Joan Marie Co.

How a Chromebook is changing my blogging

Joan Marie2 Comments
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** This is NOT a sponsored post - I am simply sharing a product and idea that work well for me **

It's late Sunday afternoon....4:50pm.  Another wonderful weekend in the books. Housecleaning and laundry are done.  A major garage organizing project completed.  Clothes are ready for work tomorrow and the grill is fired up for a wonderful evening supper outside.  Yes, all is good except for the nagging feeling of another weekend gone by and nothing created for the blog.

I try to reason with myself that there are only so many hours available in a day and yet the ideas and thoughts for blog posts linger like pesky gnats buzzing around my head.  I know once the work week starts tomorrow morning, Monday through Friday will fly by and I will find myself in the same situation next weekend.

And so it goes...

I work full time outside of the home for many reasons.  The first involves mental challenge and the satisfaction of "making a difference".  Both of these combined with a steady paycheck and health insurance make this a no-brainer.

Work is necessary to enjoy the life we lead.  Work is necessary to enjoy the hobbies we love.  Should be pretty straight-forward carving out time to be creative and develop a blog in the midst of all of this right?


The written blog post ideas, excitedly planned on the drive to work, seem to fade by the end of the day.  Lay out clothes for the next work day and it starts all over again.

There had to be an answer and I had to find it!

I have a goal and without the ability to write 1-2 blog posts per week, I was falling farther and farther behind in my creative dreams and goals.  I was on a slippery slope of non-creative productivity. 

I have spoken about photography many times on this blog and that is my main creative passion.  By utilizing some simple studio lighting in our home, I can take images night or day.  To use the images in my blog posts, Lightroom is my edit tool of choice and that is perfect on my desktop PC and large monitor.  I am happy at my desk working on my images. 

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But what about the content?  The simple act of writing words to go with the images?  The sharing of thoughts, tips, or ideas spinning in my head?  How do I find my blogging "voice" when I can't even find the time to get the great ideas out of my head and onto the screen for all to see?

When I create a still life image photo shoot, I have a vision and small stories come to mind.  It is with writing that I can add another layer of art to my images.  Writing, with practice, will provide a deeper understanding of why the subject was chosen and what I felt photographing it.  Writing will enhance my scope as the artistic notions dancing in my head need to be pulled out and shared along with the visual photograph.

Bucket Handle Right  8x10-1.JPG's the writing of the post that is challenging the free time available...yes, I needed more time to write.  To learn to write better, stronger, and with more emotion.  To capture in words what I want my images to reflect.  A story, a lesson, a thought, an essay....writing....

Then one afternoon, on my drive home from work, it hit me.  Almost 95% of what I do on my computer is internet based.  My images are edited in LightroomCC and stored in Dropbox.  My blog platform, Squarespace, is internet based and I design the layout and produce the blog posts completely online.  I am a solid, hardcore, 95% internet based user. 

I determined I needed something smaller than the desktop PC and certainly more portable.  Something that I could take and use anywhere to work on my writing.  I wanted something with a keyboard and yet a full blown laptop seemed overkill.  I wanted small but larger than my iPad.  I needed a writing tool.

After much research and reviews reading, I made the decision to try a new tool... 

The Chromebook!! 

Since I already have my blog/business email set up through Google's GSuite, my Squarespace site working perfectly and being developed with the Chrome browser, easy access to both Dropbox (image storage) and Google Drive (text docs for posts), I was all set.

I have had my Chromebook for about two weeks and am happy beyond happy.  I can sit outside in the evenings, rather than at desktop in the house, working on post content.  I am now able to "work" anywhere I want!  In my favorite living room chair, outside on the patio, on my lunch many more options! 

This is just the tip of the iceberg in new found productivity!  I have found that by having another option to write, I feel less pressure to sit at the PC desk.  

The Google Chromebook is offered by several big names in the PC market and it pays to spend some time looking over features that really matter to you.  Do you want a touchscreen?  How big of screen do you feel comfortable with?  A backlit keyboard?  What is your budget?  Chromebooks are available at every price point!  

Spend some time searching Amazon for great insight with the reviews in your price point.  Google "chromebook reviews" for even more articles of interest.  Learn all you can about GSuite and cloud storage (online AND offline productivity).

So as we speak, I am finishing one of several posts currently in process.  Setting up a monthly editorial calendar, and the ideas keep coming.

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I plan to do 100% of my blog writing on my Chromebook over the next several months and will share what I learn along the way.

I now feel back on track with more content generation inching me closer to the dreams that initiated this blog to begin with.

We'll talk soon,



Bare White Walls and Creatives

Joan Marie2 Comments

Bare white walls. 

Clean, fresh, and stunning. 

Bare white walls are my go-to for wall art inspiration.  

One of favorite sources of interior design visuals and writing is Hello Lovely Studio.  Michele, the creator of this amazing blog,  scours the internet for the most jaw-dropping examples of beautiful interior design styles.

