Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Going Back................

I am back from my little "blog break" and so much has happened since I last posted. In between preparing for Surtex and a trip to southern California with my daughter, I made the decision to move back to my old studio.

A little over a year ago I shared this photo showing the almost empty space I had been in for many years. Soon everything would be moved into my new studio in another part of town.

At the time, in addition to the fact that the building was being sold, there were many other "issues" that made me feel like I was jumping off a sinking ship. While it felt right on so many levels, there was a part of me that was terrified and also sad to be leaving not only a beautiful space, but a community of other artists and small business owners. Moving to another studio with an artist I respected and admired helped to minimize the panic that kept wanting to creep in.

Armed with enthusiasm and positive energy, JJ Jacobs and I worked hard to create a studio/gallery that was inviting and fun. We also shared the space with a third person who initially displayed excitement about what we were doing. However, at times their misunderstanding of how the art business works and the frustration that resulted, brought the energy level down. While this was disheartening, I did not consider it a deal breaker.

A key component to our decision to move to the East Sacramento location was the close proximity of the well established fine art gallery owned by Elliott Fouts. Knowing that regular visitors to our space would appreciate and visit that gallery helped to ease some of the fear that people might be hesitant to venture outside the downtown/midtown region of the city for the Second Saturday Art Walk every month. Of course we were thrilled when their regulars also stopped in to see what we were doing and we viewed it as a win/win situation. We discovered however that it was not going to last. Just a few months after moving in, we were told that Elliot had bought a building in midtown and would be moving his gallery in early 2012.

Denial serves to protect and I fully embraced my inner Pollyanna during this time. I shared when asked that regular traffic to the studio was not that important and that I was just grateful to have a beautiful and affordable space, close to my house that was large enough to work in and teach classes. While I sensed deep down that this situation was definitely not what we had envisioned, I was determined to make it work......until a few weeks ago.

Discovering that JJ shared my frustrations and worry helped to fully crack open the shell of denial. Over coffee one day we both came to the conclusion that staying in the current studio was no longer an option and that it was time to explore other ideas. For both of us, these other options included the possibility of simply working out of our houses. This would considerably lower our overhead and there were other positive spins I began to place on that option. While this is the route JJ eventually chose, I knew that every time I considered it a wave of depression came over me. I wanted a studio outside my home for many reasons and that was very clear.

Something I failed to mention above was that shortly after moving from our old studios, the situation in that building improved dramatically. After the new owner took over, changes were made that erased many of the problems we had faced while there. As happy as I was for my friends with studios still in that building, I couldn't help but feel a certain amount of envy and self pity about my own situation.

Then something I still can't explain happened. Right around the same time JJ and I had our conversation, my old studio became available.  Donald Satterlee, whom I have been exhibiting with in other venues around town, also heard this news and decided to inquire about renting the space. After speaking to the owner, Donald asked me if I was interested in sharing it with him. It seemed like the natural thing to do and after confirming with JJ that she was ready to move out of the East Sac location, we gave notice and I accepted Donald's offer to share my old studio.

Once again I find myself in a situation ripe with possibilities for growth. I have learned that it's ok to admit when something isn't working. I also believe that the universe moves in mysterious ways and opportunities will present themselves when the time is right. It's my job to be open to change and accept what is being given to me. Maybe this whole situation isn't as "woowoo" as I am making it out to be, but I like feeling that I am being taken care of in some cosmic sort of way.

The idea of moving all of my stuff BACK upstairs exhausts me, but it is also exciting and feels like one more adventure. And if it doesn't work out, I will be ok.........................

Thursday, May 10, 2012

What I Discovered........................

Yesterday was the last day of my "shutter diet" (thank you Katherine Kean for that term.....), and I believe I gained much more from this experience than I ever thought I would.

During the past week I discovered that:
  • Limitations can also mean freedom. Knowing I only had one chance and a small area in which to capture an image was actually very liberating. Too many options lead to overwhelm.
  • I value simplicity when it comes to the images I like to make and like to view. I knew this, but did not feel it as strongly as I do now. I not only value simplicity when it comes to art, but I need it when it comes to my life and my business. This became so clear to me this week that I have begun "unsubscribing" to many of the emails I receive on a daily basis. I also plan to get rid of my Flickr account and may possibly opt out of LinkedIn and Pinterest. (I am not participating in these platforms anyway and I just get emails I don't have time to look at.)
  • Another interesting and valuable insight occurred as a result of this experiment. Like many artists, my confidence level fluctuates on an hourly basis and much of the time I question my basic skills as a photographer. Seeing that I could explore a pretty boring area (my backyard) and come up with a couple of images I was really happy with, left me feeling very satisfied. (And I am not afraid to say that - this is also new for me!)
I don't know how long these warm and fuzzy feelings will last, but I am grateful for them right now.

