Healthy Boundaries for Creatives: Art's Sake Project

When I am passionate about something I have a hard time setting boundaries and not throwing my self all in...and I mean all in. Sometimes when I have an idea that I am excited about, or a new project that I am inspired by, I get tunnel vision and I have a hard time focusing on anything else. I think this is very common with creatives. It is part of how we turn passion and vision into something tangible. We can't always control when the flurry of inspiration will strike and when it does we feel we need to embrace it before it goes away! I think part of this is just the way it works being an artist. It is something I will always have as part of my process, it is embedded very deep. Now that I have a child though I need to find ways to shut it off when I need to be focused on her. I have been trying to figure out how to balance the passion and the drive that makes up my core, and the little person that needs my attention seemingly every moment. I have realized that it is not very good to try and do them both at the same time. At times I have resorted to increasing my childcare when I am in a mode that I feel I have to stay in until it is complete. This way at least she is getting the attention she deserves while I power through my inspiration. Other than that I don't have an answer for you to this one, and if you have one please let me know!

The other type of boundaries that I wanted to show with this week's art, involves only taking on what you can handle. It feels to me sometimes that opportunities all come in waves. One minute nothing is happening and the next you have 4 different opportunities to embrace as well as several people that need your help with something. Do you take on all of them? Do you feel like you can't say no? why? Which do you say no to? I am working on realizing that I am not doing anyone any good when I try to take on too much. I am learning that I need to choose my opportunities that I want to pursue the most, and make sure I am also having some time to still help and serve people as well. Sometimes if we are struggling financially we feel that we have to take any and all work that comes our way, no matter what that means to our sanity or the quality of our work. I learned over time that having balance, and being able to put my best energy and creativity into less projects takes those projects to a level they would never reach if my time was spread too thin. This ultimately makes the project, and myself as an artist, more successful.

 

Edited with Actions from The Shoppe Actions & Designs

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Overworked: Fine art series with Mike Wolfe American Picker

This image is part of my fine art series with the personal picks of Mike Wolfe from American Pickers on the History Channel. To me this is about how so many of us are overworked, over scheduled, and just plain worn out. Our addiction to productivity and the lack of value put on rest here in the US is causing so many health problems, relationship problems, society problems and more. I am certainly no exception to this. I have been working lately on making time for rest, to be still. One way to do this I have found, is in the car with no music, no podcasts just silence. I find that when I give my mind a chance to have some space, I actually get my most creative ideas. When I am not overstimulated, not distracted. Yoga and meditation are also perfect ways to give yourself some mental space.

 

This series is now available on Etsy to purchase fine art prints! They are printed on thick, matte archival paper and make a perfect gift. BUY PRINTS HERE

 

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Resilience in Love: Fine Art Print: Blogs for Artists

This image is part of my series with the personal picks of Mike Wolfe from American Pickers on History Channel. I pray I can teach my daughter resilience and dedication to the ones she loves in her life, even when things are difficult or uncomfortable. That is what this image is about... love standing the test of time, through brokenness, when things seem disconnected, even old and stale... IMG_9114

Anonymous Damage: Mike Wolfe American Pickers Art Series

This is another image from the series I shot of the personal picks of Mike Wolfe from American Pickers on History. This series is about my journey to learn from the past and how we can make our world better today. This one is about how easy it is for us to do damage to others and to our world when we are anonymous. This could be anything from what we throw in the garbage to how we treat each other online. When we don't have to come face to face, or look in the eye the one we are doing damage to, it is easier to be disconnected, and not think about the consequences of our actions. I am going to try and be more intentional, and have my actions be the same when I am anonymous as they are when I am in the spotlight or face to face.

