Friday, December 10, 2010

jumping ahead

Over the last couple of years, there has been a lot of building, brainstorming and behind the scenes work.  I'm good at that.  I do ideas.  However, I have recently been facing the fact that ideas are just ideas.  It's time for the creativity and passion I feel inside on a daily basis to become something tangible.  Because of the support and inspiration I have encountered so far, I have taken little leaps of action.  Starting the photo blog was a leap.  Putting A Candid Voice out there was a leap.  As I look ahead to the next year, I've got lots of opportunities for leaps of faith and action and I am hoping you will join me...

Things to look for sometime soon:

Daily Perspective
I've been struggling the last couple months to keep up with the posting on the photo blog and considered stepping back from it for a year.  However, after some heartfelt consideration, I have decided that continuing on with the daily photos for at least another year is the best choice for me. 

New Art and Etsy
I'm super excited to say that I have begun working on a new mixed media project and I can't wait to share it!!!  Not only that, but I am planning on getting an Etsy shop up and running to sell my photos and said new art.    

Other Projects
I will share more about upcoming projects on the blog individually, but am thrilled to share that I have three awesome projects already lined up for this coming year!  They each involve a great cause and my artistic perspective, so be watching for that.  :) 

A Creative Community
One of the driving forces behind creating A Candid Voice rather than just a simple art business for myself is my desire to expose creative voices.  I believe that art has the power to change the world in a positive way and am looking to build a community of people that want to help create change.  As I find these people, their art, passions and stories will be shared.  Can't wait!  

 A great big thanks for your love and support!

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

capturing life

I recently found myself wide awake at 3 AM with the distant sound of ocean waves luring me out of my sleeping bag.  Ten minutes later I was standing alone on a dark beach, crisp cold air swirling around me and staring at a sky full of stars.  It was pretty much indescribable. 
Then, the awe of the moment suddenly broke when I realized I had my camera in my hand.  Before I could catch up to the irony, the camera was out in an attempt to capture the amazing experience.
This photo represents that moment:
Upon reviewing the shot so void of the awe I was feeling, I actually laughed out loud (almost shed a tear) and tossed my camera (in case) into the sand.
Why did I bring my camera with me on a dark night for a short walk to the beach?
I laid on the sand and pondered my predicament.  For over six-hundred days, I have taken a photo every single day and shared it on my photo blog.  It is something that has opened my eyes in so many ways and taught me more than I ever imagined it would.  My camera lens has become somewhat of a third eye in my life and I love it.  However, I began to wonder if my lens was taking on too dominant of a role...
This photo shows nothing of what my senses experienced that night.  When I search this black rectangle, I don't hear the waves, see the stars or feel the cold wind on my face.  I see a black rectangle.  I also see that there was nothing for the camera lens to see, though.  This photo reminds me that sometimes life is meant to be experienced rather than recorded. 
It is a fine line to walk, knowing when to capture a moment with the senses and when to capture it with the camera, but ironically, having my camera with me that night on the dark beach opened my eyes to see that I want to walk that line as well as I can.  I long to inspire and influence lives with my art.  In order to do that most effectively, devoting time to creating something is essential, but don't be surprised if you find me occasionally tossing the camera aside.  Or just walking at night under the stars...

Sunday, July 11, 2010

art blooms forever

"Even now, all possible feelings do not yet exist. There are still those that lie beyond our capacity and our imagination. From time to time, when a piece of music no one has ever written, or a painting no one has ever painted, or something else impossible to predict, fathom or yet describe takes place, a new feeling enters the world. And then, for the millionth time in the history of feeling, the heart surges, an absorbs the impact."
from "The History of Love" by Nicole Krauss

I am in love with these words. It is so inspiring to me to grasp at the concept of all that has not yet been seen, heard, spoken or experienced. The art of creation and the experience of art will be forever blooming. It encourages the revelation that we can always open our eyes, minds and hearts a little more. I also feel that this supports my belief that we all have the ability to share a unique perspective, to speak truth with our voices and to create positive change. These words are where my passion lives.

As I wander the road of turning my passion into action, these words, among others, will be a compass.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

choosing to create

Last week, I decided to paint.
I opened a drawer and rescued my watercolors from a desolate and dusty place. After a quick sketch, the painting began and I found myself in a relaxing rhythm of creation.
As I painted, my mind wandered, questioning why it is that I do not choose to do this more often. Why don't I make art a priority in my life? How did I let my paints, pastels and pencils get dusty? While pondering the answers to these questions, I realized that, for the most part, the only times I have made art over the last ten years are for classes or for gifts. Photography has been a huge exception to this revelation, but I still have to ask myself a question that stares apathy and hypocrisy straight in the eye. How can I present myself as an artist and encourage others to speak creatively when I am not even choosing to do so?

The answer is so simple, yet so challenging at the same time. I choose to create.
No one is keeping me from this but myself. I have the desire. I have the means. And I have the choice. And how profound it is to again realize that the ability to choose is one of the most powerful things we possess. For some, that ability is limited beyond control, but for many the power to choose is fully available and has the potential to break down walls. I desire to see, experience and create the positive change that simple choices can create.
And so, like I said, I choose to create. I choose to reach out. I choose to care. I choose to fight the apathy that tries to cling to my emotions. I choose to open my eyes. I choose to see new things. I choose to believe. I choose to step out into my passion and do what I can despite the confusion, the discouragement and the challenge. I choose to pick up the paintbrush and dust off the supplies. I choose to share my voice.
Thanks for choosing to listen.

