Answering the Call: Acting on Your Call for Creativity and Self-Expression

A couple of weeks ago, I shared a quote and wrote about the importance of making time for yourself and your creativity. (You can find that post here.)

" I've seen women insist on cleaning everything in the house before they could sit down to write...and you know it's a funny thing about never comes to an end. Perfect way to stop a woman. A woman must be careful to not allow over-responsibility (or over-respectability) to steal her necessary creative rests, riffs, and raptures. She simply must put her foot down and say no to half of what she believes she "should" be doing. Art is not meant to be created in stolen moments only." - Clarissa Pinkola Estes

While I wholeheartedly believe in this practice, I also believe in the stolen moments. If I'm honest, many of my self-portraits have been created in those very brief moments over the years. When inspiration hits me, I have an undeniable urge to act. I've never been known for my patience. Along with many of my ideas or visions for self-portraits comes a great sense of urgency.

I understand that acting on this urgency and rushing through creating something with limited time can lead to sloppiness. It could limit me and hold me back from producing my best work. Or maybe I thrive in that type of setting?

Working in these stolen moments has given me an abundant amount of experience over the years. It has allowed me to work in all types of lighting and weather situations during various times of the day. It has helped me find ways to make the best use of small and limited spaces. It has required me to both think and act fast. Have I set myself up for failure this way? I've definitely had my fair share of failed attempts at bringing a vision to life. But more times than not, I have learned something new and created something unexpected out of each brief experience.

My needs for the process of creation and self-expression strongly outweigh the desired outcome. It is with this open mind-frame that I find my best work. For example, by closing myself off to the ideas of creating in harsh light or in the late evening when the sunlight has faded, I would be limiting myself and my creative process. Creating gives me a sense of freedom and to put limitations on that seems detrimental to me.

I was able to shoot this self-portrait in under 15 minutes over the weekend. That even included the time for me to go back and forth in my mind, questioning if I could pull it off. By sneaking in this creative moment, I was able to appease the sense of urgency and fill my creativity cup. The most challenging thing about this was waiting until Monday to share it!


So while I 100% believe in making time for yourself, I also hold a high value on the stolen moments. It's those 15 minutes before the school bus is due to arrive, the 10 minutes while you're waiting for that pot of water to boil, the moments right before the rain approaches. You'd be surprised at what you can accomplish in such a restricted and limited time.

How do you prefer to create? Do you time out and plan for that perfect moment? Or do you do it more on a whim?

The next time inspiration hits you, act on it. Don't wait!

** Sharon Covert is a teacher and mentor at The Define School. Sharon's courses, Expressive Self Portraiture and The Art of Authenticity are both available through The Define School. For more information email Sharon at or visit The Define School by clicking this link. You can sign up for Sharon’s newsletter HERE to stay up to date and receive a bonus black and white editing video.

Art Now! Chores Later : Why You Shouldn't Put Off Your Creativity and 5 Ways to Nourish it

" I've seen women insist on cleaning everything in the house before they could sit down to write...and you know it's a funny thing about never comes to an end. Perfect way to stop a woman. A woman must be careful to not allow over-responsibility (or over-respectability) to steal her necessary creative rests, riffs, and raptures. She simply must put her foot down and say no to half of what she believes she "should" be doing. Art is not meant to be created in stolen moments only." _ Clarissa Pinkola Estes 


Recently, an artist friend of mine shared this quote on Instagram. It was one of those quotes that screamed out to me. The kind that your gut intuition tells you that it was written just for you. I brought the quote to The Define School’s forum and we quickly adopted the motto, Art Now! Chores later.

Not too long ago, I was that woman in the quote. And by no means am I saying I am no longer her. I am just more aware of when I am her. Being aware and recognizing unrewarding patterns is half the battle. I've trained myself to rearrange my priorities and put myself and my creativity up at the top of my list whenever possible. It's not always easy, and often it's uncomfortable. 

