What Will 2020 Bring?

This month we start a new year of sharing our creativity and goodness with each other. Today I took a nature walk in the Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary near Naples, Florida, hoping to see the world in a new way and make some new images with my camera.

When I spotted a newly unfurling fern, I thought, “What a perfect way to say Happy New Year.” The fern is as ancient as the dinosaurs*, yet today this new frond showed me the delicate shapes of new life: the unfurling spiral. In New Zealand I learned that the spiral of a new fern, the “koru,” is a symbol of eternity — as it combines the very old and the newest forms of life.

fern, koru, eternity, beginning, plant, new zealand, florida, nature, ancient, new
The fern as a plant species goes back more than 40 million years. Yet today, this individual fern regenerates. Do you see the unfurling spiral? Known as the “koru,” in New Zealand, it symbolizes eternity.

Today, my new year’s wish for you is to hold fast to the wisdom of the past generations, while you use your energy to create bold new connections, relationships and improvements. You can do it!

  • Most modern ferns are descended from the ferns that coexisted with the dinosaurs 40-50 million years ago. The first ferns appeared on Earth 360 million years ago.

Van Gogh Self Portrait

Van Gogh’s Self Portrait was recreated in flowers at Pittsburgh’s Phipps Conservatory. The strong shapes and colors in his portrait allowed the Pittsburgh artists to make a remarkable piece.

Do you recognize Van Gogh with his piercing eyes, red beard and straw hat? The choice of plants in the portrait even reflect the different dots of color found in the background and the jacket. Find this recreation of the Self Portrait at the Phipps Conservatory in Pittsburgh.

The current flower show features rooms inspired by other Van Gogh paintings such as Starry Night, the bar with the pool table, and a Provencal house.

My previous blog featured a landscape photo with clearly defined shapes that are different colors. Do these two compositions inspire your work?

Sylvia Leo’s Quilts

My friend Sylvia is enjoying a quiet life in Pittsburgh, where she raised two children and spends time with her husband Peter, a talented writer and writing coach, now retired. Sylvia’s creative mind is extraordinary, and she creates beautiful original quilts. I think her talent should be sung from the mountaintop.

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Sylvia Leo, creator of unique fanciful quilts

I have photographed about a dozen of these imaginative works for Sylvia when she entered several of them in an international competition and exhibit. We took the next step and made her a variety of notecards that featured the quilt photos, and I couldn’t help taking her portrait too. We have been friends for about 36 years.

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Sylvia Leo’s quilt: what do you see in this design?

The photographs of her work give Sylvia comfort, because it is hard for her to think about lettingĀ go. She has poured so much of herself into them, it is hard for her to think of selling them. But the time may come for her works to be bought and displayed to a wider audience. Should Sylvia and her quilts part company, she will always have these images.

I know you will admire Sylvia’s uniqueness.

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Sylvia Leo’s quilt: shapes, patterns, and colors

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Sylvia Leo’s quilt: playful cubism

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Sylvia Leo’s tree quilt