Monday, June 30, 2014

Limerick-Off Monday - My Entries for June 2014

Mad Kane’s Humor Blog presents Limerick-Off Monday

Each week, Mad Kane posts four or five possible beginning lines for limericks and invites readers to write and post their creations. (Entries appear in the comments of each week’s Limerick-Off Monday which she posts late Saturday.)

Minor variations to the first lines are acceptable. However, rhyme words may not be altered, except by using homonyms or homophones.

A limerick is usually a humorous 5-line poem in which lines 1,2, & 5 rhyme and lines 3 & 4 rhyme. The best ones are witty and often use puns, word play, or clever idioms.  

Each week Mad choses winners and honorable mentions. They are judged by meter, rhyme, cleverness and humor. If you want to learn how to write a limerick, you can find instructions HERE.

Note that limericks have the reputation for being bawdy, but not all are.  Mine are usually fairly innocent, but I left out the more risqué ones to keep my blog G-rated. *****Warning: if you are bothered by suggestive, sexual, lascivious, or raunchy humor, you might want to skip Mad’s site, but most of the short poems are written in good humor, so check it out —if you dare.*****

I decided I would post what I consider my best limericks in one post at the end of each month. (If the Monday after the first lines are posted is in the current month, I will include mine for that month. If it falls in the upcoming month, I'll save them for next time.)

Week of 6/30/14
First line suggestions:
A man in the mood for a sweet…*
A gal who was cloyingly sweet…*
A fellow who rented a suite…*
The cellist was playing a suite…* 

Miss Stout, in the mood for a sweet,
Declared her sheer, all-out, defeat.
She had to lament
Her resolve that for Lent
She had vowed to not overeat.

The woman acted saccharine sweet.
Underneath, she's more sour than upbeat.
She said she loved birds,
But those were just words,
For she roasted a cute parakeet.

Mr. Rush moved into a suite,
In a low-priced hotel on First Street
After tucked in and snug,
Bitten by a bedbug,
He bolted in half a heartbeat.

The cellist was playing a suite,
But she dropped her suite music sheet.
When it fell to the floor,
She couldn’t follow the score.
Without it, the suite wasn’t sweet.

Week of 6/23/14
First line suggestions:
A fellow with many a vice…* 
A gal who was free with advice…* 
A fellow had bought a device…* 
A fellow was using a vise…*

Mr. Fuzz just transferred to vice.
His pals offered this sound advice.
Keep your hands off the perps
For they’re nasty, vile twerps
And you may catch their crabs or their lice.

A gal who gave awful advice
Explained how to get rid of mice.
“Once they are chosen,
Placed in ice trays and frozen,
Make mice cubes and use them as dice.”

Stephanie bought a device —
“As sold on TV” merchandise.
The quality unspoken,
One use, it was broken
T'was not worth the shipping price.

Week of 6/16/14
First line suggestions:
An employee who needed okays…* 
A fellow was dating two Kays…* 
The races he likes are 5Ks…* 
I was stumped by a word with three Ks…* 
Never act without getting okays…*

An employee who didn’t get okays
Moved his desk into the hallways.
The day he acquired
A new chair, he was fired
For lounging his days in a chaise.

The races he liked were 5Ks
with challenging, thin passageways.
So he turned his right side
toward each narrow divide
And shimmied through each one edgeways.

Franz was stumped for a word with three Ks
With his awful and bad-spelling ways.
Chained to a court desk
When he wrote “KafKa-esK,”
He described The Trial with that keen phrase.

Never act without getting okays
To change pastures where cows can go graze.
If the field has short grass,
It will sure be your ass
When the cattle have blocked the fairways.

Week of 6/9/14 
First line suggestions:
A fellow was trying to write…* 
A woman, convinced she was right…* 
We’re lost. You were s’posed to turn right…* 
A man who believed might makes right…* 
A gal was engaged in a rite…* 

Christie was attempting to write
A plot that was flawless. Airtight!
But Poirot lost his gray cells
And no longer excels,
So the plot turned into a plight.

