Friday, September 28, 2012

The Third Eye of Jillian Lee

Photographers have the most spectacular view on the world. With that magic lens than get up close and personal with details that are often overlooked. Meet Jillian. One of my favorite people and a photographer whose work I fell in love with many years ago.

Her ability to capture a moment with children or the details inside a flower are breathtaking. I could swim around inside her photos for hours just taking it all in.

Jillian lives an works in Salt Lake City, Utah where she and her husband Ian often team up to create beautiful and sometimes silly photo sessions. One of the coolest things about her work is that many of her portrait sessions are done in her apartment. She is making her passions work for her. A busy mom of three boys and she still knows how to rock a cool haircut and create beautiful imagry!
 Enjoy getting to know the gal behind the lens.

1. When did you discover your passion for photography?

Hard to say. My dad loved photography, so growing up we always had disposable cameras to play with. In highschool I took photography classes, and after that I was always taking pictures of friends or even myself when I had ideas and no models. I don't think I really understood my passion for it until I had children. They opened up my eyes in so many ways.

2. You have this amazing ability to capture still life. What is it about nature that inspires you?

 It is mysterious and untamed and I love getting into the heart of it. I like looking into the finer details that seem to be missed. The bugs living inside the plants, the patterns, the decay, all of this life going on around us that is paid so little attention to. It makes me feel that much closer to the Earth.

 3. Do you have a favorite place to take photos?

 In my apartment. Its where my kids are just themselves and I get to capture them as they are, with real raw emotion experiencing life. I also love some of the old parks, graveyards, canyons, desert (Knolls)... I do my best to avoid the popular places.

4. What type of camera do you use and what is your favorite lens?

I have used many, but currently Nikon D40 with multiple lenses and filters. My favorite lens is my MF 50 mm 1/1.8. Favorite filters are my macro filters that were my dads. They are banged up and old and I love what they produce. I am not huge on spending money on equipment though. My published images were taken on a Kodak point and share! I don't think a great image is due to the camera itself.

5. It seems everyone takes pictures now since the advancement of technology and apps like Instagram. How do you feel about that and has it impacted you as a photographer?

 I think it is fantastic. I think a lot of people are now able to discover they have a talent that they maybe didn't know they had. I used to be opposed to it, because I did feel sort of threatened or not taken seriously, but then I realized that wasn't the kind of mindset I wanted to have. I'm not a snob about photography. Maybe it's because I am too poor so I work with what I can and find it acceptable. I don't think you have to have a $3000 camera to take an emotional or inspiring image. I do however find myself frustrated when people think that photoshop is photography and sells it as such. But I like to create realistic images, especially when being paid for it, unless, of course, I am being paid to specifically alter for a product or something. Don't get me wrong, photoshop is a great tool, and it is fun to add a bit of 'pizazz' or whatever you want to call it to a pic, but I don't think it should be heavily relied on. It just breaks my heart to see babies airbrushed, know what I mean? Sometimes, it just isn't necessary. I also think people need to become more comfortable with pushing the trend borders and produce something more unique and exciting. Has it impacted me? Probably, but I have a bit of a different style, and people will find me and hire me if that is what they want.

6. You and your husband have a side business together. Tell us more about that and what you offer?

Being sexy, or our other business? Ok, seriously. We run Camerunning Photography. Its a SLC local photog business for pretty much everything. Bands, families, businesses, product, portraits, pets, you name it. We go on location mostly but also do sessions in our apartment. I do 93% of the photography, while Ian helps in the editing process, and also staging and directing when he is available. Our aim is really to deviate from the norm here in Utah, but it can be difficult. Doesn't mean we are giving up though.

 7. What would you consider your niche is in photography?

My niche would be whatever my camera is focusing on. I don't really know. I have a huge passion for real life. Nature, raw emotion. I don't much love the posed stuff, the gallons of makeup and fashion, etc. I think there is enough drama and mystery naturally occurring in life. People just need to relax and allow it so I can capture it. Kids and nature and animals are probably my favorite. They don't hold back anything.

8. Do you have a single favorite photo that you have taken?

Depends on the day and my mood. There are a few, but I am not sure about a single one. There are a few I am pretty proud of.

9. You have a dark side, do you think that comes through in your work?

I sure hope it does! That's the plan! Well, not always, but I do enjoy some of the creepiness that comes out of people when they aren't paying attention. I also have a sort of bizarre obsession with dead things and photographing them. It's kind of a running joke most places we go there is always a dead bird or something rather waiting for me. I think a lot of my love for darker imagery comes from my fascination of the real goth world that I encountered and became a part of as a young teen. I still think that is probably one of the most beautiful scenes image wise and it still inspires me in a great way today.

