Wednesday, June 30, 2010
I'm trying to get in the habit of taking my camera with me during the day just in case I see something interesting - its a good habit I picked up from the two weeks of bootcamp. I was glad I had it this week when I looked at the window and realized the slope next to the office was covered in wildflowers. They were just dainty little purple flowers (and who knows, maybe they are weeds) but whatever they are they gave me an excuse to pull out the camera and capture a couple of images.
This song makes me happy - just like discovering wildflowers does:
Tuesday, June 29, 2010
I finally made it to the Farmer's Market after months of trying. I didn't get there early so the selection was a bit picked over but I came home with a delicious catelope. My favorite part of the Farmer's Market was the old truck one of the vendor brought in to display his corn.
It was a good way to spend an hour Saturday morning - great people watching and good food.
I'm loving this song:
Monday, June 28, 2010
As a follow up to Creativity Bootcamp, I'll be participating in Meagan's "The Sunday Creative." She'll post a theme each Sunday for us to work on throughout the week. I'm excited to have a challenge each week and to again be working with a group of creative and supportive artists as we each work on this project together.
When I saw today's theme, I instantly thought of a photo I captured in Thailand a couple of months ago of a line of open windows inside one of the many temples. The shutters were made with beautiful teak wood covered in gold. With the sun shining in and reflecting off the gold the entire temple seemed to glow.
Open was the perfect kick-off for this new project - for me the lasting lesson from Bootcamp that I plan to carry over is the need to open my eyes and other senses to the beauty all around and the opportunities to expand my skills, which makes today's song, Snow Patrol's "Open Your Eyes" a good fit.
Friday, June 25, 2010
I happened to walk past one of the churches downtown just as the sun was behind the steeple. Most of my photos ended up completely overexposed - you photo experts out there, what could I have done to prevent the overexposed shots? I did manage to get one shot that worked - I love the way the sun makes the steeple glow.
I've been listening to a lot of Amos Lee this week - and I can't help but smile whenever "Southern Girl" comes on - because I'm enjoying my months as a southern girl.
Thursday, June 24, 2010
Now that I've had a bit of a break from bootcamp, I've decided it is time to pull out the camera again. I took a wander in downtown Lexington to see what I could find. Here are a few photos of some of the architectural details that caught my eye.
Today's song was inspired by all the iron work I saw downtown. Iron makes me think of heavy, which led me back to this song off the new Twilight soundtrack by Florence and the Machine - anyone else excited to see it next week? I've convinced a large group from work to go with me and am busy making party favors for everyone using templates from Hostess with the Mostess.
Wednesday, June 23, 2010
I brought back a stack of magazines with me from home last weekend (nearly 3 months worth.) I've been making my way through them, including the "Lost" special edition put out by "Entertainment Weekly." Since it is one of my favorite shows I read every word - it helped me relive the series in a fun way now that I'm no longer worried about trying to figure it out.
There was a quote from Terry O'Quinn regarding his character, John Locke: "He had a huge impact on people's lives and was totally blind to it." He went on to quote the lyrics of a Jackson Browne song:
I've thought a lot about this set of lyrics since I read the article - how much time to I spend worrying about the why when I should just be enjoying the experience of life.
Tuesday, June 22, 2010
In between watching World Cup matches this weekend, I watched a great movie, "Invictus." The story of the 1995 Rugby World Cup held in South Africa. If you are looking for a feel good movie - this is it.
The title comes from a poem, Invictus, by William Ernest Henley:
Monday, June 21, 2010
Four years ago, during the last World Cup, I was living in Brazil and got to experience World Cup in a football mad country. All the offices closed several hours before the matches to give people time to get wherever they were going to watch the match. There were parties EVERYWHERE. You could open your window and feel like you were watching with millions of your neighbors - because you were.
When the English team played I'd got with my English friends to the local pub, which would be filled to overflowing with mad fans who sang, cheered and cried. I fell in love with football (soccer.) I've been so excited to watch this year, and am thrilled the Americans are surviving so far. But I miss the social interactions I enjoyed in Brazil last time.
All this talk of Brazil makes me think of my one of my favorite Brazilian groups, Tribalistas - here's their: Velha Infancia
Last weekend I flew home to Utah for a family reunion. My mom's brothers and sisters, their kids and grandkids get together every other year to catch up. It is so much fun to see everyone.
