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!

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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.

I See You

I see you.
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To the woman who just turned her camera around onto herself for the first time today.
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I see you.
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To the woman who uses self-portraiture as a way to feel good about herself.
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I see you.
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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.
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I see you.
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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.
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I see you. I see you all and I witness your courage and honor your perseverance.

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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?

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Click Magazine

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I was never one to set goals for myself, but over the last few years I have made a point to make a list of goals that I wish to accomplish with my photography. While I have crossed off many each year, there was one that I always transferred over to the new year, never giving up hope and determination. I'm beyond thrilled to share with you that I have a feature in the May/June 2018 issue of Click Magazine! If you don't already subscribe, you can find the newest issue in your local Barnes and Noble store. I want to thank all of you who have reached out to me over the last 2 weeks to tell me you saw the feature. That kindness never goes unappreciated. Thank you all so much for support!

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Myths, Legends, and Dreams - PhotoPlace Gallery, VT

I'm pleased to announce that my self-portrait, Artio, will be in the upcoming Myths, Legends, and Dreams exhibition at the PhotoPlace Gallery in Middleburg, Vermont. The exhibition will open on March 7, 2018 and run through March 31, 2018. If anyone is in the area, I'd love for you to stop by and check it out! 

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Vibrations of Nature

I've always felt more connected in nature; connected to my true self, my surroundings, everything living and breathing. My senses are especially heightened, and I am more attuned to what is happening all around me; from the birds singing, the wind rustling through the trees, the crunch of the leaves under the deer hooves, to the distinct, damp smell of fall. There is music to be heard if you just take the time to listen. Every living and breathing thing has a voice in its own unique way, and this is mine.

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