What’s Your Story?

  

The other day I received what I consider to be my first ‘negative’ comment on my Instagram feed. It wasn’t necessarily a bad comment but one I felt definitely had negative intentions.  

I can honestly say, though, the comment was eye opening – in more ways than one.  

The comment came after I’d received several complimentary comments about a particular (abstract) image I had posted.  

This commenter wanted to know: ‘What is abstract art?’, ‘Where is the talent??’ and ‘Would someone please explain this to me!!’

For some reason I felt compelled to give an explanation even though I had doubts as to the sincerity of the question. Wouldn’t an ‘artist’ know what ‘abstract art’ was? Especially an artist with such ‘confidence’?

And when I said the comment was eye-opening I did mean it in a good way!

First of all it caused me to stop and think what ‘having talent’ actually means.

How is talent defined? Who gets to decide who is talented and who is not? And, more importantly, why did this person even care? Did my ‘lack of talent’ offend him? Did it take away from his ability to make art? It may sound as if his comment really bothered me but I assure you it did not.

It made me think

Why do I create the art I create? 

Why in this style, in this way? With these subjects and these colors?

Why?

I realized his comments made me want to defend my art but not in a defensive way at all. (And no one could have been any more surprised by this fact than me!)

‘Abstract art’, I informed him, ‘is a visual language that does not attempt to represent an accurate reality but instead uses shapes, colors, forms and gestural marks to achieve its effect. If it engages the viewer it is considered successful. All art is ultimately valuable for its effect on the viewer and (in most cases involving true artists) for the effect is has on the artist who creates it. Whether or not the artist is viewed as ‘having talent’ is a non-issue for it is far more important for the artist to be able to tell their story through their art. Thanks for asking!”

And here it was.

The answer to the question I did not know I needed an answer to.  

I do what I do because this is my story to tell. And this is how I choose to tell it. I hope you enjoy it but its ok if you don’t. I share it because I can only hope you might benefit from it in some small way (or even in a large way) that it might change your day for the better or simply serve as inspiration. I create this art because I can’t NOT create it. If it helps you too then it’s a good day – whether talent is involved or not!
You can see my stories unfold at: http://www.instagram.com/AKALIGHTBLUE

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Really?! It’s been three months???

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I can’t believe three months have gone by since my last post – I guess time really does fly when you’re having fun!
With the holidays approaching and other end-of-the-year activities going on I found the need to switch gears a bit with my art-making. I started posting images to Instagram. I wanted to become more familiar with the social platform (and also find more ways to stay creative each day without having to dedicate large portions of time to do so). I soon discovered these short bursts of creativity worked very well with my current schedule.
Not only that – I’ve been experimenting (and now focusing on) altering my photography with apps – a new direction. The best part is: I carry my studio with me. No more excuses for not having time to make art.
I try and limit my art supply ‘stash’ to images currently in my camera roll – I alter and layer and alter some more to create imaginary worlds and other abstract style images.
I’d love it if you stopped by sometime!
http://www.instagram.com/AKALIGHTBLUE

Now Appearing in East Texas

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I’ve been REmaking images lately.

It’s my new favorite thing. I’m kind of obsessed actually.

What I like to do is search thru images in my camera roll – particularly images that seem very ‘lacking’ – photographically. You know, those images you take because you see something unusual or something you feel you just need to record – but not something necessarily frame-worthy.

I have a LOT of those images. It’s impossible NOT to have a lot especially when you’re a photographer and you have a camera in your hands almost every minute of the day!

I like to take THOSE images and see if I can turn them into something completely different as simply and as quickly as possible.

It’s a challenge. And it’s really satisfying when every now and then you strike gold.

Here’s the before image.

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A left-handed-rest-against-the-window-use-the-volume-controls-as-a-shutter-button-and-hope-you-get-the-image image…into a Rocky-Mountain-National-Park-now-appearing-on I-20-somewhere-in-EastTexas-abstract image.

My kind of fun.

Damsel in Distress

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I’ve been spending a LOT of time playing with images and apps lately. There are so many options it’s almost overwhelming. I’ve decided to try and limit myself to working with just a few so I can focus on the process more and not worry so much about what ‘else’ I might could do with the image. It’s just like picking out wallpaper (to use an outdated example)– too many patterns and books of patterns to choose from and you never decide on anything for fear you’ll like something better in the next pattern book. It’s a vicious cycle.
So, after experimenting with a texture app called Grunge HD, I came up with this version of an image I made while visiting Rocky Mountain National Park last Fall. I liked the image as it was shot but am really drawn to the distressed and rustic feel it now has. I call it Mountain Plaid.

Stuckness

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I was at the bookstore on Sunday and purely by chance caught sight of a book with a cover image of a turtle flipped on its back. I was curious enough to pick it up and flip through it. The name of the book was ‘Stuck’. I was intrigued by what little I read and put it on my ‘to read’ list for another time.

