Welcome to my blog! I love to write as well as capture life in photographic images. I use this space for whatever comes to mind... random ideas, wobbly ruminations, haikus, imperfect poetry, rants, and various projects. I hope that some of these words resonate with you in some small way.

"We don't see things as they are, we see them as we are."
~ Anaïs Nin

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Creativity Takes Courage

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I love this image of one of many cement street barriers, placed early in 2020, as borders for restaurants to create "parklets" to serve their customers outside during the different distancing phases of the Covid-19 pandemic. This "barrier" in Escondido, CA (north San Diego county) is one of many placed all along their historic center on Grand Avenue and painted by local artists and community members. I put barrier in quotes because it's ironic that we use a barrier to help bring people back together.

This one is also very symbolic, in particular, for it's message, "Creativity Takes Courage" combined with it's placement on a cement barrier. For me, "courage," requires the will to place what you want to do above your fear of doing it. Sometimes that is a simple leap of faith, sometimes that is an agonizing jump off of a cliff. Either way, the barriers we create for ourselves often seem impenetrable like a block of cement.

Common barriers... do any of these sound familiar to you?
The fear mongering siblings... fear of failure, success, exposure, comparison, rejection
Not good enough
Self-doubt
Self-criticism
Overwhelm
Underwhelm (aka lost interest)
Not enough time
Too much time
Distractions
Anxious, stress, rushed, nervous
Lack of ideas, blocked
Can't get started
Can't finish

Yep, I'm pretty good friends with all of these demons on different levels. You can't make them go away, and that's ok. It's way more fun and interesting to have gentle conversations with them and let them hang out in the fringe... and say "So what! I'll do it anyway!"

One of the most impactful things my creativity coaches have taught me is how to use these negative influences to better my work, to motivate (aka nudge) instead of paralyze, to identify the really good parts and celebrate my successes.

The most important thing is small steps.
Tiny, minuscule, nanoscopic steps to move forward.
Message me if you'd like to try it!

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This photo image was taken by Brenda Townsend, a good friend of mine and local San Diego arts leader. Thanks Brenda!
Brilliant Spectrum Art (Facebook)
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The Art of Mindful Gift Giving - finding creativity and inspiration during remarkable times

Nourish and Flourish Magazine caught up with Katherine Zimmer, one of our favorite creative contributors located in Napa, California, to see how folks on the West Coast are managing and staying positive during this challenging time. She is a photographic artist, writer, and successful corporate marketing professional with decades of experience in tourism, nonprofit, and digital information industries. She has intertwined her training as a personal brand strategist and creativity coach throughout her marketing career to enhance the teams behind the brands. In the face of the pandemic, she has also had to refocus her career path to follow her dream of creativity coaching and helping people realize their inspired paths. We asked her to share her thoughts on mindful gift giving for the holidays and other occasions. Here is what she had to say.
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The Art of Mindful Gift Giving
Finding creativity and inspiration during remarkable times
by Katherine Zimmer

I think we can all agree that this year has been remarkable, devastating in some areas and bringing gifts in others. Our lives have been significantly altered, no doubt, mine included. I have always been a creative soul and have known that I need to express myself creatively and consistently to keep my sanity. When I don’t, I flounder and move toward mindless spaces that are closer to existing than thriving. My artistic outlet is primarily photography with occasional spurts of writing. I also poured a lot of creativity into the corporate marketing jobs I’ve held for decades, but my life in the working world was transformed in March along with so many others.

Most of you have told yourselves that you don’t have a creative bone in your bodies. Luckily, this gift is not contained in our bones. Our expressive “bones” are in our senses: our hearts, eyes, ears, noses, stomachs, and touch–where we feel things.

One of the amazing gifts that 2020 has brought to me is watching so many people discover creative ways to cope with the chaos and their life-altering decisions, many of which we have no control over. After going down the rabbit holes of Netflix, Amazon, and Zoom, we came up for air, slowed down, and looked around. What we saw was inspiration! The idea of taking small steps toward change grabbed our attention.

