Thursday, 26 December 2013

M A R F A. texas

M A R F A      our home away from home. a home to many an artist,  rancher, local doctor, mechanic, restauranteur, librarian...and  many many others..some who have lived here their whole lives and some who have just landed or those that just come here for chunks of time, like us. ( we have spent parts of 4 winters living here) a magical, "diamond in the rough" refuge in west texas.
     recently, a texan dinner guest chuckled and said this about marfa:   "over hyped and overly expensive" but on a marfa website i read this and smiled:  "MARFA: tough to get to . tough to explain. but once you get here, you get it." this blog also was quite funny & wry and seemed to get marfas appeal & peculiarity.
     personally, i have never been so inspired by a landscape. perhaps its the fact that is so unfamiliar, so unlike my east  coastal life & upbringing.  the quality of light, the wide open spaces, the dusty, dry cactus & grass filled open landscape.
     a few years ago, our first winter here, i began a photo shadow series. it just happened one evening in the backyard of our adobe rental. the sun was setting and created hard, beautiful outlines of our bodies. we turned it into a project and began involving props ( cowboy hats & bikes & skateboards)  & friends over for a visit. timing was everything.
     now, i venture out in the early morning & late afternoon whent he light is mysterious and seems to transform even the most mundane.  a bikeride  or drive ( or motorcycle) down pinto canyon road can be a spiritual experience if you time it right.  around town, tumbleweeds, cactus, gas tanks ( dixon ranch), buildings, signs , peacocks, the presidio county courthouse lit up with incredible christmas lights ( paid for by the citizens of marfa!) ..its all beautiful to me. a remakable, hard to explain kind of place. if you can get there - go - and i hope "you get it"

Friday, 20 December 2013

winter white. blanc. witte

   winter white.
white has always been a favorite color of mine, both for personal fashion ( fav. jcrew white tissue tees of which i have many) and for the home. my house is decorated and painted in many shades of white and i am known for wearing white head to toe in the spring/summer/fall.
    the other day i stumbled upon the yoko ono WISH TREE at the jim kemner gallery . i had exited the high line and was heading north for an appt.   the light was pouring down and thru all the small paper tags that make up her thoughtful, ingenious but simple sculpture - it was luminescent & quite magical and invited participation. i, of course, wrote out a wish and hung it on the tree.
   before that serendipitous find, while charging thru the  masses at the   chelsea market - i was struck by the beauty of the holiday lighting in the central hall and the way the lights surrounded the clock. i was not alone, lots of iphones were out and i'm sure instagram is innundated with similiar images!)
   the geometric shaped, lit from behind sculpture is jason rogenes   it is comprised of reclaimed styrofoam pieces assembled together forming a wall and can be seen at portland museam of art. it is intriguing and gorgeous and made from discarded packing pieces. he also has a family room that invites children & families to build & assemble cast pieces.
winter has certainly arrived in the northeast - its time to embrace the beauty of this white dominant season. happy holidays.

Monday, 2 December 2013

R O C K . P A P E R . S C I S S O R S.

Rock, Paper, Scissors  - almost says it all.
Erica Soule's brainchild is this most inspiring shop in downtown Wiscassett. Its a quasi Housewares - Stationery - Gift Shop but with a quirky, sophisticated, curated feel. She carries exquisite jewelry, letterpressed EVERYthing ( cards, books, ect..) artwork, pillows & blankets, glassware,  ribbons, decorative tapes & papers, childrens toys & unusual gifts. Stopping at this shop en route north - i always get excited and leave with a little something special. Not to sound snotty but this is not your typical Maine shop.....
a few of our favorites & standouts:
washi tape - i first discovered it in the shop years ago  & use it all of the time
Coral & Tusks embroidered pieces; cards, pillows, wall art....
Jen Burrall - a local maine jeweler
Nightingale Projects  & Ladyfingers Letterpress  stationery ( among many others!)
Fog Linens beautiful japanese textiles
    If you can, stop by, located right on rt. 1 in historic Wiscassett. If you can't, call her up and she will ship to you. There is talk of a limited online shop/ website coming soon.
For more photos & info

