Saturday, January 26, 2013


I was asked to photograph the Skagit Symphony school concert. Each year the Skagit Symphony education committee organizes a concert for local elementary kids.  Over 1200 children participate. 

Buses pulled up to the curb unloading hundreds of children as they filed into McIntyre Hall.

 They filled the seats, excited with anticipation.

The Hall echoed as they clapped with enthusiasm.

For a brief time, the children were entertained and educated in Classical music.

Roupen talked about music and introduced the different instruments that make up the symphony.

Then the children in an orderly fashioned, lined up and proceeded to their buses. 

May all Generations be exposed to Good Music and remember to take time, 
like these children did, to appreciate the good things in life - Like Music!

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Uncharged Territories

Uncharged Territories.  
Right vs Left 
 Logical vs creative.

Art is most powerful when it comes from our subconscious.  This is the time when the right brain is most active. That could be why our best ideas come to us when we are driving, half asleep, in the shower or daydreaming. Our left brain is on automatic, or in a relaxed state, allowing the right brain time to play.

With life being so hectic and stressed, it is difficult to put ourselves in a state of 'calm', to find our subconscious and let loose. Like all things, it takes PRACTICE!  The right brain has to be exercised like any other part of the body. 

While exercising the right brain, send the left brain away for quiet time. This quiet time allows the right brain to takeover. 

Forms of Exercise for the right brain.
  • Art is a form of exercise for the right brain. Creativity pushes the right brain into action which helps build its muscles. Like any muscle, the right brain will get weak if not used. 
  • Play  - Play games, play at art, play a musical instrument, play at sports.  Be like a child and  just play. Pull out the toys and play.
  • Do nothing - When you are doing nothing, or are bored, the right brain tends to venture forth.  This is probably why we doodle during boring meetings.
  • Daydream -   One of my personal favorites.  When daydreaming, a whole world is open to you.  Creativity flows, like a cool river. You can climb mountains with ease. Cross oceans in minutes. You are only limited by your imagination.
  • Dance -  Move the body - Move the mind.
  • Let your intuition takeover. Put the left side on hiatus and let the art flow.  
  • Visualize - Visual stimulation seen in paintings, drawings, photographs and more can stimulate the right brain. Visit art museums, go to artshows. Visually stimulate your right brain.
  • Feel it - Textile stimulation feeds the right brain.
  • Explore - Venture out of your comfort zone. Try a different medium or art. Take classes. Join groups.

When you exercise your right brain, you can increase it's function, the brains ability to expand creatively, to increase awareness, improve concentration and memory.

Learn to switch between the two sides, allowing them both to cooperate and help each other.  Using both sides of the brain makes you a well-rounded person.

If you are right-brain dominant, don’t forget to exercise your left brain.

A whole brain makes you a complete artist. 

The logical conclusion is to use both sides of your brain.   

The real power of art 
Is the ability to use both sides of the brain

Tuesday, January 8, 2013


She's Back....  Her name - Ego. She must have taken a temporary leave of absence during the holidays? But she came back the other day and she came back with a vengeance.  I liked it better when she wasn't here trying to usurp me, or scare everyone else away. She tends to be a bit overpowering and bossy sometimes - ok, she tends to be most of the time. And man, does she ever like to be the center of attention.  

I can't remember when she came to me originally? Or, when she took over? She was just there one day. I don't think it was suddenly? I think it was something that kind of grew over time? 

She is good at what she does. And she doesn't have a problem reminding me, or anyone else for that matter. But it would be nice sometimes if she would do it humbly, not arrogantly. It would be nice sometimes, if she would back off and let me, and others, have a chance to be in control, or have a say. 

I try, but sometimes I tend to forget until afterwards, not to feed her. She feeds off of control. She needs it. She craves it. The more she has, the stronger and more loud she becomes. Give her even the slightest control, or attention, and she stands up straight and lords over everyone. 

It is hard to tamper her down. To keep her in line. She is crafty and likes to lay low for awhile and then make sneak attacks. I don't always know when, or where, she is going to appear, she is just there suddenly - no warning. 

She's an ego. She needs to control. She wants to control. She is control. To send her away, or even get rid of her, would be like taking a small part of myself and causing it harm. Then what would I be without her? Would I be too timid? Would I let others run over me? Would I never get anything done? I need her, without her I might wither and die. But it would be nice if she would learn to share and to respect me. Maybe with time, her and I will learn to work well together. In the meantime, we will just battle on.

Sunday, January 6, 2013

I Live on an Island

Well it rained today. No big surprise there, but it waited until we wanted to go for our walk. That's the life of living in the Pacific NW, more specifically, the Seattle area.  Here in Anacortes, we supposedly get less rain than Seattle. I suppose that is true. Being close to the water (we are an island after all) has it's advantages and it's disadvantages. 

