Arts in Bloom

A Shock of Color

This morning I was to write my “morning pages” and the day kept getting later and later because I had breakfast first, and was checking emails while doing that. So one thing lead to another and the day got away from me.  Here I am now at 9:34 pm EST putting into practice what I wrote I was going to do. I wanted to load the photographs I took yesterday at the Arts in Bloom event in Woodstown NJ. Which is a Salem County event that has artist in venues such as garden, greenhouse, etc, through out the weekend inform locals and gather tourist to the area to experience art and plants in real time. Our Venue was La Rosa Greenhouses in Woodstown NJ. Fellow artist Sharon Fanning was there already painting when I arrived at 3 to walk about taking photographs, talking to the interested people about the Salem Art League which I am member. Fellow Photographer Terry and Jack where there as well, at one point Terry ask if I wanted to get closer shots of the flowers, that I could use his macro lens, I was like Wow, sure, I would love to. So I switch lens and off I went, to see what I could get into. The first thing was to become comfortable using the lens, feeling it out, testing the shots, adjusting the view and vision through the macro lens. I was thrilled and delighted with the work I got.

Pale Pink Gerbera Daisy (macro)
Peach Begonia (macro)

To load the new set of photographs I had to move old shots from iPhoto on to disk, and dump some useless documents that where clogging up my space. I have way too many photographs on my computer in iphoto. Time to buy a back up source or more disk.

I had photographs from Thursday evening when I went to an event at the William Way center; The Arts for All Ages: A Creative Conversation sponsored by Creative Arts and Aging Community. It was an interesting mix of people mostly women, a few men to add a little flavor and down to earthness. (made up word). There where four panelist, who discussed their relationships with the arts and the elderly at senior centers throughout the city and suburbs of Philadelphia. I was asked to photograph the proceedings, and if  there was anything they could use they would be submitted to the William Way Center news letter. I better get to sending some of them soon.

The Arts for all Ages:

Therefor I had about 800 photographs to load up and view once I got done checking emails, responding to blogs, fooling around on Facebook. And a couple of walks in the wet misty day with the dogs through the wood where the fragrance of Honeysuckle and Wild Rose is just lush in the nose it is perfumes everything so wondrously even with the sent of diesel fuel from the FedEx truck service station that butts up against the wooded area we walk each day. The power of those little walks are a blessing for me and the dogs. Our walk in the morning is one of the first things we do, before breakfast and computer/communication time with the world. The time feel the presences for the wood spirits, to sense the trees, and wild animals, to be amazed of the changes each and everyday. The wood is my muse, my photography model, my source for inspiration, more so my source of connection to my inspiration. For it was and is nature that inspired me to begin to photograph her, to offer the world a view of our planet from the ground up. My journey is to photograph the that which we my not see, that nature wants to be seen, shared, honored, Loved. This is my purpose, my commitment to nature for the gift of photography through spirit.

Blue Mist (macro)

Morning pages accomplished, new challenges completed, new adventures to seek out, to behold.

Growth Question: Are  your arts in bloom? What do you have to do to cultivate them?

I am Love, Jeff

Creative Journey

On exhibit

When you “Think of the universe as a vast electrical sea in which you are immersed and from which you are formed, opening to your creativity changes you from something bobbing in that sea to a more fully functioning, more conscious, more cooperative part of that ecosystem.” p.1  Julia Cameron begins her first chapter of “the Artist’s Way”, she is suggesting as an artist that we begin to see our creative connections as a spiritual/electrical/energetic flow. Tapping into that source will allow our minds sets of doubt, fear, confusion about being an artist, and allow us to be open to the synchronicity that surrounds us when we change our minds, make new choices.

“Creativity is harnessing universality and making it flow through your eyes” Peter Korestenbaum

A few weeks back in this blog I stated that I would begin using this space as my morning pages. At that time I was at the end of the 12 week program of The Artist’s Way and in that weeks work it ask the creative to reread, recommit to this path, this program. So here I am  immersed in the energy flow once again, starting from the beginning.

Not only will I do my morning pages on this blog but will attempt to do the essays, exercises, task, and weekly check in, as well as discuss my “artist’s dates” .

On the Path to...

