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‘The Middle’

‘The middle’ is where I have been spending a lot of my time with my long-term dog photography project.  The “middle,” to me, are those long hours of creating that fall between the exciting beginning and the finale and the gratification of finishing.  I have been working on this project consistently for almost two years now as of this winter, with a bit more work to complete.  Biscuit was the inspiration for this project and this body of work will be dedicated to him in his great honor.   To be succinct, Biscuit positively changed our lives forever.

It is easy to find joy in the completion of the accomplishment.  However, at times, it is ‘the middle’ that I struggle with.  The doing; the process; the working through the issues that arise; the daily work; and so on.  There are days that things do not go as planned and unanticipated issues arise.  However, no matter what, the need and desire never leaves me to keep pressing on.  Some days showing up and working is easier than others.  There are days where I just need a break, which helps brings a fresh perspective and breath of fresh air to the work.  All the while, I am finding the joy in ‘the middle.’  I am focusing on how grateful I am to be able to work on this project, while meeting like-minded people.  It really is a wonderful honor.  So far, I have been so fortunate to have wonderful people helping me to bring this project to fruition, which will raise awareness and allows me to study the relationship between dog and human, a subject that I am very curious about.  (I cannot wait to share more information upon the project’s completion).  So, for all of you in ‘the middle,’ which is where we spend most of our lives, enjoy and savor ‘the middle.’

 

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Victory: Photography Project — 39

“When a dog is in your life, there is always a reason to laugh.” ~Unknown

Beginning in January of this year, I began a weekly photography project with my muse, Victory! I will continue to share this project on the blog!  I have also been documenting Victory’s milestones so to speak each month — you can read these here!  I think that it is fun to document all of Victory’s changes, while preserving fleeting moments and memories.

I few weeks ago, I had a photo shoot in northern Pennsylvania for my dog photography project.  Doug and Victory came along with me and then we visited the campus at Penn State, where we had lunch at a place Doug recommended and we walked around the campus on a beautiful fall day; and luckily, there was not a home football game!  (Doug drove us round trip!)  Victory has now visited her first U.S. college campus!  (Victory previously visited McGill University).  Victory was all smiles; and all eyes were on Victory when I took her photograph at the Nittany Lion Shrine!  Everyone loved Victory and wanted to pet her!  Fortunately, Victory is a very agreeable gal as long as I hold her on my hip while people pet and fawn on her!  Immediately after photographing Victory, a surprise marriage proposal happened!  Also, Victory looked so tiny sitting next to the paw at the front of the Palmer Museum of Art!  The weather was beautiful and we had a fun time together!  Of course, before we left for home, we also got some ice cream, well six gallons to be exact, in dry ice, to take home from the Penn State Berkey Creamery — very good ice cream indeed!  Victory had a wonderful time and she did really well in the car as usual!  A few photographs from our outing are shown below!

Happy Wednesday!

 

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Viewing Art at a Slower Pace

Doug and I enjoy going to museums.  However, most of the time we are trying to pack as much in as possible to enable us to view as much art as possible.  However, a recent New York Times article, The Art of Slowing Down in a Museum, suggests slowing down while visiting a museum.

“When you go to the library,” said James O. Pawelski, the Director of Education for the Positive Psychology Center at the University of Pennsylvania, “you don’t walk along the shelves looking at the spines of the books and on your way out tweet to your friends, ‘I read 100 books today!’”

Professor Pawelski…asks [his students] to spend at least twenty minutes in front of a single painting that speaks to them in some way. Twenty minutes these days seems like a long duration for most people.  “But what happens, of course, is you actually begin to be able to see what you’re looking at,” he said.

So, the next time you step into a museum, allow yourself to be led by your intuition, and don’t be afraid to spend extra time on those pieces of art that interests you.  I plan to practice this sentiment the next time I view art!

The image below is of the museum and gardens at Versailles in Paris, France.

 

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Announcing: The Newsletter

Today I am announcing my Newsletter!  I have been wanting to have a newsletter for a while, and I finally got around to setting one up!  My intention for the Newsletter is to share information, likely on a monthly basis (or when appropriate).  I plan to share information about my long-term dog photography project; behind the scenes information; news; and other related topics that the Newsletter subscribers will get to preview first — one of the advantages to subscribing to the Newsletter!  If you are interested in staying in touch and receiving additional information from me, please sign up for the Newsletter here!

Happy Monday!

