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The Photography of Meg Spotts

Over the course of the years working in the field of photography, I have met a lot of talented people who share the love of the art. One such person is my very good friend Meg Spotts. And as such, I’d like to share a couple of her shots with you on this blog. Please check them out below:


This is a beautiful shot of the full moon over the Western Pennsylvania sky against the backdrop of a pitch black night.


This closeup of a stunning rose with water droplets upon the petals really draws in the viewer.

You can check out more of Meg’s work here.

Where art and science/math connect

On the surface, many people out there probably tend to view art and science or math as polar opposites. Perhaps it has to do with with so much about art being subjective while so much about science and math is seemingly concrete and measurable. Maybe it has to do with those who are artistically inclined sometimes shying away from science and vice versa. Whatever the reason, it might be interesting to know that art and science often work in correlation with one another. Here are some examples from the two artistic forms of which I am personally most familiar.


Anyone who really and truly delves into the world of poetry understands that many forms of this literary art follow a very particular structure.

For example, the Limerick is built on the formula of five lines (per stanza but are often only one stanza in total) with lines 1,2 and 5 rhyming with each other and lines 3 and 4 doing the same.


The Japanese poetry method known as Haiku does not emphasize rhyme at all. In fact, it is quite rare. This style features just three lines with the first and last featuring 5 syllables each and the middle one featuring 7.


And then there’s the sonnet. Although originated in Italy, it was made famous by one William Shakespeare. The English version consists of a total of 14 lines comprised of  3 quatrains of alternating rhyme and a couplet.



In terms of visual arts, photography is so much more than pointing and shooting something that looks pretty. There are some very specific mathematical and science-based concepts involved.

Shutter speed determines exactly how long the lens remains open during a shot. Aperture, which often works hand in had with shutter speed, is a measure of how wide the opening of the lens is during the photographing process.  These two tools combine to determine how much light reaches the sensor and whether or not there is any motion effect that appears in your photograph among other things.


ISO, or sensitivity is a a measure that defines the camera’s response or lack thereof, to available lighting in your shooting location. The higher the number, the lighter the photo.


Did you know colors also have temperatures? Think back to your days as a child in art class. You where probably taught at some point that some colors, like shades of blue, are considered “cool” colors while others, like shades on “orange” are considered “warm” colors. This is true when it comes to lighting. The cooler the color, the higher the number is in terms of a measurement called kelvins. Around 5,000 K is what is generally equal to noon daylight.


Last but not least, there is also something called the rule of thirds. This is basically a concept that suggests to achieve an ideal placement for your subject in an image, you can imagine (or some camera’s will provide a grid) that your scene is made up of sections divisible in 3rds. for ideal composition in this theory, the subject should be placed in one of the sections of thirds other than that or those in the center but rather off tho the right or left.



Mixed Media Art by Amy Oestreicher (Part 3)

 The works below are the third and final part of a series here on Creative Dreamers featuring the art of Amy Oestreicher. Check out her bio below for more information.

Singing Tree Revisited

Singing Tree

This was the very first painting I ever did.  I was stuck at Yale Hospital for months recovering from a surgery that went horribly wrong.  My mother started buying art supplies from a nearby craft store just to keep me busy, especially since I wasn’t allowed to eat or drink anything.  I woke up early one morning, and just started to paint what I was feeling sitting on my hospital bed.  My extreme sad n ess was somehow transformed into a colorful scene of exuberance, and has now become my signature piece.  Greeting cards and posters are available on my online storefront and Etsy, in the hopes that my singing tree can also transform someone else’s sorrow into joy.

Lovers and the Snow


The initial motivation behind this piece was that I had a huge cardboard box lying around and I really wanted to tear it apart.  By gluing the scraps to a canvas, painting over everything,  and adding my two “lovers”, even I was surprised by the fantastical winter sky that emerged.

Mommy Can’t Fix This

Mommy Cant Fix This

This was another piece I created in the hospital, and one of the most requested – however, it’s difficult for me to part with this one because it gave me so much comfort at such a difficult time in my life, and I think it shares a message that everyone can relate to.  I am now selling greeting cards of Mommy Can’t Fix This on my online storefront and Etsy.

I am Myself

I am myself

The pieces I have the most fun creating are the ones that I have no expectations for.  This started by some random shredding and gluing of newsoapers, magazines,  coupons, plastic wrap, gum wrappers, and whatever else I was about to throw out.  Then, I spent hours just painting layers and layers of paint, trying to obscure some of the printed text.  Eventually, this face emerged.

