I am a bee guardian!

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It’s official. They arrived from a very kind person in midlands last week. We are super busy building a bee house and chasing all sorts of plants to give them an amazing life, so we can release them at our Community Garden in a few week’s time.

Working on the nesting habitat for these little darlings is currently my top priority. We need to help the bees any way we can – especially the solitary ones, which continue to be on decline.

Above: collage of the solitary bees observed at the South Molton Community Garden last year (2023). Cocoons we have are of the red masons – Osmia Bicornis, busy collecting mud in between the rocks of our herb spiral (second from bottom right).

How to place an order

Let’s say you’d like to commission me.
Excellent choice!
(Well… Of course I’d say that!)

You will need to get in touch and talk about your ideas in more detail with me.
To make the further process super simple, I put together this handy list of questions.
This is not a must – it is here to help you be prepared for our discussion, if you like.

PAINTING

1. What is it you’d like the portrait of? Is it human, pet, an animal? How many subjects? Anything else – preferred background, a name, writing?

2. When do you need this done for? Pastels are much quicker than oils, because they don’t require any drying time. However, if not protected correctly, they can smudge!

3. What size are you after? Bigger works take longer to produce, minimum of two – three weeks and usually, there is a waiting list (sorry!)

4. What is your chosen art medium? I am most skilled in oil paints, pastels, or charcoal. I can use digital inks or pencils. I don’t work in watercolour, because they scare me.

5. Do you wish for the finished work to be framed, on a board, paper, or stretched canvas that doesn’t need framing?

6. Are you keen to be involved in the process, for example to see the initial sketch, or would you prefer a complete surprise once the work is complete? Please note, the deposit payments are non refundable.

7. Will you collect the finished work, or am I to post it? Please note, p&p would be added on top of the price of the work.

8. Would you give us your kind permission to share the finished work online?

PHOTOGRAPHY

1. What is it you’d like a photograph of? Is it a set, several themes? How many hours shall I reserve?

2. How soon do you need this done?

3. Do you request prints? I can provide A4 fast, bigger formats would take at least a week.

4. Do you prefer black and white or coloured photographs, or both?

5. Is there a specific format you need, e.g. landscape, or portrait? Any other editing requests (no tilting, extra objects removal etc.)

6. Will you collect the finished work, or am I to post it? Please note, p&p would be added on top of the price of the work. This does not apply to digital files, unless you require a USB stick.

7. Would you give us your kind permission to share the finished work online?

Restored old vintage photograph of mother holding a baby, sitting on a simple wooden chair with a plant in the background

RESTORATION

1. What do you need restored? Photographs, films, slides?

2. How soon do you need this done?

3. Do you request prints? I can provide A4 fast, bigger formats would take at least a week.

4. Do you prefer black and white or coloured photographs, or both?

5. Is there a specific format you need, e.g. landscape, or portrait?

6. Will you collect the finished work, or am I to post it?
Please note, p&p would be added on top of the price of the work.

7. Would you give us your kind permission to share the finished work online?

These are the questions I ask every single one of my clients. There has never been any issues, I will happily explain everything to you in as much detail as you like. I always do my best.

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The World Press Freedom Day

“The problem with today’s world is that everyone believes they have the right to express their opinion AND have others listen to it.

The correct statement of individual rights is that everyone has the right to an opinion, but crucially, that opinion can be roundly ignored and even made fun of, particularly if it is demonstrably nonsense!”

Brian Cox

The third of May commemorates the freedom of the press, raises awareness about how important it is, and reminds governments of their duty to uphold the human right to freedom of expression. Many journalists and media professionals risk their lives and their freedom during their careers in pursuit of their stories, as some countries still put their journalists in jail to stop them from releasing certain information to the public. World Press Freedom Day aims to put an end to that and to honour those who have lost their lives because of their profession.

The freedom of the press and freedom of expression were established as fundamental human rights in Article 19 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, adopted in 1948. The freedom of the press has since been a concern of many journalists and governments, and in 1976 a group of independent journalists founded the World Press Freedom Committee (in USA).

You can celebrate this day by supporting your local newspapers, learning more about the issues of press freedom, and being an advocate for the freedom of expression.
Chulmleigh Old Fair, 2019

Karolina is honoured to be affiliated with Molton Monthly magazine, local medium focusing on positive community news, engaging excellent photographers and journalists on bases of equal opportunities and fairness, whilst demonstrating long term love and enthusiasm for all the good, positive things happening in our charming countryside area we all love!

