When last I wrote, I had just moved house. I was working my first summer at our island book store and I was rather busy. I had every intention of returning to blog writing but life had it’s own plans for me. We adopted a darling kitten for my son. Unfortunately, the day after we brought the new fur ball home, my beloved sixteen year old cat, Sarah, fell ill. She struggled with poor health for the rest of the year and died shortly after Christmas. The kitten was devastated at the passing of her companion and I am still in mourning for the loss of one of my best friends. We also endured a Hurricane last year that flooded the island and our home. We were luckier than a lot of people in North Carolina and didn’t lose anything of great value. Winter has been a familiar economic struggle. The perils of life on a southern barrier island.
Self portrait with Sarah
Self portrait with Alina or “Baby”
Despite all this, I have not been entirely unfortunate. I actually managed to be quite productive with photography in the last year. I shot two weddings, an elopement, an engagement, several family groups and I enjoyed some great sessions with friends. My drawing ceased completely but I did paint a portrait in acrylic and I experimented some with paper mache and embroidering directly onto photographs.
I have started drawing again in the last few days. As always, I hope I can keep it up ! I have been very active on instagram lately – https://www.instagram.com/carolwoolgar/ . I have discovered that it is the best place to find amazing artistic talent and inspiration is as essential to me as breathing.
This was taken in the Spring. I have been very busy with my new job and editing images for paid commissions. I had a moment today to take a peek at images waiting, unedited on my hard drive. I found this. It’s melancholy but I think I like it. It makes me think of Alice and the looking glass and of a giant crystal ball.
Creative block can come in many forms. Often we don’t know that we are blocked. Often our blocks are self imposed. Pressure to perform blocks me like nothing else but only when the person I am performing for is myself. Weird. When I have a deadline I have to meet for other people, I always come through. I might procrastinate and I may be less than one hundred percent happy with my end “product” whatever that may be but only because I am a perfectionist. I still perform well under pressure of a deadline for other people.
I have never been a faithful keeper of a journal or diary – an example of a daily deadline set for myself at different times in my life. I think this quote from the book I am reading might go some way to explaining why: “When she read the letter, Juliet winced, as anybody does on discovering the preserved and disconcerting voice of some past fabricated self. She wondered at the sprightly cover-up, contrasting with the pain of her memories.” ‘Runaway’. Alice Munro
Diary writing has always felt a little inauthentic, edited, contrived and never truly private. All of my re-reading has made me feel embarrassed by my “old self”. My dream recordings, on the other hand, I have to exclude from this. At several different times in my life, I have also tried to keep a dream diary. It always starts out well. I remember my dreams and record them for several days in a row. Then, I get blocked. I cannot remember my dreams and it is as if, by the mere act of trying to remember them, I am causing them to slip away. Then I stop trying to write them down. For years. This is sad because all of the dreams I have recorded are precious. I remember them and they help me to understand my life and myself. But why does it have to be all or nothing ? Maybe that’s where the problem lies. Nowadays, if the dream is really significant or particularly beautiful, I have a notebook that I keep close to the bed and I write down as much as I can. No pressure. I think what I am looking for in my dreams, is inspiration. I have been re-learning to draw and paint and once I get past the basics of how to do it, I will need subject matter. I think the answer might be in my dreams
It was one of those rare, magical days, where the sky was full of amazing clouds and yet I was unable to take a picture. I saw another local photographer out shooting early in the day and I was a tad jealous. When I got home from work, glowing, puffy,wonderclouds were still all around the harbor but I still couldn’t shoot ! I had a few things to to first. I kept glancing out of the window, gasping at the beauty. Finally, when I was done, I asked my little lad if he fancied a stroll. He almost always does, we are big walkers in our family. Grabbing the camera with hope, we bounced out of the boat ( did I mention I live on a houseboat ?) and rushed to the closest vantage point for a big sky. All the way I was muttering to myself that I had missed the best of it. And maybe I did but it’s not the end of the world. I have taken some really memorable photographs on walks with my little boy. Preserving memory does seem to be one of the most important aspects of photography. Anyway, here is my most valiant effort from ‘Magical Cloud Day’ – Friday the 6th of May.
It is becoming more apparent as I get older and as I embark on a new creative journey, that it can take a very long time to come to terms with what has happened to a person to make them the way they are. In fact, I think it is a never ending journey. I am thirty six. I certainly don’t have it all figured out and it’s beginning to dawn on me, only now, that the people I looked up to as a child didn’t have it all figured out either.
I left home at seventeen and I have always told anyone that asked, that my childhood home life was far from ideal. I also had a bumpy ride in my formative romantic relationships. For the most part, I have striven to be happy and I have always believed, on some level, that I deserved to be treated with love and respect – that everyone deserves the same. I have been very proud of myself with regard to how I got over abuse and neglect and moved on. However, in trying to grow as a person, trying to be the best person I can be, I have come to discover my faults. I analyse past behaviors and current reactions and sometimes I am shocked to see that I am not healed. I can overhear a conversation, read a sentence in a book or just wake up on any given morning, after a vivid dream and realize something else about myself. It can be very startling.
I don’t think internal, psychological wounds ever fully heal. They are part of us. We are forever influenced and informed by our experiences. I don’t want to be in pain, nor do I wish pain on anyone else, but I do firmly believe that adversity makes us more appreciative of the good things life has to offer. And surely we cannot fully feel joy without knowing unhappiness .
While it is true that I live in a beautiful place with beautiful weather a lot of the time, it is also true that clear blue skies can be a bit boring. When it comes to photography, big puffy clouds will make always make your image more dynamic. Add to that some sun rays, enhanced with a polarizing filter (the most inexpensive and essential piece of equipment a photographer can own) and a pocket full of breadcrumbs for the gulls and you might just end up with something special.
I took a lot of photographs on Saturday evening, right before a storm rolled in. The sky was breathtaking. The rain was stopped right before sunset and the sky was gorgeous again. More images to follow.
These are my favorite images from a recent portrait shoot with talented musicians, Marcy Brenner and Lou Castro. Together, they form the musical duo ‘Coyote’ . They have been playing together for a long time and they have just embarked on a new chapter in their lives with Coyote Music Den right here on lovely Ocracoke Island. Lou offers music lessons and they both host a free and open musical Jam session, weekly. They also play as part of ‘Martin and Friends’ – the schedule can be found on their pages (linked above).
I have been a photographer for eighteen years but I have always been an artist. I set out to be a painter but self doubt and curiosity led me to an Olympus camera and I stopped drawing and painting. I earned my degree in photography.
Over the years, I have felt like something was missing and I have dabbled with various crafts. I have always had a need to use my hands to physically “make”. I have always felt a failure for not continuing to draw and paint.
Now, however, through the joy of teaching my young son about art, I have rediscovered the missing ingredient. At some point, I stopped drawing because it was fun. I drew only to try and make a masterpiece and I constantly fell short. If there is no fun, there is no point. My child has helped me to rediscover the fun and I am now drawing regularly again. It’s ok to fail. You cannot get better without making mistakes, or as Jake the dog (from ‘Adventure Time’) states : “Dude, suckin’ at something is the first step to being sorta good at something”.
Here is one of my most recent photographs –
My beautiful friend, Brooke German. This and my body of work for the last ten years can be found here – flickr and I am also on Facebook .