Monthly Archives: January 2013

putting a photo through its paces: life lessons


I handed my art professor the sketchbook, explaining how I was running into doubts about composition for my next print. He didn’t say anything. He just kept flipping though a lot of my messy, reworked, holey drawings. Inwardly I was cringing, thinking how awkward it was for him to be looking at my struggle – examining my lack of skill and experience.

I thought I was in for a critique, instead I got a life lesson…

“There is truth to be found in this kind of working,” he stated, brushing the paper with his ink-stained hand, ” There’s something about going over and over it…finding your way, finding the drawing in the working of it. There are some lovely marks in here. You should keep these.”    I did.  And when I am frustrated that a piece is not coming on quick enough, or that I  have not found what I am seeing inside my head on the canvas, I remember his wise words and work on.

Here is a very simple example of how I use that process with some of my photographs. This is extremely basic as I’ve yet to climb the mountain of photo editing software available today. But even this takes time and effort, working and reworking until I see something that I really want to keep. Each stage is a sketchbook “page” in itself.

If you are struggling with your work – whatever that may be – don’t give up or be ashamed of how much you have to repeat, erase,  redo. Finding what is true in the working-it-out means you are learning more, creating more with  the process than you would if you always “got it right” the first time.  Be encouraged today.


tapping in


We do not always recognize how much we have to give, what there is within us to access. Wisdom, experience, creativity, skill, talent, vision – these things can get locked down and covered with dust unless we purpose otherwise.

It was a very Tolkien day out on the farm with sun-lit mist and cloud. I decided to put everything aside for 20 minutes, grab my camera and tromp out into the freezing air to snap some pictures. The first photo is my favourite. I’ve done nothing to it – no cropping, no lighting, no filters. This picture is a combination of a moment in the atmosphere and my willingness to see it and engage with what I carry to get the shot.

These next photographs were taken on the same morning ~

I’ve worked on the lighting and colours to push them forward, to see where they could go…

After a long period of inactivity, I could have hesitated – I could have talked myself out of the moment. I’m so glad I didn’t.

What you have to give is waiting to be given.

Be encouraged today.

right: at the beginning


I have avoided it for a week now – this getting back to it.

Art, writing…creativity. Me.

After an enforced sabbatical (sickness and holidays and company and sickness) I need to get back to it.  Like riding a bike, you never forget, but oh how the skills get rusty. So I’m starting the best way I know how – at the beginning. Again.

Tools: black ink and a sketchbook, decent lighting and a bit of time and space to breathe…

a new beginning

the sketchbook: butterflies promising new life


the pages: large and textured, which seem friendly to me


a little sign: a whole world can fit on this page


I find an interesting shape in the paper: my starting point


 the “flaw” becomes a hollow in a tree: so it begins…





Time to dream again…

Don’t be afraid to go back to the basics. This is where beautiful beginnings can start right and well. Sometimes we need to walk through these steps, retrace the starts we’ve made so that we can remember why. In art or cooking, sewing or photography, writing or music – whatever your expression is – there is a time for starting fresh, remembering firsts, and rediscovering the joy of it all over again. 

Maybe this small start will find you considering doing the same. I would love to hear about your journey. Be encouraged today..and in this new year.