Living Natural

Family Life, Personal, Philosophy of Life, Photography

Hi Fiercelings,

Over the past few years I have become really passionate about living as natural as I possibly can. You might call this being crunchy. You might call me a hippie – I would consider that a compliment! You might call me a health freak. I would consider that a little extreme and unwarranted but I won’t argue with you.  Let me explain practically what living naturally looks like: when there is a natural option, you do that first. Then, (after doing the natural thing) if that doesn’t help/fix/improve/solve whatever your issue is then you move on to what might be considered either conventional or mainstream. This mostly applies to health choices but it can apply to more than that.

For example, this means when your child is running a fever you do the natural thing before reaching for fever reducers. What’s the natural thing when a child is running a fever? Let them run it! Fevers, are the immune system’s signal that 1. You are sick and 2. You are fighting the sickness. Telling the immune system to stop this natural (and good!) process is really counterproductive. This one probably seems obvious to you so let me share another example.

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I used to suffer from allergies really bad. I have had weeks where I carry a BOX of tissues with me everywhere I go. I used to keep nasal spray in my purse. I had antihistamines in the glove box of my car, in my purse, by my bed. And you know what? None of that worked. I finally got fed up and tired of it. And so in the course of becoming more natural minded I thought what can I do to prevent my allergies from flaring up? I know my respiratory system kind of sucks. It didn’t matter what sickness I got, it ended up going to my respiratory system and hanging out there for a week. I wanted to find a natural way to keep my immune system running at top notch so that I didn’t have to ever look at something containing loratadine again. You know what I discovered? Vitamin C. Surpluses of it. And not the emergen-C things that you can buy at Walmart. Those things are sugar(mostly). I mean buffered ascorbic acid powder or sodium ascorbate. I mix a teaspoon or two with orange juice almost everyday and chug it and guess what? I don’t get allergies. It’s glorious!!! I probably get something within the realm of 2,000-5,000mg of vitamin C a day from doing this and it works. I’ve learned that vitamin C is something that humans do not produce but the immune system vitally needs it to function properly. You can read more about vitamin C here from Dr. Suzanne Humphries. That is where I learned about vitamin C and how to use it to treat well, everything, but for me it has cured me of allergies.

Another way I’ve become more natural is avoiding hair products with sulfates and parabens, buying organic produce whenever possible. using a fluoride free toothpaste, and using coconut oil as a moisturizer. None of these changes were overnight. As I run out of products I use regularly I research something before replacing it. I’ve been solely using Himalayan pink salt in food for over a year now since I learned about it and it’s benefits compared to table salt.

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The shocking thing when you research products or brands that you’ve been using for years is that many products have tons of chemicals, some of which aren’t safe. You learn that many things aren’t natural or good for you that you would’ve never given a second thought to. Consider this your invitation to learn about being more natural. Currently, I am learning about homeopathy because I have decided that I hate drugs, including over the counter drugs. I am firm about raising my children as drug free as possible and I am learning with homeopathic medicine it is very possible to never need over the counter pharmaceuticals or antibiotics. That is so exciting to me!

fiercely,

alexandria

alexandriafierce

Fierce Beliefs. Fierce Ideas. Fierce Art. Fierce Life.

Photographer, Blogger, Artist, Entrepreneur

Email me at alexandriafiercephoto@gmail.com for photoshoot and wedding bookings

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A Fierce Life Ended: My Grandma

Art, Philosophy of Life, Photography, The Fierce Life

Hi Fiercelings,

My paternal grandmother, Dorothy, passed away on March 4th, 2017. She had been declining pretty drastically since Christmas and in the long run for the past 2 years. She would’ve been 97 years old this year if she had lived to her birthday this year in August.

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Usually adorned with rings, but not here.

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In her 20s she did modeling – still beautiful!

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My grandma always lamented about her wrinkly old hands

 

I shared this on my personal facebook page.

