Walking the Path

Life is a path we walk along. Sometimes straight and narrow, other times with twists and turns. Constant endings and beginnings line the path. Yesterday I announced an ending of sorts on Mortal Muses, I’ve decided to leave my position as a regular muse. I join the ranks of the Muse Alumni as of today.

It was a bittersweet ending. I am so grateful for my time as a muse. It helped me connect to the wider photographic community online while I was in Italy. It gave me confidence in myself as an artist, both photographer and writer. At the same time, with the move back to the US and the start of Kat Eye Studio I was finding it difficult to juggle it all. Something had to go, to free up space and time. I breathe a bit easier now.

I will continue to cheer the Muses on from the sidelines, supporting and participating. I believe in the mission of the Mortal Muses. I love the celebration of diverse photographic styles, the combination of photos and words, and the idea of community of photographers who do what we do for the love of it.

An ending of one thing. But beginnings of so many others… the Photo-Heart Connection in progress (March linky is open!), A Sense of Place starting in April, along with my exhibition at The Arts Center.

So I pause on the path to look behind me, give thanks and wave farewell, and turn to go on.

Love Letter from Italy

“You have entered my life and colored it with amazing colors I did not know before…”
This is a rough translation of one line of the love graffiti found on the path in Parco di Monza Saturday. Isn’t it beautiful? I captured this image of the graffiti for the interest in the photograph but when I looked at it on the computer, I fell in love with that line.  I could take that quote for myself, to describe my time in Italy. Or the beauty and peace I find in Parco di Monza. Or the relationships with my husband and son, also pictured in the distance. So many interpretations in one simple line. 

We had a beautiful weekend spent doing a few last, favorite things around our home in Italy before the dismantling of our lives this week. It’s a weird feeling, this dismantling. Taking apart piece by piece the life we’ve built here. What seemed so exotic a couple of years ago has become so normal. When did that happen? There was no exact moment in time, I know, but a gradual adjustment that just now becomes obvious as we shake things up again.

Beyond my move, there is quite a bit going on around here, I want to share with you too…

– I am featured today in Beth Nicholl’s “Shared Stories” on the Do What You Love blog. Please come by and say hi! There are also lots of wonderful stories in Beth’s archive, if you want to look around a bit.

Exploring with a Camera: From a Flower’s Point of View continues for another day, link up by the end of the day tomorrow if you are participating. I am loving the entries for this theme!

– Will you share what interesting new sites you have found in the Liberate Your Art Postcard Swap? Yesterday I shared the link list and asked you to share your favorites in the comments. There are so many wonderful artists participating! Please come by and let us know who you’ve found by leaving a comment on yesterday’s post.

– I did something crazy this weekend and entered a photo contest, my first ever. I’ve looked at a number of contests over time, but for some reason this one felt like it “fit.” Would you come by and vote for me for the “people’s choice” award? (This is an example of me feeling the fear – both of putting myself out there in a new place and asking people to vote for me – and moving ahead anyway.)

Whew. And I’m moving internationally in the midst of all of this. Doesn’t that sound a bit crazy? But for some reason, it’s all working out just fine.

I hope you have a wonderful, creative Monday! I am linking in to Creative Every Day and The Creative Exchange today.

A Realization of the Heart

There are some things that loom larger than life in your future, and then there are the things that sneak up on you unaware. I had a moment yesterday where a “larger than life” part of my life managed to sneak up and catch me by surprise at the same time.

I was walking in Parco di Monza and admiring the wonderfully refurbished Lo Scrittore* sculpture. It’s all shiny and looking its best after they worked on it last month. I was wondering how long it would take before it started looking worn again, with peeling paint and the wood falling off. Then I realized, I won’t be here to see it. I really won’t be here. I burst into tears. What I’ve known at an intellectual level forever finally hit me at an emotional level. We’re moving in three weeks. Three weeks. I will no longer be here, living in Italy. No longer walking in Parco di Monza everyday.

It’s interesting, how I can hold two realities in my head at the same time. The reality of living in Italy and the reality of living in Oregon. Both seem so comfortable and real. What is completely unreal and hard for me to even grasp is the reality of living in Oregon after living in Italy. What will it be like to be there, as a completely different person? Because my time in Italy has changed me, changed all of us in our little family, more than I ever imagined. And I’m so, so happy with the changes.