Sunday, June 20, 2010
I know I said I was going to step away from the computer for a couple of days, but I just couldn't resist publicly wishing my dad (and all the other extraordinary men in my life) a Happy Father's Day.
My dad is the guy who always believed in me, the guy I count on to listen and let me work out a problem in my head without trying to sway me in any direction. I love it when he stays at my house because those little things I never get around to fixing always get repaired - even things I didn't know were broken. He'll take me all over the valley to try and find unique places to photograph, he shared his love of music with me and I'll never forget all the rides he gave me to school quizzing me on who was singing on the radio.
Not only is he a great father - he's an amazing grandfather. He'll do anything for his little ones - including building a snow pile for Miss M when the snow is too dry for a snow man, and, when we can't quite explain to her what a snow angel is - he's willing to demonstrate!
I love you dad!
Because of the love my dad has always given so freely, I've never been able to listen to this song without crying.
Friday, June 18, 2010
I can hardly believe today is the last day of bootcamp. It's been a great experience, one that I hate to see end. I've enjoyed every assignment and loved connecting with other bloggers and artists. I'm looking forward to Maegan's new series - The Sunday Creative - its just the thing to keep me going.
Today's photo prompt was smile - and truth be told I went straight back to my favorite photo subjects, my niece and nephew. Spending time with them over the weekend was so much fun. Tiny T would run to the dirtiest spot on the playground and wallow in it - and boy did that make him happy. Miss M has a future as a director - she was happies when she was telling us where to stand and what to do.
With this post I'm going to step away from my online life for a few days to recharge - with the exception of putting together a mixed CD for a music swap organized by a fellow bootcamper with a great name. In what, I hope, is a sign that the connections we made during the past two weeks will continue to grow. The support and encouragement I've felt from other participants meant more to me than I can express in words.
Another photo prompt that practically chooses the day's song for me. Here's a little Uncle Kracker and "Smile."
Thursday, June 17, 2010
Today's journal prompt asked us to think about the dreams we have, both big and small. To put them to paper and to start outlining the steps we can begin taking to achieve them. This is an exercise I'm choosing to save for the weekend and to keep private, instead I focussed on the photo prompt - smooth.
I wish I could say I had a ton of ideas for this one - but the truth is I had nothing - except for an extra hour this evening after work. Most of my photos have been taken either at home, while at my parent's house or at work. I've never gone out into the Lexington area to see what I could find so I decided to give that a try tonight. I found myself at a park a mile up the street that surrounds a large lake - thinking that water could be smooth.
Thanks to a breeze, the lake wasn't exactly smooth, but I still got a couple of photos that I like. My smooth photo came as I was leaving. As I was getting in the car, I noticed how the sky was reflected in the smooth paint of the hood, so I snapped a couple of photos. Before Bootcamp I never would have tried taking a picture of a car hood - I love that I'm trying new things and seeing the world in different ways. Even as I drove home I was in awe of the beauty of the powerlines - so black and symmetrical against the sky. I love that I'm seeing the world in a different way.
The past few days prompts have made picking songs ridiculously easy. What goes better with smooth than the Sade classic "Smooth Operator." A song that never feels old.
Wednesday, June 16, 2010
I loved today's journal assignment which asked us to look back at the map of our lives to recognize the experiences and steps that brought us each to this point. It was an enlightening experience and at the end of the exercise, I can honestly say that I am more happy and content in my life than I've ever been - by that I don't mean that I'm satisfied or think that my life is perfect, but I do feel that I'm at a point in my life where I have the control and freedom to try, to experiment, to grow and to enjoy the journey.
I've been blessed with a supportive family and set of friends, I've have the incredible opportunity to experience life in different countries and cultures. I have a job that challenges me and keeps me on my toes. I have the freedom and, when I make it, the time to step away from work so I can satisfy my creative side.
If I had to identify one moment that changed my life it was the moment I decided I'd take a risk, leave my comfortable Seattle life to move to Rio de Janeiro for a temporary job. That temporary job has turned into something a little more permanent and has given me the chance to live in both Brazil and India. The lessons I learned as an expat in these two countries profoundly changed who I am. I see the world as a smaller place, I appreciate different ideals of beauty, I've learned to communicate in new ways and am more courageous when it comes to taking risks and putting myself out there. I know without these experiences I never would have picked up a camera or signed up for something like Bootcamp.