Holding My World

Holding my world

I paint to feel, and also to express my connection to the universe.   A lot of my art has stemmed from the yearning to once again feel part of the world, after a decade of medical isolation and trauma.

Artist bio:
Amy Oestreicher is a 28 year old actress, musician, teacher, composer, dancer, writer, artist, yogi, foodie, and general lover of life. Surviving and thriving through a coma, 27 surgeries and other trauma has inspired Amy to share her story with the world through her passionate desire to create and help others. More information on her  story, as well as her creative ventures can be found at, and  you can visit her Etsy shop as well.

Art and Creativity as Stress Relief

The idea of art therapy isn’t a new one. In fact, quite a few of the posts on this blog delve into one of our contributor’s experiences in this area. But, while the notion itself has been around a long time, I only recently came to discover a very simplistic but potentially effective was to use it.

Adult coloring books.

These books allow the user to easy their mind through the simple and creative art of coloring. Check out some of these images from adult coloring books available on the market.


From Enchanted Forest: An Inky Quest & Coloring Book – Johanna Basford


From Just Add Color: Botanicals: 30 Original Illustrations To Color, Customize, and Hang – Lisa Congdon

Why a Kid Insulting My Art Was My Greatest Inspiration

By Amy Oestreicher

I call myself an artist because I like making art.

For me, it doesn’t matter where I’ve shown my art, what “techniques” I’m using, or who I’m selling it to.  Art is my aliveness brought to fruition in a way that others can see and hopefully spot their own aliveness in as well.

Sometimes, I consider it a blessing that I have no formal art training.  Not being savvy with technical art terms is an advantage when my lines aren’t perfectly shaped or my colors aren’t seamlessly blended.  My oblivion and unashamed passion help to silence my inner critic.  Whatever I paint, I create from the heart.  I try to focus on the physical sensations of feelings my brush glide across the canvas, drenched in a juicy glob of heavy-bodied paint.  I feel the bristles press against the stretched linen; I see each fiber drag across a mound of cherry apple red.  As I guide my brush up and down my canvas, the repetitive gestures become meditative.  I stop thinking, as I press down on my brush harder.  The canvas then becomes an open channel to my soul, a clear-as-day lens into what can be sensed, but not seen.  And now – here it is:  in iridescent hues, glistening in silky splotches of wet paint.

In my studio, it’s just me and my creations.  It’s the one place in life where I can ignore my inner critic  because I tell myself I am just making a “beautiful mess.”  When I made the decision to start showing my work elsewhere, I accepted that I’d have to grow some thicker skin.  Everyone’s got an opinion.

But kids will be honest about theirs.


Amy’s piece “Tree Proposal” 

This summer, I took my easel outside for a refreshing day of plain air painting.  My art was featured in the windows of a shop in the downtown area, and this was the day where we were supposed to engage and interact with the customers.

One thing I noticed was how children really gravitated towards my work.  There is a childlike, innocent quality to my art, an oblivion from not knowing what is “proper” technique.  I picked up a paintbrush for the first time when I was stuck in the hospital for months after a disastrous surgery.  My mother brought fabric, glue, paints and markers to my small hospital cubicle, and I made art for the first time.  Suddenly, I found a way to express emotions that were too painful, complicated and overwhelming for words.  I used everything – even toilet paper from the hospital bathroom.  I painted my trees that I missed, I created my inside and outside worlds, full of their joy and pain, tears and hearts, lightning bolts and flowers.  This art was my therapy, like the “me-books” we used to make in grade school.

So there I was with my easel, painting outside my storefront with my art proudly on display.  I chose to work on a collage using old paints, newspapers, and whatever I grabbed on my way out.  As an artist, I love being a scavenger. I really don’t care what ends up sticking on my collages – cardboard, old lids, plastic wrap, napkins – once it’s covered with paint, it can all look beautiful! For me, it’s about the process.

In the middle of my “process”, one child came up to me and stayed peering over my easel for a lengthy period.  As we know, kids are fearless, free and oh so honest.  (You don’t wanna know the things that came out of my mouth as a kid!!!)