 “We’re lost. Let’s try turning right,”
Said Herb at a lengthly stop light.
He would not ask (the fool!)
How to reach his son’s school.
They arrived just after midnight.

Joe believed might was perfectly right.
Over faith, he was willing to fight.
He spilled onto his back
When he felt the strong whack
From a brown-habited Carmelite.

Week of 6/2/14
First line suggestions:
Her eyes were the color of slate…* 
I’m forgetful — my mind’s a blank slate…* 
The roofer was working with slate…* 
Let’s start over, I’m begging — clean slate…*

This one was awarded an Honorable Mention —my first week of adding a limerick to the site

I'm aging ---my mind's a blank slate.
My hair loss reveals a bald pate.
I'm so ready to squeal
Over lost sex appeal.
My only gain, lately, is weight.

Saturday, June 28, 2014

Weekend in Black and White - 6/28/14: "Reap What You Sew"

The Weekend in Black and White asks us to post a totally black and white photo "for monochrome maniacs."

Today I am posting a still life. I had to do a still life for a digital photo class, so I just started to grab things that I had around the house that seemed like they went well together.  I ended up with about 30 different compositions with fruit, china, ceramics, flowers, tools, game pieces, utensils, and whatever else I had available. A few look as good in black and white as they do in color. This is one of those.

The composition includes lots of triangular (or nearly triangular) shapes and that is what holds the composition together.  The seam ripper and the tape measure form a triangle. The spools of thread form a triangle. And even the small patch of open space in the upper right is a triangle.  Those, along with other diagonal lines pull it all into a unified whole. 

One other thing that helps with composition is that there are an odd number of each item, with one, three or five. Our minds tend to count even numbers, but dismiss odd numbers, so we ignore the number of items and just accept what is there for what they are. Of course, in many situations, we can't control how many items are in our photos, but when setting up a still life, we can. In situations where we cannot control how many items are in a photo, we may be able to zoom in or crop out what we don't want.

"Reap What You Sew"

Friday, June 27, 2014

Kitty Par-TAY, Digital Art, Summer of Color - 6/27 to 7/2/14: "Tuxedo Cat"

I am joining the following memes with my "Tuxedo Cat" image:

Kitty Par-TAY ---a place to submit cat art (or other art) each Friday.

Caterday Art asks you to edit one of your cat photos to make it artistic. I didn't start with a photo. I designed this cat myself to look like folk art and donated cards and prints to a homeless cat organization.

For six weeks this summer, Summer of Color gives us three colors to use in a piece of art work.
The colors for Week 4 are: pink, apple green and dark green.

NF Photography has been having an Abstract Photo prompt each Wednesday. Beginning on July 2nd the promo will be for a Digital Art creation alternating each week with an Abstract Photo prompt.

Cat Art
Considering that my husband and I have had a number of cats over the years, I haven't produced much cat art.  But recently a friend who volunteers at a non-profit that spays and neuters stray cats asked me to donate to a benefit auction.  I could have donated anything ---it didn't have to be cat-related. However, I decided to design blank cat greeting cards and small matted prints featuring a fat tuxedo cat with a toy mouse.
"Tuxedo Cat in Green"
I wanted these to look like folk art.
I created them digitally using Photoshop.

It took about 20 hours to create this one
and about 15 minutes to change to each
color for other versions. The Summer of
Color took even longer.(See below for the same design
in other colors.)

Click on any image for a larger view of all.

My husband's mother worked for the Humane Society so his family always had a cat and a dog. My family had never had cats, only dogs, but when I bought a house  in 1978, I adopted a cat and soon had three. Two were gray and white, one short and one long-haired. The only female was a gray tabby.

When I met my husband in 1984, he had no pets because he lived in an apartment.

Three years later, on my summer break a tortoise-shell kitten crawled from under my car and came right up to me. We didnt feed her at first, but she stayed in our yard, so then we had four.

