spired Art

We’re one week into this month’s Exploring with a Camera! Are you seeing signs everywhere? We are fed a constant stream of information through them, and yet we may not consciously notice them until we really start to look.

One of my favorite types of signs are the little icons of people doing various things. Every culture, maybe even every city, throughout Europe seems to have their own take on how to warn people with these little icons. This one is from the subway system in Lisbon, Portugal, warning you to not get caught in the doors. He’s a bit stiff, don’t you think?

The best part of this little icon is the art it inspired! In Lisbon, all of the subway stations have a different artistic theme. The Martin Moriz station had marble knights lining the walls, as if they were waiting for someone to say, “Charge!” But tucked at one end of the station, almost as if it was an inside joke to see if anyone would notice, one of the knights was peeking out of the wall in the same manner as the warning icon. I caught a glimpse of it out the window as we flew past one day, and had to go back and this bit of humorous art.

spired art. I love it.

What kind of signs are you finding? Have you noticed how much they already show up in your photographs? Share your own sign-inspired art and visit the art that’s been shared so far. Lots of fun!

Recipe for Creative Success

Take one person with vision.

Jess Greene, founder of Seek Your Course and creator of the Jumpstart Creativity Tour

In an empty venue,

McMenamin’s on Monroe

add people who would like to explore their creativity and sprinkle liberally with supplies.

Mix in creative prompts and cool tools like a vintage Typewriter.

Spread evenly and allow to dry.

Enjoy your creative success!

The beautiful, creative mess at the end of the evening.

Jess Greene brought the Jumpstart Creativity Tour to Corvallis, Oregon last night. I was excited to host Jess and finally meet her in person! We had a wonderful time getting ourselves messy and creating some art, while meeting new people in the area.

The tour may be coming to a town near you! Check out the Jumpstart Creativity Tour website to find the events and register.

Make Space for Art

An epidemic is sweeping our nation. We are discontent. Workaholics. Stressed.

Often what we need is engagement in a process that allows us to have a voice. We need places to make things without judgment. We need supportive communities of other creative people. We need space to make art and a creative community to join.

The Jumpstart Creativity Tour bringing 50 FREE art-making events to cities across the USA and Canada. The 2 hour events will empower, engage, and introduce attendees to a world of opportunities. Come get inspired and stay inspired.

The tour starts in 10 DAYS! Will you support it? Will you help light a spark in someone’s life? Will you feel the spark?
Attend an event or support the tour at

– Jess Greene, founder of Seek Your Course

The door is always open for Art

I share Jess Greene’s message with you today because I sooo believe her words. We need art and creativity in our lives. We need community. We are better for it. Jess will be making a stop here in Corvallis, Oregon on her Jumpstart Creativity Tour in July. I can’t wait to meet her and others in our community here as we join together to create! Will she be stopping near your home? Visit the Jumpstart Creativity Tour site to find out.

Redefining My Art

In my newsletter article over the weekend, I wrote about redefining productivity. How I haven’t been feeling productive recently, but that feeling was based on an old definition. I’m not sure where the old definition came from exactly – my old artistic practices combined with external influences, perhaps. It was a reminder that I seem to gather these definitions and rules up as I go along in life. I think we all do. Sometimes we need to reexamine them and redefine them.

What was more important in that article than redefining productivity, I realize today, is the redefinition of my art. I wrote, “My art is using photos and words to explore the connection between heart and the world around us.” Up to now, I haven’t quite figured out where I “fit” in the photography world. If you look at what I practice and write and teach it’s not standard “photography.” It’s something different. Something that doesn’t have a word for it. I’m an artist that combines photos and words together. For me, they can’t be separated.

Realizing that brings freedom. I can remove the labels from who I am, what I do. I can just be me, as I have been, but without trying to figure out where I fit. I don’t fit any standard mold. I can be the seamless blend, like building and sky in this photograph, if I choose. (And no, the photograph was not edited to look this way.)

It can be uncomfortable, though, being without a title. Being without name that defines me, in the eyes of others. It makes it harder to communicate what I do, what I care about. That makes it all the more important to keep using the “words” part of my art. Maybe someday I’ll come up with one word that communicates my art to others. Until then, I’m going to memorize this phrase:

My art is using photos and words to explore the connection between heart and the world around us.