EDITED WITH ACTIONS AND PRESETS FROM THE SHOPPE

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Convenience vs Creativity: Holistic & Inspired: Blogs for Artists

I am excited to have shot the personal "picks" of my friend Mike Wolfe American Picker from American Pickers on History this week! Mike and I share a love of history, texture, rust and stories. I love incorporating antique items as props in my images. This time, however the props were the subject. I wanted to so a series of fine art prints that told a story simply with the objects in a symbolic way. This first image is about learning from our history to value simplicity in our entertainment. The timeless joy of playing a banjo around a campfire with good friends... Simple toys for our children that require imagination and effort. The little scattered items around on the floor are small children's toys, clickers, mini spinning tops, etc. At my daughter's preschool here in Franklin TN, their toys are not plastic or high tech. They are mostly little wooden pieces the children have to build things from on their own. They also have dried gourds, bark and other things from nature as toys for the children to do whatever their little creative minds can come up with. Instead of dress up clothes, they simply have fabric and clothes pins. The children have to use their imaginations, create things on their own.  I have fears of the consequences of us always in search of more comfort, more convenience. The result I believe is less gratitude, less motivation and endurance of inevitable hardships and disappointments. I hope I can pass on to my daughter a work ethic, a love of getting dirty and sore from hard rewarding work whether it be mental or physical or even spiritual.

 

Follow my journey to learn from the past for the sake of our future, and live holistic & inspired everyday...more images of Mike's "picks" to come!

EDITED WITH LIGHTROOM PRESETS FROM THE SHOPPE DESIGNS

 

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Learning from the Children & Learning from the past

You may have noticed, that I have been writing lately about how much I am learning from my child. As a first time parent it is fascinating to me how much they change your perspective on life and yourself. Living in the country of middle Tennessee is also an inspiration for me. Surrounded by history and dilapidated texture of a very different time. In my experience, the values here in the south are ever so slightly more reminiscent of the values of the past than they are on the 2 coasts where I have lived before. As I go forward I will be talking more about what I we can learn from the children in our lives, as well as from history. So often these days I feel like we are not learning from the past. It is almost as if our progress in technology and the like has made us somewhat arrogant; thinking that we are invincible as a species and a planet.

That we can overcome any medical issue with a vaccine or surgery, that we can outsmart nature. It is not working. One in every three people will develop cancer in their lifetime. Our planet's resources will not last much longer with the way we abuse them. We need change. I believe we can learn from our history, and from our children. I believe if we choose everyday to acknowledge the things that innocence, imagination and history can teach us, and to make one small change in how we do our daily life, we can work together toward a better, more holistic life of wellness, inspiration and progress. I hope you will join me as I stumble through a journey of change.

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The Success is in Your Story: Tips for Photographers and Artists

Success is in Your Story

 

We all want to be "successful". As artists success can be a bit of an ambiguous definition. Some days I just want to make great work and be proud of it and that is success to me. Other times the priority seems to be that I just want people to respond to it, and pay me for it and I have to compromise to make that happen. It is a struggle we all go through if we are trying to make a business out of our art. But what if we could do both? What if we didn't have to compromise? 

 

We as modern humans often tend to try to fight our surroundings. We want to go bigger and better, we want the things we don't have, the things we can't have. We want to eat strawberries in the winter so we find a way to do so even if that comes at a cost to our world. I am not saying this to put us down as people, our drive to make things better than they are has brought us a long way as a society as well. However, I also think it is important to be aware of what direction we are pushing up in. Are we going against the grain of the wood or with it? If you ever took Karate and tried to break the board, you know that when we try to break the board against the grain it can make it much harder or even impossible than going with the grain.

 

We do this as artists and business owners as well. We tend to look at what others have, what they have accomplished, or how they are better than us. We may try to be like them, or do what they did to get where they are thinking the results will duplicate the exact same way for us. Chances are, unfortunately, that it will not duplicate for you in the same way, or even close to the same way. They are a completely different person, with a different story, different passions, and different strengths. From the start they were formed differently, and each experience in their life has made them who they are, just as your own story has made you who you are. And you have strengths that they don't have, and something to say to the world that they can't say.

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It is important to find our own strengths and work with those, make the most of who you were made to be, and not try to be who someone else was made to be. Great how do I do that?! Finding those strengths can be difficult. You would think we would know ourselves better than anyone, right? Those around us that love us, look at us everyday. We hardly ever are looking at ourselves. So they probably see things we don't see. So ask them. Ask the people around you that love you, how they see you, ask them what your strengths are. Write that down. Then ask a stranger. Maybe it is a friend of a friend, or someone on Facebook that you are "friends" with but they don't really know you. Ask them to look at your work and tell you what they see. You will get 2 very helpful answers, one is the objective view of what your work is expressing, and the other is a bias view based on someone that knows you well. These are both so very valuable. One will tell you what you are currently showing the world, and the other one, the one that loves you, will probably give you some insight on where you need to go, what direction you start heading "up" in.

