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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 @

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 AKA Orange Charmer (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).


I no longer actively produce event program covers, invitations and the types of greeting cards described here or on my website but arrangements might be able to be made under certain circumstances. My focus is on the Words In Our Beak book series, pictured below...


...whose stories are told from the point of view of Cam, a female cardinal, whose photo is on the cover of each book. Words In Our Beak’s goal is to open readers to a simple understanding of the winged world and their environment. Set in my rooftop urban garden in New York City. Words In Our Beak is directed to children and adults who are curious about birds, and want to learn about them from a unique perspective. The books include hundreds of images of flora and fauna, links to movies, as well as to informative narratives that have been created by the author.

Please click here to go to my blog post that provides details as to where you can get these books.

Additionally,  I have rendered some images from these books into other formats and they are available via Fine Art America (FAA). Some of my other photographs (Black & White Collection, Kaleidoscopic Images and the famous Mandarin duck who visited NYC) can also be found on my FAA pages.

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