# What size do I get?

Have you ever wondered what size art would best fit on your wall? Here's a simple trick I share all the time:

What you need:

-The wall or space(s) you want to hang photos/art/stuff

-4-8 pieces of letter size (regular printer size) paper, scrap paper, and/or "junk mail"

-Tape

These combinations of paper will give you a rough idea of what a certain size will look like on your wall, or in your space:

-1 piece of paper folded in half= roughly 5x7"

-1 flat piece of paper= roughly 8x10"

-2 pieces of flat paper, slightly overlapped on the "short" side=11x14"

-4 pieces of flat paper, slightly overlapped on the "long" side=16x20"

Tape these paper combos to the wall with gentle pressure (so as not to remove paint from your walls), and you'll have a general idea as to what size(s) you need.

Need bigger than 16x20? Slightly separating the 4 pieces of paper will show you closer to an 18x24" size. Adding 2 more sheets to the "short" side of this will show you closer to a 24x36" size. :)

# I don't often share...

color images, or images of live music, even though I do love creating them. I'm usually taking a live performance in with my eyes, and I just love how classic BW images are, to me.

But when one of my favorite new bands ( Starset-see one of their videos, here ), who has become known for their tech-influenced, cinematic, rock music with prophetic lyrics and space-themed gear decides to host a Demonstration (a live performance, sharing their message) in a Long Island planetarium , to a light show created just for their music, my heart told me to drop everything and go see them. I'd just seen them perform the week before in Columbus, but this idea set me on musical and visual fire. I could only imagine how cool of a show this would be, and Starset exceeded my expectations. Because of the awesome energy and display during the performance, I just had to share some of my favorite images (yeah, some of them were still BW) I was lucky enough to capture.

Thanks Starset, for another great show.

If you'd like photography of your band's live performances, a day-in-the-life documentary, or any work involving creatives, please get in touch with me

# Creatives have my heart.

I was recently asked if I do head shots of sorts. When I do, they look like these:

When you need to update yours, I'm right here

Hey everyone,

I'm headed to the Three Rivers Arts Festival of Pittsburgh, PA, this weekend (June 5th-9th), to continue my summer art festival tour. If you're in the area, please do stop by (I'm at booth 57). I'll have about 40 pieces with me, available for purchase, including some of my favorite new small pieces that haven't even seen an art show, yet.

I'll be minus these two pieces, as they've just recently sold. But I'll have lots more to take home with you. If you've had your eye on one of my arts locally, this is your last chance to chime in before I take the whole wagon to Pittsburgh. ;)

Hope to see you in PA!

Also, neatness, I was just featured on Lady Guns Global as an official Lady Gun.

# Some of my Favorite People to Photograph

(Are these two, and also) are people in love, and artists and musicians. I couldn't have been happier they chose me to create their new band images. Check out Cradle & Grave's page to hear more about this pretty great couple who make sweet music.

Need new artist images? Email me, right now

# What on Earth Am I Up To?

I got into a conversation with a friend over the weekend about what's happening in my life…and just this month, it's so wild, I couldn't even believe it. I figured the best way to share this revelation with everyone was to post it right here. So I bring to you, my travel and event schedule for May/June, 2015 (in case you wanna know when I'll be traveling around, need more info on photo sessions, and/or want to buy my artwork):

Wednesday, May 12: Pittsburgh Concert Field Trip

Thursday-Saturday, May 7-9: Philadelphia Workshop (learning things)

Sunday, May 10: Mother's Day Photo Event at my church :) (photo sessions)

Monday-Thursday, May 11-14: Hot Tomato Photo Event in the Loft (photo sessions)

Saturday, May 16: Marietta Marketplace (selling my art, Marietta, OH)

Friday, May 22: Marietta Brewing Company Art on Tap Featured Artist (selling my art)

Friday, May 29: Nelsonville Concert Field Trip

And last but not least, I'm super happy to announce:

Friday-Tuesday, June 5-9: Three Rivers Arts Festival (selling my art, Pittsburgh, PA)

Hoping to see y'all around!

