Archive of ‘Art’ category

Explorations in Nature Journaling


When we started homeschooling and began to research the Charlotte Mason approach, I knew that nature study and nature journaling were going to be a big part of our homeschool life. Spending time outdoors, paying close attention to the amazing beauty around us and learning the names of our finds, and using art to record it all while also practicing handwriting… it seemed a perfect and important part of the experiential, hands-on curriculum I was forming.


I gave Seth a small notebook to record his finds and we began paying more attention to the world around us. I was so excited for all that he’d learn from these experiences, but I had absolutely no idea how much I would get from it myself. I always loved art, and used to spend a significant amount of my free time as a child and teen painting and drawing. But along the way I got busy, and often frustrated by my efforts. I turned to the camera as my primary means of artistic expression. So when I pulled out my watercolors and purchased a little watercolor journal, I was mostly doing so to encourage Seth and sketch alongside him. But I fell in love. My prior frustration and perfectionism fell away because it was simply a field journal and didn’t have to be perfect. I was reminded why I’ve always loved to paint, and got excited about learning about the amazing creatures and plants surrounding us. The process of documenting our outdoor adventures has become so therapeutic for me and I look forward to that time spent with my paints and field guides and this little book. I’m doing it regardless of whether Seth is in the mood or not (because, as a five year old boy, he’s definitely not always in the mood), but I’m certain that my passion for it will rub off on him and his brother at least a bit. Already, they are asking for their paints and art supplies more frequently.


My Materials

My sketchbook of choice: Strathmore Visual Journal 140lb
For more official paintings (which I’m doing much more of as a result of this love ignited by nature journaling), I love Arches Aquarelle blocks
I have been using the same very inexpensive set of tube walercolors that I’ve had since college, but I’m so excited to have just purchased this simple set from Winsor Newton. Learning to mix any color from just a few is one of the most important skills in watercolor. This set is wonderful because it’s small enough to go with me anywhere.
My brushes are a mix- some were my mom’s and could easily be older than me. When I purchase a new brush I like to do so in person rather than ordering online so I can see and feel it. My most-used brush at the moment is a size 3 round brush made by Grumbacher.
My pencils are all Faber-Castle but I’m really not very picky- any art pencils will do. My favorite pens are Micron- they are really amazing. I use the tiny 005 for details and fine lines, the 01 for slightly heavier lines, and the 03 for writing.
Field Guides: I love the laminated pocket guides made by Quick Reference Publishing (I found many at Barnes & Noble that are specific to our area.) We also have and love the Audubon Guide to Florida.


My Process

I only sometimes sketch right there on the spot. I’d really like to do so more often, but my current season of life involves chasing a 2 year old, so I usually snap photos with my phone of things I want to journal later—along with collecting things like leaves, rocks, shells, and flowers to press.



I start by sketching with pencil, getting the basic lines and shapes. I usually have a basic rough idea in my mind of how my page will end up, which items I want to draw, etc. I cross-reference my phone images with my field guides and often the internet as well, and in the process I learn interesting facts about each thing, it’s scientific name and common name, and those things go into the journal as well. When everything is done in pencil, I go over it with my micron pens and erase the pencil lines. Once in a while I’ll paint first and add in details with the pens later, but usually I prefer the prior method. When I’m painting, I begin with the lightest colors and then layer in the deeper ones.


While at Wild & Free recently, one mama mentioned that her boys don’t have the patience for very much art journaling, but they love to recreate some of their nature finds with clay. I thought it was such a great idea, and definitely one I’d like to try!

We’ve been incorporating art in other ways as well, and my goal is to weave it into many different subjects. There are so many ways to tie art into science, geography, history, literature, and the list goes on. I really believe that they’ll learn more and internalize what they’re learning better if they exercise creativity while learning it. Seth always seems much more interested when we do. When we were discussing the the axial skeleton in science, he drew a skeleton (looking at a library book for reference) and labeled the bones we’d been talking about.

I will have to post an update soon, because already I’m seeing our methods shifting into something much more experiential and less workbook-based. And as a result, we’re both enjoying homeschool so much more!


There is No Line

I started blogging when I was sixteen. I had just started college, and I met a few people who had Xanga sites. I liked the idea, and started one for myself. I wrote about my life, my spiritual journey, some poetry of sorts. I enjoyed sharing bits and pieces of my life with whoever might be interested. Eventually I stopped posting there. Soon after Manny and I got married, I started a little Blogger blog, which later became Seeking Equipoise. I blogged about my first pregnancy and my journey into motherhood, my reflections on balancing family and business… and now there is what you see before you.

