Free Mind, Free Art

Free Mind, Free Art

I’ve been blogging a lot about change and stress and creativity and all of that has culminated in one extremely important thing: a release. I’ve spent so much time identifying my problems and not just thinking about them, but writing it out. Blogging helps me immensely in figuring out point by point exactly how I’m feeling, why I’m feeling it, and how to overcome it. And that happens to get splattered on these pages.

So, what has all of that been for? The best thing ever.

This week I let my mind be free. I let myself stop worrying so much. I’m not even one to worry all that much, if truth be told. But when stresses pile up, my mind gets clogged. I count myself so fortunate that I wake up each morning with the sun and tell myself quietly that I have control over the decisions I make. I’ve been doing that not just in the mornings lately, but any time I feel a bit of stress or anxiety. I stop myself and simply say: “You are in control.”

This week I took two pictures that speak to me perhaps more than any others in my portfolio. I spent time conceptualizing them and working out the kinks and figuring out exactly what they mean to me, and why I should be the one to create them. When all of that thinking was finished, I waited some more. I waited until the moment felt right and my creativity was ready to sore. The images here are 100% zooms/crops of those pictures which I will be releasing over the next couple weeks.

So this week I created. I brought my dreams to life. I got back to my “creepy” side and embraced it. I went dark and sad and above all, or at least in my mind, beautiful. I created what I feel is the work that I want to move towards. I created two images that were both out of my comfort zone in some way yet still maintaining what I love about creating. And the results stretched me and pushed me and made me giggle with excitement.

I’m not saying this because I think that they are the best pictures in the world (oh gosh no) or the best I’ll ever do (we’re always growing), but for right now, and so far in my journey, I feel like I just hit a turning point.

Sometimes self-reflection and asking yourself hard questions can lead to the most amazing, beautiful, breathtaking answers. And sometimes, if we channel those answers into physical form, you create something that you can look at and know is the culmination of hard work.

So even if no one ever responds to those two images, or if people hate them, or if they are simply not to anyone’s taste…I’m perfectly okay with that. I create from my heart and soul and that is what those images are to me.

My insides out. My stories told. My imagination expanded.

 When do you create your best work?

What is your state of mind?

46 thoughts on “Free Mind, Free Art

  1. Such profound emotion in your images!
    My best work comes when I stop worrying about what others may think of my images and I embrace what I want without fear or concern. It may sound selfish to want to please only myself but that is what produces my truest shots.

    1. No Martin not selfish at all. I believe truly that is how more people should feel and proceed forward with creating. Only with that mindset can you be true to who you are. I love it.

  2. Hi Brooke,

    So happy to hear that you let your mind be free :))

    I seem to create my best work when I am alone and in the morning. But also when I have planned things through before I shoot. If I don’t know what I will create, I am unsure about which location I should walk to and what to bring etc. Also I will not be sure about how to set up and that stresses me a lot so I will often not have fun then and the images will most likely not turn out. I don’t mean that every step should be fixed and all but I need to have a general idea about the kind of location I am looking for and the sort of image I want to create.

    Being by myself brings me into an almost meditative state and that means I am relaxed yet concentrated. And happy afterwards.

    On the weekend I got up really early (well, 7 am – you might get up earlier for photos : D) and had a pretty good idea what I wanted to create. I wasn’t entirely sure about the location but in the end I found what I was looking for and created this ( – being actually very inspired by seeing your Creative Live workshop recently and having looked through the pdf with the poses in detail afterwards.

    I am looking forward to creating more images this weekend 🙂

    1. Wow Andrea!! I just looked at your photo and I adore it. The pose is fantastic, I love how she’s so in motion and really reaching. How great! And I totally hear you on the wanting to have things planned. I am quite the same way, and if I feel frazzled on a shoot, or like I’m not sure about details, I tend to start losing the fun in it.

      Just absolutely love that image – so full of vibrant intensity!

