The Blank Canvas Challenge

Blank Canvas

Does a blank canvas motivate or paralyze you? I used to be paralyzed until I began painting and repainting and another coat of gesso and more paint…and now, I love them. I keep small, cheap canvases on hand for practice and inspiration. I’ve painted over this one at least 3 times in the past month–it’s a 5×7 canvas and I have 3 of them that I’m using for practice. My plan is to paint a large triptych when I finally figure out what I want to look at for a while (because once I ask the hub to frame them and hang them–they will be on the wall at least a year). I tried a few Rothko style paintings and they felt heavy and clunky. Then I tried Bob Ross style fan brush tree and it was too light and practically flew off the canvas. My next attempt will be a variety of brush strokes and sponge work with a little horizontal line to center the eyes…we’ll see what happens! I was inspired by my photo of the ocean yesterday and want to capture it in paint.

Grab a canvas or a piece of paper and some colored pencils and join me, or, like my daughter, grab your tablet and stylus. It’s blank canvas week!

https://www.nga.gov/features/mark-rothko-introduction/mark-rothko-classic-paintings.html

Comfort Zone = Cop-Out

The ocean in my memory

We spent the weekend at the coast and this truly is my happy place. It is the place that holds my heart, sweeps me into bliss and makes me feel safe. It’s my church. I always feel creative at the beach. I want to build sandcastles, write poetry, read classic novels, and paint. I did some of that–wrote poetry yesterday but today was “clean the house and drive 4.5 hours home” day…so I thought, “what am I going to blog today?” Hmmm…my fallback is my photography. I’m a photographer because I earned my MFA in Photography therefore, I should be a photographer, right? But, what if painting is calling me? Well, I didn’t have time to paint today so I leaned back on what I know and didn’t “create” something new. It feels like a cop-out because I didn’t exercise my creative mind. But, I still captured something I love, something that soothes my soul and something I’m proud of…even if it was captured with my iPhone (not my DSLR).

You have to be gentle with yourself too.

Poetry is Food for the Creative Soul

“Milk and Honey” by Rupi Kaur

Just like a hungry belly, my creative self needs to be fed to function properly. Poetry is one of my favorite dishes. This book, Milk and Honey, was love at first sight. My senses were stimulated instantly–the bees on the cover with the simple title lured my eyes, the soft, velvety texture of the cover was like touching skin for the first time in the most sensual way…it felt indulgent to hold. Her poems are intimate and truly a window to her soul. She fearlessly reveals herself and like the poem on the back of the book says, “this is my heart in your hands.” I love her. I feel her and I connected. My gift back to her is a complete deep dive into every single page, every word, every sketch and doodle…I opened my own heart on the pages and let my creative self out today.

Corinne
for my sister
Shane.

Can Procrastination = Success?

Life Force

I am the queen of excuses and the master of procrastination. I watched a TED talk about procrastination once (see below) and the whole time I was shouting to my hub, “Check this out, I’m not the only one!” Procrastination has rarely failed me…ok, it has recently when I missed a deadline for a grant application (insert lots of anguish here) but honestly, I usually ROCK under pressure. Timelines are my friend. I have learned one very valuable lesson though (which was reinforced when I read the book Outliers) you have to have your spaghetti ready when the time comes, you can’t just wing it and succeed. LOTS of practice prepares you for success when you’re under the gun. Case in point, my latest piece, “Life Force.”

Over a month ago I picked up my 12×12 wood block from the art gallery knowing it was due on August 4th for the upcoming fund raiser show. I honestly had no idea what I was going to do with this piece–I wanted to do something new, something different and creatively satisfying. So, I took some of my hub’s scrap wood and played around with different techniques. In the meantime, I’d been playing with a new technique where you add silicone to acrylic paint, thin it out and use a palate knife to paint designs on canvas. I created at least 25 pieces until I felt like I was mastering this particular technique and then I walked away for a while. Until last night…2 nights before my piece is due to the gallery. Paralyzed with indecision, I leaned on what I’d been practicing and felt confident I could execute and went for it. The result is this piece and I’m thrilled with it because it shows the movement of the waves I love so much. Water symbolizes life and to watch it move with such force makes me feel so small and my problems insignificant. I love the ocean and I’m happy to offer this piece to my local gallery–I hope it sells!

https://www.cannonbeacharts.org

Unleashing the creative

What holds a creative soul from blossoming?

How can I learn to unleash my inner creative?

The secret to becoming is to first be…it’s time to nurture my creative self and see what can happen.  I’m starting this 365-day project on my birthday in an effort to see how much I can creatively grow in a year.  I want to learn what I’m capable of by doing instead of thinking about doing.  My day began with the hub giving me a gift card to my favorite, local art shop.  This is the start of something exciting–I can feel it!  Join me if you’ve been wanting to create more too.

My first project is to paint a 12×12 wood block for a non-profit, artist run, art gallery fund raiser.  Let’s see how it goes!

