Madeline

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So far M S has created 59 blog entries.

A Special Announcement: I’m Taking the Next Step

I’m feeling a bit… timid… today. Mostly because of this blog post, which I am both nervous and excited to share.

Excited because I am announcing a new chapter in my creative journey, but also nervous, because with this announcement comes a favor I would like to ask of you.

So without keeping you in the dark too much longer:

I wanted you to know that I am starting a Patreon!

 

 

Of course, when I first heard of Patreon, I also had no idea what it was. What’s more, when I did found out, my initial thought was to inwardly groan (maybe outwardly a bit too…)  and think to myself “not ANOTHER social media platform!”

But I started researching.

And as I researched, my opinion changed. I began to realize that Patreon is a lot more than just “another social media platform.” Because what makes it really special is the fact I get to reward you, my follower, with exclusive gifts. And they’re not just the typical “you get to see my work first” kind of gifts. No… with Patreon, I can send you real, tangible gifts. And so in joining this platform, I realized that I finally had a way to sincerely and genuinely thank you for the support you have given me these past few years.

And THAT is why I chose to commit to another platform. To Patreon.

 

 

So now for the favor: while the possibilities of this new chapter of my creative journey seem infinite right now, they also depend upon you in some part. If I have learned anything over the last year, it is that I cannot do everything alone (although I have a hard time admitting that sometimes). By investing at least $1 a month and becoming one of my patrons, you will, of course, be given access to exclusive looks at my artwork, but what I am more excited about is being able to share more than that with you. Starting today, in exchange for your investment in my dream, I can share things like cards, prints, and thank you packages. Take a look at everything I am giving, below:

 

Tier 1

A pledge of $1 or more per month

  • Access to patron-only content, including:
    • Exclusive vlog updates
    • Before and after images
    • WIP images

GET $1 REWARD

 

Tier 2

A pledge of $5 or more per month

  • Everything in Tier 1, plus:
  • Greeting cards in the mail every other month
  • Access to new desktop wallpapers each month
  • One coupon per month to receive 10% discount off your entire purchase

GET $5 REWARD

 

Tier 3

A pledge of $10 or more per month

  • Everything in previous tiers, plus:
  • A 4 x 6 print in the mail every other month
  • Access to monthly Q&A sessions

GET $10 REWARD

 

Tier 4

A pledge of $20 or more per month

  • Everything in previous tiers, plus:
  • An 8 x 12 print in the mail every other month
  • A yearly thank you package

GET $20 REWARD

 

Tier 5

A pledge of $50 or more per month

  • Everything in previous tiers, plus:
  • A 50% discount coupon to be used during the first week of a new product release

GET $50 REWARD

 

This is a really cheesy statement, and probably entirely overused, but I will say it anyway (because it is true): in supporting my work through the Patreon platform, you won’t just be getting some fun treats for yourself. You will be helping me to make my dreams a reality: my dream of creating stories with my photography and sharing this in a real and tangible way with my followers. A way that goes beyond a Facebook post or an image shared on Instagram. A way that can be held and read in the rocking chair before bedtime or admired as you snuggle into the sofa for a cozy night of reading. Magic belongs in your home, and I want my stories to help you invite the elves and faeries inside.

 

I already know I love my art. It is my passion, and I often joke that it has literally become the thing that gets me out of bed each morning (because the quiet hours of the morning, before all my roommates are awake, really are the best time to get my creative work done). It is the one thing in my life that inspires a level of confidence in myself that the shy 18 year old with her first DSLR (the girl that I used to be) would NEVER have even hoped to become.

 

 

And so I am humbly asking, if you have ever looked at my pieces in admiration, or have felt a connection or some amount of the love that I feel for my art, consider becoming a patron of mine. Even if it is just $1 a month (which after a year is still less than a two-month’s subscription to Netflix, or even one month to Audible!), you have my sincere thanks. I have thought long about how I could repay your investment and believe I have done my best to come close to returning the favor. To read more about the rewards you could receive and more about  this new step in my creative journey, please click the link below:

https://www.patreon.com/madelineshayne

 

I look forward to continuing to share my creative journey with you here on my blog, as well as on Facebook, Instagram, and now Patreon. It’s already been quite the adventure and I am excited to see where it continues to lead you and me!

