Sunday, March 18, 2018

Opportunity Weekend - March 17, 2017

Bright yellow petals from a close-up detail of a flower in full bloom
It's St. Patrick's Day! It's almost spring! Although it might not feel like it, there's not only pollen, but some opportunities in the air for you:
That's a lot of opportunities, so I'd recommend you get out there and get some before spring gets sprung.

Until next time...

Wednesday, March 14, 2018

Snow on the Cactus

Snow on a cactus plant, actually a white cacuts in the Texas Hill Country
It's snow on the cactus weather. This morning, I listened to our local weatherman who told us, "the morning would start out chilly and then heat up." Fat chance! It started out COLD and didn't really "heat up" until late into the afternoon. Thinking it would warm up by about ten o'clock, I put on my shorts. Big mistake! I was so cold, I had to ride my exercise bike just to keep warm. I kid you not, I was sitting in my shorts at my computer when the heat came on. Ugh! March, man, you are killing me. Go home already, March, you're drunk! In other, more positive news, I saw my first bluebonnet yesterday. Yeah man, the wildflowers are coming, the wildflowers are coming. Kind of like Paul Revere only a bit more blue.

That's what I mean by snow on the cactus. Cold one minute, roasting the next. Our day ended up above 70 degrees. How in the heck did that happen? Sure, I'm going to complain come July but, for now anyway, this yo-yo of a weather front is killing me.

In other news, I shot a ton of shots this weekend. I mean like a ton. OK, they don't actually weight anything but probably something approaching two thousand. Dang, I was a busy girl. Too busy, in fact, to notice there was a cactus with snow on it. Or, maybe not, seeing as I landed a shot of that too. Say, "cheese," Mr. Cactus man, I got you too. Snow on the cactus and it's shooting season again. Who would have thunk it, right? I hope you get out and shoot come springtime. Get some man.

Until next time...

Monday, March 12, 2018


Reflections of bare tree branches in a pond in Texas
Reverberations. It's the time of year when winter gives way to spring. It doesn't happen all at once, no, it's a quiet transformation. Little by little, bit by bit, slowly the buds form, then the leaves on the trees, giving way to the wildflowers, and then, before you know it, it's summertime again.

I have yet to see my first bluebonnet of the season. I hear they are out there. I can almost smell them. This weekend, I went over to the water gardens. They had daisies and red bud trees, koi, and lots of bushes. It's almost flower season, in fact, the pansies are almost past peak season. The succulents were there as they always are. The ponds are drained, the trees bare, but you can tell the change in season is sneaking up on us. In lots of little ways, little tells, that spring has, it's making its way onto center stage. This will probably be my last bare tree image of the year. The next tree image? Why, they'll have buds, leaves, maybe flowers, perhaps lots of sunshine and sunny skies. I might even be complaining about the heat. Yeah, it gets like that around here.

Seasons get you every time. Just when you get used to it, BAM! It's changes out from underneath you.

Until next time...

Saturday, March 10, 2018

Opportunity Weekend - March 10th 2018

Beautiful soft detail of a Bradford pear blossom, a white flower native to Texas
It's almost time for spring, at least our trees have started blooming here in Texas. Now, I know some of you are still experiencing what feels like the depths of winter but, trust Mother Nature on this one, the seasons are about to change yet again. In case spring is not abloom where you are, you can have some opportunities to get after and maybe see if your artwork can be all abloom instead. Here you go:
Some great opportunities for you and it would appear it's also photo festival season out there so enjoy the weather.

Until next time...

Saturday, March 03, 2018

Top 10 List - Guilin, Guangxi, China

A serene look at the Karst formation/mountains and the Li River near Guilin, China
I still can't really believe I went to China, but I'm back and thought it high time to post my top ten list from Guilin. So, here it is, I hope you enjoy it as much as I enjoyed my travels.

Here are the top 10 things I've learned about Guilin, Guangxi, China:
10. The village inside the park - there are many parks in Guilin, really beautiful parks, including one that had an entire village contained inside of it. We got to visit the park and speak with some of the locals. Extra special thanks to my guides form the CLI school who were able to translate so well for me and really helped me converse with the locals here as it was quite a treat. The parks in Guilin are a treasure not to be missed should you happen to visit the city or surrounding areas, definitely check them out, as they are a must see.

9. The whiskey is fermented in bottles and called baijiu. In China, they ferment baijiu in caves, storing it in jugs (sometimes hand painted jugs.) I actually celebrated my birthday in one of these caves, we had birthday cake, longevity noodles, and baijiu to celebrate. This was a remarkable experience and I highly recommend you try eating and drinking in a cave restaurant if you are lucky enough to visit Guilin. The process of making the baijiu was fascinating as well. We got to tour the area where the jugs are stored and go far back into the cave as part of our visit. It's quite the underground treat and I mean that literally, as it's all underground once you go inside the caves.

