Welcome to my world

Portable Magic

I’m not a hoarder, I’m really not … but I do admit that once I love a book, it’s pretty hard to let it go. In fact, I don’t.  If I didn’t hate it (yes, there have been a few), chances are I’ve still got it around here someplace.  That is, with the sad exception of a few super favorites that I’ve lent (as in … expected to get back!!!) to people I trusted and loved … who never gave my book back.

I don’t lend books anymore.

Portable Magic … from © Lois Bryan Photography and Digital Art

Main reason is, not that I’m all that selfish and stingy, but I do love to re read my favorites.  “Ben Hur,” pictured here in the center of this stack of dear old tomes, is one such. I read it for the first time when I was a teenager. Some of it probably sailed right over my head, but that was fine. I got the gist. I read whatever was in the house and if a word didn’t make sense, by the time I got through the paragraph, it usually did. I read “Ben Hur” again a few (10? 20?) years ago and I’m thinking it might be due for another go-through. The cool thing is, every time I re read a book, I discover something new.

I found several fun quotes about books and reading while I was researching a title for this image, and thought I’d share some here.

The title is actually part of a quote from the fabulous Stephen King “Books are a uniquely portable magic.” it’s from his “On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft.”

“A room without books is like a body without a soul.”
― Marcus Tullius Cicero

“Outside of a dog, a book is man’s best friend. Inside of a dog it’s too dark to read.”
― Groucho Marx, The Essential Groucho: Writings For By And About Groucho Marx

“Never trust anyone who has not brought a book with them.”
― Lemony Snicket, Horseradish: Bitter Truths You Can’t Avoid (I always bring a book)

“There is no friend as loyal as a book.”
― Ernest Hemingway

“You can never get a cup of tea large enough or a book long enough to suit me.”
― C.S. Lewis

“So many books, so little time.”
― Frank Zappa

“… a mind needs books as a sword needs a whetstone, if it is to keep its edge.”
― George R.R. Martin, A Game of Thrones

So … ya tired of the endless reality tv shows and sports games and those icky crime shows? Turn that tv off … grab a cup of tea and a good book. If you need some suggestions, just ask me.

Now it’s your turn … tell me some of your favorite books!!


As always, a click on the image should zip you over to my website where you can view in a nicer resolution, with a less horrid watermark … and you’ll find some cool purchase options, if you’re so inclined.  (Watermarks don’t appear on purchased products, btw.)  If not, that’s okay, too!    And as always, many thanks for dropping by!!!

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Days Of Discontent

I visited Antietam National Battlefield in October of 2016 .. I’ve been here before. Years ago I was a parent chaperone for one of my son’s high school field trips. That was my first visit, or so the rational side of me said. Something else in my heart said differently. I remember the ghostly sensations I felt as the kids recited and re-enacted scenes from that long-ago bloody day.

Days Of Discontent … from © Lois Bryan Photography and Digital Art

My more recent visits, including the day in October, haven’t been as emotional … but they have been unnerving.

Maybe it’s due to the current state of affairs in our beloved nation … our own “days of discontent” … or maybe it’s just my imagination run amuck again. I don’t know.

But I hope wiser heads and hearts begin to prevail again for us soon … and that we can look forward, beyond the canons and voices of anger and fear and war … and that we can carefully walk the path through to more peaceful and understanding times.


As always, a click on the image takes you to my website.  Lots of great new products made from my images available now which make great gifts for that Civil War buff on your list!


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The Summer Cottage

My family and I lived not too far down the road from this little vine-covered cottage for nearly 30 years.

The Summer Cottage … © Lois Bryan Photography and Digital Art

Though she’s long-deserted and becoming quite dilapidated, she fascinated me. Even if the sign on her door’s message is an inhospitable “Keep Out,” I guess I’m haunted by the romance of the what-once-was. As far as I know, she’s been vacant for all the years we lived in the area, and in all that time Mother Nature has been quietly and gently taking the little cottage back.

Here we see her on a brilliant summer’s day, dozing and warming her old bones in the light of a strong August sun.

I wonder what she dreams about.

May we all age so gracefully!


As always, to see details and wall art and gift options, click on the image to visit my main web page. And by the way, if you are interested in any of my images offered as wall art, I’d like to recommend a particular paper.  I’ve meant to mention this before, but I’ve never been disappointed in results printed on the (cool tone) “picture rag offered.  It’s AWESOME.  Don’t worry about the “cool tone” bit … it doesn’t affect the color of the printed image.

Got any great old vacant house stories?  I’d love to hear them in the comments section below!

And as always, no watermarks will appear on purchased products.