Many of you know that my grandma has been declining for quite awhile. She mercifully went to heaven this past Saturday very early. I say mercifully because the last week she was in a very bad way. The last time I saw her was Monday night before her death. I made a point to take some pictures of her hands about 2 weeks before she passed. For as long as I can remember I would admire my grandmother’s hands, primarily because she was always wearing a beautiful ring or bracelet. Anytime she would catch me looking at her hands she would lament about how wrinkly they were. She would lament about one of her thumbs that were bent out of shape. She would then admire my hands with my long fingers and any rings that I was wearing, which was and is generally at least 1 ring on every finger – haha! I always claim that I inherited my love of sparkly things from my grandma. As I got older and we would repeat this conversation at family gatherings I would think when she would lament about her wrinkly hands that they are an outward sign of having lived for a long time. Not everyone lives long enough to gain wrinkly hands, afterall. I know the world seems obsessed with this age cream or lotion, which is fine, I want to look my best too but wrinkles are a sign of living and not everyone gets to live a long time. My grandma had a very full life. She was born in 1920. She lived through the Great Depression, through World War II to the War on Terror, she lost her first husband to WWII but because of that went on to marry my grandfather, she beat breast cancer, she was kind and generous, she loved her family, particularly all of her grandchildren. She once lamented to me that me and my younger siblings didn’t know her as the “fun” grandma. She would always tell me that her oldest grandchild, Amy, knew her as the “fun” grandma but though I tried to tell her she was plenty fun whether she felt that way or not I will cherish the memories I have of her. I mourn her earthly death but I celebrate the life that she had here. I mourn having to answer my 2 year old’s question, “grandma die?” but I celebrate that she lived long enough that one of my children will hopefully have memory of her. And like her, I hope to live long enough to lament wrinkly hands. Dorothy Dunn 1920-2017.

There is something about death that makes you contemplate life. My grandma lived 96 years. She always said how inside she still felt like she was 20 years old. Her life went by fast as all lives do. My grandma’s graveside service had a small, intimate group of family and extended family. Many of her peers have already passed or are in ill health and were unable to attend. Thinking about her I think of my mantra word, fierce. She was a very fierce lady indeed. And she will be missed. I rejoice that she is no longer in physical pain.

fiercely,

alexandria

alexandriafierce

Fierce Beliefs. Fierce Ideas. Fierce Art. Fierce Life.

Photographer, Blogger, Artist, Entrepreneur

Email me at alexandriafiercephoto@gmail.com for photoshoot and wedding bookings

 

 

 

Childbirth & Creativity

Art, Childbirth, Creative Process, Fierce Photography, Matrimony, Parenthood, & Family, Philosophy of Life, Photography

Hi Fiercelings,

Childbirth is a rite of passage for women, I believe. One of the most obvious and striking differences between men and women is the woman’s ability to conceive and bear new life. This is not to condemn or pass judgement on women who are or have been unable to conceive. Barrenness has historically been regarded as something extremely tragic and I mourn with those who have experienced it while being extremely grateful for my effortless conceptions.

Rain Photos 112

The rest of this blog post is going to be about the correlations between pregnancy, childbirth, and how they are informative of the creative process.

Anything worth doing in life is hard. I just wrote life in the previous sentence without any hard work but to even get to a life a lot of work has to have occurred. Being pregnant is hard and I say that fully recognizing that I have had two easy and non-eventful pregnancies. In spite of having easy pregnancies I would never say I loved being pregnant. I love the finished product of my pregnancies but being pregnant isn’t exactly a walk in the park. Delivering a child is hard and yet, ironically, I look back on my births as joyous events. Why? Because that pain brought two of my greatest creations. This is what the creative process is like. When I see a painting I have made on my walls, I don’t think about all the negative feelings I had when I was actually creating that painting. I see the painting and appreciate it but I know back when I made the painting I thought I had ruined it at least a dozen times. But of course, I look at my paintings and think how pretty they are and how I should paint more.

