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Posts tagged ‘12 months’

Updates from New Landscapes

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I can’t believe my last post here was in September. I haven’t been kidnapped, I promise! On the contrary, I have been writing weekly still for Widows Voice about all the goings on since my move… but I’ve neglected to share what creative things have been going on here.  Probably because its been a time of wandering and less direction… which is always when I seem to write less here. Somehow today felt like a good day to dig back in though. I suppose I should start with an update on just what has been going on creatively since my big move from Texas to Ohio.

Firstly, it is COLD in Ohio. And this has been an unseasonably warm winter for Ohio I am told. Despite that information, below freezing for 2 weeks in a row is something I have not previously experienced. That sort of cold only lasts like a day and a half in Texas before it goes back up to the 60’s. Sigh. I miss my flip flops.

Screen Shot 2016-02-03 at 2.25.32 PMOkay, I am not really in love with the cold. So just what am I loving about this new place? The landscape. It is foreign. And fresh to my eyes. The trees are much taller. There are rolling hills, steep valleys and beautiful gorges. And all the water features, oh! Waterfalls and creeks and rivers and ponds and lakes everywhere…. ones that magically do NOT dry up 2 days after it rains, like in Texas. No, they actually exist all year, only changing in winter when freezing solid. Speaking of that, icicles galooore! Some of them 20 feet tall! Talk about magical. I may hate the cold, but winter here certainly leaves a lot of room for your childlike wonder to roam.

I have spent the past few months trying to get settled in. It’s been chaotic, and a challenge to make room for creativity. There haven’t been any big conceptual photo shoots. No climbing around in frozen landscapes in front of my camera to capture new self portraits. I’ve been a little bothered by this. I always feel, if I stop doing the portraits for too long, that I am missing opportunities to tell stories that are happening right here in the now. I’ve had to let go of that a little, and realize that I am telling those stories in different ways perhaps.

Mike and I have hiked nearly every weekend the past 2 months now. I’ve gotten in the habit of taking my camera along and shooting along the way. I never really hiked much in Texas, so this has been a great adventure. Everything has become less about my internal emotional world lately, and more about what is going on all around me. I suppose I am starting to put down the self portraits for a while… and lean into exploring what else there is to capture. What stories are told when I don’t have a figure in the image? How are they told? How does this change my own relationship to nature and to the images? There’s been plenty to explore for sure.  As I embrace this direction more, I can feel my creativity loosening up. I am experimenting with color images more, or adding tints and filters to my black and whites to give them a sheen of color. I’m even going back to old images and reprocessing them in completely new ways lately.

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A few of my older shots getting a face lift with some color tints!

After several years of hard emotional work, and using photography mostly as a means to do serious healing, I am enjoying the play. I’ll admit, I did start to feel stuck within the portrait series after a year of commitment to it. Slowly, it is beginning to feel good to let loose and just explore where things are going – both personally and creatively. I’m also looking toward some new ventures now that will include others within my creative process, something very new for me. More on that soon. Cheers everyone! I hope your new year is off to an inspired start!

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Mike out hiking around Gorge Metro Park

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Sandstone detail in Gorge Metro Park

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Blue Hen Falls – Cuyahoga Valley National Park

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Prairie at Springfield Bog

My 12 Months of 2012

I’ve spent the past few weeks thinking about what I’d like to focus on creatively this year. To be honest, I had a really hard time deciding! All I knew for sure was that – at the end of each month last year, I would just be gaining momentum and getting excited about one type of project and then I would have to switch gears totally and drop it. So I think this year, I’m ready for longer projects and timelines…

Quarterly Projects
I’ve decided to focus on 4 different types of projects quarterly throughout the year. This might mean that I do one large project for the quarter, or many small ones… depending on how things unfold and you know, how badly I procrastinate. ;)

The 4 projects I’m thinking for now are:

– Welding/Metal Sculpture
– Illustration/Drawing
– Needle Felting
– Nature/Land Art

Welding is something I’ve never done and always wanted to do. I’m signed up for a class at a local community college to start January 22nd, so this is where we begin! The others were things from this past year that I fell in love with and wanted more time with. The list could possibly change if I find anything else exciting along the way – but for now this is a good start!