Monday, 7 October 2013

heather chontos

milk farm road- heather chontos's art studio.  
i stumbled upon an opening there a few weeks ago. 
literally.  the lights were on, doors open, there was a hive of activity so naturally i walked in. there were colorful, arranged intriguing things to look at EVERYWHERE. (not to mention fabulous wine & appetizers set out on her friend michelle michael's gorgeous, modern ceramics) 
large & small abstract paintings, painted books, glassware, spoons, beautiful pillows, draped and folded fabrics and still lives of "objets" filled the space
as i explored & talked to folks, it became apparent that heather and her 2 daughters were a fairly new and exciting addition to portland. she hails from nyc-london-barcelona-montana. i found a table with "press" and business cards and there was a full spread on her this july/aug. martha stewart. wow. and when you dig further - one can find lots of coverage of heather; a prolific artist, set-designer/stylist, illustrator and textile designer. 
keep your eyes open as heather has some exciting textile & houseware projects coming up soon with anthropologie, land of nod and K colette.  or just walk into her studio and you can see her working away on a latest art piece or textile design in her large lightfilled space.
as an artist-jeweler-art director-stylist myself, it was hard to select which photos to use to show you her inspiring, creative lair...i hope you enjoy and can visit as well.

Wednesday, 2 October 2013

basha's bijoux {jewelry}

as i gear up for holiday & jewelry trunk shows - i always get excited to look thru images of my work to use in promos and invitations.
luckily - i can still use gorgeous shots that photographer friends ( seen here are 2 from shoshanna white)  have made over the years and combine them with my own more recent " point & shoot" images.
we have always used available light & simple, mostly natural materials for backgrounds.
i think its time to get a little dramatic. use lights. contrast. dark surfaces. i'll keep you posted....

Friday, 27 September 2013

bateaux { boat, ship, dinghy}

as we head into fall, i am  looking back at some of my favorite photos from june, july & august.
this particular summer was filled with amazing experiences on the maine coast in BATEAUX - boats of all kinds, sizes, shapes and makes. we rowed, sailed, cruised, raced, towed, floated, name it, we did it. slept on many, took friends out, hit rocks, had close calls with other vessels, rescued others,  had picnics & cocktails many a day and evening.
one highlight  was cruising with our berlin friends about their gannon & benjamin built classic sloop, painted black - elegant. another was teaching myself to sail a bettlecat ( NOT easy) and then race it at our local club with my son.
one particularly fun experience was being with girlfriends in a recently launched vintage lake cruiser ( see yellow boat above). it hadn't been in the water for 20 years. while cruising around it was taking on water at a rapid pace and seawater was sloshing around our ankles....we nervously giggled and just kept on going.
maine has 5,500 miles of coastline and about 2000 islands- we are doing our best to get out there and appreciate it .

Tuesday, 24 September 2013

brouillard. fog.

brouillard: french word for fog, mist, haze, murk, curtain, fogginess.
lately i have been feeling a bit "hazey" myself, be it the seasonal change, a new home, the harvest full moon, a combination of things - and i decided to kick start my way out of this by getting back to basha's oog blog posts. so here i am.
this summer i happened to be down by the ocean on a few particularly foggy mornings. the beauty that the fog created by making certain colors pop was breathtaking. it was sometimes like looking at a black & white photograph with just one or two parts in color. ( the blue of the boston whaler in the harbor boats image - an example) or the mystery, unknowingness that the fog implied like the dock above that seemed to end nowhere. somewhere. who knows where.
autumn has arrived. the sun is sparkly and has a very different quality than in summer. i am snapping into focus & clarity. the winds and cooler air have arrived - and fog is rare...

