Thursday, December 23, 2010

Winter Solstice Eclipse

A few nights ago, some of us stood out in the orchard, bundled in coats and boots, trying to get a glimpse of the moon, as it appeared and disappeared behind clouds. It was the first time an eclipse has landed on winter solstice in 372 years!  It was an impressive, sort of startling sight - the sliver of eclipsed moon that we did see, and worth the wait in the cold. But, I must say, so was the soft glow of colored lights strung haphazardly in the single apple tree in the expanse of country darkness in front of us.
Here in the north, during these dark winters, like moths to a flame, we look to light to warm our souls;  The moon and stars, strings of holiday lights, candles on the dining table, bonfires built from branches downed by storms....alone and together, we are illuminated.
Solstice means the big light of the sun is just around the corner.
Now is the time I like to appreciate the hush that is this moment in between.

Here are some beautiful words that come to mind at this time.

The Light is inviting you
to it’s glorious banquet
but you will have to travel
the full length of the darkness
alone with your faith
to get there.

-Excerpt from "The Spring" by Laurent Boucher, musician/writer extraordinaire- Salt Spring Island. 

May you all be well and happy this holiday, and in the new year ahead.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

The Mendocino Workshop is Full.
And a waiting list has begun... If you have been thinking about taking the alternative techniques overview workshop, please do call or email, and ask to have your name put on the list, because you never know! Also, if the waiting list contains enough people, I may be able to set a second northern California workshop date for sometime just after the holidays, or in the spring.

Friday, October 29, 2010

Mendocino Workshop - November 13th

Hello out there….

One minute it was summer. I turned around and it was fall, and it’s a beauty! 

News flash:

My last workshop of 2010 will be held in the village of Mendocino, on the spectacular coast of northern California- Saturday,  November 13th.

Alternative Techniques: An Overview 

This one day intensive class is geared toward photographers who would like to move beyond the original image, beyond pixels and plug-ins, mats and frames. Learn how to create images that are built on photographic content and, through a whole, integrated creative process,  expand to convey the spirit of the subject, as well as the photographer.
This class is the sharing of years of experience, distilled into one concentrated, information packed day.  I'll walk you through my own particular workflow, exploring  topics such as: Equipment, photographing, editing &, organizing, Photoshop layering techniques, selecting printing media beyond paper, hand-painting, presentation options, and resources.

All materials included.  Basic Photoshop skills are a plus, not required. 
Fee: $135      Pre-registration required.

Email or call to register for one of the remaining spaces, or for more information:

Tel: 250-537-4489 

Here's a fall greeting for you (from one of the wonderful TED talks online):
Imagine this: You wake up in the morning with your blood singing at the thought of being who you are and doing what you do. As you go through the day, you literally sink to your knees in gratitude at the tremendous good fortune that has been bestowed on you. - Srikumar Rao

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Migration of Dates and Birds

The Mount Vernon workshop date has migrated. The new
date is October 16, 2010.
The workshop will take place on Fir Island, a magnificent place I will
always love for it being the first place I ever saw a massive flock of snow geese filling the sky.
That was the beginning of October, so there is a very good chance of seeing geese, and possibly trumpeter swans again during the workshop weekend. I'll be keeping my eyes and ears open for them (they're loud-but it's a great noise)
A sight like this brings poems to mind- especially those of Mary Oliver and David Whyte, two of my favorite contemporary poets.
Here's one by David Whyte, from The House of Belonging :

Above the mountains

the geese turn into

the light again

painting their

black silhouettes

on an open sky.

Sometimes everything

Has to be

enscribed across

the heavens

so you can find

the one line

already written

inside you.

Sometimes it takes

a great sky

to find that

small, bright

and indescribable

wedge of freedom

in your own heart.

Sometimes with

the bones of the black

sticks left when the fire

has gone out

someone has written

something new

in the ashes

of your life.

You are not leaving

you are arriving.

-David Whyte

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Fall Workshop Schedule Complete. Final Two Locations Added.

We're all REALLY hoping for a long, warm September. But a recent day of rain was a wake up call to all of us on Salt Spring. It was a call to action to finish outdoor projects that require dry weather, and for us photographers to record what we know will soon disappear until next season.
Every year, my inner squirrel compels me to freeze pesto and tomatoes, and lots and lots of green things from our own garden, and those of the great farmers of the island.
But, while I begin to think of rounding up flashlights and kindling and tomatoes, I'm also remembering what a good opportunity winter provides to get into a very creative zone in the studio. With a lots of images to work with, a few supplies, and a long rainy night- amazing things can happen. Pesto helps too.

Fuel your creative fires this winter with a hearty dose of inspiration....

The Alternative Photographic Techniques workshops schedule for this fall is complete, with a total of four locations!
Just added: Mendocino, California and Mt. Vernon, Washington.