Today's prompt was actually the most difficult one for me so far. For some reason I just struggled with a concept or idea. Finally I went back to basics and one of my favorite photo subjects, my niece Miss M. She's usually all sass and attitude, but I caught her in a silent, contemplative moment as she watched my mom's koi fish.
Finally, for today's song - way back in the day when Gweneth Paltrow and Ben Affleck were dating (remember back that far?) they made a forgettable movie called "Bounce." The movie wasn't any thing to write home about, but I fell in love with the soundtrack, especially a song by Angie Aparo - "Hush."
Tuesday, June 15, 2010
I grabbed my camera as I left for work this morning with no idea what I'd come up with for today's prompt - but with a goal in line with today's assignment to simply keep my senses open for the art and beauty all around me. I found myself enjoying my food a little more than usual (and photographing it in the hope that the food that gave me a full body might work for the prompt.) When a lovely bouquet of flowers was delivered I relished the scent and snapped a few photos of the lovely stargazers and roses.
It wasn't until I put my leftovers in the fridge that I found my subject for today's photos. There have been a couple of bottles of wine in the fridge since we moved into the office. I pulled them out and set up a quick photo shoot. I'm not a drinker, so wine would never have come mind - but keeping my eyes open through the day meant I was ready when the opportunity presented itself.
I had two revelations today as I worked through the process - the first was that with just over a week of bootcamp under my belt I'm so much more confident in my abilities. When I first started I didn't tell anyone I was participating - it was something I was just doing for myself. But over the days I've found myself sharing the experience - and more importantly, my work with friends and family. I've been warmed by their encouragement and have even convinced them to participate in various activities. The second revelation was how far I've come in considering myself an artist. On day one I couldn't make that statement, and while I'm not completely there yet today, I see it coming.
Today's song is an oldie - but totally appropriate, UB40's "Red, Red Wine"
Monday, June 14, 2010
Today's assignment has been the most difficult for me yet - not because of the prompt, drizzle, but because the assignment is to switch mediums for the assignment. There are other artistic pursuits I enjoy - scrapbooking, card making and even beading, but since I'm back in Lexington today I've discovered I don't have the tools or supplies for any of these. I don't even have crayons, markers or pencils that would allow me to attempt drawing (which given my skills in that area is almost a relief.)
The prompt instantly took me to my former hometown, Seattle, so I've decided for today's assignment I'll use writing as my medium and write a love letter to the rainy city in the Northwest.
I flew into town on my way to someplace else, I spent only a few hours on your streets and yet your lush green landscape, towering mountains and crisp cool water began to call my name. I turned to my companion and said, "I could see myself living here someday."
Several years later, I arrived again for a short visit, but this time my trip came with the possibility of a future - a job interview. My downtown hotel stay gave me the opportunity to visit your, famous for a reason, Pike Place Market and, the mothership to shopaholics, the Nordstrom flagship store. I was smitten. Fingers crossed I returned home with a prayer that we would become fast friends.
Several weeks later I flew in again - this time with a job offer in hand and a goal of finding a place to call my own. West Seattle called my name, and before I left an offer was made on a little condo. My very fist home, I was finally a grown-up with a mortgage to prove it.
One more flight in and I was home.
We spent four years together, and I fell more in love with you each year. Your clouds and drizzle may have made for long winters, but watching the clouds move in over the water or down the mountains always made me feel protected and secured. I learned to wear fleece and stopped bothering with umbrellas. You taught me the joys of life near the water, the beauty of a wet green tree and the overwhelming joy that comes from the rare sunny day.
We've been apart now for longer than we were together, but I still miss you when the drizzle starts. You brought amazing people into my life. You gave me the freedom to discover who I am and filled each day with beauty. You will forever be my home.
This calls for a song from one of my favorite Seattle artists - Brandi Carlile.
Sunday, June 13, 2010
Today's prompt is - ornament. Which immediately took my mind to Christmas ornaments, which seemed out of season, then to hood ornaments. Then I realized cars don't really have hood ornaments anymore. This line of thought took me to the old cars that have spent decades decorating the foothills above my home town. Even my dad doesn't remember a time when they weren't there.
For some reason these cars always remind me of an old John Cougar Mellencamp song - "Small Town."
Saturday, June 12, 2010
Today I decided to continue with yesterday's assignment of trying something new and outside of my comfort zone - capturing an action shot. The best of the lot is both the idea of and features my SIL - a talented dancer. Thanks to her mad leaping skills I managed to capture her in motion (and with her eyes open and a smile on her face even.)
