Finding my Tribe…

I feel that lately I have been playing the victim, I have made several rants recently and have been a little self-absorbed and I have no idea why. My life is not awful, in fact far from it. I cannot explain it and I guess I do not need to. I just need to stop it, get over myself and move on.I have felt uplifted by the support and comments from so many friends online, quite honestly it is overwhelming reading all the messages.

I was reading a blog post by Brooke Shaden about 30 things she learnt in her twenties……..man oh man, some people are smart when they are young……it seemed to take me an extra 20 years to learn some of this stuff. Some of it really hit accord within me;

  • If someone doesn’t like what you create, create more of it and know your tribe is out there

I have been blessed with a new tribe in the last 2 years, a creative, encouraging and supportive tribe; the photo below is just a tiny snippet of that tribe. There are people I have never met face to face and due to time and distance, I may never meet them face to face, but I adore them anyway. Some I have met through this blog or FB Groups or through random life choices…but they are all my TRIBE. Some I have met face to face and enjoy their company in person and online and would never trade them for the world.

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Sue, Beck, Desley and Me (left to right)

  • Seek to set yourself outside of the center of your universe.
  • The more you go your own way, the more you’ll inspire others to do the same
  • Create as honestly, unapologetically, and powerfully as you can.
  • Find humility in your mistakes and pride in your successes
  • See small wins as massive successes.
  • Just because you aren’t good at some things doesn’t mean you’ll never be good at anything.

So many of these points are true and I am normally an upbeat person, but a few tiny setbacks this week have cut so very deep, I have no idea why. On the upside I have created a flurry of work, some of it dark and bitter, true………but lets face it most of my digital art is dark, twisted and creepy anyways 🙂

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Who is the Puppet Master?

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The Rain Maker

So again, for the second week in such a short time I pick myself up and continue on;

“Follow your bliss” – Joseph Campbell

I have always loved this quote, and it should be everyone’s motto……..I think I just had an epiphany! My Motto this year is to be BRAVE-R……and I have been, but perhaps that is what has made me raw and emotional? Bearing my heart and soul for the world to see, makes you brave, sure………but it does not guard you against the pitfalls. Just because I am putting myself out there and working really hard, this does not guarantee me success, there are no 100% guarantees in this life. I need to celebrate every small win and victory for what it is; a victory and treat every mistake, heartache and failure as a lesson to learn from. I need to shake loose the victimisation, however small and trivial it is (let’s face it, I am not abused, hunted, stalked or physically threatened……..for this I am grateful), I had my feelings hurt, I didn’t get a prize I wanted, I didn’t get published, I didn’t sell anything, nor get a gallery offer this week………..boohoo me! Shut up and move on. I really need to shake off this feeling, so tomorrow Hubby and I are off to do something fun……….just for the hell of it 🙂

Again thank you all for your support, especially a select few, your thoughts and emails really meant alot and NO you are never overstepping your boundaries, unless I tell you to your (avatar?) face, to back off. I need to stop being a petulant child, deal with things or move on, bitching about them might make me feel better short term, but lets face it, doesn’t accomplish anything long term.

Onto bigger, better, brighter………for tomorrow is a new day (and a Saturday! YAY)

~ Julz

With thanks…

Last week I was feeling a little sorry for myself about my exhibition and and wrote a blog post and a bit of a rant, to kick myself in the butt and just get over myself.It was honest and open about the issues many artist have to deal with, it was also upbeat and positive and perhaps even a little uplifting and a relieve to write it.  I posted it here and posted a copy in my Awake Group…….both groups I felt ‘safe’. I know I am supported and I know people enjoy my art and I know I am not alone with the feelings that I had. But I must admit I was still overwhelmed by the response I got.

The feedback I got was awesome, so many people thanked me to being so raw and honest, and they could relate to everything I said and it inspired THEM. So many people said such lovely things about me and my art………which was a little self love I needed (I know it sounds egotistical, but then again I am an artist) and I truly thank everyone for that. My Awake Group were amazing and I still finding it surprising that so many people think they are alone (I know I did once too), and are shocked when someone they look up to or follow or whatever admits to self doubt and having off days. I know that some of the people I admired when I first joined the group and thought of a mini legends are just normal people, the more I meet and talk to them the more I realise they are just like me and the people coming through the ranks now are just like I was.