 

It is then time to take that feedback, and see what resonates with you, put it all together and then meditate or pray on what speaks to you about the feedback you received. You will probably need to start just making some more art at that point, get out and shoot, more often than you usually do. Then see what emerges, comparing it to the feedback you received. Put it all together, the new and the old, and look at the progress, look at any change.

 

I still struggle with this and am currently working hard on finding my strengths and putting all of my upward energy into them. It is a bit of a journey but one I really think we have to take in order to really be successful artists. When you are pushing upward in the right direction, success is inevitable. I can not guarantee exactly the kind of success you will have, and it may involve adjusting your view of what success means a bit as well. We all have different roles in the bigger story. I think we tend to forget that creating work that brings people joy and that we are proud to show the world, is really the greatest success we can ask for as artists. It is why we were given this gift and why we do share it with the world.

 

If anyone wants me to be your objective view I am happy to help! I might ask you to give me your thoughts in return as well. :)

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This week's image to me shows what I mean by the beauty that can emerge when we don't fight our surroundings, we don't fight who we are and our strengths. When we be the main character in our own story, instead of trying to be in someone else's story, the rythm and beauty will be undeniable. I believe this is how we are made, and how we can thrive...
xoxo Meghan Aileen

Learning From the Children: Innocence Out of the Darkness: Blogs for photographers

Learning From the Children: Innocence Out of the Darkness

Lately I have been thinking a lot about how much we can learn from children. As I watch my daughter grow and change every day, and watch her experience so many things in life for the very first time, I learn more and more about life and about myself. I believe we all have innocence inside us. There is that child like part of us that is always there. As life gets harder, and experiences in our lives and throughout our story hurt us, we built up walls and defenses around it. We put it away in the dark part of ourselves, making sure it does not see the light and is not seen by others.

 

We all have our different ways of protecting it. Some do it with defensiveness, snapping back when there is even a hint of pain. With others, it is comedy, making people laugh and always keeping things light. For some people it is anger or hatred, even violence. The idea is that I will hurt you before you hurt me. Others, like myself, it is control. I tend to always think that if I can control enough of my life I can protect myself.

 

Children on the other hand, their innocence is right out there for all to see. If they are feeling weak or sad, frustrated or lonely, they will show it for all to see, even if that means all of Costco on a Saturday morning! I think we as adults can learn a lot from this. I am not saying we should all have melt downs in Costco ;) But if you are like me, maybe you could stand to open up a bit more. Maybe showing that innocence to some the people in your life would bring those relationships to another level. When we show that part of ourselves, it lets others see us for who we really are. Which in turn, allows them to really love us well. This might seem scary, it is for me, yet at the same time I long for it, for that connection, for real community. These connections help us to learn more about ourselves, and to grow from what we learn.

This weeks image is about this, the child like part of ourselves, that innocence and vulnerability, being brought to light for the sake of growing and being loved. It shows how we are used to hiding it in the dark and the fog, and when we shine a light on it, we sometimes cover our eyes. We remember our defenses we have built around it and the walls we have put up. But we peek through, hoping to see someone that will come through for us, someone that will show us it was not a mistake to reveal our vulnerability, someone that will love us really well.

 

EDITED WITH ACTIONS AND TEXTURES FROM THE SHOPPE

 

xoxo Meghan Aileen

The Damage of Fairytales: Surreal Children's Portraits & Stories

The Damage of Fairytales

My daughter has recently started to be interested in the princesses. I kind of hoped this day would never come, but here it is.  Don't get me wrong, all the princesses in the Fairytales are good, kind, beautiful women. Nothing wrong with those qualities as a role model. There are many good things that the Princesses can teach young girls. Just from my own experience, I have some issues with some of the Fairytales.

Lets look at the basis of all Disney stories, the classics anyway. A beautiful strong young girl is in a predicament. She is usually oppressed in some way, trapped even. Arial wants out of the ocean, Cinderella wants out of her evil step family, and so on. Then a rich handsome charming man somehow comes along and there is instant love. I mean instant. And they want to be together forever, and they do live happily ever after eventually. First however the handsome gentleman has to rescue her from her situation.

