fashion. wine. design... and my life.

Posts Tagged ‘art’

Ready. Set. Click. Yes, she Canon!

In Uncategorized on March 8, 2015 at 1:18 pm

unnamedIntuitively creative and artistic, eh?

Those in my circle would offer that as an assessment of my current photography skills… and humbly, I would  agree.

Attracted to every aspect of photography… countless hours of snapping images, reading, studying other photographers and web searching have been invested.  Haha — an abundance of trial and error indeed — if you only knew how I have pained over creating bokeh in my compositions!

Self- taught, and a decent photographer… I know that the information untapped is considerable.  Still perplexed by aperture, still perfecting composition and working my camera in manual mode, the mission of becoming astute continues to be the goal.

Action plan?

Check!

The action plan has been implemented and it is time for that next step… one that is LONG overdue.

Actually, it should read as such:  L. O. N. G. OVERDUE… for commencing tomorrow, yours truly is beginning studies as a student in the Washington School of Photography, Professional Photography Program.

Shhhhhh.  Listen carefully… you can hear me shouting from the rooftops…“Oh freaking happy day!”

All things happen for a reason…. and the reason that this endeavor hasn’t happen sooner, will perhaps one day be revealed.  I know for certain that timing is crucial; patience even more so.  Especially since two years prior, I participated in conversations with the program registrar and opted out — knowing that a “right-fit” wasn’t right then.

Since that conversation, the signs indicating that I needed to move forward, have been everywhere.   Even more so now…

How does one describe that feeling… the feeling of knowing that the moment is now right.  Elated?!  Yep… elated!

Big picture though…  29 days ago, my 45th birthday was celebrated.

For me, birthdays offer wonderful opportunities to be relished by loved ones, reflect on accomplishments and roadmap the way for new birthday wishes made.

Since turning 40 in the midst of an awful snowstorm… celebrating with friends and family in Paris on my 42nd birthday and shaving my head on my 43rd birthday, that day, 7 February, serves as momentum for newness.

More important, the wisdom that is gained with each passing birthday, I am truly compelled to share.  Since I am constantly learning from others, my hope is that perhaps someone; mainly my two children and especially my daughter (who, even though she will not admit it, is always carefully watching her mother’s actions) can possibly gain something from my experiences.

Back to the big picture…

Tomorrow marks more that just the beginning of a photography program.  It marks the notion that all things are possible and it is NEVER too late to pursue your aspirations!

Back in late December of 2014, serious preparations for this program officially went into play.  All with the objective of pursuing a dream and entering another birthday with a next step of improvement secured — fulfilling a wish made.

In being transparent, the African proverb – It takes a village – is applicable to me.  Without embarrassment I say that even at 45 years of age and working full-time outside of the home, the financial investment of family has enabled this opportunity to become reality.  For that, I am eternally grateful… and deeply touched that they too share my dream and see my potential.

More transparency…

What used to embarrass me and cause me angst in conversation is no more.  Never a untruth told… I just artfully evaded the question or skillfully used semantics in my favor when answering… but truth be told, I did not graduate from college.  For a long list of reasons (some 23 years later, many of which now seem so frivolous) the years spent at The College of William and Mary did not yield a degree… instead, a wealth of knowledge, an unforgettable experience, a close circle of friends, a compassionate man who became my husband and a career in interior design.  Haha — perhaps I did graduate, eh?!

Sans degree, I still know that knowledge is key and educating/investing in yourself is a nonnegotiable.

So… with the many hats that I wear, I am eager to add another and take my photography to the next level.  When my children become adults and coherent to rhythms of adult life, I am hoping that my actions make them proud.  I am hoping that they view me as a role model and see my appetite to improve myself as tenacious… and in their own life, they too follow suit.

This past Christmas, my husband gifted me with a phenomenal 50mm lens for my camera.  His way of offering me a nudge in the direction of my goals.  His words… “Kisha, you are about to blow up!”  My interpretation of his words… in a true T.I fashion, “do it, do it, do it… whatcha waiting for?  Big things poppin’!”

I’m on the move… and my appetite for photography is ravenous.

And… over this year-long program, I intend on quenching it and getting full!