Earlier today I joined my family in a trap shooting adventure - I snapped hundreds of photos attempting to get a photo of the clay pigeon just as someone shot it. This doesn't make for very exciting or interesting photos - but it was a fun challenge and it stretched my abilities with my camera. I managed to capture several just as the clay pigeon shattered but only one in the instant the bullet hit it. I actually found trying to capture a photo of this more difficult that actually hitting one of the clay pigeons.
A pretty obvious choice for today's song, Tom Petty's "Learning to Fly." I've felt like this entire Bootcamp week has been me learning to fly - even on those days when I feel like I'm doing it without wings - and then being surprised that I can do it anyway.
Friday, June 11, 2010
Today's assignment has been both difficult and good for me. I'm such a novice at photography I really don't think I've developed any particular style. Instead I've been focussed on simply trying to learn the basics and am just now starting to branch and and consider style. I will say I'm shocked at how much I've learned in the past 6 days by simply spending a little time each day thinking about, taking and editing photos. I really understand now why we are always told the best way to really learn is to just get out and start taking photos.
I feel like I've used a lot of close-up type photos this week so I decided for today's assignment I'd step back and go for more of a landscape style photo. I also recruited the help of my family coming up with a subject - my dad was quick to suggest "the wash" a small waterfall caused by some of the irrigation works above my tiny hometown. It was fun to attempt to find the beauty in a spot I'd never considered beautiful before.
Being at home with my family has me in a great mood, so I thought I'd close with a song that always makes me smile and takes me back to my carefree youth - Zac Brown Band's "Free."
Thursday, June 10, 2010
I woke up this morning in my own bed, something that has happened only a handful of times in the past 5 months. I was excited for today's Bootcamp assignment, suspecting that being home, surrounded by family and my stuff, instead of being in a city I'm still learning and living in temporary housing would make the daily exercises a little easier and more fun.
When I saw today's prompt - Grow - I almost instantly started thinking of my niece and nephew who seem to be growing like weeds, or my mom's garden which is always amazing this time of year. I couldn't wait to get started, then I happened to glance out my window into the backyard. The last time I was home my yard was covered with snow, so I didn't expect the green grass and trees with the beautiful new growth. Camera in hand I headed outside to check things out.
While I love the photos I captured of my trees (in part because this may be the only memory I have of my yard this year as I'm not scheduled to be home again until mid-October when spring green will be long gone) there is a little part of me that feels that a self portrait might be a good fit for today's assignment. I feel like I've grown so much through this process even in just the first 5 days.
Today's journal assignment feels as if it was written especially for me. Music inspires me every day, there is rarely a day that goes by that I don't turn to a song to help me work through some thought or emotion. Music cheers me up, helps me grieve, inspires me to keep going and makes me dance. I started this little blog over 3 years in part to share the songs that touched me - through the years my life has changed but I still love the challenge of finding those songs that define my life with each post. One of the songs that inspired my foray into blogging, Leann Rimes' "What I Cannot Change."
Wednesday, June 9, 2010
Heavy-metal is today's Creativity Bootcamp prompt. For some reason with this word I knew instantly what I was going to attempt to capture - but like yesterday I found myself a bit surprised with what I ended up with when I really opened my eyes to look around. The most boring and mundane things suddenly started sparking my interest - shooting this morning was so much fun.
I headed into work a little early so I could spend a few minutes in the warehouse attached to the office, I knew there were some cool looking metal fence gates and I was hoping I could find some interesting angles with them - even though I knew the lighting would be poor. After getting a few shots I decided I'd walk around the warehouse and see what else I could find. Maegan is right - with a open mind I found inspiration all over the dusty warehouse - a metal table tipped on its side provided some scroll work, an abused and dirty rake, and a bucket of old stakes - all everyday objects which I wouldn't usually call beautiful somehow become lovely in my view finder.
I can't wait to see what everyone else came up with for today's prompt. Just four days in and I can already feel boot camp changing me. I've met (virtually) some amazing and inspiring artists, my confidence has grown thanks to all the encouragement and I feel my vision expanding.
I'm a huge Glee fan and as I watched the finale last night I couldn't help comparing their Journey lesson and medley to the things I've experience myself and read about on your blogs regarding this Bootcamp journey. The lessons and true joy really is found in the journey and the attempt.
