September 2, 2014

Bella Grace Blog Hop

Bella Grace-- Stampington & Company inaugural issue
Bella Grace is a brand new publication by Stampington & Company devoted to discovering magic in the ordinary. I have been following along with the posts of the contributors of this new endeavor as the links are opened, and I have already been inspired and amazed by these talented bloggers. What follows, is my own contribution to this Blog Hop.

A Magical Journey

The Journey-- photo of water lily with inspirational message

I have been a Shaman and practicing spiritual healer for more than a couple of decades now, and my Path (or Journey) began a good many years earlier. For me, magic is as fundamental, as essential to my life as breathing. I hear people debate its existence, or discuss whether it is possible or not, and I marvel that there is ever a question. How can anyone live in the midst of the unfolding drama that we call life and doubt. Whether in nature with all of Her infinite grace, wild growth, utter magnificence  and predatory savagery, or in the simple daily rhythms of human living, Magic and Miracles are what weaves together the fabric of what we experience as reality. Scientific evidence notwithstanding, there is ever so much More to what unfolds in this world.

Table-land; altered art photo of succulent on table top.
Table Land
For this post I have chosen to display some of the photos I have taken this summer. Though I take many pictures, I do not consider myself a photographer. Cameras are omnipresent these days—it is as if we, as a culture, are bent upon recording the minutiae of every living act. Though I use my smart phone camera a lot and my Nikon even more, I am always more interested in what occurs between acts, in the moments of seeming stillness, of the breaks amidst the hurried frenzy of modern life. I say seeming stillness because, though my camera freezes a single instant in time, there is no true stillness, not even for those of us who have learned to stop the inner dialogue at times.   Subatomic particles continue to dance the eclectic gambol  of creation while electrons move ever in and out of material being. Our lives are set against a backdrop of continuous motion. So, to me, the ideal photo is one in which I have succeeded in capturing a moment, of distilling it down into its magical underpinnings.

Roses- up close.
 At my previous job, I was lucky enough to be required to learn how to use Adobe® Software. Though I enjoyed using InDesign, Illustator, etc., I quickly fell in love with Photoshop. After using it for about five years now, I still do not feel that I have even begun to explore its possibilities. Before Photoshop, much of my artistic endeavor was more handiwork such as beading, crochet, paper crafting or sewing, but though I still do those things, seldom does a week go by that I am not sitting at my computer marveling at the wizardry made possible by this technology. I still love Photoshop on my full-size computer best, but I have the android version on my tablet, as well as numerous other apps for creating filters, effects and optimizing or transforming digital photos.
Endless Summer

I am not ever certain whether I have any right to call myself an artist in this particular digital medium, but whether or not that is the case, I simply love the work, and I am endlessly entranced by the process. I really believe that very often we end up doing something simply because we must. If tomorrow the entire world changed, and I no longer had access to a computer or other device to practice this arcane science, I would get over it, leave it behind with nothing more than passing sadness. But I am also certain that my life should be forever altered because of it.

As I have said, I take very many photos, but only a relatively few of them are of people actually. The ones that I do take are usually of my children and grandchildren. If for no other reason than documenting the growth, the evolution and the progress of my own family, I should continue to do so. However, only a small number of these family photos ever make it to my computer screen for digital alteration or embellishment. It is only when I discover a photo that captures what I consider to be the zeitgeist of a day or event, or that stirs me emotionally, that I will work with it. It is not in any way that I am playing favorites among my offspring and theirs (I believe them every one to be beautiful and quite unique), but there are those among them that draw the camera more than the others. And there are certain ones who the camera seems to almost form a bond with... This is me justifying the fact that my favorite human subject these days is my granddaughter Bug. 

Sun Kissed-- bug on wicker couch in the sunshine
Sun-Kissed
She interacts with the camera lens as though it were another individual. In her photos, it is always her eyes— wide open, expressive and filled with unplumbed depths — that draws me to work with them. She is, I do not doubt, touched with some deep and mysterious magic I have yet to discern, so I keep searching these photos, the frozen moments that seem to hint of a timeless soul within a tiny girl.

Artography-- Gaia at the beach
 Even when I do choose to work with photos of friends or family, they are most often taken outdoors. Nature is where I find my deepest inspiration. Since returning to Florida almost two years ago now, we try to get to the beach at least every other week during the summer. My daughter Gaia, pictured at the left, would spend most of her time at the beach or pool given the choice. She is a true water spirit. She finds peace and communion at watery places. The ocean is her outdoor Mecca. Mine however, is the garden. I love water and woods, mountains and deserts, in fact, all of nature, but the casual order and organized chaos or the garden is where I am most comfortable.
Also, it is where I take the most pictures. I have file after file of herbs, flowers, vegetables and the garden structures, containers and beds they live in.

Sun Flowers-- Gaillardias in patio pot

When I am out in my own potager, though I may at times tire of the heat, the toil, the insects and the difficulties the caprices of nature can cause, I can not doubt that magic lives in the dark earth and green shoots of the garden. It is an ever unfolding adventure of the more esoteric kind. I choose to acknowledge the science behind the garden's processes, and at the same time pay  homage to the fairy kingdoms and elementals that reside there. Life itself is Extra-ordinarily Magical.

Thanks for the opportunity to participate in this blog hop, and welcome to the new Stampington Publication Bella Grace. I have talked about my passion for many of the other Stampington Publications in a past post.

Bella Grace-- http://stampington.com/blog/index.php/2014/08/07/bella-grace-blog-hop-lifes-beautiful-adventure/
  Life is indeed a beautiful adventure. 

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