By | 2017-07-19T10:59:30+00:00 July 19th, 2017|Announcement, Patreon|0 Comments

An Ominous Name for an Enchanting Location

Last month, I found perhaps the most surreal location I have ever been able to shoot at.

And while its name, Purgatory Chasm, may sound rather ominous, my recent trip to this state park in southern Massachusetts actually proved to be anything but.

In fact, after spending the day there with my friend and fellow photographer Aleah, climbing through forests and incredible rock formations, I believe I’ve actually found a new favorite location! As we climbed over huge boulders dotted with ferns, beneath broadly rooted trees, and over bubbling streams that wound through mossy stepping stones, I felt like I was walking in some fantasy world that I had only ever read about before. It is still beyond me as to why such a magical place would have such a bleak name!

 

 

I think my favorite part about Purgatory Chasm was the secrets it had hidden everywhere you dared to explore. In the image above, this location was actually tucked unassumingly up the side of the cliff faces we hiked past. It was so well concealed, in fact, that I almost dismissed it entirely. Thankfully, while Aleah and her husband paused to scope out a nearby location, my eyes were drawn to the solitary tree trunk, standing against the tall chasm walls. Deciding to explore the area, as I ventured up the short rise and noticed the most vibrant green moss covering the trunk and a garden of ferns surrounding it below, I immediately changed my mind about the tree trunk’s unassuming nature. Remembering a simple (but elegant, of course) nightgown I had brought with me, I pulled it out of my bag and set to taking the above shot with Aleah as my model.

 

 

As much as I loved this tree trunk though, my very favorite location was much more difficult to find, but well worth the effort. Towards the end of the day, as the soft golden light of late afternoon began to filter through the trees, my ever curious mind felt compelled to cross a stream we were shooting by. I think perhaps there needs to be a saying that opposes the idea of curiosity killing the cat, because in this instance, much like with my exploration of the tree trunk, my curiosity was rewarded quite handsomely. In fact, where my curiosity led me was to one of the most magical locations I have ever photographed, and I mean every bit of that statement.

 

 

As I forded the small river and worked my way upstream through the undergrowth, I stepped around the riverbend and immediately felt as if I had stepped into another world. Peering through the low-hanging branches blocking my way, I glimpsed a small, moss-covered island with giant trees rising in the middle, surrounded by a gently flowing stream. In the afternoon light, it all seemed so incredibly magical that I half expected elves to come gliding in from behind the trees. I felt like somehow I had stumbled inside the pages of my favorite fantasy novels. If it wasn’t for the swarms of mosquitoes (and our unfortunate lack of bug repellent), I could have stayed there for hours on end!

 

 

One of the joys of working with other self-portrait photographers is how well they can model. They know, for example, what you mean when you need movement in the pose or when you ask them to give you soft hands. Working with Aleah was an absolute dream, because she just got it. Combined with the dream-worthy location we shot in, once I sat down to edit the photos from this wonderful day of shooting, the photos practically created themselves.

 

With a model so ethereal, and a location so wonderfully enchanting, I’m not surprised that not much editing was needed to make the images come alive. After such a wonderful day, I think it won’t be long before I return to tell more stories in Purgatory Chasm!

By | 2017-07-12T09:41:44+00:00 July 12th, 2017|New Piece|2 Comments

The Story Has Begun! The First Photos of Passages Are Here!

On the morning of June 22nd, I sat in the middle of the living room floor with my youngest sister, Chloë, getting ready for the most meaningful (and exciting) shoot I had ever done. As I dropped the soft green gown I had spent weeks creating over her head, I felt as if the story I had been waiting to tell had finally begun to come to life. The beginning of Passages was standing in my living room, and for the very first time, I began to feel like all my hard work had been worth it.

 

 

Once my sister was ready, my mother, sister, and I loaded up the car and drove to the location I had picked out almost two years prior on my very first location scouting trip in Boston. As I led my mom and sister to the small forest glade within the Middlesex Fells Reservation, I gazed at the creeping myrtle-covered ground, the soft sunbeams peeking through the bright green canopy above as it cast dappled shadows on the undergrowth. The location had felt magical from the very first time I laid eyes on it in August of 2015, and I knew this was the spot where I wanted my story to begin.

