40/365 Lean Into It


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40/365 Lean Into It

I’m at the point in this 365 project where taking a pic each day is a little bothersome but I’m going to keep going. I’ve realized that I’m most happy with the project when I use my DSLR instead of my phone. It takes a lot of mental effort some days since I have to set my camera up on a tripod, prep the remote trigger and try to figure out what to do in the pic. Not to mention, my tripod is literally falling apart! woo sahhhhhh.

It’s time like these when I try to shake things up with lighting and location. I’ve been shooting in my apartment most of the time but as the weather changes, I will make it a point to get outside for more colorful shots with plenty of background details.

4/365 Thrift Shopping Saturday


Today I tried on almost 15 items and only managed to find one thing at the thrift store. However, it was a sweet find! When Brandon and I walked into the store, I saw this love lounge chair right away. So we took advantage and got a shot of me in the chair for today’s pic. What do you think of my casual OOTD? I distressed the jeans myself, though you can’t really see them up close, lol. 4:365-2018-Elleword-thrift-shopping-saturday.jpg

2/365 A Walk in the Park


Day two is here and so far, so good!

It’s coooooooool outside. I stepped outside in a sweater to meet up with my photography mentee and had to run back inside and grab a jacket! That’s fall in Dallas for ya, one day it’s rainy, the next sunny and chilly, the next hot and muggy. Who knows how to dress for this weather!? I digress. Before the mentoring session started, I set my camera and tripod up and started walking up and down the paths. The trees weren’t quite as orange as they look in these pics but the wind had the fallen leaves flying all over the place.

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A walk in the park turned into a pretty great pic! FYI, Dallas does not look like this in the fall without some photoshop magic, LOL. Almost everything was green!

The last time I did a 365, I often stood closer to the camera. I’m still getting used to being a distance away and using the timer or remote. The nice part about not being close to the camera is not having to worry with retouching or trying 8 or 9 times to get the right facial expressions. I think it took me about 5 minutes to get a winning shot today! What do you think? Should I have tried something more daring? Let me know in the comments. If you’re working on a photo project, send me a link so I can check out your work too! I’m always looking for inspiration.

Have courage,
Elle | gernellenelson.com

1/365 – Rainy Day Off (Life With a View)


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1/365 – A Rainy Day Off (Life With a View) Today marks the first day of my 365 project!

I’m finally starting up a 365 photo project. The first time I bought a DSLR camera I attempted a few projects like this one. I didn’t take a photo every day but I learned a lot about my camera, had fun being creative and archived a lot of my year. This time, I’m going to try and do this every day. My theme is ‘Life with a View’ because I want all of the photos to show my surroundings. I don’t want to focus on my face but instead, the world around me. Expect to see me in different settings, though they may not change every day, such is real life right?

What do you think of my first shot? Are you working on any personal projects? Let me know in the comments!

My Vision Board is Complete!

this is my mini vision board! It covers my career and personal goals in a minimal, chic layout with a great color scheme.

To keep things simple, I made small vision board centered around my professional and personal goals. I wanted to keep things pleasant to look at so I used minimal images, colors and spacing to make sure everything was nice and neat. I’m really happy with how it turned out! Here’s an explanation of what each part of my board means.

elleword-my-vision-board.jpgThe cityscape panel is all about my career goals. I want to work remotely as a photographer. When wedding season is slow, I plan on picking up web development jobs that I can fulfill on my laptop. That way, I can travel and make a paycheck at the same time, no matter what’s going on with my work load. This pic made me feel energized and excited. I could see myself finishing up a task and then chilling in this pool with my husband. If I focus on learning new skills daily, it won’t be long before this is my life.

The bikini and shades represents my sense of style. Aside from working, I want to use every opportunity to look my best. This includes staying fit so I can wear a bikini proudly. I’ve got some work to do in this area but I’m confident that I can get back to bikini shape in no time.

The teepee image stands for my travel aspirations. I want to see so many parts of the world, talk to locals and share my adventures via vlogs on my Youtube channel. My goal is to take three or four adventure trips a year at least! Huge goal, so I’ve got to hold up my end of the bargain in the business arena if I want this to become a reality.

