Sunday, December 31, 2006

Photo Friday: BEST OF 2006


One of my favorite photos that I took in 2006. I call it Autumn Falls. It was taken at the end of October 2006 at Suck Creek in the Prentice Cooper Wildlife Management Area approximately a mile from where the creek empties into the Tennessee River.

Monday, December 25, 2006

Christmas Fun

For Christmas Eve night my daughter Tiffiny, son-in-law Jeff, and grandsons Blake and Braxton came over to spend the evening with us. Susan found some wierd rubber wig things and here's Braxton and me giving them a test drive. Are we not cool?
I bought Susan an old 1940's telephone which had been restored. We plugged it up and gave a test spin (ie: called a few folks). It works beautifully and has that sweet old ring that makes you think you're back at your grandmothers' house. Blake and Braxton couldn't seem to get over the fact that it was so large, had no buttons, and was not cordless. And to think, I still remember having telephones such as this one as a child!


Friday, December 22, 2006

Photo Friday: Weather


My submission for the PHOTO FRIDAY subject for 12/22/06 entitled Weather. I took this shot at approximately 7:45am last January 28, 2006 while standing on the roof of my back porch.

Sunday, December 03, 2006

Cumberland Trail


Today we took another hike this time going a couple of miles up the Cumberland Trail. This shot is of the North Suck Creek Bridge which is approximately 1.4 miles from Highway 27. From left to right: My son-in-law Jeff, his brother-in-law Tom, my grandsons Blake and Braxton, and their cousing Austin. We estimate this bridge to be about 245 feet long not counting the ramp on the far side. Believe me when I say that this bridge does sway quite a bit as you cross it.

The picture above which was created from three seperate shots was taken by my son-in-law Jeff. He's taken some great shots that give some good perspective to the bridges' length and height above the water.

We had a little of excitement during this hike. I saw an old rotted pine tree that was on the brink of falling and decided to give it a kick or two to help it along. I gave up so Tom and Jeff both took a few turns attempting to bring it down with Tom delivering the fatal blow. My grandson Braxton had gone a short distance up the trail and when the tree did start its' fall it was dropping right straight toward Braxton. I screamed for him to run and his eyes got big as half dollars as he backed away just as the forty or fifty foot tree slammed to the ground right in front of him. He started talking excitedly about how neat this was while I was thinking that if he had gotten squashed I'd never be able to go back home and face his mother and grandmothers. I told him that if he spoke of this not to mention that he almost had a tree dropped on him. His response was that "this was one of the neatest things that happened and that he couldn't wait to tell everyone back home that this was the day that he almost got killed by his Pop".

Kids say the darndest things!

Friday, December 01, 2006

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Illustration Friday: INVENTION



A quick sketch / collage combined with a bit of "scanner art" for this weeks' Illustration Friday subject INVENTION. I chose the acorns as a representative sampling from the greatest inventor of all.

Sunday, November 26, 2006

Aahhh...Mother Nature!

Today I did something that I've been promising myself that I'd do for years. Today I hiked through parts of the Tennessee River Gorge to the base of the cliffs overlooking the Tennessee River. Me, my son-in-law Jeff, grandsons Blake and Braxton, their cousin Austin, and their friend Tyler all hiked to the cliff faces. We were guided by my son-in-laws brother-in-law Tom Ritchie. Tom grew up the Tennessee River Gorge and took us to some pretty interesting rock formations, cliff faces, as well as some very small old coal mines that used to be in operation at the base of the cliffs. We're going to try to hike to a different interesting place within the River Gorge, Prentice Copper State Forest, or along the Cumberland Trail every weekend (weather permitting). Click here to see a few more pictures that I posted on my Flickr page.

The Tennessee River flows northeast to southwest through East Tennessee. Near the southern border of the state, the river abruptly turns west, carving its way through the Walden Ridge portion of the Cumberland Plateau and creating the Tennessee River Gorge, one of the deepest canyons in the eastern United States. Where the river cuts through the plateau, two mountain remain on each side: Signal Mountain on the north and Lookout Mountain on the south. The latter mountain is a prominent peak overlooking the river and forming a backdrop for Chattanooga, which grew up at this passageway west.

Sunday, November 19, 2006

Back To Nature



Today I took another hike up the creek in the Prentice Cooper State Forest. The trees have already lost their brilliant coloring from a week or two ago but this is still a great area to hike and enjoy nature. This is one of my favorite areas near Chattanooga. There are several parking areas from which you can start your hike, although I have to admit that some of them are difficult starting points as there are very steep slopes to tackle before getting on easier trails. Even with the somewhat difficult starting point that I chose today the hike was well worth it. There's something about being in this place far from traffic and other humans that is extremely relaxing.

