Every Leaf

Autumn is a second Spring, when every leaf is a flower……Albert Camus

Autumn in the Blue Mountains of Australia is one of the most beautiful times of the year.  The trees are ablaze with the most magnificent colours and the streets are carpeted with the falling leaves.  It looks, smells and sounds wonderful.  As you walk through the leaves you can hear them crunching underfoot.  It truly is a feast for the senses.

I love Autumn.  So of course, this time of year brings out the need to do lots of photoshoots.  In a previous post,  I had my beautiful model in a bath full of Autumn Leaves.  Loving those colours so much, I ventured a little further afield to Mount Wilson.

Mount Wilson is a delightful surprise.  The drive out there is a bit scrubbier than most of our local landscape and suddenly it starts to turn into a bit of a rainforest type of environment.  Just when you think that’s what you should be expecting, a quaint little English style village emerges out of nowhere, a little like Brigadoon.  It is always beautiful but in Autumn, it looks like a painting you would find on the lid of a chocolate box.  Don’t expect to be able to buy a lot out there.  There’s a little cafe but I think that’s about it.  Who cares?  You go there to soak in the beauty.

I had an idea which needed lots of autumn leaves, so I ordered some silk ones in from China.  Very cheap but very effective. I thought 400 would be heaps but when I started pinning them to the dress I chose there were nowhere near as many as I thought there’d be but I didn’t want to cover the dress, so it was enough.  I packed my lovely model Kirsty in the car and off we went.

Unfortunately I didn’t check the calendar to see what would be happening out there and it was open garden day on a public holiday, so it was packed and trying to get a clear spot to do a photo was almost impossible.  We didn’t let it stop us, we found a few spots that were almost clear and we did our stuff.

I was working on another image last night and had extended the canvas from 9 photos, recoloured, made adjustments and was just ready to add textures when Photoshop crashed.  Silly me hadn’t saved it as a PSD before I started, so I lost the lot..  Ahh well.  Lesson learned. Back to the drawing board.

These are a few of the (saved) images  we created.

Graceful – Weekly Photo Challenge

It is only our belief that we are trapped that keeps us bound where we are….Livonne

As some of you will know I’ve spent the weeks over Christmas and the New Year moving into a new home.  After shifting comes the mammoth task of setting a new home up.  I gave myself all of January off so I could concentrate on getting it just as I wanted it and then come February, I was to hit the ground running with works for exhibition as well as a few new series I have planned. Sounds easy doesn’t it? Take a month off I said.  It’ll be good I said.. Wrong!

Yesterday,  I couldn’t take the lack of creativity another minute.  Yes, I should have been unpacking and setting up things how I want them.  Yes, I should have been doing some gardening.  Yes, I should have been working on other stuff but my brain was screaming at me to create something… anything.

Luckily I have some lovely friends who are happy to pose for me whenever I want to shoot something in particular.  I got in touch with Janet and she happily agreed to be my model.  I had planned to shoot outside, however the beautiful mountains mists came in which, while beautiful and inspiring,  played havoc with my plans.  So instead, I set up an area inside, cut heaps of ivy off my fence and set about quickly planning something different.

I was inspired by the restless, trapped feeling I had when I had this self imposed break from creating.  Even though it was me that set the rules, I felt bound by them.  I could have stuck to my plan of not shooting over January but sometimes we have to listen to that creative voice that says “just do it”.  So I cast off those shackles and lost myself in what I love doing.  Yes my lounge room was a mess but it was so worth it.

I still have some more images to be edited but these three are the first of them.  Oh it felt so good to be creating again.

Home is Where the Heart is

Home is where the heart is… even if you can’t remember which box you packed it in…..

I know I’ve been conspicuously absent of late.  I’ve been shifting house and right on Christmas/New Year to boot.  It’s been a really crazy few weeks, but as soon as my new place resembles a house rather than a cardboard box storage centre, I’ll be back with my camera and my imagination.  2017 is set to be a really special year.. Bring it on I say!

a-new-beginning

Ole, Ole, Ole

One of the oldest and most generous tricks that the universe plays on human beings is to bury strange jewels within us all and then stand back to see if we can ever find them….Elizabeth Gilbert

I watched one of my favourite ever Ted talks again yesterday.  If you’ve never watched a Ted talk, they are short snippets of inspiration from people from all walks of life and are easy to find on Google.  If you only ever watch one in your whole life…..make it the talk by Elizabeth Gilbert on the creative process.  It’s brilliant! If you watch it, you’ll also understand the title of this particular blog.