  3. definitely when i am anxious and depressed…there is this overwhelming urge to get it out of my head, like pulling it out and putting it in a photograph…so i can show someone LOOK HERE IS WHAT I AM THINKING/FEELING! LOOK THIS IS ME. i tried to do happy i just get creative blocked and it always ends horribly. lol. but in these dark images, in these expressions of my ‘darkness’ there is this soothing release. it’s comforting. i can breathe again. i feel better. it is like i sorta worked it out or at least worked out the part where i can’t move on. my images are my journal. looking at them i get a sense of who i am?

    1. So interesting Robin! I’m so the opposite. I need to feel very happy and clear and calm to be able to create my best work. For some reason, that is when I do best channeling my dark side…or perhaps, that is when I see my dark side as beautiful. I love how diverse we are.

      I kind of wish that I could be more like you though – to be able to release the dark energy by creating art! That sounds so cathartic. Instead I look up pictures of people crying and read A.A. Milne quotes and then I feel better.

      Was that weird? Probably 😛

  4. I need to release and free and cleanse and moisturise and heal my mind. All of it! I feel that I need to do a lot of self development to achieve it too. My mind is in a massive rut at the moment. The fact that other people are stopping me going forward and doing what I want with my life is extremely difficult to handle. It shouldn’t be like that but it is and I think only when I break through will I be able to free my own mind. So much inspiration for images has come from these feelings but I truly wish for my mind to be in that better place to be able to create the images. I am so happy you have freed your mind though, it has made a lovely blog and no doubt some beautiful images 🙂 . xxx

    1. Laura, I so hear what you’re saying. It can be so hard when you want to do one thing but so many other factors are stopping that from happening. I think that the most uplifting thing in the world is to realize that the moment you break free and start to tell the world who you are, others will begin to listen. It might not be the people you want to listen necessarily, but a new foundation can be built from it. I really hope that you are able to start creating all of the wonders in your imagination. I know that my world would be brighter if you shared. xoxoxo

    2. not weird at all. lol nine inch nails is a fav band of mine and when im really upset i listen to their hardest music and its like a lullabye i fall right asleep lol.

  5. I love the close-ups. Can’t wait to see the full images!
    I have a bizarre cycle of creativity. I am a classical musician and trained to be 100% precise in every moment of performing. It made me sick over years, I started to hate it because I was just aware of my constant failure in delivering absolute perfection as a base and then always create something new on top of it.
    In those moments of overwhelment I turn to photography and have to let go of everything. I scream, I cry, I push myself physically as far as I can and capture it in images. It as a special way of releasing energy. And after shooting and editing for hours I don’t even know how I created it, because the result is extraordinary and strong. For me it is a dialogue with my subconscious and some kind of therapy. A way to cope with perfectionism through a different kind of perfectionism.

    1. Annamaria, WOW! I just had a big smile on my face reading your comment – I find it to be so uplifting. I think it is incredible that you found that way of releasing your mind and putting that into photography. Seriously amazing to me that you can do a photo shoot with so much passionate intensity and then come out with an image that screams who you are and what you feel. That is something that I admit I do not possess, so I find that process to be very fascinating. Thank you for sharing!

  6. I have spent time thinking about how and when I am most creative in order that I might more easily reach that place the next time, and more quickly the time after that. I have learned about my process which begins with peace, quiet and a stillness that is sometimes hard to achieve with my day job. I put on some Ludovico Einaudi and immerse myself in that unencumbered state of mind where I find i am most creative. As for when I create my best work, that would be whenever I have replicated this process in a sufficient amount of time for it to take root and grow. Mostly in the morning, but occasionally when I get home for the day and am alone for a while. Last night in fact was one of those times and I created something special to me (using your new dust texture I might add – and yup, I tagged it too!). Great things definitely come from being in the zone, freeing your mind to create and just letting go!

    1. You totally sound like me Mary – I identify with those sentiments so much. To understand what CALM means to you and to be able to go there – that is a beautiful thing. I haven’t found that one piece of great music yet, or a movie to watch, but I find that my peace comes from making sure my emails are answered and that no one expects something from me on a deadline – then I free myself 🙂

      So great about the texture! I’m super glad you liked it!

