This isn’t really related to my monthly project, but every now and then I like to share especially creative and inspiring things I stumble on. Fellow creative Miriam Sagan happened upon my blog today and left a comment. Upon tip-toeing on to her blog to see what sorts of creative wonder she had to share, I was delighted to find a post about this artist! Crystal Gregory puts an interesting spin on the craft of crochet by introducing it into urban areas and places you would not otherwise associate with something dainty or beautifully nostalgic. She states “contrasting materials reflect the dichotomies I explore in my work: domestic interiors and architectural exteriors, nostalgia and modernity, fragility and strength, femininity and masculinity.” Be sure to watch the video at the end, showing a time-lapse process of creating one of her urban works. To see more from Crystal, visit her website! Thank you Miriam for turning me on to this clever artist!
Took my lunch break from work today to test out my idea for the first planet, Mercury! My original idea was to use snail shells, but after coming across these colored pebbles at the park where I was doing it – I was instantly drawn to the idea of separating out the white and red pebbles to form the “planet”. Even at its small size, this was very tedious and took up my entire lunchtime! I’m definitely happy with where it’s going, but am going to play around more with the snail shells too. I’m thinking of trying them on top of the red pebbles, and also of having more – as I don’t think I had quite enough this first time to make it work. I will also try a version with all small shells, as the larger ones made it difficult to get the circle perfectly round. Any other ideas out there? =)
I first noticed the art of Owen Mortensen at a local art festival here in Dallas last year. Upon first walking to his booth I must have completely stopped in my tracks and clogged up traffic as I stood there in awe. I fell in love with the simplicity and the mix of organic natural objects and geometric shapes and structures. I’m definitely a sucker for the mixing of these two worlds. His work has inspired a secondary idea for this month’s project – something of a series of constellations made from natural objects. I’ve yet to fully work out the details – but I’ve got the rough idea in my head and am ready to start experimenting with some things! Be sure to watch the video at the end detailing the process of one of his pieces, including a great time lapse of the entire process! Very cool stuff!
I came across the fabulous nature art of Richard Long today while researching for my own nature art project for this month. I was instantly drawn to the geometric forms created… and inspired to do something similar. I’m considering doing my own versions of these types of land sculptures – one representing each planet in our solar system. Each will be carefully constructed of materials that portray specific characteristics of that planet. I may explore other objects from space such as supernovas or black holes if time permits. Am feeling excited about this one!
I haven’t posted in a while – and sadly I really have nothing of any great importance about this month’s project to share yet. I am however, happy to say that I have had some time today to do more thinking and researching and have definitely come up with a few exciting ideas. More to come soon!
But this post is just a little bit about what I’ve actually done for the past few weeks of the month. Well, as often happens… life has snuck up on me. Stresses were high for the beau early this month. We had some mis-communication which led to a bit of a rough spot.. followed quite inconveniently by my coming down with a rather nasty cold last week! Fortunately the love spat has smoothed over and is quite resolved, but the cold is still holding on strong – complete with a nearly convulsive cough (my co-workers can attest to as they have been totally annoyed by it for days now).
It’s definitely tough to think about side projects and creative stuff when the curve balls get thrown in. I’ve had a bad habit in the past of letting certain parts of my life take over my whole world – leaving me unbalanced and abandoning a bunch of other areas during my stressing. I definitely know better than to do that now – but old habits die hard and often resurrect themselves! This month has definitely been a learning and growing experience though – and slowly but surely I am getting back on track and ready to tackle the awesomeness of nature art in outer space! or outer space in nature! or whatever it happens to be!
Sometimes curve balls will throw us off track a bit with our goals and projects. When it happens, I just try to remember to stop, be calm and quiet, and refocus myself as quickly as possible to keep balanced. I also remind myself that it’s okay that I got off track or messed up! I’m only human after all.
While writing this up, I did a quick search on the topic and found this article – which had some great tactics for getting yourself unstuck and keeping yourself on track when the curve balls come. A few of them I have never tried myself, and will have to add to my toolbox! Good stuff.
A great and rumbling storm came barreling through Dallas tonight. Just about dusk, I was sitting on my couch watching a documentary about the history of the American Whaling Industry (fascinating, actually!) and I noticed this very odd light outside. A crept outside with my camera – suspecting something possibly peculiar was amidst – and walked over past the next building that was blocking my view.
As I walked out through the doorway I was left breathless by a sunset like none I had never seen before. The clouds hung heavy overhead – exhausted from their raging. And off in the distance appeared silken streaked clouds that lay across the horizon like a golden ocean. I grabbed my camera and got to work… only wishing I’d gotten there just a bit earlier so get the full power of this show.