I have a feeling that this moment may be as important as when I claimed myself an artist a couple of years ago. Time will tell.

PS – If you missed it yesterday, I announced a new class coming in April: A Sense of Place. Visit the link here for more details.

PPS – Only THREE DAYS to the next Photo-Heart Connection link up. I can’t wait!

Putting Myself In The Picture

While I love capturing the world around me, I hate being in front of the camera. Hate it. That’s why it’s with some tredipation and fear that I join in with Urban Muser’s In The Picture project this year, gently exploring self portraiture.

I have noticed I carry a lot of biases about self-portraiture. I could list many reasons that I have kept myself out of the picture in the past. But they are all just a protective facade, designed to keep me safely away from images of myself. What am I trying to avoid?

I guess this year, I’ll find out. One image at a time.

A self-portrait opportunity presented itself to me on Saturday, while at the Portland Art Museum. I was in the Contemporary Art Gallery when I noticed the light. The sun had come out, after a rainy morning, and I loved the interplay between the light and the art. I started to capture this painting, Green One by Pat Steir, when I realized the gallery was empty, and there was plenty of space to work. I set up my camera, grabbed my remote and captured a few frames.

It’s a safe start, I must admit. I’m abstracted, a silhouette. To an outside observer, the image is not about me as much as it is about a person interacting with art, with the light. I could have taken this of anyone.

But it is about me, to me. About my love of art and painting, about being in an environment that allows me to enjoy it. The image becomes more personal, more meaningful.

Maybe that’s the point of self-portraiture? I’m not sure. It’s going to take a while to work through my biases and figure out this whole genre of photography, and how it fits for me. This is the start.

In The Picture

PS – A word about this gorgeous painting! It was so full of texture and subtle color, it is no wonder it caught my eye in the light. You can find out more about Pat Steir and her work here.

Trust and Belief: The Lessons of a Twitter Hacking

A few days ago, I had my Twitter account hacked. I could have kicked myself, because after the fact I realized that I was a willing participant to the hacking. After living in a world of internet spam, with all of the suspicious emails, tweets and blog comments I see all the time, I finally fell for one. Ouch. A blow to the pride for sure, but it taught me a thing or two about myself. About trust and belief.

So, how did this happen? First, I got a direct message from someone I know. I don’t follow a huge number of people on twitter, and while some of them are big names who don’t know me from the next person, many of them are people I’ve interacted with online or in person. This message came from someone I know, have met in person and exchanged emails with. A friend. So the first step in my downfall was receiving the message from someone I trust. It gave it a credibility it otherwise wouldn’t.

The second, and more insidious piece, is how I believed the message. I’ve never fallen for wiring money to Africa, or making thousands of dollars working from home, or the latest pharmaceutical scam. But this message preyed upon my vulnerability, saying, “You seen what this person is saying about you? {Link} terrible things.” I believed it. I clicked the link, “logged in” to twitter and willingly gave up my password. Why? Because I’ve always had this underlying fear that sometime, somewhere, someone was going to say terrible things about me on the Internet. It has to just be a matter of time, when you put yourself out there publicly like this, right? I realize now this wasn’t just a fear they preyed upon, I carried it around so long it became a belief. I have been sure that it would happen. Steeling myself against the day when it would come. So in my head I said, “Yep, it’s finally happened.” And I clicked the link.

I have to admit the smarts of these hackers, preying on our trust and belief like this. I have to admit chagrin, that I’m not as savvy against hackers as I thought. The hackers only took advantage so far. My own belief helped them the rest of the way.

I apologize if you got the same twitter message from me this week, I hope you saw it for what it was and didn’t click the link. I hate to think that I might have lost the trust of others in this way. But I did learn one important lesson out of all of this. I’ve been carrying around a belief that needs to go. No one has said terrible things about me yet. Maybe someone will someday, maybe they won’t. There is no point in believing it will happen. That just makes me vulnerable, to my own insecurities and hackers alike.