Monday, September 21, 2009

"Empty Chairs & Quiet Paths"

Morning Fog ©Dianne Poinski

People often react to my work by saying they find it “calming” or “peaceful”. I graciously respond with “thank you” because my intention is to create images that evoke this kind of reaction and I am always thrilled when I hear I have accomplished that goal. I didn’t make a conscious decision to photograph this way, it just evolved.

It took me awhile to realize that a common thread among many of my images were scenes of empty chairs, quiet paths, and places one can imagine visiting when life gets a little too chaotic. It’s not a coincidence - because this is what I need. I need solitude, peace, and time away from fear and worry. By creating these images, I get to experience some of what I crave.

I have talked about this before, but I don’t function well when I am feeling overwhelmed - and it’s seems like that is a word I use often. Part of it is just the nature of being self employed. I have so many ideas and thoughts swirling around my head with nobody to tell me which direction to go in. For example, right now I am excited about a new class I am teaching in a couple of weeks. Then there are the new images I want to work on and the e-book I have been trying to finish for the last few months.

I am also under the false impression that in order to be successful as an artist you have to always be working. ”This is a tough business and there is no room for slackers.” When these beliefs take center stage in my head, you can usually find me drinking triple lattes with a to-do list 5 pages long. This sort of living and thinking is self destructive and not sustainable.

Autumn Stairs ©Dianne Poinski

What should I do when I start feeling this way? Maybe I accept the ebbs and flows of my energy and creativity and instead of feeling stressed out; focus on how grateful I am to be in this situation. When the ideas stop, that’s when I really need to worry.

In the meantime, I can celebrate all the wonderful experiences and opportunities I have, and when overwhelm begins to creep in, grab one of my black and white images, put on my iPod and start coloring. It works almost every time.

Solitude ©Dianne Poinski


  1. this blog post makes so much sense to me. i very much feel this way about writing. i feel anxious (about the style, about putting myself out there, about cohering ideas, etc) before i start. but then i find that quiet place and just start to work. the work does itself, and in turn i achieve serenity.

  2. I like the idea of going along with the ebbs and flows of your creativity. I think artists benefit by allowing the time and space to recharge.

  3. The word that comes to mind when I see your images is 'serenity'. I love how serene and peaceful they are.

  4. Thanks everyone! Yes - serene is a good word and a good space to be in. Thanks Rachel!

  5. These are special images, and I think they would be a calming influence on just about anyone. Very lovely.

  6. Thanks Bob! I appreciate your comment.