Wednesday, April 28, 2010


I really did think my boy was a genius! For one short week, at 17 months, he knew four colours (red, white, green and blue) and every animal sound, including a peacock and a donkey.

I'm back with my feet firmly on the ground. These days, all cars are red. Even when they're not, really. And everything from mouse to 'omamant' (elephant) - and not limited to, but including mamma, pappa and 'tantitit' (my sister) - says 'hihi-ie-ie-ie', which is as horses do...

Maybe he's just testing me? To see if I buy this baby-crap?
I'm such an optimist ;)

Edited: I made a conscious decision not to change the way I write down what I think just because I might be misunderstood - but at the same time, being misunderstood is a Great Fear of mine. So... I sort of felt I had to come back here to tell you that Squirt is a verbal mastermind, who constructs sentences of up to 5 words at the age of 18 months! He's my absolute favourite brand of Special. I LOVE his 'baby-crap' & hope he'll keep it up much longer than he actually will. Just so you know!

Saturday, April 17, 2010


Today I'm posting the latest and last photos for the workshop over at C & C... I'm sad it's over! I've thoroughly enjoyed the ideas Carolyn & Camilla came up with, and especially loved what happened in my head after reading them. A little like putting popcorn into the microwave - without the paper bag! Too cool!

So what do I walk away with? Well... First of all, I've seen so many beautiful settings, objects, angles in the work of others! There are as many ways to do right by an assignment as there are photographers taking it on - it was fascinating to see what everyone came up with. There are amazing photographers out there!
What I've picked up for sure is: if it doesn't quite work - I haven't stretched, leaned in closer, or hung back far enough just yet! The fun, for me, is in the puzzle - I can't always tell why I think something looks good or why exactly it doesn't, but the process from trial through error to the final photo is what I like best!
I've also found out that colour plays a much bigger part in my life - and my photography! - than I had thought. And I like that - a lot! It means, on a personal level, that I'm actually opening up. And that really is long overdue! Even if that means... embracing hazardous pink... I can do that, I think. Eventually. It seems like I'm seriously going to have to, though, seeing what I've got on my hands. Whether I like it or not.
I've learned that what I suspected is true - I'm not one for landscape photography. It's hard to reduce what you see with a swivel of your head to a single photograph with meaning. My eye wanders to details. Wants to capture that one stone, flowering tree, little spring flower...
I've come to appreciate how hard it is to set up a still life, to get it to work - but also, that it is my favourite challenge - especially when it eventually falls into place!
But perhaps the most valuable lesson I learned - again taking it personally - is the fact that apparently, these days, I can take an egg & put it down wherever its fancy takes it - me in tow. I can lay myself down in front of it if needs be, in a public place or two (a reasonably quiet road in one particular case), and not even consider how weird I must look to innocent passers-by! It wasn't until I started editing the photos I took that day, that I realised this hadn't bothered me one little bit the whole time I was out there! That really is huge! Between that and the pink-thing, it feels like some things are shifting in my life. These were possibly the last things I expected to take away from a photography workshop - but there you have it. Life moves in mysterious ways, and it would be ungrateful not to notice!
So now, without further ado - there's been enough of that already! - my photos for this week:

A close-up with play of light, of something natural. The moss is a tiny slice of nature. So are the snails it grows on. As a species, I mean. The poured concrete (or cement, or something) they are made of - debatable. But I'm claiming there is enough of it to call it nature-ish, at least :)

This is my attempt at making the same look abstract.

And another angle.
Here is reflection. I think on hindsight I might have been supposed to photograph the reflection of my moss on snail - in a puddle or a tea cup... When I took the photos, I had taken the assignment as a reflection, more generally, in water. There was too much wind for good reflection in bodies of water of any sort, and I just didn't have the inspiration for a still life-like setup, so this is what I came up with, in stead.
And here is my landscape photo. Windy water on a very sunny spring morning. No rainy season here - and yay to that!
Now for the next and very last mosaic - a warning to the faint of eyes: just go to comments. Skip this last image. I'm not accepting responsibility for damage. I'm just too darn happy :D
Colour, pretty much. That's what excited me the most - the assignment that took me furthest from my comfortzone and had me happy-happy for the whole week & beyond!
I'm not claiming this is my best photographic work, but it does come straight from the heart!
Thanks so much, Camilla & Carolyn, it has been an absolute blast!!

Friday, April 16, 2010


I haven't come to terms with the appearance of pink - quite yet. But I've decided to take it like a fugitive - on the run. Will see where it leads and deal with it later ;)

I did however embrace something else the other day - my perfect little toddler, walking shoes and all! Hugging him as much as he lets me and savouring every precious inch :) Just thought I'd share that, in the interest of nothing but mamma love & absolute, undiluted happiness :D

Tuesday, April 13, 2010


Okay, so like I said, there is more!
It was easier to start telling my colour story from black and grey to my safe colours. The colours I gravitate to, sort of naturally.