Tuesday, 2 April 2013

fiets. bicyclettes. bikes

biking was our main source of transportation - what a life changing experience.
this past fall/winter while living in the netherlands, this family of three relied soley on our loaner bikes.
we got to school & the office this way, we grocery shopped, we went out for dinner, to the library, to the bus & train stations, out to parties, to judo & soccer practice....and even to other neighboring towns.
we even used bikes on all our dutch vacation adventures. (try getting around amsterdam on christmas eve with your six year old and attending an elegant dinner and then a symphony! )
we biked in very hot & humid weather in august to the nearby beaches ( 5 - 7 km).
we biked in the pelting rain more often than i would have liked and actually learned how to ride WHILE holding an unbrella.
we biked in very cold weather, snow & sleet & freezing rain. we even crashed, wiped out, skidded, fell over - all three of us.
but we loved it all. it changed the way we approached everything from shopping to editing how many things to carry on a daytrip to the way we observed life in and around our corner of holland. it pushed our limits,  and  simply put - opened our eyes and minds and strengthened our bodies.

Wednesday, 20 March 2013

snow white

today is the vernal equinox-  THE FIRST DAY OF SPRING and we are  recovering from yesterdays snow day . the vernal quinox means that now days and nights are approximately equal everywhere and the sun rises & sets due east and due west. during yesterdays storm i made myself get outside into the snow and take a few walks in hopes of some beautiful photo opportunties. it was too blustery for much but i did find some wonderful natural textures like these snow covered twigs.
i was lead back to an all white still life i made one day at home with barnacles, porcupine quills ( that my son & husband graciously collected from roadkill), local farm eggs, yarn & twine - all set into a white glazed dish i made at a friends pottery studio. the white pitchers are from an interiors shoot i got to work on with photographer marjon hoogervorst while in the netherlands.
the snow white landscape is quite beautiful and all looks so clean and austere - but i am ready for spring & green.

Wednesday, 13 March 2013

green. vert. groen

little hints that spring is coming; the grass, the mud, the wet  & the little bits of promising green here & there.
i am reminded that winter in holland is so MILD compared to the northeastern usa and that one
sees grass, GREEN grass almost all winter long. the tree shot was taken on our christmas holiday to
the north of holland. it was taken in Drowen. the vintage volvo was seen on the same trip on the streets of Groningen, a charming city...i just love the boxy simplicity of this model and could imagine
owning one of these. i have to admit, i am missing the daily sight of so many wonderful vintage cars - in the netherlands i saw a few a day - it makes you pine.
the swans and train shot were taken right near our house in wassenaar on my favorite bike route along a canal.
spring is coming.

Tuesday, 5 March 2013

m u l t i c o l o r & k i d s

color color color kids kids kids.
just back from working on a kids shoot in texas ( lucky me!)
 so much energy & fun & silliness & hard work.
the clothes were vibrant & patterned & inspired.
only two images are from my shoot the others i took recently around town. ( the one of the little one with his back turned..i had to laugh as he was trying to sneak off set thru a teeny space where the set met the wall)
others:   * at my house, birthday party dutch verjaardag paper garland. my mom always had these for our birthday parties growing up. i keep this one up as it spruces up a maine winter interior
* pillows & lime painted wall at a friends house as well as the index cards - recipes from the 1970's in a clear acrylic box.

Thursday, 21 February 2013

angela a. & sherwood h. COLOR

angela adams and sherwood hamill's extraordinary work are seen above. 
they share a complimentary aesthtic and beautiful showroom & storefront in downtown portland.  angelas bags, rugs, housewares, cards, textiles - (and more) and sherwoods furniture are combined and shown together. the store always has fun, unexpected window displays.
angela has always had an adventurous, amazing sense of color and i was immediately drawn to her painted wood pieces on the walls. ( see above)
i am reminded that in the dead of winter that adding some color to ones life is a good thing and goes a long way.
either in the home with flowers ( i have several bouquets of daffodils arranged around the house now) or painted walls or with your fashion.  i, sadly, can't get away from black & white & cream in this dept but hugely admire designers like trina turk, jcrew  cynthia rowleys colorblocked wetsuit - (gorgeous) and so many others that use color color color.
the dutch are great at incorporating color into everything. see my post kleur
up next i think - YELLOW. 

