Glastonbury Abbey

Flowering vines growing from the ruins of Glastonbury Abbey, Somerset, UK. By Jameson Gardner Art

When we explained to our hostess at the countryside bed and breakfast that our next stop was Glastonbury, she told us that it was a very interesting town, “very spiritual.” I wasn’t sure precisely what she meant, but I had a vague notion that as the site of the ruins of an ancient abbey, it was likely a peaceful place where pious people could go to commune with the divine. It turns out that wasn’t really her meaning.

After we found a car park and I got change for the ticket machine from an auto parts store, we headed for High Street and the abbey. It quickly became apparent what our hostess meant by “spiritual.” High street was loaded with shops selling crystals, incense and energy spray (I’m not entirely certain what that is…). I’m not going to disparage anyone’s path to spirituality—I just wasn’t expecting the residents of a town that claims to be Avalon, the resting place of King Arthur, to make me feel like I was in Santa Fe.

The Abbey was completely different. The large expanse of grass and ruins, filled with myth and history, was quiet and peaceful in comparison. Though people speculate that monks may have invented the graves of Arthur and Guinevere to draw pilgrims in a time of financial need, it feels nice to wonder if maybe it wasn’t true, and maybe that patch of white flowers is growing there for a reason.

Ruins of Glastonbury Abbey, Somerset, UK. By Jameson Gardner Art

 

Whether you believe that King Arthur was buried here, or that the Glastonbury Thorn was really grown from a clipping of the tree that sprouted when Joseph of Arimethea drove his staff into Wearyall Hill, there is something about a place like this that makes you feel connected to those who have gone before. We didn’t have a problem wandering here for a few hours.

Marker at site of supposed tomb of King Arthur, Glastonbury, UK. By Jameson Gardner

 

White flowers in Graveyard by Lady Chapel at Glastonbury Abbey, Sommerset, UK. By Jameson Gardner

The Countryside

I have a couple dimensional projects underway, but I don’t like to post those ’til I have a final image (I do have work in progress on Instagram). So, I’m sharing a few more photos from England. On our way from Lyme Regis to Bath, we stayed at the Burrow Hill Bed and Breakfast in the countryside. We arrived late and went straight to bed, but in the morning we realized what a beautiful area we were in.

View of English countryside in Somerset

 

Our hostess suggested we climb a hill across the lane. At the top, we were greeted by a 360 view of English countryside.

Teddy bear in the window of bed and breakfast in Somerset, England

This bear was part of the cute decor in our room.

Tree atop green hill beyond gate in English Countryside, Somerset.

The hill with the view had a single tree planted picturesquely atop it.

Photos from the Cobb

There is a scene from Jane Austen’s Persuasion where a group of acquaintances has gone out for a stroll on this breakwater at the harbor of Lyme Regis. If you’ve read the book or seen one of the movie adaptations, you know that this is the part where, Louisa, in stupid teenage thoughtlessness, jumps off a ledge to be caught by Captain Wentworth… but she misses and hits her head. I suspect our heroine Anne doesn’t mind, though, because she secretly wants Wentworth for herself–despite having jilted him eight years ago when they were engaged.

Well, my wife likes the book all the same, so we found ourselves at that very breakwater—the Cobb. It turned out to be rather pretty.

Sunset sky from the Cobb at Lyme Regis, UK. By Jameson Gardner Art

 

Wave breaking on the Cobb at Lyme Regis, UK. By Jameson Gardner Art

 

 

Foamy swell directly off the Cobb at Lyme Regis, UK. By Jameson Gardner Art

 

Boats in the Harbor near the Cobb Foamy swell directly off the Cobb at Lyme Regis, UK. By Jameson Gardner Art

The Marsh Path

I think these few photos really convey the mood of the little path at marsh’ edge on the day they were taken. It was the sort of place where it seems that man and nature have been together for long enough that they can respect one another. There is also a bit of delightful country gloom. This is near Keyhaven on the southern coast of England.

 

Country gate on lane near marsh, Keyhaven, UK. By Jameson Gardner

 

Flowers by path at nature reserve Keyhaven, UK

 

House and grounds at marsh edge Keyhaven, UK. by Jameson Gardner Art

 

Country path--Keyhaven, UK. By Jameson Gardner Art

 

Nelson, Swan and the Queen

These are just a few random shots that I decided to group for fun. This one of Nelson’s Column at Trafalgar Square is another of my stitching projects. So far I have been pretty happy with the results. Like Saint Paul’s and Big Ben, this one merged pretty well. The only one that hasn’t was my attempt to get a 360 panoramic from the top of Saint Paul’s Cathedral. I had to take a step between each shot to move around the dome and the resulting perspective doesn’t really match up.

Nelson's Column at Trafalgar Square, London. By Jameson Gardner

This Swan was at a little nature reserve near Newhaven. I’ll be posting more pictures from that area later. I have to admit that I edited an ugly house out of the background—it sort of ruined the nature reserve feeling.

Swan at nature reserve near Newhaven, UK. By Jameson Gardner

This last one is my wife taking a photo of Buckingham Palace. The flag was flying and we thought maybe we caught a glimpse of the Queen peeking out at us 😉

Woman photographing Buckingham Palace, London. © Jameson Gardner

Don’t Give Up On Your Fairy

Finally photographed the fairy I started working on a while back. She’s been finished for around a month. But rather than buy fake leaves and blossoms, build branches and paint a sunset, I figured I would just wait ’til spring and use the tree in the backyard. Was it easier? Maybe. Building your own scene takes a lot of work on the front end, but it means you have a completely controlled environment when shooting. That means you don’t have to worry about the sun moving, the wind blowing, standing on a bucket or bird poo.

Dimensional Illustration Fairy in the Blossoms by Jameson Gardner

One of the first shots... terrible.

One of the first shots… terrible.

I got a few good shots, though. And the real blossoms and real sun worked out nice. It didn’t seem like it would when I started. I hesitate to include it, but I am going to post one of the first shots I took to prove how bad it can seem when you start. Don’t give up till you’ve got ‘the one’—I had to move to the other side of the tree, rig her up with wire instead of thread, stand on a bucket and knock over my camera before I was satisfied.

 

Fairy body in progress

Taking the photos isn’t the only part where solid effort and perseverance is valuable—I’ve learned from experience that if you want something to look human outside it’s clothes, it has to look human inside too. A wireframe covered in clothes and stuffed with fluff just doesn’t do the trick. This means I sculpted the whole body even though most of it was going to be covered in a dress. It seems like extra work, but it is definitely worth it.

Fairy Wings in Progress

I cast the wings from clear acrylic using a silicone mold that I made with a polymer clay original. Again, seems like more work, but I couldn’t think of any other way to get the translucence and form I wanted.

Finished model and dress

Hair and dress? You bet—hand made and carefully applied.

 

Blood Moon Eclipse

I know the Blood Moon is old news, but I finally got around to exporting one of the little time-lapse animations that I shot. It was kind of last minute, but I went up the canyon with a couple friends to try to capture the eclipse. This was the first time I had ever done time lapse and not having time to order a device to control shot intervals, I had to link my camera to my wife’s laptop and control it with the Canon EOS Utility. It actually worked well and provided an onscreen preview of each shot.

Blood Moon Lunar Eclipse Time Lapse April 2014

The moon moves faster than you’d think. To be zoomed close enough to get any detail, it meant the moon was moving out of the frame pretty frequently. So I have here, just a segment of the eclipse, when the last sliver of direct light is disappearing. I also have a still that I took while metering for one of the time-lapse segments.

Blood Moon Lunar Eclipse April 2014

It all made me wish I had a telescope.