Drawn to the river. Criatura of the forest. Living amongst the pines in rural Maine.

Companionable recluse. Lover of sacred simplicity and natural living. Bliss chaser. Untamed.

Camera. Inkwell, paper. Paint. Love.

I thirst to create. I endeavor to find beauty in the everyday.


 

Soul Offerings:

I am a photographer and photo artist. I capture the world around me through both my Canon digital SLR and my iPhone camera, and employ the use of Photoshop (for my DSLR photos) and iPhone apps (to create richly-layered digital works of art from my smartphone imagery). I am a teacher in spirit and I heed a calling to share with you what I have learned; a lifework that is deeply rooted in the core of my being. It is a gift for me to be able to do this through my blog, books, and online course offerings. In addition to my forever-love of and commitment to the art of photography, I am currently taking time to explore abstract intuitive painting and to study the healing art of Reiki.

My latest book, Art of Everyday Photography: Move Toward Manual & Make Creative Photos, is available on Amazon (North Light Books, August, 2014) and can also be found in bookstores and craft stores throughout the United States, Canada, and Europe, and through other popular online book sellers and arts and crafts vendors. I’m co-author of Photo Craft: Creative Mixed-Media and Digital Approaches to Transforming Your Photographs (North Light Books, 2012, co-authored with Christy Hydeck) and author of Digital Expressions: Creating Digital Art with Adobe Photoshop Elements (North Light Books, 2010) and Exhibition 36: Mixed-Media Demonstrations and Explorations (North Light Books, 2008).

Interested in taking an online photo art class with me?

My Journey

Creative Becoming:

My early experiences with the arts were actually in music! I began to play the flute at age nine and excelled rather quickly. I soon discovered it was a way to feel alive and strong, and a medium through which I could express my sensitive self. It was a relief and a gift to be able to play in musical groups where sensitivity and emotion were encouraged and valued. The musical opportunities that unfolded allowed me to connect with kindred creative souls to make music together and form meaningful relationships.

As a teen I played in the New Jersey Youth Symphony, which brought culturally and spiritually rich experiences like playing at Carnegie Hall and participating in a life-changing concert tour in Poland, which opened my eyes to a greater world, the joys of adventure, and the importance of connecting with people on a global level. We visited Auschwitz, which was very difficult, painful, confusing, and so important for a youngster to digest and understand.

I studied at Tanglewood multiple times (the summer home of the Boston Symphony Orchestra) and obtained degrees in Flute Performance and Music Education from both Rutgers University-Mason Gross School of the Arts and the Boston Conservatory. I decided I wanted to give back and share the joy of music with youngsters. I taught K-12 public school music over a span of ten years, in both the Greater Boston area and in my current home state of Maine.

A Turning Point:

After a serious car accident in 1996, I began to explore the visual realm of the arts, first with simple charcoal drawings, then with abstract painting, which I further embraced while struggling and healing through sad years of experiencing multiple miscarriages. I dabbled in collage and found-object assemblage, and ultimately found my niche in photography and digital art.

Finding my Creative Niche:

I connected with the art of photography in 2003, when our son was born -- of course he was the best subject matter and he immediately sparked a deep, inherent love of photography in me that has been growing and evolving ever since. I shoot with a Canon EOS Rebel T3i and am in love with my various lenses and photo-editing software. My favorite styles of photography are portrait and macro nature. The privilege of photographing that spark of soul in someone's eyes is magical and elating, stunning and heartbreaking. Raw and real. Heaven. When I photograph flora with my macro lens, going inside a bloom is an adventure, where I get to observe and linger on fine details I could not see with my naked eye.

I have a passion for iPhoneography and use this medium to create portraits, still life, and landscape photos that have a worn yet timeless aesthetic to them. I often use myself as the model in my mobile artwork, but I don't tend to think of these images as self-portraits; rather that I am using my body as the model, to dress up in costume and tell stories with. Sometimes I use this medium to explore the form of my earthsuit female body. My mobile photography has been internationally recognized and exhibited in Paris, London, Rome, New York City, Prague, Budapest, throughout New England, and Hollywood.

How I Shoot, Learn, Teach, and Evolve:

I rely mostly on my inner knowings when I make pictures -- shooting from the gut, often breaking the rules, entranced by the mystery of what makes a powerful image. When I see something special I wish to capture, I can literally feel my heart rise in my chest. I follow those gut instincts. Not to say that I don't think about camera settings, composition, form, color, tonal value, etc. -- I absolutely do and am meticulous about these aspects, but I seem to generally follow an internal set of rules as opposed to ones that have been imposed upon me. As a a formally-taught flutist, I know what it is like to be instructed to follow pocketfulls of rules and technical procedures. In college, my flute lessons over-emphasized the technical and were far from nourishing, positive, or encouraging due to my instructor's teaching style; in fact quite the opposite, as if beating me down would allow me to blossom. Upon reflection, I realized that this type of teaching style crushed some of my creative spirit, which took time and a reinventing of myself to regain; so with my explorations of photography and digital art, I made a conscious decision to have full ownership of my training, output, and growth. And, as a teacher myself, I am very careful with my own students; my intent is to encourage, nurture, inspire, and open doors.

I taught myself Adobe Photoshop over the span of many years and enjoy using both Creative Suite and Elements. I currently use Adobe Creative Cloud (CC) to access the latest versions of Photoshop CS and Lightroom, and I own PSE 12.0. I am drawn to light, shadow, form, color, texture, and design, and enjoy expressing through my art whatever happens to be in my heart and mind in the moment. I must make art -- it brings me much joy, gives me an outlet for creative expression, and oftentimes provides a safe haven where I can work out life’s challenges.

I am addicted to immersing myself in the organic artistic process and love getting consumed by the passion of making something. With art in my life I feel like a whole person, and without it I know I would be lost. Engaging in my artistic passion, working really hard, unfurling, growing, dreaming big, being open to possibility, putting myself out there, acting with intention and integrity, and staying the path have brought amazing opportunities like authoring books, teaching online courses, and showing my work on an international level.

I am a frequent contributor to Stampington & Company publications and other mixed-media books, currently hold the position of Technical Advisor for Somerset Digital Studio magazine, and do freelance work for companies like Manfrotto and Autodesk Pixlr. I am grateful for all of these experiences, but at the same time I make the conscious choice never to become static in my work. It is important to learn, grow, evolve, and as Austin Kleon puts it, to always remain a fan of others' creative work. To be a teacher and remain a student.

Heart Intentions:

I honor my calling to share my work and what I have learned, and am grateful for the opportunities to play a small part in the creative and spiritual becomings of individuals. It is my belief that if more and more people living on this planet are in touch with themselves and making things, there will be more joy, greater peace, meaningful human connection, and less destructive behavior. It is harder to destroy when in touch with creative spirit.

Don't forget to dream big!

Love, Susan  

   

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