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Posts Tagged ‘women’

The Making of a melissaAnne Water Colors Image

When I tell people that my photos are from the bottoms of boats it often results in funny looks and the following:  “THAT’S a bottom…of a BOAT?  How do you do that?”  If you are  part of my network of amazingly supportive friends, you fully understand the looks and the questions because you’ve shared my work and you’ve experienced the same reactions. Let’s face it, it’s weird.  It’s not quite “normal”.  Most people don’t spend their vacations in amazing places like St Maarten or Martha’s Vineyard climbing through weeds in boat yards taking photos.  They don’t drag their friends out to “bond” amid the dirt and cobwebs of boat “graveyards” and graffiti laden walls.  But, if you are among the few who have joined me in one of these adventures…well, you get it.  Sorta….

For the rest of you,  I’m about to give you some insight into those popular questions, “THAT’s a bottom…of a BOAT?”  and “How do you do that?” using one of my favorite melissaAnne Colors Water Colors images.

 December 29, 2008

I was in Texas visiting family for the holidays.  December 29th, my mom’s birthday and how did we celebrate it?  Driving aimlessly around Lake Lewisville searching for boat yards of course (yes, my mom is a saint).  I was still new to the melissaAnne Colors Water Colors process, this only the second time I’d gone on a boat yard mission.  We drove around most of the day, with me crawling around “the yards” looking for just the right boat, colors, angles, textures, patterns.  It’s about ALL of that!  We stopped at one marina with power boats and sailboats and I snapped away and wandered around for a while.  In the back, among the tall grass and weeds I discovered this. 

The bottom of a boat.....

This, in my world, is a goldmine!  I know, weird.  Those questions marks are floating over your head.  “This is a goldmine?” you’re saying.   Just wait…..

From this dirty old boat came this colorful but somewhat dull image.

© Melissa McClain

With a little photo software magic I brightened the colors (most Water Colors images are the original colors, simply enhanced) and got this.

©Melissa McClain

But it wasn’t done.  One of the things I love most about the melissaAnne Colors Collection is the versatility.  There was one more thing to do, rotate.  Before I finalize an image, I rotate it left, right, 180 degrees to find a story that speaks to me.  At 180 degrees, this one was done.  

 
 

© Melissa McClain

I immediately saw a shoe.  A red shoe.  A red HIGH HEEL shoe.  It said “woman”, “power”, “celebration”, and “confidence”.  I pictured an elegant evening of dancing in red high heel shoes. 

That’s where I stopped and it became Water Colors Elegance, a popular print among strong women!

Although, I didn’t truly stop there…see what else that boat gave us.

©Melissa McClain

 Water Colors Red No. 10

©Melissa McClain

  Water Colors Hope

 

THAT’s a bottom…of a BOAT?  Yes. 

 Final Water Colors  images shown above are available for purchase at melissaAnne Colors   

Moments of Inspiration

I attended Apartment Therapy Offline Meetup this week!  The guest speaker was rug and textile designer Madeline Weinrib.  Her designs are unique and beautiful.  I found her story truly inspiring and a reminder that it’s OK to be different, stay true to your vision, and follow your passion and you will realize your dream.  Thank you Madeline and Apartment Therapy!  You can also see Madeline’s designs at one of MY favorite places, ABC Home in NYC.  

 Listen to the Color of your Dreams. ~John Lennon  

 SIGN UP for the weekday melissaAnne Color and Inspiration e-mail.  Daily photos from the melissaAnne Colors Collection and inspiring quotes right in your inbox.  It’s free and it’s fun!

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I can’t believe it’s been over a month since I gave the blog some love!  Where has the time gone?  I’m sure everyone has been sitting on the edge of their seats waiting to see what’s coming next.   You are on the edge of your seat, right?  

A few weeks ago I travelled to Chicago to attend the Women On Fire Retreat at the Embassy Suites Chicago Downtown Lakefront.  I was so excited to attend the event and to sponsor a gift to all the attendees!  This is by far the best group I have ever belonged to (OK…I don’t belong to a lot of groups, but there’s NO WAY any could be better)!    

