taking photos for fun

April is a wonderful month….The scent of the earth reawakening and the sight of Mother Nature’s brilliant display of color will rouse and remind you how wonderful it is simply to be alive.
Sarah Ban Breathnach, Simple Abundance

Since I have started taking photos again I am paying better attention to the world around me. Typically I go through life with blinders on, seeing only what is directly in front of me, never looking to the left or right, up or down. I had stopped taking pictures after my nephews grew up, thinking there was nothing left to photograph. I mean, really, how many photos of my cats can I have?

But with my blogging for a while now I started seeing other bloggers post their photos and I realized that there was a whole world out there to take pictures of if for no other reason than I liked it and wanted to. After all, with digital cameras these days there is practically no expense in taking tons of photos and then uploading them on the computer. I get to see them, play and manipulate them and then post them. The only expense is if I want to print them. It is really a win-win situation.

Of course I still hesitate in taking some photos I want to because I still have that “someone will see you and think you’re crazy” dragon breathing on my neck. Sometimes I am able to elbow it in the face and take the picture anyway; other times I give in to the taunts and don’t get the image captured.

Case in point, yesterday I was outside on my break and there was a seagull eating bits at pieces of a slice of bread. Cool pics. But the best part was when another bird flew down beside him and that seagull picked up that stale slice of bread and swallowed the thing whole. I could actually see the outline of the bread in his neck as he worked hard at swallowing it. Really cool pics. But did I take pictures of this scene? No, because people I didn’t even know and will never see again were sitting in a vehicle not far away. I felt stupid for even wanting to pull out the camera. That ol’ dragon won that battle. Maybe next time I will win.

In the meantime, I am enjoying spring in all its beauty and trying to capture as much of it as I can with my camera. Just for the fun of it!

I can never have too many photos of my cats!
I can never have too many photos of my cats!

fear to create

To live a creative life we must lose our fear of being wrong.

I don’t know who wrote those words but they are so true. For most of my life the biggest part of my reluctance to create art or once created keep it hidden was that it (and I) was “wrong” or unacceptable or undefinable or not worthy of notice. It didn’t help when I would show my art – in whatever form it took at the time – to other people and they would say something along the lines of “I don’t get it.” Of course, I have said that about art as well.

What does the statement, “I don’t get it” really mean anyway? Is it necessary for me or anyone else to “get it?” Isn’t the act of creating the art worth something whether it is meaningless to me or not? I don’t know. That really isn’t my focus here because ultimately, art is subjective, or to quote an age old adage, “beauty is in the eye of the beholder.”

My focus rather, is on how my fear of being wrong stifled my creative drive. I have always created art and when I feared it was unacceptable, I created acceptable art. Sometimes I feel as if I wasted half of my life being afraid. It is easy for me to feel that way because of my morose brain.

What helped me get beyond that fear were two things: God and age. As I’ve grown older I slowly began not to care about what other people thought, especially regarding my art. The old dragon still hangs about but I remind myself each day to ignore his snorts of derision and contemptuous laughter. I remind myself that God created me as I am – creative streak and all – and it is my responsibility as a child of God to use the gift He gave me.

Sometimes my work is plain and simple; other times it is a mystery even to me. But those mysterious works of art are expressions of my inner self and I need to honor that self, not ignore her. So, if I stand at my work table or in a museum or gallery and look at the art before me and wonder, “I don’t get it” – maybe I’m not supposed to. Maybe the work is understood only by the subconscious me.

Regardless, I need not fear creating art of any kind. It matters not what the world thinks. It only matters what I think and what I think God thinks (after all, who really knows the mind of God?).

reward 2

intelligence comes in all forms

In small and petty arguments it isn’t about who is right or wrong but who can be the bigger person.
-David Cuschieri

What is this incessant need for some people to be right all the time? Are we so insecure within ourselves that we have to constantly prove ourselves to others by being right? That is the case with me. I don’t always outwardly project my ‘rightness’ on others, but I do feel I have to be right most of the time. And I believe it to be that way because I am insecure in who I am. Deep down inside I am still afraid that if people saw who and what I truly was or am they would not like me.

It is too bad I still carry around with me that old suitcase of self-doubt. I’ve tried to put it down and abandon it innumerous times but it always seems to find me – sort of like a boomerang. What will it take for me to finally rid myself of old self-doubts? Abandoning doesn’t seem to do it; ignoring it defiantly doesn’t do it – it only makes them stronger. Maybe the only way to rid myself of those troublesome doubts is to address each one individually and prove them wrong.

One major self doubt I carry is that I am not smart or intelligent. This, of course, comes from my father telling me I wasn’t smart or intelligent or bright or would never be able to measure up to his ‘brilliance’. He may not have said those things to me personally, although I am quite sure he did; but he certainly showed me on many occasions. Or maybe it is what I perceived from his never praising me for getting good grades or thinking something through or figuring something out. He prided himself in his ‘smartness’ and ‘intelligence’. He always thought he was so smart that he was smarter than anyone else – ever. If I had gone into one of his chosen professions I may have earned his approval – emphasis on may have. It is unlikely that no matter what I did or do or accomplish I would never nor will ever receive his approval. And that I have to let go.

Smartness, intelligence and brilliance comes in all forms. My maternal grandmother never went to college, never even graduated school (she got married instead) but she was one of the smartest people I knew. She could converse on any subject, was an avid reader, was an “Iron Chef” in the kitchen and could create anything – she even drew her own patterns for my mom’s wedding dress. As I said she was smart.

Going to school or college doesn’t make a person smart or intelligent or bright. It only amplifies what is already within us – if we allow it to. As creations of the most intelligent Being in the Universe we are all smart. We are all intelligent. We are all brilliant. We have to be – God created us in His Image. Within us – within me – is the intelligence of the Universe. And as there are innumerable facets of God, so are the variations of intelligence. Only He is able to hold all within Himself. His children, on the other hand, are able to hold only one or two, maybe a few more, types of intelligence within our human brains. But we all have it – smartness, brilliance and intelligence.

Sometimes I hear other people say, “I’m not smart enough” or “I’m not creative (enough)” – I have even said those exact words myself. But now I am coming to believe that to say those things is kind of like slapping God in the face. I must come to the realization that I am smart and I am creative and it doesn’t matter what anyone else or even myself thinks of those statements – God created me to be who I am and He gave me intelligence, as He gives it to all His children. God gives freely, it is up to me to take it and use it.

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