The Wild Prowess
The Wild Prowess
“Wild and free, she stands tall. Tiny but mighty. She knows her truth. By virtue of this, her world is bright with herself as its beacon. Forever un-dimmable.”- Me
The specific flowers in this image have a deep meaning for me, and my little family. As you all know by now. I have come out of the broom closet. I now openly identify as a Witch after a lifetime of denial and hiding. These flowers themselves have been a long time coming. Both literally and figuratively! It took so long for me to realize that I shouldn’t be ashamed or embarrassed. ESP the part where if someone doesn’t like how I live my that it’s less of a reflection of me, and more a reflection of them and their own insecurities.
These wild flowers pictured in this piece come from so SO much thought, deliberation, ritual, and love. The seeds themselves were planted by my little love and I on the Pagan holiday of Ostera. Ostera is celebrated on the first day of Spring. That day, my daughter woke up to rose petals all over her bedroom floor. Then we had strawberry shortcake for breakfast to celebrate the fact that Spring has officially arrived then went to school. As soon as she got home we planted native Lowcountry wildflower seeds (because, bee’s) in our garden then blessed the garden with a spell of some beautiful intention setting. Then to end the spell sprinkled the rose petals from that morning into the garden to with the seeds well. We would have colored eggs and such (since Ostera is where the idea is from after all), but since my brother was coming for Easter I figured I’d just mess up my kitchen once.
Then we waited.
A few weeks later, Beltane was upon us. Beltane is a fertility celebration that is celebrated in early May. Modern times have turned it into Mother’s Day. There is a bit more to Beltane (think fire and sex), but I manage to make it family friendly. On Beltane morning my daughter, and I made flower crowns, and a wand also made from flowers. We took them outside to bless the flower buds to will them to open. A few days later they did! My little love thought it was the most magical thing.
I love being able to share the magick of Mother Earth with my daughter. She is a magickal little being herself. She’s had a a deep love and respect for nature since birth. For example- There was this one time where she saw a bunch of live tree branches on someone curb. She immediately got on the ground to sob for them and give them a hug too. She was so sad for them and the tree they belonged to. Admittedly, I did the same as her.
I’m quite certain she is the one who forced me to finally live freely in my own truth.
Of course, It was only natural that I’d have my little love help with this shoot. To shoot the main image she helped tape the grey bedsheet to the house so that I could have a clean background to cut the flowers out in photoshop. After that she wanted to pick a few to put in her room so we did! But first we shot images of each of them. While looking at them we decided that each had its had its own personality. If you look closely at each of the flowers in “The Wild Prowess” they could easily be people! Each has its own soul. How could I not include them!
The cloud was added in to the piece as a symbol of a light that is un-dimmable. The cloud is there, but the main flower is so unaffected by it. She is just happy and free right here she is. I get this feeling about myself now that I have ripped off my mask. I feel so unstoppable!
I’d love to hear what you, the viewer, see’s in this image. I love hearing folks share pieces of themselves with me about how my art brings up different feelings in everyone. If you have a thought share it either here in the comments, on FB, Instagram or you can send me a private email or DM too!
The Liberation Fee
The Liberation Fee
The inspiration for this piece came two fold. 1) from seeing a broken, yet still alive, tree branch near another tree. 2) summer. Summer corresponding element =Fire = transformation. Transformation could equal Liberation, freedom, I-do-what-I-want, etc. It is the sweetest feeling! A Phoenix rising from the ashes so to speak. You break away from what isn’t serving you to go out, and forge your own path. Freedom tastes so good! SO GOOD!
This thing is. Freedom is definitely not free! Anyone who tells you different is smoking crack. Liberation does have a cost. Just ask anyone who has been freed or liberated from something. ANYONE!
The refugees who successfully fled their war torn countries. Or the woman who left her abusive husband in the middle of the night. Or the solider fighting for their country at war. But hang on! We don’t even have to go that extreme. How about that friend of yours who has finally learned to set healthy boundaries so that they can lead a more safe, fulfilling life. It’s all relevant.
