Patricia Temples Photography

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Archive for the category “ART”

Small Towns

I had a photography project in mind as I prepared for an upcoming show with my artists’ group.  How about photographing a small town near my home and putting the images in an old window instead of in frames?  I headed out early one morning to start gathering the images.  There are a lot of quaint older buildings in this town, many of which are empty, and I had no trouble finding some I wanted to document.  A beautiful old hotel with balconies and interesting stairs caught my eye.  But, then, the scourge of photographers appeared in my viewfinder…..power lines.

Small towns have a lot of power lines.  Big power lines, little power lines that are crisscrossing the street and each other.  Now I have a problem.  I cannot photograph these beautiful buildings without having a power line in each shot.  Here’s what I was seeing.

Poles and LInes 3Poles and LInes 2Poles and LInes 1

But, as luck would have it, as I walked and shot, going down the street on one side and returning on the other, I started seeing reflections in the windows along Main Street.  Beautiful reflections, distortions of reflections, and distortions in the old glass. You can even see distorted face shapes in these windows.

Reflelctions 1Reflelctions 2Reflelctions 3

So, I kept shooting, excited about what I was seeing and how I could use them in my art piece.  This is the result of many hours of shooting, planning, re-sizing, moving images around, printing more images to try out, on and on.  I like it.

Reflections on Main

As I was returning home on one of the trips from my small town photography jaunt, I again noticed the scourge.  I was traveling southwest toward a beautiful mountain view, but as in the town, my view was marred by the signs of civilization.

Big poles and lines

Woodberry Forest School, Upcoming Art Show

On September 5th, the artists of Firnew Farm Artists Circle will open their show “New Beginnings” in the Walker Fine Arts Building on the campus of Woodberry Forest School. A reception will be held from 5-7 pm and promises the attendees wonderful art to explore and local food to taste.

Reynolds Family Dining Hall

I have three photographs in this show that were taken on the campus of Woodberry Forest School this summer.  Most of you know by now that I look for and love to find coincidences and connections between my current life and something in my past.  Well, I found it at WFS.  I took this photograph of the dining hall, a beautiful, quaint room with warm colors, Clore furniture handmade in Madison County, and plenty of history.  As I was trying to determine a name for this photograph, I had to ask for information about it from a faculty member. I learned that the dining hall is called “Reynolds Family Dining Room.” I had previously learned that Bowman Gray, Jr. had attended WFS.  He was a former president of Reynolds Tobacco, but that didn’t tell me about this dining room. Of course I did an online search and found a more direct connection between the Reynolds family and WFS.  But, before I tell you that connection, let me tell you about my own, somewhat weak, connection to the Reynolds family.

I grew up in Patrick County, Virginia.  A little community in my county is Critz, and it is the location of the Reynolds Homestead.  Hardin Reynolds was the patriarch of this family who lived in Critz, and two of his sons were responsible for founding Reynolds Tobacco Co. and a third founded Reynolds Metals and Reynolds Aluminum.  My nephew is currently teaching at Hardin Reynolds Elementary School in Patrick County.

The member of the Reynolds Family who attended Woodberry Forest was J. Sergeant Reynolds, son of the founder of Reynolds Metals.  “Sarge” went on to become Lieutenant Governor of Virginia in the late 1960s.  Sadly, he developed a brain tumor and died at age 34 in June 1971 (coincidentally, the month I graduated from college).  He is buried at the Reynolds Homestead.  Virginia lost a rising star when he died.

There’s the connection.  My photograph of the Reynolds Family Dining Room took me back to my roots in Patrick County.  I suppose as a lifelong Virginian, I should not be surprised when I find links to other Virginians, but it continues to delight me, no matter how tenuous the link might be.

It’s Getting a Bit Crazy

I have written in previous posts about my art collaborations with two friends, one a watercolorist, the other a colored pencil artist.  That isn’t a totally accurate description of my friends’ talents:  they both use a variety of media in their work.  I am the photographer, and that’s about all I do.  Oh, well. We have completed a seventh collaborative art piece, and this one was the most challenging yet.  As we progressed on the work, we all had doubts about whether it would be a successful piece of art when we finished.  That doubt lingered until it all came together. Yesterday we matted and framed it and showed it to our artists’ group.  It was a hit!  It will be in a show at Woodberry Forest School in Orange VA, September 5 through November 3.  If you live nearby or within an easy drive, try to come to our reception on September 5th, 5-7 pm.  There will be a lot of great art, great food, wine and wonderful artists to make the evening enjoyable.

So….what is our collaboration?  We made a crazy quilt.  Not out of fabric, but out of paper.  Let me tell you first about crazy quilts.

The history is a bit confusing.  One source says they became popular in the late 1880s in the US, but another says that they originated during Colonial Times.  I will give you my take on what I’ve read.  I believe that the Colonists, who came from Europe with limited supplies, started using patchwork as a way to repair old and torn garments so that they could continue to be worn.  They probably didn’t start out as beautiful, but more functional in nature.  As fabric became readily available, the artistry and design components followed for quilting in general.  In the late 1880s the CRAZY quilt emerged among the wealthier classes as a way for them to show off expensive fabrics and their extensive embroidery skills.  Oddly shaped pieces of silks, velvets and satins were sewn together and embellished with a large variety of embroidery styles.  As the popularity of quilting increased, quilters began to establish themes to commemorate an important event, or they used fabrics that were of sentimental significance in their lives. Crazy quilts were not created for warmth or function, but for decorative use.  I have three of these quilts in my possession, all pieced and embroidered by my great-grandmother, with satin on the opposite side that my grandmother quilted.  These quilts were presented to all female members of my family.  Oddly enough, crazy quilts were rarely “quilted” per se.  The embroidery was embellishment enough.

