Busy Happens

I have been fortunate enough to have a lot on my plate the last few months. At least that's how I'm trying to look at my busy schedule. In early January the Connect With Smith Rock event in Boise was a great success, and later that month my boyfriend and I successfully delivered the painting to Redpoint in Terrebonne. 

I figured out what size I was going to make my limited edition prints, remembered how matting works after a few attempts, and finally got my first giclee print framed and mailed! Totally felt accomplished after that was out of my hands. 

It seems like my list of things I would like to get done is never ending, and I struggle with that. My character is not one that likes to leave projects undone or in progress for very long. I stress about deadlines, and worry about how my timeline is effecting others. I need to just relax because I know the stress doesn't help, and maybe by putting it into words I will be a little better about it in the future... Fingers crossed.

For tonight, I'm going to allow myself an extra glass of wine and watch climbing videos. 

Connect With Smith Rock Project Update

I haven't done a good job of posting updates on my blog, but I'm trying to get better at it. I have been posting time lapse videos and photos on Instagram and Facebook so I guess that's something. 

So far I have learned a lot about myself and my process during this project. Creating is scary! It makes me feel vulnerable and exposed and has led to some semi-humorous little freak outs. As I complete or start each new phase of this project I'm overwhelmed with the terror of screwing it up, doing it wrong, and failing... For the most part these fears are completely irrational, and I'm aware of that but they are still part of my process apparently. 

The little freak outs aren't entirely obvious in the time lapse videos, but the visual part of the process is fun to see...

Here are a few of the videos, and the rest are published on my Youtube channel! 

In the studio

Mid September I installed a new floor in my studio and built a badass table that will fit my needs as an artist working with large boards. It's so exciting to have a space! A space where the sole purpose is to create and play!  

Last weekend there was an Open Studio Tour around town where other artists opened up their homes and shared their creative spaces. It was so fun to be able to wander through these very personal spaces and see how different artists work. There was the practical side of me that was excited to see how different artists organized their space, and stored their work and materials. And then there was the kid in me that was excited to see all the collections, knick-knacks and colorful mess that was prevalent in most studios. Each artist's character and process was reflected in their studio and I left each one with a different slice of inspiration.   

It will be fun in the coming months to continue to mold my space, adapt it to fit projects, personalize it, and just work in it more! I'm especially excited to have a wall designated for inspiration, reminders of things I want to do, goals, deadlines. I think in a very visual-exploding-map sort of way so I'm  looking forward to having a space to collect all of those thoughts. And who knows maybe in a year or two I'll be able to open studio too.  


And so it begins...

This dream of creating a work of art by the community for the community has been building since late January of this year. I received a grant for the project in April, started promoting the project in early May, and have been vigorously doing out reach and spreading the word of the work I'm doing for 5 months.

All the time and energy has paid off. To say that I am excited is an understatement. I have in my possession 850 community submitted Smith Rock photos spanning several decades, and next is the huge task of putting them all together on three boards totaling 32 square feet. Did I mention I'm excited!? Because I'm really excited!   

Over the next month I'll be spending a lot of time in my studio, printing the photos, arranging them on my boards, and chances are drinking a fair bit of wine. 

Thank you to everyone who has submitted photos I cannot wait to share this process with you!  

A different kind of adventure!

So... I bought a house!

This is a very different sort of adventure for someone who identifies quite strongly with her independence and wanderlust tendencies. A year ago I would have never thought this day would come, but here it is. I am a homeowner and I'll admit it's a bit scary, but I've had a perspective shift. While the spontaneous traveler in me dreads the idea of having anything "permanent" the rational side of me recognizes a house as an investment and a home-base I can personalize the shit out of! I can paint, design, and construct as I see fit.

The fact that I have a nice long garage to put an epic wall/training facility in and a room for a studio is a huge bonus as well.  

Change makes most people a bit anxious, especially drastic perspective shifts. I think I have convinced my travel bug that it's okay to have a storage unit in the form of a house though... We'll see how she feels in a few months though?! 


Something we’re all familiar with, have our own thoughts about, use, lose, and chase. Something we love, curse, crave, and fight with. Something we try to control, try to let go of, bend, adjust and trick. There are a lot of ways to look at and think about time. According to google time is “the indefinite continued progress of existence and events in the past, present, and future regarded as a whole.” It’s also a measurement, plan or schedule.

My relationship with and definition of time is constantly evolving. I usually think about time in relation to a balancing act, as if I only have so many eggs I can juggle, set down, toss in the air, or hold in my hands. I’m not all that good at juggling in real life so the metaphor of juggling eggs might not be the most appropriate... But what if I was to say those eggs are plastic easter eggs with sweets inside?! That way if they drop and break open, I have one less egg and a sugary treat! Dropping too many eggs would obviously lead to a risk of diabetes, or I could take the time to set all my other eggs down and put the broken egg back together treat safely nested inside.

What I’m getting at with this very convoluted metaphor is that I have recently come to the conclusion that the perfect balancing act of time is unrealistic. Sometimes my energy will feel evenly distributed, but most of the time not and that’s okay. I have to be okay with dropping an egg once in a while and then giving it all of my attention. Right now that egg is my video project of my climb at Smith Rock.

I received a Live Your Dream grant from the American Alpine Club earlier this year and completed my climb of the West Face of the Monkey as part of my project. It was an amazing day, I got some great footage, and I have been putting all of my extra time and energy over the last week into finishing the video trip report.

Video is a whole new beast for me, and it has eaten up my entire existence since I started. However with my new found acceptance and relationship with time, I’m not beating myself up about not taking advantage of the sunshine or missing out on one climbing trip, because the summer is long and there will be more time for those things. Right now my video egg has the spotlight and I am giving it all of my attention.