 

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Victory: Photography Project — 38

“Dogs leave paw prints on your heart.” -Unknown

Beginning in January of this year, I began a weekly photography project with my muse, Victory!  I will continue to share this project on the blog!  I have also been documenting Victory’s milestones so to speak each month — you can read these here!  I think that it is fun to document all of Victory’s changes, while preserving fleeting moments and memories.

Well, it is getting a little cooler here!  I found the most adorable hat that I happened to come across recently, and I picked it up for Victory!  When I got home, Doug just smiled (in a good way!)  I can’t help it, I love to spoil our Victory!  Plus, I want to make sure she stays warm while she is out walking despite her lush fur coat that keeps growing!  To our dismay, we have heard that this winter is supposed to be a worse winter than last year — and last year was filled with many cold days and lots of snow!  We like snow, but not too much!  In any event, Victory wears her new hat outside for her walks along with her cute pink fleece!  Victory is always so agreeable with me concerning clothing ideas and photo ideas!  We are so lucky to have Victory in our lives — she is the sweetest pup!  Enjoy the images below!

Happy Friday!

 

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Good Read: Manage Your Day-to-Day: Build Your Routine, Find Your Focus & Sharpen Your Creative Mind

I recently finished reading the book entitled, Manage Your Day-to-Day: Build Your Routine, Find Your Focus & Sharpen Your Creative Mind by Jocelyn K. Glei and Scott Belsky.

This book explores a few facets of the creative life — increasing your idea generation; dealing with perfectionism; managing procrastination; and working through creative blocks, which are all common themes that artists face regularly.  Most of all, there are many insights from Seth Godin; Dan Ariely; Gretchen Rubin; and Steven Pressfield, among others who share their expertise.

Some of my favorite quotes from this book are shown below.

“It’s time to stop blaming our surroundings and start taking responsibility.  While no workplace is perfect, it turns out that our gravest challenges are a lot more primal and personal.  Our individual practices ultimately determine what we do and how well we do it. Specifically, it’s our routine (or lack thereof), our capacity to work proactively rather than reactively, and our ability to systematically optimize our work habits over time that determine our ability to make ideas happen….Only by taking charge of your day-to-day can you truly make an impact in what matters most to you.  I urge you to build a better routine by stepping outside of it, find your focus by rising above the constant cacophony, and sharpen your creative prowess by analyzing what really matters most when it comes to making your ideas happen.” -Scott Belsky

 

“Everybody who does creative work has figured out how to deal with their own demons to get their work done.  There is no evidence that setting up your easel like Van Gogh makes you paint better.  Tactics are idiosyncratic.  But strategies are universal, and there are a lot of talented folks who are not succeeding the way they want to because their strategies are broken.

The strategy is simple, I think.  The strategy is to have a practice, and what it means to have a practice is to regularly and reliably do the work in a habitual way.

There are many ways you can signify to yourself that you are doing your practice.  For example, some people wear a white lab coat or a particular pair of glasses, or always work in a specific place — in doing these things, they are professionalizing their art.”  -Seth Godin

 

“Step by step, you make your way forward.  That’s why practices such as daily writing exercises or keeping a daily blog can be so helpful.  You see yourself do the work, which shows you that you can do the work.  Progress is reassuring and inspiring; panic and then despair set in when you find yourself getting nothing done day after day.  One of the painful ironies of work life is that the anxiety of procrastination often makes people even less likely to buckle down in the future.” -Gretchen Rubin

 

“Creativity arises from a constant churn of ideas, and one of the easiest ways to encourage that fertile froth is to keep your mind engaged with your project.  When you work regularly, inspiration strikes regularly.” -Gretchen Rubin

 

If you are a creative, I highly recommend reading this book — there are many great insights and words of wisdom!  The biggest take away for me, from this book, is to maintain a regular daily art practice in order to keep moving forward and staying inspired.

 

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Happy Birthday, Nick!

Over the weekend, it was Nick’s birthday and he turned eight, we think!  Nick, as most of you might know who have been following the blog, is my parents’ rescue papillon mix dog!  My parents adopted Nick in August of 2011.  In our family, we celebrate our furry family members’ birthdays (we most recently celebrated Victory’s birthday in October!)  This year, we got Nick an assortment of bandannas for his birthday!  Nick also got a new sweater from my parents, which he is wearing below.  Last year, we got Nick an Orvis bed, and the year before, we got him an embroidered sweater!  We are all for spoiling our furry family members!

Happy Birthday Nick!

P.S.  Here is a video of Nick!

 

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Photo Credit: My parents.

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