Her post, "How to Choose the Best White Paint Color" was not only an informative feast for the eyes but provided this photographer a sea of blank wall art canvases to create with.

This image on her post created a creative monster within me.....

As a photographer, my passion is capturing the most simple of objects and showcasing them as a framed print.  My camera is the paintbrush, the patina and shape of the subject is the paint, and the white walls are the canvas. 

 When it comes to creativity in a gorgeous raw from, Dore from Burlap Luxe has this nailed.  Her artistic creations are so heartfelt and unique that you can't help yourself but to fall in love.

This image stirred my desire to frame my exhibition prints in unique ways...

Via Burlap Luxe

My photography style is very minimalist in nature.  The colors are quite muted as I seek to draw out the tiniest of details in the patina of the vintage objects.

When it comes to my visual need of antique furniture style and interior styling, Loi from Tone on Tone fills this bill perfectly.  The look is clean and refined, the colors in the pieces perfect, and his design projects are so on point...  

Life has been so busy with planning for the upcoming gallery exhibition.  As the solo Creative Director, Photographer, Framer, and Marketing department, I rely heavily on the creative geniuses mentioned.  They fuel my passion, push me in new directions, and provide the backdrop for my vision.

They are my Interior Design experts and I watch patiently for each new post they share.

I am grateful for the courage to create.  I am grateful for the many talented interior design leaders, and I am grateful I can follow, absorb, and imagine alongside their talents.  It is my goal to add to their visions.  

Thank you Thank you Thank you.

Today will be another busy one as I have plans to straighten up my studio, create a new shoot area for new still ideas, and organize frames.  Having received a shipment of images printed on beautiful smooth matte cotton rag fine art paper, I can't wait to fit them in their mat homes, and sit them along side each other to determine their place in the display.

I tried a new frame paint color and the instant I began brushing it on it screamed for the image it wanted to own.  

I completely agreed.


PS.  In my next post, I want to share highlights of the gallery I will be showing at this upcoming August - Stay Tuned Friends!

Refining An Exhibition Collection

Joan Marie6 Comments
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Over the past several days, I have been reviewing and culling images from my photo shoots.  It is now time to start refining a collection, refining a theme, and choosing a "title" for my work.  Initially I knew this would be a project that would require deep thought and introspection but quickly realized that it was also the perfect opportunity to refine my personal style.  I was about the let my subconscious decision-making take over and listen to what it was trying to say.

A funny thing happened during this process.  I saw a pattern of colors, styles, and compositions that stood out time and time again.  Some of these results surprised me but I did not try to shove myself into a mold but to let the art speak to me.

At it's core, my photography is simple.  Perhaps even minimalist.  My lighting and studio are uniquely set up with areas to discover shadows, highlights, and textures.  This works very well for my images as I focus on capturing the gorgeous detail in the raw forms.

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I noticed that my color choices leaned toward the muted side with clean white backgrounds.  Although a color may be deep, it is toned quietly to show off the natural lines of the subject.

  I also noticed that I preferred my vision on a pure background with little in the way of props.  Since I find it hard to stop adding props during the styling process, my images can look cluttered and way too busy but by reminding myself to scale way back with composition and styling, the subject comes to the forefront.  The raw natural lines, imperfections, and colors become the star in my art.

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I believe my photographs look best in a heavier wider mat with a simple vintage frame style.   White mats are my preferred surrounding with an 8-ply thickness for stronger surrounding depth and depending on the image, I will choose a white or black frame. 

If the composition is very light and subtle, a black frame helps to keep the eye reigned in.  If the composition is stronger and can stand on it's own, a white frame is ideal.

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If I was unsure which direction to go with the frame color, I would look away or around the room and bring my sight back to the image.  If I noticed my eyes scanning all over the image quickly, I would choose black framing.  If my eyes were drawn to a strong focal point in the image with little movement, I would choose white framing.

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My artistic vision is moving closer to a collection I am going to be so excited to share.  The colors, the styling, and framing are all coming together to refine my style and art.

Just today I ordered twenty 8x10 images to review them in print, refine as needed, cull as necessary, and to use to begin a sketched wall placement at the gallery.  I need a physical visual to move forward and this will be very exciting to see. 

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I also just received a new frame backing paper in a light grey that I am anxious to try out  My framed works will have white labels on the back and my Certificates of Authenticity (enveloped and attached to the back) will also be in white - cohesive all around.  

Looking ahead, there are many administrative pieces to address such as how many of a particular image in an edition, naming each print, how I will be signing and documenting the images, small wall title cards for the gallery, and  business cards with the new logo just to name a few.

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I am also considering selling framed prints on my site....these will be single editions in vintage frames, with my Certificate Of Authenticity.  So many more steps to share and fun design considerations to develop.  More to come on all of this ahead!

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Many thanks for following along on this exhibition journey and I will chat with you again soon,

Joan Marie