Monday, December 31, 2012

Less Is More

I won't even pretend. You exhaust me with your yearly tributes to the Roman god, Janus, a.k.a. New Year's resolutions. I am now strictly avoiding all articles and blogs that tell who has vowed to write two novels this year, start three different blogs to help writers, artists, entrepreneurs (take your pick), run five miles every day, develop 25% more products to sell, market to four more media outlets than they currently are, re-do their kitchen and/or bathroom and be the one to solve the current deadlock dilemma at work.

All of those things are well and good, but if I try to do any more than I am currently doing, I'm pretty sure my head will explode in a little blue, powdery puff of smoke. There are so many more things I want to do, so many more things I feel I should do, yet I have the distinct impression I am burying myself in my attempts to do more, more, more. I am buried under a mountain of more. More hectic, more projects, more stress.

At what point do I really understand that 'less is more'? I need to go to bed at 7 p.m. for a week and just read. I need to spend time in the woods and just listen. I need to sit and just breathe. I need a break from the chronic media barrage that is so loud it blocks out what is real. I need time to love and rest. I need less.

And before you say that I am turning 'less' into a resolution - I'm not. I may manage to do it, I may not. I'll be happy if I do; I won't feel guilty if I don't. But it's on my radar as something I need to keep tabs on.

I may send in my picture book to publishers with a nice query letter this year. I may pick up where I left off on my novel. I may concentrate more on writing than photography this year. And I may stop putting so much time into designing products for my Zazzle store. Or I may not. The important thing is that I don't have to pay tribute to Janus with my conscience.

If you are interested in the full David Orr quote, it is from his 1992 book Ecological Literacy: Education and the Transition to a Postmodern World. The full quote is, "The plain fact is that the planet does not need more successful people. But it does desperately need more peacemakers, healers, restorers, storytellers and lovers of every kind. It needs people who live well in their places. It needs people of moral courage willing to join the fight to make the world habitable and humane. And these qualities have little to do with success as we have defined it."  I have just taken a small snippet of his words in my image above, and obviously, the most impactful words in his full quote are that the world needs people of moral courage willing to join the fight to make the world habitable and humane. This is a growing part of my career life and one I embrace.

Happy 2013.

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Rich Fabric, the Anthology

I have been lucky enough to have 'met' Melinda McGuire, author of Josephine, Red Dirt & Whiskey and Nelson and Cora - the Beginning among other things, a while ago on the world's virtual friend maker - the internet. She is a talented author and last spring hatched the idea of an anthology combining the talents of many. 

Thus, Melinda become the editor and coordinator of Rich Fabric, the Anthology. Rich Fabric focuses on quilting, which has been a necessity, an art, a comfort and an identification for many mostly-rural communities in America. Quilts have the power to bring back a flood of memories, sharpen the quilter's artistic skills and keep one warm at night. Quilts have been woven into our collective lives for generations. I am honored to have contributed to this meaningful project and look forward to seeing our tribute to quilting in print and in ebook format! The paperback includes short stories, memoirs, historical facts and black and white photographs. The ebook will have all of that plus color photographs, video and music. All profits from the sales of Rich Fabric will be donated to The Twilight Wish Foundation.  

Rich Fabric, the Anthology will be available for purchase in paperback form beginning September 28, 2012 through Createspace at Rich Fabric - An Anthology and will be available through Amazon after the release date of 9/28/12 (Melinda tells me it can take a few weeks to show up on Amazon). The ebook format will be released in early December, 2012. 

I asked Melinda to pop over to my blog today to share some of her thoughts and more details about Rich Fabric.  Thank you, Melinda, and take it away!

"The whole is greater than the sum of its parts." --- Aristotle
Rich Fabric is an anthology that focuses on the culture, tradition and symbolism of quilting. Inside the book, you will find short stories, essays, historical tidbits, quotes, photographs, and memoirs about our history with quilts and our future with the craft.