Friday, 15 February 2013


the predominant image and color : chestnuts that we gathered at our writer/artist friend marion bloem's home in the netherlands. it was fall and they covered her lawn. the children were sent to gather them up and put them in buckets to be cleared away. i wanted to photograph them. so rich, shiny, varied, smooth - they feel wonderful in the hand.
also seen here in fragments:  a sherwood hamill table coffee table
the frame of an original vermeer painting i saw at the rijksmuseum in amsterdam
stacked firewood along the road at the wealdon farm

Wednesday, 13 February 2013

winter white

W I N T E R    W H I T E
embracing winter and seeing the beauty in the everyday.
thats my goal over these few months having just returned
from the netherlands where its much milder and greener.
yesterday i went to scout a house and stumbled upon this image by one of my favorite local photographers, winky lewis
the photos i took early this morning of the frosted bits of frozen flora & fauna outside my house seemed to compliment beautifully the shot i took of winkys enormous photo mounted over a gorgeous couch. ( its hard to tell the scale but its BIG, wonderfully so)

( when looking for winkys website i found this great designsponge post on her very inspiring family home. click HERE.)
all i can say for those feeling a bit oppressed by winter is get out there, have an adventure and find the MAGIC in it, its there.....

Friday, 8 February 2013


P E A F O W L 
should be the name of this post. ( that encompassses peacocks & peahens)
 i began with a few images of white swans in canals in france and the netherlands ( hence the title : les oiseaux, french for birds) and ended up here.
my inspiration started with this big nor' easter white - out snow storm which led me to images of white swans....and then to bird swarms in the dunes of wassenaar, NL and then to these peacocks in marfa. hmmm...i know, seems a bit strange  but its the process of going over ones photographs and getting re-inspired by them.
these peacocks live on a quasi-ranch on the outskirts of town with a posse of chickens and outdoor cats. they tend to wander and also have been attacked by neighboring dogs. they stick to themselves, can endure quite cold temps and love to roost. whenever we drove up to our friends house, they were inevitably  perched on top of their pickup or cadillac ( which my car obsessed husband insist they buy second hand)

i spent an entire winter trying to sneak up  and capture a great photograph of these beatiful creatures but they were always so ellusive and fast. finally, i did get the one shot of the peacock in flight off of the old caddilac. it was my "coup d'etat." i think after that i gave up....

Thursday, 31 January 2013

s a i l o r r o s e

my old friend k.m. started this women & childrens clothing company  sailor rose,  a few years ago in nyc. all the fabrics are from liberty of london and all the garments are made LOCALLY. (amazing & wonderful, right.!?)
the dress picutred here is the 1930's fancy dress. we shot this in front of a perfectly colored vibrant blue vintage trailer ( picking up the bits of blue in the gorgeous fabric) at el cosmico in texas
our little friend  (O) , pictured here,  was the most entertaining and wonderful "model" of the whole day...
sailorrose is getting lots of attention, they even were in VOGUE in oct.
if you have girly-girls or if you are one yourself - check them out..every piece is well crafted and you can't beat the fabrics.
photo: ryan goodrich
styling: brienne neumann

Wednesday, 30 January 2013

marfa k i d s

so one thing i have recently realized is that i am a follower of the sun and light.
i loved the netherlands but the weather was tough. i will be honest. a leo like me needs SUN.
so now i am stateside, living on the east coast and we have been enduring a fairly typical winter with very cold temperatures.( it just occurred to me that i have not spent a whole winter here for perhaps 8 years!)
and i am a bit in shock. i am fully embracing the season by c.c skiing & hockey skating with the neighborhood kids...i even insist on shoveling our long driveway myself.
HOWEVER i find myself going back thru all my photos from places sunny & warm.
i am missing MARFA where we usually decamp to for the winter months.
so here is a quickie collage i made to revel in my time there. these images were from a kids shoot i dreamed up & art directed & produced in texas.
if you can - GO WEST. go to texas. go to marfa. get out into the light....for me.

