Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Artfully Meandering: Resident Adventure Outtakes

The next issue of the Kanna Inspire™ is in progress! The theme has been chosen and designs and product experiments are in progress. In the meantime, I'll share some of the photos that ended up on the cutting room floor. 

Show your outtakes

Lately, I’ve been reading Austin Kleon’s, Show Your WorkThis is a pithy book full of nuggets of wisdom about sharing your art with the world. Essentially it’s about marketing your art - but in a way that doesn’t feel like marketing. One lesson that motivated this particular post: share your outtakes. 

Why this resonates with me: you might have work you like. Work that is pretty good. But, you know it’s not your best. For one reason or another, it still leaves you feeling “meh.” But, it’s valuable to do it because a daily regimen of creating work eventually produces your best work. It’s valuable to share it for the feedback you get from your audience. 

Sharing your outtakes is not for everyone

I don’t have a problem with sharing my outtakes. In fact, I don’t even mind sharing my early, ugly work. I have also found my blog to be a useful documentary of my artistic journey. 

This series of photos were my “outtakes” for two reasons:
  • My black and white photography still needs work
  • I couldn’t find a cohesive theme in the photos

Black and white photography and the value of editing

My earlier photos in black and white (using film) were huge disappointments. They were just experiments, but one of the key lessons that stood out is that the simpler the scene, the better the photo. I tend to be a seduced by color. Shooting in black and white teaches you to simplify and edit. And as I travel along the road in my art journey, I’m learning editing is an essential skill.

Theme wasn’t cohesive

Another reason this set of photos were “outtakes” from the session were that I didn’t see a common theme emerging. Although these were my favorite photos from the downtown, the lack of simplicity in the photos affected how I perceived a theme. I think a black and white issue will happen in the future, but not yet.

Your turn: do you have any outtakes you feel brave enough to share? Or do you prefer to keep your mediocre work squirreled away?

Monday, April 14, 2014

Artfully Meandering: Leaning back

We all experience ebb and flow in our life. Our lives are a constant cycle of rhythms - our circadian rhythms, our weekly activities, our cadences in work, family, health, etc. In the last six months, I experienced a more significant ebb in health that created this blog silence. As my life started to flow back into a natural rhythm, I also experienced a rejuvenation in my creativity. Nothing like a trip to Ireland to wake up hibernating creativity!

Cliffs of Moher
As I started writing about my favorite day in Ireland at the Cliffs of Moher, what I experienced that day really became a metaphor for the last six months of my life and the theme of this post: leaning back.


While I came back with nearly 500 photos of this lovely vacation, I don't have very many photos of my favorite day. And it's because I don't have those photos that it became my favorite day. I was able to snap a few pics to remind me of the day before I ran out of power.

At first I was tremendously disappointed because the day was nothing short of spectacular. However, I leaned back. I accepted the fact that my camera was out of juice and put it away. I simply embraced the opportunity to be at the Cliffs of Moher.

In the long run, it was a relief. I wasn't trying to plan the future by mentally framing every gorgeous view. I wasn't trying to preserve the experience in multiple digital shots.

I was simply there. 

I looked. I sat. I walked. I dreamed. I was silent and meditative. I played with words. I captured the images in metaphors:

a casual and messy game of Jinga

a Master Artist 
slathering large slabs of granite in thick layers
wind-blasting and water-blasting

blond-green tufts of grass constantly and heavily slicked down

sugar clouds spun up into frothy meringue
sifting fine silver

pale amber jewels of the Aran Islands

For me, those words evoke that day more fully than the pictures. Writing this post is bringing all of the sensations back with a pleasant sense of peace and calm that was caused by slowing down and savoring the moment.

County Wicklow

Marinating My Creative Stew

While I was going through the ebb of health, my creativity turned into a desert. I didn't knit, crochet, draw, play with clay, or even dream about glass. I leaned back. I let myself heal. I didn't intentionally neglect creativity (and therefore this blog). I just embraced where I was at that point.

What I am finding now, is that the creative storm is returning. Interestingly, the past seven years of my artistic journey have been marinating. Even more interestingly, my organized, business-y, project manager self got into the stew and is simmering with the art.

I am beginning to emerge from blog silence with an outline of a business and art strategy. My mind has knitted together my many and varied interests, my organization skills, and my entire art journey together into a cohesive, whole approach. I look forward to sharing what I have been working on in the upcoming weeks!

Your turn. Have you experienced creative ebbs in your life? Do you lean in or lean back? Have you taken both approaches at different times depending on the circumstances?