Hidden Gems

When I lived in Prague, I would fly to England every once in a while, so that I could get a taste of Western Civilization again.  While I spoke some Czech, it wasn’t enough to truly enjoy the programming on television over there, not to mention the fact that there were some health and beauty items that you just couldn’t find in the pre-EU country.

When I ventured across the Channel, I usually opted for towns other than London for two reasons: 1) I’d been to London twice and wanted to see other parts of the UK; and 2) I wasn’t terribly enamored with London the times I’d been there.

However, for the Easter weekend in 2004, I decided to spend time inside London.  This was where I came to truly enjoy the giant city and all it had to offer.  What changed it for me?  It was a four-hour walk through the mostly empty city on Easter Sunday.

I took the tube from my B&B to the London Bridge stop, and walked from the south side, over and across the Tower Bridge, and just followed where my feet, and the twisting, winding roads led me.

One such side road led me to my favorite spot in all of London: St Dunstan-in-the-East.

This church–that had been built in the 12th century, and largely destroyed during WW II–was now a garden and sitting spot, and I was drawn in to its serene beauty.

London - St Dunstan's in the East

Again, the city was very quiet–mostly because I began my journey at 7am that Sunday–so I had this peaceful spot all to myself for quite a while.  I loved how it had been turned into gardens, but I also loved how Mother Nature herself began to reclaim the building in the form of vines that grew and clung all over the two remaining walls of the old building.

I ventured on after a while and took pictures of other areas along the Thames and throughout the rest of the city, and when I started hearing cars on the road at 11am, I figured it was time to get some lunch and get on with the rest of my day.

London - St Dunstan's - VinesWhen I returned home and downloaded the photos, I was thrilled to see that I had captured the sense of peace I’d felt at St Dunstan’s on that Easter Sunday.  Turning the pictures into black and white images really added to the beauty as well.

I hope you enjoyed the images of St Dunstan’s-in-the-East.  These are now available for purchase on our Etsy shop, as well as some other images I took during that Easter Sunday in 2004.  Thanks for reliving the journey with me.  I’ll see you next month!

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Welcome to MAS

Welcome to the very first Blog for MAS Artwork. We are the married couple of Craig Smith and Alyx Morgan. What we do is take photographs and make pretty pictures. We have started our own Etsy store, which you can find here, and we created this blog to tell you more of our stories, and to share insights to our processes and thoughts when taking or creating our images.

Alyx is our company’s main photographer and her work makes up the majority of photos for our company.  Craig also takes photographs, but his specialty is turning those images into original artwork using the style called pointillism (stippling).

Alyx Morgan

I’d been given a camera as a teenager, but never really got bitten by the shutterbug until my mid-twenties.  A family friend had come to visit me when I was working at Walt Disney World, and had taken about 15 rolls of film during his vacation; none of which produced any photos when he tried to get them processed.  He bought me a Kodak Advantix camera and asked me to retake as many images as I could for him, so that he would finally have something to remember his vacation by.  I was on my fifth roll of film for him when I suddenly realized how much I LOVE to take pictures.

Pretty soon, that camera was like another appendage.  I took it everywhere I traveled and shot hundreds of pictures wherever I went.  Over the years, I upgraded to a digital camera, so that I could instantly delete any photos I didn’t like and didn’t have to wait until I returned home and spent lots of money on film processing to do so.  I also began dabbling in black and white photography, and have become a huge fan of that, too.

It quickly became apparent that the pictures I most enjoy taking are of regular things and places at unusual angles.  While you will see famous buildings in the pictures posted here, they might not be in a way you’re used to seeing them.  For me, the world is even more interesting when you look at it from a completely different vantage.

 Craig Smith

I’ve been an artist ever since I could hold a pencil in my hand.  It wasn’t until college that I had my first foray into pointillism (also known as stippling).  It was an assignment for a class, and I did a picture that I found in a National Geographic magazine of the Pulteney Bridge in Bath, England. A few years later, Alyx and I tried our hands at making it in New York City. We were just friends back then. But a trip to the World Trade Center (when it still stood) introduced me to street vendors who sold their artwork and collections from carts. It struck me that pointillism would be the perfect medium for me to create collections of images to sell. That started me creating portraits of some famous actors, religious leaders, and even some Star Wars characters.

145When Alyx and I got together in 2009, I looked at some of the photos she’d taken in the past, and thought they were perfectly suited for my pen and ink style.  I chose one (the Leaning Tower of Pisa steps), and have been doing several a year ever since. One of the images from Alyx’s photographs is from a garden in Powerscourt, Ireland. As you see here, it’s a beautiful, serene scene, both in Alyx’s photo and here in my pointillism illustration. Her wonderful eye for design, pattern, texture and lighting make for great pictures and work well in the pointillism style. I actually have a long list of images I’m planning for the future, too; more of Alyx’s photos and even some from my own.  In fact, looking for images to use in my stippling artwork has led me to become a photographer myself. You’ll see some of my photos in our shop as well, so be sure to check out our Etsy store.

Powerscourt Stairs PointillismPhew, that’s done!  Now that you know a little bit about us, remember to come back and view our featured artwork.  We’ll be writing two blogs a month here:  Alyx on the 4th Wednesday of every month, and Craig on the 2nd Wednesday of every month.  Feel free to follow our blog, check out our Etsy store for new images, and by all means “Like” and “Share” us to your heart’s content, and help us get the word out.

Thank you so much.

MAS Artwork