- SARAH CHISHOLM - Fine Art & Photography: Blog https://sarahchisholmphotography.zenfolio.com/blog en-us (C) Sarah Chisholm (- SARAH CHISHOLM - Fine Art & Photography) Tue, 06 Feb 2024 18:50:00 GMT Tue, 06 Feb 2024 18:50:00 GMT https://sarahchisholmphotography.zenfolio.com/img/s/v-12/u776769567-o1019584776-50.jpg - SARAH CHISHOLM - Fine Art & Photography: Blog https://sarahchisholmphotography.zenfolio.com/blog 80 120 The Genie's Familiar https://sarahchisholmphotography.zenfolio.com/blog/2024/2/the-genies-familiar     The Genie's FamiliarThe Genie's Familiar
ur eternity of solitude is interrupted only infrequently by interlopers; those poor souls who unearth our enchanted abode, unknowingly unleashing an ancient curse which will follow them all their mortal years. This time is like any other - the vessel is jostled and shaken, the exclamations outside excited and muffled, and then the inevitable polishing of the lamp, which ultimately calls forth my mistress from our cozy den within. In a swirl of mist and magic she is brought unwilling into the light of the Sun, unable to refuse the bidding of creatures far beneath her interest or energy. And now here I am left to sit and wait for her return, and although we have existed through eons of time, these minutes among mortals seem to tick on the longest.
    Three wishes she begrudges. They never seem to consider being careful in their words, no matter the language. My mistress loves riddles, and can tangle their phrases of hope into webs of woe. She always finds a way to punish these invaders of her eternal slumber, but they are unaware of their demises until long after my mistress has returned to me. Our beautiful vessel will once more be lost to the eyes of the mortal world, and I can spend many more eras at her feet, granting every desire she wishes. 

(- SARAH CHISHOLM - Fine Art & Photography) Anubis fantasy genie story https://sarahchisholmphotography.zenfolio.com/blog/2024/2/the-genies-familiar Tue, 06 Feb 2024 18:36:54 GMT
Stones To Dye For https://sarahchisholmphotography.zenfolio.com/blog/2022/6/stones-to-dye-for   Colourful Horn Coral"Colourful Horn Coral"These beauties are all of the extinct order Rugosa corals, which existed in Earth's ancient oceans for millions of years, starting 488 million years ago. The fossils pictured are in various states, from roughly tumbled from the beach, to highly polished, to coloured using the method discussed here. These beauties are all of the extinct order Rugosa corals, which existed in Earth's ancient oceans for millions of years, starting 488 million years ago. The fossils pictured are in various states, from roughly tumbled from the beach, to highly polished, to coloured using the method discussed here. 

 If you're familiar with my work, you'll know that colourful stones are what I love best, and my unique images of beach jewels are what I'm most known for as an artist. I've spent a lifetime learning about fossils and minerals and the like, and I've spent over a decade developing my creative style in an effort to dazzle the viewer with unique otherworldly scenes right out of the natural world. I sometimes find that others have attempted to emulate or even just steal my artwork to call it their own, which is just one of the reasons I'm usually very tight-lipped about how, and where, I create it. So it's a step out of the usual for me to share a process I've developed myself... but that's what I'm going to do here in this post! After all, this process has nothing to do with my artwork, it's just something I've been delighted with as a rockhound myself. I am going to share as much as I can, but it's up to you to do your own experimentation and research beyond my writings here.
  I've very recently started to dye stones that have interesting details, but would otherwise be rather dull in colour. This is quite different from painting designs or staining them one uniform shade, as they still come out looking quite natural, with their original details colourfully enhanced. I love the results of my experiments, although they don't always turn out as expected! I'm happy that my fossil and rock collection is large enough to allow me to experiment with some of my "extras", and I really like how truly special they look after treatment. I now have bowls and jars full of stunningly coloured jewels all about my home. 
  Here's how to customize your own stones! 

You'll need
Neutral- coloured stones - polished or unpolished 
High-quality food colouring (I have also been using my own dyes made from plant matter, but food colouring is easier) 
Oven and baking tray
Small plastic or glass jars (the smaller the vessel, the more concentrated your colours can be) 
Spoon and protected surface (I use tinfoil)

  (These instructions will be more conversational than numerical steps, because this is the first I'm writing them down, and as you'll read a bit further, you'll see I'm still learning myself!) 
  I've dyed both polished and "raw" beach stones of various materials. (I won't be getting into polishing stones or fossils in this post; that's a rabbit hole you'll have to go down yourself.) Some surfaces and types of minerals stain differently, but it's always best to start with a clean surface. Scrub your rocks well with soap and water; an old toothbrush works well to get into any small details. 
  Heat the oven to about 220°F and separate rocks on a tray, bake for about ten minutes. 
  Add cold water to a few small vessels (not quite to the top to allow for the stones) and then a splash of vinegar. This is necessary for the dye stick to the stone but also slightly erodes the surface, so don't use too much. Add lots of your selected food colouring until the mixture is very dark. When the stones are hot, use a spoon to gently drop them into the dye baths. Check them frequently and remove them as soon as they have obviously taken on colour - don't leave them too long or the surface will be affected by the vinegar. Give them a quick rinse under your tap (as an artist, I frequently have stained hands, but you might want to wear gloves) and set them on a protected surface. They will brighten up as they dry as well. 
  It is possible some weaker samples will crack when they are shocked into the colder water, but that will make for an interesting path for colour to seep into. I have found some types of stone and mineral take different colours of dye well, and others not so much. I find it fascinating to discover that some parts of a single stone have gone quite vibrant, and other sections remain their original colour. I think you'll be amazed at the variations in the behaviour of the different dye colours too. 
  When I was taking the photo of the horn coral fossil collection pictured here, I used a pool of water to wet the stones. Stones always look better and more detailed when wet, and that's still true even of some polished and dyed specimens. That's when I learned yet another thing in my technique - the colour starts to fade if the stones are left soaking in water. Oops! I'd never gotten the dyed rocks wet for photos before. I wasn't crushed - I simply heated up the oven and happily went about colouring again. This is good to know though. Now for individual rocks, depending on how they turn out in the dye bath, I can choose to seal the colour in and also give it that permanent wet look with a clear sealant, or rather leave it dry and enjoy the colour as is, or, if I don't love the colour, I can soak and scrub and go back to square one. (I've never sealed any of my rocks before, but I'll be experimenting with some that don't polish well otherwise.) I like options, and I like that this experimentation need not be permanent. 
  Rock collecting is a hobby that makes my soul happy. I hope you thoroughly enjoy this process from start to finish - from picking up the stones that speak to you, to revealing them in their fantastical new variation. I have collected for decades now, and I have some awesome fossils! If you are unable to collect your own rocks to play with, I can put some Rugosa horn coral and Favosite honeycomb corals in a package available for purchase so you can start your own collection. Some of the horn coral fossils in the photo are available as well. Ask me for details. 
  If you don't already, please follow my art pages on Facebook and Instagram. I'd be honoured! 
  To view my beach stones images, visit: Beach Stones Gallery - I create incredible prints! 
  Check out one of my upcoming calendars for 2023: Storms & Stones Calendar 
  Good luck with your creations! 

         Sarah Chisholm 


(- SARAH CHISHOLM - Fine Art & Photography) dye dyeing instructional https://sarahchisholmphotography.zenfolio.com/blog/2022/6/stones-to-dye-for Wed, 15 Jun 2022 20:35:54 GMT
Violet Jelly Recipe https://sarahchisholmphotography.zenfolio.com/blog/2022/5/violet-jelly-recipe I see no need to have you scroll though seventeen paragraphs detailing my life story and who in my family likes food.
Straight to the recipe then. You're welcome. 

Violet Jelly

Mason jar full of wild violets (any colour except yellow)* 
2 tablespoons of lemon juice (I prefer freshly squeezed)
4 cups of sugar
1 1/2 packets (128 mL) of Certo liquid pectin
Boiled water

  Gather clean and dry wild violets. Darker purples will result in the best brightly coloured jelly. Fill a mason jar full to the top.
  Add boiling water to the violets, stir out air bubbles, and leave with lid on overnight in a dark place. After 24 hours, strain the liquid through a coffee filter placed in a colander and into an extra large measuring cup. It will be a sapphire colour. You’ll want 2 cups of violet tea; if you need to add a bit of previously boiled water to top it up, that’s fine.
  Add the lemon juice to the tea and watch the amazing colour change to purple! Experiment with more or less lemon juice to achieve your own unique colour.
  In a very deep pot (boiling jelly will rise high up!) bring the liquid to a hard boil. Add the sugar and pectin quickly, stir to dissolve, and let come to a rolling boil again for one minute. Remove from heat and skim the top for purity.
  Pour hot jelly into sterilized mason jars to within 1/4 inch from top. Seal. Prepare canning bath (I use a large deep pot with a submerged small wire rack on the stove) and process jars in boiling water for 10 minutes. Let cool. Voila! Gorgeous jewel-toned jelly that tastes like spring flowers. 

Notes: DO NOT over-pick anything you forage! Take only one flower from each plant and take less than 10% of any patch you see. Please practice responsible and sustainable foraging for any species you pick. It should look like you were never there once you leave. 
*Be absolutely sure you are correctly identifying any plant you might consume. Check several sources, and triple check, to be 100% sure. You are responsible for your own safety when foraging. If you're not sure, make sure, or don't eat it. 

Vivid Viscous VioletsVivid Viscous Violets Violets Violets VioletsViolets Violets Violets

Circle of VioletsCircle of Violets

(- SARAH CHISHOLM - Fine Art & Photography) flower flowers recipe recipes spring violet violet jelly https://sarahchisholmphotography.zenfolio.com/blog/2022/5/violet-jelly-recipe Sat, 07 May 2022 19:39:34 GMT
Woodland Legend https://sarahchisholmphotography.zenfolio.com/blog/2022/5/woodland-legend   Although the sun had gone beyond the horizon at least an hour before, the sky was still bright over the dense canopy of the forest, offering glimpses of light that I was grateful for as I made my way along the stony path. Late though I was for my engagement, and so far from where I had set out, at least I had some help from the celestial spangles above. A gentle breeze lifted my skirts from my calves and twisted tendrils of my hair, and spoke to the trees of rainy weather to come. Leaves rustled overhead and branches swayed to obscure the stars and dance with shadows. Despite the occasional call of a night wren, or the soft hoot of an owl, the certainty of being so alone in the dark woods weighed heavily, and a sense of foreboding loomed over my mind, causing me to glance over my shoulder far too often to keep up a quick pace. Why had I waited so long to make this journey? I feared I would be too late. Best not to dwell on the unthinkable.
  The very air seemed to glow around me as mist swirled and created apparitions on the trail as I passed. But wait; the atmosphere was indeed becoming brighter. The mist was taking on shapes I could no longer pass off as daydream fancy. Was that a maiden cloaked in opalescent finery? Was that swirl caused by a peacock’s fluttering wings? I must have been delirious. I strayed from the pathway and knelt in a soft bedding of green ferns and moss. It was dark; I rested there a moment, to reclaim my bearings. As I looked about, orbs of light rose from the forest floor; fireflies, or faeries, I no longer knew. The forest suddenly seemed to be overcome with a hush; all living creatures took a bated breath, and waited. The silence deepened. The air stilled. The mist ceased to chill the bone, and at once became warm; a caress from an old friend. Then I saw it.
It seemed to materialize from the very fog itself; a being of cloud and vapour, yet it could not be mere fragile illusion. A powerful and ancient force took form for only a few heartbeats; ethereal and ephemeral all at once, yet unmistakable in its glory. I shall never forget the exquisite form and breathtaking beauty of the unicorn that galloped through the forest that night. It will forever haunt my dreams and tease my waking thoughts. As quickly as it had come, it disappeared as though evaporating along with the mist. I stood from my place on the mossy ground and watched as the myriad orbs of light strung throughout the undergrowth twinkled and went out. Tentatively, a fox called out, and was answered by a more confident owl. The forest came out of its temporary slumber, and the night resumed as any other. Back on the path, I looked for prints; evidence of my encounter. There were only my own. Still I know, deep in my heart, that I saw a unicorn. I believe. 
Woodland LegendWoodland Legend


(- SARAH CHISHOLM - Fine Art & Photography) fairy tale fantasy forest mist myth Scotland short story story tale unicorn unicorns woodland https://sarahchisholmphotography.zenfolio.com/blog/2022/5/woodland-legend Sat, 07 May 2022 18:20:58 GMT
Nessie And The Moon Shadows https://sarahchisholmphotography.zenfolio.com/blog/2021/8/nessie-and-the-moon-shadows   Nessie And The Moon ShadowsNessie And The Moon Shadows
lthough the trees grew close together and the underbrush was thick with shadow, the full moon still cast myriad circles of light on the forest floor where its silvery rays broke through the canopy above. The dappled patterns seemed to dance as they brightened and swirled with the movement of the breeze through the foliage. As the woman ran on through the woods, catching herself from stumbling often over exposed roots and reaching vines, she tried not to cry out or breathe too heavily, though her chest heaved with effort. She could hear him following not far behind, snapping branches and cursing loudly, uncaring if he were heard, knowing she was the only other soul out here so far from the village. Keeping her eyes on the patches of moonlight blurring with speed underneath her stride, she hurried for the brighter clearing she glimpsed ahead. Soon she’d break through the forest edge and be able to break into a proper run. He’d never be able to catch her then.
    She almost betrayed her position immediately upon clearing the tree line; a gasp partly escaped her lips before she clasped both hands over her mouth. The ancient ruins spread out below never failed to fill her with awe. Now, under the bright light of the full moon, the stones seemed alive with ethereal magic; the shadows cast by the crumbling walls were stark and sinister. Fearing to be caught by him more than she was afraid of any ghosts conjured by children’s tales, she scrambled down the rocky slope toward the remains of Castle Urquhart. The soaring keep rose to tower over her as she came closer, until it swallowed her in the depths of shadowy darkness as she sought to hide within the ruins. She finally dared to slow her pace in the gloom between the stony ramparts, taking deep breaths, inhaling the cool night air. She listened for footsteps or gravel crunching, but heard only leaves rustling distantly, and the waters of Loch Ness gently lapping the shoreline beyond the castle walls. Perhaps he’d be of the mind that she would flee far from this place, and not look for her near the castle. A slim hope, but she didn’t have many at this point.
    A sudden faraway cry out over the water seemed to still even the wind and sent a chill into the very soul of the woman hiding in the moon shadows. She froze, fine hairs standing on end, then peered around a crumbling wall to look toward the source of the otherworldly sound. It had sounded like the trumpeting of some nightmarish exotic bird of prey. Surely that could have been no doing of his. What other creatures dared to hunt these highlands under the full moon? None as terrifying as the man who chased her as his quarry now. She’d take her chances with the denizens of the night. She was about to step from the cloak of darkness when the sound came again, closer this time, more menacing. She pressed herself against the cold stone of a doorframe and searched out over the loch.
    Not far from shore, a dark shape undulated through the waters, creating ripples sparkling with moonlit reflections. The swimming silhouette stretched high above the surface, then curved to display an arched hump glinting with iridescent scales before disappearing into the depths with barely a splash from the flicked tail.
    She couldn’t believe her luck. Out here at the castle, alone in the darkness, the devil on her tail, and of course a legendary monster appears to fulfill her adventure. As if taunting her to question her sanity, a huge reptilian head rose above the choppy surface close enough for her to see the yellow of its preternatural eyes. A serpentine neck followed, and massive oar-like fins wavered under the illuminated waters. The woman stood transfixed, not daring to twitch and attract any unwanted attention. It hardly mattered that her teeth chattered and she was unknowingly emitting a high-pitched squeak, the Loch Ness Monster glided toward her, bleating its horrifying call as it seemed to slither toward her standing ashore. It had seen her. It was coming.
    Cursing silently, she looked about, wondering if the hunter had been alerted by the aquatic beast. She spotted him at once, up on the tower, looking out over the water, watching the myth become reality. He turned his gaze and his eyes landed directly on her; he smiled coldly and seemed to wink, but that could only be her imagination this far away. Not bothering to commit the details of the scene to memory, she turned and fled along the rugged shoreline, conscious of the sounds of tinkling water as the creature kept pace in the water alongside her. She looked back every so often, but her human pursuer was not to be seen. When she felt like her lungs may burst, she tumbled to the ground in the shadow of a stand of trees, trying to catch her breath, and looking all around for brute or beast. The water was still, and the shoreline deserted. She crawled to the edge of the loch, eager for a sip of water. As she cupped her hands to her lips, she glanced up - blinking in surprise along with the yellow eyes watching her from just a broomstick’s length away.
    The monster’s head sat half-submerged, and as it let out a soft sigh, bubbles formed and popped and swirled toward the astounded woman. The head cocked at an angle inquiringly, and it occurred to her that its eyes looked intelligent and curious. Half wondering what madness had hold of her, she saw herself stretching a hand toward the terrifying legend. The long neck hesitated and then came to meet her touch. She gasped as she made contact with the cold nose of the tall tale the storytellers call “Nessie”. This was no monster. This was a creation of nature, beautiful and free, but misunderstood and abominated - a plight not unlike her own. She stroked Nessie’s jaw, her neck, her strange scaly protrusions. A throaty purring sound issued from deep within the blue-hued chest. The woman smiled, despite her predicament. In another lifetime, she would have liked to befriend her strange companion. But in this one, she had to keep running.
    She didn’t need to spin around at the sound of a twig snapping behind her. It was no accident of misstep. He was announcing his arrival to the festivities, and she had been expecting him, sooner or later; things must come to pass as foretold. Instead of turning she watched as the creature of Loch Ness gathered herself into a pillar of hissing malevolence, curving her powerful neck overtop of the woman to glower at the threat to her newfound friend. She bellowed and gnashed her teeth. The hunter laughed, continuing toward them at the water’s edge.
    “My luck is nothing short of miraculous tonight. The Witch, and The Loch Ness Monster, together! They’ll be singing songs about me for generations. The greatest hunter this land has ever known.” His laugh held no mirth. “I can’t decide which one of you loathsome fiends makes the better trophy”, he marvelled sickeningly. He drew his sword; it blazed as it caught the light.
    The woman turned to face her would-be executioner. “We can’t decide which one of us gets to eat your heart,” she bluffed, chin held high.
    His smile faltered, his advance halted.
    The three adversaries remained still, no one daring to move. The moon hung low in the sky, casting long shadows across the windswept highlands. The woman’s hair billowed in a halo around her. Nessie hissed and twisted.
    The time had come.



    Every so often I am going to publish these "penny dreadful" stories on my blog here, and also on my Facebook page. They will be small snippets of a tale, meant to be unfinished. A picture will accompany each to set the scene and portray the character(s). I often get asked if there will be a second part to any of the stories, and it's possible, but unlikely. I only ever meant for them to be cliffhangers. But strange things can occur. 

(- SARAH CHISHOLM - Fine Art & Photography) fairytale Loch Ness Loch Ness Monster moon Nessie Scotland Scottish Scottish Highlands story https://sarahchisholmphotography.zenfolio.com/blog/2021/8/nessie-and-the-moon-shadows Fri, 27 Aug 2021 19:08:39 GMT
The Happening In The Highlands https://sarahchisholmphotography.zenfolio.com/blog/2021/2/the-happening-in-the-highlands   When my husband Philip and I travelled to Scotland in the summer of 2019, it was important to both of us to visit places in which our respective ancestors made their presence known to history. Not least of these places was Struy, an area in the Scottish Highlands not too far from Loch Ness, where Clan Chisholm stakes their claim of the ancient land. In fact, the Chisholms once had possession of Urquhart Castle, the famous stony ruin on the shores of that infamous loch. But that’s another story for a different time. This story is about when we visited the Chisholm lands near their stronghold Erchless Castle, and the secretive and solemn graveyard in the lush forest nearby.
  That sultry morning in July promised another record-breaking day of scorching heat, but we had gotten an early start ahead of the swarms of tourists at the usual stops along Loch Ness, and the afternoon was full of promise. We decided to meander in our rental car towards the ancient Chisholm grounds, hoping to add yet another castle to our list of explorations, having seen Urquhart earlier in the day. Enjoying the verdant surroundings as we navigated twisting narrow roads through soaring trees, we finally arrived in the drive of Erchless Castle, a bit crestfallen to discover that the castle was well-hidden behind high closed gates. A large antiquated building which may have once been a coachhouse or stables, but now looked to be used as apartments and workshops, offered the only opportunity to see Erchless grounds. Not to be defeated, we stopped in front of one open doorway and asked about the area. A kind gentleman told us the castle was currently off-limits, but that the graveyard was nearby. We had known about it from our research, so we happily drove a bit down the road and stopped at the rusted gate and unmarked trail we somehow knew was the one for us.
  The path was lined with fragrant greenery such as lacy fern, hardy pine, delicate clover, a plethora of mosses, and fancy rhododendron, and it lead up a tree-lined slope to a destination yet unrevealed. I took my time hiking along, stopping to photograph delightful details in the woodland surroundings. At the summit of the hill, the path turns sharply left to avoid a sheer escarpment ahead, and curves up another slope and finally under a massive ancient cedar trunk. What lay beyond took my breath away.
Chisholm's SentinelChisholm's Sentinel
  We were standing within the 19th-century burial ground of the local Chisholm clan, with towering Celtic crosses standing watch over other precious gravestones and memorials. The welcoming feeling that crept over us was one of calm and serenity. Not speaking, we both moved amongst the sacred markers, reading the inscriptions, spending time acknowledging those who have lived before us. I am not a religious person, but I am still spiritual and honour those who have passed, and I spoke a bit to each Chisholm buried in that beautiful resting place. We left interesting coins and small earthly tokens on each grave, as others have done before. I was relieved to see all of the offerings left on the stones were made of elements such as wood, clay, or simple metal. Bright colours and plastic flowers would be far too tacky in this sombre and natural environment. The stunning and intricately-carved crosses were covered in vibrantly-hued lichen and moss, and I loved photographing the huge pillars as well as the tiny organisms that made them their home. The surrounding trees had huge trunks and large arching branches, and made excellent subjects as well.
Trinity In The HighlandsTrinity In The Highlands Restful Serenity Among The TreesRestful Serenity Among The Trees Chisholms PastChisholms Past Feros FerioFeros Ferio Scottish LichensScottish Lichens
  After some time, when I glanced down, I noticed many of my shots were showing up misty, or had white streaks through them. It wasn’t happening in the photos in sequence, rather every so often at random. It was very humid that day, and at first I thought my lens must be fogging up. But I soon determined that was not the case. It wasn’t “operator error”; I know my way around a camera after all these years! I’m also not someone who notices some dust motes in her pictures and exclaims to all who will listen that’s it’s “mysterious orbs”. I can usually determine what is going wrong. But this was genuinely unexplainable. Smoky mist and white ribbons were showing up in random photos around the graveyard. I called to Phil, “I think I’ve caught something a bit strange!”
Fairy Smoke & Scottish FungiFairy Smoke & Scottish Fungi Otherworldly OmenOtherworldly Omen
  We both peered over the back of the camera, shuffling through images, and he saw the phenomenon as eerie, as I did. The air was close and the weight of years of history seemed to loom closer still, and we shivered despite the heat. A bird called out loudly, breaking the spell, and we decided to descend back down the path in search of dinner. We ducked under the cedar branches and started on our way. But that was only the beginning of our adventures in the Chisholm lands.