There is something wonderful and romantic about this of course, we all love romance. I know I certainly do. And who doesn't want to be rescued by a strong handsome rich guy? But what these stories did for me as a young girl, is they left me with a very unrealistic view of relationships. I also feel it showed me that I need a man to rescue me when things get bad. I spent a lot of time in my teenage years, and my early 20s messing up in my relationships, and feeling a lot of heartache when it came to men, well lets be real, they were boys ;) I expected perfection from them, I expected them to be this perfect prince that would rescue me and never do anything wrong. This was of course something I was not aware of at the time, but I can see it when I look back.

I can't blame this all on Fairytales, there are certainly other factors involved. But the connection I see there in my own story is very real to me and something I want to be aware of teaching when teaching Fiona about relationships.  Am I going to keep her away from Princesses and Fairytales? No I am not. The plan is not to shelter her from these things. My plan is to teach her in other ways about real relationships and her expectations of them. To show her within our own family, and my own marriage what it looks like on an everyday basis, and how things can get hard sometimes, but we work through it, we say we are sorry and we forgive. I can talk honestly with her when the time is right about how men/boys sometimes forget to call on time. About how they probably won't have a full understanding of what it is that will make you happy even if they have full intentions to, and that sometimes you have to rescue them.

I made this image because this is the type of princess I see my daughter as. She loves the outdoors, playing in the woods, and the chicken coop, looking for lizards and frogs. She loves to sleep in her tent and hunt for acorns. She is a Woodland Fairy Princess if she is a going to be a princess. She is special, and beautiful and so very sweet and good.

Did you look closely? She is holding a frog because I want to teach her that frogs are ok too. That the one she loves might not be the most handsome, or the richest guy in town. He might be more like a frog, a little funny looking, but still really cute. He might be shorter than you, or chew his food funny. He will be imperfect in the best way for her, and that is perfectly ok. I pray that she experiences the romance the we all love so much about these Fairytales. I did eventually find my imperfect prince and I hope he and I can show her how to love hers someday.

xoxo Meghan Aileen
EDITED WITH THE FAIRYTALE ACTIONS  & THE NOSTALGIA TEXTURES FROM THE SHOPPE

Island Life: Is it Really Paradise? For Art's Sake Project Photographer's Challenge

Last week I was blessed to be able to take an almost free trip to the great state of Hawaii with my husband and my daughter. We stayed on Maui and had just an amazing time. There is incredible beauty in the natural environment and the culture that is undeniable. The volcanic base for the entire island is so interesting to me. It is built entirely on a dangerous volatile force of nature... in the middle of the pacific ocean. What does this do to a culture? What does this mean to the people and the environment? There are parts of this island that truly seem like paradise. But we saw many things that really also made us think that there are things about the underlying culture that are masked underneath this guise of paradise...  

We stopped at a small historic town as we drove around the island. I thought it was a cute and colorful little town and just wanted to photograph it. Immediately my husband got a bad feeling from the people and the atmosphere there. My husband is a recovering addict, he has been clean and sober for 11 years and is amazing at reading people and places. I always say his Spiritual Gift is Discerner of Spirits. He immediately said he thought there was some drug problems in that town. He always can tell. A friend of ours that lives there confirmed this for us. She said that there is an undertone of people that think they are suppose to be happy because they are in "paradise" but they are not; maybe they feel isolated, maybe it's the constant stream of people coming and going, maybe it is the extremely high cost of living... Whatever it is seems to be a breeding ground for drugs and theft.

 

We also drove to Hana and as we stopped at one of the turn outs, had a bit of an altercation with a local that was selling stuff out of his truck. He was yelling at us for not pulling far enough up in the parking lot. Not the kind of laid back island friendliness you would expect. At the airports we continually had trouble with people that worked there being unprofessional and just not very nice. My husband also has been to almost every airport in the world and said the Hawaiian ones were the absolute worst. I got the feeling that the locals are sick of tourists, and who can blame them. Their culture has been turned into a side show for people to come and briefly experience as a novelty, and then leave. This happens all year long, everywhere on the islands. It is certainly understandable. The intrinsic isolation of this culture based in the middle of the ocean, seems to need an outside connection but resent it at the same time. I lived in New Zealand for 6 months once, and got the same feeling there, there is a very high teen suicide rate in New Zealand due to the isolation from the rest of the world.