Let's start with the negative and end on a positive note shall we:

  • The Island is surrounded by water, specifically Salt Water
  • Cost of living and goods are just a tad higher. They act like driving that extra 13 miles to get to us from I-5 is a big deal, so they charge more for it. Or maybe it's just because they can?
  • Only so much land and space 
  • Everything has to be brought on to the island
  • We have 3 ways off the island.  If something happens to all 3 - we are so screwed. Unless you have a personal boat
  • Colder in the winter - we are close to the water
  • Windy
  • A lot of the island is hard volcanic rock. It's pretty, an all, but it's also difficult to build or grow on.
  • Limited water supply - if we are ever cut off from the mainland, this could be a potential problem
  • Going over the bridge - that's what the 'locals' refer to when they have to drive the 13 long miles to Mt Vernon
  • Not a readily supply of underwear and socks. Don't ask!
  • Jobs are very limited and hard to find
  • Sometimes we are a bit more technically-challenged and behind the big city
  • Slower Pace - this is only a disadvantage if you need something done really quick - sometimes
  • Sometimes a limited supply in products
  • Cost of living can tend to be higher

  • Beautiful - Let's start there shall we. It is one of the main reasons why so many of us live here.
  • Stunning views 
  • Surrounded by water (yes it was a disadvantage, but it's a huge advantage too).
  • Boating
  • It's kind of fun saying we live on an island
  • We have 3 ways off the island- Two bridges and a ferry. Unlike some of the island that are only accessible by ferry
  • Community - a very important advantage. Because we are geographically small, the community is small. Though a large island, the population is still limited.
  • NO TRAFFIC - well we do have traffic, especially in the summer when all of the tourist come up and take the ferry to the islands and Canada. But our 'rush' hour traffic - well let's just say it's minimal and quick.
  • Lots and lots of trails and parks. 
  • Some underwear and socks :-)
  • Some major employers that give to the community
  • Our own hospital
  • People - wonderful, wonderful people
  • Wildlife - Not everyone can say that they have orca whales as part of their area.
  • Drier than the Seattle area
  • More Sunshine than the Seattle Area
  • Cooler in the Summer (that is not always an advantage, only on really hot days)
  • Variety - we are a 'working' island with a variety of industries, as well as, tourism
  • Tourism 
  • Anacortes Arts Festival - one of the largest in the state - Now going on it's 52nd year.
  • Art - we are surrounded by art and artists
  • Fun - I suppose a lot of areas and communities say that?
  • Slower Pace - Enjoy a little 'Island Time'.
  • A little slice of our own heaven
  • Variety of people from all over
  • Fishing/fish
  • Parks
  • Our port
  • Music 
  • Pretty self-sufficient
  • Creative
  • Photographic
  • Fun to paint - if you paint. Might be why we have so many artists?
  • A good sized island - not too small and not too large.

As you can see the advantages completely outweigh the disadvantages. So, I have to ask - do you appreciate where you live?  Are you thankful everyday for your community and do you feel grateful for the people that live there? Even in large cities, there are small communities. It's just that sometimes in the larger communities with all of the hustle and bustle, we forget to slow down and do a little 'island' time and appreciate the area in which we live. The best way is to be involved and slow down enough to remember to take the time to appreciate.

Moving to this small island, this small community has been one of the best things to happen to us and everyday I am thankful for it, and for the people that live here. This community is supportive and generous. And full of fun. We may be small, but we are big in heart.

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Queen Mt Baker

My husband rows on Thursday mornings. Today it was cold and frosty, until they worked up a sweat. Then it was like me during a hot flash - hot, cold, hot, cold, mostly hot. It was a beautiful chilly morning. I wished he had a camera with him. Mt Baker was out in full glory, the sun was spotlighting her, making her shine. A low layer of fog parked right in front of her, with a tint of orange from the sun, adding a dramatic effect to the scenery. 

She is glorious when she's out. Magnificent comes to mind. Her beauty shines and she shows it off well on days like to today. I love her best when she is covered in white, the snow glistening on her peaks. On a beautiful clear day with just the right sunset, she is softened by a pink glow, illuminating her for miles. During the full moon in January and February, on a clear night of course, the moon is angled right above her, crowning her, making her queen for a evening. I have yet to photograph this beautiful event. You have to catch her right around dusk.