# What do You Want to Remember?

I'm so smitten with telling stories. At my open house/high five party last week, I had a slideshow playing of some of my favorite storytelling sessions, showing how by using my camera, I can connect small actions and interactions, and give such a rich look into a person's history. I think being able to see a series of images tell a narrative is maybe one of my favorite things in life. But I also know it's kinda tricky to imagine what that all means unless you're able to see the examples for yourself. Once people were able to see the way the images played together, they started sharing ideas that they thought might be good for their own stories…and it hit me: I've been hoping people would be as excited as I am, but how could they be if they couldn't see what I was able to see?

So with that, I've decided to share lots more stories online, hoping people can see what has me all on fire and such. Here's a series from a family dinner (this awesome family gets together once a month to connect, celebrate and visit, and I LOVE it, so much!). More to come.

Want a storytelling session of your own? Let's get started, right now. Two spaces left in May.

# I have an idea...

This coming Thursday is two pretty great holidays, combined:

National High Five Day

and

National Get to Know Your Customers Day

If you like the idea of high fives, and you like yummy food, and you like documentary photography, and artsy photo ideas, then this Thursday could pretty much be the best day, ever.

I'd like to suggest a way to celebrate all of these things, if you'd like? Stop by Mango Latin Bistro (one of my very favorite local restaurants in Parkersburg, WV) this coming Thursday, between 2-5 pm, and check out my pop-up showcase/open house of new products and goodies. I'll have tiny slideshows of my favorite storytelling sessions, examples of printed storybooks (included in my storytelling sessions), and a bunch of ideas for how I can make artsy things for you-with absolutely no pressure. Truly.

If you stop in during my open house this Thursday, and give me a high five (so I know you read this), I'll hand over a no-strings 5.00 gift certificate to thee lovely Mango (I'm buying you a coffee or a snack). Even if you just stop in for that high five and a hello.

Buut…if you book a storytelling session with me on the spot on Thursday (or a commissioned fine art piece), I'll happily buy you Mango dinner (you'll get a 25.00 gift certificate, with your scheduled booking).

Support 2 local businesses at once, get a high five, and hang out for a bit. Warm up your high five-ing hand and I'll see you there!

*Pretty please keep in mind I only do one storytelling session per week. And pretty, pretty please don't take advantage of my love of loopholes, and try and get all the extra goodies with none to go around (one 25.00 certificate per booking).

*Also, pretty pretty please replace the name "Rob" with "Michelle", and Rob's face with my face, and know I absolutely am the one who wants to give you a high five this Thursday at Mango. :)

# Come Say "Hi" at my Artist's Reception!

Saturday, April 11th, at 6:30 pm, Washington State (of Marietta, OH) is hosting an artist's reception for my solo fine art exhibit, through the Evergreen Arts & Humanities Series.

This is the largest body of work I've ever shown at one time (53 pieces of image transfer and mono print work), and I'm pretty proud of the time and energy I've put into it. I'll be at the reception, answering questions, sharing stories, giving hugs and snacking on snacks with you and yours. Please come say "Hi".

Also, today is National Walk in the Park Day. Hope you can get out an enjoy it!

# Do I Photograph Weddings/Union Ceremonies/Vow Renewals/Other Lovey Things?

I've been getting more inquiries about lovey event photography, recently. Short answer: Yes, indeed., I do.

Longer answer: Before I began focusing on my photo-based artwork, I used to almost exclusively photograph weddings, with a tiny bit of portraits mixed in. I love seeing people unfold, getting lost in their best selves, playing, being all filled up with happy and lovey. But I'm kinda picky about what I photograph…and I tell you this for your benefit. It's not necessarily a "type" of person. It's more about what you're willing to share, and what you're hoping for that helps me decide if we're a great fit. If I don't think we are, I'll happily send you to someone who I think would light your photo dreams afire.

I want us to "get" each other. I want to meet you before I photograph you. I want to know what makes you light up with laughter that makes your head lean back and look to the sky, or double over and send you into breathless, soundless, teary-eyed roars. I wanna know what makes you happy dance, and what makes you want to look at that special someone (or someones) in your life like they are the most amazing thing you've ever, ever, ever seen.

