Monday, January 3, 2011

Monday Inspiration Celebration: a new year

Egads! My first post of the New Year and I wish I could say I had a little more oomph about me. Today was my first day back at work meaning I had to set the alarm and actually get moving to get myself and Cowgirl - who also started back to school today - out the door in a timely manner (or more precisely, our usual promptly late manner.). To make the day even better, I had my yearly appointment with "the lady doctor" as my mother says AND a visit to the boob smashing machine. Seriously ... having parts of your anatomy smooshed flatter than a pancake does not seem like modern medicine. I also had to have blood drawn and only after years of advanced yogic practices, invoking complicated methods of concentration generally reserved for 6 year olds playing Plants Versus Zombies on the computer, am I able to withstand the procedure without going completely white and needing to lie down. All of this before the gentle poking and prodding of said Lady Doctor (who is a nice lady and a great doctor.)

But I digress. I guess I am just feeling a tad bogged down energetically even though I am truly excited for this new year and the return to my usual pursuits. DEEP begins in one week and I am surveying my paint collection to see what I might want to have on hand. Over the break I painting pretty much every day in an effort to complete my entry for The Sketchbook Project. Four spreads and the cover to go. What I have learned from this project is I no longer fear the blank page. I've discovered instead of letting my mind churn over what it is I want to paint, I just start painting and let the work tell me what it wants to be. I am actually enjoying the process of painting my way out of dead ends: what seems like a mistake one moment, forces me to dig in deeper and try something new in a effort to transform messes into new ideas, new insights. It seems a bit like rock climbing: I cannot see the route I will take and have to rely upon moment-by-moment decisions to move me forward. And sometimes I have to backtrack to find a new course.

I've also learned to act when I have an idea or inspiration. I used to file the idea away, thinking a later time will be better to start or that I need to finish what I am doing presently before beginning a new piece. Now I have multiple projects in process and if something is speaking to me, I know it is best to give it all my attention while the inspiration is strong. Often those little bursts of creative juice carry over into the other on-going projects and infuse them with new life.

So I guess I am still reflecting upon where I have traveled in the past year in preparation for the journey ahead. I feel like I am on the threshold of a new adventure and am gathering all the things I will need to carry me forward. Now is the time to take stock of what it is I carry in my emotional/creative backpack and toss out what is unnecessary weight. As in any journey, the essential item is a positive attitude and an enthusiastic spirit.

What inspired me in the past few days:

this sea turtle had been sick and this was the first time we saw him actually swimming and not asleep at the bottom of the tank

A trip to the zoo to see the new Cheetah cubs who decided to take their naps when we arrived. It is exciting though as there are 4 new cubs and apparently it is unusual for cheetahs to reproduce in a zoo setting. Doubly exciting is the fact that for the past month Cowgirl has been referring to herself as a Cheetah baby, purring and snarling in a cub-like manner.

I received a number of inspiring photography books for Christmas which had me taking my camera out a bit more in recent days. I was pondering another 365 self portrait project and had almost decided it was just too much of "me" to handle for another year. Then I read this beautiful passage by Andrea Scher:

"... I believe wholeheartedly that seeing ourselves as we really are, through our own lens, is a rare gift we can give to ourselves. A gift of self-acknowledgement, of self-care, of truth and ultimately, of healing." (from Expressive Photography)

I'm in. Care to join me?

(I'm also taking the self paced the art of textures course offered by Kim Klassen. I learned so much from her Photoshop Skinny Mini course, it was a no-brainer to jump abroad and I believe a few spaces are still left.)

me by Cowgirl

I also continue to photograph my muse - remembering to capture those moments that I know will all too quickly pass. And while at times I worry I am being labeled as one of those photographers (just like I am one of those mommy bloggers - a fact I am proud to claim) I also know deep, deep in my soul that celebrating her life is also a confirmation and celebration of my own. Being trusted by her to be her mother has healed me on levels I have yet to explore. And creating with her and for her has opened up spaces inside of me I never would have imagined possible.

Yes, I think it's going to be a pretty amazing year. Colorful anyway. And well-documented I'm sure.


  1. I love those portraits,especially the one of cowgirl with the towel over her head. So precious!
    I wish I had been a better photographer when my daughters were kids, but now I have my grandkids to photograph. :) Sounds like you're going to have a wonderful, productive year. Brava!

  2. Happy New Year Lis!
    I bought Expressive Photography recently too, and LOVE it. I actually made the mistake of getting it on Kindle, when really I need the hard copy to hold in my hands so I can really appreciate the gorgeous photography! But yes, I'm in too :)

  3. Good lord, you scheduled an appointment with the lady doctor on a back-to-work-school Monday? :) that part of your post made me laugh out loud. My first day back yesterday was HARD. Even Honey Bear was dragging when we got up in the wee hours on a Monday morning. I had to write a "job blessing" and keep it in my pocket and tried to bless my job as often as I could throughout the day, cuz otherwise, it was gonna be a LONG day!

    I love your self portraits and pictures of Cowgirl!

    ha-ha-ha-happy New Year fellow shiner of shiners! :)

  4. Little bursts of creative energy! I know just what you mean! I've been on a "finishing" wave with my knitting projects since right before Christmas. Some projects I've let languish for months, sometimes years, are now (finally!) getting cast off, and as I finish one project, I find the energy to finish the next one. It's wonderful! I feel so creative, and so productive. It's a great feeling, isn't it?

    I just love Cowgirl's little happy dimples... what a beautiful girl, outside and in!

  5. Great photos!

    This is a great post and I am so glad I swung by (found you through AED) because it was a good reminder! I love how you said, "I've also learned to act when I have an idea or inspiration. I used to file the idea away, thinking a later time will be better to start or that I need to finish what I am doing presently before beginning a new piece." HOW RIGHT YOU ARE! I find that if I start things sometimes it flops but sometimes I get great things from it. On the other hand if I file it away it's always a flop because it never gets going.

  6. What a great post. Yes we do need to act when we feel inspired instead of waiting, that is something I am trying to do as well. I love the dinosaur!

  7. What more can we ask than for a colorful year? And keep on being one of those mothers. You will never regret taking "too many" photos (though I believe there is no such thing).

    Yes I do need to create when I am inspired. Thank you for the reminder.