I first met Raven when she modeled for a look book that I was photographing, and we had such a connection in that relationship. She has a rare, natural grace in front of the camera; I think this simply comes from who she is. We became friends that day, and stayed in touch through social media. I saw that she was painting again and had a space in the Redux Studios in Charleston, SC. We met there one late summer morning; she arrived riding her bike with flowers from the farmer's market, wearing a dip-dyed caftan with milk maid braids and lace up boots, and lots of jewelry. So perfectly Raven. 

We spent some time shooting in her studio, talking about her background in art and how she has grown as an artist. Her work continues to gain recognition (her show with Billy Reid opens tomorrow, October 2nd, at the corner of King and Queen in Charleston), and she continues to explore new mediums and concepts. Later we stopped at a coffee shop a few blocks down and talked... about life, and how beautiful but broken it can be at the same time. We talked about the richness of having creative women in your life, and how much we have to learn and share with/from each other.  We lingered and conversed, sometimes quietly and sometimes laughing loudly with childlike abandon. In that light-soaked room, I felt like I had been given one of those moments where you are able to really see that life is a gift -- with all the difficulty, all the struggle, all the pain and sorrow -- yet it truly is a gift. Those struggles and sorrows shape us and give us depth, texture, compassion, and strength... they make us who we are. And moments like this one, often unexpected, can make us appreciate life, the entire scope of what we experience. And these kind of moments make us grow as well. They make us rich. These moments give each of us the opportunity to extend the understanding and empathy we gain from our pain in this precious exchange that friendship is. 

I have more to share soon in my series on artists, and the next is an equally grace-filled, kind soul -- David Hale. I also have been working with an artist and friend, Eve Nettles, on a project that I plan to pour much of my time and energy into. I am absolutely in love with what we are working on; it has opened my eyes to so many possibilities with our combined efforts. Very excited to launch that project when the time is right. Our hopes for the Schoolhouse won't be possible, unfortunately, but we are still looking for a studio and plan to continue finding ways to work together as a family in the meantime. Thank you for reading friends; back soon.