Friday, January 20, 2012

My Creative Story

“Focus on the journey, not the destination. Joy is found not in finishing an activity but in doing it.” Greg Anderson

This year I have signed up for Kim Klassen's "Beyond Layers" course. For the first weeks homework we have been asked to write our Creative Story. Sounds easy but I have spent ages sitting here wondering where to start.

Since I was a kid I always liked arty crafty things and my teachers always brought it to my attention that art was something I was good at and should do more of.
When I hit high school I took art at as a subject then changed over to ceramics (pottery) which is what I really loved until I discovered photography in my senior high school years. 
The school had a couple of  SLRs that you could borrow and they also had a fabulous darkroom.
It was actually a storeroom that they had converted but that didn't matter. They had all the equipment and chemicals and we would lock ourselves away in there and experiment with our photos.

Unfortunately, when I left high school I forgot all about art and photography and went and got a job in a bank and that is where I stayed for 20 years.I was never completely happy working there. Sure I liked the customers and the pay but I felt something was missing. When my daughter, Melissa, started school we decided to buy a computer and this is when I discovered Microsoft Publisher. I used to sit for hours after Mel had gone to bed designing invitations, diaries, making posters and then discovered digital scrapbooking. I was like a huge sponge I tried to learn all that I could about the program and did a lot experimenting.
It was also good therapy for me, as I was getting over a broken marriage and keeping my mind occupied was better than sitting around feeling sorry for myself. Later on I was to find my soul mate but that's a whole other story that I will tell you about some other time.

About 10 years or so ago, I decided that I wanted to leave the bank. I was no longer happy there and hated going to work. I decided to bite the bullet, handed in my resignation and crossed my fingers. As luck would have it I saw a job advertised for a part time secretary who had to have experience with Microsoft Publisher, I rang them up and got the job. I started off doing basic secretarial work and because I loved designing flyers the boss gave me more and more creative stuff to do. We used to have the company catalog produced by the printer's graphic designer but it was decided that we may as well do it in-house.

The boss paid for me to do a design course plus an indesign course and I ended up doing all the graphic design work for the company, which I absolutely loved.
The boss also bought a point and shoot digital camera so that I could take the product photos for the catalog. I was totally clueless. I knew how photos in catalogs should look. I didn't own a camera, so my photos were pretty crap and I was embarrassed to use them.

This was the start of another huge learning curve I spent hours on the internet, reading articles and watching videos on youtube on how to take and process photos. I borrowed books and magazines from the library and tried all that I could to improve my photos. I was great at photoshop so that helped but only to a certain degree as they say rubbish in rubbish out. I then came to a decision that the only way I could improve was to bite the bullet, buy my own camera and practice. I purchased a Sony DSC-H1, joined Flickr and decided to do Project 365 this meant taking a photo everyday for a year. It was a bit of a challenge at times but I did complete the year and made lots of friends and learnt a stack along the way.
I also found the macro button on the camera and fell in love with the little things in life. Macro photography is still my passion. Near the end of Project 365 I decided that I was ready to upgrade to a DSLR and experiment a bit more, I have since traded that camera in for a Canon 7D which I love.

At the beginning of 2011 I decided that my job was too stressful for me even though I loved what I did, the job had just kept on growing and growing and my part time job had now evolved into a full time job. I had a couple of health issues that were aggravated by the stress as well. My hubby has his own engraving business and he had purchased new premises. He was working long hours and so we decided that the best thing for both of us was that I help him out and do some work for him. The premises that he purchased was two storey and as he was only using the bottom floor he said that I could turn the top floor into a studio. Wow was I excited. I bought studio lights, then proceeded to repaint the studio walls and floor and then moved onto painting and carpeting the lounge area. I did all this in between doing work for him so it has taken me a while.

My goals for this year are to learn as much as I can about the lighting system and get as many people as possible in front of my camera as portrait photography is something that I really need to learn more about. I have also been going upstairs every work day to practice still life compositions with my lights and I have also been using natural light.
I want to do a lot more creative stuff and challenge myself to think outside the box and Im hoping that Beyond Layers will help me with this and that I make more friends along the way. I am doing 365 again in the hope that this will help me creatively as well.

Thats my story so far, I think of it as a journey that I have only just started and I still have a very long way to go.

 I am hoping that this year will be an inspirational and creative year and I hope I haven't bored you too much with my story.


  1. Louise I loved reading your Creative story and getting to know you just that bit more, funny weve been friends online for a few years have some things in common but dont really know each other well , so I look forward to sharing in Beyond with you :)

  2. Thanks Sim, I am so glad you are doing the ecourse as well. Im looking forward to seeing yours and all the other members inspiring work :-)

  3. Isn't it interesting how so many of us have creative drives at a young age, but they get squelched or set aside for so many reasons.
    I'm so happy for you in what I've read here. Your image is wonderful.

  4. Thanks Regina, I agree, I know many people who have discovered their creativity later in life. I have just popped over and read your blog and kept on saying to myself, this sounds like me.