scurrying to prepare for winter

we are starting to prepare for our return home. we have two weeks left. i know for most people, that sounds like a nice long vacation. but, i am feeling nothing but time running out. i have a house full of nature finds, and enough paper scraps from my collage work that i may need to hire a dumpster. i am heading back to sub-zero (fahrenheit mind you) weather, and a landscape covered in two feet of snow. i have done five winters of STILL images, so i shouldn’t be anxious. but, let’s face it, bare winter stems on a white background looks minimal and artsy. on a black background, it will be tricky. very tricky. so, like a squirrel preparing for winter, i am scurrying around and photographing everything i see on my new black tagboard. these geraniums grow in pots that line our terrace here in autignac. they are still blooming in january. which is a reason to be joyful about living here right now. and another reason to feel panicky about the approach of our departure date. there are no geraniums in minnesota right now.

geraniums

autignac, france

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these are a few of my favorite things

whew. launch days, or in this case, re-launch days, always make me a little nervous. so many last minute loose ends and last minute tweaks. i always end up with a lot of nervous energy, and not a lot to do but monitor for hiccups.  all in all, yesterday went pretty smoothly. just one little glitch with pinterest that i am hopeful we will shortly smooth out. otherwise, a successful relaunch day. you all were so loving and encouraging. i really appreciate it more than you can possibly know. i did get a few mourners who will miss the white, but even that was a tribute of sorts to five years of dedicated work. so, one great big huge mediterranean three-cheek kiss (the special-occasion kind) to all of you! you make this labor of love so much about love and so little about labor. thank you.

an assemblage of some of my favorite languedocien collections

autignac, france

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muted flowers

i am expecting a range of reactions to this post, from “oh, yes!” to “oh, no!” but, yes or no, this is the new STILL blog. after five straight years of daily photographs in the same format on the same white background, i needed to make some kind of change. but i couldn’t bear the thought of leaving behind the exhilarating daily practice of STILL blog, nor the way it required me to be present and observant in nature, nor the way it brought me in contact with a world of creative, supportive, inspiring, and affirming colleagues, followers, and friends. i have spent the better part of the last couple of years trying to figure out what STILL 2.0 should look like. one obvious solution was simply to switch the background from white to black, which seemed too obvious for a while, until I took my first actual photo on a black background (this breathtaking queen anne’s lace), and suddenly several years of new possibilities opened up. the new black background will lend itself to new subjects, new colors (it was nearly impossible to photograph white objects on a white background), and new, more emotionally nuanced compositions. the new format will be divided into three galleries or realms: the realm of “day” of “night” and of “dawn.”  all of my prior five years of white images will be available and archived in the “day” gallery. all of my new images on a black background will accumulate in the “night” gallery. and my new project, a collage-a-day challenge, will be featured in the “dawn” gallery (as in “dawn of a new era”). there is more information about this new project in the gallery itself. i think this new format is gorgeous, and will lend itself to a newly expansive vision of what STILL blog can be, while hewing to its original vision of pared-down minimalism that encourages everyone to be still for a part of every day, and look at one thing at a time.  i hope you love it, and if you don’t love it yet, i hope you will give yourself time to fall in love. whatever you think, I’d love to hear from you, whether in the comments section, or by email. thank you all for spending these last five years with me, and adding kindness and magic to my days. 

  • Candy says:

    Wow! This is fantastic!!!! A whole nother way of seeing, what a great way to branch out!

    reply
  • Christjann says:

    Ma-gni-fique! Just blown away from the black background photos, and I am looking forward to the shop! THANK YOU!

    reply
  • krissy says:

    oh YES!

    reply
  • Stefanie lindeman says:

    I love the moody new look! The whites were sometimes a little stark for my taste, but these have a new level of warmth while honoring your minimalist vision. Bravo!

    reply
    • Stephanie! Thank you so much for checking in. Your aesthetic vision is something I respect a lot, and so it means quite a bit to me that you are responding to the new look. Looking forward to seeing you in 2017.

      reply
  • Nancy B says:

