Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Photo Oakland

I was excited to find out last week that two of the images I submitted to the "Best of Botanicals National Juried Exhibition" were accepted into the show that runs from May 22 to July 12.

I don't enter a lot of competitions, but there were two factors involved in this one that caught my attention. The first one was, the exhibit itself is a benefit for the San Francisco Botanical Garden. The entry fees and a percentage of sales will be donated to them. I love this place, so that was definitely a factor in my decision to enter.

The other reason, (and this is usually a main consideration when deciding whether or not to enter something), was who the juror was. In this case, the juror was Harold Davis, a photographer whose work I love and am inspired by. 

Here are the two images accepted:

©2014 Dianne Poinski
This dogwood image is from last year, but I changed it up a bit recently. A square version of this is included in my series of "Branches, Blossoms and Leaves" for the 20/20 show.

©2014 Dianne Poinski
I believe I posted this wisteria image a few weeks ago, (it's also part of my 20/20 series) but thought I would share it again anyway...............

The other thing that made entering this a no brainer, was I don't have to ship the pieces. Oakland is about an hour and a half away from Sacramento and there are a few people I will try to visit while I am there. 

If you live in that part of the world, the opening reception is on June 7th and Harold Davis will also be speaking that day. I know I am looking forward to that!

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Old School............

As many of you know, I was an ace bookkeeper on my way to becoming a first rate accountant, when I discovered photography. (Funny how it is so much easier to flaunt my accounting skills than it is to even say "I am an artist.") Back then there was no such thing as Excel spreadsheets or computer accounting programs. It was all done manually. The satisfaction felt after adding up each ledger page (on a ten key adding machine), and seeing a zero balance at the bottom of the tape, can only be understood by a bookkeeper nerd like me. 

But times have changed and there are many tools available now that are designed to make our lives easier - right?

Last week I decided that in order to effectively handle my new responsibilities, I should get automated. I already use my iPhone calendar which is synced to my computer, and I love that, but I still enter appointments and events on my white erase monthly calendar that hangs in my office.

The first thing I did was install Evernote on my computer, and then synch it with my iPad and my phone. Digital "notebooks" were created and task lists made. I thought I would feel great about all this, but I feared I was missing something.

Keep in mind, the "system" I had been using for years enabled me to be organized and fairly productive. This system was simple. Every Sunday, I would list (on paper) what I wanted to accomplish during the week with a few "probably won't happen but I don't want to forget" items at the bottom of the page. I also had a daily calendar that listed my appointments and any due dates. 

Now, not only was I feeling a little overwhelmed and unorganized with this so-called "digital productivity" system, it was also in direct conflict with my recent attempts to stay off of my phone as much as possible. I had begun to notice that every morning while I was waiting for my quad Americano (please don't judge me....) I would look around and almost every person standing there was looking at their phone. You also see this behavior at restaurants, sporting events and most other public spaces. It makes me sad..... so I have been making a very strong effort to keep my phone in my pocket when in those types of situations.

After only a few days of putting these automated systems in place, I bailed on it and pulled out a couple of my favorite things - a binder and ledger paper (I have had this pad for probably 20 years!).

Manual spreadsheet!!

After I did this, I felt myself relax a little and go back to feeling somewhat in control of what I need to do and when I need to do it!  

More important, it feels good to stick to my commitment to stay present and engage with people instead of checking my phone!

Wednesday, April 2, 2014


First of all, I want to thank all of you that sent congratulatory notes and words of encouragement after my post last week about my new position as "studio manager". I am still wrapping my head around the whole idea, but knowing that it is very much a "part time job" with plenty of time to still do my own work, is making the shift easier. The support I have received from the other artists has been amazing and I am extremely grateful for this opportunity!

Spring has most definitely sprung in Sacramento! It is such a visual treat to walk in my neighborhood this time of year. I also walk as a meditation and get some of my best ideas while exploring the streets and alleys in my city.

If you follow me on Instagram (dpoinskiphoto), you already know that one of my favorite hashtags is #onmywalk.

As much as I sometimes want to simply walk and think, I couldn't resist pulling out my phone more than once during my strolls this week. 

Everything seems to be blooming at once. The dogwoods, tulips, calla lilies and now even roses! Everywhere I look, I see beauty. The added benefit of cloud cover this week (nature's soft box), made shooting even more fun!

Here's just a taste of what I have been seeing:

©2014 Dianne Poinski
This is in someone's front yard!

©2014 Dianne Poinski

©2014 Dianne Poinski

©2014 Dianne Poinski

I apologize again to those of you still experiencing endless winter. Hang in there!  If it makes you feel any better,  know that soon I will be complaining about 110 degree days!

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Be Careful What You Ask For...............

A funny thing happened to me recently. A couple of weeks ago I started thinking I wanted a "job". I even went as far as to say it out loud to someone. I was in the process of moving into my dream studio and things seemed to be falling in place. So why did I think getting a job was a good idea?