Monday, November 13, 2006

Happy Birthday, Mother



A MOTHER'S LOVE

A Mother's love is something that no on can explain
It is made of deep devotion and of sacrifice and pain
It is endless and unselfish and enduring come what may
For nothing can destroy it or take that love away . . .
It is patient and forgiving when all others are forsaking,
And it never fails or falters even though the heart is breaking . . .
It believes beyond believing when the world around condemns,
And it glows with all the beauty of the rarest, brightest gems . . .
It is far beyond defining, it defies all explanation,
And it still remains a secret like the mysteries of creation . . .
A many splendoured miracle man cannot understand
And another wondrous evidence of God's tender guiding hand.

Sunday, October 29, 2006

Fall Is In The Air




Today I spent just a little time in the woods watching the water cascade over the rocks as it runs down Signal Mountain through the Prentice Cooper State Forest. This one of the more beautiful spots to hike through near Chattanooga. The Cumberland Trail actually runs through here and there are miles of scenic views. The river is freezing cold even in the heart of summer.

The last photograph is at my daughter Tiffiny's house. Her back yard adjoins the state forest and the nature views are magnificient there.

Friday, October 20, 2006

Photo Friday: INNOCENCE



My entry for Photo Friday 10/20/06 challenge INNOCENCE.
My granddaughter Micah.
With special thanks to Raphael.
I will gladly remove this image if it in any way violates any copyright laws.

Thursday, October 19, 2006

Happy Birthday Dana

Happy Birthday to my baby sister Dana. I guess you're not a baby any more. I hope that you have a wonderful birthday. And you can still put just three candles on your cake if you want.

Sunday, September 17, 2006

Photo Friday: BRIGHT


My submission for the Photo Friday challenge BRIGHT. For anyone interested there are a couple of trade organizations and government agencies that assign numbers to metal finishes. The finish shown above (which most would call Bright Brass) is designated US3 by the American National Standards Institute and designated 605 by the Builders Hardware Manufacturers Association. And now you know..............

Saturday, September 16, 2006

Just For Fun


Todays' post is just a little something for fun; a collage of a few pictures from some recent family get-togethers. Clockwise from top left: Granddaughter Micah, Grandson Blake, Sister Dana and Son-In-Law Jeff, Micah and me, Micah and Me, Micah, and Sister dana with my son Michael.

Thursday, September 14, 2006

Hibiscus Moon



I haven't posted much lately so I thought that I would add one last Moon Plant update (I promise!). The moon plants continue to thrive and produce blossoms in abundance. The blossoms also seem to defy what I said about Moon Plants only blooming at night with blossoms on my plant starting around 7:00pm and lasting well up until 8:00am.

In defense of the post title I just wanted to use something a little different so I made up a title that reflected the photo subject and background. The Hibiscus in the background is also in my flower bed with the Moon Plants but it seems to be finished for the season. It never produced more than two blossoms at a time but they were magnificent when they were fully open. I took some broad liberties by layering two images and then duplicating them to create my backgound.

I hope to actually find the time to be a little bit creative in the very near future. I hope to do a bit more sketching for Illustration Friday and photography for Photo Friday soon.

Sunday, August 20, 2006

Moon Plant Update






















The moon plants that I mentioned in an earlier post are doing quite well. My neighbors think I'm a bit daffy for letting them run on the house but I like them quite a bit. The vines are still growing at an amazing rate and they make a really nice screen for the front of the house. Tonight the vines produced more blossoms than ever and I just had to post a couple of shots.

Sunday, August 13, 2006

Photo Friday: FOUR


My totally un-flattering entry for this weeks' Photo Friday challenge. The subject this week is FOUR and once again I have chosen myself to flaunt to the world wide web. I'm not narcissistic, just one of the few willing subjects that I can readily find for my photo manipulations.

Sunday, July 30, 2006

Moon plants and Life Changes

No, moon plants and life changes have nothing in common except that they're both subjects in tonights post.

Moon Plants. My mother always grows these plants on her porch and they grow prolifically. The odd thing about them is that they have these very large, beautiful blossoms that only appear at night. I've tried to grow these before with absolutely no success but this summer we finally scored. I've included both pictures above just so you can see how much this plant has grown since around the end of May. And now, tonight, it's going to display around 8 to 10 large white blossoms. They'll stay open all night long and be gone by around 7:30am.