  I don’t know what made me leave the path and start winding my way at random through the woods. It would set a more eerie tone for my tale if a beckoning voice whispered on the wind, or trails of mist led us deeper into the trees, or wisps of smoke caught our senses, but nothing so preternatural occurred. Rather the forest just beyond the graveyard was bright and sun-dappled and vivid with green life. In all likelihood, I was called by the light beams, and the scent of dry pine needles and earthy peat, and the soft and bouncy footfalls made possible by the buoyant moss floor under a canopy of glittering leaves. Forever the fairy tale character straying unaware deeper into the dark woods, I’m always becoming distracted by all the little details in nature, losing my awareness of time and reality. Luckily my husband is never far behind, so I’ve got someone to keep me from being stranded in the faerie lands for all time! So instead of back at the car, we found ourselves far from the road and the trail to the graveyard, standing amongst tall and ancient trees, breathing in Scotland. If I close my eyes I can go there now; feel the summer air on my skin, hear the twinkling of the distant stream, smell the sunshine-warmed conifer bark. It was a perfect moment.
  I could have stayed into the blue hour and beyond, but we really did have to return to civilization. I savoured a few more moments seemingly alone in the forest as Phil scouted ahead out of sight beyond a natural wall formed by logs, evergreen hedges, and twisted vines. I opened my eyes and scanned the forest, committing the scene to mind, knowing this memory would last my lifetime. How much more memorable did it need to be?
Beams Over MossBeams Over Moss
  Raising my camera to my eye once again, as I had spent enough moments before just enjoying my surroundings instead of attempting to capture them, I noted that the only ethereal streaks appearing in this set of images came from filtered sunbeams, without a hint of ominous and otherworldly happenings. I scrolled through photographs with the camera pointed at my feet. That’s when the distinct scent of smoke pricked my instincts; not unpleasant, almost reminiscent of old traditional kitchen baking, or the promise of warmth on a cold winter’s day. I raised my eyebrows at the sudden invasion of my perceived sacred space. Who would be burning peat out in the tinder-dry woods in a record-breaking heat wave? Then my blood ran cold, for directly at my feet, between the toes of my boots, a distinct and very real plume of smoke was rising out of the ground itself, as if the ghost of a fire had been burning beneath my place of earthly worship. I gasped and blinked, thinking I must be seeing things now in real life as I had been on camera before. But unmistakably, no, this was real smoke, and it was getting stronger, rising in a nightmarish coil from the depths of the forest floor.
  How could this be happening? We certainly hadn’t been smoking and we definitely hadn’t created any flame or heat ourselves. I wondered if I’d stumbled onto, disturbed some campfire irresponsibly still burning from the previous night? It was a decent explanation, but there was absolutely no sign of a contrived fire or any human activity about the area. It didn’t matter the source. A fire has been created in this irreplaceable wonderland! I started to panic. I had no water left in my backpack, and neither did Phil. What if there was an unexplained fire, and we somehow got blamed for burning down the Chisholm forest? What kind of foreign witches would we be labelled? Would we be put in jail? How could we go on living if the ancestral lands burned down around us? My anxious mind raced. We had to put out this smoking pit of hell. I called loudly for my partner in crime. He replied that he was on his way back to me. I inelegantly screamed at him to hurry. Then, right before my eyes, the unthinkable happened. A searing burst of flame popped up from the underworld, and a bright fire began to spread menacingly toward me and sickeningly outward to my flora and fauna friends. Oh, no. Please no. The earth had spontaneously combusted, and all of this glorious history was about to burn.

Part III

  The flames that had materialized like an otherworldly apparition nonetheless radiated an unmistakably real heat. This was no summer dream from which I could wake. With little hesitation and purely by instinct, I began stomping the ground in my tall leather boots, putting an end to several small fires escaping from a deeper scorching pit in the forest floor. My husband arrived at my side, and I think I remember hurriedly requesting that he micturate on the situation. Unable to comply, he searched both of our packs for any traces of extinguishing liquid while I continued to thwart the enterprising flames trying to alight surrounding tufts of dry pine needle and moss. No luck - we’d finished all of our water, and had left any containers in the car. We checked our phones - no service. We called out for help, knowing there wasn’t really anyone around in earshot. The smouldering fire smoked and thrived despite our efforts.
Leaving me to attend the fire, Phil dashed off through the woods to find water. He’d have to find a decent container first. A few smoky moments later I heard him slam the car door shut from afar, and he called back to me that he was going further off to fill bottles with water. There was a stream across the road closer to the castle, but it seemed like gruelling miles away. I waited, stamping the intermittent flames, waving away pungent wisps of smoke - this was no unscented ghostly mist like back in the graveyard. I coughed and listened for anyone who might come along to help, tense for the moment Phil would return with water to save us all. An eternity went by before he came back, out of breath, with the only containers we’d had in the car - two flimsy water bottles, now full of cold water from a watercourse reached by climbing down an embankment full of trees; too far and arduous for another useful trip. This had to work. We doused the fiery hole with the contents of both bottles. Thick smoke rose as a faint hissing noise issued from the depths. Then all was quiet, and the smoke thinned and puffed out. We waited, holding hands and staring at the ground. I hoped the Chisholm ancestors were with us in some capacity, helping us to save this beloved forest. Finally I whispered, “I think it’s out”.
  As if on cue, a flicker of flame popped up once more, seeming to do a happy dance as it celebrated our outrage. Phil grabbed a stick and poked at the infernal enemy, revealing that the earth beneath was still glowing with steady heat. Exasperated and exhausted, we knew we couldn’t battle this fire alone. Ensuring there were no open flames at least when we left, we ran back to the car together, climbed in, and sped back to Erchless castle, where we knew there would be people about. I knew I would remember the exact spot to return quickly - it was smoking, for one thing, and I can usually remember individual trees and plants when I need to find my way around in the woods. Roaring up the drive and to the place where we’d spoken to the caretaker before, we jumped out and asked for help. I made sure to mention it started spontaneously; we weren’t idiot tourists too bumbling not to burn the place down. Almost annoyingly nonchalant, he turned and calmly looked for a fire extinguisher, while we waited on tenterhooks. Finally he walked over and handed Phil an antiqued red metal tube, supposedly an extinguisher; it looked like it had been around since 1818 when its prototype was invented. I doubted this relic’s ability to make it back to the fire without rusting away, let alone being able to perform its intended duty.
  “Don’t you want to come and see for yourself?” we asked. An unworried shrug accompanied the caretaker’s reply. “I’m sure you’ve got it under control”. This was somehow not reassuring. We said we’d return with the empty canister. “Keep it! Souvenir.”
  The car was barely stopped before I threw myself out the door and crashed through the woods, my heroic husband following right behind. I haven’t run so fast since I was a teenager. We headed in a direct beeline to the remembered fire zone. My confidence in finding the spot again was merited, and as soon as we reached that black mar, Phil let loose with the extinguisher. Miraculously (I maintain), white clouds of foam issued from the antique, filling our vision and obscuring the environment around us. When the vaporous curtain lifted, we surveyed the scene.
  The fire was out. The danger was over. The historic lands were saved. We kicked at the ashes, trying to put the natural elements back “in place” as they had been before the potential pyre. Content that we had made as minimal impact on the environment as possible (other than putting out a forest fire!), we left the woods and drove back to our accommodation. That evening, after returning to our room and settling in to watch the news, we learned that temperatures in Scotland broke records that day; that train tracks had actually been melting in some parts of the UK, it was so hot!
  I have no doubt that the fire near the ancestral graveyard was caused by the harsh sun beating down on dry tinder. What I can’t really explain is how we encountered “smoke” well before the fire ever started, and so far from the source. Were we being forewarned of fiery danger to come? Were we led away to the very spot the flames would burst forth by some unseen force, working through us to protect the Chisholm grounds? Perhaps these happenstances were merely seemingly connected coincidences. Perhaps I’ll always wonder. 

Making Molten MossMaking Molten Moss



(- SARAH CHISHOLM - Fine Art & Photography) Celtic Chisholm cross fire forest forest fire ghost ghost story graveyard mist mushroom Scotland smoke story https://sarahchisholmphotography.zenfolio.com/blog/2021/2/the-happening-in-the-highlands Tue, 09 Feb 2021 03:49:16 GMT
A Storm of Butterflies https://sarahchisholmphotography.zenfolio.com/blog/2021/1/a-storm-of-butterflies   A Storm of ButterfliesA Storm of Butterflies
appled sunlight played across her vision before she even opened her eyes, and she lay there a moment trying to remember how she came to be on the beach. She could smell the calm waters and feel the sand beneath her, hear the wind in the poplars above and the distant cry of waterbirds, and she tasted strong wine as if she had only just sipped it seconds before. Ah, yes. The jug of ’29 Red they’d swiped from the kitchens last night during the revelries in the Great Hall. That would account for ending up sleeping out of doors, and for the headache as well. Through aching eyelids she became aware of silhouettes flitting across her vision; not the gentle twinkling of sun rays through trees, but darker and more insistent shadows, and she startled now as one blotted out her shuteye view and something tangible landed on her brow. Gasping, Violet opened her eyes and bolted upright.
  “It’s only a butterfly”, came the sleepy voice of Marina, who was sitting nearby, staring out over the water. “There must be hundreds of them. Look.”
  As her shadowy assailant flew circles around her, Violet brushed sand from her face and smoothed stray hairs, and looked about; she was astonished to see the air filled with fluttering insects, mostly blue butterflies, but some of differing shapes and sizes as well. She was also astonished to discover she was wearing an exquisite and expensive Elven cloak over a one-of-a-kind goddess gown.
  “Oh, Hades! Marina! I’m wearing Her Ladyship’s new costume! We’re as good as dead! Just look at you! We’ve got to get back to the castle!” She scrambled to her feet.
  Marina glanced down at her pricelessly bejewelled frock and shrugged. “It shouldn’t really matter now regardless. Not after what happened last night.”
  Violet felt a chill despite the humid morning air hanging thick around them. Last night… she struggled to think, as if in a fog. “The wine? Nobody will even notice. Her Ladyship won’t…”
  She was interrupted by a derisive snort and sideways glance from her co-conspirator. “The wine, Violet? Really?” Marina got to her feet and swayed in place for a moment, smirking. “You don’t remember, do you?” She batted at a butterfly intent on tickling her eyelashes.
  “Tell me.”
  Infuriatingly, Marina resumed staring out over the lake.
  “Well, go on then,” insisted Violet.
  There came no response.
  After several tense minutes of silence, Violet snatched the culpable wine jug from the sand where it sat empty, and huffed down the narrow pathway through the stinging beach grasses toward the shoreline. She desperately needed a drink of water, and a quick wash might restore her senses and her usually even temper. Splashing barefoot into the freshwater shallows, she began rinsing the jug, careful not to get her pilfered garment wet. Still mindful of the ominous situation, she brooded and frowned at her reflection. Why was Marina being so distant and vague? They had been ladies-in-waiting together going on eight years now. Surely they were friends. Yet Violet had the distinct feeling of being at odds with Marina this morning. She couldn’t shake a creeping feeling of unease.
  As if to exacerbate her mood, suddenly a rumble of thunder roared its displeasure from over the lake, making the very air accomplice to its upheaval. Violet’s coif stood on end, and her instincts told her to back away from the water. Lightning bolts lit the horizon with zig zags of warning. Clinging butterflies seemed to swarm her very soul, and whisking them aside, she quickly filled the jug with fresh water.
  She heard a muffled cry, as if in a dream… surely Marina was still alone, obscured on the beach? Violet stood just as a flash of lightning illuminated the landscape, highlighting each blade of grass and every stone gleaming in sand. She was suddenly struck with a memory as clear and powerful as the electricity that seared the sky. She remembered what they had done the previous evening. She saw everything in crystal clarity, and her heart seemed to turn to ice.
  The thunder rumbled closer this time.
  “Oh, Hades,” said Violet.

  Every so often I am going to publish these "penny dreadful" stories on my blog here, and also on my Facebook page. They will be small snippets of a tale, meant to be unfinished. A picture will accompany each to set the scene and portray the character(s). The first story in this series was originally published on Facebook in January 2019, and I have had many requests and messages since for more of that particular tale. However, I only ever meant to write cliffhangers, mostly to annoy you. (You're welcome!) Each story will be all new, but I anticipate the events and characters will all have a connection of some sort. 
  I hope you enjoy my creative writing! Please leave me comments - it really encourages me, for one thing! Thanks for reading. 

Model: Thora Violet  
Hair/MUA/Assistant: Sharon Lytle 
Photography, editing, story: Sarah Chisholm 



(- SARAH CHISHOLM - Fine Art & Photography) beach butterfly lightning model penny dreadful storm story https://sarahchisholmphotography.zenfolio.com/blog/2021/1/a-storm-of-butterflies Tue, 05 Jan 2021 17:43:32 GMT
On Being Environmentally Responsible https://sarahchisholmphotography.zenfolio.com/blog/2019/11/on-being-environmentally-responsible   I love nature and the environment and our precious landscapes and wildlife play an integral role not only in my life's work but of course in all of our lives as well. I try to do my part, as we all do, to better the earth.
  I pride myself in the content and products I produce, and that's why when someone gets a print from me, it's made only with the highest quality inks, papers, and packaging to ensure my artwork will look spectacular for hundreds of years to come. That means I only make art with new, premium materials that I source from reputable companies. However, everything else I create I do so with a mind to recycle, reuse, and avoid excessive packaging. Wherever possible I reuse cardboard and shipping materials to ship. That means your shipped package might look like Frankenstein put it together, but inside there's a beautiful creation. I reuse tags and stickers for pricing, have secondhand display units for shows, and almost all of my camera equipment is secondhand. My friends and I make or thrift almost every costume and prop we use in shoots. I don't disrupt or change the environments I'm photographing, and I try to pick up garbage in the wild when I find it.
  Am I perfect? Ppppfffftttt. We as humans are all doing terrible things to Mother Earth daily. But I try to do all the little things I can to ensure that I leave my surroundings better off than when I first came to them. 
Butterfly Kisses on my FingerButterfly Kisses on my Finger


(- SARAH CHISHOLM - Fine Art & Photography) environment environmental green recycle recycling reuse https://sarahchisholmphotography.zenfolio.com/blog/2019/11/on-being-environmentally-responsible Thu, 14 Nov 2019 23:14:09 GMT
The Sting of Leaving Skye https://sarahchisholmphotography.zenfolio.com/blog/2019/9/the-sting-of-leaving-skye   While on the Isle of Skye, we stayed in a few delightful hideaways around that otherworldly land, and were directed to a few hidden gems by helpful locals along the way. One place with magical promise was marked on a map for us in a hurried conversation, but we couldn't remember what exactly we were headed out to discover one fine sunny morning as we set out for the day. We knew only that there was something amazing to see marked with an X, so we set out in our rented car toward our mysterious destination. Up and down ear-popping hills just inches from sheer drops over cliffs on a single lane track, my husband had to back up several times to find places wide enough for oncoming traffic to pass. The roads are incredibly narrow and unforgiving of careless error. Don't forget, in Scotland we were driving on the side of the road (and car) opposite from our usual. It's so much fun! You've got to try it once in your life. Exhilarating! 
  This narrow road ended suddenly at a small parking lot, with just a few other cars and nothing special in sight. There was a huge livestock gate with a sign warning to close all gates behind you as you take the path through private farmland. The sign also warned of a "large bull". Intriguing! We passed through the heavy gate and closed it tight behind us, and started out on the rocky path which made a steep climb upward and then curved out of sight. After a few minutes we met another couple hiking back to the parking lot. They looked exhausted. "Is the walk far? Where does it go?" we inquired. They told us, "It's about three miles. Maybe five. Watch out for the bull. But it's the hills that really get you". They paused, panting. "It's worth it", the woman said cryptically before they continued on down the hill. The sun was beating down on us at this point, and we'd forgotten water in the car. But we decided to push on. 
Point of Sleat PathPoint of Sleat Path
  There were so many times I questioned what in the world we were doing hiking along that pathway. We didn't know where we were headed, we didn't know how far away it was, there were territorial sheep everywhere, goats were staring at us judgementally, and where was that bull, anyway? In retrospect, it was the hottest day on record ever in Scotland. We are used to heat and humidity where we live, but we don't go hiking over multiple mountains in it. Every time we crested a hill, I thought we'd see something significant on the other side, but dozens of times, it was just more path, more rock, more sheep, cows, and goats, and the next hill beyond the descent in front of us. The scenery was breathtaking! At the high points you could see out over the sapphire blue seas to the emerald slopes beyond, and the hills were covered in striking purple heather and foxglove. The fields surrounding us were like the countryside at home, but you can't just go traipsing about farmland amongst the livestock wherever you please in Bruce County! Finally we met another couple coming toward us with their small kids. They told us there was a massive bull and some cows on the path up ahead, and they didn't want to chance going past with their kids, so they were going back to the car. Wavering, we decided to crest yet one more hill and see for ourselves what we were up against. Sure enough, far ahead there were many cows and their babies blocking the path. The bull had been kind enough to wander up the hillside nearby, keeping a watchful eye on the herd. We decided to walk on, hoping the cows would move aside once we approached them. And they did... they moved over a few inches and stood right at the side of the path, with the kind of black mud that sucks your footwear right off your feet threatening cows and humans alike just inches off the packed stone roadway on either side. We'd have to pass within a couple of feet away from the cows and their precious babies if we wanted to go on. I hesitated, scared to aggravate the bull or anger a mother, although the cows kept pointedly staring at the roadway beside them as if to say, "There. Just walk by right there. Oh, lady. Come on. We don't bite. Just walk by. Right there." Tails twitched, the cows stared at the path, and still I stood there. Finally I went up into the sucking mud and around away from the cows, my husband laughing from the road beside them, and I swear the cows were rolling their eyes at my pathetic attempt at dignity despite the horrendous gurgling and belching noises accompanying each of my footsteps in the mire. 
Walk On By - Cows of SkyeWalk On By - Cows of Skye
  Once past the bovine challenge, we walked many more moments before meeting a French couple on their way back from wherever it was that we were going... how far was that again? Speaking French, the man told us it was still quite a ways further. The lady could only lament in universal body language the heat and distance she knew she'd have to travel back down the path. Once again I wondered what we'd gotten ourselves into. Then the man said in English, carefully choosing his words, "I wasn't positive it was worth the walk." We locked eyes and he said, "It's paradise. Paradise."