Sept 25, 2010- Salt Spring Is, BC workshop is FULL *

Oct 2, 2010- Port Townsend, WA space available

October 16, 2010 revised date- Mt. Vernon, WA space available

Nov 13, 2010- Mendocino, CA space available

*If there are enough people on the waiting list for this workshop, a second date or a Victoria location may be offered. Please let me know if you're interested in being added to the waiting list.

For more information, or to register for any location: email:,
or tel: 250-537-4489

Scroll down to see workshop description. Content is the same in each location. Time schedule of the day varies slightly.

Monday, August 30, 2010

Port Townsend: Workshop

Alternative Photographic Techniques: An Overview with Amy Melious

Date: Saturday, October 2, 2010
Time: 9:30 am -6 pm + Optional evening Q&A, work sharing 7:30-9:00pm.
Fee: $125, lunch option add $12.
Location: Port Townsend, Washington
Space is limited
This one day intensive class is geared toward photographers who are curious about the world of alternative techniques. It will open the door for you to be able to create images that enhance your unique vision. This class is years of trial and err and tinkering distilled into one concentrated, information packed day.
All materials included. Basic Photoshop skills are a plus, not required.

Friday, August 27, 2010

Port Townsend Workshop!

Thank you to everyone who has registered for the September Salt Spring workshop, which has filled quickly. There are a couple of spaces left for those of you who are still considering.

In response to a number of requests from residents of areas far and wide, I have been working on firming up additional dates and venues for the Alternative Techniques workshop.

I am pleased to announce that the Alternative Techniques Overview workshop is a GO for
October 2, 2010 in Port Townsend, Washington!
The workshop will be held at the beautiful Fort Worden State Park, on the Strait of Juan de Fuca.
There have been only minor adjustment to the schedule given for the Salt Spring workshop, but the course content is the same.
To register for the Port Townsend workshop, please email or phone: 250-537-4489

Friday, August 20, 2010

The Possibilities Workshop

News flash! New workshop coming up at the end of September.
This workshop is designed to answer the kinds of questions I am frequently asked about my work.
I think it will be a lot of fun, and inspiring for all of us.

Alternative Photographic Techniques:
An Overview with Amy Melious

Date: September 25, 2010

Time: 9 am -6 pm + Optional evening Q&A, work sharing 7:30-9:30pm.

Fee: $125

Location: Salt Spring Island, BC Canada

Space is limited

This one day intensive class is geared toward photographers who would like to explore the world of alternative techniques. It will open the door for you to be able to create images that enhance your unique vision. This class is years of trial and err and tinkering distilled into one concentrated, information packed day.

All materials included. Basic Photoshop skills are a plus, not required.

Some of the things you’ll know more about by the end of the day:

Photoshop: What is a Photoshop “tool kit”, and how do you create your own?

This topic is somewhat like deconstructing a recipe. I’ll share key "ingredients" that I use in working on my images. You'll leave with knowledge of a set of relatively simple tools that you can try, as well as a good understanding of what's possible, digitally.

That said, digital techniques will not be the primary emphasis of the day, rather a piece of the pie. It’s easy to get lost in Photoshop Land (in a good way). However, it is only one of the tools for making photographic artwork. So, instead of taking you through that door during this workshop, I aim to hand you a “key” to use on your own later, with the information I’ll give you as a guide.

Seeing what you want to say: Selecting and shooting images, intended for finishing with alternative techniques, requires getting in touch with your images in an intimate way. This is an important topic, where you will learn to identify and articulate what you would like to say through your images.

Printing surfaces: -Learn about the amazing variety of printing surfaces available to photographers today, and how to select the most appropriate ones for your images. Samples will be on hand.

Hand Painting-Hand painting techniques will be discussed and demonstrated. Whether just a few delicate strokes, or a total transformation, hand work has the power to add tremendous depth to an image through texture, color and spirit conveyed by the human hand. Participants will have the opportunity to experiment with hand painting materials.

Presentation options-When showing your photographs, how can matter as much as what: You will be introduced to a variety of ideas for alternative presentation methods. Samples on hand.

To Register: Pre-registration and prepayment required, by mail, phone, or email (my contact info below). Your space will be confirmed immediately by email followed by a mailed receipt.

Please provide your full name, mailing address, email and phone number.

Your confirmation email will contain the course outline, optional materials list, directions, transportation and lodging information.

Payment is due upon registration by Visa, MC, or check. Due to limited space available for courses, please understand that rainchecks will be offered, in lieu of refunds, for those unable to make the class.

Amy Melious:


Phone: : 250-537-4489

Participants are responsible for travel, lodging and meal expenses.

