Drawing Inspiration from Stress

What inspires you? This may be a loaded question for some, for others an easy question to answer. Then again, it may depend on the day, the week, the month, or even the year. It could depend on the weather, or your general state of contentment, or discontent.

I have found that inspiration can come from so many places. I have had a spark of imagination and ideas come to me in the classroom when discussing photography with my students, and I have had ideas come to me when talking to friends. I see creative ideas in everyday situations that inspire me – from the way light appears on an object, to the actions of someone I come into contact with.

What about stress? Some people say that stress puts a damper on creativity and the ability to generate ideas. I think there is some truth to that. When stressed, we tend to get a very narrow focus on life; we put on our blinders and set our sights on that one thing that really has us going. How can you turn that into something that inspires? How can you turn that into a creative endeavor?

I’ve thought a lot about this recently. Stress is a natural part of life, unfortunately, and sometimes we just have more than we’d like…we feel a little “put upon” because we’re dealing with more than our fair share. Heck, sometimes we even realize – we have that epiphany – that it really is all of our own making anyhow. My challenge to you, turn it into creative drive.

Find that one thing you can draw from your stress, and turn it into a creative project.

I’ve taken on my own challenge. I have a fun project I’m involved in right now, and once completed I’ll be sure to share. But, for the idea generating part of this project, I have dug deep into what I call my stress phantasms. Some people dream, some people have nightmares, I have neither (I’m talking dream as in REM sleep, not dream as in future goals)…I have what I like to call stress-related phantasms. If I don’t dream in my sleep, I’m a happy camper, so that said, when I do “dream” I would describe them more as stress phantasms. I’m drawing from this revelation and finding the positive side of it, the creative side where I can start to visualize ideas that describe what I “dream” about.

So far, it’s actually kind of fun to derive ideas from a place I might consider negative, as it helps me to put a positive spin on it. Really, in my opinion, a more healthy alternative when you think about it. So, think about that next time you find yourself wrapped up in a stress phantasm.
I’ll share a peaceful image and a great quote…

Autumn's Grace

Autumn’s Grace

“Happiness is not something ready made. It comes from your own actions.” – Dalai Lama XIV

Exploring the best Airbnb cities

Airbnb is an online marketplace that enables people to list, find, then rent vacation homes for a processing fee. It has over 1,500,000 listings in 34,000 cities and 191 countries. Founded in August 2008 and headquartered in San Francisco, California, the company is privately owned and operated.

How it all began

Shortly after moving to San Francisco in October 2007, Brian Chesky and Joe Gebbia created the initial concept for AirBed & Breakfast during the Industrial Design Conference held by Industrial Designers Society of America. The original site offered short-term living quarters, breakfast, and a unique business networking opportunity for attendees who were unable to book a hotel in the saturated market.

At the time, roommates Chesky and Gebbia could not afford the rent for their loft in San Francisco. They made their living room into a bed and breakfast, accommodating three guests on air mattresses and providing homemade breakfast. Their first three guests were attendees of a sold-out design trade show.

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Goodnight Irene!

One of those great things we say when exasperated! I’m sitting here fretting today about all my coastal family and friends. As I write, many are getting a mandatory evacuation notice as Hurricane Matthew barrels towards the southeastern coast. My aunt and uncle left their home in Pt. Wentworth, Georgia today to travel towards Atlanta. We have friends in Deland, Florida, and family just inland in Hampton, South Carolina.

There is so much I love about the Deep South, including what I have pictured here in two images I pulled from a collection made traveling along Highway 17 from Savannah to St. Mary’s, Georgia. The rural decay – once bustling towns now desolate as I-95 bypasses the old Highway 17 corridor. The low country marshes at or below sea level, where trees grow together into canopies and the thickets are so dense you can’t see through them. You can feel the humidity as it drips off every living thing but that light…now this is where you find that beautiful southern light. It manages to penetrate those canopies and glisten off everything that is even just the slightest bit damp.

Low Country Marsh

Low Country Marsh
Coastal Georgia

This whole area is under the current mandatory evacuation. Really, that’s what made me pull all these negatives and walk down memory lane today. I remember my passion and effort and, the numerous trips up and down this highway to complete my project. I shot the whole thing with a Fuji 6×9 film camera. This is one cool camera – the 90mm lens is sharp as a tack, and that 6×9 negative, well, it’s a 35mm on steroids! I love it! The details are exquisite and well worth exploring if you can get your hands on one.

I think a trip back may be in order in the not-to-distant future. I’d like to travel that route again, and take a whole new batch of photographs. Maybe this time, 4×5, or better yet, wet collodion!

Keep our coastal family and friends in your thoughts, and let’s all hope Matthew takes an easterly turn and heads out into the Atlantic.