I used to see someone else’s great piece of art and get a little jealous (Silly and stupid) and think Man I wish I could create like that, then there are other pieces which, while I can appreciate the work that went into it, I just don’t really like. I have learned that I can be happy for other people, I can love their art, as THEIR art and still create my own. And there are people out there who can appreciate the work and skill in my images, but not like the images. I can honestly stop comparing myself to other artists, I can look at their art and be inspired by it, or simply just enjoy looking at it, sometimes I am triggered to create something that I would not of thought of without seeing theirs, this does not mean I am copying, just means my Muse was inspired. My art is MY ART, I can be nobody other than myself. I can explore and learn new things, but above all else I must remain true to myself.

If I find myself complaining (and lets face it, sometimes it’s hard not too), I think back on some amazing people and videos I have watched…..this life does not owe me anything, no one ever promised things were going to easy, nobody ever promised me success. I don’t need more gear to make great art ( sure I want toys, toys are fun, I just don’t need them to make great art), what I have is sufficient. I don’t need to travel to exotic places for amazing photography (and again, sure I love to travel, but I don’t need too), there is amazing things in my own suburb and local towns & countryside.

Most of all, learn to take chances and not be scared of the unknown, fear can keep us safe, but it can also hold us back….but the unknown future holds so many exciting adventures and wonderful possibilities if we just take the chance.

So again I would like to tank everyone who commented and said how brave I was………possibly, but I was just being honest with myself – and yes sometimes that takes bravery.

Thank You xox

~ Julz

A Portrait Session for new Head Shots

This time the session was for Me! Part of my be Braver for this year……I hate having my photo taken, and I know a lot of other people do too. It is stupid really, I can’t change the way I look (without a bucket load of money, pain and cosmetic surgery), the people in my life love me for WHO I AM, not what I look like, just as I don’t judge me family and friends…..I love them just the way they are. So if everyone else sees me this way, why can’t I just get over myself?

So a friend of mine, who sat for me, agreed to take some portraits of me, I wanted a new updated picture for my social media profile, the other is nearly 10 years old. I love Suzanne’s photos they are a little grungy, a little street, a little raw and REAL, and I figure that is me, so that’s what I want……I think; no make up, no hair – Just me as I am every day. My family and friends say they love the images where I am laughing, because that’s what I do………laugh, loud and often (as we all should). I personally like the more thoughtful, pensive ones. She even captured me and Moth at a photo shoot (hence the big baggy hat!) A very big shout out to Suzanne Balding and a BIG thank you……………yes I have gotten over the shock of looking like my Grandmother! *Hugs* hun!

~Julz

Share your World – Week 2, 2017

Each week Cee challenges us to share our thoughts, our dreams, our quirks with the world, last year I was a bit hit and miss, this year I am attempting to be more regular; 2 for 2, so far, so good 🙂

If you lost a bet and had to dye your hair a color of the rainbow for a week, what color would it be?  Lost a bet, who are you kidding, I have done it for fun!! I have had red and purple and pink. The only problem that frustrates me is that my hair wont hold colour very well and it fades so quickly…….so rather than spending a small (or is that large) fortune on hair dye I gave up and am sandy blonde/ mouse brown these days.

If you could choose one word to focus on for 2017, what would it be? Actually I was just discussing this with another blogger yesterday, I want BRAVER to be my word for this year. 2016 I was Brave……….I did so much, learnt so much, met so many wonderful people and I achieved some phenomenal goals. 2017 I want to be even Braver big emphasis on the ‘R’. It’s funny the things I did last year I was so scared of doing and now seem common place………I want to move my comfort zone again! You know what really scares us in life? Fear………that’s it FEAR of whatever. I hate heights; yet I pushed myself to fly in a helicopter – AMAZING – I am terrified of talking to strangers……some of those strangers are now my friends! I want more this year and I am going push myself to get it, be brave and step forth little grasshopper!

