Try One More Time

When the world says “give up”, hope whispers “try one more time”…… Author Unknown

I had a memory pop up on Facebook this morning.. I hardly ever look at or share these pop up memories as I figure I’ve lived that day…..onward and upward, don’t look back.  You know the drill.    However this morning, I was a bit taken aback to see this particular one.  You see, it was two years ago that I posted an image that I’d just made of a mermaid.

It wasn’t a new photo that I’d worked on.  I had taken this photo of the lovely Hannah much earlier while I was still at TAFE.  I had already edited it and loved the slightly cartoon effect I had put on it.  I had already stepped out of my comfort zone when I edited it first time and it was one of my favourites from my time at TAFE.  Obviously two years ago, I wanted to try something a bit different again.

I had known for a long time that I wanted to make art from photography but really didn’t have the nerve to step out of my comfort zone and try it.  Then late one night, I gave it a go and Hannah turned into Hope, my mermaid.  I have to be honest, when I’d finished it, I was quite overwhelmed.  I felt like I had finally proved to myself that I could create what my mind imagined.

In all honesty, it was a fairly simple fantasy image but it will always be one of my favourites as it was a turning point for me and my belief in myself.  I named her Hope to match the quote which suited me so well.  Hope has become my muse.  She whispers words of encouragement in my ear when I doubt myself and tells me to keep going when I sometimes want to give up.  She is more than an image.  I could probably rework the image with all I’ve since learned but I won’t, as to me she’s perfect as she is.

It amazes me that it’s really only been two  years since I started to  create what I was imagining, but then it was only in 2013 when I started studying photography, having never picked up an SLR or DSLR in my life.  All of my photos up until that point had been taken with point and shoot cameras.  It certainly has been an eventful 4.5 years but they are years that have brought me much joy.

So now, it’s onward and upward again.  I am already working on a new mermaid shoot which I’d planned before I realised this was two years ago.  Now it’s time to create lots more art as my mind imagines new worlds and scenarios.  Time to take my work up a notch again as the learning process never really ends.  But right now, I’m having a glass of wine and drinking a toast to my muse, Hope….

Hope Whispers

 

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Looking forward to Looking Back

The only time you should ever look back is to see how far you’ve come…… unknown

When I opened Facebook this morning, I had a memory pop up. I usually don’t pay any attention to them and very rarely share them as I think there is so much happening now that I don’t need to look back.  But sometimes a memory stops you in your tracks as it shows you how far you’ve come, whether physically, mentally, emotionally or in a skillset.

The FB post this morning was from the very first composite photograph I tried.  It was four years ago and I had just started studying Photoimaging.  We were asked to do a self portrait for a TAFE project called Me, Myself and I.  You’d think with my incredibly limited Photoshop skills at that stage that I would have chosen a simple self portrait wouldn’t you?  In fact at that time, even a simple self portrait was stretching my almost non existent skills.

Never letting it be said that I don’t like to challenge myself, I set about creating a photo about how I feel inside versus the face I show to the world.  This is such a simple composite but it took me ages and of course, when I look at it now, I cringe at the lack of finesse.  However, I’m also very proud of it.  Yes I could have taken a simpler option but instead I pushed myself well beyond my boundaries to try to achieve the vision in my head.

I still love the concept of this photo and maybe I’ll redo it or maybe I won’t.  But what is interesting is that my first composite photograph was one that spoke about the battle with my demons.  Four years on and I’m just starting to shoot for my very first solo exhibition which will be held in October/November this year. It too revolves around mental health and I’m so thrilled to have a group of people happy to open up about their battles too.

These next few months are going to be crazy busy for me and I may be quieter on here than usual.  Next week, I present my very first TAFE class.   Yes, I’ve gone from being a student at TAFE to teaching my own class.  I’m a bit nervous but very excited.  To make the year even busier (and more special) I have my first  much awaited and loved grandbaby due in a few months, I’m heading overseas just after that and then it will be full on with preparing for the exhibition.  I have between 30-40  images to shoot in that time and they won’t be shown until the actual exhibition, so it may not be all that easy to do lots of other work in between to put up here.

Hopefully, I’ll fit a few other images in between. But today, I’m enjoying looking back from where I started to where I am now and of course, the evolving is never over.  I’m looking forward to where this journey will take me.

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!