  7. I’m so looking forward to seeing your freshest work….sounds like the doors have been flung open and you’ve run through them blissfully into the blinding light of freedom & fulfillment.

    For me I feel my best work is done when I’m content inside, happiest at home with the husband and animals I love, in an eclectic home we’ve worked hard to purchase & renovate. It’s then I feel inspired and creative and start writing ideas down & thinking things through (sometimes overtinking )… sometimes my mind works faster than my pen lol.

    1. Thank you Carin! I definitely identify with that. I love being home with my husband and knowing that I can run out and create at any moment. I especially love it because my husband is great at helping out, so I can always make sure my pictures actually make *sense* when he’s around 😛 hehe!

      I’d love to see some pictures of your home! We just got our first home about 5 months ago and it has certainly been a process decorating! We’re not nearly there but it feels good to have special little touches now 🙂

  8. Hi Brooke,

    I have been following your work for a while and I am so amazed at the great talents you have, and also the fresh ideas you come up with on a frequent basis. Your 100% crops show your attention to detail, which I highly admire as well. Emotions can lead to creating very powerful pieces of artwork, and you can definitely see emotion in many of your images. Many of your images are too artistic for me, and sometimes I don’t get them haha, but I love your style and your ability to bring your imagination to life. I may be of the minority, but I believe that all of my creative talents come directly from my Creator. And I resolved to use my talents to give glory back to God. Every time I pray, or read the Bible, or meditate on the things of God, I am inspired to make images that bring honor to God. So my inspiration comes not from within myself, but from above. I’ve only been doing this for a few years though, so I am not an expert at it and I am always learning new things. I love watching your videos and your processes. Keep up the great work!

    1. Kevin, thank you so much for sharing! I love so much of what you said. And trust me, there is no way that anything I do is “too artistic” – just different, and that is the beauty of the human mind. I love your devotion to your inspiration. It is an amazing thing to understand where you draw your inspiration and to dedicate yourself to that. A truly beautiful thing.

    2. My hubby is very practical too & always willing to help me build and make things 🙂 Aren’t our men great – I’ll have a root about for some pics see what I can find……I live in South Wales UK btw.

  9. I create my best work at night when my kids is in bed. Which is difficult because I can’t shoot everything I want at night. I’ve been playing around with light painting and that has gotten some of my artistic anxiousness out, but every weekend or so I try and go out and take photographs that I really want to take. But it’s still at night, when my kid is in bed and I don’t have to think about him, where I can let my mind go empty and get sucked into an image I want to create that I do my best work.

    My current state of mind: I want to branch out. I am currently rewatching your first cL workshop and one of your suggestions for inspiration is to use a technique you haven’t done before, or one that kind of scares you. Well, I want to try self-portraiture. It terrifies me because I don’t always like the way I look (I have very terrible skin and my hair is in this funky stage of growing out), but I think if I can move past that and go back to my Theatre days where I was a character, I wasn’t me, then it’ll all be good. I think this weekend, if it’s not frigid out, I’m going to find a field and set myself free.

    1. Melanie, I definitely hear all that you’re saying. It can be so hard to let your mind focus on the imagination when you have something else begging for its attention. I don’t have kids, but I know what its like to feel like someone or something if forcing all of your attention. I do not create well under those circumstances either.

      Now as for the self-portraiture thing – Boy do I understand. I also have terrible skin – always have and am starting to wonder if I always will! But the great thing about self-portraiture is that it doesn’t have to look a certain way. If you want to hide your face (heck, your whole head!) go for it…or embrace it, and show the world who you are. Because the moment we start loving ourselves, others will start loving us too. Beauty is not defined by a magazine but by the love we show ourselves.

      Creating characters is amazing. Play with a wig and get into character and be that other person for a time – that is the amazing thing about self-portraiture – you are in control! Sending so much love and inspiration for the shoot this weekend!

