Research Photos: Sneaking up on (Un)suspecting Animals by Lara Neece

Ok. This is obviously not a photo of me collecting research photos of an animal; this is me playing around with a Lomography fisheye camera back in 2011 in the Great Dismal Swamp. I don't honestly know if I have any pictures of me behind my camera, because I'm usually the one taking all of the pictures. However, I do like this photo because this is the bird's eye view (if you will) that an animal sees when I creep up on it and snap my "research photos." 

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5 Rituals to Fuel the Creative Process by Lara Neece

We've all had those magical days when you're just there - you're in the zone with little effort rocking out some amazing work. But then there are the days where, despite your best intentions, you're just too distracted to get anything even remotely productive done, or worse, you're putting in the hours and churning out less than stellar work. There are many different tricks that people use to get into their zone on creative days, like listening to their favorite music or burning candles, etc. But really, I've found that the best tactic is to plan ahead. If you get ready for your creative endeavors beforehand, you'll save yourself a lot in the way of time and energy. And if you give your body and mind the fuel it needs to stay focused, then getting into the zone will be that much easier. Here are the big areas that I like to focus on in order to rock out some awesome artwork (and this goes for any other kind of work too).

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Why I Always Share my Sketchbooks by Lara Neece

I take my smallest sketchbook with me to every single art show or art market that I participate in. I leave it open, sitting out for anyone and everyone to take a look. It's the good, the bad, and the ugly out on display right next to my best work, and people love it. Sometimes they will flip though every single page. Sometimes they will point to a drawing I hate and ask me if it's available as a print. Occasionally another artist will turn to a "bad" page, and I can see on their face that they are thinking, that's not very good. But then they get to the next page and are really impressed. Many people, especially other artists, tell me that I'm brave for sharing it, and maybe it's because they've counted how many "bad" drawings there are. Regardless, they are always fascinated by it.

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Discovering Herbal Tea, Respect, and a Creative Practice by Lara Neece

Last year I stopped drinking coffee - not cold turkey, but I stopped nonetheless. I know you're thinking, why on Earth would I want to stop drinking coffee? I absolutely loved coffee, espresso, chai, and sweet tea (yes, born and raised in the South!), and I needed these things in the morning to wake up, in the afternoon to perk up, and sometimes in the evenings, and on the weekends. But last year, after I over worked myself, started to burn out, and had a bit of a nervous breakdown, I realized that some things had to change. 

In addition to taking an extended break from my work, I decided to cut down on my daily caffine consumption.

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From Pencil to Ink, How I Mastered Drawing by Lara Neece

In the beginning, I fell in love with drawing. It wasn't love at first exactly, but there was an initial excitement and amazement at this magic ability that I had neglected almost my whole life. I had always loved art. A self-proclaimed doodler when I was younger, I studied art history in high school, but I never took any studio art classes because I never thought I had "the talent".

But then I took Drawing 101 in college, which I actually only signed up for because it was a prerequisite for Painting 101, and I discovered that - gasp - I could draw! 

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