The Arcanum: Lauri Novak

Being a Master in The Arcanum 

First, those of you who follow this blog know that I’m one of the 6 original Inception Masters in the Arcanum.
Back when it all first started, I wrote a two-part blog post about what it all meant to me: The Arcanum, Magical Academy of Artistic Mastery.

I’m including these links on each of these highlight posts, since new folks are coming on board every week. Wouldn’t want to leave you guys out!
Click here for Part One
Click here for Part Two.

Now, 9 months later, I’m highlighting my Level 20 grads on my blog. I’m doing it because each of them has been on an incredible journey of spirit, soul and creativity. Their stories need to be shared. I’m doing it because they were the first bunch to take the leap of faith when the Arcanum was still a baby in beta. I think each one’s story is incredibly inspiring, each in their own unique way.

So far, I’ve shared the journeys of  Sandra CarlockDave Garber and Bob Young.


Meet Lauri Novak


Lauri is from just outside of Chicago – and came to us by way of my friend Ron Clifford. She had been a part of his well-known Mentorship for Photographers program on Google+ and I wanted a willing Apprentice who had been part of a G+ Community before and knew the ropes. Our intrepid Cohort was one of the first 6 beta groups to enter the mighty Arcanum. So we had that newness to contend with; plus a bunch of my new Apprentices had never spent much time on Google+ OR in online communities. I knew if we had an awesome veteran in our midst, conversations and comfort levels might start sooner… and the stage would be properly set for Awesomeness. So Ron suggested Lauri. I thank him to this day!!

She jumped in there, making supportive comments, suggesting ideas, asking questions… helping to establish the sort of curious, open-minded and forward-moving energy that my Cohort has become known for. We were off on our big adventure!

Lauri came to us with experience: she had already established her website: Lauri Novak Photography, a blog, as well doing shoots at local cyclocross & bicycle competitions and events. She started out this journey a little more established in some ways than the rest of the gang. But like any smart artist, she was – and is – still open to learn more.

Landscape to Mindscape

Now initially, our cohort had chosen Landscape photography as the discipline. Everybody needed work in this area. But what became clear to me as we went along was that each person’s landscape work would get better if we zeroed in on what each person’s individual ‘voice’ was, discover their particular gifts in how they saw through the lens. Everyone has that!

But too often, that quiet voice gets lost amidst the din of worrying if we have the right gear, if we’re as good as so-and-so, and on and on in that never-ending siren song of the dreaded Comparison. I wanted my cohort to find their OWN voice amidst the clatter. So we ended up thinking of our ultimate discipline being more along the lines of  “Mindscape”. I’m still not sure who coined that one first!

Lauri has a particular gift for moments that involve people and architecture. In the beginning, her landscape work lacked focus, IMO (the compositional kind, not the lens kind!)… but anything she does involving humans and strong lines is utterly unique and thought-provoking.

This was an early landscape – which is not shabby at all…

Denali National Park Range & Sky

But here’s what Lauri’s eye and imagination drift to naturally:

I love her eye and sensibilities and sure as heck didn’t want to get in the way of them! So I didn’t. And I loved seeing her strong and consistent ‘voice’ start showing up in ALL of her photos in the course of our time together: (and in SOOO many more examples besides just these!)


Meet Me in Las Vegas

Y’know what’s REALLY fun? It’s when we get to Hang Out in Real Life!! (H.I.R.L.)
Lauri and I got a chance to do that in Las Vegas at Photoshop World… to which she won a ticket this past fall! We had an absolute blast, as you can see… (this was AFTER hours, of course! hehheh). It was fun to introduce her to some of my besties and watch them fall in love with her super smart, down-to-earth humor and sensibilities, just as all of us in our Cohort had done.

Life is just so amazing to me sometimes! The way awesome things happen just by doing what love to do most. My Mother always said that was the way of things… turns out she was right, AGAIN!

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The Final Presentation

Final Presentations were something I came up with as a final wrap-up for all of our Level 20 graduates. It’s a completion of sorts. A moment where each person gets to stop for a minute, look back, smile and acknowledge how far they’ve come. We all need to do that in our growth! It’s important to acknowledge and celebrate our special moments and wins, especially if we want to have more of them. And for the rest of us in the Cohort, it’s been a chance to applaud each person graduating and say “Well done!” These presentations are always very personal and heartful.  I’m sharing each one, but only on my blog. It’s always in the spirit ‘stay on your path’ – stay focused – and celebrate each step and win, no matter how small or large.

So for her Final Presentation… Lauri shared her photographic journey, both before and during the KHutt Cohort of Awesomeness, along with the simple guide she created for having a successful Art Fair experience. Our entire cohort wanted her to create that, since they want to learn  – and she’s got the most experience. Her strong marketing and trade show chops from her professional life means she does them right!
Finally, she shared where she hopes to go from here.

It’s been such an honor to share Lauri Novak with you.. and it’s been an even bigger honor to have her in my cohort these past 9 months. I can wait to see where she goes next!!