Leaving the paved pathway through the woods behind us, I guided my sister through the undergrowth to where I had always imagined this scene taking place. I carefully guided my sister into the correct pose, adjusting a strand of hair here, and a fold of fabric there as I picked up my camera. As she lay there in the undergrowth, looking perfectly young and peaceful, everything began to fall into place. And although there were, of course, some hiccups throughout the day (I’m sharing those rather comical details with my mailing list), what resulted from this long awaited shoot are images that turned out far better than I had even hoped.

 

 

When I planned out the story line for Passages I had always wanted to begin the story with a sort of prologue of sorts. I wanted to provide a peek into Chloë’s life before she set out on her adventure. I wanted to show the young, carefree girl she is at the beginning so that the woman who emerged at the end of the adventure seemed that much more real and powerful. No one starts fearless and strong, but rather innocent and perhaps a little fearful.

These images are meant to convey these first few moments of young Chloë’s story… the Prologue, if you will. With an air of youth and naivety, they are meant to feel as if we have just found her relaxing in the woods, content in the life she knows, but pondering on what, perhaps, lies in the grand world outside her place of comfort. She knows she can’t stay there forever, her curiosity would never allow that, so for now she is content to enjoy her last few moments in the quiet forest grove.

 

 

In life… in reality, I think we often find that it is easy to stay in the places we know best. To cling to our innocence and our places of comfort, because we really are content there. But that is all we are. Content. Great lives were never lived by merely content people, though. Great lives are lived by those who are truly happy, and as we have all learned, true happiness must be found through the adventures of trials, errors, mistakes, triumphs, and successes. As we ventured from childhood into adult life, our own adventures and trials took us to the place we find ourselves in right now.

That is the story I want Passages to tell, and this is the beginning. It feels wonderful to truly, finally… excitingly be starting this adventure with you.

 

 

P.S. As I mentioned above, if you want to see all the behind the scenes details (like the one mistake I didn’t take into account when planning this shoot) sign up for my mailing list! To see and admire an image for its surface value is one thing. To know its story, how it was created and why it was created, is another thing entirely. Since you, like me, are a lover of stories, I know you will not want to miss out on this.

Fill out the form below to join, and to really, truly see.

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By | 2017-07-05T14:55:39+00:00 July 5th, 2017|Passages|0 Comments

Why I Finally Decided to Close My Etsy Shop

Last week, I made the decision to shutdown my Etsy and Redbubble shops.

Not because I hate selling and sharing my work or even because I hate having a store (let’s be real, I’m human, and I like making money…). Rather, I shut them down because I do love selling and sharing my work, and I wanted to do it the way that felt best to me. Doing it through Etsy and Redbubble just didn’t feel authentic to myself, and so I opened my own store, right here on my own website.

 

 

I guess, I’m a little bit possessive because now that everything is all in one spot under my domain, I feel so much happier and willing to share it all! So today, since it marks almost one week since my little shop opened here on madelineshayne.com, I wanted to talk about some of my favorite products and why I chose to carry them.

 

(As a sidenote, if you sign up for my mailing list, I’ll give you a coupon code for a 10% discount to use in my shop! Just sign up below!)

Subscribe right here!

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Now, here are a few (three!) of my favorite things!

 

First, I love the Magic’s Origin Journal. Magic’s Origin is one of my very favorite pieces I have ever created and it’s because of the source of its inspiration: my heart. When I create, I want all of my pieces to stem purely from myself and my life. While it’s fun to create beautiful photographs, it would all feel so meaningless to me if there wasn’t a story behind each piece.

Of course, I offer Magic’s Origin as both a print and a journal, so why is the journal my favorite, and not the print? Because I love the nature of what a journal can be for people. Photography has become one version of journaling for myself (as the story behind Magic’s Origin has shown) and has become a place I can pour out my thoughts and feelings. I loved the idea that, as a journal, I was in turn creating a place where you could pour out your own thoughts and feelings (and maybe make your own magic)!

 

Second, Princesses and the Peas, though far simpler than many of my other pieces, is one of my favorite prints in the shop, as, to this day, it remains one of my favorite images I have created.

 

 

Again, this is largely because of the story behind the piece, which I share in my product description:

“When I was a child, my dad went on a lot of business trips. While we were always sad to see him go, his trips away did see us rejoicing at one particular place: the dinner table. You see, my dad HATES peas, while everyone else in my family would gladly eat them at every meal. Dinners when dad were gone often meant that, for just a few days, we were allowed to have our beloved vegetable for a few nights.⠀

This image is a silly story-book version of these two very strongly held opinions towards peas that existed in my home as a child. Dedicated to my dad: hater of peas, but a wonderful father, nonetheless.”

