Healing With Art

Supermoon 11 FAA

“This is no place for wimps” declared my Father as he coped with the final stages of Parkinson’s Disease. It was a mantra that would be repeated often between us, a go-to phrase that seemed to take the edge off. It was an attitude that had enabled him to adjust to a new normal as the physical casualties mounted. Up until the day he died, he managed to focus on the things that he could do rather than the things that he could not.

Just last summer I was celebrating a major life accomplishment. My photography/video production business had finally become self sustaining and I was ecstatic to be doing what I loved. The long daylight hours meant more time to squeeze in more images and I loved every minute of it but I also began to notice that my energy level was dropping and I began to feel body pains that I hadn’t felt before. By Fall, around the time of my last blog post the pain and stiffness in my muscles was so severe that I could barely walk much less lift a camera to eye level. Soon thereafter I was diagnosed with a debilitating auto immune disease known as Polymyalgia Rheumatica.

I’m not going to be the old me again anytime soon. Best case scenario is that the disease will go into remission within a year or two. In the meantime I’ve being forced to recon with a new normal that I didn’t anticipate. This is no place for wimps! Healthy daily doses of a corticosteroid are now keeping me mobile but not without continued physical challenges associated with systemic inflammation and side effects from the drugs. I’ll spare you greater details of my struggles and get straight to the point of this post.

Just like my Dad did, I’m being forced to focus on the things that I can do. At first the creative void seemed bottomless and I moped about drinking cocktails of self pity mixed with overdoses of political television, a deadly combination. After about a month of that nonsense I forced myself to pick up a paint brush and I haven’t set it aside since. I’ve learned that healing is a powerful byproduct of the act of creating art. My depression has been replaced with a calm knowing that my journey as an artist is continuing just as it was meant to. While painting I’ve learned that I can reach a meditative state that pushes physical and emotional pain to the background.

Supermoon 18 FAA

I’m very excited to begin sharing my new artwork on a regular basis and it is my hope that someone out there might be inspired by me to embrace the healing aspects of creating art just as I have. As always, I welcome your comments and I hope that you might share your own stories about how art has helped you heal.

me with moonlight series copy

Time For A Re-Boot!

big-picture

Yes, the rumors of my demise are grossly exaggerated.  Two months have passed since my last post and I have a lot to share.  A three week, 4000 mile road trip to the Great Northwest consumed my August and September was spent getting back to work in Colorado.  Then without warning I’ve been temporarily sidelined by a condition known as Polymyalgia Rheumatica that brought on so much pain that I couldn’t even lift a camera.  I’m hopefully on the mend now.  A hefty daily dose of Prednisone relieving the symptoms while I await further evaluation and testing.

The thing is, in what seems like the blink of an eye I find myself re-examining my immediate ambitions and goals.    The Mantra above is really a get well card to myself complete with one of my favorite images from the Oregon coast (“Low Tide Long Walk” ~ Cannon Beach).   Little did I know when I shot it that it would become a symbolic reminder that every now and then you have to re-boot.

Monday Mantra ~ #43

rhythm section

Well I blew it!  For 42 consecutive weeks I managed to post a Mantra each Monday without fail.  This week, I find myself trying to cover my tracks late on a Tuesday evening.  This is the season of travel and photography for me and I have come to realize that this will not be the last time that I’ll miss the deadline.  The good news is I’m going to have some really good work to share in the coming weeks and months.

I’m about to embark on what is becoming an annual sojourn to the great Northwest.  Images of Waterfalls, rainforests, beaches and mountains will soon fill my memory cards.  September and October will likely lead me into the mountains of Colorado to capture fall foliage and when all the leaves have fallen in Colorado I’ll head to the desert in Utah to catch the season’s last gasp.

Have a great week!

 

 

Don’t Judge An Image By Its Thumbnail

 

chairs sunset FB copy

I consider myself pretty lucky these days. The line between work and play has diminished to the point where I find myself doing pretty much the same thing on vacation that I do when I’m on assignment. I’m a photographer through and through. Every getaway is planned just enough to set me on a path that is likely to intersect with inspirational subject matter, but I never know ahead of time exactly what will be on the other side of the lens when I begin releasing the shutter.

Hello Bear FB

“Bear Alley”

 

My Wife and I made our annual journey to Crested Butte, Colorado last week to see the high alpine wildflowers at their peak. After finding a place to call home for six nights, a powerful thunderstorm descended on the valley and dropped an inch or two of rain. About an hour before sunset, the skies began to clear and I set out into the woods to see what I could capture. At first I found myself struggling find anything but by the end of the outing I had filled the better part of a 16GB data card. The golden hour did not disappoint. I returned to camp after dark. My jeans, sneakers and socks were just as soaked as they would have been if i’d jumped into the river.

parking lot rain FB

Several days after returning to Denver, I found myself immersed in the business of processing seven SDHC cards. As is my routine I began working on the images that I was most excited about, the ones that I anticipated to be the best and I made sure I saved all of the images with potential to the hard drive. As is also my routine, I took one last tour through each of the cards to clear them for formatting (erasing) only to realize that I had hastily written off the images from that cold, wet first night. I had forgotten that in that moment I was inspired by the mood of the evening and I was shooting with a purpose. I very nearly tossed these moments into the trash can.  Once again I’m reminded not to judge an image unworthy without first considering why I captured it in the first place.

Surprise Ending FB