How can I consider the book a success before I've even sold one copy of the anthology, Rich Fabric?
1. The profits from this project are going to the Twilight Wish Foundation. I think this is a fantastic organization. They grant wishes to Senior Citizens who are living below poverty level. So, every dollar of profit that goes to the Twilight Wish Foundation is going to help senior citizens get the recognition and appreciation they deserve. If you are interested in finding out what all the Twilight Wish Foundation is doing and how you can help, visit their website - Twilight Wish Foundation

2. Photographers and writers have joined together to create this beautiful, touching, informative anthology. Each person who has contributed has shared their creativity and done so generously. I am proud to be a part of the project, and I am delighted that this anthology showcases so many wonderful pieces. I hope that I have accomplished weaving these pieces together to create an anthology that fits the name "Rich Fabric", but most importantly, to me, I have enjoyed working with all of the people involved in the project, enjoyed seeing their talents, reading their words, following their stories and images. It has been my pleasure to edit this anthology. 

I am proud to list the following people as contributors to Rich Fabric and the titles of their works:
Quilted by Generations – Robyn Leatherman
Reap What You Sew – Lisamarie Lamb
The Real Magic – Kara Stewart
I’m Sew Happy – Rhonda Dennis
Piecing a Memory – Sarah Negovetich
An Exploration of Jacobean Applique - a conversation with Linda McDaniel
Why Do I Quilt – Crystal Vining.
Crystal passed away before the publication of this anthology. This was her first published piece. I am saddened by her passing, but thankful that I got to know her through her writing and through her passion for quilting.
Dear Mary Kennedy – Suzan McKenzie
Sans Famille – Ruth C. White
Always Warm – Tonya Rice
Lessons from Aunt Becky – Laura Ritchie
My Great-Grandmother’s Quilt – Claire Burson
Common Thread, The Quilts of Alice Shaddix
How the Quilters at the Cornett School House Connect the Present to the Past
A Brief History of the Bargello Pattern

Again, all profits from the anthology will go to the Twilight Wish Foundation.
Many, many thanks to Kara, not only for hosting me on her blog so that I could spread the word, but also for taking part in the anthology as both a photographer and writer. Her work, as always, is wonderful and enriched the project. I am proud to have her as a part of this.

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Sappony Art: Strength

I've been thinking about which images I will enter in the upcoming November show at the Kirby Gallery.  In honor of American Indian Heritage month in North Carolina, the Sappony have been invited to exhibit there throughout the month. The theme of the show is strength (title is Sappony Art: Strength).  Artists can interpret strength any way they feel suits their art, from the literal to the metaphorical. 

Pieces entered into the exhibit can be almost any kind of art including pottery, sculpture, painting, poetry, quilting, basketry, jewelry, carving, writing, music, drawing, carving and photography.

I am considering entering my Turtle, Red Tree and Zinnia Pop images.

Turtle by Kara Stewart, Art in Photography
I photographed this male box turtle who was in the middle of our new walking trail when I was at the tribal center photographing the fabulous work that has been done on the driveway, parking lot and walking trail. I think of strength when I think of box turtles because of their steadfast, long lives. The average life span of box turtles, depending on the species and which website you read, is certainly between 20 and 50 years. And many have been known to live over 100 years. Their conservation status is vulnerable, due to their relative late age at maturity (7 years) and other factors (people taking them as pets). The oldest finds of fossilized box turtles date from about 15 million years ago. Box turtles have strength in their long lives and their collective long life on earth.

Red Tree by Kara Stewart, Art in Photography

I think of strength in this Red Tree image in two ways. First, in the literal - the strong, vivid colors. Red and blue pop against the gray and black. Secondly, the strength of the tree itself. I like the mental imagery of a tree holding fast in strong gusts. Its branches may sway and bend, some of its leaves may be blown off and flutter away, but the tree itself abides rooted, fixed and firm.

Zinnia Pop by Kara Stewart, Art in Photography

Zinnia Pop says strength to me just based on the colors! You can't get much stronger in color than these, unless you burn your eyes out.

If you are in the Piedmont North Carolina area, please visit the Kirby Gallery to see the Sappony Art: Strength exhibit. The exhibit is open all through November, with an opening reception on Saturday, November 3rd at 2:00 p.m., which all are invited to attend. If you would like to keep updated on Sappony art happenings, visit our facebook page at Sappony Tribal Art Connection and 'like' us! 

Sappony Capital Campaign for Tribal Center Maintenance

I am a member of the Sappony tribe. The Sappony, a tribe of about 850 members whose home community straddles the border between Person County, North Carolina, and Halifax County, Virginia, have owned the tribal center for almost ten years. When the tribe initially purchased the center, we had no idea how much it would mean to our community. It has served us well as a place to gather and a source of pride for the whole community. Our tribe is blessed to have the opportunity to own such an investment. As with any property, it must be maintained in order to hold its value. Now, after ten years of use by the community, Council, youth, members and others, it needs repair and maintenance.

