Are You Still Grateful? – Artsy Reflections 94

 

Abstract gold line stretch across a blue background in this photograph of a reflection.

Stretched Gold

Thanksgiving was sooo last week… and that’s where many Americans left their gratitude. I’ve always thought it so interesting how a day of gratitude is followed by a day of chaotic consumerism. The start of a season that’s supposed to be about giving has been skewed into a salesy spending frenzy.

Wouldn’t it be funny if I gave you a coupon code right now? Nope, I’m not here to beg for your credit card… even though it is purple Wednesday…

I guess I just wanted to remind you, and myself, not to let gratitude get all fuzzy around the edges. Remind yourself what you’re grateful for every day.

I’m grateful for:

You, my virtual friends

My rock, and partner in life, Nick

My BFF, Lauren

My “boss” John Walsh – follow him on Instagram

My dog… duh!

A warm house with an overflowing drawer of fuzzy socks

 

What/who are you grateful for right now?

 

A Toast to Every Sunrise – Artsy Reflections 93

Neon colors make up this sunrise resembling photograph. An abstract painting shines through the bottom of a glass and creates colorful reflections along the ridged sides.

Neon Sunrise

For many of you, tomorrow will bring a flurry of activity that’ll swirl you through the next month. You’ll blink and suddenly it’ll be New Year’s Eve, and maybe you’ll rush into a resolution. Your excitement to lose 2,000 pounds will burn as bright as a firework, and will probably fizzle out just as quickly.

Why am I talking about New Year’s resolutions the day before Thanksgiving? Because I don’t want you to be a statistic.

An abstract painting shines through the bottom of a glass and creates colorful reflections along the ridged sides. The resulting photograph resembles a sun with twisting rays.

Twisted Sunrise

For some strange reason we feel obligated to set unobtainable goals on the sacred first of January. It’s like there’s an invisible writer who strictly controls when one book closes and another one opens. Why not take control of your story now?

When you’re in a food coma 24 hours from now, and buzzed from a healthy mix of wine and gratefulness, you probably won’t be able to move… so what better time is there to put all that gratitude to good use and reflect on how you can make the world a better place?

An abstract painting shines through the bottom of a glass and creates colorful reflections along the ridged sides. The cool colors remind me of a winter sunrise.

Winter Sunrise

With all the bazillions of stars in the universe, I’d be willing to bet that there’s a sunrise somewhere every single second. So right now, and now, and now, it’s a new day somewhere. If the universe truly is infinite, new years might be just as plentiful!

I was always waiting for the perfect time to start painting, so I find it particularly fitting that my first palette knife painting is the source of color in these abstract sunrise photos. I found them in the bottom of a glass. Let’s toast to every sunrise!

An abstract painting shines through the bottom of a glass and creates colorful reflections along the ridged sides.

Jamaican Sunrise

Happy Thanksgiving!

P.S. I’ve also been waiting for the perfect time to increase my word count… did you notice? I’ve improved my editing-down skills, and I’ve got more to say!

 

What are these numbered posts all about? Read the introduction to my Photo & 100 Words project and find out!

 

Battling the Blank Page – Photo and 100 Words 92

Nothing is so intimidating as a blank page, an empty wall, a new project… the idea of making something out of nothing can be paralyzing. I’ve struggled with this my entire life.

Teenager me would carry around piles of paper in a 3-ring binder, I was always prepared – just waiting for inspiration. The lightning bolts I imagined must strike other writers and artists never struck me, though, so the pages remained mostly blank, aside from some roughness around the edges from my devoted carrying.

Yet, when I was a little kid, I created an entire book out of index cards, without hesitation, and laminated it with strips of scotch tape!

I don’t know what taught me to overthink creativity, or wait around for lightning strikes… but eventually I realized that inspiration is hardly ever convenient. Staring at a blank page never invokes inspiration for me. Making mistakes on a blank page does, though. Taking chances does too. Just making anything, even if it’s horrible, is the best way to find the little lightning bolts that will spark you to keep going.

My point is that inspiration will never be looking for you, you have to go find it.

P.S. Nobody taught me that lesson more than Melissa Dinwiddie, and if you’ve ever struggled to create anything, she has a new book that could change your life the way her concepts have changed mine.

You can even download the first 50 pages for free to see if it resonates with you. AND if you buy her book before 11/21 you get all kinds of launch week bonuses, so don’t wait!

 

Why Reflections? – Photo and 100 Words 91

Golden rain appears to stream down against a scaly forest colored background in this abstract photograph of what could be an alien world.

Fire Falls Rain Forest – it’s also available in a super tall version

Ever walk around your entire house looking for your car keys, only to realize you’re holding them? Me too, and that’s how I felt the first time I photographed a reflection and discovered it was only an illusion.

I mean, duh, reflections aren’t real, but I always assumed they existed on the surface of whatever shiny object made them.

While testing my gear before a pet session one day, I took a snapshot of a reflection bouncing off my phone. The resulting photo resembled a puddle; the reflection was sharp, but the phone, and the table below it, were totally blurred. Even more intriguing, in one corner of the image, several feet away, Gracie’s food bowl was in focus.

The reflection was of our backyard, streaming through sliding glass doors, and Gracie’s bowl was up against those doors. Since focus is determined by distance, it seems reflections are at the same distance as whatever they’re mimicing, but on the other side of the reflective surface.

Crazy, right? I’ve been obsessed ever since.

You don’t need a camera to see this, find a reflection in your screen and these words will blur. The keys were in my hand all along.

 

This is the silly snapshot that inspired the reflection series!

This is the silly snapshot that inspired the reflection series!

P.S. Do you have any title ideas for this photo? I’m not totally in love with the one I chose.

