Saturday Creative Links

Transitory space photograph by Leah Oates.

Transitory space photograph by Leah Oates.

Leah Oates is a Brooklyn (NY) photographer who thinks about transitory spaces, and how they appear and disappear, unnoticed. So, being a photographer she noticed and memorialized them. Here’s Leah Oates’s  artist statement explaing the exhibition:

The work I create first originates as a response to space that is in a continual state of change. In everyone there is a sense of flux and a familiarity with this type of space.

Transitory spaces have a messy human energy that is always in the present yet constantly changing. I find them endlessly interesting, alive places where there is a great deal of beauty and fragility. They are temporary monuments to the ephemeral nature of existence.

Finding entropy in photography is interesting. It reminds me of the accidental double-exposures we used to do with film, when they were lovelier than either of the originals.

Another photographer, Lisa Rienermann, has a show called Type the Sky, a playful and clever combination of negative space and alphabet forms. She photographs the sky from ground level, allowing the rise of the buildings to hape the sky into letterforms. It sounds contrived, but the photographs are interesting before you notice that the sky is a recognizable shape.

She keeps a visual journal, too.


Mlle A by Fabienne Rivory

Mlle A by Fabienne Rivory

Fabienne Rivory is a mixed media artist who combines photography with painting–she uses ink or gouache and combines it digitally with photography. She begins by blending two photographs, often landscapes, then adding the color. The startling contrast of the color and the black-and-white photograph adds more to each part of the media.  Her “Saison Grise” (literally, Gray Season) is a barely colored landscape that is both evocative and almost sad.

Evelin Kasikov is a graphic designer who lives and works in London. She  embroider in CMYK colors (cyan, magenta, yellow and black, the colors in a printer that combine to make thousands of colors). She uses strict grid systems and embroiders in them to form letters and patterns that look both like old comic books and messages from another universe. Her webpage Stitched Colors makes you aware how printing combines color by looking at cross-stitch embroidery.

Have a delightfully creative weekend!

Quinn McDonald is always amazed at other artist’s ideas.

Gratitude Journal: New Age Hype or Useful Tool?

The first time someone suggested I keep a gratitude journal, I suggested they set their hair on fire. I was a little cranky at the time. I didn’t want to be grateful, I wanted to seethe and be angry. Once I got finished with anger, I wasn’t sure why I should be grateful. And that’s the point.

Being grateful and writing it down helps slow down all that galloping emotion. In the mood I was in, my approach was a “revenge of the gratitude journal.” I wanted to prove that idiot who suggested the gratitude journal that they were wrong. Hah! So I wrote down, “I have nothing to be grateful for.” So there. I looked at it for awhile and felt a little dumb. Except for the thing I was angry about, which had taken over my life, I had a roof over my head, clean clothes to wear, a caring spouse, enough food to eat. I knew that other people didn’t have all of that. But hey, I was still angry.

So I wrote down, “My cup of coffee was not total crap this morning.” That seemed about right. The next day, I wrote down, “My annoying cube neighbor has the flu.” Then I added, “Traffic was OK. I got to the client on time.” I found that having a few small things to be grateful for seemed to reduce my anger. Only because all that anger was exhausting me.

Over time, I began to notice the quality of items I was grateful for changed, almost as if I could predict a bad mood, a new project coming my way, and when I was in problem-solving mode. I began to dare to notice that I was good at some things and write them in the gratitude journal. I could see the big picture and the details to get there. I was a good problem solver. Being grateful for what you are good at and noticing it makes you better at it.

A gratitude journal sharpens your skills. The first time I suggested it to one of my coaching clients, he tactfully suggested I set my hair on fire. (Well, no, he was quite polite. But I could feel the shock wave over the phone. This was no girly-man.) But he kept up the gratitude journal. I promise my clients anonimity, so I can’t quote his entries, but they started simple and got quite complex. It was working for him, too.

Here’s what he wrote to me this morning:
“You can tell your tough-guy clients that when I got laid off, the journal had mentally prepared me to view it as a blessing and an opportunity rather than a death sentence.
It allowed me to think clearly and focus on what I really wanted to do. Kind of like boot camp mentally prepares a “green” soldier for his first combat mission.”

Thanks so much for letting me know. You and I discovered the same thing about gratitude–it’s not a new age emotion, it’s a business tool. Particularly if you own your own business.

Note: Tips for keeping a gratitude journal.

—Quinn McDonald is a certified creativity coach and a life coach who specializes in guiding people through transitions. She holds workshops on writing, corporate culture, and giving presentations. See her work at

Her other website, Raw-Art-Journals, is about her art life. Follow Quinn on Twitter.