As women, we wear many hats, or as I like to say- masks. We are known to put others first and tend to everyone else. We tend to prioritize chores and responsibilities. We are caregivers. We clean, cook, take care of children, help family and friends, look after beloved family pets, run errands, work, and leave little to no time for what lights us up. 

Tend to your spark. 

Ignite the fire. 

Don't allow your artistic calling to lie dormant and unaroused. Practice listening to your intuitive voice when it comes to creating. Balance is key. 

One early evening last week, inspiration hit me at an inconvenient time. The dogs and kids needed to be fed, but so did I, in a different way. The woods were calling. Once everyone was taken care of, I knew the cleanup and aftermath could wait. I quickly darted out the door and began to set up. Everything changed when I was out there. My heart rate, breath, mood- it all steadied and slowed down. I was in my happy place, and all was well in that moment.


For me, the process is more important than the outcome. Whether or not I get the shot is irrelevant. I needed that time and space to create. I can't emphasize enough how absolutely necessary it is to make time for yourself. Your badge of honor should not be for all of the things you fit into a day and checked off of your to-do list. Your button of merit shouldn't be earned from being so busy in your day that you didn't have time to eat; to nourish your own body. 

Here are some ways to be kind to yourself and allow for creative space in your daily life. Keep an open mind and open heart to them, and you will be greatly rewarded. 

  1. Set your alarm for 30 minutes earlier each morning and begin your day in silence. Sip on some lemon water. Meditate. Journal. Get it all out on the pages so you can then start your day with a clear mind. Waking up earlier than required sounds terrible to most people. With some simple adjusting to your bedtime, it becomes much easier over time. For me, I need that time alone in the morning to thrive and be the best I can for others throughout the day. You may even be surprised to find yourself looking forward to that early morning time!

  2. Move your body. Stretch. Breathe. I have a daily yoga practice. Some mornings it only means 10 minutes. Other mornings it's 40 minutes. I won't allow myself to get hung up on time. My body needs this type of movement and breathing. It is key to helping me carry through my day. Some prefer an evening ritual, so if that's you, go for it!

  3. Schedule time for creativity. If you are finding yourself getting caught up in the "I'm too busy and don't have enough time" loop, then this is for you. Block off some time on your calendar for your creativity each day. Make it non-negotiable even if it's something as little as 10 minutes a day. Allow yourself this well-deserved, uninterrupted time. Time is what we make of it. I've been guilty of saying I don't have enough of it, but it comes down to priorities.

  4. Ask for help. Too much on your to-do list leaves little to no time for you. There is no rule that states we have to do it all; a common fallacy that many people take on as a firm belief. You may feel asking for help makes you less of a person or that it sets you up for rejection. I find the opposite to be true. Making a few simple changes and delegating some tasks i.e., surrendering and giving up some control, can supply you with enough freedom to cultivate your creativity.

  5. Set up a small space that's just for you. This space can be a corner of a room, a little altar, desk, windowsill, a bookshelf, anything. Get creative with it. Decorate it with candles, crystals, flowers, books, artwork, pictures, oracle cards, anything that brings you inner peace, makes you smile, and inspires you. Spend some time in that area each day. Can you set up a chair nearby and read or journal for 15 minutes in this space? Make it your own and bring what you will to it. I've completely taken over the sunroom in our house and made it my own. Aside from that, I have smaller spaces throughout the house that I've created for myself also.

Do the things that light you up. 


You don't have to check off a to-do list in order to earn quality time for yourself. The house cleaning can wait! Commit to these practices, and you will see and feel such a difference in yourself. 


Leave a comment below and share your thoughts and ideas. Let's help each other out and support one another!


** Sharon Covert is a teacher and mentor at The Define School. Sharon's courses, Expressive Self Portraiture and The Art of Authenticity are both available through The Define School. For more information email Sharon at or visit The Define School by clicking this link. You can sign up for Sharon’s newsletter HERE to stay up to date and receive a bonus black and white editing video. 

