Friday, March 30, 2012

Photographing Spring

Blooms and Branches

I had planned on blogging about one of the many projects on my to do list today but none of them have made it to my “ta-da!” list yet. In fact, pretty much all of my plans have been interrupted by this glorious event called Spring. As I was typing that last sentence I glanced out my window at the lilacs in bloom and saw a butterfly fly by. I am resisting the urge to grab my camera and go chasing after it and the cardinal I just saw, but only because I just spent the last two hours outside photographing such things already.

Butterfly and Blossoms

This is what Spring does to me. It makes me delirious and anxious at the same time. All the flowering trees and bulbs in my yard right now make me want to sing, “What A Wonderful World” (The Joey Ramone version, of course) at the top of my lungs. And yet at the same time I am all too aware of how brief this season is. If I don't go outside every day, I know I will miss something. And I must photograph it all, even though pictures rarely do the real life beauty around me any justice. 

A Bold Splash of Red

However, through these efforts I am constantly reminded that, for me, photography is not just about capturing a moment but also about learning how to be present in the moment. By the same token, I take photographs not just to express my point of view but also to examine things from different points of view.

Purple Haze

There are things I notice every day since I started taking pictures of  my garden that I might have missed if I didn't have a camera. It has not only been a way of observing nature but also an impetus to experience it, interact with it and learn from it. 

White Redbud Tree

So, although spring is brief and fleeting, because of my photographs I will be able to remember it more clearly. And because of the process of taking those photos, my memories will be that much richer.

Dogwood Blooms


Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Life and Gardening 101

Spring has officially arrived and that means work has once again begun in my yard and garden. This brings with it a certain amount of excitement and an equal amount of dread.

When Hippie and I started house hunting six years ago we were not looking for a large yard or flower gardens. It just so happened that I fell in love with a home that came with those things.

The first year we lived here it was fun to have gardens. Every day was a new discovery of something blooming somewhere. Other than cutting flowers for bouquets and watering the few annuals I planted, there didn't seem to be much work to be done at all.

Then came the following Spring. First, a late freeze killed or damaged several plants. Then these things called weeds started showing themselves. Saplings began popping up in the middle of flower beds. Invasive plants began spreading and multiplying at an alarming rate. I put up a good fight but, by the time summer came along, all I really had to show for it was several piles of brush and a body covered in bug bites.

It would get a lot worse before it got better but, five years later, I finally feel like I am starting to get the hang of this gardening thing. Along the way I have read a lot of gardening books and consulted a few knowledgeable gardeners but the most difficult lessons have had little to do with sunlight, soil or fertilizer.

Throughout my life I have struggled to learn patience, to realize the value of perseverance, to surrender control and to accept imperfection. I suppose it is no coincidence that gardening has turned out to be a master class in these practices. And now it appears that school is once again in session.

"Snail Mail" No Hurry No Worry by Victoreeah
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Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Fifteen Going On Forty Something

It's My Birthday, Gimme! Gimme! Gimme! embroideredhat

I celebrated my birthday this past weekend. Having a special day once a year where people are more or less required to be extra nice to you is always something to look forward to. However, as we age, birthdays can also bring a lot of mixed emotions.

I admit that ever since I turned forty I have vacillated between freaking out over how old I am and delighting in my own maturity. On the one hand, it seems like just yesterday that I was a fifteen year old girl and on the other hand, I am amazed that girl has managed to come this far and learn so much.

I like my forty something self a lot and I think that fifteen year old girl would too. In fact, when I start worrying that I haven't experienced or accomplished enough in my life, I often think of that girl. I imagine that I visit her in her small bedroom with the graffiti covered walls and I tell her all about the life we have now. She is genuinely impressed when I describe her future home and garden to her and she is relieved that we finally figure out what we want to be when we grow up.

Her most urgent question for me is, “Do we marry a rock star?”.

“Not exactly,” I say and then I describe Hippie to her. She agrees with me that he is a rock star, in his own way.

I wish I could warn her about all the mistakes and heartaches waiting for her but then I remember what gifts those experiences ultimately turned out to be. I want to tell her everything I have learned but I realize she already has that knowledge inside her. It will just take those painful experiences, and lots of joyful ones too, to bring it out in her.

“You're going to be okay,” I say to her and to myself, “you already have everything you need to be really happy.”

I don't think she believes me but I wholeheartedly do, and that is how I know I have really grown up.

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Celebrating Color

Artistic Easter Egg Photography card
Artistic Easter Egg Photography Greeting Card by time2see
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I just took a peek at the next page in my calendar and had the happy realization that Easter will be here soon. For some people Easter is strictly a religious holiday, for others it is also about egg hunts and chocolate rabbits. Others may see Easter as a joyful recognition of fertility, rebirth or the Spring season. For me it is all these things and also a celebration of color.

It is quite possible that my love affair with color began with a few hard boiled eggs and some bottles of food coloring. As much as I have always loved chocolate, as a kid I looked forward to dyeing eggs far more than I did to biting the ears off a candy bunny. I also didn't like jelly beans that much but I could appreciate them as long as they were color coordinated with the rest of my Easter basket. In fact, I think I admired my Easter basket more for its creative possibilities than for it's sugar value.

These days I don't do much egg dyeing and while Hippie may gift me with a Reese's Peanut Butter Egg or two, I no longer receive an Easter basket. Yet, now more than ever, I look forward to Easter as a harbinger of the return of color to my world. Already my garden is looking greener and I know that by Easter it will have already begun the prismatic parade that will delight and inspire me well into autumn. If that isn't something to celebrate, I don't know what is.

Friday, March 2, 2012

My Perfectly Imperfect Art Studio

And the words were written on the craft closet door: Embrace Imperfection

Hello my name is Victoria and I am a recovering perfectionist.  That is why I love art.  Nothing teaches me how to embrace imperfection more than making art does, with the possible exception of home ownership.

Hippie and I love the house we live in now but, like me, it has it's quirks and issues.  When we first moved in I tried to decorate each room according to the perfect vision in my head but I soon realized how impractical that was for our budget and our lifestyle.  I have since learned not only to accept but to appreciate and eventually prefer imperfection in my home furnishings and decor, especially in my art studio.

Hippie calls my art studio The Rainbow Room

It took Hippie a little time to adjust to my embracing imperfection in this way.  I remember when I asked him to investigate what was under the teal carpeting in the room that is now my studio that he was very dire about his findings.  "It's not good." he determined and then went on to explain that although there were original wood floors beneath the carpet, they were marred by abundant splatters of paint and glue.  I, on the other hand, was ecstatic.  What could be more perfect for an art studio than a floor already splattered with paint and glue?

My favorite little corner of the world

He also gave me a hard time when I brought home an ugly plaid wing chair from the thrift store.   He liked it better when I told him how little it cost and explained that I was just going to cover it with a drop cloth anyway.

I knew he had come around to my way of thinking when I asked his opinion of a desk I was considering buying.  He pointed out the missing middle drawer, The crooked drawer handles and a large split in the wood on the top of it and said, "It's perfect for your art studio."  It was and is.

My perfectly imperfect desk. 

If I had the resources for the custom furnishings and high end finishes I once envisioned, I'm sure my home and studio would look beautiful but I'm not sure they would look like my kind of beautiful.   Like me, my art studio is always going to be a work in progress and that's what makes it the perfect place for me to dream, imagine and create.

My rainbow walls are always a work in progress

Rainbows In Progress Artist's Brushes throwpillow
Rainbows In Progress Artist's Brushes by time2see
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