When I first moved to Seattle, someone told me a story about Mt Baker, Mt Rainier and Mt St Helens. He told me that Mt Baker and Mt St Helens were love interests of Mt Rainier. It was during a fit of jealousy that Mt St Helens blew. I don't remember the details of why she was jealous, only she was jealous of Mt Baker.  Maybe she should be. For no finer queen reigns in the Cascades. She is truly a gem. I can imagine Mt Rainier being awed by her beauty. Desiring her as his Queen. I can also image that she is strong, determined and independent. A woman not to be overpowered, or overshadowed by a dominant male, such as, Mt Rainer. That her independence is what makes her great. 

There is a certain photograph of her that I long to take. On a beautiful clear, winter day, she stands tall over the Skagit Valley. From a certain vantage point in Conway, you can get her in the background and the beautiful white Conway church in the foreground. Two divine symbols in one photograph. The beauty is stunning, the imagery spectacular. I have yet to take this photograph, it is on my bucket list - that, and a better camera.

We are lucky here in the Pacific Northwest to have something so beautiful watching over us. Every once in a while though, I have to remind myself that in that beauty is also Fire. She is after all a volcano. I hope to never see her blow in a jealous rage. I hope that she continues on - beautiful, majestic and Queen over us all. 

photo by Tony Locke

See more of Tony's photos on Flickr

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

The End of 2012

The end of another year. 2012 - the Best of Times, the Worst of Times. Either way it is all in the past. A farewell to 2012 and a welcome to 2013 - let it shine.....

January 2012 Highlights

Betty (our author friend) was invited to speak at the Seattle Boat Show. It was a rush in and a rush out, and I was on crutches for a swollen foot, but it was still a treat to be at the Boat Show.

We spent the day at the Tacoma Glass Museum with Shawn & Kelly.  The skies were dark and gray (typical Seattle day), but it was warm and shiny inside the museum.

A little winter frost - In January


February Highlights

Each year the snow geese grace us with their presence. Thousands of them migrate to the Skagit Valley. It is truly a sight to behold, when you can get close enough to them.  

March Highlights

Betty was asked to speak at the Seattle Yacht Club.  Part of the day we spent taking photographs (of course). 

My brother (the youngest sibling), celebrated his 40th birthday. This was a true gift to all of us, Kevin is terminally ill and no one thought he would make it to his 40th year.

April Highlights

When you live in the Skagit Valley, each year in April, we are surrounded by fields of color. It is also when we celebrate the Skagit Valley Tulip Festival and visitors from all over come to see it.

May Highlights

Not much happened in May. Either that, or I didn't take any photos to remind me?

June Highlights

Back to Princess Louisa Inlet with Betty Wright, for what is now our annual trip.  This trip we spent time taking her book to various bookstores. The highlight, of course, was the trip to Princess Louisa Inlet.

Another highlight during that trip, was the rainy day Tony and I spent at Granville Island in Vancouver.

The biggest highlight in June  - Tony turned 55.

July Highlights

This year we made two trips to Princess Louisa Inlet. The second one was in July.  Tony and I, arranged for a plaque to be put in Betty and Jim Wright's name at Princess Louisa Inlet. This place has come to mean a lot to both of us, thanks to Betty, and we wanted to honor her.  I made arrangements with a friend up there to take us on his private boat, so that we could spend as much time as Betty wanted, instead of the hour that the tour company gives visitors. It was truly a wonderful day and great memories were formed to cherish for years to come.

My sister and her kids came up for a day. She had an old family photo from her husband's family, that she wanted Tony to restore. While he worked away on the photo, my sister, the kids and I went to Coupeville and Ft Casey and spent a wonderful day, walking, talking and just hanging out.

In July, my father and stepmother, celebrated their 50th anniversary. 

August Highlights

August is a busy month in Anacortes - at least the 1st weekend is.  It is the weekend of the Anacortes Arts Festival.  This year, I volunteered in the children's area and managed their facebook page.

September Highlights

We spent Labor Day Weekend at Shawn & Kelly's house. On a very clear and sunny day, Tony and I, spent the afternoon on Mt Rainier. The mountain was out in full glory and we took advantage of it. It was my first visit to this glorious peak.

Whale Watching with Island Adventures - One of my most favorite things to do. The goal that day - to see a baby orca and we did.  Unfortunately no photos, but I got to watch through the binoculars.

October Highlights

Spent the day with Shawn, Kelly, Madi and friends at a pumpkin patch. 

November Highlights

Tony joined O.A.R.S. this year. It is the Anacortes Rowing team.  Each week (weather permitting), they go out and row for an hour.

Tony working the camera - Lake Padden in Bellingham

December Highlights

A postcard from our son's artist friend,  Han Kwon. He asked everyone what their favorite childhood toy was. This is his version of an Easy Bake Oven . Thank you, Han.

 Photo of the year