"Welcome to my Blog! Here is where I will be posting information about my love of photography , which will include some of my Client portrait sessions , my favorite gear, workshops or just some thoughts about my life as a photographer. Thanks so much for stopping by and visiting, you are always a welcome guest! "
Proud to announce that all nine of my posters have been printed and Wordsprint did a beautiful job!
They will be signed and numbered and only 50 of each are printed. When these sell I will make another series of different poster images!
They will be in the stores by the last day of this month!
Available in Wytheville, Va. At The Framers Daughter on main street. Farmers Daughter is a unique gift shop offering the best in quality custom framing and a wonderful range of gifts you will not find anywhere else! Tracy Holiday is the shop owner and you will enjoy visiting with her as she is just as unique and fun as her shop. Visit them online here.
My prints will also be available at Petals of Wytheville , which is not your typical Flower shop! Petals sells many other items that would make a great addition to your flower delivery. She carries a wide range of domestic beers and wines and other fun gifts! Teresa King is the shop owner and just a very peaceful kind lady that will be glad to help you in deciding on a great gift for your loved one! You can visit Teresa Kings shop here.
Big Walker Lookout will also be offering my posters way up on top of the mountain in Ceres, Va. This is only a few miles from Wytheville and well worth the trip! Ron Kine will be sure and greet you with a big cheerful smile and make you feel like family! His gifts are mostly homegrown crafters from the area offering a large array of interesting items, such as CD's Books, Wood craft, stuffed animal s etc.
You can also enjoy the view of the seven sisters mountains which will take your breath away. and if you really want to lose your breath, try walking up the viewing tower for an amazing birds eye view of these gorgeous mountains! Visit them online here!
Thank you to my amazing young models! Cassa Marie Smith whom many of you know very well, I have been photographing her for 12 years now.
Because of her natural modeling abilty I won a trip to Rome in 2007 with a picture I took of her! Thank you so much Cassa!
Audra White has been my model for over a year and that girl is such a trooper she even did a ballet session in the snow for me last year! Thank you Audra! She is only 14 but has the grace and poise of someone much 'older'.
I met little Kassie Hackler while shooting a wedding last Summer and thought she had the most wholesome country look! She has been fun to work with too! Thank you Kassie!
You may also order this poster series online , just click one of the images to go to the gallery. The online posters will not be signed and numbered as they are fulfilled by another printing source and shipped straight to you from their lab.
Here is a direct link to the entire gallery where you may purchase online. There is one size of 12X18". A popular size and easy to find a frame for!
Announcing my The Reed Creek Collection , my new line of Fine Art Posters!!
I have finally chose the 8 images for my new Fine Art Poster Series and the prose that goes on them. Some I wrote and some I didn't. :)
I hope , if you live in Wytheville you will stop by one of the shops in late September and pick out your favorite as a gift to yourself or a friend! They will be fairly priced at only 20 bux so ya don't have to think too hard about buying one!! :)
I want to thank my local gorgeous and talented models : Cassa Smith , Audra White and Kassie Hackler for taking part in the series and providing me with many hours of sessions in which to work out my vision for this series!
Thank you to Teresa Wassum of the Virginia House on Reed Creek Farm for the gracious and generous use of her farm for the posters! This is how I came up with the name, to honor the location and dear friend!
Here is a link to my facebook post with a sneak preview, please let me know what you think !!
For those of you who were wanting to follow my 100 day challenge updates, I am sorry I have not been loyal to my blogging ! Life gets in the way sometimes !
I can tell you that I'm still challenging myself , but doing it my own way! I was not at all happy with the 100 Day Challenge web site that I signed up for. First, it was $147 to join and there were apps to download in order to get the full experience. There were apps for a calendar, a coach and a time line accountability clock. I own only Apple products and NONE of the apps would work on any of my computers! I asked the help line on the site for a way to get them to work and after three days of asking and emailing I never received a reply. So, all I had was their daily emails with a video to watch and at first the videos were pretty cool, full of good energy provoking messages , but then they got weird and even turned into infomercials on losing weight! What the heck? So, as the days went by, I did not lose interest in my promises to myself, but I did lose interest in following this online challenge! I asked for my money back, and got an almost instant refund , which was fine with me!
I then searched the Apple App store and found a great app, called "Success Wiz" which works on the same premise without any annoying daily emails! So, I now use this app to track my daily progress , but I also use a down to earth, paper journal , which I have always found to be a comfortable way to track my time line and refer back to ,to see where I stand.
One of my goals is to get my new poster line "The Reed Creek Collection" printed and out in the stores before the holidays ! So. hopefully this Fall I will have that accomplished ! I just ordered the backing and plastic protection sleeves and went to the printers today and discussed with them what I am wanting to do. We discussed sizes and I have decided that the 13X19" size is going to work best. I think this size will be perfect for the person who wants to frame them for their home, but also a great size for the dorm room or den !
