Cloudy, 26 Degrees, West Winds 10 – 20 mph.
I awoke this morning to the sight of snow, heavy snow, falling and accumulating on the ground. The wind is plainly blowing, as tree branches are blowing around. Can it really by April 17th? As Jamie and I leave the house, it becomes evident that it is also quite cold.
There are still a few flakes coming down and there is about an inch on the ground, but the clouds are thinning and it looks like the sun might break through later today. If I were dropped into a day like this without knowing what time of year it was, I might guess January or February, certainly not April.
I awoke this morning again with the feeling that I am getting exhausted and my creative well is running dry. I’ve promised you honesty in this blog and it is clear that this process will not all be easy or enjoyable. This morning I had the feeling that if I did not give myself a break of some kind, I might crash and burn entirely.
The last couple of days pictures have been pretty sorry, and I really don’t like that. Until now, I’ve generally been pretty pleased with the pictures I’ve taken, but not lately. That concerns me for the future.
The problem, at bottom, is that I am thinking of making images strong enough to exhibit and sell. I don’t even know if I will have a place to sell them, but I am hoping I will. Exhibiting and selling is the standard that I aim for, but I’ve said many times that if I just enjoy myself and engage with my surroundings, I should be happy. And I would if it weren’t for the hope of selling my work. Maybe I should ask the gallery for clarification. If they don’t want to sell my work any more, maybe I could take some pressure off of myself and just see what comes of shooting daily.
The mind of an artist is a funny, tortured place. I am continually riding the roller-coaster of excitement and disappointment in my photographs. A photograph I love today will not make the cut next week. Yesterday I printed a bunch of images for our group critique tonight. I was excited about a bunch of them when I printed them. Now, I’m not sure about probably half of them.
When I had the endorsement of the gallery, I didn’t worry much about these things. If I liked the photograph, I printed it and delivered it to them. Looking back now, I think that a lot of them weren’t wonderful; no better than what I’m doubting today. I know my confidence in my work shouldn’t depend on other people’s approval, but it has an impact.
With the gallery’s appreciation and with substantial sales as well, I stopped worrying about whether or not I was good enough. I watched my friends continue to struggle with this, and didn’t understand any more. Now, I’m getting a taste of it again.
In fairness, I don’t doubt my abilities. I feel like that has been settled by a lot of affirmations, from solo exhibits, to magazine publication, to gallery representation and sales. But I doubt individual pieces, and I am unsure whether the gallery will be interested in them or not.
Anyway, in a nutshell, I am pressuring my daily photographs with hopes and expectations of making fine art. It’s probably too much to expect on a daily basis, and it’s weakening my pleasure and resolve. I need to set that stuff aside. New things will come in time and I’ll be on my way again.
Thus far, I feel pretty good about some things, whether or not a gallery is interested. They would be the bark photos, the overhead branch photos, and many of the snow pictures I’ve taken. There are also some nice scenic photos without the snow I like very well. Regardless of what anyone else may think, I would mount and hang any number of those pieces and be happy with them. I’d like it if that were all that mattered and I think it is mostly all that matters.
But enough navel gazing for today. Back to the walk. I took my usual road picture before heading into the woods. My eye was caught by the tree branches against the sky, so I shot some of them. I don’t think they’ll be anything special, but I liked what I saw and I photographed them.
As we descended into the woods proper, I noticed some tracks in the snow that looked like a dog. But they were solitary tracks, with no human tracks, so I think they might have been Coyote. I’ve only seen one Coyote out there in more than five years of walking there. They must be pretty careful. Jamie investigated the tracks very carefully, sticking his nose down into each paw print.
Down at the marsh, I notice that the spring peepers are silent. I pity those poor frogs, sitting in the frigid water, waiting for spring. Remembering yesterday’s Hawks, I put on the long lens and prepared to photograph them—but they were nowhere to be seen.
Back at the top of the hill, I set up to try to shoot Jamie running toward me. He’s been disappearing into the woods for a while here and usually comes running when I call him. I suspect there’s a carcass of some kind in there, as he came out with a bone once before.
When he comes running, I fire off a few shots. I’m hoping I got something, as the snow makes a nice clean background. He is so perfectly camouflaged for bare woods and dry grass that it’s ideal to get him against the snow.
I took my usual closing shot of the road from a different vantage point and Jamie and I headed home. I saw a Robin sitting on a branch and photographed it. It was brightly colored and all fluffed up to keep warm. It should make a good shot.
As we turned into the wind on the way home, it was freezing. It’s blowing probably 15 or more miles and hour right at me. My face got frozen for the first time in a while. Definitely more January than April.