Stencils – How to Make Your Own

 

 

Art Journal Page; Spray Ink; Pen and Ink;
                 “Go Gently” ©2016 Tracey Hewitt Art Journal Page with hand cut stencils

Stencil Love

During art journal classes, the one thing that everyone seems to have great fun with is stencils.  Spraying ink over stencils, and rubbing back paint through stencils is one of the first lessons I teach in art journal class. It’s quick, easy, effective and seems to unleash our inner child faster than anything.

There are endless suppliers of ready-made stencils – just Google ‘stencils’  and you could disappear for a week checking them all out, and still not have exhausted the possibilities. But, for artwork that is uniquely yours, with the fun level only stencils can provide, cutting your own is the way to go.

 

handcut stencils made by drawing the stencil design onto copy paper, laminating and cutting design with a stanley knife
Hand cut Stencils

 

 I’ve tried all sorts of material to cut stencils from, some more successful than others. Template plastic (a refugee from my patchwork days) worked well, but was murder on the fingers to cut, and so hard to get a knife through, crisp detail was hard to achieve. Manila folders work OK for one or two uses. Much easier to cut, but once they’re wet with ink or paint, the light cardboard buckles and tends to fall apart pretty quickly.

Enter laminated copy paper! I guess I must have been doing a bunch of laminating for something, and I wondered if maybe this might work well? Turns out it does. I’m not sure how long these will last, I suspect that ultimately the laminate may let go, but they’ve survived one round of art journal classes in tact, so I’m feeling hopeful.

 

How It’s Done

Grab a sheet of ordinary copy paper

Draw your design – make it simple, and remember that you need to leave some ‘veins’ or connecting pieces, or you’ll just end up with one big hole. A series of simple shapes – squares, triangles, circles – repeated many times are some of the most effective stencils you can use.

Whack the sheet with your hand drawn design through the laminator. I’m lucky to have one here in my office. If you are seriously deprived and don’t own one, try an office supply store or perhaps your local school or printing works. They’ll probably have a small charge, but it will be pittance compared to buying ready-made stencils.

Grab a Stanley knife, self-healing mat and a cuppa (probably not a wine – though I have done that, and the stencil and I lived to tell the tale) and settle in to cut out all the little pieces of your design. Remember – you need to leave little ‘bridges’ in more intricate designs.

Give your fingers a bit of a massage. While the laminated sheet is much easier to cut through than some stencil material, by the time you carefully cut out all the bits, you’ll still be a little tender in the digits

Pull out the spray inks and paints and get cracking on experimenting with your new hand cut stencil, by laying the stencil down over your page which has a bit of background colour on it, and spraying some ink over the stencil onto the page. Carefully lift off the stencil, and Viola! (Have a spare sheet or journal handy to mop up the ink from the stencil after you remove it)

 

 

A Mask is a Stencil in Reverse

 

Art Journal Page with spray ink
Payton and Pa Mask

 

Silhouettes make great stencils, too. As well as eliminating the anxiety about leaving little bridges and connecting bits, if you are careful as you cut, you will end up not only with a stencil, but also the piece you cut out ever so carefully, which can be used a mask. For this one of Payton and Pa, I printed a photo onto copy paper, laminated it and cut out around the outline, yielding a positive and negative image. A stencil and a mask. Lay the mask (the cutout piece) over a page with a background already laid down, spritz spray ink over the mask, carefully lift the mask off, and there you have it – Payton’s first horse ride with her Pa frozen in time, and spray ink!

There’s a bunch of ways you can incorporate stencils into your creations… this is just the tip of the proverbial iceberg. You can give yourself a little detective challenge and see if you can spot where I’ve used stencils on the works in the Art Journal Pages Gallery. Or, have some fun in an Art Journaling Workshop with me!

 

 

 

 

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Art Journaling 101 – an introduction.

 

Art Journals; artwork;art journaling, watercolour; artist; sketchbook

People often ask “What is art journaling?” Good question! I do my best to explain, but sometimes it’s easier to show you.

First you need a journal

 

Art Journal Stack, art journaling

Let’s start with the journal. You can use anything! This pile represents a fraction of the sketchbooks and journals I have accumulated – collecting journals and art supplies is my guilty pleasure! An assortment of paper types, sizes, page counts and constructions, there’s something I love about each of them. My favourites though will lie flat on the bench when opened to work in, and have a weighty paper that can withstand wet media (like watercolour, spray inks and paint). Other features that rate high for appeal are pockets in the covers – you never know what bits of flotsam and jetsam you might find to keep for addition to your journal ‘later’ – page marker ribbons, and elastic bands to keep the book from flying open as it expands from the inevitable addition of collage and tape and ephemera.