Two of them died over the years and then an older calico showed up with an all-white male kitten.  A few weeks later, she had a litter of four, so for a while we had eight total.  We found homes for three kittens and kept one, a long-haired calico female. We had the older calico spayed so we would have no more "surprises." As the years went on, several died and then a tuxedo cat adopted us. (Stray cats must sense that we are suckers for furry faces.) She was actually quite small, not fat like the one in my illustration.  It was sad when we finally lost her. She and my husband had a special bond, but we both miss her terribly.

By that time we were retired and wanted to travel.  Previously a friend took care of our cats when we traveled (not often) and I would walk her dog and feed and play with her cats when she was away.  But she had moved three states away and we had no one to take care of our very-spoiled cats.  So when the tuxedo cat had an inoperable tumor on her back that eventually affected her to the point she could no longer walk, we sent her to the great litter box in the sky and decided not to adopt more cats, at least for a while.

We know that once we are too old and decrepit to travel, we will probably adopt two from an animal shelter.  My husband isn't a people-person, but he absolutely loves animals.  He is a cat magnet. Strange cats go right up to him ---so they certainly must love him back.

I never saw a greenish cat
I never hope to see one,
But I can surely tell you that,
I'd rather see than be one.
(With apologies to Gelett Burgess who
wrote the famous purple cow poem.)
"Tuxedo Cat in Orange"
"Tuxedo Cat in Turquoise"
Click on any image foe
a larger view of all.
"Tuxedo Cat in Purple"

"Tuxedo Cat in Blue"
I created these in various
colors so I could package
cards in several color
combinations and so
that matted prints could
be selected by buyers to
match room decor.
"Tuxedo Cat in Gold"
"Tuxedo Cat in Red"
"Tuxedo Cat in Pink"
Cards are available with a larger face
as in this card.

Cards are available with an entire cat
including mouse toy as in this card.

 If you are interested in buying a set of 4 blank cards or a matted print:
All proceeds to be donated to The Homeless Cat Management Team (I donate my time and materials.)
Your check will be made out to that organization, so it will be tax deductible.

1. Leave a comment that begins with "DO NOT PUBLISH." (I monitor my comments, so I won't publish it.)

If you wish, you may also leave an additional comment about the post that will be published. In that case, please submit 2 comments, one for purchasing items and one for a general comment, not just one.

2. Include your email address and I will get back to you with information on where to send your check.

3. Specify your interest in the items listed below.

Prices include postage within the U.S.  If you want an item shipped elsewhere there will be an additional postage charge.

• 4 blank cards, full body with mouse toy (folded to 5.5" X 8.5") +4 envelopes (assorted colors to be chosen by us from what is available): $7.50

• 4 blank cards, larger face (folded to 5.5" X 8.5") +4 envelopes (assorted colors to be chosen by us from what is available): $7.50

• 5"X 7" matted print, $7.50,  specify color of print you prefer - mat will be either white or black depending on what we have available and will fit a standard 5" X 7" frame

• 8"X 10" matted print, $9.00, specify color of print you prefer - mat will be either white or black depending on what we have available and will fit a standard 8" X 10" frame

Note: Because of the mats, the outside edges of a print will be covered so it will appear to be slightly smaller than what you see above. Prints include the entire cat with mouse toy.

Prints are available in these colors: blue, gold, green, orange, pink, purple, red, turquoise and the special Summer of Color combination of: pink, apple green, and dark green.

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Good Fences and Photo-Heart Connection - 6/26/14 "Follow the Leader"

Good Fences Thursday

Below is a photo of a farm I pass quite often. It's on a well-used road with no place to pull over and take photos. But early one Sunday morning, I was driving past the farm with no cars behind me, so I stopped to snap these Holsteins heading toward a pasture at the top of the hill (to the right and out of view). If you've ever observed grazing cattle, most of them face the same direction. That is because they follow the lead cow. Here they are "following the leader" to their grazing area.

How does a city girl know this?  For ten years I was the editor of "the MOOsletter" the cow lovers' quarterly, featuring "all the MOOs that's fit to print."

