Cheryl Johnson has developed quite a following as a wildlife photographer working under the pseudonym “Backyard Bird Nerd.” Her photos have been featured in magazines, websites, and art galleries. As the owner of an advertising agency, writing has always been a part of her life and career. Her literary work has included producing text for websites, brochures, television and radio commercials, and a variety of magazines articles. Delving into the world of children's literature has been an exciting and challenging adventure, and pairing these books with her love of photography has proven to be the perfect outlet for her passions and talents. When not prowling around in nature looking for something to “fly” by her lens, she lives in South Texas with her husband, two daughters, and dog.
Taylor Swift and Anole Lizards
Turning world challenges into creative opportunities.
This is a weird time in our history, no doubt about it. COVID has changed how we live, interact with each other, and conduct business. As a business owner it has certainly been a challenge as we work to provide our customers with the services they need, and quite frankly, figure out how we are going to navigate and emerge out of the other side of this pandemic intact. But like most things in life, there are positives to take away, which brings me to Taylor Swift. Those people that know me are well aware that I am a HUGE Taylor Swift fan. Yes. I’m a middle-aged woman pretending to be a teenager. But really, I just love her. I love her music, I love how she’s navigated the business world as a woman, I love that she fights for what she believes in, and I love the example she sets for other woman. The other day I was surfing the headlines and saw they she had written an article for Rolling Stone Magazine where she interviewed Paul McCartney. Being that I’m a middle-aged woman, I’m also a HUGE Beatles fan, so, of course, I had to check the article out. What I read literally gave me goosebumps as these two music legends shared how COVID had affected them personally and their lives as musicians. Essentially, both produced new albums. Neither planned to make these albums, but circumstances gave them the opportunity to think, feel, and explore, and in the end produce something unexpected. For Sir McCartney, he did something he hasn’t done in a long time, played all of the instruments himself. Think about that… he wrote and performed every aspect of these songs. Just wow! The thing that struck me about Taylor’s album was her comment that, because of the circumstances, she didn’t write songs thinking about how they would play in a stadium tour scenario, she just wrote the songs she felt like writing, not worrying about how it would be accepted. The result, her Folklore album is the number one selling album of 2020. The lesson: sometimes when you throw out the rules and follow your passion, amazing things can come out of it. How inspiring is that?
And this brings me to Anole Lizards. As many of you know one of the things that has come out of COVID for me personally is that I’ve written several children’s books incorporating my love of nature, trivia, and graphic design. I did them out of my passion for the subject, not expecting them to go anywhere, but, much to my amazement, people seem to like them. I’ve sold several hundred copies through my Etsy Shop and to retail outlets around my home state. I even have a children’s book publisher interested in them. How’s that for unexpected? In addition to the book projects, I’ve been exploring different expressions and representations of my photography and have stumbled upon a technique that turns my photographs into watercolors. No, I’m not painting them (alas, painting isn’t one of my talents), but they are my unique creations. I do them because they make me happy. Surprisingly, they make other people happy too. I’ve been selling these prints through my Etsy Shop and a local business owner even commissioned me to create several dozen pieces for one of their vacation rental properties. Out of this project I produced a watercolor of an Anole Lizard. Let me say, if I hadn’t been asked specifically to create this particular piece, I wouldn’t have. It’s rather random and not a subject I would expect other people to find interesting. But, the customer loved it and purchased one for her property. Since I had it, I decided to add it to the offerings in my Etsy Shop and much to my amazement, it’s become my number one seller. I’m going to chalk it up to the COVID Phenomenon… Given the opportunity to try something we might not have tried otherwise, we just might stumble upon the incredible.
It’s a great life lesson… be open to the possibilities, and just because everyone is doing things one way, doesn’t mean the "wrong" way isn’t the right way. For me, I’m going to keep trying new things based on what interests me and just because it’s never been done, hopefully, won’t hold me back. Here’s wishing you new and unexpected opportunities and adventures!
Share the Beauty of Nature with Your Child!
Nature is Amazing
These beautiful books by writer and photographer Cheryl Johnson, are designed to not only engage your child but to encourage their imagination, exploration, and discovery of the world around us.