What goes in the journal?

 

Art Journal spread, art journaling

The real fun begins when you start to do stuff in the journals! What goes into them? Anything at all! I tend to describe art journaling as the intersection of keeping a written diary with keeping a sketchbook. There are journals like this one with a bit of writing and reflection for each day, and some colour and sketching or scribbling – playing, really. This particular spread is in a cheap visual art diary. The paper is pretty flimsy, so there’s a coat of gesso on the paper to give it a bit more substance, followed by collaged papers, washi tape hand carved stamps, water soluble pencil and watercolour paint.

 

Sketchbook doodles, art journaling

 

Then there are the more ‘traditional’ artist sketchbooks where reference sketches are made, and ideas are given a trial run before the detail is worked into a final piece. These snazzy arrows to mark North were explorations before committing the compass direction to a map created in a collaborative artists book.

Art Journal Page, art journaling

My favourite art journal is one where I experiment with ideas and media. Sometimes these pages end up a muddy mess, and that’s OK, because the purpose of it is to explore, to see what works and what doesn’t, and it’s this absence of pressure to produce something ‘worthy’ that is the best part of all. My brain knows I’m just mucking around, so it’s low stakes and no expectation.

The spread above is a great example. I’d been mucking around with spray inks and stencils, and the page was pretty ‘blah’. I had been reading about using indian ink in an aqua brush, and this ugly page was a very safe place to try that out – it couldn’t get any worse! The face happened with the inky brush,  a bit of extra colour popped into the eyes, mouth and hair with coloured pencil and a white Sharpie marker, and although she has a somewhat alien complexion, there’s something kinda cool about it.

That sense of freedom to play and explore because there is no pressure for a dazzling outcome is what makes me believe that art journaling is a wonderful way for anyone to begin to dabble in something creative, to learn a few techniques, to follow your imagination and let the hidden parts of yourself surface and come up for air in safety. Don’t ask me what hidden part of myself came up for air with a green eyed, green faced martian lady… reminds me a little of Salvador Dali’s Mum who said after looking at his paintings “I don’t know what what in his head, but I’m glad he got it out”!

 

Art Journal; Blue; Watercolour; art journaling

Right now, I’m exploring and experimenting in a different format again – the Disc A Day journal. Which is my own promise to myself that I’ll do something small every day (well, ok… I can’t honestly say that I’ve added to it every day, but I have added to it most days, and right now, I’m happy with that). This little journal is made from a large sheet of hot pressed watercolour paper, cut into three sheets and folded and stitched together, which is great for the wet media I mentioned earlier. What I love most about this little disc, is what the washi tape beside it says: “Make Time”. We’ve talked before about how important it is to make time for creativity, rather than wait till you find time.

That awesome tape, by the way, is designed by Kal Barteski and came from You Are Awesome Co, who are sadly wrapping up trading at the end of September, but they have some great bargains going on there for the next couple days.

So, there you have it. Art Journaling 101. Art journaling is my favourite thing to teach – if you’d like to know a little more about classes, check out my Art Journaling Workshop page.

Get Creative With A Disc A Day

Disc a Day Project

 