10. How many pictures do you think you have taken in your lifetime?

Haha. All I can do is laugh at that. You should see my computer. I am a picture hoarder! We are only 2 weeks into September and purely for recreation, I have over 200 images waiting to be filtered through.

 Jillian can be found online here:

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Mirror, Mirror

Do you eve have those moments where you are staring in the mirror and you stare for so long that the image reflected back to you becomes unrecognizable? I had one of those moments today.
Maybe it the melancholic autumn light. Or the sullen tunes playing on the stereo.  I am feeling rather vulnerable in my skin today.

So I continue shedding layers, peeling back the bark to reveal the pink flesh beneath.

The scary part...

What is beneath the surface?

That is what I am trying to figure out.

Monday, September 24, 2012


I joined hands once again with my sacred circle. We released our fears, resentments, guilt and heartache into the cleansing fire. Watching it burn brighter and brighter with each release.
The guided visualization took me to a sacred grove where a bonfire was roaring and my spirit sisters were circled up with their intentions.

We were asked t chose a piece of kindling from a pile. This offering to the fire represented what we wished to let go of. I chose a willow branch....actually when I think on it Willow chose me.

I took the branch over to the fire and stood close to the glowing fire. I held the willow branch close to my heart and repeated my intentions three times.

I release from myself all resentments
I release from myself all negativity
I release from myself self harm

I began to shake at this point. Letting go to make space for new growth is so hard. For years  I have been holding on to this energy that no longer serves me. It was time to lay it  to rest.

So mote it be.

The act of ritual to promote change is so powerful. Especially with the energy of others is involved. Out intentions become magnified and the warmth of connection  is felt. Its not only about me and what I wish to be free of. Its about all of us. Working together to remove barriers that hold us back.

Now the real work begins...

Friday, September 21, 2012

on the eve

She is slowing down. You can feel it in the air. The mornings are blanketed with coastal mists and chill signals Autumn is here.

I am cozied up in my new favorite sweater. Drinking my favorite ale and thinking about the closing of yet another season and the beginning of the new.

I have made some serious life changing sum it up:

Action. Wellness. Spirit.

Three simple words with such profound meaning.

We celebrate Mabon tomorrow. The bread dough is rising, the potatoes are peeled. The apples are soaking. A harvest feast that this year means more to me than those in the past.

 Did those seeds of change you planted grow? What aspects of yourself have you nurtured?

Are you ready to harvest your abundance?

I am.

It's time to go inward.

Happy Autumnal Equinox.

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Drum Roll Please

Congrats Angie I will be in touch with you regarding your fantasic goodies!
Thank you to everyone of you beautiful souls who supported this giveaway.
 Stay tuned for Octobers great giveaway!
Details will be released on 10/1/12

Friday, September 14, 2012

Sweet Wild Life

I have a soft spot for artists. Their creative process, their unending desire to fill the world with colorful images that inspire. Kolleen Harrison is one of those creative spirits whose whimsical art always puts a smile in my face.  I met Kolleen through SouLodge. A gathering place for wild women. After checking out her artistic offerings I fell in love. Here is a little peek into the Sweet Wild Life of Kolleen Harrison.

You are a creative free spirit, what steps did you take to uncover this aspect of yourself?

i feel like i have always been creative since i was very little ... i was happiest with crayons and a coloring book ... music always playing!
as i got older and "life happened", i became lost for a bit (actually more than a bit ... for quite a long time), up until about 4 years ago when i found my voice again. i started to go on retreats and blog and surround myself with things that brought inspiration to me. i truly am beginning to feel at the young age of 40 that i have found me again ... tapping into my core ...
that which is rooted deep ... expressing it through art and words ... worrying less about if it is "good enough or not". it is freeing!!

What gets your creative juices flowing?

music first and foremost (preferably live), love, nature (mama ocean, trees), color, fashion, my kids, words ... being around other creative spirits who own who they are.

 Favorite quote?

i have many ... but right now this is the one that is speaking the loudest to me:

"the most important thing one woman can do for another is to illuminate and expand her sense of actual possibilities." - adrienne rich

What do you dream about?

i dream about a world enveloped with love ... a time when there isn't discrimination, judgment, war, hatred, jealousy. in all honesty i dream about simpler, more peaceful times. i have such a strong pull to find and live a life of "peace, love and harmony". i dream about making a difference and inspiring others to live from a place of love ... out of love.

 Where do you seek/ find inspiration for your art?

i find great inspiration and solace being near mama ocean ... the smell, the sound, the sand beneath my feet. i also enjoy taking myself out on day dates ... where i drive to another little town ... walk around, take pictures, indulge in something yummy to eat. i also find inspiration when circling with other creative spirits ... i love going on retreats and placing myself a bit out of my comfort zone ... i feel we need to stretch ourselves in order to continue to grow in our art and creativity and in ourselves.