The path is laid out before me, I open myself up to be fully present in the venture in a cooperative part of the energy system that will inform, guide, stand in my way, make me doubt, a fear the process. Yet here I lay myself open to be as authentic as I can be.

The first time through the process was informative, enlightening, much of the exercises I have done before, I have done self inventory, I have look at my past, I have wandered around in my shadows, even in some really dark places. These path takes me there again, and again, Julia states that this process is a spiral, and it will take us back though places, choices, fears, shadows, illuminations, joys, hight creative moments to inform us of new choice, new ideas, moving beyond our old self. Ms Cameron says that we are “the substance we withdraw to, not from, as we pull our overextended and misplaced creative energy back into our core.”

Pink Peony

I must tell you that the process works, That I have moved out of my own way, left the ego do its thing and then gett back in touch with the spiritual energy that is the creative energy that begun this process for me when I began taking photographs 6 years ago without any real knowledge of what I was doing, no knowledge of the camera I was using. I knew I enjoyed it and was moved the first time I down loaded photographs, watching them flip by in slide show accompanied with music. When a fellow artist said to me “these are really good, why are you messing around taking psychology courses, you should go to concentrate on this.”

I never doubted my talent, I walked with my head held high, I remember the first time I told someone I was a photographer, I had gone to the GLBT Center in Albany New York, to look in to their gallery, I knocked on the, they weren’t open yet for the day, young man answered, and I said “I am Jeff Stroud and I am a photographer and would like to see your gallery.” I heard the voice in myself say “did you just say your a photographer?”  Wow !  I never got into that gallery but it was a beginning of walking in to coffee shop, photography groups, joining the artist coop in Cambridge NY, and the path just kept opening and continues to do so. It was me that put a stopper on the flow, I had lost my mojo, or whatever when I returned to NJ, two years ago. I began to search out places to learn, to exhibit, to sell, and continue to still do that, yet my attention was not always with it, I withdrew socially from a lot of things last year, the opportunities where there but many I just could not get myself to accomplish.

So the reason for “The Artist Way”, the reason for Life Harmony work I am doing with Laurie Buchanan, At Holessence, the reason for the blog is to expand, to open, to evolve emotionally, spiritually, and creatively.

Join me on this path, share with me your journey creative or emotional, even spiritual because they are all intertwined. On this path we can encourage and support each other joys and the scaries !

Juried Art show Exhibit Opening reception

Growth Question: Where are you on your creative journey, is it where you planned to be, if not why not, if so how did you get there?

I am Love, Jeff

PS: I almost did not post this!

All work can be found on red bubble.

Exhibit Exhibit

Juried art show 2009

To my wondrous surprise I receive a phone call from the Candice at the William Way Center, I had enter two photographs in the centers annual Juried Art Show. Last year my work was rejected, when I went to pick up my work I saw that the photographs had bubbled up off the backing. So it was a relief that the art was not rejected because they did not like the work ( I think, because they don’t inform you why).  I went to the reception to photograph and to support my fellow artist in spite of my disappointment. These first two photographs are from that show.

last years exhibit

So when I check my messages this morning I had a a call once again from the Center. Candice informed me not only was my work received but I had won, Second Prize! Which is a shared exhibit sometime later in the year. As I stood there listening a second time, to get the phone number to call back, the most amazing feeling of joy over came me, I was dancing with excitement in my room! Wow! Wow! Wow!

I came downstair and told Mom,  her reply was “Good for you, any sales?” Always being practical. Than I called my BF Linda she was so thrilled and supportive, she may come up for Ocean City NJ, for the reception which is Friday May 14, 2010, 6-8 pm at the William Way Center, 1315 Spruce St Philadelphia, Pa.

I than posted the news on Facebook and the response has been wondrous, full of congratulations, and such! I am truly touch by the support and encouragement everyone has offered! I really am!

The photographs I chose are two completely different for me, one is a impromptu photo shoot last year at fellow photographer friends first friday reception at his studio Peter lien where he offered to allow me to use the studio lights, I was thrilled with the offer for I had not really work in that medium. During the evening friends and guest came to the backdrop to pose and clown around it was a lot of fun and a wondrous experience. Out of that came the Kiss, a shot of two friends, Fellow Radical Faeries, Rudy and Ken,

This Kiss

The response from this photo has been amazing and I am thrilled to have had the honor to have photographed such a moment!

