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Tuesday, October 23, 2018


As you saw in my previous post, I have done lots of October themed portraits where I have dressed up as someone or been a character. If you search through my Facebook, Flickr or blog history you can find even more than what I posted. I even have more ideas. I have had the costumes and concepts for medusa, an exorcism with priest and silly ghost people for about 4 years now. I have a costume closet full of medieval attire and other character costumes I haven't shot. Some even my kids have outgrown before I did the photo. But it wasn't what interested me right now to create.  For this October I wanted to dive deeper into the concept of fear. Fear being something that gets associated during this time of year of costumes, scary decorations and tricks that are played.

Fear is often discussed in my photography groups. However, it's usually discussed in the context of being afraid to create art, or afraid to show your work to others. I don't have fears like that. It's not that I like rejection or that some rejection doesn't sting, but I don't have that fear of putting myself out there and then being told no. I  have submitted to so many "calls for art" in various ways since 2002 that maybe I have just because accustom to getting those rejection emails. However, I've also been really successful. I've been in magazines, exhibitions and won awards. If I didn't put myself out there in the first place, I'd never get a good call/email. Yes it stings when you really think your photo would work well for a call and then you get the "sorry to inform you" email. Or you spend hours on something that someone else doesn't care for. I've learned that if I create for myself and am happy with my finished product then it doesn't matter as much if others love my work.

But yes I want others to like my work too :)

So back to fear.....I wanted to approach fear a little different. I wanted to tap into what non photography/personal fears there are in the world and then create based on that. This is going to be an ongoing series for me as I explore this concept more. And with many fears in the world, I have lots of subject matter to explore :) I do not plan to explore fears of anxiety or self doubt or other very personal fears. I want these images to be relatable to a wider audience, and they will cover what everyone knows as a fear. I want the viewer of this series to already understand the concept and appreciate the images without having to personally have that fear themselves.

So first in my Phobia Series is:


Or otherwise known as:

Taphophobia is the irrational fear of being buried alive. It is closely related to other phobias such as: fear of death (Thanatophobia), fear of tombstones (Placophobia), and fear of tight and enclosed spaces (Claustrophobia*). 

When I take a self portrait, whether its a silly photo of me as a cartoon character or something like this, I always try to go fully "into character". I think of my self portraits as acting. If I don't believe it, its not believable to the viewer. When I did my 52 week family self portraits, I would say this every week to my family. They had to become whatever character I was asking them to be. So yes, for this group of photos I had to get into character of being buried alive. I must admit, it was pretty exhausting. When you do something that is heaver like this, it can drain you, as if you really experienced it. 

This first photo is the main image for this phobia. It's a woman in a glass coffin with dirt being thrown on top of her. In this image she fully knows what is happening and so does whoever is doing this to her. It's pretty scary to think about as it was no accident. It's being done purposefully and she knows there is no good outcome.

I already have an ongoing Ghost Series and a few of those images take place in cemeteries, so I didn't want to be redundant with doing something similar to what I have done before, but I wanted to include a gravesite. So I came up with a way to keep with this phobia and not replicate something I have already done. 

The silly take away from this photo is that is was VERY hard to get my hand/arm dirty with just dirt as I didn't want it to be mud. It amazes me that my kids can get dirty by being outside 30 seconds and I was trying to get dirty and it kept rubbing off. I had to rub dirt all over my arm after every take and still much of this "dirt" is photoshop.

Now I am going to share this, as its already been picked up by an agency, but its not 100% my favorite, and feels like I want to do more with it. I had a similar idea to do this with someone on top of the grass. I had it figured out, just the edit didn't quite go together. I still have it on a folder to work on and I will share that version if I get it done :) But I can see this image being presented in a few different ways, so it may be something I revisit at some point. But its the most clear cut Buried Alive of the three :)

And this last image will give you your behind the scene of how I shot it. I am really that close to the top, I did not lower the top to make me more confined. I climbed onto the bottom of our coffee table and put a brown blanket over the back to make it look like a box.
See I don't post in over 2 weeks and boom a long post with 3 images! Hope I made up for the absence while I finished football season and dove head first into busy portrait season :)

 *I totally see me exploring [claustrophobia] on it's own for this series.

Monday, October 22, 2018

Throwback Monday? Sure why not! 

The last two weeks have been really crazy with my portrait business as October is my busiest month of the year :) I have been creating, I just didn't have as much time to edit or post.

I know I create more fine art self portraits now, but my creative fun self portraits are what started me on this journey back in 2011. So I wanted to share some of my October themed self portraits I have done. Well, the ones that are not Ghosts as my Ghost Series is its own thing :)

And stay tuned this week when I share my newest "scary" photo  :)


Thursday, October 4, 2018

October: A Year from Now?

This month's blog topic is: "Where do you see yourself Artistically or Creatively a year from now"?

