Hold Fast to Dreams

Hold Fast to Dreams ©White Sparks Photography - Marisa White

Hold Fast to Dreams


I have been dreaming more vividly these past few weeks.

When I was younger, it was every night. I had absolute control over my dreams and could will myself to a specific thought the moment my head hit the pillow. Even more empowering, I could rewind a dream to effectively start over, choosing to walk down a different path if I didn’t like the original course. Even though I was a night owl, staying up late most nights, my slumber easily filled with the excitement of any fantasy I could conjure and only limited by my imagination.

And oh how I loved to fly.

In my dreams I could fly higher than any bird. With the wind in my hair, cold air filling my lungs, I could feel the racing of my heart as I soared through the sky…so effortlessly. Anything was possible.

I was a frequent flyer in my dreams.

When Grace kindly obliged to model for me she also offered up her best friend, Megan, for eager participation. With the excitement behind not just one model, but two(!), my first thoughts wrapped around the joys of friendship and the imagination of children. How we could play for hours in the back yard in our own little worlds living in castles and fighting dragons. How we would hold hands and spin and spin until we were dizzy, falling over and giggling uncontrollably.

How extraordinary it would be if just one of those times we could spin until our bodies lifted into the breeze with nothing but the open air beneath our toes.

It reminded me that whenever we are lost; whenever our goals and dreams feel distant and unattainable, sometimes all you really need is a best friend to make you feel like you can fly.



Hold fast to dreams, for if dreams die, life is a broken-winged bird that cannot fly…Langston Hughes





Pandora ©Marisa S White - White Sparks Photography



Much like Eve, in the biblical sense, Pandora, was the first woman according to Greek Mythology. Created by earth and water, under the command of Zeus, she was blessed with many attributes. Of course, Greek Mythology is riddled with jealousy, rage and vengeance (amongst other things). This story is no different.

Prometheus stole fire (how does one steal fire?) from the Supreme Ruler of Mount Olympus. No one messes with this God, no. So Zeus decided to deal a hefty hand of payback by presenting the lovely Pandora to Prometheus’s brother, Epimetheus, with a jar that she was instructed to never open. Who can resist that kind of temptation? Naturally, curiosity got the best of her and much to Zeus’s expectation, she opened up the jar releasing all kinds of evil onto the Earth.

Realizing what she had done, Pandora quickly closed the lid keeping Hope tucked safely inside.

I don’t hold onto the “evils” of this story, but the message of hope it presents. And in that message, a willingness to try.  Capt. Awesome has us addicted to The Walking Dead. He lured me in with the drama and story behind the show, and not so much the zombie apocalypse looming throughout the setting. (What’s worse is that we usually watch this show while eating! But I digress.) Anyhow, we always marvel how after the group has had their teeth knocked in (figuratively and sometimes literally) once again and are forced back out to the open land, the one thing that keeps them all moving forward is hope.

Hope for love. Hope for survival. Hope for the state of humanity.

We, back to reality here, will rarely be dealt such a devastating hand (and thankfully there aren’t any zombies walking the Earth…at least not that I’m aware of) but we often crumble at the slightest bit of adversity. I like to think there is a bigger picture to all of this, a reason why things happen, a lesson to be learned. So in the end, we have a choice to sulk or realize the promise of a new day and make the best of it. I’ll do my best to remember this as I reach the next bump in the road.

“Hope is like the sun, which, as we journey toward it, casts the shadow of our burden behind us.”   ~ Samuel Smiles


Persephone ©Marisa S White - White Sparks Photography


Excitement kept me awake for two straight weeks before this day. Storming with ideas, they fluttered around my head, continuously keeping the sandman at bay.

You see, Grace agreed to bring my thoughts to life, to model for me, and I was eager to make the most of this special gift. She bravely ventured out into the snow with me, unbeknownst to what I had in store. Never mind that each step dropped us down a foot and a half through ice making it difficult to traverse the terrain or even the parking lot! (Snow shoes work wonders, I hear.) Thankfully, the weather took on a warming trend and after weeks of the teens and twenties, 40 degrees felt like a heat wave. (Yes, I said it. 40 degrees felt warm.)

