Archive for the ‘Photography,’ Category

Tree of Life: A Mosaic Bead Painting

June 27, 2019

 

“Tree of Life” is a photograph of a mosaic bead painting. It uses mixed media with gold coral, glass beads, and the mineral unakite on white cotton fabric. The elevation of these materials above the background produces a relief mosaic. The composition here is like that used in botanical illustration with the tree suspended in the center against a textured white background. The painting itself is temporary art, with the elements laid in flat or bunched, and unsecured, on the cotton fabric.

The wood of the tree is made of gold coral. The larger glass beads are jewel tone. The ground is made of undrilled natural chips of the unakite. The leaves are green seed beads. The white fabric is a towel.

 

Tree of Life. Bead painting by Mike Smetzer.

Tree of Life

Photos & Photo Poems Now Available on Fine Art America

June 24, 2019

 

I have been focusing recently on making my artwork and poem art available on Fine Art America. These are my first four images.

 

Still Life Of A Necklace Made From Wood Squares, Glass Pearls And A Shell Feather. Necklace and photo by Mike Smetzer.

Still Life Of A Necklace Made From Wood Squares, Glass Pearls And A Shell Feather.

 

Still Life of a Necklace” is a photograph of a necklace I made for Vera several years ago. It is presented here as a still life. The central feature is a white feather made of shell. The secondary features are the square wooden beads, which are spaced with pink and burgundy glass pearls. The background is black pastel paper.

 

Poem Spirit Door Over Lapis Spiral In Bed Of Tourmaline. Poetry, Photo and Mosaic by Mike Smetzer.

Poem “Spirit Door” Over Lapis Spiral In Bed Of Tourmaline.

 

“Spirit Door” explores the feelings I had about the back door of our cottage in Missouri. The poem was first published on this blog.

“Lapis Spiral in Bed of Tourmaline” is a still-life photograph of a bead mosaic. It was created as a strung spiral of lapis lazuli beads. Around the lapis are tourmaline pebbles bunched loosely against the spiral. All the stones are natural. The lapis beads have been organized with the highest lapis content toward the center. The outer beads have other minerals such as quartz and iron pyrite and are intended as a transition to the mixed colors of the tourmaline pebbles.

 

Lapis Spiral in a Bed of Tourmaline Pebbles. Photo and mosaic by Mike Smetzer.

Lapis Spiral in a Bed of Tourmaline Pebbles.

 

 

Poem Sunday Morning, January 1, Over Marble And Serpentine Mosaic Of Cross. Poetry, photo, and mosaic by Mike Smetzer.

Poem Sunday Morning, January 1, Over Marble And Serpentine Mosaic Of Cross

 

“Sunday Morning, January 1” is a simple poem set in a kitchen where the speaker is looking out the window while having breakfast and listening to hymns on the radio. It was first published in Mostly Maine.

The visual background is a wall-like mosaic of green/black serpentine rectangles surrounding a cross of brown marble rectangles that have lines like wood. All stones are natural.

Lapis Spiral in a Bed of Tourmaline Pebbles

June 3, 2019

 

Lapis Spiral in a Bed of Tourmaline Pebbles. Photo by Mike Smetzer.

Lapis Spiral in a Bed of Tourmaline Pebbles.

 

Stringing and mosaic. All the beads are natural rather than dyed.

The lapis lazuli beads spiral out from pure lapis near the center to lapis with obvious inclusions in the middle to beads that are mostly inclusions with a little bit of lapis mixed in. The outer beads have a corduroy blue color rather than a rich lapis blue, but they also have some pleasant iron pyrite sparkle. Despite their limitations as gemstones,  the outer beads are visually interesting, especially as a transition to the tourmaline pebbles.

The tourmaline pebbles are small-to-large in size. Although drilled for stringing, they are bunched loosely here.

Asymmetric Eternal Knot with Pearls & Citrines

May 27, 2019

 

Like my last piece, this is combination of stringing and mosaic. The strung beads are peach-colored freshwater pearls. The tumbled nuggets are heated citrines. The arrangement is an asymmetric version of the eternal or endless knot.