 

At the same time it also seems to breed connection and community, not all the Hawaiians are unfriendly drug addicts please don't get me wrong. We met many many warm, creative, beautiful and wonderful people. There is a different set of priorities that are prevalent in the people, that a work-a-holic like me can greatly admire and respect. Just like its volcanic tropical base, it has amazing beauty like you have never seen, and a dark, volatile side to it as well.

 

My image this week I feel represents this. Even though the fire is more Polynesian, the Luau is a Hawaiian tradition. This image I feel shows the intense, fiery side of the culture as well as the beauty, the passion and the joy. It is a display of their Hawaiian culture, and other Polynesian island cultures for the tourists that is booked solid every night. I am grateful to have experienced this amazing place and people. I am grateful to now be back home here in Franklin, TN too. To me, where I live is my paradise. This rusty worn wood historic town and my home in the forrest is just perfect for me. But I am certainly happy to visit the island life once in awhile... ;)

 

 

 EDITED WITH ACTIONS AND TEXTURES FROM THE SHOPPE DESIGNS & ACTIONS

 

 

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Courage & Gentleness: For Art's Sake Project, Professional Photographers Challenge

Courage & Gentleness: For Art's Sake Project, Professional Photographers Challenge Week 16

There are many things in life that seem too big, too scary, and too dangerous for us to face. This could mean different things to different people. Maybe it is a risk with your business or career. Maybe it is a personal risk, leaving a situation that you know is not good but are so used to, that the change would just be too intimidating. Maybe it is a feeling that you are not good enough for the things you long for, they are too big, out of your reach. There could be a person in your life who's personality is too powerful for you to stand up to, even though you don't like how they treat you.
This image is about those things. It is about standing and facing the things that seem too big, too scary or too unpredictable. It is about facing them with gentle but confident energy, looking at them head on. Standing up for yourself even if you feel small and afraid. I have things in my own life that I struggle to face every day, do you? What do you want the courage to face? What needs to change but seems to scary to stand up and look it in the eyes?
Edited with BBQ from the NEW Americana Lightroom Presets
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Respecting the Impossible: For Art's Sake Professional Photographer's Challenge

Respecting the Impossible

For Art's Sake Professional Photographer's Challenge

When I hang out with my 3 year old, we do a lot of pretending. A box becomes a car and then instantly turns into a spaceship. We go from  a party at her imaginary friend's house into outer space within minutes. She is a doctor that heals her animals simply with a hug and a swipe of her hand.

The lack of limitations she has is what allows her to create such worlds. There is no boundaries of what she has been told is not possible, she has not been let down or disappointed to the point where she doesn't see the possibilities beyond what is right in front of her.

Most of us as adults, are just the opposite. It is not our fault, we have had to learn from our negative experiences in order to survive this long in life. The disappointments and road blocks we have encountered have helped to shape who we are and that is somewhat unavoidable and not entirely bad either. I do believe we grow from the tension in our lives. We develop skills we never knew we could have, we develop persistence, experience hope, faith and mercy. All beautiful things that I would not want a life without.

But what can we do about how it shapes our perception negatively? What can we learn from a 3 year old's game of pretend? What I hope to take from this stage of her life, is the importance if respecting "the impossible". Just because we can't see something, or have not experienced it, doesn't mean it is not real, doesn't mean it is not possible. I think that not only children, but history has taught us this. However we sometimes forget this in our modern world. We have accomplished so much in science, that we forget that there is still more to discover, there are still things we don't know. All around us it is encouraged that the most valuable things are things you can see and touch, things we can buy or sell. What about the world of the unseen, the world of the unknown, the impossible?

What does this mean for us as artists, as creative people? Why is this important for us? To me what it means, is that, when I respect the impossible, it opens up the possibility that I can show the world something they have not seen. Maybe I can even encourage or inspire something that takes someone further than they thought they could go, that they thought was "possible". Too much pressure? Maybe it is just showing someone something beautiful that they have never encountered. The simple beauty of a tree, something that an inner city low income child might not have ever known. Someone that is not a visual person might not see that tree the way you do, unless you show them.

