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 housecleaning...it 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!

SharonCovertMoonGodess.jpg


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 sharoncovertphotography@gmail.com 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 is Subjective: Moving Past the Opinions and Judgments of Others

Something that comes up often when I'm teaching my Expressive Self Portraiture class is the fear of being judged by your audience, family, and friends for creating new work.


This is the part where I want to insert EFF that!


I'm passionate about encouraging women to share their art, themselves, their voices. To think that we would even hesitate on sharing pieces of ourselves in this way is absurd to me.


Are we not allowed to learn to love ourselves?


Are we selfish to think that we matter?


Are we not worthy of support in our self-exploration?


These women have such a strong desire and fire lit inside of them to make this type of healing and profound work, yet hold back in fear.


Fear of the opinions, sometimes ridicules, of their parents, brothers, sisters, children, best friends, husbands, wives, colleagues, employers, local acquaintances, and so on.


I've been there.


Instead, we hold back. We create private accounts. We share with an online audience that we will most likely never meet in real life. We seek support and acceptance from strangers. Online communities are formed for human connection. We create work that never gets shared.

Hush 2016

Hush 2016


This fear of judgment has been a great struggle of mine, especially in my earlier years of self-portraiture. I've had jokes made to my face about my work with masks. I've had comments publically made asking me if I'm okay.


"Are you okay? Do you need to talk to someone?"


I deleted that one out of sheer embarrassment.


Should I worry about sharing this image because I'm a mother and the other mothers out there may see it? What will they think of me? Is too much of my skin showing even though that's not my intention? Should I feel ashamed for being me and expressing myself in a way that feels best for me?

Lament

Lament


What I have come to learn is this.


Art is subjective.


You are going to have people who can read your art like an open book, and you will have others who will see it as a foreign language.


And that's okay.


I've treated it as a learning lesson over the years, and I've made it my mission to support other women who are on similar journies. Because I know they are more than just a daughter, or a wife, or a mother, or a lawyer, or a doctor, or a college drop-out. They have stories, feelings, and desires to explore and express. They want to feel something. They want to find themselves. Be themselves. They are light and love. They are powerful. They are artists.


Not everyone is going to understand your art. But regardless, it belongs to you, and it's your story to share.


You own it.


Art is meant to stir up emotions, and sometimes, those are feelings of uncomfortableness in the viewer. It may bring up the viewers own insecurities, jealousy, or embarrassment and shame.


We all see things differently. That's the beauty of it all. Don't let that be the thing that prevents you from what you're being called to explore and create. What once seemed like a foreign concept to me, is now the very tool I use for self-expression. Self-expression has been the one thing that helps set me free from the inner critic.


Don't censor yourself.

2015

2015


You are worth it. Your voice is worth being heard. Your story is remarkable, and just because not everyone will connect with it, doesn't mean you should bury it.


To all of you brave Artists out there, I see you. I support you. I honor your work and the journey that got you here.

I admire your courage.


Keep creating and sharing with the world.


We need your story.

SharonCovert_Portfolio-40.jpg

* 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 sharoncovertphotography@gmail.com or visit The Define School by clicking this link.

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 😂

55539285_2120662644695400_4791340523279351808_n.jpg
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.

I See You

I see you.
.
To the woman who just turned her camera around onto herself for the first time today.
.
I see you.
.
To the woman who uses self-portraiture as a way to feel good about herself.
.
I see you.
.
To the one who is too scared to begin but can feel a small fire brewing inside of her ready to spread like wildfire when given the chance.
.
I see you.
.
To the one who feels lost. To the one who feels newly found. To the one who needs to heal. To the one who needs to come to terms with her body and accept herself for who she is. To the one who needs to forgive herself. To the one who needs to let go of the past in order to move forward. To the one who longs to feel empowered. To the one who abused herself. To the one who was abused by someone else. To the one who feels like a lost child inside. To the one who feels proud. To the one who thinks it’s her fault. To the one who worked so hard.
.
I see you. I see you all and I witness your courage and honor your perseverance.

8X7A1291-Edit-Edit-Edit-Edit.jpg


Calling All Creatives

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 Expressive Self Portraiture course 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 THIS LINK for more information. 
I’m so damn excited for this! ♥️

Class beings September 10th! 

24411189402_c262568d13_o.jpg

What Lights You Up?

Teaching has been a part of my life since I was 17 years old.

I started teaching piano lessons to children when I was straight out of high school. It was such a fun and rewarding time.

When I had my son at 22 I remember some of the parents would ask me to bring him to the lessons so they could hold him and play with him.

Shortly after my daughter arrived I set piano lessons aside and picked up a camera. I quickly developed a passion to learn more and be a photographer.

It took me YEARS to say aloud that I was a photographer. Piano teacher was all I knew. Who was I to call myself a photographer yet alone an artist?!
Now, my teaching continues. I made my dream come true and I teach at The Define School.

But here’s the thing....those children that I taught piano lessons to? They taught me just as much.

The women who have taken my Expressive Self Portraiture class? They have taught me just as much.

Not only that, but they have touched my heart and left an impact on me that’s almost indescribable.

Teaching lights me up. What lights you up?

SharonCovert_FloatMagazine_Portfolio-3.jpg