Monday, August 22, 2011

Deeper than the Eye

The heart sees deeper than the eye.
- Found on my Yogi tea bag Friday

Inspiration... sometimes elusive, other times abundant. As a creative person, I'm always aware of my sources of inspiration. It comes from the reading I do, the playing in my craft. It comes from exploring the world around me. Inspiration is everywhere.

Let me repeat: Inspiration is everywhere.

This weekend, inspiration was found in crab pots sitting along the bayfront in the coastal town of Newport, Oregon. Aren't the colors and textures just amazing? I spent quite a while exploring the crab pots with my camera. A few years ago I took one picture of a stack of pots in this town, and for some reason that image popped into my head before my excursion. I was on the hunt for crab pots.

During my hunt I found a number of other things... some interesting texture, brought on by the salt water and proximity of the ocean. I found interesting colors, from the quaint buildings to the stacks of containers in the fish processing warehouses. I found interesting contrasts, in the people working in the processing plants in their rubber boots and the tourists in their flip flops. I found inspiration in the process of taking pictures, with three new Exploring with a Camera ideas coming to me. Thank goodness for my little notebook and pen, always with me in my camera bag.

Most of all, I found a deeper truth, finally understood with my heart instead of just my head. My inspiration comes from the process of creating my art. It is found when I am out and about, hunting for photos. Seeing the world through my viewfinder and lens. Translating something that just catches me out of the corner of my eye into something that is beautifully presented. It is the process of photography -- of exploring, capturing and then making those little tweaks in post-processing to perfect an image -- that matters to me. It is the process of creating that is the whole point to all of this artistic stuff. Sitting at home, inspiration doesn't come for me. It takes getting out and doing.

For some reason, a year ago or more, I had this idea that I would move back to Oregon and still share mostly photos of Europe on my blog. I have gazillions of photos from my two years of living in Italy on my hard drive - many unedited and just crying out for review. Who knows, I might even have ones I like better than my favorites hidden in the folders. So I've had this idea stuck in my head, that's what I would do... Edit my photos from the last two years and continue share them here. For some reason, I thought it was Italy and Europe that was inspiring me photographically, and that just the sharing of the images would be inspiration enough to carry me a good long while.

Not true. I know now: It's the creative process itself that inspires me. What living temporarily in Italy did was get me out regularly with my camera, to new places. It exposed me to new and different things. It got me out and doing. It got me writing and sharing. Trying new things, like painting. Once I was doing all of that, the rest took care of itself.

Inspiration is everywhere I go, because it's found within me. 

That lesson, learned with my heart this weekend, may be the most important one I've learned to date. I hope you can take it to heart too.

Linking in to Creative Exchange and Creative Every Day today.


  1. I am so with you. It is process, process, process for me, too. Sometimes I wish it was FINISHING FINISHING FINISHING... (I am actually learning the finishing, when I let it be about practicing letting go... a critical part of my process, somehow I am better at it. Intriguing, now that I reflect upon it!)

    Love the photo you present here too. The colors and textures ARE grand!

    Grateful I found you via CED2011 today!

  2. Your post resonates with me and my recent experiences -- I have a new appreciation for my little neighborhood since I started looking at it through a photographer's eye. Yes, Italy is a a visual feast, but we can find things of beauty and interest right in our back yards. So I'm off on another photo walk to see what I can find. Have a great day!

  3. Kat - aren't we lucky that our creativity resides within us - that no matter where we are, whether it is Italy or Canton, Ohio (like me) we can participate in the artistic process. For so long, I thought the art of photography required grand subjects - who knew that it was right here, right outside my door, all along?

  4. Thank you, this adds a lot to the making sense of what I love about photography. A lot, if not all of it, is to do with that creativity, not about capturing something for future inspiration with other arts and crafts, but about creating there and then with that inspiration.

  5. A woman after my own heart! Inspiration IS everywhere! You just have to be open-minded enough to see it in unusual places. :-D

  6. YOU are truly an amazing inspiration Kat! I so look forward to, and enjoy visiting you here, and reading your words. I thank you so much, and feel truly so fortunate that you share these wonderful posts and your beautiful photographs at The Creative Exchange.

    Sending you wishes for a beautiful day!


  7. Hi Kat!
    Surprise to find you at the CreativeExchange!
    I finally received all five postcards and will be writing about soon as you requested.

    And coincidentally, I am writing about the same essence of creativity! ;-)

  8. Love the post AND your work Kat. Got my five postcards and will blog them soon.... thanks.

  9. Kat, this is a wonderful message and a timely one for me. As I contemplate changes in my own life circumstances, I've been thinking (and worrying) about whether I'd still find inspiration for my own photography. Thank you for sharing not only your learning process, but your heart with us.

  10. I agree with you inspiration comes from an unexpected time and place. A pen and a paper should be handy anytime. ^_^ I like the photo!

    Creative exchange

  11. Ah! I was hoping you would see through different eyes after you were back in Oregon and be taking lots of new pictures. You are a photographer. You see with that lens eye anywhere and everywhere you are. Everything is interesting. Happy, happy for you! :):)

  12. "Inspiration is everywhere I go, because it's found within me." so very true! When your heart and mind are open to inspiration it truly can be found anywhere in anything, happy creating!

  13. I so agree with both your main statements, Kat! When I'm out with my camera, I often come home with images that I might not have expected - the world is so amazing. Some of my work is considered well ahead of time, but then there is the random inspiration, also. It's all exciting as the sophistication and variety of my imagery evolves.

  14. Oh Kat so very true! I keep explaining this to people that see my photographs of the west coast and how I must be so inspired in this environment. It is true. I am but I have been inspired most places I have lived. Granted some more than others but if I am in the city I take photos of the city or paint an alley. It is all the same.

    So I guess this means we will get to see more new work as you rediscover and discover anew what is before you right now. I look forward to it! Terrill :)

  15. Kat - you write so beautifully and so clearly you have such a knack for expressing your inermost self so eloquently.. part of me thinks about how wonderful to be somewhere "scenic" to take photo's yet the simple little phrase that keeps popping into my head is ..."bloom where you are planted"

  16. I don't know how many times I've thought, "I wish I lived somewhere that photo opportunities are all around me, like Kat." When all along, the opportunities are right here. All I have to do is get out and open my eyes to the beauty and inspiration that is right here! Your post is something I really needed right now! Thank you!!

  17. Photography has helped me see the extraordinary in the ordinary! I like the crab pots here.

  18. You are so right but sometimes change of place helps find your inspiration again if you think it is lost in normal surroundings. So good writing, gives so many thoughts.
    Greetings from Finland:)

  19. This is a wonderful post. I'm going to repost it on my blog FB page. As a home educator I know many women who like nature study too, but it is easy to think because you live in the suburbs or an inner city, or other area seemingly devoid of nature that you cannot find inspiration. Yet it is there if you look closely enough and zoom in on the details. I think this post will inspire them too.


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