Creativity is like giving birth. It’s labor. It’s hard. It takes time. Inspiration is essentially having an orgasm. It’s fun. But for it to fully develop into a new life, it must be carried for months, and then it must be delivered. Or perhaps inspiration is one of those first real kicks that you feel when you’re pregnant. It’s a jolt. You feel it and think wow this is really happening. The sonograms you saw before were cool because you saw the baby but now you’ve felt the baby. That’s what inspiration does it lets you feel it and feelings are exciting. Feelings are a motivating force. When you have an idea for a painting or a song you think oh this is a good idea and you might pursue it. But for that idea to bloom into that painting or song you have to actually sit down and work on the painting or write that song. And sitting down and doing the work can be hard. We procrastinate about it. We say, never mind that wasn’t a good idea. You say you want a baby, but then you wind up in a hospital or are at home in the middle of a painful contraction and you think why am I here? How did I get here? I’m never doing this again. I literally thought these thoughts at least a dozen times during my first labor. Pain is one of those things that it’s hard to really describe unless you are currently experiencing it. Being in labor in many ways is not as hard as our society thinks it is. Movies and television shows portray it either in a comedic way or in a horrific way and I wouldn’t describe labor in either of those terms, especially the latter. But we will put up with pain and labor for a good cause and having a baby is the best reason to put up with some pain. They’re magical. And a little pain for some magic is worth it. This is what happens when we create, we want some magic but in order to bring a work of art to life it must be born and birth is painful.

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My second bundle of magic

How many times do we think as artists this isn’t good enough? Or I should just give up? What we are really experiencing is that doing art despite all our natural or learned artistic abilities is challenging and laborious. We hit this bump on our creative road and think I’m a fraud, I’m not a real artist, when in reality this “bump on our creative road” is birth pains. This is really a contraction and contractions lead somewhere if you breathe with them. The common phrase, “no pain, no gain” comes to mind and is spot on. The only way to have a bundle of magic is to labor and the only way to have a work of art is to labor. Don’t give up. Breathe with it.

Rain Photos 126 with watermark

fiercely,

alexandria

alexandriafierce

Fierce Beliefs. Fierce Ideas. Fierce Art. Fierce Life.

Photographer, Blogger, Artist, Entrepreneur

Email me at alexandriafiercephoto@gmail.com for photoshoot and wedding bookings

 

 

 

Being Brave

Art, Creative Process, Fierce Photography, Personal, Philosophy of Life, Photography

Hi Fiercelings,

No one likes to give bad news. Unless you have something good to say you’d rather just keep your mouth shut. I have avoided blogging or writing because I don’t really have anything new or interesting to say. It’s not writer’s block, it’s more like just not wanting to say anything unless it is good. I immersed myself in the idea of being an artist. I read books about it and was constantly thinking about it but I wasn’t having success. I wasn’t getting commissions or jobs so I have avoided writing anything. And then I realized that is fear.

Fear.

standing-driftwood-watermarked

 

I hate the thought of living out of fear. And so I was thinking about the concept of being brave and what it really means. Another way of describing bravery is to live fearlessly. In other words, making choices about your life not based out of fear.

Be brave.

Even when you’re not sure what the reward is.

Fiercely,

alexndria

alexandriafierce

Fierce Beliefs. Fierce Ideas. Fierce Art. Fierce Life.

Photographer, Blogger, Artist, Entrepreneur

Email me at alexandriafiercephoto@gmail.com for photoshoot and wedding bookings

Reading 26 Books In A Year

Being an Artist, Books, My Friends, Creative Process, Philosophy of Life, Photography, The Artist Life

Hello Fiercelings,

deserted-beach-watermarked

 

I want to talk about the importance of reading, specifically reading regularly. How many books do you read a week? A month? A year? I read an article that my mom had laying around about someone who has for the past five years been reading a book a week. One book a week = 52 books a year. Wow! I was very impressed by this idea. I think I’ve had friends who have read a book a month which is still an accomplishment I think, but a book a week?! Very fierce. Realistically, I don’t think it’s very likely that I would be able to read a book a week. Between my daughter, maintaining our house and pursuing being an artistprenuer I don’t know if I could. I would have to only read during free time and then some. Everytime I try to do something my daughter interrupts me. I was actually reading earlier and my daughter grabbed my book.

But, I really would like to read more. 

I’ve always loved reading. I’ve quoted many people on this blog. I love literature. Over the years I’ve gone through periods where I read constantly, I’ve read fiction, non fiction, self help. I’m sure you’ll be unsurprised by the fact that Madeleine L’Engle is my latest new find who I really love.

