament December 2020
Whooping crane
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Canada goose sculpture at dawn: Sculpture Saturday

The sun was rising and it was snowing lightly when I walked by this Canada goose sculpture in Bend, Oregon.

Canada goose sculpture at dawn
Sunrise over Canada goose sculpture

Here’s what it looks like with a bit more snow.

"River Geese" by Peter Helze Mill A Loop Deschutes River Trail Art3 2March2018
“River Geese” by Peter Helzer

This life-size bronze sculpture is by artist Peter Helzer. “River Geese” is part of the Art in Public Places initiative in Bend.

Canada goose pair and gosling 3June2017
Canada geese pair & gosling

There are plenty of real life Canada geese in this neighborhood to keep the artwork company. The Deschutes River, and the Bend Whitewater Park, is directly behind this sculpture.

Sculpture Saturday

Mother Bear in Madras, Oregon: Saturday Sculpture

This Mother Bear sculpture is in a roundabout located in Madras, Oregon. Christopher Buffalo Folsom created this work of art. Can you spot all three of the mother bear’s cubs?

Mother Bear in Madras, Oregon

Saturday Sculpture

A calm jay painting: First Friday Art

California scrub jays are usually a loud and active kind of bird. I shared this painting I did of a calm jay exactly four years ago today after a hectic political season. I wanted to show that a sense of calmness can return even after a time of chaos.

Calm jay by Siobhan Sullivan Oct 2020

The jay pictured above, and the one below, appear calm on the surface. But underneath those calm exteriors, there is a flurry of activity. Their minds are running through a lot of “what ifs” and their bodies are ready to spring into action.

Jay getting a drink

Today we are facing many challenges and “what ifs.” It may be difficult, but I hope you’re able to capture moments of calm, no matter how brief, before you flutter to your next destination.  

First Friday Art

Do you have artwork you would like to share? Include a First Friday Art tag on your post.

Fungie the dolphin: Sculpture Saturday

This is a sculpture of Fungie, a bottlenose dolphin who has lived in and around Dingle Bay in County Kerry, Ireland for 37 years. He has brought much joy to visitors and residents over the years. Unfortunately, he has not been seen for over a week. A large scale search is underway.

Fungie the dolphin in Ireland

Fungie holds a place with Guinness World Records for being the longest-lived solitary dolphin in the world. He is thought to be in his forties.

Sculpture in Dingle, Ireland

I am sending good thoughts his way…

May you live as long as you want,
And never want as long as you live.

Irish Blessing
Dingle Bay, Ireland

Sculpture Saturday

High Desert Hideaway Hut: LAPC

High Desert Hideaway hut in Bend, Oregon

I showed you how I created this mural but I didn’t show you the inside of my High Desert hideaway hut. This 8 foot by 16 foot hut used to be a garden shed. We repurposed it into a guesthouse for visiting relatives and a studio space for me.

This $50 thrift shop door we installed is interesting on the inside and outside. What a great find!

  • Thrift shop door
  • Thrift shop door
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American kestrel study in pencil: First Friday Art

American kestrel study

This month, for First Friday Art, I’m sharing an American kestrel study I drew in pencil. When I took an ornithology class in college we learned about anatomy by studying specimens in a museum.

These sketches helped me learn more about birds, but they also turned out to be great tools for future works of art. I have referred back to them when working on pen-and-inks and paintings.

Here’s a photo of an American kestrel I saw in Malheur National Forest last year. They have beautiful coloring.

Kestrel in Malheur National Forest, Oregon April 2019

Do you have some artwork you would like to share? Use the First Friday Art tag.

Art with a twist: A riddle in pictures

These three pieces of art with a twist by Dennis McGregor are displayed in the Old Mill District of Bend, Oregon.

Why do they come with a twist? Each piece represents the name of a local wildlife species but you have to figure out what they are. Can you guess?

Art with a twist in Bend, Oregon July 2020
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Grizzly Drawings – pencil and pen & ink: First Friday Art

I’m sharing grizzly drawings for First Friday Art this month. I found this pencil drawing tucked away in a forgotten file drawer. This bear, in a typical bear pose, is feasting on a salmon.

