Immediate Family, Knoxville, Personal, Photography, Uncategorized

Memorial Day

Memorial Day is a time to remember those who have served our country and those that are serving today.  I can’t begin to imagine what these men and women have been through or what they gave for us.  The above photo was taken at my Great Uncle George’s funeral in Arlington.  He served at Vietnam as well as in Air Force Intelligence for many years.  He truly gave his life, his whole life, to serving the country that he loved very much.

So as we start out today excited about having the day off, perhaps planning our BBQ or ready to hit the pool, take a second to appreciate what this day means.  There is nothing wrong with celebrating and honoring those who died for our country with a day of joy and fun, but just remember we couldn’t have that without them.  And maybe take a second to give a call to someone who is serving, and just say thanks, or that you’re thinking about them.

My thanks to Great Uncle George and all he did for his country, to Brg. General Bozeman, to Captain Quisenberry, to Matt, to Donny, and to Paul, we’re thinking about you guys.  And thanks to anyone else that I missed, we appreciate everything that you do for your country.  Have a great Memorial Day everyone, and stay safe.

Deep South, Landscape, Life, Nature, Personal, Photography, The Pioneer Woman, Travel, Uncategorized

PW Journey

Although this journey was recorded on my friend Renee’s Blog already, I thought I would finally add my version of the journey to the web.  Many of you know from my “Meatloaf Mania” post that I admire, revere, and embarrassingly enough want to be best friends with The Pioneer Woman, Ree Drummond.  However, I was contently keeping my hero worship locked in a tiny little box that no one knew about, until Renee called me up proposing a trip to see Ree at her book signing in D.C.  I had recently quit my corporate job and decided it was a perfect opportunity to enjoy my freedom and take some pictures along the way.

My part of the journey started with a short day trip to our families cabin, with my parents.  My Grandfather built this cabin over several summers with the help of his three daughters.  Ever since it has been a retreat and place of solace for my family.

Sweet Lucy is a mountain woman, she loves being outdoors.  She looks positively beautiful in her element, I love this picture of her.

One of these pictures is in “Some Characters to know…” but my mother wasn’t too happy about the picture I chose :ahem:, so the above photos are part of the series, which I think is very cute since it tells the story a little bit better.

The next morning after going to the cabin, I picked up Renee bright and early and we started out on the Blue Ridge Parkway.

It was pretty early, we don’t do gorgeous early, but we were up and going and that was the important part.

She’s sassy, that’s why we get along oh-so-well.

Renee use to be a dancer, and from time to time she still does stances with her feet…she just didn’t know I was paying attention.  I think it’s beautiful.

Hello, Vacation.

There was lots of this.  Luckily Renee didn’t get annoyed with me pulling off about every 5 seconds.

Did I mention that we were on top of the world?  I may have forgotten, but yes…there was nothing but us and sky.

I love this picture.  There’s something about the emptiness in it that I just love.  To me it’s something that’s just about to start, somethings changing, and it’s just you and whatever you’re about to jump into.

I took about a million photos of this tree.  It was just magical.

After an 8 hour journey (Google said it would only take 5 but they weren’t counting all the stops for glorious pictures.  They really need a photo option when you do directions…or at least a scenic option) we arrived at Border’s in D.C.  We were hot, we were smelly, we were not pretty.  So faster than you could say superman, we used Chipotle’s bathroom (thank you Chipotle) and came out looking more beautiful than ever.  However, we did make two rookie mistakes.  Number one being that although we got there 2 hours prior to the reading, we were way back in line….waaaay back.  Number two mistake was that since we were in the back of the line, we panicked and didn’t eat anything.  BIG MISTAKE, my friend.

But luckily we didn’t have to wait too long before she came up and gave us a little intro.  Everyone was so excited, and I have to hand it to all the pregnant ladies in the crowd.  They were champs, they didn’t even break a sweat standing in line, unlike me who was whining and being a big baby.

After a couple hours in line, we finally made it to our destination.

She was super nice, and I’m sure already tired by the time we made it to her, but you couldn’t tell.  Both Renee and I had a little shyness going on, and tried to be sociable, even though we were about to faint from hunger and it suddenly came off as creepy that I had driven all the way from TN to see this woman.  And to be honest, that was not the best part of the trip for me.  The best part was the girl talk with Renee, companionship, being out in the wilds of VA, and just having time to take some photographs without any kind of pressure.  It was a much needed trip and a great start to my life as a photographer.

Art, Life, Personal, Photography, Portraits, Sally Mann, Uncategorized

Mann: Keeping Inspired

If you have met me, and talked to me about photography, you will know that I love Sally Mann.  Her work is deep, and meaningful.  I love the ambiguity and imperfections in her photographs.  In Photo School, my friend Clara and I, related to her a lot not only because we were in awe of her work but because she lives in our home town.  When I got married, Clara’s gift to me was a book of Sally Mann’s “Deep South” series, a gift that I really treasure.  Her photographs have an essence, which is something I strive for in my own photographs.

Night-blooming Cereus, 1988
Sally Mann
Gelatin silver print, 8 x 10 inches
Copyright Sally Mann
These images are for illustration only and are not to be reproduced without permission.

After a talk with Warnie this morning about last night’s blog post, I realized that I had talked down a lot of my work from Art School.  That was not my intention at all.  I really take pride in my work and love doing art, whether that is printmaking, photography, painting, or sculpture.  And I think I have a talent for it.  The last couple years out of school have been harder than I thought they would be, and I have found this to be true for several of my friends from school as well.  Not only do you no longer have the support of your fellow artists, but you also no longer have the same resources available to you.  It’s hard, very hard.  My Professors tried to tell me how hard it would be, and I didn’t fully understand.  I am just now getting to the point where art is invading my every thought.  I think about painting, dream about smelling darkroom chemicals, and long to feel plaster in my hands again.

