Moody Images of Devon & Cornwall

I had a wonderful time exploring the sights and culture of Devon & Cornwall over the holidays. I took a few shots on my D700, all of which had this great moody feel to them.

 

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An Ocean Selfie

Sometimes, even when it’s only 3 degrees, you just have to throw on a dress and jump in the ocean. This selfie was taken out at Sandcut Beach, about 20 minutes West of Sooke, B.C. on Vancouver Island. A beautiful area I am lucky to call home!

Red Cedar Photography Ebony Logins Selfie Hike

Time to Reconnect

Thank god for nature. Although I usually don’t like being out in the rain, I was really happy to be out in the woods alone this afternoon with puddles, ferns, and waterfalls.

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3 Steps to Becoming an Artist

We always hear that we are on our “own journey” as artists. Why is this person’s journey short and another’s long? Where are we at in our journey? There are countless unanswered questions. I’d like to share the three steps I have identified by watching my father’s life as an artist.

Three Steps to Becoming an Artist as Told by the Red Cedar Burl

Step One: The Artist
Offers: $0
Value: $0
Lesson Learned: Do what you need to do to create when you need to create.

This is my dad (middle) at about 43 years old. He jumped from job to job his whole life (all self-employed positions) until a logger friend of his dropped off a giant 800 year old Red Cedar burl aka Big Burl. I was really young, but remember it took some very large trucks and a backhoe to get it up our long road on the mountain to my dad’s newly built airplane hanger wood shop. The day this burl arrived, my dad quit all his other jobs to become an artist.
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That’s right. An artist. I strongly believe that the day you commit to art is the day you become an artist. Commitment can be purchasing a camera body, spending a weekend with a paintbrush and canvass, going to some Tai Chi classes… pretty much anything that involves personal expression.

The definition of art is “The expression or or application of human creative skill and imagination”. But don’t be fooled! Skill in art is inherent. Imagination is skill. The human ability to create is skill. So no matter how “good” you are at the very beginning, you always bring your unique skills to the table.

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This is my dad at the beginning of his journey with the Big Burl. He has, at this point, only made small cedar boxes, pens, and letter openers. This is where his “skill” kicked in. Had he ever worked on something this large before? Not even close. So he jumped in (literally), started carving away at it with the vision he had (inherent skill of imagination).

 

Step Two: The Tub?

Offers: $1.5 Million
Value: $1 Million?
Lesson Learned: People like you and your work and are willing to support you.

This stage lasted 15 years. It was torture, because it wasn’t finished. The offers started rolling in, because people were starting to see his vision! He was creating every day. Thinking about it every day. The energy was out there! EVERYONE wanted it.

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My dad had many visitors to his studio (let me pause for a moment and tell you that this so-called studio was literally a giant box made out of plywood): A Middle Eastern Princess. George Lucas (Dad walked into the house after George showed up and said, “Oh, you’re home. That Star Wars guy was here.”). A Tibetan Rinpoche. Isabella Rosselini (they are now BFFs). Stanley Marsh, creator of the Cadillac Ranch.

Word had gotten out around town that my dad had something amazing in his shop that all the tourists had to see. The only problem was, it wasn’t finished. You see, it looked finished, but the vision wasn’t complete. So even though the Big Burl was a hot commodity, all the offers did was make my dad wonder even more about what he was creating. At first it was a tub he valued at $300,000. Then, it was a love seat valued at $500,000. Then, it was a [insert mumble mumble about what it may become] worth $1 million? Or 1.5 million? … You get my point.

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I’m sure y’all enjoy this picture as much as I do, since his head is so obviously photoshopped [right] onto whoever’s body that is! You know you’re successful when people start photoshopping your head onto their bodies…?

 

Step Three: The Time Machine

Offers: $0
Value: Priceless
Lesson Learned: Pause. Value time in your surroundings and emotions.

My family went through a very traumatizing move. I was a teenager, and didn’t understand it, but it hurt my parents very much. It involved a lawsuit with my dad’s cousin, a cheap buyout of our property, and a 30 day deadline to move. Fortunately, we found a home on the ocean that would inspire my father to complete the Big Burl.

He spent 5 years sanding the burl, and every day in the summer months he would pause to watch the killer whales from his living room. He was diagnosed with prostate cancer (and won the battle in the long run). He was hospitalized for alcoholism (he is recovered and won that battle) He started to garden again. It was during these moments of rest that he had his greatest ideas. He was inspired by the ocean and the Big Burl was ready to be completed.

It was not a tub. It was not a bench. It was, simply, art from the heart.

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That is my cute little niece-in-law, Payton. Everyone is encouraged to touch and smell the burl and to find a connection with it.
My dad no longer has offers on the Big Burl. It sits in his studio and acts as a salesperson for his other work. But it sits there because it is amazing. It moves people and makes them cry and laugh. It evokes emotion, because 20 years of emotion has been poured all over it.

It is now called “The Time Machine”: http://sookescoop.com/2015/03/the-time-machine/ and you can view my dad’s website here.

In our work, we need to remember these lessons and not work to become masters, but instead work to become whole. We are all artists from the start and need to put more value on the process of creating than becoming.

Bridge in the Fog

Out with the Dogs