 

Last, but certainly not least is a piece that is currently sitting very high, if not at the top of, my list of favorites: The Warrior. Faith and religion are a very integral part of who I am. From a young age, I have learned and come to know without a doubt that strength doesn’t only come from the physical fight. It also comes from the moments spent on our knees as our fears and doubts are whispered to our Heavenly Father above.

 

 

When I look at this piece, I see that strength, and I see our Father’s love. Perhaps it is in the light, streaming in from the left corner and resting gently on her shoulders, just like a father’s gentle hug of reassurance would settle around our arms when we are in need.

Now of course, even though I’m only sharing three of my favorite products, there are many more in my shop that I really do love, so come take a look! And to celebrate, for the next week, I’ll be offering a discount code that can be used on any item in my shop, but only for my friends on my mailing list. To get the code, come join the story by filling out the form below!

Subscribe right here!

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By | 2017-06-28T10:01:03+00:00 June 28th, 2017|Announcement, Shop|0 Comments

27 Things I’ve Learned This Year (and My FAVORITE Pieces)

To be completely honest, this is my absolute favorite post to share each year. In fact, it’s the only blog post that I actually start writing up weeks before I plan on releasing it, and it’s not just because I always post it the Wednesday before my birthday. Rather, it’s because I enjoy new beginnings and starting over, and that’s what this post represents.

 

So…. a new year. A new age… Twenty. Seven. I’ll be honest in sharing that part of me is dreading these two specific digits. It means I’m definitely getting older and I sometimes find myself dwelling too much on the gap between where I am and where I had envisioned myself at this age.

 

But another part of me is excited. Excited to start a new year of life. To change things up if I want to and to learn more about who I am. And that’s the part of me that has been able to create this list. To recognize all the lessons I’ve learned and look forward to what this knowledge will help me achieve.

 

So, without further ado, 27 things I’ve learned this year (accompanied by 15 of my very favorite pieces), shared on the eve of my 27th birthday:

 

1. You don’t always get what you want, when you want it. And sometimes you don’t ever get what you want. It doesn’t mean, though, that life has to be terrible, for there are far greater things ahead than what we think we want right now.

 

 

2. You can travel the world, but everything you really need can be summarized in just six letters: Family.

3. If you want something, don’t just work for it. Plan for it.

 

 

4. You will have to see a doctor at some point. Get over it (but yes, visiting the doctor’s office is as bad as you think. So avoid it as much as possible).

5. Don’t make decisions when you’re upset.

 

 

6. It pays to follow through. With projects, with people, with everything. Either you learn from it or you get stronger. Both are excellent reasons to keep trying.

7. Life hardly ever goes according to plan.

 

 

8. Yes, you do get seasonal depression.

9. Yes. Dye the hair pink.

10. Focusing inward makes you more miserable, if that’s all you ever focus on.

 

 

11. Getting blood drawn isn’t half so bad as getting a shot, as it turns out.

12. It’s been far too long since you’ve left the country. GO. SOMEWHERE.

13. Silk Chiffon is a really difficult material to sew with.

 

In the Realm’s of Gold

 

14. Patience is not just a virtue. It is essential to growth.

15. Speeding tickets suck. Like… $120 suck.

 

 

16. You can’t do it alone and you will not find success without friends and without support. Even if you achieve your goals, you will have no one at the end to congratulate you, and you certainly won’t have anyone to cheer you on along the way.

 

 

17. Don’t argue with people. You will lose. Winning arguments may be some individuals’ superpower, but it is not yours.

 

 

18. Don’t create what you’re not passionate about.

19. Sewing sleeves onto a bodice is the absolute worst part of sewing.

 

 

20. Paying for your own health and dental insurance definitely makes you feel like an adult.

21. Some people are just not going to like you. Plain and simple. And that’s ok. Don’t dwell on it. Their opinion doesn’t really matter all that much in the grand scheme of things.

 

 

22. Really… truly…. All you need is twenty seconds of courage. Twenty seconds to pack your bags. Twenty seconds to get in the car. Twenty seconds to push the “call” button. Time and momentum will carry you the rest of the way.

