What I'm up to…


 And so it begins…

the launch of the ExquisiteLines blog where I will explore and document the resumption of my personal exploration of the creative process. 

The journey started too many years ago as a teen working on my photography merit badge. My councilor took me into the dark room to teach me how to develop a photograph. In the gentle orange glow he exposed the paper, slid it into the developer and I experienced a magic moment as I watched the image appeared.  That moment started it all. I found an old camera, joined a camera club, took a Jr. High School photography class, took pictures of cattle and pigs for the FFA and joined the High School annual staff. Then off to college to get my BFA, winning all the department photography awards (one twice) and an art show award in the University’s annual student art exhibit.

I went to LA for my internship and worked as an assistant in a commercial studio on Venice Blvd.

Venice Beach Sunset with Birds on Beach

We shot models, movie stars and generators. I played a bit part in a commercial with Mr. T. (like I said – this was too many years ago…) and cruised the Hollywood set of the Love Boat hoping I’d run into Julie or Gopher.

 After I graduated I jumped on a plane and spent the summer travelling in Egypt, Israel and Greece with cameras around my neck and hundreds of rolls of Kodachrome in my suit case. I walked the streets of Jerusalem, took pictures of Hasidic Jews praying at the Western Wall.

 Jerusalem Wester Wall - Man Praying

 I watched the late night celebration of a Palestinian wedding in the West Bank, ate strange and wonderful food, worked on a Kibbutz, walked into the center of the Great Pyramid at Giza, 

Egypt Pyramids

 floated on the Nile,

 Nile Falukas on the River

wandered the mountain tops of Delphi where the ancient oracle answered questions for Kings,

Delphi Anthenian Temple

and woke up at 4:00 am, climbed a rock trail in the dark and watched the sunrise from the top of Mt Sinai. 

Mt Sinai Sunrise

I swam in the Dead Sea and walked the paths of En Gedi, a garden on the edge of the Dead Sea.

 En Gedi Leaf on Rock Water Fall

Not bad for a poor kid from a small farm town.

Then I came home and moved to Phoenix to start my photography career.

AZ Red Cactus

While I looked for photo jobs I built houses in the 115 degree September heat, slept for 4 hours and got up to clean office buildings. I got my first photo  job and learned how to shoot weddings. Finally, I landed an assistant gig in a commercial studio. More models, interiors, product shots. I ran the studio, remodeled the offices, perfected my dark room skills and cleaned the boss’ house.

Then I quit.

The magic was gone. It was all about business, not about exploration and creation. I didn’t like the people I was surrounded by. I wasn’t excited anymore. So I packed up, moved home and found the first job I could find – as a data entry clerk. That led to a report writer job, which led to a programming job. Somewhere in there I went back to school and earned a Masters in Public Administration. More programming, then running a team, then running a group, then a couple more groups and here I am.

Computer programming is a creative process – at least it is for me. That filled my creative drive for many years.  Now I manage a development team – analysts, designers, programmers, testers. They do the fun stuff and I coordinate it all.  Not much creative process there – just a lot of dealing with things.

I’ve also reached the point in my life where retirement looms on the horizon.  I’m good at what I do, but I don’t want to do it till the day I die. Someday I’d like to walk away from it – take pride in what I’ve done and retire. But retirement doesn’t mean to sit at home and watch my garden grow. It means work – I have to work. But it is work that I do because I love it, not because I have to earn enough to pay for my daughter’s braces or my son’s Karate classes. So I’ve decided I need to start preparing for ‘retirement’. And what do I want to do when I retire? I want to explore and learn and create beautiful things. I’ve given up trying to change the world, but I still think I can cut through all of the pain and frustration and muck that is life and create something that will brings a moment of joy to someones heart and a hint of a smile to their lips.

This is the start of that effort.

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