You are crafting, cooking, baking, photographing, painting, building things, and redecorating your homes. You’re learning a lot about interesting things like astronomy, mixology, gardening, butterflies, music, and reinventing who you are. And you’re getting to know your kids (and pets!) by exploring the world through their eyes. Exercise found renewed meaning. It’s fun again to bicycle and stroll and do yoga when you have time to be aware of your environment.

Then the completely unexpected started happening. Your friends across town brought you vegetables from their gardens, and you reciprocated with a favorite bottle of wine and fresh baked cookies. The kids up the street left painted rocks on your steps, and you delighted them with big smiles and waves from a distance. Your brother found his calling playing the ukulele from the neighbor’s yard sale; you collaged its vintage case. Our porches, stoops, and mailboxes are now gift receptacles for magical things that warm our hearts.

I hope you didn’t think I was going to just offer up a shopping list of mindful gifts to buy for this holiday season! I’m very confident that you have a new awareness of what your loved ones are doing and needing. They’ve been finding their inner artists over these crazy months as well.

Being present and engaged with their creative spirits will give you insightful ideas. It’s okay if you don’t make the gift yourself. Giving a thoughtful gift, one that connects you to their heart’s inspiration, is just as wonderful. Looking for gifts in smaller, unique places will give you the gift of being the conduit from the artisan’s creative spirit to your gift recipient’s heart.

Bringing appreciation to the personal artisan creations all around us is what this beautiful magazine issue is all about. Seek out a maker’s market, small local art gallery, bakery, vintage shop, a garden store, or the neighbor’s seed exchange stand. Discover treasures that make you smile while thinking of the person you’re shopping for. Or simply thumb through our pages and go shopping online through the maker’s eCommerce stores and have that special gift delivered directly to your loved one’s front door. It’s that easy.

I’ll leave you to ponder a favorite quote from Lewis Hyde’s book The Gift: “The spirit of an artist’s gifts can wake our own.” Whether that gift is the creative talent or the result of it in the form of an object to give, if it resonates, it will wake your spirit.

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Mindful gift giving is an intentional act of gratitude and caring that comes from the heart. When we focus our awareness on the people we are giving to, we’re filled with love and appreciation. Join us in the realm of thoughtful gifting and enjoy these beautiful pages filled with inspiringly unique items that can be delivered directly and safely, any time of the year, reflecting your generous spirit. Cheers!

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katherinezimmer.com

 

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Nourish & Flourish Magazine - I'm a new contributor!

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I’ve recently had the amazing opportunity to write a couple articles for the national magazine, Nourish & Flourish, which believes that locally sourced food and products matter to our health, quality of life and communities. The Fall issue is out now and will be in most Barnes & Noble’s and many Whole Foods.

In this issue they feature "Main Street Mercantile" an artisanal gift guide featuring carefully selected participants who use ecologically sustainable methods and produce the highest quality of goods made in America.

I’ve written a feature article called “The Art of Mindful Gift Giving: Finding creativity and inspiration during remarkable times” and also contributed to the feature on my dear friends at Stone & Glass Gallery & Studio.

Order your copy today for direct and safe delivery!
Together we can make a difference!

Links to more info and sharing!
#nourishandflourishmag

Facebook:
Nourish & Flourish
Katherine Zimmer Connects

Instagram:
@nourishandflourishmag
@kzconnects

Nourish and Flourish is a 112 page coffee-table quality publication  featuring original photography and award-winning design and art direction produced by experienced creative professionals.

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N_F_FRONT COVER FB_Oct2020Nourish and Flourish magazine Fall 2020

 


Red Coat and Flowers

The Tuscan night is chilly in November as she briskly strolls, balancing on her heels, almost hovering above the ancient cobblestones.  She loves fresh  flowers.

The chrysanthemums this year are bright pink. Beautiful, but in Italy they are still associated with funerals...like the Lily she is named after. She hates being named after a death flower.

Rosa, at the flower stand often commiserates with her about their organically ornate names, but right now it’s 3am and she is too preoccupied setting up for the early business shoppers to engage in idle repetitive chit chat no matter how Italian that daily social task is.

Lily’s not really in a hurry, it’s more the chill that pushes her. She only has an orange tabby named Figaro and an espresso ahead of her. Maybe a little sleep, if her neighbors across the hall in the tiny piazza apartment can soothe their newborn.

