Friday, September 30, 2011

Optimistic About October

October means all things Fall; cardigans, beautiful displays of changing leaf colours, migrating birds & butterflies, cool breezes, new knitting projects, apple cider, preparing & decorating for Halloween & Día de los Muertos, more hours of my favourite natural lighting for photos, long car rides, picnics, evenings reading by candlelight, that earthy way the air smells, a hot meal at the end of a chilly day, & bonfires. I think Robert Louis Stevenson's poem, "Autumn Fires" captures my feelings about the season quite nicely.

In the other gardens
And all up the vale,
From the autumn bonfires
See the smoke trail!

Pleasant summer over
And all the summer flowers,
The red fire blazes,
The grey smoke towers.

Sing a song of seasons!
Something bright in all!
Flowers in the summer,
Fires in the fall!

Autumn is my favourite season, and am feeling optimistic about what can be accomplished this October. On my list of plans for the month is a 30 day photo challenge. Each day will have a specific assignment such as a photo of something red, an object from my childhood, or my favourite body part (what??). I hope to get really creative with this challenge, rather than just snapping whatever photo would be easiest to fulfil the day's assignment.

Why else am I so excited & optimistic about this month, you may ask?

October is the start of Charlotte Chamber Music's season of Living Room Concerts & Free First Tuesday Concerts. This Tuesday is the first of the Free First Tuesday Concerts, & I will be one of the volunteers for both concert times! (12:10pm & 5:30pm at First Presbyterian Church of Charlotte on W. Trade St) This particular concert is titled "Carolina Shout, Celebration of Romare Bearden" and will be a musical tribute in honour of the centennial of the Charlotte-born artist's birth. I'm looking forward to excellent music, interesting people, and hopefully some great photo opportunities!

Fall is when I tend to be my most creative. I'm finally able to shake of the lethargy of hot summer days, get outside, and get out of my own head. Sure, my imagination can be a fun place to hang out, but after months of lying around not wanting to leave the cool spot in front of the fan I can start to get cabin fever in there. So when the days start to get cooler, I feel less lazy and can get some much needed outside input & inspiration. With the cooler weather, my energy reserves grow exponentially and I am able to actually accomplish what I set out to do. What a relief!

October also means camping season. So far I haven't got any trips planned, but I think it would be nice to go camping mid-October near Graveyard Fields in the Pisgah Ranger District, south of Asheville on the Blue Ridge Parkway. Graveyard Fields is so named for the tree trunks (from trees toppled by wind hundreds of years ago) that used to make the area look like a graveyard until destroyed by a fire in the 1920s. Mid-October is usually the perfect time to see fall colours at their peak at Graveyard Fields.

Graveyard Fields Overlook Marker - photo from
Graveyard Field Trail in Autumn - photo from
Two more reasons to be excited are that many excellent art festivals take place in the fall, and my birthday is in a couple weeks! I will be turning 24, while my alter ego will be turning 44. I think my other alter ego will be 92, but I'm not entirely sure since she claims to not remember which year she was born...

What do you look forward to about the fall? Does this time of year revitalise you, or do you find yourself winding down with the cooler weather? Have you got anything exciting planned for the coming month?

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

What Inspires You?

I find that my inspiration comes not only from the works of other photographers, but also from a variety of artwork/artists, music, stories, nature, and all sorts of creative endeavours. Sometimes inspiration will prompt me to do something more specific; for example, reading about RV travel might inspire me to draw & photograph motorhomes; or it might prompt me in a more general way, such as seeing someone else's creative efforts at something completely different from what I do & being inspired to work on my own art or blog.

Among the many wonderful artists who inspire me is my mother, Ugly Stepsister. I've always loved watching her draw or paint & getting to see how her work turns out. In recent years she has also taken up wax encaustics & oil painting and has created some really fabulous works of art, as well as a cool blog all about what she does!

Ugly Stepsister working on an encaustic
Oil painting by Ugly Stepsister

I also like to watch documentaries or films based on true stories about artists & other creative types for inspiration. Recently I watched "Séraphine", a film about self-taught French painter, Séraphine Louis ("Séraphine de Senlis") who lived from 1864 to 1942 and was discovered in 1912 by German art collector/critic, Wilhelm Uhde.

A documentary I watched a couple weeks ago that has really inspired me to get creative & to put some serious thought into a cross-country road trip is "Burning Man: Beyond Black Rock". This documentary takes you behind the scenes of the Burning Man with interviews of the artists, organizers, participants, & founders. If you haven't heard of Burning Man, it is a week-long creative festival that takes place every year in the desert of Black Rock City, Nevada, and culminates with burning a giant wooden man, as well as with burnings of many other art pieces. Each year a new man, new temples, and new art installations are built, and each year has a different theme. A city is created, complete with streets where art cars roam, and at the end of the week it is all packed up & removed from the desert. Burning Man is the largest "Leave No Trace" event in the world! I would love to eventually make it out to Burning Man as part of a long road trip - can you imagine all the photographic opportunities on that journey?!

Where does your inspiration come from & what are you most often inspired to do?

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Mahogany Returns!

Hi! I'm back!

Having taken such a long detour from my Project 365, I won't be getting back to that right away. So what have I been doing all these months? I've been working as a hostess at a hip restaurant in the Dilworth neighbourhood of Charlotte (300 East), making new friends, enjoying the arts & entertainment that Charlotte has to offer, and, of course, taking lots of photographs.

Over the course of the last few months, I've enjoyed art sales (Carolina Claymatters Pottery Festival - Spring Barn Sale in May, May All Arts Market at the Neighborhood Theatre in NoDa, Terra4m Summer Art Sale in June), art exhibits (The Bechtler Museum, Mint Hill Arts), the Clayworks Open House in August, music (Ramblin' Man Piano Tour for Charlotte Chamber Music in August, Tosco Music Party this past weekend), and more with friends & family. Charlotte really does have a lot to offer once you know where to look!

If you haven't seen the installation of Niki de Saint Phalle's artwork in the "Creation of a New Mythology" exhibit yet ( you should visit The Bechtler Museum of Modern Art and The Green (across from the Bechtler) to see it before the end of the month, as the collection will only be in Charlotte through 3 October.

With that, I leave you with my photo of "La Cabeza Ou Tête de Mort (Grande)" by Niki de Saint Phalle, taken on The Green this April.

"La Cabeza Ou Tête de Mort (Grande)" by Niki de Saint Phalle - taken with my Samsung Rogue Phone