I did a 'Poster Session' Tuesday night with one of my fav models here in town. 14 year old Audra White. I got some beautiful vintage clothing from the antique store and she looked angelic in it! I did some shots of her with a vase ( My vision for this one will be of her pouring honey from the vase and surrounded by Honeysuckle ) and I did some of her listening to the ocean with a large couch shell , and some of her just twirling in the sunset! My local florist friend , Teresa King, made me some beautiful floral hair wreathes for her hair , which worked wonderfully !
Audra has such a sweet innocent look that I think her posters will appeal to all ages and audiences !
My location for this series is The Virginia House on Reed Creek Farm and is my fav location in Wythe County to do portraits ! Thank you to the Wassum family who have been so gracious in allowing me to use their land for my work! This is why I am naming my poster series "The Reed Creek Collection".
I recently returned from a trip to Texas to see my daughter and had a lot of thinking and work waiting for me when I returned . While I was in Texas , I had a birthday and turned 64 , which, as I type this seems completely untrue and unreal to me ! I mean how in the hell did I get to be in my 60's! The only thing I could think of that is positive about that is that I'm a year from medicare ! Ha! As a single Mom running a business alone and having all the bills on my shoulders , I have never been able to afford health care and Virginia does not support Obamacare in my income bracket. But I don't want this post to be about politics or to start a debate between democrats and republicans , but I mention this as it has a lot to do with my decision to do the 100 day challenge.
I have no problem setting goals, the only problem is that I have so very many! Right now I am working towards maintaining my 'Fine Art Portrait' business while also working on a book project www.singingattheclothesline.com . It is a project that I actually got the idea for in 2010 when I met Doc Watson and wanted to do a book dedicated to him and all the amazing Appalachian Musicians in southwest Va and other nearby regions. But this project has been very time consuming requiring many hours of interviewing, Portrait sessions, editing and posting to facebook and now, a new page! But, no matter how time consuming , it is not a goal I would ever consider abandoning as I truly want to see it all the way through to publishing !( If Interested please join my new page and also bookmark my web site for this) My plan is to launch a Kickstarter Campaign in the Fall and do a LOT of writing this winter!
Another project I am about to launch is a line of Fine Art Posters called "The Honeysuckle Series" which will be some of my fine art portraits and inspirational quotes. I will be selling these locally at 'Petals of Wytheville' Florist and "Farmers Daughter".
I have stopped doing a lot of things that were making me exhausted and contributed next to nothing for income. So, I had to stop shooting local sports , as it was just not adding up to make any business sense. I worked many years and countless hours and felt that I was becoming just a free facebook & Instagram service. Of course I loved the challenge of shooting action and I truly loved the students that thanked me for coming and enjoyed seeing their pictures in the paper and on facebook. That all really was a hoot. But I had to face the facts that it just was not a good business investment. I still may come to a game here and there, but have left the weekly sessions that I was doing behind me and feel better for it.
I have decided to focus more on the work that brings me a personal reward and that lies in the area of Music and Art and Writing which are my real loves in life and speak the most to my heart and soul (as sappy as that may sound , this is where true joy and life satisfaction is found. )
Having your own business really does mean working all the time ! If you know me, you know I stay up usually till 4am editing and working. Although sometimes I am practicing guitar and fiddle , which I also love and do for the sheer joy of it!
I have had many folks emailing this year to do workshops and it seemed every time I had one in mind and started to plan it, I got side tracked and just did not have the time or mental space to plan. Workshops require months of work to plan lessons, presentations etc and I would never do one if I am not prepared to make it rewarding , interesting and beneficial to all who sign up! But this is another goal I do not want to abandon ,as I do want to to offer these in the future!
okay, so why did I sign up for the 100 Day Challenge? Well, it was a birthday gift to myself, but I have felt like I have been losing focus and having a hard time deciding which project to work on and also where I need to focus to build my income back up. I had recently lost a major magazine position because I was away from the internet for several weeks and it cost me. I knew I needed to replace that income and was not sure what to work on and then I thought of the Line of posters I would launch. But how ? I know I need to do my research and do this right and that is my plan.
But again, I thought, which goal should I state upon sign up, which would impact my life the most ? That was when I realized , It had to be about my health! I have been battling an acid reflux and gall bladder illness for years and it has been getting worse and no way to resolve it , as surgery is not in my budget :) So, I decided I would make the goal a decision to live a healthier life and this decision I know will impact every business goal I have set for myself! I have to accept that I am growing older and instead of ignoring that, I need to embrace it, celebrate it and create the best years ahead that I can both in a personal sense and a business sense !
SO ! The Goal is : By eliminating alcohol ( Bye-Bye Beer! ) and cutting out grease, sodas, and dairy products I can make a huge difference in the way I feel every day. I have already eliminated cheeseburgers ( a year ago) and never have been a fan of snacks. I have not drank milk in 25 years. And so my 100 day goal is to stick to this diet every day and also to exercise every day (walking every day and weight training 3 times a week ).