  10. Wow, I cannot wait to see these pictures! The details are just so amazing.
    Sometimes I feel like I just get lucky with some pictures and they turn out great. Sometimes the things I plan for just don’t work out, and sometimes spontaneous shoots turn out amazing. I think I’m still in the experimental phase where I’m trying to find what I like the most. I think I’ll always be experimenting though, but hopefully I will eventually know what it is that makes my “best work”.

    1. You know what, even though I know that I love planning my images very carefully, some of my favorite images have come from being inspired on the scene and trying to work with what I have. It is different for everyone, but sometimes we don’t always fall into one box or another, and that’s okay 🙂

      I am getting so excited to see you soon Amani. I can’t wait to watch you work again and see what magic comes out of it.

  11. Hi Brooke,

    (In advance, sorry for my pathetic English)

    So I understand what you mean by “these images are for me.” I sounds like it, it does not matter if one of my photos do not like the community, as long as I like. It is our imagination, our dreams, our essence that is transmitted in the photo.

    I noticed that I am more productive when I prepared my session in advance, I draw like you, the position I sought the place that suits and only then I shoot.
    But sometimes an idea crosses my mind like that, and in the second I leave the make and it gives as well, for example: ( @ N02/12324978755 /) is perhaps it just luck.
    In both cases I am still very excited and stressed to miss taking 🙂

    1. I totally understand Celine! I am a planner myself. I also get stressed when something doesn’t go right! Ahh, such is life for us 😀

  12. Love the two images. Can’t wait to see the whole view.
    I get my best ideas at night. It’s quite and dark and best of all, creative. My mind will wonder to places that sometimes scare me but all in all I find it very creative.
    Looking forward to more Great Art!!

    1. I find I am so opposite Jody! At night, I start shutting down at about 8pm, hehe! I love mornings though, for much the same reasons. I love being up before the sun and watching it rise and feeling that sense of quiet. Isn’t creativity and idea-making SO interesting and amazing?!

  13. This is where i am right now. I tried to do an image yesterday and i was not successful. It was a temporary failure. I am a bit depressed and i practically never get depressed. ugh. I need to get out of my head and back in my heart. I need to create for me. I need to grab the rope and pull myself out of this dark place, somewhere where sunshine can hug me.

    1. I have been there many times Lisa – I am so sorry! I know you’ll pull out of it though, because you are full of ideas and one will work out beautifully, and then you’ll be on the right track!

  14. I can’t wait to see the full images! You must feel so proud right now to be able to control your stress and in result, created some of your favorite pieces!
    I create best when my life is in shambles. I suffer from a nervous system disease (CRPS) that causes chronic pain and it has no cure. If we try an experimental treatment and it doesn’t work, I create better than ever. Needless to say, I would rather not create if that’s what it takes! You could say it’s the only thing I can truly control in my life and I thrive on that.
    Thank you for being so inspiring, Brooke! You always manage to inspire me with your words and images and there’s no greater feeling than that.

    1. Oh Jessica I am so sorry to hear that! I understand at least a little bit – I have Fibromyalgia and I’m often in pain which I often hide from others…though unfortunately I don’t feel quite as creative during those times. I’m either full on, where I am happy and energetic and want to create…or I just need my down time 🙂 Thank you so much for sharing!

  15. I create my best work when I am invested in something I suppose. I’m still trying to figure out what that is exactly…but every now and then I will be inspired by something and it will just take hold of me. A lot of the time in my classes I feel like creativity is being forced on me…and that doesn’t always work. I am the type that needs to take my time and I like to know what I am about to do before I do it.
    My state of mind is not the best right now (as I explained in my comment on your last blog post). I am still trying to figure out what I want to say to the world and how I want to say it. Hopefully I can figure it out soon. Cause..I just feel stuck. In my art and in my life.

    1. Hi Rebecca! I definitely understand where you’re coming from. I also really like to feel personally invested in something to be able to move forward with any conviction. It is a great feeling, but one we must produce for ourselves. You are in my thoughts dear! I hope that you start feeling passionate and inspired again soon xoxo

  16. Hi Brooke!

    I found that my creativity flows best when I do not think about it (does not make sense right now) what I mean by that is when I do not preconceive an idea it flows to me triggered by the inspiration I acquire around me. Forcing myself to have an idea leaves me frustrated because I put expectations on myself and I subconsciously compare myself to other people’s work.

