One of my favorite memories from childhood is the inexpensive cardboard kaleidoscope that used to arrive in my stocking at Christmas, or that I could save my pennies and nickels for and buy at the local dime store (yes, I am that old!).
I’d not really thought about them for several years until I discovered a digital program that would create kaleidoscopic art. Even more sophisticated and detailed than the beads rolling in the bottom of a tube, I have created more of them than I’d care to count. Yet it just wasn’t quite the same! To my surprise as I browsed the toy aisles, the kaleidoscopes that used to be so readily available are much harder to come by these days!
Finally, on a short vacation to visit friends in Florida last March, I discovered one in a gift shop full of fun ticky-tacky souvenirs that I’ve seen in those shops since I was a kid. An appropriate fate for something so old-fashion and low tech I suppose. I was ever-so excited to find them, although they weren’t exactly as I remembered.
These had large, clear, dome-like lenses on the end of the cardboard tube and you didn’t rotate the piece on the end to change your design, you rolled the entire tube around. But it somewhat satisfied my quest and I happily paid an outrageous price to bring one home with me. It immediately took up residence in my art studio.
Although different than I remembered it’s fun to look through because, as you are viewing the patterns it creates, the background you’ve pointed it at is part of the design. It was especially fun during the summer as flowers bloomed and into fall as the leaves changed. I’m waiting for a nice blanket of snow to see how brilliant the design will be on an all-white background!
I continued to cruise toy aisles and other spots where I thought I might discover a kaleidoscope but didn’t have any further sightings until a trip up to Michigan late this summer. Again, in another tourist gift shop, I spied them. LOTS of them! In different sizes and shapes. Kaleidoscope nirvana!! I passed over the odd design I already had at home and looked through each and every different color, size and design they had. This time I bought TWO! One, pretty much exactly as I remembered from childhood, followed by a shorter version that had a sort of “stained glass” effect on the end cover instead of the traditional semi-opaque white film covering.
They have taken up residence with the first one in the studio. I play with them occasionally, share them with young visitors, grandkids and anyone else that seems remotely interested. When I purchased the first of the three I had tried to take photos through it using my point & shoot camera. The attempt was less than successful. 😦 I don’t recall if I tried to use the phone I had at the time but inspiration hit last week that, since I’d recently upgraded, perhaps my newest smart phone would work. I won’t say it was the easiest task, and the percentage of useable images was probably right around 50% BUT, when it did work – Wow!
Holding both the kaleidoscope and the phone in my left hand (and trying to keep them lined up in the proper position) while trying to turn the tubes and push the image capture button with the other hand was a feat in itself. I tried it standing, sitting, laying, propped up and a few poses in between that I can’t even describe! But I really didn’t mind the contorting, once I’m in the “photo zone” I rarely pay attention to much else but the images I’m creating.
After my photo-making craving had been satisfied I began to weed through all the images, deleting the ones that didn’t turn out well, along with several duplicates. Since they were already in my phone I decided that I’d do some digital enhancements to my favorites before I uploaded them. In addition to the eight that I’m sharing with you today I have another eight that I’ll share in the near future.
I hope that you have enjoyed the images, my story and perhaps a few memories of your own as you read this! I’d love to hear about them, regardless if they are about a kaleidoscope or some other favorite childhood memory – be sure to leave me a comment. 🙂
Until the next time just picture me browsing the “retro” toys, on the lookout for the next piece to add to my collection!
It seems like I find inspiration in places when I least expect it!
A few weeks ago I visited an old building that’s under construction. The raw walls, peeling paint, exposed bricks and bits of the past kept peeking out at me, I just had to grab my camera and quickly capture some images.
Even the outside of the building was awesome!
I’ve got hundreds of images of things that inspire me…I’m especially drawn to textures! Oh, and clouds. And rocks. And…well, the list is rather long! I am certain at some point I’ll glue myself down in front of the computer and combine all these images into digital art pieces. In the meantime, my image collection continues to grows!
I’m reposting this from September of 2009. It’s one of my favorite posts, as well as some of my favorite photos. Oddly enough, at the end of the post it mentions “suspending” new blog posts for the week – which is exactly why I chose to do a re-post for today. I’ve been working hard the last few weeks so I could take an entire week to escape into my studio and exercise my creative muscles before they atrophy! I’ve got several new works planned and am looking forward to this time dedicated to making new art. Enjoy this re-post and a few other automated postings this week. I’ll be back with some fresh new content soon! ~ Lynne
(Continuing my musing from yesterday’s post! ) I was able to spend some time at a nearby nature preserve, taking in a quiet, peaceful morning in the woods. The sun dotted the path where it could sneak between the heavy canopy of leaves and the weather was beautiful. One of those days that was neither too hot or too cold but just right. As I mentioned before, I was captivated by the leaves that, during their plummet to the earth, had been detoured. They were hooked to branches, lying on the leaves of other trees or on top of undergrowth. Much like many of us that get caught up along life’s path when we least expect it! As I rounded a slight bend in the path I looked up and, directly in front of me, there was a leaf suspended in mid-air. It almost looked as if time had stopped at that particular place, freezing this leaf on it’s journey downward. On closer inspection the spiderweb that was holding it in place became evident. I was mesmerized! How often I had felt like that leaf! Certain I knew where I was going and what was going to happen only to be stopped in mid-flight. Suspended, going nowhere. Although that sounds frustrating (and usually is!) there was something peaceful about the leaf too. Even though it’s journey had been halted I couldn’t help thinking that dangling there gave it a chance to rest. To slow down. To not crash into the hard earth quite as sharply when if finally did touch down. Perhaps these detours and time-outs are there to help us, not just frustrate us! It was a comforting thought that I’m still enjoying as I write this post.
That reminds me to mention that I will be “suspending” my blog posts for a few days while I take a mini-vacation. (Although I am testing out the “schedule” feature to do a pre-written post or two while I am gone!) It will feel good to travel a bit, see some different scenery and change up my routine. I’m packing my camera so, rest assured, I’ll be back with more photos and stories to share! Peace & love till I return.
I almost titled this “Loosing my marbles” but thought better of it. It might be a bit more accurate though!
I am in the final stretch of finishing up my brand new website. Shew! I’m so excited to share it with you and even more excited about being DONE! It will have lots of new options, info and fun stuff but it’s taken me literally months longer than I thought it would. Of course I had one partially built and scraped the whole idea and started over so that didn’t help the timeline.
During my rooting around in file folders full of images I uncovered these photos I’d taken for a commissioned project several years ago. Right in the middle of website development I stopped to pull them out, dust them off and get them ready to present. 🙂
Although it might not be as much fun as having my hands covered in paint it was a satisfying departure from the repetitiousness I’ve been dealing with lately. I’ll take it until the next time I can play!
The “Web Presence for Artists” workshop today at Sugar Creek Art Center was great! Information was flowing everywhere and, as always, I gathered some great tips as well. I loved the energy of having 10 artists together at the same time, sharing and learning! If you were unable to attend I hope to schedule another of these workshops in late September (I’ll post the info as soon as the details are worked out). In the meantime I wanted to pass along this information for you to take advantage of! Be sure to read about the limited time offers at the bottom of the page and contact me by September 5th to take advantage of those special prices. I am currently scheduling session in late September and beyond, when would you like me to help you improve your online presence?