During the last few years, I’ve also had a separate blog for my business. I didn’t necessarily keep them separate on purpose. I knew I should have one connected to my work, and I just continued to post here as I’d always done. But somewhere along the way, the lines began to blur. My work is my life is my work, and so on. It all gets photographed. But what gets posted where? Just because it of my own children rather than someone else’s doesn’t necessarily make it less professional. My hope is that there will be no difference in quality between my personal images and my client ones. They are all my work. And why shouldn’t my clients get to know me, and see my everyday life and read my random thoughts, if they wish to? In fact, I want to my clients to see all that, because I am my business. This is a one-woman operation, and as much as I am hired for my work and my style, I am hired for me. The personal connection with each person I photograph is so incredibly important. The personal aspect isn’t a lack of professionalism- it’s an acknowledgment that the only thing that makes my business unique from any other photographer is me. The way I see things, my vision and voice, and my personality. Who I am as person and how I see the world are inseparable from who I am as a photographer and how I run my business, tell peoples stories, and interact with my clients.

In short, it no longer feels right to separate ”personal” and “business” on my blogs when there is no true separation in reality. So this week I migrated all of this year’s Seeking Equipoise posts to my photoblog, and from now on all new posts will be there. I’ll admit that I feel a bit of nostalgia about leaving Seeking Equipoise. It’s been like a comfortable old friend for so long. (Silly? I know.) Anywhere I’m posting will undoubtedly be mine in the same way this has been. I’m planning to keep this site up for archive’s sake. If you’re a regular reader I do you hope you’ll follow me over to the HMP blog (and add it to your feedreader, etc.) Much love, and see you over there!

(Obviously the above photo, from a recent beach visit, is unrelated to this post. I just can’t stand to blog without at least one image in the post.)


Last Friday I spent the evening with an amazing bunch of artists and art lovers at a little coffeeshop in West Palm Beach (by the way if you are local and haven’t been to Harold’s, you’re missing out!) This gathering is called Lyrical, Ink. and it happens every month. I’ve known about it for a little while now, but last week was my first time going because getting away on a Friday night when you have a two year old is not quite easy. But now I’m determined to make it happen, every month if possible.

This night fed my soul in a way I needed so much more than I realized. The creative energy was palpable and alive- poets, musicians, actors, and visual artists- all in this safe environment trying out new material and sharing works in progress, and just sharing our love for the art and the process. I sat there surrounded by these people and just felt content, like I’d gotten back in touch with a part of myself that can be easy to forget in the midst of the million other things that life swirls around us every day. Oh yeah, while I adore my roles as mommy and wife and organizer of this home, etc., there is another part of me. And it is still there. It is the artist, the girl who is a creative being and has a need to connect with similar souls. We as humans have an intrinsic need for community, and I think we need it in different forms, too. For me, those forms are close family and friends, spiritual community (something I’m still kind of searching for), community with other moms (found in our great playgroup), and then last Friday night I found a piece that had been missing: creative community. I am so thankful.

I’ve posted more photos I took that night over on my photography blog, so do go check those out when you have a minute. Also, go like Lyrical, Ink.’s Facebook page, and if you’re in the area make plans to come to the next one, on October 21st!


These summer days are longer, but they’re flying by somehow. fleeting.

I want to remember to live in the moment more.
I want to be more present.
I want to join a gym because it is becoming too hot to be outside for too long, but my body craves movement. My mind craves the exercise too- it is calming and centering. We as humans were designed to live active lives, and when we do we function better on every level.

Speaking of being active, some of you might know that I was once a dancer. When I started college, that was my major, until I began getting migraines almost every day that kept me from performing well in class. I think that change led me to photography, and for that I am thankful, but I do miss dance sometimes. That intense expression through movement is exhilarating.

Lately I have been watching So You Think You Can Dance, and I really enjoy watching the performances. There is so much passion and emotion in the dance life. It becomes what you are. Great dancers are truly one with their art, and I think other artists can learn much from that.

There is this amazing performance from the show, which Deb Schwedhelm posted on her blog not long ago. To say it is powerful is an understatement. This is exactly why I have always loved dance so much. it speaks. You have to see it.

et cetera.

breathe in. out.

time is flying faster than i can run.

mental to-do lists filed in my brain

i go through them over and over

hoping nothing is left undone

yet they grow.

there is never nothing that needs doing

and never enough hours in the day.

i need

a little grace

a little more time

a little more patience

with the little person that fills my days with

both unspeakable joy

and tears of frustration.

i chide myself

i need to

be more,

to be better,

to stop this,

and start that…

et cetera.

so seemingly impossible to

just accept myself.

to be gentle and kind

with my own heart,

and cut myself a bit of slack,

as i’ve wrote of

over and over.

so today

my to-do list is starting with


breathe, stretch, walk, think, write…

and forgive myself

for not meeting my own standards yesterday.

and lower the bar just a smidge today.

hug and kiss my little boy,

go outside with him to play

and let the dishes just stay in the sink

and the editing be unfinished

and the emails be unread

and the laundry be unfolded

for now.

they’re not going anywhere.

