art. words. photographs. consult.

consulting: philosophy + practice

I am an artist and teacher and am fascinated with the artistic process. I have been watching, studying, experiencing and questioning the creative path for many years. Helping others with their process feels natural and satisfying.

The idea behind creative consulting is to help you identify, move towards and attain your creative goals as a visual artist and/or professional. On this path, a little outside perspective and motivation can be a catalyst, whether that takes the shape of a little nudge or a push off the proverbial cliff! Creativity is a trait that can to be recognized, exercised and fostered. I feel it is essential for image-making,  artistic vision, portfolio development, marketing, and overall business and artistic development.

My guidance has included writing artist statements, exhibition planning and preparation, image and portfolio critiques, developing and completing creative work/goals, website aesthetics and portfolio planning, exposure to historical and contemporary photographers, creative marketing for personal business and creative photographic assignments.


I offer consulting and also teach workshops for several schools around the country. Below is what’s on the list for 2014.



Three Month Consult*/Seven sessions…$1500

Six Month Consult*/Fourteen sessions…$3000

*Generally sessions are via Skype, every other week.

Long term consults (three and six month) involve long term guidance and mentoring. Much work and research is done outside our ‘face to face’ discussions, and I am available to contact between sessions. Hourly sessions are billed each hour I am working with the client as well as additional time spent outside of meetings.


To me, teaching is another creative endeavor. Finding interesting and effective ways to help students understand concepts, exercise imagination and develop a personal vision are my goals. I love the personal interaction and everchanging dynamics of a workshop setting. All of my workshops for 2013 entail content for which I am passionate and knowledgeable, from travel in the Pacific Northwest Islands to Mixed Media artistic expressions and fostering creativity.  In 2013, I’m also excited to announce two new workshops I will be co-teaching with Elizabeth Stone, an inspiring and prolific instructor, artist and friend. For more information, please read more below, in the Workshops section.


Butterflies and Anvils:

I also publish a quarterly magazine, Butterflies and Anvils, a photographic journal about inspiration and art. Each issue features photographs, creative writing, articles about photography and the creative process, artist portfolios and interviews, and musings on traveling the artistic path.

Individual issues are available for preview and/or purchase here.

“Art is not meant to be made in stolen moments only.” – Clarissa Pinkola Estes

workshops: inspiration + understanding

Workshops are a fantastic and dynamic way to learn. Each week involves classroom time, field shoots, creative assignments and lively critiques. I strive to educate, inspire and foster creativity and personal vision. Read more details and view images below for workshops on the schedule for 2014 thus far!


“You can’t make an architect. But you can open the doors and windows towards the light as you see it.”
- Frank Lloyd Wright

Close Project

Creativity for Women

September 6 – 11. 2015. E/L Ranch. Greenough, Montana.

Instructors: Eileen Rafferty and Elizabeth Stone

Many think that artistic talent and creativity are gifts that are inherent and natural. In reality, artistic vision and creativity is like any other skill – learned with the proper resources, hard work and dedication. Clarissa Pinkola Estes (author of Women Who Run with the Wolves) described creativity as a river that runs below. To begin the creative process, she urges that all we must do is step into the river.

In this workshop exclusively for women, we will spend time working on how to be more creative with our photographs and condition ourselves to continuously step into that river. In the beautiful western Montana landscape, Elizabeth and Eileen, experienced veterans of the ups and downs of the creative photographic process, will help you define your artistic style and tap into your creativity. Each student will be encouraged to identify where in the artistic process she is, and where each would like to go.

Through this class, we can begin to map out an artistic path and a clearer understanding of what creativity is to each of us, and how we can reach for it. Through our technical understanding of photography and our intuition living as women, we can began to visualize what we want our photographs to be and say. The week will include photographic assignments, field shoots, lecture and in-class creative exercises and discussions. Please come with your camera and an open mind!

Classes, lodging and meals will all take place at the E/L Ranch, a rustic yet elegant ranch in Western Montana, app. one hour east of Missoula.


Testimonials from participants:

“The E/L Ranch is a perfect hideaway to explore new creative techniques and ideas away from daily concerns. Elizabeth and Eileen are kind, compassionate, talented, helpful artists and teachers. You couldn’t ask for better guides along the creative path.”  – Kathy E.

“The Creativity for Women workshop was more than I expected. I was able to try new ways of seeing in a very comfortable and supportive environment. Both Eileen and Elizabeth are so supportive and at the same time, create challenging creative exercises which are enlightening and thought provoking. I hope to do this workshop again. It was truly an experience I will treasure for a long time.”  – Rita P.

“My week with Eileen and Elizabeth has been incredible. Every day I was challenged and inspired while being reminded of technical aspects, aesthetics and equally important my passion for photography. This dynamic duo have masterfully created a program designed by creative women to inspire, motivate and educate women about their photography and artistic journey. One of the most valuable weeks in my personal photographic journey.”  – Fatima D.