This week's Art's Sake image I wanted to find a way to express this. I chose to show it with a door in the woods, a school desk and some old books. A door in the woods, is a door we want to walk through, we want to see what is on the other side, where it will lead us.  What lies on the other side of a door that is not where it "should" be? Maybe we will find something else that "should not be", something that "cannot possibly be". And who is the keeper of that door to the perceived impossible? A child of course. A child and her imagination, her willingness to learn in every moment, and her ability to believe in the "impossible".

I actually have 2 images for this week! I feel that they both express differently what I wanted to say. This next one shows her with her eyes covered, in my eyes, this is her willingness to believe in what she can't see. It also shows that in order to pass through the door you also need to be open to things unseen. :)

Edited with the New Americana Lightroom Presets Available HERE

 

Thoughts on Not Shooting People: For Art's Sake Project

Professional Photographer's Challenge: For Art's Sake
A 52 week challenge to fall back in love with art
Thoughts on Not Shooting People
I know most of you shoot people for a living (insert joke about telling people that at your high school reunion here) And I usually do too. I love the emotion and movement and engaging connection that images of people can show. But this week I wanted to focus on an object. Mix it up a bit! I shot a lot of detail images when I did weddings, and I enjoyed that part of it quite a bit. I like the simplicity of just shooting a thing. I don't have to talk to it, try and get it to understand what I want it to do, work with it's schedule or in my daughter's case, her mood and every whim! I just sat it where I wanted it and it stayed there! This cool looking thing is an antique miners lamp. It is probably from the early 20th century and was used on the hard hats of the miners as well as motor cars, bicycles and more. I love the design of it, the texture and colors of the metal and the fonts and text on it as well. I bought it from a guy at the flea market when I was trying to plan my shot of Fiona and the vintage wooden race cars. I didn't end up using it in that image, and kept it more simple but wanted to do something with this. I edited it with the new Americana Lightroom Presets I am working on and I love them for objects as well! If you feel like you need a break from shooting people, from finding a model, or doing what your client's want instead of what you want. Shoot an object. Find something that has gorgeous color, texture or shape and just photograph it for the simple beauty that it is.
Edited with the new Americana Lightroom Presets coming soon!'
xoxo Meghan Aileen

Childlike Wonder: For Art's Sake: 52 week Professional Photographers Challenge

  This week my little angel turns 3 years old. Well maybe angel is not really the right word for a 3 year old ha! But seriously, I love her with all my heart and soul and can't imagine a day without her. I love the way she explores nature, the way she is fascinated by the littlest things. I love the way she collects things, how there are rocks, leaves, and acorns, all over my house hidden in clever places. She is inspecting life, absorbing each little thing with a sense of wonder and awe that not too long ago was all but lost on me. Thanks to her I appreciate wonder again and I notice simple joys. Thank you Fiona, my love.

 

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A Different Way Of Life: For Art's Sake Professional Photographer's 52 Week Project

For Art's Sake Professional Photographer's 52 Week Project by Meghan Aileen

Week 10: A Different Way Of Life

 

I spent the week on gorgeous Seabrook Island in South Carolina. The serene beaches and spanish moss covered trees are just breathtaking. I am so grateful to be able to take time and relax on this vacation. It was the first time since Fiona was born 3 years ago that I felt like I could relax on a vacation. She is now at an age where I don't have to worry about her falling down the stairs, choking on small objects or eating sand. I also discovered the beauty of multiple children being around at different ages. There were 3 older kids there with us, between 8-11 years old. They played with her, watched her for me, and she was just happy to sit in their presence and watch them. Amazing. I sat in a chair on the beach, I relaxed with my coffee in the morning in the screened porch, these small things I will never take for granted again.

There was also 4 other adult women, mothers, in the house as well. Between the older children and the other mothers, I got a little taste of what the old village life must have been like. Something I wish we had more of these days. I also got a tiny glimpse of how big families work. I never understood how other parents did it, how they had 3-6 children when I can barely handle just one. But I see now how the dynamic changes in the house, how the olders help out with the littles. They are distracted, busy, they play with each other instead of only playing with mommy. I see the brilliance of God's design here with families. I see the amazing benefit of community as well and how we are made to be around each other, to help each other, to love each other.week 10

 

This week's image is one I took on the beach while we were waiting for the dolphins to come up and feed. It represents the bond of women to me, of community, of motherhood. It reminds me of peacefulness and space, of simple pleasures that are so important to take time for. It makes me grateful for the women in my family and around me in my community. I edited it to be in a warm black and white, to have a vintage feel so I could represent a little of an ancient way of life.

