The Ramblings of a Creative Soul

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Inspiration Series - Part 19

One of the wonderful things about running my own business is the people I encounter along the way. Since my business is online, my dealings tend to be the same way but I still feel like there is a relationship. I have gotten to know certain things about my customers. One of my customers that I have been lucky to know shares my love of baseball. During the World Series, we would check in with each other. She was lucky. Her team was playing in it. (Takes a long sigh and thinks some day......) When I hear of weather issues in her part of the country, I wonder how she is. Other customers include you in special events. This past year, I was very lucky to design jewelry for quite a few brides. Their joy and excitement is contagious, and it is a wonderful feeling to think you have made something for their special day.

Today's artist, Marilee Jones, is another one of those people I have been lucky to encounter. She bought a bracelet from me and wrote an incredible note telling me how happy she was with it. The note gets looked at from time to time when I need a boost. Another note from her is tacked up on my inspiration wall. It is a photo of a barn. Having my own barn, I have a thing for barns. I learned she took the photo. We "chatted" back and forth about her love of photography and she mentioned she was going to open up a shop to sell her work. I thought Marilee would be perfect to include in my inspiration series. So I asked her the question -
"What Inspires You?"

1. Color
My earliest memories of creative inspiration start with a box of 64 Crayola Crayons and a fresh pad of thick, white drawing paper. The possibilities were endless; the day's result limited only by my imagination. From even before I started kindergarten, I loved color (the brighter, the better) for all its beauty and potential. I've always been sensitive to even subtle differences between shades, and have derived great pleasure from the utter rainbow around us every day. Sometimes the best color combinations I might see in a day bolt by too quickly before I can adequately appreciate them.

2. Shapes
When I come upon a scene with potential, I try to find the most interesting intersection of shapes I can, which is usually found by looking anywhere but eye-level. Sometimes a tangle of branches will catch my eye; other times, I look for a more wide open scene.

3. Imagining The Vantage Point of Iconic Artists
My interest in art of almost all varieties has been lifelong. (After taking art classes all through school, I finished a fine arts minor in college). Sometimes, if a scene I'd like to photograph reminds me of an iconic artist, I'll imagine things such as: "If Georgia O'Keefe were to photograph this poppy, what would her finished image look like?" Or,"How would a Jackson Pollock painting of these tangled branches reveal itself?" This artistic "vocabulary" keeps expanding my creative horizons, as if I am not always looking at a scene using my own eye.

4. Vermont's Unique Beauty
Although I was not born in Vermont, coming to live here at age three quickly affected my very spirit. It's hard to separate out whether it's the quality of life, incredible physical surroundings, historic buildings, rustic barns, the almost euphoric feeling of spring's arrival after another harsh winter, or the deep childhood attachments to people and places that contribute most to Vermont's undeniable influence on my creative and photo choices. Every time I've ever moved away, I've come back. There's something here I've never found anywhere else.

5. Great Design
Beautiful lines (in just about anything)always inspire me. I love my mother's antique Shaker furniture, or a Vermont round barn for its practical simplicity, for example, but also enjoy jewelry and clothing that mash up traditional with a bit funky and rock and roll. Traditional or modern, I see almost everything as a series of lines and shapes. I enjoy the pure graphics of a scene as much as something that looks like it came out of Vermont Life Magazine. What actually ends up being photographed depends on the day, my outlook, and what I'm trying to express.

6. Friends, Family, Animals, Nature,and People Watching in General
Other people, animals, and nature bring me such great joy. I am almost constantly inspired by those with whom I interact each day. I might see a sunflower Jennifer would love, or an autumn leaf seemingly made for JoAnn, or a shade of blue perfect for Annie. Even strangers on the street can inspire an idea!

To me, inspiration requires only an open mind and keen observation. Inspiration can come from any number of potential sources at any time. Isn't that the true beauty of it all?

I chuckled when I read Marilee's comment about the crayon box. That, too, has been a great inspiration for me. My mother always said to make sure my life had lots of people who appreciated the box of 64 crayons. I understand what she meant.

Thanks so much for sharing Marilee! You can find Marilee's wonderful photographs at

Thursday, January 6, 2011


I love a new year. There are 365 days full of potential. That is such an inspiring thought but of course, it probably will not all be productive or for that matter good. But a girl can dream.

Dream is what I do best in January. I am forced inside because of the winter weather so I gaze out the windows and dream. Dream about what the gardens will look like in spring and new gardens and flowers to plant. I also dream up ideas of structures that my husband and sons can build for the gardens.

The last few days, I have been gazing out at our barn. I love the look of it in winter. In the summer, there are flowers that draw your attention first. In winter, the old girl (raised in 1817) stands regally on her own, behind the house. She serves as the clubhouse for my sons and their friends. When the college students return for breaks, the barn is the first place they visit.

The barn will be getting some much needed sprucing this spring. She will serve as the back-up location for a friend's wedding. If the sun is shining, they will be married by the gardens but me being me, and always wanting to prepare for something to go wrong (with the idea that if I am prepared, it won't), the barn will be ready to stand in.

As I look at the barn, I can't help but think about what will happen after the kids have all scattered. I have been dreaming that a studio might be nice......

The picture of the barn's windows was taken by a dear friend of ours, Geoff Baker. You can view Geoff's wonderful photographs at