The Passage of Time

I feel a disconnect often in my artistry process but also in my life on grander scales, when I am the only one to see the promise… Mackenzie couldn’t see the potential after being blinded by the electric blue tissue paper.


I have found in life that most of what seemed like my mistakes and failures at the time, were experiences that I learned and grew from and later served me well. Equally, when we were creating the first key we attempted to cast molds for a smaller assortment of keys, which proved unsuccessful, they were so small and dainty that we couldn’t utilize the mold… however it served perfectly well on the door as the foundation we began building the intricacies off of. The tissue paper was much more easily manipulated into shapes and texture than the more sturdy kraft paper, and a monochromatic beige spray paint primer appeased the masses distracted by the color offensive. And so what was at first considered a failure found redemption and immortality preserved in the images of the door.


The Passage of Time 1


This project is so personal, it is so much of me, in all of it; a sense of growth in self as the project evolves. I also have a deep desire to stray from the expectation that is built in the ideas. A magic door said immediately something grandiose and scrolling, looming over her, and so the counteraction of that was to allow the magic to lie in the little things, the details. I think for me my potency as a portrait photographer has lied in my ability to fall in love with the subject.  I see something beautiful about them, something I can have an emotional connection to, and then I photograph that and share it with the world.  {This is infinitely more difficult with inanimate objects.}


And so the door could not simply hold these visually appealing trinkets it had to have things of value, things that would invoke an emotional reaction in me because my creations stem from a strong sense of emotional expression. Somewhere on the door is the fortune from the last time Michael and I ordered sushi before he left. It seemed all to fitting; for my life and the project: “Live out of your imagination instead of your memory” It’s now masked with paint, hidden by other little treasures… no one else will ever read that message, but it exists there, and as the door took on it’s life force from all these other things I’d like to think that simple statement became a sort of mantra that will serve me as author and artist, and the characters existing beyond its threshold.


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The door had shape but not depth, the spell I was creating was missing key elements, though I didn’t know what they were, and so I did what any girl would do… went to visit my Daddy. Of course unlike most girls my dad happens to be an antique dealer and historian, and what I pass off as creativity is actually just his eccentricity more poetically displayed. I grew up in a house that was to all others who entered it a bit creepy and weird, but for me the same sense of wonder and intrigue I found as a child I still encounter as an adult… I returned with a trove of treasures, triumphantly declaring to Rob that I found his spear in the barn… the reply “Of course you did! You could find Noah’s Arc in that place if you look long enough!”


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The truth is it still feels surreal that I get paid to do these things, I sometimes struggle with feeling guilty devoting my time, because I feel like I am playing. This is the stuff most people work hard all week to afford themselves a few hours to spend how they like. In contrast for days I was obsessive about the art of creating this door. While others sat in traffic, in a cubicle, at a desk, I enjoyed the warmth of the summer sun and fresh air, doing exactly what I wanted with my time, outside where I felt inspired and rejuvenated… My mother always cautions me not to cook when you’re upset because your feelings get into the food, and I feel the same way about art, my creations are much more impacting when I feel inspired to create. People chide at me because I use the word magic so much, and as we all know there is no such thing, it’s all science and slight of hand… however I can’t help feeling like artists are in their own way magicians… I was giddy with excitement seeing what I was creating and making of what was an old decrepit door left outside to languish to nothing until becoming kindling for the fire pit. As artists we create things that did not exist until we dreamt them up and caused them to manifest… how is that not magic?


It is both the trinkets, and the hands that hold emotional significance. Adam and Rob working to make stable what I made pretty. Steven, Cadence and Mackenzie. Each left their mark upon it.


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I’m obsessively devoted to my artistry… and because I’m so impassioned that becomes contagious and fills others with excitement towards it as well… I’m also lucky to be surrounded by good people.


I place great value in being able to blend work and family. Selfishly I simply love to share the things I love with the people I love. As a mother it serves to show my children that they are always a priority, but also, and perhaps more importantly it teaches them. Cadence will assume that I was teaching her how to paint, how to create, how to be an artist, how to run a business. It’s more than that. I hope I’m teaching her to dream, to believe. I’m hoping I build her self confidence, and her inner voice so strong as a child that it serves as a barrier from all the naysayers and disbelievers who will say things like “grow up” thinking they are denoting responsibility, when really they are sacrificing dreams and potential for the sake of a gamble that becoming “successful” and “responsible” as defined by “others” will buy them the ability to return to what they love at some undetermined time in the future. By letting her see me, I teach her both work ethic and imagination. By letting her help I teach her there are no limitations, other than the ones in her own mind, whether her own or those she allows others to add. She doesn’t need to be a certain education level, a certain gender, a certain age, she can make a difference and build the life she wants, right now, as she is. I think at the


Relic: an object surviving from a distant past, of historical, or sentimental value, often kept in holy reverence. Reliquary: A vessel for containing relics. Thus the name came for the Reliquarian. In my own mind the most sentimental and holy of things: Love, and our child hero, a Reliquarian, a Keeper of Love.  So the girl is, and so for me the story is, and within the images and pages, the props and the characters are embedded the things I love… it’s fitting that the beginning of this story, and this journey, for me converge with the meeting of my past and my future.