Hotel Floors - ©Melissa McClain

My 3-day weekend in Chicago was amazing.  I had a room full of amazing ladies (4 of us sharing a room, just like the old college Spring Break days) and we stayed up late into the night enjoying girl talk, eating deep dish pizza, and bonding like only women can.  

Chicago Deep Dish Delight

 

“When you really have the fire you don’t have to tell anybody”  ~Stedman Graham

During the Retreat I was surrounded by more than 60 inspiring , passionate, and compassionate “Women On Fire”.  Women of all ages who were there to join each other in living full lives, supporting dreams, inspiring each other, and creating bonds.  It was incredible!  The Retreat kicked off with a keynote address from Stedman Graham who will no longer be “Oprah’s man” in my mind.  I now know him as a quiet, yet powerful and energizing force whose words inspire and captivate a room and who wears his heart proudly on his sleeve.  Oh, and I also know him as “The Sted-man”, my new little nickname for him.  I hope he doesn’t mind…  

Surrounded by Debbie Phillips, Founder of Women on Fire and Stedman Graham

 

“I rely on my support system.  If I didn’t have this web of wonderment around me, if I didn’t have support and utilize support, I’d be nowhere.” ~Holly Getty – Style Consultant

 There were so many other guest speakers during the event who touched me and changed the way I think about life, dreams, and passion.  I learned about discovering and following your passion from the beautiful Laurie Forster.  Laurie is The Wine Coach and we were treated to a fabulous wine tasting during the Retreat!  I was touched and inspired by Kacy Cook’s passion for writing and her children’s book Nuts.  I got to know one of my weekend “roomies”, Jamie Eslinger, better and hear her amazing story of strength and survival.   I laughed and cried as Janette Barber closed the event on Saturday with the powerful story of her life and her determination.  Janette is the funniest person I know and her humor this weekend was full of beauty, inspirations, and lessons that I didn’t even realize I needed to learn.  She touched me deeply and I am so grateful for her.  Please visit her Max Mouth website and watch the videos.  You will laugh a little, cry a little, and be touched deeply by her passion to help some amazing kids.   

We were a gathering of softness and strength, all standing together and ready to bloom brightly in this world! Photo ©Melissa McClain

Special thanks to Debbie Phillips, the founder of Women On Fire, for creating such an amazing organization of women with like minds and, more importantly, like hearts.  In the words of Debbie, “I’ve found my peeps.”  Thank you fellow “women on fire” for a wonderful, connecting weekend and the amazing friendships that have begun or grown.  You INSPIRE me!    

Chicago Urban Color ©Melissa McClain

I am energized and my passion is re-ignited.  I am inspired even more to keep moving towards my dream!  Since returning, I’ve been hard at work.  I designed a new product line based on feedback from the melissaAnne Inspire Cards I created as a gift for Retreat attendees and I expect to get samples in a few weeks.   

This week I found a manufacturer to print and sew my first line of pillows!  I think it’s finally happening.  I am beyond excited and can’t wait to see the first melissaAnne Home Collection pillows with images from my Water Colors and Urban Colors photography printed on silk and linen!  I promise to update you in early June after I have pictures taken in a very special place.  Get ready for some COLOR!  

   

Moments of Inspiration 

Yes, there is still MORE inspiration to share. 

 I have a really fun morning routine that makes my morning subway commute a little more inspiring.  Included in that routine is a daily email from Inspire Me Today.  It always gets my day started in a positive and reflective way and it’s amazing how often the message feels like it was meant for me!  Check out the website and if you need a little daily inspiration, sign up for the emails.  

 

Listen to the Color of your Dreams. ~John Lennon

Special thanks to Richie Frieman and welcome to visitors who found my blog from my artist feature in Pens Eye View on Friday and Saturday.  Richie has big dreams and is determined to make them happen for himself and others!  Thanks Richie for supporting and inspiring so many!  

Thank you for being a part of my journey.  Together we can reach our dreams and make the world a better place.       