“A reader lives a thousand lives before he dies.   The man who never reads only lives once.” ~ George RR Martin

There are many benefits to reading. If you’re reading something on a particular subject, you will gain knowledge (hopefully). But what about reading non fiction? Are there benefits? Absolutely! Check out this article telling you how reading can help prevent Alzheimer’s and stress among other health benefits.

driftwood-and-seashells-watermarked

 

I’m a little hesitant to attempt to read a book a week so my goal is to read a book every 2 weeks. I think it seems way more doable and 26 books a year would be better than where I’m at right now. I consider myself an avid reader but even a book a week is daunting to me. I implore you to consider reading a book a week or like me every two weeks. This will mean spending less time on social media and watching television but who would say that’s a bad thing? Set some goals for yourself, get those books out that you’ve been intending to read or order that book you’ve heard about but haven’t gotten yet. If finances are tight, make a trip to your local library. One of the great things about working a book list from the library is that you have a built in deadline when the book is due which is usually 2 or 3 weeks! Start reading!

Be fierce!

alexandria

alexandriafierce

Fierce Beliefs. Fierce Ideas. Fierce Art. Fierce Life.

Photographer, Blogger, Artist, Entrepreneur

Email me at alexandriafiercephoto@gmail.com for photoshoot and wedding bookings

Cohorts With Creation

Art, Being an Artist, Books, My Friends, Creative Process, Fierce Photography, Parenthood, Philosophy of Life, Photography, The Artist Life

Hello Fiercelings,

One of the most important things for the artist is to do the work. There is no way around this fact. You must do the creating. You must, according to L’Engle, serve the work.

love-rain-drops

“If the work comes to the artist and says, “Here I am, serve me,” then the job of the artist, great or small, is to serve.”

Our society has a negative view of serving. I’ve always been told that you can tell a lot about a person not based on how they treat you, but by how they treat people in what you would consider lower positions. It matters not how polite and agreeable someone is toward you if they yell at the waiter. It matters not how delightful and friendly someone is to you if they are rude to the bartender or valet. Serving is an area in our life that is revealing. How we treat others when they are in a position that serves us reveals our character. Serving the art, reveals who we are as an artist. But here’s the crazy part about serving the art: It’s not about you.

“Listen to me. All of writing is a huge lake. There are great rivers that feed the lake, like Tolstoy and Dostoyevsky. And there are mere trickles, like Jean Rhys. All that matters is feeding the lake. I don’t matter. The lake matters. You must keep feeding the lake.” – Jean Rhys

In some ways this idea is upsetting – how dare we not matter?! – But in another way, I think it is liberating. It relieves you of the burden that you have to create something that becomes a bestseller, that gets featured, or that stands the test of time. Art is not about success. That’s not what is important to art, what is important is that you fed the lake. You must do the work.

There is a negative connotation to work these days. I am reminded of a scene from That 70’s Show where Red tells Eric, and I paraphrase, “That’s why it’s called work, if it wasn’t work they would call it ‘Super happy crazy fun’ time.” But for many “work” is not “super happy crazy fun time”. L’Engle helps us redeem the idea of work by making the distinction between drudgery and work. The two words have becomes synonyms in our world but she points out that “our work should be our play.” There is drudgery work like vacuuming or cleaning out the fridge for examples, but our art work should never be viewed as an equivalent to that. L’Engle shares an example of how a child is at play or work?

“If we watch a child at play for a few minutes, “seriously” at play, we see that all his energies are concentrated on it. He is working very hard at it. And that is how the artist works, although the artist may be conscious of discipline while the child simply experiences it.”

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My daughter, Isabelle “Izze” Esther, a master of work and play

I particularly identified with this analogy because I have witnessed my daughter, now 19 months old, work and master simple things like going up and down stairs, playing at the park, turning the page of book. Is she playing or working? “The work of the child is play.”

We must do the work. You may be asking yourself how can we serve the work? I will answer in the next post.

Fiercely,

alexandria

alexandriafierce

Fierce Beliefs. Fierce Ideas. Fierce Art. Fierce Life.