 

Asymmetric eternal knot with pearls and citrines. Beadwork by Mike Smetzer.

Asymmetric eternal knot with pearls and citrines.

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Eternal or Endless Knot Mosaic with Labradorite

May 24, 2019

 

This is my version of the eternal or endless knot. It is a combination of stringing and mosaic. The strung beads showing schiller are labradorite rondelles. The flat squares are white calcite (N), and the flat circles and ovals are shell.

 

Eternal Knot with Labradorite, calcite & shell. Bead mosaic by Mike Smetzer.

Eternal knot with labradorite, calcite & shell.

 

Greatness Passed Us By

October 26, 2018

 

We chased the literary world in our youth,
confident, a pack of beagles, legs pumping,
tails whipping, heads low and sniffing,
or muzzles up and howling in the wind.

We chased, but greatness passed us by,
aloof, impenetrable as an Abrams tank.
We bayed and nipped at its grinding tracks,
then fell back, silenced in its wake.

The cadre of Accepted Writers moved on.
Most of my peers left the pack long ago
for a dog’s life and a home, or departed
to sleep in the warmth of God’s hearth.

But this old hound is chasing still,
limping along behind the eager pups,
watching for an open hatch, for that
moment when I might yet jump in.

 

Copyright © 2018 by Michael B. Smetzer

 

Stream through an Autumn Woods. Photo by Vera Lisa Smetzer.

Stream through an Autumn Woods. Photo by Vera Lisa Smetzer.

The Great Art Exhibition

October 19, 2018

 

Many years ago, a young man with a love of painting
traveled to The Great Art Exhibition held annually
in the largest city of a country much like our own.

The show was filled by painting in a Classical style.
He loved the proportions and eloquence of the work
and stayed in the city visiting the show until it closed.

On returning home, the artist set up an easel in his room.
For twenty years he worked to perfect his vision.
His paintings were wonderful. The works of his heart.

When he was ready, he took his paintings to the jury
that decided what to allow into each year’s exhibition.
But all the paintings he saw around him were Romantic.

The judges reviewed his work. “Classical painting!
We don’t want Classical art. Take this crap away!”
The painter went home weeping. “My paintings failed.”

After a few days, he decided to try Romantic painting.
“If I show the judges I can paint the art they want,
they might let my paintings into the Great Exhibition.”

He took twenty years to perfect his Romantic style.
“These paintings,” he thought, “are not works of my heart,
but they are bold and dramatic. And they are beautiful.”

He went to the jury with new paintings and new hopes.
When he got there he found the old judges were gone.
The paintings he saw around him were all Realistic.

The new judges reviewed his work. “Romantic painting!
We don’t want Romantic art. Take this crap away!”
And so he went home again, weeping. “I have failed.”

Now an old man, the artist gave away his paintings
to farmers and villagers to hang in their cottages.
He gave away his paints and brushes, and his easel.

For another twenty years the painter lived on in grief.
Then, after he died, an art dealer discovered his work.
The dealer bought all of his Classical paintings

and took them to the jury for The Great Art Exhibition.
The new judges wanted Neoclassical art. “Wonderful!”
they said. “Here is the grandfather of our movement!”

So they hung the dead artist’s work at the front
of Exhibition Hall. “Such promise this painter had.”
They all sighed. “A pity he never painted more!”

 

Copyright © 2018 by Michael B. Smetzer

 

Beauty in the Field. Photo by Vera Lisa Smetzer.

Beauty in the Field. Photo by Vera Lisa Smetzer.

The Judgment Comes

October 12, 2018

 

I see an airy spinner smiling down
from high windows in the clouds,
hand spinning from bags of wool.

Patiently she spins her cops of yarn,
each cop the life of a soul below.
Her weighted spindles whirl the sky.

She spins out homespun strands
from unwashed and poorly carded wool.
Sometimes fat, sometimes thin.

Thin sometimes to a single hair.
Full spindles she plays out from her sill,
airy worms squirming into the wind.

