Friday, April 25, 2008

Girl with Piano, Camera and Children

If Mary Cassat were to have painted my day yesterday, that would be the title I would choose. Why I think of myself as a girl, I'm not sure, since I'm much more like the woman in this painting, but I do. I'm still 17 in my mind .

I started out at 7 am saying good morning to my cute niece Shania who was spending the day with us. Then at 8:30 I met up with friends for a really fun family photo shoot at which we tried to catch the last of the soft morning light. We did pretty well with that along the shores of lovely lake Elkhorn. It has some of my favorite photo spots around. Then back home for time with the kids, making sure everyone had eaten breakfast before hunkering down for some day-off video game fun, then making sure they turned off the screens and went out into the glorious day. They did and everyone enjoyed the break from the grind. I practiced piano for quite a while (Shania was happy for what she called lunch-time entertainment-she liked my song, sweet girl) and I am just going to have to be satisfied with my efforts.

The recital is Saturday and while my little Kiddie-Mozart won't be perfect, it will be mine. I wonder sometimes why I persist in this charade of thinking I can play the piano. I guess it is the same motivation that drives to do all the other crazy stuff I do. I'm just so curious, plus I have very low self-esteem, plus I'm naive and clueless enough to never think, "Maybe this just isn't your thing..." I'm a little bummed about the recital because Eric will be out of town and Evan has a game that conflicts with it, so I'll be playing first, then Sara, then we're off to the far reaches of Western Howard County for Ev's game. I don't even get refreshments as a reward for public humiliation. Plus, Mendy's son's baptism is at the very same time in the very same building but I can't share their joy cuz I'll be in another room sweating bullets. Can you tell that while I enjoy playing for myself in my own little house, that performing is not my strong suit? Yikes. Hopefully my parents will come, but my dad will probably be disappointed that I didn't play better (I know that sounds awful, and I have a lovely father, but that is one of the reasons I persist in the charade-the kid still wants to please the dad).

I digress. Back to Thursday: At 12:15 I was off to my piano lesson and the knitting lesson I give my teacher's daughter ( I love bartering). Shania accompanied me there and to Trader Joes where we bought as much of their fun junk food as we did actual groceries. Shania picked out some flowers for her mom and we bought many items made with chocolate. Then back home for kid stuff, chores, general nagging about getting homework done and figuring out dinner, then off to drop Sara off at her piano lesson. Luckily I carpool with another mom, so I could come back home, start Shania on some shrinky-dink projects and make dinner. S's mom came around 5, then I was back in the car to get Ev to lacrosse practice, hoping my faithful rice-burner Honda would be able to run on fumes for another 10 miles so I could get him there on time. It did, and he was, and I got gas then headed back to Lake Elkhorn for a senior photo shoot with another dear friend. Oh the afternoon light was pretty. Yum. After the lake, my young friend went home for an outfit and hair change, then came over to do some studio shots under the lights. Whew.

Both shoots yielded good results and both families will have many proofs to choose from. Each shoot is a step forward for me in understanding what my strengths are, being true to what I want to do with my skills and feeling ever more confident about the results. I still see a gap between what I want to produce and what I'm doing, but I've gotten to the point where I can accept where I'm at and enjoy the moment. I think that, in spite of their imperfections, my photos have brought at least a little joy, and that is my goal. There are definitely times when, after seeing someone else's work, I think that I should just put my camera up for sale on ebay and go sell sea shells or something, but then I'll come across an image in my files that I particularly like, and that wasn't by chance. I made it that way-I captured the light and told a story. That makes me feel better when I see the duds.

I have another senior shoot this afternoon so pray that the scattered thunderstorms will scatter somewhere else. Here are some of my faves from yesterday afternoon:


  1. I have wanted to learn to play the piano for a few years now. I think I'll try to start in our next house, since I'd need to get a piano. It's fun to try new things! I remember doing ballet for the first time ever, a few months after Caleb's birth, and I was in a class with these skinny-minnie 11 year olds. I looked HUGE! All chest and hips. I had such a good time (though I think performing in a recital might have killed me!). Good luck! Break a leg:)

  2. I just realized who your pictures are of! She looks gorgeous! That first shot is great. What a great moment you captured.

  3. Your pictures are so pretty. I took piano lessons for 10 years, i even practiced, but I can't even play a primary song. I still won't let go of the dream either. I am so sure that someday I will magically become a concert pianist.

  4. Way to go for keeping up with piano! I feel, sometimes, like I ought to take some piano lessons and try to make myself a little better, since I am a teacher after all. In fact, I should probably take viola lessons too . . .

    Those shots are beautiful! I think you're awesome.

  5. I love the title - Cassat is one of my favorites!! Those pics are beautiful!! You take absolutely great pictures Kellie!!:)

  6. what fantastic pictures! i am so impressed with your talent. and also i LOVE mary cassatt. i'm glad you put that picture on here

  7. Oh I just love my little Senior! She looks amazing! It's good to keep busy isn't it? Hope today's shoot was just as successful as yesterday's! Can't wait to see them.

  8. Okay, I don't know why you have low self-esteem because you have sooo many talents. I didn't know you did the piano too. I would love to play. I keep saying, someday I'll learn...someday never comes. You are my idol! I wish I could see you play! Love the pictures.

  9. please don't sell sea shells! ;) I'm glad to have been a recipient of your photographic eye and skill. hopefully we can do another family shoot when next we fly in to BWI.

    your piano lessons inspire me, because I so yearn to play some simple music for my family and (if I am ever good enough) for church.

    beautiful pictures. yummy lighting. :) I think of you whenever I'm shooting in good lighting, whether in or out. "Kellie would like this" I say to myself.

  10. Great title, and wonderful portraits. I feel like I know her, and I've obviously never met her. I too have tried my hand at piano lessons several times, but never with enough determination to keep at it... Kudos to you for going through with the recital!

    P.S. The two books you have on your shelf right now look great together. :)


Thank you for sharing your insights!