Monday, April 19, 2010

the power of our voice

Over the last week or two, I've been engulfed in the ideas that define A Candid Voice. I have been consumed with the importance of stories and the idea of telling stories. My mind has been reeling, trying to grasp what it is about this concept of finding my voice, using it and encouraging others to do the same that has me so passionate.
Slightly frustrated by what was feeling like a failing desire to express myself in an influential and inspirational way, I decided to take a step back and reflect. I spent some time in silence, some time with my journal and some time listening to others that inspire me. During that time, I came across this blog post: Can I Tell You a Story?.
The timing could not have been more perfect.
Through reading this, I was reminded that I believe the world can be changed in a positive way. I believe that I have a voice to tell stories that will make a difference. I am supposed to be using my voice and I am supposed to be encouraging others to do the same. I know this with all of my heart. And if I follow my heart, there will be more light in the darkness...

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

peruvian hearts, photos and perfect opportunities

Recently, I found out that a friend was taking a trip to Peru. I was quite intrigued, much due to the fact that my sister and I took a trip to the country a year and a half ago. Quickly, I learned that this friend, Lorissa, would be travelling as a volunteer and raising money for her trip with a fundraiser party. I was excited for the trip and eager to help, but unable to attend the party (and a little short on cash). Then, I discovered that she was having an art exchange/auction at the party as part of the fundraising efforts.
That was an open door sitting directly in my path if I ever saw one!
I got in touch and put together a collection of photos from my own adventures in Peru. I sent them off a few days ago in a box sealed with much joy and hope.

While I was in Peru, I didn't know about Peruvian Hearts. I'm not sure that I had even met Lorissa. And I certainly didn't know that the photos I was taking then would serve such an awesome purpose this week. What I did know and learn while in Peru is that the world is full of contrast. Peru is an absolutely gorgeous country, but in the midst of the majestic landscapes there exists much poverty. Even in the places with more affluence, there is permanent evidence of struggle. Ancient building foundations have been covered and topped with colonial style architecture, telling visually a story of unjust conquest. A young female tour guide desires to see new places and follow her dreams, but in her country this is no simple task. Children are dressed up and sent into the streets to make money from tourists for photos. These are some of the things that settled in my memory during my trip and they are pictures that can be hard to see. However, in darkness, it only takes a little light to make a big difference. It only takes one voice to say something.
Peruvian Hearts is a non-profit organization started by a young girl who was born in Peru. Her name is Ana Dodson and she is an inspiration to me. Ana was adopted from Cusco as a baby and upon returning to Peru to visit as a child, she was moved by the poverty in her country. She started the organization to help provide health care, nutrition and education to children in schools and orphanages. While reading through the work and stories of Peruvian Hearts, I was moved to realize that the children being helped by this wonderful organization may be some of the very same children my sister and I gave away packages of markers, pencils and pens to when we visited.
I have been humbled and inspired by this recent opportunity. It is exactly the kind of story that A Candid Voice is here to tell. Because of this, I am thrilled to say that I will continue to work with Peruvian Hearts into the future, through my art, fundraisers, stories and perhaps a volunteer trip back to Peru sometime in the future, helping to make their cause known through my voice.
For more information on Lorissa's upcoming trip please visit her blog, Peru Connection.
Also, if you would like to hear more about my trip to Peru, please visit my Peru travel blog. (Just promise not to judge me for not exactly finishing it yet. :)
Inspired by the motto of Peruvian Hearts, let's be "changing the world one heart at a time."

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

finding my voice

I have been looking and listening my whole life. You know, for that "thing" meant just for you. For powerful purpose. That moment when you can say, "This is who I am supposed to be and this is what I am supposed to be doing with my life." I searched in the eyes of my family, the spoils of praise and success and in textbooks too many. I opened my mind enough to see the perspectives of the young and the old. I listened during worship and to the laughs, cries and voices of friends. I looked in the backwoods, in churches, through the city lights, in material things, on mountain tops and around the world. I didn't find one simple "thing", but along the way I found clues, I started to see my true self and I encountered words from others, such as these, that captured my heart:
"I arise in the morning torn between a desire to save the world and savor the world.
That makes it hard to plan the day."
E.B. White
It haunts my passion, this quote. It is how I feel. Every day.
I am an artist and I have known this since I was a child. What I had to discover and accept over time is that "art" is what I want to do with my life. The problem? I don't just want to make art, earn lots of money and try to have a fun life. I want to "save the world". And so, the last few years have taken me down a road where I looked for a place where my passions can co-exist. Last year, in the midst of brainstorming and concept building, I was reminded of this quote and motivated to write. I opened my journal and words started to spill out of my pen and onto the page. And in the middle of those words, I wrote four words which now jump out of my journal underlined and starred, "I HAVE A VOICE." It was upon staring at and contemplating those words that everything started to hit the same note.
I have a voice. So do you. Every single human being has a unique set of experiences, passions and perspectives.
I believe that "art" is a stage from which our lives can speak. So, what is art? This is important to answer because I believe every person is an artist, but only some are noticed on that stage. Art is not just about making something beautiful to put in a gallery or a home (though that is wonderful). In fact, it's not just about creating, but about listening, learning, growing, sharing and changing. Art is an outlet for our life to speak. I believe this full process of "a.r.t." is best defined by three things:

Art - something tangible that has been created more...
Reflection - the examination of experience more...
Transformation - an action that creates change more...

It is when we create, reflect and transform that art speaks the loudest. That is why I am going to use art to share my voice with the world. A Candid Voice will exist to share things I have created. It will encourage open eyes, hearts and minds. It will work on a local and global level with individuals, communities and non-profits to promote positive change. In addition, A Candid Voice will provide a platform for others to speak.
I am thrilled to continue this journey with what feels like my true voice. I don't know yet what all I have to say, but I am excited about the stories I will tell. And when I rise each morning, I will live to save the world and savor the world at the same time.
ART is a candid voice. What does your life want to say?