Getting creative MOJO back by painting

Somewhere around Toulouse I lost my creative spark. My mojo. I felt exhausted and drained of inspiration. My painterly photography style depended on me being inspired so when it took a hiatus, I stopped working on my craft. I was scheduled to arrive back in NY after seven months on the road and take on my "house project" - which was all about de-greasing, cleaning, painting and fixing the house that I rented out and afforded me the lifestyle of travel and creating art on the road. I wasn't thrilled about spending my summer doing this. And, I was right, it was hard work, physically and mentally taxing and just plain unpleasant. And worse yet, I seemed devoid of any creativity. I would look at work I had done a few months ago and think to myself, will I ever get that kind of inspiration back? 

One day a friend suggested I go down the Pinterest rabbit hole. With an hour on my hands and a desire to create but without a spark, I took to clicking around PInterest. I came upon these wonderful videos about acrylic pouring and alcohol ink paintings. It was mesmerizing watching the paintings come to life and even better, it seemed like something I could try my hand at. 

I made a quick trip to Dick Blick to stock up on supplies and went to work. Each evening after a long day of hauling out debris from the basement, scrubbing the cabinets or making repairs, I would pour a glass of wine and then set to work to make some acrylic pours. It was mind expanding!

 

Brooklyn & New York City, my home.

Sometimes we forget the benefits of being in your own hometown. It isn't until you have visitors come and stay that you are reminded of the good things about the place you live. I can go on about the painful commutes into the city from Brooklyn, the relentless noise from traffic and the masses of humanity everywhere when all I want is a bit of peace and quiet and the annoyance at how expensive it is do anything in this town. 

However, there are many free or nearly free things to do in my fair city that not only give you a sense of place but provide excellent shots to annoy your friends back home. 

Lower Manhattan at Sunset

Lower Manhattan at Sunset

In general, I tell my friends who come for a visit to walk across the Brooklyn Bridge, take the Staten Island Ferry for excellent water views of lower Manhattan. Go to Times Square but leave quickly and meander through the beautiful neighborhoods of Chelsea and the West Village. Walk the Hi-Line for a different perspective on the city - go in the evening when it is less crowded and us local New Yorkers walk our dogs and gather on the benches for a quick chat with a fellow neighbor. The Whitney Museum has moved to the Meatpacking District. It is a gorgeous museum that has free entries on one Friday a month. Not only is the art great, there are free and informative tours and the outdoor spaces provide yet more great views of our city. 

Brooklyn Bridge   

Brooklyn Bridge

 

The Freedom Tower, free to photograph from many angles

The Freedom Tower, free to photograph from many angles

Take the Staten Island Ferry. It's free.

Take the Staten Island Ferry. It's free.

Travelers Tip: Avoid chain restaurants and go to a local place in Chelsea, the West Village or Brooklyn- Williamsburg and Park Slope have many amazing places to choose from. Our city boasts cuisine from every country in the world - all at varying price ranges. Here the world is literally your oyster, or taco, or dumpling!

You can have an amazing time in New York City and Brooklyn without breaking the bank. 

NYC at Night from Barge Music in Brooklyn.

NYC at Night from Barge Music in Brooklyn.

Panoramic NYC.

Panoramic NYC.

On the Road: Botswana to Zimbabwe

Surprises on the road

Day two dawned bright and warm. Today's travel took us across Botswana to Chobe Elephant Park and then onwards to Zimbabwe and Victoria Falls.

Botswana is very flat...for many kilometers we saw nothing but road, brush and the occasional acacia tree.

Botswana is very flat...for many kilometers we saw nothing but road, brush and the occasional acacia tree.

Then all of a sudden this happened:

Once the elephant got a whiff of us, he sauntered off into the brush. And we continued on our drive towards Chobe Elephant Park.  Our first real game drive and we were rewarded with many wonderful sightings in a beautiful landscape looking from Botswana into Namibia. 

The senses were truly heightened by seeing so many animals in one place. The sounds the animals make (or don't make, in the case of an elephant coming upon us boy, we were all surprised!) the bird calls, the scent of the animals, even the oxygen in the air - well, these words cannot adequately describe the visceral experience. This game drive was great for getting a taste of what Botswana has to offer. To be so up close and yet observing the animals in their natural habitat was amazing. I couldn't wait for more drives coming in the next few days.

Looking out to Namibia.

Looking out to Namibia.