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February 12, 2017 Vol. 2 Issue 1
Embracing the Grays and Browns
This winter in Kentucky has been full of gray days. So gray that I threatened to get on a plane to Florida just for a day of sunshine. I love winter, especially snow. It brightens my day and gives me the bug to go out and photograph. Unfortunately, we have only had one snowfall this winter and it was barely two inches of accumulation.
As I lament about the gray days, I remember a conversation I had with my oldest son when he was just a teenager. We were traveling from Frankfort to Lexington in late November and I commented on how I hated that time of the year because everything had turned to gray and brown. To which he replied, “Dad, you have to embrace the grays and browns.” He was wise beyond his years. I’ve taken his advice and since then have produced some of my best photographs to date in grays and browns.
A couple of things happen when photographing during the winter. First of all, gray days make what color there is in the landscape pop out brilliantly. The theory is that gray is the middle tone of black and white and so colors have a chance to appear in their true form. As I find myself crawling in creeks during winter months the grays and browns create a certain mystery and feeling of solitude. Also, I have come to realize that everything is not grey and brown in the winter. There are the wonderful greens of mosses and ferns, oranges of fallen leaves and many shades of pink that are some gradation between gray and brown.
As you read on, you will find that creeks have pretty much taken over my artistic life. I encourage each of you to visit a creek near you to discover the magic and beauty they behold. You may want to hold off until spring, but until then embrace the grays and browns.
I received a nice review by Keith Waits in Louisville Visual Arts’ Artebella. If you like learning about artists in the greater Louisville area (apparently, that includes Frankfort) you should check it out and subscribe. To see my vignette, click on the image above.
Back in December, I fell into this opportunity to put a show together at the City Gallery in Lexington. Since I have become obsessed with creeks and have a sizeable body of work exploring creeks, it was easy to decide on a theme. I asked painters Betty Beshoar and Karen Spears Springate along with photographer Dean Hill, whose work I have admired for a long time, to be a part of the exhibit. Now they call me a guest curator. Imagine that.
I encourage you to come see this beautiful show that contrasts four artistic visions of creeks. It just went up this past week. If you want to meet the artists, we will all be there for the Gallery Hop reception on March 17. Mark your calendar for gallery hop on St. Pat’s Day! Easy enough to remember.
Click on EVENTS for dates and location.
Gallatin County Franklin County Hardin County Henderson County
I will be introducing two new notecard lines as well as signing Kentucky 120 books at the Louisville Junior League’s spring market Tulips & Juleps. I have chosen four new images from KENTUCKY 120 to make up the Four Seasons of Kentucky set. Then I went to my garden images to produce a more purposeful set of notecards including thank you, thinking of you and sympathy.
When taking inventory at the end of 2016, I realized I was more successful with note cards than I thought. With the exception of what is still in retail venues, I sold out!!! For those of you who remember me from my Noteworthy years, it will be no surprise that I am back in the card business. I’m the one who is surprised.
Click on EVENTS for Tulips & Juleps dates and location.
Bourbon Tasting Becomes a Tradition
Between Christmas and New Year’s, we had the second annual bourbon tasting by a distinguished panel of Kentucky gentlemen. The Kentucky gentlemen are basically my son’s friends and me. I invited men my age but none were brave enough to participate in what always turns out to be a raucous affair. Maybe raucous is too strong of a word, drunken might be more appropriate. Having said that, I learned my lesson from last year. Just because there is enough in each round to have a full shot, you don’t have to drink that much to do a fair tasting.
So here is how our blind tasting works. Each gentleman brought a fifth of his favorite bourbon or one never tried. The bourbons are then decanted into mason jars with masking tape numbers on the bottom that correspond to numbers taped on the bottom of the bottles. At the end of each pouring, a number was taped to the side of the jar in the order of the tastings. The tasters numbered their tasting notes in the same order, so, at the end the bourbon brands could be revealed. The following tasting notes are in the order of tasting. Since we had ten bottles of bourbon, the tasting notes from bourbons seven, eight, nine and ten were rather scant, if not hilarious. I believe repeat comments validate the tasting.