 

23. Don’t try to get out of Boston on a Thursday or Friday afternoon. Unless you enjoy sitting in an I-95, I-93, or I-90-shaped parking lot.

 

 

24. You probably will never see huge, drastic changes. But recognize that little by little, one incremental change at a time, you will get there.

25. Scoop N’ Scootery is the supreme ruler of Peanut-butter-ice-cream-topping-hood. Four words: Peanut. Butter. Bomb. Sundae.

 

 

26. Faith is not made in the moments when you see your path most clearly, or when you hear His voice the loudest. Faith is when you can’t see anything, when all you hear is silence, and yet you still believe and you still have patience in His plan.

 

 

27. Perhaps it won’t work out. In fact, odds are, it probably won’t. But don’t sell yourself short by not trying. Because one day, you will say the right thing, go to the right place, try the right tactic, or meet the right person. But not if you don’t keep trying. Like fishing, you won’t know until you’ve already thrown your hook. So try it. Do it. Say it.

 

 

P.S. Don’t forget, tomorrow I’ll be announcing the winner of my giveaway and my new shop! If you’re not on my mailing list, click HERE to sign up and be entered to win a free print of your choice!

By | 2017-07-11T12:07:06+00:00 June 21st, 2017|Personal Thoughts|0 Comments

Passages Update: Why I’m Probably Going Insane

Tickets have been purchased!

I am flying home next month, which means that Passages will finally, after what has seemed an endless amount of preparation, begin to come to life!

I’ll be shooting two, possibly three pieces, and of course, the absolutely insane part of my brain decided I wasn’t completely crazy to try this. Now, the more rational side (the side that enjoys sleeping and exercising and generally having a well balanced life) is slightly regretting that decision. I think it goes without saying that I’ve been working at an almost feverish rate to make sure I get everything finished in time. But all of this has begun to pay off as I’ve completed the costume for scene one and am about halfway through with my preparations for scene two.

Want to see more of what I’ve been working on? Just sign up below and you’ll get all the updates on my newest series Passages!

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By | 2017-07-10T22:25:08+00:00 June 14th, 2017|Behind the Scenes, Passages|0 Comments

Quebec: 10 Favorite Photos from One Last (Minute) Trip Together

When I was 14 years old, I took my very first French class. Admittedly, the only reason I signed up for French was because I didn’t like Spanish and my school didn’t offer German (my first true love). However, despite my initial antipathy, I grew to love the language and the culture. In fact, I can still remember clearly the day my teacher put on one of those educational videos (in all of their late 80s/early 90s glory), and I became converted. Showcasing the wide variety of Francophone people around the world, that day, the video showed me Quebec for the first time, and I was fascinated.

 

 

Perhaps it seems ironic that Quebec seemed more alluring to me than France itself, but I attribute this to the fact that, as a young girl, my family would often take weekend trips to Paris during our time living in northwestern Germany. While I loved France, Quebec was for more intriguing. Upon moving to Boston two years ago and realizing that I was now within driving distance to the city, I knew I had to visit at some point. Since my roommate Emily moved at the beginning of this month (yesterday, in fact), we decided to take one last (*minute) trip together.

 

(*Because deciding to take a trip less than 48 hours before I leave is just how things go with me.)

 

 

My first impressions of Quebec were rather… juxtaposed. Odd fact about me: I HATE the word juxtaposition, but it really is the only way I can think to describe the city! Just imagine this: you’re driving into Brooklyn, but instead of English on all the signs, you see French, a language you typically associate with classical Europe, not urban Americana. 17th century architecture and the French language belong together as much as Ansel Adams and dramatic landscapes, so to see one without the other was intriguing, and to be honest, slightly jarring.

However, once passing through Porte St. Jean, everything immediately settled into place as we admired the historic downtown that seemed to transport us straight to a quaint European village, with creperies, boutiques, and patisseries lining every street.

 

 

Another odd fact about me, I rarely bring my DSLR around with me any more (largely because it’s so big!), however I have a rule about bringing my “real” camera with me whenever I visit a new place. So, in an effort to not just tuck all the photos I took on this trip away on my hard drive (never to be seen again, essentially), I thought I’d share them here on the blog, as well as share a few favorite things we did during our French-Canadian adventure!