So many intricate relics make up this door… pieces of the artist, have now become pieces of the art. My husband’s boot blousers, and a button from his dress greens. A small album from the wedding of my cousin Jackie, another point of the convergence of family and artistry in my life. Flowers from my mother in law’s wedding, a fortune from our last sushi dinner before Michael deployed, jewelry pieces I once played with that were broken, shards of my favorite lamp that suffered a tragic meeting with the floor one day. Twigs and branches from the cedar trees downed in the storm we shot the first failures in.


And there were other things. Broken things, ordinary things. And with the final touches of pearl and pewter they all gained their magic, glimmered in gold and violet, blues and burgundy. The colors ebbed and flowed across the trinkets of the door in subtle, but somehow still vibrant splashes of color… magic for what it was, and whose hands had created it.


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We ignore little things… but little things grow with time, like everything else. So the door became magic because of all the little things, so the Reliquarian might pay attention, perhaps to remind myself too.


The door’s magic lies, not just in what it is in the story, and the images, but how it was created, and who created. I stood back and looked at the completed door.  The culmination of over a month’s work… and it was so beautiful.


If you haven’t gotten a sense of the company I keep, with something so essentially important on the line: first impressions and first images… everyone was entirely focused, and serious, as we always are.


The morning of the shoot had me positively eccentric with anticipation. Not only for the session, but for the people that I get to share these experiences with. Cady was giggling in the hands of Remy.


Most of my success exists in my ability to see potential and make things work for me… Of course I let the weeds grow tall on purpose so we could cut them down to accentuate the door. As evident by Mackenzie’s face of approval.


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Immortalized in the photographs forever: an entire gathering of cutting from the grounds here. Branches from the weeping cherry my children are always climbing, wild flowers, cuttings from the ivy creeping over the stone wall, branches from the cedar trees, bark from the birch trunks. One day I stopped at this place while passing by back when we were looking for a new place to call home. I meandered around to the back of the main house and saw the second building with the big windows and natural light pouring through, and at the height of the deck you could behold the entire grounds, I was instantly in love. This place breathes life into my family, my creativity, and now my biggest project I’ve ever endeavored. It is filled with inspiration, and laughter, love in my family, and has become a place of sanctuary for artistic souls who come to learn and be inspired. All of that feeds into the Reliquarian project and intensifies it artistically, and articulately. Today you could feel the energy pour off everyone as we came closer to the edge of the first session’s completion. While it is the second image in the series, it was the first one photographed, and it would have been less in the absence of those I shared the day with.


The concept was to shoot in a lovely field overgrown with wildflowers which was mowed to the ground two days before. It took 4 of us and the tractor to move the now heavy laden door to the edge of our property.


Truthfully, regardless of whether it exceeds my wildest expectations or becomes little more than a blog I write mostly for myself; it’s already a success. I never overlook or take for granted the gift that I get paid to spend my days creating beautiful things with the people who matter. While of course I have days where I struggle to find balance and juggle all of my roles, especially with Michael deployed and being alone here, when my life finds it’s center it is in these lovely days and moments where I am surrounded by the people that I love, that inspire and challenge me, it is a sweet day of fun and dress up, and playfulness and creativity and good food, and lots of banter and laughter… it is a charmed life.


Even Karma stays with us, keeping vigilant watch over the children and a curious eye on the events.


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I snapped this shot in passing that day: Rob coming to the rescue of our shoot, drill in hand, prepared to steady our door for the shoot…


When the concept for this storyline began forming in my mind he inspired a character that is now soon to appear, who enters our story through the morning light in a big field, powerful and stoic. In my mind as this character formed he had a lot of Robs features in both physique and character. So when I caught him out of the corner of my eye crossing the field with this grandiose clouds at his back, the moment was like a non dress rehearsal for exactly how I envisioned him entering the tale.


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I’ve been hearing more and more as I’ve allowed people to see behind the lens more that they are amazed how much time and energy I place into creating my images.  So much effort and prep, hours for what ends up being a 30 minute shoot… it’s worth every second.


Moments like this are everything. I’m truly blessed that while watching my inspirations take shape I also watch my children take shape. They are surrounded by good people, teaching small things that turn into big lessons.


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