With the exciting completion of Phase 1 of the Sappony Trading Path in partnership with the VA Department of Transportation that includes paving of the Tribal Center driveway, parking lot and creation of a beautiful 10 foot wide walking trail from the Tribal Center to Christie Circle Road, it is even more important to maintain the integrity of the buildings.


The Tribal Council has approved a capital campaign to help raise funds for necessary maintenance to the main building and garage.  This includes roof replacement, exterior log cleaning and sealing, exterior wood repairs and landscaping around the main building.  The costs are expected to be approximately $32,000. We will complete projects as we raise the money.

Please consider making a tax deductible donation toward this campaign and help spread the word! Every contribution counts and anyone can contribute!

You can give at this online secure site:
On this site, you can make a one-time tax-deductible donation or spread your donation out as you choose. Just click on the Suggested Donation box or fill in your own amount.


You can also give by check if you prefer:
Send to:                                   Make Checks payable to:
Sappony                                  High Plains Indians Inc./Sappony
Post Office Box 3265            Memo:  Capital Campaign
Roxboro, NC  27573

Please consider making a tax deductible donation toward this campaign and help spread the word! Every contribution counts and anyone can contribute!

Thank you for your support!


Thursday, August 2, 2012

The Family Cookbook Project

If you are my son or daughter reading this, stop. I mean it. Close the browser window, navigate away. Seriously. Thank you.

Are they gone? Good. They would have spoiled their Christmas gifts. For the rest of you, I want to share my current obsession inspiration (which will ultimately culminate in said offspring's presents).

You know how we all have certain recipes in each of our families that are our old standbys, our favorites, our kids' favorites, or our specialties? And as we live as a family that body of recipes grows and solidifies. But those recipes are either in our (and only our) heads, or scattered among six or seven different cookbooks, or scribbled on a napkin shoved in one of those six or seven different recipe books.

I decided, now that my children are young adults, to create one recipe book that holds all our family favorites for them. I think this is a great gift for young people starting out on their own so they have directions right at their fingertips for making their mom's chicken salad, their grandmother's egg pancake, and the cake they delighted in making as little children. It also helps that my son, daughter and I have always cooked together a lot and experimented in the kitchen.

So my latest project has been compiling our old standby recipes from those six or seven different cookbooks and out of my head, typing them up, photographing the ones I can, and uploading them to a recipe book site in the coming months. There are a number of different sites that let you create your own recipe books, but I have decided I will use TasteBook. I like the professional look of their books, their chapter and table of contents organization, and that they come in expandable binders so you can add recipes. And you can upload your own photos. I love photographing food but have never seemed to actually photograph the food from our usual family dinners, so this will be a challenge for me. I'm always up for a challenge.

In working on this project, I have also been happy to note that it has renewed my pleasure in cooking which was in a cooking-for-one-slump (it is not nearly as much fun to cook for one as it is to cook for a family, or even for two).

I leave you with a gift of your own - a few of our favorite recipes. Enjoy!

Wheelie Ham Salad
We used to have this a lot when my children were little.
Leave time for salad to chill.

4 oz. dried wagon wheels pasta
4 oz. cooked lean ham, cut into bite size pieces
1 small zucchini, quartered lengthwise and sliced
2 Tbs sliced green onion (optional)
1/3 bottled reduced-fat ranch salad dressing
2 Tbs plain low-fat yogurt
1 tsp dried basil, crushed
¾ cup grape or cherry tomatoes, halved

In a large sauce pan, cook pasta according to package directions. Drain. Rinse with cold water. Rinse again. In a large bowl combine cooked pasta, ham, zucchini and, if desired, green onion.
For dressing, in a small bowl stir together salad dressing, yogurt and basil. Pour dressing over pasta mixture. Toss lightly to coat. Cover and chill for 2 to 24 hours. Before serving, gently stir tomatoes into pasta mixture. 


