October 29, 2009

Progress Report #1

It's been a week since my honesty blog post so I thought I would update with how everything is going so far.

I've been working on concepts for a new body of photographic work but this week I didn't make any progress on it. I'm at the point where I need to approach people but I'm so shy when it comes to this. I just need to do it.

After much consideration I have reopened my online shop and added new images to it. I'll continue to do so over the coming weeks.

Other than that everyday I have been going for regular walks in search of that 'magic moment'.

Oh yes! And I picked up a polaroid camera at the flea markets here in berlin and @roidrage gave me a fantastic tour of the city showing me where to get all my photography supplies from.

I'm also full to the brim on inspiration having devoured the Frankie photo album and then devouring blogs such as The Drifter and the Gypsy, Hei Astrid, Thumbelina and The Feather Circus (great poetry as well).

Going very well. I've almost finished another short story for the course I am doing. Just need to tweak the ending a little bit but should be done by the weekend.

I've been reading a lot of short stories to learn how the masters do it. For my birthday earlier this month my landlords gave me a book 'Best Australian Short Stories' full of the classics. It's as if they knew me. I also picked up a small book of Katherine Mansfield short stories ( 'The Garden Party' is one of her most well known pieces) which I just loved.

Received the comments back from my tutor for my first story and they were all positive with only a few punctuation errors to be fixed. Found a great magazine to submit it to but want to let the story sit for a few weeks in case I decide to make some changes.

Oh and I'm getting involved with the Forward Motion writing community again (after a six year hiatus). I've thrown myself in the deep end and tomorrow I will be joining a 48hr writing marathon where the goal is to write 5000 words in that time. I think it will be a great way to kill that dratted inner critic and have some real fun with my writing.

This one is requiring a lot of work as I am out of practise. I've been doing painting exercises almost everyday and drawing regularly and I have already noticed a lot of improvement. I need to get materials though. I've been using the cheapest acrylics and brushes. I have plans for a series of paintings but I want to save up for the materials for these. I hope to create some small original drawings/ watercolours to help raise money for the materials I need for the larger pieces. Will continue working on these in the coming weeks.

Digging Deeper and giving more in all my work
Coming along slowly. I wish I could be just 'there' already but will just have to be content with taking baby steps and pushing myself further and further. (I guess they aren't baby steps then - no one pushes a baby that hard!)

Despite the fact that I seem so serious all the time I actually am enjoying all this hard work. It's very satisfying.

How is your week going?

October 28, 2009

Under The Table

Keeping my head straight about everything I do and want to do is proving very difficult. A lot of time at the moment is taken up with planning and working out how I am going to manage it all. To be honest I think I spend too much time planning. I think it is an anxiety thing. I have been planning and re-planning and over-planning with lists typed into the computer, lists and writing in my journals, mind maps on large sheets of paper, planning everywhere! It's been a little excessive but I think I'm done now and ready to get stuck into everything. Time management is going to be essential. I am both the employer and the employee. I set myself daily schedules to work on each aspect of my work and the only hindrance to my schedule is feeling like 'it's not going to work' or 'this is too hard!' Shutting up that inner critic is so hard. Sometimes I just want to crawl under my desk and wait for the world to end. Today, for a laugh, and to get it out of my system I actually did. But I took some things with me, setting up a little sanctuary of objects that make me happy. It was quite fun and hilarious reminding me of when I was a kid and used to snuggle up with my toys and a book (usually 'Snugglepot and Cuddlepie' or 'The Muddle Headed Wombat') in whatever small space I could find.

October 26, 2009

Dusk Fog

At dusk yesterday, I felt a stronger than usual urge to go for a walk with my camera. Perhaps it was a smell in the air, a feeling in the atmosphere, intuition or just restlessness but something was saying to me 'you have to be out there'.

With a vague idea of heading towards Biesdorf, a neighboring village I pass on the way to central Berlin, I began walking. Mostly I let my legs lead the way trusting my intuition.

The light was beautiful. It had been raining earlier in the day, there were puddles everywhere and a light fog. I began shooting intuitively not really looking for shots but feeling them instead. I intended to take the images home to study what it was I saw/ felt when I was in that moment.

I'd been chasing a tiny patch of illusive fog in some grass when I spied this field from a distance. It was one of those moments where my breath just left me.

I think I even gasped out loud.

October 23, 2009

Frankie, I Love You

Today I heard my landlord place something against my door. He'd already delivered the days firewood and coal so I knew exactly what it must be. I flew to the door and immediately began ungracefully tearing open my package. My Frankie Photo Album had arrived!!!

Yes, Lara and Louise I do love, love, LOVE the Frankie Photo Album!!!

The experience of a book such as this can only be improved with a cup of tea such as Peppermint or in this case Chamomile.

Aha! Here I am on pages 70-71. My image looks pretty good I think!

The book is simply darling. Words I would use to describe it are: uplifting, inspiring, melancholic, funny, sad, quirky, sweet, odd, endearing, nostalgic and lovely.

With images from artists all over the globe it evoked a sense of connectedness that I haven't experienced in a photo book in quite a while. I was impressed by the careful curation by the editors with the images on each page working together wonderfully and a range of emotions experienced in peaks and falls throughout the reading of it. It is the kind of book I can come back to over and over and still find enjoyment, peace and inspiration.

I settled in with a cup of tea and went through each page slowly, taking in the artists comments on each image. The book feels nice to touch too which is always important for me. It adds to its overall deliciousness. When I finished reading it I let out a deep sigh of contentment, got up, picked up my camera and went outside and started photographing.

