Thursday, June 27, 2013

Another year older

One of my favorite vehicles of all time

Well as of today, I am another year older. Jury is still out on whether I'm another year wiser or not. Sometimes I think I am but then life forces me to realize that I still have further to go. It seems as I get older, I'm beginning to take more chances. This very website is a great example of that. A year ago, this website wasn't even a thought. I started this the end of last year, mostly because I had a lot of time on my hands and not a lot of things to fill it. I have to say that working on this blog has been so rewarding in so many ways and it is the gift that keeps on giving. I still have people yet to interview as well as another interviewee waiting on deck. Doing this has definitely increased my confidence in unexpected ways. 

I find myself putting my artwork and writing out there in a way that I never expected. I've always written; I've been writing since I was 11. That was a very long time ago. I'd mostly written fiction, always too shy to put it out there. I'm also a bit lazy and smart enough to know that had I wanted to be a paid author badly enough, I'd have taken the appropriate steps to make that happen. I still might, you never know. But the little voice in my head could not be ignored and All The Goods is the result of that. I felt that this site was a good first step.   All The Goods has opened doors for me that I never knew existed; this blog has literally changed my life for the better. 

Along with that, there have been many supporters along the way, who will be thanked accordingly. Had I known how much support would come my way, I'd have gotten started a whole lot sooner on this blogging path. But then again, maybe in the past the time wasn't right. But the time has never been more right than it is now. 

What's that expression? Carpe Diem? I believe that means 'seize the day'. As I reach midlife, I've gotten into the habit of saying to myself, 'if not now, when?'. I want to make my mark on this world and this blog is a good way to accomplish that. I have a good start at least. 

I actually began writing today's post a bit earlier in the day but had to stop and save it due to lunch plans. In the time between then and now, miraculous events have taken place. Things have shifted in my world to a very positive end. I feel that the upcoming opportunities were divinely guided. The universe heard my deepest desires and set about making them happen. Now I just have to show up and deliver. 

So, things are going very well on this birthday which will be over in another couple of hours. I think next year is going to rock, I can just feel it. 

Before I conclude this posting, there are people to thank. I've become more grateful as time has gone by and I try to make it a point to say thank you as much as I can. I want to thank all of the people out 'there' who have found their way to this page and have had a look at what I've been up to. I see the pageviews and it's pretty awesome. So thanks to all of you.

In no specific order, my never ending thank yous to the following people/websites- listen to this station all the time whenever I'm writing here or working on my art. helping me along to make this site what it is and yet to be
Pinellas Park Art Society-for the help, advice, encouragement and last but not certainly least, the friendships that have sprung up from my association with those fine folks
Cyndi Bird Reznik-for her friendship and support of what I've got going on here at All The Goods
Elaine Salter-who readily supports my vision for this site as well as all my art ventures
Mary Barbara-for her guidance and encouragement
Barbara Lewis, Joy Hawkins and Terri Mills-for your friendship, ideas and support
David & Susan Tolar-for their friendship, support and making things happen
John Wetton-for the inspiration and all of the great music through the years

Monday, June 24, 2013

Florida Botanical Gardens

Pond at Florida Botanical Gardens in Largo

Today was the day I chose to visit the Florida Botanical Gardens in Largo, FL. I had gotten there about midday and had all sorts of grandiose plans for shooting an array of pictures. I had sorely underestimated how incredibly hot and humid it truly is outside, even in the shade. I managed to get a nice group of shots of various things in the park but the heat was just killing me. (Note to self-the next time I do this, I'm going to go in the winter when the weather is a bit more agreeable.) Luckily for me however was that it being a Monday, the place was not swamped with people. The only other people I actually did see was the groundskeepers and a man and woman who appeared to be there for the same purpose that I was, judging by their cameras and the enormous lenses attached to each. 

Despite the heat, the Florida Botanical Gardens are just beautiful. The pathways are kept clean at all times and free of debris. Every plant, flower and tree had a small placard in front of it which told the name of the species. There are also plenty of fountains and brooks flowing throughout the park. Some are man-made and the others are a bit more natural. 

The above is a shot of a small brook and pool. 

Everywhere I stood or walked, I could hear the clear crystal sounds of water bubbling, flowing or otherwise jetting out of a fountain. There is something incredibly healing about the sound of water whether it's moving slowly or pounding surf. 

One of the fountains within the Gardens

There's a fountain behind this greenery

View of McKay's Creek 

I love how everything is so vibrant and green within the confines of this little slice of heaven within an urban area. When I was walking through here, I could hear the cars out on the road but it was more of a sense of 'white noise' and after a while, I just stopped hearing that and focused on the sounds of water and nature. 

The above is a photo of the cactus and succulent garden

Shot of pond through building archway

 The above photo is the Cottage Garden

Planters and one of the buildings on the premises

The above quote was etched into one of the walkways

I'm happy that I did get the photos I wanted to but the heat index just did me in. The next time I visit the gardens, I intend to do so when the weather is much cooler. 