What I have finally realized is that I’m not returning to my “old life” in Oregon. I’m moving to a new life, that happens to be in an old place. Going back to an old place doesn’t mean going back to an old life or an old me. It reminds me of the time, four months after my son was born, that I finally realized life wasn’t going to go back to “normal.” There was a new “normal” with the addition of my son then, and there will be a new “normal” for my life in Oregon now. In a way, this realization is kind of freeing. I’m open to redefine things however I like, as long as I avoid falling into assumptions that life has to be the same just because it’s the same place.

I think I’ve been writing this blog post in my head, over the last 24 hours, as I’ve wrestled with some of these realizations. There was the little, planner part of my brain that said, “No, no, you’re doing Scotland photos this week!” But as always, what I need to write wins out over what I planned to write. This blog is about my creative journey, and I can’t write anything else and be true to me. I think that’s why I’ve avoided calling myself a travel blog, or an expat blog, or even a photography blog. Because my blog is all of those things and none of them, depending on the day. Conventional wisdom for “growing a blog following” is to know your topic, know your audience and write for them. Today I’m saying aloud something I’ve felt for a long time: To hell with conventional wisdom. I write this blog for me.

This blog is about one woman’s creative journey wherever she may be. I write about what is important to me, fascinating me, challenging me in that moment. It happens that I have a passion for photography and can’t help teaching when I’m passionate about something, and that’s why you see a lot of photography. I love art and creativity and reading inspirational books, so you get that too. Since I’ve been living in Italy, I write about my life here and our travels. All because it’s who I am right now. Where my life happens is going to change, but who I am will stay the same.

Thanks for joining me on this unpredictable journey. The fact that my little life and interests can connect with others is one of the most rewarding things I’ve ever experienced. From the bottom of my heart, thank you.

*Lo Scrittore is a sculpture by Giancarlo Neri, installed in Monza Park (Parco di Monza) in 2006 to celebrate the 200th anniversary of the park. The sculpture is painted plywood over a metal frame. The table  measures 7.5 meters high and 11 meters long, and the chair is 10 meters tall. I captured this picture while they were working on it last month, to give a better idea of the scale. I absolutely love this sculpture.

A Gentle Twist

This morning on my walk in Parco di Monza I noticed the tree trunks along the path. I noticed how some trees grow straight and tall while others have a gentle twist. Why is that, I wonder? 
If you know the scientific answer, don’t tell me. That was a rhetorical question. I would rather envision these stately trees reaching and stretching for the sun with gentle yoga-like twist to keep them energized.
Seeing the twist in the trees comes from the one and only sketch I did last week on our visit to Scotland. Much of the time it was windy and it rained off and on, so I wasn’t standing or sitting in any one place long enough to sketch anything outdoors until our last day in Edinburgh. We went to the botanical garden on a gorgeously sunny day where I found this interesting tree trunk. I sat and sketched the form of it – the details of texture and leaves are beyond me at this point, I’m afraid.

The best part of this drawing is not how it looks; the best part is what it helped me see today. This morning, as I was walking and noticing the twists of the tree trunks, I was very grateful to all that art has brought into my life. It doesn’t matter the art form, all of it helps me to see the world around me in different ways and capture it in my own way. Whether it’s photography or drawing or painting or words, that’s what I’m doing, isn’t it? Seeing, interpreting, and then sharing it here.

(Linking in to Creative Every Day and The Creative Exchange today. Happy Monday!)

A Summer of Change

Ah, summer. Long days of sunlight and warmth with nothing to do but lounge around in the hammock and read a book, right?

Um, no. Not for me this summer.

As most of you probably know, my time in Italy is coming to an end. Our apartment will be packed up in a few weeks, as my son finishes his school year. Shortly after, we’ll say goodbye to friends, neighbors and colleagues, and fly back to Oregon on July 1st. A new adventure awaits, in an old, familiar place.

With all that going on, you might find me absent here and there from the blog over the next couple of months. Since blogging has become a habit, I’ll probably be on more often than not, but I’m giving myself the freedom to let things slide a little more than usual. (This is hard for me, I must admit.)

In addition, for the summer months Exploring with a Camera will run with re-posts of earlier themes. I’ve selected posts from last year, before many of you had joined in, and will run them as “second editions” with some new example photos along with the additions of the link up and Flickr pool for sharing. If you’ve done the prompts before, this will be a great opportunity to share what you captured the last time around, or cement the ideas further by using the concepts again.

Thanks a bunch for hanging in with me as I move through this transition.