 Have you ever found yourself in a creative slump? If so, what steps did you take to remove that obstacle?

i absolutely have and i have learned to embrace the ebb and flow of our creativity and our inspiration. i am a believer that inspiration will hit when it is supposed to and when we are open for it. in my own personal experience, when it hits me ... it hits hard, so i soak it in as it flows and do my best to let myself get lost in it.

Soul work, what does that mean to you?

Soul work is never ending in my opinion. It is getting in touch with the core of who we are ... the well of us. It is finding that space within that we call "home" and feeling the peace and comfort and serenity of it. I know my desire is to be the type of woman who is always evolving, always open to learning and seeking and being curious about what this life has to offer, immersed in her soul work.

What workshops (online or on location) have you been to and would recommend to other women?
SouLodge came to me at the right time in my life, as I was entering my 40th year. It has helped me to embrace the side of me that I let lie dormant for quite a long time. Pixie is a beautiful creative soul ... wise well beyond her years.

I have been to Be Present Retreat in Oregon and also Brave Girl Camp in Idaho. I would highly recommend them both to other women. They both changed my life and helped me in priceless ways.
If you could change one aspect of yourself, what would it

I seem to be the type of person who has MANY ideas and inspirations but struggles with bringing them to fruition!
  I would change that ...
 if I could have it my way, I would release the fear and "close the deal"!

To connect with Kolleen:

Just for fun, I dedicate this song to Kolleen,
for I know how much music means to her. Enjoy sister!

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Which Witch is it?

I have been called a witch for as long as I can remember. When I was a wee one I would wear a witch's costume (with cowboy boots) all-the-time. It wasn't your typical black dress Hollywood version, but a simple patchwork dress my mother made. Cute, earthy and perfect for a little girl who daydreamed in her red Radio Flyer wagon while her familiar (a black lab named Lucy), slept beside her.

In junior high I was taunted by my peers for being a devil worshiper. I probably deserved the attention since I had a tendency to wear a lot of black and weird shoes. This taunting carried out through high school. I remember back to those days when those silly enough to think I could actually cast spells would come to my door and ask me for loves spells. Being enchanted by all things mystical I would instruct the young neighborhood girls that on the night of the full moon to pour a hot bath, add salt, a few drops rose oil and light a red candle. In the tub they were to think about the one they so desired and he would then magically be drawn to them. In reality I had no idea what I was even talking about. I was just giving them what they wanted.


Little did I know then, that my advice was pretty spot on for someone who never really studied spell crafting. I did in my later teens visit the local New Age store. Browsing through tarot decks and crystals. Admiring all the charms and baubles and glass jars full of herbs. These were the things I was drawn too. It's not uncommon for teenagers to experiment with the occult....

My Mother ;)
I grew up in predominantly Mormon state.  I was one of very few kids in my small town who didn't attend church on Sundays. My mother (bless her soul), gave me the choice to believe in what I felt was right for me. Our Sundays consisted of drives in the mountains. Picking wildflowers and listening to Fleetwood Mac with the windows rolled down and the wind in our hair. Those days spent together are priceless to me. My mother always seemed like the most magical woman I knew. She has this wild earth gypsy way about her.

As I entered my twenties my fondness for magic grew. I studied herbalism, became a massage therapist and learned how to be a conduit for the healing power of stones. This was my magic and I had a gift for it. In the height of my career as a healer I could tangibly feel the auric energy of others. I would have visuals and on the rare occasion heard voices while working on my clients. I know a lot of people think that it is crazy voodoo hippie crap, but in it's simplest form its called science.

The Good Witch of Moondog Farm
Presently, I live on a farm. I milk goats, I talk to chickens (in chicken), I have many cats and my familiars are still canines. My husband and I are organic pagans. We take care of the earth and in return she takes care of us. We work biodynamically  with the rhythms nature.  Pure magic.
So what does all this blabbering on have to do with witches? Well, as I approach my 34th year in this realm, I have decided to make it officially known that I  wear the conical hat with pride.
I am out of the broom closet
I am a witch. *Cackles*

Friday, September 7, 2012


I want to introduce you to Jenny. She is an artist, a mother, a wife and a muse. A bohemian spirit who co-owns Vine Gogh in Portland, OR. Vine Gogh is an Art/ Wine bar where you can sit back listen to great music, drink wine and create!

Jenny is guide for the closeted artist. She has this incredible ability to uncork your creative spirit...even those stubborn folks who think they can't paint. I have had the honor of sitting in on many classes at Vine Gogh and my own skills as an artist have grown immensly. I thank Jenny for her enthusiasm and encouragement to all her students.

Move over Bob Ross there is a new gal in town (and she has way better hair!)