  1. Of course, the food has made it to number one on the list (per usual). Emily and I ate more than our fair share of crepes, chocolatines, macarons, and eggs benedict, causing us to happily leave Quebec feeling a little bit chubby, despite walking close to a marathon’s distance over two and a half days. Those are the best kinds of vacations!

 

 

  1. Old Quebec was also absolutely wonderful. It had been three VERY long years since I last left the country (which is absolutely astounding to me!), so to wander around what felt like a small European town just made my heart light and, honestly, made me feel like I was home again. Traveling is such an intrinsic part of who I am, that to not have traveled overseas these last three years has been a little depressing!

 

 

  1. Montmorency Falls. Supposedly Montmorency Falls is taller than Niagara Falls, and I’d believe it. Although, my opinion isn’t very credible, given that I’ve never been to Niagara Falls. However, this waterfall was beautiful! The biggest waterfall I have ever seen, to witness the power of it was a little bit humbling! Also, we ate at a restaurant in the Montmorency Falls park and I am still thinking about that lamb burger two weeks later… such a wonderful day!

 

 

  1. Another one of my very favorite things is the etching I purchased from a local artist. As I was looking at all his pieces, the artist’s wife approached me and told me how each piece created was entirely unique. Like a stamp, he created the scene by carving wax which had been laid out on a metal sheet. He would then paint the color on to the wax and transfer this to the paper through a stamping and pressing technique. If I had been iffy about purchasing any of his work, hearing the story of how it was created sold me entirely!

 

 

  1. Hearing French again. While it was slightly frustrating to see how much my skill with the language has deteriorated, it also felt like I was greeting an old friend. Words and phrases began to come back to me during the few short days we spent there and I enjoyed trying to understand as much as I possibly could. One day I will once again be able to devote some time to picking up all the languages I have learned, and that will be a wonderful day.

 

 

Emily and I spent our last day in Quebec stocking up on all our favorite candies and treats we could normally only find in Europe, enjoying the last few hours of our fun weekend together. Monday saw us slipping back across the U.S. border in upstate Maine, taking in the beautiful scenery of the wooded mountains, lakes, and rivers, before once again beginning our weekly routine back here in Boston. And despite the fact that it’s always so quick to settle back into daily life after a trip, my heart still has half a mind to grab my passport and take the first flight to a new land instead. For now, I suppose I’ll just look at all these pictures and remember a wonderful new country visited.

 

Yours,

 

 

 

By | 2017-06-07T10:20:06+00:00 June 7th, 2017|Travel|2 Comments

Fighting Through “Creative Winters”: 7 Ways to Beat the Slump

I often like to think that creativity is much like the changing of the seasons. Quite fickle in its direction, at times I have plucked ideas left and right from the creative garden I have planted. At others, I have watched in dismay as everything I’ve planted withers and disappears into the frosty winter earth. However, throughout the years, I have found that all seasons change and, with patience and fortitude, all creative winters come to an end.

 

 

And all it really comes down to, is knowing where to look to find new ideas, budding into a new spring of stories and fairy tales. For myself, I have found several places where, when I go searching, I always return with a giddiness in my heart that can only be alleviated by an open journal, my ideas pouring onto the pages. While inspiration can come from many places, I wanted to share a few places that, through the years, have been the most helpful in guiding me through these creative winters:

 

First, I watch a tutorial or a class. This may seem like a given, but sometimes it’s the obvious things that can be the most helpful. Apart from teaching you how to acquire a new skill, seeing how other people work can often help you shake up your routine and try something you otherwise would not have thought to try. Recently, I watched Bella Kotak and Pratik Naik’s Creative Live course “Fine Art Conceptual Photography from Shoot through Post-Processing”. As I watched Bella guide us through her process, I wanted to grab my camera and shoot something, anything, at that very moment.

 

 

Second, I will never not be inspired by a good book. Right now, I’m re-reading an old favorite (the Green Rider series). While I don’t feel the need to go out and perfectly recreate the characters or story line, I have felt the urge to create something inspired by this favorite series of mine. The inspiration can be something small (the books have made me want to really experiment with the color green) but that one small detail always sets me to imagining once again.

 

Third, I learn a new skill. My current interest: using a soldering iron (I’m hoping that with proficiency comes the ability to stop burning my fingers, dripping hot metal where it shouldn’t be and melting my clothes…). Currently, I’m working on a small crown and I’m GUESSING that as soon as I solder that last brass stamping on, I’ll be wanting to throw it on my head and create a new piece.