10 Steps to Finding Your Mojo

  1. Don’t live in the shadow of others and don’t cast a shadow on anyone.
  2. Be you.  You are everything on the list (wife, mother, sister, friend…) but not just ONE = all in one beautiful, incredible package.  Others love you for the whole—not just the one.
  3. Feel good physically — find your happy place (physically), either embrace and accept your current physical self or change it.
  4. Feel good emotionally — if you need a happy pill, take it.
  5. Choose to maintain only the friends you want to be old with.  Keep a distance to the rest—they are a waste of your time.
  6. Don’t resent the mojo in others.  Your spouse, your friends, your children.  Recognize it and be happy for them.  Look at them, see how they glow, know you’ll be there too.
  7. It’s OK to explore spiritually — you don’t have to commit to one religion or dogma.  Fine things that make you feel fulfilled and go with it.  You can embrace nature like a pagan while enjoying the rituals of a Catholic mass and meditating like a Hindi…it’s all good if its all good.
  8. Accept your faults, change what you can and accentuate your positive features.  We’re only human.
  9. Make time for yourself any way you can.  This is critical.  you won’t find your mojo if you can’t focus on yourself.
  10. Reach out to others.  People want you in their lives—our lives cross for a reason.  Try to figure out why —are they here for you or are you here for them?

When my daughter was 3 years old I was recently retired from the military, a military spouse (following my husband’s career), still carrying my baby weight on my hips and belly and feeling very lost and without an identity…when I had the idea of creating my own path back to finding my mojo. These steps changed my life and renewed my sense of self, brought back my feelings of individuality and joy.  I hope they help even one other person struggling with their journey to finding their place.  It’s important to realize that this is not something that is done once and permanent…keeping your mojo is just as important and must be exercised as well.  I have revisited this list over the years when my roller coaster dips from a joyful high to a challenging low.  The steps continue to work for me–in no particular order–and have helped me stay happy and centered. xo

photo: This image was taken at a butterfly habitat in the Smithsonian…she is damaged but still, she can fly.  kms photography

via The Sunflower Chronicle

Lucy and Mr. Bean Clean a Camera

You know those physical comedians like Mr. Bean who crack you up at how exaggerated they are and how utterly nonsensical the situation they get themselves in seems?  Well, this morning I was Lucille Ball all over the place, but instead of melting into a puddle and bawling, I totally Mr. Beaned it and walked away as if there was nothing too see behind me (as the house was burning down).

This morning I was preparing my camera and lenses for a photo shoot this afternoon.  I had my primary camera at the beach all summer so I figured there was surely sand in every crack so it was due for a good cleaning.  I was so pleased with myself as I pulled out my lens baby and my lintless lens paper and cleaned all of the lenses and filters and brushed the dust off my camera.  However, as I was removing a lens from the camera body I thought, hmmm, maybe I should dust off the sensor real quick with this dusty lens baby brush I just used all over the outside of my filthy camera body, BRILLIANT!  Cue the clown music.

I put my 85mm lens on and looked through the camera—WHAT THE HELL?!  There’s dust and even a stray bristle like the kind that come off a cheap paintbrush all over my sensor, I felt nauseous.

Surely, all I need to do is open it up and blow on it now, that should do it.  Nope.

Imagine this, I’m wearing my lintiest cotton bathrobe as I feverishly blow, and now wrap Qtips up with lint-free lens paper and rub them wildly on my sensor…then replace my lens and gasp, ACK!  It’s WORSE!  Holy shit!  I have to leave for this photo shoot in 30 mins.  Maybe I should take a break and eat something, that will clear my head.

Egg sandwich consumed.

Now I’m googling “cleaning your Canon sensor” because I have plenty of time to figure this out.

By now you’re wondering (among other things) don’t you have another camera body you can use?  You’re a professional, right?  YES, duh, of course I have my back-up camera that’s missing a battery that I totally forgot about ordering.  No big deal.  This has been my “go-to” back up camera for a while but quite honestly, I’ve never needed because my camera is AMAZING and has never let me down…too bad that hasn’t gone both ways, sorry camera.

The flail continued even after I read the very helpful website on how to clean your sensor at home (step 1, order these exact materials)…then did the opposite and made a bloody mess of my sensor.  It was a like a techno crime scene.

One thing you have to understand about a photographer’s primary camera is that its an extension of your own hand.  You know the buttons, you know how to set it up with barely a glance, you know the feel of it.  Your back-up camera is like a clumsy teenage sex scene—awkward, unfamiliar but the job gets done.  Sigh, crap, I guess I’ll bring both.

On the way to the shoot I get the brilliant idea to buy some canned air—it just might blow all that shit off my sensor!  (FYI, the UPS store and Harris Teeter grocery store do NOT have canned air so don’t waste your time.  Also, Walgreens has tons of stuff I need and didn’t even know it.)  I am going to shock you now and tell you that the canned air was semi-successful and I may be editing out some spots out but the images are lovely.

Even Lucille and Mr. Bean get lucky sometimes.

PS. I’m sending my camera body off to be cleaned properly now.

PPS. My husband just read this from the other side of the world and is probably snorting a laugh and shaking his head at me…he loves me.