Tag Archives: rural

Writer Inspires Artist – Artist Inspires Writer or On The Radio – Meet Hank

I could call this week’s post – “The Art of Visualization: The Key Element to Writing, Art and Photography”, but the result of that ability is “On The Radio – Meet Hank”.  I’m doing a joint collaboration with one of my favorite authors, Teagan Ríordáin Geneviene. One of my most consistent comments to her after reading her writing is: “I love it…I am instantly pulled in because I can visualize everything you are writing about”. When she asked me to do this joint post, her request was simple: “Go through your art and photography portfolio and send me a picture that you would like to have me weave into one of my novels”. I narrowed it down to Cedar Rapids Barn because this capture of an old dilapidated barn created a visualization of a rural setting and the mystery surrounding the structure (side note: I was driving on the outskirts of Cedar Rapids, Iowa in the heavily wooded hills along the river when I spotted this structure nestled in the trees. Of course I had to stop…hike into the woods and take some shots with my camera). So with that, I would like to turn it over to the star of this visualization, Teagan: 

Hi Kirt! Hello everyone, I’m Teagan Ríordáin Geneviene, from the blog, Teagan’s Books. It’s my pleasure to be a guest here at The Wall Gallery. Thanks to Kirt for working with me on this joint post!

3-things-cover_3-2016As I get ready for the takeoff of my next 1920s novel, Murder at the Bijou, Three Ingredients-I, I’m doing some collaborative posts with other bloggers. We’re combining their unique talents with my stories. From his wonderful collection, Kirt chose this image, Cedar Rapids Barn. I let it spontaneously lead me to the story below.

This tale is set in the Roaring Twenties world of my flapper character, Paisley Idelle Peabody, aka Pip. (For more about Pip, see The Three Things Serial Story click here.)

Today meet Hank Hertz. This vignette is part of Hank’s backstory. He’s a young man Pip will meet when she is sent to live in Savannah, Georgia with her grandmother. However, this vignette takes place at some point not too long before Pip arrives there, so she is not in this story.

On the Radio — Meet Hank

No harm in trying one more time, Hank Hertz thought as he stacked all manner of electronic components on the counter.

“Hi, Mr. Hardscrabble,” Hank mumbled, trying to avoid eye contact with the hardware store’s proprietor.

“Hank, I already told you. Your ma told me not to sell you any of this gadgetry tomfoolery. You might as well put all that stuff back on the shelves, son.”

Hardscrabble put a hand to his balding head in a frustrated gesture. He found his spectacles there and smiled because he’d forgotten where he put them. However, he brightened when the door opened. One of “Savannah’s finest,” Detective Dabney Daniels strolled into Hardscrabble Hardware. His finely chiseled features remained neutral, but he raised an eyebrow at the tableau at the counter.

“Now get on with you, boy. Put everything back. I can’t take your money,” the store owner repeated before turning to a real customer. “That boy gets more like his granddaddy every day. Detective, what can I do for you?”

1928 Detroit police radio Blue

“No need to rest on formality, Homer. I can’t find my flashlight, so I’m here for another one,” the detective replied then looked sheepish. “Go ahead and laugh about things going missing at a police station. I can tell you’re holding it back.”

Hank watched the exchange between the tall detective and the portly shopkeeper as he reluctantly made trips from the sales counter back to the shelves. He could have carried more things at one time, but he delayed the inevitable, hoping Mr. Hardscrabble would change his mind. As he picked up a few more items to return to the shelf, the detective stopped him.

“What is all that stuff, son? If I didn’t know better, I’d think you were building a ham radio. Or at least intended to before Homer shut you down.”

For a moment Hank’s face lit up at the mention of his passion — all things electronic, especially radios. He looked dejectedly at his feet.

“Momma wants me to study law. She says electronics and inventions are a distraction. She even said they were toys!”

“So all the old fogies are conspiring against you, huh? Well, you’d better ankle all that stuff back where it came from, like Homer told you.”

***

1920 Radio News

After supper Hank got an armload of books and headed out the kitchen door. His mother looked at the heavy tomes and gave a satisfied nod. Hank knew she was watching from the window above the sink as he walked to the little red barn. Vines of Cherokee roses ran riot over the building. The Hertz family used the barn for storage, but Hank made it his personal spot to study or just hang out. He also had a workbench tucked in one corner where he discretely kept his radio equipment.

The horizon blazed red with sunset when Hank slipped out of the barn. He pedaled the motorized bicycle he had made until he was far enough away that his parents wouldn’t hear the noise of the motor. Dusk descended as he rode into town.

Hank didn’t pay any attention to the dark Ford parked on the corner, or to the fact that someone sat inside it. He rode down the alley and came up behind Hardscrabble Hardware. The back door was locked, but he found a window he could open. He took his flashlight and climbed into the store.

He knew exactly where to find everything he wanted. So it didn’t take Hank long to gather all the electronics he tried to buy that afternoon. He stood at the sales counter and added up all the prices. He figured the tax. Then he left the full amount of the purchase, plus two cents, because he didn’t have enough pennies to leave the exact change.