Taking it one step further, my life as a stella & dot stylist and the company mission have definitely been a fantastic influence on my photography ventures… that mission:  to give EVERY woman the means to style their own life.

Well here I go… here I go!

Ahem… what was that?  Did you say you needed to hire me to take your picture?  (wink. wink)

Soon…

Very soon.

Cheers!

-k

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

That’s my pen…

In Uncategorized on June 3, 2014 at 3:14 pm

pen2Pentel.

ENERGEL.

Liquid Gel Ink.

Metal Tip .o7.

And ONLY black ink.

As of late… that’s my pen of choice.

In true “Bob Dole” fashion, I’ve always kept a good writing utensil close at hand.

An Army officer for a father, this practice, along with the notion that one should have a signature with “strength”, was subconsciously ingrained in me as a child.  I’m certain that my artistic abilities heightened the attraction for “all things” that made a mark.  But…evolving with age, it wasn’t until the high school years, that I became utterly obsessed — naaaaah — probably more like, enchanted with pens.

Fellow lovers of pens… you know how we do, eh?

The aisles at Staples stop us in our tracks.

Truth be told… it is any pen aisle in any store that will cast this magnetic draw.

Even if we are loyal to a brand, just gazing at the potential possibilities keeps us entranced… like a toddler exploring a new toy, it is both eye and hand candy!  Weak, I say!  Haha… it is a weakness, that is also exhilarating!  Annnnnnd with that “weakness”… referencing my initial statement; you HAVE to be a lover of pens to comprehend.

As a pen devotee, I am giddy… rather proud to say that in early March of this year, I won an Instagram contest sponsored by #pentelofamerica, my FAVORITE brand of pens.  

photo-1.PNG

Script on paper, with a quick nod to the past Washington DC blizzard like conditions, earned me several new free writing goodies!  Who knew that $250 in brand spanking new writing tools, delivered to my door… could have the same impact as the first sip of a fabulous glass of wine!

Haha… I’m spinning off course.  So all embellishments aside…

There is power in a pen.

A good writing pen.

One that effortlessly accentuates and enhances your handwriting.  One that simply glides as you write…  where the weight and size of the pen feels fabulous in your hand.  One that is attractive in its appearance… absolutely showing no signs of grime.  One that dispenses theeeeeeeeeeee “perfect” ink.  And one that puts that “professional” stamp and emphasis on what you do.

Did you get that last statement?

(Enter the mildly OCD me… the me with a few pen “pet peeves”)

That last statement is the true power.

Within a professional environment, a good pen… a good writing pen matters.  Simple as that!

The professional setting?

The full gamut of professional environments…. which includes any setting from the grocery store, to the doctor’s office, to schools, restaurants, retail establishments… you get where I’m going, right?   In a professional setting, don’t you dare require my signature/ask me to complete a form and then extend a pen that lessens the experience with your business.  (Actually, my one exception is automotive repair shops… with their hands embedded in oil changes and such, they can’t help the muck that accumulates on their pens).

I get that “lessens”  could read as such a harsh word.  Sooooo, without sounding haughty or arrogant, for truly, I’m only talking about a “pen”… I offer this anecdote.

With my career as an interior designer, it is common for my design firm to finish the month with a half of a million dollars (or plus) in sales.  The cost of our product, coupled with the amount money generated in sales, absolutely sets the tone for the “expected” experience with my firm.

While projects, as well as the final price for a project vary, the experience offered to each client is fair and consistent.  It is a full design service experience.  Naturally, each client tailors the service to suit their individual project needs… but completing the project, while protecting the “experience” is always priority.  And with the interior design field… it is an aesthetic experience.  One that begins with the initial designer/client meeting… and ends with the client “signing” on the dotted line.

Circling back to the power of the pen…

Such a tiny component of the experience.  Most may not even make the connection… or, bet yet, realize the relevance.

But how, as a professional, does one present a project (possibly in a range of thousands of dollars), engage the client and secure their “by-in”… and then… (wait for it)… extend a pen for their signature that reads “Suzi-Q’s hot-buttered Muffins”… you feel me?

It’s important.  It matters.  And albeit a minor element to the big picture… it matters!