Makes 4 sandwiches
2 Tbs butter or margarine
4 Tbs honey mustard
8 waffles, such as Eggos, lightly toasted
½ lb. deli-sliced smoked ham
½ lb. deli-sliced baby Swiss cheese
¾ cup whole berry cranberry sauce

Lightly toast frozen waffles. In skillet, melt butter or margarine over medium heat. Spread cranberry sauce generously on one side of 4 waffles. Top with 2 slices ham and 2 slices baby Swiss cheese. Spread honey mustard on one side of 4 waffles and turn that waffle onto the ham and cheese waffle to make the sandwich. Fry the assembled sandwiches in melted butter for a few minutes on each side until they are deeply golden in color and the cheese melts.

Teryn’s Thai Chicken Wraps
Teryn’s yummy specialty!
Makes 6 servings

¼ cup sugar
¼ cup creamy peanut butter
3 Tbs soy sauce
3 Tbs water
2 Tbs cooking oil
1 tsp bottled minced garlic
6  8”-10” green, red, or plain flour tortillas
½ tsp garlic salt
¼ to ½ tsp pepper
12 oz. skinless boneless chicken breast strips for stir-frying
1 Tbs cooking oil
4 cups packaged shredded broccoli (broccoli slaw mix)
1 medium red onion, cut into thin wedges
1 tsp grated fresh ginger

1.      For peanut sauce, in a small saucepan combine sugar, peanut butter, soy sauce, water and the 2 Tbs cooking oil and garlic. Heat until sugar is dissolved, stirring frequently. Set aside.
2.      Wrap tortillas in foil. Bake in a 350° oven for about 10 minutes or until heated and softened. Meanwhile, in a medium mixing bowl combine garlic salt and pepper. Add chicken, tossing to coat evenly.
3.      In a large skillet heat the 1 Tbs oil. Cook and stir seasoned chicken in hot oil over medium high heat for 2 to 3 minutes or until cooked through. Remove chicken from skillet; keep warm. Add broccoli, onion and ginger to skillet. Cook and stir for 2 to 3 minutes until vegetables are crisp-tender. Remove from heat.
4.      To assemble, spread each tortilla with about 1 Tbs of the peanut sauce. Top with chicken strips and vegetable mixture. Roll up each tortilla, securing with a wooden toothpick. Serve immediately with remaining sauce. 

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Creativity Doesn't Happen In A Void

A few days ago, I read my newly arrived July/August issue of Native Peoples magazine. A particular article, Obsessions, made me contemplate and recognize some truths to my creativity. 

The author, Sandi Ault, is the author of four novels and has won numerous writing awards, so we know she is doing something right. Let me insert a disclaimer here: I have not read her books. I usually steer clear of any fiction with a western theme or Native Americans in it because they are almost all rife with stereotypes, usually written by non-Natives, and honestly they make me feel really weird and misunderstood. But again, I have not read her books.

That being said, Ault's article for Native Peoples, Obsessions, was particularly valuable to me as an artist/photographer/writer (in my 'free' time, aside from my paying job). The tag line for the article was, "Some prominent Native artists reveal their secret sidelines and ponder how their hobbies impact their art".  Ault interviewed nine Native artists and explains that aside from their art, " . . . they just might tell you about another part of their lives - their private passions where they seek balance in order to refill the creative well, passions that often become obsessions in their own right."

Shane Hendren, metalsmith, spoke about his horses and how they help him achieve emotional equilibrium in order to work his art.

Lisa Chavez-Thomas, pyro-engraver and woodworker, spoke of how both golfing and her art get her into that flow we all recognize, and how art ideas come to her while golfing.

Jessa Rae Growing Thunder, bead and quillworker, has a similar flow of ideas and understandings for her bead and quillwork while dancing in many powwows yearly. 

Kenneth Johnson, jeweler, Cody Sanderson, metalsmith/jeweler and Adrian Wall, sculptor, all use running as a counter point to their art. Running allows for the discipline, introspection and balance that fuels their creativity.

Jeweler Vernon Haskie finds ranching keeps him grounded and connected, which in turn, gives him the faith, spirituality and self-esteem that lets  him branch out in his art.

Potter Susan Folwell spoke of her love of gardening and how it clears her mind and is a place she can completely lose herself.

Estella Loretto, sculptor, has a passion for travel that inspires her art.   

Ault's conclusion for our take away: "Artists' other obsessions keep their lives in balance and their creative spark alive. Because creativity doesn't spring up in a void: It's an expression of the fullness of the artist's life."

Creativity doesn't spring up in a void. That phrase echoed in my head and reverberated in my heart. I have been struggling and pushing almost non-stop to get so many things crossed off my art 'to do' list (make this, make that, post here, tweet that, blog this, etc.), that I have felt trapped and stressed by my art instead of the inspired joy I know it can bring. 