Sunday, June 16, 2013

Art odds and ends among other things

King Lizard on Snail Mountain

Well, the event that I took place in a couple of weeks back is now in the rear window. Despite the fact that I did sell a few things, it was just not the best show I'd ever been part of and will most likely not be participating in it again next year. But on the flip side, I did manage to get a few good photos taken and enjoyed spending time with my friend Barbara and my other friend Joy.. The photo above was initially not spotted by me but by my friend Barbara. She is a primo nature photographer so things like this come to her easily; she has a very good eye for the minor details that the average person might miss. This lizard was not close to us but she managed to detect it and told me it would make a nice photo. It was actually about twenty feet away, give or take. And it did. Thanks, Barb. (If you'd like to see Barb's amazing talent behind the lens, I invite you to head over to her The music that plays on her site is also her own as well. Not only is she brilliant behind the lens but also in creating music.)

My other friend Joy also participated in the event as well. You can find her wonderful jewelry at Lately, Joy has been creating beautiful earrings with her own unique touch on them.

I adore taking photos of flowers, gardens, plants and statues. There is something that really pulls me to these, even though I'm not a gardening sort per say

                                                            Very cool planter I saw


                                            I also love metalwork such as this cool peacock

Brickwork in a garden lends a nice look as well

. Everything I've ever tried to grow dies on me. But I certainly appreciate other peoples' talents when it comes to the fine art of gardening. Above are some of the photos that I took a couple of weeks ago. (The event I did had a lot of gardens around it.)


A bit more of the same garden, I was attempting to crop it so that you didn't see the fence behind it. 

I think that the garden is called the Meditation Garden, if I'm not mistaken. It's a little patch of serenity and beauty in the middle of an urban area. 

Lately, I've decided to change directions with my art. I still love to create handmade cards as well as jewelry, but my interest in photography has become the thing that I most want to do at this point with drawing coming in a close second. I've always loved to take pictures and until recently hadn't really gone whole hog with it. One thing that you probably won't see is photos of people in my photography. I stink at doing those; some people are brilliant at it but I'm not one of them. That said, I really appreciate those photographers that do a spectacular job at 'people photos'. 

The photography that has always spoken to me the strongest is landscape photography. I love buildings, the older the better, the more unique the better. Along with that comes my everlasting love of fountains, iron gates, statues and the like. I've also taken a page from the playbook of my friend Barb and others, to try to capture nature photos. The photo below is one such instance where everything came together rather well. 

The above shot required stealth as in no sudden moves to make this lizard leap off of this tree. 

Another view of the same lizard

Park Bench at Lake Seminole Park 

The above photos were taken last Sunday (6-9-13) at Lake Seminole Park in Seminole, FL. I had attended a monthly event known as 'Paint in The Park'. (This event is usually held the first Sunday of each month.) One doesn't always have to paint, it's usually just a group of artists that gather to hang out, enjoy nature, swap ideas and just spend time in each other's company. I get a lot out of these events. I always feel very inspired when I'm around these people as well as being in the Great Outdoors. 

I also brought my sketchbook along with me. I used to be very good at drawing when I was younger but it ended up getting away from me. Yes, I still doodle and enjoy making the card designs but I'm mostly talking about drawing from photos or in some cases, still life. The most I managed to do last Sunday was sketch my friend's Pepsi can, moreso just to see if I could actually do it. 

Not too shabby for someone who hasn't sketched anything in so many years

            Yesterday I stopped in at the Art Society and found an old book that had photos of cats & kittens           in it. I attempted to draw a tabby but he came out looking more Siamese. 

                   I lacked an eraser so I couldn't get his head to look just right, but still...not too shabby.

Another cat. The back of his head is bigger than I wanted but not bad. 

I'm going to enjoy the process of getting my drawing 'muscle' back up to speed. There are so many things I see during a given day where I'll just say aloud 'Boy, that would make a great drawing!'. My mind is full of stuff that I've wanted to take a crack at. 

Speaking of drawing and animals, I'd like to take a moment to focus on yet another talented artist. She is a fabulous nature photographer as well as a whiz at pastels, colored pencils and all around drawing. She is a lady that I know through the Art Society and has been one of my best supporters and cheerleaders. Her name is Terri Mills and you can find her fabulous work here and here

As I draw to a close, I'd like to thank everyone who has 'viewed this page' as well as the fine people at Pinellas Park Art Society. The individuals I'd also like to thank are Barbara Lewis, Joy Hawkins, Terri Mills, Cathy Behrens Paxton and last but certainly not least Elaine Salter. These folks have given me so much support for not only my art but this site as well. 

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

ATG Video coming soon!

Practice run to make sure I knew what I was doing with the camera. I hope to begin to do one-on-one interviews with some people, using this format. I'd like to give Mag some props for agreeing to be in this practice video.

As soon as I get my ducks in a row with the video portion of this site, I'm going to be putting those on You Tube with a link here as well as the All The Goods Facebook page.

As always, thanks to everyone for coming to check out this site. The pageviews are much appreciated.