  With our anticipation heightened, we found a reserve of energy and marched on with renewed enthusiasm toward "paradise". Honestly, despite the heat, the swarming midges, and the mucky, manure strewn, mountainous route - this remote and inhospitable landscape was already paradise to my eyes. I loved every rock, flora, fauna, and glimpse of the sparkling sea. I hardly noticed the flakes falling from my my mud-caked shoes as they dried in the hot summer sun, nor the dry feeling in my throat as I cursed my neglecting to bring water. Suddenly a group of young people appeared before our very eyes as they popped out of a cleft in the rock towering over the roadway, which appeared to continue on down to a farm and then end at the aquamarine waters beyond. The jubilant Australian adventurers assured us we were on the right track, but we'd have to go up the cliff face where they'd just emerged. "A lot of people keep going down the road, and they miss it. Trust me, follow the path to the left", one assured us, winking. We came upon the place where the Australians had appeared, and saw that it was actually a waterfall, albeit without much water flowing over the rocks in this late summer heatwave. Sure enough, a battered wooden sign pointed upward; a good thing, as straight up a slippery waterfall might not immediately be interpreted as any sort of pathway. My husband Phil ascended first, and disappeared over a ridge far above. He called down that it was safe for me to climb up after him, and with a few muttered curses, I finally made it up the precarious rocks and algae to the plateau, where the path became almost impossible to discern amidst the ankle-twisting boulders and roots. We clambered over sharp rocks, and ever the naturalist and witchy herbalist, I pointed out many useful herbs growing amongst them, including my favourite, broadleaf plantain. It grows freely across North America, but was brought to our continent by European settlers (legend says it sprung up in their footprints!) as are many of our plants, so I recognized it in Scotland immediately. Daydreaming about the various flowers and butterflies dotting our surroundings, I didn't even see it at first. 
  "Oh, look. We found it," my husband suddenly announced. I stared, blinking. My brain honestly could not comprehend what I was looking at, because I'd never seen anything like it. All I could see was a glowing, silvery-white strip of landscape ending in bands of turquoise, cobalt, and sea-foam.
  "What is that?" I asked. "What's the white stuff?" I looked to the sheep leading the way forward for a clue, but he was no help. "It's sand, Sugga. It's white sand." "No!" I breathed.
  It was absolutely unreal. Unicorn white sand leading to peacock coloured waters. A tropical paradise which would absolutely be mistaken for an exclusive resort in the Caribbean, but it's so much more magical, because it's a hidden diamond in remote, "dreary" Scotland. I couldn't believe my eyes. It was indeed paradise. It was. 
The Mysterious DestinationThe Mysterious Destination
  Beyond an incredible ancient symbol laid out in the grass with large stones was a pristine white sand beach; the colourful shells and jellyfish littering the shore shone like jewels against their light background. We reached the shoreline after navigating around quite a few tide pools with decorous plant life and anemones within, and I realized the beach would be completely invisible at high tide. A stroke of luck in our favour that we'd reached this precious treasure at low tide, so we weren't left wondering forever for what in the world we had made that killer hike! I shudder to think of how off our timing could have been on top of our blind wandering... But hey, what's life without a taste of the unknown abyss? 
  I set to work right away photographing some incredible specimens - violet jellyfish and myriad mermaid-hued seashells abounded and I was in heaven poking around on the pearly sand - with my shoes on. My husband, who had brought water shoes on our trip, but had left them three-to-five miles back in the car, waded into the ocean barefoot, and I can't begrudge him that. Of course when you're by the crystal clear waters of a hidden warm sea for the first time, you put your feet in the water. I get it. Many lifetimes ago, I lived by a tropical ocean, so I've been there and done that, and I didn't feel the need to remove my armour in this lifetime. I'm also pretty familiar with salt water creatures. "Watch out in your bare feet, babe," I warned. "I can see the jellyfish clearly", he replied, and I said something to the effect that jellyfish weren't the only creatures you need to be wary of in the sand. With that, he waded out into rather stunning waters, and I carried on finding crabs, kelp, tiny fish, and other fantastic ocean-dwelling animals along the extraordinary beach. 
Shells In ParadiseShells In Paradise
  Some time later, I looked around for Phil and noticed he was sitting on the rocks above the beach, rubbing his feet. He noticed my gaze and waved nonchalantly. Surprised he wasn't enjoying the water, I made my way over to him. He's always my hero; always strong and level-headed - the calm presence in my storm-ridden existence. As I got closer to him, he straightened up and called out conversationally, "So, what would happen if someone got stung by a jellyfish?" "Well, that would be bad," I called back, equally conversationally. I stooped to snap a few close-up shots of one such gelatinous formation. The shutter clicked a few times.
  "Define bad," Phil finally called out. I froze for a second, then turned to him slowly.
  "Phil, did you get stung by a jellyfish?"
  "Oh my god! Are you serious? What happened?" I was already kneeling before him, examining a very obvious puncture wound on the bottom of one foot. It was bruised and swelling up and turning terrible colours. 
  "Holy s___! That's not a jellyfish sting! Did you see what it was?" I was trying not to panic. 
  "I didn't see it. Something shot out of the sand and punched me in the foot. It freaked me out so I came out of the water. Then I noticed the hole. It's getting worse." 
  You can't imagine all of the dire thoughts that ran through my mind then. We were all alone. Miles away from the car after hiking paths hard to traverse at your best. Unfathomable miles away from any hospital. Who knew what poisonous creature had injected my husband with its deadly venom! We came all this way on our dream trip to Scotland and now the love of my life, whom I cannot live without, was going to die right there in paradise, and what in the world was I going to do?! 

  Not knowing what kind of sea denizen had stung my husband so violently, I feared the worst. I began asking him all sorts of questions, and this kept me strangely calm, especially for someone who lives with crippling anxiety most normal days. But my mind was indeed racing...  imagining every possible scenario at once, and all of them unthinkable impossibilities...
  Did he feel dizzy, faint, cold, nauseous? No, no, sit down... surely the poison will rush straight to your heart if you move around... Yes, dramatic is the right word here. The puncture wound on Phil's sole was black and blue, the skin red and angry at the sting. I asked him if he was feeling strange at all. "Well, I don't feel all that great", he said. "It's actually really starting to hurt now." My husband is very strong and stoic... if he was admitting anything at all, that wasn't good. Oh, no. There was no cell service. Suddenly the ideal of being alone in an inaccessible place wasn't so idyllic. We couldn't just stay there on the secluded beach. We needed help. Something to stop the swelling and combat any venom. At that point, there was no way Phil could walk. I prepared myself to begin the sprint back up the many miles of rock-strewn path to find people, fresh water, or the car, whichever I reached first. Did I mention I used to be a smoker? This run was likely to kill me as well. Then my intuition and instincts struck me with a bolt of inspiration.
  "Oh my god! I know what to do! I'm going back up the path - I'll be right back!" I assured my love, already flying over the treacherous land as if my feet had wings. I scrambled over mossy boulders, searching the hard-packed stone trail between the larger rocks for something incredibly common and abundant all over the globe, but of course escaping my scrutinizing eye when I needed it most... broadleaf plantain. That most wonderful wild edible plant known for its many powerful medicinal benefits; most importantly here, its incredible anti-inflammatory and antibacterial properties. It's truly a magical gift from nature. I had seen literally hundreds of clusters of the plant on our way to the paradise beach, but do you think I could find just one then? After what seemed like an eternity, I found a perfect specimen with large green oval leaves, and quickly snatched up as much as I could see. On the way back to Phil, I began to puncture the leaves with my nails, making them pulpy and releasing the healing juices. Back at my patient's feet, I applied a wad of wet plantain leaves directly to his wound and then stuck a larger leaf overtop like a bandage, and he slipped his sock over it all to hold it in place. I was still planning on making a run for help, but I waited a few moments, hesitant to leave Phil behind. We're pretty inseparable. I was wishing with all my witchy conscience that the plantain would work wonders. I knew from experience that it was useful for relief from insect bites and cuts, but it was a lot to hope that it might heal the effects of poison. Some of the most venomous animals on earth live in salt water, and I had no idea what might dwell in the waters around Isle of Skye, but its painful sting was a lot more epic than the average mosquito bite. Nonetheless, we waited a few moments, and to ease the tension I of course admonished Phil for trying to die on me and leave me alone to fend for myself overseas. We were laughing, and it seemed logical that if he was going to perish, he'd likely have done so after so many minutes. We checked on the wound under the plantain poultice.
  One doesn't like to throw about the word miraculous, but my jaw certainly dropped when I saw the wound, as it was suddenly almost invisible, where just moments before it had been bruised, discoloured, and swollen. The plantain had healed Phil's foot incredibly quickly. He was as astonished as I was - the pain was diminished significantly, and thankfully, he could walk! Of course, he was still quite sore, so we took our time making our way back to the car. Luckily, there were hundreds of plantain leaves all along the way, so we changed the magic poultice frequently, and by the time we reached the parking lot a few hours later, Phil felt well enough to go on driving to our next destination. Well, first to the nearest store for water and delicious Skye sandwiches. A few days after his misadventure, and with the help of plantain found all over Scotland, Phil's foot was back to normal, and I had forgiven him for giving me the scare of my life. He admitted that there were a few tense moments when he considered that he might die on that beach as well. What a harrowing experience... I'm so thankful for having knowledge of so many plants, even far away from my own home. 
   Now back home in Ontario, I recently collected some "Canadian" plantain leaves (broadleaf plantain weed was introduced in North America by British settlers many centuries ago) and together with my fellow creative and kindred spirit, Kristen, concocted an all-natural salve for multiple uses. It's great for bug bites, poison ivy, cuts and scrapes, skin conditions, and anywhere you might need healing. It's got Vitamin E, calendula, cocoa butter, and tea tree oil in it as well. I've already tried out our magic salve and it's fantastic! It's incredible what you can create with what Mother Nature provides. I highly recommend doing some reading into plantain and other valued and useful wild plants. 
   After a lot of research at home, we have come to the conclusion that my husband was struck by a 'weaver fish'. 
  Thanks for reading my story and following along on my wild journey. There are many more intriguing stories out of Scotland, so I do hope you'll watch for more musings to come. It's an enchanted place that will inspire my words and images for many moons to come. 
Skye JellyfishSkye Jellyfish




(- SARAH CHISHOLM - Fine Art & Photography) adventure beach hike Isle of Skye jellyfish ocean paradise plantain Scotland sea shells shore Skye travel white sand https://sarahchisholmphotography.zenfolio.com/blog/2019/9/the-sting-of-leaving-skye Tue, 24 Sep 2019 15:19:34 GMT
One Moment In Time At Callanish https://sarahchisholmphotography.zenfolio.com/blog/2019/8/one-moment-in-time-at-callanish Shadow StonesShadow Stones
  Here is one of the many reasons that Scotland has been calling to me my entire life, in my dreams and waking hours. These are the Callanish Standing Stones, which were placed by Neolithic humans sometime around 2900 BCE. These are among the oldest archaeological structures on Earth! 
  The image below has nothing to do with luck. The entire time we spent on the Isle of Lewis, it rained. Not just heavy rain that soaks you to the bone, but the kind of rain that seems to take your very breath away, obscuring your vision, and making you question your sanity being anywhere outside of four walls and a thick roof. We arrived off the ferry to the Outer Hebrides in late afternoon, and once we found our hotel in Stornoway, we set out in our rented car in search of the stones. Even though it was raining quite heavily then, I didn't want to chance that it might be raining even harder the next day before we left the isles (and yes, it sure was), so off we went to see the incredible history that beckoned across the Isle of Lewis. 
  We took a lesser-travelled road out there, and could barely see out the windshield, much less the narrow track just wide enough for one compact vehicle to traverse. We were able to make out the Callanish Stones standing strikingly atop an incline long before we reached them. I was so excited! But getting out of the car was a different matter. I could barely open the door for the battering wind. The rain seemed to be mocking and laughing. My camera seemed to have a large sad eye staring at me, imploring me not to take it out in such conditions, even wrapped up in a clear plastic garbage bag as it was. (That's right, I only carry the most state-of-the-art equipment with me when I photograph. My camera is also most decidedly not top-of-the-line, by the way. I cringe when someone says "you must have a nice camera!". I do not. Cameras are only tools, virtually useless unless used with experience. PSA over. Back to the story.) We had travelled overseas and spent many hours and pennies to get there, so we were going out in that muddy sheep field to see those stones, no matter the weather. Besides, there were absolutely no other people about, which is extremely rare at such a famous monument!
  We exited the car, and though it seemed impossible, it rained even harder, and the wind made even glancing upward painful. I wanted to cry. We had come all that way, and I couldn't even look up at the stones, let alone photograph them. My husband tried to shield me as best he could with his raincoat while we shuffled our way around, me snapping regrettable photos when it seemed safe. At one point, the pouring sheets of water let up into a fine spray mist, and I exclaimed, "I have just seconds!", and ran around the circle firing off shots. I had been right, this only lasted a few seconds before heavy rains returned with vengeance. We managed to walk around all of the stones, but then ran for the dry interior of the car. We sat inside for a long time, hoping the rain might abate, but finally I had to admit defeat. We drove away from the area and just before the stones disappeared in the rearview I said, "Watch, now that we are leaving, the sun will come out."
  Moments later, there was a change in light on the dark clouds in front of us. I was yelling, "go back!!" to my obliging husband (he's my hero!) before I even turned around to confirm - the sun was indeed peeking through the clouds, and though it disappeared again right away, it was going to do it again soon - there were holes in the clouds showing sky underneath barreling across the landscape with awe-worthy speed. We arrived back at the stones in pouring rain with slate skies, but I jumped out of the car and ran, sheep scattering before me, into a position where I might catch some sunlight hitting the centre stones. I waited crouched under my coat, constantly keeping an eye on those hollows of hope in the otherwise despairing cloud cover.
  The sun did not show itself completely again for a long time - it teased and danced, making the surrounding grey-blue light brighten and fade as the clouds thinned, but did not break apart. I almost gave up again. I could see the bands of black rain coming for us across the hills and loch. And then, one moment in time at Callanish, the sun broke through the storm, and illuminated the centre stone which has been standing there keeping vigil for thousands of years, and we were there to witness it. I will never forget this moment, or this day, or how the rain felt so incredibly beautiful on my face when it embraced us once more in another moment.

One Moment In Time At CallanishOne Moment In Time At Callanish

(- SARAH CHISHOLM - Fine Art & Photography) adventure Calanais Callanish Isle of Lewis light prints rainbow Scotland Standing Stones stones travel https://sarahchisholmphotography.zenfolio.com/blog/2019/8/one-moment-in-time-at-callanish Sun, 11 Aug 2019 21:09:08 GMT
On Not Revealing Locations https://sarahchisholmphotography.zenfolio.com/blog/2019/8/on-not-revealing-locations   I'm going to take a moment* to explain my rule and stance about revealing locations that I photograph. This rule has been in place since I established my Facebook page and other social media pages, and is written in black and white in my "about" section. I do not discuss locations or techniques. Period. 
  When I write a caption for a social media post, I compose it carefully. Every piece of information included or not included is completely on purpose, so when I don't give specifics about a location or subject, that's because I don't mean to say any more. I'm not too stupid to realize readers might want to know more... you get what you get with me, and that's that. This is for many reasons. 
  One is, I'm an artist, and not a tour guide. I would prefer if people just enjoyed the picture and let me make my magic, rather than have to spend time revealing the magic, or answering technical questions, which bring me down to earth from my clouds - and away from my creative zone! 
  Another big reason is that I respect private property and public spaces; I don't trespass, bother animals, destroy fields, add garbage, or remove pieces of nature. The same cannot be said for many people who might read about a location publicly. Last year in Canada, some farmers had their crop and property literally destroyed in mere minutes by people who read about their special place on the internet, and descended upon it like locusts, in search of selfies and social media likes. They were rude and even dangerous to the owners, and left them in financial ruin by afternoon. I would never, ever want to be responsible for sending a crazy mob, or even one obnoxious individual, to any beautiful location. 
  I get asked almost every day, "Where is this?". I've been on social media for ten years now, so imagine how many times I've read that question now, about the same places, over and over. If I took the time to answer every question, I would have zero time to do anything creative. 
  In regards to my unique to me stones photos, obviously I get asked about those, every single time I post one, to the point where I hesitate to share them anymore. "Where are the colourful stones"? The answer is, in my artwork, and only there. People inform me of how they'll arrive at the beach (once I've told them where this imagined beach is), and bring buckets, or even flatbed trucks, for all the stones they'll take home. Um, no. I don't think I need to explain why no one is going to get directions to a place they plan to pillage. Also, I don't know if you've noticed, but I sincerely dislike being copied or emulated. 
  Yet another reason for not giving locations could be, I simply don't remember where I was. A follower recently got mad because I didn't know where I was standing, in a foreign place, to take a photo. I'm not sure why it's important to know, but I'm not going to be made to feel badly about not giving a specific answer. 
  I could also just want to create an air of mystery. Suffice to say, it's my page, these are my creations, and I will share as much or as little about myself as I feel necessary. So it doesn't matter if it's a picture of the Eiffel Tower - if I don't put a specific location on a post, I'm not going to explain further. Even if I know you're "cool", I'm still not going to reveal locations to you, simply because I want to stick to my rule in all circumstances, no exceptions, so I don't have to make explanations often. "Where is this?" Here, on my page. That's all. 
  I am not posting this for argument or debate. In this age of entitlement, people think they should be given whatever they demand, and that if they ask a question, it must be met with an answer. I disagree, and I won't be giving locations or revealing techniques beyond what I explain in my captions. If you feel this is a reason to get snarky with me, please save us both energy and just scroll on. Thank you for reading. Cheers!

*Originally published at Sarah Chisholm Photography on Facebook
Skye JewelsSkye Jewels

  Isle of Skye, Scotland

(- SARAH CHISHOLM - Fine Art & Photography) location https://sarahchisholmphotography.zenfolio.com/blog/2019/8/on-not-revealing-locations Fri, 09 Aug 2019 19:25:05 GMT
Kate & The Castle https://sarahchisholmphotography.zenfolio.com/blog/2019/4/kate-the-castle  

  Kate & The CastleKate & The CastleThe night air is chill when Kate steps out into the moonlight from the large oak door to the South wing of the castle. She tugs the edges of her scarf more tightly around her, briefly wishing she had the freedom to fly as her eyes land upon the winged pattern splayed across the gauzy material. Tonight she must settle for being quick on her feet. Taking a breath, she tiptoes down the steps and sets out across the flagstones, her footsteps echoing loudly against the surrounding stone walls and in her own chest. She doesn’t think anyone will notice her; the Beltane feast will go on long into the wee hours, and Father is already in his cups. Even the guards will be lax, many of them given leave to join the celebrations. The guests may spill into the gardens, but these will be paramours not wishing to be spied either, their eyes on one another.
Rounding a large flowering bush at the end of the walk, Kate walks briskly into the wet grass of one of the elaborate castle gardens, heading toward the orchards. She has brought the bouquet which accompanied the note; if she is indeed apprehended, she will say something about admiring flowers, unable to sleep. A poor excuse, but far less scandalous than the truth. The lawns are brightly lit from the windows of the Great Hall, and as Kate swishes past underneath the panes, she stirs up myriad tiny insects from the green; they rise into the illumination like so many fairies twinkling in the night. Fireflies join in curiously, and it looks almost as if the stars themselves have descended upon the princess, dancing alongside her as she hurries toward her clandestine rendezvous. Kate turns her gaze toward the windows aloft, her face lit by the glow of a thousand candles in the Hall, and the moon beyond the Tower. A soft breeze tousles her hair and urges her on. If only Father understood… if only she could make him see that she was capable of making her own decisions. She knows in her heart that Alec is a good soul. He has magic. He has gifted her a pendant which contains the Sun. He will give her the world.
The gate to the orchard creaks upon its hinges when she tries it; at the same moment across the courtyard a door opens, spilling golden light and the sounds of revelry into the quiet night. Gasping despite herself, Kate steps sideways into the narrow opening and soundlessly slams the gate shut behind her. She places one hand on the smooth wood, the flowers clutched tightly in the other, and rests her forehead against the door, breathing deeply. Behind her, a familiar voice causes her flesh to prickle, and she shivers involuntarily.
“I didn’t think you’d come.”
She turns, dropping the bouquet.

he night air is chill when Kate steps out into the moonlight from the large oak door to the South wing of the castle. She tugs the edges of her scarf more tightly around her, briefly wishing she had the freedom to fly as her eyes land upon the winged pattern splayed across the gauzy material. Tonight she must settle for being quick on her feet. Taking a breath, she tiptoes down the steps and sets out across the flagstones, her footsteps echoing loudly against the surrounding stone walls and in her own chest. She doesn’t think anyone will notice her; the Beltane feast will go on long into the wee hours, and Father is already in his cups. Even the guards will be lax, many of them given leave to join the celebrations. The guests may spill into the gardens, but these will be paramours not wishing to be spied either, their eyes on one another. 
  Rounding a large flowering bush at the end of the walk, Kate walks briskly into the wet grass of one of the elaborate castle gardens, heading toward the orchards. She has brought the bouquet which accompanied the note; if she is indeed apprehended, she will say something about admiring flowers, unable to sleep. A poor excuse, but far less scandalous than the truth. The lawns are brightly lit from the windows of the Great Hall, and as Kate swishes past underneath the panes, she stirs up myriad tiny insects from the green; they rise into the illumination like so many fairies twinkling in the night. Fireflies join in curiously, and it looks almost as if the stars themselves have descended upon the princess, dancing alongside her as she hurries toward her clandestine rendezvous. Kate turns her gaze toward the windows aloft, her face lit by the glow of a thousand candles in the Hall, and the moon beyond the Tower. A soft breeze tousles her hair and urges her on. If only Father understood… if only she could make him see that she was capable of making her own decisions. She knows in her heart that Alec is a good soul. He has magic. He has gifted her a pendant which contains the Sun. He will give her the world. 
  The gate to the orchard creaks upon its hinges when she tries it; at the same moment across the courtyard a door opens, spilling golden light and the sounds of revelry into the quiet night. Gasping despite herself, Kate steps sideways into the narrow opening and soundlessly slams the gate shut behind her. She places one hand on the smooth wood, the flowers clutched tightly in the other, and rests her forehead against the door, breathing deeply. Behind her, a familiar voice causes her flesh to prickle, and she shivers involuntarily. 
  “I didn’t think you’d come.” 
  She turns, dropping the bouquet. 


