Teetering on the Edge

Some days I just have to pick up the pencil, and welcome whatever wants to come out.

No doubt, some days are better than others. What started out as a gray day internally (despite the sunshine and chirping birds outside my window) slowly has emerged more colorful. More hopeful.

I don’t discredit the power of artmaking to help turn things around. Some days I just have to pick up the pencil, and welcome whatever wants to come out.

When You Live Vicariously

I was most definitely, uninspired and lethargic. Sleepy, in fact. Trying desperately to avoid a mid-afternoon nap.

A friend was house-sitting near a beach a few weeks ago. It was winter. (It still is.)

I’d been in my house for days. If I’d been lucky, I’d been out for a grocery run or two. Or for a quick breeze through express browsing at the library where I could scoop up a few books in 15 minutes or less.

My friend sent photos from walks on the beach. I was always in my enclosed porch with the heat cranked high.

She sent photos with envious views. I was sitting in the same spot in the middle of my couch that looks out at a couple of neighboring houses and a leaning telephone pole.

She was obviously inspired and energized. I was most definitely, uninspired and lethargic. Sleepy, in fact. Trying desperately to avoid a mid-afternoon nap.

When her latest image arrived one morning showing a 6:30 a.m. walk for sunrise on the beach, I was still sitting in that same spot on the couch.

Finally, I turned the radio onto 99.5 FM, WCRB where they play classical music all day. I heard the comforting, friendly voice of DJ Laura Carlo. She played some beautiful piece, one after another.

I reached for my iPad.

I looked long and hard at that sunrise on the beach. And for an hour or two, I lived vicariously.

Elements

When doing these digital paintings on my iPad in Procreate I often start with getting settled into my space and listening to music.

For this piece, I had sought out a playlist on Spotify of Tuck and Patti’s music. I had re-discovered the duo about a week ago after hearing Eric in The Evening on WGBH play a track of theirs. I hadn’t listened to Tuck and Patti in probably at least ten years. And there is nothing like the experience for me of hearing music that had always resonated with me, again.

For this painting, I settled into my armchair with my iPad on my lap and let the music take me back. And when I picked up the pencil, the marks and strokes quite literally took over.

Perhaps one of the most wonderful feelings is to trust the marks, the color palette you’ve chosen and to let go. Let go into the image. Let go into the world you’ve entered.

The names for pieces often don’t come to me until a while after feeling that a painting is done. I choose to let the words come to me and try not to force a name upon them.

Elements, seemed to wrap it up for me.

Seeing Photography with Jay Maisel

The book, It’s Not About the F-Stop is a beautiful visual and verbal exploration of photography from world acclaimed photographer, Jay Maise

It's Not About The F-StopThe book, It’s Not About the F-Stop is a beautiful visual and verbal exploration of photography from world acclaimed photographer, Jay Maisel.

Reading through the book feels like you are sitting next to the photographer (a wonderful storyteller) as he shares story after story about where a photo was taken, on assignment or in-between, and the process he went through to get the shot. In the introduction to the book, Maisel credits his good friend with saying, “Photography is not about photography, it is about everything else.” And that he tried to talk about “everything else.” It’s immediately evident that he masterfully accomplished his goal.

Maisel doesn’t discuss camera settings, histograms, the pros and cons of hand-held shots or tripods, instead he tells readers what he was thinking or feeling as he stood, crouched, and climbed to get a specific shot. And the serendipitous moments when the light changed or a person walked into a scene.

Maisel’s photos span over many decades and his comments about each image give credence to showing up, being patient, looking at the world around us and finding inspiration in both the extraordinary and ordinary.

Maisel also shares images that surprised even him, in one instance a beautiful photo of Marilyn Monroe that he doesn’t remember shooting, originally rejected because of the focus, but in the edit, decided he loved it. Another time, an ice rink where the skaters were moving so fast making it hard to get a good shot that he changed his attitude on what was presented on the surface. The photo shows a stunning dark silhouette amidst an etched blue, gray, green background.