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Calico Kitten

An adorable calico kitty sits on the edge of the porch on a gentle spring afternoon. I can’t help wondering what has captured her attention. The lawn and garden are dancing with butterflies and moths, enjoying the warmth of the day. It’s my guess Kitty is just about to pounce out into the lush green and try to play with her elusive winged friends.

Calico Kitten … from © Lois Bryan Photography And Digital Art

Lordie how I do love kittens!!! Love my dog(s) to bitz and back, of course, but ahhh … kitteeeee-ahhzzzz … well, maybe one of these days.  This particular darling was discovered at one of my favorite haunts, the Juniata Crossing Mercantile, between Bedford and Everett, Pennsylvania along Route 30 … and of course, the beautiful Juniata River.

Wikipedia has this to say about the calico cat …

Calico cats are domestic cats with a spotted or particolored coat that is predominantly white, with patches of two other colors (often, the two other colors are orange and black). Outside North America, the pattern is more usually called tortoiseshell-and-white. In the province of Quebec, Canada, they are sometimes called chatte d’Espagne (French for ‘(female) cat of Spain’). Other names include brindle, tricolor cat, tobi mi-ke (Japanese for ‘triple fur’), and lapjeskat (Dutch for ‘patches cat’); calicoes with diluted coloration have been called calimanco or clouded tiger. Occasionally, the tri-color calico coloration is combined with a tabby patterning. This calico patched tabby is called a caliby.

“Calico” refers only to a color pattern on the fur, not to a breed. Among the breeds whose standards allow calico coloration are the Manx, American Shorthair, British Shorthair, Persian, Japanese Bobtail, Exotic Shorthair, Siberian, Turkish Van, Turkish Angora and Norwegian Forest Cat.

Thanks, Wikipedia.  

As always, my thanks for dropping by.  Got any great kitten stories?  I’d love to hear them below in the comment box!!  Also as always, a click on the image brings you to my website where you can mouse over the image for a better look at details and with a better watermark.  I really must do a blog about watermarks one of these days.  Anywhoo … those pesky watermarks will never appear on any purchased items … should you decide to make a purchase … remember … the holidays ARE on their way!!!!

Thanks again for popping by!!!

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The Barn Over The Hill

The morning dawns bright and crisply cold after an overnight snowfall. It brings the golden sunshine and a sharp, strong wind which blows the light snow across the fields and uncovers the stalks of the previous season’s now harvested corn. Your eyes are stinging from the cold and you reach into your pockets, hoping for a tissue. In the distance can be seen alternating snowy fields and rows of trees and the hint of the lovely Laurel Highlands on the horizon.

The Barn Over The Hill … from © Lois Bryan Photography and Digital Art

I hope the old barn just over the hill is still in service, though the pointy cap of the silo has crumbled in and there are other signs of deterioration. Surely this barn, like so many others in the area, has seen better days, but can still be valued and useful.

As seen near Osterburg, Pennsylvania from route 869.


As ever, a click on the image will bring you to my website where it can be viewed in a better resolution and a less intrusive watermark.  Lots of print options (my favorite paper, by the way, is “picture rag”)  … with frame choices and fun gift ideas, too.   The holidays are nearly upon us … YOU know what that means!!  

To Hold In Your Heart

While I spent the weekend on another of my annual hunts for red October (and orange and yellow and purple … the leaf peeping season) … and hope to give it another go this week and coming weekend, I added to my portfolio today (October 17th 2016) an image of glorious springtime daffodils from my garden at our old house in Maryland.

“to Hold In Your Heart” … from © Lois Bryan Photography And Digital Art

I dug up and transplanted several bulbs before we left, but am sad to say though the shoots came up, there were no blooms this past spring. Since the originals of these actually came from my Mom’s house, I’m hopeful they will pop back up again this year in all their sunny glory. But … why am I fooling with a spring image in the heart of autumn? Admittedly not THE Smartest Marketing Ploy …

The simple truth is that I recently ran across the photo (taken in March of 2009) on which this digital painting is based in my archives, and it reminded me of the art I’ve been admiring lately by one of my fellow Fine Art America members, Stuart Harrison, and thought it was time to toss it out into the Universe.  I encourage you to visit his magnificent gallery (just click on his name)!

But the other reason is … though the glorious but very brief hours of Autumn are upon us, next will come the Holidays.  Dit dit dit daaah.  These can be very difficult days for many … instead of bringing joy and good cheer, many feel quite the opposite.  I know I’ve even felt hints of those difficulties myself once or twice.  And after the Holidays, come the long, dark months of winter. A lot of us can get pretty beaten down by this seemingly endless, dreary season. All this is on its way, no question about it. But to me, if we can hold in our heart some tiny bit of beauty … hope … even your favorite song … whatever works for you … maybe that will make the coming winter season a little easier to get through.