    One more thing your workshop opened doors for me I gained confidence in my work. I find myself always gazing deeper into regular things that results with inspiration I would not have seen before.
    So for that I thank you.

    Have a fantastic day!


    1. Jomar! You are so great. I can definitely understand where you’re coming from with how you work with inspiration. I am so glad that the workshop was useful for you. I’m still thinking of our Tarot card experience!

    2. oops I replied to the wrong section.
      But here it is!

      Thank you I just recently finished a photo inspired by one of the cards!

      Since we are on the topic of the cards what do you think of it?did stay true or did it change?

      Also remind me which cards we drew I gained a bit more insight I want to see if I can get more out of it than what I initially saw in the cards.

  17. Hey Brooke 🙂

    I always seem to wait just too long to comment on your blog posts haha but I am really excited to see your final images. I can relate to reaching a turning point in your work, although I am still so early on in developing my style that I guess every image I create is a turning point for me.

    This winter has been really rough on me creatively. I am from Illinois and this has been one of the most brutally cold, snowiest winters in nearly 50 years. Since a lot of my work involves the figure in the landscape, it was hard to find not only inspiration, but also time to go outside where I wouldn’t be putting my health at risk.

    When I came back to school after the holiday break I went back to my favorite spot to shoot, in a forest about 15 miles outside of town, and just walking around and being out there again I just felt a complete rush of motivation to create, regardless of the weather. I guess I create my best work when I have a sudden moment of clarity, like no matter what happens, there is no way I can fail. This image is inspired by the notion that even in the most seemingly barren of landscapes, you can find beauty and life.

    Thanks again for making your inspiration and sense of community contagious 🙂

    1. Hi Alexandra!

      I looooove that feeling of each image that is created feels new and exciting. That is what I strive for on a daily basis though don’t always it’s great when a few images do pop up that make me giddy!

      Weather can have such negative effects if you aren’t living in a climate that works with how you create. I was in that situation when I lived in Philly, and I knew that in order to be healthier I needed to move to some sunshine!

      How wonderful when inspiration strikes – I love how you described it as a “sudden moment of clarity” – that is the best description I’ve ever heard.

    2. Thank you I just recently finished a photo inspired by one of the cards!

      Since we are on the topic of the cards what do you think of it?did stay true or did it change?

      Also remind me which cards we drew I gained a bit more insight I want to see if I can get more out of it than what I initially saw in the cards.

  18. Glad your feeling more like yourself. I appreciate that you share the hard times and failures so openly, I think there is a lack of this attitude and this why people feel so alone and feel the failures are so vast.

    I would say the pictures I am happiest with are usually taken after or/during a period of solitude. Sometimes this means the darker times because everyone tends to take time to themselves when they are low. But it’s not about being sad, I just find peace in my own company. I gain that different view where I can walk around in my own little world and find happiness in the most unusual details. Also I think being away from people makes every idea more raw/true because you do not have the audience in mind in fact you almost forget there you have a job, relationships, routines it’s my favourite place

  19. Its Amazing to me that just a month ago I was a 23 year old with no idea what I wanted to do with my life, rather I knew what I wanted to do but I had no idea how I would get my voice heard. I stumbled across your youtube page and no lie I INSTANTLY DISCOVERED WHAT I HAVE TO DO WITH MY LIFE FOR NOW ON. I always knew I had an artistic mind but because of not being exposed to the arts much in my childhood I didn’t know how to express my creativity. Granted I do now. I have no training in photography and hardly ever work with photoshop but I truly believe that being an Artist has little to do with the technicalities and EVERYTHING to do with having vision, voice and a passion for helping people. I want to thank you in advance because even though you don’t know my name now you will eventually and its all because of your vision, voice and passion for helping people!!!!

    1. Most fantastic thing I’ve ever heard. I can’t wait for you to show me what you’re working on. I know your voice will shine through and I am so happy for you!

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