Every page is subtitled with a few carefully crafted words that sum up the teachings; e.g. “Be Aware of Changing Light”, The “Gifts Are Always There” “To Thine Own Self Be True.” (A pocket-size guide of the headings would make for a wonderful book of daily meditations for photographers!)

More than half-way through the book Maisel suggests that “Sometimes It Is the Lens.” We learn that in the past few years the photographer has significantly pared down his equipment and now walks around with one camera and one lens–a Nikon D3 with a 28-300mm zoom lens.

Maisel advises photographers to look to art for inspiration, “its been around longer” than photography. While that may be true, readers won’t be able to help being in awe of the color, light and gestures seen throughout the photos in the book.

This is a book that can be read cover-to-cover, again and again. And will make for a fine coffee table book that readers and photography aficinados can open to any page where they’ll discover visual gems.

 

 

Change is Good, Especially When It Comes to Social Media

Regular readers get used to the ways businesses and news media deliver content. They know what to expect. Where to look. And how they’ll find what they’re searching for. That’s all fine and good. But so is change, trying new ways to tell a story, new ways to format information.

Recently the Boston Globe, changed the format of my favorite section–the G section. I’ve seen this section go through several iterations during the time I’ve lived in Boston. The first few days I might feel like, “whoa, what happened here?” But within a short time I always come around to seeing the strengths of the changes and can barely remember what things were like previously.

Social media content has lots of options to consider and while it needn’t be as radical right off the bat as changing the format of an entire section, social content developers can try integrating images, audio, specific apps, etc.  In my new 26 Tips article on Social Media Examiner I offer ways to consider. Twenty-six ways to be precise.

Some times change gets a bad rap. But in these info-rich times, resistance to change may be far, far worse.

If you found your way to my blog as a result of the SME article, welcome and thanks for stopping by!

While you’re here you may also want to check out my portfolio and the types of services I provide. Feel free to drop me a line in the comments below, or via the contact form.

26 tips

 

Lessons Learned from Brands on Social Media

As I was working on the concept of the piece, and with a gazillion number of brands on social media, I wondered where to begin? I needed to narrow my approach and find a way to identify brands who were indeed, successful.

26 Ways Brands Succeed with Social Media Marketing was published today on Social Media Examiner.

As I was working on the concept of the piece, and with a gazillion number of brands on social media, I wondered where to begin.  I needed to narrow my approach and find a way to identify brands who were indeed, successful.

I reached out to Ryan Hatoum (@ryanhatoum), US PR Manager at Socialbakers, who graciously agreed to provide me with data (e.g. # of updates, # responses, # of new followers, etc.) about the 30 top brands on Twitter, Facebook and YouTube.  And since the information changes week-to-week, month-to-month, I narrowed the list of brands I’d look at over a two-week period, November 1 to November 15, 2014. The weeks proceeding the writing of the article.

I took a look at who was doing what and how an update succeeded in engaging fans. Needless to say, the process was extremely interesting and helped me identify 26 noteworthy efforts.

I think you’ll find that the approaches can be applied to businesses of all sizes and industries and my hope is that they will provide readers with takeaways for their own social media efforts.

Thanks again to Ryan Hatoum and everyone at Socialbakers for their assistance.

Wishing you and yours Happy Holidays!

If you found your way to my blog as a result of the SME article, welcome and thanks for stopping by!

While you’re here you may also want to check out my portfolio and the types of services I provide. Feel free to drop me a line in the comments below, or via the contact form.

26 ways brands

Social Media Work-Out

Whether you’re new to social media or were an early adopter, my article 26 Ways to Strengthen Your Social Media Marketing on Social Media Examiner, focuses on ways you can strengthen your overall presence and add more vitality.

Today I have a new article, 26 Ways to Strengthen Your Social Media Marketing, published on Social Media Examiner.  Whether you’re new to social media or were an early adopter, the piece focuses on ways you can strengthen your overall presence and add more vitality.

If you found your way to my blog as a result of the SME article, welcome and thanks for stopping by!

While you’re here you may also want to check out my portfolio and the types of services I provide. Feel free to drop me a line in the comments below, or via the contact form.

dhemley sme article