Now that is a good book!

I believe there are still copies of the limited edition book available here though I hear they are selling very quickly.

Here is the image that made it into the book:

October 22, 2009

Honestly, Really, Truly

"Until one is committed, there is hesitancy, the chance to draw back, always ineffectiveness. Concerning all acts of initiative (and creation), there is one elementary truth the ignorance of which kills countless ideas and splendid plans. The moment one definitely commits oneself, then providence moves too"
-Johann Wolfgang Von Goethe

I've been painting, writing and organizing a new body of photographic work.

Yesterday, I wanted to throw in the towel. I'd had enough of cold weather, of bad tasting water, isolation and the long travel distance to the city. But in reality the real problem was that I'd had enough of feeling like there was no point in doing what I was doing and that I may as well give up.

My inner critic dogs my every step. 'Oh that's terrible', 'God, it's going to take you forever to get good at this, if you even get good'. 'You'll probably always be mediocre' 'Why bother trying. Just give up, go home and get a normal job' 'You are hurting everyone you know.' 'Everyone will see you as a failure because you don't work a real job and you're not earning any money' 'You're not working hard enough' and so on and so on ad nauseum. I don't know where this inner critic comes from but it drives me nuts.

At that crucial point where I was ready to give up Hazel Dooney published her blog post A Point Just Passed. It turned me back up the right way again with a realization that I need to commit to my dreams even more than I already have. Until now, there has always been an escape plan, the opportunity to save losing face but I know from experience that until one fully commits it is true that there is hesitancy. An unwillingness to give 100% to the work just in case it goes wrong and someone (being me in this case) looks like a fool. I want to pass that point of no return now.

Over the last few years I've gradually committed more and more to this dream. I've worked hard. I've had many successes. But one thing is missing. Honesty. The honesty that comes with confidence I don't yet have.

Art requires honesty and that scares me. If I'm to be truly honest I might stick out like a sore thumb. People might realize I don't conform to what is normal. I might make mistakes publicly, I might change my mind and then look inconsistent. People might criticize my actions. So many 'if's'. But if I am to commit to this (and I am) I have to be honest even if I'm not confident.

I want to be an artist. I want to work with new ideas and concepts. I want to be a writer. I want to say what I think. I want to make a difference. I want to do what I want to do. And I want to be good at it. Most of all, I just want to be me. I'm only here on earth for a short time and I want to make what I do count.

Conversations I've had with various people - actually everyone, especially myself - have left me feeling awkward and uncomfortable because I wasn't being completely honest. I'd tell people that I'm looking for a job here in Berlin or I'd dodge the truth and joke that I got lost on my way home. I'm not here to get a job. I am here to give my dreams a go. Kaulsdorf is the distraction free work space. Berlin is the dream city, swirling with creative energy that I go to for inspiration and ideas.

Honestly, I am in Berlin to be the only thing I can be. An artist.

Images: Autumn in Kaulsdorf-Berlin isn't bad really.

October 20, 2009

Dr. Sketchy's Berlin

As many of you know, two weekends ago I went to the Dr. Sketchy's Berlin life drawing class. Today, the photographs from Dr. Sketchy's have just been uploaded. Nina Zimmermann from SweetsnFreaks did a fantastic job of photographing the event.

Check out the images from the session here:

Dr. Sketchy's Berlin Gallery 10th October 2009

There is even a picture of me in there looking rather chequered (complete with serious expression and double-chin). I don't look quite as glamorous as the babe wearing the pasties.

The next Berlin Dr. Sketchy's is November 14th and I'm definitely going. Hopefully will get some much better drawings next time round!

Come with me if you are in Berlin, if not, check out if there is a Dr. Sketchy's in your city :-)

October 5, 2009

Home is Where the Heart is (Heart's in Kaulsdorf)

I think I dreamed my room into existence. While travelling through Poland, I imagined a room with lots of light, space and a large desk. This was the first room I looked at when I arrived in Berlin and it was perfect. There is a little fireplace (that I'm already using) and a wonderful skylight where I can see the stars and passing clouds from my bed if I lie in just the right spot. It is large enough that I can do yoga of a morning. I'm realizing how badly I need to get back into my practice (my poor hamstrings!).

In the afternoon I might bundle up and go for a walk to one of the nearby lakes and take some photographs. My first explorations yesterday led me through fields past many people, old and young, taking advantage of the wind to fly multi-coloured kites.

My home is about twenty-five minutes by train from the centre of Berlin, in a 'village' called Kaulsdorf, which for some people will seem a long way but it's perfect for me. I love catching the train home from the city. Colourful grafitti on high rise apartments gives way suddenly to autumnal trees and I feel like I am in the country again. I grew up in a small town so it feels nice to be surrounded by trees and peace. The bird-watcher in me has re-awakened with new to me species all around this area. Here I have the best of both worlds: peace, tranquility and nature as well as the creative energy of Berlin within reach.

Accustomed to the mild to hot climate of Brisbane, I am ill-prepared for the Berlin weather and have already made several trips to the well known second-hand clothing store Humana, but it will be an experience for sure. Apparently Kaulsdorf often gets snow in the Winter so I'm looking forward to hopefully seeing real snow for the first time.

This room will be my creative hub for the next few months and creative things are already happening with my first short story in a long time almost complete, two more to start, multiple drawings made and photos from my travels already being edited. And this is just the beginning.