Life Changes. If anyone read the comments in my May entry called Envy you might have noticed that I said that I was overwhelmed at work. I also said that I was drowning and just needed a lifeline but just couldn't seem to find one. Well, when I finally did realize that things were never going to change for me at work I decided to change my situation another way. I quit my job and have gone on to better things. At the moment there is very little stress and the atmosphere is totally different from where I was before. Oh, I know that things will get busy and there will be stressful days. But for the moment I am quite enjoying the change although I have to say that there are a few people at the old job that I do miss. Monroe, Ladonna, Joe, Alan, Diana, and a couple of others have been good friends and I hope that we can all stay in touch

Photo Friday: Portrait

It's been a while since I posted anything for Photo Friday and when I saw this weeks' subject PORTRAIT I immediately thought of this shot that I created a few months ago. I've updated it and added the frame and a neato optical illusion. I suggest looking at it full size for the best effect.

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Terragen


I've been playing with the Terragen freeware program a bit and created the pictures below. You can almost get photo realism but I think that this is probably dependent on available memory during the rendering process. I have a gigabyte of ram and the rendering process takes almost 3 minutes for an 800 x 600 picture with realism set at 99%. The pictures below are basically the same setting with variations in sun position. In the extreme right I changed the viewpoint just ever so slightly.
Now, if I can just figure out how to add grass, plants, and trees!

Sunday, July 09, 2006

Illustration Friday: Skyline


My post for this week's Illustration Friday subject which is SKYLINE. This is a collage consisting of a photo of the Tennessee Aquarium in Chattanooga combined with a landscape that I created with a great freeware program called Terragen.

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

PhotoFriday











For the Photo Friday subject: AUTOMOTIVE

A quick and somewhat cheezy photoshop manipulation combining real life with toy car.

Almost There


I have learned that I am not a natural born roofer. Thank God for my son-in-law Jeff. We've finally gotten my re-roofing project to about 95% completion. The shingles are down and only a little trim work remains, closing in the end, putting up the new soffits and trim, then paint. I've taken three totally full pickup truckloads of debris to the landfill and was able to breathe a sigh of relief to see that my grass survived being buried under the old asphalt shingles for two weeks.

Sunday, June 18, 2006

Happy Father's Day


This morning I called my dad to wish him a happy father's day and to tell him how much I wished that I could be there with him. Actually I would like to tell him a lot of things but when we're together we don't actually talk that much. No real reason for it and I am not sure why.
On my birthday this year I received a birthday card from my parents in which my dad had written that he was sorry that we had not spent more time together and that he wished that he had been able to give me more. My dad had nothing to be sorry for as it was I who moved away at 18 and rarely lived closer than 2 1\2 hours away for most of that past 33 years. When I see my parents they almost always mention that they wish they could have given me more. More of what I always think? You see, I KNOW that they are referring to money or possessions. What they don't seem to realize is that they gave me so much more that is infinitely more valuable than any money in the world.
Both my mom and dad gave me their unconditional love, even when I screwed up (and that was lot let me tell you!).

My dad always stressed that education was essential in establishing a good career. My dad always wanted for me to attend med school but I'd have none of it (something that I now regret!). My dad worked in the aircraft business his whole life and when I was a kid he was priveledged to work on the Saturn V rocket. He took me to work one weekend and I got to see the huge first stage. I was so proud and hoped that I could work on something like that when I was grown. I was always amazed at how smart my dad is and was always impressed with his natural mathematical ability. My dad has always been the smartest man that I know!

A few lessons that I've learned from my dad.

1. You have to work for you want in life. We weren't well off when I was a kid but we always had just what we needed, clothes on our backs and food on the table. For one reason or another we went through some hard times when I was a kid but my dad would just take a second job to get us through. He would work two full time jobs and I never heard him complain about it. I now have a work ethic that I believe far exceeds most people that I know and I got that from my dad.

2. Treat everyone with respect. I grew up in the south in racially turbulent times but I always saw my dad treat everyone, regardless of color or ethnic background with dignity or respect.

3. Help people in need. My dad just could not drive by someone broken down on the highway without stopping. My dad would lend money to total strangers, if they needed gas he'd take them to the nearest gas station regardless of how far away it might be and buy them a meal if they were hungry. This without regard to race, ethnic background, or social standing. Later in life my dad also volunteered countless hours working for Carpenters for Christ, a christian organization that helps rebuild disaster damaged homes wherever that need might be.

4. Take time to talk to strangers. My dad has this ability to strike up a conversation with just about anyone. When we were younger my sisters and I used to get embarassed that dad would just start talking to total strangers. We might be in a restaurant, at the beach in Panama City Beach, or waiting in a line at the movies. My dad would strike up a conversation with a total stranger and before you knew it the two had discovered some link, be it a common friend, past acquaintance, or common interest or hobby. From that point on they might talk another hour or so and remain casual acquaintances for years to come.