Edited with Editorial B&W from the In Vogue Photoshop Actions Collection

Edited with Tea Stain Texture from the Nostalgia Textures Overlay Collection

 

We lived in a subdivision right in town until April of this year. I could not take a picture of my child outdoors without another house in the background. I could see 9 houses from my back deck. Yet I had one friend in the neighborhood. Just one. My theory is that when people are always surrounded by noise, and crowds, marketing and billboards, they are protective of their space. They are constantly bombarded by someone or something and it can be exhausting. Especially when they are all people you don't know or connect with on some level, or things you don't need or care about. You have to put on a face, be "on" and even presentable. At least that is what our social rules say. You have to defend yourself and your hard earned money from the constant bombardment of consumerism.

Living out in the country now, I have over 7 acres of woods and no neighbors on one side for a few miles. I find myself reaching out to those in my community more, and they reach out to me as well. When I have more space of my own, I reach to connect, I long for it more. Our personal space is a relief in itself for our family, our own private peace, and where we can detox from the overwhelming world around us of advertising and crowds.This is just how I feel about my situation. I know there are a lot of situations where people live close to each other, or live in a city and are content and close to those around them and I think that is just wonderful. I hope that we can see more of that instead of less as time goes by because we are quickly filling up all the space we have left with people and houses! I think the internet is part of this as well, we connect on Facebook, or texting or via email. It is easier, faster, takes less investment, time and energy of which we are all short on.

Maybe take the time this week to reach out to a neighbor, to just say hello if you normally just walk by with your head down. Or to invite them for a coffee if you normally just say hello and quick pleasantries. You never know what you might find out about someone, what their story can help you learn or inspire in you. We are designed to live, love and learn from each other. We are designed to help one another and connect. We are made to love each other and be salt and light to the world.

xoxo Meghan Aileen

 

 

On Vacation: For Art’s Sake Project: Professional Photographer’s Challenge

This week I am on vacation! It's a mommies and kiddos vacation with family in beautiful South Carolina. I am taking the time to enjoy the little things, to be grateful and joyful. Today my little Fiona and I painted this bird feeder together. It was a birthday gift to her from her Aunt Cristin and she couldn't wait to open it and paint it. She loves art projects so much and her excitement is enough to be contagious. When you are painting a bird feeder with a almost 3 year old, it doesn't matter if it is done well or not. It doesn’t matter if it looks good, or if anyone else likes it. I loved that about working on this with her. It was just about doing it, not about the quality of the end result. I fought myself a few times to not control the situation but in the end it was very rewarding to complete it with her no matter how it looked. Looking forward to getting daddy to help her hang it on one of our hundreds of trees when we get home! Take the time this week to make something that does not have to look good! It is very liberating and just plain fun :) week 9 BLOG2

Americana Art: For Art's Sake Project: Professional Photographer's Challenge

For Art's Sake Project: Professional Photographer's Challenge. Week 8 Americana Art
Americana
There is a word that has been floating around a lot in marketing and genre descriptions these days and it is "Americana". It is a very cool word to me and I love the images it brings up in my mind and the nostalgia it stirs in my heart. Images of 4th of July BBQs, worn denim jeans, farmland, apple pie, 24 hour diners, and home cooked southern food. A couple weeks ago I did an image of Angel of the Forgotten. I took a lot more shots of the dilapidated buildings around here and wanted to share one more today. It has that pure Americana feel to it and documents the world around me as it looks right now, at this moment in 2014. I capture how it looks now so that my grandchildren and great grandchildren can see the world as it was in my time, as those that went before us did for us.

 

Take a moment this week to document the world around you. That hole in the ground where they are doing a big construction project, that big tree with the gnarled branches, or the tiny blueberry bush in your front yard. Maybe the old house down the street that the same old couple has lived in forever, or the new condos they are putting up on your block, or your favorite coffee shop, or local hangout. Take a moment to document it this week. Things are changing so fast around us. It is our duty as photographers to document things as they are in our time, in our place. For me, where I am in the Tennessee countryside, this is what is important for me to document. That and I am inspired by the "Americana" and nostalgia that surrounds me here.