Elizabeth Gilbert wrote Eat, Pray, Love amongst other books.  This book was snapped up by the film industry and made into a movie with Julia Roberts which I absolutely loved.  This particular talk references her success with this book but also her battle to come to terms with trying to equal that success.  But the talk is so much more than that.

The talk goes on to reference that inner something that creatives have that doesn’t feel quite human. That something special that helps you create a piece of work that you feel was inspired or guided by something greater than yourself.  Over the years it has been called a Muse or a Genius.  Whatever we call it, I’m sure you have all created something in your life that you feel you were merely a channel for.

I certainly feel that a lot with my creations.  Some I plod away and work until it comes together.. Other times, my ego and my conscious being seems to step aside and allow something much greater to take control of the process. Those tend to be the really special pieces.  Of course it’s me there.. and of course I took the photo with a plan in mind but suddenly that plan seems to be touched by a stroke of “genius” and the image then takes a shape that I couldn’t have possibly done while my ego was in charge.

I’m sure some people think this is a crazy notion but I know there are times that images or ideas have come from a place other than my logical brain.  The last few weeks, my dreams have been full of ideas, some weird, some fantastic.  I haven’t rejected any of them.  One I had is so weird that I woke up thinking, No Way.. that’s just stupid.. and dozed off again to be told again that I had to make it.  I woke up again and rejected it yet again only to doze off again and repeat the process another 3 or 4 times.  I finally gave in and said, yes, I will make it.  I told a friend about it and she felt that my Muse has a very warped sense of humour but that’s okay.  If I only ever created work that was safe, I’d never step out of my comfort zone, so against my logical mind, I will create the work and let you know when it’s done.

But it’s also been full of ideas whether they come in the form of a vision of the finished work or just a title and I’m absolutely loving the ideas (or most of them) that I’m being given. I think it’s happening because I’ve finally stop trying to be in charge of the creative process and I’m just going with the flow and allowing it to happen.  I’ve also been trying my hand at different types of art too, away from the computer.  These have been costumes and props for photo shoots but have become works of art on their own merit.  I honestly believe this has opened up my mind more fully to hear and accept the snippets that my Muse throws my way.

2017 is going to be my busiest year ever I think.  I have some work in an exhibition at the moment and have another 5 pieces I’m creating for another one in April/May.  I am currently planning my first solo exhibition which will consist of 30 – 40 pieces and have another series of photos on the go at the same time. Of course, the greatest and most exciting creation of all is happening in June when I become a grandmother for the first time. I’m so excited by that particular event that I can barely breathe when I think about it.

So in preparation, I am making myself a home studio at the  moment.  I don’t have a lot of room here but I do have a wall that is perfect to set up a backdrop. I’ll probably be quiet over the next week or so while that area is prepared and I start to plan for Christmas.  I’m hoping I’ll at least get a Christmas image done amongst the other chaos.  These are a few of the props I’ve been creating lately..

 

In Dreams of Lilac

O were my love yon lilac fair, wi’ purple blossoms to the spring.  And I a bird to shelter there, when wearied on my little wing……Robert Burns

As most of you regular readers will know, I shop a lot at Op shops (goodwill).  I find some of the best stuff there in the way of props and costumes for photo shoots.  I went a few weeks ago to my favourite one here in Katoomba and found this glorious lilac coloured dress.  Long, with beautiful lace around the waist and sleeves and a magnificent sunray pleated skirt, I fell in love with it immediately.  Imagine my surprise when I asked the price and got told $4.00.  I paid for it and ran away before they changed their mind or realised that I was committing highway robbery.

I came straight home and put my lilac beauty on a mannequin to admire and imagine what I was going to do with  her (yes I had given her a name & personality already).  I had been to an awards dinner with my son a few weeks previously and met a lovely young lady called Alexis,  who I knew would be great for an image, so showed her my work and she jumped at the opportunity to be a model for me.  Suddenly, looking at the dress, I knew that she would look gorgeous in it, and when I imagined my dress on my model, the theme came easily to mind.

