Sunday, May 14, 2017


"Constraints are the secret to creativity, to new ideas, to getting things done, and most of us want fewer of them, which is why we flounder. Creative freedom is found in choosing and embracing constraint and having the courage to see what happens."
                                                                              ~David duChemin 

I need constraints. I need one thing to focus on instead of twenty. I need time limitations and deadlines. I need to-do lists to get things done.

This has been my most productive year-to-date in my creative life; we won't talk about the household tasks. The reason why my creative output has been strong this year is because I am working under constraints, not always happily, but carrying on nonetheless.

In April I put the Lensbaby Velvet 56 lens on my camera, and I haven't taken it off yet. I am learning so much about composing, manually focusing, and the sweet spot of the lens. I am happy with this constraint, it is bringing my creativity to an exciting new level.

This week I have been participating in Susan Licht's #weekofdiptychs on Instagram. I missed it when she hosted it last fall, but I quickly jumped on board this spring. Diptychs are something I have always wanted to learn to create. What are diptychs you ask? Here is the definition:

a painting, especially an altarpiece, on two hinged wooden panels that may be closed like a ancient writing tablet consisting of two hinged leaves with waxed inner sides.

In this case it is two photographs paired together.

I have tried to create them in Lightroom before and ended up being very frustrated. Discouraged, I gave up. But I am not a quitter, so this time I gave them a try in Photoshop. One of the on-line classes I took last year with Christina Greve had the perfect tutorial for making them. I love lifetime access classes. I looked up the tutorial, followed it step by step, and conquered the making of a diptych.

I also wanted to have a better understanding of what images made good diptychs so I found these videos by Julianne Kost. I have been basing my pairings on color. Since I tend to lean towards neutral colors, this has been good for me to look at a wider range of colors.

Diptychs are a great storytelling tool, I have more to learn before I am anywhere near proficient. But I am enjoying this new constraint and have a feeling I will continue working within it, even after Susan's #weekofdiptychs is over.


  1. Constraints in photography definitely make me focus more on what I'm creating. I've enjoyed the diptych week. It was interesting how two picture side by side can tell a story. I'm glad you mentioned the pairing of colors, I wouldn't have thought of that. Thanks for the link to the videos, I'll be watching them!

  2. I can count on you to give me something to think about . . .
    Constraints . . .
    Great quote . . .
    Liked the photos . . . especially that final pair . . .
    Happy Mother's Day Sarah . . .

  3. These are wonderful, Sarah!
    I especially love the last one.

  4. Ahhhh constraints how I need them at times. This is so wonderful thank you for sharing.

  5. When working under certain 'constraints' I find my creativity increases also. I am a creature of habit. Only when I am 'forced' to, do I think outside my usual routine and figure out new ways of doing things. I love the old refrigerator diptych and am glad you are enjoying your Lensbaby. I still haven't touched mine for a while. :)

  6. I tend to do better with an "assignment" of sorts. I've done a whole lot of nothing, photography-wise, lately. Hopefully I'll be back at it in another couple of weeks. I'm really intrigued with your lensbaby!

  7. Very nice pairing. I have not always been a fan of lensbaby lenses but am enjoying your images.

  8. An interesting posting, Sarah. I can so identify with what you say here:
    "I need constraints. I need one thing to focus on instead of twenty. I need time limitations and deadlines. I need to-do lists to get things done." It's exactly how I feel! I also need structure to get things done, a framework which guides me. I like the examples you give here and how you explain why you used them.

  9. Wonderful...and those 2 photos tell a very cool story. I can imagine my grandmother's very large kitchen with a built in flour mill where I used to swing on the doors, a pantry, where my sister and I used to play "store", and an attached parlor where my uncle would just play the piano all day long! Great shots. And oh, don't I know about constraints...I need more "creative play" time. That's all there is to it! Thanks Sarah for keeping it real! Aloha!

  10. When I read that quote at the opening of your post, Sarah, I thought that working under constraints can't be supporting the work but after reading your post I realised that in my photo project for this year I also constricted myself by choosing just one theme for every month and it dawned on me how true the idea is. Thanks for reminding me.

    1. So your diptychs turned out very lovely, and looks to me as if you should now teach a course!! Looking forward already for the next scene and story! Too bad that is only once a month... Do you ever consider offering it more frequently??

  11. Constraints and limitations are certainly funny animals...they produce so much more that you'd think.


Thank you so much for visiting today and taking the time to read my thoughts on life. :)