What I hope to accomplish in 100 days : To be a lot healthier and more fit physically and mentally ! To launch my line of posters, and to have a kickstarter campaign posted for my book project! (and anything else good that happens during this time will be an additional reward and I'm focusing and expecting on many good things to happen and opportunities to appear by seeking success and positive energy!
I plan to keep a journal of how living healthier will impact my business goals and even my relationships and mental well being !
So wish me luck and stay tuned ! If you decide to make a similar commitment , I wish you only success and the peace of mind to see it through!
I welcome any comments ! So please express yourself ! :)
Those of you who know me, and even those of you who don't , know very well that I love my daughter more than anything ! She is now 23 and in graduate school at JMU and I can't begin to tell you how very proud I am of her.
I am also very proud of our journey together as Mommy & Darty :)
I had my daughter 'late' in life at the age of 40 and I wanted her as much as life itself. I had suffered several miscarriages and a still birth before she was born and I could not imagine a life without being her Mother. I knew , from the moment she was conceived that she was a girl. I was already making her baby clothes.
Cassidy Joy was born on Halloween morning , 10 days past her due date and weighing almost 10 lbs. It was a long painful labor ending in an emergency cesarean , but it was all worth it of course. The nurse told me ''This ones got a temper", and I laughed at her , as she turned back at me and said "Honey, I been rocking these babies for 20 years, I can tell. "
We spent her infant year and saw her take her first steps and speak her first words in an old Victorian house apartment in Downtown Hampton right smack behind the Hampton Library . I pushed her stroller there every single day and brought back wonderful picture books and first readers and we ate them up like a good meal every night! Cassi loved being read to and I was unaware how well she was paying attention and learning how to read through 'osmosis' . The librarian would tell me , when she was around two, "That child is already reading Susi , listen to her!" but i just thought she had memorized the books in the same ways she could recall all the words to a song.
We moved from Downtown to the beach and from the ages 2-6 we had a blast riding bikes, roller skating, running on the beach, flying kites and walking to the local diner and Bob's pizza parlor in the evenings. We still spent many hours at all the local libraries.
I was working as a portrait artist, antique furniture painter, House cleaner and embroidery artist and so I got to have my baby with me while I worked. One day I was making a seat cover for a customer and Cassi climbed in his lap and started reading the "Learning Tree" to him. She was only around three and so I still thought she was memorizing and he insisted she was reading , so I got down another book she was not as familiar with, and sure enough she knew all the words! All I could think, was dang this child is smart ! But , I do believe she read early because we had no TV when she was little and I talked with her all the time and all that reading had to of helped !
Because of her reading ability which, of course , helped her in all learning areas , I had her tested to start school at 4 because she was well ready. She took to school like a duck to water, with the exception of missing home and that dreaded task of homework, she has always loved the 'learning' and she still does.
We moved to Wytheville , Va, when Cassi was seven (Where I was born) and it was a tough transition for us both to leave our friends and cozy beach town where we could walk and ride a bike to get about anywhere we wanted and then be here in this rural environment where most places we wanted to go, was an hour drive!
Then the teen years hit and , for the first time, my daughter went from thinking i was the 'coolest' to thinking I was the 'clueless' :)
Any Mom knows these years are riddled with so many unpredictable emotions and heart breaking friction!
There were times It felt like I had a stranger walking around in my daughters body :) But, as hard as it was on me, I knew that her anger and dramatic emotional swings were also taking its toll on her and so I tried my best to be patient and compassionate , as I knew we would come though it all and be all the more closer and stronger !
I'm proud to say that is what happened ! These past few years we have truly become best friends who share every joy and sorrow with one another and talk or text several times a day.
This was actually supposed to be a short introduction to my latest gallery ! Ha! Yes, I can go on :)
I have been missing her so much lately and had been thinking about that time when she was about 13 and started to pull away from me into her own world.. a world called 'Adolescence'. It is a sort of dance of leaving and arriving, of pushing and pulling, of hating and loving and of both parent and child accepting the inevitable reality of 'Growing Up'. Its a tough dance, when neither person knows the steps , but in the end , there is growth, maturity and harmony for everyone ! Don't we love happy endings !
I wanted to show this emotional stage and how it feels when it first starts to reveal itself. As an artist , and photographer, it is natural to want to predict this visually. I had met a little girl about this age, at wedding I shot last Spring and she turned out to be the niece of the Brides Mother!
So Last Friday 'Kassie Hackler' , and her Mom, Lisa, agreed to come to the Reed Creek Farm (Where I shot the wedding ) and 'act out' this sentimental time between a Mother and daughter. I call this style a 'Story Board' Session. It was fun!
I hope you enjoy the gallery !