Her hat blocks the harsh light cascading down from the randomly placed, bizarrely Art Deco poles. She’s still wearing it. She knows it’s the middle of the night, but it shields her from the prying eyes of other nocturnal dwellers. Her life is none of their business.

“Red is the color of a harlot,” her married lover had the nerve to say the night after the day that she bought the coat. Lily told him that red was the color of a woman with power.

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Inspired by the original Art & Writing Prompt #1091 by Jill Badonsky
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She also does an amazing Podcast - A Muses's Daydream - full of "Short, funny, inspiring stories designed to relax and set free the creativity of the listener with painless wisdom."
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Living and Photographing in the Time of Covid-19

These five images and short descriptions were entered into a juried competition at The Photographer's Eye Gallery in Escondido, CA. None of them made the exhibition, but I really enjoyed this process. Imagery places a visual on our thoughts and feelings that we otherwise couldn't express.

"Living and Photographing in the Time of Covid-19"
Online Juried Exhibition
May 8th - August 1st, 2020
The Photographer's Eye Gallery

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Image #1: Gnome
Binocular Disparity
We found this amazing gnome during a yard clean-up project. I love old, neglected things and the texture that time gives them. This gnome and his little bluebird embody the disparity we are all experiencing right now. “Binocular disparity” refers to the difference in image location of an object seen by the left and right eyes. In normal times our brains focus reality pretty well. I feel like we are all a bit out of focus right now and not able to see the location of our daily lives… it’s all very surreal. He also has a solar panel on the back and the binoculars actually lit up, but the light is out now.

Image #2: Cat
Ben Undercover Of Sun
Our pets are providing hours of distraction and 24/7 unconditional love while we torture them with endless pictures and snuggles! I don’t know what I’d do without Ben’s constant purring and snappy 14-year old attitude. I chose this image of him because it symbolizes us undercover of a shadow looking out for sunshine. He is also my tolerant #meowdel for the new @purrbenhur Instagram I created for him, well really for me! I do marketing and social media for a living and am now out of work for the near future. Ben keeps my spirits up and my creative social art mediums inspired. I may even venture him into Tik-Tok!

Image #3: Tree
Cotton Ball Tree
The only way to get out of the house right now, without any personal protective equipment, is a quick drive around your neighborhood. I’m so grateful to live in an area that has beautiful landscapes of hilly vineyards, barns, livestock, flowers, and trees that bloom with cotton balls in the sky. The earth is very happy the humans are taking a break. As my Mom says,“Change always comes bearing gifts.” We don’t always know immediately what the gifts is… sometimes we have to stop moving and look for it.

Zimmer_On The Fence_4Zimmer_On The Fence_4 Image #4: Quail On The Fence
This little guy was on a mission, getting to someplace very important. He didn’t seem to be “on the fence” about his goal, just using the wooden highway to facilitate his travel. I used to be on the fence a lot, never quite committing to a destination. I recently, just before Covid-19 (BC19), made a major life change and landed in a loving, happy, forever state of being. Sometimes I feel guilty about doing okay right now, in the midst of so much suffering. Helping where I can, keeping in touch with friends and neighbors, giving blood, and supporting local businesses makes a difference. Also, I believe that keeping true to my art and not denying my need to create it, serves the situation as a whole. What are we, if not what we create?

Zimmer_Dad's Chair_5Zimmer_Dad's Chair_5 Image #5: Tom’s Chair
This is the view from my back patio. This beautiful landscape of trees and flowers and seemingly wildness was created by my neighbor Steve’s dad, Tom. Steve planted the chair in the midst of this loveliness when Tom was 80, so that he could rest while he gardened instead of returning to the house. Tom spent hours in this chair contemplating the trees he planted as seedlings decades before and lavender and poppies surrounding his tool shed. I’ll never know what it’s like to “be” in one place for a lifetime or even half a lifetime, but I love to hear stories of people who have. Tom’s ashes are buried here and now I’m his neighbor.

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Images © 2020, Katherine Zimmer, all rights reserved