Tag Archives: Tulips

Inspiration for March: Filling the Well

Just a few of the things that have been inspiring me this month:

Inspiration from Nature:

Tulips_©Gail Haile

Tulips_©Gail Haile

At this time of year, in the northern reaches of the US, the days are grey and the winter seems endless.  I make a point to have flowers in the house to inspire me with their colors and their message of hope.  This bouquet is one that I photographed in my studio last year.  This past month, I’ve had not only red and yellow tulips but blue hydrangea and lovely pink begonias to inspire me.




Inspiration from other Artists:  

Rachel Nankivell is a photographer from New Zealand. (Make sure you hover over the images on her site, to see them in color.) She wrote to me last year to ask about my mandalas but I was so captivated by her work that I look at her site often for a dose of inspiration especially in this grey time of the year in the northern hemisphere.

When I wrote to Rachel to ask if I could share her image and her work, she offered the story behind this image, “Sanctuary”:

“In winter last year, I accompanied my mother to a Catholic Monastery, Kopua – the Southern Star Abbey, situated on a dairy farm in Takapau, Hawkes Bay. This was a place we spent time at as a family when I was a child, and later I enjoyed time there with friends, and on my own. This was my first visit in 20 years, and it was very special to return as a fully-fledged adult. The energy at Kopua is one of utter peace and stillness – it is an oasis that many people seek out for relief from the busy pace of life. I feel like the work of the monks is to hold this space for us to enter and be renewed and centred once more. I sought to make images that would reflect this “sanctuary” in our busy lives.”

All her work has that same spiritual quality.

Sanctuary, ©Rachel Nankivell

Sanctuary, ©Rachel Nankivell

Inspiration from Outings:

One of my birthday presents was tickets to a concert at the Stanley Theater in nearby Utica, NY this past weekend. In addition to enjoying wonderful music by Jim Brickman, I’m always inspired by this wonderful example of 1920’s architecture.  I tend to want simpler architecture in my own world but it is fun to spend time in that space and appreciate the vision and the workmanship that went into creating it.

Stanley Theater, Utica, NY

Stanley Theater, Utica, NY

Inspiration from Music:

I love music. Having no musical abilities within my DNA, I appreciate other’s talents immensely. Most any time of any day, there is music playing where I am; in the car, working at my computer, in the shower, cooking in the kitchen.  My new favorite this month is Happy by Pharrell Williams. It’s not just the music and lyrics which will get most anyone dancing in their seat, there’s also a 24 hour video of people of all sizes, shapes, abilities, and ages dancing to this upbeat tune.  It’s all beautiful and incredibly infectious.  (My favorite dancer is at about 9:04 am, she looks like a 21st century version of my paternal grandmother and I love the idea of her dancing like this.) There’s now a New York City version of the video as well and others around the world are being inspired to create their own Happy experience, including  this one from Syracuse University. I dare you to watch and not smile!

Those are just a very few of the things that helped to inspire me this month.  Remember that the word inspire comes from the Latin inspirare meaning to breathe. What’s breathing life into you lately?


One last Tulip Trial: Mandala Monday 5/6/2013

I’m ready to move on to something besides Tulips but one last time, I wondered what would happen if I just kept progressively building upon an image and it’s resulting mandalas.  Here is the result of one such experiment.  They are in order of the steps (notice the image titles).

The more you push the boundaries, the less photographic the resulting mandala becomes.  I, personally, tend to appreciate them more when they still hold a glimpse of reality.  It’s just, then, a new way of viewing something you are familiar with.  But, you never know unless you try something different.  “I wonder” and “What if” are important to the creative process.

See you next week, without the tulips. 🙂

Pushing the Tulips further: Mandala Monday 4/29/2013

“I wonder”  and “What if”  are two of the best questions in creativity.

While I was playing with tulips and mandalas, I wondered what would happen if I applied some of the mandala creation techniques to a mandala.  Hmm, could be interesting.

You’ll recognize, perhaps, two of the mandalas here from a few weeks ago in this post.  Transforming those mandalas using multiple duplicate layers and some twisting, created entirely new patterns.  Then I thought, what happens if you layer two mandalas together?  The two combination mandalas in the gallery are a combination of 2 mandalas, the new ones from today each paired with one from last weeks group, to push it even a bit further.