Addendum ADDED ON 7/2/14: 
I am linking this Photo to Photo-Heart Connection which asks us to choose a photo that we either took or worked on during the previous month (June) that has some emotional connection for us.

I'm a bovimaniac

I love cows because they aren't aggressive animals.  They stand around, eat grass, chew their cud, have calves and give milk ---and probably aren't too smart.

If well-kept, cows can be beautiful with their huge brown eyes. On a farm tour, a farmer I knew told me everyone knew instantly that I was a rookie. It was because I was taking photos of their faces while the real farmers were looking at "the business end" of the cows. 

I once attended a Holstein auction held in the ballroom of a hotel. The cows in their formal black and white colors, were cleaned and brushed and even had sparkly stuff on their coats.  They looked more at home in the ballroom than did the bidders ---farmers in worn jeans, plaid shirts, feed caps and filthy work boots.

Holsteins like these are the most common cows in PA and the U.S. ---and I think even the world ---because they are great milk producers.  I love Jerseys with their doe-like coloring. They're not as popular as they once were because their milk has a high fat content.

I was on a flight in Brazil and the man beside me was a cattle rancher. He asked me what kind of cattle were in my region. I told him if he asked 100 Americans I would guess 99 wouldn't know the answer, but he was sitting next to the right woman.  I didn't know the Portuguese words for some of the breeds, but when I described each common breed in my less-than -perfect Portuguese, he knew what I was talking about. I mentioned Holsteins, Ayrshires, Jerseys, Guernseys, Milking Shorthorns for dairy products and Herefords and Angus for beef.  I even knew about breeds he didn't know the names for, such as Belted Galloways --sometimes referred to as Oreo Cows because they are black at the front and back with a wide white band around their middles.

So, although this is not the best photo I produced or worked on in June, it is the one which has that special connection that makes me smile every time I see it.

If you click on the link above to "the MOOsletter" you will learn more about my cow obsession.

(click on photo for a larger view)

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Abstract Photo & Summer of Color - Week of 6/23/14: "Homage to Geometry"

NF Photography asks us to post an Abstract Photo that already appears to be abstract or one that we have manipulated into an abstraction.

For six weeks beginning in June, Summer of Color gives us a color scheme to use in our art work. Week 3's colors are lavender, gray, and plum. SCROLL DOWN TO SEE MY SUMMER OF COLOR VERSION.

Abstract art can be representational (also referred to as objective abstraction) which includes images of recognizable/identifiable objects that are presented in a way that objects no longer look realistic. 

Non-representational (or non-objective) abstracts are not meant to represent any real objects. However, because of the nature of abstraction and the mind's desire to make sense of things, we often think they resemble certain objects. However, what one person sees in a non-representational abstraction may differ from what another sees in it. 

Even though I almost always begin creating my digital abstract images from my own photographs of real objects, sometimes I end up with a non-representational image and sometimes I end up with a representational one.  In my attempt to make this one non-representational, I turned the one recognizable thing ---the stairs ---sideways.

"Homage to Geometry"
In this image, I scaled, rotated, overlapped 
and/or changed colors on various parts.
I created a formal balance by making the left and right halves the
same, although the right is rotated 180º from the left.
(See original photo below.)
Summer of Color version
using Week 3's colors: lavender, gray and plum.
"Homage to Minimalism"
Original photo:
These stairs lead to the Scaife
Galleries at Pittsburgh's
Carnegie Museum of Art.

Sunday, June 22, 2014

Art Journal 52 - Nature Inspired (week of 6/22/14)

At Journal52, Chelle gives a theme each week for an art journal entry.
The week's theme is NATURE INSPIRED.
(version 7)
This is a digital art piece created from a photo taken beside a
parking lot in the Strip District of Pittaburgh, PA
(see the original photo below and several different enhancements)
I like this original (unenhanced) photo
but I was experimenting with ways to

make it look different or more like a drawing
in my other versions. Sometimes I end up
with a favorite, but usually I just look on
them as different, not necessarily better
or worse than others.
Version 1
Version 2
Version 3
Version 4
Version 5
Version 6

Saturday, June 21, 2014

Weekend in Black and White - 6/20/14: "1938 Big Block Chevy"

This is my first entry to Weekend in Black and White.
Click on the link above to join in or see what others have posted.

