The character in the story

This month on The Art of Storytelling Facebook page, we are focusing on The Character in the Story.

Whether through individual details like idiosyncrasies, activities, fashion and expressions
or through universal themes and motifs, we want to see how you build character in your images.

My main subjects, my kids, are some serious characters, and I love to capture their individual personalities.

My daughter is hilarious, a risk-taker and super determined — this girl never gives up!
She rarely slows down, unless it’s to sleep or spend time lining up 3 full tins of bandaids on her legs.



My son is social, curious and energetic, but he slows down often because his imagination draws him into details.
He hones in on the beauty of nature, getting lost in a swirl of oil in a water puddle or the changing shapes of the clouds.




cartwheel at splash pad

In addition to their individual personalities, I like to use elements to highlight common childhood themes.

Bright and primary colors to express the whimsy of childhood



Scale or negative space to highlight a little kid in a big world



Movement to express the carefree nature of childhood




We can’t wait to meet the characters in your life through your own images!
You can join The Art of Storytelling Facebook page here

A year of stories 35/52

5x5 frame7

After you read about our week, follow the circle, starting with the talented Allison Gipson.

The men headed to Home Depot for a Dangerous Book for Boys project,
so M and I decided to go on our own adventure!

Smack dab in the middle of post is this awesome area that we call, “The Forest.”
We drive by it often, but she had never been in.

As we stepped into the trees, she felt a little unsure.
I told her there were several exits, one of which led to a playground.


Pretty soon, she was out in front of me, exploring, pointing out birds and butterflies, and collecting treasures.




“This acorn is for Brother!  He will be so excited!”


“It’s a grasshopper, but he’s hiding.”

“Look, Mom, I found a broom stick!”


As we got deeper into the trees, she decided she had had enough.
“Let’s go, Momma.  Where is that playground?”





When we got home, she dug out her smock and we painted our adventure.




Her painting was way better than mine.
This one’s getting framed.


September 6, 2016 - 7:29 am

September – {} - […] Now head over to my super talented friend and instructor at In Beauty and Chaos, Mel Karlberg […]

A year of stories 34/52

5x5 frame7

After you read our story, follow the circle, starting with my friend Julie Mak.

It was like a page from my childhood this weekend.

Even though we’ve been living in my hometown for a couple of months,
this is the first time my kids experienced these things that I did as a kid.

So much has changed, but very much has stayed the same.

I can’t even count the number of pictures of me and my sister feeding the ducks at this park.
I got chills watching their excitement as the ducks approached them,
tentatively holding the bread, considering letting the ducks eat out of their hands
before deciding at the last minute to just throw it (just like we did as kids — those ducks can be aggressive!).



One of the things that has changed – the awesomeness of the playground here!
This is Ninja Warrior level!  I think we had some swings and a teeter-totter.




Prairie Dogs
I can’t see a prairie dog without thinking of my childhood.
The sight of them all, with their little heads sticking up all around the field!


I didn’t remember them being this timid, but they chirp warnings to one another
and hide at the slightest human approach.
M is patiently waited for this one to return.


After the park, we moved on to the Wichita Mountains Wildlife Refuge.


We didn’t see any buffalo, but those longhorn were right up next to the road!


Next stop – Holy City
It was so cool watching my kids climb the stairs and see these sites for the first time.






A blast to my childhood past would not be complete without a trip to the top of Mount Scott.
I remember dropping my Thermos from these rocks and watching it slowly crash and shatter on the way down.
I’m not sure, but that may have been the start of my fear of heights.
My kids do not share that fear AT. ALL.





On the drive home, I asked H if he had ever “hand surfed” out the car window.

I’m totally dragging them to the Museum of the Great Plains next week!


August 31, 2016 - 4:21 am

Cynthia - What a beautiful week down memory lane! I’m sure doing these things with them was super special.

A year of stories 33/52

5x5 framenew


Atfer you read our story, follow the circle of this insanely talented group of photographers, starting with one of my very favorites, Tess Runion.
He’s growing up.
He’s not just wearing bigger clothes and losing his boyish features.
He’s really growing up.

He didn’t need me to walk him to his classroom this year.
He has opinions and expresses them.
He is becoming his own person.

This is good.  I know this is the right direction.  But I am not ready for it.

It’s complicated.
I want him to become a man.
I want him to be confident in his decisions.
I want him to be independent.
I want him to need me,
but I’m also terrified that I won’t always know the answers.
If my words did glow with the gold of sunshine
And my tunes were played on the harp unstrung,

Would you hear my voice come through the music?
Would you hold it near as it were your own?

It’s a hand-me-down, the thoughts are broken,
Perhaps they’re better left unsung.

I don’t know, don’t really care
Let there be songs to fill the air.


Ripple in still water,
When there is no pebble tossed,
Nor wind to blow.


Reach out your hand if your cup be empty,
If your cup is full may it be again,
Let it be known there is a fountain,
That was not made by the hands of men.


There is a road, no simple highway,
Between the dawn and the dark of night,
And if you go no one may follow,
That path is for your steps alone.


Ripple in still water,
When there is no pebble tossed,
Nor wind to blow.
You, who choose to lead, must follow
But if you fall you fall alone.
If you should stand then who’s to guide you?

If I knew the way I would take you home.


Ripple – lyrics by Jerry Garcia and Robert Hunter


August 23, 2016 - 2:21 pm

Julie Mak » A Year of Stories [week 32] - […] When you’re finished, please be sure to go around our Year of Stories circle. The talented Mel Karlberg is up […]

August 23, 2016 - 8:57 pm

Renee - I just love your reflection shots! I really need to try this one day! And watching them grow up is just SO HARD.

August 24, 2016 - 3:25 am

Carey Pace - These was a much more significant feel to your images this week, Mel, that completely coincides with the prose you put with them. Very, very beautiful and thought provoking images this week.

August 24, 2016 - 11:13 am

Cynthia - Such a beautiful sentiment along with images this week Mel.