Souvenir Highway 17, Coastal Georgia

Highway 17, Coastal Georgia

Super fancy food at home

Fruits account for a substantial fraction of the world’s agricultural output, and some have acquired extensive cultural and symbolic meanings. Fruits are the means by which angiosperms disseminate seeds. Edible fruits, in particular, have propagated with the movements of humans and animals in a symbiotic relationship as a means for seed dispersal and nutrition; in fact, humans and many animals have become dependent on fruits as a source of food. Accordingly, fruits account for a substantial fraction of the world’s agricultural output, and some (such as the apple and the pomegranate) have acquired extensive cultural and symbolic meanings.

Examples of culinary “vegetables” and nuts that are botanically fruit include corn, cucurbits (e.g., cucumber, pumpkin, and squash), eggplant, legumes, sweet pepper, and tomato.

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More Goals…

Good News

Okay, today I’m going to celebrate and brag just a little because I have exciting news to share. I have officially been accepted into the MFA program I applied to. I’ve been talking about this for years…a few at least. And, like most logical (maybe a little too logical like Spock) thinkers, I had to get certain other goals achieved and “ my ducks in a row” first. Spotted Dog Excavating has now been in business over 6 years and it’s doing beautifully. Randy and I have another venture we’re hoping to launch this fall to winter timeline. So, now was finally the time.

I did the research, and decided that I wanted my MFA to be in photography. What else is there?? After researching quite a few schools, I landed back on my own alma mater, The Savannah College of Art and Design, or affectionately known as SCAD. I received my BFA at SCAD, in photography, in 1992.

Since I was there 24 years ago, they’ve added a whole new eLearning program, and their MFA in photography is part of that new addition. So, I don’t have to pack up and move back to Savannah for this…just a few visits, which is great because two of my favorite people live in Savannah – Vicki and Phil, my aunt and uncle.

Getting ready to apply was stressful, but probably only because I am Type A when it comes to presenting my work to others. I had to fill out a rather lengthy application, update my resume, write a Statement of Purpose, provide a portfolio of 20 images, add an artist’s statement to that, and provide letters of reference and official transcripts. Whew…that was a lot, but once all was submitted, I just sat back and… nope, didn’t relax, not at all. Boy, that wait was tough. Well worth it, but tough!

I am very excited about this new opportunity and plan to start on January 4th , 2017, as SCAD is on the quarter system. Kind of interesting, because as I align my two school schedules (as a student and as an instructor), I’ll get two quarters just about completed in the time it takes to complete one semester at PPCC. So, all kinds of fun ahead!

Finally, this week, I’d like to take a moment to say thank you to all my family, friends and reference writers who helped encourage me, edited photos to pare down a portfolio of 20, proofread statements of purpose, and those who stood on the sidelines as all-around cheerleaders in my corner. You all know who you are, and you all rock!

Here’s to new adventure! Look to all the possibilities in life!

Sand Dunes


Inspiration and Happy Memories

Path Taken

A Path Well Taken

A good friend shared a quote with me this week, and after reading it, I realized how much it resonates with me. I proceeded to read it again, and again, and again.

Quotes…we all love to read a good quote here and there, by people we admire in our fields of interest, or just those that motivate, make us feel more positive, give us a needed smile, or boost of energy. This one certainly made me think.

“Did you use the time I gifted you each day to be a purposeful being? Did you follow your own path and make your time count? How faithfully did you tend to the dream I sowed in your soul?”

This comes from a book called The Motivation Manifesto by Brendon Burchard. Sounds like a very interesting book, one that I’ll probably wind up buying on Amazon. But, it’s the quote that really stuck with me these last couple days.

“Did you use the time I gifted you each day to be a purposeful being?” Time to reflect on this life and what I’ve done, and what I’m doing. I think teaching is purposeful, and I certainly enjoy it. I feel like I do things with great intention and purpose. I think (and analyze) through my choices, maybe too much, before embarking on new paths. But, for me, I do like solid goals and intentions.

“Did you follow your own path and make your time count?” This is a big one for me, because I’ve been known to leave a contentious meeting, or other unpleasant encounter, and grumble, “Well there’s another hour of my life I won’t get back.” We’ve all felt that way on occasion, but how do we make all the time count? Well, we enjoy our time with the people we love, enjoy life’s experiences and limit those moments that cause the grumbling to tiny blips on the radar. Follow our own paths, and don’t be swayed by what others are doing. What is right for one isn’t always right for another.

“How faithfully did you tend to the dream I sowed in your soul?” This is the time to remember all those dreams you’ve had, even as far back as when we were kids…what did you want to do when you “grew up?” What did you want to be? Where did you want to live? Well, no time like the present! Follow your passions and your dreams, and minimize those unpleasant encounters. We only get one life, make it count.

Frankie and Randy


I happened to be organizing some files on my hard drive and came across three photographs taken over the course of the past couple years. They make me smile. One a path well taken, and Kisses, two beautiful souls, and a time to celebrate the changing of the seasons! Happy Autumn!