The past year has seen me drift away a little from my brushes and paints. Not intentionally, not even all that willingly, but still, for one reason and another it has happened.
In the meantime, I have come to enjoy Instagram – I love scrolling the feed of gorgeous, creative outpourings of colour and beauty. Recently, I happened across Lou Adira @adiraphoto, and a post she made about a project she created for herself after losing her Grandmother – a loss she felt keenly. Something about the idea whispered to me, and I now find myself with a handmade watercolour paper journal, filled with the feint outline of many, many, small circles. Discs, into which I am putting some colour, some lines, some puddled watercolour, and whatever else takes my fancy, almost every day. It’s a small commitment, which feels sane and sensible right now, but what feels even better is picking up a brush and spending ten or fifteen minutes focusing on nothing but creating a tiny patch of beauty in that small disc shaped space.
As you can see from the photo, I’ve only just begun, and have no idea how many discs this journal will hold! I figure I have enough circles in there for me to fill one a day till Christmas, at least! And while I am enjoying that this is just for me and has no particular outcome or purpose other than to get me into a better creative routine; it feels like this could be a fun project to share. So… would you like to join me? I’m already noticing some patterns and themes evolving in these little circles, and it’s going to be interesting to see what is revealed as time passes.
Join me!
You can be as elaborate or ordinary as you like – a scrap piece of paper, a full-on journal, or anything on between will work. Just grab something disc shaped (circular, really, but ‘disc a day’ sounds kind of funkier than ‘circle a day’)  – I’m using a roll of washi tape – and draw very light pencil outlines in a grid on your page/s. Once a day, set aside a few minutes to put something in a disc. Maybe grab a pencil and draw your coffee mug, or your dog.  Perhaps glue down a scrap of brightly coloured paper and some printed words torn from your junk mail. Maybe pick up your pen and write a tiny poem. Or grab a coloured pencil and play with colour combinations….   You get the idea – explore, play, and fiddle and use whatever supplies you have access to. A feather dipped in ink is wonderful fun to make marks with!
It will be great to see what you come up with! I’d love for you to share here on the blog comments, or on my Facebook page, or on Instagram with the hashtag #discaday. I’ll share my pages as I fill them. You can share at whatever point you feel moved to do so! These little pops of creativity don’t need to be complete works of art. Simply an opportunity for you to choose creativity for a few moments in your day, and a few moments of creativity will always make any day better!

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5 Ways To Make Time For Creativity

posted in: Creativity, Uncategorized | 0
Making time for creativity
My Koh-i-noor watercolour pan offers evidence that I have made time for creativity. Time for a replacement, I think!
People often ask me how I find time. Time to make art for exhibitions, time to write a book, time to make stuff. As though there could be some special, secret, time bending trick I might have discovered. I wish!
I guess there is a secret of sorts, and it’s deceptively simple. You see, it’s not about finding time. No matter how hard any of us look, no matter how tight we try to squeeze, each of us get exactly 168 hours in a week. In those 168 hours we must sleep, care for our bodies, minds and souls,  care for our families, friends and pets, care for our homes, earn our living and attend to the enormous list of responsibilities each of us has.
With all that going on, we’re never going to find time. It’s about making time. Ordinary words, big, extraordinary difference.
Finding implies something has appeared to you that wasn’t available before. (Merriam Webster Dictionary defines the meaning of find: to discover (something or someone) without planning or trying to : to discover (something or someone) by chance).  Making, on the other hand,  implies you are involved – hands on – in bringing something to be.
That’s the kicker, right there. You have to choose to make time.  

5 ways to make time for a creative life

1. Don’t wait till you have a free afternoon.
Or morning, or day, or weekend, or whatever chunk of time you feel is necessary to immerse yourself in a creative puddle of happiness. If I waited for that chunk of time, I’d never have made a damn thing! Have a look at your schedule – is there a ten minute window somewhere in your day? Ten minutes is long enough to put down a background on a canvas or write a hundred words. That’s 500 words in a work week, or enough writing for a whole book in a little over a year. Ten minutes a day at an easel or sketch book will add up to many completed paintings and drawings over the course of many months.
There can be an unexpected benefit to starting with ten minutes. Often, once you begin, you find you can in fact spend half an hour creating, without the wheels spinning off the chariot that is your life.
2. Turn off the Television.
Elizabeth Gilbert, in her book “Big Magic”, asks “What are you watching on TV?” then advises to turn the TV off… there’s an hour, right there, suddenly freed up for your creative use. (By the way, Big Magic – Creative Living Beyond Fear is full of wonderful anecdotes to get you fired up for creativity).
3. Social media is a time thief.
Ask me how I know… I often have to ask myself do I want to be creating something new and having a great time, or sitting here, looking at other people trying to convince the world they are having great time? (Hell, for all I know they ARE having a great time, but if I’m sitting with my head stuck in a screen – am I?)
4. Look at creating as central to taking care of yourself.
I have experiential evidence that spending time immersed in creative projects makes me happier, healthier and nicer to live with (just ask my husband!). I know I get cranky and kind of ugly to be around if I’ve neglected to give myself a little time making something in the past week. Self care is critical to our own happiness and contentment, and if we are happy, the people around us can only benefit from that. If viewing some creative time as important to your self care doesn’t make it easier for you to make the time – then look at it as a service to others! (I go into this in more detail in When Your Superpower Becomes Your Kryptonite – there’s an entire chapter devoted to the value of creativity).
5. Create first.
Put making something at the top of your list, and set aside time for that first. Make an appointment with yourself for half an hour (or however long you can manage), write it in your planner, and keep it, with the same respect you’d keep an appointment with your bank manager. All your other jobs will still get done – because you know you have to do them. It’s amazing how much you can power through when you’ve given yourself a little treat of time in a creative zone first.
Putting creativity first has been the way I have made time for creating most effectively in my own schedule, but it’s also the most challenging. I have to choose it, over and over again. It’s so easy to slide into attending to all the other demands of my day and telling myself I’ll get to it ‘later’. Leaving it till ‘later’ can mean weeks go by with scarcely a creative crumb being enjoyed.
So, will you join me in choosing to make time for creativity? The only thing I know for sure is that if we don’t make time, we’re certainly never going to find it. 