My portrait business is pretty steady and every year I can predict how much I'll make or how many clients I will have. I can tell you that I will be in the same place a year from now, as I am right now, and was last year. The bulk of my clients will be between July-November, and I will be shooting families, mini sessions and senior portraits. I will be photographing my boys playing football and probably planning my 2020 year. I do a few things each year that changes it up, but its very stable and doesn't fluctuate dramatically either way. But its how I like it. I set my business up to be exactly that. I only take on as many clients as I can handle while juggling family life, sports and volunteer work.

But when it comes to my fine art, it's not as clear cut. I could create amazing work and just never click with a gallery or find the right submissions to enter. Or I could win several competitions, awards and/or money and be on a fast track to success a year from now. (I think its obvious I would hope for the later) ;)

Some of it will depend on my determination and drive (both of which I have), but some of it is also subjective. A curator or juror can love my work and another one hate it. I have already had plenty experience with this. I have been in shows where I win a 1st place or Best of Show award and at another exhibition that same photo doesn't make the show! The one thing I have going for me is that I don't let rejection define me. I have had plenty of photography rejection. It's one of the reasons I create for myself. If I love what I am doing, then I am not defined by whether I make a certain exhibition.

I am at the point with my fine art that I am stepping things up and really want to see improvement and success in 2019. I am creating artwork each week, submitting to galleries, creating and submitting photos for a book cover company and looking into lots of different avenues to sell my work.

So what are some of my 2019 goals? 
Here are my top 10 goals for the next year.

1. I want my images to be displayed in exhibitions in galleries. For this I just have to keep submitting. Which currently right now there are quite a few calls that fit my work. So fingers crossed I get a few more of my images in various galleries in the next year!

2. I want to create a series or two or three. What is a series? A series is a smaller body of work that has cohesive feel between images and possibly has a message. They are usually created to be paired with the other images in the series. Which is what galleries want to see, especially if you want a solo show. So if you have seen any of my work before, much of it is individual pieces. They each are their own individual story and although could be paired with my other works, are created as one piece. A series you may have seen from me would be my Ghost Stories, where I am a ghost in each image. My goal is to refine and create a few more images for that series and then send it out for submission. I have one other series I have been working on the last week (3 pieces already complete) and another 2 series ideas I want to explore. My goal would be to have 4 solid series in a year from now. If I have more than that great, but I want at least 4. Plus I still want to allow time to create plenty of my individual images each week too.

3. Submit for a solo show. I want to grow my art career. One way to do that is to have a solo show. A year from now I want to have all the tools available to make that goal a reality, if it isn't already. Honestly, I am very close to being ready to do this. I want to put together a full portfolio and pitch a solo idea to at least one gallery in the next 12 months. I also want to look into solo show opportunities and calls. EDITED: Well I just got a call that I will be having a solo show in Auburn in September 2019!

4. I want to continue to grow my social media. Instagram, Facebook and my blog. I tend to forget to post, forget to comment, post too late, or post too early. I have been really working at getting better at this the last few months. It's something I really want to work on in 2019 and I hope a year from now I have a better following and a work flow for uploading and sharing my images.

5. Along with the above, I'd like to do a recurring weekly segment, for at least a few weeks.  I have one idea that shows how I get some of my ideas. Would be fun to show one little secret to my creativity and also how others can use my method to create their own art even if they aren't the most creative. Hint: it would be called Wheel Wednesday :) I'd look for it in 2019, after the holiday season :)

The next two go together:
I want to create every week. Over the last few months the weather has been great. I have been able to shoot a lot because its been warmer and dry, but now its the rainy dark season. I will need to keep up and keep creating through the winter months and find ways to stay creative. 

6. Every week I want to have one day where I devote to shooting and editing my fine art images. Even if its just a few hours that day. This way I at least have one image being started/worked on/in progress every week. Some weeks I will be able to edit those right away and other weeks I may have to hold it off, but at least I shot something and am getting into a routine.  Ideally, I will eventually have more than a few hours or more than one day to devote.  

7. Every week I want spend at least 30-60 minutes shooting something for a book cover. Since being accepted by a book cover company, I have mainly been submitting older work, or work I already created for a different purpose. I want to start focusing on creating images for the purpose of book covers and doing more of the weekly challenges.

8. I want to research more about submissions that may pay. I want to look into magazines that pay for work.  I also want to explore more submission contests. Submissions that have either a prize package or a monetary prize. I think if I could find some ways to earn a little back from my art that it could keep it funded and moving forward.

9. I want to look into more avenues for selling my work. If I do show at galleries, there is a possibility of sales, but I have been looking into how I could sell products or have an online store front. By this time next year I would like to have figured out another avenue to sell, either online or at a local store. I want to research what types of products may work or if prints will be the only way to go.