It must matter… for in my professional world, I am a stickler for my writing tool.

So much so that, since my firm provides their own type of pen, I have always (since being employed with them) personally purchased my own pen of choice.  Nothing extravagantly expensive either…. a pack of 7 of my tool of choice may cost about $9 or $10 bucks.

What’s wrong with always wanting to be prepared… armed…  and ready to enhance the momentum of the “experience”.

Sounds silly, eh?

So if I tell you that several at my company have followed suit… does it still sound silly?

Surely this is applicable to other areas in both personal and professional worlds.  Curious if you too might share this belief…

I always have a pen.

Pentel.

ENERGEL.

Liquid Gel Ink.

Metal Tip .o7.

And ONLY black ink.

My pen.

Haha… and don’t be offended if when you extend yours, I reach for mine.

Cheers!

-k

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

…my expressive third eye.

In Uncategorized on November 5, 2012 at 6:23 am

I can’t recall the point in which I felt the attraction.

The manner in which some are innately drawn to athletics, or an instrument, that was the way I was drawn to this craft.  Completely enamored with the creative and interpretive elements — especially the freedom one has with storytelling via the final composition — photography has always made my heart flutter.

What began as an attraction, blossomed into love… and some twenty plus years later, it has evolved into a rewarding relationship.  My mate photography and I have come a looooooong way… and with each collaboration, we continue to become better partners.

I jokingly term it a relationship, but the reality is that photography can be incredibly intimate.  As I encounter and chat with others that adore the art form, there tends to be a common bond we have with our cameras.   An affectionate, special and personal connection… as if the camera is an extension of ourself.  For me, my camera can easily be categorized as such.  It is my third eye.  My third expressive eye.

I know what you may be wondering.  My response:  nope.

By no means am I a professional photographer.  An amateur at best.

If I were asked to speak before a group and explain aperture… or ISO number… even shutter speed — I would most certainly fail miserably.  Haha — my photography knowledge is extremely elementary.  While I do have a general understanding of some of the technical terms/components… emphatically, I say that it is only basic AND limited!    A few books, an attentiveness when surrounded by photography peers, countless Google searches and a considerable amount of trial and error is truly the breadth of my resume.  But, where I fall short with formal education, I’m confident that my artistic abilities and an intuitive expressive third eye, easily compensate.

Definitely not bragging… just sharing.

You know how a person can be described as playing an instrument by ear?  No formal training… just a natural gift to be able to convey song via an internal understanding… a rhythm, eh?  Well, often I feel as if that is applicable to me with regards to photography.  Especially when it comes to capturing an image/creating a compositing via my camera.  I sort of get lost in the moment  — I thoroughly enjoy the process and the mode of expression photography provides.

I must be doing something interesting… for as of late, I have received an enormous amount of feedback regarding my pictures.  Absolutely flattering to receive such complements.  But most interesting, are the “how to” questions that get feed my way.  What is funny (and always the norm) is that when I do provide a response, I ALWAYS feel the need to put out a disclaimer –as if to remind the inquirer that I have no technical training — maybe even really saying, “you’re asking me??”

Haha… my expressive third eye, must not be too shabby, eh?!

So… in true kishafwd fashion, I’m thinking, why not share my top four tips when taking a picture!

First:

Can’t stress this enough… embrace the natural light.  There is nothing better than an image illuminated by natural light.  Especially the light coming in through a doorway or window.  I will say that taking pictures outside, completely exposed in the natural light can be a little tricky — those damn overhead shadows can be soooooo annoying — and as an amateur, I am STILL trying to figure that out!  But, if you are like me… you too have found that one of the best places to capture the natural light is via your kitchen window!

Second:

Opt for unique framing.  My pick?  Close-up and off-center!  Your subject centered perfectly in the middle of the frame is not always necessary… and truth be told, for candid shots, it can become boring.  Why not include a little negative space in the mix and have your image far left or far right in the frame?  For that matter, why not even take it a step further and play around with the perspective?  Taking the picture from an unexpected angle can add an unforgettable interest.  One that makes the storytelling via your camera even that more profound!