I can go on and on, but think about? In the spectrum the situations mentioned above, someone is facing a tremendous amount of blind risk on their way to liberation from whatever it was that is oppressing them. All of these people made a painful choice to leave something behind. They knew that a better life was on the other side, but still mourn the very thing that they chose to leave behind. As a society we don’t always think of that, complicated, part of it.
Trust me, that branch did NOT want to leave that tree. While it is likely happy about this decision, and knows it’s all for the better. That branch still mourns that little tree in the middle of the ocean. It also knows there is a better life waiting for it on the other side whenever it chooses to plant itself.
Once the idea was formed I, or should I say we, got to work! We had fun making this piece. Trying to figure out of how make my ideas come to life is the most fun part of the whole thing. I’m home for the summer with my little love so I had her help me with it. After much contemplation we decided to have her swirl a straw around in a big glass jar away from all light reflections so that I could get a waterline shot without having to spend $$$$ on a underwater dome housing for my camera. Woohoo 🥳! Go me!! The branch is a piece of driftwood that I found on a local beach a long time ago. The day that I found it I swore I’d do something with it. It’s been sitting on a shelf on my desk begging to star in one of my pieces for at least a year. The tree in the background is a picture of a real pretty tree that I saw in my last trip up north outside side of the church where my cousin was married. Once I had all that I decided on a subtle color palette (reflective of what colors were already there), a lighting scheme, and voila! We have “The Liberation Fee”.
So tell me. Are you feeling the pull of transformation this season? Cuz I sure am! If so, what are you liberating yourself from? Let me know! I truly love hearing these things.
Is it Greener
This piece started with the beauty of the frame that you see in the piece. The frame is the frame of a mirror that hangs in my daughters room. I just love it! One day I was staring at it and this whole little world started to evolve inside of it. As I was planning and sketching, the piece sort of took on a life of its own. It wasn’t until it was finished, was able to stand back to realize what I did. If you read on you’ll find out what prompted me to finish too. This freedom in creating from trust is part of the beauty of being a visual artist. You just create. You don’t always know why. What you do know is that you are pulled to give birth to something beautiful. You just trust, and breath it out. The cardinals represent 2 of the angels who watch over me. My mother coming from the feminine left and my father from the masculine right. One from the light and the other from the dark. They will meet right in the middle. As does all of creation. Everything we know lies in the balance in the middle. Light needs dark, masculinity he needs feminine. This piece is my mantra visualized-“You know that place where light meets dark? That’s is where you will find me”. The best part- just as I was agonizing over the finishing touches, two cardinals were standing right outside of my window. TWO!! How perfect is that!?
Creating this piece was fun. An interesting study on perspective too. The cardinals were realistic looking models with feathers and all. I photographed them from a few different angles, against a blue background so that I’d be able to get them into the proper perspective. I changed the color of the wall to blue from pink then pasted the carefully chosen nature image (beach in Charleston, SC) inside of the frame to set the stage for where the cardinals will meet. It took a couple of days to figure out where the dark side cardinal would come from. Finally, I poked a hole in a piece of paper and used that. I applied some textures found in nature, then went on to spend ample time bending and shaping the lighting to push the story further. I knew the piece was finished when I saw the two cardinals outside of my window. I watched them until they flew away. Then pressed save. Cheers and enjoy.
This piece was a take on how the Fall season occurs in Charleston, SC. The tropical forces of nature start to be the main topics of conversation. As does college football. The heat of the summer loosens it’s grip making the beach such a delicious place. All the while folks are putting out pumpkins, and Halloween decorations. Being that I am a transplant from the north. Seeing all the Halloween decor while trekking to the beach in a bathing suit does feel strange to me, but at the same time it lends a warm cozy feeling because I chose to call this magical place my home. I’ve never felt more at home than I do here. Thank you Charleston for adopting me!