    Every morning when I open my computer, there you are. Awe!! I am so pleased for you to be moving forward with NIGHT and DAWN. I am so sorry that my eyes are unable to now see clearly the small print font of the details when on the black.Your work is wonderful! Your collage is always outstanding When Target took your designs to heart, I immediately bought a pillow of my most favorite of all your work. THE THISTLE. It greets me every morning as I enter my workroom. Would it be possible to have the blog on white, or in a larger font?

    reply
    • Hi Nancy, Glad to hear you like the new site. You are the second person to say they are having a hard time reading the white text on the black background. A quick and easy work around is to hit “Cmd +” on a Mac, or “Ctrl +” on a pc, and the text will expand for you. You can hit it as many times as you like to get the size font you want. I hope this helps. Let me know if it works. Thanks again for your words of encouragement. Warmly, Mary Jo

      reply
  • Dede says:

    My response was WOW! I love to follow your journey and see where it has taken you. The experiences with the artists of this region have had such an impact on you and then on the rest of us who are lucky to see the inner inspirations of an artist and creative genius as yourself!

    reply
  • Karenthips says:

    example essay proposal

    http://brainfish.us

    reply
  • marianne Lapadat says:

    Love it, love it. Could see you were on to something big while looking at your pictures in France. Looking forward to the collages also. It’s genetic you know! Your mom Marianne

    reply
  • Your are truly an artist. Your work speaks to my soul as a florist and amateur photographer.
    Please keep doing whatever comes to you. I love it all.
    Sheri at Apropos Flowers.

    reply
  • Pauline says:

    I love it!

    reply

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jet flower

i am expecting a range of reactions to this post, from “oh, yes!” to “oh, no!” but, yes or no, this is the new STILL blog. after five straight years of daily photographs in the same format on the same white background, i needed to make some kind of change. but i couldn’t bear the thought of leaving behind the exhilarating daily practice of STILL blog, nor the way it required me to be present and observant in nature, nor the way it brought me in contact with a world of creative, supportive, inspiring, and affirming colleagues, followers, and friends. i have spent the better part of the last couple of years trying to figure out what STILL 2.0 should look like. one obvious solution was simply to switch the background from white to black, which seemed too obvious for a while, until I took my first actual photo on a black background (this breathtaking queen anne’s lace), and suddenly several years of new possibilities opened up. the new black background will lend itself to new subjects, new colors (it was nearly impossible to photograph white objects on a white background), and new, more emotionally nuanced compositions. the new format will be divided into three galleries or realms: the realm of “day” of “night” and of “dawn.”  all of my prior five years of white images will be available and archived in the “day” gallery. all of my new images on a black background will accumulate in the “night” gallery. and my new project, a collage-a-day challenge, will be featured in the “dawn” gallery (as in “dawn of a new era”). there is more information about this new project in the gallery itself. i think this new format is gorgeous, and will lend itself to a newly expansive vision of what STILL blog can be, while hewing to its original vision of pared-down minimalism that encourages everyone to be still for a part of every day, and look at one thing at a time.  i hope you love it, and if you don’t love it yet, i hope you will give yourself time to fall in love. whatever you think, I’d love to hear from you, whether in the comments section, or by email. thank you all for spending these last five years with me, and adding kindness and magic to my days. 

  • Steve says:

    Gorgeousness and gorgeosity.

    reply
  • TAC says:

    Interesting new angle. I’m looking forward to exploring it along with you.

    reply

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grapes ripe

i am expecting a range of reactions to this post, from “oh, yes!” to “oh, no!” but, yes or no, this is the new STILL blog. after five straight years of daily photographs in the same format on the same white background, i needed to make some kind of change. but i couldn’t bear the thought of leaving behind the exhilarating daily practice of STILL blog, nor the way it required me to be present and observant in nature, nor the way it brought me in contact with a world of creative, supportive, inspiring, and affirming colleagues, followers, and friends. i have spent the better part of the last couple of years trying to figure out what STILL 2.0 should look like. one obvious solution was simply to switch the background from white to black, which seemed too obvious for a while, until I took my first actual photo on a black background (this breathtaking queen anne’s lace), and suddenly several years of new possibilities opened up. the new black background will lend itself to new subjects, new colors (it was nearly impossible to photograph white objects on a white background), and new, more emotionally nuanced compositions. the new format will be divided into three galleries or realms: the realm of “day” of “night” and of “dawn.”  all of my prior five years of white images will be available and archived in the “day” gallery. all of my new images on a black background will accumulate in the “night” gallery. and my new project, a collage-a-day challenge, will be featured in the “dawn” gallery (as in “dawn of a new era”). there is more information about this new project in the gallery itself. i think this new format is gorgeous, and will lend itself to a newly expansive vision of what STILL blog can be, while hewing to its original vision of pared-down minimalism that encourages everyone to be still for a part of every day, and look at one thing at a time.  i hope you love it, and if you don’t love it yet, i hope you will give yourself time to fall in love. whatever you think, I’d love to hear from you, whether in the comments section, or by email. thank you all for spending these last five years with me, and adding kindness and magic to my days. 