12 Month Barn Series
Alongside that, I’ve decided I also want to focus on photography for a monthly project. I have a barn series that I began a year or so ago that I was really fired up about but never really got off the ground. So the goal here is to trespass onto as many abandoned old properties with barns as I can find!… or hopefully more of the time enter with permission so no one comes after me with a shot gun (this is Texas, after all).

By the end of the year I want to have photographed a full series of a dozen barns, each with a ceiling shot similar to the one below, as well as other supporting angles and details. I’d really like to get a wide range from old abandoned barns to fully functioning newer ones… but we’ll see where the journey takes me.

I will be doing some research on how to create good black and white images too – as there are good and bad ways to achieve it and I’m pretty sure I’m not using the best methods right now. I may also throw in some techniques to focus on (landscape, macro, HDR, etc) from time to time to help me practice in areas I haven’t taken the time to really read up on or practice a ton yet. Pretty excited to revive this project! I have been in love with it since the first ceiling shot I took and look forward to having my first full series of photos done by the end of 2012!

Yes, We Will Create!
And that’s still not everything! On top of my personal creative projects, I’m spending this year trying to get a creative community called We Will Create off the ground. It’s a place to share any and all sorts of creative projects – big or small, long or short. I’m hoping together we can create a real place of open support for each other in all our creative endeavors… a place for anyone who is looking to add a bit more creativity in their lives and wants some friends to do it with! In the much bigger picture, I dream of this becoming a community that reaches millions… where you can explore or join various groups and have specific communities related to your interests (photography, cooking, living green, painting, charity work, etc) as well as joining other groups for 365 projects, 12 month projects, 30 day projects, etc. It’s definitely far from anything that big (yet), but I believe in it a heck of a lot, so I’m doing all I can to get it going. I figure worst case is that a few more people in the world are inspired by each other, and I learn a lot about how to NOT make a community site.

If you actually made it this far into my novel of a post… please take a moment to check us out at and if you like what you see, join us or share with your family and friends!

Looking Back on the 12 Months of 2011

Today I’ve been thinking a lot about what this project has meant to me and how it has helped me to grow. In January of 2011, I was really a pretty wimpy creative person… I didn’t believe in myself. I didn’t believe any of my ideas were any good or that anyone else would think they were. I had VERY little confidence in myself as a creative person (which really sucks, considering I’m a graphic designer for a living!! Yikes). I would doubt myself and over-think things to the point of talking myself out of even trying to do them.

These monthly projects have really helped to change a lot of that for me. I feel confident now. I know I am a creative person who has valid ideas to share – who deserves to share them. I doubt myself less and I try not to over-think things or judge my ideas as “good” or “bad” (and hopefully catch myself quickly when I do). I find myself leaping into action when something first excites me now. It’s been nice learning how to not get in my own way. Ha!

“You can’t use up creativity. The more you use, the more you have.” (Maya Angelou)

I love this quote because it is so very true! I have really noticed it this year and it has surprised me. I always used to think that when you did a creative project it left you sort of drained for a while until you recharged. Instead of feeling depleted at the end of each month though, it’s more like each of these projects has added fuel to a creative fire in me. I feel like I am noticing opportunities to be creative in places that I never did before. I suppose it is just like anything else in life – the more you practice it the better conditioned you are and the more easily you can do it. Funny, I thought for a long time that creativity was something you either had or didn’t have – a talent. Sure, some are more talented artists than others, but all of us have our own creative talents that are unique just to us. That’s really kinda beautiful to see.

“You must live in the present, launch yourself on every wave, find your eternity in each moment.” (Henry David Thoreau)

This is one of my favorite quotes and it’s one that I’ve connected with a lot in 2011. I’ve been learning to let go and trust things more in all areas of my life. I think it has helped me to have these projects – because you aren’t really looking past a year, or even a month really. You are so intently focused on that month or that day and the project at hand. It’s been so rewarding to get lost in the process of creating things – without worrying “Will I make a good grade?”, “Will the client like it?”, or “Will I win an award or get more business because of this?” I mean what a HUGE release it has been to put aside all of those practical things and just say “Yes! I’m going to put my head in the clouds and be ridiculous, thank you! I will spend hundreds of dollars on supplies and make tons of things that will probably go no where at all! Because I want to and that’s the only reason I need!” Ahhh – even just writing that is refreshing!

