An empty canvas is a living wonder...far lovelier than certain pictures.
~ Wassily Kandinsky
What I give you is a blank canvas. There is nothing on it. Not even a reflection of light.
It is more translucent than the deepest glacier and it has more depth than the furthest point in space.
Here is your brush.
Paint your life.
~ Joanne St. Clair
Every other artist begins with a blank canvas, a piece of paper. The photographer begins with the finished product.
~ Edward Steichen
I hope you begin 2016 feeling like a blank canvas. It is up to you to decide what you are going to paint and you have the potential to paint yourself and your life beautiful!
2015 gave me this:
There are some genuinely beautiful, generous people in this world who have no agenda to keep score and who actually just want to see me succeed, be happy and who are willing to help me in times of need, even when I have insisted that I am fine (the acronym for FINE intended). Incredible people who have restored my dwindling faith in humankind.
There are also some nasty people out there with a serious agenda who do not give a shit about me, want to see me fall with my face in the gravel who THINK that by what I reveal about myself on Facebook is the sum total of who I truly am, automatically giving them the self-appointed right to assume they know all of me and by that it gives them some almighty power to belittle and tell me that I am not who I say I am even though they have never spent 30 precious seconds with me in the real world. They've shown themselves quickly and their motives are as grossly transparent as they are. When you give someone enough rope they eventually hang themselves.
"Friends" come unexpectedly and go the same way. So does family.
I got the least recognition from the people I most sought it from. I must stop that in 2016 and forever onward.
I still vehemently maintain that politics and religion are poison and tools of manipulation, especially if left to the people in the wrong positions of power.
I've learned that if not for last minutes nothing gets done, even when I have had a whole year to prepare. I've also been shown that no matter how impassioned I am, how much work I put in and how much of that time is spent away from my family, it still does not nearly cover the bills.
I have discovered that there are givers and there are takers and that's just the way it is, I can either accept it or fight it but fighting is exhausting and serves to prove that I am none the wiser.
I have seen ego maniacs eat humble pie. I have seen astronomically beautiful things that I would like to remember forever, heartrendingly painful things too that I would no sooner like to forget.
I've heard harmonic symphonies; through beautiful words uttered by the people I love or by the magic of how music has punctured my soul. I too have heard some folk spit shards of cutting glass from their mouths into the face of others as well as mine.
I've been both inspired and deflated tremendously.
Life has equally touched me gently and manhandled me like a bitch.
Flavours have floated gloriously over my taste buds just as some things have been disgustingly bitter to swallow.
I have soared from emotional heights that I never wanted to come down from and plunged to disparaging lows in the same breath that gives me life.
I have discovered things about myself that have presented themselves as opportunities to grow or stay stagnant and that those choices are as challenging as they are exciting to make.
My incredible husband and my amazing children are my every single thing. Everything else is secondary.
Yet through it all, I have understood that life is a delicate and difficult balance; it is impossible to have one without the other. As much as some may think I have my head floating in the soft clouds of Lala Land, please be assured my feet are firmly on the hard grounds of reality. I do not miss much. Everyone is replaceable and one is only as good as their last performance. People get bored and move on to the next piece of ass...only the good ones stay and those are few. Cherish them.
I have also come to realise that I need to desperately master this fine art of balance because I am still wobbling horribly with my flailing arms out like a new born gymnast on this balance beam called Life. I have fallen off too many times to count but I have also stayed on longer than I ever thought I could. I am far from perfect and beautifully complicated.
Yet this life, my friends, is all we have...with all its strange ways, with all its gorgeous flaws. Life is pungently beautiful. Thank you 2015. I'm real glad you happened. It's been a sensory overload.
Here's to the crazy ones, the misfits, the rebels, the troublemakers, the round pegs in the square holes...the ones who see things differently--they're not fond of rules. You can quote them, disagree with them, glorify or vilify them, but the only thing you can't do is ignore them because they change things...they push the human race forward, and while some may see them as the crazy ones, we see genius, because the ones who are crazy enough to think that they can change the world, are the ones who do.
~ Steve Jobs
I love being a fascinated witness to incredible things that capture my attention. Yesterday I eventually had about 30 bees in my lime and lemonade of which many fell into the drink and I spent a large portion of my afternoon rescuing them out in between taking photo's. Many a time the rescued bees would take a few moments to recuperate on the tablecloth before flying off or returning to the sticky sustenance that they were attracted to. In those few moments of recuperation other bees would rush to the rescued bee's aid and help clean them off and check (I'm ignorantly assuming) that they were alright before they moved off again. What a privilege to bear witness to these little miracles and their amazing bee-haviour.
It's difficult...to let go. I'm redoing my website, going through all my photographs and finding that being brutal with myself in terms of what photographs should stay and which should go a rather heart-sore task. The photographs all mean something to me, they all have a history and a story to me no matter how horrible some of them are. For the sake of the new and revised look I have to let some of the sentimentalities go and that's really not an easy task for someone like me who likes to hold onto everything for dear life even if it no longer serves a purpose. It goes hand in hand I guess with the metaphor of an old year almost at it's end and having to physically, psychologically and emotionally make space for the new. It doesn't mean that the old did not exist, it just means I am changing, evolving and growing into something better than I was before, as a person and a photographer. It's still painful to see the old stuff disappear.
I have to say that designing and creating this calendar was one of the highlights of my 2015. It was on then off then on again thanks to the encouragement and help of both friends I know in real life and friends I have yet to meet through the journey of Facebook. It has been an unbelievable adventure of self reflection in the realisation of what can happen if one does not give up. I am so proud of this calendar! The amount of people who came together to make this work was phenomenal and I can honestly and whole-heartedly say that I am indebted to each one who supported, bought and encouraged me to JUST DO IT. I did it and it's real and it's beautiful! And I am SO happy! Thank you to all of you. I hope that whatever it is you do in 2016, you do it with love, positive energy and a fantastic sense of humour!
A huge special thanks to Graham Sanderson for encouraging me not to give up and to Elizabeth Ferraris for her brilliance in polishing my original design and for the artwork she created for the calendar to go to print.
Thank you from the bottom of my bottomless and grateful heart xxx
How I see it...
I see, speak and write in metaphors because I feel there is much we can learn from nature, people and our surroundings as depicted in my photographs and why I enjoy sharing my thoughts. Not in any attempt to convince or convert you to my way of thinking, seeing or feeling but to share how I see and experience MY mind map of the world. You at no time have to agree, all I ask is that my views and the views of others who wish to express theirs are kindly respected. So relax, get comfy and just enjoy. Happy reading!