8. The rice terraces - just outside the city of Guilin is a rice terrace landscape which we were lucky enough to visit. The terraces themselves are 650 years old. That's a lot of rice over the years! They receive their name, Longji (Longsheng) or "dragon's backbone" because they resemble a dragon's spine when you reach the top and look down upon them. The top is many flights of stairs up (more than 50) so bring your walking shoes but the village up there is so wonderful you'll soon forget the hike and enjoy the views and the fresh mountain air. We also had some great food up in the little village by the rice terraces. If you go, opt for getting some rice in bamboo poles. They stuff the bamboo long poles with rice and beat them over an open fire to cook the rice. Sounds a bit odd but it was delicious-some of the best rice we had in China and that's really saying a lot as our food was exceptionally good across the board. The village up near the rice terraces is a wonderful visit as well, it's charming and I recommend spending some time enjoying the little shops and artisan markets if you can.

7. The landscape - Guilin is a tourist city and not just for folks visiting from the United States and Europe. Children in China learn in school studies that "Guilin's landscape is the best under Heaven," so a lot of people travel from across China to visit Guilin. The karst limestone formations are dramatic and the river cuts through the city to make for some wonderfully dramatic landscapes. If you do decide to visit Guilin, don't forget to enjoy the view.

6. Buddhist temples - the temples, the temples, the temples, what can I say about the temples? Whether large and public like the temple situated inside Seven Star Park or small and hidden, like the temple tucked away in the medicine market, the Buddhist temples left an impression on me. From visiting temples with offerings hidden inside caves to the grand ornate style of the public temples, complete with monks preparing for evening services, the Buddhist temples are glorious houses of worship that should be visited as part of any trip to Guilin. Do check them out if you go, you won't be sorry.

5. Seven Star Park - the big park in Guilin houses a giant temple, a zoo, lots of stuff inside, including a large lake where President Clinton once gave a talk on the environment. It's like a city in there. There were lots of people playing mahjong and cards and lots of visitors but the park is so large it's also possible to enjoy a quiet moment to yourself, just to take it all in. If you go into almost any park in Guilin, you will find people playing cards, talking, playing mahjong, and enjoying the park like a local. The parks really are treasures and the people really do use them which is a wonderful experience to enjoy. Seven Star Park is one of the largest of these parks and a great place to visit.

4. The tea - I learned a lot from Kevin, our botanist, actually tea expert extraordinaire from the Guilin Tea Research Institute, including attending an authentic tea ceremony and learning loads about tea. I actually got to stand in a field of tea plants and pick a tea leaf from one. I learned how they make tea how they grow tea, how they produce tea, how they celebrate tea, basically all things tea which was a remarkable experience to enjoy. I'm a real tea drinker and it was wonderful to get so up close and personal with the tea experience. This was a bucket list item for me for sure and I'd highly recommend you enjoy a visit if you are so inclined when visiting Guilin.

3. The food - this was a bit of a surprise for me, as, for some reason, I thought the food in China would not be that enjoyable. The food was so good. Lots of vegetarian and rice, yes, but also tons of flavor, spices, wonderfully different types of local dishes and so enjoyable. Each meal was like a new and surprising treat to savor. Lots of passion fruit and pomelos (large grapefruit like fruit), wonderful lotus dishes, fantastic fish, every meal seemed better than the last. The people of Guilin typically do not have sweets with one notable exception-they tend to eat something sweet, almost always a fruit, at the end of a meal as a dessert like finish. I have started practicing this at home now as it's healthy and quite the treat as well. I managed fine with the chopsticks, actually enjoyed working with them, and really loved the food in Guilin. I really can't rave enough about the food. It was fantastic! Now, I have to admit, I'd go back just for the food it really was that good. Healthy, tasty, and good food on this trip, that's for sure.

2. The medicine market - Guilin has a "hidden city" as I dubbed it, or a medicine market inside the city center. This was a fabulous place with lots of merchants selling everything you can imagine and even some things you probably never could imagine, not even in your wildest dreams. Some booths had me guessing, animal, vegetable, or mineral? This hidden city was like a different world and it was so fantastic to be able to just walk around, enjoying all the market had to offer. It's these type of off the beaten path places I really enjoy the most, as they are frequented by locals and really help give you a sense of what a place is actually like, rather than what you might find in a guide book.