But ever since being pregnant with Squirt, I've been falling in love with something a lot more dangerous... RED! I've no idea how that happened. I just woke up one morning, and found out that - apparently - I had a colour theme on my hands! And as it goes with colour themes: once you start, it's hard to stop. Red has become the colour of contrast in this house. As simple, or complicated, as that.

So the first grid I photographed - before deciding that my colour story as such passed through green and blue first and foremost - was red in nature. Food, more accurately.
Then, I looked around & found - way more red than is necessary for any one life time. After some serious editing, I could claim it's only accentuating the edges - but the truth is, this mosaic is me, showing a lot of restraint... But it gets worse. The goth deep, deep down inside of me could claim red as a colour of passion and be done with it - albeit grudgingly. If there wasn't evidence - and now proof - that there is more to it than just that. There is something fishy going on here. In my head, and even - in a curious single incident - in my closet (the clogs are for gardening purposes only, and the socks came in a batch with blues and greys. That's my story & I'm sticking to it!). I've struck... PINK!Pink! What's happening here?! Is it some sort of reaction to the fact that I'm the female minority in this house these days? Some form of defiance - resistance? Proof that I'm here? Has becoming a mamma made me aware of the fact that I'm a girl or something?! This really snuck up on me!

I have no idea where this is coming from! What I do know is, finding pink really shocked me out of my photographing frenzy of colour. I needed to sit and brood. Reclaim my inner goth for a bit. Listen to some Type O Negative & Nick Cave. Come to terms with the idea that my new-found interest in colour goes past gel pens, watercolour paint, crayons and pastels & what they can do on paper - straight to the heart of things: a PINK iPod and beyond!

I'll be back when I'm ready to embrace my inner girl...

Saturday, April 10, 2010


A challenge - & then some, C & C's latest assignment! Colour, pick a colour, any colour! Oh my... How a challenge can lead to mayhem!

You see, in a previous chunk of life, longer gone than I care to remember, I was an alternative gothic type of dresser - we're talking high school days, here. And fast forward, bird's eye perspective, I've avoided colour for the longest time! I still feel most mousy comfortable in my black & grey ensembles...

That said, I've been introducing colour back into my life over the past few years. Starting with old favourites; from lightest egg shell blue to darkest deepest mossy green. I love it in nature; blue skies, spring green and the serious green of ivy...
... and I'm learning to love it again as a colour to wear - which is huge, for two-toned me! And of course, I love it in my baby's eyes!
So far, so good. No mayhem as such. Yet.
Obliviously, I set out to document complementing colours. Funnily enough, I actually knew that blue goes with orange. There is a television ad running here at the moment - I don't remember what they're trying to sell again (so much for advertising bucks well spent), but they're pouring light blue and orange paint over someone's back, and when I first saw that, I was in awe! I thought it was so beautiful! Now to find that combination in nature... Another challenge! Till I thought of carrots. And it only got better when I accidentally stumbled on an orange stain on a sidewalk nearby! I have no idea how it got there - I'm considering it a serendipitous coincidence! All I had to do was get a smurf & grab my camera!
*If you're graced with a vivid imagination, and a little wicked, you might think that the baby smurf ate a few too many carrots. That's not what happened. I promise. But I can see where you're coming from ;)*
Anyway! Here it is - my complementing diptych:
And that's when it happened. The bright orange... It made me look around. I knew I had become more sensitive to colour lately, all because of Shannon and her inspiring e-course. But what I hadn't realised - was how much of a colour junky I had actually become... I have not one, not two, but three more serious colour mosaics to share. I've been so absorbed in noticing colour around me over the past week, that I really didn't know when to stop...

But now, only just now, while typing this, I have decided to post those later. Just to show you I actually do have some restraint :) Which makes it seem like this post stops in the middle. And it does. But I have concerns. About overkill. And sensitive eyes. And breaking rules. All Carolyn of C&C asked for, was a colour. One colour... And I've been stretching that to a scala, already. I can live with that, I can! But I'll leave the rest of the rainbow till later :)
Concluding this post with a square close-up of the gorgeous felted necklace made by Shannon, I'll leave my coloured cloud to check out what everyone else has done! And I'll be sure to come back and post the rest, some time soon - I just know you're holding your breath ;)

Sunday, April 4, 2010


I'm feeling a lot better today. Yay! But also: about bloody time! I've felt like crap (and oh yes, do I mean that!) for pretty much a full week!! Big thank yous to everyone who took the trouble to comment on my 'out sick' post yesterday. It takes a lot of (fun!) time to go through all the beautiful pictures everyone submits for this workshop, and I really appreciate that some of you took time to comment eventhough there was nothing much to see here. I also appreciate that I'm a day late submitting my photographs. I missed the deadline... So even if it means I did this just for me, I'm going to post my still life photos all the same!