The Show Must Go On!

This project has really become a part of my life this year – a big part. It’s sort of my child… and I can’t very well just give up a child! And so, I will continue on in 2012 with a whole new adventure. Instead of a wide variety of projects and themes, I am feeling like narrowing my focus this year. I am toying with the idea of sticking to a particular subject for the entire year… certainly a whole different sort of challenge than what I have ever done before. I’m sure it will be difficult but also get me thinking in new ways.

My Dearest Thanks To You All!

I just want to thank each and every person who has supported me throughout this past year. Without your help, advice, and cheering me on some months would have been pretty tough. Just knowing that there was someone out there reading this really helped to keep me serious and hold me accountable to finishing my goals (even if some of them were a few days late! Hey, no one is perfect). All my thanks to you, and I hope that I can be of support to you in your creative endeavors as well.

Goodnight Dear Friends!

Making Your Own 12 Months Project!

That’s right! You know you want to start out 2012 with your own awesome 12 Months (or 365, or 100 days, or 3 months, or whatever works for you!) I promised to share some info before the new year about setting up your own 12 Months of Creativity so that any of you hoping to start in January can get a little ahead of the game!

It’s embarassingly simple really…

1. Buy some notecards (preferably fun colors to jazz things up)

2.  Spend a few days jotting down all the projects you might want to do next year… (if you have trouble getting started, take a look at the Project Suggestions Page!)

3. While you’re busy thinking up projects, have your friends & family think up some fun themes for you. I sent out a mass FB message/email briefly explaining the project and what I needed from them… I ended up with SO many wonderful themes I never would have thought of myself, so I recommend this! Plus, you know, less work for you. Always nice!

4. Once you’ve got all of that, spend an evening narrowing down your cards if need be (if you’re like me, you’ll probably have WAY more than needed!). I narrowed my project cards to around 20 and my theme cards to around 30. This kept things fun as I could never really remember what was left in the stacks each month.. oooh the lovely anticipation! A tip for narrowing… pick the ones that either excite you the most or scare you the most. A good mix of both ends of the spectrum makes for a great year, in my opinion!

5. Last but not least, write out all your items onto your snazzly colored cards – making sure to keep the themes and projects in separate stacks. That’s it! You’re totally ready to get creating! (see I told you… ridiculously simple eh?)

Oh and don’t forget to contact me via sarahtreanor[at]gmail[dot]com to introduce yourself and your project. I would so love to share it on the blog and let everyone know of the grand creativeness that is about to ensue in your life! If you create a blog to share the entire journey, please also include the link so I can make sure everyone gets to see!

Also, feel free to alter this structure however you like. This is just what excited me. If it sounds like too much or not enough for you, please change it up! Do a 365 days, 3 Months, 30 days… whatever works for you. Next year I plan to change it up to a quarterly structure, still doing something each month but focusing on only 4 types of projects for the full year. So whatever your flavor… we want to see it!

Alright… I’m going to wait patiently now for a mass of emails! *turns on Sex and the City reruns and waits*

The Projects

Alright everyone!

Here’s the final list of projects I will be choosing from at random! I finally got all the cards made up and am ready to pick my first project and theme combo.. phew, its about to get real up in here. Only one step away from jumping off the ledge and not knowing what I will be doing from month to month! Scary? Yes. But SO dang exciting too! =]

Project List:

Jewelry Making
Toy Making
Short Film
Short Story
Wire Art
Furniture Creation
Glass Etching
Stop Motion Animation
Found Object Art
Photo Collage
Digital Art
Sauce Recipe
Temporary Sculpture
Cartoon Series
Ukranian Easter Eggs
Digital Art
Nature Art



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