It was important to me to keep every element in this image as local to my home as possible. This piece is created using about 18 different images. Each one of the pumpkins (mostly bought from Boone Hall Farms) in the main stack had to be photographed at its respective height and distance from the camera as it is in the final image in order to make the stack look as realistic as possible in the final image. The background photo was shot on Sullivan’s Island Beach on a beautiful Fall evening. The “clouds” are incense smoke that I was able to manipulate via a my hand as a fan, and in post too. To my fellow Charlestonians- What says Charleston to you? Which season is our favorite? Cheers and enjoy!
No matter where you are from or what your beliefs, Spring is always a time of newness, rebirth, color, and hope for the future. The air is blowing in new life and change. Spreading around the seeds of hope that will soon blossom into beautiful works of life.
A bird was chosen as the subject of this piece since birds return in the Spring to lay their eggs. The hope of new life that they bring upon their return is the essence of Spring itself. The flower garden is from a beautiful garden in my city. The grass is from the same garden, and so is the sky. The flower the bird is carrying is a lilac. A purple Lilac represents that very first feeling of love. Also purity and innocence. The dark cloud to the left is representative of the ending that Spring leaves behind.
My subject, the bird, was made in the same was as the subject in the “Winter” piece was made. A piece of material was flung around many times while taking rapid photos with a remote. They were then loaded into the computer while the right ones were carefully chosen to mold into a bird.
In order to create this piece it there needed to be a plenty of flower images as well as supple grass, and skies that represented the wind (air) that is the element of Spring. Spring brings in winds of change. Creating this piece meant that I had to spend ample time in a beautiful, old, and huge, garden near by. Mature trees, wildlife, and historical depth abound! I was so lucky to be filled with all of the feelings of Spring as I collected the images for the piece and during its creation too.
Creating pieces like this gives me such a deep sense of gratitude for how my family and I have cultivated our lives. So I’ll ask this. What is seeds are you planting? How will you cultivate them?
Something is missing, but what? The unknown tugs softly, yet gives no hint at what could have been. And so the cheerless void remains.
The inspiration for this piece came on the first Mother’s Day after losing my mother. I didn’t have a good relationship with my mother so my feelings on losing her are just as complicated as my feelings toward her while she was alive. The best way to describe my grief in words is this- it’s like I have this void inside of me where a mother, maybe, should have been. Now that she is gone it feels like there is this hole in me where something is missing, but I’m still not sure what that something is. Those words don’t do the feeling justice. Hence the fact that I’m a visual artist and not a literary one. The flowers that cover my face are her favorite flower, lilac. Violet lilacs also symbolize spirituality aka hope. The lonely light next to the subject represents the cheerless, uncertain, void that I feel. The “room” that the image takes place in has a cold, dark, and lonely vibe to it. The roughness of the floor below the subjects feet represent struggle. While the meek little dress represents the hopelessness of the child that lives inside of me. That little girl inside did a lot of hiding as a child.
This is a self portrait piece created by using many images, then piecing it all together with computer software. Each image is shot with its place in the final image in mind. Having the correct height, depth of field, and distance from the camera are important. They assure the “believe-ability” of the pieces that I create. The “room” that the subject is in is actually an amazon box shot with some creative lighting. The substrate at my feet is mulch from my front yard. The bare light bulb is from an Edison bulb chandelier at a neighbors house. I took the photo of myself with the flowers at my face, in the meek little dress, against a black background using my dslr camera, a tripod, and a remote. I then loaded each image onto my computer for a composite piece with some textures that I find in my environment. Once that part was finished. I spent at least 3 days crafting the lighting in the image. The lighting in this image was so important to how the image would feel. How does this image make you feel? Cheers and enjoy!
Passing of the Light
This image has a deep and dual meaning for me. The vibe of it speaks the loss of so many close loved ones, both of my parents included. The worn skin in the hands expresses the exhaustion in my soul. Each one of them has passed a light onto me, and I receive it with honor. Doesn’t the act of giving bring as much joy and comfort to you as the receiving does? I felt as though the giving-and-receiving theme should be highlighted in addition to the loss. In the background of this piece you will find an oyster bed. Oysters also have a dual meaning. In one way they symbolize a heaven or nirvana. In another way they symbolize beauty, and strength. The oysters complete the vibe nicely.