Backstage Pass: The Story Behind the Image

I recently began creating a new series, Luna, and wanted to share a peek at what goes on behind the scenes.

I like to incorporate objects as symbolism in many of my self-portraits. For this series, I wanted a type of sphere to represent the moon. I purchased several of the Amazing Wubble Bubble Balls (Have you heard of them?) in white and blue. I also used a 3D printed LED moon lamp (which has some texture. Can you spot it?). Soon I'll be adding in pearl-colored children's ball pit balls for even more spheres. I chose shades of blues and whites because I felt they would convert well to black and white in my post-processing.

I began by setting up some test shots in my backyard to get a feel for things before changing into a cumbersome dress. It can sometimes be difficult with all of the back and forth to my camera while wearing a gown. Often, they end up dirt ridden, torn and tattered, but thankfully, the camera is forgiving.

Test shot to grab my focus, set my exposure, and get the placement of the balls.

Test shot to grab my focus, set my exposure, and get the placement of the balls.

My initial thoughts were to capture the balls in mid-air. This process proved to be complicated. It was tricky to time it out with my camera's shutter release and more times than not the balls landed on my head, knocking my glasses off.

Here you can see that I was trying to capture some movement in my dress.

In these outtakes you can see how I try to capture some movement in my dress.

In these outtakes you can see how I try to capture some movement in my dress.

Eventually, I ended up with a costume change and a call for back-up. Since I don't typically work in Photoshop, I need to find other ways to bring my visions to life. Sometimes that means asking for help.

You can see the hand on the left by the dress.

You can see the hand on the left by the dress.

Once I finished, I brought my images into Lightroom and converted them to black and white. I added any texture and bokeh using Alien Skin Exposure software. It only took me about 10 minutes to edit each self-portrait.

Here are a few of the final edits.


I hope you enjoyed this little peek into what goes on behind the scenes. If you have any questions, drop them in the comments below, and I'd be happy to reply.

Your Relationship With Self and Art

What’s your relationship with yourself like? What about with your art?
I work on my relationship with myself every morning when I step onto my yoga mat, every time I put pencil to paper (yes, I prefer to hand write everything and with pencil ✏️ 🙂), every time I make the conscious choice to put the time in to nourish my body and not choose the opposite, every time I pick up or listen to a book, every online class I take to further educate myself (we can never stop learning), and in so many other ways.
The other night I shared a little BTS video in my Instagram Stories of me setting up for a self-portrait in my backyard. It was completely impromptu. I had gone outside with Linhsey (my daughter) while she played hockey in the driveway, but the fading light and woods whispered for me to come.
I obliged.
While I didn’t create anything magical, I embodied and relished myself in the process. I spent so much thought and time in the winter pondering why I wasn’t out there creating as much. The cold and snow had never stopped me in the past. Now I see I just needed to lean in and trust in the process. It may call at the oddest of times, or lie dormant for quite some time. I just need to trust that whatever I’m meant to create, I will.
I needed to go through this process the other night of feeling that spark of inspiration, setting up, making the images, and taking it all down again. It’s within that process that my relationship to self grows the most.
What about you?


Trial and Error with Self Portraiture

A little background story- I’ve been having my son film and edit some behind the scenes videos for me that I’ll be using in some upcoming materials I’m creating. Remember when I said I’m a shy introvert? Well being in a video = awkward!
For those that don’t know, I use a dress form that happens to have a couple of wigs and a bear mask on it to take my place in a self-portrait so that I can grab my focus and set up my shot. 🐻 I’ll include a shot of it to give you a better idea. Just scroll to see.
So as he began to film me, the head of the dress form with both wigs and the bear mask popped off and fell to the ground. As this was happening I bent over to save it when all of a sudden the entire dress form decided to fall and clobber me in the head/face. 😳😖🤣
So after much intense laughter exchanged between the two of us I was able to complete the self portraits all the while extremely happy that it was done and over with and having my fingers crossed that he got enough footage.
He didn’t.
So this self-portrait was from attempt #2, which went much smoother, where I tried to be much more present in the moment. 😅
I just wanted to share that it’s not all fairytales and magic. There’s a lot of trial and error, a lot of mishaps, but the process and experience is what it’s all about for me.