10. Last, but not least, I'd also really love to put together a self portrait class or workshop (if you have ideas for this, shoot me an email!). I taught a self portrait class to some students last year and would love to expand on that and teach my techniques to others. I know many would love to learn how to take photos of themselves :)

Sunday, September 30, 2018


"I'm through accepting limits 'cause someone says they're so" -Wicked

Starting today this image is at the PSA International exhibit in Salt Lake City! Until October 6th :)

Just a few quick thoughts today as this was just a crazy one I did this summer. I had fun playing with the concept that each wall had its own gravity.


Wednesday, September 26, 2018

Never Look Back

Never Look Back

This is one of my random images. I love the contemplation in this image. I wanted it to convey the urgency that she needed to get to the ladder and climb to safety. But once up there could whatever is following her, make it up the ladder too? Would she have to make the choice to continue to the other side of the tunnel?  With the birds in the sky I wanted to convey the tunnel was higher up on that side then what you see on this side. You, the viewer, can decide does she make it. Or maybe she is running to it? Maybe nothing is chasing her? Maybe she is running to this place, her safe spot :)

Wednesday, September 19, 2018

Wind Up


Don't we all have times when our energy has run out and we need to be rewound? I know I do.  Fall is my busiest time of the year. School starting back up, cub scouts, football, and my portrait business, are all in full swing and I find myself staying up late, getting up early and somewhere in the middle trying to get it all done. I am like the Energizer Bunny during fall. I am constantly needing to be fully wound again and again until my stored energy is completely depleted.  Then once it's all over and my adrenaline of the season is gone (usually in January) and I find myself drained completely like a wind-up toy that is done and stopped.

This image would have been perfect to post in January, and I might post it again then. This is truly how I spend my January and February. I find that because I spend so much time going and going I take the much needed Winter break and stay stopped.

But for now, the hand is continually winding the crank and I continue on with my stored up energy :)

I wanted to post it now since I just finished it yesterday though ;)

This is similar to Recharge.

Friday, September 14, 2018

10 Tips to Start Creating!

Welcome to my first 10 tips post based on the theme Artistic Mission. Which ultimately is about where you want to go with being a creative person. So what if you are not already someone who creates art? Well here are 10 tips to get you started!

10 TIPS to Start Creating!
(or jump start you during a slump)

1. Find a medium that interests you. It doesn't need to be photography. There are so many creative hobbies out there. Find one that makes you happy and try it!

2.  So how do you find what creative hobby could interest you? Walk the aisles at a craft store, watch You Tube videos on how others create, go to an art gallery or museum and see what you are drawn to

3. Once you find that medium, don't give up. It can be hard at first. No matter what type of creative hobby you choose, there will be a learning curve. It took me years until my photography was at a point where it was consistent. 

4. Try a 2nd medium. Maybe you find the first choice wasn't an exact fit. Maybe it was and you just want to expand out to other ideas. Just like how playing 2 sports can help you become better at both sports, doing two artistic crafts can help you be better. Learning photography and noticing how lighting works can help your paintings be realistic. 

The next two go together:

5.  Visit art fairs, museums or galleries. Seeing art in person gives it so much more depth then viewing it online. That said, I still recommend to

6. View art online. Visit blogs. Browse Flickr, Pinterest or even google images. 

Doesn't matter how you do it, view art.  Whether its painting, photography or even crochet projects, see what others are doing. Be inspired by what others are doing. When I am feeling down and not creative, I visit photography websites/groups/pages and it gets me in the mood to go out and create my own stuff. I also try to visit either an art show, gallery or museum every few months to see what
 is being displayed, what the new trends are, and just be inspired by seeing the art in person.

7. Take a class. Attend a workshop. Watch a You Tube tutorial. Learn something new. Find something to stretch yourself and learn. No matter how long you have been doing your craft, there is always room to learn a new technique or style. And if you are just starting out, its a great way to figure out the basics.

8. Do a creative challenge. That's how I started down this creative journey. I did a 52 week self portrait challenge. Not only did it help hone my self portrait skills, it took me down a path of creative and silly portraits which ultimately lead me to fine art. Plus, because I had a "deadline" of each week, it kept me creating on a regular basis. And the more you create or do your craft, the better you will get. 

9. Take a break. Now this one is more if you are in a slump. Sometimes we get in a funk because we put too much pressure on ourselves. It's okay to take a break and come back to your art when you are fresh. Doesn't need to be a long extended break, even a few days can give you a fresh perspective. 

10.  Step outside of your comfort zone. Try something you have never done before. Spatter paint on canvas. Merge two unrelated photos together. Knit a blanket using 10 colors. Try sculpture. Push yourself! :)

And I have one last one....have fun! Whatever you choose don't forget to have fun while creating whatever it is you love!

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