  Every so often I am going to publish these "penny dreadful" stories on my blog here, and also on my Facebook page. They will be small snippets of a tale, meant to be unfinished. A picture will accompany each to set the scene and portray the character(s). This story was originally published on Facebook in January 2019, and I have had many requests and messages since for more of Kate's adventure. However, I only ever meant for them to be cliffhangers, mostly to annoy you. You're welcome.

  I did make a promise that I would write another bit of any story that reached over 250 likes on the original Facebook post. As I do not anticipate this ever happening, the next stories will all be new, but I hope they will all have a connection of some sort. 
  I hope you enjoy my creative writing! Please leave me comments - it really encourages me, for one thing! Thanks for reading. 

Model: Katie Wilken 
Hair/MUA: Sharon Lytle 
Assistant: Kristen Rex Holloway 
Photography, editing, story: Sarah Chisholm 

(- SARAH CHISHOLM - Fine Art & Photography) castle fairy tale fantasy flowers garden model penny dreadful stories story https://sarahchisholmphotography.zenfolio.com/blog/2019/4/kate-the-castle Tue, 02 Apr 2019 14:34:29 GMT
The Stars of the Zodiac VIII - Libra https://sarahchisholmphotography.zenfolio.com/blog/2018/12/the-stars-of-the-zodiac-viii---libra   I had the concept for Libra in my mind before I ever conceived of the zodiac project. You see, I'm a bit of a history buff; I actually went to university for Archaeology and Anthropology! One particular era of interest to me is Ancient Egypt, the Pharaohs, and their pantheon of many deities. Anubis, the jackal-headed god of the afterlife, is my personal "patron saint". I even have two tattoos of him in full canine form on my forearms!
  Anubis weighed the heart of the deceased upon the scales of balance in the Egyptian underworld. The heart was placed on one side of the scales, and a delicate feather, representative of Ma'at, or the goddess of truth and justice, on the other. If the person's heart proved lighter than the feather, then they would be welcomed into the paradise of the afterlife. If, however, their heart was heavy, it was thrown to the monster Ammit, part lion, part hippo, and part crocodile, who devoured the heart and any chance of eternal salvation. Quite the bedtime story!
  I wanted to depict Libra, "The Scales", as Anubis, in an Ancient Egyptian/horoscope crossover piece. I did not intend to model myself for this one originally, but long story short, here I am in a self-portrait. I'm actually a Pisces, but I do have quite a few Egyptian tattoos! I used the timer on my camera to take several photos, and had Kristen and Sharon assist me with lighting and poses. I have to admit, my ankles were a little sore after holding this pose for so long in those sky-high heels! 
  I am holding a beautiful set of pewter and crystal scales I found at a yard sale long ago. There's an ostrich feather in the one cup, and a juicy, bloody heart in the other, of course. We really like attention to detail on our team, after all. Are you wondering with just a bit of dread from where we got the heart? Of course you are, or there'd be something amiss! Not to worry, it isn't real. It's just an extremely well done replica made by Kristen Holloway. I believe she used tinfoil, among other materials, to create a human heart that looks quite realistic. This prop will show up in exquisite detail in some future photoshoot, I'm quite sure. I was going to post a closer look at it, but I think I'll keep it a bit mysterious for now. We've already got other ideas pumping through our veins. Sorry
  There are seven stars for the 7th sign of the zodiac, and I chose colours of blue and gold as they seem to be favoured colours for Libra. I did remove a LOT of my own tattoos (in post-processing!) to replace them with a pretty gold Libra symbol. That was great practice in patience and skill! 
  The "B-Side" image has much more gold and Anubis features much more prominently. As Libra is an air sign, my hair is blowing slightly. 
Anubis & The Scales (Libra)Anubis & The Scales (Libra)
  The calendars are almost sold out now. When they do, I will take preorders for one final batch before the new year arrives. Thank you so much for your support. 

LIBRA - SEPT 23 - OCT 22
Model, Photography, Editing, Wardrobe, Set Design: Sarah Chisholm  
Hairstyling, Make-up Artist, Assistant: Sharon Lytle 
Heart replica, Assistant: Kristen Rex Holloway 

(- SARAH CHISHOLM - Fine Art & Photography) Ancient Egyptian Anubis astro astrology Egypt goddess heart horoscope Kincardine Libra model scales star sign stars zodiac https://sarahchisholmphotography.zenfolio.com/blog/2018/12/the-stars-of-the-zodiac-viii---libra Tue, 11 Dec 2018 14:24:50 GMT
The Stars of The Zodiac VII - Taurus https://sarahchisholmphotography.zenfolio.com/blog/2018/11/the-stars-of-the-zodiac-vii---taurus   Taurus! I wanted to go super feminine with this one, particularly to contrast the conventional associations with the iconic Taurus symbol, the bull. The concept didn't immediately come clear to me until I did a bit more research into the sign, and an idea bloomed. The flowers favoured by Taurus are apparently roses and foxglove, and the sign is ruled by planet Venus, with a lucky colour of rose as well. I envisioned a romantic floral setting, and steeled myself (brave like Taurus!) to attempt something scary to me: a close-up portrait! 
  Introducing Jessica Rose! Jess is a co-worker of Sharon's, and she's also a Taurus. She had applied to be one of my models when I put out the call, and of course Sharon put in a good word for her! Jess even found her (faux!) septum piercings on a shopping trip after we chose her - bonus points to models who source their own props! Sharon coloured Jess' hair that absolutely dreamy pink colour in real life! I think it suits her perfectly. Jess did her own perfect brows, and Sharon was our make-up artist. I love the whole colour palette here. Rose-coloured glasses aren't needed. 
  We met on a lovely morning in early summer. We had had some trouble getting our schedules to align, so the gorgeous rosebushes in my yard that I had in mind had dropped all but a few scant petals. I made the most of what blooms were left, and I also grabbed some fragrant long stem roses from our local grocer. I did chop off their heads. It was very Tudor. 
  We had Jess lay in a bed of roses. Ah, how lyrical! We were outdoors, and all of our combined children were present, including my adult daughter, who helpfully wrangled the herd at the park across the road. Thanks, Miriam! I climbed my trusty ladder and took a few shots in the shade before the quickly-moving Sun soon had us moving and rearranging everything. I don't love harsh sunlight! While we were busy shooting, another model from our project (Sarah is the sign Cancer!) walked by with her family, toting a red wagon. She called out wondering if we wanted to see her new "pet"... a huge snapping turtle! He had wandered into their backyard but wasn't really what they were looking for in a guard animal, so he was being safely relocated. Normally I would have gone trotting off after the turtle, but we were supposed to be inspired by a different animal. And we did get "the shot". Isn't this "Bull" stunning?! 

  Symbolism here includes the obvious bull with nose ring and horns. There are two foxglove flowers for the second sign of the zodiac, and roses for Taurus' flower. You'll notice Jess has a rose tattoo. There are a couple of clover flowers, because they're lucky, and bovines love clover! Taurus is an Earth sign, so the floral theme is apt. Pink is their lucky colour, and also represents Venus nicely. So much meaning in one portrait!
  The B-Side of Taurus is also amazing. It was very hard to choose which one went into the calendar.
Taurus DancerTaurus Dancer   Known affectionately for being 'set in their ways' (some might use the less romantic term "stubborn"), bulls can be harder to get to budge than a brick wall. Hence the bricks underneath our Taurus dancer's feet. (They are actually antique bricks from a wall in downtown Kincardine! I only ever use my own stock photography.) The skirt is created digitally from many bits of flower petal. Jess was wearing jeans that day, as I had said we'd likely only go for head and shoulders, and I had meant to crop this one, but plans change, inspiration strikes, and sometimes that means getting even more creative!
  Please join me this weekend, Friday November 30th from 6pm - 9, and December 1st from 10am to 4pm, at the Kincardine Pavilion for the annual Artful Hands show and sale. I will have Stars of the Zodiac calendars and small prints just right for gifting. I will also have a selection of landscapes, waterscapes, Kincardine scenes, fantasy, and other themed prints and framed work. There are treasures to be had! I'd love to see you. This is one of the only shows I do all year, so I look forward to it, and hope for success! Wish me luck if you can't attend!

TAURUS - April 20 - May 20
Model: Jessica Rose 
Hairstylist, Make-up Artist: Sharon Lytle 
Assistant: Miriam Ciss 
Photography, editing, concept: Sarah Chisholm 


(- SARAH CHISHOLM - Fine Art & Photography) art astrological astrology bull calendar fantasy floral flowers horoscope Kincardine model prints rose sign star sign Taurus zodiac https://sarahchisholmphotography.zenfolio.com/blog/2018/11/the-stars-of-the-zodiac-vii---taurus Tue, 27 Nov 2018 20:49:56 GMT
The Stars of the Zodiac VI - Gemini https://sarahchisholmphotography.zenfolio.com/blog/2018/11/the-stars-of-the-zodiac-vi---gemini   The Twins: dual personalities, the dark with the light, the innocent mirroring the devious. Gemini souls can be two different people in one, and you never know which side you're going to get. They are versatile and curious, ready for fun, but prone to bouts of serious thought. I wanted to capture all of this using just one model, playing two parts. It was a long road to get to the destination here, including a fork separating two paths. By that I mean, I did a shoot for Gemini once, and then I changed my mind and did it all over again. So Gemini of me. 
  The first shoot was based on an angelic twin/wicked twin concept, with striking differences between each woman. The idea was to have one twin with dark hair and a natural look be the sweet one, and a blond twin with a glamorous make-up look to be the wild twin. Although I did have it in mind to do one of the signs as a self-portrait, it really didn't suit me, a textbook Pisces, to play Gemini. (Though I did marry one! But he's on the cusp and more of a Taurus...) Anyway, we were planning on using our trusty long blond wig, and I happen to have the same long hair, but it's jet black. So I used the interval timer on my camera and modelled both characters myself. Sharon created an amazing Gemini-inspired coiffure on Blondie, and I wore the wig after photographing myself with a complementary hairstyle Sharon had woven into my black tresses. The trouble was, I looked so different between the two looks, I felt I didn't look enough like twins, or even sisters. I put Gemini on the back burner for a bit, and came back to it later - and I'm so glad I decided to "scrap" all of that initial work (sorry, Sharon! Though we did save and re-use the hairstyle!) because I think that the final image for Gemini might now be my all-time favourite creation. 
  Introducing Katie! She's a beautiful soul (who happens to be a Scorpio!) full of inspiration and light. Katie is a talented creator and motivational speaker, and I knew her positive energy would lend magic to our project. Though I had only met Katie a handful of times before, (usually when I was purchasing pretty jewels from her!) and Kristen and Sharon had never met her, I knew the four of us would have a fun time on shoot day. We all got together one day in early October, and Sharon applied another lovely make-up look on our model, and she had already created a new, fantastical hairstyle using Blondie, so we weren't long getting ready. I have a gorgeous medieval-style linen chemise and corset I wanted to use for the costume, and I appointed Kristen the official Corset-Lacing Expert, a role she happily accepted, after admitting she'd never laced a corset before. She ended up creating a really neat criss-cross look that I hope to show off more in another type of set. I then tied an interesting scarf-necklace-cape type of garment I own around her shoulders, and we all literally gasped. Katie was transformed into a regal princess, as if we had encountered her in a castle long ago. We were ready to go out and shoot, and I had decided just minutes before that we would do this in the little park with the fountain right downtown in Tiverton. I hoped no one would be around... remember, I get paralyzing anxiety around people, especially if they're watching me work! We packed up the car. Obviously, it started to rain then. Obviously.
  Arriving in 'downtown Tiverton' (this is a funny term to anyone who has actually been there), we realized it was lunch hour, and hundreds of people from local industries and businesses were wandering about, getting their lunches and running errands while we posed and photographed in the middle of town. Who knew? Many of them like to walk through the tiny park on their lunches. An audience we shall have, then. No problem. I was using a tripod, so my nervous shaking wouldn't be an issue.  
  With two amazing assistants helping, and only a couple of people looking at us askance, and me shifting the tripod accidentally only once, I managed to photograph my model in a few different poses and situations. Because she was playing two characters in the same frame, I had to be mindful of space and composition, so when I stitched two images together, they would match seamlessly. Katie was a marvellous model, and it's very likely I'll be working on more images from her shoot into the winter months. In fact, I've already released an "ah-side" image featuring only one Katie, which I love! 
  But THIS ONE, is one of my all-time favourite images ever. 
GeminiGemini   I absolutely love the Pre-Raphaelite, Maxfield Parrish feel to this Gemini portrayal. Symbolism in this digital painting includes three butterflies - because Gemini is an air sign, and the third on the zodiac wheel. There's a Gemini symbol on the necklace pendant if you're able to look closely enough! Gemini is ruled by Mercury so I used a palette of colours inspired by the planet. The background in the main image is composed of scenery in the park, and a spot in a secluded forest that I adore, as well as some hand-painted elements. There is actually a chess board inlaid on that tabletop, and I'm still annoyed with myself for not bringing some beautiful carved chess pieces with us that day. Another time! 
  The "B-side" image is also gorgeous. I had Katie wrap a 'Shovava' winged scarf around herself in a few shots throughout the series, to symbolize flight and birds, because Gemini is an air sign. There's also a bee flying between the twins; he's just a little dot, but I couldn't just erase him, as he was very much part of the shoot. He thought we were all super interesting and sweet. I went with green hues because green is one of Gemini's lucky colours, and I appreciate the timelessness of the scenery and the fountain. You can also see the raindrops falling through the air, and dotting the stones around the twins. It looks like a magical spot in a faraway land... but mere steps away, trucks whizzed by and cell phones rang. 
Gemini FountainGemini Fountain
  Katie performed so beautifully, I had to do at least one "ah-side", and it ended up being yet another of my all-time favourite fantasy pieces. I get a sense of oneness with nature and the little creatures of this land when I see Katie's soul, so I portrayed her as a Mother Nature archetype, surrounded by a forest alive with colour and wildlife. There's a ton to see in this image, and a small thumbnail on a screen will not do it justice! 
A Gathering in the GardenA Gathering in the Garden   The winter months are long, and I'll be working on more single images from Katie's set as the snows settle in and I have some time for making magic. I invite you to come and see the images above in person - I'll be at InStyle salon downtown Kincardine on November 22nd from 6-9pm, and I'll bring my 2019 Stars of the Zodiac calendars and lots of the 4"x6" astrology prints. Later, I'll be at Artful Hands at the Kincardine Pavilion; November 30th from 6pm-9pm and December 1st from 10am-4pm, and I'll have the zodiac collection there, as well as a large selection of my landscapes, water scenes, sunsets, and more. Mark your calendars!
  Don't want to risk me running out of these limited edition calendars before you get one? Contact me now! 

GEMINI - May 21 - June 20
Model: Katie Wilken 
Hairstyling, Makeup Artist, Assistant: Sharon Lytle 
Assistant: Kristen Holloway 
Photography, editing, wardrobe, concept: Sarah Chisholm
Dress and corset: ArmStreet
Wing scarf: Shovava 


(- SARAH CHISHOLM - Fine Art & Photography) astrological astrology butterflies calendar digital painting fantasy fine art photography forest Gemini horoscope Kincardine model prints sign star sign twins zodiac https://sarahchisholmphotography.zenfolio.com/blog/2018/11/the-stars-of-the-zodiac-vi---gemini Fri, 16 Nov 2018 04:55:02 GMT
The Stars of the Zodiac V - Scorpio https://sarahchisholmphotography.zenfolio.com/blog/2018/11/the-stars-of-the-zodiac-v---scorpio   It greatly stung me that the concept for Scorpio eluded me for so long. Even in our brainstorming session, we left a lot of question marks on paper. Where would I get a photo or replica of a scorpion? I felt like I must have a stinging arachnid of some kind. Kristen and I toyed with the idea of making plated armour like the exoskeleton of a scorpion and creating a warrior woman, but this was a very tight-budget and spare-time kind of project, and armour is something for another, more opulent kind of shoot. I kept thinking Kristen was a Scorpio, with her birthday being on Halloween, which is really off - she's an Aquarius; more like Valentine's Day! (Halloween just suits her! It's her thing!) But obviously I had Kristen in mind for Scorpio, and when she actually asked if she could model for it, that was that. We all began looking for a scorpion prop to procure quickly and easily, as it was mid-October at this point, and we only had Scorpio left to do. Nothing was just right. Kristen to the rescue! No worries; she'd just whip up a scorpion in her studio. And she did.
  Meanwhile, Sharon was devising an epic hairstyle on our beloved (and at this point, well-worn) wig, Blondie. Blondie has seen us through a few shoots and characters now, and by October she was a bit crinkly and tattered. You would never know it from the incredibly intricate and complex braided hairstyle Sharon created. There are actually eight braids in the main weaving, representing Scorpio as the 8th sign of the zodiac. So clever! The overall look resembles the body and tail of a scorpion; I just love the labyrinthine twists and subtle form. I coloured the wig for both images in post-production, choosing colours pertaining to this particular star sign. Make-up was light, showing off Kristen's amazing freckles, with a bold eye and lip look expertly applied by Sharon. 
  Crafted from clay and other materials, (including love, of course!), and hand-painted to a shiny finish, Kristen's scorpion is a fantastic replica; stylish and dare I say cute. My youngest daughter is a Scorpio, so Kristen is going to create a tiny terrarium for him to live in atop Skye's shelf. What little child wouldn't want a scorpion? It's every princess' dream, we think. 
  The pointy ring belongs to me, and I only use it for photoshoots, for obvious reasons. (I'm sure a scorpion sting hurts more, but still... ow.) We photographed using an antique barn stone wall as the background, because scorpions remind me of rocky landscapes and caves and stones. We placed our little scorpion friend on our Scorpio model, and tried to get the shoot done as quickly as possible, as both the model and photographer were shaking from the late autumn chill and howling winds! 
   For the main image, I substituted a waterfall background, as Scorpio is a water element sign. It's dark to give the feel of being just inside a cave. Can you find the tiny star constellation? For the alternate image, I went with a warm red and violet palette, as red is the colour for Scorpio, and its 'modern' ruling planet, Mars. (It's also classically ruled by Pluto, which will always be a planet to me!)
Scorpio in VioletScorpio in Violet
  It was a difficult choice between the two for inclusion in the calendar for the month of November. Which do you like better? 
  There's more to come from the Stars of the Zodiac series! Thank you so much for following along! Remember, calendars and prints are available now! Contact me for yours! 

SCORPIO - Oct 23 - Nov 21
Model, scorpion prop: Kristen Rex Holloway of ROAR By Rex 
Hairstyling, Make-up Artist, Assistant: Sharon Lytle 
Photography, editing, wardrobe, concept: Sarah Chisholm 

(- SARAH CHISHOLM - Fine Art & Photography) art astrology calendar digital painting fine art photography horoscope Kincardine model planet prints Scorpio sign star sign water waterfall zodiac https://sarahchisholmphotography.zenfolio.com/blog/2018/11/the-stars-of-the-zodiac-v---scorpio Mon, 12 Nov 2018 05:01:07 GMT
The Stars of the Zodiac IV - Aquarius https://sarahchisholmphotography.zenfolio.com/blog/2018/11/the-stars-of-the-zodiac-iv---aquarius   Aquarius was another sign that I had a clear vision for right from the start. As the "water bearer" sign, the icon is a human form pouring water from a jug, which is usually slung over the shoulder. Luckily I live next to one of the most gorgeous bodies of water on the planet, and I needn't go far for a gorgeous model either. I envisioned a goddess of ancient times striding confidently atop the water's surface, pouring sparkling drips from a pretty vessel, and Sharon and I thought our friend Thora would make the perfect Aquarius. She really does look like a statuesque Greek or Roman goddess! Sharon used Pulp Riot brand colour to create what I think is the prettiest teal-turquoise hair colour I've ever seen, and she did Thora's make-up in aquas and blues. Sharon created Thora's hairstyle based on my ramblings, and it's exactly what I had envisioned for a mythological goddess. Thora wore a dress I had bought for just such an occasion. These ladies did a fantastic job. They were totally ready and prepared. Then we went to the beach. 
  My original plan to be in the water myself to set up the shot and then to help Thora get only her feet wet... did not go to plan. We set our equipment down on the shoreline and I strode confidently into Lake Huron ready to make magic. I can't remember if I screamed out loud, or perhaps only dogs could hear me, but I am sure my mouth was frozen open for at least a few seconds until I could react and turn around to get back out of the water. It was the beginning of June, and I know Lady Huron very well - I knew the lake was going to be cold, even in early summer. I was not expecting that cold. Not that cold. 
  On shore, I think it was a full two minutes of me just rubbing my lower extremities and saying "ow" repeatedly (it helps) while Thora and Sharon looked on helplessly before I was recovered. I have fallen into icy water before, and it hurts. I don't enjoy even cool water. I take baths using the hottest setting! So this was not going to be my favourite shoot to do, but I still hoped it would be a favourite once completed. Steeling myself, I walked back into the water, probably less quickly this time, and tried to set up the perch for my model. I didn't want Thora to have to touch the water with any more than a bit of her feet! 
  Our goddess 'pedestal' broke and kept trying to float away. The water was being pushy and uncooperative. My legs went numb. I had to give up and haul my aching bones and faulty invention out of the frigid and seemingly mocking waves. We'd need to find the perfect rock (on a different, warmer day?), I surmised out loud... one that was just under the surface, but very close to shore, so no one would have to be in the water for long. Thora didn't have to be told twice - she was off down the beach in search of the ideal stone, Sharon and I barely keeping up with our equipment. Considering the random placement and rarity of large rocks on the beach we were on, it really could have taken hours to find the right spot. But within minutes, Thora had suddenly veered and waded a few feet out from shore, then climbed up onto the perfect hidden perch. We raced to set up behind her, as I wanted to be fast about everything, and of course, ugly grey sheets of cloud were moving in! Thora was a bit wet, but she hid the chill well as we had her pour several streams from a beautiful jug I've owned for many years. I took a few nice photos, but realized I really wasn't getting the angle and feel that I was ultimately imagining. I was going to have to... oh no. I have to get back in the lake and shoot from the water. 
Wading in up to my chest with my trusty Nikon held high, I reached the rock and snapped and snapped, trying to concentrate on my model's posing more than how cold the water felt in my very soul. I think I managed about a fifty-fifty ratio there. I wasn't in for long; I don't enjoy torturing myself, and I certainly didn't want Thora to freeze. We both picked our way back over the rocky bottom of the lake to the warmth of the sand on shore. I am not sorry for the bit of suffering, it was worth it for the art:
AquariusAquarius   Isn't Thora an incredible Aquarius?! It's actually her sign, too. Now, despite what you might think, Aquarius is not a water sign, it is actually ruled by the element of air. I included some airy clouds I had photographed before a storm years ago, and used a palette of silvers and turquoises, the colours of Aquarius. It's an uncomplicated image, not requiring a ton of detail, but divine in its simple beauty. I really love this piece. I hope you do as well.
  Walking back to the car, we took a few more photos on shore. I wanted to use violet, another colour for Aquarians, and because it's meaningful to the model as well. Of course, what shoreline shoot would be complete without a sunset: 
Water Bearer (Aquarius)Water Bearer (Aquarius)
  Again, I could just weep for how stunning that hair colour is... and I would rock that style all day long if I knew how to do it myself! Sharon is very talented and creative. I'm so glad to have her on my side. 
  There's a picturesque... let's call it a lagoon, shall we? It sounds more romantic that way... there's a lagoon along this stretch of beach, and we made use of it as the background for a magical, fireflies and faeries fantasy scene. It's whimsical and fun and a great "ah-side" to this set. 
Fireflies In The LagoonFireflies In The Lagoon
  Please feel free to share this from my Facebook page! Calendars are back in stock, and prints from the Stars of the Zodiac start from just $15. I really appreciate your support on this project. I put a lot of heart and soul into it, and my stylists, creators, assistants, and models did fantastic work! Cheers!