The color palette in this image is important to the story. Once I found the correct palette. I began to I create this image using my own hands photographed in different ways. I have my grandmother’s hands. My own hands couldn’t have been anymore perfect for this image. When I miss her I look at my hands. I “painted” the light orb into the image using my software. Then placed the hands and light together using an oyster bed as a background to tie the intentions together. How does this image make you feel? Cheers and enjoy!
You are the moon, yet the moon is also you. Her divine energy lives in you. Hold that chin up. Pull that chest out and open. Walk with a magical step. Illuminate the dark with your gentle glow. Her light belongs to not only you, but also those who came before you. Honor her always. Above all, my sovereign little love, stay grateful.
This piece was created as a tribute to my daughter. Well really it’s to all young woman. Selene is the goddess of the moon. It is said that she is the one who drives the moon chariot thru the sky every night. The moon itself is symbolic of intuition. This piece is a reminder to all young girls stay sovereign, and live according to their truest self. Only when you accept who you are will you have the ability to manifest anything that you desire! Look closely and you’ll notice that there is a small bouquet of hyacinth flowers in the subjects hand. Hyacinths represent the dawn of Spring and Spring can represent hope. In the background you’ll find the constellation, Orion. Orion was a hunter. He is there to remind the subject that even though she is strong, sovereign, and able; to always be on her guard. The star “Bellatrix”, female warrior, is highlighted as a reminder that all women are warriors in their own rite.
Being that this piece was a tribute to my daughter, I had her help with it. When she was only 3 years old. I set the tripod height to my waist height. Then had her click the button to take the main image of the subject (me with a wig on holding a rope). She also took some rapid fire shots of me furling the dress materiel around so that I could make the dress appear to be flowing in the breeze in the final image. She did so well!!! The stars and constellation in the background are each hand “painted”, and the hyacinth was from an image that I took earlier in the year. The grass that the subject stands on is from my backyard and they tiny blades of grass near my dress are from me meticulously placing and manipulating at least 100 tiny grass blades by hand to make the image more realistic. Each image is taken with its respective place of in the final piece in mind. Distance from the camera, depth of field, and camera height are all taken into careful consideration. Stare at it a while, how does this piece make you feel? Cheers and enjoy!
Twilight in Spring
The creation of this piece started with a feeling around how old things give nurturing, and wisdom to new things. The old serves as a protector allowing the new to blossom into what it needs to be. Staying close, yet out of the way. The old trees are dark, yet beautiful. They carry so much mystery and history inside. They have seen so much! The flower being nurtured in the nest is delicate. The flower would never make it without the brooding trees, and nurturing nest that they have so lovingly provided. The overall low key nature of the piece is a nod to seedings. You plant a seed under the dark, cool, soil. Then give it time. When it’s ready, the seed blossoms. The old trees are there to lend the young, fragile, flower has every chance that it can get. Whether the relationship is parent/child, student/teacher, winter/spring, etc. The laws are the same. To ensure survival; the old must nurture the new.
While the inspiration for this piece came easy. Creation did not. The tree featured in the piece is three copies of an image of a beautiful, old, tree that I found in a park near by. I searched and searched for the right tree, but keep coming up short. One day, while out with my family, I walked right past it, but my daughter stopped to explore inside the trunk. I love how she forces me to stop and notice the little things. It was the perfect tree! It felt so secure and nourishing to be around. I felt safe simply standing under it. So I took a few images. Paying attention to where the tree, and the copies of it, would stand in the final image. The nest was created from some found pine straw that I weave’d together with some twine and wire. A lily was chosen because of the purity that they represent. I placed the lily in the nest and photographed it in my studio. Once I had all the images, I put it all together as a composite piece with software. Finding the blue that you see in the image took weeks to decide. Finally, when I found the perfect one, I was able to create the rest of the coloring. Then crafted the lighting. In my pieces the lighting can be a character in and of itself. I generally shoot images for my pieces with flat lighting in order to mold us as desired later on.
What do you feel when you stare at this image? Cheers and enjoy!