Putting everything into his bag, Hank turned toward the back of the shop. It felt like an electric charge shot from his neck down his arm when he heard a cough behind him. Hank jerked around to face the sound.

1920 Victoria motorcycle ad

The boy thought he’d lose everything he ate for supper when he saw the police detective standing there, arms folded.

“So you actually broke into the store and paid for the things Homer wouldn’t sell you? Son, I don’t know what to make of that.”

Hank stumbled back a step. He wanted to run, but the copper knew who he was and where he lived. Besides, Hank had a pretty good idea that those long legs could catch up with him before he got to his bicycle. His breath caught in his throat. Hank couldn’t have spoken even if he’d known what to say.

The detective closed the distance to the counter in a single step. He pointed his new flashlight to the paper where Hank had added up his purchase. Then he pursed his lips as he thought. He stared at Hank as if he could see every fib the boy had ever told. Hank gulped.

“Where’d you get the money for this stuff, son? Allowance? Money for odd jobs?”

Hank only nodded, still unable to talk. Finally he found his voice and croaked out a reply. “It’s my money sir. Fair and square. I wouldn’t steal anything.”

“I guess I’m going to have to have a talk with your parents,” the Dabney Daniels said, slowly shaking his head.

Poor Hank felt like he might sink through the floor, right then and there. His knees felt weak.

“But this,” the copper motioned at Hank’s bag full of stuff. “I don’t see as any law has really been broken. After all, I walked in through the front door, which was unlocked. I know Homer leaves through the back door and forgets to lock the front. But being as you’re here, I assume he left it open for you.”

Hank gazed at Daniels in wide eyed confusion.

“Besides, I hate doing paperwork. If you had actually broken into this store, I’d have to haul you to the station and spend the rest of the night writing up the report. I do have to talk to your parents though,” he added causing Hank to sink further.

The young man managed a groan.

“You know, I really need an intern down at the station. I think your mother will see that working for me would be a good learning experience for a future lawyer. In a way, that’s where law starts isn’t it? With the police? Meanwhile you can put your talent with radio gadgetry to use. How does that sound?”

The end

***

And so Savannah’s youngest policeman began his career. If you want to know more about the other characters in Murder at the Bijou, Three Ingredients-I, click here. Thanks for reading.

 

Copyright © 2016 by Teagan Ríordáin Geneviene

All rights reserved.

The Barn – Featured Art Prints

“The Barn” is a series of art prints that depict barns. I chose barns as a unified subject to create a visual example of how the look of a print changes depending on the style, color and format used. The best example I can think of is when you think of a barn, you picture a rural setting and your mind predetermines what type of décor would be appropriate for such an art print. While there is truth to that to some degree, my examples tell the story of how that can change depending on the style of presentation.


The first art print is a large red barn. The clean lines of the barn lend themselves to a more modern look. For this print, I used a somewhat abstract or linear approach creating clean simple lines and thus a more contemporary feel.


 

The second art print was done using a traditional watercolor technique and creates that expected overall look of a barn.


 

Print number three is done using a pointillism technique that creates a very soft, subtle presentation of twin barns.


 

The fourth print is done in a gothic style of painting. The earthen tones and bold brush strokes create a very “old world” look.


 

The final art print is a typical red barn done in a traditional impasto style with large brush strokes and brighter, bolder colors.


 

Each print is of a rural barn, but each print creates a different visual experience and look. Thoughts?


 

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Even When Dormant, There is a Beauty in Nature: Excerpts from a Photo Shoot

I am continually in awe of nature. Nature’s wonder caught my eye as I was going through some of my shots from Michigan last Christmas. I did a series of shots along the river in Rockford and haven’t worked through them to see what I had until this week. I knew I took a number of pictures of native grass that grows along the riverbed. Sounds kind of dull, but they really caught me eye and now I remember why….even when nature seems dormant, there is a beauty in it that we seldom stop to appreciate. I have included four captures from that shoot that demonstrate just what I am talking about.


 

This first shot depicts a wooden walkway (marshlands) to a gazebo along the riverbanks. Look at the color of the grass accenting the walkway….

Even Dormant 1


 

Shot number two and three were taken as I wandered into the field. I wanted some close up shots of the seed pods opened with the field in the background.

Even Dormant 2

Evan Dormant 3


 

The last shot is that punch of color…have no idea what type of plant this is, but it clearly caught me eye.

Evan Dormant 4

So as I said earlier, even when nature is dormant, there is a beauty in it that we seldom stop to appreciate. Thoughts?


 

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Sepia Tone in the Old West – Excerpts from a Photo Shoot

It seems to me that whenever I come across photo opportunities that are of the old west, my mind immediately thinks “What would this look like in a sepia tone?” The sepia tone gives photography an old rustic look since it dates back to the 1880’s and is a familiar sight from photography taken in the old west. Living in the Phoenix area, there are plenty of opportunities to capture shots from that time period. A couple of weeks ago, we had family visiting and decided we wanted to go up to Tortilla Flats for lunch. None of us had been out there in a number of years and thought it would be fun. For those of you that are wondering what Tortilla Flats is, it is a replica of an old west town (and I use the term loosely) that houses a restaurant,  saloon, ice cream parlor, gift shop and small museum. Tourist attraction, you say…absolutely but based on actual history. It was a stagecoach stop and originated as a camping ground for prospectors searching for gold in the surrounding Superstition Mountains. Needless to say, there are numerous “Old West” photo opportunities. I wanted to share a couple of shots that I took that day and walk you through my “sepia” process to create that old rustic look to the photos.