AQUARIUS - Jan 20 - Feb 18
Model: Thora Violet
Hair, Make-up Artist, Assistant: Sharon Lytle 
Photography, editing, wardrobe, concept: Sarah Chisholm  

(- SARAH CHISHOLM - Fine Art & Photography) Aquarius art astrology calendar clouds goddess horoscope Kincardine lake Lake Huron model Ontario prints sign sky star sign water zodiac https://sarahchisholmphotography.zenfolio.com/blog/2018/11/the-stars-of-the-zodiac-iv---aquarius Sat, 10 Nov 2018 02:59:35 GMT
The Stars of the Zodiac III - Leo https://sarahchisholmphotography.zenfolio.com/blog/2018/11/the-stars-of-the-zodiac-iii---leo   While some of the zodiac signs proved more evasive to conceive in my mind, I knew right away how I wanted to portray Leo. Kristen and I had brainstormed and she took notes (having much more organized friends to help on a project like this was indispensable!) and Leo was one of the first written up in detail. I also made tiny sketches of some of the ideas I had for each sign, and Leo ended up being the most like what I had envisioned before shooting. 
  Ruled by the Sun, a fire element sign favouring tones of yellow and gold, and of course, depicted as a proud maned lion, I immediately pictured sunny dandelions for Leo. I have many photos of lions I took myself, so I could make them really fantastical, almost like the roaring flowers in Alice in Wonderland. As soon as the yellow blooms spread across the lawns in spring, I took many macro photos of the contested wildflowers to use in my composite painting. I imagined a beautiful model reclining in a forest of dandelions, with a huge mane of hair, of course!
  We decided Shawna would make a great lioness... funnily enough, she has a tattoo of a lion, but I completely forgot about it on shooting day! Sharon began hair and make-up on Shawna early in the morning so we could shoot as early as possible, but with Leo being ruled by the Sun, this was the one time I was hoping for some bright light and a bit of sun shadow. Most of my morning was spent mentally shooing away cloud cover. It worked! We had Shawna don a gold dress I've owned for years, and she looked amazing in it... I think it's safe to say that she works out. I had her laying in an ocean of dandelions in the neighbourhood park, and of course this gorgeous woman posing in flowers attracted the attention of passerby. I get very nervous when people are watching me work, and I often fail to do simple things like press buttons, and not trip over my own feet! Shawna was fierce; the perfect Leo. I love how hers turned out. 
  Look at that incredible hair! Shawna has naturally wavy hair, so Sharon created some magic with the curl and bounce here! She nailed the make-up look as well. I had said, "You know. Leonine. Like a lion. Lots of eyeliner". I love that she could also see my vision of the cat-like eye. 
  There are five "lions" as Leo is the fifth sign of the zodiac. She has a faint tattoo of the Leo symbol on her throat, and she's basking in the light of the Sun, of course. 
  For the "B-side" image for Leo, I wanted to use a contrasting colour, and the resulting image is beautiful in its own right. I think it has a "Starry Night" vibe. To create the photograph, I climbed up a ladder stationed right beside Shawna, and held steady by my now-assistant, Sharon. This also seemed to be amusing to everyone who walked by (must everyone and their dog be out for a walk just now?!) and I'm so impressed with Shawna for maintaining her pose - I kept teetering above her every time I could feel eyes on my back!
Dreaming Dandelions (Leo)Dreaming Dandelions (Leo)
  I hope you love these as much as we do! Please share with your friends! 
  Calendars are selling fast! Prints are available as well, including an exclusive smaller size. Contact me for yours. Thank you so much for following along!

  LEO - July 23 - Aug 22
  Model: Shawna Small 
  Hairstyling/Make-up Artist/Assistant: Sharon Lytle 
  Photography, editing, concept: Sarah Chisholm 

(- SARAH CHISHOLM - Fine Art & Photography) art astrology dandelion fairytale fantasy horoscope Kincardine Leo lion model painting prints sign star sign stars sun yellow zodiac https://sarahchisholmphotography.zenfolio.com/blog/2018/11/the-stars-of-the-zodiac-iii---leo Mon, 05 Nov 2018 22:52:10 GMT
The Stars of the Zodiac II - Virgo https://sarahchisholmphotography.zenfolio.com/blog/2018/11/the-stars-of-the-zodiac-ii---virgo   My concept for Virgo, the maiden of the star signs, involved spring and beauty, the promise of freshness and renewal, and lots of flowers! I just had to have all the right things fall into place at the right time. So when my friend Kim posted a photo of her beautiful self in a vast field of blue flowers, my creative mind went wild! I was already hoping to use Kim, whom I've worked with before, as a model for one of the signs, and Virgo seemed the perfect fit for such a lovely soul anyway. I had to act quickly and ask her soon, as spring flowers fade quickly in Ontario's fickle weather! She happily agreed to model and show us the private location, and Sharon and I met at her lovely farm (Stone's Throw Produce, do check them out, such lovely yummies!) for hair and make-up and coffee one lovely spring morning. I should mention that my one-year-old, very independent daughter Skye was tagging along with us. I'm a mom to three young kids, and time with them has to come first. I don't get many moments of time to myself these days, so fitting in some of these shoots meant that Skye would be tagging along. This, it turned out, was never very... helpful. Ah well, c'est la vie. So the four of us piled into my car and headed out to the secret set, located on Kim's relatives' private property. 
  It was an absolutely magical place in the forest, with a virtual sea of blue-violet scilla flowers spreading across the forest floor as far as the eye could see. Awe-inspiring is a great word for this haven. The sun was warm, bees were buzzing all about us, the breeze carried the scent of early blooms, and Skye was finding some fabulous mud puddles. We took a minute to just soak in our surroundings, then quickly went to work, hoping to avoid the midday sun. I had brought a bouquet of daffodils and a diaphanous scarf to catch the light. Sharon wove flowers throughout her tresses, and voila! Kim embodied the Virgo maiden; pure and strong and kind. 
  We created some beautiful imagery that day, and the one above graces the calendar. Funny to note is that I did not realize that the maiden was depicted as having wings and a bouquet until well after the shoot! A very happy accident. I mean, I meant to do that... 
  I did consciously fit in some subtle Virgo details; for instance, Virgo is an earth sign, and this landscape is a perfect representation of "earth". There are busy bees because Virgo folks are detail-oriented and organized, and there's a dove and a rainbow for grace and peace. I snuck a rabbit in there because I have a sick sense of humour... rabbits are the symbol for procreation, a bit of a contrast to anything virginal. A halo for innocence tops her off. There's even a tiny "carving" of the Virgo symbol in the wood somewhere, but I think you'd have to view the actual print to spot it. 
  As we were packing up to leave the woods, we saw that Skye had started lunch without us, her mouth covered with delicious mud. What a sight we must have made... a serene lace-clad goddess, a disheveled artist with leaves in her hair, an equipment-laden assistant, and a very dirty and tiny but loud human, piling into my twenty-year-old car. As I looked in my rearview to reverse out the narrow track to the road, I saw another car pull in behind me to block my exit. The property owners had come to see what we were doing. As Kim is a relation of theirs, she got out of my strange car and proceeded toward her understandably annoyed family, who failed to recognize her in her costume! She had to go all the way up to their car and begin talking before they knew it was her! Too funny. They laughingly let us on our way. Don't trespass on private property, my dear readers!
  Here are some alternative images from the Virgo shoot. This one shows off Sharon's handiwork with hair and wildflowers nicely.
Meadow Maiden (Virgo)Meadow Maiden (Virgo)
  I like that the one above is untouched by introduced elements or colours; it is as the scene appeared before me, pure and simple. Like Virgo.

  This was another gorgeous image that came from that set, but I think the consensus among my team and I was that it didn't quite fit with Virgo. It is gorgeous with its own dreamy narrative: 
Twilight Descends Over Sleeping Beauty (Virgo)Twilight Descends Over Sleeping Beauty (Virgo)
  I appreciate you following along with out project! There are many more stories to come. Please share your favourite posts, and consider small zodiac prints or a gorgeous fine art calendar as gifts this year! 

VIRGO - Aug 23 - Sept 22
Model: Kimberlee Feick Lowry
Hairstyling, Make-up Artist, Assistant: Sharon Lytle 
Photography, editing, concept: Sarah Chisholm 


(- SARAH CHISHOLM - Fine Art & Photography) art astrology calendar fantasy goddess horoscope Kincardine maiden model prints sign star sign Virgo zodiac https://sarahchisholmphotography.zenfolio.com/blog/2018/11/the-stars-of-the-zodiac-ii---virgo Sat, 03 Nov 2018 22:29:49 GMT
The Stars of the Zodiac I - Capricorn https://sarahchisholmphotography.zenfolio.com/blog/2018/11/the-stars-of-the-zodiac-i---capricorn   This is the first post in a series celebrating the star signs and my newly released goddesses of the zodiac calendar and set! Throughout 2018, I worked on a special side project just for fun, and to challenge myself as well. In January I put out a call for models, and then got up the courage to ask Sharon Lytle, whom I'd only met a handful of times yet, if she'd like to assist me with hairstyling and make-up. She said yes! And I'm so glad I asked her, because she inspired me not only to start, but then actually finish this labour intensive and challenging series! If left on my own, I likely would have thrown in the towel! Plus, she created some absolutely amazing looks for the sessions. And lo and behold, she is also our first model.
  The first shoot we scheduled was for Capricorn. Capricorn is a... a seagoat? A goat-like mermaid? No problem! Let's begin the series with a really big challenge after all! 
  I had to build a fishy tail, but it had to curl around itself in a big loop, just like in the classic Capricorn figure. Having had some experience "mermaid-ing" with Kristen, I knew keeping the shape of a straight mermaid tail was difficult when shooting, but having a big loop stand up in place would take some ingenuity. Many brainstorming sessions later, I had cut out a very long tail from a shower curtain, and my seamstress friend Breann helped me sew it into a tube and two fins. I then sacrificed many pillows, stuffing fluff into the bottom of the tube and fins to create a more realistic shape and weight. I even put a few bean bags inside so it would sit well. For the curve, I stuffed in an arched plastic tube that had long ago broken off my baby's toy chair and I had inexplicably kept. You never know! So, our Capricorn tail was a shower curtain, some old pillows, and broken kids' toy. I thought I could make it look more magical in post-processing. I'd say it's been sufficiently transformed! 
  The scales were all applied 'by hand' in editing using parts from other photographs (fun fact: I only use my own photography and paintings for my creations, I have never used any stock photos or elements ever) of objects such as sequins. I even grew the blue crystals in this one myself! 
  The day of the shoot, which was the very end of January, I went to Sharon's house, nervous to be starting this journey, and of course, very skeptical if I could pull off this weird idea! As she finished up her make-up, we chatted, and I gazed out her picture window. No kidding, dozens of eagles and hawks were flying overhead, catching fish in the open waters beyond the ice on Lake Huron. It was awe-inspiring, and I couldn't help but take the majestic birds as harbingers of luck for our undertaking. This was going to be incredible! I could feel it. Or... was it the snow squall screaming across the lake toward us giving me the chills?
  Sharon was an amazing model. We planned on shooting outside on the beach, imagining a snowy landscape filled with seasonal magic. What we endured were blinding walls of snow, shrieking winds that tore at our clothing, watery eyes, a protesting camera... and now, a fierce determination from two women to see the thing through, no matter what. We did it. It was on. 
  I left for Niagara Falls right after the shoot, warming up in the car. The scenery here is from that trip, and the gorgeous frozen waterfalls I captured while there. 
  I tried to incorporate some of the unique aspects pertaining to each of the zodiac signs. Capricorn is ruled by Saturn and ruled by the element Earth. Significant colours are blue and brown, and it's the tenth sign of the zodiac. 
  For each sign, I created at least two images, and we started affectionately calling the ones that weren't going into the calendar the "B-Sides". As Capricorn was the first sign I did, I ended up experimenting a bit, and so ended up with two other Capricorn images, before settling on a style. The underwater seagoat is on the cover of the Stars of the Zodiac calendar.
The Capricorn SeagoatThe Capricorn Seagoat
  And this one is an amazing "Ah-side". 
Capricorn ConstellationCapricorn Constellation    I'll share many more stories from this series, so stay tuned! 
Please check out the whole project and find out about calendars and exclusive small prints here and here.

CAPRICORN - Dec 22 - Jan 19 
Model, Hairstyling, Make-Up Artist: Sharon Lytle 
Concept, Photography, Editing, Wardrobe: Sarah Chisholm 
Headpiece: El Costurero Real 
Seamstress: Breann B. 


(- SARAH CHISHOLM - Fine Art & Photography) art astrology Capricorn fantasy fine art hair horoscope Kincardine magic makeup mermaid model prints sign star sign zodiac https://sarahchisholmphotography.zenfolio.com/blog/2018/11/the-stars-of-the-zodiac-i---capricorn Fri, 02 Nov 2018 18:32:57 GMT
Five Favourites, By Request https://sarahchisholmphotography.zenfolio.com/blog/2018/8/five-favourites-by-request   I have been meaning to update my blog here, and today a long-time fan on social media, Cat M., wrote to me with the request, "Please post your top five favourite pictures of yours". I thank her for the needed inspiration here, though I'm going to be hard pressed to pick just five, because I have such a range of subject matter! I'll try to choose from a range of styles, though truthfully, the ones that speak to my heart are all likely from the fantasy genre. In no particular order, then, I share with you some of my extra special creations. 

1. To Bee Or Not To Bee
To Bee or Not To BeeTo Bee or Not To BeeA digital painting inspired by a trip to a botanical rose garden buzzing with bees.
Prints are now available - they are limited in quantity, and each unique print will be finished with hand-painted details and signed by the artist. Image size is 12"x18" on 13"x19" premium lustre photo paper, and price is $100. (Shipping is extra. Please note this print does not include a mat.) Please contact the artist directly through the website here or via her Facebook business page to order yours. Payments are processed via PayPal or email transfer. Thank you for your interest!

  I love this one because I love bumblebees, and roses, and tiny details and cells, and obviously my usual style is bold colour and fantastical painted details. I spent a long time photographing bees for the image, and painstakingly painted in small details after choosing many of my favourite colours to include. I enjoy creating artwork, and I don't do "snapshots". My style of vivid post-production combining digital painting is not always understood or well-received. I have often been told to "stop doing what you're doing, it's not the right way", and I've never felt such "advice" was acceptable, or even sometimes well-meaning. I created this in defiance of those nay-sayers, going full-out on the editing drama. I posted it with the declaration that I would never worry about whether or not the masses were going to love my work - I was going to make it because I love it, and if some people love it too, well, that'll give me a buzz. 

2. The Narwhal Queen 
The Narwhal QueenThe Narwhal QueenPlease contact the artist for print options.

  This is probably my current all-time favourite. I have always been obsessed with mermaids and the ocean, and I'm so grateful to have reached a point with my work that I can create my own fantasy creatures and mermaids. The costume and horn that Kristen Holloway of Roar by Rex made after hearing my idea for a "Lake Huron, winter mermaid, Narwhal Queen" were phenomenal. Sharon Lytle created a magical make-up look. The shoot was on a couch in my living room during a raging snow squall, which was not my initial plan, but we swam on anyway. Though I was initially unhappy with what I had to work with indoors, I spent hours perfecting every detail in post-production, and ended up with something beyond what I had dreamed. I love this image. 

3. Aqua Lightning 

Aqua LightningAqua Lightning   It's got colourful stones, it's got beautiful waters, it's got an epic shelf cloud, and it's got a wicked bolt of lightning. So many of my favourite things in one spectacular image. You can purchase a gorgeous large print framed in deep blue which is currently hanging in the downtown Kincardine Royal Le Page office, if you'd like to take a look at it. I think you'll want to take it home! Contact me for details. 

4. Tiffany Timber 

Tiffany TimberTiffany Timber

  So-named because it reminds me of Tiffany stained glass. This is one of my oldest digitally painted images. To me it has a Group of Seven feel, iconically Canadian, with soft blues and turquoises that speak to my soul. I have a whole series of these trees that I love, but this one is definitely my favourite. 

5. For The Love Of Vincent 

For the Love of VincentFor the Love of VincentPrints are now available through the artist - they are matted in etched white premium quality matting - overall size 20" x 24". Signed by hand and ready to frame, these make a perfect collector's item or gift. Price is $150 each plus applicable shipping. Contact the artist to purchase yours! Quantities are limited.   Vincent Van Gogh is one of my favourite artists (isn't it obvious?) and so combining a starry sky with a sunflower field seemed a fitting tribute and thanks for his lifelong inspiration to me. When my husband and I were first dating, we were often gifted with a blaze of meteors from the Perseid showers at night, which were very strong that year. So having the meteors in there is meaningful to me as well. 

  I'm sure your favourites are different than mine! Please comment with the titles of ones that speak to you! I am always happy to hear from people. Thanks again to Cat for the question as well. Cheers! 



(- SARAH CHISHOLM - Fine Art & Photography) art bees fantasy favourites mermaids storms top five trees https://sarahchisholmphotography.zenfolio.com/blog/2018/8/five-favourites-by-request Wed, 22 Aug 2018 17:30:42 GMT
Another Mirage Sighting! https://sarahchisholmphotography.zenfolio.com/blog/2018/5/another-mirage-sighting   Four years ago now, in June of 2014, I witnessed a "superior mirage" on the horizon of Lake Huron off the beach near Kincardine, Ontario. When I saw it at that time, it was still a bit daylight, and I could make out actual buildings of a city far away, presumably in the United States across the water. Later at night, I could make out the flashing lights of towers, and the passing of car headlights and taillights. I wrote a blog about, and many people have written to me since to tell their own tales of seeing the mirage. 
  Tonight I saw the mirage again, this time closer to Tiverton, but the entire horizon was filled with wonder. Just blinking lights and a glow this time, but many, many of them. There should not be anything visible out there in the dark in the vast and wide lake, and it would have to be hundreds and hundreds of boats, which of course does not make sense. Rather it is the lights of distant US cities, visible because of the mirage. Mirages happen when the lake is warm and the air cool, and it was foggy tonight. The light from the distance is refracted and bent within the temperature changes, and projected great distances. We are seeing our neighbours far away! 
  Of course, I took some photos. Although the mirage was not as vibrant this time around, I am a bit better photographer. (These are edited only for clarity, no lights have been added.)
  In the distance on the left hand side are the actually-there lights of Kincardine. Then out over the dark lake you can see the mostly red lights, which were blinking and wavering, and some travelling in one direction across the way. I suspect it is cars passing, towers, windmill lights, and the like. 
Mirage & The Lights of KincardineMirage & The Lights of Kincardine
  Here's a closer look; note the double horizon. Here's a little secret: I have often gone down to the beach at night, and have successfully seen, the mirage over the years when I've noticed the double horizon during the day. It is not easy to see details when it's daylight and there's haze on the horizon, but at night, those lights are unmistakable. Keep looking!
Mirage 2018Mirage 2018   Thanks for following my work - please share with your friends, and visit my other galleries on my webpage here for gorgeous art prints and more! Cheers.