"1938 Big Block Chevy"
My husband got me interested in classic and vintage
automobiles.  I don't care about their engine size or other
technology.  I just like them visually. I enjoy the ones that
have been restored to their former glory, like this one,
but I also like ancient rusty heaps that remind me of
old, well-worn faces.

I took this at a car cruise,
 September 2012, Butler, PA

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Good Fences Thursday - 6/19/14 "Batting Cage"

Good Fences Thursday challenges us to post an image of a fence or gate each week.


On the previous two Thursdays, I posted photos from a park where I often walk. Last week's image showed a wooden fence with a batting cage in the distance. This is the same batting cage and the fence around the baseball field, framed by a large maple tree, which certainly has many more leaves now. This field and several others in the park are reserved weekly, usually by baseball or softball teams from local businesses.

North Park, Allegheny County, PA

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Creating Successful Abstract Designs - Lesson 1: COLOR

As I have posted photos and my digital art here and visited other blogs to leave and read comments, I've noticed that many people have commented that they cannot do abstract.

I say, "Yes you can !!!"

The problem is that most people believe that abstracts are created by throwing together a bunch of lines and blobs of colors at random.  Sometimes that works, but usually you get a bunch of shapes and colors that don't go well together.

So ---I'm going to take you on a step-by-step tutorial, in 3 easy lessons, to create pleasing abstract designs. Once you are successful, you can stray from these guidelines and try other things.

You may make one copy of this copyrighted information (text and images) for your personal use or for educational purposes.

Once you complete this lesson, go to "Lesson 2: UNITY" by clicking HERE.

The best designs are not made with every color in your palette.  They have a color scheme that uses a limited number of colors.  Below are five versions of essentially the same design (although there are slight variations.) Each has a different color scheme, but each individual design is made with a limited palette of colors.

Everyone has different tastes in color.  You might love #1 and hate #3, while someone else will feel just the opposite. You have to decide what you think looks good together, but don't ---at least at first ---choose every color you have available.


Look around you at anything with a man-made design: a plaid or printed shirt, upholstery or drapery fabric, bathroom tile, a company logo.  They were (almost always) designed with a limited number of colors and/or shades.  Even things you find in nature may have a limited color scheme.
Yellow, orange, and rust make a
great color scheme. A touch of
green would look good, too.

You can choose a specific color scheme such as those you will find below,  or you can take your colors from a favorite chair, painting or blouse, or you can make up a color scheme yourself. I would suggest that, at least when you are beginning with abstraction, that you limit yourself with 1 to 3 colors and perhaps several shades of those colors.  

In a graduate tapestry weaving class at Carnegie Mellon University, my professor gave us an assignment to go to a bin of yarn and find 2 colors that looked terrible together.  We were then instructed to pass those colors to someone else.  Once we received our 2 samples, we had to find a third color that made the other two look good together.  

I had charcoal and a rather sad-looking grayish brown.  As I placed other colors next to them, nothing seemed to click until I found a rust color.  It brightened the color scheme and it went well with both colors. It would have worked for me, but wasn't a color scheme I would have chosen myself.  At that time, I was creating huge tapestry weavings using whites, off-whites, and some light neutral tones of tan and beige. Occasionally I would "go wild" by adding medium and dark browns.

Your tastes in color can, and probably will, change over time. For a while, black and white photography seemed the way to go for me, but now when I see one of my photos in color with the same photo in black and white next to it, I almost always choose color. You may look at one of your older designs and wonder what possessed you to put those colors together, because now you would  never choose them.