One more week of tulips, next week.  I wonder what will happen if I take an image, create a mandala, create a mandala from that, and then create one more mandala from that.

Have a great week!

More Tulips Transformed: Mandala Monday 4/22/2013

Still playing with Tulips. 🙂  These mandalas are made using the technique I call Twist and Flip, because you duplicate the image several times on top of itself, rotate the various layers, flip them around, and most importantly change them so that you can “see” through them to the layers underneath.  Images that have lines or distinct edges seem to work best for this, though there’s always a surprise here and there.  I particularly like these, as they appear to have the luminosity of stained glass.  Each source image is followed by the resulting mandala which has the same image number.  Enjoy!

The next two weeks, I will take some of the tulip images as well as some of the previous tulip mandalas and try some totally new things to see how far I can push them in new directions.


Tulip Trial 4: 4/15/2013

There are a few more weeks of tulip mandalas planned.  I’ve been experimenting with different processes and images  to see what might result.   This week I used one new tulip image from the shots I took a few weeks ago and used my usual method of sampling a wedge out of the source image.  Different mandalas result based on the size of the wedge and the specific portion of the image chosen.  A wide variety of results can be had from just one image, as you see here.  Can you figure out which portion of the image was used and how many sections there are in the mandala?


Answers to last week’s question:  Which source image was used for each mandala?  In order: 2,1,1,2,1,2,2

Next week, I’ll use three different source images of tulips and create one mandala from each, using an entirely different method that the one I used for today’s mandalas.

Have a great week!

Tulip Trials 3: Mandala Monday 4/8/2013

If you’ve been following this blog the past couple of  weeks, you know that I have been playing around with different images of tulips to create mandalas. (First week is here, and second week is here.)   Today is the first of a couple weeks of mandalas created using the new images that I took of a tulip bouquet. The first week’s bouquet was simply lit with soft window light and was a bit flat.  The second bouquet, the ones shown here, was photographed in the studio and lit from the side and behind, highlighting the details more.  I do like some of these much better than those first ones I did.  To me, the lighting is more interesting and so, creates more depth and drama in the mandalas.  But we all see different things when looking at these or any mandalas so, what do you think?

There are 2 source images for these mandalas, shown here.  Can you tell which image was the source for each mandala?  The answers will be in next week’s post.

Have a great week!


Tulip Trials: Non-Mandala Monday: 4/1/13

Last week, I created some mandalas with images of tulips.  The bouquet of tulips was lit through a large window with soft north light.  I wasn’t particularly pleased with the resulting mandalas, so I had wanted to reshoot the tulips with different lighting  and try some new mandalas.  Well, last week was quite busy with a 3 day trip in the middle of the week.  In preparing for the trip I ran out of time to reshoot them and by the time I got home those tulips were drooping and dropping their petals all over the place.  So a new bouquet was purchased and I stole a quiet couple of hours in the studio to photograph these tulips in many different “poses” and lighting.  As it was a busy week followed by a busy weekend, that was the most I could accomplish. So, next week, I’ll have more tulip images and mandalas to share with you.

For this week, I hope you enjoy this image of the entire bouquet, sort of a portrait of spring.  I hope it was a peaceful and joy filled weekend for you.





Tulips Trials: Mandala Monday 3/25/2013

I bought two bouquets of tulips, one yellow and one orangey red from the grocery store the other day.  It had been a grey gloomy day and it was an attempt to bring a bit of spring into the house.  Also, I thought I’d continue trying out some flower mandalas, this time with tulips.  Some of the very first mandalas I ever attempted used a photograph of 3 red tulips that I had in my archives, but I’ve not used tulip images for mandalas since then.  So, I put the bouquet in the north light of a large window and took a couple dozen shots.  I played around with a few other images before settling on this one to use for the mandalas.  The mandalas that resulted from the first few images that I used were not at all appealing in my opinion.  These were better but I still don’t find these as interesting as some of the other mandalas that have resulted from flower images.  What do you think?

I have some ideas of how I might reshoot these tulips to perhaps achieve some more interesting mandalas and I will do that for next week.  After all, as Henry Ford said, “Failure is the opportunity to begin again more intelligently.”