Licht Years

where are you going, where have you been?

Category Archives: creative process

good stuff

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spring finally arrived

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and this happened

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My work is featured in the summer issue of Artful Blogging Magazine.  Whole lot of gratitude to Shawna Lemay for the writing prompt.  Her blog is always so thought provoking.   This beautiful publication, reads more like a book than a magazine and it’s chock full of wonderful inspiration.  Happy to be in the company of such talented people. Kind of a dream come true.

 

speaking of inspiration and dreams

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The lovely and amazing Kelly Ishmael turned me on to this gorgeous book – Floret Farm’s Cut Flower Garden by Erin Benzakein with Julie Chai.  Photos by Michele M. Waite.  All about growing, harvesting and arranging seasonal flowers.  Wonderful information and the photos are to die for.

 

How sweet is this??

Mozart

 

Even Mozart was impressed!

Chloe Lemay is an art student at Sheridan College, soon to be majoring in cartoon/animation.  She did this adorable image of Mozart and I just love it!  He will be appearing at the end of each blog post from now on.  You may view more of Chloe’s wonderful, whimsical work HERE.   Word is that she will be doing commissions this summer if anyone is interested.

 

I’ll leave you with these beautiful words found on Calm Things a while back.

Wishing you all good stuff!

 

“The Monk Manifesto: Seven Principles for Living with Deep Intention by Christine Valters Paintner.

The Monk Manifesto 

  1. I commit to finding moments each day for silence and solitude, to make space for another voice to be heard, and to resist a culture of noise and constant stimulation.
  2. I commit to radical acts of hospitality by welcoming the stranger both without and within. I recognize that when I make space inside my heart for the unclaimed parts of myself, I cultivate compassion and the ability to accept those places in others.
  3. I commit to cultivating community by finding kindred spirits along the path, soul friends with whom I can share my deepest longings, and mentors who can offer guidance and wisdom for the journey.
  4. I commit to cultivating awareness of my kinship with creation and a healthy asceticism by discerning my use of energy and things, letting go of what does not help nature to flourish.
  5. I commit to bringing myself fully present to the work I do, whether paid or unpaid, holding a heart of gratitude for the ability to express my gifts in the world in meaningful ways.
  6. I commit to rhythms of rest and renewal through the regular practice of Sabbath and resist a culture of busyness that measures my worth by what I do.
  7. I commit to a lifetime of ongoing conversion and transformation, recognizing that I am always on a journey with both gifts and limitations.

cross-pollination

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 of a different kind..

My son’s VLOG got me thinking about how we often develop a skill set in one area but end up using it in new and unexpected ways.  In life, in work and in our creative endeavors, our experiences are somehow all inter-connected.

My talented friend, Linda Murtha, immediately came to mind as her work is a beautiful marriage of art and photography.  She very kindly agreed to share her experience, her thoughts and her amazing art with us here:

Lynda’s Journey

I was about 9 years old when my mother came home one afternoon and found me painting a winter scene with white house paint on a red floor tile left over from our basement renovation. I can still see my vision for that painting and I can’t imagine what she was thinking when she took a cloth soaked in Varsol and wiped the tile clean.  Afterward, she apologized, saying she didn’t understand what I was doing, but it was a long time before I showed anyone anything I’d created again.

When I was 7 I’d painted a watercolour of tulips in a garden as an Easter gift for my grandmother. I remember not wanting anyone else to see it. Even as a child my sense was that my art was safe with my grandmother but no one else understood my need to create.  More than 50 years later, a lifetime since I’d even thought about it, I found that little painting among my mother’s belongings.  It wasn’t anything special but my grandmother had kept it her entire life and so had my mother.

In high school I excelled in art and not much more and I begged my parents to allow me to enroll in an art program. They left me in the academic program, and I simply painted on my own through my teens and into my 20’s but I often asked myself, that age old question…What if?

When I married and had three kids in 5 years I put the paints away but sewed and felt that too fed my creative urges. I didn’t turn back to painting for many years. When I did, my own critical voice had grown very loud. I studied for several years with a talented landscape artist who increasingly showed frustration with the faultfinding I heaped on my own work. In a moment of exasperation, she said to me, “If you want a painting to look exactly like a photograph, why not get a camera?”  The seed would take a while to germinate, but she had definitely planted it.

For a while I worked on trompe l’oeil (fool the eye) paintings and found great satisfaction in that. I’d proven to myself I could, in fact, make a painting look ‘real’.  And then, shortly after this stage of growth, I was gifted with my first camera.

Two images I took on my first roll of film hung on the wall of my husband’s office for years. I felt accomplished, acknowledged, and creatively happy just taking pictures for my own pleasure, much the same way I had once enjoyed painting simply for the experience.

In time though, that same creative bug that had bitten me so many years earlier, started to nibble again. More and more I wanted my photographs to look less and less like photos and more and more like paintings.  It was another season of cross-pollination and I was now flying backward.

I experimented with textures and layers, with off-lens photography, Lensbaby and with intentional camera movement, all in an effort to make images look like paintings.  And I found great satisfaction in that garden of creativity.

And then most recently, after dabbling just a bit in encaustics over photographs, I found myself longing to paint again, and have been trying some techniques with acrylics and alcohol.

I’ve learned a lot about myself.  I still hear that old voice muttering something about none of them being ‘note-worthy’ but now I can laugh and just go back to it and enjoy the process.  Who knows what I may learn here that I can take somewhere else.  Who knows as we cross-pollinate our experiences, and our attitudes; our criticisms and our praise, what the end results will be?

