Archives for posts with tag: photography

A Flower For you But I Love You

Happy Valentine’s Day.



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Polaroid Photographs by Barbara Cole


Smithsonian Castle

According to


art [ahrt] – n., the quality, production, expression, or realm, according to aesthetic principles, of what is beautiful, appealing, or of more than ordinary significance; the class of objects subject to aesthetic criteria; any field using the skills or techniques of art; illustrative or decorative material; the principles or methods governing any craft or branch of learning; skill in conducting any human activity; trickery; cunning; studied action




Steps of the Smithsonian Castle Little Flat Man on the Crosswalk

I hadn’t felt the sun in two weeks but for the daily walk between Metro Center and my new job.  Starved for fresh air on my first free day off, I embarked on an art adventure at the Smithsonian.  It had been over two months since my cross-country journey finally reached Washington, D. C. limits and I hadn’t yet been to a museum!  So I went, with a Subway sandwich that I ate on a sunny park bench outside, watching quietly, the castle at my back and open grass before me, Washington Monument left, Capitol Building right, and strangers, squirrels, and birds rustling all about me.

Twinkle Tree Lights


With the last bite and a deep breath, I stood up and took my first step toward adventure.  Like viewing a photograph, my eyes followed the scene as I walked, settling with fascination on tiny details that hide in the depths of life’s story.  And I captured them – the little flat man stenciled in yellow in the crosswalk; the fringe of my scarf in shadow on the steps of the museum; the twinkle of the light distorted by tree leaves on bare hallway walls.  My camera in constant use, I collected images that I hoped would paint memories I would one day put into words – these words.  My steps seem to take themselves as I wove through a maze of galleries and artwork with countless pathway possibilities.  I never even looked behind me, never had to choose a route; everything there was to take in made its way through my stream of consciousness and all I did was follow, eyes wide, at whichever pace felt right.

Mythological Scroll Shiva Nataraja (Lord of the Dance) Shrine of the Parshvanatha Bodhisattva White Avalokiteshvara Turkish Tile

The thing about the museum, and the rest of the world, is that ‘art’ is what connects us, creates us, is created by us in everything that we do.  We see ‘art’ in almost anything.  Imagine that.  One trip to the museum heightens my senses, enhances those tiny details, magnifies them in meaning, giving me a deeper understanding of beauty – of art.  It’s a natural process – art of visiting a museum.

Art Gazing 13 Window Light

I went home in the evening with aching feet, filled my body with food and sleep, and woke up newly inspired and reenergized.  And here I am, writing this to you: Go to a museum on your next day off.

Ocean Waves Architecture Crinkled Leaves Washington Monument

Next stop: Imax film, Flight of the Butterflies, “to experience the most incredible migration on Earth” and the Live Butterfly Pavilion, where I will “walk among nature’s flying canvases.”


This tree found me.  It waits for me outside those doors.

Golden TreeAppreciate the LoveIt holds...Life clings to it

I could sit with it, appreciate it until sunset.  Brilliant, blazing, in a sea of bare branches, it stands golden.  Life clings to it like the vines on the trunk, enough love to stay alive through winter.

Alive in WinterBranching Out

This tree found me.  It waits for me outside those doors.

Here’s something pretty to try.  Free People gave me the idea.

Tin Lantern Light the Candle

You need:

  • myriad of tin cans
  • something to measure with
  • hammer
  • screwdriver
  • water
  • freezer
  • paint
  • tea lights
  • fire

It’s ridiculously simple and will happen just as long as you remember to salvage the tin cans that land in the recycle bin.

Leave them on the  kitchen counter next to a sharpie until you imagine your patterns – then dot away.

When the time is right, fill the dotted can with water and freeze.  Each time you open the freezer, you’ll be reminded to grab the hammer, and in two minutes you’ll have a new lantern.

Tin Lantern Pattern SketchFrozen Tin Lantern Tin Lantern Project in Action

I just held the frozen, dotted can on a paper towel between my thighs or shoes, but I’m sure you can figure out something safer.  For the record, I did not hurt myself.  Hold the Phillips head screwdriver steady over each dot and gave two or three solid hammers.  The one I used left tiny cross indentations.

When the ice melts away, you can paint it.  I used a few thick coats acrylic and a medium paintbrush.  I’m satisfied with the results.

Tin Lantern Post Hammer Tin Lantern Paint Mess Tin Lantern Flickering Tin Lantern Light Sparkles

All I need now is a never-ending supply of vanilla tea lights, because I find myself addicted to the three-dimensional flickering.  And, there are so many places to put these tin can lanterns.  I’d like to hear and see what you come up with.

Tin Lantern Copper Glow Tin Lanterns in the Dark

(By the way, have you noticed my absence?  It’s true, I’ve kept Sunny Styles quiet for months, but I feel I must tell you now that I have been working behind the scenes on an entirely new mode of operations.  I’ve realized I must not worry over when and in what order I get things done.  If I do not force the rhythm, it all just sort of happens.  Keep breathing.  Eyes, continue to roam.  Hands are working close behind.  And as I said before, Just Coast…

And, stay tuned for a whole lot more.)