I remembered from a previous class that still life photography is a lot harder than I tend to think when I start throwing ideas around in my head. To me, the biggest challenge is creating a setting without 'background noise' - but with, if at all possible, natural light. I don't know if I could have done a better job if I had been able to play around with possibilities all week. But as things were, I didn't have time to experiment. Today, I decided on a spur to see what I could do with three little daisies and my camera's macro setting, and I was really surprised to see what came out! It would be wonderful if I could figure out why my camera would let me get so close that I actually disturbed my set with my lense! this time, when at other times it flashes red when I'm only aiming... For now, it's a sweet mystery, and I'm just really pleased :)

As per assignment 'rules', the photos represent

1. looking from above - bird's eye perspective;
2. as you see it, in front of you;
3. a different angle;
4. close-up;
5. trying to use negative space...;
6. everything out of focus.

Saturday, April 3, 2010

still life

Yes. There is still life here. But not much...
Tummy bugs still wreaking havoc.
I haven't been able to trap flutters of inspiration for this week's photo assignment either...
I'll catch up - just for fun - later.

Friday, April 2, 2010


Listening to Squirt expanding his vocabulary. How he learns to capture what goes on around him. How he gets better and better at telling me what he wants, what he sees. Amazement. He'll come out with a word I can't remember 'teaching' him (like 'couch'. Unlike 'nincompoop'. Which I did teach him, and it comes out fluently.) and it just puts a huge grin on my face (and his)! Watching this progress in such an up-close way, on such a micro scale is... amazing! Educational! & definitely entertaining :)

He's got a very absolute two-word-sentence limit. Whenever he tries to add a third word to the mix the last two words become a missmatched hash - which is funny in its own league. Glasses, worn for sick-day ease, were a source of mixed entertainment (note to self: get glasses fixed - they perch precariously now). 'Glasses on' worked. So did 'mamma glasses'. 'Mamma glasses on' invariably became something resembling 'mamma gl..loop' (actual NL: 'mamma bl...lop'). The only exception to this rule is 'mamma water drink' (excuse my skew translation of toddler-Dutch to English - I can't do a better job without losing the essence here). I guess his mind thinks 'water drink' is one word. The technical implications of an exception like that boggle my brains, but I'll leave it to the experts for now. I'm too sure I'll miss something if I take a time-out to excavate the science!

I love how he tries words on, for size. He'll drag mamma, pappa, oma, opa AND Moroccan friend N into the mix to see if it works on all of us. This boils down to us all owning cars together. Or eating, being outside or in, upstairs or down, at work, at home, wearing shoes, socks, having legs and tummies. Still fine, communally speaking. More questionably, we're also taking a shower and going to the bathroom, as a group ;)
He also knows when something or someone isn't 'here'. He'll answer 'gone' (NL: 'weg') when asked. I think that's so cool :)

He seems to understand certain concepts, but not others, which is interesting. Yesterday, he was having lunch at the coffee table - just for the fact that I was too tired to sit up at the dinner table (still flu-ey). So I was lying on the couch watching him eat, and out of the blue, he pointed at the table and stated: 'table'. I was appropriately impressed so he proceeded: 'food table.' Yesss! Pointing at the couch, I asked him what it was. 'Couch.' This was going really well :) 'Mamma on the couch' was met by his 'mamma couch'. 'Food?' met by 'table'.
So when I asked: 'where is mamma?', I was told I was on the table. Of course. As you are.

Which goes to show we're not quite there yet. Thank goodness! Because I'm having way too much fun watching and listening to him trying it on and spinning it as only a toddler can!
There will be plenty of time for him to talk me onto a table, or into a corner, in neat compound sentences. If his progress is anything to go by, he'll become a master at that, a lot sooner than bears thinking... But please: not for a long time yet!

* Brugman: Father Brugman (1400-1473) was known for his fiery sermons. His name has far outlived him in the Dutch expression 'talking like Brugman', for someone who talks much and quite convincingly.

Thursday, April 1, 2010


In my flu-addled brain, something from my reminders post kept swimming in and out of vision. Caught it, just now. Where I'm boldly stating that 'care not for the opinion of others...' so speaks to me. Because it does, but not exactly like that. Other people's opinions matter to me. Keri Smith might feel differently. At least she doesn't have a comment option on her blog. So maybe she really doesn't care. Quite possible.

But what I need to learn, to put it more accurately, is not to put too much emphasis on other people's opinions. And if I'm really, really being honest? I only mean that when it comes to unfavourable opinions. Opinions that make me question myself, my output and my choices.

One thing Shannon's (amazing!) e-course and Julia Cameron's The Artist's Way made abundantly clear to me? How much easier it is to criticise and rediculate (not a word, is it?) yourself than it is to praise and be positive about your own undertakings, whatever they are.
Affirmations really sound too inane for words. I know. I'm still an absolute beginner. But when you really think about it: why is it so much more uncomfortable to be a little-over-the-top nice to yourself than it is to - equally over the top! - undermine?!

So what I meant to say before, is that I'm trying to take special care to appreciate favourable opinions, while not putting too much stock into the ones that (unwittingly) harm. Which on first glance probably reads as crazy as any good affirmation does. But in the end, we sort of shape our own world by choosing what to believe. Apparently, it's easier to believe the bad and worse.
So I'm going to live on the edge. I consciously urge myself, from now on, to believe what I like :-)