But, I digress.  I was talking about an art collaboration, wasn’t I?  Yes, we made a crazy quilt.   None of us were sure we could pull it off.  I will show you first what our finished piece looks like in black and white.  Notice the placement of the light and dark pieces.  I see movement and texture. Do you?


Black and White Study


This is our finished art quilt.  The colors we chose are warm golds and reds, some grey and black, and sepia tones.  See if you can determine which square addresses each segment of a community.  Then see if you can name all of the things within the square that support it. This collaboration is large.  The finished size is 24″ x 24″ framed.  You need to see it up close and personal!


The Finished Product

The Finished Product


A quote from the book Crazy Patchwork, 1884, says this:  “No species of fancy-work yet invented has ever given more scope for the exercise of artistic ability and real originality:  hence, the secret of its popularity.”

I would say that the Crazy Quilt has once again provided an avenue for creativity, artistic ability and originality.  Leslie Barham, Frances Lacy and I hope you feel the same way.



Voices of the Land

I’ve been away from my blog for several months as I completed a project for the Blue Ridge Foothills Conservancy.  Called “Voices of the Land,” it is a mini-documentary of the last working dairy farm in Greene County, Virginia.  Photographs of the farm, both from a distance and from within, provide viewers with an opportunity to see how a dairy operates and to experience the beauty of the land that supports the dairy operation.  Originally the project was designed to be twelve aesthetic photographs, but with the title “Voices of the Land” I felt that there needed to be accompanying audio recordings by the brothers who own the farm. Interviews with the brothers revealed their love of the farm and the animals, and their great memories as children of growing up in an environment where hard work was the norm.  Milking cows cannot be done “when you feel like it.”  It is done twice a day on a regular schedule.  As children, the brothers went to work at dawn, then went to school (where sometimes they fell asleep at their desks), and in the afternoon, they returned to the farm to work past sunset.  If there was time and energy left, schoolwork was completed.  Commitment is the operative word of a dairy farmer.

As the project took shape, a slideshow emerged.  Using the (now) thirteen original photographs as the foundation, the voices of the farmers were added, then supplemental photographs completed the story.  The final product was a 25-minute slideshow with a history of the farm and descriptions of how the farm operates, as told by the brothers who have lived on the farm for over sixty years.  An additional feature of the project are QR codes that accompany each of the thirteen printed and displayed photographs, which allows access to a short clip by using a QR reader on a smart phone.  Below is the first image in the slideshow, and the QR code which accompanies it.  In this clip you will hear the history of Fairview Farm as told by one of the brothers.  Prints of ten of the images and copies of the DVD are available for purchase via the Blue Ridge Foothills Conservancy website:

Fog over Fairview Farm qrcode.photo10

More Collaboration

Earlier I wrote about my opportunity to collaborate on some art pieces with two friends, one who is a colored pencil artist and the other a watercolorist.  We have just completed two more pieces, which I believe are even more spectacular than our first three.  For these, we cut photos apart.  Each of us took some of the pieces to work on, but they had to fit back together just so to complete the larger composition.  I am a photographer, and it was a challenge to determine how to create new pieces from the sections I had to modify.  Take a look.  See if you can determine which pieces belong to which artistic medium.  Good luck!

Strip Farming

Thirty-six different signs of life adorn this creation.

Thirty-six different signs of life adorn this creation.

Collaboration is the Spice of Life

About two years ago I was invited to join the Firnew Farm Artists Circle in Madison County.  Who, me?  A photographer?  Didn’t they know I couldn’t draw, sketch, paint, or mix colors?  As I soon learned, there were other photographers in the group!  My affiliation with this talented collection of people has been incredibly inspiring, and I have learned  so many things that have made me grow as a photographer.  About six months ago two friends in the group and I started discussing a collaboration.  One of them is a colored pencil artist, one a watercolorist, and then there’s me….the photographer.  A very unlikely TRIO for a collaboration, for sure.  But, we set out to see if we could make it work.  We kept it our little secret in case we weren’t successful, and we collaborated in the car, at each other’s homes and on email throughout the weeks to come.  The challenge was this:  each artist contributed one piece for the theme TREES, and it would be passed to the other two for embellishment and change until it emerged as one cohesive and original work of art.  When we were finished we would have three pieces, a TRIO of works.

My first challenge as a photographer was to choose a photograph that could serve as a foundation piece for the others.   We met together one morning to share our foundation pieces.  Now my biggest challenge emerged.  What in the world do I add to these beautiful watercolors and colored pencil drawings to make it work?  Originally we had talked about working independently, but soon it became apparent that collaborating along the way was going to be the best plan.  I needed the most guidance of the three of us because….well, I told you I have a handicap when it comes to art.  After they were finished, we discussed how we would sign the pieces. They belonged to all three of us, but three signatures would have overwhelmed the pieces.  We thought about using last initials, which were B for Barham (Leslie), L for Lacy (Frances) and T for Temples.  BLT!  A sandwich.  How fitting!  We had layered our works together, creating tantalizing original art.  Let’s go with it!!

We are very proud of the results, which are now matted, framed and hanging in the Annual Christmas Exhibition of the Firnew Farm Artists Circle through December 27th.  You can see them at The Culpeper Cheese Company in Culpeper VA.  The opening reception is December 1, 4-6 pm.  Please join us if you can!

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