(- SARAH CHISHOLM - Fine Art & Photography) kincardine lake lake huron mirage ontario https://sarahchisholmphotography.zenfolio.com/blog/2018/5/another-mirage-sighting Fri, 18 May 2018 04:37:22 GMT
Behind The Lens: Lake Huron Mermaid https://sarahchisholmphotography.zenfolio.com/blog/2017/10/behind-the-lens-lake-huron-mermaid   Hello again! Last week I shared with you all the story behind my Ophelia shoot, and today, I'm sharing the story of the Lake Huron Mermaid. It's been a long time in the making! 
Lake Huron MermaidLake Huron Mermaid
Lake Huron Mermaid 

  My friend Rex, aka Kristen Holloway of "Roar by Rex", is a multi-talented jewelry maker, sculptor, designer, voice-over actress, and painter, among many other creative roles she plays. The other day, she was also a mermaid! We have been meaning to do this fantasy shoot together for years now, but for various reasons haven't been able to until recently. I'm so glad we finally pulled it off - though not without a few snags, learning curves, and stomach-clutching laughs along the way! 
  Let's take a moment to appreciate all the preparation and work that Kristen did to become the Lake Huron Mermaid. Not only did she create and sew the long tail by hand, she also sculpted the clamshells for the bralette herself! Wow! She made her entire costume from clay, found objects, and scrap materials. Please do check out her website, www.roarbyrex.com to learn more about her artistic creations!
  Rex has been patiently waiting since last summer for our schedules to align and the weather to cooperate, so I could turn her into a real-life mermaid using my camera and digital painting skills. One day last week it seemed that summer was finally performing its swan song, so I knew we had precious few days left to us if we wanted to get in the water for this aquatic-themed shoot. I hailed Kristen and let her know we were on. We were too excited and couldn't wait another year! Even better, I could hear the waves of the lake near my house, indicating that we'd have sparkling water to splash up on the big rock we planned to use as a perch. Kristen came over and got into character, and we packed up my ten-month-old Skye, who would be our prop keeper and musical accompaniment for the afternoon, and headed for the beach. 
  We got to the rock, and it was clear she wouldn't even be able to cling to it, let alone sit prettily on top of it. The waves were battering the shoreline, and the wind was whipping through our hair and accessories. The rock was submerged, so we scanned the shoreline for a safer spot. Far down there's a bit of a cove, where rocks were sticking out of smaller waves, and trees made for a protective cover. We headed down that way - baby, mermaid tail, camera equipment and all. It was quite the walk, but I'm sure my neighbours got a kick out of it. We reached the cove and found the perfect spot. Sort of. Well, it would do. 
  Putting on the mermaid tail while balancing on sharp, wet stones in rough water proved difficult, if not amusing. She couldn't walk once the tail was on, so she had to try to don it in place. So, this took a few minutes. It didn't help that we were laughing so hard already. Okay, so she finally got in place up on the rock. Her hair was just slightly wet and the rest was blowing nicely away from her face. I start clicking. Every second picture is of her laughing wildly as a slapping wave knocks her into a different position. It was nearly impossible for Kristen to hold any position, let alone take the time for me to direct her into the perfect pose. More laughter ensued. Skye was singing us the song of her people from her safe and warm vantage point nearby. We may have been mistaken for sirens, but more likely for drunk sailors. We decide to try for the ol' 'mermaid splashing beautifully out of the sea' pose. That's when Kristen really gets wet. So do my shoes, and my butt, and... oh look, I'm submerged too now. Is the camera wet? Yes. Yes it is. But all is well, it will dry. Keep clicking. 
  With her permission, I just had to share some of the "outtakes" from our shoot - just to give you an idea of what Kristen was putting up with out there in that wild water. (We were only two feet from shore, so she was safe the whole time, please don't send us admonishing messages. We are tough and smart women!)

    After trying out a few more poses, we were both soaked but optimistic about our results. For all of the jostling and constant wardrobe fixes, Kristen managed to give me some great poses to work with, and she didn't even get scratched or bruised! Her work was done, but mine was only just beginning. Now I had to work my post-processing magic, not least of which in making her tail look like a natural extension of her body! Kristen did a ton of prep work for this shoot, and so did I - years of learning to take and process photos, developing my own style of artistic expression through digital painting, and then learning to photograph and edit people would all play a big part in the success of our endeavour. Though much of our original ideas were quite literally washed away, I still hoped I could come up with a series of amazing mermaid fine art photographs... and I do love what we've created together. I hope you love them too. I know Kristen feels great about herself after seeing these, and she definitely should; she looks incredible. Here she is as our gorgeous Lake Huron Mermaid. 

  The mermaid uses her found "dinglehopper" (fork) to comb her tresses.

The SirenThe Siren
  At nighttime, the siren calls to wary sailors out on the distant waters.

Mermaid CoveMermaid Cove
  A mermaid collects pearls while basking in a sheltered cove.

Butterfly PearlsButterfly Pearls
  A butterfly brings the mermaid gifts of pearls. 


(- SARAH CHISHOLM - Fine Art & Photography) fairy tale fantasy lake lake huron mermaid ocean portrait sea https://sarahchisholmphotography.zenfolio.com/blog/2017/10/behind-the-lens-lake-huron-mermaid Thu, 05 Oct 2017 19:11:29 GMT
Ophelia: A Farewell To Summer https://sarahchisholmphotography.zenfolio.com/blog/2017/9/ophelia-a-farewell-to-summer   I've been dreaming of quite a few fantasy projects since I began to create fine art photographs and digital paintings, which was over five years ago now. But I have shied away from taking photos of people in the past, and have only recently ventured beyond my comfort zone to create portraits of others. I gained confidence by taking self-portraits, and practicing editing and adding my own distinct style to the final creations. In the last couple of months, I've worked with my daughters and some new friends and have made some breathtaking portraits and scenes. It was fun, confidence-boosting (to me and the models!), and inspiring. My intention isn't to offer my services to clients, but to branch out with my own creations and ideas into new territories and genres I have yearned to explore. 
    The tragic figure of Ophelia from Shakespeare's Hamlet has been the inspiration for many a beautiful painting and poem. In the play, she is a love interest for Hamlet, but after their relationship goes awry and then the death of her father, she goes mad. She then purportedly falls into a brook after the branch of a willow tree breaks and drops her into the water. Her heavy dress pulls her to the muddy bottom, and too distraught to save herself, she drowns among the flowers she was gathering. It is later clarified that she must have committed suicide. At her funeral, the Queen sprinkles blossoms upon Ophelia's grave, saying "Sweets to the sweet". Ophelia is an iconic character in classic literature, and dark though the subject matter may be, I was interested in a photographic portrayal of her as she's so vividly described. Finally I met the right model, and I gathered up the courage to ask her to pose for me, and she said yes! Incidentally, her name is also Sarah, and she's also a photographer, and we live just around the corner from one another! Sarah has gorgeous, long red hair, and I knew she would be the perfect Ophelia. Luckily, she's also cool with laying down in muddy water in a thick velvet dress while having debris thrown on top of her. Thanks, neighbour! 
    I wanted to pull off this shoot before autumn hit us here in Southwestern Ontario, and we picked literally the very last day it would have been possible to go in the water without it being freezing cold with a strong current. It seemed a fitting farewell to the summer weather. On the day of magic, I spent hours pulling apart wildflowers from around our property, and flowers sourced from a nearby country stand, so I'd have a bucketful of petals and blossoms to scatter about my Ophelia. I had my husband clip some long willow branches for us, and after packing up the costume, we went down to a nearby stream that flows into Lake Huron. It was less than an hour before sunset. The water was stagnant and still in the late summer heat, which was perfect because I didn't need all of my hard-earned tiny flowers floating downstream before I got to to hit the shutter button. Trooper and amazing model that she is, Sarah got into character, got into the water, and watched the sunset for a moment while I adjusted my camera settings. I snapped this one of her then, before we wet and tangled her clean and shiny tresses. Her hair was done to perfection by Sharon Lytle from InStyle Hair Studio in Kincardine, and it would have been a shame to ruin it without taking a photo first!
Daybreak DaydreamDaybreak Daydream
    Daybreak Daydream
    After Sarah submerged most of her body and head in the shallow water, I tossed flowers and willow branches all around her from the riverbank above. Of course, the first overflowing handful I threw landed all over her face, so I was glad I had advised her to close her eyes and mouth! Finally I jumped into the water with her, almost waist-deep, with my poor rubber boots on. They filled with water and made me very slow. We kept having to corral straying blossoms and branches, so it was good that my daughter was on dry land waiting to shower us with more fresh florals. It was difficult, to say the least... but I just snapped away, taking full advantage of what fading light was left, and trying to be as quick as possible so Sarah didn't have to stay long in her mud bath. When we emerged from the water, we were both covered in silt and sand, dead flowers, bits of twigs and leaves, and who knows? - maybe one or two of those little minnows I saw darting to and fro as we worked. Sarah's hair had tons of pieces of blue hydrangea woven throughout the strands, and despite just coming out of a veritable swamp, she looked beautiful. I am really appreciative of her for helping me achieve my artistic vision of Ophelia. I've taken the last few days to edit some of the best images, and I'm ecstatic with the results. I hope that Sarah is proud of them as well, and that you all love what we've accomplished together!
    And now, without further adieu, here is the set "Ophelia", part of my ongoing fantasy portrait series. Enjoy, and please, leave your comments!

Sweets For The SweetSweets For The SweetThe tragic literary figure Ophelia drowns after falling into a brook among her crown of flowers.     Sweets To The Sweet - Can you find two damselflies? A symbol of ascended souls and hope beyond this realm, and fitting for a 'damsel' in distress! 

OpheliaOphelia    Ophelia

Ophelia's AutumnOphelia's Autumn      Ophelia's Autumn 

Ophelia's GazeOphelia's Gaze
    Ophelia's Gaze

A Tragic SplendourA Tragic Splendour
  A Tragic Splendour 


(- SARAH CHISHOLM - Fine Art & Photography) fantasy flowers lake literature ophelia portrait water woman https://sarahchisholmphotography.zenfolio.com/blog/2017/9/ophelia-a-farewell-to-summer Sun, 01 Oct 2017 01:10:31 GMT
The Final Wreck of the Erie Belle https://sarahchisholmphotography.zenfolio.com/blog/2017/1/the-final-wreck-of-the-erie-belle   Last month (originally posted May of 2014), I wrote about the shipwreck that lies onshore just a stone's throw south of the Kincardine pier, the Ann Maria. This time I'm going to tell you about another wreck that lies onshore a bit more south of Kincardine, on Boiler Beach Road in Huron-Kinloss Township. All that now remains of the Erie Belle is the ship's boiler, which, ironically, was actually the catalyst to her ultimate demise. But we're getting ahead of ourselves. Let's go back in time...
  The Erie Belle was a steamship built in Cleveland, Ohio in 1862, by Peck & Masters, and her adventures began from there, though "her" name was in fact Hector then. She was first used as a tugboat during the Civil War on Lake Erie (one of the freshwater Great Lakes in Canada and the USA), and after the war, she was a passenger ship until sinking for the first time in the Detroit River in 1873. After a time underwater, she was raised and rebuilt, and sold to a man from Windsor, Ontario, who renamed her the Erie Belle. (Apparently this man scoffed superstitions about re-naming ships. Oops.)  Unluckily, the Erie Belle was soon wrecked again (this would be only the second time) near Colchester, Ontario, on Lake Erie, but she was quickly rebuilt yet again and put back into service as a tugboat. She ended up in service on Lake Huron. 

  Autumn gales and storms on the Great Lakes have proved they can be incredibly powerful and destructive, and in mid-November 1883, Lake Huron was getting battered. A schooner named the J. N. Carter was loaded with timber, trying to brave the raging lake, when it overshot Kincardine harbour and made a turn back north for safety, ultimately running aground near the shore south of Kincardine. The Erie Belle tug was sent to the rescue, and arrived days later with tow ropes to pull the schooner from where it was stranded. It was not having much success, and the boiler filled with more and more steam as the ship struggled. It is thought somehow the steam was unable to escape from the relief valves, and as the engine began to overheat as well, the steam pressure inside the boiler reached the breaking point - there was a horrific explosion. 

Erie Belle, Huron ShoreErie Belle, Huron Shore
The boiler from the shipwreck Erie Belle

  The ship was blown to fine pieces, with only the boiler itself surviving in any recognizable form. Four of the twelve crew members were killed instantly, and the others were thrown far from the wreckage, but rescued from the waters by the very folk they were trying to rescue on the J. NCarter. (That ship remained where it ran aground for the rest of that winter, and in spring, it was finally rescued... though it sank before the turn of the century.)
  The tangled mess of the Erie Belle was stripped and pulled close to shore, and the boiler left. Years later, an unsuccessful attempt to steal it brought it closer still to shore. Today it rests mostly out of reach of the water line, though a powerful storm or wind like the one that brought about the events of the wreck can bring the water up to the boiler, as in the photos above and below. 

Erie, EerieErie, Eerie
The Erie Belle boiler during a winter storm 

  The boiler exploding is the cause of the Erie Belle's third, and most final, shipwrecking, so its presence almost mocks the tragic incident. Yet this piece of twisted metal is a marker for those four who lost their lives on Lake Huron that day, and a historic and iconic landmark for the Kincardine area. Be sure to visit Boiler Beach and the resting place of the Erie Belle when you are in town! You know, the sunset from Boiler Beach is usually quite spectacular too...

Autumn Storm Beyond the WreckAutumn Storm Beyond the Wreck
Sunset on Boiler Beach, Kincardine/Huron-Kinloss

A Ghost Of A FlameA Ghost Of A Flame
Winter sunset over Erie Belle shipwreck 

  I hope you're enjoying my bits of Kincardine Great Lakes history! Comments are welcome. Cheers.
Sarah Chisholm


(- SARAH CHISHOLM - Fine Art & Photography) Belle Erie Great Huron Kincardine Lake Lakes shipwreck https://sarahchisholmphotography.zenfolio.com/blog/2017/1/the-final-wreck-of-the-erie-belle Fri, 06 Jan 2017 02:38:44 GMT
Underneath the Milky Sky https://sarahchisholmphotography.zenfolio.com/blog/2016/6/Underneath_the_Milky_Sky   I have been enduring a few sleepless nights and coffee-fuelled days in the last week or so, but it's all been worth it for the nighttime views I've witnessed lately. I've been out with my camera attempting to capture the exquisite beauty of the Milky Way galaxy, but there were also many moments of just sitting under the stars, contemplating the existence of my own self on this planet Earth - just another tiny dot of light within the vastness of the universe. 
Heavens From The 7thThe Milky Way galaxy as seen from the country beyond Kincardine, Ontario.

  It began last weekend when I waited up until past midnight to capture the Milky Way galaxy core as it rose behind the historic Point Clark, Ontario imperial lighthouse. My husband drove us out to the relatively dark spot and I set up my shot to best block out the several floodlights around the surrounding buildings, while still including those ethereal sweeping beams of light. Luckily, some beautiful trees were there to help with a nice composition. We were only on site for a few minutes when there was a booming sound - the kind of sound you feel in your bones and soul more than you hear with your ears. It was unsettling to say the least, and with bears known to be roaming the area, and a second percussion shaking the ground, I decided quickly that surely I'd gotten a shot I'd be satisfied with, and we up and left! Safe at home, after some careful post-processing, this was my final result:
Galaxy To The PointThe Point Clark, Ontario Lighthouse beams under the Milky Way rising.

   I even had a chance to include Mars (and lilacs!) with the lighthouse, from a different angle. 
Point Clark DarkThe Point Clark Lighthouse beams with a glowing red planet Mars

  The last few nights, Mars has been a bright red dot in the sky, on its closest approach to Earth in many years. Not far away from Mars lingers Saturn, another vivid point of light. With the help of my Sigma 500mm lens and a steady tripod, after several attempts to find the right settings (not too much light or details are lost!), I finally captured a tiny pinprick of light in a mostly black photograph, which I was able to zoom in on to see the fantastical rings of Saturn! (I realize this is a poor quality image, but considering the subject matter, I think I'll proudly keep it anyway.)
SaturnThe rings of planet Saturn

    When I posted the image of the Point Clark Lighthouse and the night sky, it was very well received by my fans on Facebook and Instagram; and thank you for that - I appreciate your encouragement! So it seemed only natural to do the Kincardine Lighthouse under the Milky Way as well. But that was going to prove more difficult, given the competing glow of the surrounding town lights, and the position of the galactic arc in relation to how the lighthouse is situated. Not quite knowing what to expect when I got there, I found myself wandering around the Kincardine harbour and pier very late one weeknight, scoping out the best positions for an out-of-this-world scene with the lighthouse. The Milky Way was still easy to pick out over the harbour, even through the obscuring bright lights below. 
Harbour of the Milky WayThe Milky Way, a meteor, and a plane in the night sky over Kincardine, Ontario harbour.

  However, if I was going to fit both the lighthouse and the very best parts of the sky into one image, I'd have to "shift" the sky over a wee bit, so I did just that in post-processing. I took a photo of the lighthouse and downtown buildings shining nicely through the night, and then I moved to take a different exposure of the Milky Way, Saturn, Mars, and myriad other twinkles overhead, finally blending the two images together for this (hopefully!) awe-inspiring scene. 
Kincardine GalaxyThe Milky Way galaxy along with planets Saturn and Mars shine over the historic lighthouse in Kincardine, Ontario, Canada.

  I will never tire of the stunning night sky, and I'm still constantly learning so I can improve upon my own astrophotography, so there will be many more celestial creations to come. Please leave your comments below, and let me know if you'd like to see some tips for shooting the night sky in a future blog post! Thanks for following!




(- SARAH CHISHOLM - Fine Art & Photography) Kincardine Mars Milky Way Ontario Point Clark Saturn art astrophotography fine harbour landscape lighthouse night sky stars https://sarahchisholmphotography.zenfolio.com/blog/2016/6/Underneath_the_Milky_Sky Mon, 13 Jun 2016 02:44:06 GMT
Behind The Lens: "The Artist Sets The Mood" https://sarahchisholmphotography.zenfolio.com/blog/2016/4/behind-the-lens-the-artist-sets-the-mood   Hello there!

  I've been a bit slack regarding my blog entries, forgive me! I have been in hibernation somewhat, but like the wild animals, I am emerging with the spring temperatures. Today was quite warm, though many parts of Ontario were under rain and wind warnings, with gusts of up to 90km/h possible. It was incredibly windy, the rain did indeed pour down, the sky was foreboding and dark, and I knew it was the perfect day to go outdoors and photograph myself enjoying the beach. Wait... what? 
  Oh yes, the conditions were perfect. Late afternoon, the rain stopped, the sun almost peeking through the gloom, and the moment had arrived. For some time I'd had this idea for a self-portrait in which I'm standing on the lakeshore, painting parts of the scene before me in my signature bright colour and ethereal mood, while leaving some of the image darker where my brush has yet to touch. I wanted to convey how I create my own worlds in my photography, not necessarily the world everyone else sees, and how I love to 'paint' my images to my particular liking and style. 
  I quickly donned several layers of sheer skirts and lingerie, hoping not to freeze, and then threw a warm poncho overtop for the journey to the shore. I bundled up my two little assistants, after they also put on their own flowing dresses for fun in the wind. I was going to need my older daughter's help to ensure my timer and shutter kept going and to help me back up the loose stone embankment between takes - this was going to take a few shots to get the pose and composition right! I adjusted my camera settings (for those of you who love the numbers, those were F8 at 1/160, ISO 200), threw off my poncho, handed my daughter my glasses, and scrambled down the tumbling rocks to pose at the water's edge. 
I wanted some powerful winds to billow and blow my clothing and hair; I had visions of yards of colourful drapery expertly floating behind me as I, paintbrush in hand, perfected artistic strokes across what would later be a painted sky. The reality was a lot of hair going into my mouth, a lot of breaking up wrestling matches between paintbrush and silk, and a lot of unflattering poses captured as I struggled, somewhat successfully, to keep an elegant composure. The wind very much wanted to snatch away my luxurious Shovava scarf. In any image where you can see my face, I look either dejected or murderous. This shoot might also work for a swamp creature sort of thing. Anyway, I finally decided I must have at least one shot worth using, so I packed up the crew and we went home. Checking the images on my computer screen, I was relieved to find I had a couple of decent prospects for editing. 
  After selecting just one image, I used Lightroom to edit for colour, contrast, and all those little details, and then switched over to Photoshop to paint in the different sky. I used parts of another photo of mine with clouds, and also hand-painted with chosen colours, for the brush strokes of beautiful blue sky. After careful tweaking and editing, Voila!: my original vision is somewhat realized. Close enough. As artists, we are always hoping out next piece will be the really great one! I hope you like my attempt; I'm pleased with the results, and that's good enough. Cheers! 

The Artist Sets The MoodA self-portrait by Sarah Chisholm

  (Information regarding Limited Edition prints for this image can be found here.) 

(- SARAH CHISHOLM - Fine Art & Photography) beach blue clouds paintbrush painting self portrait sky stones storm https://sarahchisholmphotography.zenfolio.com/blog/2016/4/behind-the-lens-the-artist-sets-the-mood Fri, 01 Apr 2016 05:49:14 GMT
Softly Falling Diamonds https://sarahchisholmphotography.zenfolio.com/blog/2016/1/softly-falling-diamonds   With winter finally in full swing here in Southwestern Ontario, it's been snowing quite heavily in January, with a few "snow days" this year already. I've greeted the snow with excitement this year, as now I get to add to my snowflake macro photograph collection! It's not an easy task under the best of conditions, but the snow squalls we've been experiencing have brought high winds, making it impossible to catch the snowflakes holding still even for a fraction of a second. Luckily, today the snow fell straight down without blowing around, and there were some beautiful flake formations in the fluffy precipitation. Here are a few I liked best. 