 

 

Fourth, I go location scouting (or in non-photographer: I go for a walk or a hike). I can’t tell you how many times I’ve found myself walking in the forest or through a beautiful field, itching to bring new stories to life. It’s as if my imagination has run off and all I can do is scramble after it, attempting to catch up.

 

Fifth, I copy someone. But, I don’t actually copy them. Rather, I pick one small detail that I like and recreate it in my own way. One of my favorite artists is the late James C. Christensen. Upon occasion, I have found myself making wardrobe choices for my pieces based off of one of his paintings. The end product never looks like his pieces, but there is an element of whimsy that carries over. Or with Bella Kotak’s work, her ability to transform colors into the most exquisite jewel tones constantly has me dreaming up ideas of how I can create my own jewel toned pieces.

 

Sixth, I am often able to pull myself out of the creative doldrums when I watch a particularly artistic movie. The first time I ever watched The Fall, I was mesmerized. Everything about that movie was absolutely spectacular. The colors were so vibrant, and the costumes so exquisite, that I still think about that movie to this day. Occasionally, I come across another movie like that, and every time I do, I find my imagination wandering for weeks afterwards.

 

 

Finally, when I find myself truly stuck (more than a hike, book, or tutorial can turn around), I start a new project…. I have found that when I get completely stuck in the middle of a project, it is because my eyes have become blind to what I should be seeing. In these situations, I find I must walk away entirely for a little while. Without the weight of my unfinished project nagging at me incessantly, I can once again breathe easy, and later re-approach my piece with new eyes and greater creativity.

 

If, like me, you have found yourself in the midst of these dreadful creative winters, remember to try something new. I firmly believe that creative blocks are a result of performing the same routine on a… well, routine basis. Just as there is no deviation in a mass-production factory, creativity cannot be produced from a life lived exactly the same, day in and day out. You must branch out. Learn new things.

 

So go out of your comfort zone, because that’s where dreams are realized.

 

Yours,

By | 2017-06-01T19:18:03+00:00 June 1st, 2017|Personal Thoughts|0 Comments

Timing Is A Total… B-Word

I just don’t have it in me right now to share what I had originally planned for you today. For the past few days, some thoughts have been weighing heavily on my mind and in an effort to be as authentic as I can, I’ve decided to instead share these thoughts, which seem to be endlessly circling in my mind lately.
A small disclaimer: I’m going to get very real with this post.

 

… deep breath…

 

Timing can really just be a…. b****, sometimes.

 

I’ve realized this after a few particular events these past few weeks have forced me to face this reality. What these events have taught me is a lesson I’d rather not swallow, but that, by talking it through with you, will hopefully make it a little bit more palatable. The lesson is this: you are never going to get exactly what you want, when you want, how you want it.

 

 

These rather grim thoughts stem, I believe, from one fundamental aspect of myself, and that is my imagination. Of course, I consider imagination to be one of the greatest gifts God has given me. With it I see new worlds and find ways to depict emotion in a tangible and beautiful way.

 

However, imagination has, at times, also been my greatest curse. The same tool that allows me to weave tales of magic and peace, also leads me to create expectations for situations and my own future that are often not fully realized.
And because I am a perfectionist, the fact that reality often falls short of these expectations can sometimes leave me feeling absolutely crushed. I begin to believe every hope I have ever had is just a fantasy.
Something that’s just not meant for me.

 

 

But here is the reality of life: these things are completely out of our control. At any given point, there are a million choices, actions, and intricacies that affect how your day, week, month, or year will turn out. Someone was late, someone made the wrong choice, or the weather wasn’t what we were expecting. Everything about life is centered around two things: everyone is capable of making their own choices, and, consequently, everything changes. Everything.

 

And here’s where this all ties in: When I moved to Boston (almost two years ago now), I thought two things would happen. First, I thought I would get married, and second, I thought I would start making a living off of my photography. In moving here, I felt as if I was making concrete steps towards achieving the two most important goals of my life. And I am not even close. While I might have made my choices about what I want, it isn’t just me that determines the results.