You will notice that color popularity changes. One season's fashions will be all about bright colors and the next year's might be about browns and tans. If you own an old house, you might find the original tiles in the bathroom an odd color combination.  In my mother's house the tiles are pale yellow and burgundy.  What can possibly go with that?  Suppose you found plush burgundy towels that looked great, but years later when they wear our, burgundy isn't in style so burgundy towels can't be found. You'll have to find another color that goes well, or stick with white.


(click on images for larger views)
You may make one copy of this page for your personal use
or for educational purposes.
(There is a little extra room on the left to add holes
if you want to place it in a 3-ring binder.)

You may make one copy of this page for your personal use
or for educational purposes.
(There is a little extra room on the left to add holes
if you want to place it in a 3-ring binder.)
Once you complete this lesson, go to "Lesson 2: UNITY" by clicking HERE.

Creating Successful Abstract Designs - Lesson 2: UNITY

As I have posted photos and my digital art here and visited other blogs to leave and read comments, I've noticed that many people have commented that they cannot do abstract.

I say, "Yes you can !!!"

The problem is that most people believe that abstracts are created by throwing together a bunch of lines and blobs of colors at random.  Sometimes that works, but usually you get a bunch of shapes and colors that don't go well together.

So ---I'm taking you on a step-by-step tutorial, in 3 easy lessons, to create pleasing abstract designs. Once you are successful, you can stray from these guidelines and try other things.

You may make one copy of this information (text and images) for personal use or for educational purposes.

If you haven't already done so, I suggest you begin with "Lesson 1: COLOR" by clicking HERE.

Every design needs unity. It is what holds your design together, makes parts of it look like they belong together.

You can achieve unity using some or all of the following.
(I suggest that on your first attempts, you try to use all or most of these.)

1. a limited color palette
I would suggest that you begin with 1 to 3 colors in various shades. You can add black and/or white, if you wish.  Find "Lesson 1: COLOR" by clicking HERE.

2. similar lines and shapes
For example, you might use
a) all circles
b) curved lines and round or oval shapes
c) straight lines and rectangles
d) lines parallel to the edges of your work surface
e) diagonal lines
f) diagonals and triangles
g) wavy shapes and lines
h) think of other lines and shapes that would go well together

The design has unity
because it uses
2c & e, 3b, 4 and 5.
This design has unity
because it uses suggestions
2a, 3a, 4, and 5.
The formal balance on both
of these makes them
mirror images left to right
and top to bottom.
3. make parts connect

a) By overlapping some of your shapes and lines, you will connect them to each other, making them look like they belong together.

b) An alternative to (or in addition to) overlapping, you can fit shapes inside of other shapes.

c) Another option is to make your shapes and lines fit together, almost like pieces of a puzzle, probably with some space between them.

4. formal balance
There are two types of balance, formal and informal

Formal balance will give your design more unity than informal.
Formal balance is like a mirror image. Your work space is divided down the middle and what you create on one side is repeated in reverse on the other side.
However, you don't necessarily have to divide it vertically. It can be horizontal or even diagonal.
(See lesson 3 for informal balance.)

"Homage to Geometry"
This design has a formal balance, but the left and right are not
"mirror images" of each other.  The left half of the design
was rotated 180º so that what is on the top left on the left
half is on the bottom right of the right half.

What other elements of UNITY can you find in this design?
What is missing?
Another formal balance: this design was divided diagonally
from top left to bottom right, then rotated 180º.

What other elements of UNITY can you find in this design?

5. repetition

If you use formal balance, repetition will happen, but you can add more repetition by 
repeating lines, shapes and colors.  For example, you might have a row of 3 red squares or 5 blue circles.

If you have a curvy line, make another line next to it that repeats that same curve. Or line up 3 to 5 parallel lines beside each other, for example.


The blue checkerboard design below has UNITY, but it isn't very interesting.

Lesson 3: ADDING VARIETY will help you to keep unity in your abstract designs while adding enough variety to make them interesting. Go to Lesson 3 by clicking HERE.

makes a dull design.