Credit where credit is due

Artist Credit and Copyright
Wire Sculpture By Richard Moffat

 

Images are everywhere these days, and it’s easy to click, save and share without giving too much thought to the whole process. I know many artists – photographers in particular – who have discovered their original work has been ‘borrowed’. Usually innocently, and without any malice or harmful intent, also without any credit being given, but I’ll get back to that in a second.

I was delighted to receive an email from Kirsten from Bodyworks in Blackall, explaining that she had found my photograph of a piece of public art that had been posted on my blog. They were wanting to use the image for the header for their Facebook page, as they feel this striking sculpture is synonymous with the town. What delighted me was that she took the time to contact me and ask permission to use my image – as I mentioned earlier – many people don’t. A couple of emails back and forth, and we helped one another out. Bodyworks popped an image credit and link to my website on their Facebook page. I shared their business page, and my appreciation of their great ethics on both my business and personal pages, and among it all, Kirsten ordered her Mum a copy of my book.

All this giving credit urged me to once again try to find information on the sculpture. The guy who created the Spinifex ball is an artist with his own right to acknowledgement too! When I posted the image some years ago, all I could find was his name – Richard Moffatt – and nothing to link to him. Unfortunately, I still can’t find too much, I did discover he recently won first prize for Sculpture On The Edge, and he’s on Instagram as @ironise2266. A Google image search of his name brings up an array of wonderful metal sculptures that I enjoyed poring over for a while.

 

Think before you click and share

 

The internet is vast, and with the ability to share and save images and data, it has forever altered the way humans gather and share information. For artists, the internet is simultaneously the best and worst thing to happen to us. Never in history has connecting to an audience for our art been easier or quicker. It’s possible to sell our creations without leaving our studios (which isn’t necessarily a good thing – artists work in isolation a great deal… we all need to get out and be among other humans). Websites, blogs and social media have dramatically changed the face of art marketing and exposure. On the flip side, that same technology has also made it easy for our original creations to be borrowed – sometimes stolen – and used by others for a quick result. Often, this borrowing is innocent and comes about because someone responds to an image and wants to share or copy it. Sometimes, unscrupulous souls take an artists intellectual property and mass produce it for their own gain.

The point I’m taking way to long to make here is this: art takes time. The finished images you see on your computer or device screen are the cumulative result of years of practice, learning, experimenting, and developing skill and knowledge. Artists share their work to give it an audience, to move and inspire others, and to earn an income. We are delighted when people want to share our work with others, all we ask is that you take a leaf from Kirsten’s book, and tune in, say hi, and ask how we want to be acknowledged. And Richard Moffat… if you’re out there, I’d love to be able to add a proper credit line to my image of your stunning sculpture!

 

 

Ch Ch Ch Changes…..

IMG_3805

Sometimes, we need to listen to ourselves. Take our own great advice.

Since “When Your Superpower Becomes Your Kryptonite” was published, life has thrown us a curve ball or two. (Or maybe seven, but, who’s counting?) Some of those balls were pretty easy to catch and toss back. One in particular landed right on my heart with such force that I suspect it may never beat the same way again.

But it’s beating. And that’s all we need in order to show up and choose to live our precious lives with as much grace and courage as we can muster. That’s what’s happening in this picture… having reclaimed my outdoor ‘nest’, I’ve taken some time to journal, read and rest. Then get back up, and come back to the computer and once again do something I don’t really know how to do. Build a website! It’s taken a long time, but traceyhewitt.com is up and running. There are plenty of areas that can (and will) be tweaked, improved and made a little snazzier to look at, but for now, it’s good enough.