  • Brigitte Fisher says:

    Love the change. What a surprise I had when I checked STILL I thought I had clicked incorrectly. I love your blog and Instagram account. I am also fascinated with your collages, they make me want to try some art form. Thank you for your work. I have a small family blog and understand it can be hard to be creative everyday. Finally I was born in France and have enjoyed yours and your husbands photos as I haven’t visited there in over 40 years.

    reply
  • Pauline van Eijle says:

    I’m looking forward to these new steps for Still blog. Still Night is awesome from what I’ve seen, I really wonder how it wil work out. And Dawn is a new branch on the Still tree I’m very curious about. Still blog is my go-to every morning, thanks for this daily dose of inspiration!

    reply
  • Francia says:

    Exciting news, change is good and you have achieved it beautifully! Thank you for sharing your beautiful creations!

    reply
  • Candice in Georgetown says:

    Brilliant! I hope this change continues to inspire your work. I look forward to more intimate images and engaging commentary.

    reply
  • Lolli Pooler says:

    I love it… thought there was something wrong with my pc…! I’m looking forward to the new design capture as all of your pictures are outstanding… I have been an admirer/follower since I saw the article about you in Martha Stewart’s Living magazine…was it 2013?? So long ago! Every morning when I wake up it’s the first thing I do …to check your site for a picture …. it starts my day of admiration of nature through your lens….Mary Jo please continue doing this…!

    reply
  • Steve Your Hubby says:

    Gorgeousness and gorgeosity.

    reply
    • Thanks honey. I couldn’t have done it without you. You’re the best!

      reply
  • Your minimalism is still evident, but the black background makes the elements so lush. I can really sense the extravagance of nature! Love this new direction! Light and dark – it all belongs.

    reply
    • Thank you for this beautiful comment, Jackie. You made my day!

      reply
  • Carol says:

    Gorgeous and gorgeouser. Totally in love with this.

    reply
  • nancy says:

    Beautifully done, Mary Jo!

    reply
  • Carol says:

    one more comment if I may, this format makes me think of Old Dutch paintings – esp. Brueghel

    reply
  • Ingrid says:

    I love your artistry and writing, and support whatever form you use. I think this broadening of style will make your creative juices continue to flow, and I’m all for it! You go, Girl!

    reply
  • Celia says:

    STILL is part of my daily ritual. Here I am – in Japan, over my lunch hour – checking your blog. Love the new direction of Night, Day and Dawn! Keep it all coming!

    reply
  • Carol says:

    I love the depth of these photos now on the black, very juicy

    reply
  • Carol says:

    My comment on this, your second, post went on yesterday’s comments

    reply
  • Oh Mary-Jo, you’ve really surprised me ! I loved the white background, and I must say that I also love the black one. I wonder how on earth you manage to balance the light & contrast & all that jazz … the result is sensational ! ox

    reply
  • Suzanne says:

    Love the black background! The contrast is just juicy.

    Hard for my old eyes to read the comments in white on black tho.

    I use black backgrounds for most of my collages.

    reply
    • Hi Suzanne, Glad to hear you like the new site. You are not the first person to say they are having a hard time reading the white text on the black background. A quick and easy work around is to hit “Cmd +” on a Mac, or “Ctrl +” on a pc, and the text will expand for you. You can hit it as many times as you like to get the size font you want. I hope this helps. Thanks again for your words of encouragement. Warmly, Mary Jo

      reply
  • Manisha says:

    There’s warm temps headed here to Minnesota next week so hopefully much of the snow will be gone. Hope your transition back is smoother than expected!

    reply

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