 

What is currently happening in my life certainly is not how I pictured the thread of my life to unravel. And as much as I hate it, I find myself at the mercy of others’ decisions and a timeline I would not have chosen. So as the events of the past few weeks have unfolded, I decided to seek the comfort found I can usually find in scanning through quotations, one of my favorite things to do when I am upset. As I scrolled through Pinterest (perhaps the best resource for this sort of thing, or really, any sort of thing), I found one quote that led me to begin to ask myself two questions:

 

Madeline, do you allow the timing to make the choice for you? Or do you decide what you want and, regardless of what the timing will be, go for it anyway?

 

As I’ve been thinking about this, turning this question over and over in my mind, what I’ve realized is the inconveniences of timing, falling short of expectations, and things beyond my control doesn’t mean you shouldn’t still try.

 

 

So….what? Maybe the timeline you had envisioned was a lot shorter than the one you currently find yourself on. Maybe you had expected to have a new job a year ago, or you thought you would have found “the one” three years earlier, or you’re still five years away from achieving your number one goal in life. Just because the timing isn’t working out the way you want it to (whether something is coming too soon, or not soon enough), doesn’t change the amount of effort that you should devote to it.

 

I’m single, working a job I will never love, far from the people I care the very most about in this world. Timing, it would appear, is not on my side, but perhaps a shift in perspective is needed. When I look back at the events and experiences of my life, I’ve begun to realize a few things:

 

Because of timing, I could have been upset that my parents chose to move me to literally the other side of the world, just a few months prior to my senior year of high school. But rather, because of timing, I travelled the world and saw places and experiences that I could remember with a greater level of understanding and learning than I otherwise would have, had we moved when I was younger.

 

Because of timing, the study abroad I really wanted to go on was cancelled just a few months prior to my departure. But because of this, I was reassigned to a different study abroad group, where I met some of the best friends I have ever had. The kinds of friends that teach you how to illegally somersault down the entire Gloriette slopes in front of Schoenbrunn Palace and the friends that are always down to share their McDonald’s fries with you.
Because of timing, my inability to find a job immediately after college led me to spend an entire summer with three beautiful little girls as their au pair, traveling all over Europe in private jets and yachts, sleeping in fancy hotels, and enjoying wonderful summer evenings strolling the streets of historic Prague. How many people get an opportunity like that?

 

 

Sure, because of timing, I am forced to make decisions I don’t want to make, when all I really want is to be taken care of. And because of timing I have days where I cry in the car on my way home from work, partly because I’m overly emotional, and partly because the loneliness that sits in my chest like some un-fillable emptiness is just a little too present that day.
But because of timing, I am not the girl who is afraid to give everything I possibly can to a dream. I am the girl who is confident in herself (most of the time). The girl who knows what she is capable of. The girl who can figure it out and accomplish incredible things if she just keeps trying.

 

Because of timing, I WILL be the girl who will truly understand what it is I have achieved ten years from now, when I can look back and see everything timing didn’t allow me to have and everything timing instead granted me.

 

 

So I guess the lesson is this. As Gary Ryan Blair said:

“You cannot afford to wait for perfect conditions. Goal setting is often a matter of balancing timing against available resources. Opportunities are easily lost while waiting for perfect conditions.”

 

There are no perfect conditions. There is only now.
Say “yes” to that opportunity. Decide that today you’re going to start.
And know that timing may… and probably will, change your timeline, but it can never change your goal.

 

Yours,

By | 2017-05-22T14:22:06+00:00 May 10th, 2017|Personal Thoughts|2 Comments

New Passages Update! Thistles, Acacia, and Oak Trees

What does Passages and my college “Advanced Statistics for Political Science” class have in common?

Research.

Hours upon hours of research.

So I am being completely honest, and hopefully making my case, when I say I have never researched anything more in my life than I have Passages. While I would have thought this amount of research would have brought me back to the dark days of Pol Sci 328 (statistics really is the worst), the hours spent researching surprisingly hasn’t left me in a near panic state. Rather, over the past month, I have instead felt inspired.

 

WANT TO SEE PHOTOS FROM THE WORK ON MY NEW SERIES PASSAGES? I ONLY SHARE THESE GLIMPSES INTO MY CREATIVE WORLD WITH MY MAILING LIST FRIENDS.
JOIN US IF YOU WANT TO SEE! JUST FILL OUT THE FORM BELOW!

 

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By | 2017-05-22T14:06:14+00:00 May 4th, 2017|Behind the Scenes, Passages|0 Comments