Both shots actually look good in color, but for someone who wants an art print of the rustic old west, they typically are looking for the sepia tone as they decorate a room around that warm earth tone.

Old West Mine 1

Old West Mine 1

The first shot is of a fake gold mine; the “Lost Dutchman Gold Mine” which is rumored to be loaded with a cache of gold somewhere in the Superstition Mountains. This setting is part of the “ambience” of Tortilla Flats and created a great photo opportunity.

In this second shot, I converted the photograph to a sepia tone using Photoshop. The look now takes on an age by using this color.

The last shot shows the sepia tone, but with a light filter darkening the edges, creating a focal point, depth, and drama completing the look I am going for.

Old West Window 1

Old West Window 1

This next shot is of an old wooden window partially boarded up (again… ambience for the setting) and a great photograph. I like the color in this shot as it pulls the wood grains out, but for purposes of an art print portraying the look of this era, I convert to sepia, which is the next shot.

And then doing the same lighting treatment as in the first series, I finish up with an art print that has a touch more drama to complete the look I was going for.

Thoughts?

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Abandoned Shack in Field – Featured Art Print

“Abandoned Shack in Field” is an art print I am featuring from my Architecture Gallery. The print was created using a gothic technique that creates an old world look using earth tones and bold brush strokes. Using this style with the subject matter seems a perfect fit.

The setting looks like the shack has been abandoned for all time in a remote rural area. That’s the beauty with art prints; you can create whatever look you want from a simple inspiration. The reality of this inspiration is that this shack sits smack dab in the middle of a thriving community. Not long lost at all, but has owner who is waiting for development. The location is Issaquah, Washington (Issaquah is an eastern suburb of Seattle, nestled in the foothills of the Cascade Mountain Range) right off the freeway. It is deep in a field, but totally surrounded by a major freeway, roads, office buildings, homes and apartment buildings. Growth has marched around it. I kept spotting it from the freeway when driving and it stuck in my head. One day, I drove over to some office buildings nearby, parked my car and hiked into the field. The end result is this art print.

Inspiration often comes from simple scenes we see on a daily basis, but when used in a creative way, they can become something quite different. Thoughts?

I invite you to visit my Architecture Gallery to enjoy this print and many more.

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Barn in the Valley – Featured Art Print

Last week, I featured two new prints from my Landscape Oil Collection. This week I am going to take a look at two very different prints from my Landscape Watercolor Collection. In this particular collection, I have used a variety of watercolor techniques to create totally different looks to landscape scenes. The first print I wanted to feature is “ Barn in the Valley”. The setting is rural Iowa in wintertime. There isn’t any snow on the ground, just barren trees and brown dormant fields. Even in this type of setting, there is beauty in my opinion. This time of year is a time of rest and regrouping for not only the plant life, but also the farmers that grow the crops. I love the way the barn sits in a small valley surrounded by rolling hills. In this particular print I used a pointillism style for the technique. Pointillism is a style of painting in small distinct dots of color that are applied in a pattern to form an image. The technique was developed in 1886 branching from impressionism. The style creates a very soft look to a scene and the eye combines the dots into a recognizable pattern. In playing with this technique, I find that it either works really well or really poorly and I haven’t seen much in between. I liked it for this scene to keep a soft; warm and casual look to this particular setting. It allows the barn to become center stage without over powering the entire print. Using warm earth tones keeps the scene subtle, yet inviting. Thoughts?

I invite you to come into the gallery to view the collection in Landscape Watercolor.

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The Shack – Excerpts from a Photo Shoot

A couple of weeks ago, I was out on a shoot when I spotted this old shack. I have a fascination with old buildings in general, but dilapidated shacks seemed to have a photographic appeal. I especially like them in a sepia format as that gives the picture a dated and historical look. Today I wanted to share some of those steps starting with the original capture.

Shack Original Photograph

Shack Original Photograph

From the original, I cropped the frame to have the final product focused on the shack in the center of the picture….

Shack Initial Cropping

Shack Initial Cropping

So, we now have the shack more prominent in the photo, but all of the electrical lines distract from the main goal…old rustic look….

Electrical Lines Removed

Electrical Lines Removed

With the electrical lines removed, the look speaks more rural, but I think I want to crop one last time to pull the shack in better….

Final Crop

Final Crop

So with my final crop done, I like the framing of the shack and now turn the print into a sepia tone print…

Sepia Shack

Sepia Shack

The final print looks like a picture taken years ago of an old ranch house abandoned in a very rural area. When in reality, the original picture was just taken two weeks ago and the abandoned farm-house sits a few blocks off a major freeway in a high growth area near Phoenix.

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