And so I also have been asked what a "typical wedding" might look like, if I was the documentarian. Here's what it might look like if you picked me for my artsy-ness, to be there for your ceremony and some formal-ish photos, and then set me loose to "do my thing".

Special thanks to The Bartees for letting me be their friend and storyteller.

And yep, I do photograph in color (I just turn my super favorites into Black and White):

Want me to photograph you and your love(s)? Here's my basic pricing info. Check it out, if you please. Then drop me a line. I photograph 5 weddings/big events per year.

# New Goodies!

Yesterday, I posted a Facebook teaser of some of the new glass bottle/vial jewelry I'll be premiering at the Seek the Light Expo, this coming weekend, in Akron, Ohio. I transferred a few of my favorite images onto glass…

And I also made a few more journals…and these cute wooden charms, too.

I only made a handful of each (pretty much what you see in the pictures), just to test the Waters (haha). But if they sell well, I'll be making more for some other festivals I'll be vending in, this year (schedule soon to follow).

I've also made a few new, smallish art pieces (of my rust heartbeat, tree wings, odd brick out, alien landing grass, and thawing forests) for this weekend, created mostly with some of the images I've posted on Instagram over the past few months-but I'm still painting/finishing those. More updates from the expo, this weekend. Or come see me in person! Free hugs. :)

If you're interested in pricing info for any of the new goodies, please drop me an email

# "Michelle can only be described as part pixie and part woodland sprite...

Our son, George, has special needs. He has tons of energy and a very short attention span. One of the things I was searching for in a family photographer was someone who 'gets it'. Someone who looks beyond the actions of a child to see into their heart. Someone who looks at both of our kids and captures the love they have for each other. What Michelle does is extraordinary. She isn't a photographer. She is an artist with a heart of gold and a vision that will take your breath away."-Cathy Cunningham

I've been looking back through images of the Cunningham Family that I've helped to create (their free spirits and fire for life make the images complete), and I can't help but get emotional. For the past 5 years, I've been one of the luckiest gals in the world, to get the opportunity to know these kiddos, their parents, their fur babies. I've been to their home, we've played in the park, and they have such a big place in my heart. And as much as I'm completely moved by Cathy's words…to me, loving them is like breathing. Check out some of my favorite pictures of the Cunningham Family from the past 5 years. I think you'll see that if my pictures have heart, it's because of what's being shared in front of me.

Aren't they pretty much the greatest?! So much love for this family.

When I'm photographing people, we have a conversation. We play, we run, we laugh, and we go on adventures, together. I create images the way I do because we're on the same level-and I see you as you are, all human and awesome. I see you the way the people that love you see you, as your best self, alive, happy and perfectly you.

Coming up this week:

This coming Friday is National Good Samaritan Day. I'll have a post to share on that, later this week. But in the meantime, I hope you're living somewhere where you can get out and enjoy this awesome weather. That's what we're getting ready to do!

I can be your family/people photographer, too, if you'd likeDrop me an email to get on my Spring schedule (now that the weather is changing, schedules start to fill up, pretty quickly) for relaxed, interactive portraits and/or a documentary/storytelling session.

# Are you unplugging, tonight?

Sundown tonight begins the National Day of Unplugging. I decided to unplug tonight, for fun, and to devote face time to my family. I didn't realize how uneasy the buildup to the commitment would make me, or how used to being hyper-connected to my phone and computer I seem to be. I plan on unplugging fully, for 24 hours, but if I don't, I'm not going to beat myself up over it. Right now I'm almost stunned at how nervous tonight is making me…and I'm at the very least, moved by this realization.

If the idea of turning off your phone sends you into cold sweats (as it does me), here are a few ideas to keep you engaged (should you choose to accept):

-Update your Bucket List/Wish List for Livin'. Each year, Jay and I make a new list of alll the things we want to do-from learning to cook certain foods, to drinking more water, to singing lessons, chasing a tornado or a great white shark, road trips, house cleaning or repairs, and the biggies like launching a new business, traveling to Fiji, going skydiving…and then every year, we schedule at least half of those goals into my planner…and consider them dates-set in stone, including breaking down mini steps like calling for tickets, reserving hotels, or printing out checklists/recipes/getting ingredients, etc.. It can be a fun way to dream together, and learn a little more about each other goals.