And so … a pouncy-bouncy-cheerful little something from me for you to view … To Hold In Your Heart …


As always, a click on the image will whisk you off to my website where you’ll be able to see the image in a much better resolution, much less dopey watermark … and using your mousie, you can glide over the image and click and see an up close vision of the detail-y bits.




The Long Hot Summer

Well, here we are in mid September and my last blog post was all the way back in the beginning of July.  No excuse is good enough … though I did catch a whopper of a cold right around the 4th of July which morphed into something dastardly and evil.  And not only evil, but tenacious.  It’s only been since last week that I’ve finally begun to feel normal again.  And no, I didn’t go to the doctor …

“the Old Apothecary Shop” … from © Lois Bryan Photography and Digital Art

I probably should have … but who knew it would drag on sooo long??

Wish I could claim that the real reason I’ve neglected you all, my dear readers, was something exciting and exotic like world travel … a whopper of a vacation sunning on a beach … walking lovely streets in fabulous historic towns … visiting amazing sights I’d never dreamed of seeing …

“Windmills Of Mykonos” … from © Lois Bryan Photography and Digital Art


but … alas, no.  Not this summer.

What I have been doing, however, is investigating a fun new artsy program.  My creative time has been spent … well … being creative and playing with visual stuff, rather than the written word.  The above windmills from the Greek Island of Mykonos are an example, as is this pretty dahlia pic that I captured at the lovely “Fields Of Flowers” in Purcellville, Virginia …

“Garden Variety Dahlia” … from © Lois Bryan Photography and Digital Art

As always, a click into the images will take you to my website where you can mouse over a spot, click and get a view that includes all the fun detail-y bits and bobs (that I have so much fun with!).

So … now that I’m back in the swing of things, look for more from little me here, or you can always catch me at my main website.

And how have you spent the summer??

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Open Wide And Say Ahh

As a general rule, I’m not a summer person.  

No, for right now I’m not talking about colors … remember that craze a few years back where we were all sectioned off into the four seasons according to whatever colors we looked best in?  I never could figure that one out .  I’m talking about the seasons.  I love autumn best … those rare few days when the light on the dazzling trees is so rich and buttery you could cut it with a knife.  Then comes early, early spring … when just the first few brave blossoms dare to peek their little heads out of the cold ground and the bare trees’ shadows sketch outlines against the emerald grass.  Both those are wonderful.  Winter’s good too … ahhh … the excitement of a snow storm and the bliss of a Bailey’s or Kahlua laced cocoa and a roaring fire.  Yeah.  Good times.

But summer?  Well, thank heavens for air conditioning.  And screens in the windows.  And ice cream!!!  But oh the bugs.  And the heat, and the humidity, and the bugs.  Did I already say bugs?  Not a fan of bugs.  BUT.  There are compensations.  Da beach … dooo love the beach.

And … well, the flowers.

Take for example these, the first-blooming of the vibrant orange lilies in our local garden.  They explode with color … as if they can’t wait to open and greet the brand new summer season. All around the three blossoms are millions more fat buds, seemingly bursting to join the party. And then … eager to play his part in the age old game of life and propagation, a colorful little Malay Lacewing butterfly makes his approach as one of the lilies seems to open wide and say “ahh” …. a butterfly which, come to think of it … is actually a “bug.”  Hmmm ….

“Open Wide And Say Ahh” … from © Lois Bryan Photography and Digital Art

Click into the image to zip over to my website and just for fun, hover your mouse over an interesting looking spot on the image … you’ll see a little green box. Click again and in a moment a magnified example will appear … you might find a surprise!!

Anyway … happy summer!!!!


Thanks for stopping by … got any summer stories you’d like to share?  I’d love to hear them.  As always, clicking into the above will take you to my website … and those evil watermarks will magically disappear on any items you may decide to purchase.

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Painted Florals

A gorgeous June afternoon and here I sit in my office!!  What’s wrong with this picture??  Well, for right now, I thought I’d have some fun catching up the blog.  I tend to write late at night, but recently I’ve been having too much fun experimenting with digital painting of some of my images, and have left my poor blog all alone.  Baaaad Lois.  So here are a few of my most recent that I thought I’d pack together in one posting.  I do hope you’re not tired of flower images … ??

