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Archive for the ‘Photography’ Category

Sharing the Honey – Melinda Downing of ‘Cabin Castle’

Thursday, August 21st, 2014

Acqua Girl with Blue Eyes by Melinda Downing

Acqua Girl with Blue Eyes by Melinda Downing

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“Art is the stored honey of the human soul”  Theodore Dreiser

The second in my ‘Sharing the Honey’ series where I profile artists whose work catches my eye as I wander the highways and byways of my virtual and my real life.

Today I’m featuring a talented Etsy artist and portrait photographer called Melinda Downing.  I first encountered Melinda’s work  through her Etsy shop ‘Cabin Castle’ in which she sells her own original photographs (mainly nature and travel-themed), vintage inspired photo pendants, market tote bags, and lovely postcards.  Melinda  designs and and makes by hand all the  items in her shop – using her both own photography and scans of images from her collection of vintage photographs.

Ghost Town Notecards

Ghost Town Notecards in Melinda’s Etsy shop ‘Cabin Castl

Wedding Thank you Cards

Wedding Thank you Cards – ‘Cabin Castle’

 

 

 

Jane Austen Pendant - Cabin Castle

Jane Austen Pendant – Cabin Castle

And the story behind Melinda’s Cabin Castle shop is as enchanting as her lovely work. As she says in her Etsy Seller Profile she was just about to give up on her dream of building a cabin on her piece of land in the Sierra National Forest when – over a blackberry pie – she and her retired truck driver uncle decided to build a one room cabin themselves – using mostly recycled materials. “Who needs running water and electricity anyway?” says Melinda.

Now she has a little 8×13, solar powered cabin that feels, she says, like a castle. A”I go there often”, says Melinda, “to hike, read, rest, build things and to make some of the art that I sell here on Etsy”.

As well as running Cabin Castle Melinda also has another Etsy shop called ‘Parts for your Art’ in which she sells vintage prints, art and craft supplies and gorgeous little crowns which can be used for all sorts of purposes from cake toppers to photographic props. Melinda says that spending a lot of time in her small cabin has made her realise that although she loves all the old things she has collected over the year it is OK to let go of some of them now.

Crown from 'Parts for Your Art'

Crown from ‘Parts for Your Art’

As well as running two busy Etsy shops Melinda teaches yoga –  “one of the most joyful jobs you can imagine” – makes beautiful portraits, and spends time with her wonderful husband and her two beautiful children.

Here is the link to Melinda’s lovely Etsy shop – Cabin Castle www.etsy.com/nz/shop/CabinCastle

You can also visit Melinda at her vintage shop on Etsy www.etsy.com/shop/partsforyourart

or at her portraiture website – melindadowning.com . . .

'Sweet Melana' - @melindadowningdesign

‘Sweet Melana’ – @melindadowningdesign

 

 

Corner View – Good Memories

Wednesday, May 7th, 2014

With Daddy

With Daddy

I think these memories are the very best . . . the first year or so of Brianna’s life – and of our new life as parents. I had a year off from my study and just devoted myself to being a mum. I don’t think I have ever been so happy – before or since!

Exploring the garden

Exploring the garden

Peering out of the cot

Peering out of the cot

Waiting for Daddy

Waiting for Daddy

What a beautiful flower!

What a beautiful flower!

 

Explaining something to Baby

Explaining something to Baby

Corner View is a weekly appointment – each Wednesday – created by Jane of Spain Daily, and hosted by Francesca of Fuori Borgo where bloggers from all corners of the world share their view on a pre-arranged theme. 

 

 

 

Portraits

Sunday, March 2nd, 2014

The Candy Cigarette by Sally Mann

The Candy Cigarette by Sally Mann

I have always loved portraits – I could look at them for hours and indeed I sometimes have to stop myself from doing so when I’m on Pinterest which is a veritable treasure trove of fabulous photography. I regularly share images I find on Pinterest on my Eliza’s Dream Facebook page but I have often thought it might be nice to share some of them here on my blog too – especially if I have some sort of theme I want to explore or if I just want to say a bit more about the images than what there is space for in a Facebook post.

So – because I have decided I will blog more regularly and Sunday night is one of the nights I have written in my diary to do so  I’m going to take the opportunity to share a few portraits I’ve discovered (or in the case of portrait by Sally Mann above – rediscovered) recently which I find particularly compelling . . .

Of course it is really late and I actually need to go to bed so I don’t have the time to really explore quite why these images draw me in the way they do -which was my original intention for this post.  I think it may have something to do with the forthright gaze of each subject and the spareness and simplicity of the composition. The use of light in all of them is incredibly beautiful too – though quite different for each . . . I have really been inspired by spending time looking at photography on Pinterest – so much so I plan to return to doing some portraiture myself in the very near future and have even lined up a couple of willing friends to model for me :-)

Perhaps the next time I blog I will hopefully  leave myself a bit more time to actually write . . . ah . . . baby steps . . .