-Get Outside. We got a ton of snow, over the past day or so. So we grabbed a bunch of flat surfaces and made a game out of which thing would make the best sled (for the record-none of them!). We had fun with the experiment, and then went on a "pretty tree hunt" and had a snowball fight. And during this adventure, I realized Parker (my daughter) says "girls" exactly the same way Tori Amos does when she sings "These Precious Things". And I added that to my list of things I love about my little.

-Check out some of these lists I've pinned:

For small doses of unplugging, check out "How to Unplug at Dinner"

A simple top ten for you and your kiddos, click here

Don't want to go outside? Here's a list for "Snow Day Activities for your Kiddos".

Want more kiddo play ideas than you can shake a stick at? Go here

Just you and your significant other/best friend? Stuff for you, too (also good ideas for date nights).

Since I've begun making this post, I can feel some of the edge fading away, knowing I won't be sitting on my hands, geeing about having "nothing to do". I feel more prepared and ready to really enjoy the potential. I think we'll make a fort tonight, and maybe play some games, read some books, cook together…if you're planning on unplugging, I'd love to know what you're going to do-or after sundown tomorrow, hop back on here and tell me what you did!

# Unplug to Connect, and Take Good Notes

I'm happy about this coming weekend. It sounds kind of confusing to explain, but this Friday-Saturday (sundown to sundown) is The National Day of Unplugging. It's "A modern spin on the ancient notion of a day of rest". So, you unplug your computers, phones, devices and stuff, and just talk to live people, interact, hold hands, eat together, laugh, hug. In person.

I like the idea of committing to  interpersonal focus for 24 full hours, to do activities that we can't necessarily find online, on our devices, and be "forced" to connect with the people around us. To use all 5 of our senses and take livin' in. Some of my favorite memories were the simplest things-walks with my mom and sister, sewing and making art with my mom, puzzle and game nights, cooking, playing dress up, laying in the grass, watching the clouds, the stars…laughing...

I've been reading some stories recently, about how people think there's more to the "problem" that escaping technology for a day, just to return back to it, "tomorrow". I get that. I'm not endorsing unplugging as an escape route, and then all is fixed.

This day is a tricky concept for me, because sometimes I think I need to be reached, to reach out myself, and to be connected. To take a day to avoid technology even seems almost negligent in today's tech age. But as I find myself being asked repeatedly by my 3 year old (or my husband or pup) to please play with her (them), when I'm "just sending one more message" and then "just checking one more", I have to wonder if maybe I'm a little out of balance. Do I really need to be that tapped in, all of the time?

So for that, I like this idea. I like that, maybe by making a conscious decision to focus on the people I love, in-person, with no plans on checking my onlines or my connects, and only talking, playing and listening, maybe it will stoke the fire I already have for my family and friends, reminding me just how much I love being able to share the gifts of full attention and time.

*Now, this may sound counteractive, but as part of this coming weekend, I'd love to be there to document one family's/person's day of unplugging/connecting, to make an actual, tangible record of how you connect with the people around you, so you can continue to remember what it feels like to be fully present and connected. I have plans with my family all night on Friday, and Saturday afternoon…but I can be all yours on Saturday morning, for up to 4 hours, from 8am to noon-ish. I'd bring my camera to document the way you love, create, interact and enjoy the sweet life you have, and then I'll make a really cool documentary, printed book about your morning/story, printed by Artifact Uprising  (the people who are "Inspired by the Disappearing Beauty of the Tangible")-So good. All for 250 down, 225, two weeks later (when the album design is sent off to print). And I'll give you the edited files, too, plus a digital copy of your album design (in addition to the printed copy of the album). Just one family/person/story. Just this Saturday (at this special price). Will it be you?

Drop me an email.

And in the meantime, if you're not sure what this might look like, here's a recent documentary I did for the Tanner Family. I got to be there for their weekly family brunch, and I loved every waking minute of it: