"What we see depends mainly on what we look for." ~Sir John Lubbock

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Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Challenge Accepted

A great way to maintain or rev up your creative drive is to fuel it with alternative, creative experiences. Challenging yourself is essential for keeping ideas flowing, building confidence, and staying creatively productive.

I challenge myself by trying new things, by taking on things I’m afraid of trying or feel I will fail (hello future post). I challenge myself when my inner critic emerges. It is sometimes challenging for me to stay focused on my dream goals, but I usually enjoy the challenge in experimenting with new media. In fact I tried a little something new recently—digitally altered photographs. And I did not let the fact that I don’t have Adobe Photoshop or another useful program stop me. Instead, I used a variety of programs already in my computer (whatever it came with) as well as online resources to have a little fun creating some original images.

You know me, sometimes I like to cannibalize my own projects, maybe reincarnate a personal project into something different. The Gigantic Gallery gave me the perfect opportunity to experiment with self-portraits as part of their current Cartes de Visite show—of which I am so excited and honored to be a part (please go check it out if you’re near Portland, OR, you’ll find five of my works there)!

I was inspired by the Spiritualism movement on the 1800’s and used Picnik to alter images of my hands and face from this project to create creepy “spirit hands” and a trapped spirit face for three of my self-portrait cards. For a fourth image I altered a photo of myself with my head foolishly inside a dinosaur’s mouth using ink, pastels, and Picnik online. I could have died if it hadn’t just consumed most of the family that was ahead of us. Finally, the fifth “Mother Nature” image emerged by digitally combining six photographs layered and altered using Word, Paint, and Picnik online.

Once finished, I hand wrote on the photo cards (many of the CDVs have notes written one them by the photographer or studio) to create a more authentic appeal. You’ll have to visit the Gigantic Gallery in person or online to see my spirit hands and face, but I’ve included the other two in this post—although without the full affect of the handwritten notes.

So, yes I used images and programs I was already familiar with, yet I challenged my abilities by combining these resources in a fresh way (for me), creating something entirely new (new for me). And I loved it! My creative confidence is up, many ideas are swirling in my head now that I have a fresh creative resource at my fingertips. This is allowing me to stay productive, and to continue moving forward with my creative goals.

Big or small, how are you challenging yourself today?

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