Today I received a newsletter (one of my email subscriptions) that had a brief article on the opening page. It was titled, “Your Story”. That sounded intriguing to me as well. I think we’re all somewhat curious, if not interested in learning more about our own personal stories. It’s just another opportunity to get a better understanding of who we are and why we do the things we do; which is always a good idea in my opinion.

Here’s the article: (by Dr. David Krueger, at Coach Training Alliance).

“People perceive and remember what fits into their personal plot—an internal script of oneself and one’s world. Beliefs and assumptions (inspired by experiences) dictate what you look for and attribute meaning. You always find or create that which validates those beliefs, and ignore, mistrust, disbelieve—or more likely don’t notice—anything that doesn’t fit into that pattern.

People repeat behavior, even that which doesn’t work, because it offers security and familiarity. Doing the same thing results in a known outcome; predictability masquerades as effectiveness. When you move beyond a familiar pattern, you may experience anxiety.

Repetition reinstates the security of the familiar, even if the repetition is limiting or frustrating. By opting for repetition, people sabotage invention and imprison creativity. Stuck behavior has stuck consequences. Staying in a rut long enough begins to seem like fate. That outlook can lead to despair. The ultimate question about fixed beliefs or “stuckness” is: Does it work?

Change may be difficult, but it begins with the easy recognition that you are the author of your own life story. Insight, understanding, and theory do not create change. New theories alone will not drive old lived experiences into extinction. Lasting change requires new lived experiences to replace old experiences – you invested a lot of years in the old system, and you will have to practice the new stuff as hard as you practiced the old stuff.”

A coincidence? Maybe.
Maybe not.

But the words carry a lot of meaning…Stuck behavior has stuck consequences. Clear and simple.

Staying in a rut long enough will begin to seem like fate… is this not true?

Predictability masquerades as effectiveness…Yep.

And …insight, understanding and theory do not create change.
We can talk about changing all day long but at the end of the day nothing has changed.

But most important of all —

Lasting change requires new lived experiences to replace the old.

And that’s something to really think about if you’re looking to make a change.

Above image was created with iColorama and Procreate.

Photography isn’t a verb.

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Photography makes me happy.

You know, I kinda just now came to that realization.

Now I know that statement must sound a little crazy considering how much I enjoy photographing things and the fact that I have an entire blog (practically) dedicated to the medium – but it really comes down to this:
Photography is something I’ve always enjoyed doing.

DOING. Participating in. In the verb sense of the word (if that makes any sense at all).

But just now while playing around with this simple little image, an image that I took with my iPhone (in my car, through a dirty windshield no less) I realized that, with each swipe of my finger, with each new result of my playing, I found that my heart was beating a little bit faster and an honest to goodness swelling of emotion was building up inside.

And this happens all the time.

Not only do I enjoy the process of photography; the searching, the discovering, the capturing of images – that process involves me actively participating in something. But what I’m talking about here is – this process has an affect on me.

Continually. Even after the searching is over.

I’ve just realized I’m in a long term relationship!

And it’s a beautiful one!

Through my dirty windshield, South Congress, Austin, Texas.

KEEP CALM AND ROCK ON

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What is so soothing about nature? Why do people talk about nature and relaxation? Can nature help you to relax? If so, how?

Intuitively we know that nature is healing. We are drawn to nature and wilderness. We go hiking, we love gardening, we swim in the ocean or in the lakes. We go for walks, or we go camping, and we sit by the campfire staring at the night sky.

Yes, we know that nature and relaxation are connected. We know all of this intuitively. We know that spending time in nature makes us feel good.
But there is more than just our intuition when it comes to nature and peaceful feelings. There is mounting scientific evidence that nature is healing.

Scientists discovered that nature helps us to recover faster from a stressful event. After showing people stressful scenes on a video (such as a car accident), scientists showed people either a video of nature or a video of city and buildings. Those who watched the video of nature recovered faster from the stressful event.

No wonder we love landscape photography! So, if you can’t go outside, look at pictures of nature. Science shows that it helps to lower your stress levels.
One of the reasons why nature and relaxation are connected is that being in nature helps us to connect with the present moment; we pay attention to the here and now – this moment and nothing else. We enjoy the beauty of the natural world and we stop having stressful thoughts; we stop worrying about the events of our lives – we simply enjoy the present moment in nature.

Looking at pictures of nature helps to create images of nature in your mind…and you benefit from this imagery. (Found on stress-relief-tools.com).

The above is an image of some rocks along the coast of Maine (from my last visit there a couple of years ago). I decided to play around with it in Photoshop and created this version. I liked the original image a lot but really enjoy looking at it after enhancing it with the ‘oil painting’ filter. I really love the interplay of all the neutrals and the textural quality it now has.

I hope you enjoy it too!