Come visit me Saturday!

It’s here!  The first art fair of the season is tomorrow, Saturday May 2, from 10am to 5pm at the Memorial Union on the OSU campus. This annual fair is in honor of Moms Weekend at the University, but anyone can come. I’d love to share new work with you!

 
It’s been a crazy few weeks getting ready for this. 16 new large framed pieces, 150+ smaller matted prints and 300 greeting cards. Whew. My studio has been a disaster and we couldn’t eat at the dining room table for a couple of weeks because I had one project or another on it.

  

But it’s all worth it when I get to share my art with new people. If you are in the area, come on over! There are almost a 100 booths with handmade goods. It should be fun! 

What you Cultivate, you Create

“You reap what you sow.”

I think we’ve all heard that saying a time or two. This is true in all aspects of life… our relationships, our development and our art, too. I got up this morning to write a blog post and discovered I had no words to write. I haven’t done any of my “creative” reading lately, or written in my journal for a week. I hadn’t sown any seeds for a blog post, which come when I’m taking in new ideas, pondering them, playing with them to write something new.

But I have images! Oh, do I have images. I have some beautiful forest images, from my morning hikes. That’s where I’ve been sowing my seeds of creativity: Visually, on the trail.

I shouldn’t be excited or disappointed one way or another, words or images. The outcome is obviously clear, I’m creating where I’m cultivating. Whether it’s an attitude or an art, where we invest our time and energy is where we will get a payback.

The hard part is in internalizing that we can’t get that payback in all areas at once. We have to pick and choose where we focus our attention.

Where do you choose to cultivate?

Cultivate intentionally, because that is where you will create.

Join me on the trail using #morninghikewithkat

Do you like to hike, walk, or run in the mornings? Do you ever stop to take a photo of something interesting? If so, join me this summer on Instagram using hashtag #morninghikewithkat.

I’m trying to get out into the forest as much as possible as the days start to get longer and the weather gets better here in Oregon. The extra time I’m out of the house, along with the leaves arriving on the trees, mean it’s time to shake things up with my art. No more bare trees! Instead, I’ll be trying to regularly photograph and edit images from my morning hikes, and I’ll share them using the #morninghikewithkat hashtag on Instagram. I thought, wouldn’t it be fun if other people are doing that too?

So, what do you say? Are you in? Just add #morninghikewithkat to your image, and we’ll be able to meet up.

Whether its daily or weekly or once in a while, I hope to see you on the virtual trail!

Life in the Desert

When you hear desert, what comes to mind? Dry, sandy, sparse and prickly are the words that come to my mind.  After this weekend I’ve added blooming, living, and vibrant to the list.

  

I was down in Arizona for a girls weekend with my sister, mom, and some other friends. What a gorgeous time to be there! Beautiful sunny weather, not too hot yet, and the desert in bloom. 

 
It resets your impressions a bit, doesn’t it? There is this vibrant life there. The calls of the birds and the buzz of the bees filled the air.

Beyond just the spring bloom, I do understand why people want to live there. Since I’m always cold, the desire to be warm to the tips of my toes most of the year does appeal. But when I went for a walk Monday morning before leaving, I thought about what it would be like if this was my walk every day. For all that was in bloom, it is still a dry, sparse place.
 
And I realized, nope. I would miss the green, green forest.  I would miss the trees, and the trails. This image is from my hike yesterday morning, back home. Quite the contrast, huh?

 
I think I’ll hang out here in Oregon for a while longer. My husband, who hates hot weather, is relieved to hear that I’m not planning to drag him to live in Arizona anytime soon.

Liberate Your Art 2015 Blog Hop

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The Liberate Your Art Postcard Swap has wrapped up another wonderful year! Here are the stats for the fifth year of the swap:

1290 pieces of art liberated
214 artists participating
12 countries represented

Every year, there is something new that the swap brings to the fore for me. This year, it was the idea that art knows no boundaries. Boundaries are a human invention. They are imaginary lines used to mark territories on a map, or they are imaginary lines in within the self that limit our actions. Some boundaries are good, but it’s amazing how many boundaries we gather up in our lives that artificially limit us. Art helps us to find the boundaries, push on them and break free.

Liberating your art is about pushing beyond the boundaries of fear and doubt.

Every one of you who participated this year is a unique, talented individual. You and your art deserve to be seen and heard. With that in mind, here is the 2015 video! I asked participants to send me a digital image of the art featured on their postcards for use in the video. About half of the artists sent me an image, so enjoy this amazing celebration of liberated art, realizing this is only a fraction of the artists who participated in the swap. If you can, watch it in HD. It’s gorgeous!

Thank you, thank you, thank you all for liberating such amazing art, making new connections and showing that art truly has no boundaries.


 
Now, it’s time to HOP! I have a special bonus for the blog hop participants in the form of a giveaway drawing! At the end of the blog hop, by random drawing from all blog hop participants, I will be giving away:

  • One copy of the book Good Mail Day: A Primer for Making Eye-Popping Postal Art. I bought two copies of this gorgeous book in the gift shop at the Smithsonian National Postal Museum in Washington, DC last year, and I’m giving away the second copy to one of you!
  • One 6×9″ fine art print, matted to 11×14″, of this year’s Blog Hop image “Art Knows No Boundaries,” shown above. Having this image in your studio could be a reminder to continue to push those boundaries and liberate your art!

