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.”

1

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

Advertisements

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

Life, Simplified

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

I have been pouring and drooling over Lenonardo Da Vinci quotes. I have long loved the original Renaissance man.

Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication

Having moved from an apartment to a condo to halfway across the country I definitely have had opportunities to go through all of my stuff. There is something about moving that makes you go “why do I have this?” “I don’t want or need this anymore but I don’t want to throw it away” “Do I give this away?” and then when you go to Goodwill to give it away you see everyone else who has given away their junk. I remember when I dropped off some clothes at Goodwill how the room was fillllllled with stuff. Pointless stuff. I hate stuff. I love it when I go to someones house that seems a little sparse. This is one of those things that living in American culture that just seems to happen. I don’t think anyone really intends to accumulate so much stuff but if we’re not intentional about what we have we end up having an absurd amount of stuff.

multi colored flower 2

You may have heard of the idea of a “capsule” wardrobe. It’s an idea about dressing that has floated around the blogopshere. The main idea is that you have a small amount of clothing that you absolutely love and makes you feel great. How many times have you walked into your closet or opened your drawers and lamented “I have nothing to wear!” A capsule wardrobe let’s you wear your favorite pieces over and over again but in a different way. It’s about simplifying your life right down to what you wear.

When I read Leonardo’s words on simplicity I think of our homes and what we have in them, I think of what we put on our backs and keeping these things simple. It’s ultimately one of the most sophisticated ways for us to live according to Da Vinci. And it’s fierce =D

When you think of living simply what do you think of?

Fiercely,

alexandria

P.S. More Da Vinci quotes coming!

 

 

The (Abandoned) Art of Listening

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

Fiercelings,

You cannot truly listen to anyone and do anything else at the same time – M. Scott Peck

For awhile, this blog post has been on my mind. It is a topic that I feel is very pertinent in our society because our culture is so very opposed to it. Which is ironic considering that this is the age of social networking and updating statuses and friending and being connected. We strive very hard to connect but it’s an open secret that a lot of people feel that we’re even more disconnected due largely to social networking sites. In the age of media soundbites, sharing our thoughts in 160 characters or less, and responding in texting lingo (k?), everyone seems to be in a hurry and I believe because everyone is in a hurry, no one listens. 

Red berries

When was the last time you had a conversation without being interrupted? When was the last time you held your tongue versus cutting someone off? Can two people even really open up toward one another anymore and actually feel like they have equally gotten to express themselves? I raise these questions because a long time ago I became aware and convicted of the fact that I tend to interrupt people. I am an exuberant type person and I have a lot to say therefore I must talk, talk, talk, all the time in order to get out everything I want to say. I’m not sure when I became aware of this exactly but I did and then slowly I started to not speak as much and slowly I became aware of many times within circles of family or friends where someone would get cut off by another person and the conversation would never circle back to them where they could finish their thought. I felt that I was the victim of this occurrence a myriad times myself. I would try to share something but someone would talk over me or cut me off and I, in an attempt to be cordial, polite, and nice would oblige them by not talking and letting them speak, however I noticed no one would ever oblige me the same courtesy. It would seem that everytime I would try to speak I would get talked over and because this has happened to me a plethora of times I’ve noticed that it happens to people a lot and no one seems to be bothered by it much.

“The word listen contains the same letters as the word silent.” ~ Alfred Brendel

I love the quote by Alfred Brendel, “The word listen contains the same letters as the word silent.” How perfect and true is that statement! If you rearrange the letters in listen, you can create the word silent. It is a very accurate statement because in order for one person to express him or herself, another person has to remain attentive and silent while they speak. This is one reason why I have come to favor one-on-one times with a friend versus a group setting. I just find that it is hard to feel like I have gotten to learn that much about a person in group settings. And usually I won’t find out anything about someone in a group setting because people that aren’t talking the loudest get marginalized. I also think to a degree people favor group settings versus one-on-one because people fear dead air in a conversation. I overcame this fear awhile ago, I view silence between two people as an opportunity to reflect on the last topic and see if there is anything either I or who I am speaking with want to add. This also serves as a chance to think about introducing an entirely new topic instead of letting conversation flow naturally from one topic to another.