I am the third generation reporter in the family. Media work has always been an area of great interest to me. Over the years, along with other curious minds, I observed the impact of the uncensored social media on a human behaviour; an epidemic of mental illnesses; despotism and a widespread cognitive dissonance. I am especially concerned by the rise of racism and all kinds of extremism, continued suppression of an independent, critical journalism facing tsunamis of Dunning-Kruger effect.
Sometimes, on local scales, reporters get pushed out of the circles they make uncomfortable; on higher levels, especially in less developed countries, too advanced, fearless and open minded reporters get murdered. Recently, and shockingly, a young talented journalist and his fiancé were murdered at their home in Slovakia (my homeland). This has shaken and shocked many, and was followed by street protests and a change of government.
Yet, today, debates died out and people have forgotten almost all about it now.

Things have changed since the day I first I set my foot in the news office in 1998. Today, the mainstream media get attacked daily, people trust a stranger on the Internet more than a trained and responsibly monitored reporter. I cannot understand why – except the fact that the social media thrives on negativity and the public’s mind is poisoned by far too much of all the chaos these platforms spread around, which is then followed by plenty of tribal behaviour that is considered the norm and the norm is considered an oddity – we tend to surround ourselves with those who make us comfortable by agreeing with us. In this turmoil world, this is reassuring. However, in many cases, ignorance leads to harmful behaviours towards the world.

Listen to this speech by Maria Ressa, remarkably brave journalist:

If I make one point here, let it be this:

Never stop asking the right questions. Why are certain groups of people saying certain things in a certain way? Who benefits from that “story”? What is a hard indisputable fact , and what is an opinion and a bias?
And where do we all stand in this?

New Year, new beginnings…

posted in: Karolina.art | 0

With this New Year, as an artist and a photographer observing human behaviours, I got only one wish for all of us: to take better care of our complex, beautiful blue planet.

I could just as well caption this image “be bubbly like me” or “don’t ever be afraid to be creative!” – you are free to see whatever you like, and I just hope you’ll see it as a (read in Bob Ross voice please:) HAPPY LITTLE MONTAGE of the aspects of a creative life: Camera (those are physical filters in my hands), nature (especially the sea life) and protection of our planet.

One more note, if I may: I feel so very grateful to all the people who support me along this way. Good people leave an unforgettable mark, make you think, make you question things, and your own self, but in a good way. Choose your company and continue to be curious, seek solutions, try to improve things, stay humble. That alone, and no money or wealth, is what makes a life worth living!

Happy little montage.

.short clips

posted in: Karolina.art | 0

Quince Honey Farm

Published for the Easter 2024, this elaborate short clip exists thanks to several months of careful observation, learning, photographing, hectic filming (insects and educators are all very fast!) and then endless hours of editing, amending, exporting, uploading until voila! It’s out there at last!
I wish this could be longer (and slower) and more documentary-like (especially those brief but precious views of the other not-bee-insects), but it is a clip I am very proud of. It captures the wonderful aspects of this unique tourist attraction in North Devon.
A bit more info about this collaboration can be found in the LINKS section.
Local hay balls called “stooks” are every summer’s hit here in South Molton, North Devon! They seem to pop up, very fast, every July. People often photograph them – I did too, many times.
In 2021, I’ve pushed myself a little further and filmed how these traditional shapes are made. Enjoy!

Short clips: Poetry

Introduction to the poetry films (2022).
The Greenman Speaks
The Savoy
Pots

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Welcome to my first blog ever!

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Eeeek, how do I do this? Truth be told, I always loved to write, just not in English… I come from Czechoslovakia, eastern area now known as Slovakia. Coming to UK in 2005 wasn’t easy – a lot of people laughed at my foreign accent. That doesn’t boost one’s confidence! Despite of that, I am still here, almost twenty years later (wow), and not afraid to make – and learn from – mistakes.

I think writing a blog will be fun. I see it as a safe space away from social media were I get to share some background stories to some photographs I’ve taken (oh, there are so many), some bizarre experiences that may make you laugh, and I’ll also attempt to offer some advice on things I understand.

I am no “know-it-all” and I often laugh at the goofy and ever so slightly aging myself. That makes me an ideal person to approach – I don’t look down on anyone and I am always super thrilled to be asked to help others. So let’s get to work! Shiny new online platform, here we come!