The joy of creativity

Right now, I’m more in love with my printer than my camera. This is a huge departure from where I was three years ago when I wrote: “For the pure joy of the photograph”. I’ve grown a lot as an artist in the last three years and my joy of photography has expanded to a more inclusive joy of creativity.

In my original post I talked a lot about the thrill of photography. I wanted to take photos and not actually “do” anything with them. I referenced Vivian Maier and her well know habit of taking hundreds of rolls of photographs and not developing them. The act of taking a photo was more important (easier?) than developing, printing and exhibiting her work.

I know the feeling. Three years ago my primary objective was taking photos. Exploring my environment through toys was my only goal. There is a pure joy to the photographic process. I was more than happy to simply have fun.

Recently Kristina asked: ”When is an image finished?” I can relate to her dilemma. I think all creatives can. Setting up a particularly photo and seeing the beauty of the light, the image, the story, is addicting. The act of creating by taking photographs, feels good. It feels so good, in fact, that its sometimes hard to stop. What I’m learning now is that it feels good to be creative in other ways too.

While I still experience the joy of creativity, I seem to be moving away from focusing on the click of the shutter.  I want to develop the images further then ever before. Editing is more important due to the effort and time of alternative processes.  Printing my works and presenting them is my current challenge. There are boxes of paper and spare ink begging to be used. My shop is filled with boards to be prepped and images to be mounted. July 15th is right around the corner!

I love taking photos, but my creative drive is shifting in new directions. I’ve spent time organizing my web site into albums. I’m also curating images into a semi-cohesive group for a cafe show. By doing these activities I can see where I need to focus my creative energies. I now see glaring holes in my portfolio which helps me in the decision making process.  Which images should I photograph next? With the help of Jennifer’s G+ challenge I’m also looking at my ‘near misses’ to see if they can be salvaged.

An image from 2015 which I’ve always loved, but why does the pond have to be so dirty??
A new version taken in my back yard. Im not there yet, but this image gives me hope. 🙂

Sometimes being creative doesn’t mean taking photos. Sometimes you have to stop and take stock of where you are and where you want to go. Priorities change, interests move in new directions.

I’m grateful for the frustrations of various on line media platforms. There is an upside to the current negative Instagram user experience. Rather than chase likes and followers, I’m getting my hands dirty and making stuff. The physical act of creating a piece of art is a joyous way to spend an afternoon.

Much has changed in my life since I started blogging in February of 2014, but the joy of photography has not. I’ve only expand my creative joy to include editing, curating and creating images for presentation.


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  1. I really enjoyed reading this Shelly! It’s interesting to read how your creative process is evolving over the years. I also spend more time editing my photos than I used to. As I’ve learned more tricks in the editing tools, I’m actually starting to enjoy editing my photos and seeing what I can create from the raw image.

    Good luck with the show coming up! I love the kayak shot 🙂


    • Thank you Lynn! I’m glad you enjoyed reading this weeks missive. Sometimes I wonder if people leave IG and other social media outlets for the same reason….our creative needs change over time. It’s simply a part of the process. I’m glad you’re enjoying the editing process. I will be curious to see how your photography evolves. Have you considered purchasing a printer?

      The kayak photo is also something new, I took it in my backyard in a ‘pond’ I devised out of an upside down griddle. I think I may have something made so I can do more reflection work in my backyard rather than driving to the nearest park after a good rain. 🙂

  2. Wonderful post Shelly. It’s important for me to remind myself that there is more to the creative process than just shooting. Printing, prepping, editing, etc can be just as important. Best of luck on your upcoming cafe show. I’d love to see more of your encaustic process sometime.

    • Thanks Jennifer! I think that we all forget there is so much more to being an artist than taking photos and posting them to social media. Thats only the beginning… After a while I got bored with it and I had to ask myself, now what?

      I will take a few photos of the coffee shop show when it’s up and post them to the G+ community. If you’re ever in Seattle I will give you a tour of my little studio. 🙂

  3. I’ve evolved in the same direction in the sense that I spent less time in front of the camera. Although I’ve never spent as much time in front of my camera and my toys, the amount of time I spend for everything else has increased much more. I couldn’t give numbers as you did but I wouldn’t be surprised if I’m actually spending two or three times more time in front of Lightroom/Photoshop than in front of my camera. That said the biggest part for me is spent on thinking, planning and reviewing photos and I’m still far from spending lots of time presenting it, whatever that may mean.

  4. Maelick, thanks for taking the time to comment! It’s so easy to get caught up in only taking photos. It seems you’re finding a good balance of pre and post production of your images. I think the more time you spend on each, the better the final product is. Presenting is working on creating prints, framing, books on in my case these mixed media pieces. Presenting is finishing. I will leave it up to you how you want to distribute your work. Maybe only on the internet is enough? Thanks for being a part of our community my friend! 🙂

    • Well it’s been a year that Internet is not enough anymore for me, or at the very least social medias. I can’t say right now I spend much time on prints etc, but I’ve got some secret projects that involve printing and have been maturing for a while… Although I’ve got very few hopes it’ll be a success (apart from my own satisfaction of having created something), it will eventually come to life 🙂

      • I have many little projects going, none of them on line. I think you have to keep putting yourself out there and just see what develops. You have no idea if it will be a ‘success’, no should you try to pre-judge. Just keep trying and see where it all leads. I hope you will share it with us when you’re ready. 🙂

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