Photographer, Blogger, Artist, Entrepreneur

A Successful Life

Creative Process, Fierce, Fierce Photography, Philosophy of Life, Photography, The Artist Life

Fiercelings,

While reading a fellow photographer/blogger’s post about ‘success’ the other day my brain started reeling…what is success? Because I think we should redefine it. When most people think of success I think they think of being 1. rich 2. having a really nice house or car 3. having received a grand award or 4. working in a prestigious position. More often a mix of all 4 of those things = success. But are those what really define success? Another thing people think of is happiness. What makes you have a happy life? For some people it’s that relationship usually a romantic one. It’s that dream job. Or it’s traveling. I’ll be happy when I have gone on this trip. Maybe it’s having all three of those things going on at the same time. Happiness = going on trip with your significant other and returning to your dream job to brag about it? Haha! Speaking as a marred gal I can tell you that just having a boyfriend/girlfriend/husband/wife will not make you ‘happy’. They can make you very happy. But they can’t guarantee your happiness for life. In fact, the only thing they can guarantee are a few headaches. ( I’ll have to write a positive post about marriage after this because that sounds so negative!)

Ripples

As a Christian, ultimately a “successful life” is finishing well. I long to get to the end of my life and say with Paul that “I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. Now there is in store for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that day – and not only to me, but also to all who have longed for his appearing.” (2 Timothy 4: 7-8 NIV) If I don’t make it to the end of my life having stood strong in the faith and having done something to further the Kingdom of God everything as been a waste. With that in mind one of the most important things is making God a priority in my life. Practicing the spiritual disciplines, listening to God. That is vertical, you could say, between me and God above. The next most important thing is my marriage and my child(ren). This is horizontal, you could say. Making sure most importantly is that my husband and child(ren) know the Gospel and are believers. Everything outside of that is secondary. Extended family and my circle of influence would  be next I would say. Work is next.

 

What does this mean for someone who is an artist? This means a lot. For one thing when we look at our work through this eternal lens ( hehe photography reference!) this changes the way we define success for the artist. Because all of the sudden having a full calendar of work, selling a lot of work, earning a lot of money, being mentioned or highlighted in magazines or publications, being featured at galleries, being recognized or awarded for our work is not what makes us successful. What makes the artist successful is doing the work. Yes, making a living off of our work is nice and for the serious artist I believe very vital because it’s extremely difficult to pursue the artist life when you’re spending 40 hours a week or more at your “job” to pay the bills. Which brings me to Madeline L’Engle and her quote from her book Walking On Water, “For most writers it takes many manuscripts before enough royalties are coming in to pay for a roof over the head and bread on the table. Other jobs must often be found to take care of bread and butter. A certain amount of stubbornness – pig headedness – is essential.” I found it interesting that L’Engle said “many manuscripts with royalties” are needed before you’re really making enough money to pay for a roof. You might be discouraged if you’ve been working as an artist for awhile but not generating enough income to support yourself. Don’t give up. Keep working. This is why I think it is so important not to gauge “success” off of your income as an artist. Success is serving the work not the paycheck.

Another way that this eternal lens changes the definition of success is recognition. Being applauded for our work is always enjoyable. We long to have affirmation that what we create is received with adoration. But if we never sell something or get praise for our work does not mean that we are not successful. Van Gogh only sold one painting his lifetime afterall.

wet seashell

The last reason I’m going to share why this changes the way we define success as an artist is by reminding you of the Rumi quote I shared awhile back in this post . You may remember Rumi said “Let the beauty we love be what we do.” Creating art whether it is photography, painting, music, writing if it is what you love then bringing whatever vision you have to fruition is success. Doing the work is success. This reminds me of The Creative Call and Elsheimer saying “Create as if your life depends on it because it does.” You can read all about The Creative Call here. Now why is simply doing the work success? L’Engle helps us discover why by explaining that when we create something we are going back to the garden and are becoming co-creators with God. As an artist, we cannot separate our talents without acknowledging that they are God-given. That is why doing the work is a success in and of itself because we are using our God-given talents. That was the thesis of The Creative Call. And L’Engle sums it up perfectly,

“That’s what it’s all about. The journey to the coming of the Kingdom. That’s…- the purpose of the work, be it story or music or painting, is to further the coming of the Kingdom, to make us aware of our status as children of God, and to turn our feet toward home.”