I also wanted to let you know that I am taking a two week break from my blog. I am very busy right now getting my presentation materials ready to ship to New York for Surtex. Right after that package goes out, my daughter is coming home for a week and we are flying down to Southern California to visit family for a few days.

I also have a couple of decisions I need to make and the space and time will be good for me.

Before I go - here are the rest of the images from my "challenge". Remember I do post on Instagram daily and would love to "follow" you if you are on there as well.

2012 Dianne Poinski - glass table on the patio

2012 Dianne Poinski - my version of "container gardening......"

2012 Dianne Poinski - ran into many webs while in my backyard........

Note about these images - another choice I made was to not manipulate the enviroment in any way. Everything I photographed is seen exactly as I first saw it. In other words, nothing was "harmed" (or moved) during the making of these photographs.

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Looking Up & Looking Down

Last week I wrote that I was going challenge myself to take only one photo a day for seven days. I also shared that I would limit myself even more by taking this one photo in my backyard. If you want to read more about this and what inspired me to do it, click here: Challenge

This exercise has been very illuminating and I might add, stressful. Knowing I only have one chance to get it right fills me with anxiety. But it has also served to slow me down and become mindful, which is why I did it in the first place.

I will write more about this later, but I thought I would share a few of the shots taken so far. Like the title of this post suggests, most of the photos I made (all with my iPhone) were either shot while looking down or looking up.

Anyone else try this?

© Dianne Poinski

© Dianne Poinski

© Dianne Poinski

Thursday, May 3, 2012

A New Challenge....................

The other day I sat on my couch watching a baseball game that I already knew the outcome of, and rhythmically started to delete over 1000 photos from my iPhone. This still left me with over 1500 images in my camera roll!

With the inspiration and energy I have received as a result of my "Project 365", I have also taken a couple of thousand new photographs with my Nikon since the beginning of the year.

While this has been fun, it's also left me wondering if this is the best approach to photography. I know the answer. It usually is not.

This subject has been brewing in the back of my mind for a while and I have wrote about it before. When I was shooting film, I was very careful and thought deeply before clicking the shutter. The cost of film and processing adds up very quickly and I had to be very sure the image I was seeing through my viewfinder was one that had a chance of ending up in the developer tray.

Last week I learned of a book by award winning National Geographic photographer Jim Brandenburg where this issue is discussed. The book is called "Chased by the Light" and in it he shares the process and the images from the assignment he gave himself to only take one photo a day for the ninety days of autumn. He chose to concentrate on the land around his home in Minnesota and the photographs in this book, all shot with film, are stunning! (Side note: it appears the price of the book has increased since I bought my copy. In my research I did discover that it is also available as an iPad app )

His reflections on what prompted him to do this echo many of my own concerns. In the book he shares what he called his "increasing dissatisfaction" with his photography. This was the late 1990's and he was already noticing how technology was changing his approach. Brandenburg went as far as saying that "the sheer number of photographs taken was overwhelming" and that he was beginning to feel "reliant upon - or trapped by - that technology....".

Out of curiosity, I have given myself a new challenge. Similar to Brandenburg's but on a much, much smaller scale I have decided that for the next week I am only going to take ONE photograph with my iPhone every day and it will be shot in my backyard. I began this morning and the exercise was meditative and very satisfying. Every time I raised my phone to view a possible image, I stopped and really thought about it. I turned to view the potential subject at different angles and/or in different light and eventually came across this ball of string sitting on top of a piece of granite. (My backyard is in need of some loving care, so interesting vignettes pop up everywhere......) I loved the texture but more importantly I loved how it felt. I slowed down and contemplated what I was looking at and remembered to breathe..........................

©2012 Dianne Poinski

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Project 365 Continues...........

First of the month and you know what that means! It's time to share some of my favorite shots as I continue with my Project 365. Still haven't missed a day, but like I say every month, some days are easier than others.

April provided a plethora of blooms and blossoms everywhere and if I wanted to, I could have easily filled my "camera roll" with photographs of roses, tulips, poppies and lilies. As it is, shots of spring flowers popped up as my "photo of the day" repeatedly during the month, but the challenge for me is to photograph scenes that I have to work a little bit harder to come up with.

I am still fully committed to this project and continue to feel inspiration and joy from the simple act of looking for at least one thing every day that gives me the opportunity to stop and "see".

With that, here are a few highlights from April. All of these were shot with, and processed in my iPhone 4S (but as I have shared before, more than once I have gone back with my Nikon to experience the fun all over again.)

On the levee

Dogwood leaves illuminated by the sun

Opening night at Raley Field

My view as I drove into San Francisco to visit my son

Make a wish........

Clouds & Leaves

My favorite part of a drive-thru carwash........

If you are also participating in this project, leave a link or share how we can follow you on Instagram, Flickr or wherever else you post your images.