“Elizabeth and Eileen’s workshops presentations and exercises have inspired me to see photography in an entirely new light.”  Suzy W.



To register or for more information, please contact Elizabeth or Eileen at either contact below.

Cost for Workshop: $1395. A deposit of $350 is due at time of registration.


View images by Eileen, Elizabeth and past participants above for inspiration.




“The mystery isn’t in the technique, it’s in each of us.” – Harry Callahan

Close Project

Alternative Printing

September 14 -  19. 2015. Missoula, Montana.

Instructors: Eileen Rafferty and Elizabeth Stone.

Photography used to be a medium of film, papers, chemicals and hands on applications. These materials have been replaced by pixels, hard drives and glowing screens. For those who love hands on work and getting a bit messy, there’s alternative printing and mixed media.

In this workshop, we will teach  methods for alternative printing and presentations with our photographs. This would include methods for printing on alternative surfaces (wood, glass, textured papers, etc.), image transfers, darkroom UV processes, and working three-dimensionally with our images. Participants will be given a packet of alternative papers and materials for printing as well as access to traditional art mediums, transfer materials and large format Epson and Canon printers. Not only is mixed media fun and satisfying but it can also be another expression of communication through our choice of materials. We will discuss a workflow of developing a concept and choosing the appropriate materials for expressing that idea with photography as a baseline.

Elizabeth and Eileen have over 35 years combined photography, printing and teaching experience. Both have an affinity for exploring alternative materials to express their ideas, while staying true to their love of the photographic image.

In our own work, we have used paint, wood, glass, metal, wire, handmade papers, gel medium, handmade screens, photo-emulsion silkscreens, text, vinyl adhesives, transfers, video projections and audio in two and three-dimensional installations. We will guide students to complete a final mixed media piece from concept to finished work throughout the week.


Testimonials from 2013 participants:

“Elizabeth and Eileen provided a truly one of a kind experience for me. The possibilities, exposure to materials and processes along with their guidance and expertise along the way made this one of the most significant and impactful workshops I’ve taken in years. It’s a must for the photographer who wants to share images in a creative way.” – Fatima D.

“I loved this class! Elizabeth and Eileen really got my creative juices going. The sky really is the limit. Like something? Print on it! Thanks, ladies. ” – Nancy E.


To register or for more information, please contact Elizabeth or Eileen at either contact below.

Cost for Workshop: $1595. Includes materials for alternative printing.  A deposit of $350 is due at time of registration.

View images from previous years’ workshop for inspiration.




“Our duty is to experiment.” – Alexander Rodchenko

Close Project

Alumni: Creativity for Women

May 3 – May 9. 2015. Orcas Island, Washington.

Instructors: Eileen Rafferty & Elizabeth Stone.

Join us in the beautiful San Juan Islands off the coast of Washington State. We will come together on Orcas Island at the Doe Bay Resort, a quiet, wooded coastal retreat on over thirty-eight acres of waterfront property with spectacular views of the majestic yet serene northwestern landscape.

This workshop is exclusively for Alumni of our Creativity for Women workshops. Our intention is to create an environment similar to the original workshop, but here we plan  to expand further on our quest for self expression and creativity. We also anticipate coming together as a unique community of women who together share the dedication and desire to nurturing our creative lives.

The general structure will be familiar: lectures, field shoots, creativity exercises, outdoor activities and critiques. In the Alumni workshop however we hope to provide a new visual environment as well as fresh ideas and exercises to further build on what we learned at the E/L Ranch in Montana.

Orcas Island is the largest of the San Juan Islands, with beautiful fire orange madronas trees gracing rocky coastlines, quaint villages (Olga, Eastsound, Doe Bay) and beautiful Moran State Park containing Mount Constitution, the highest point in the San Juan islands. We chose Doe Bay for its stunning views yet quiet, rustic and magical atmosphere. We feel it is an ideal place to unwind, dig in and tap into our creative selves.

For more information on Doe Bay Resort and Retreat, please visit the link below.

To register or for more information, please contact Elizabeth or Eileen at either contact below.

Cost for Workshop: $1495.  A deposit of $350 is due at time of registration.


Images of the beautiful San Juan Islands above.


“Seeing is not enough; you have to feel what you photograph.” – Andre Kertesz

Close Project




B&H Event Space. New York, NY. March 19, 2015.

1pm to 3pm:  Ritual + Curiosity.

4pm to 6pm:  Topics to be Announced

For more information, go here.


The Center for Creative & Healing Ats.  January 29 – February 19, 2015.

Creative Photoshop Techniques.

In this class we will unleash the creative potential for this powerful program. We will work with Adobe Photoshop 2014CC to explore creative possibilities with our images, mimicking traditional darkroom techniques, enhancing and creating lighting in our photographs, and transforming images int0 truly creative stories.