This is why the work is a success in and of itself because in light of this eternal lens on success our work is using our God given talents, which makes us co-creators with God, which glorifies our Lord and He sees that whether or not we gain earthly praise.

All glory to God. How fierce is that?

alexandria

A (Fierce) Child of God

The Artist Itinerary

Baby Love, Books, My Friends, Matrimony, Parenthood, & Family, Parenthood, Philosophy of Life, Photography, The Artist Life

Fiercelings,

You may remember awhile back I was reading a book called the Creative Call. I wrote posts about it here(this is pretty much a follow up post), here and oh yeah here too. I loved this book so much! I discovered it in my church’s library back in Oklahoma, I devoured it, then returned it and I am thinking I need to order a copy of it because I loved it so much. Recently, I shared it with one of my sisters who purchased a used copy off of Amazon for a penny (plus 3.99 shipping). I am including that link here for you.

The author, Janice Elsheimer, has a chapter or section of the book dedicated to doing the work of creating. She talks very practically about having the space to do the work of creating and she also shares about a year that she resolved to say no to things. She said no to volunteering at church. She said no to social invitations. She said no to obligating herself to things because she had a goal to focus on her art – namely, writing and playing the piano based on what I read. In the book, she references Madeline L’Engle’s book Walking on Water so much that I currently have a copy of that book from the library that I intend to write a review of on here in the near future. I am loving these books.

 

The adorable reason why I can’t accomplish everything I want

 

What is the work of creating? It is doing the work. As artists, we tend to have a lot of ideas. Our brains move at 90mph and there are no brakes. We will never be able to get to all of the ideas that we have but we for sure won’t get to the best ideas if we don’t do the work. Elsheimer talks about clearing her schedule and not overcommiting herself so that she can have the time to pursue what she really wants to pursue. L’Engle makes time for being. You may remember my last post about being anti niche. I want to pursue photography, music, writing, painting etc. Here’s the thing though, I cannot pursue all of these things every single day. I can try. But I will only successfully accomplish one, maybe two. So about three weeks ago I made myself a week artist schedule. An itinerary. It was a way for me to stop feeling like a failure everyday because I only accomplished 1 of the 10 artist things I was wanting to do. Which it is unfair of me to expect that of myself! My full time job right now is caring for my little bundle of joy. My husband is working 60+ hours a week and so I’m in a season of life where I am being supportive of him and being available during the small amount of free time that he does have. I can do a lot but the reality is that I truly only have maybe 2 hours to myself a day because my daughter takes an hour and a half nap – 2 hours. It’s a rare day that she’ll nap longer than that. Sure, I could wake up before her but the problem with that is her daddy doesn’t get home until 9 pm or later. We want to stay up late. So we sleep late. Which means I have 2 hours to myself on a regular day. I don’t share my schedule dynamic to bore you but to show that this is my reality and as an artist I don’t want to create a fairy tale world where I do all 10 things I want to do. That world doesn’t exist and so without further ado I give you my artist itinerary:

  1. Monday – Blogging Day. Hence the last 2 weeks that I have successfully posted a blog.
  2. Tuesday – Painting Day – I can’t wait to show you my latest work.
  3. Reading Day – This is kind of a built in catch up day, if I didn’t finish a blog post or painting I can work on it here because hey, I read a page of the book I’m working on. But seriously, I find having a reading day is fantastic for the artist of me. I am intentionally focusing on books by artists or topics on creating/ being an artist.
  4. Thursday – Music Day – Violin and guitar in one day, yes please.
  5. Friday – Writing Day – Different than blogging, I am working on a book idea.
  6. Saturday – Body Day – A day that I focus on yoga, running, or cardio. I try to workout more than one day a week but I’ve found that having an artist day to focus on working out benefits all the other days. Yoga is art.
  7. Sunday – Rest Day. No pressure.

 

I love her no matter how much time I end up taking care of her when I would rather be doing art!