The first is “Colorful Orange Zinnias” … they were growing in my garden a few years ago, and I loved how they caught the morning sun just right. A fun impressionistic-y interpretation of the joy of nature reaching up to the light.

Colorful Orange Zinnias … from © Lois Bryan Photography and Digital Art

I’ve been enjoying walking around an unfamiliar garden these soft spring evenings and it’s just the time and place to discover a little magic. Just beside a wonderfully weather-beaten old doorway I found an unexpected pop of color. A perfect red and yellow parrot tulip displaying his silent beauty all by himself for his few brief hours of glory.   I’m glad I was there to see him.  In this image, I worked the lovely petals in a more realistic style.  I really loved the fine detail and rich color combination and wanted to bring that out.  Against the rest of the image, which is much looser in style, I think the flower’s head detailing makes a nice contrast.

Red And Yellow Parrot Tulip … from © Lois Bryan Photography and Digital Art

I had a lot of fun being very artsy on this next one. Discovered on another ramble through the same garden on a different evening, sweet little bluebells caught my eye.

“Unbluebells” … from © Lois Bryan Photography And Digital Art

Another of my discoveries on another of my rambles, I found so many peony plants in so many colors and varieties, each with many blossoms. This particular bloom seemed to cup the last of the spring evening’s light and gather it into itself.  The shadings of light and shadow were so wonderfully subtle but still clear in the original photo that I decided to create this image in a very realistic style.

“White Peony In The Light” … from © Lois Bryan Photography And Digital Art

The delicate brushwork can be seen by clicking into each image.  You’ll be taken directly to the image’s page at my main art website.  Hover and click your mouse over the part of the image that you’d like to view up close and a cool little box will pop up.  It’s a great way to really see all the fun stuff.  As always, each image is for sale as fine wall art in a variety of paper choices (my personal favorite is picture rag), mats and frames.  In addition, I’m now offering my images on even more great new product lines … from the old standby tote bags and phone cases to new beach towels and carry-all pouches and more.  Stop by and see!!

Last … don’t forget … watermarks here and at my artist website never appear on purchased products.  Promise!!


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We The People

With the eyes of the world upon us, which I’m pretty sure are filled with astonishment if nothing else, we here in the United States are slogging through another pre-election campaign adventure.  I’m shying away from sharing my own political views … that’s not what this platform is for.  In fact, if anything, I’d like my little blog to be more of an uplifting and joyful escape from the world around us than anything else.  Though sometimes my own thoughts and observations do leak in here and there, (how can they not?), I certainly don’t see myself as a political savant.  Just an old gal with a mind of her own who refuses to drink anybody else’s Kool-Aid.  And if you don’t understand that reference, if you don’t remember, I don’t know whether to bless you or stick an old newspaper under your nose.

Anywhoo … regardless … I wanted to share this newest piece with you all.  Not because it’s great art, though I like it, of course, but in this case, because of what it’s trying to say.  I say “it” because, honestly, if you have a creative bone in your body you’ve probably experienced how sometimes a bit of something from the Universe seems to take hold and gallop away in the direction IT wants to go, dragging you helplessly behind.  I know it did in this case.

“We The People” … from © Lois Bryan Photography and Digital Art

From the serendipity of the composition of the original photographic capture, to the idea for the color scheme and the editing choices themselves, “We The People” became my obsession and my nemesis for weeks.  And weeks.  In fact, my brains got so tangled with revision after revision of this that I finally just shut it down and walked away.  This was many months ago.  I finally decided that now, with the national events taking the twists and turns they are taking, that it might be time to clear the air a little bit.  Even if it’s only the air here in my own little office.

To remind myself … and the Universe … and anyone else out there who might happen to be watching … that the true importance of what is happening (and what will happen again in 4 years, God help us) is not the actors on the stages.  Not the rhetoric … not the yelling and the finger pointing … not the grimacing and frightful, childish name-calling.  It’s our Great Nation’s wonderful citizens.  Her People.  WE The People.  Like the guy who went to help a lady who had been gunned down in a Maryland shopping center an hour away from where I am sitting, yesterday morning.  And he himself was shot dead.  Like the old guy who smiled and said  “Isn’t it a pretty day” to me last week in the West Virginia parking lot of the grocery store.  Like the guy who helped my husband load a very heavy piece of equipment into his car up in Pennsylvania a while back.  The kind nurses and doctors in the hospital where my husband lay, close to death, a few short months ago.

These are our People.  They are America.  THEY are the United States.

So those of you out there in Great Britain or Germany or Argentina or Australia who look over at us and shake your heads, and for all I know are shaking in your boots.  Don’t worry.

We’re still okay.  In fact, we’re GREAT.