 

Never Bored – Photo and 100 Words 90

An out of focus reflection creates a bursting effect and beautiful bokeh.

Losing Focus in the Sea

“I’m bored.” It was my childhood mantra, typically reserved for weekends with my father.

Even as he watched the race cars go around and around, he could also recite a long list of recommendations for what I could do. I would pout, face smushed in my hands, elbows on the arm of his recliner, and deny every idea he had. “I’m boooooorrrrrrred,” I whined, probably more times than a Nascar race has laps.

One day he gave up on giving me ideas and he said, “well then, you must be a boring person.” In retrospect, I can say I agree.

I have to admit, some days I miss being bored… the vast emptyness of having nothing to do. Unless I live forever I’ll probably never experience it again, but at least I’m not a boring person anymore.

 

What are these numbered posts all about? Read the introduction to my Photo & 100 Words project and find out!

 

A Whirlpool of Fear – Photo and 100 Words 89

The spiral of a seahorse tail is reflected in glass.

Drippy Whirlpool

I erupted through the surface of the water, gasping for air, “I can’t, I can’t do it.” I only made it halfway to the submerged mask before fear took control of my body.

My father enrolled me in a scuba certification program when I turned 15. I wasn’t a strong swimmer, but dad assured me, “you don’t have to know how to swim to scuba dive.”

He was mostly right, the gear makes you float, but to certify as a diver, I still had to pass a few tests. I kept afloat in the pool for the alotted amount of time, but when the instructor threw our masks in the deep end, I panicked.

I panicked all the way to my open water test in the Florida Keys. If couldn’t find my mask in a pool, how would I do it in the ocean? I was terrified that the instructor would let it go in a school of fish, the salty water would blind me, I’d never find it, and I’d fail.

I took my mask off, he motioned to put it back on, I cleared the water, and I passed. That was my first and last scuba trip.

 

What are these numbered posts all about? Read the introduction to my Photo & 100 Words project and find out!

 

A Gift from Dad – Photo and 100 Words 88

The spikey back of a glass seahorse is reflected into a glass surface to create this abstract photograph.

Spiny Reflection

“Somebody went to Cozumel and all they got me was this stinkin’ t-shirt.” That was one of the most memorable gifts I got from my father, and it was great for a laugh, but I don’t think I ever wore it.

My dad went away scuba diving every year and he always came home with a gift for me, it could be anything from seashells to foreign money, and he always had a freshly developed pile of slides to show me his underwater adventures.

The scuba trip souveneir I love most is this whimsical glass seahorse. Aside from a few shells, the seahorse is the one gift that survived my childhood and made it into my adult décor. It sits in a little cube in my studio that I’ve turned into a mini ocean view.

It’s also what I used to make the reflection in this photograph.

The ocean cube and my seahorse.

The ocean cube and my seahorse.

What are these numbered posts all about? Read the introduction to my Photo & 100 Words project and find out!

 

Just a Pretty Picture – Photo and 100 Words 87

Spoon River

Spoon River

What is an artist? What is art?

To me it’s simple, everyone is an artist and everything they create is art.

Some artists have a statement to make with their art, but I’m the kind of artist who lets the art make the statement. I discover the story along the way, sometimes long after the art is made. Each piece is kind of like a tarot card, open for my interpretation.

Then there are some artists who simply love beauty, and that’s enough. It’s like being able to love life without having to give it meaning. My friend, Mike Moats, makes gorgeous art and he writes about this all the time.

As I reflected on this image, Mike’s words about his own work, were what popped into my mind: “they are just pretty pictures with no deep thoughts or special meaning behind the image.”

I admit that, most of the time, I love to indulge in deep thoughts… and give things meaning… but this time it’s just a pretty picture.

 

What are these numbered posts all about? Read the introduction to my Photo & 100 Words project and find out!

 

Grumpy Moon – Photo and 100 Words 86

Grumpy Moon

Grumpy Moon

In my last series, my restrictions pushed my creativity further than I ever would have if I’d had a completely blank slate. In this series, though, the rules seemed to be holding me back.

Abstract photography made from literal reflections was my initial idea, but there were so many beautiful details outside of that barrier that kept calling to me.

The wine glass as a reflective surface was just not as interesting as the distorted magnifying glass I discovered it could be. After finding so much success with my cloud dish and then seeing so much inspiration all around me, I couldn’t stop there!

I expected some evolution in the beginning, but it happened so fast, and soon enough I was rewriting the rules… it’s ok, I can do that, I’m the boss.

Now I’m wondering if ‘abstract’ is a stretch for this image. It’s so obviously a moon, but I found it through a wine glass in a seahorse’s tail.

 

What are these numbered posts all about? Read the introduction to my Photo & 100 Words project and find out!

 

Picasso in New York – Photo and 100 Words 85

Picasso in New York

Picasso in New York

I fell in love with the very first shot. I know I always tell you how much time I spend experimenting with, and perfecting, each photo I make, but every once in awhile everything aligns right from the start.

Of course I tried to improve it anyway, I always do, but every exposure that followed was lacking. Probably because each change would hide some element of the silly face I found in the distortion.

I saw a Picasso-esque face right away; the forehead slopes down from the top and curls into a massive nose at the bottom, creating the typical cubist profile that impossibly displays two lopsided eyes, one half closed and one wide open.

I excitedly dragged Nick to my studio to show him, but before I could open my mouth he said, “looks like New York’s border.”

That’s the beauty of abstract art. It gives the viewer a chance to be creative, to open their mind’s eye, and then mine! Nick barely ever sees things they way I do, and that inevitably broadens both of our perspectives.

And this abstract party is just getting started!!

 

What are these numbered posts all about? Read the introduction to my Photo & 100 Words project and find out!