Saturday, November 6, 2010

Celebrating Texture

Patricia Youngquist uses words and images to tell stories about her passions. Based in New York, she currently is authoring a series of nature books on birds of the city. Now in Apple’s iBooks store @ https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/words-in-our-beak/id1010889086?mt=11

Since last Saturday's posting of honoring the days of November and beyond, I've been reminded that November is the month of remembrance that began with All Saints Day on November first. This feast day is followed by the solemn celebration of All Souls' Day on November second, and for the remaining days of November, special homages are made for all who have died. "Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted," is a consolation of November. With it getting dark earlier due to going back to "standard" time, and the apparent focus on the dead, it is good to recall that November is a textured month, and so while people honor the dead during this time, it is also a month very much intended to remember the living.

In New York City, one of the celebrations that exemplifies this is held on the first Sunday (tomorrow) of the month, when runners from all around the world come to run the New York City Marathon. This year 43,000 are expected to partake, including Edison Peña, the twelfth miner to be rescued after spending sixty-nine days trapped in a mine that had collapsed in San Jose Chili. From what I understand, Peña has said that when he was trapped in the mine, waiting to be rescued, he ran six miles a day — with a heavy object — to show God how much he wanted to stay alive, certainly a tribute to remembering the living.  I also understand that Peña ran with an i-Pod listening to Elvis Presley tunes. Peña seems far from being some one who was "all shook up" ! 

I look forward to hearing how Peña fares in the Marathon, but, confess that I will hibernate at home and have my own marathon (with the various projects that have been piling up on my desk), until the New York City one is completed. Since the finish-line is in my neighborhood, the throngs of people who come to see  the race's finish-line can be overwhelming - even on a cold November day. I understand that the colder November temperatures are good for runners.

For me from an urban gardener's point of view, the colder temperatures of November provide a time to celebrate and honor my garden's textures. I love and appreciate the colors provided by spring, summer, and fall; but as my plants, shrubs, and herbs (as well as some of my trees), will be dying back for the impending winter season, now is the time to celebrate the textures of my garden. Every plant has its own individual texture and pattern. These sometimes get overlooked when my garden has its magnificent color.  I am paying homage to the glorious textures by creating photographic garden images that are based in black and white tones. 

Having shot Black and White photography, and gone through the process of printing my work in a darkroom in years gone by, I have been left with a need to embrace the beauty of texture. I look forward to producing a line of invitations, event program covers, and greeting cards that give homage to this aspect of nature as I have done in the photograph, Pyracantha coccinea, (posted at the top of this entry). This shrub is one of my garden favorites and the black and white tones of the photograph show off its array of textures.

My experience as a black and white photographer, which I have blogged about in two previous posts titled Jennifer and Felix as well as Thanksgiving in Riverdale, inspired my first collection of cards. This Black and White greeting card collection can be seen on my web-site (where you can also view my Black and White original prints). 

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