I believe in us.  I hope you do, too!      

 

Enjoy some COLOR!   

   

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I’ll bring the melissaAnne journey to you!      

 

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To live is to choose. But to choose well, you must know who you are and what you stand for, where you want to go and why you want to get there. ~Kofi Annan

 

I’m still searching for a production resource for melissaAnne. I never imagined it would be this challenging. I’ve researched online. I’m asking for references.  I’m meeting with different people.  I haven’t found “it” quite yet.  I met one  woman who I bonded with immediately. I left our first meeting completely inspired and feeling like I could sit in a studio with her all day and laugh and talk as we busily worked on creating designs for melissaAnne and collaborated about making a difference in the world. Unfortunately, her sewing experience didn’t quite match what I’m looking for. I’m holding her number though because I have a feeling there is a spot at melissaAnne for her energy, vitality, and warm heart.

I found another sewing contractor on Craigslist a few weeks ago and I was initially intrigued by the company’s story and why they went into business. It sounded like they had a great vision for supporting new designers. I was really inspired and excited to potentially work with a company that had a vision similar to mine.  Unfortunately, I didn’t feel a connection during our first meeting. I’ve had some follow up communication with the company and it just doesn’t seem to be working for me. I’m not feeling the connection that is so important to me.

But, I’m torn.

I have high expectations. I know that. This is the beginning of my melissaAnne family. This is a relationship that will allow me to take one more step, a big step, towards fulfilling my dream and realizing my vision.  Shouldn’t it reflect who I am and what I stand for?  Shouldn’t it be part of my story of where I’m going and why I want to go there?

However, I’m really anxious to get my pillows produced so I can begin to share them with you. I’m ready to take the designs I see in my head every night and every morning and put them into your hands. Pillows that will bring color, energy, and inspiration into your home. Conversation pieces that evoke story and creativity in your mind.

I’m torn because I wonder if I should go with a resource I have some questions about just to get a tangible product started. Do I lower my expectations? Do I make some sacrifices in the beginning? 

Or, should I wait?

Wait for the resource that will meet or exceed my expectations. Wait for what feels right to me.  I’m sure it’s out there. Somewhere.

Will it make a difference in the final product? Will the energy and inspiration in your melissaAnne pillow be even stronger if I wait? Will the color be somehow more vibrant when you open your package?

What do you think? How do you want your pillow made?

Choose.  Or choose well.   To be continued…

 

Moments of Inspiration

I’m making this a regular part of my posts to give you some insight into what/who I get inspiration from or things I do to ensure the inspiration for melissaAnne keeps coming.

Women on Fire Retreat

I registered for the Women on Fire Retreat this week and I’m so excited that one of my best friends is coming with me! The Retreat is an “inspiration” present to myself. These amazing ladies from around the country regularly provide me with the energy and inspiration I need to continue my journey. I can’t wait to be in a room with them for 2 days! I’m also excited to hear Stedman Graham speak.

Interested in attending and getting some inspiration for your life and your dreams?  You can sign up here. I can’t wait to see you there!

 

Listen to the Color of your Dreams. ~John Lennon

In my next post, I’ll let you in on the process of picking my melissaAnne pillow collection images from the Water Colors and Urban Colors Collections and show you some new fabric swatches I’m considering for the first collection. I’ll also have a Moment of Inspiration for you. I’ve been holding onto this one. It’s colorful!!

 

I hope you have a dream and I hope you are following it!

  

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I’ll bring the melissaAnne journey to you!

 

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This week was incredibly special!  Not only was I preparing for my first solo art exhibit, but I attended a Woman on Fire tea party, and I was profiled as the “Woman On Fire Of the Week” by Debbie Phillips the Founder of Women on Fire.   Ever wonder how the melissaAnne Photography Water Colors Collection started?  Debbie is a strong mentor in my life so I gave her some insider information to share.  Get the never before revealed story of my Water Colors discovery by visiting Debbie’s blog and see the Water Colors image that started it all.  You won’t get this insider information anywhere else!  While you are there check out Debbie’s book, her mission to support and connect women, and read all about the tea parties she organizes.

