Happy Saturday! I’ll be away from the blog for most of this week, unplugging for a new perspective. Photo-Heart Connection for July will open on Wednesday, August 1. Please join me then!
Archives for July 2012
Today we wrap up July’s Exploring with a Camera: Signs. It’s been quite fun to investigate how signs crop up in my photographs and to see yours too.
I’ll leave this exploration with a favorite sign of mine, from Venice. All over the island of Venice are printed signs saying “Per San Marco” or “Per Rialto.” Since Venice is such a warren of walkways, bridges and canals, it is very easy to get lost. Often we found ourselves wandering and the only way to figure out where we were was to go back to Piazza San Marco or the Rialto bridge and start again, so these signs became a lifeline. My favorite sign image is this hand-painted sign, found off the beaten path in a back alley. There were none of the “official” signs around, so someone took matters into their own hands and created this one. They were probably tired of the tourists asking for directions. 🙂
You can still link in today with your sign images. I’d love to see how you use signs in your photography! Do share.
Today marks nineteen years of marriage for my husband and I. Nineteen years! When I write it out it amazes me. I’ve spent almost half my life with this man. We’ve been through so much together… birth, death, pregnancy, surgeries, depression, degrees, religions, new jobs and businesses, cars, apartments, houses, moves across country and world, travel, hobbies, parenting… I could go on and on. Nineteen years worth of on and on. We’ve been companion, witness, friend and counselor to each other.
It hasn’t always been easy. I sometimes wonder how we’ve made it this far when I look back at the big struggles we’ve had along the way. Marriage is not an easy Saturday afternoon walk in the park. It’s not what the romance novels and fairy tells would lead you to believe. They end at the “happily ever after” part, but “happily ever after” is really where the work begins. Marriage takes compromise and commitment and choice. It takes patience and forgiveness and humility. Recently I heard marriage described as a “crucible for personal growth” and recognized this for truth. It is. You tie your life to a completely separate person and then you progress through the years as you both change and grow. How can you expect to NOT struggle once in a while? Could you ever expect to see completely see eye-to-eye with someone else over a period of nineteen years? I don’t think so.
This weekend I saw a wonderful performance troupe and captured the dancers on the rings and ropes. This man and woman shared an intricate and beautiful performance of a love story. They made it look graceful, but I’m sure it wasn’t easy. It was the practice and commitment they both shared that made the act seem effortless. How many hours and hours did they spend in rehearsal, for this one performance?
Marriage is like that. It’s a dance we must practice and practice with our partner. We make mistakes. We fall. We fight. We pick up where we left off and try again. And sometimes we discover we can glide effortlessly through a performance. We are in synch and beautiful to watch. There it is, the “happily ever after” part. Where things go smoothly and life is filled with joy. When we reach that, guess what? We’re not done. It’s time to learn the next dance, because we are always changing and growing.
Nineteen years worth of changing and growing. We were so young when we got married, it feels like we’ve grown up together. We’ve grown up separately, too. We are both such different people than we were on this day nineteen years ago. Life has changed us. Life together has changed us. We are who we are today, in part because of each other.
I hope we’ll be graced with nineteen more years of the real-life version of “happily ever after.” We’re just starting to get it figured out, for this dance anyway.
Happy Anniversary, Patrick.
Liberate Your Art! It wants to be free. Don’t you agree?
There are so many envelopes arriving now for the Liberate Your Art postcard swap. As of Monday, 77 envelopes from 10 countries have arrived. We have a little more than two weeks until the receipt deadline so I know the flood of mail is still coming. So much fun!!
And of course, the mail art keeps coming too! This envelope came from Valerie-Jael, all the way from Germany. I love that thought bubble!
She also included a couple of gorgeous mixed media pieces for me to enjoy. You get to enjoy them here too! Thanks Valerie-Jael!
I had to smile at this lovely lady from Kathryn* in Illinois. Don’t you think a few post office employees got a smile from this too?
Cindy* in Arizona had a great idea on her envelope. Balloon mail! Wouldn’t that be a fun way to get mail?
And finally, I must thank Tina in Minnesota for the title of the blog post. Yes! Art DOES want to be free! Let’s liberate it!
It’s also time for Paint Party Friday, so I want to show the progress of my latest yellow-green piece. I have not had much time to paint this week, but I’ve made some progress and I know where it’s going next. It all comes down to making time.
Have a lovely creative weekend!
*I try to share website links for the mail art I share when I can find them, but many of the envelopes I’m receiving don’t have a website on the postcards. If this art is yours, let me know and I’ll link back to you!