Thursday, 24 January 2013

m a r f a . s h a d o w s

shadows on the wall.
a few winters ago we began renting a wonderful house in marfa that had adobe walls surrounding the backyard. every evening around 5 pm the sun would be beginning to set and i realized i could create these silhouettes against the walls. i began doing them with my son . we incorporated all his toys; skateboard, plastic swords, bow & arrow, cowboy hats - whatever we could find.... eventually it began to involve friends ( among them & pictured above writer daphne beal and L.A  artist susan carter hall ) who happened to be there at the right time. sometimes for cocktails, or an early dinner or a spontaneous visit or playdate.
last febuary penelope green came to do a story on  PHB, my husband and his about-to-be published novel,  for the NY Times Home  section. shortly after her visit the nytimes photgrapher tony cenicola came to document the story and included one these shadow pictures. ( thats his tripod pictured in the upper right photo)
i have continued to make these against sails while sailing penobscot bay and even on the doors & walls of our wassenaar, NL rental apt. but they never had the impact that these do. its that famous MARFA LIGHT  which i am missing quite dramatically right now as we endure the below freezing temps of the east coast.

Wednesday, 16 January 2013

bethel. part two

bethel weekend : part 2.
one of our  returning-to-the-states-and-trying-to-embrace-winter activities is cross country skiing.
seeing as this winter we are skipping marfa, our usual winter spot, we are doing our best to get outdoors and enjoy what the season has to offer.
 i've always loved nordic skiing in maine and decided my son, age six is the perfect age to learn.
so we brought our previously owned, used skis ( bought here) to bethel and skiied both days across a gorgeous, expansive lake  - right out in front of our friend's home. we managed to meet up with a family ice fishing and arrived just when this beautiful bass was being caught. the yellow perch came shortly after. so no, i have not taken up ice fishing but i am intrigued and loved the whole scene......
especially bitter sweet was when the kids leaned down to look closer at the just-caught bass and my son said : "mom, its still breathing!"

Monday, 14 January 2013

bethel. maine

i intended on doing a blog post on our last chapter in the netherlands and how we spent the holidays, in amsterdam and northern holland but, alas, i am already stateside. so i think i'll work backwards.
this past weekend, my son and i visited a my writer friend melissa coleman and her twin daughters in bethel, me.
one of our most enjoyable weekend kid-centric experiences was swimmming at the outdoor heated pool at the bethel inn    as many parents know: kids + water = fun & happy kids so we lingered and swam around surrounded by snow and winter temps for what felt like hours. ( there are saunas there to warm up in afterwards)
it was exceptionally warm for a maine winter  day - they are calling it a  "january thaw".
the combination of steam and fog created a mysterious and beautiful  scene. i decided to brave the pool   with my iphone and took many photos - a few of them, as you see here.
stay tuned, more on bethel in my next post.

Wednesday, 2 January 2013

dutch shipping containers

so this may seem like a strange posting : dutch shipping containers however, there is a story.
a while back i art directed a kids shoot in marfa, tx. and at the end of a long, hot wonderful day we ended up shooting at el cosmico  - a modern day trailer park. it just so happened that our stylist  had my son ( one of our key models) dressed perfectly in coordination with my husband and the shipping containers they had onsight for storage so we shot some great images of them. one ended up being the author photo for The O'Briens.
so - fast forward to this fall and we are living in Wasseaar, NL. as i biked past my son's favorite skatebaan one afternoon, i noticed these shipping containers on a construction sight and they were painted exactly the same as the ones we had as background in texas. so now i know where they came from, a strange coincidence.
in the netherlands, space is a premium and they are the kings of recycling so naturally they inovatively use these containers for student housing, pop up stores, exhibiton spaces, low income housing -  you name it.
in our hometown in maine there is an amazing house made up from 12 of these shipping containers, see the ny times or Maine Magazine pieces on this architectural wonder.
additionally - while researching a bit about these containers i was reminded of the nomadic museum that i visited in nyc in 2005 and santa monica the following year. it housed the ashes & snow exhibit by
photograpgher/filmaker gregory colbert - it was quite memorable.
i am thinking i'd like to have one behind my house as my studio but not live in one