Bear drawing in pencil by Siobhan Sullivan. September 2020

When I flipped the pencil drawing over, I found this on the back. I forgot it was there! The fur is not drawn realistically, but this stylized pen-and-ink is interesting. The bear looks so content.

Grizzly drawings by Siobhan Sullivan. September 2020

Maybe I’ll let these grizzly drawings out of their lonely drawer and do something with them. There must be an empty wall somewhere…

Do you have some artwork you would like to share? Use the First Friday Art tag.

High Desert Mural: LAPC & Monday Mural

High Desert Mural Siobhan Sullivan 17 August 2020

I have been busy filling up space and time by creating a High Desert mural. I recently posted more details on creating my Outdoor Pronghorn Painting. This weekend I added three additional paintings to the mural.

Outdoor pronghorn painting by Siobhan Sullivan August 2020
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Masks with customized fabric: Getting creative

Masks with customized fabric August 2020

Did you know you can order customized fabrics from JOANN Fabric & Craft stores and other sources? Neither did I. This week I made face masks with customized fabric that I ordered online.

Customized fabric August 2020
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Outdoor pronghorn painting: First Friday Art

Outdoor pronghorn painting by Siobhan Sullivan August 2020

Here’s an outdoor pronghorn painting I did in our backyard. It’s the first Friday of the month so it’s time to share your First Friday Art. If you have artwork you would like to share, use the First Friday Art tag.

We have an 8 x 16 foot shed in the backyard and it had a boring blank west-facing wall. It needed something to make it more interesting. I thought of painting a pronghorn, one of my favorite critters.

Out building prior to painting near Bend, Oregon August 2020
The shed prior to painting
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Outdoor Horse Sculptures: LAPC & Sculpture Saturday

Summer is a great time to go see outdoor horse sculptures in Bend, Oregon. Here are some of my favorites.

This mare and foal sculpture by Bernie Jestrabek-Hart is at the High Desert Museum. Constructed of barbed wire, this piece portrays a tender moment in a work that is strong yet delicate. Bernie wrote the book, Creating Realistic Works of Art with Barbed Wire , to help others interested in working in this medium.

Outdoor horse sculptures Bend, Oregon
Mare & Foal by Bernie Jestrabek-Hart

This draft horse standing within three large circles of steel is by Devin Laurence Field. Horses played an integral role in Bend’s logging industry. Devin painstakingly constructs each steel piece in a process that includes cutting, forging, pressing, welding, grounding and polishing. This sculpture is in a roundabout in the northeast part of Bend.

Sculpture Bend, Oregon July 2020
Might of the Work Force by Devin Laurence Field
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Lighting up winter nights: LAPC

Last February I was happy to see the Central Oregon Light Art exhibition lighting up winter nights in Bend. Oregon WinterFest has food, beer, and music like other events, but it’s also a showcase for artists. I have photographed the Fire Pit Competition (one of my favorite events!) and the Ice Sculpture Competition in the past. Central Oregon Light Art was added in 2019. I was surprised and impressed with what I saw this year.

This one looked nice in the daylight but look at how it changes at night.

Lighting up winter nights at Oregon WinterFest February 2020
  • Round light sculpture at Oregon WinterFest February 2020
  • Round light sculpture at Oregon WinterFest February 2020
  • Round light sculpture at Oregon WinterFest February 2020
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Art at the Amphitheater in Bend

Art at the Amphitheater , Bend, Oregon November 2018

When I walk my dog in the Old Mill district, I always smile when I see the art at the amphitheater. The Les Schwab Amphitheater is the main venue for large events in Bend, Oregon. Minneapolis artist, Erin Sayer, painted the crow on one side of the stage and the owl on the other.

Fellow Minneapolis artist, Yuya Negishi, assisted her. Yuya painted a dragon mural on the side of a building across the river and another mural on a staircase.

Owl mural in Bend, Oregon December 2018
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Prairie falcon pen-and-ink: First Friday Art

It’s already First Friday again! Today I’m sharing a prairie falcon pen-and-ink drawing I created. This drawing shows their dark “armpit” marking. That’s one of the ways to distinguish them from peregrine falcons.

