Tagged Creativity

Creative Procrastination… thanks to YES! Magazine

YES magazine2 web

YES! Magazine – Journalism for People Building a Better World

Creative Procrastination

In the spirit of Austin Kleon, here I am, shamelessly plagiarizing pieces of the cover art from YES! Magazine, Spring 2020. I love making collages.

YES! Media is part of the Creative Commons movement, so I think borrowing this colorful art supports their work – as long as I give credit to their awesomeness…

Some days are tough to get through… some days I feel devoid of positive, creative ideas and momentum … I know it is out there … except it seems like the darkness hypnotizes me from seeking the light. Some days it is easier to give up and sink … and then I smack myself back into focus to welcome any steadying influences to steer my little boat through turbulent waters.

Seeking inspiration

So, here I am sitting at my keyboard, doing this Photoshop thing, this text-edit thing, this WordPress thing, trying to turn my focus back toward solutions, rather than fixating on the shit.


Right when I needed it, here in my snail mail came YES!

The cover alone buoys my spirits. I am delighted to play with this colorful art after several weeks of complicated drudgery and fielding ridiculously selfish client demands.

If you are looking for a bright spot, check out YES! Magazine

In this fractured reality, it is essential to support visionary sources that help us to understand new perspectives, to build bridges of healing and connection in our polarized society. YES! wants to know what inspires us, what makes us think, and how we are working to better our beautiful planet.

A sample of this issue includes topics such as “Future of Food: The Search for Planet-Friendly Protein”; “What Public Banks can do for Everyday People”; “5 Visions for a Just, Sustainable Compassionate Future”; “The Language of Antiracism, an Illustrated Glossary.”

I don’t work for YES! (I wish I did!). It’s just that today is a good day. So smile. Do something kind. Be generous. Do something just for fun. It’s good to laugh, to stretch, to breathe. And read something positive!

Chasing the Sun

Ty Landrum "Chasing the Sun"

A year ago, I had the pleasure of assisting Director Jesse R. Borrell as he worked with yogi master Ty Landrum. The video, “Chasing the Sun, Ashtanga Vinyasa” has just been released.


That chilly afternoon in Boulder, we walked out onto Mountain Park Open Space and perched on a hilltop beside a pond. The sounds of human activity were all around us – airplanes crisscrossing overhead; a backhoe beeped its warning over and over as it moved forward/backward working a nearby mulch pile; below us, a skateboarder flew by on a winding path; above us, geese squawked gracing the sky in wide arcs.

Moving with Purpose.

The meaning and intention of this video and practice were to move beyond the comfort and familiarity of the studio. Here is Ty, out in the world, inviting the viewer to come closer, to experience the embrace and abandonment of physical and psychical boundaries. And here is Jesse, up very close, capturing the intensity of Ty’s practice; and in turn, me, photographing Jesse doing what he does so well.

As Director/ Videographer/ Editor, Jesse sought to keep the shoot simple and real, one camera, one flowing shoot, including all of the natural sounds. Thus, in midst of everything going on around us, the poses lead to an experience of inner quiet – a way out of the present moment, by reaching inward.

 

"Chasing the Sun" Jesse Borrell, Director
"Chasing the Sun"

One Take. Timing is Everything.

We tramped out to our location watching the shifting sky. As the sun started to fall, clouds moved in and the light changed. Time to move! Sunset at 4:30. It was brisk, and as the sun started to dip, the temperature dropped even more. Hikers with their dogs looped the trail below bundled up in hats, coats, gloves.

Ty slipped quietly away, sprinting a length of the trail, shifting his body and mind into an internal dynamic state. When he returned, he stripped down layer by layer and stepped to the mat, his focus moving inward and up.

chasing the sun!

Jesse, watching the light shift, adjusted accordingly, metering sample captures. I am nearby, but out of camera range, holding reflectors to bounce light onto Ty’s torso. Quietly shifting my position and camera, I capture Jess in his behind-the-scenes action.

Later on in final production, Jesse interwove fading sunlight, muscles rippling, mirrored pond reflection. Listen carefully for the constant, faint, murmur of breath and pulse surging through Ty’s body. Jess returned to the location another day with his drone to shoot the broad landscape. He joined Ty’s family to retrace their steps yet another day, to add deeper context to Ty’s soliloquy.

Jesse shoots Ty Landrum "Chasing the Sun"
Ty Landrum "Chasing the Sun"
Jesse Borrell of NOCOAST shoots Ty Landrum "Chasing the Sun"

“As the world spirals into darkness, so do our individual minds. But we can spark the most brilliant revolution by turning our attention inward to the things that matter most. We gradually become whatever we contemplate most intensely…”


How fortunate am I?

As you may have realized, I feel the fascination and honor of being present, lending silent strength to artistry-in-action. Both of these talented men pulse with creativity! Ty’s grace and intention merge with Jesse’s technical expertise and artistry. No hesitation, just flow.

How does a filmmaker tell a story? An idea is formed through discussion, exploration, preparation, and it builds momentum. Conception leads to action, moving dynamically. The setting, the sounds, the trust between the subject and videographer. The final artful editing adds layers of subtle meaning, reaches a climax, then resolution.

