Weed Sort Plan

This blog is part two of a discussion about photographs. Do they bring you joy? If you didn’t read last month’s installment, you may wish to do that now. If weeding and oranganizing is not your thing, you can wait until next month, when I’ll be talking about who knows what, but it won’t be weeding!

So …… when I weeded my 12 boxes……it turns out that very few photo prints were saved. I have kept maybe 7%. I quickly noticed these trends:

Firstly, I don’t like mug shots (people in a line or clump looking at the camera), but I felt obligated to save a portion of these anyway. Examples are – young cousins together, or all five Sowadas (and families) in a snowstorm taken after Grandpa’s funeral,  or siblings at Aunt Louses’ 90th birthday, or the championship tennis team. These photos were almost always taken by other people. However, sometimes it is a person with a good camera, and skills, (and Dang), in that photo we all look so young and pretty! After a second weeding, these photos will be kept in labeled manilla envelopes roughly organized by decade.




Secondly, Why have I taken so many photos of Landscape? Mountains, trees, sky, flowers, water, plains. Why??? Just because everyone else jumps off a cliff, does that mean that I must also jump off a cliff? Many a vista looks pretty fabulous in person (an amazing castle on a hill for example), but the camera does a poor job of capturing any of it (my inferior camera or phone), and I almost never use these photos as inspiration for artwork. Even when I save only 2 % of the absolute best of these, it is a pretty big stack (3 inches), and to my eye they seem rather boring.

Thirdly, there is a category I call Architecture/Still Life, also kept for art reference. Most of the photos like this also get tossed! But sometimes the combination of archway-reflection-shadow-composition-color are so over whelmingly perfect, so compelling, ….. that it must be saved! There is just one inch of these. Here are examples. Aren’t they wonderful?










Fourthly, I very much love photos of candid people and pets! ( No surprise here. I wish I had more pet photos). But, I still have high standards for keeping a photo. They must have good light/shadow, composition, and mood. Due to the previously mentioned poor quality, many are tossed, and 3.5 inches are saved. (There is another inch of animals, and some are not dogs).




I now have one beautiful terrific art reference box,containing Landscape, Architecture/Still Life, and People. The box is actually usable, and way more enjoyable than scrolling through the computer albums. The act of holding the photos in my hands is wonderful! I can stir them on the table, view them upside down and at a distance for fresh perspective. Yeah! Joy! 


Last month I hinted about new ways to organize the photographs that end up in albums.  I have been thinking of a way to make the albums fun for me to assemble and fun for family to look at. I want to highlight the ideas that appeal to me the most – relationship, family resemblence, personalities, stages of life, and passage of time.

So….. without any regard to when or where, I have organized by relationships: couples, siblings, small family units, and large family units. I don’t yet know how many pages or how many albums will result. I am hoping the juxtapositions of my children young and older together, on the same page, will result in some very fun viewing! Gestation for this method is progressing nicely in my optomistic brain, and I have even started to give birth. Here are two new pages:










Ironically, I have used some mug shots in my example. Ooops. Sometimes it can’t be avoided.


I have lived on Hogeye Dr. since 1981. I would also like to create an album of this place, inside and outside. Part of the fun of this album, is to see the people, appliances, artwork, furniture, and paint colors keep changing. Most of these photos contain family as well. I am interested in showing stages of expanding and contracting shade, loud and quiet activities that all took place at home over time.


And finally….There is a manageable number of miscellaneous photos kept in a decorative wooden treasure box with a lid. These photos will have no labels on the back, and will be shuffled each time the viewing begins. Examples of the range here-in: college buddy wearing bee outfit, large topiary of an elephant, in-laws planting a tree together 30 years before they are in-laws, people swimming next to a canoe in the late afternoon light, grandma Alice wearing an enormous hat, a black and white photo of  4 year old Felix standing with sister, mother and aunt, and my children hiding under a rock out of the rain. This box will definately bring joy!



Recipe in this space: actually… more of a suggestion than a recipe, and only if you are someone who still eats milk. Add a generous amount of cottage cheese to deviled eggs and also to tuna salad. Less mayo is needed, and the taste is great!


Once upon a time, for about 25 years, in the 70’s and 80’s and early 90’s mostly, I really enjoyed the process of making photo albums. This was an activity that “sparked joy”. The albums have been seen with some regularity over time, and do help to retrieve memories of those years.  However, there are… Read more »

I don’t get it

I have just finished a large abstract piece of art, created to hang in the stairwell of City Hall in Gillette. I am 63 inches tall, so at 68 inches high this pieces is taller than me, and broader also – 43 inches wide. Large artwork looks good in this space, and I have mostly… Read more »

Which Path is Best?

The future is unknown, and therefore not a sure thing. Do we proceed with caution, or take a bold leap of faith? At the end of this blog (after a Sowada recipe), there are a list of the conflicting words of wisdom we have grown up with. Most lean towards being careful. But first, I… Read more »

Put Yourself Out There

You won’t get into the show unless you enter the show. You won’t meet new people unless you expand your activities and try new things. Yeah, yeah, I know. And here’s two more – You won’t get the job unless you apply. You won’t find something lost, unless you go looking for it. Wouldn’t it… Read more »

Quick Show and Tell

In my September blog post, I showed you many examples of artwork inspired by relationships with people, animals and place.  Two of the photos I shared then, are now small pieces of art. The first step in my work process, was to do a lot of editing. I limited the number of fabric choices, I… Read more »

Not a waste of time

I meet each week with artist friends, to share our lives and discuss art related stuff. We call it Tuesday Morning Art Coffee. Some people stay one hour and some people stay 2 or more hours. We occasionally talk about flooded basements, food allergies, or dividing the daisies, but usually we stick pretty close to… Read more »

Inspiration Found in Relationships

My artist statement has drifted this way and that over the years, but one thing remains the same. People Together. Relationship. Of course dogs and horses and cats are also ‘people’. There are other Sowada characteristics of outdoors, seasons, reflections, and shadows that usually appear as well. Here are some examples of reference photos and… Read more »

How is it done?

I create artwork in two styles. When I am making abstract artwork, there is no pattern. I begin with an idea and a group of fabrics that would play well together. When I make a figurative piece the process is more structured, and in this blog I will talk about those steps. There’s a part… Read more »