A Bike and a Smile

I’ve been getting a lot of smiles on my bike ride to work lately. It’s been odd, people see me coming and they smile at me. It took me a while to figure out what was going on. Why all the smiles? It turns out, they were smiling at me because I was smiling as I rode
You see, riding my Italian city bike makes me happy. It’s not as cool-looking as this bike I found in Pavia early on in my time in Italy, with its stylish zebra basket liner, but my bike still makes me happy. With it’s basket, fenders, chain cover, dropped bar and completely uncool kickstand it is a comfortable, functional bike. It is me.
I’ve had a lot of experience with bikes that were not me. You see, a long, long time ago I hated riding a bicycle. I taught myself to ride a bike at 8 years old. I never got that comfortable, like the other kids who had been riding since they were 5 and were jumping off curbs around the neighborhood. As a teen, I went to summer camp where one of the activities was cycling. They put everyone on 10-speeds, assuming we could ride them. I was nervous and scared on the 10-speed, all leaned over on a twitchy bike. I felt like I was going to crash, and eventually I did. So much for biking! 
And then… about a year after getting married, I mentioned I might like to try out mountain biking. The bikes looked more comfortable and it was the latest craze. My husband, an avid cyclist prior to our marriage, turned so fast into the parking lot of the bike shop it was almost illegal. Newly armed with biking gear I started to ride the trails with my husband and other friends from work. It was all guys, and I tried to become the cool biker chick. I tried to like mountain biking, I really did. But after a couple of years I decided that I just didn’t get why people would want to ride on these skinny dirt trails that you can easily ride off of. I didn’t get why people would want to ride on paths with obstacles like roots or rocks in the way intentionally. I made myself ride with the “must-have” clipless pedals for a year, to see if I would eventually like them. I hated them as much the day I took them off as the day I started with them. I forced myself to do all manner of things that didn’t seem to fit for me, in order to “become” a mountain biker. I tried to fit in with the mountain biking crowd, my husband and the guys I worked with. For years, I tried. It never worked.
What I did discover though, is that I liked biking to work. I liked the routine of getting out there, twice a day. Clearing my mind by working my body. Both getting somewhere and getting some exercise. Riding an exercise bike, nowhere? Ugh. Riding a bicycle to get somewhere? Perfect! 
One of the things I loved in Italy and Europe is that bicycling is not only a “sport” but a way to get around. A bicycle is an acceptable form of transportation. You don’t need snazzy gear and spandex to ride a bike. It opened my eyes to these bikes that were both comfortable and functional, with maybe a bit of style too.  I loved the look of the city bikes that were everywhere. I captured them with my camera but I think it was my heart speaking through the lens, reminding me this type of bicycling was for me. 
So, last summer I went out and found a city bike. It’s an amazingly huge and heavy bike, no worries about the lightness of frame here. I sit upright on a comfy seat. The bike has fenders, a chain cover, front and back racks, lights that run on a wheel generator, a kick-stand, wheel lock and a bell. It has the requisite drop bar in the front for riding in a skirt (although I’ve only done it that one time). I added a basket to the front rack, for even more functionality. I think I’m going to add some flowers to the front of the basket, that would make me even happier.
I look strange riding here in the US, among the mountain bikes on the bike path. There are more and more “city bikes” around but they still aren’t that common. My bike is giant and odd-looking. But I’m no longer trying to fit in, I’m just trying to fit me. Seeing as I’m smiling as I ride without even know it, I think I finally got it right. 


What’s going on around The Kat Eye View of the World

A Postal Mystery

Here we have a row of one of my recent fascinations, newspaper boxes. Some empty and abandoned, others and in use. All in a neat row outside of our town’s post office. I loved the light coming along the wall, pointing to the row of these colorful boxes.

An appropriate photo to go along with the news of today’s postal mystery.  Let me set the stage…

The Liberate your Art postcard swap had just finished up, and I was contacted by my online friend Elizabeth, from Puerto Rico.

“Kat, I never received any postcards. Did you get mine?”

“I’ve sent out everything I received! I don’t remember if I got yours or not. If you didn’t get anything, I probably didn’t receive your cards. I’m so sorry!”

An unsatisfying ending. Until…

Yesterday. The postcards she sent to me in July for the swap arrived in the mail yesterday. Over two months after she had sent them.