Red berries 2

I could write about my frustrations and thoughts on listening and being listened to all day long.  It’s become a very important topic for me;  it is like a pet peeve except far more serious then just an irritation. For example, when someone is convicted of murder it’s either 1st degree, 2nd degree etc. I view interrupting and talking over people as a first degree offense. It puts you on the fast track for me to not like you and seek to avoid you. Yes, I know it’s crazy to compare interrupting someone to 1st degree murder but hey it’s an analogy, leave it at that. Alas, let me not bore you with my laments but instead challenge you to be a person that listens. And here is why; “Listening is a magnetic and strange thing, a creative force. The friends who listen to us are the ones we move toward. When we are listened to, it creates us, makes us unfold and expand.” ~Karl A. Menniger.

Green berries

“Listening is a magnetic and strange thing, a creative force. The friends who listen to us are the ones we move toward. When we are listened to, it creates us, makes us unfold and expand.” ~Karl A. Menniger

How aptly does that put what happens when we feel that we are listened to and have expressed ourselves? Don’t you want to be a person that draws other people to them? Don’t you want to be a person that makes people unfold and expand? Then listen to people. It is so simple and yet it’s rare to find someone that does it. I really think this quote needs it’s own post because of how fierce it is! Because of how I feel about this subject and because of how marvelous that quote is I have decided to start a renaissance of listening and I invite you to join. Decide to be someone that listens to the people around them. It is magnetic, strange, and creative as Menniger said so perfectly. Maybe that’s why this is so important to me, as a creative person listening to people is an art that society has abandoned. Hence, the renaissance. I feel like Les Miserable’s “Do You Hear the People Sing” is playing in the background. Haha! So in the words of Les Mis, will you join in my crusade?  Let’s listen to our friends and family. Let’s tactfully point out to people we know that they cut people off. There’s no reason to embarrass someone when all you’re trying to do is help them. Most people aren’t even aware that they do it. Many people are immune to the way that we converse that everyone plays the talk over people game because the only way to be heard is to talk the loudest and oftenest. Let’s change that. Let’s listen. As creative people let’s listen to others,  it’s a creative force after all. And isn’t that fierce?

Fiercely,

alexandria

P.S. If you read this entire thing you are fabulous!

Fearless

Philosophy of Life, Quotes, The Artist Life

Hi fiercelings,

I read this quote a few years ago but I came across it again this morning.

Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness, that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, “Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented and fabulous?” Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small doesn’t serve the world. There’s nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you. We were born to manifest the glory of God that is within us…And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.” – Nelson Mandela

This speaks to me very deeply. For example, I have this blog and I really really enjoy writing. But I am scared to share it with my family! In fact, I told 2 of my 4 sisters that I have a blog and WordPress notified me in the recent past that I hit 50 posts. They weren’t aware that I had a blog! And they were very impressed that I had written as much as I have…I don’t believe I’ve written anything that will necessary last throughout all time but I try very hard to write things that aren’t a waste of time. I shared with one of my sisters that I am scared to link my facebook to my blog because (and this makes no sense) yes I have a blog and yes I want people to read my blog but I am scared that if I share my blog to my friends on facebook people might actually read it. As in, people I know. I love all the people that read my blog and follow it but it’s different having strangers read something and people that actually know you and therefore have opinions about you. A lot of people that know me I feel like have a pre-conceived notion about me and blogging and being a photographer would not match that opinion therefore they will write me off or dismiss me as a creative person and as much as I say I don’t care what people think about me and  as much as I say my manta “be fierce” in my head there is a small part of me that thinks “maybe they’re right.” I love what one of my sister’s told me when I shared this illogical thought process  “a blog doesn’t have to be an academic paper.” she told me. This is mine. And it doesn’t have to be perfect because I am definitely not perfect.

