Inspiration isn’t easy. It isn’t smooth, or ruled out in a grid. We can’t dial up inspiration on a whim, or wait for it to appear, dropped in by a Muse. Inspiration is more like a childhood staring contest — it takes fierce endurance and radical openness, mixed in with a bit of hardheaded don’t-mess-with-me persistence on the playground. That.
The artist Kathryn Dyche Dechairo is a champion in this arena, though I imagine she’d be surprised by the description. It’s possible that her photographs are the result of uncanny superpowers — invisibility or shape-shifting into a bird on the wing. How else could she get so close to what is wild, so that, looking inside the frame, you become part of what you see?
And then I realize: It’s not superpowers. It’s artistry. Kathryn is an artist in the deepest, truest sense of the word. She is always pushing herself further. She finds poetry in the everyday, sees what others miss, and weaves knowledge out of apparent happenstance.
Kathryn casts a spell with her Texture Tuesday art photos, her monthly Photo Heart Connection series, and the gorgeous digital images, paintings, and journals at her etsy store. Kathryn’s love of texture graces all her work, from mixed-media art to stunning macro shots to puppy pics that will have you high-tailing it to the nearest dog shelter.
I think you will, like me, be inspired by Kathryn’s willingness to take the journey. To find strength in pain. And see grace interwoven in the moment, passing. Thank you so much, Kathryn, for sharing the road with us.
What Inspires Me, by Kathryn Dyche Dechairo
Her muse throws her arms open wide and lets each season trail through her fingers, embracing Mother Nature, as old friends are want to do.
Old Man Winter arrives wrapping his thick white cloak around her shoulders. His clothing appears plain and dull but closer inspection reveals intricate patterns and texture. The lack of color allows her eyes to rest, her heart and soul too, and for that she is thankful. He leans towards her, his breath cold against her skin. Taking her hands in his they begin to move, a gentle rocking motion that comforts her. She finds herself lost in thought, quiet contemplation. As they move the rest of the world seems suspended. Trees form ghostly silhouettes against the night sky and the ground is hard underfoot. The cold begins to settle in her bones and her movements become stiff. For a moment she worries that she too will become suspended until with a final dip and a kiss on the cheek Old Man Winter releases her.
The coldness is replaced with a sudden breeze that refreshes and invigorates. Turning on her heels she finds Spring tickling her palms and a smile crosses her face. Always buoyant and cheerful, Spring can hardly contain her excitement. There is so much to see and do and so little time. Anxious not to waste a moment Spring grabs her by the hand and she stumbles as she tries to keep up. Just moments later their laughter can be heard for miles around as they run through a lush sea of green. Animals begin to wake from their slumber, newborns frolic in nearby fields, crocuses, daffodils and tulips burst force with vigor. Everything so bright, new and fresh . . . full of hope. Birds fly alongside them, their energy matching her own and the birdsong that fills the air harmonizes with her own internal song.
The rays of the sun suddenly blind her and she stops in her tracks. Raising a hand to shield her eyes she finds Spring disappearing over the horizon. Summer arrives trailing a finger down her cheek and she feels heat surge through her entire body. Her clothes become drenched in sweat and she shifts uncomfortably. Drained of energy she moves towards a nearby tree in search of shade. Leaning back against its trunk she feels the roughness of its bark against her skin and the coolness of the earth beneath her. As she relaxes she notices Summer busy bathing everything in a golden glow and marvels at her shimmering beauty. In the distance puffy white clouds drift lazily across a deep blue sky and she finds herself searching for shapes amongst them. Tiredness creeps up on her and she closes her eyes. The scent of flowers fills the air and she inhales deeply. Summer cradles her in her arms singing a sweet, sweet lullaby and, like the clouds she saw just moments ago, she finds herself drifting.
She’s not sure how long she’s been sleeping but awakes to find a blaze of color surrounding her. Standing to her feet she’s excited and hugs the tree as a thank you. She knows she shouldn’t have favorites but Autumn has a special place in her heart. Craning her neck she watches the spectacular show of color he puts on, like fireworks in the night sky. Hues of gold, green, red and brown all compete for attention, each wanting to take center stage but even more breathtaking as a whole. The wind picks up as Autumn swirls around her and they begin to tango. The energy, the movement, the richness of color all blur together as she spins around and around moving faster and faster until with one final blaze of glory Autumn reaches his peak and turns to brown. He lays at her feet like a cloak over a muddy puddle. Even now in his final moments a gentleman. Tears roll down her cheeks as she falls to her knees holding his dry brittle remains in her hands. She can’t remain here, she knows that, so drying her eyes she stands and begins to walk away. Unable to contain her anger she kicks at the leaves and in that moment she hears something. Rustling held whispers, but whispers of what? Jack Frost’s boney hands begin to tug at her clothing, urging her forward but she’s reluctant to go. What were those whispers she heard? As Old Man Winter opens his cloak and steps forward to embrace her she runs back and hears Autumn’s parting message . . . . . a promise to return the same time next year. With that promise tucked safely against her heart she falls into Old Man Winters arms comforted.
And so it begins and ends . . . . Mother Nature, her true inspiration.