I thank Ms. Ault for her eye-opening article, I thank Native Peoples for running it, and I thank each of the artists that shared their story. It has helped me understand that even in light of what I perceive as a time limitation for working my art after working my other full time job, I will make no true progress and frustrate myself in the process if I do not leave room for my 'other obsessions'.  I am missing the fullness. Cue the rest of my life.

Sun Bud by Kara Stewart, Art in Photography

And the bud opens.

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Independence Day

Don't Give Away Your Power!

This week I found an amazing blog post, Rachelle Gardner's 7 Ways You Give Away Your Power - and How to Avoid It.  It is geared towards writing and publishing; however, as she points out, these same principals apply so well in other life situations too. Her post helped me tremendously this week and I have nothing more to add to it, but simply wanted to share it. Click on the link up there to her post and read it. You'll be glad you did.

Happy Independence Day, everyone.

Kara Stewart, Art in Photography

Thursday, June 28, 2012


Sometimes we all need our safe place, our haven. Although I haven't been there in several years, this is where I imagine myself to be when life gets too chaotic, hurtful, unfair and too much to bear. I imagine myself to be in the peace of Star Island, New Hampshire, sitting on East Rock at dawn, feeling the wet, salty breeze of the North Atlantic ocean on my face, hearing the non-stop cries of the seagulls, and watching the sun rise over the waves. Or looking out the chapel windows, imagining the time when cows went through the turnstile to feed. Or rocking in the rocking chairs on the front porch of the Oceanic Hotel, lime rickey in hand. I try to conjure up the feelings of peace and respite, calm and centeredness when the 'slings and arrows' as they say, come my way, when I feel misunderstood. We all need a place of peace.

Early on Photographer's Row



Star Island 2006

Sunrise Swirls Over Gosport Harbor

Sunset Reflection

The Edge of America

Tidal Pool Hermit Crab

Storm Coming
Sunrise in the Chapel

For more images of my haven, Star Island, please see my online photography gallery of Star Island. For more information about Star Island, please see


Sunday, May 20, 2012


I am seized with lethargy. On this gorgeous, low humidity, breezy, sunny day, it is all I can do this afternoon to curl up on the sofa with a book or three. If I were a cat or a dog, I'd be lying on the floor snoring in a sliver of sunshine.

I admit I got a few hours of work done this morning. But then . . . nothing. Why this lethargic malaise that has hit me like a cement mixer full of thick, wet cement gushed over me, seeping into every pore? Maybe a human has a limit to how much they can keep pushing. Maybe chronic worry and stress works like wet cement in your brain and body after a time. Maybe this slightly sore throat I'm trying to simultaneously deny and treat has a hand in it. I don't know.

All I know is that I feel like I can hardly move. And it has been months since the last time I curled up on the sofa and read some good books. Today I read some middle grades books I've been meaning to:  
Who Stole the Wizard of Oz?
I LOVE Avi's books
Just Juice (Scholastic Signature)
What super writing

And I enjoyed it. Wonderful writing both inspires me and makes me feel that all is right with the world. Maybe tomorrow I will have more energy.

My Samson - not a high energy dog. I'm at his pace today.

Then again, I DID just get a blog post written . . . 

Now back to the sofa with another book.

Sunday, May 13, 2012

The Secret of Mother's Day

I like a free of work and cost (to me) meal as much as the next person. And who doesn't love flowers and gifts? But the secret deal with motherhood is this:  I have gained more than I have given from being a mother.

No doubt about it, parents work hard and give up a lot. It is exhausting many, many times and I agree it is rewarding and validating for my efforts to be recognized and appreciated by my children. However, there is a flip side that I don't hear or read about too often - how being a parent changes you for the better. Here is my Mother's Day letter to my children.

T and J,

You have taught me so much through our journey together so far. Through all the daily tasks of raising you and taking care of you - nursing you when you are sick, correcting you when you were naughty, guiding you when you are unsure, cheering your gains, being by your side in all the medical things, comforting you and talking through things when you are scared or sad, being there when you need me, getting goofy and silly together (a lot) - all these things have made ME a better person than I ever would have been without you.

I am a stronger, more patient, more caring, more open, more tolerant person than I would have been had I not been your mother.  I won't sugar coat it. It has been tough many times, and you know that. You two have been through a lot. But we Three Musketeers have stuck together. And through you, I grow into a better person.