What’s your favorite part? Where do you lose yourself and learn the most? Is it in the editing? Sharing? The actual shoot or the preparation before hand? Share in the comments below and earn bonus points for sharing a mishap 😂

My dress form that I use to grab my focus. Works like a charm.

My dress form that I use to grab my focus. Works like a charm.

Intro- I'm Sharon Covert

I tend to forget that many of you are new followers and that you haven’t been following my journey all along. I thought I’d give you a little introduction.
My name is Sharon Covert. Most of the work you see here is self-portraits aside from some still life from time to time and portraits of my daughter. My son is grown and in college now so he hasn’t made an appearance in quite some time. He does spend some time with me behind the scenes though. He’s in the process of putting together some BTS’s videos he filmed for me for my newsletter and an upcoming class I’m teaching. His major is video production. Lucky me 😉
I began using self-portraiture as a way of self-expression about 6 years ago. I’m a shy introvert but thrive in expressing myself through words, art, and music. Before photography I taught piano lessons to children for many years. It was such a rewarding and challenging experience but I truly enjoyed working with children.
I currently teach an online course, Expressive Self Portraiture, through The Define School. You could say it’s a dream come true. The women I have met online and worked with have left me speechless and in awe.
I’m about to graduate from The Institute of Integrative Nutrition in a few short weeks. The year long program has been life-changing and the coaching skills I have learned there have begun to carry over into my photography class. I’m excited for what the future holds.
I don’t composite or edit in photoshop. It’s not that I’m against it, I just haven’t put in the time and effort to learn the program. I really will one day, but I admit, I am completely intimidated by it! I enjoy the process of creating my self-portraits and finding ways to bring my ideas to life.
If you’re curious about anything else, or if you’d like to tell me something about yourself, leave a comment below ⬇️! As always, thank you so very much for your support. It means so much to me! ♥️


Registration is OPEN!!!

Wanted: Creative, emotional Artist seeking her tribe of like-minded Artists.
My Belief: I believe in creating for self-love, self-awareness, self-discovery, self-reflection, self-guidance, self-healing and introspection. My core belief is that by practicing these things you will become a better person to serve those around you.
Have you ever been moved by someone else’s art? Have you ever felt connected in some way to another’s magic?
We, as Artists, are healers.
My 4 week interactive mentorship based course, Expressive Self Portraiture, through The Define School is now OPEN for registration! We will spend 4 weeks online together learning and practicing the tools I give you for creating art for yourself. You will learn how to think outside the box and bring your inner stories to life in a healing and expressive way. In this course I share everything. I hold nothing back.
Answer the call and join me by clicking the link in my bio. 
I’m so damn excited for this! ♥️
Class begins February 18, 2019!…/expressive-self-portrait…/



Have you ever been rejected?
It doesn’t feel good, I know.
But what if you used that rejection to fuel your fire🔥 and become even more amazing?
Instead of allowing it to bring you down, let it motivate you.
I’ve been checking my email for weeks in hopes of an acceptance email. You usually can tell by the header. “Congratulations!”
Today the email came, except it was a rejection email.
For a brief moment I let the sting set in and bring me down. The questions began circling through my mind. How? Why? What could I have done different?
I quickly put a stop to it and decided I would continue submitting to them. After all, what’s the worst thing that can happen?
So many people share their successes and leave out their failures. I’ve been guilty of doing that myself ✋🏼. I think many of us have feelings of shame in rejection and failure. It’s embarrassing.
Have you been rejected recently? Or have you had a recent success? Either way, I’d love to hear about it! Comment below and let’s lift each other up and inspire one another.