Thursday, August 19, 2010


I ampleased to be included in the 10th annual Photosynthesis photography exhibit,
on now through September 7th, here on Salt Spring Island.
I have four pieces in the show. They're printed on linen, and hand worked with pastel and pencil.
I've always loved experimenting with different surfaces for printing. But, I believe I've found a favorite in the linen. It was tricky to work with, but worth the extra TLC it took to get good prints. The use of fabric lends itself to certain types of images. I don't see it working for everything. But for the right bodies of work, it's really lovely.
I also like working with linen in that it gives me an intriguing sense of connection to my ancestors, who grew flax in northern France and in Ireland for many generations.
Here are a couple of the images hanging in the current Photosynthesis exhibit.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Suspended Animation

I love the way photography weaves together with life as it flows on.

My daughters, my niece, and several of their friends are dancers. I have marveled at watching them grow, from tiny exuberant fairies, tip-toeing their way across the stage, into elegant souls powerfully expressing the passion that resides within. With creativity and intense vitality, they captivate the eyes, hearts, and minds of their audiences. I know my life is richer for having watched the girls dance over the years.

For the last several months, I have been photographing a budding dance company with whom one of my daughters dances. It is difficult to capture all that dance has to say in a still photo, because of the very nature of the art form being about movement. So, I try to find an instant within the dance, where our imagination is suspended, like the drop of water on the tip of a blade of grass just before it falls. There we might sense, a little anyway, the nature of the water....

Helix Dance Theatre was started in the fall of 2009 by two experienced, talented dancers (Sarah DeVito and Kortney Hunchuk) from Vancouver Island, on a mission. The results were stunning. Dance enthusiasts might want to keep an eye out for their tour schedule next spring.

In the meantime, watch some dance wherever you are. The dancers always appreciate an audience.!

To watch us dance is to hear our hearts speak.
~Hopi Indian Saying

Upper photo: Celina, Elya, Bronwyn
Lower photo: Emily, Kristen, Clare

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Art on the Island

These butterfly "portraits" are two out of a series of 14 finished images.
Yesterday, I delivered them to Artcraft, here on Salt Spring Island, where they'll hang for the next couple of months, along with some other work.
Artcraft is a summer long exhibition of work created by diverse artists of the Southern Gulf Islands. If you're in the neighborhood, stop by.
The island also has and impressive, self guided studio tour (Salt Spring Studio Tour). The wonderful thing about the "tour", is that with a map in hand, you meander around the island at your own pace, visiting artists at their studios and gallery spaces at their homes all over the island.

Thursday, June 10, 2010


Here's an image from a series I'm working on at the moment. It's a celebration of the little things about human beings that have so much power and beauty. Each of us is absolutely unique in the world, and an amazing work of art.

Since my last post, I've been traveling, and have worked on a wide variety of things.
I'll share some of that here over the next couple of weeks, along with the recap from my workshop that already seems so long ago! Time flies.

Saturday, March 6, 2010

Suddenly Spring

About two weeks ago, I noticed the first blossoms
of spring, on a single tree near my home on Salt Spring. Now, we are surrounded by flowers.
Every year, it's startling--in a good way!
Thursday, I was on Vancouver Island, about a hour north of here, and the
first blossoms were just appearing on trees there.
I realize that the parade likely passed weeks ago in places like California.
I've always thought it would be fun to plan a trip around following the blossoming.

Here in the north, we endure long, dark winters. It is true that it
is darkest just before the dawn. These cheerful little messengers of the coming sun are always a welcome sight.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Winter Branches

I love the austere poetry of winter branches sketched against the sky by nature.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Art Happens

Greetings. It's a quiet January day in the studio. Even the parakeet seems to be in a gathering her thoughts kind of mood.
Art is one of the best ways I know to sift through the experience of life. I think, in fact, that our lives are part of the artwork of the world.
I've been traveling over this last week, which was one of storms, earthquakes, and politics, work, ideas and family. Navigating my way through everything as best I could, the events of the week were woven together by moments of beauty : In the branches of a tree in a parking lot, in the sparkling sidewalk in North Beach, in the Chinese child huddled up against his fathers legs as they both press against a wall to wait out a downpour. It was beautiful how fast, and how much the world gathered up to rush and help Haiti. It was beautiful to hug family, to hear laughter, and to meet people who are realizing their dreams, and who are just beginning to dream.
I didn't have a camera with me this week. But that's okay. The art still happens.

Monday, January 4, 2010

Words, Paint, Flowers...

Thank you to all of you, for your words of enthusiasm, regarding the upcoming workshop! I look forward to working with those of you who have registered to attend. I think it will be inspiring for all of us. There are still some spaces, for those of you who are considering.
I've been thinking about which samples of my work I'd like to pull out and bring to my workshop at the end of the month.
This is one of my favorites. The blossom was incredible. A photo certainly could suffice to remind me of it. However, painting the print took me deeper, still, into the flower, creating a relationship rich with new understanding and awe. I got to know each petal apart from the whole, and in the process, discovered a rainbow of subtle whites, and pastels. In my attempt to keep the delicacy of the living flower, I tried to teach my hand to be sensitive in the strength and direction of my strokes.

"I dream of painting and then I paint my dream" - Vincent Van Gogh