1. The people - from the hotel owners to the shop owners to the people working in the airports, restaurants, and tourist sites, the Chinese people really are very welcoming and gracious people. The people really do make a place and the people of Guilin are the salt of the earth. I can't speak highly enough about the folks from CLI, they were wonderful hosts, helping us make the most of our travels and really showing us the heart of the city. The local people are engaging, friendly, and charming. If you get a chance to visit Guilin, I hope you get to spend some time with some of the locals, as they really help make the city the gem it has become.

Some runners up:
  • The restaurant scene and nightlife is really great in Guilin. Lots of different restaurants to enjoy and lots of shopping and events into the evening hours. You will never get bored in Guilin and you will enjoy the food more than you think possible. 
  • The glass bridge and two pagodas area was a wonderful visit. It's part of the more tourist area in the city but it's still worthy of a visit. The pagodas at night are stunningly beautiful and the glass bridge is lovely. 
  • Chinese visas can be difficult to obtain so you will want to get one as soon as you book your trip. Once obtained, they are good for ten years, so you might want to plan for multiple trips to China.
  • I really learned on this trip how much we rely upon nonverbal communication. I did try to learn a few phrases in Mandarin-I can still say "hello" and "thank you" for example, but I found I was able to communicate with some of the locals even with my severely limited vocabulary. The people in Guilin are open and engaging which makes this a bit easier. 
  • Pinyin is your friend. The Romanization of the Chinese language has made it easier (much easier) to travel, talk, and converse in Guilin. Not having the hurdle of the alphabet really helps if you don't speak the language like a local. While I was fortunate to have the good folks at CLI helping me learn the language a bit and providing guides, I would not let a lack of understanding of Mandarin stop you from visiting Guilin. It really is a fabulous city, I highly enjoyed my visit, and recommend you go and enjoy it for yourself if you ever have the opportunity. 
Bottom line...would I go back? You would not even have to ask me twice, in fact, I'd be packing my suitcase at the mere mention of another trip to Guilin. Ni hao, baby, ni hao (hello! And, congrats, as you now speak about half as much Mandarin as I do.)

Until next time...

Friday, March 02, 2018

Opportunity Weekend - March 2nd 2018

An abstract creation featuring lines and swirls of color.
A couple of notes before I list our current opportunities. This week I had some feedback requesting information about shows without entry fees. I do try to pass along opportunities without fees as often as possible but I realize I might not always label them as such, so I'm going to try to do a better job of marking opportunities without entry fees to make it easier for folks wanting to go that route. Also, a friendly reminder, if you are looking to submit your work without a fee, often it's places that hold juried shows where you can submit work for a one person show without a fee. A lot of times you can submit a body of work to these galleries with a little bit of research on your end (and a little legwork) so don't let the fee situation scare you away. I suggest researching galleries with listings like the ones I share here and submitting a portfolio for review if you want to avoid the fees and maybe get yourself a one person show. Of course, that's just a suggestion on my part, you will have to make that decision about your work yourself and I recognize that the same work which is suitable for a juried show might not work as a one person curated body of work. I offer my suggestions in the spirit of trying to be helpful. As a reminder, I do not get paid for this listing and I get no special consideration from any of these galleries or shows, I'm just passing along information trying to help out the art community with this feature.

I do try to label all media shows as well because, while I am predominately a photographer, I realize there are a lot of painters, sculptors, and video folks out there, so I've been trying to label the all media shows as best I can, in order to help you folks out in your journey of finding opportunities. One last point, I always welcome feedback so please feel free to contact me with suggestions or requests. I'm available on most social media platforms as well as here at the blog site and on email if you want to touch base. I'm especially fond of hearing from artists who found opportunities through Carol's Little World, as it makes me feel what I'm doing is worthwhile and helping out the art community as a whole.

Moving right along, let's get to some opportunities for this week, shall we? Here we go:
Lots of photography and a few all media calls for you this week, now it's time to go and get after it.

Until next time...

Wednesday, February 28, 2018

My Posted Portfolios

I've updated the "My Portfolios" section at the top of the blog for those who want to check it out. I wanted to do this for a while but wasn't sure if the Internets could handle having a page load so slowly thanks to the large images. Seems like now is a good time since there are really a lot of bloggers and websites that do load larger images and, frankly speaking, if a portfolio page loads a bit more slowly than the rest of the site I think most people would be willing to wait for it. So, update it I did and it's there now in case you want to have a look. Go on, you know you want to check it out.

I'm prepping a course and possible e-Book on blogging. Look for that juicy goodness to come. Until then, why, you will just have to settle for my new portfolio upload and a promise that I'll post here as soon as everything else is available.

Until next time...