Everyday Beauty

Whenever I take pictures, I’m most likely to take 100+ pictures of a shoreline at home or sunlight through the trees…

Like this small harbor shot…

IMG_5764

 

…or this shot from our bike ride on the 4th of July…

IMG_5867

But I also love the unexpected color and light that happens–

When an everyday intersection strikes you as beautiful, and then you look up even higher to discover two rainbows…

IMG_5894IMG_5902IMG_5903

 

 

 

Replenish

April was a busy time for me if you couldn’t tell. I wrote only one post—spending most of my days on lists of things that must be done.

It has all been positive vibes though, and sometimes, when you put your eyes to the sky and ask for help, the universe sends you exactly what you need: connection with friends, quality time with family, a walk somewhere familiar…and a walk somewhere new.

Instead of creating over the last few weeks, I’ve been feeding my soul and nourishing my heart.

—And I realized that this is all part of the process. We cannot create all the time. Sometimes we are only observing and learning…replenishing.

IMG_5110

 

Sweet Spring

I write this morning from my couch. I’ve sipped my first mug of coffee, and I need/want! another cup, but there is a sweet beast snuggled at my side. He is curled into a little teddy bear ball. His back leans heavily on my leg.

I cannot don’t want to move.

It is a lazy morning wrapped in quilts and softness. I want to savor the quiet and peace of the day.

The beast snores in agreement. His nose nuzzles into the couch pillow.

Our Japanese maple dances shadow puppets across the window blinds as the sun beams break through. A bird trills her morning song, calling down the chimney and interrupting our coziness.

Spring is calling us to start the day—

to start a new season—

the season of sunshine, play, and new blooms—

the season of change and possibilities.

 

Sleep, Creep, Leap!

When my husband and I moved into our house many years ago, the backyard didn’t have any landscaping. It took us some time to budget for a garden, and we decided to start with planting a flower garden on one side of the house.

Of course, on the day we designated for the project, I thought we’d dig the plot in the morning, plant in the afternoon, and then we’d sit back and watch our garden flourish in the sunny days that followed.

(There seems to be a theme on this blog, and perhaps my life, of grand plans followed by reality checks!)

Unfortunately, the Georgia earth did not share our vision. We spent the entire first day chiseling through rock and compacted clay, sweating and swearing, with our shovels clanging in protest.

We regrouped the next day and mixed planting soil into our small border plot. We planted some colorful flowers and a two-foot camellia.

My dad loves to garden, and during one of my visits home that spring, he gave me clippings from his perennials. He wrapped them in wet paper towels and plastic wrap. My mom gave me seeds from her morning glories, and we packed the seeds and clippings in a shoe box, snug in my suitcase, for my flight back to Atlanta.

(I’m happy to report I made it through airport security without being strip-searched or arrested for plant smuggling, but you might not want to try this yourself.)

We planted the clippings and seeds, and we watered our garden and tended it over the hot Georgia summer. Over the next few years, the garden evolved, and some of the original plants blossomed as we’d hoped. The sedum, euonymus, and morning glories from my parents’ garden adapted quickly.

The camellia grew steadily and surprised us with beautiful pink blooms every January and February—before spring even started!

After success with the first flower bed, we decided to plant a similar border on the other side of the house. While the first garden was very freeform, the second border was planned to be more structured with a line of shrubs.

We bought three azaleas, which are native to Georgia, so we thought they would thrive. However, the second garden was prone to flooding—and maybe we didn’t dig the holes deep enough, or maybe the soil was too acidic (or not acidic enough?). Either way, during the first spring to summer, we watched the azaleas fry and die.

We tried another set of azaleas the following year, and again we had the same result. The third year, we tried a new shrub type. I didn’t learn its name. I didn’t want to feel too attached.

We tended the shrubs…We watered them, but we didn’t over-water them.

We watched and waited.

They didn’t grow much, but they didn’t die…it looked like they were going to survive.

My friend commented that they were working beneath the surface.

“Have you heard the expression?” she asked, “The first year they sleep, the next year they creep, and then the next year they leap.”

Her gardening advice was on the mark, and our second garden grew from an orange mud puddle to a thriving and soothing green space. Like the first garden, we added clippings from our family’s and friends’ gardens, and we eventually learned what worked for that environment.