So I have 5 cheerful postcards that Elizabeth liberated into the world two months ago, now looking for a home! I would like to get some postcards back to Elizabeth too, so if you would like to send Elizabeth one of your postcards, I will send you one of hers. You don’t have to have been a participant in the Liberate your Art postcard swap to do this. Email me kat [at] kateyestudio [dot] com with your interest and I will send you the details. The first five to respond are in!

One last participant. A postal mystery that will never be resolved. All I need is a few generous readers to help make Elizabeth’s swap happen! Can you help?


What’s going on around The Kat Eye View of the World

  • The current Exploring with a Camera theme is The Color Wheel: Part 1. Check out the post and join in the exploration.
  • Are you ready to find your own unique vision through photography? This is the last week to register for the fall series of the Find Your Eye e-course. Class starts Sunday, September 25! Visit here for more info.
  • You can subscribe to the Kat Eye News to stay up-to-date on all the happenings around here.

Peace Comes Unexpectedly

What does this picture make you think of? It makes me think of an ideal kind of day. The kind of day where sunshine comes through the window, and there is personal time to bask in it. Time to work on my creative projects on my schedule. Sit and read or journal if I feel like it. It brings me a sense of peace and calm, and happiness. I took this self-portrait last weekend to show the progress in my studio, because I’m so happy with how this space is turning out. (Visit here to see what the empty space looked like.)

I am drawn to this image today, maybe because of the appearance of peace. This was not how my weekend went at all, it was a “work” weekend. With a garage sale on Saturday, we finished up our personal process of elimination. We all feel so much lighter and freer with the sale completed, left over items donated, and our garage space cleared! On Sunday we spent the day cleaning out our camping trailer, in anticipation of going away for the weekend soon. After sitting for two years, there had been a few visitors in the form of mice and bugs that left their mark. It turned out to be in very good shape overall, and after a few hours of cleaning it was bright and shiny again. Now we can’t wait to go camping!

While I had been steeling myself for this weekend of work, it actually turned out quite well. I feel better for what was accomplished, even if it wasn’t my dream day in the studio or out with my camera. I guess this is a reminder for me that there is more than one way to bring peace into your life. Sometimes it is slowing down, and spending the day in the sunshine on creative pursuits. Other times, it is completing projects and eliminating the stress associated with them being “undone.” There is a great sense of peace that comes along with accomplishing tasks that bring space and possibility into your life.

How did your weekend go? I hope you found peace through your weekend pursuits.


What’s going on around The Kat Eye View of the World

Why We Need Art

I was so excited last weekend, visiting the Saturday Market here in town. I found the first American image for my market/wheels series! Yay!

When I applied the standard “seventies” processing used in the series to the image, I got chills. I had this amazing realization. This series transcends place and time. All over the world, farmers are bringing their delicious wares to markets on wheels. They always have, they always will. I can go anywhere in the world, anywhere, and find images for this series. I could be in the middle of rural China or my little town of Corvallis and I will find a market. In the market, I guarantee I will find wheels. Within this commonality, I can see the differences too. The unique elements that tell the viewer where I am.

This is why we need art. Art is a way to equalize. Artists find connections, and commonalities. We speak in a language that transcends words. Anyone, anywhere in the world can identify with a piece of visual art. It can move us, bring us together in a way that nothing else can. 

And each of us, with our unique vision of the world, has something to offer that conversation. Whether it’s with a camera or a paintbrush or pieces of glass. Each individual point of view adds depth and dimension to the world we live in. We share our differences, and in the process, find the similarities between us. Don’t you think, if the everyone in the world participated in the conversation this way, the world would be a better place? I think so. I hope you’re joining in too.


What’s going on around The Kat Eye View of the World

  • Linking in to Paint Party Friday today, with these two works in progress started this week. I’m loving the colors! I’m picking up some new liquid acrylics in similar colors tomorrow at our new art supply store in town. (Check out the bottom of the page – I’m featured!!) I can’t wait to play with the new colors, and see where they go next.
  • The current Exploring with a Camera theme is The Color Wheel: Part 1. Check out the post and join in the exploration. 
  • Do you want find your unique vision of the world through photography? Registration for the fall series of the Find Your Eye e-course is open! Visit here for more info.
  • You can subscribe to the Kat Eye News to stay up-to-date on all the happenings.