If you’d like to purchase your own 6×9″ fine art print of today’s image and help me defray the extra expenses I incur on behalf of the swap, I am making it available for purchase during the time of the blog hop. To order, click here if you are within the US and here if you are outside of the US. Postage is included in the purchase price. (Don’t worry, if you purchase the print and then win the giveaway, I’ll refund your money.)

Enough words from me… Let’s hop!

Guest Post: Photographing Pets with your Smartphone

Today we have a guest post by photographer Jolanda Boekhout from The Netherlands. Jolanda and I first met through Big Picture Classes in 2010 and she has participated in four of the five Liberate Your Art Postcard Swaps. I was marveling over her postcards, where were images of her cats she posts on Instagram, and asked her if she would share about her 365 project and how to photograph pets with your smartphone. Welcome and thank you, Jolanda! I’m inspired to go photograph my pets now.

A 365 with My Cats

I started a 365‐project with my iPhone for the first time in 2012. Since that moment I haven’t stopped shooting daily, addictive as it is. Sitting on the couch on New Years’ day morning 2014 with my three cats around me I already knew my word for 2014, ‘quiet’, but I still had no clue what my 365 photography project for 2014 would be. I jokingly asked my partner Eric what he thought of me following the cats with my camera for a year. He didn’t think it would be interesting or challenging enough. Boy, how wrong he was.

All is Quiet

All is Quiet

So I started this adventure with Tara, Blackie & Piet… with a little doubt in my heart. Would my photos be diverse enough to make the project interesting? Would my cats be bored with me after a while? Would I feel bored with shooting the same photos over and over again? How could I think all these disturbing thoughts! After a few days I got more and more excited. My cats have such an interesting and adventurous life!

Quite the Adventurer

Quite the Adventurer

Working with your own animals can be challenging, in spite of what Eric said. Animals have a mind of their own. You can’t ask them to sit and pose in a certain way, well you can ask, but the outcome won’t be like you have in mind. :‐D. Registering a habit you love on photo needs a lot of patience. You need to have your iPhone close all the time, and it can take a lot of photos till you’re satisfied with the result.

The reward came with photos that made my heart sing. A photo of the contentment on Piet’s face while sitting on my lap, the details of the beautiful and characteristic coloring of Tara’s fur and Blackie’s mischievous actions made me feel full of love. Working together and watching them being patient with me filled me with emotion. Some photos made me laugh and some made me cry of love. But all of my photos are special in one way or another, like my cats are special.

The Outside Office

The Outside Office

I ended the year with sadness in my heart. How could I stop photographing my beautiful friends? I haven’t stopped. I’ve set a goal for myself to shoot 365 photos for Tara, Blackie and Piet so that I can create a 365‐book for each of them.

All of my 365 photos I share on Instagram as @jofabi (and Flickr and Facebook ). Tara, Blackie & Piet have their own hashtag (#tarateetje, #apeknapie & #sweetpiet.).

What made a 365 with my cats priceless? With so many photos of each of them I’ve been creating a beautiful memory, in experiencing the adventures in their lives in an active way, but also with a beautiful collection of photos.


How to photograph your pet with your iPhone…

There are several things you need to remember when photographing your pet, in general and with a phone.

The basics: Be patient | Shoot | Practice

First of all you need to be aware that photographing your pet takes patience. Shooting your pet with your DSLR or your phone doesn’t make a difference in that. Photographing your pet with your phone has the advantage that you’ve got your phone close all day long. Don’t give up too soon if you don’t get the result you want right away. Give it time. And always be sweet with your pet.

Observe your pet with different eyes. Connect with your pet and try to see the extraordinary in the ordinary. Once your pet is accustomed to you and your camera being close all the time he or she will take you on a beautiful journey.

Making yourself ‘invisible’ is a great way to get surprising images. Try to focus your attention on anything but your pet and press the button when your pet settles down and thinks you’re not watching.

Invisible

The Box

What I love about animals is the look on their faces when they are focused, on you or an imaginary prey. This is the moment that you can tap your point of focus, the eyes for instance, easier because you’ve got some extra seconds. A phone doesn’t focus as fast as a DSLR so you need to get creative with your pet.

Do Not Look at Me

Do Not Look at Me


Sometimes I choose photos that are not in focus. Some of the actions of my cats make it impossible to focus. Having patience with yourself is important in those moments. And accidental shots, which for me are mostly out of focus, can be really beautiful. I often remind myself that a blurry photo tells a story too. What I look for when choosing my daily photo out of a couple of blurry photos is a nice composition or an expression or pose that says it all.

Missed you too Blackie

Missed you too Blackie

And what I always like to photograph is my sleeping cats. Be as silent as possible, study your pet and try a different vantage point (from above or lie flat on your belly).

Drop of Sunshine

Drop of Sunshine

When you get the hang of following your pet with your phone after some time you can start to add some extras to your photos. Play with composition, light and shadow or lines and shapes. Catching lens flare, which is really easy with a phone, is adding a dreamy, playful or funny tone to a photo.

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Be aware of the background in your photo. Choosing the right background, which can be any part of your home without daily life clutter, can add peace to your photo. But deliberately photographing your pet in your daily clutter can tell a story just as much.

When starting to follow your pet daily with your phone think about what you want to remember. Maybe a habit, daily rituals, sharing cuddles, an action with a favorite toy and your interaction with your pet. Once you start you’ll be inspired by the day.

A Windy Morning

A Windy Morning

Xo
Jolanda
Instagram: @jofabi, Flickr, Facebook

Thank you so much Jolanda!! Visit here for more mobile tutorials!