The Rut

Every once in while I reach a bit of a plateau in my creative life. I’m not as inspired as I usually am, and everything seems a little… blah. I write a page of text only to read it over and think “this is crap.” I make myself go out and shoot, but I don’t love any of the images. It all feels too familiar. I’ve shot in that spot before, taken that same picture of a very similar flower, the same shot of the ocean from a different beach. I just feel uninspired and discouraged.
There is nothing new under the sun. So why as an artist do I even try to create something totally unique, I wonder.

Yes, I have been there over and over again. It is part of living the creative life, to get into a little funk every once in a while. As artists we are emotional and feeling and tend to overthink things. It is part of us.

There are ways to fight this though- even to use the rut to grow as an artist.

The answer is to do something.
Keep writing. Keep creating. Grab a camera and leave the house. Create… even if you don’t like the results right now. Keep moving. Try something different. Push yourself to experiment and learn. Maybe there is nothing new under the sun, but I guarantee that there will always be something that is completely new to you. Isn’t that what matters?

Looking at everyone else, at what has been done before, can be fun (think Pinterest, Flickr, and blogs), but it can zap your creativity. The greatest inspiration will come from within yourself, not from the work of others. Comparing yourself to anyone else is the worst thing you can do for your own creative journey. I’m not saying to avoid looking at these things (trust me, I adore Pinterest), but it could be beneficial to limit the the you spend on them, especially if you begin to feel a little negative or stuck. Rather than seeking outward inspiration when you’re in a creative rut, look within yourself, get away from your computer, and move forward- be active rather than passive.

Today I’m planning to force myself out of the little rut I’ve been in this week, and I’ll be back soon to share the results.


I’ve been crocheting again, making a market bag for our summer beach trips. I hadn’t picked up a hook for a while- in fact it’s been a while since I did anything creative besides photography and writing. Sometimes I crave the repetitive motion of crocheting- it’s calming, and sort of meditative.
The process of making is soothing to me. The progress, the evolution of it- various raw ingredients coming together to create a new entity. Whether it be yarn and hooks, flour and eggs, paint and canvas, ink and paper, film (or sensor) and light… the act of making- the process itself- is beautiful to me. The finished product is too, but the process is what gives it meaning. That is why handmade things are so special, and why creativity fuels the soul.

I’m writing over on my photography blog more lately, trying to keep photography-related things there and making this blog more about my life apart from my business. Of course there is so much overlap, as photography is such a huge part of my life and integrated into every other part of it. I want to share more of who I am over there, beyond the pictures I take, because more and more my business is truly about who I am. So go subscribe if you haven’t already.

This blog has always been about finding the balance- keeping a hold of who I am in the midst of becoming a mother and running a business. It’s about honoring the creative parts of myself and not allowing the busyness of life to crowd out the things that make me feel connected and present. Because that time taken for me- to create, and nurture, and make- helps me to be more centered, calm, and focused in every other area.

Featured: Shutter Sisters

Last week, I was a guest blogger on Shutter Sisters- an awesome blog for female photographers that I’ve loved for quite a while now. It was such an honor to write for them!

I shared some thoughts about authenticity in photography- go take a look!

Something real

I came to this place in search of something real and true. Those were the only expectations I allowed myself to bring. I came as a seeker and a learner, as an artist wanting to create something authentic and meaningful.

That is all I ever want, and I am learning that it is attainable, but only if I am willing to be authentic, and real, and true.

Not only am I willing, but I am eager. I crave authenticity so deeply, not only in my work but in every area of my life.

I shared yesterday on my photography blog some more thoughts on the matter…


a butterfly we saw as a caterpillar and a cocoon and then released…


bits of Spring everywhere… soaking it in.


self portrait… discovering so much and learning to fly.


I’ve been withdrawing into myself and allowing myself to be there without judgment. Just to be. I feel fragile and thoughtful and quiet, and I am trying not to push myself out of what I’m feeling, but rather exploring that place and gently letting it affect my creativity and vision. My path as an artist is changing and becoming more true and authentic to who I am, what I love, and what my strengths are. I know that some of these changes take immense courage, and I am trying to tap into that.


I am marveling at my family- feeling so madly in love with my husband, utterly amazed at our beautiful son and how smart and big he is now. I feel lately, in such a real way, how fast time moves and how soon each stage is over. My heart overflows with nostalgia and happiness and sadness all at once with the thought that he will grow up, that I can do nothing to slow down the years. I feel the weight of the importance of fully being in each moment.
I want to remember every detail- his sweet voice and the way he says certain words, how he plays and runs and the smell of his hair, and how he becomes a baby again when he sleeps.

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