All tee’d up for the photoshoot, I asked my trusty Kirsty from KLB Images to be my assistant and of course she said yes.  I knew of an old shed right near my place and it all lined up perfectly.  I had a spare dress on hand in case my lilac beauty didn’t fit but I needn’t have worried about it.  Not only did it fit, but the model and dress were made for each other.  At the location, we took lots of different photos but as per usual, the shoot took on a life of it’s own.  Both Kirsty and Alexis had ideas as well which I loved and the position of the sun added an extra dimension that I hadn’t really considered.

Thankfully, I always tell my models that what I plan and the finished product are not necessarily going to be one and the same because what I had planned just didn’t work for me. I always have a basic concept but it doesn’t necessarily mean that it is set in stone.  My work isn’t planned to an inch of it’s life.  It’s not how my brain works.  Instead, I allow it to take shape organically and I just follow along.   One of the photos I took, the flash didn’t fire and it was all dark except for a rim of light around her face when she looked out of the window.  It turns out that was one of the best shots of the day.  Not that the others were bad…. not at all.  But that one had a mystery and screamed to come to life so I let it.  I named it Until Forever Ends. I have another photo from this shoot that is being used for an exhibition next year which I’m completely in love with but I won’t show it until it is on the wall of the exhibition.

Kirsty and I loved working with Alexis so much that we have some more shoots planned now with her.  Some for me and some for Kirsty.  Yes, I love it when a plan doesn’t come together but takes on a spirit and life all of it’s own. Here are some of the photos of the day, as well as the lousy quality iPhone photo of lilac beauty on the mannequin when I first brought her home.  I’m sure you too can see how the dress and model were made for each other.  I hope you love these as much as I do.

Blue Fringe Arts Prize 2016

The work of art is a scream of freedom…..Unknown

 

I’m feeling extremely excited and humbled today after winning both the Blue Fringe Arts 2016 Highly Commended Photography prize and the Blue Mountains City Council‘s Visual Arts Prize. I have to be honest, whilst I hoped to win something, I didn’t expect to take out those prizes with the amazing work that was exhibited. I was in awe of so many of the pieces. I’d like to share the comments from the judge of the Visual Arts Prize, Paul Brinkman who is Director of the Blue Mountains Cultural Centre.
“This work stands out for it’s careful composition and use of colour to highlight the different elements of the scene. The juxtaposition of the worn, old and weathered taps and backdrop with the fresh flowers and figure in the centre of the composition makes the image engaging and intriguing, as if the work holds an intriguing story. Both the thought that has gone into the composition and the clever use of the photographic medium make this the selected artwork for overall winner.”
To say I’m thrilled would be the understatement of the century. Thank you so much to the Blue Fringe Arts committee and volunteers who run such an important show every year and to everyone involved, from sponsors for their support, dignitaries for their involvement and honesty and of course, the other incredible artists who exhibited. And of course to Ron from Talisman Gallery- Hartley for being so supportive in allowing me to use his beautiful location for my image. Thanks to my sons and daughter in law who support and encourage me every step of the way. And last but certainly not least, a huge thank you to Kirsty Louise, my model, for being beautiful, inside and out and always being prepared to be my right hand woman on whatever project I think up.
Blue Fringe Arts present this exhibition each year to celebrate the creativity of people with a lived experience of mental illness. For those who don’t realise, I have complex PTSD and struggle quite severely some days with memory loss, anxiety and depression. When I went back to TAFE college to learn photography at the ripe old age of 51, I couldn’t have dreamed of completing a diploma let alone how creating conceptual and fantasy photography would allow me to escape the non stop conversation that goes on in my brain 24/7. When I’m creating, I am calm and peaceful. I never thought I could find this much peace and happiness but art has helped me to feel complete. What I do isn’t everyone’s cup of tea and sometimes not even mine but I create out of what is happening in my mind at the time. To have people say they love what I do is simply the icing on the cake for me. Thank you!

Immersed in Nature

As promised, I’ve done a few more photos of the lovely Kirsty from yesterday’s shoot at the Talisman Gallery, Hartley.   I’ll just add a quick gallery to show you what I’ve done so far.  It is from a series called, Immerse Yourself in Nature.