I think that is another reason why I respect Sally Mann so much.  In her “Immediate Family” series she talks about how part of the reason she took pictures of her children was that they were there.  You work with what you have and find something beautiful, or mysterious in it.

As an artists it’s also great to find things that inspire you to keep your spirits going and keep you motivated.  If you’re looking for some free motivation, check out the Art 21 Series by PBS.  You can watch it for free on their website at  They do interviews with many different artists from large scale sculpture, to paintings, to different types of photography.  Just hearing the way these artist talk about their work is inspiration enough.  Be sure to check it out.

Life, Personal, Photography, Portraits, Uncategorized

How Did I get Here? Part II

After I got back from Zimbabwe, I was back at school with a new found determination.  I loved (and still love) the Art Department.  I had amazing professors who were not only my professors, but my mentors and friends.  I still keep in touch with a few of them, and they still push me in my artistic career.  There were many times I woke up from an all nighter, to the sound of my professors cowboy boots coming down the hall, and my face half glued to the sculpture table.  Sometimes they would do something as simple for me as a pat on the back when I was having a bad day, understanding a sickness I had, sharing a good laugh, or even sometimes a meal after a long day in the studio…they were always there for me.  They changed me for life.  College in general is such a life altering process, that it’s difficult to explain, but we all experience that change.

Some of my work in school was a little crazy, different, weird, wild, or anything else you would like to call it, but that’s what art school is about!  It’s about trying different things even if they are weird, or even if they don’t work out.  But you learn from each and every piece.  You learn about mistakes, manipulation, what you like or don’t like, what OTHER people like and don’t like, and what matters to you and why.

I learned about Photojournalism from being the Photo Editor for the school newspaper.  Doing photojournalism taught me how to constantly pay attention and catch the little moments.   So here are some different pieces from all my different classes as well as some photos from the newspaper.

One of my favorite sculptures, that I actually got an award for, I apparently do not have any pictures of.  Hopefully my parents have some?

So I why do you care what I did in art school?  You probably don’t.  BUT  each class I took affected who I am, and what my photography has become today.  And the great thing is that this continues outside of school, each portrait session, each wedding, each weird project, I learn more and I change more…and we can only hope, get better.

Landscape, Life, Nature, Personal, Photography, Portraits, Travel, Uncategorized

Hello, Illinois

The morning after I made it to Jack’s house, I awoke to the smell of bacon.  I love bacon.  I’m a meat kinda girl, and bacon is possibly one of my favorites…my brother knows this, so he spoiled me with bacon the entire trip.  First thing we did each day was take Oscar for a walk.

Oscar loves his walks, and it was a great time for us to catch up and talk…we do a lot of talking in my family so we need amble time to do so.  It also gave us a chance to see a little of Historic Urbana.

After a quick lunch with Scientist Lady on Friday, we set out to see the campus at University of Illinois.  The campus was really beautiful, although deserted with school being out.

Next we hit the art museum which is connected to the University Art building.  I’m ashamed.  I have to say that going in I was expecting a kind of small museum, that probably didn’t have a lot of cool exhibits.  But what I found was this:

A Rembrandt!  Not only a Rembrandt but they had Louis Bourgeois, Andy Warhol, Winslow Homer, and many more fabulous artists.  I was tickled pink, like a kid in a candy store.

When I took a quick trip to the ladies room in the Art building, I found a treasure trove of wise sayings, here’s just one example, there will be more in the photo gallery:

Wise…so very wise…

After a hard day in the museum we came back the house and crashed for a bit.  As a matter of fact, we did this just about every day.  I don’t know why we were so tuckered out, but it was great to just relax and be.  Oscar agrees…

So after some fun and fondue, we decided to show the Parentals how to play Wii.

They did great!  And they beat the pants off of me in Frisbee golf!

Saturday we hit the local Farmer’s Market, to pick up a few things dinner.  After that we took a quick stop for some cool drinks, then that afternoon we went and saw Robin Hood.

On Sunday we started the day off with brunch at a local restaurant called Radio Maria.  They had fantastic Spanish cuisine, and I had Migas….delicious delicious Migas.  It was basically eggs with potato and zucchini, with a side of salsa and sour cream, all to be wrapped in corn tortillas.  Of course, it was so excellent, that I forgot to take pictures of it…oops!

After a good brunch to start out the day, we headed out into the prairie.  On the outskirts of Urbana there is this excellent Prairie Sculpture Park.  It’s a great place to play, fly a kite, and enjoy the sculpture and wide open spaces.  Which is what we did.  And this was without a doubt my favorite place to take pictures.

It was a great trip and I was sad to leave.  I had never experienced such wide open spaces and that big sky.  It was different, but I like my mountains too.  Thanks Illinois, it was fun…I’ll miss you.

Personal, Photography, Uncategorized


I have been very good about posts so far (except for taking weekends off but we all need a break on the weekends) until yesterday.  Yesterday was one of those days that when you get up in the morning, it takes you firmly by the shoulders and pushes you off a cliff…several times…it’s a bossy day.  Yesterday was an unrelenting day, one thing after the other, so I did not do a post, and did not keep my deadline.  Will you forgive me?  I promise to make it up to you with lots of photos, and a couple extra posts today.  Today is going to be fun, today will not be a bossy day.