The second photograph enter was taken a few weeks ago at the Eastern State Penitentiary in Philadelphia, Pa. Can also be found on my portfolio . Now title Hall of Closets. This structure is a amazing journey in cold damp, dark cells, falling down walls, peeling paint, and just an eerie feel to it.

Hall of Closets

These photographs are a departure for my usual nature shots of the evolution of our planet, the world around us. Challenging myself in new forms of art, taking risk, allowing my self to grow as an artist and a person in this pursuit allowed me to enter this two photographs in this Juried Art Show. To make a statement with art.

Growth Question: Have you challenged yourself in your life or your creativity lately?

I am Love, Jeff

The Christening

Caroline Ann/Grand Niece

On Saturday April 24, 2010 the family attended the Christening of my Grand Niece Caroline. My brother’s second grandchild, the first child of his daughter Lauren and her husband Doug. Two of the most loving enthusiastic parents I ever saw! Really!

At first I was not going to attend because I always feel like such a stranger among my family, for many reason, one being I had not been around all that much in the past 10 years or so. Yet I decided to go at the last moment, ripping throw draws and piles of cloths to see if I had anything decent to wear. I did and I went, I went to record this momentous event as a documenter of family gatherings, for history, to tell a story or just record the history. So there I was among all the other family, both sides, with all types of cameras, cellphone, mini cameras, two video recorders, I am like oh my how do I get around with all those people flashing and recording? I am in a church, should I act like a family member or a photographer? I chose photographer, I got around the people, got on the floor, shook around the back of the priest, I wanted these shot, I wanted to record this moments, that will be only memories in a year or so!

God Parents

I had the revelation that I find a way into the family gatherings from behind my camera, I can interact with people in different way, I get to see with different I eye, have different experience because I move all over the space, from group to group, person to person, moment to moment, candidly as possible catching those moments… So I am glad I made the choice to attend this Christening, this family gathering.

Mom & Dad, Caroline

Growth Question: How do you respond or react in family events? Are they pleasant or a challenge?

I am Love, Jeff

Photo: are for purchase at http://www.redbubble.com/people/jeffstroud

The purpose is…

The purpose of this blog is to write this blog, to connect with people, sharing my thoughts and journey in writing and photography, as well as other creative opportunity’s that may present themselves.

I have truly lived up to my “reluctant bloger” name this past week or so. As much as I wanted to blog/write I could not concentrate, my mind and thoughts were distracted by distraction of the constant TV in the

Constant TV

background, even with ear pods and beautiful music playing the sound and energy of that idiot box was drowning out any sense of well being I would have to free flow write or to have a continued thought.

The space I share is the dinning room table to be able to hook up to the internet which the TV room is not more then five feet behind me with the sound coming directly into my hearing. So for peace and to write my morning pages, I have either gone to my room or when the weather is nice outside in the yard.

Magnolia Confetti, under the bush.

One would wonder what is difference is today: my intention, me ability to go through the challenge, and thus far no TV on!!!

Growth Question: What do you do when confronted by a challenge? What are your methods of extracting yourself, to find peace and serenity?

I am Love, Jeff

If your are interested in my photograph, please go to http://www.redbubble.com/people/jeffstroud

Moving meditation

shot of my work space

There was this wondrous paragraph in the Artist’ Way that stuck me to the core so I think I will write it here to share with people and the path that is now beginning to unfold for me. I have been working the Artist Way path for the past 11 weeks or more, I missed a week, somewhere alone the way, but I was always aware that I wanted to go through the process completely once. My intention is to begin again when I finish week 12. I am on week 11 now, and that is where the quote that I wish to use tonight come from: “ Creativity requires action, and part of that action must be physical. It is one of the pitfalls of Westerners adopting Eastern meditation techniques to bliss out and render ourselves high but dysfunctional.” This is really what hit me, for this is so where I have been. The paragraph goes on, “We lose our grounding and, with it, our capacity to act in the world.” For me fear and mistrust in the world has caused me to doubt  myself, doubt if I had a place in it anymore, my spiritual knowledge and wisdom, confused me and I could not feel comfortable around others any more.  Julia Cameron offers a remedy for that once we wake up again. She states, “In the pursuit of higher consciousness, we render ourselves unconscious in a new way. Exercise combats this spiritually induced dysfunction… “What we are after here is a moving meditation.” She is talking about walking 2o minutes a day,