The bowl of food is centered around feeding myself the right things. Not only literal food, but studying the bible, listening to positive messages and saying them daily. Good things in = good things out.

Babe is pretty obvious – to me at least, lol. I want to get my life together and keeping my life on steady rotation in these areas will make me a babe! I’m in my 30s now so there’s nothing to it but to do it. I’ve stumbled though my 20s, now it’s time to thrive and arrive!

Have courage,
Elle

Let’s Get Down to Business!


Morning!

Over the last couple of weeks, I’ve been studying up and planning a strategy for my creative career. I currently work at a marketing firm but the goal is to go solo. For a few years, I’ve wanted to officially establish myself and create a studio space but I’ve been too afraid. Afraid that I’d fail or file taxes incorrectly or too afraid to talk to people. Well, I’m over that now. I have stopped focusing on the fear and started looking at the benefits of what working for myself will mean. Being able to do something I love. Networking and getting out of my comfort zone. Traveling with a flexible schedule. Creating the types of things that I want to create. Continue reading “Let’s Get Down to Business!”

Changing Lanes: I’m not that kind of artist


I’ve been doing a lot of contemplation about my career lately. I know what I went to school for, but is that really what I want to do for the next 30 or so years? I’ve known that I’ve wanted to be an artist since I was five years old, that much hasn’t changed. But the type of art that I’m choosing to pursue has. I spent 5 years of college and 3 years afterwards working towards becoming a graphic designer. I thought, how cool is that, you can create art with a computer for other people’s businesses and such. But the more experience I gained in the field, the more I began to wonder if it was the right option for me.

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Graphic designers have to make things solely based on what someone else wants. I could come up with a great design for someone but it doesn’t stay that way because the person wants to add a bunch of text and images that take it from visually pleasing to something that looks like the spam postcards you get in the mail. You can try to convince the client that the extras are bad for business, but most of them don’t understand or care. They think it’s Burger King so they should be able to get whatever they want. This frustrates me because my name ends up being associated with that crap. I want more control over my work. This is the top reason that ultimately inspired me to go for fine arts.

Fine artist have more freedom and influence on the finished product. People value their work as it stands. I think the projects are more inspiring and entertaining as well. I would love to illustrate children’s books, movies and graphic novels. Of course that would mean making sure the client likes what I make, but I’d still be able to be true to my personal style. Most of my illustrations will be done in Adobe software. Besides that, I plan to keep photographing people. I’m starting a Youtube channel and Patreon page as a means to bring in more funds as well. I feel really excited about taking this leap of faith and that it’s going to yield great results. I can’t wait to get on here and say “I quit my day job!”.

Have courage,
Elle

Starting from the bottom. . . Again


You know that moment when you think you have pretty decent skills in one area, only to be shown that you aren’t as skilled as you thought? Well friends, that is where I found myself last night.

As mentioned in a previous post, I’m working with my brother to update my design portfolio. It has been a few years since I held a graphic design staff position so I suppose it is normal for me to be rusty. The sucky part is that I’ve gotten weaker in the area of composition and how to prioritize information. Jr asked me to do a couple of mock designs and a mood board as my first project. After reviewing my work over the phone, out of my three concepts, he said that one had a bit of promise but it still lacked in major areas. My mood board tanked too. Sheesh, I’m starting from the bottom again!

He sent me some articles to look over and asked me to re-create the mood board. My mind feels shocked and fried all at the same time. To think that my skills have sunk this far. . . That proves that if you don’t make it a point to keep up with design trends over time, you’ll get left in the dust. Two years is like 14 in the creative sector. I’ve been working wherever I can just to bring home a paycheck since 2012. Sadly, none of those jobs involved Photoshop. My brother mentioned that I should have tried honing in on my skills while I didn’t have an industry job. I know he’s right but I still got irked. It’s hard to create something without an actual design brief or someone to give you feedback on the work. When you have a day job serving coffee to snobs and borderline depressed about your life, it’s a-whole-nother ballgame.