Strands dangle and dance, fray and knot,
tangle together with wind-borne leaves,
fouled in life’s chaos of indirection.

Beginnings too frayed to thread.
Strands too loose, too frail to work,
too knotted ever to set free again.

At times, she stops, studies her work
and suddenly snips a strand from its hook.
She smiles as the wind bears it away.

For us below, the judgment comes
without warning, without trial,
as when a child, alone in a far field,

poking for hours in the grass,
looks up to black clouds
and lightning in his hair.

 

Copyright © 2018 by Michael B. Smetzer

 

Field before Mountain. Photo by Vera Lisa Smetzer.

Field before Mountain. Photo by Vera Lisa Smetzer.

I’m Not Sleeping in the Snow 

October 1, 2018

 

It’s time to blow out the nose
and breathe about the yard
It’s October and the air draws in cold 

My fingers untangle my hair
Two hairy arms roll sleep from my eyes
It’s time to rise up from the weeds

Squirrels have poked walnuts up my ass
Wasps crawled under me for the winter
Sow bugs are settled in my ears

It is time for a cold bath
My beard is as ragged as the trees


First published in
Cottonwood Review.

 

Winter Trees with Birds. Photo by Vera Lisa Smetzer.

Winter Trees with Birds. Photo by Vera Lisa Smetzer.

Vintage Photos of America by Bernie Smetzer

September 24, 2018

My dad was not a professional photographer or artist. But he did love to take photos. Here are a few of them.

 

Mom & my older sister Rose in 1943. Photo probably by Bernie Smetzer

Mom & my older sister Rose in 1943.

Mom and my older sister Rose, summer 1943. Photo probably by Bernie Smetzer

Mom and Rose, summer 1943

 

Granddad Smetzer and Rose in 1943. Photo probably by Bernie Smetzer

Granddad Smetzer and Rose in 1943.

My sister Rose and Shep. 1940's. Photo probably by Bernie Smetzer.

Rose and Shep. 1940’s.

My sister Rose on a horse. Late 1940's. Photo by Bernie Smetzer.

Rose on a horse. Late 1940’s.

Rock City. Mid 1950's. Photo by Bernie Smetzer.

Rock City. Mid 1950’s.

Bryce Canyon in 1950's. Photo by Bernie Smetzer.

Bryce Canyon in 1950’s.

Arizona desert, about 1960. Photo by Bernie Smetzer.

Arizona desert, about 1960.

Smokey Mountains, mid 1950's. Photo by Bernie Smetzer.

Smokey Mountains, mid 1950’s.

Photo by Bernie Smetzer.

Somewhere out west.

Bryce Canyon. 1959. Photo by Bernie Smetzer.

Bryce Canyon. 1959.

Bryce Canyon. 1959. Photo by Bernie Smetzer.

Bryce Canyon. 1959.

Petrified Forest. About 1960. Photo by Bernie Smetzer.

Petrified Forest. About 1960.

About 1960. Photo by Bernie Smetzer.

Somewhere out west. About 1960.

Grand Canyon. About 1960. Photo by Bernie Smetzer.

Grand Canyon. About 1960.

Grand Canyon. About 1960. Photo by Bernie Smetzer.

Grand Canyon. About 1960.

Grand Canyon. About 1960. Photo by Bernie Smetzer.

Grand Canyon. About 1960.

About 1967. Photo by Bernie Smetzer.

Somewhere out west. About 1967.

Arizona. Photo by Bernie Smetzer.

Arizona.

Somewhere out west. About 1960. Photo by Bernie Smetzer.

Somewhere out west. About 1960.

Somewhere out west. About 1960. Photo by Bernie Smetzer.

Somewhere out west. About 1960.

Girl in the Air, Barrow, Alaska. Photo by Bernie Smetzer.

Girl in the Air, Barrow, Alaska.

Alaska. Photo by Bernie Smetzer.

Alaska.

Bernie Smetzer with his favorite camera in 1959. Photo by Viola Smetzer.

Dad with his favorite camera in 1959.