Welcome back to day two of the Inward series. Yesterday, I shared the background and challenges of the art I was creating last winter. And today, I’ll be sharing about the creation of the collection, the insights it brought me, and a few reflection questions for you to look inward with me.
With flowers blooming in my first actual garden and the challenges of winter sunlight and fresh flowers overcome, I set out to create the Winter Garden Collection and begin my Seasonal Garden Series. This collection and series was inspired by the affect gardening and growing things had had on me throughout my twenties. While working as a wedding photographer, I spent my days in front of a computer screen and feeling very much like a machine. But the more time I spent in the garden the more like a human I felt and the more I learned about being human. The gentle refrains of nature seemed to introduce me to myself but also to the world. To bring my eyes inward, but also upward and outward. My garden showed me, that the world is big and beautiful, and the things that often so concerned me, weren’t as overwhelming in comparison.
And it’s this experience, that inspired me to create. It was my hope that these pieces could go out into the world and help remind their collectors of their humanity and their wildly precious life.
I wanted the pieces to be unified in their simple elegance and created compositions that captured each flower’s unhurried grace and natural form. I used only what was blooming in my garden at the time – pansies, violets, snowflakes, herbs, and other intricate foliage. As winter came to a close, I had created twenty-one cyanotype originals that I was incredibly proud of.
I’m an avid journaled and notetaker of the process and reading back through my notes, I was really struck by how excited I was, and how much life this collection brought me. There are a handful of findings from my notes that stuck out to me.
Love of Fresh Flowers
If you read yesterday’s post, you know that the Winter Garden Collection was the first I had created with fresh flowers. There were many challenges that came with this switch and it turned out beautifully. But ultimately working with fresh flowers was a huge experiment. I had no idea how it would turn out and if I would even enjoy the process. For me this experiment turned out to be fruitful because I loved it so much more. Since then I worked almost entirely with fresh flowers, so it seems rather standard to me now. So it was really fun to look back and see the fresh joy of this new discovery. And how this collection, changed my practice for forever.
Confidence in my medium
Another thing that leaped out at me from my notes, was my confidence and deep knowledge of the cyanotype medium. In 2020 I was really just beginning to understand the process. I was able to make some really lovely work, but it was very hit and miss. So I spent the second half of the year, conducting tests, understanding the nuances of the medium, and developing my technique. In contrast, my notes from winter of 2021 were filled with mostly notes about fresh flowers and collection ideas and far less frustration. Clearly indicating my experiments from 2020 had paid off and set a standard for my practice.
The third observation from my journal is that this was the season I realized I wanted to create every day. Out of all three of these findings, this is by far the most impactful. Because it has shaped not just my practice but my life. Last winter I realized I didn’t want to just have a creative job, but a creative life. And a life that allowed me to create every day. This may seem so simple, but it was so revolutionary to me. And since then has guided and shaped my year and the way I choose to spend my time inside and outside the studio. A whole year later, I can look back far the ripples of this realization spread.
Last Winter in the studio was a lovely one filled with so much growth. It shaped my life in tangible and intangible ways and gave me the confidence to follow my intuition. But now it’s your turn to look inward.
What is something that brought you joy? How can you cultivate more of that in your life?
What is something you learned last year? How can you deepen your knowledge of it this year?
What kind of life do you want to live? What would your life look like a year from if you brought that vision to life? What is one thing you can do today to make that more of a reality?
How to Collect the Artwork
Most of the 21 pieces of the Winter Garden Collection have been collected. However, there are a few originals left as well as a few framed prints created from this collection. I’ve linked to them below.
Tomorrow I will be reflecting on the spring, sharing about its context and challenges. And like usual, creating a few reflection questions for you too. If this is the first post you are reading, here is a quick reference guide to all the posts in this series.