- RUSSELL’S RESERVE – slightly floral, bright perfume nose, a little smoky, almond or cherry, palate nutty butter and sweet, alcohol only on the nose, mellow burn on the tongue tip, clove, orange, high alcohol, spicy, rye, seems hot, intense alcohol smell, strong oak, caramel hint, light with lots of alcohol on the nose, smooth, hints of smoke, cherry, oak, spice on the nose, strong alcohol nose, spice, floral, short finish.
- CORNER’S CREEK - maple syrup, corn, cherry on the nose, sweet, smooth, complex, apricot, butterscotch, beech wood or sandalwood on the palate, oak and vanilla on the nose, tobacco, oak raisin, less spice, easy/no burn, hardwood, cherry, very enjoyable, clear and clean, warm honey, very smooth, great smell, some caramel, easy on the palate, sweet, sweet nose, caramel, apple, brown sugar flavor but not sugary, complex.
- FOUR ROSES SINGLE BARREL – smells hot, bing cherry and cayenne, waxy with a little vanilla on the nose, dry and wood on the palate, flat, not complex, bright and sweet with peppercorn, medium alcohol on the nose, apricot, mellow, banana, heavy flavor, dense, cherry, full body, banana, burns on the tongue, lingers on the palate, strong oak, minty nose, warm nutmeg, strong corn, hot on the back of the tongue.
- JIM BEAM BLACK EXTRA AGED – heat on the nose, pine, smoke, warm spices, strong and dark, not as heavy as the nose suggests, nutty, pine, smoky, short flat finish, tart, spice, smoky, nutty, hot, heavy body, bold, full, cleansing, very smooth, strong caramel, doesn’t last long on the palate, robust smell, nutty, mellow, smooth, cherry finish.
- MAKERS MARK – popcorn, buttery and sweet nose, brown sugar, mint?, peat, salted caramel, strong, oak, caramel, longer finish, alcohol intense, very robust smell, high alcohol content, flat taste, smooth finish, hint of popcorn
- WOODFORD RESERVE DOUBLE OAKED – nutty, caramel, butterscotch, maple syrup nose, smoky, oaky, charred wood, hazelnut, brown sugar, oak, oak, warm cinnamon and vanilla, oak, cherry, smoke, very very robust smell, high alcohol, strong oak taste, smoky, vanilla, charred.
- W. L. WELLER SPECIAL RESERVE – high notes, vanilla, cinnamon, clear and well rounded, tingle on the tongue, rye, sharp, smooth, spice, leather, raisin, soft, peaceful, kind, 3 or 4 pots of coffee, burns deep, alcohol, feels like riding in a Ferrari with Willy Wonka, heat on the tongue.
- OLD GRANDAD BONDED – gentle and warm, darker, cane sugar, warm, warming, cinnamon, pumpkin pie, cardamom, tobacco, smooth, warm, vanilla, hot lingers, same levels/different experience, smooth, warm, burns on the back end, gentle nose, smooth.
- ROWAN’S CREEK –floral, butterscotch, peanut brittle, burnt ginger cake, spice, no real complexity, raisin, apricot, bite on the nose and finish, still heavy hearted, shew goddamn, very robust smell, burns lips a little, leather, leather, leather, velvety texture, nice balance.
- LARCENY – high, sweet glory, not doing well, young, fruity and floral, I don’t feel drunk at all right now, smooth light burn, vacuous, tastes like bourbon.
By consensus, Corner’s Creek came out as the favorite with Rowan’s Creek coming in as a close second. I guess I’m destined to have creeks dominate my life, even in the world of fine Kentucky bourbons.
As the tasting was winding down, the sober wives and significant others came to pick the gentlemen up. However, they were ready to party so we all went to the bowling alley for midnight glow bowl. Needless to say the women significantly outscored us in spite of our best efforts.
Even though I call this section of the newsletter “in my garden,” it is actually OUR garden. My wife and I share the work and the joy together.
Most of my December was spent making books from our garden photographs in 2016. Making books is an art form in and of itself which I haven’t quite mastered, but I’m getting there. The ten books in the edition were made as Christmas gifts. To get a peek at the books, click on the image above. The video is a little dark. Videography is another art form which I haven’t mastered and unfortunately I don’t think I ever will.