I’m proud of my work.  I’m proud of the journey too.  As each chapter unfolds I feel a hunger for the next and the next.

I started this adventure relatively early when I tired of crayons and colouring books and staying in the lines, but I’m thrilled to think the story may never end. There’s always something to learn from those who are also cross-pollinating their love of art with other skills they bring to the garden.

PhotoArt

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Paintings

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Thank you for bringing so much beauty to the garden, Lynda!

More of Lynda’s work can be found HERE.

As for Eric’s vlog…I posted it on Facebook where it made for some fascinating conversation.  It seems our education and knowledge, skills and life experience never go to waste no matter what plans the universe has for us.  It all counts.

 I’ll end this with a thoughtful take on cross-pollination from Kim Mendenhall Stevens

I’ve been thinking a lot about it throughout my day…the comment that struck me the most was the last comment to the question in regards to what she thought about pollination…and she says the bees, they are dying. And while the bees aren’t dying from their job of pollinating, they are dying because of the actions of mankind, and well, the inaction as well. I know he was talking more about cross-pollination when it came to our experiences and things we’ve learned and translating that to subsequent jobs and experiences, but I began to think about it more on a humanity level. If and how we decide to cross-pollinate with each other on a personal and general level, means a great deal for our own survival….because in many ways we are the bees.

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taking care of business..

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and tying up some loose ends on our Singer Sargent Inspired Exhibit. We have come a long way since the initial shoot last spring and I have learned so much. While I’m proud of the work we have produced, I think the hardest part of this project has been the promoting of it, I’m not real comfortable with that aspect, yet I know it has to be done. Really wish I could hire a publicist, but since I can’t..

(best viewed on full screen)

Come to the January 25th Labor of Love – 19th Century Styled Photography workshop at the Bradley Estate (1 pm to 3 pm) led by photographers, Carol MacGregor and Susan Licht. Learn how to create and photograph an historic scene. Labor of Love focuses on images inspired by John Singer Sargent who made drawings of Eleanor Cabot Bradley and her husband, Ralph. Trustees Members: $9 and Nonmember: $15. Contact: bradley@thetrustees.org to register.

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Visit here for more info on The Trustees and The Eleanor Cabot Bradley Estate.

foraging

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There is not a “fragment” in all nature, for every relative fragment of one thing is a full harmonious unit in itself.
~ John Muir

I recently began a photography class with Kim Klassen. “My Still Sunday” is all about carving time out for yourself, taking nature walks, gathering organic materials and using them to create beautiful still imagery. When I read the description I thought, this is the class for me!

While I love the impromptu still shots of everyday life, I also enjoy the process of designing and setting up a still life image. The beauty of this is that you can use so many different elements, from things found in nature, to food, to clothing…anything really. It’s also a wonderful way to tell a story, create a mood, or just display some of your favorite things.

I know many of you are familiar with Kim’s classes and beautiful work. If not, I encourage you to check out her site HERE and be inspired!

in the mood

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“People say ‘Hofmann has different styles’. I have not. I have different moods; I am not two days the same man.”   ~ Hans Hofmann

I was planning to post this earlier but I was fighting a cold that left me with very little motivation. Thankfully it has since gone away and I’m finally getting some energy back.

Before the holidays, I was going through some of my photos when I began to see a pattern. Seems my mood has a lot to do with what I photograph, how I photograph and how I choose to edit an image. With all the violence and chaos in the world, I found myself seeking subjects that portrayed a softer, quieter and more subtle side of life.  Once the holidays arrived (and I stopped watching the news), my photos took on a whole different look and feel.

This little revelation had me wondering if anyone else experienced that with their own work. So I put the question out to my photographer friends on Facebook and a very interesting discussion ensued.  When photographing for yourself (disregarding client work, of course) does your mood affect your photography in any way?

Many people felt that it did in all aspects, some just in the editing phase.  Others said that just the opportunity to pick up their camera and get out to shoot immediately improved their mood and therefore they were always in a happy mood when photographing.

One friend described a process he goes through prior to shooting,  Before I shoot, I sit down and I go deep down myself, into a place where I am in touch with all my feelings. If I cannot feel an image that I am about to shoot, I believe no one will.”  How interesting!

But then there’s a whole other philosophy out there that was brought to my attention by a photographer friend from Amsterdam.  He sent me this interesting article written by Garry Winograd –  10 Things Garry Winograd Can Teach You

“In my opinion it’s about an attitude towards photography. Winogrand wants to get rid of any kind of private mood in the result (the picture). That’s why he waited so long to develop his films and see his contact sheets. So you can say, he was truly aware about that mood. I like that attitude. In other words: In a photo, I don’t want to see you love your cat, I want to see the cat.”

Thought provoking for sure.

 

So tell me, what are your thoughts?  Would be interesting to hear from artists who work in other genres as well.

“… yes I speak a different language – the dark fire of poetry – it flutters and gutters in tune with the mood.”   ~ John Geddes

“I had to resign myself, many years ago, that I’m not too articulate when it comes to explaining how I feel about things. But my music does it for me, it really does.”  ~ David Bowie

 

To thank all my photo friends who took part in this little chat, I am going to be adding links to their various websites and portfolios on my posts during the month of February (sharing the love!) To list them all at once would be a bit overwhelming.

Hope you will pay them a visit. Enjoy!

Staci Lee Kennelly – A Life Developing

Lisa Epp – A Year of Days

Elizabeth Thomas – Photography of Cape Cod