Tag Archives: flower

Lavender at the End of Summer

As some of you may know, I have relocated to Los Angeles, California. I also have a new website, which you can see here, (www.courtneypenzato.com). In an effort to cope with my homesickness for Chicago, I have revisited some images I took towards the end of summer in my mothers backyard. I have posted from this series before. Portrait-like images of the plants she grows in her garden.

Picking up your life and moving over 2,000 miles away has an almost nauseating effect. The parallels between excitement and fear are almost impossible to distinguish. The feelings you get in your body when experiencing either one  are practically identical. My creativity has come to a halt, and has been replaced with creating a new resume and looking for a job. Allowing time to feel whatever it is this particular day or that. Learning my new environment, creating a space within myself to call LA home. It’s not as easy as I had anticipated, and I’m slightly embarrassed by my naivety in this regard. I was ready, so I thought. But home is home, and not even paradise can take that away.

The lavender flower is a spectacular plant. It comes from the latin word, lavare which means to wash. The cleansing properties it possess are both immaculate and divine. It is a time of self-destruction and rebirth for me. It is both painful and joyous at the same time. I reference the phoenix quite often in my writings, as I feel it is my spirit animal. I am the phoenix, yet again. Like the flower shown here, it has lost its lustrous purple/blue color and has become dry. However, when springtime comes again, so will its essence. One attribute that remains with this plant through the midwestern fall season, is its scent. The most powerful of all the senses. It is both soothing an healing. Calming and relaxing.

Lavander is a totem for my transition.

 

Lavender at the End of Summer

 

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Rocket

There is this Sylvia Plath quote from her book; The Bell Jar, that has resonated with me ever since I read The Bell Jar in high school. I adore Sylvia Plath, I feel it is the most tortured women that have the courage to reach deep down inside of themselves and transform real pain into true genius. Sylvia was one of them, along with Virginia Woolf, Francesca Woodman, perhaps even Nan Goldin and Cindy Sherman, yet they remain among the living. Having that said, the quote that I have carried around with me in my pocket, as my mantra and philosophy for so many years goes like this.

“The last thing I wanted was infinite security and to be the place an arrow shoots off from. I wanted change and excitement and to shoot off in all directions myself, like the colored arrows from a Forth of July rocket.”

I have sprung from all directions in life, some have been treacherous and some have been magnificent. Not a single experience would I trade in hindsight. If it were not for all the living I have done, who would I be? If one event in my life were altered, who would I be? I believe so faithfully that every experience we encounter makes us who we are. If one were different, our entire being, along with our destiny could be drastically different. Therefore, I don’t believe in regret. I think regret is a waste of time. I prefer to learn from my mistakes, not regret them. In regret, there is no growth, no room to become something more. If I had a dollar for every time I was the Phoenix rising up from the ashes, covered with soot and sweat, blood and tears. Crying and laughing as I fly by… I’d be a wealthy woman.

My father always told me that, I preferred learning things the hard way. He was right. I don’t remember many things my father told me, our living relationship was not the strongest. I do, however, remember that. Simply because it remains true. I need visceral life experience in order to get anything out of it. I am easily bored, so I make a mess or run carelessly into the eye of the storm bashing around for a bit, only to be reborn sometime later on. Its exhausting, and I shed a lot of pain at times, but I become strong where I was once broken. It’s a beautiful thing.

This is my rocket. This is me exploding.

Rocket

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Loving Cup

After staying up all night, the evening of July 4th, in the early morning hours I took this image. It was slightly accidental, yet it was the best photo I took the whole trip. It is excessively feminine, as it reminds me of female genitalia… Does it not? The color red just adds a fiery intensity that works exceptionally well, in my opinion. Very Georgia O’Keeffe, which I’m ecstatic about, as she is one of my many heroes. I respect all women quite a bit, however, there are a few select women in history, that have a very special place in my heart. Georgia O’Keeffe is one of them. I used to be in a somewhat “teacher/pupil”  intimate relationship with one of my old friends and mentor a few years ago. The intimacy ended up ruining the friendship in the end, and during that time I struggled with losing both my mentor and my friend; while also preparing for a show in New York. It was an odd polarization to be experiencing. At a bar one night, a friend of mine reminded me, “You outgrew your mentor. Even Georgia O’Keeffe outgrew her mentor.” As a photographer, I was and am aware of the love affair and mentorship that happened between Georgia O’Keeffe and Alfred Stieglitz. Alfred was a photographer, he photographed Georgia often. But, eventually she did outgrow him, and went on to make some of her best work, on her own. I respect her fiercely for this very reason. Whenever I struggle with letting go, I think about her.  

Loving Cup

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Blue Flower Plate II

There is something about Queen Anne’s Lace that draws me. This being the second image of the flower I have posted here, (See Blue Flower), I have to say it is probably one of my favorite “weeds” or wild flowers or better yet, “wild weeds”. It is an extremely invasive plant on a lot of levels, so most avid gardeners consider it a weed. I find it to be gorgeous, so delicate looking. The roots at early stages are in fact edible, but will turn bitter quite fast.

I don’t really know a whole lot about it other than, it is not native to this area, it was brought over during European settlement. However, with my attempt to maintain the connection to my self-portrait work… It is the aspect of lace that I want to talk about. So soft and so delicate, yet sturdy and stronger then it appears. I plan on incorporating some lace into my encaustic work very soon. Collage it, wear it, drape it over myself… I like the aesthetic lace gives off. The design and texture speak to me. It also lends itself very well to encaustic work.

Furthermore, there is something about Queen Anne’s Lace that resonates strongly with me. I see myself in this wild and carefree species of plant life. Delicate, yet strong, wild and attractive, soft and bitter all at the same time. I am a soul that dances along the wind and ends up exactly where I’m supposed to be right when I need to. I would not want to live any other way.

 

Blue Flower Plate II

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Letters From Home: Valentine’s Day

I received my one and only rose at 12:30 am on February 15th. It was the highlight of my day. I am blessed with wonderful friends.

Happy belated Valentines Day everyone.

Love,
The Lens Baby

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