 

You may notice that I don’t have a photography day and I chose to do this on purpose. And it has worked out very well. On music day, I was done early and took my camera outside with Izze to get some photos. I am working on getting photoshoots booked. By knowing that I have accomplished other artists pursuits I have more time to focus on photography! Life is good. So during my season of life right now I am being a supportive wife and caring for our daughter. As an artist I am fulfilling my creative needs by pursuing a specific creative endeavor by accomplishing and focusing on 1 artist pursuit a day. This is my artist itinerary.

 

“How can I prevent Mom from doing what she wants today?”

If you read up until this point, you’re a trooper. This post has been a doozy even for me but I cannot overstate this as artists we have to do the work of creating. We can only do the work if we have the time and we’ll only have the time if we make the time. You have creative needs. You need to fulfill them. You may remember this Richard Price quote from this post, “I think the definition of an artist is not necessarily tied into excellence or talent; an artist is somebody who, if you took away their freedom to make art, would lose their mind.” I know having a schedule isn’t sexy or romantic but it’s wonderful. It shows you take your art seriously. It helps you not lose your mind! Creating a schedule benefits you which in turn will benefit everyone around you.

 

Fiercely,

alexandria

Anti-Niche

Art, Fierce, Philosophy of Life, Photography, The Artist Life

Hello Fiercelings,

One thing I have noticed while being in the creative world is that everyone encourages you to find your “niche” to the point that I hate that word! Seriously, everytime I’m reading some creative forum, blog, group post or listening to a podcast everyone is niche, niche, niche. So I have something slightly shocking to those that worship at the ground of the niche:

I am anti-niche.

Did I just say that? Oh no. I guess in order to be more specific (no pun intended) I think I am anti niche. Here’s why; when it comes to photography I love shooting weddings, couples, children, babies, seniors, heck I’d probably enjoy shooting a funeral. I love fashion photography and I love fine art photography. I love it all. And that’s just photography. When it comes to paining, I’m all over Monet but then the next moment I’m looking at a Warhol. I’m currently working on an art piece myself that is definitely more abstract and modern but I’m just as likely to start a still life landscape next week. One could argue that I am testing and experimenting with my artistic whims and I just haven’t found the thing that I’m great at…but I don’t take that view. I think I genuinely love it all. And I don’t think I need to apologize for wanting to dabble in or pursue art in 100 different directions.

Moi feet

The beach we were at had millions upon millions of tiny seashells like these that you had to walk over to get to the water. Walking on eggshells takes on a whole new meaning!

 

You may remember that a few posts ago I wrote about Leonardo Da Vinci here and here. Since those posts I have thought of the Renaissance man some more. I won’t pretend to be a know it all about who Da Vinci was because I’m not, I know about as much as anyone who’s watched The Da Vinci Code knows. I know he painted the Mona Lisa which is one of the most recognizable paintings in the world, I know he painted the Last Supper which is also very recognizable. I think most people would recognize the drawing of the Vitruvian Man. All this to say was Da Vinci just a painter? Of course not! He was THE Renaissance man afterall. He was fascinated by human anatomy as the drawing of the Vitruvian Man shows, he also studied the fetus’ heart and was very much a scientist in his own right. Wikipedia actually titles him as an engineer which I think is both fitting and surprising. He was interested in flying and created lots of blue prints for machines to fly, I believe there is one in particular that we would recognize today as a parachute. My goal in sharing this is not to give you a summary of the works of Da Vinci, although the historian in me is loving this! But to simply show that artists have never been niche oriented. I’m not necessarily saying that’s bad. I mean Margaret Mitchell only wrote one novel but it was Gone With The Wind. Did she need to do anything else? Nope. In Da Vinci’s case though did he need to do anything after painting the Mona or the Last Supper? Probably not. Are we glad he did go on to do more though? Absolutely. He’s a fascinating person in history, his work is proof of that and generations after him are happy to be able to study him and enjoy his works of art.