1. When did you discover you had a passion for the arts?

I was lucky to always be surrounded by artists and creative people. My Grandfather had a very successful career as an artist. He passed away when I was 2 years old, but my parents and Grandmother were always encouraging me in art. I would spend hours drawing at the kitchen table. My mom still has my first drawing; I was a toddler, and I drew spiders on notebook paper. I'm terrified of spiders!

2. Who is your favorite artist and why?
There are a lot of them, but I will narrow it to two: Gustav Klimt and Pablo Picasso. With Klimt, I can tell he was a very passionate person - painting lovers and beautiful women from real life and stories. I love that there is so much to look at in his paintings. I love the use of gold, the little touches of flowers and shapes and colors. With Picasso, I am just so impressed at his sheer talent and how he could embrace so many different styles. He could paint realism to abstract and everything in between.

3. Was there ever a time you felt like giving up a career in the arts? If yes, how did you remove that obstacle?
I would never give up. As with any person, I've experienced the sting of rejection. You get over it. I read this quote once, in the book Memoirs of a Geisha: “I can see you have a great deal of water in your personality. Water never waits. It changes shape and flows around things, and finds the secret paths no one else has thought about." I thought, "Wow, that's me!" If it is something that you not only love, but it is woven into your very being, you find a way. Even if it is as small and simple as integrating your passion into a completely different career field. When I worked in retail, I began designing the brochures and business cards. When I worked in a bar, my drinks were beautifully and creatively garnished. Simple, but fulfilling. I will always tell someone to never give up. As you mature, you realize that things fall into place for a reason, and one experience leads to another. For example, you might think, "why do I have to work in a restaurant when I am talented and capable of this and that", and you realize one day, years later, that that particular experience was crucial to your current success.
4. Your oldest child is on the Autism spectrum. How has this shaped your experience with art?
When Hayden started school as a youngster, I began a trend of putting a new drawing in his lunchbox every day. At one point he loved telephone poles, so I drew telephone poles everyday, and they had cartoon eyes and personalities. I would make them say funny things to each other that I knew would make him laugh at lunch time. I would put little positive messages on the drawings. I found out later that he had quite a crowd gathering around him at the lunch table; parents, teachers, students, teacher's aids. I had people stop me in the hall to tell me how much they loved the drawings. It became a great social piece for a kid who didn't know how to socialize. To date, I've done over 1,000 lunchbox drawings, and he's saved them all. He's been excited to watch Kim and I open Vine Gogh. He loves the "Open Paint" sessions the best.

5. You are co- owner of Vine Gogh, how did you become involved?
I'm convinced I have the best business partner in the world. She is one of the kindest people I've ever met. I've known Kim for several years, as she lives just down the street from me. Kim is from Colorado, and she became really intrigued with a successful sip and paint studio there. One day she knocked on my door and asked me if I would be interested in starting such a business. It was one of those moments where every cell in my body knew this was the thing for me, so I didn't even have to think much about it before telling her "YES. Absolutely." Four months later, we had our location in Sellwood.

6. You are an amazing teacher. What is your secret to un-corking your students inner artist?
There's one quote by Picasso that I dearly love: "All children are artists. The problem is how to remain an artist once we grow up." This is so true. I was Artist In Residence at an Elementary school and have taught hundreds of children. What I have observed about them is that they don't over-think anything. They just do it. They pick up the brush and get right to it. It's a wonderful thing. I will often remind my students to try tochannel their inner child and not over-think it.
  One important key is to get them to relax.
  The fact that we serve wine really helps with that! 

7. Your daughter has shown a natural aptitude towards art. How do encourage her?

Greta is showing signs of being an incredible artist. With Vine Gogh she will have lots of opportunities to be surrounded by art. She comes to a lot of classes with me, and we draw together a lot, even if it's just on the Magnadoodle. In the car we play color mixing games - I'll quiz her on what color you get when you mix blue and red, etc. She's got it figured out!

8. What is your favorite color and why?
Turquoise. It's very bright and calming to me. It reminds me of the ocean. I have to stop myself from making all of my paintings with turquoise backgrounds. It's like an addiction. :)smile

9. Johnny Depp comes into Vine Gogh to paint a picture of your choosing. What would you guide him through?

I would actually like him to guide me through a painting. I would love to see what is inside that creative mind. 
10. What does the future hold for Vine Gogh Artist Bar?
Eventually, we would love to open another location, probably on the West Side. For now, we are just trying to be the best at what we do, and give people opportunities to be creative and leave their stress behind for a couple of hours. It's been a joy to watch.
Vine Gogh offers Classes for kids, adults. Private parties and instruction are also available. For their latest class offerings visit their website and become a fan on Facebook!
 Don't forget to enter the Giveaway! Details are found here

Wednesday, September 5, 2012


The Shamaness

The Fortune Teller


The Priestess

The Maiden

The Mother

The Crone


Now go stir up some magic!