  This intricate beauty is encrusted with diamond-like ice on the outer edges while perfectly smooth in the centre. What a work of art!
Snowflake FireSnowflake Fire

  I love how the dendrites of the top right snowflake resemble the fronds of a fern. 
Snowflakes In SpaceSnowflakes In Space

  There are many different ways for them to form!
Snowflakes & SparklesSnowflakes & Sparkles

  I had to zoom in very close to this one to reveal the interesting star and snowflake patterns in the tiny bokeh around it. 
Flake BokehFlake Bokeh

  The snowfall has ceased for now, but I'll be back outside the next ideal day to capture more unique ice crystals. Thanks for following!



(- SARAH CHISHOLM - Fine Art & Photography) Ontario crystals fractals ice macro snow snowfall snowflake snowflakes winter https://sarahchisholmphotography.zenfolio.com/blog/2016/1/softly-falling-diamonds Thu, 21 Jan 2016 22:19:08 GMT
Merry Christmas 2015 https://sarahchisholmphotography.zenfolio.com/blog/2015/12/merry-christmas-2015 A Very Merry Christmas To You All! 
Snow-Laden GardenSnow-Laden Garden
I want to give sincere thanks to each and every one of you who have come out to my shows and events, purchased my artwork, encouraged my success, and joined me on social media this year. I cannot properly express how grateful I am to be part of such great communities - both in my own little town in Southwestern Ontario, and all across the world online. I am so lucky that you enjoy my work and that you always leave me feeling positive after sharing little pieces of myself with you. I have the best friends, family, and fans. Thank you so much for a wonderful year. I hope you've noticed my improvements (I've learned so much over the past year!), and are still anticipating what I do next! I think I want to branch out and explore other mediums, in addition to learning more about photography and editing and digital creating, in the new year. Perhaps I'll take up old hobbies, and try new things as well. I do hope you'll continue to follow me on my journey. It really wouldn't be as fun to create without you all to share with! 
I'd also like to give especial thanks to Scott and Ashley Duncan at the Sugar Shack for giving me the amazing opportunity of having my first solo show. They even threw a wicked opening party, and they will never know how much that all truly means to me. The party, and the show entirely, was a great success, and I'm going to spend the holidays coming up with ways to thank them. Thanks, guys. 
Also thank you to the folks at Baillie's Picture Framing in Grand Bend for organizing fantastic events as well as doing some gorgeous printing and framing for me; they made some stunning pieces that went to good homes this year. Thanks for making my work look even better! 
Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays, and Warm Wishes for the New Year.  
Here's a little slide show of snowy and seasonal scenes accompanied by a beautiful Christmas song for you to relax with... just a small gift from me to you. Just click here : Merry Christmas ; to bring you to the homepage and it will start. 


(- SARAH CHISHOLM - Fine Art & Photography) https://sarahchisholmphotography.zenfolio.com/blog/2015/12/merry-christmas-2015 Thu, 24 Dec 2015 21:37:11 GMT
Meet Me in November https://sarahchisholmphotography.zenfolio.com/blog/2015/11/meet-me-in-november Hi again! 
I have mentioned on social media that I have three big shows coming up in November 2015; Lake Effects, Artful Hands, and my solo show at the Sugar Shack. Here are the dates and places so you can mark your calendars! 

"Lake Effects" November 14th - December 24th
  See my previous blog post for more details about this show and sale held in my hometown, Grand Bend, Ontario. Baillie's Picture Framing on Crescent Street is hosting, and the opening reception is November 14th from 1pm - 4pm. The art will continue to be available for purchase until December 24th. 

"Artful Hands Christmas Show & Sale" - November 21st & 22nd
  Once again I will be attending this annual event, held at the historic Kincardine Pavilion right on the beach. I will be joining dozens of other artists, artisans and craftspeople for a unique local shopping event you don't want to miss. This year it's held on Saturday, November 21st from 10 am - 5 pm, and Sunday, November 22nd from 10 am - 4 pm. I'll have calendars, framed work, prints, and more on hand. 

"Sugar Shack Tattoo & Gallery presents: Sarah Chisholm" - November 20th - January 2016
  I am over the moon excited about this... not only is it my first true solo show, but there's going to be an opening party sure to be an amazing time! More about it in another blog post closer to, but you can get a sneak peek at "Hometown Christmas in Kincardine" November 20th starting in the evening, so be sure to pop in there when you're out and about that night, as everyone is! I'll be there in person that night with prints, calendars, and more. *It is cash only.* The opening reception is November 28th, doors open at 8pm, with licensed bar, catering, and DJs. Yep, it's gonna be sweet!

Hope to see you at at least one of these shows! I am so looking forward to seeing familiar faces, and meeting new folks. Cheers! 


(- SARAH CHISHOLM - Fine Art & Photography) https://sarahchisholmphotography.zenfolio.com/blog/2015/11/meet-me-in-november Sat, 14 Nov 2015 01:41:51 GMT
Lake Effects Art Show https://sarahchisholmphotography.zenfolio.com/blog/2015/11/lake-effects-art-show   I have the honour of having been invited to participate in a three-artist show, alongside talented photographers Janette Baillie and Derek Houston. This will be held at Baillie's Picture Framing in Grand Bend, Ontario, until December 24th, 2015. The show is called "Lake Effects", and each of us will be displaying works inspired by Lake Huron and the ever-changing waters.

  Janette grew up in Northern Ontario and now lives in gorgeous Grand Bend along the Ausable River, where I myself grew up. I now live near the Bruce Peninsula in Kincardine. Derek was born in Scotland and now resides in Port Franks, along the southern coast of Lake Huron. So between us, we've got the Ontario side of Huron covered, from shore to landscape and the sky between. Come and see how the lake is a muse to us artists, and discover our complementary and unique styles. 
  The opening reception is this Saturday coming, the 14th, from 1 to 4 pm. There's wine! I'll be there excited to see familiar and new faces, and I've been keeping some pieces secret just for this show. If you're in the area, don't miss it! It's always worth the drive to Grand Bend. 

(- SARAH CHISHOLM - Fine Art & Photography) Grand Bend Lake Effects Lake Huron Ontario artists lake landscape reception sale shore show sky https://sarahchisholmphotography.zenfolio.com/blog/2015/11/lake-effects-art-show Wed, 11 Nov 2015 02:23:43 GMT
And It's Not Even Easter... https://sarahchisholmphotography.zenfolio.com/blog/2015/10/and-its-not-even-easter   Last evening we went for one of those meandering drives with no particular destination in mind. I knew the sunset was going to be spectacular because heavy dramatic snow clouds threatened over the lake, where the water was a swirling mosaic of turquoise, sapphire, and white. I trusted that when the time came to photograph the sunset, we'd have found a great place. Sure enough, we ended up on little more than a track beside the lake, and happened upon a marsh on the shore, filled with the cacophony of song and shore birds.
Pharaoh's SunsetPharaoh's Sunset

  I walked along the beach, looking through my lens more than at my feet. When I finally stopped to just take my fill of the scene before me with my own eyes, I looked down at the ground in front of me and gave a gasp. "No way," I said to myself.
Where It LayWhere It Lay

  For right at my tiptoes was a gigantic, BLUE egg, something I am awfully fond of in my own collections. Only I usually collect glass and china... this egg was very real. Real, and unfortunately obviously abandoned, unhatched. 
  No one was going to believe me about the size of it. (I did think about taking it home with me, but, ew.) My husband, keeping warm and dozing in the car a fair ways away now, looked up to see me running down the beach, frantically waving for his attention. Someone else HAD to see this. He couldn't believe his eyes either. We agreed that the egg must have been almost six inches long, and three inches at the widest point. 
Lost EggLost Egg   When I got home, I searched the internet for identification, looking right away into herons and egrets, both species I know to frequent the area. Sure enough, they both lay large blue eggs. Trouble is, the heron's egg is bigger... to a maximum of three inches long. This egg was twice that size. Geese. Geese lay big eggs. But none of them are blue. What lays a giant blue egg? I mean, a really massive, ostrich-sized blue egg?
Blue EggBlue Egg
  Well, turns out... emus do. Yeah, I'm stumped too. The only conclusion I can come to is, the egg was a special treasure meant for me to find. Sometimes life throws out little gifts and messages, whether we always catch them or not. I'm going to take my mystery of the giant blue egg, and smile knowing such a rare and bizarre thing could only have happened to me. Good thing I'm a photographer. 


(- SARAH CHISHOLM - Fine Art & Photography) beach blue egg egret emu find gift heron marsh ostrich sunset treasure https://sarahchisholmphotography.zenfolio.com/blog/2015/10/and-its-not-even-easter Mon, 19 Oct 2015 03:55:00 GMT
Always A Riot In August https://sarahchisholmphotography.zenfolio.com/blog/2015/7/always-a-riot-in-august Greetings good people! 
  The month of August will arrive shortly and it's unfathomable how summer is just flying by this year, but that hot summer month promises to be a busy one! I love that the temperatures have finally turned sultry here for a truly beach town atmosphere. Bring on the festivals!
Here's a bit of what I have going on in August: 
  I've created two editions of calendars for 2016, and they are now available for pick-up, worldwide shipping, on hand at shows (where they last!) and to order. I'll link the galleries of images for each calendar here for you, and you can contact me for yours. 
  Kincardine Calendar: http://sarahchisholmphotography.zenfolio.com/p133339242
  Fine Art Calendar : http://sarahchisholmphotography.zenfolio.com/p123180128

The cover of the Kincardine 2016 calendar

  Due to recent (rather exciting!) developments, I will not be attending the 'Artful Hands' Show in Kincardine this year. Apologies to those who had hoped to catch me there. Don't despair! I will be at the Ripley Artisans Festival on August 15th and 16th in Ripley, Ontario, with framed work, new paintings, tons of prints, and calendars among other things, so be sure to see me there. 

  Kincardine has an interesting and fun new event now in its second annual year, The Kincardine Marine Heritage Festival, this year on August 21st and 22nd. That's when the Tall Ships Pathfinder and Playfair will visit again. I was asked to do the cover feature article for The Bruce County Marketplace for the festival, so look for that write-up with my photographs in the August edition of the magazine, and hey, if you bring a copy to the festival, I'll even sign it for you! I'll be at the Artist's Alley on Saturday the 22nd along the pier under the lighthouse. I don't know how I'm going to wait that long to reveal to you the awesome pieces I have specifically for the Marine Heritage Festival. Ooh! Wait 'til you see! There's lots of nautical fun so come out and support this cool new event. 
Sailing Off Into The SunsetSailing Off Into The Sunset Inspiration for the Kincardine Marine Heritage Festival. Prints available...

  My wonderful husband is taking me on a getaway. It's our anniversary month. Seven incredible years! By the end of August, I should have some brand new subject matter to dazzle you with... stay tuned! Hope to see you this month, enjoying summer! 

(- SARAH CHISHOLM - Fine Art & Photography) Kincardine Pathfinder Playfair Tall Ships art artisan calendar festival heritage marine nautical prints sale show summer https://sarahchisholmphotography.zenfolio.com/blog/2015/7/always-a-riot-in-august Wed, 29 Jul 2015 05:17:12 GMT
Behind The Scenes - "The Wind" https://sarahchisholmphotography.zenfolio.com/blog/2015/6/behind-the-scenes---the-wind Hello everyone!

  It has been much too long since I've written a blog post, and so I've decided to share a bit from 'behind the scenes' of my latest fine art self-portrait titled, "The Wind". 
It rained here much of the day yesterday (except for a gloriously shining moment at sundown when the sun peeked through cloud cover, bathed everything in violet and magenta, and created a arcing rainbow!) and getting on late in the evening, my husband and I discovered there were to be fireworks in a neighbouring town, despite the rain, so we piled the kids in the car and headed that way. We totally missed the show, so we meandered back to Kincardine aimlessly, and ended up at the Station Beach boardwalk for a beautiful stroll in the light rain and warm night. If you've never been down at the boardwalk after or during a rain, I really do recommend it. It's such a pretty place to wander if you don't mind getting a bit misty. So, off we go, all the way down the boardwalk, managing somehow to miss every one of the hundreds of snails come out to play on the wooden planks with our footsteps. 
  Quite a ways along, there is a park for kids to slide and climb, and of course my little girls wanted to do just that, leaving me a moment to point my camera out over the lake towards... absolutely nothing. Darn. Well there had to be something to take a photo of around there... 
  The light from the myriad lamps along the walkway were painting the beachside poplar trees and tall grasses with a golden glow, and the wind was blowing in great warm gusts, and so I set my camera (I did not bring my tripod) on some nearby rocks, set up for a long exposure, clicked the shutter button, and waited. As I stood there, my hair blew about my face and was tossed into the night, and it tickled my imagination. I immediately knew this would be a great time to capture my next self-portrait, something that has been daunting me for months. I set my camera on timer, and scrambled over the rocks, down into the grass, and into the frame. This is so me... waiting on the beach in the dark in the elements, staring off over the lake and sky. 
The WindThe Wind   I did have some issues to overcome in editing, least of which being that in the picture, I was actually wearing dark leggings, a bright top, and an oversize grey cardigan that had been hastily donned. Suffice to say, it wasn't a glamorous outfit, and though I am perfectly comfortable being portrayed in my patterned rubber boots, as that's part and parcel of me, it wasn't going to work for the mood of this image. I painted my dress entirely, and had fun making it blow in the wind. By happy coincidence, the dress I ended up painting looks very much like my mother's wedding dress. 
  Zooming in to see what that strange white dot was over the lake on the right, I realized it was Venus (which came out to shine brightly before setting a bit later) trying feebly to glow through the grey curtain. I seem to be looking right at it, but could not see it when I was standing there. Ah, Venus! What a perfect romantic element for my wind-swept creation. 
  I hope you enjoy my latest self-portrait. I will try to do them less infrequently now... and my blog as well. Bad artist. Bad. ;) 



(- SARAH CHISHOLM - Fine Art & Photography) https://sarahchisholmphotography.zenfolio.com/blog/2015/6/behind-the-scenes---the-wind Sun, 28 Jun 2015 23:13:20 GMT
The Forest Crystals https://sarahchisholmphotography.zenfolio.com/blog/2015/1/the-forest-crystals   Finally being able to take advantage of some "off" time together as a family, my husband, daughters, and I went for a walk in our new neighbourhood to explore our surroundings. We found a trail a bit off the beaten path, and after following it for some time, it took a turn into those kind of woods that have their own quiet dark and damp chill, with close trees, moss-covered logs, and old growth... the kind of forest I absolutely love. This one, however, also revealed an unexpected and almost magical phenomenon: the forest floor was covered in what appeared to be bunches of crystals!

  Disappointingly, it was almost dark at the time my husband first spotted them, so I only managed a few quick shots with my macro lens before we had to get out of the very-likely-coyote-inhabited forest before full night. We really didn't know what they were - ice, or fungi? They were not cold to the touch at all, but did bust apart like tinkling glass underfoot.

  Close-ups with my macro lens revealed them to be almost fibrous, like a sort of cilia. They had come out of the ground and still had bits of dirt and leaves clinging to them. 

Forest Crystal - Blue ShardForest Crystal - Blue Shard
  Some of the projections from the ground ended quite sharply, like points of a needle! 

  After conversing with my dad (who is a great person to ask about these kinds of things), we now think we found a kind of frost flower known as "needle ice". Frost flowers are caused by interactions between warm or cold moisture (from a stream, or wet forest floor, say) and warm or cold air.
  A few days after initially finding the crystals, it finally snowed, and my husband and I returned to the area to see what we could see. We had to dig for our treasure, but when we found the same patches we'd examined before, the 'crystal shards' had grown quite a bit larger, only getting dirty and opaque in the process. They weren't as "magical" anymore. We were able to pull up large chunks and confirmed that it was indeed a sort of ice.

  Small, thin "cords" of ice had banded together to make large columns now... still very interesting to behold! 

  It was exciting to find something unique from incredible Mother Nature! If you ever find yourself in a damp cedar forest, and you keep hearing glass crunching underfoot, lift up the leaves; maybe it's "needle ice"! 
  Keep exploring...


(- SARAH CHISHOLM - Fine Art & Photography) cedar crystal forest frost flowers fungi ice needle ice shard trail woods https://sarahchisholmphotography.zenfolio.com/blog/2015/1/the-forest-crystals Mon, 05 Jan 2015 00:05:21 GMT
A Smashing Salvation https://sarahchisholmphotography.zenfolio.com/blog/2014/12/a-smashing-salvation And so we say good-bye to 2014! You know, after all is said and done, I really can't say it's been all that bad of a year. That being said... let's hope 2015 is a phenomenally better one!
  No matter what, we must strive to make the most of our situation at hand. Take, for instance, this 'small' example of how I turned the misfortune of shattering a beloved Christmas tree ornament into an opportunity for some creative macro photography. CascadeCascade

  I used some very simple props and got some stunning, colourful images, so the bauble being broken was actually lucky. Inside the ornament was a shiny mirrored glass, and I used certain sculptural fragments for an interesting backdrop to some water droplet photographs. Shattered LavenderShattered Lavender
  There was nothing very fancy involved here; I used my marble countertop, the broken glass shards, some water, a spoon to drop the water, and my macro lens with flash. I dripped water onto the colourful and reflective broken pieces and tried for some neat water splashes and droplets with my camera set right on the counter nearby. Crystal WaterwallCrystal Waterwall
  I had fun amidst the chaos! A Drip In The BoatA Drip In The Boat
  This is poetry with water and the irreparably broken. Pick up the pieces, and create your own beauty from them. 
Breaking TurquoiseBreaking Turquoise
  The year ahead will bring us the good and bad, as each year does. So make sure you make the most of the bad, along with the good. 
  I have great inspirations and dreams for 2015! I hope you continue to enjoy my work and the new directions I may venture. I appreciate every one of you that have lent me your support and encouragement in the past and going forward into the future. Cheers, and thank you! 
  Happy New Year! 


(- SARAH CHISHOLM - Fine Art & Photography) 2014 2015 New Years broken colour droplet flash glass macro marble ornament pieces shard splash water https://sarahchisholmphotography.zenfolio.com/blog/2014/12/a-smashing-salvation Thu, 01 Jan 2015 01:06:34 GMT
Giving Back https://sarahchisholmphotography.zenfolio.com/blog/2014/12/giving-back   Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays to all! 
  I have had such a fantastic year with my art and photography. I've been featured in new galleries and shows, written about in newspaper and online articles, and even interviewed by the International Foundation For Women Artists. Click here to read the interview again or if you missed it; they asked me some great questions! I entered my very first contest in Bayfield in the fall, and was extremely honoured to receive an honourable mention among many admirable entries. This was the image the judges appreciated:
Girl On The Other SideGirl On The Other SideLimited Edition prints currently available in size 12" x 18". Printed on ultra premium lustre photo paper and signed and titled by hand. $125. Contact me directly to order.

"Girl On The Other Side"

  I also met many people who have been fans of my Facebook page or have followed my website for some time now. It is always nice to put faces to the names I've become so familiar with. Some have even travelled far distances to visit, and I am humbled and grateful! It is also especially nice to become more recognized in my "hometown" of Kincardine. You see, I'm not originally from here, but I feel as though Kincardine has adopted me as one of their own, and it's become such a part of my heart and soul, I am so glad to be so welcomed and appreciated. Thank you to everyone who follows my work, near and far. 
Ice and a Fiery GlowIce and a Fiery Glow

KIncardine Lighthouse at Christmastime

  I care very much for my 'adoptive' town, and while I don't go around making announcements every time, I do give back to my community throughout the year, by donating either my time, a piece of work for auction, or my own money, to various local organizations. After recently receiving some more cards in thanks from various folks, I did a tally and realized that I've contributed to almost two dozen charities and events in 2014!! Wow! It's so wonderful that I've been supported enough by people who enjoy my work to enable me to help support so many great causes in turn. That feels amazing! 
  So, I'm not going to stop there. I'm going to choose five more charities and worthy causes to donate to before December is through. I feel such love from my community both locally and online, that I want to share the love as well. I invite you to do the same; donate your time or funds to a local cause this year. Consider it a gift you give your whole community - and yourself! 
  I invite you to comment with your favourite places to help out and donate towards, in case anyone is looking for inspiration. 
  I hope your holidays are merry and warm, and that you make many happy memories. Feed the birds. Smile at children. Hold the door open. And "be excellent to each other". I love you guys very much! Cheers. 

A wintery scene from Lake Huron               




(- SARAH CHISHOLM - Fine Art & Photography) Christmas Facebook Kincardine artist charity community donation gift giving back holidays support https://sarahchisholmphotography.zenfolio.com/blog/2014/12/giving-back Tue, 16 Dec 2014 02:42:19 GMT
An Adventure Under The Sea https://sarahchisholmphotography.zenfolio.com/blog/2014/10/an-adventure-under-the-sea   I think underwater photography in the deep sea is really special. It allows us a glimpse into an otherwise alien world. That being said, I'm pretty sure deep sea diving is not for me. So, I will have to paint any underwater adventures myself, real or imagined.
  Though I am not fond of the eight-legged land dwellers of our planet, I absolutely adore the ocean-dwelling octopus and squid. Here in my latest digital painting, alongside my orange cephalopod, I've also included a colourful crab, a pair of seahorses, a handful of starfish, a translucent jellyfish, a grinning eel, a ship's hull, many pearls, and schools of fish flashing their flanks in the filtered underwater light. This painting is full of small detail, so I invite you in for a cool dip and a chance to explore the deep!