A few reasons come to mind. The most obvious might seem to be for financial reasons. Anything to take a little pressure off of the need to sell my art would be welcomed. But I think it went deeper than that. A little more structure and a sense of community also seem to be near the top of the list of reasons.

Where it gets strange is that just a few days after making that declaration, an opportunity came up that is so perfect, there is no way I could have orchestrated it on my own. While there are still some details to iron out, as of yesterday, I am now the "studio/gallery manager" of ARTHOUSE, the very place I have my studio!

After it was confirmed yesterday, I took myself on a walk. I think I needed to begin processing what had just happened, and I do my best thinking while walking. Part of this walk included some back alleys where I found myself fascinated by walls of peeling paint and took quite a few shots that I will share here:

©2014 Dianne Poinski

©2014 Dianne Poinski

©2014 Dianne Poinski

©2014 Dianne Poinski

This new opportunity will change things for me a bit, but all in a positive way. I am excited to be working with a great group of artists and together, we will make ARTHOUSE Gallery and Studios, the best it can be. Stay tuned!

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

A New Project.............

I found out yesterday that I was accepted into Kennedy Gallery's "20/20 Show". This is how the show is described on their website:

"Participating artists create 25 small artworks, each 8×8″ – only 20 are displayed at one time. All pieces must present a collective theme when hung; however, pieces should stand alone."

My theme is "Branches, Blossoms & Leaves" and each image will represent one of the four seasons. I am printing all the pieces on Unryu paper, mounting them to 8 x8" board and coating each one with cold wax medium.

Actual Piece.......

This is the image I submitted for the jury......... 

A couple of weeks ago I decided that even if I did not get into the show, I was going to do this project anyway. I am fascinated by the lines and curves of tree branches. Sometimes I feel like I am watching a dance, especially if there is a small breeze blowing.

I am also very excited about having structure and guidelines. There is something about knowing each image has to be the same size and shape, while fitting in with a theme that I find very satisfying. It feels like I will really be able to explore this subject and create a unifying body of work.

The only catch is.......... all twenty five pieces must be delivered by May 3rd and I have only finished two of them! I have started creating the digital images, so the next step will be the prints and mounting. 

Deadlines are good................

©2014 Dianne Poinski

©2014 Dianne Poinski

©2014 Dianne Poinski

I will keep you posted and probably share more images as they are created......................

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

One More Move................

I got the keys to this beautiful space yesterday!  I start moving this weekend and I am very excited!  I don't do well with limbo, and knowing my current studio situation was temporary, was a little unsettling. 

Since I don't have any iPhone "projects" this year to post, I thought I would share a few iPhone images from the last month so I can get my packing started.

©2014 Dianne Poinski
Muir Beach

©2014 Dianne Poinski
Orchard in Solano County

©2014 Dianne Poinski

Cosumnes River Preserve

©2014 Dianne Poinski
Tulips for Second Saturday

©2014 Dianne Poinski
Magnolia blossom after the rain

See you next week!

Wednesday, March 5, 2014


What is my "why"? It's a question I have heard asked in the context of business, creativity and just in general. Why do I do what I do?

The short answer is "I have no choice". The urge to create is so strong that when circumstances prevent me from doing some sort of photography, I get depressed, grumpy, tired, and basically, no fun to be around. 

Nineteen years ago I had a darkroom in one of the bathrooms in my house and when we put it on the market I was instructed by our real estate agent to tear it down. Eager to sell and move, I did what I was told, but within days could feel myself withering like an old rose, slowly dropping it's petals. I was surprised to realize just how important photography had become.

During this time, I was so desperate to do something related to photography, (and simply "taking photos" was not enough), that I drove an hour away to purchase a Polaroid SX70 camera so I could at least do emulsion "smooshing". Good thing I did this, because it took six months to sell our house. 

Another "why" is that photography opened my eyes and made me aware of my surroundings and continues to deepen my appreciation of the beauty that is all around. (This has also made me a terrible driver, because I am constantly "looking" while driving.)

©2014 Dianne Poinski

I also discovered early on that having this passion for photography helps when life get tough. Because of my genetic makeup, drinking alcohol or ingesting other "numbing" substances to take the edge off, is simply not an option for me. I am left to feel all my feelings......even when I don't want to. Having lost quite a few people I love in the last ten years, most of them to long and difficult diseases, I am so very grateful that I had something that helped take my mind off of the painful reality I was facing, even if it was only for a short time.  Photography saved me.

Over the years, photography has connected me to so many wonderful and extremely talented artists. This began during my art festivals days, before the internet was a major force in our lives. Being able to connect online now with so many who share my "obsession", helps ease some of the isolation that can occur while working alone.

Making money however, is not one of my "whys". I am fortunate that I have been able to produce income with my images, but like so many of us, I am still trying to recover from the effects of the "Great Recession". Couple that with the tidal wave of technology and the increase in mass numbers of photographers, making money in this business cannot be a driving force. Some months, I am thrilled to just cover the costs of my "experiments". 

This seems to bring me back to my number one reason for making art......"I have no choice".

What is your why?