 

This image was edited with:
xoxo Meghan Aileen
arts sake week 8

 

Week 6 For Art's Sake Professional Photographer's Challenge. Inspiration for Photographers. Imaginative Photography

Week 6 For Art's Sake ~ Professional Photographer's Challenge

After my flea market adventures this month I was inspired by vintage toys and props. I found these old wooden race car toys. Fiona's new preschool  has mostly wooden toys, no plastic. There is something about the feel and texture of wood that I think makes awesome kids toys. And they obviously last!

The landscape is a shot of the desert I took driving cross country and I love the texture of the cracked ground and the drama of the sky as the race is about to begin! Fiona is always coming up with these elaborate situations for games we play, characters, locations and props, and she is not even 3 years old. Yes most of them are pretend which makes it all the more fun for me to try and translate her imagination into an image. I can't wait to see what she becomes, the type of teen, young lady and woman and probably artist she grows into. Although if you ask my husband he will say lets do whatever we can to keep her from growing up and meeting boys! :)

Here, she enthusiastically starts a car race in the desert with her homemade newspaper flag. Use what you have. I spend a total of $15 on this shoot. The rest is props and environments I already had. When creating imaginative images is important to put ourselves back in a child like state, what do they love, what do they dream of, how do they play… I humbly hope my jaded mind has portrayed her amazing world of wonder in the slightest bit. :)

Edited with Magic Mushrooms Photoshop Action from the Fairytale Action Set

Edited with Butternut Photoshop Action from the Memento Set

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Angel of the Forgotten: Week 5 Professional Photographer's Challenge: For Art's Sake

Week 5 Professional Photographer's Challenge: For Art's Sake

Angels of the Forgotten 

by Meghan Aileen

Week 5 Professional Photographer's Challenge: For Art's Sake ~Angels of the Forgotten

This project has sparked a lot in me so far and we are only on week 5. I am rethinking the focus of my time. It has already showed me how much I miss making images, reminding me I can speak through them. It has also showed me I need to make some changes so that creating becomes more of the priority again. This is scary and exciting so stay tuned for some changes coming soon and more about that!

This week I was inspired by the dilapidated buildings all around me here in Middle Tennessee, by their history and their value to us. I love that there are so many homes, barns, and even city buildings that maybe somewhere else would have torn down and replaced with a shiny new building, but not here. We seem to cherish our rust, our rough wood, and our broken bricks. We hunt for it and value it. It is just awesome. I drive by this house almost every day. When I was shooting this image the old man who owns the land came out to see what I was doing. We stood in the heat and talked awhile. He grew up on this land. His family had been there for almost 200 years. We talked about how the road used to be dirt, and what it was like before the mall in town was put in. He lives up on the hill in a newer house now, but kept all the older buildings on the property as they are and have always been.

I am calling this image: "Angel of the Forgotten". Sometimes it seems to me  like there are Angels protecting these places. These buildings don't seem like they should still be standing but they are. The world around them moves on, becoming what the consumers of today dictate that it should become. These buildings seem to stand still in time, representing something long gone, reminding us that our time is not the only time, that here were generations before us and will be many after. They remind me that I need to treat the world around me accordingly, to preserve it for those to come; to make things that last and to reuse what we already have. The front porch of this home is held up with stacks of precarious bricks. The wood is rotted and boards falling off, but it stands. It houses our history, generations of family life, of community and homesteading. I can document it for those of tomorrow in my own way, with my own vision, and I am grateful for that.

 

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Week 5 Professional Photographer's Challenge: For Art's Sake

Angels of the Forgotten 

What do you cherish around your local area? What is your favorite thing that you drive by regularly? I think it is part of our responsibility as photographers to document our local areas in the time we are living. It is important for the generations to come to see what it was like now. I hope you find something that inspires you this week in your town and make some art...for art's sake. :)

Hope to see you next week!

xoxo

Meghan Aileen

 

Edited with:

Vintage Natural from the Memento Photoshop Action Set

1600 Film from the Nostalgia Textures Set

Light Leak Overlay Set