What was one thing you learned last year that you added to your life? See previous statement lol. Seriously, I am an artist, a damn good one. I am an artist that deserves to be published, printed and purchased. I am talented and imaginative, slightly crazy and erratic and I now embrace that. I am Middle aged, I am fat, I am unfit, I am no beauty queen…….but people love me for who I am on the inside, I mean really like me. For years I was shy and self conscious because I felt unworthy. Now I am slowly but steadily moving out of the shadows and into the bright light. It all sounds so silly, but it is amazing and life changing. WOW I went deep there huh?

If life was ‘just a bowl of cherries’… which fruit other than a cherry would you be..? Definitely something where you have to peel back layers; maybe a banana? I am sweet and a little bent? A dark sweet/sour cherry does seem to fit my personality. Maybe a lemon, looks nice and fresh and sunny, but can be very sour and bitter? lol Maybe not…….maybe I’ll stick with the banana, I like bananas.

Optional Bonus question:  What are you grateful for from last week, and what are you looking forward to in the week coming up? Every week I just say I am grateful for life in general, but let’s try some specifics. I started the Brook Shaden’s 20 Day Portfolio challenge; WOW! as per usual Brooke hits the soft spots, I have met some amazing people and learnt a lot about my own art, how I see the world and how much of a mess my online portfolio is. I jump around with my art so much, but I have learned as much as I really like tinkering around with image manipulation and composites, my favourite pieces of art are actually my concept shoots; The Masks we were series, Dapper Rabbit Series, the Lady in Red Series and my new one you have not yet seen.So I think I will maybe concentrate on that a little more. Either in whole series or just more separate shots. I also need to up my game on my portfolio………but these things take time.

Buddy (the dog) goes back to the vet for his 5 week post op check tomorrow, hopefully they will give us the go ahead to start taking him for small walks…….he is feeling really good and wants to walk and run and god help us, jump on the furniture! He is suffering from cabin fever and so is our other dog, who has had many walks either. It will be so good to get them both back outside, even if only for a little while. I am hoping we will soon be able to let him roam freely on our own property outside as well, it’s not big, but there are steps and rocks to climb up and down.

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Hidden Costs

I have another Concept shoot tonight, which will prove interesting, using my youngest daughter as a model again. I have been wanting to do another shoot, she has the most amazing LONG, long hair and she said I had better shoot before tomorrow, as she is getting it all cut off and donating to wigs for cancer patients; what a wonderful thing to do! She has spent the last nine years growing and tomorrow it all comes off, so tonights shoot will be a sort of last hoorah!

Well that’s it, I hoped you enjoyed this week’s post…………til next week, happy snapping.

~ Julz

 

Only visiting in the Land of Confusion

In response to The Daily Post’s writing prompt: “Land of Confusion.”

Which subject in school did you find impossible to master? Did math give you hives? Did English make you scream? Do tell!

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MATHS & SCIENCE! Oh how I hated you, which is really strange, I use maths all the time these days (work and parts of photography require a mathematical element) and even back in the day of Darkrooms they required the whole science part. However I mostly believe it was really bad teachers! If I didn’t understand something I would ask for help – in the start. “Why is it done this way” and I was usually told it just is, just do it, no explanation of why various things are done a certain way. I remember being told that a + b = 100 so a being 40 b must be 60. So I could not understand if a + B = 265 and a is now 100 then b is still 60 isn’t it? That’s what the teacher said and if a is 40 then how can it suddenly be 100? again teacher said it just is!! Color me confused……..eventually I gave up asking for help and just sat in the back row scribbling and doodling in my notebook. Science was really no better, I set fire to the science lab one day, it was by accident, my teacher just accused me of wanting to get out of class.

