Promoting Passion II

A beautiful young girl in her nest surrounded by stars

Promoting Passion

The Promoting Passion Conference was so amazing, I couldn't put it all into one post without making you read too much! 


You know when your introverted self is a bit nervous about going somewhere, but you want to go so badly that you're going to go no matter what, so you go? Have you ever had that happen? You arrive and realize you can't imagine having missed out on the opportunity.


That's how Promoting Passion was for me. I saw it by "coincidence" (I don't believe in coincidence) on Brooke's website and signed up without considering any of the obstacles. 


Things have a way of working themselves out when we let them.


We arrived on Thursday night, and before we'd even stepped off the bus I knew I had made the right decision. By Friday morning I was amazed at the things that were happening. 



For Instance


God, or the Universe or whatever you believe in (for me it's God), gives you a sign that you're in the right place or on the right path sometimes.


I had one of those moments on Friday morning.


I was sitting in the main room waiting for the conference to start. The young woman I was sitting next to, Gillian, had a beautiful accent. When she told me she was from Scotland, I told her about our family trip to St. Andrews some years ago when we stayed with friends.


I shared my desire to return soon and visit with them. I didn't mention my friends' names. 


"They've moved from St. Andrews to the Isle of Skye," I noted. "And it would be great to catch up with them and go shooting over there." 


Oh," she said in that lovely lilting accent, "I suppose you're talking about Rory and Annice!" 


Well damn. How often does that happen? 




Yes, I was.


I was talking about Rory and Annice! So...out in California, I met a woman from Scotland who is good friends with the only people I know from Scotland. I know it's not a huge country, but...


Wow. Crazy. I believe I'm in the right place.


That lovely woman was Gillian Gamble. She's an amazing illustrator, and she was a speaker at the conference.


The weekend just kept getting better. 




Photography, Lectures, Workshops...Oh My!


Lectures, workshops, and collaborative photography time. It was amazing to hang out with 150 other artists. The speakers Brooke had at the conference were all fantastic. They pushed me outside my comfort zone, that's for sure!


Joel McKerrow is a poet who blew me away with his performance poetry.


I attended his workshop and got so much great information. He discussed writing and rewriting our stories. We all have stories we tell ourselves about our lives.


Our identity is wrapped up in those stories, and too often we believe our own negative stories. Those beliefs can shape our lives in profoundly negative ways.


Joel's point? Re-story your life. Start telling your story from a more positive point of view. 


It doesn't mean you deny your negative experiences or traumatic events. But, you can change your reactions and move forward in a more positive way. 


It's imperative that we reshape our own narratives away from the negative and into the positive. 


I'm working on that. I hope you are too.


I also attended Brooke's workshop. I couldn't miss that.


She discussed representational art and universal symbolism.


In creating art, there should be a "Why," "How," and "What" to your work. Your "Why" should underlie everything.


There was so much food for thought. I loved hearing Brooke speak. She's so energetic and authentic. She shares a lot of herself, which I know is hard for her.


I've followed her for a while, and she often speaks of her introverted nature. 


Let me tell you, this is a woman who goes out of her way to help others. That clearly includes getting out of her comfort zone. I loved every minute of hearing her thoughts and ideas on art, photography, and life. 



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Of course, I wouldn't have missed Gillian's workshop. It was wonderful.


She gave us a small illustrated journal she had made. We were to create our own avatar and write our story in the journal in the manner we'd like to see it take shape.




That's a powerful exercise. Try it sometime. Create a small child version of yourself down to the smallest detail. Give your avatar a name. 


Then write her/his story the way you want it to be. Your visions have the power to help you create the life you want.


I loved Gillian's workshop. 



The Photo


The cover photo for this post was what came out of Promoting Passion. It's a composite of three photographs I took while at the conference.


The first photo is the background. It's from Friday morning when I got up early and crept out before sunrise. It was dark, cool, and crisp - a perfect morning. It was taken at ISO 320, handheld, 1/60, f/5.0


Desert sunrise


The second shot was of the stars on Saturday night. I was hoping for a good shot of the Milky Way. We're just out of Milky Way season, though. There was also a fair bit of light pollution where we were staying, making it hard to get the stars. My star shots weren't great, but good enough to use in a composite - yeah! I shot the stars on a tripod. ISO 4000, 13 sec at f/8.0.


A photo of the Milky Way taken from Joshua Tree, CA


The third photo was of a beautiful young girl who attended the weekend with her mom. Her name is Ayvarie. During one of our open collaborations, we gathered sticks and made a huge nest. Ayvarie, wrapped in a red bedsheet, got into the nest and posed for us. She was such a good sport. It can't have been comfortable! ISO 320, 1/60, f/4.5.


Ayvarie in a human-size bird's nest


I've been working diligently on my Photoshop skills so I can put together what I envision in my mind's eye.


I like the way this one came out. And I loved the imagery of the young girl in the nest. It holds special significance for me right now, since my children have all flown the nest. 


Compositing is tough. It's hard getting angles to match up and look realistic. It's hard getting the tone and color right so that the photos blend together. Brooke's classes have helped me so much with all that!


It's not easy following your dreams. In fact, it's pretty tough. But, at the end of the day, it's well worth it. 


The conference was one of those things I'll always look back on and point to as a pivotal moment. It provided me with both a course correction and an affirmation that I'm on the right path - if that makes sense!


It's with such gratitude that I write about the experience. I felt honored to share in it. How fantastic to have made some life-long friends that I didn't even know before a couple of weeks ago. 


What a gift. 


Notice the gifts life is handing you. Enjoy them, and be grateful. 


Thanks, Brooke, for putting together such an amazing work, life, art, and photography conference!


And, see you between the raindrops!



Susan The gorgeous model is Ayvarie Kae Find her on IG at @ayvariekae