When we create a work of art, we put a little piece of ourselves out in the world. Creation is expression of self; a reflection of self. As photographers, we often capture reflections of ourselves without intending to. Here is one such case for me… I loved the texture of the door and lock in this empty old theater in Astoria, Oregon. In the first image I captured, I was reflected in the door window. I noticed and moved to get another shot without my reflection, but in the end, it was the one with my reflected silhouette I liked best.
When I saw the image, it was a visual reminder that we are reflected in our work. The way we see the world, the things we choose to photograph, even the way we frame them are unique to us. Over time, we create a body of work that is an expression of who we are. We can also see our change and growth over time. It’s pretty darn cool to have that epiphany and discover yourself in your artwork.
I don’t know what my love of capturing old textured buildings and door locks says about me, but I know it does reflect a part of me. Maybe some day I’ll figure out what exactly that part is trying to say.
Risk has been much on my mind lately. You can take risk across all areas of your life: Professionally, personally, artistically. Or you can avoid risk, wrap ourselves up in a cocoon of perceived safety, trying to avoid any downside. But with real risk, there is always a downside, to go along with the upside of real reward. With real risk, something of real value must be put on the line. That could be something tangible, such as money, or intangibles like time, reputation, or even ego.
There have been some big issues at my corporate job, as I alluded to last month, and the situation has only grown bigger as some deadlines loom. This has gotten me to thinking about risk… We are dealing with these big issues because we took big risks. We took big risks, seeking big rewards. When you take big risks, they don’t always work out positively. Were there mistakes made along the way? Sure. Hindsight is always 20-20. Is it a failure that things aren’t working out as planned? I don’t think so. We are still much further along the path to achieving our goals than we would have been. The issues are more about responding to new information as it comes in, rather than completely starting over. The only real failure is if you fail to learn from the situation.
I think of risk as flipping a coin. There are two sides to that coin – heads or tails. There is no inherent “good” or “bad” in a getting a head or a tail, it’s just the outcome of the toss. If we took uninformed risks, there would be an equal likelihood of either result with the toss of our coin. You can move the odds in your favor though, by being smart about taking risk. Smart risk taking involves getting as much information as you can, making a decision and committing to a path. It involves keeping your eye on the situation as you move forward and making adjustments as necessary. Smart risk taking is like working to change the results of the coin toss to be heads more often. But it’s still a coin toss, and it still could come up tails. That’s always a possibility with real risk. If there were no possibility of the coin coming up tails, you aren’t risking anything.
And if you aren’t risking anything, you are not growing. Growth, be it in business or in life, requires risk. It requires stepping out of the comfort zone, moving into an unknown space. Even though I talk about taking “smart risks” and getting the information to move forward, you will never, ever have all of the information you want or you need. If you are taking real risks, you will never have a perfect record in the outcome. It’s called the “unknown” for a reason. You have to take the information you have, along with your desire to reach out for that big reward, apply judgment and intuition, and then go.
We often shy away from risk, because we are scared of failure. We don’t want the discomfort or pain of a “bad” result. So we stay stuck. We don’t move forward, we don’t expand, we don’t grow. We don’t reap any new rewards. We might tell ourselves we are waiting until that next piece of information comes in, for that next door to open up, for the perfect moment to step out… but the reality is there will never be a perfect moment, a perfect opportunity, a perfect decision. While we hesitate and wait, we shrink. We may try to avoid risk at all cost to avoid pain, but life has other plans for us. Life hands us things to which we must respond. Things like health issues, loss of a job or loss of loved ones. We are much better equipped to respond to the pain and discomfort of these unforeseen events if we’ve been pushing ourselves out there, taking risks and learning to deal with the downside.
I’m living the results of real risk right now… At my corporate job with the resolution of these issues, sure, but that’s only one tiny example in the course of my life. There are so many places along my personal journey and career I’ve taken risks and they’ve paid off: Taking the assignment in Italy, sharing my art and my heart here online, starting Kat Eye Studio. Those are just a recent few. If I look back at my life journey, I can see every big, important, positive change in my life has come when I’ve taken a risk. A real risk, where something of value is on the line, and I’ve stepped out into the unknown.
Are you avoiding risk somewhere in your life? Are you stuck, trying to create a cocoon that will protect you from discomfort? I encourage you to take a look at those places carefully, take a deep breath, and flip the coin. Heads or tails, you learn and grow. And with growth, you always win.