I was a straight A student and never put a foot wrong…………until that first day of secondary school. We were all standing in rows, at assembly the head master would call our name out and welcome us to the school (it was a fairly small school). Everyone was given a beaming smile and warmly welcomed, until they got to me “Are you Blah Blah’s sister (you don’t need to know his name)” Yes I replied THAT was met with a fierce frown and a pointed finger “I’ll be keeping a special eye on you” My brother and his friends sniggered in the back ground. That started 4 years of hell, I was labeled a trouble maker all because of my brother! Eventually I made him look like an angel………….label me a trouble maker, then don’t be surprised when I become one. I think I even made the girls from St Trinians look like Angels!

Eventually I was asked to leave and found another school, one that did not label me, and more importantly they did not know my brother! I blossomed there, I found other creative spirits and I found myself. I never really found my peace with math and science until I met Moth, he patiently explained that A & B do not have set values…………wow that explained a lot! And he also explained in plain English varying different scientific principles. Now was THAT so hard teachers? I am still not a math or science aficionado, but I cant generally hold my end of the conversation and get a giggle while watching Big Bang Theory! Think of me kind of like Penny with Leonard, I’m not really dumb, just didn’t understand stuff, a little bit of patience and understanding and a whole new world has been opened up for me. I also watch and enjoy Star Wars, Star Trek and other geek stuff! (No I don’t speak klingon).

I guess eventually being married to a brainiac who is a geek and loves sci-fi………..something had to rub off on me.

– Julz

Fight or Flight?

In response to The Daily Post’s writing prompt: “Fight or Flight.”

Write about your strongest memory of heart-pounding, belly-twisting nervousness: what caused the adrenaline? Was it justified? How did you respond?Auckland, New Zealand

This is a topic I do not think I have covered here…….phobias, fears etc. So here goes. I suffer from Vertigo, I didn’t as a kid, it only started when I was an adult; get me more than a few feet off the ground and I get very dizzy, the world starts to spin and I frequently black out. Even watching those dizzying swooping helicopter shots in film and such on TV has the same effect. As a result I do not really like heights! People ask me “then how do you get on an airplane?” to them it makes no sense, but to my brain my feet are on solid floor (as long as I don’t look out the window), so vertigo doesn’t take hold. I don’t like flying much either, but I can cope. I push the fear factor aside, I used to think OMG it could crash and I might die……I guess death no longer scares me so much.

After my illness last year, I decided that I would not let anything stand in my way, even my fear of heights and my vertigo, I mean what was the worst that could happen? OK I still cannot look straight down from heights, but I have found if I look out I still feel scared, but the vertigo doesn’t kick in. I have also discovered if I look through the viewfinder on my camera, my brain can’t seem to compute the height? Weird but I am sure there is some scientific explanation?

So I guess my answer to the above question is the last time was back in NZ at Sky City Tower, I stood in front of the window, next to the glass (looking back into the heart of the building not outside), but I was still terrified, my heart was pounding, my palms were sweaty, I was scared, but I stood and fought my panic, I do not want to spend my life in flight from things that make me scared. Sure I still have to take the Vertigo into consideration, but if I don’t look directly down I seem to be OK. While we were away I climbed mountains, stood at lookouts (OK so not right at the edge, but at least I looked), climbed skyscrapers, I even watched people Bungy jump (all through my view finder)! To some people this is not a big deal, but to me it is.

A few years ago, also on holiday Moth really wanted to go on a cable car up a big mountain, he knew it was a big ask, but I did it anyway. I had a scarf over my eyes, my sunglasses over that and a hat pulled down over my face, I sat in that cable car for 20 mins trying to block out everything and meditate. At one point we stopped and we were above the canopy of trees, you literally could not see the ground and Moth said “take a peak….it looks like we are only 2 feet off the ground” and he was right, I was terrified because I knew we must be high, but because of the trees I couldn’t tell HOW high, It was only for a few seconds; the scarf and glasses quickly went back on and I went back to meditating. I saw photos Moth took later and nearly had a heart attack at how high we were……….but I still did it…………I guess it must be true love!  But then maybe if it was true love Moth wouldn’t push me to do things I don’t like? LOL

– Julz