Thursdays, 12-2PM.

For more information, go here.



Emerald Art Center. Eugene, OR.  July 24-27, 2015

Depicting Dreams and Memories.

In this class we will explore how to create images depicting our dreams or memories. This could be in a very literal way or through metaphor and symbolism. We will examine other artists and images working in this genre. This workshop will also involve critiques and field shoots.

For more information, go here.





“To see far is one thing, to go there is another.” – Brancusi

  • Creativity for Women

    Creativity for Women

  • Alternative Printing

    Alternative Printing

  • Alumni: Creativity for Women

    Alumni: Creativity for Women

  • Lectures


clients: testimonials + images

“The opportunity to work with Eileen Rafferty came to me at a perfect time. I was at the point with my photography where I was ready to hang up my camera . . . not because the passion was gone but because I was frustrated by my lack of direction and progress. I couldn’t have asked for a better motivator, teacher and encourager. Eileen has an uncanny grasp of the creative process and firsthand experience with the intricacies and unpredictability of the artistic journey. She is unfailingly generous in sharing her wealth of knowledge.

She is a gifted artist, but more than that, she lives her craft. Not just passion or vocation,  photography and art are a lifestyle for Eileen. I feel very fortunate to be able to work with her and look forward to seeing where the path leads me.”

- Vicki Tillard


“When I went to Eileen for help, I felt that my website was 90% complete. Her immeasurable help with editing, sequencing, and categorizing my images got that last 10% done. My website is so much better than it would have been without her consultations.

I wouldn’t want to attend a portfolio review event without first consulting Eileen. She helps me to take an abstract idea of what I want to present and make it into a tangible body of work.

Eileen’s knowledge of art history and current trends, as well as her keen eye for editing, sequencing, and getting the overall picture have helped my photography considerably.”

- Doug Ness


“EIleen Rafferty is an inspiring photography educator.  Eileen’s diverse artistic knowledge, teaching style and passion for photography encourages students of all levels to excel with whatever camera they have in their hands, from a Holga to the latest DSLR.  She has the rare ability to encourage students to “push the envelope” with their art, keep an open mind and be willing to express themselves without guarding the outcome.  Eileen is able to put aside her own photographic style to help students develop theirs.  She is available, highly organized and smart about all things photographic.  Eileen has the knowledge to assist with technical issues from exposure to video, the artistic talent to create moving images and the ability to teach both.”

- Elizabeth Stone


“As a photographer, I needed an artist statement to enter my work into certain venues, but I struggled with the wording. I can’t say enough about the excellent work that Eileen has done on my statement. She took a below average statement and transformed it into an appealing and informative artist statement. She listened to my thoughts and suggestions, then worked her magic, and far surpassed my expectations.”

- Bob Bertrand



“When inspiration does not come to me, I go halfway to meet it.” – Sigmund Freud

what is creativity: ritual + curiosity

Ah – the burning question…what IS creativity? How does one find the motivation, ideas and inspiration over a lifetime of work and image making? I have been exploring this process of image making and the evolution of the artistic path for fifteen years. I have interviewed, observed and taught creative types keeping a keen eye on process.  I have devoured endless books, written probing articles and struggled alone in the field, in the studio and in my heart and head. I have formulated some answers.

Why do we make creative work? Because we have something to say, show or express.

How do we make creative work? Through practice, perseverance, curiosity, improvisation and hard work.

Who gets to make this creative work? Anyone who has the desire and wants to learn how.




“An artist has to have friends who lift the spirit.” – Marina Abramovic

who i am: art + life

Photography for me has included everything from being a custom darkroom printer for clients such as National Geographic and the Smithsonian, to video installation, mixed media, studying photographic history and welcoming any new way to explore this fascinating medium and its rich presence in our culture.

My materials include cameras of any sort, 8mm film, video, family photographs, photo illustrations or images born from writing and the stories in my head.

I also like old typewriters, unexpected loveletters, the Big Dipper, airplane windows and red dogs.

I believe in making meaningful work and learning something new every day. I also believe that we can all grow creatively with ritual, hard work, a bit of serendipity and an occasional outside nudge. For my work, I find the ideas evolve or revert, the materials baffle or comfort, and the process challenges or steadies. But in the end, it always seems the images, words and relationships are what matter most.

I have degrees in Human Physiology (BS) and Photography/Film (MFA). My home base is Missoula, Montana.

I teach for The Art Institute, University of Montana, Maine Media Workshops, and Rocky Mountain School of Photography.

I also contribute to B&H Insights blog, RMSP’s Paper Airplanes blog and publish a magazine called Butterflies and Anvils, a photographic journal about inspiration and art.


Please feel free to contact me with any questions.




“I am an artist. I am here to live out loud.” – Emile Zola