Another person who is proof that artists do not have to settle or focus on one thing is…drum roll! Michelangelo. A contemporary of Da Vinci’s, Michelangelo is of course best known for the Pieta, David and for painting the Sistine Chapel. Thank the Lord that there wasn’t anyone during the Renaissance whispering in Michelangelo’s ear saying “You can’t be a painter and a sculptor, you need to find your niche.” You can see how preposterous the whole “niche” concept is when you apply it to great artists. However, Michelangelo wasn’t just a painter and a sculptor he was also an architect and poet. I find it fascinating that Da Vinci was messing around studying human anatomy and Michelangelo was designing buildings, most famously St. Peter’s Basilica. Anatomy and architecture are more commonly seen today as science subjects or at least not very artistic pursuits which angers me to no end. I love art and I also love learning science stuff. One thing I am really looking forward to is when I am homeschooling my daughter is all the science experiments we can do!

Izze doing yoga

Izze doing yoga on the beach! 

I am anti niche because I want to be a photographer, painter, musician and writer and chances are I’ll add pottery someday! I look to great artists like Da Vinci and Michelangelo, who were accomplished in multiple arts and get inspired. I understand that the niche speakers are attempting to encourage people to focus on something specific but I don’t want to focus on just one art medium, I want to pursue them all. That’s fierce to me. I want to be a triple threat. Heck, I want to be an octruple threat!

Be fierce!

alexandria

 

 

I am an Artist

Being an Artist, Philosophy of Life, Photography, Quotes, The Artist Life

As a creative person seeking to make a way in the world as said creative person one of the challenges that I believe you must overcome is thinking of yourself as an artist. When you think of the term “artist” what comes to your mind? Leonardo Da Vinci? Monet? Van Gogh? Maybe starving? That’s what I think of when I think of Van Gogh anyway, he is the definition of a starving artist. Do you think of the person playing the guitar that you pass on your way to the subway? Do you think of some eccentric character? Whatever you think of when you think of the title “artist” can you apply that title to yourself? Recently, I have.

sea shells

For awhile now I have been tagging blog posts “The Artist Life” because ultimately, I believe that’s what this blog is about. I express thoughts and opinions on various things but the main idea connecting all of them is art, being an artist and living life as an artsy/creative person. However, I am taking that even a step further by saying ‘artist’ now. I have always thought of myself as an artsy person. From a young age I was always interested in music, acting, primarily the performing arts but eventually that led into painting (which I am not very good at) which then of course led me to photography because even though I may not be able to paint what I see/want I can attempt to capture it in photography. Which is wonderful. Ahh….I love photography. But all of those could be considered hobbies. But they’re more than that for me, they’re apart of who I am…I am an artist you see.

Driftwood -full

I don’t like the idea of identifying yourself by your occupation or job. What you do is not necessarily who you are. Perhaps, I put the term “artist” up on a pedestal because at one time I didn’t feel worthy of calling myself an artist. But that is what I believe I am. A person is a lot of things and I don’t like the idea of putting all your identity into one thing but I guess it’s different when you’re an artist. Creative people see the world differently and by claiming that I am an artist I think it’s a sign to everyone that hey I don’t think like you do. This sounds like a mystical thing which on one side maybe it is – afterall, why do artists see the world differently? But I don’t actually think it is. I think it makes perfect sense. To help clarify this, I of course turned to a quote! Surprise.

“I think the definition of an artist is not necessarily tied into excellence or talent; an artist is somebody who, if you took away their freedom to make art, would lose their mind.” ~ Richard Price

Oh. My. Gosh. I think I can just end this blog post right here and now! I think I’m fairly talented, but there are people more talented than me for sure and I love this quote because it says hey, someone who is extremely talented, that’s not what makes them an artist. What makes someone an artist is that they would go crazy if they didn’t make art. I think that is actually why artists are viewed as eccentric or crazy in general, they have this insatiable desire to make art and so they’re viewed as odd because art is always on their mind, creating is always running in the background. It can be aggravating sometimes because you can’t turn it off. It can be frustrating sometimes because you don’t have time to pursue art as much as you’d like to. So, let me step on my tiny soap box and say if any of this rings a bell in your mind firstly, call yourself an artist. And then, once you’ve done that, don’t lose your mind, go create art. Afterall, you’re an artist and how fierce is that.

Driftwood

Fiercely,

alexandria