Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Finding Stillness in Rivers, Manitoba

There has been a distinct lack of posts this summer - have you noticed?

I've been sorta busy, doing this, doing that. One of the major this/that items was managing an art exhibit that is on show for the month of September. What with recruiting, installation, judging, the reception and take-down I shoehorned a personal trip in there for September 22 thru 26. Manitoba, Canada was the destination and the purpose was to be a part of the Finding Stillness photographic workshop hosted by Kim Klassen .

Full disclosure, I am currently doing a yearlong online class with Kim; Be Still 52.

Anyways, at oh dark thirty on Tuesday past I headed out to the airport with the destination of Winnipeg. Once there I collected my rental car and following the curious directions (head out of the airport, take a right on Berry, go until you can't go straight and then turn right on Portage. Now drive straight for about two hours and you will be in Brandon where your hotel is) I did indeed get to the Best Western hotel. For this, my first ever visit to Canada, I was unprepared for the concept of that long straight, flat drive. There were amazing sky views with wonderful clouds and lots of prairie landscape but I had my black Elantra pointed west and was reluctant to pull over.

Four other ladies who were also workshop participants were staying at the same hotel so we joined up the next morning to drive to Rivers, the location of Kim's brand new Studio.
 The workshop was a three day one. Finding Stillness is as much about making personal time as it is about setting up still-life vignettes to photograph. Each day we had a one hour quiet time to totally immerse ourselves in personal activity. On day two I wanted to take a walk around the small town of Rivers to explore. The weather was quite un-co-operative with a persistent light misty rain and I was able to take "moody" shots without having to make special settings on my camera. As you can see the leaves have started to turn already.
 Meanwhile back in the Studio Kim had provided many options for us to photograph. I liked the seasonal color these gourds (?) provided.
 It was a delight to also have Xanthe with us. Herself a noted photographer xantheberkeley.com she was joining us from London and was always willing to pose for us so we could include people shots. Thank you Xanthe, it was a treat to listen to you, watch you and photograph you.

 Here's a Still Life I created using wooden spoons handcrafted by Xanthe's husband, Luke Hope. You can see more of his wonderful pieces at hopeinthewoods.com  Initially I had a setup that was all brown and cream but, hey, I like color. By adding the blueberries and the cut strawberry I was happy with this composition.
Another lovely lady assisting with the workshop was Aeleen Sclater aka prairiegirlstudio.ca.  We heard all about her gorgeous homestead and garden and were treated to many examples plucked from that garden. Ooh, those carrots looked good!
Kim has a faithful companion, the very engaging wonder dog, Ben. He was right there with us most of the time and such a gorgeous and obedient pet. On Friday morning we went on a nature walk to the local reserve.
We found amazing spider webs...
seed heads...
and this intriguing sign which proclaimed that "licensed trapping was not permitted". So go for it people, unlicensed trapping should be lots of fun!
During quiet time on Friday prairie girl Aeleen set up her harp and delighted us with beautiful soothing melodies. All the more special when you find out that her husband has handbuilt this and four other harps for her to play. A part of Aeleen has come home with each workshop participant in the form of a CD and I so look forward to listening to that when I am creating in my own studio.

In closing, here's the street view of The Studio. Right across the road is a large mural which reflects in the front windows. From inside it gives the impression that it is always a blue sky sunny day outside.  But for this photo I liked the colors of the blue bike, the orange pumpkins and the yellow chrysanthemums sparking up the black backdrop of the Studio.

It was a wonderful few days of Finding Stillness. Thanks so much Kim! I now have a library of photos to select from all full of wonderful props and more so generously shared by you Kim.