Don't worry, I'm not going to post a clip from last night's show - don't want to ruin it for those who haven't seen it, instead here's the clip from episode one which made me a fan:
Tuesday, June 8, 2010
To my immense surprise I discovered Stephanie, a new blogging friend thanks to the Creativity Bootcamp, had passed on a Beautiful Blogger Award to me. I'm very honored and more thrilled than ever that Maegan has brought us all together on this eye opening journey.
The recipient is asked to share 10 things about him/herself that others may not know, so here it is:
- I grew up in a town of 900, but since then have lived in cities with over 10 million residents - what's unique is that I love both versions of life
- My latest food passion is greek yogurt
- I used to be fanatical about being on time, but now can barely be anyplace on time
- I feel claustrophobic if I can't see a mountain somewhere on the horizon
- I don't have a middle name
- I dream of being a gourmet cook - but I'm too lazy to learn
- I love Jazzercise and the way a class kills the stress of a long day
- Nothing makes me feel better than a good haircut
- I'm dying for an iPad but am too cheap to buy the first model
- I never thought my blog would last past the 10th post
Note: My comments were broken for a few hours last night and today, sorry for any time you wasted trying to comment. Thanks to the kind souls who notified me, they are working again.
After spending several hours last night working on my Bootcamp assignments and checking out the work of the other participants I was determined to step up my efforts today, so I woke up excited to read what Maegan had planned for us. The journaling assignment - creativity buzz kills - got my mind working, and the daily theme - multilayered - started bringing images to mind.
I continued to puzzle over both items as I got ready for work - spending most of my time trying to come up with a subject for a photo to go along with the multilayered theme. I thought about rich pastries with flaky layers, but couldn't come up with the name and location for a place to pick one up. I moved onto the next idea, the multilayered cliff formations I've seen on some of my travels in Kentucky - but the nearest one I could think of was an hour away. A workable idea if I could figure out how to work a trip into my evening.
As I started my commute I started mentally freaking out about all that needed to be done today (full day of work, week's worth of laundry, packing for my trip home tomorrow and today's assignment.) My idea of capturing a great photo of the cliff formations started to feel impossible. I began doubting my ability to participate in Bootcamp and then that little voice telling me I wasn't as skilled as the rest of the participants started in as well. Then it hit me - I am my own worst creativity buzz kill. I was letting the stresses of daily life and my own perfectionism kill the joy of the assignment.
I mentally pulled myself back from the cliff - remembering that what really mattered was the attempt and the journey. With that thought in mind I started to look around with a more open mind, looking for other illustrations of multilayered, something that wouldn't require several hours of driving that would have to be fit into an already full day. Then I looked up and saw the morning sky, full of layers of thin clouds and golden morning sun. What I needed to complete the assignment was right the staring down at me.
I took a few minutes after arriving at work to capture photos of the morning sun. I walked around the building looking for better angles and discovered a retaining wall of layered stones, another great subject for the assignment.
Today's assignments provided the perfect lessons for me:
- reminding me to look around, keeping my open to the inspiration around me all the time
- not to get my mind so set on one goal that I can't see the beauty closer at hand
- to let go of the need for perfectionism that can paralyze me with fear and enjoy the lessons that come from the attempt and even those that come from failure
- to enjoy the journey and have faith that by trying and participating my skills will be developed
I'm interrupting my Creativity Bootcamp posts to tell you about a bargain I saw today.
Every week iTunes offers 2-3 movies for rent for the bargain price of $0.99. This week one of my favorite movies made their list: "Bella."
It wasn't a big budget movie so I'm guessing not many have heard of it, so here is my recommendation - invest the buck and rent this movie - you will be glad you did. It is a beautiful love story - but not in the traditional way.
Here's one of my favorite songs from the film: Jon Foreman's "My Love Goes Free."
Monday, June 7, 2010
I missed day one of Bootcamp yesterday but because I am committed to completing the entire program I'm doing my assignments a bit out of order.
Day one's assignment was Ivory. I instantly thought of elephants or a piano with lovely ivory keys - but since I don't have access to either one I decided flowers would have to get me through. Thanks to the lovely Lexington Arboretum I was able to complete my assignment.
If you are visiting my little blog for the first time thanks to Bootcamp - I close all my posts with a song, my little attempt at putting a soundtrack to my life, because I believe a life without music just isn't much of a life. This beautiful song relaxes me and takes me to a quiet place - just as a trip to the arboretum does.