Beach night 071

Back to the Nelson Mandela quote, I love where he says “there’s nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you” I’ve always felt to a degree that I intimidate people. I’ve always felt that I am misunderstood. But maybe I feel that way because I put on a mask and I don’t be myself fully around people. One of my dearest friends told me that I am “disarmingly intelligent” and to this day that is one of the best compliments I have ever received. To this day I get annoyed if someone compliments how I look or what I’m wearing. Don’t compliment the outside, compliment me. But most people don’t even know how to give a compliment that esteems someone for who they are…

there is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you

There is fear involved in fully being yourself, maskless. Why is it that we humans shrink so that we won’t make others insecure? It’s an interesting observation. I fear writing my blog and being a creative and not being heard but I also fear being heard. It’s illogical. I want to be successful, but at the same time I am scared of being successful. “Your playing small does not serve the world.” Playing small does not serve the world. Or yourself for that matter. “Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented and fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God.”

Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented and fabulous?” Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God.

yellow flower

I just love this so much. It just says to me you are fierce, so be fierce. You are a child of God, He made you to be “brilliant, gorgeous, talented and fabulous!” Be that. Be fearless. This reminds me of the book I read that I shared in a previous post. The thesis of that book was that being creative is deeply spiritual. The Creator created us to be creative, therefore it can be an act of worship to be creative and to make art. It can be a labor of love. It can be our purpose to be creative in whatever capacity that entails for you…which if it is our purpose to be creative wouldn’t that imply to not be creative is sin? Oh dear, I worry I am getting too theological now. Let’s wrap this post up before it dives down more rabbit holes! “We were born to manifest the glory of God that is within us…” Yes. That’s reiterating what I just said about the Creative Call, which is a fantastic book if you want to read something about being a creative person. “…And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.”

We were born to manifest the glory of God that is within us…And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.

Let your light shine. Break through the fear. As you liberate yourself from your own fear, others will take notice and that will automatically help to liberate others. Gollee, I love this. Be fierce, be fierce, be fierce. Don’t fear. Liberate yourself. As pathetic as it sounds, a way for me to liberate myself from the fear of being brilliantly creative is to share on my personal facebook that I have this blog. Let others read it, their negative opinions be damned.

Bird

I pray that this blog post made sense to you and perhaps in some small way inspired you to pursue being an artist, a creative, whatever it is that you were made to do. I shared in a previous post that I experienced something that said THIS is what I was made to do…and I’m still stepping into that space.

Be fearless,

be fierce,

alexandria

Queen Fierce

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

Adrenaline Rush

Fierce Photography, Photography, The Artist Life

This past week has been crazy. I’ve worked like a mad person. I helped a fellow photographer shoot an entire dance studio! Which works out to about 800 dancers. I planned to have a Degas moment but photography style. Hehe. It was crazy fun and exhausting. The photographer let me shoot a bunch and there was one evening when I was shooting that I was enjoying it so much I felt so energized and it wasn’t until I stopped shooting that I realized that shooting gave me an adrenaline rush. It was so exciting because the dancers were doing crazy awesome poses. Think jumps, leg kicks, and other cool stuff like that. It was fierce to say the least! And did I mention exhausting? Finally, I have gotten to get some rest and this evening I shot for myself and did some stuff that I have mentally envisioned for while now. Be fierce.

IMG_2404

Glass and good lighting makes me happy

IMG_2375 IMG_2376 IMG_2377 IMG_2378

I followed a lady bug up my hourglass =D

IMG_2372

IMG_2411

IMG_2422

 IMG_2445

IMG_2444

IMG_2387

Be creative. I have been feeling very artistic lately because it is art festival season in my city. Happiness.

Be Fierce,

alexandria