Wednesday, March 16, 2011

My Sanctuary.....

Like most of you, I am having trouble wrapping my head around the disaster that occurred last week in Japan. I feel deep sorrow for the lives lost and the devastation that will take years to recover from. In order to not feel completely powerless, I donated to a couple of the relief efforts, but it's not helping that much.

It's during times like these that I am not happy that my children live in other cities. If I had my way, they would be back sleeping in their childhood beds every night. I feel out of control and full of fear. So what do I do when I feel like this? Hand color............

It's interesting because I planned this post before Friday's earthquake. I have been feeling scattered and confused about my work and had just begun to get some clarity when all this happened.

It's well documented that I change my mind a lot. I will state a strong case for something one day and then a month later feel very different. I don't feel bad about this. I believe it's part of the creative process, but it may appear as "flakiness" to some. An example of this is back in May of 2009 I wrote a post titled "Slow Art". I was celebrating the fact that I was not rushing around creating inventory for shows that spring. Instead, I was spending my time hand coloring and creating new original images from older negatives. I was focused on slowing down and hand coloring.

Then last fall I wrote a post called "Digital Creations" where I shared my decision to also offer images I created only in the computer. Part of that decision came from wanting to make more images in a shorter amount of time, something I am not feeling very good about right now. While I did mention that I would continue to hand color, I felt a sense of pulling back from the one constant in my work for the last 16 years. Five months later and I am feeling very different.

Hand coloring gives me a sense of escape and grounding. I have a history of running to the darkroom and then the easel whenever life threw me a curve ball. Photography has helped me find joy and purpose when I felt sad, confused or angry.

I am already on my computer so much. Besides working on images, there is email, social media and of course - the news. While I can choose whether or not to watch the videos or read the headlines, I don't want to put my head in the sand and pretend nothing is happening across the Pacific.

©Dianne Poinski "Pond Reflections"
I am feeling fairly clear that I want to go back to putting most of my efforts into hand coloring black and white photographs. The inner geek can still revel in creating and manipulating images in the computer, but then it will be time to retreat to a different time zone and enter the sanctuary of light, music and my pastels.

But don't hold me to this.............

PS If you want to help out the victims of the earthquake in Japan, click here: Oxfam America


  1. Lovely. I found you over at 365 Days of Genius. I'm really intrigued by this and am interested in reading more about how this is done. Thanks for the great resource!

  2. Thank you for your comment Susan. Let me know if you have any questions about hand coloring or anything else related to my process.

    Thanks for stopping by after finding me over at 365 Days.....

  3. Dianne,

    I'm finding it interesting to read the ripples of the earthquake in all of our blogs. Your thoughts about hand coloring strike home. I think when I'm confused, the familiar calls...for good reason. The motion of the familiar is stilling, calming and I can think more clearly.

  4. Thank you Hannah. I think we are all struggling to make sense of it all and writing and making art are our ways of sorting things out.

  5. love the picture.. makes me want to leave to the place this instant.. how peaceful and serene it looks.

    thank you for sharing :)

  6. Thank you for stopping by. I really appreciate your comment. I am always looking for some peace and serenity...