“The Winter of our Discontent”

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“People who are most afraid of their dreams convince themselves they don’t dream at all.”
John Steinbeck, The Winter of Our Discontent

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It’s been almost two years since my last post.  Here’s my excuse.  Life got in the way.  Life was busy with photography.  Life was busy with a teenager.  Life became surreal due to the political ugliness and the division in our country.   My dreams, as I’m sure many of yours, became hard to identify, and sadly became less significant.

The intent of this blog was to follow my daughter on her journey to becoming a young adult, while also sharing my journey in photography.  Here’s the update CliffsNotes style: I successfully added “art commissions and installations” to my resume while my daughter moved on to high school and continues to passionately pursue her equestrian goals and dreams.

During the first six months of 2017, I spent a few months in San Francisco rising before dawn to capture the iconic landmarks and the eclectic vibes of our amazing city by the Bay.   After a major installation at a VC firm in SOMA in June, it was time for me to take a breather.  The timing couldn’t have been better.  How could she have possibly turned 15.5?!!!   It was learner’s permit time!

As the mother of a teenager with places to go, people to see, and horses to ride (with no access to public transportation … remember, we live on a mountain), I became her private Lyft service and Driver’s Ed teacher.  My availability for commissions pretty much became non-existent, however I did sneak in a few mini sessions last Fall.  With still a few months to go before her Chapter 16 begins, I continue as driver, but rest assured there is no complaining on my end.  I already feel the lump developing in my throat.

2018 has brought an unexplainable, quiet sense of hope and optimism.  I’m not exactly sure why or where it’s coming from; perhaps from spending time with my daughter and her pals who exude intelligence, kindness, empathy and the kind of optimism and hope that comes with youth.   Whatever the reason, I embrace it.  With 2020 only two years away,  I have a renewed energy to take this blog on the final leg of the journey.

As for the tree, I have begun a new photo series.  I have driven by this tree every day for the past 15 years.  I wanted to make a picture on a perfect winter day.  I convinced myself for last 15 years that day has never been quite right.   Today was different, so I stopped.  This image encapsulates the feelings and emotions that filled my 2017, while reminding me that beauty exists and my dreams are still very much intact.

Cheers! xx J>

 

 

 

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Let’s Party

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Spring is nature’s way of saying, ‘Let’s party!’ ~ Robin Williams

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While it seemed like spring arrived in NoCal months ago, the rest of the country is finally starting to see the signs of warmer temps with blossoms blooming.  Spring has officially sprung!  So let’s party!

Last spring I had the privilege of shooting two of the most prestigous public gardens in California for Horticulture Magazine;  Hakone Gardens and Filoli.  Both gardens are located in the foothills of the Santa Cruz mountains, to which I call home.  Filoli is a country house with 16 acres of formal gardens surrounded by a 654-acre estate, located in Woodside, CA.  Filoli has served as the set for many Hollywood films.  Many of you will recognize it as the mansion seen in the opening credits of the television series Dynasty.  Hakone Gardens is a traditional Japanese garden in Saratoga, California.  It is recognized as one of the oldest Japanese-style residential garden in the Western Hemisphere.  I believe Hakone served as set for the films Snow Falling on Cedars and Memoirs of a Geisha.

When my journey as a professional photographer began, my lens focused primarily on landscapes and flowers.  Over a decade later, I am a lucky girl to have been able to maintain this focus while adding a few other ingredients to my repertoire.  For those of you who need a dose of spring, take a few minutes and take a virtual walk through these breathtaking gardens. 🌸

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Perspective

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“It’s not only children who grow.  Parents do too.  As much as we watch to see what our children do with their lives, they are watching us to see what we do with ours.  I can’t tell my children to reach for the sun.  All I can do is reach for it, myself.”  

~Joyce Maynard

I wasn’t sure if I wanted to title this post, “pondering”, “parenthood” or “disenchantment”.  As my daughter approaches her tenth year, I ponder how Bryan and I are measuring as her parents.  I believe our successes greatly outweigh our failures and I believe we are doing a pretty darn good job at nurturing a decent human being.  Parenthood, while not a piece of cake, has come to us gracefully, without a lot of drama.  The child, as I have always said, brings more to our plate then we could ever dish out on to hers.  This beautiful person is such a gift in my life and inspires me everyday to dig deeper into my art.  Parents sometimes forget to continue to grow on their own journey as they raise the next generation.  My daughter and my journey to 2020 becomes richer each day with knowledge, love, understanding and, sometimes, disappointment.  Fortunately, the few moments of disenchantment when actions of unkindness or cruelty come along, I always have this small person to remind me that resilience is “rooted in a tenacity of spirit”.   On her first day of preschool they asked us to describe our child in one word.  We chose “empathetic”.  Yep, we were right!

Photo taken of the sun setting over the Pacific during the Super Bowl ♥

Flower Power✌

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Quote of the Day:  “Open up for the Power of the Flower.” ~ Praga Khan

I have spent the last five days with the “flower children”.  This is how I refer to my friends and artists who thrive, in some capacity, in the world of horticulture.  Some are publishers of fine garden and horticulture magazines, some are garden designers, garden writers and garden photographers.  Their common denominator, they are all true gardeners.

The sun was shining on me a year ago when my favorite flower child, Patty Craft, Managing Editor and Publisher of Horticulture Magazine (also, my sister), invited me to join her at San Francisco Flower and Garden Show media pre-view event.  While I was not asked to “officially” shoot ” for her magazine, they ended up using some of my photos for their article on the show.   It was the blossoming of a new and lovely relationship.

Also on that day, I met my second favorite flower child, Rebecca Sweet.  Rebecca, is a landscape designer, author, freelance writer, garden blogger; and, unbeknownst to her, the complete force behind my leap into the blogging world.  Several months after our meeting, Rebecca invited me to a luncheon at her home with renowned garden photographer, Saxon Holt.  Sitting in Rebecca’s garden with these two revered artists, I gained a wealth of information and inspiration.  It was after that meeting that I turned the corner with Woodside Images .  From these two masters, I learned that I needed to create a unique niche for my style of photography, promote myself shamelessly; and, most importantly, start blogging about it.

Patty and Rebecca at Gamble Gardens in Palo Alto, CA.

I am a Gemini and my personality is true to its sign.  Gemini world is one of duality.  This can also possibly explain and help describe my style of photography; or, if you will, the unique niche I’ve created.  Some days it’s all about horses and other days it’s a walk in the garden.   It’s been whispered, that in order for me to be successful as an artist, it would be wise to choose between the two.  Flowers and horses have been good to me for a very long time.  Both are an inspiration to my art and to my soul.  In staying true to myself as an artist and a Gemini, I choose both!  Enjoy!