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

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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

Weddings

Fierce Photography, Photography, Prices, Wedding Photography

Wedding dress 2

Oh my goodness! You’re engaged(mini freak out dance)! Congrats! I’m so happy that you’re checking out the details of my wedding stuff. I know you have lots to do; invitations, venue, THE DRESS, the SHOES, cake, flowers, bridesmaids, guest list, you have got to decide how to do your hair and makeup and etc, etc.

Ring on wire

You might be thinking oh yeah I do want to hire a wedding planner now! And then on top of all that you have to find someone who can capture your day and immortalize it in pictures! Seriously, what’s the point of putting in all this work to make the happiest day of your life the happiest day of your life if you won’t be able to look back on the day with great pictures? It’s your wedding day, after all. You want to have great photos to put on the mantel of your casa with your spouse. Gollee, so much to do! Take a deep breath. Your day is going to be great!

Holly's Wedding 095

So here’s the deal, I have four wedding packages. All packages include an engagement shoot and an online viewing gallery.

Package I $2000

Engagement Shoot

10 Hour Wedding Coverage

Disk of images with photo release

4 8×10 prints

chest down

Package II $2700

Engagement Shoot

10 Hour Wedding Coverage

Disk of images with photo release

Lay flat album with best photos

1143 fixed

 Package III $3500

Engagement Shoot

10 Hour Wedding Coverage

Disk of images with photo release

Lay flat album with best photos

25-40 prints & 2 canvas prints

Holly neck down fix

Package IV $4000

Engagement Shoot

10 Hour Wedding Coverage

Disk of images with photo release

Lay flat album with best photos

25-40 prints & 4 canvas prints

LOVE LOVE LOVE

I am in the Jacksonville, Florida area but I’m available for travel anywhere! You wanna get married in Europe? Cool! Alaska? Awesome! Hawaii? Heck ya! Email me at alexandria.fierce@gmail.com for travel rates. My general policy is the cost of the package you pick + travel expenses if you want an idea of how much it’ll be. I do special rates for elopements and/or weddings with 30 or fewer guests ( but like if you have 33 people that qualifies!). Email me for pricing on those! Email me for booking. Pretty much email me for everything! alexandria.fierce@gmail.com

425 fix jeff with boys and beer

 

I hope you have the wedding of your dreams! I hope whoever you have photograph your special days captures it exactly how you want. Some of the best advice I got on having a successful marriage was “besides the whole God thing…the way to have a great marriage is to screw everyone else.” Ha! Seriously, someone told me that at my wedding shower. SO. I offer the same advice to you, it’s you and your spouse now. You have to change your mentality to an it’s “us” against the world. I also offer that advice to you for wedding planning! It’s your day, plan the day you want – screw everyone else!

Holly and Jeff happy with logo

Fiercely,

alexandria

sparklers with logo fix

 

The Creative Call

Being an Artist, Personal

Back when I was in Oklahoma,  I stumbled across a book titled The Creative Call by Janice Elsheimer in the church library. I immediately fell in love with the book! It is a very practical book for artists of any kind or simply for creative people in general. I was drawn to the book because you will remember my word for the year is create. This book is all about being a Christian and being an artist! Ahhh, I am in love! It is kind of like the Purpose Driven Life meets being an artist.  I finished the book not long after I got it. The book is designed for the chapters to be read weekly which I didn’t technically follow per se but I believe I did end up reading it in roughly the amount of time it is intended to be read.

Single Bird on Beach

One of the things that the author talks about in the book is having space for you art or having a studio. I’ve been thinking of this recently considering the fact that I am in a new house in Florida. I need space to do my art. So I have mentally blocked out parts of the house that don’t seem to get used very much that can be “my art space.” Another thing that the author talks a lot about is that in order to create art you have to create art. Meaning that you have to do the work. This is another theme that occasionally I find myself learning about. What is my creative process? Sure, every artist has moments of inspiration at times where everything clicks and works out splendidly, but what led up to that moment of inspiration? Can it be reproduced? I read something somewhere that said a lot of artists have a specific process that they return to that can help get creative ideas flowing. I have said before in a previous post that inspiration comes in waves, so you better learn how to surf. I just love how fitting that is considering I live by the ocean now =D

Waves and seashells

Lastly, the author shares that in her house she has a quote on a wall that says “Go to your studio and make stuff” which reminds her to just do art. Good reminder. I made a painting that simply says the word create.

Waves Watermark

Fiercely pursuing my creative call,

alexandria