5. One last lesson the I sincerely hope that I can tell my dad that I learned from him is that no matter how far you stray god will always welcome you back. Always!

I really do hope that my dad gets to read this although the chances of that are a little slim. I'm not sure that he has even looked at the internet or the world wide web.

Dad, just in case you do get to read this you need to know the following:

I had a wonderful childhood.
While I never had "everything I wanted" I always had everything that I needed.
My parents always let me be myself and I like to think they were often proud for me. When I was in a band in high school my dad actually built a stage for us. When I was twelve my dad gave me a Vox guitar just like the one that John Lennon used for a bit. When I was around 15 my dad brought home a "nifty Honda fifty" for me. Gosh, I rode that thing until it practically fell apart! My dad taught me how to be self sufficient, making do with what I have. He passed on just a bit of his natural ability to be a gardner, a carpenter, a mathematician, a mechanic, a good husband, and a good father.

Happy Fathers Day ......to the most important man that I know, my dad.

Thursday, June 08, 2006

PORTRAIT


For ILLUSTRATION FRIDAY. My grandson Braxton is filling in for me this week while I work on the roof, complain about my back, yell at the wife and kids, and be an old fussbudget . If you've seen any of my pencil work you know that Braxton has done far better with this portrait than I could have done.

Wednesday, June 07, 2006

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

Remodelling



The old (almost ) flat roof over my screened porch has been leaking terribly lately. I've had the roofing replaced once already but the leaks still came back and although you can't see it in the first photo the decking had developed quite a rot problem. My son-in-law Jeff, who is one of the finest people on earth, has been helping me (or should I say I am helping him?) replace the old flat roof with a new hip roof. Jeff's dad Lonnie came over and worked for several hours yesterday and the pace really picked up. Those two can work wonders with hammer and nails. The new roof over the porch will blend in with the house much better and should last decades longer. My hands hurt from hammering and pulling off the old wood and my back and knees hurt from crawling around over the rafters but in the end it will all be worth every little ache.

Friday, June 02, 2006

Imitation

They say that imitation is the sincerest form of flattery.

Here's a picture that I did as a sort of tribute to one of my favorite artists named Brian Halsey. This was also a good opportunity to play with the wacom tablet a bit more (still trying to get comfortable with it).

I have several limited edition prints by Halsey that I bought at a few Park West Gallery art auctions several years ago. This type of work always appeals to me probably because of my work for several years as a draftsman doing product sketches, perspectives, and isometrics.

Monday, May 29, 2006

Illustration Friday: CAKE

For the Illustration Friday topic CAKE.
A mixed media illustration derived from a photograph (the cake), some pencil sketching (the building), and a little photoshop enhancement using a wacom tablet (outlines, signs, and type).

Saturday, May 27, 2006

Envy, Pt Dieu

Envy. I'm over it!
Okay, here's the scoop. I've had my Wacom tablet since last Tuesday and I have been so busy at work that I haven't really felt much like playing with it when I get home. But I have fiddled with it just a little bit (about 30 - 45 minutes each the past two nights) and I have come to this conclusion....It's fun, it's interesting, and it can do a lot of neat things BUT....it can't replace a good old pencil and piece of paper. For free-hand drawing it's "clunky" and difficult. It is easy to put marks where you don't want them and I find myself backing up, un-doing, and erasing a lot more than I had anticipated that I would.

The Wacom tablet is a great tool for the graphic artist who wants to put together a design quickly using the pre-sets (pencils, brushes, and shape tools) in the various PhotoShop programs and it is really good for that but ( to Janet ) I think that it might actually hinder an already excellent pen and pencil artist. If you are really good at pencil sketching the wacom just ain't gonna make you better; probably the opposite.

I'm still going to use mine although probably not as an art tool very often. I've found that I can draw right into Excel spreadsheets and Word documents with it and even hand write notes on my computer amoung many other things.

To conclude my little impromptu product review:
The Wacom tablet........great artist tool? Nah, not really.
Neat graphics arts tool? Um, yeah.
Neato computer input device? Absolutely!
Just not (in my opinion) a tool for the creating realistic sketches.

Of course I reserve the right to change this review if, at any time, I do actually figure out how to be truly creative with the Wacom which I am sure will take some time and much patience.

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

ENVY


I envy people who have mastered the wacom tablet. I treated myself and bought one for my birthday. This (bad) self portrait is my first attempt at using the tablet but I can already see that this is definitely going to be a lot of fun when I master the feel of the pen and learn to control things.
Perhaps I could do a little better if I started to wear my glasses when I draw!

