New Year, New Work

Hi there. Remember me? It’s been over a year since I posted to the blog. Yikes. It’s good to be back!

Last year was not a creative year for me. I intend to change that in 2017. I’ve realized that I make my best work when I commit to the daily photos. It is time consuming, challenging and often grueling to get out every day and see something new in the same old stuff but, then, that’s kind of my jam…

I have some new ideas to explore on the blog this year but for now, I’d like to share the first week of daily photos. Also, if you’re interested in seeing outtakes and other new work as it emerges, please follow my brand new Instagram feed at @avantgardenstudio.

1/365: caught between


A trip to Lake Nokomis on New Year’s Day led to the discovery of a double layer of ice with water, air bubbles & objects trapped in between. Everything is in flux. Sometimes we’re caught in between, a fitting expression for this moment when old passes into new.

2/365: instance of hygge


Hygge is having a moment. A Danish concept that connotes a cozy state of mind  (pronounced hyoo-gah), hygge is readymade for Minnesota winters. Or vice versa.

I’ve been working to embrace the coziness of winter. Wool socks and warm blankets, hot tea, plenty of candles. All good things. I’m not one to hate on winter but sometimes I need a little help keeping my spirits bright…

On this particular January day, I was heartened by the reflection of lamplight amidst the raindrops trickling down my window pane.

For a good intro to hygge, check out this recent article from The Kitchn:

What is Hygge and How Do You Pronounce It?

3/365: the winter garden




There is beauty to be found in the winter garden, no doubt. Seeing it, however, can require a very liberal definition of beauty and a wide open mind.

4/365: willow leaves


I have always loved willow trees for their dancing forms but only recently started to appreciate the simple form of the leaves. While brilliant in season, the subtle colors of the leaves in winter is pure poetry against a canvas of freshly fallen snow.

5/365: crack


This snow-filled crack after a fine overnight dusting reminded me of the Japanese art of Kintsugi – mending broken pottery with a golden lacquer to highlight the cracks. An expression of wabi sabi, this art form highlights the beauty of experience and imperfection of old or broken things.

Imagine seeing our cracks as something to be celebrated instead of mended or hidden.


6/365: fallen sentry


These fragile stems are the last ones standing at the garden’s edge. It takes true fortitude to withstand the winter winds. Their postures and contortions look to me like bent & weary bodies hanging on to what little strength they have left, fighting to avoid the fate of their fallen comrade.

7/365: finding light


Photography can be all about capturing the beauty of light. But not winter photography. In the thin gray light of January, it’s all about making do. Some days the craving for golden reflections can only be satisfied indoors.

mirror, mirror

281/365: self portrait with mirrors


My inaugural blog post was a self portrait. During my first 365 project in 2010, the distorted self portrait was one of my favorite subjects (selfies weren’t quite de rigueur yet). My interest in taking these photos dropped off somewhat but Sunday, in the bright autumn sun and the dazzle of art at Franconia Sculpture Park, my mirrored sunglasses were too much fun to ignore…you can’t see much of me, but you can get a sense: I’m a hat girl and I shoot Canon 🙂

simply irresistible

280/365: pink clouds over Crex Meadows

blog101115_sunset over CREX

Photographs of sunsets are certainly ubiquitous. But, sometimes, the sight is so unbelievably beautiful, I can’t resist. True, there were sandhill cranes clucking all around, but in this one moment, the swirly pink clouds had me spellbound.


276/365: white prairie asters

white prairie asters

The asters have won my heart for the sheer exuberant volume of blossoms they produce, for being hearty and beautiful in a kind of workaday way, for blooming so late in the season when the garden is a mess and I’ve lost my gumption for it until next spring. We might all pursue our vocations with such earnest cheer.


275/365: tuba keys


Instruments have a beauty and character all their own. Craftsmanship and design that make them beautiful objects even before they make a sound. When they are old, they bear the marks of so many notes, so many hands, so much beauty lost to the air. I can’t help but get caught up in the reverie of all that’s been and all that will be.


274/365: long shadows near mile  19


Sunday was the Twin Cities Marathon – always a festive occasion in Minneapolis but extra special this year because Brad ran it!! Despite in juries & training setbacks along the way, he gutted it out the full 26.2 miles and managed to have a smile on his face every time we saw him.  He’s not in this photo – one of the few I snapped all day – every time I saw him I was way too excited to think about my camera!

Way to go, babe. You did it and we couldn’t be more proud.

fall palette in motion

273/365: blue sky / yellow leaves


An autumnal companion to this spring reflection. I never tire of the play of light, color, and movement on the water. This image to me shines with all the intensity of a bright, sunny fall day, full of unbelievably intense color.