Prairie falcon pen-and-ink by Siobhan Sullivan

Here are a couple glimpses of a prairie falcon flying high above the 9,734 foot peak of Steens Mountain in Oregon.

Prairie falcon from the peak of Steens Mountain, Oregon 28 August 2019
Prairie falcon from the peak of Steens Mountain, Oregon 28 August 2019

Share artwork you or someone else created with the First Friday Art tag.

Happy Friday!

Dragon Door of the Dark Hedges: Thursday Doors

Isn’t this dragon door spectacular? It’s a beautiful work of art with an interesting story behind it.

Dragon door, County Antrim, Northern Ireland 29 February 2020

Do you recognize the tree-lined road in the photos below? This road, in County Antrim, Northern Ireland, is featured in the Game of Thrones television series.

Do you see the big stump on the left? Four of the 245-year old beech trees fell in windstorms over the last few years. The reclaimed wood was used to create several doors. The dragon door is one of ten doors installed in pubs and hotels in Northern Ireland. Each door represents a scene from season six of Game of Thrones. You can download a Journey of the Doors passport and collect stamps as you visit the location of each door.

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Mother’s Day thoughts – Koala & joey drawing

Mother's Day thoughts - drawing of koala & joey by Siobhan Sullivan May 2020

Sending good Mother’s Day thoughts your way.

The best thing to hold onto in life is each other.

Audrey Hepburn

Feather on scratchboard: First Friday Art

Here is a crow feather on scratchboard I created long ago in a scientific illustration course.

On the first Friday of every month, the city of Bend usually hosts an art walk through the galleries in town. The galleries serve snacks and drinks and highlight local artists. Since the First Friday event is not happening this month, I thought I would share a piece of my own art.

Do you have artwork you would like to share? You can include a First Friday Art tag on your post.

The Choctaw’s simple act of kindness: LAPC

A simple act of kindness, Kindred Spirits Sculpture, Midleton, Ireland 5March2020

In 1847, the worst year of Ireland’s Great Famine, people of the Choctaw Nation of the southeastern United States sent a gift of $170 to Ireland. The money, worth thousands in today’s dollars, was collected to help the starving people of Ireland. Over a million Irish people died from starvation and disease in the period from 1845 to 1849.

Honoring a small act of kindness

Cork-based sculptor, Alex Pentek, created the Kindred Spirits sculpture to help honor that simple act of kindness. The Making of Kindred Spirits shows the artist discussing its creation. The 20-foot tall sculpture, in Midleton, County Cork, was unveiled to the public in 2017. It stands in Ballie Park beside a popular walking trail.

Ballie Park, Midleton, Ireland 5 March 2020

But why would the Choctaw have sent such a gift when many of their people were struggling to survive?

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Dinosaur rock: Finding my calm

Dinosaur rock, Siobhan Sullivan March 2020

I was looking for things to do around the house and decided to paint this dinosaur rock. This 8″ x 12″ Tyrannosaurus rex is the bigger version of this rock that I painted several years ago. Maybe this one will find a place in my garden.

In these chaotic times, I was looking for something to bring a sense of calm. Who knew I could find my calm by painting a dinosaur rock.

Art, in itself, is an attempt to bring order out of chaos.

Stephen Sondheim

This morning I found this article – Soothe Your Soul With An Arts Break. It features a wide variety of artwork from diverse artists. The site features six short videos. I hope some of the art in these videos will soothe your soul… at least for a little while.

Fire pits alight at WinterFest: LAPC

Last weekend we visited the Oregon WinterFest event in Bend. I always look forward to seeing the fire pits and there were over 20 entries this year.

The Lens-Artists Photo Challenge (LAPC) this week is Treasure Hunt. I thought the fire pits fit perfectly under the suggested topic of “something hot.” Here are a few of the sculptures I saw at the WinterFest event.