Friday, May 19, 2006

FASCINATING ART

I just stumbled across one of the most fascinating art websites and have to post this link. The artist, Jessica Joslin, creates art and sculpture from small animal bones and they are both elegant and awesome. Check them out at her website http://www.jessicajoslin.com/jessica/index.html

Saturday, May 13, 2006

Photo Friday: MASTERPIECE


Creation. A piece created for the May 12 PHOTO FRIDAY subject Masterpiece. Three seperate photographs combined into one then enhanced with photoshop filter effects.

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Illustration Friday: FAT

A quick piece for ILLUSTRATION FRIDAY. This is a combination of photograph, pencil sketch, and PhotoShop manipulation. A FAT pencil in my FAT fingers.

Happy Birthday JANET

I know people who merely tolerate their sisters or brothers but I am truly blessed to have three sisters that I can also call my best friends. The oldest of those sisters is Janet and today is her birthday. For the next ten days she and I will be the same age. As you can see from the older photographs we were always close as kids. Now we live several hours apart so we have to keep up in emails, phone calls, and blogs. HAPPY BIRTHDAY!

Sunday, April 30, 2006

TR, Utopia, Mark M, Martin M, & other vague memories


Here's another copy of that picture from my Photo Friday: FAMOUS blog entry. This is the one that I keep put away with fond momentos from days gone by. As I mentioned in an earlier blog entry I shot the concert picture in November 1974. The neat thing is that I finally got that picture (and a few others) autographed in May 2005. After 31 years I was in the right place at the right time to finally meet Todd Rundgren in person, share a couple of laughs, and bug him for a few autographs.
On that earlier blog entry Mark Martin (not the race car driver!) had posted a comment with just two words....."1974" and "sheesh". That got me to thinking and one of the thoughts that I had was of the first time that I saw Todd Rundgren in person. Guess who I went with to that show? Mark Martin (not the race car driver!). Mark, do you remember that? I have these vague memories of setting out one bright November day in 1973 in a Volkswagen Beetle piloted by Martin Muzer. I don't even rember the passenger in front seat but I do remember that Mark Martin and I were crammed in the back. Martin pushed that old VW down I-20 towards Tuscaloosa and the University of Alabama much harder that he should and the thing quit running somewhere just outside of Vance, Alabama. We spent a very uneasy hour or so wondering if we were going to make it to the concert but fortunately for us Martin's older brother Jeff had just started to UA a few months earlier and he drove out and got us to Tuscaloosa on time.
I had a fantastic evening, shot lots of pictures, and somehow made it back home. Anyway, I've rambled to this point just to try and jog my own feeble memory. Help me here Mark! Who was that fourth person in the VW? Where is Martin Muzer these days? Do you even remember that day? Am I remembering it all correctly or is my memory playing tricks on me? I wish I had the memory that my sister Janet has.
As Todd Rundgren once said ".......take a few of these, sweeter memories......"
November 1973.
Riding to Tuscaloosa, Alabama in a VW Beetle driven by Martin Muzer.
Rubbing elbows with Mark Martin (the famous comic book artist!)
Enjoying a Todd Rundgren concert.
Not worrying about how we were going to get home.

Photo Friday: FAMOUS

The word for the week at Photo Friday is FAMOUS. I pondered on this one for quite some time and finally decided that I'd pull an old one out of the hat. The photo is from a concert by Todd Rundgren's Utopia. This shot was taken in November of 1974 at the Boutwell Auditorium in Birmingham, Alabama. From left to right (for the uninitiated) Todd Rundgren and John Siegler.

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

It's Springtime. Really!


I haven't posted much on the old blog lately. It's finally turned nice outside and I MUST start some sort of exercise regimine to shed the excess 35 pounds I've gained during the last 6 or 8 months. Saturday I mowed the lawn and Sunday I took a three mile walk. I vow to start walking at least three days a week again until I have lost at least 40 pounds!

Thanks to http://www.pcbypaul.com/wpclipart/cartoon/ for the clip art image

Illustration Friday: ROBOT

FEELIN' THE PINCH!
My drawing for this weeks' ILLUSTRATION FRIDAY. I tried and tried to think of something better but in the end the gas pump won out. In this illustration if you don't willingly give it up the upper arm will hold you while the side arm rifles your wallet.

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Illustration Friday: SPOTTED



My cheesy drawing for Illustration Friday's subject SPOTTED. A combination of photography, pencil sketching, and a bit of photoshop background texturing. I wouldn't really wear polka dots with checks, would I? Yeah probably; Susan says that I can't dress myself without her help!