I am grateful every single day that I am your mother. And I wouldn't change it for the world.

You two are my reason. YOU are my Mother's Day present.

I love you.

Monday, May 7, 2012

Strawberry Season!

Before strawberry season is completely over, I must post two strawberry recipes for you. If you make them, you will be glad. Promise. (And no, this has nothing whatsoever to do with photography and writing - both of which I have been too happily and intensely busy with to write timely blog posts . . . )

Strawberries, by Kara Stewart, Art in Photography
My son and I went strawberry picking with the intent of making smoothies, shakes and the two recipes I am about to share with you: strawberry pie and strawberry soup. We went on a Sunday. Word to the wise - don't go picking on a Sunday. All the berries have been picked out. We got enough, but they were not as red and sweet as I would have liked. I gather that strawberry farmer wisdom is that you go strawberry picking mid-week to get the good ones. And while strawberries may continue to redden after you pick them and take them home, they won't get any sweeter. So don't pick any with green tips. And do pick the medium sized and tiny ones.

Both of these recipes are simple in flavor and method. They let the luscious sweetness of strawberries take center stage. Neither of them work with frozen berries, so don't bother trying it!

Strawberry Soup

This is a yummy cold soup that you can adjust to your taste. Don't you just love precise measurements?

About 4 cups of strawberries, washed and hulled
About 4 oz. (half a block) of cream cheese. You can use any kind you prefer - regular, low fat, no fat
About 2 Tbs sugar, depending on how sweet you want it
Enough milk to make it 'soup' consistency - you be the judge. You can use any kind you prefer.
Frozen orange juice concentrate - optional

Put the berries in a food processor and puree. Cut the cream cheese into smaller pieces, add and puree with the berries. Add sugar. Add enough milk to make it of soup consistency. Puree again. If you like, add about 2 Tbs of frozen orange juice concentrate. It's good with it. It's good without it. You choose. Puree again. It should be a deep, pretty pink, nice and frothy.

Pour into a big bowl and chill. If you want to chill it faster, put it in the freezer for about an half an hour or so, then move to the fridge for about an hour. Pour into individual serving bowls. To be fancy, you can add garnish of a few fresh blueberries or some mint leaves or some fresh sliced peaches.

Strawberry Pie

6 cups fresh medium, ripe strawberries, washed, dried and hulled 
3/4 cups sugar
3 Tbs. cornstarch
1 9" baked pie shell
whipped cream - optional, home made is best

Use fresh, medium and small sized strawberries, not frozen. Make sure berries are dried off well after washing and hulling. 

To prepare strawberry glaze, puree 1 cup of the strawberries. Pour into small saucepan and add 1 cup water. Bring to boiling, simmer 2 minutes. Sieve berry mixture.

In a saucepan, combine sugar and cornstarch, stir in sieved mixture. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly until thickened and clear. Spread about 1/4 cup over the bottom and sides of the baked pie shell.

Arrange about 1/2 of the berries (whole), stem end down, in the pie shell. Cut smaller berries to fill in spaces as needed. Fill in as much as you can. Carefully spoon 1/2 of the remaining glaze over the berries, covering each berry. 

Arrange remaining berries (whole), stem end down, atop first layer, cutting and using smaller berries to fill in spaces as needed. Pack it with strawberries. Spoon on remaining glaze, making sure to cover each berry. 

Chill pie at least 3-4 hours. Fabulous garnished with whipped cream! 

Now go eat some strawberries!

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Replay: Is Anger Killing Your Art?

Today, because I think it is an idea so worthy of considering, I am hitting 'replay' on Seth Godin's blog post of August 2011.  Sometimes we need to revisit and keep thoughts cycling.

Here is his post:

Is your anger killing your art?

It's rare to find a consistently creative or insightful person who is also an angry person.*

They can't occupy the same space, and if your anger moves in, generosity and creativity often move out. It's difficult to use revenge or animus to fuel great work.

Ironically, when you decide to teach someone a lesson they richly deserve, you often end up strangling the very source you were counting on.

(*Angry is not the same as being a jerk. For some reason, there are plenty of creative jerks--I think because they mistakenly believe that being a jerk is a useful way for some people to wrestle with their lizard brains).