Attending a Women on Fire Tea Party is like walking into a room filled with the gifts of compassionate, inspiring women.  For 3 hours they share their lives, their goals, their achievements, their struggles, sometimes tears, laughter, and most importantly their support and encouragement for each other.  It is a magical experience you just have to see for yourself!  You will come away with an indescribable feeling of inspiration.

Visit the Women on Fire website and sign up for the Spark Newsletter and receive a free copy of Debbie’s CD “The 7 Secrets”.  This CD helped me put the journey to my dream in over-drive!  It also gave me my new daily mantra:  “Don’t give up before the miracle.”   I’m not giving up and I’m getting closer every day!

Thank you Debbie for this touching honor!

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I have been working on a blog post about a recent adventure and I’m really excited to share it with you. I planned on coming home tonight and posting it but I’m compelled to share something else with you today. I have bad days. I have days when I don’t feel whole. Days when my passion just isn’t there and the day seems endless. Days when I daydream about big changes and drastic moves. Do you have those days? I had one today and from it I had an amazing experience of relationship and rediscovery of self.

I am so lucky to have a new relationship with a wonderful, supportive woman at work. She’s going through some tough stuff and I’m honored that she trusts me and feels she can talk to me. I am glad I am there and I want to support her. A few days ago I asked her what I could do to help her. She initially didn’t know and we ended our discussion. A few minutes later she came back and said “I need to take a walk. Every day. I need some fresh air and change of perspective. I need a push to make that happen.” I felt so elated and useful and applauded her for saying what she needed. We decided on a daily time and I immediately set it up on my calendar with a reminder so I wouldn’t forget. I am there to support her!

We’ve walked twice now. Today, in the midst of my own struggles I showed up like clockwork, determined to hold up my end of the bargain and be there for her regardless of what was going on within me. I could return to “my stuff” after the walk. So we walked and a funny thing happened. The walk and my colleague supported me! It was just a 4 block walk. But a new direction out of the building and a spontaneous turn of the corner on a never before traveled street revealed a few exhilarating photo opportunities! With my iPhone in hand I used the camera to return to the spirit of me that I love, that I feel so empowered by.

Madison Square Light

A Guiding Star

Bridge To A Dream

"Take My Hand" -Andrea Hylen

Each photo calmed me, soothed me and led to laughter and dances (literally) on the sidewalks of Manhattan. We shared something today and learned that the relationship developing is mutually supportive and empowering.  It started with a simple question and a simple answer.

“What can I do?”
“I need to take a walk.”

Is there someone in your life who needs to hear a simple question?  Don’t let the moment pass.  You might get just as much from the answer as they do!

I returned to this street alone after work with my camera in hand. I hadn’t completely rid myself of “the day” and knew I needed a little more time with my camera and the visions I still had in my head. Dusk had arrived and the lights were coming on. It was still the same street and the same photo ideas, but they were different now.  There was am emerging glow, and I felt a glow growing stronger in me too.

Suspended Beneath the Glow

Suspended Beneath the Glow

Shining Star

A Shining Star

I was in my place. I was where I am happiest. I was with my camera. It is amazing to me that just holding it in my hand creates a shift inside me. I carried it in my hand all the way to subway. Feeling the way it fit my hand and focusing on the changes I felt in my emotions and in my body. I didn’t want to put it away, I wanted it to guide me home.

A Shining Star

My Guiding Light

I am so thankful for this gift I have been given and my new appreciation of what it means to me. My camera is my change agent. It’s my second language. It’s the thing that takes away all the bad, all the fear, and all the uncertainty and replaces it with happiness and purpose.

I learned a lesson today about helping others (and helping yourself), relationships, friendships, the power of a passion, and how a simple “walk” can be so much more. You know…..it was just “one of those days.”

We all have our “camera”. It may be a furry puppy or a nuzzling cat. Maybe it’s the written word, yours or someone elses.

Tell me, what’s your “camera”?

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