The Conceptual Fine Art Piece: What To Expect
I was born to catch dragons in their dens
And pick flowers
To tell tales and laugh away the morning
To drift and dream like a lazy stream
And walk barefoot across sunshine days.
~ James Kavanaugh
You may be wondering, now that I've stepped away from the realm of traditional photography, what it means to be a creator of Conceptual Fine Art. The answer to this is as unique as each of us. For one beautiful client, it's a celebration of joy and motherhood; for another, an act of healing following loss after miscarried loss. Perhaps it's a confident step toward self-acceptance in body-image or a crossing over toward victory in the weight loss journey. Ordinary women, battling and triumphing over extraordinary life events, challenges, and purpose-filled actions, soaring toward health and emotional well-being -- this is the lifeblood of my Conceptual Fine Art, and I couldn't be any more honored to play the part of artist, companion, and friend in these epic stories.
The process begins with heart (yours) and vision (mine). When a sweet sister-soul first contacts me, I am given the privilege of providing a listening ear, and then the task of visualizing her voice in a tangible, magical way. Where I get my inspiration -- beyond the mere telling of a story -- is a topic for another day, but the steps involved in creating a one-of-a-kind, truly unique, perfectly you suffused work of art, is a simple one.
First, I send out a questionnaire. Nothing at all fearsome, just a one-page document with mindful questions to start honing in on a concrete idea or feeling. What key events in your life have led you to this place on your journey? Why is it meaningful to document this time in your life? These questions, as well as a request for the basics, like your Pinterest profile and phone number, lay the groundwork for a good working relationship. For the next eight to ten weeks, texting and even a FaceTime "date" or two, makes for a close partnership in the creative process.
Speaking of Pinterest, one of the first activities we do together is collaborate on a secret Pinterest board. While I never directly copy another artist's work, or even concept, Pinterest is a great aid in landing on a visual style. We both have ideas, and ultimately the best work comes from a place of trusting the artist -- but Pinterest provides an easy place to collect the varied feelings and thoughts we both have, gathering them into one shared place that's easily experienced together.
After some discussion and sharing, I arrive at a concrete visualization of what the final piece should look like. This is the part where I create a mood board and do a preliminary sketch that lays out the placing of specific elements and/or better helps us both understand the meaning of the piece. This is also the point where wardrobe, props, location, and make-up effects are discussed and planned for.
And then, the fun part: our scheduled photo session! This can last anywhere from 45 minutes to two hours, depending on the elements needed. I do occasionally license stock images, but I want my work to be as authentic as possible, so I shoot 75% or more original digital imagery for each fine art piece. Elements photographed range from original backgrounds and atmospheric details to (of course!) the beautiful form and face of my subject.
Next is the part where I strike out and work alone, feasting on copious amounts of soul (and coffee) -- don't worry, I continue to reach out with sneak peeks and follow-ups. Using the finest editing software, each element is methodically knit into a whole work of art, brushing here, tweaking there, moving bits and pieces around until the finished product is exactly as it should be; this sometimes differs somewhat from the original sketched drawing, but in every instance the finished result is much more concise and beautifully put together than any conceptualized sketch. This is my favorite part of the fine art creation process, watching something amazing come to life and then be printed as a limited edition, fine art piece.
Finally, it's time for the Big Reveal! After custom framing, I sign and date the certificate of authenticity, and set up a special time to hand the piece over. This is always an emotional moment, seeing your face as you absorb, for the first time, every inch of the completed whole. I love nothing more than this first act of connection between the subject and her story, the ambiguous made tangible, the spiritual made real. It's the most special thing.
And that's how it works! It's a process, very well thought out and honed to perfection by way of experience -- but each Conceptual Fine Art piece is unique, and organic, and magical, truly one-of-a-kind. It's what I live for, this creative Thing ... and sharing it with another person.
Want to be a part of it with me? Seriously, I'd love to connect with you and chat over the details. Tell me your story. What in your amazing life is worth celebrating? What is the place in you that seeks healing? Seeks being known? That's what it's all about.