Photographer Unknown

Photographer Unknown

Photographer Unknown

Photographer Unknown

Greta Garbo - Photographer Unknown

Greta Garbo – Photographer Unknown

 

 

 

 

Little Ballerina

Sunday, March 10th, 2013

Little Ballerina

Little Ballerina

I was pottering about taking photos of a pair of borrowed ballet shoes for a new series of shamelessly romantic photographs for postcards and cards for my Etsy shop when along came Brianna. She sat down on my prop box and effortlessly pointed her toes . . . Gorgeous :-)

Corner View – Serendipity

Wednesday, December 5th, 2012

Red Shoes

Not long before this picture was taken I had seen a photograph of a woman’s feet in red shoes and polka-dot stockings and I had really liked it. I thought I would try to do something similar one day because for some odd reason it really appealed to me.  Then on school camp one of the Mum’s was having a laugh with me about her little girls’ socks being too big for her. I looked at the little girl’s feet and saw these adorable red shoes and polka-dot socks. I pulled out my camera and took a few photos.  I’m not sure what I’ll do with them but it was certainly serendipity at work. I ask for red shoes and polka-dot stockings and lo . . . they appear before me  :-)

Corner View is a weekly appointment – each Wednesday – created by Jane, where bloggers from all corners of the world share their view on a pre-arranged theme. Visit Francesca at FuoriBorgo for more Corner Views.  This week’s theme is ‘serendipity’.

Roses

Sunday, November 18th, 2012

Bouquet

I bought these roses at the supermarket because they were simply too beautiful to leave there. Just looking at them made me happy but of course – being a photographer – I had to do more than look. I took masses of photos in the vain attempt to capture their fleeting beauty. My photos are just shadows of the reality of their brief blooming – but I’m glad I made the effort.  Though it wasn’t my initial intention I’ve since made some postcards and a photo block for my Etsy shop using some of the photographs.  They fit with the general feel of Eliza’s Dream I think.

When the Song is Sung – Set of 4 Postcards

When the Song is Sung – 4 x 4″ Photo Block

And then, of course, my beautiful roses wilted and died as all living things do. But as they withered they did not become less beautiful – their beauty was just of different kind.

I still have the petals – like flakes of creamy parchment edged with deepest pink. Beautiful.

 

Peonies

Sunday, November 11th, 2012

Peonies - Dutch Light - Dynamic Light App

We bought these beautiful peonies at a farmers’ market on Saturday morning. When we bought them they were tightly curled buds of pink and white. Now their silky petals have unfurled into luxurious layers – sumptuous and full-skirted, belles of the ball. I photographed them just now because Brianna and I are off to school camp today and by the time we return on Wednesday they will be past their best – blowsy and middle-aged, their dance cards no longer full of eager beaux.

I used my iPhone of course – and put them through one of my current favourite apps – Dynamic Light.  Gorgeous :-)

Peonies - Old Photo - Dynamic Light App

Corner View – Longing

Wednesday, November 7th, 2012

Longing

This photograph came to mind as soon as I saw the theme for this week’s Corner View. It is very evocative of the wistfulness that always accompanies longing.  The yearning for things to be other than what they are, the sweetness of imagining that maybe they could be, the tang of sadness at the thought that perhaps they never will. Bittersweet.

Corner View is a weekly appointment – each Wednesday – created by Jane, where bloggers from all corners of the world share their view on a pre-arranged theme. Visit Francesca at FuoriBorgo for more Corner Views.  This week’s theme is ‘longing’.

 

Corner View – Something old, something new, something borrowed, something blue

Wednesday, February 8th, 2012

Something Old

Not only is this bear old (nearly antique in fact – I got him when I was two!) but the photo is quite old too. I did a series of studio still-lifes during my photography course which I called ‘Childhood Preserves’ – and this teddy was the one of them.

Something New

My latest creation for my Etsy shop (a shameless plug!)

Something borrowed

This beautiful cup, saucer and side-plate set was actually given to me by a good friend but to me it is still borrowed because I want her to be able to take it back if she ever wants to. It is old, and quite valuable, and it doesn’t really feel like it should be mine – so it is just living with me for a while.

Something blue

I love the shades of blue in this photograph of Brianna playing on the beach with a friends’ dogs.

 

Corner View is a weekly appointment – each Wednesday – created by Jane and currently curated by Francesca, where bloggers from all corners of the world share their view on a pre-arranged theme. If you’d like to join in, please leave a link to your Corner View post in the comments at www.fuoriborgo.com, and be sure to visit other participants too. This week’s Corner View theme is ‘Something old, something new, something borrowed, something blue’.

Corner View – Black and White

Wednesday, January 18th, 2012

Sophie

Mother & Child

Comfort

When I saw the theme for this Corner View my thoughts immediately went to photography. I have always loved black and white photos. For some reason they seem to go to the heart of things – perhaps because all the distractions introduced by colour are stripped away and you just have the bare essence of the thing. I used to love photographing in black and white back in the olden days before digital photography. I found the whole process entrancing – from first to last. Learning to look at the world in black and white, thinking carefully about how best to expose the image to capture the full range of tones, developing the film in those mysterious black canisters and hanging the long tape of negatives up to dry – full of possibilities. The darkroom was a place where magic happened – where those tiny little squares in shades of black and grey were transformed into images – magically appearing before you in a tray of liquid.

I love digital photography – the immediacy of it, the ability to check your images before you leave your subject and take more if you need to, the ease of sharing – but I can’t help but think something has been lost. I certainly know that I have not yet managed to create black and white images that match those I used to take on film. I can’t seem to get the amazing range of tones – from blackest black to palest grey or the incredible detail. Perhaps if I get Adobe Photoshop and learn to drive it . . . who knows. Anyway – I’ve shared a few black and white images – sadly I was only able to put digital images in this post as I haven’t scanned the work I used to do while I was at Polytech studying photography. Ah well . . .

Beauty

There's a witch in my garden

Corner View is a weekly appointment – each Wednesday – created by Jane and currently curated by Francesca, where bloggers from all corners of the world share their view on a pre-arranged theme. If you’d like to join in, please leave a link to your Corner View post in the comments at www.fuoriborgo.com, and be sure to visit other participants too. This week’s Corner View theme is ‘Black and White’. .