Sunset, over suburban NJ

I have been doing that for years now… who knew. And I do it several times a day with the dogs and my heels, and my camera in hand, we travel in our little wood, my mind calms, I listen to the trees, I hear the birds about the din of traffic from the NJ Turnpike less then a mile away. Yet here in our little wood we can enjoy the sound and sights of nature, sit under a tree, route for mushroom, and flowers unseen under the growth of sticker bushes and such. All this time I was in a moving meditation. Now that I am more conscious of this practice, and a practice it is, because I can readily walk through the trees unseeing and un-hearing, unaware of anything else but my own concerns and worry’s and that is not why I went out side… “The goal is to connect to a world outside of us, to lose the obsessive self-focus of self-exploration and simply explore. One quickly notes that when the mind is focused on other, the self often comes into a far more accurate focus”

fresh green spring

Growth question: What is your moving meditation, are you going to begin a practice of a moving meditation now that you can consciously begin to see the benefits of the practice?

The Passing Through

Magnolia NJ spring path

I was truly being the reluctant bloger today! I thought about what I would write all day, even now I am not sure what will present it self here!

We, the family, my sister Arden, her husband, Jim, and Mom attended our cousin Teresa viewing this evening, she transitioned on Monday her  83th Birthday . 8 weeks after she found out she had cancer.

She lived and Loved well, she was a constant companion to my mom, they shared many travels and paths together around, lost of husbands, and children. Yet always ready for a new adventure. So now Teresa adventures have sifted to the other realm, her travels not over but only just begun to emerge in the state of angels, ever gracing those around her with joy and caring.

So I guess our path today is our journey home, are complete trip from this form to the next. Where our Oneness is truly One, or is it, maybe once we get there we desire to come back to a planet and try life one more time? Who knows? In our dreams, in our intentions, in our intuitions, which are full of wisdom and knowledge, does the answer lie there?

Just musing about life and death about Oneness, and our journey Home? Or are we already home? And have just forgotten?

Seems I have created more questions than answer. But as long as I am still asking the questions the journey continues, continues here anyway!

Spring apple blossom buds

There are so many paths

So which one do you take? The one that mothers and fathers suggested for you, or how about teacher and or mentors, did you like their suggestions or have you always walked your own path. A path that maybe not seemed very popular with others, especially your family, and friends? Following our own path is sometimes wondrous and blissful yet sometimes lonely causing thoughts of whether we have taken the right path, or has this all been a waste of time?

Five years ago while living in community at Easton Mountain Retreat center I found a path I did not know I was looking for. I found my self immersed in nature, many of the comforts of the outside world where missing, the distraction of TV, and social life. We worked hard, we communed together in ritual and hospitality… Yet I found the human relationships difficult and painful causing many contemplative moment alone in my walks with Muffin and Riley, the two golden retrievers that I befriended, who were and still are my constant companions. In the mist of the mountain I pick up a camera and began to photograph my daily walks, I became very personally acquainted with the evolution of the planet, and my bliss was peaked, my wonder never varied.

So it is only that path that I still wander, self taught photographer and Nature lover. You will find me in the wood, much smaller then Easton but just as live and thrilling of each and every walk…

I am Love, Jeff

One of the many paths at Easton Mt Retreat!
A local path in my wood

Ah ha ! Here we go!

I started this blog a few days ago, and got lost in all the tech stuff… finally had time to look around… so here I am again.

My blogs I hope will be about Photography and Nature, or the nature of photography and the spirit that drives me to photograph and to write this blog… in some ways it is another form of getting the message out about the photography that I do as well as allow others to view and hopefully be inspired by nature, to become conscious of the world around them and how they are treating and how it is treating them. This blog will also be about healthy living, through fresh whole foods, active social community, meaning friends, family, and support systems.

Through the coming weeks, months, years I hope to take us on a spiritual photographic creative journey of our planet Gaia through my experience of emotion, feelings, and most of all Love…

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