The planes groan on above, the backhoe insists, the geese don’t care. Ty moves fluidly, spontaneously – even chuckling amid pose saying, “I don’t know where that came from!”

Jesse anticipates – flowing in and out, gracefully, fluidly, with a hand-held camera. A rich focus has descended and enfolds us as a dance of intention emerges.

View the video: Chasing The Sun, Ashtanga Vinyasa

 


“Our minds become saturated with wonder, the world appears sublime – an infinite revelry in the spontaneous, ecstatic unfoldment of the creative forces of life.”
– Ty Landrum

 

Gwenna’s Book

Bookmaking | One-of-a-Kind Treasures Gwenna's Book cover

Now that Gwenna is 2 years old…

it is her turn for an “Ama Book”. I had made one for Liliana at that age … and I gotta play fair!  Hmmm, what can I try this time?

Bookmaking. A one-of-a-kind family treasure.

I decided to combine both vector and raster file types for an imaginary, playful setting.

Cruising online through stock art files, I purchased a multi-layered Illustrator document to use as a backdrop. This file had many objects to play with and I extracted its objects (chair, bed, table, lamp, etc.) onto separate layers so I could move them around as I pleased.

Zoe and I both took photos of Gwenna’s favorite stuffed animals and exchanged them by email. As I silhouetted each character, it was fun to place the figures into this imaginary bedroom, suspended in the air as our cramped little Gwenna wails, “Roll OVER!” Then the objects and critters tumble all helter-skelter! Luckily, big sister Liliana is there to cushion their fall!

The cadence of reading this book aloud with it’s repetitive, count-down call-out is a child’s delight!

Taking the photos of the two humans was more difficult than any other part of this project.

The original idea was that Liliana and Gwen would be wearing matching pajamas … the cute ones that have penguins on the leggings and top. However, it seemed nearly impossible to have both sets fresh and clean at the same time …

Ready, Camera, Action!?

Not exactly … Coaxing both girls to pose and respond to my simple direction was hilarious and unsuccessful. “Sit still, please. Cozy up together … that’s good! Look at the camera, please?”

Tripod in place, camera settings adjusted, lighting not so good. Where’s Gwenna? Second try, hold still G!  Where’s Lil? Oops, need a diaper change. Oops, the light has shifted. Oh man, someone is tired … its nap time.

Well, for better or worse, I got the needed shots of both girls sitting upright in the bed. Liliana handled the photo shoot like a pro, posing in a variety of positions as though she was catching the tumbling critters midair! I improvised the rest with photos in my library. Their images didn’t turn out as bright and clear as I had hoped …

The most important thing is that Gwenna and Lili loved the book – and that makes me happy!

 

Bookmaking
Bookmaking

 

This book was designed in InDesign. Hard copies come from an online, print-on-demand publisher who I have used for a variety of projects. It is soft cover, printed on a bright white quality paper.  Here are a few spreads from the project…

Bookmaking | One-of-a-Kind Treasures Gwenna's Book, sample spread

Bookmaking | One-of-a-Kind Treasures Gwenna's Book, sample spread

Creative Procrastination!

Here’s an interesting idea… PROCRASTINATE.

According to author and artist Austin Kleon, there is a tremendous creative benefit to practicing productive procrastination! Austin suggests that the work we do while we procrastinate may be the work we should be doing for the rest of our lives.

Austin encourages one to devote time to hobbies … to take time to daydream … to refill the source of our creativity with curiosity. He even admits that he never takes his shirts to the cleaners because he gets good ideas while he presses them!  Whoa. I like this idea – and I find ironing enjoyable too … although, I don’t do it much unless I allow myself to be engaged in a sewing project.

I have never related much to people who claim they are bored. I have too many ideas floating around in my head. I have many “side projects” that interest me. I admit though, that I often feel it necessary to earn time off from “real work” in order to do what is “fun”.

What does it take to shed a pattern that no longer serves you?

One morning a while back, I was soaking in a hot spring on a beautiful day. As I gazed up at the cloud cover moving swiftly overhead, I acknowledged that I wasn’t present in the moment. While everything was okay in my realm right then, I was consumed by grief over the state of the world. This worry was overwriting my ability to be grateful for the gift of the being at the hot spring, cheating me of a much needed restorative day.

Deliberately turning my awareness outward, I watched as a soft mist coursed across the sky. I felt small, reminded of bigger forces like love and forgiveness that can overcome the despicable acts of human cruelty that pre-occupied my awareness.

Recognizing the beauty of each day is an essential part of navigating the edges of reality. Putting harsh thoughts aside is necessary to regain balance and to find the strength to move on. So I will remind myself to daydream a bit more … and give my mind and heart a break.

Just “messing around” is my new goal for creativity. When I hit my limit on one thing I will allow myself to shift gears and do something rewarding.

Working solo during the course of my day, I hit roadblocks. So, put the damn phone down, walk away from the pulsing, flickering monitor. Walk around the lake. Roll on the floor, stretch, breathe. Listen to some calming music, and then return refreshed and to start anew.