Stray Dog Arts

"In the Realm of Magic" :: {a photographic series}

Over the past few days I have given myself over to new territories and the multi-faceted tools of my trade. Although I most often create my final works of art with canvas, oil paints and a paint brush, I find myself becoming increasingly interested in how photography influences my journey towards a completed piece. I have dedicated the second half of January to experimentation and a sense of discovery. At times, I become frustrated with the limitations that separate me from the internal visions that I am striving for. There are the technicalities of the actual camera, lenses, winter temperatures, light, limited maneuverability and knowledge of the 1,000 pound beasts that I'm working with, editing processes and then, of course, realizing that I don't really know what I was even striving for in the first place. There are usually at least a dozen obstacles between the initial idea and the actual creation. It can be a bit disorienting at times! However, as a good friend and creative cohort recently reminded me: "If you don't try, you'll never know what could have happened." For a moment, I was doubtful, but she wisely jogged my brain cells on the importance of being open to new discoveries. And so, every day, that is what I've been doing. Tromping out into the snowy woods in negative degree temps with boots and scarf, long johns and my warmest jacket. My hands freeze and the camera occasionally fogs up. Colorado, the largest of the two horses, thinks the camera is incredibly interesting and keeps trying to stick his nose in the lens. Horse snot immediately freezes to the glass. There are shadows falling in all the wrong places. I'm freezing cold and fighting a fever...but, you know, despite everything that's not working, I am having the time of my life! I am lost, completely in the moment. I play with the camera settings; I convince the horses to follow me to a different area. I warm my hands in the black fur of their manes and muscular sun-warmed necks. The wind picks up and plays with the tendrils of their hair in a way that excites me. I keep trying. I keep wondering what will happen next. I remain in a state of curiosity, all of this while continuously taking a step or two or five outside of my comfort zone. I stumble upon intoxicatingly wonderful accidents. The horses move. The light shifts. An entire nexus of ideas take root in my brain, making my heart beat a little bit faster.

And this is why I do what I do. This is why I get swept away by the passion of creating art. I'm not so much creating art as I am creating a life. And, these days, it all seems to be taking place in the realm of magic. Believing in the words of Rumi: I let myself be silently drawn by the strange pull of what I really love, knowing that it will not lead me astray.


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