A scaly tree holding a suspended ball of fire

Fire pits at WinterFest in Bend, Oregon 14February2020

This one looked like kindling hovering over a fire

Outdoor sculpture at WinterFest in Bend, Oregon 14February2020

Tall and graceful, reaching for the sky

Outdoor sculpture at WinterFest in Bend, Oregon 14February2020
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Secret Blue Views: Two short stories

Did you know there are secret rooms at McMenamins Old St Francis in Bend? Here are pictures of two of the blacklight rooms with their secret blue views.

You can’t get into to the rooms through a traditional door. You have to find special panels in the hallway and push them in just the right spot.

The secret blue views inspired me to write microfiction stories related to each room.

Story 1

On the night of the harvest moon, trees in a hidden forest create plump blue and red fruit. Jackrabbits venture into the forest, searching for the red fruit. They nibble on their magic and dance until the sun rises and the fruit disappears.

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Pub Art at Silver Moon Brewing

This pub art at Silver Moon Brewing captures many of the iconic landmarks of Bend, Oregon. Artist Natalie Fletcher included Smith Rock in the background flanked by the Painted Hills on the left and Mt Bachelor on the right. The Deschutes River winds through the scene.

Can you see the source of the river? An overflowing glass of beer of course. Little Lava Lake is the “real” source and it’s a great place for kayaking.

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Dolphins in Flight: Monochrome Monday

This sculpture by Robert Dow Reid is called Rhapsody. It’s located in Kelowna, British Columbia, Canada. The artist captured their playful spirit perfectly.

Dolphins in flight, Kelowna, B.C., Canada July 1998

Monochrome Monday

Beaded bags: LPM Photo Adventure

These beaded bags are some of my favorite works of art. The bags are part of a display at The Museum at Warm Springs. In this region, work with beads began in earnest in the early 1800s. The beads, created in the glass shops of Venice, Italy, were transported across oceans, mountains, and plains. Settlers, trappers, and explorers used them in trade.

When you look at these photos, you will notice something becoming more clear in the background. Right across from this display, there is a modern-day image showing members of the three tribes that live on the Warm Springs Reservation. You can see their reflections in my photos of the bags. It was almost as if they were looking over my shoulder making sure I noticed their presence.

This museum features parts of their history you probably didn’t learn about in school. It also shows their resilience and celebrates their heritage. These beaded bags are a part of their culture that preserve moments worth remembering.

Horse & eagle beaded bags, Warm Springs, Oregon 25 October2019
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An accidental abstract: LAPC

An accidental abstract

I took an accidental abstract when I was crossing a wooden bridge. I must have pushed the shutter button by accident. It’s slightly blurred, but I kinda like how it turned out! 😀

This is one more entry for this week’s Lens-Artist Photo Challenge (LAPC) of Abstract.

Tunnel of Joy in Bend: LAPC

I often walk through this “Tunnel of Joy” by the Deschutes River in Bend, Oregon. I call it that because the bright artwork is so joyful. I’ve previously featured one side of the bridge and the other but never the inside of the tunnel.

Tunnel of Joy in Bend, Oregon July2017

The abstract painting lining the tunnel is by artist, Tom Cramer. He works in a variety of media and is one of the most successful artists currently working in Portland, Oregon. His best-known mural was “Machine”, painted in 1989.

Tunnel of Joy in Bend, Oregon July2017

At first this mural appears to just be random shapes, but if you look closer you may notice shapes you recognize. I see faces, hearts, snakes, and wings. You can use your imagination to find objects in an abstract work of art.

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Belted kingfisher drawing & photo: BOTD

Belted kingfisher in flight by Siobhan Sullivan October 2019

I drew this stylized picture of a belted kingfisher in flight several years ago. These interesting songbirds nest in horizontal burrows near shorelines. The tunnels range in length from 1 – 8 feet. Tunnels as long as 15 feet have been found.

This drawing is of a male bird. Belted kingfishers are one of the few songbirds where the female is more colorful. They have an additional orange-colored breast band.

While out walking my dog on the Deschutes River Trail this morning, I caught a glimpse of a male belted kingfisher perched on a tree limb. A lucky sighting! He was kind of far away but I had time to snap a quick shot before he flew.

Granny Shot It – Bird of the Day challenge BOTD