Third:

It’s simple. Pay attention to the background.  (Hmmmm… I really should be stressing this to all of the youngin’s snapping self-portraits of themselves with dirty laundry on the floor… or better yet, the toilet in the background!)  Bottom line, a careful eye to what lies in the background, behind your subject is always a MUST!  Trust me… it matters and can truly make or break your picture.

Forth:

Click, click, click away!  Don’t just snap one shot… take multiple shots back to back.  Haha — I am always forewarning those in my pics to be ready because I am going to take at the minimum, three pictures in a row.  Why?  It insures that I get the shot.  There are bound to be errors and mishaps — poor focus, shaky hands, the subject’s eyes were closed, someone wasn’t ready — you get it?  It might seem redundant… but when I am viewing my images on my computer, I find it incredibly useful to have multiple images to choose from for the event/project.  Like I mentioned earlier… it insures that I get the shot!

So there you have it.

Not overly complicated or complex.

Just a few pretty basic tips that can easily be incorporated into your picture-taking ventures.  As a photographer my growth continues.  Daily I am learning… practicing… learning… practicing — always working on my skills, with the hopes of one day being proficient.

Hey… I am digging my camera and the direction in which my expressive third eye is headed.  I think that I am on to something kiddos…

And all I can say is look out!

Cheers!

-k

A vision… captured on a board.

In Uncategorized on March 11, 2012 at 3:20 pm

After months of chatter with a select group of colleagues, it finally came to fruition – I had a vision board party.

Why?

I’d say  – why not?

The idea of making a collage or board via collected images that depict goals and aspirations isn’t new, it is a practice that stems from our elementary school days, eh?  In our current time — times pronounced by heightened self-awareness and a constant re-evaluation of self, these boards – vision boards – are being revived.  Adults making vision boards is experiencing a reawakening… especially gathering and sharing the experience with those who respect and appreciate the process.

Probably the 2006 release of Rhonda Byrne’s best-selling book The Secret, best captures the board’s intent.  The book speaks on the law of attraction, the power of positive thinking, expressing gratitude and utilizing visualization to attain goals.  Simply put — a vision board acts as your channel.  A vehicle for your short-term and long-term goals.  An artistic daily reminder of your dreams and way of harnessing your energy so that your desires become reality.

Nice, eh?!  Refreshing, innovative… and actually when done as a group, the event can be incredibly insightful.

As planned, the group was small – both colleagues and friends.  Truly a quartet – for instead of song, our melody was the sound of magazine pages being torn, scissors cutting and the thump of glue sticks as they moved about the table.  Foam board, canvases, card stock, and a slew of magazines decorated the floor… some of the guests came prepared with several images to incorporate onto their board, others came simply driven by spontaneity – using the magazines I had on hand to interpret their vision.  Good times…and definitely more than just a night of sophisticated cut and paste/arts and crafts.

The party was a success!

We all were able to create a uniquely motivating vision board.  I’m thinking mission accomplished!  My favorite element — the party concluded with each guest having a platform to explain their board to the group and describe their vision.  How interesting it is to discover the dreams of another… and how humbling it is to see their passion as they share their desires.  At that point, the board takes flight, eh?!  We have given it breath – all that is left is to find a prominent spot in your home to keep the board in your constant sight and work towards your dreams!

Haha — and don’t think that we didn’t have treats!

Yes, appetizers, fresh fruits and sweets … but treats is also code for wine!

Of the several bottles that were on hand, two were a gift to me from my boss.  Two reds from the Tara Winery in Leesburg, VA – Nevaeh Red 2008 and Tranquility 2009.  Absolutely AMAZING!  Especially the Tranquility 2009.  Screaming with flavor and packed with structure, it was the  perfect mate for my “it’s so delicious that IF you ever taste it, you will crave it” spinach dip.  Haha – all jokes aside – SERIOUSLY, it is that damn good!  For me, there is more to learn about these well priced wines… this summer, I’m definitely committed to visiting this winery and scheduling a tasting.

So now perhaps you too are inspired about instituting a vision board in your life?

Take a peek at what our group created —

(a closer image of my board)

I am inspired… and I encourage you to get creative!

Cheers!

-k