This child skimmed over my work for a few seconds longer and then declared, I could do that! That’s just newspaper and scribbles!” The mother was clearly embarrassed, but I was thrilled.  Yes – this is exactly what I want people to come away with after seeing my art. If you call me an “artist”, then you are as well. Anyone can create. It just takes the guts to put yourself out there. That kid gave me the best possible compliment. So, I hope whoever sees my art walks away with the confidence that YES! They can do that too!

I love that children can make those impulsive, honest comments.  Once we lose the ability to speak those thoughts out loud, it’s more difficult to hear those truths within us.  That child realized he was capable of creating anything in that moment.  In that afternoon, crowds of passersbys looked over at my art, and because I was the “artist” – I was doing something that they “could not”.  Mind made up – been there, tried that, failed, over and done.

Would you have been ashamed to tell me my “mixed media artwork” was just newspaper and scribbles?

The truth is, if adults could be as brutally honest as that child, they would also be able to consciously acknowledge this truth for themselves – they CAN create if they just silence their inner critic.  It’s easier said than done, but maybe we just have to start with that honest child in us.

If you think you’ve already “grown up” remember, it’s never too late to “grow down.”


Amy’s piece “Yellow Sky Open Heart”

Let’s all think like children for a bit and recklessly create what we’ve never seen, but have sensed, wanted, or just felt like.  Don’t know what to start with?  Start with newspaper.  And scribble on it.  Let’s keep revisiting our childhood memories, the feeling that anything was possible with a newspaper, silly putty, a slinky or a cardboard box.

Think about the last interaction or moment in your life that meant something to you.  How simple was it?  Maybe your special someone ripped out an article from today’s paper that he knew you’d like.  Maybe he doodled on your daily planner, wishing you the best day ever.  Because thoughts that are true, inspiring and from the heart are usually the simplest ones – straight out of an art project that a kid could do.

So the next time you see art in a gallery, an advertisement, a tee-shirt believe that you are capable of creating art.

When you read that I learned art recovering from surgery, walk away knowing that you are powerful enough to conquer any odds in your life with a bit of creative thinking and working with what you’ve got – even if it’s just newspaper.

When you read or hear of loss, pain, anger, frustration, joy, gratitude, fear, uncertainty, love and life, I hope you connect with that experience on a primal, intuitive level, and are even inspired to share YOUR story with someone else.  Even if it’s a blank page for now.  Or a blank canvas, whatever works.Dancing on Shattered Glass Amy Oestreicher

Thank you art, thank you children, thank you detours.


Amy with her art piece “Bloom”

With every blotchy “mistake” on your “canvas”, be empowered with the confidence to be innovative and think of a way to integrate the mistake into an even better design.

Let every very “insult” from a kid empower you with the satisfaction that you have possibly inspired a future creator.

Let every “detour” prompt an unexpected interaction with a new opportunity, a new person in your life, and a new direction.

Here’s to navigating our beautiful detours with a brush in hand, and our inner child as the lantern that guides us home.

What doesn’t kill us makes us awesome.

Read Amy’s blog on the artwalk and see more pictures and videos.


Vintage Photography / Videography Collection Contest (Results)

Congratulations to Julie Ann, the winner of the Vintage Photography / Videography Collection Contest! Just in case you are wondering, the correct answers are below.


TOP SHELF – Wein WP5008 Flash Meter (Germany), Hanimex 49mm Skylight Polarizing Lens Filter (Japan) and Tiffin 49mm Lens Filter (USA)
SECOND SHELF – Kodak Brownie 8 Movie Camera (USA) and External Flash (Manufacturer unknown)
THIRD SHELF – 1920’s era Kodak folding camera (USA) and AFGA Insta Folding Camera

5 Alternatives to Using Photoshop

It is not often that a creative photographer takes a shot that upon review on his or her computer couldn’t benefit from some level of editing. And as most photography buffs know, Adobe Photoshop is the industry standard. And while it is a great tool, it can also be quite expensive and take up a lot of space on your PC or laptop. That being the case, I wanted to leave the photogs out there with a few alternative options.


Pros: Feature rich and free

Cons: Requires download and takes some time to learn


Perfect Photo Suite

Pros: High quality tools and very professional feel

Cons: Only one on the list that isn’t free, steep learning curve

Perfect Photo Suite

Pixlr Editor

Pros: Can use it from the web and is rather similar to Photoshop in look and feel

Cons: Tools are limited, especially for batch work



Pros: Very easy to use

Cons: Light on features


Photoshop Express (App)

Pros: Great for on the go editing

Cons: Limited features

Photoshop Express


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