I decided to post this as part of my monthly project because, to me, this did remind me of something I might see way out there.. on another planet in some galaxy far away. It also reminded me of Star Wars – to which the beau can attest that all things spatial and fantasy-like almost always make me think of! =) And either way – it left me feeling such wonder and excitement and bursting with creative energy!
I was talking to a friend of mine today about my monthly project being about outer space… and she mentioned a really interesting thing I had to share! This month, almost all of the planets will be aligned in the early morning sky – following the path of the sun. I’ll definitely have to try taking some photos of this as part of my month’s projects.. and maybe find a way for this this event to work its way into the nature art project for the month as well! For the full article about planetary alignment in May, click HERE. Make sure to check out the end of the article – they offer a few tips on photographing the event!
On behalf of the April project themed on challenges – I reveal my first portrait series! Having never done portraits – I learned a great deal in just a few shoots! I am already seeing things I could have done better and have learned a ton along the way.. but am very proud of the results of this heroic little journey!
Below are the featured portraits large, including a statement by each person about a specific challenge in their own life. Following are a few others, including one self portrait I played around with the other night!
Personal Challenge: “Divorce changed me forever and though challenging, I’m still growing from it. Pain in a relationship can lead to redemtive actions and has for me. I couldn’t recogncile my divorce with loving someone, and wondered how could I divorce someone I loved? After anger and hurt subsided (6+yrs later), I know I loved, and now, I can love better.
A message found in 1 John 4:7-21 has significant relevance to me post divorce. Loving well means not fearing being loved. Resting daily by relying on the love God has for me frees me to love others well. In my heart, I want this but often forget.”
Personal Challenge: “I grew up in a predominately white neighborhood. My parents weren’t exactly the best at speaking English, and making friends was hard during my early years. I made a few, but I was still very shy and relatively quiet because of it. It wasn’t until later on in life (college and beyond) when I started socializing more.”
Personal Challenge: “The hardest thing I do is look myself in the mirror. I used to be a bully, really. Not take your lunch money at school type bully, but just a generally toxic person who relished confrontation with anyone I could find. I didn’t realize that I was such an ass until a few years ago, and have made major changes to how I conduct myself on a daily basis. I still have a hard time accepting that people like me as a person nowdays. Sometimes I suspect their motives, and honestly sometimes I suspect my own. I guess you could say I have a hard time forgiving myself for the person I used to be.”
Personal Challenge: “After having surgery 6 years ago and loosing over 300 lbs, I still to this day struggle with my feelings about my appearance. I still see that 600lb man in the mirror every morning and hate him and what he did to my life. I know that this will be a struggle that I will have the rest of my life, but it is a burden I am happy to take on.”
The Challenge of Portraits & What I Learned:
– The biggest challenge for me with this was connecting with the person and directing them. I had no clue how to direct them.. or even really what exactly I wanted! Plus, every person is different and has different needs and you must be able to adapt to that.
– Oh the weather! What a bitch to be doing outdoor portraits in the rainiest month of the year! Mother nature smiled upon me and parted the week-long stormy weathers JUST long enough on a few Saturday afternoons for us to make this happen! How lovely.
– When asking for help, make sure you ask the right questions! I was all set to fashion this home-made studio backdrop using ladders and sheets and all sorts of things… when a photographer friend of mine messaged me saying “you know, I have a backdrop kit… would you like to borrow it?” Ha! The thought did not even cross my mind to ask if anyone already HAD a backdrop kit! I will know next time to ask a better range of questions before jumping into the most complicated version! =P
– Apparently, I’m a wee bit oversensitive to constructive criticism when trying new things. Upon finishing the final shoot, my boyfriend (who posed for a portrait) gave me some loving advice from his perspective as the one in front of the camera. I suddenly realized that I had royally sucked at giving any kind of direction during the shoot… oh my God. I’m a total failure at this! And then began the tears. Geez.. How old am I? Thankfully, moments of reverting back to being 5 years old don’t last long – and I was able to remember… “Hey now! For my first try – I did pretty darn awesome!” Like the good perfectionist I am, it also wasn’t long until I was thinking of ways I could improve upon my directing skills.. even practicing a bit this week doing some self portraits helped me to understand what I might tell someone I am shooting in the future. Practice, practice, practice!
All in all, April’s project was a very fun one! And while I don’t think I’m going to be quitting my job to go be a portrait photographer… it was a great experience and not nearly as horrific as I had anticipated. I leave you with a few other shots from the month’s journey. And of course, a GREAT BIG thank you to all of my wonderful supportive friends who were brave enough to pose for this – and even braver to include some personal stories about their own challenges. Your words added such depth to this project and are much appreciated!