After college, I couldn’t understand how I could do so well in school and not find work anywhere in my field. Because of my degree, it was also difficult to find minimum wage work because I was overqualified. I was unemployed for six months before finally finding a few retail/fast food/stipend jobs. The longer I worked at these places and dealt with the clientele that comes along with them, them more hopeless I felt. One night during a conversation about work with my husband I went from laughing to crying uncontrollably. I felt like a failure. The little checks that I brought home couldn’t pay any bills. People talked to me like I was an idiot all day and I was doomed to spend my 30 minute lunch breaks in a cramped inventory space. I couldn’t take it any longer. I prayed a lot during this time and my husband agreed to move us elsewhere so I could have better opportunities in the Dallas metroplex.

Being in Texas gave me courage. It took nine more months of being a barista before I landed the interview for the company that I currently work for but it was worth it. I wasn’t able to get the design job I applied for but they hired me on as a support team member. Now that I’m back in the field, I really want to get back to making art. My current position is not about creating, its about maintaining and managing. I manage the content, apply design treatments to content based on what’s already there, delete it, but I don’t create anything.

As all artists, I’ve grown restless of not creating for hire. Once I get my skills back up to par, I plan to apply for as many design spots as I can. Aside from designing again, I also want to make more income. I’m a married woman and two years away from 30 (though I look 16 most days). Needless to say, I have some goals and loans that require funds, more than I currently make. I won’t reveal my salary, but let’s just say, I can’t live on it and pay all of my bills without my husband’s income. I still feel like I haven’t reached the goal of feeling like I have much to give our family financially. However I’m grateful that one of my paychecks can now cover our rent and not just a week’s worth of groceries.

It would have been easy to get bent out of shape after having my work evaluated but the truth is that I have been much worse situations. I may not have the needed skills now, but one skill that I never let get dull is my ability to learn. I am going to put time aside to work on whatever my brother sends me, read the articles, takes notes, and fail again and again. If you stick with something long enough and work hard, progress is only a matter of time. If there is something you want to do or become in life. always remember that we all begin at the starting line, not three feet away from the finish line tape. You’re not going to be as good as you want to be in the beginning so don’t even trip. Don’t look around to see who is ahead of you. You are running in a one-woman (or man) race so focus on putting one foot in front of the other. It’s ok to fall, to feel bad or angry. It’s not ok to quit. You don’t always have to know where you are going. You just need to have the courage to take the next step.

Have courage,
Elle

We Can Rebuild


I’ve tried to learn web languages starting with HTML time and time again but it never stuck. I would only get more confused and frustrated every time I attempted to learn something. But recently things have been clicking. My supervisor connected me with some learning resources online a few weeks ago. Since then, I’ve been learning like crazy and taking on new tasks at work because of it. I’m so excited! The web industry is not going anywhere but up so I’ve decided to learn how to navigate through basic code to improve my design skils.

The goal is to make $50,000 + the next time I land a new job. My husband is always excelling at work, so I told him that I’d land my higher paying gig before his next promotion. Given that he usually soars upward every two or three years, that gives me two years to make it happen. Not that we don’t share everything, but making it a competition is adding to my motivation to learn as much as I can and creating a body of work that encompasses all of my visual art skills. I’m so grateful for my current job. It has helped me get my foot in the door and use some of the skills that I went to school for. But even though I’ve escaped the world of retail, I still have a ways to go if I want to truly call myself a creative professional.

To help me build a new body of work, my big brother is teaming up with me. He’s an Art Director with years of experience, I’m glad he’s gonna mentor me on this. He has volunteered to send me materials to help get me started and check in with me from time to time as I work on everything. He advised that it would take lots of work and I’d need to be willing to stay up to work on projects. I’ve already started trying out instant coffees and teas since we spoke the other night. (I guess that means taking a nap after work so I’ll have the energy to keep moving forward.) I know this is going to be intense and will result in more nights in front of “Big Mac” (my 27 inch IMac) but getting that creative job and salary will be worth it.

Have courage,
Elle

Composition Exercise


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For any artsy types out there, here’s an exercise for you. As a way to improve my skills, I’m rebuilding my fundamental skills and knowledge.

To start, I did a composition/scale exercise with five random elements in Photoshop. Here are the results I got after 20 minutes. You may have to zoom out to see each full page.

I used a grid as my guide. I will probably do this kind of exercise once a month or so with other elements and upload a PSD file for those who want to do the exercise as well.

It was actually pretty fun and opened my mind to a different way of creating layouts.

Have courage,
Elle