I have to have these sorts of conversations with myself often, silly metaphors included, because I love to do so much in so many different directions. I want to take on as many eggs as possible! I want to participate, adventure, relax, read, celebrate, sleep, cook, paint, dance, climb, and squeeze it all into one day! Sometimes it's possible, and sometimes I have to remind myself that it's okay and that regardless of how I try to spend, use and take advantage of my time it will carry on indefinitely.   


Falling is Part of the Process

Falling, failing, missing the goal, shot, net, hole, hold, catch. Losing, tripping, crashing, hitting the ground, all of these things happen and all of these things are part of the process.

This last weekend was my first real trad climbing trip to Index, that’s all we did, place gear and climb cracks. Our first climb was called Aries. It’s a 3 pitch 5.8 with a wide start, a flared chimney, and a bit of a roof. All things I’m not super stoked on or good at. So I was a bit stunned by Mike’s reply when I asked him who was leading what pitches. “You’re leading all of them” he said. Shit… I’m getting more comfortable with placing gear and climbing cracks, but a lot of it still feels foreign and up until now I had never taken a fall on gear before.  

I racked my gear, started up the wide section, placed a blue number 3 cam and tried to get my fists to fit in the crack. None of this was graceful by the way. I was cursing under my breath, huffing, pissed and staring at that cam thinking “I’m totally about to take a fall on this… Fuck it! Here we go…” I groveled my way up a few moves past my piece, was smearing with my left foot and trying to find something substantial for my right, but it was awkward. I was almost there, fingers touching the hold that would secure my passage on to the ledge in front of me, and my foot popped. Falling is part of the process.

I gave a bit of a frustrated cry as my gear and Mike caught me. I sat there in my harness out of breath, frustrated, panting, and a bit excited honestly. YES! It totally holds! I mean I knew logically that cams are supposed to work, but it’s another thing entirely to have the experience of one working. I looked down and had a very nice three tiered rope burn from my ankle half way up my calf with a definite bruise and bloody knee pending. Mike was stoked, I was stoked, we laughed, I caught my breath and got to the ledge my second go. The rest of the climb was great too, I had fun in the try-hard frustrating sense, but ultimately I felt really good about my performance and my efforts.

Climbing cracks still feels like another language in many ways, but I’ve got the falling figured out so it’s only a matter of time before the rest of the equation is translated.

Maitri Wedding

It's hard to say what my favorite part about my work is. There are so many elements to my process, image collection, cutting, arranging, organizing, collaging, sculpting, painting and of course delivering the final piece. With my Wedding series work I think the amount of time I spend with all of the smiling photos is a narrow second to delivering the final piece to the newlyweds.

I spend at least 30 hours with a 2x3 poster size piece and the majority of that time is spent smiling. It's a rough job really. I have to stare at, work with and arrange a couples most precious, joyful, happy moments they have captured on film and it makes me constantly smiley! As it turns out there is a little science behind the act of smiling. Did you know it's practically impossible to not smile back at a smiling face without conscious effort? 

Over the last month and a half I have been smiling at and with my friends Jess, Taylor and their radiant family. In my initial sketching stages, it was imperative for me to find an image that both symbolized and spoke to the fullness of this couple and their journey together. They are both passionate, strong, magnetic beings that draw people in like bug lights with a happy zap. They place an emphasis on growth and self-reflection and have the joint responsibility of nourishing four energetic children. 

Knowing what I do about their characters and intentions it was easy to see them and their journey reflected in the symbol of a tree, but I wanted to further emphasize the act of coming together to create something new. In this piece Maitri (which is a Sanskrit word meaning unconditional love and friendship with oneself and is also now their last name) I decided to have a bright seedling tree in the foreground to show the beginning of their relationship and a larger full tree in the background to show the inevitable growth and longevity of their relationship.  

Thank you again Jess and Taylor for allowing me to be part of your journey and share in your smiles! 

Weekend Warrior

Urban Dictionary has a long list of definitions for "weekend warrior." The most popular being "a person who regularly parties on weekends."  I certainly don't "party" in the traditional Urban Dictionary context, but I have my own malleable definition and try to celebrate every moment of my weekends in the fullest adventure style possible. 

To recap the month of May... 2500 trip miles, 615 photos taken, 11 days climbing outside, 4 states, 3 hot springs, 2 new phones, 1 yoga retreat, countless bruises, and more laughter then I have embraced in a very long time. My weekends, my evenings, all of my time is meant to be full of awesome! I have chosen to have what I call a big-girl job and that takes up about 40 hours a week, but there is plenty of time left over to "party!"

I'll admit it is hard sometimes to get home from a trip after midnight, unpack the car, make food for the next day, and shower only to get 5 hours of sleep and still get things accomplished on Monday. But it's worth it. It's worth it to have my ankles bruised to the point of limiting my professional foot attire, my muscles ache to the point of limited movement and my car/road-trip-rig smell to the point of limited breathing and almost embarrassment. I'm not embarrassed though and I know I'm not the only one that lives this way.

Some people like myself live many lives in a week. I have my business casual life during the weekdays and on the weekends I have my wanderlust adventure warrior life. There are moments of frustration on sunny days behind my desk, moments of anguish on rainy days hiding under rocks, and moments of chaos when I can't seem to counterbalance my two lives, but again it's worth it. I learn more and more about myself as I transition between my two lives, reflect on the importance and benefits of each, and try to grow and adjust as necessary.

So for the time being I'm stoked on my business casual/adventure warrior juggling act and since nothing is really set in stone, if I choose to take an extended trip or spend the weekend at home in my hammock that will just have to fit into my definition of "party."