Nature has given us Sleep, Creep, Leap—and, if you’ll take a bit of a leap with me here (ha ha!), I believe we have the same stages in creativity too.

Sleep

Sleep is the vision stage of creativity, and it comes from sleeping, dreaming, or daydreaming. It is the time when a color, idea, or story appears in your thoughts, and you begin to think, “I wonder what would happen if…”

This is the stage of researching and gathering ideas and seeds from your community. It is the stage of drawing preliminary sketches in your journal.

You buy some supplies. They gather in the corner while you stare at them, and they stare back at you saying, “There’s never a perfect time to start.”

Creep

During the Creep stage, you’ve planted your idea, and you’re ready to give it some care. You spend dedicated time nurturing your vision.

It is the stage of writing and editing, painting and layering, molding and baking. Your vision moves slower than you expect, but it is still growing.

It is also during this stage that your idea may shoot in a different direction, or maybe your original idea reaches a stopping point. The shrubs get flooded or the leaves are fried in the sun. You might need to start over in a new direction with new information.

It might not feel like it, but your vision is growing beneath the surface, giving your art foundation and strength—gathering nutrients to feed the buds above ground. You are in the flow, your vision has a quiet momentum…

Leap

In the Leap stage, your project has been nourished. The roots that grew during the Creep stage give it strength. It has survived the seasons, cold, heat, flooding—and coming into the spring, it is stronger than ever. All the work you did during the Sleep and Creep stages has allowed your vision to leap ahead. Your art is blooming wild.

Time to Reflect

As we transition from the sleepy winter into the potential of spring, I invite you to reflect on the color and light that inspires you.

Do you have an idea that is ready to grow?

What seeds are waiting to take root in your art?

What can you do to nourish your creativity?

Here’s wishing you patience and peace with the Sleep and Creep stages. May your creativity continue to leap and bloom.

Much-Needed Inspiration

Peeking out of my Facebook feed, amidst too much real news and politics (it is clearly time to clean up my newsfeed), two stories about street art caught my attention this morning.

Check out Jim Bachor’s pothole mosaics featured on CBS News (just ignore the other news stories while you are there) and the Audubon Mural Project.

How cool are these artists? They each had a vision, and they used their creativity to beautify their cities…and maybe even inspire some contemplation about the world around us.

Love it.

 

The Element of Surprise

My husband and I visited family in Arizona last spring. It was the first time I had travelled so far west in the U.S., and in all our sixteen years of marriage, it was the first time I got to watch him play golf on a golf course.

The course was beautifulSaguaro Cacti, Ocotillothere were so many plants I’d never seen before, it was like visiting a different planet. We also saw a Black Chinned Hummingbird, which was a new bird sighting for us.

I kept my eye out for scorpions, bobcats, and rattle snakes but mostly, I saw bunnies. There were bunnies everywhere. I’d take a few pictures of the game and then look to my right, and there were eight bunnies chomping on grass in the corner.

When we got back from Arizona, I had over ten pictures of bunnies from that day. This one is my favorite and just makes me laugh. I call it “Bunny Bottom.”

img_0033

Whether at family gatherings, nature walks, or vacations, I tend to take hundreds of pictures at a time. Later, it is so much fun to click through each picture and find something I never expected to capture.

What has surprised you in your artwork lately?

Photo Capture- Can’t Get Enough

I started this blog in June, and my goal for September was to post something every week. Goal achieved- woo hoo!

…Is anyone out there?

It’s okay…I am learning as I go, and one change I will make for October is to post on Mondays instead of Fridays. It is an optimistic way to start the week I think.

Today’s post will be brief, but I hope you will like these pictures.

Even though it’s officially fall, we decided to extend our summer by taking a weekend at the beach.

When I’m at the beach, I can’t get enough of the sights around me, and I always have my camera on-hand. Photography is another creative way to capture the light, patterns, colors, and beauty around us.

I took these pictures with my smart phone.

Happy Monday!

 

Sand Study

Sand Study

 

Two Dolphins

Two Dolphins

 

Color and Light

Color and Light

 

Evening Reflections

Evening Reflections