In Greek Mythology, Persephone is often viewed, most notably for being the Queen of the Underworld (and we’re not talking of the Kate Beckinsale variety), but I like to think of her more along the lines of her other title, the Goddess of Spring. Having been whisked away by Hades and partaken the seed of the pomegranate, she was forced to reside underground for six months out of the year. Her mother, Demeter, upon learning that Zeus had conspired alongside Hades for Persephone’s abduction, cursed the land by refusing to let it bear fruit until her daughter was returned to her.

And so we have the winter season. I suppose I should offer up a sarcastic thank you to Zeus for that one!

Luckily, when the sun begins to warm the air, the snow starts to melt and the robins return, we know that Persephone is knocking on the door.

I eagerly await her arrival.

The Birth of the Search

The Birth of the Search ©Marisa S White - White Sparks Photography

The Birth of the Search

It’s no secret that I wave my Texas Flag loud and proud. There must be something in the water that naturally endears each of us to the State at birth. Like a cult-like, massive dose of school spirit. (Although, I never really had school spirit.) With the exception of four years in the North Texas, I spent most of my life in the South, which means we almost never saw this magical fluffy white stuff. I do recall the snow storm of 1985. It dropped about a foot on the unsuspecting land. My sister and I decorated our first snow man and the neighbor ingeniously tied a rope to a laundry basket and pulled all of us kids around in a home-made sled. My next major memory was on my honeymoon with Capt. Awesome. November, in Santa Fe. We walked into Maria’s (side note: they have an amazing assortment of delicious margaritas) as the wind kicked up white flurries all around. I squealed like a little school girl while Awesome laughed at me.

Fast forward to last week. It’s been a crazy winter, my first in New England. February decided to launch a full on attack as this week brings another drop in temperatures to the teens. Oh God! So, with the frequent snow days, I decided to experience it fully…and in ALL it’s glory, marching out with camera and tripod in hand.

It truly was like another world. I had magically stepped through the wardrobe and transported myself into Narnia. Is Mr. Tumnus around the corner awaiting my arrival?

The snow covered everything in sight, including myself. Alas, I finally know what it feels like to have snow flakes on my nose and eye lashes! Oh, and a minor case of frost bite. Small sacrifices for art. For the winter experience.

Wild Beasts

©Marisa S White, The Corn Poppy, Fauvism, Wild Beasts, Self Portraits, Fine Art


Wild Beasts, or Fauves, were born early out of the twentieth century as a break away response from the Impressionism Movement. Their style, expressed in bold, bright colors, often times using paint straight from the tube, displays prominent brush strokes littering across the canvas creating massive color blocks. They sometimes rejected three dimensional space altogether. Matisse was at the forefront of this movement known as Fauvism, which predominantly flourished in France.

So it’s clear, I have France on the brain. I’ve been scouring the likes of Etsy, Vintage online stores and my local Goodwill Outlets for the perfect wardrobe and accessories for use in future photography projects in France. One trip to Glastonbury produced this amazing $3 find…one bright, cadmium red angora, wide brimmed hat. Instantly, I was walking through the rooms of the Museum of Fine Arts in Houston, approaching my favorite painting, The Corn Poppy, by Kees van Dongen. The colors, so vivid, call out to me, still fresh after all the years. I would sit for a long time just staring at this painting. What was she thinking? Who was she looking for?

Since I’ve been in a self portrait kick as of late, it only seemed natural to paint myself up, put on waaay too much black eye shadow, throw on the hat and go to town. I have to say, this was the most fun I’ve had playing in Photoshop to date. If only I could’ve painted this well back in college. With that being said, I never quite mastered painting (this is probably why my work has gone more mixed media, photographic and digital manipulation over the years) but I did love pastel drawings. Chalk. So this is my rendition of van Dongen’s masterpiece, a digital chalk drawing of my favorite painting.