You’ll find gallery pages (which are one of those areas that need some tweaking), workshop information, and a shopping page – which currently only has my book for purchase, but some more goodies will find their way into the shop soon. Nestled in among all that and along with all the usual ‘contact’ and ‘about’ pages, is my blog.

It will look a bit different, and will probably evolve (and hopefully improve), as I learn to negotiate the new platform. For those of you who have been subscribers in the past – Thank you! From the bottom of my heart. Your comments, emails and messages on facebook have all been warmly appreciated. I’m yet to figure out how to add a subscription option on the new platform – I’ll keep you posted.

I have to confess to you that I’m nervous about this move. We’ve talked about the voice of fear here before, and moving the blog from a format and design that has been well supported is scary. But, things evolve and change and shift and it’s time. So here goes! I’d love to hear what you think of the website, and the blog living here. Let me know what you miss and what you’re happy to see. And, now that a lot of techie stuff is sorted out, I hope to be giving you more to look at and think about from now on.

Once again – my heartfelt thanks for being here. I’ve said before that art is only complete when it has an audience, and I appreciate so very much that you are that audience for me.

Do It – Even If It Scares You. Ruminations On Creativity and Fear

 

 

This post has been brewing for a while now, and I’ve found around two thousand reasons not to write it. I have just realised why, which I’ll get to in a minute, but first, I want to tell you about my friend, and a conversation we recently had.  My friend is a talented artist. Anyone who lays eyes on her work recognises her talent immediately. Yet she doubts it, and herself.

In the course of our recent conversation, I was busy trying to encourage her, and tell her she truly was worthy of recognition as an artist, and she bravely shared that she has started work on a new piece for a competition. Then she faltered, awkwardly finding it hard to articulate what she was feeling, with an “Oh, I don’t know. It’s hard to explain.”

She didn’t actually need to explain. I know.

“You’re worried that this time, it won’t work. That this time, everyone will find out you’ve been fooling them all along. That you really are no good and all that work you’ve already done was some kind of fluke and you probably can’t do it again.”

The look on her face was, I think, a combination of relief and horror. “Yes! that’s it exactly! But, how did you know?”

I knew, because it’s the exact same story I tell myself every time I begin to wade into the waters of creative endeavour. Every. Single. Time. I also – as a result of extensive investigation – have come to understand that’s it a common story many (if not most) creatives tell themselves – so thankfully, I felt a little braver sharing that than I once may have.

The act of creating something is quite a mystery, and often when I’m done, it seems a tiny miracle this thing has come through my hands to the world. From which point it is very easy to fear that when I begin my next creative attempt, the tiny miracle may not show up; and I’ll be shown up for the fraud that I surely must be.

Fear and I have been having some deep and meaningful conversations lately. Deciding it’s time to write the book I’ve been wanting to write for – oh, I don’t know, my whole adult life – got Fear’s juices good and gushing.  Thanks to the writings of Elizabeth Gilbert (whose new book Big Magic – Creative Living Beyond Fear is about to arrive in my mailbox –  I can’t wait to inhale it), I was inspired one day to try having a chat with Fear.

What I’ve learned is this: Fear wants to keep us safe, which isn’t always a terrible thing. But it can’t distinguish between an oncoming train and the light at the end of the tunnel, so it jumps up and down and tells us to stop right there, and get off the tracks because we are in danger of meeting our mortal demise.  Predictably, the closer the oncoming train – or end of the tunnel – gets, the louder and more demanding of our attention Fear becomes. And that’s the key – it wants our attention. So, these days I have a chat with it.

“Thank you for working so hard to keep me safe. I appreciate how well you’ve done that so far – I’m still here, thanks to you. You’re right; I might make a fool of myself if I send this manuscript to a publisher, I might even get some negative feedback on what I write; but you know what? I’m OK with that, because I want to live a life of adventure and courage and boldness and authenticity, and I will survive if someone out there doesn’t like what I write. I promise that I’ll create the best thing I possibly can, and I’ll give it everything I have. I promise to acknowledge you when you tell me you see danger. I need you to come along with me, but you can’t drive the damned bus!”

It’s astonishing the extent to which Fear quiets down after that. Much like a small child – all it wants is your undivided attention for a moment, and then it’s happy to go off and pull the wings off flies for a while, during which time – if you’re smart – you can get a chunk of your creation progressing nicely. Someone once wrote a book called “Feel The Fear – And Do It Anyway.” I never read it, but the title winds its way around in my mind frequently. Because that’s what creating is all about. I know I’m going to have to meet Fear head on every time, but I also know I’m going to do it anyway. Sometimes, like this post, it might take me a while to recognise Fear is what’s stopping me; but here is this post, different from the posts I usually write here, written now. If you’re reading it, that means I felt the fear and hit publish anyway.

Serious Fun

Seriously. Fun is serious stuff.
This little tin came into our lives as the packaging for a rally car drive gift certificate. And no, it wasn’t me doing the rally driving! I leave that thrill seeking stuff to the man in my life (the one I married – though the ones I gave birth to are all up for that as well, as I think about it!) I was, however, quick to grab the tin, and squirrel it away in the studio, because, really…what could be better than to open your traveling art supplies tin and be reminded that what you’re doing is Serious Fun?
There is a group of Serious Fun seekers hanging out here with me on a Sunday afternoon lately… I’m teaching them the basics of art journaling (and art, as well, with a focus on low pressure and low anxiety) and, as is inevitable when one teaches, they teach me things as well. One of the important things I keep discovering is what a great benefit it is for grown up women (and men!) to set aside their responsibilities and obligations for a couple of hours and just muck about and have some fun. To play. They leave looking somehow lighter, and brighter; and seeing that is Serious Fun for me.
This trolley (which my Dad made for me many years ago) has seen duty in my life for all manner of purposes. It’s current role is by far my favourite. All those drawers are chock full of inks, sprays, pens, pencils, pastels, paints, stencils, stamps, watercolours, tapes….. so many opportunities for Serious Fun in there; and it can wheel out of the studio and onto the verandah, where all my Serious Fun seeking companions can dip in and share in the fun with me.
Play is recognised as being critical to childrens development… and there’s more and more evidence that it has powerful importance for adults as well. (Check out the writing of Brene Brown if you need  any convincing). I know for sure that I’ve got more to give and am much nicer to be around if there’s been a little play time in my day. How about you? What counts as Serious Fun in your world? I’m always on the lookout for an opportunity to have fun – tell me what works for you!

A Watery Challenge

Have you ever really thought about how remarkable water is? Being a farmers wife, I’ve always known how important it is – without water there is no life. So, it’s utterly essential. But, I have to confess, it wasn’t until I started this Photo A Day Challenge with ABC Open that I’ve ever explored just what water is really capable of. Never really spent much time contemplating the many possible faces, facets and characters of water.
It can be peaceful, serene and soothing; as it appears here at sunset over Bell Lagoon Dam. This dam has featured here before – it is frequently the home to a pair of black swans, a pod of pelicans, or a raft of ducks – do yourself a favour and do a google search for the names of groups of things – fascinating stuff! Did you know that a group of Owls is called a Parliament? 
Water can also be dynamic and exciting – filling a balloon with water and bursting it, trying to catch the explosion of water, requires a very willing, waterproof helper; at least 6 water filled balloons ready to go; a camera set on continuous shooting and a good dash of persistence. The result, though, when you finally nail it, is thrilling. Or is that just because it started to thunder and pour rain right as we stuck the pin in the last full balloon, thus adding to the sense of urgency?



Water can also gush, as it does here, out of the hose off the water tanker that my baby (OK..so he’s 23, but still, he’s my baby!) uses when he’s spraying crops. He’s not into wasting water though, and this is just the bit of water held in the hose after the taps are turned off. I had to be really quick to catch this one – though he did kindly help me out by pressing down quickly on the hose to push the last bit out in a gush.

All this attention to water has reminded me of the importance of attention, of noticing, of really seeing. It’s also given my creativity a much needed kick in the butt. Spending a little time each day contemplating how to make something as mundane as water coming out of a hose look interesting and visually appealing, while at the same time considering the technical requirements of actually getting the photo, has been surprisingly challenging and stimulating. 
The biggest challenge so far though, was “A fish swimming in water”. I have no fish. I live a long way from anyone with fish. Short of dumping a frozen fillet of flounder into a bucket of water, I was stumped. I was discussing my dilemma with my girls (they’re my sons wives, technically, but they’re still ‘my’ girls) and Leah quickly had a solution. Little Payton has a pair of floaties with an inflatable fish on top – terrible floaties for a small person, but you can cut the fish off, and send him swimming! Crisis averted. Not sure it will win any prizes for creative photography…but it kind of makes me smile.
There’s still a few days to go – and a quick look at the topics for each day reveal some more challenges ahead. Do you suppose cleaning the shower counts as “water sports”?