There are a number of responses to his blog post that you can google, but one that I thought was particularly helpful in unpacking what Seth says is that of Becky Blanton, writer and photographer

I think that about sums it up. I intend to think about how anger and other taxing emotions such as jealousy, and franticness (I made that word up) affect my art. And then I intend to clear my head and make more art in my Zazzle store, Art in Photography.

I encourage you to visit Seth Godin's blog and Becky Blanton's blog

Zinnia Pop Poster print
Zinnia Pop Poster by artinphotography
Browse for more wall art on Zazzle

Sunday, March 4, 2012


About two or so years ago, I started noticing photographs that weren't just photographs. They had something added to them that gave them different looks - some looked vintage, some had writing on them, some looked grungy, some looked cloudy with interesting pops of light.  All had the photo seemingly lying underneath this 'something extra'.

I asked around, but couldn't seem to get a straight answer as to what this phenomena was (I must have asked the wrong people).  

Turns out, they were textures.  If you haven't used them or never heard of them, you need to try them! Textures are images that you lay on top of your photographic image, using layers (as in Photoshop, Corel Paint Shop Pro Photo, etc.).  

Using layers in your photographic software, you have the ability to adjust a plethora of variables in both your photograph and the texture of your choice to make the final product look the way you envision. For example, you can make the texture layer on your photo lighter or darker, parts of it lighter or darker, softer, change the hue, change the levels, add text - anything you want!  

Here is an example of an image using a texture with text:

Dream Flowers, Kara Stewart, Art in Photography
This is a bouquet my friend Dave brought me when he visited recently. This texture, Dream, was created by Kim Klassen (you can find her at Kim Klassen Cafe).  Kim is the best source I know of for information about textures, a number of online classes, and the textures themselves. She makes textures that are just beautiful! 

For this one, I took my shot of a tobacco barn, then played with it using another one of Kim Klassen's wonderful textures. And then gave it a border and text and turned it into a poster for my shop on Zazzle.  

Click here for how I did it and comparison shots without the texture.

I really liked the historic document feel Kim Klassen's pourvous texture gives this photo I took on a trip to Jamestown, Virginia. The aged parchment feeling seems to set off the replicas of English drinking vessels and ship's navigational tools from the 1700's. 

I have not been using textures very long (a year or so), and still have a long way to go to be proficient with them.  For some reason, my images with textures tend not to be as light, ethereal or 'feminine' as some of the wonderful images you can find at Kim Klassen's Texture Tuesday.  Please do browse there to get a feel for the wide variety of things you can do with textures.

And then play and have fun!

Saturday, February 25, 2012


I have been thinking a great deal about the words of writer and artist Lynda Lehman.  Lynda is a shopkeeper on Zazzle in addition to selling her art on shutterstock.  You can find Lynda on Facebook at Lynda Lehman Painting and Photography. You can find Lynda's art here and the beautiful art products you see in this post are Lynda's on Zazzle.

In an interview for Creativity Portal, Lynda speaks of giving your art "enough time for the process to take on a life of its own" and says that, "it's very important to create the time and space for a real process to develop." Lynda goes on to say that "this is opposed to working so intermittently that 'process' doesn't have the opportunity to take hold and grow with its own momentum."
I think her words are absolutely true.

We all know that feeling that I call being 'in the zone'. Others have called it being 'in flow', absorbed, engaged. This is the state when little else seeps into your conscience, when your words or your art of choice subsumes all around you, consumes your eyes, ears and mind, and three hours can feel like three minutes.  It is a state of high productivity and intense and joyous concentration.  Once you feel it, you long for it. 

For months now, I have been trying to figure out why I feel so scattered, unproductive and frankly, half- ... ummm ... -baked, with my art and writing. And reading Lynda's words, I realize that my unsettled, unfulfilled feelings stem from not having process time.  Having intermittent time to devote to my arts very much describes my life at this stage. 

So what's the good news here?  That I can now put my finger on the issue. And can now let up on myself for not doing, being, all that I want creatively. Perhaps this stage of my life, where I must work a full time plus job in an unrelated field as well as be the one person responsible for running a household is simply not a time when I can have process time. Perhaps it is enough for now to know the issue, do the best I can and look forward to a time when I do have process time.

Lynda's words have helped me tremendously and I hope they help you, too. You can find Lynda's words on her blog, Peripheral Vision: inner sights and a listing of her articles for Creativity Portal here