Under The SeaUnder The Sea

'Under The Sea' by Sarah Chisholm

  I hope you enjoy my latest creation. See more of my digital paintings by clicking this magic link. Comments are welcome, thank you for your interest! 


(- SARAH CHISHOLM - Fine Art & Photography) Under The Sea digital fine art fish limited edition ocean octopus painting sea squid underwater https://sarahchisholmphotography.zenfolio.com/blog/2014/10/an-adventure-under-the-sea Mon, 06 Oct 2014 03:08:13 GMT
The Last Unicorn & The Red Bull https://sarahchisholmphotography.zenfolio.com/blog/2014/9/the-last-unicorn-the-red-bull   I have finally finished my painting inspired by a book and movie I have loved since childhood - The Last Unicorn, by Peter S. Beagle. The absolutely stunningly animated film was released in the '80s, and it captured the heart of anyone who saw it, mine included. I have read the book several times, and I have watched the movie literally hundreds of times. I know it by heart, and it still moves me. So it was with trepidation, but honorable intentions, that I set out to create a painting inspired by The Last Unicorn. Now that I have finished it, I have to say, I'm very pleased with how it turned out. 
  For those who are unfamiliar with the movie, here's a brief synopsis: A unicorn finds out she is the last remaining in the world, so she sets out to find the others. Amidst adventures on the road (and accompanied by an absolutely gorgeous soundtrack), she discovers all the other unicorns have been captured by the Red Bull and driven into the sea. Skip to the end (spoiler alert!) and the last unicorn drives the Red Bull into the sea, releasing a tide of stampeding unicorns back into the world again. This is the scene I have painted, with artistic liberties of course. 
  A note about the process of this digital painting - I used Photoshop to create it; I started from scratch using digital paintbrushes and colours and then filters and other techniques to draw and paint this scene - no photography, all my own hand. And by hand, well, I actually mean my finger. I used the trackpad on my laptop to paint this entirely. No, really. That's what I always use, I don't have a tablet or anything fancy. 
So, here it is. 
The Last Unicorn and the Red BullThe Last Unicorn and the Red BullBased on the epic culmination of Peter S. Beagle's wonderful novel, "The Last Unicorn", wherein all of the unicorns in the world are rescued from the sea, and the demon 'Red Bull' that kept them there is defeated.
Now available for purchase in a limited print run of 100. Prints are on premium lustre paper, size 12"x18", signed and numbered, for $150 (plus applicable shipping). Contact me to purchase. These make a fabulous gift for lovers of this movie and the books! Thank you.

The Last Unicorn & The Red Bull, by Sarah Chisholm, 2014 

  I had the honour of meeting the author, Peter S. Beagle, in the spring of this year. He was touring Canadian theatres with a screening of the movie, and book signing and talk. He was funny, and sweet, and very down-to-earth. It was truly one of the best days of my life, getting to watch my favourite movie with my own daughter, and the author! I have a few mementos from that day, and I very much enjoyed talking to Mr. Beagle personally, but I was disappointed in myself that I did not have this painting done to show him at that time. It just wasn't ready, though it was on the go. I really hope he sees my painting one day. He is now touring the USA and select theatres, so if you have a chance, I cannot recommend strongly enough that you go! Check out The Last Unicorn Facebook Page for tour dates.
  Please, if you loved this movie too (well, you still will), share this with your friends! I hope you enjoy my creation; it's been a long time in the making. I really do like this one, though. Cheers!


(- SARAH CHISHOLM - Fine Art & Photography) Red Bull The Last Unicorn digital painting fairy tale fantasy fine art literature sea unicorn https://sarahchisholmphotography.zenfolio.com/blog/2014/9/the-last-unicorn-the-red-bull Sat, 20 Sep 2014 04:13:52 GMT
The Battle Of The Blues https://sarahchisholmphotography.zenfolio.com/blog/2014/8/the-battle-of-the-blues  Good day, everyone.

 Though I have had this image here on my website in the Limited Editions collection for some time now, I always meant to write an accompanying blog post to explain its significance. The trouble is, I could never find the words, or perhaps the bravery, to convey what I meant to say. After recently posting on my Facebook page that I would be taking a break to look after my mental health due to struggles with depression, I was surprised at the response and comments on my post. All of them, and there were many, were supportive and understanding, and many people came forward to say that they have been, or currently are, struggling with depression as well. I am beginning to feel more comfortable sharing that darker side of my life, especially seeing that it may help others to know that they are not alone, even if we do not literally know each other. 

  This is a fantasy painting, or maybe a self-portrait, that I created using digital tools. I started with "white canvas" with this one; no photography, just my mind. It represents how I perceive the battle with depression, and how it feels to struggle against it. To me, it's much like trying to walk under deep, dark waters, surrounded by monsters and demons both real and imagined. There is a sense of an impending, overwhelming doom looming over you, and so many tiny barbs and haunting images no matter where you turn. And so, I spent hours on this piece creating minute detail in every inch - faces, creatures, sea monsters - so I do hope you can look at it on a big screen, as there is so much hidden throughout the painting.  OvercomeOvercomeLimited Edition prints (25) now available in size 12x18", in protective backing and plastic, signed, numbered, and titled by hand. Price is $125 each and there are only 24 left available.

Overcome, a digital painting by Sarah Chisholm

 I am not posting this now with the intention of bringing sadness or sympathy. I simply wanted to share with you something more personal than I am used to sharing, because so many of you reached out to me to share your own stories and struggles and hopes and successes. I look around at many of the people I have come to know online and I see that it is a time of sadness for many folks, especially those with mental illnesses. I think the death of Robin Williams has been hard on our "community", but even before that tragedy, I sensed that there have been struggles for many for some time. One of my favourite sayings is, "This, too, shall pass". And it will. This melancholy time in our corner of the universe will pass, and we will come out the other side stronger. Grow stronger. You are not alone. You can swim this ocean, and you will overcome. 
Thank you for the love and support. It really is true - you never know when your words will make a "forever" impact. Perhaps my words or image here will help someone. It's so wonderful to make a difference to others, even when it feels you can't make a difference in your own life just now. 
Much love,

(- SARAH CHISHOLM - Fine Art & Photography) Digital Painting Limited Edition depression fine art painting https://sarahchisholmphotography.zenfolio.com/blog/2014/8/the-battle-of-the-blues Wed, 20 Aug 2014 02:21:28 GMT
City Mirage Phenomenon Over Lake Huron https://sarahchisholmphotography.zenfolio.com/blog/2014/6/city-mirage-phenomenon-over-lake-huron   As those of you who follow my work know, I can often be found down at the beach around sunset and evening time, making use of the beautiful light and just enjoying my surroundings. Tonight was another of those summer nights; warm, with a cool breeze coming off Lake Huron, just a few wispy clouds overhead and on the horizon. I was at the north side beach. The sun set. I took photos. The afterglow deepened. I left the beach, and threw my backpack on a bench near my car, packing up my camera. I turned one last time to take in the view of sky and water. Am I ever glad I did. 
  Far out over the lake, southwest and just off the end of the pier to my view, I spotted some wavering pillars of light.
Mirage off KincardineMirage off Kincardine

  "No way. Don't even get your hopes up", I thought. You see, I've heard of the phenomenon of seeing cities that are actually over in Michigan, (which is miles and miles away from us here in Kincardine, Ontario, across one of the largest lakes on the planet!), on the horizon as if they were only a couple of miles away. My father in law once saw a mirage city in broad daylight from the roof of the huge nuclear plant nearby, and I've heard tales of sailors seeing mirage cities after sunset from various spots on Lake Huron. I have always wanted to see this myself, but I know it must be a rare sight, requiring certain conditions I do not pretend to know anything about. Alas, after many, many evenings at the lake, I have been disappointed. Until tonight.
  Sure enough, the more I watched this strange appearance of lights, the more it revealed itself to be a city. I could see the tall skyscrapers and towers of a brightly-lit city core, complete with antennae and red blinking lights on the tops. I made out the passing by of headlights and taillights of cars traveling quickly to and from the downtown. It was getting well on to dusk at this point, and I didn't have my tripod. I began to worry no one would believe me, and that it would disappear as soon as it had presented itself. Where was everyone? There was no one around. I began to walk very quickly toward the pier. 
Distant Mirage in the DarkDistant Mirage in the Dark
  When I got to the end of the pier a few minutes later, the light pillars and towers and city bustle were still visible. A couple of young people came to the end to ask me what they were seeing out there... was that... Michigan?! Yes, indeed! They could see the city too. We watched as the horizon to the left of the downtown became dotted with red blinking lights and racing white lights; perhaps an airport, or windmills? The horizon was alive with light and movement in one spot, which should have been completely dark - miles and miles and miles of deep, empty lake. 
  I called my in-laws and they came to the pier and watched the ghostly city for a while. That's two lake city mirages for my father-in-law! It had been at least half an hour since I first saw the shimmering city, and it was still there, although it was quickly fading as full dark set in. The towers became just dots of light like the rest. I went home, and grabbed my tripod, hoping against hope that the strange apparition was still there when I returned. 
  It was! 

  With a long exposure photograph and a steady tripod, we can finally see a bit of detail here. The lights to the very left of the photo are the street lights along Boiler Beach Road, which runs along the shore of the lake south of Kincardine. The land point ends almost right after that line of lights. Now we are supposed to have dark lake with no possibility of seeing any civilization out there. But in the middle of the photo, you can see the glow from the city, and right on the horizon, several red dots from the windmills or airport, then the brighter lights of the city core, and just to the right of that, the glow from cars coming and going on a freeway, I think. All of the lights in the centre of this photo should absolutely not be there, and they are not boats. This was a writhing, living, breathing city, visible out on the lake.  

  Here's a close-up crop of the red blinking lights stretching far across the horizon, and the bright city centre with glowing red taillights.   
  Again, we see the lights from Kincardine on the far left, and over the lake, the apparition lights of a mirage city. I watched it in the dark for quite some time, and I could again make out cars moving, lights blinking, the occasional bright flash, and other movement and shimmering. This was by far one of the coolest things I've ever seen over the lake. Upon further research, I found out this is what's called a "superior mirage", and it's not common. It's absolutely "impossible" to see any cities across the lake because of distance, but there it is. I am just grinning. I hope you got a chance to see the lights as well if you are in the area, and if this is the first you've heard of the phenomenon, be sure to keep your eyes open from now on, especially after sunset.
  Make a wish! Thanks for reading. (Please excuse the poor quality photos this time! Copyright ©Sarah Chisholm; do not use without permission)

(- SARAH CHISHOLM - Fine Art & Photography) huron kincardine lake lights michigan mirage phenomenon https://sarahchisholmphotography.zenfolio.com/blog/2014/6/city-mirage-phenomenon-over-lake-huron Fri, 20 Jun 2014 06:14:00 GMT
The Shipwreck of the Ann Maria https://sarahchisholmphotography.zenfolio.com/blog/2014/4/the-shipwreck-of-the-ann-maria The Ann Maria, a beautiful wooden Great Lakes schooner, was built in 1864 in Ohio. She was bound from Cleveland across Lake Huron on October 7th, 1902, when she encountered an autumn gale off the coast of Kincardine, Ontario. Storms on the Great Lakes have claimed many ships, and anyone who has seen the lakes in a good storm knows the incredible power the waters can summon. The Ann Maria ran aground in fierce wind and waves off the South pier of Kincardine and was battered apart. After full dark, cries were heard from the harbour area, and the ship was spotted off shore in great peril. Four men jumped aboard a rescue boat and managed to reach the schooner, but waves overturned both ship and rescue boat, spilling the four rescuers and six Ann Maria crew into the cold waters. Three townsmen and two crew managed to swim back to the remains of the Ann Maria, where they clung until much later in the night, when it calmed down enough for them to be taken ashore. The other five souls did not survive, including the captain and one would-be rescuer from Kincardine. Today in 2014 the Ann Maria rests just on shore at Station Beach, a length of wooden "spine" with rusted iron nails jutting into the water, as a marker for those lost that fateful night. 

Shipwreck MoonsetShipwreck Moonset

The Ann Maria wreck as seen at night, moonset in summer

Depending on the water level or the way the sands have shifted, more or less of the wreck can be seen on shore. Above, in this eerie nighttime shot, you can see not only the "spine" of the shipwreck, but some of the "ribs" just under the sand as well. The shipwreck is exposed to the elements, including the yearly ice and snow build-up that comes with winter. Considering the long, harsh winter with record ice and snow we've just had, I wondered how the ship would have fared this year. Now that the frozen wasteland over the lake is finally breaking up, the wreck is visible under the open water again.
Shipwreck Under IceShipwreck Under Ice

The Ann Maria shipwreck, April 2014

Even some of the floorboards are visible just beside the centre beam, and a bit of the ribs beyond them. The antiquated wood doesn't appear to be too much the worse for wear from this biting past winter. 
Turquoise RestTurquoise Rest

Ice still clings to the wreckage, April 2014

I can't help but feel a sense of significance when I look at the remains of the Ann Maria... not only is she a part of our Great Lakes maritime history, but five lives were extinguished not far from where she rests. The sun sets beautifully just beyond the wreck, but it still retains an air of sadness. 
Wooden Ship's SunsetWooden Ship's Sunset

Sunset and the Ann Maria

Running Into The FogRunning Into The Fog
The "spine" of the shipwreck

Clouds Over WreckClouds Over Wreck

Clouds reflected over a ghostly outline

Next time you're on Station Beach in Kincardine be sure to wander toward the pier and look for the telltale poles marking the shipwreck. You might see quite a few pieces of the wooden schooner wreckage, or just a ghostly outline under the water, but you'll be visiting a relic of Kincardine and Great Lakes history, and the final resting place of the Ann Maria.

Edit: As of 2018, water levels in the lake have risen significantly, and the ship is now obscured by water and sand further off the shoreline. It is no longer visible.

Sarah Chisholm







(- SARAH CHISHOLM - Fine Art & Photography) https://sarahchisholmphotography.zenfolio.com/blog/2014/4/the-shipwreck-of-the-ann-maria Sat, 12 Apr 2014 04:09:49 GMT
5 Things To Consider When Purchasing Art https://sarahchisholmphotography.zenfolio.com/blog/2014/3/5-things-to-consider-when-purchasing-art   Hello again!
  When I am exhibiting at an art show or event, I very much enjoy talking to people; not only about their interest in my work, I also love to hear their opinions and expectations about art in general as well. Often I hear folks say that they'd love to collect more art, but they don't know where to start, or have trouble choosing from so many inspiring pieces. When you think about it, buying something as personal and meaningful as art can be intimidating or daunting. I'd like to share a few points to ponder for anyone who may be considering investing in some artwork for their home, whether for the first time, or the tenth time, or if you're like me, to add to your collection leaning against the wall in your hallway, as all of your wall space is occupied by *gasp* more art.    

  1. Art does not, repeat, does not have to match the walls or furniture or decor. In fact, you might end up "losing" the piece like a faded wallflower if you try to make everything the same colour. You don't want a piece to clash outrageously with the flow of your room, but your artwork should complement the room and have a presence of its own, not blend in with the curtains. Choose art based on how it makes you feel and how it reflects your personality and taste, not on whether or not that abstract piece has the perfect shade of blue to match the rug up in the corner there... if colour is really a concern, a piece with many different colours, or plain black-and-white, is easy to "match up" with your style, and it will still match if you decide to redecorate in the future. Change of SeasonsChange of Seasons
  2. Don't buy the latest most popular subject matter. Stay away from trends and find your own likes and styles. Be unique. Remember in the 80s when everyone had those awful pink pastel pictures of metal furniture and flower vases? Sure you do. Do any of your friends have a painting of poppies? Those were very popular for a while, there must be millions of works with slight variations on the theme. Metal stars? There are less real ones in the sky. These items are fun and trendy and modern, "in the now", if you will, but that's more for decor... not so much for a true investment in art. Something you thought was fabulous for a minute may lose some of its lustre when you realize both your neighbours and your best friend have pretty much the same wall art. Go for timeless, not "this time".  
  3. Buy a piece to fit a specific spot, or buy a piece and then find a spot for it, but be open to moving your collection around periodically. Just because you bought that painting five years ago to go over the mantle, doesn't mean you can't buy this one to go there... just move the other over a bed. Changing it up every once in awhile can give the impression of a whole new room, and refreshen the energy in your home. It also leaves room for the possibility of obtaining more art - you never have to be "finished" your collection.... boring! What if your all-time favourite piece is still out there?  LiliesLilies
  4. Your artist or gallery is not Wal-Mart. Have reasonable expectations about what you should pay for someone's creation, and understand what a treasure you are getting. Artists can't produce giant canvases in bulk to be sold at bargain prices. The cost to produce art can be very high. I use only premium paper and inks in my work, and they are very expensive. This is beyond what it costs for my equipment, not to mention my time. At the end of a sale, what I'm really getting is the pride from knowing someone is taking home my work. I am not laughing all the way to the bank with your money. In fact, I'm likely buying more supplies. Take into consideration all that the artist has put in to this amazing work so you can love it forever. You cannot find that on a shelf at a chain store. 
  5. Your art is for you, not for the occasional visitors you have to your house. So don't worry about how others will like it, and be self-confident... you have great taste in art - yours! Don't be afraid or shy, be bold and go for what you really want. If something really speaks to you, then it was meant to be yours, no matter the subject or medium. So proudly hang that nude oil painting, the epic digital fantasy landscape, the bold abstract design, and enjoy expressing yourself. That's what art is all about!

  Have fun in the selection process, and remember how much it means to an artist when you purchase their work. On behalf of all artists, I say thank you! Now go out and make your little corner of this world brighter with new art! 




(- SARAH CHISHOLM - Fine Art & Photography) https://sarahchisholmphotography.zenfolio.com/blog/2014/3/5-things-to-consider-when-purchasing-art Fri, 21 Mar 2014 17:10:53 GMT
Forward Thinking https://sarahchisholmphotography.zenfolio.com/blog/2014/3/forward-thinking - Spring Forward -
   If you live in the same hemisphere as I do, you're no doubt very tired of winter at this point, as it has indeed been a winter for the ages. With damaging ice storms, tens of feet of snow in places, record low temperatures, power outages, and even the Great Lakes almost completely freezing over though they have not done so in years, this frigid season has certainly tested even the most hardy of us winter folk. Yet the unusual cold and snowfall have also brought awe-inspiring beauty, unique phenomenon, and good old-fashioned winter fun. My husband built a system of snow tunnels and curving sled tracks in our front yard... it's been decades since there's been enough snow to play like that. In my photographing journeys I've come across "frost flowers" (hoar frost) and "snow bales" (rolls of blown snow), the Northern Lights, and even "thunder snow" and lightning. Frost BonsaiFrost Bonsai Blizzards that obscured vision in front of your hands later left winter wonderlands with trees, houses, and landscapes covered in pristine white. Before freezing over completely, the relatively warm lake would send plumes of billowing steam into the much-colder air above, creating an ethereal view at sunset. This bitter season has been harsh, but it has also allowed us a glimpse of interesting and almost-forgotten cold weather phenomenon, and I'm surprisingly grateful for the little pleasures I've been granted during this seemingly endless winter. Thanks, winter. Great job.
   But I'm bored now. I've seen it. Next, please. 
   Despite recent temperatures being the coldest in over one hundred years in some places, spring is on its way. Really. The lake is thawing. The birds are returning, and singing their praises and hopes. Although more flakes fall almost every day, the snow piles... okay, snow dunes... okay, okay... mountains, are shrinking. Slow, quiet, almost undetectable, but definitely there... spring.  Winter's Dripping FangsWinter's Dripping Fangs
   Most people have a few projects in mind for when the warmer temperatures arrive; cabin fever and a lack of options usually have most of us dreaming of the great things we can accomplish just as soon as spring unleashes its glory, thus unleashing our energy and creativity. Or something like that. I am itching to get out on the area trails and also to discover new ones. I love walking in the woods in spring, it really heals the soul after a long winter's night, so to speak. Those more familiar with my work will know I'm drawn to trees and woodlands and forest paths and the fantastical sense they evoke within me, so I have a mind to create new fairytale-esque images, perhaps even "branching out" into portraiture and employing models. I also intend to add quite a few photographs and digital paintings of various homes and dwellings around Kincardine and area to my growing collection. I started this project mid-winter but am having trouble with "curb appeal" at this point due to the six-foot snowbanks lining the streets and hiding front yards and friendly facades. Frozen Front YardFrozen Front Yard Mind you, that hasn't stopped me, but rather challenged me. And during these wintery blues kind of days, it's refreshing to challenge yourself creatively!
   Look forward to spring and the wonderful activities planned, but don't spend the rest of winter in a slump... rise to the challenge(s)! That way, when spring gets here, you won't greet it like a lamb... you'll already be roaring like a lion and ready to pounce on opportunity.



(- SARAH CHISHOLM - Fine Art & Photography) https://sarahchisholmphotography.zenfolio.com/blog/2014/3/forward-thinking Sun, 02 Mar 2014 00:10:53 GMT