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 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 2016.



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 ever-changing dynamics of a workshop setting. All of my workshops include topics about which I am passionate, from Photographic history to mixed media artistic expressions and fostering creativity.  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 2016!


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

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Creativity for Women

September 17 – 22, 2017.  E/L Ranch. Greenough, Montana.

Instructors: Eileen Rafferty and Elizabeth Stone

Many think artistic talent and creativity are gifts bestowed upon us. In reality, vision and creativity can be nurtured with dedication and determination. Author Clarissa Pinkola Estes (Women Who Run with the Wolves) described Creativity as a river that runs below – all we need to do is step into the river.

In this workshop exclusively for women, we focus on opening the pathways to creativity in our lives. We come together as a community to enhance your personal creativity and explore new ways of seeing. Located in a special retreat setting in beautiful western Montana, this experience allows you to step away from your daily life to enjoy time and space to nurture your creative self. You will be encouraged to find and follow your individual artistic path, and map out a direction for when your life beyond the retreat.

This workshop provides us with a clearer understanding of what creativity is to each of us. Through our relationship with photography and our intuition living as women, we can begin to visualize what we want our images to be and say. The week includes photographing, group discussions and creative exercises. 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. Please note that rates at the E/L are all inclusive.


Testimonials from workshop participants:

“Eileen and Elizabeth are wonderful nurturing artists/instructors. I came away with a renewed interest in creating art – not just picture taking. I will definitely take this workshop again as it was equal parts education and retreat.”  – Stephanie M.

“This was more than a workshop, this was a life experience! I gained the knowledge and confidence to push my work to a new level. Thank you for reinforcing in me the need to make art! The workshop was empowering and transformative.”  – Sue L.

“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, please fill out the form from the ‘Register’ button below. Or for more information, please contact Elizabeth or Eileen.

Cost for Workshop: $1595. A deposit of $450 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

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Alumni: Creativity for Women

May 1 – 6, 2017. Methow Valley, Washington.

Instructors: Eileen Rafferty & Elizabeth Stone.


Join us in the Methow Valley of Washington for our third Alumni Creativity for Women gathering. The Methow Valley sits on the eastern side of the North Cascade mountains offering stunning vistas with high altitude lakes, waterfalls and green hillsides of wildflowers. The twin villages of Twisp and Winthrop have small town charm, local eateries, eclectic shops and a flourishing artist community. The workshop will be held at the Sun Mountain Lodge, a hidden gem on the edge of Patterson Lake. Accommodations include private cabins on the lake or rooms in the contemporary yet rustic lodge.

This workshop is exclusively for Alumni of our Creativity for Women workshops. In our time together we expand further on our quest for self expression and living a creative life. We gather as a community of women who share the dedication and desire to nurture our creative paths. The week includes group discussions, photographic explorations, creative exercises, outdoor activities and critiques. In this special workshop we continue to provide a new visual environment as well as fresh ideas and exercises to further build on our experiences and growth from previous Creativity workshops.


Testimonials from workshop participants:

“Amazing, wonderful, touching, transformative, life changing…There is no end to the adjectives that I could us to describe this experience. Elizabeth and Eileen create the most incredible environment for personal, creative growth and all of the women who participate help further create this magical environment. This is a safe place, full of love and support and guidance and the occasional (and much needed) kick in the butt!”  – Deb I.

“It’s not just a photographic experience but also a journey in discovering creativity.”  – Anna S.

“I most appreciated Elizabeth and Eileen’s insights into my fears and concerns about making more artistic photos. They brought a new perspective that helped me understand myself better and reframed my ‘problems’ as part of the creative process. Thanks for leading me towards making more personal images.”  – Kathy E.

“Eileen and Elizabeth provide their expertise and professional guidance throughout the week in ways that reconnect us to things we know as well as things we need to know to continue our creative journey. They lay out an amazing road map for each participant that gets each and every one of us heading in the right direction. Thank you for all that you do and all that you give. I so greatly appreciate you both personally and professionally.”  – Fatima D.



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

Cost for Workshop: $1595.  A deposit of $450 is due at time of registration.


Images of the beautiful Methow Valley above.


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

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The Handmade Photograph

September 25 – 29, 2017.  Missoula, Montana.

Instructors: Eileen Rafferty and Elizabeth Stone.

Photography in the past was a medium of film, papers, chemicals and hands-on applications.
Today, there are still so many ways to work with materials to create a unique print while getting a bit messy! Join us for a long weekend of exploring creative ways to print and present your photographs. During our time together, we experiment with historical darkroom printing methods as well as printing on non-traditional surfaces, including specialty papers, wood, canvas, metal and glass. Materials for printing are provided as well as access to traditional art supplies and large format printers. No prior printing experience is necessary.

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


Testimonials from workshop 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, please fill out the form from the ‘Register’ button below. Or for more information, please contact Elizabeth or Eileen.

Cost for Workshop: $1595. Includes materials for alternative printing.  A deposit of $450 is due at time of registration.

View images from previous years’ workshops for inspiration.




“Our duty is to experiment.” – Alexander Rodchenko

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Seeing in Black and White

October 8 – 13. 2017. Seeley Lake, Montana.

Instructors: Eileen Rafferty & Elizabeth Stone

Black and white photography still inspires and fascinates in the colorful world we live in today. This workshop is an in depth exploration of the fascinating world of black and white photography. We begin by gaining inspiration from innovative figures in photographic history and exploring ways to visualize our color world through black and white eyes. Learning to see in this new way will also enhance your color photography by honing your ability to see photographs through texture, lines, shapes and tones. We will explore techniques for converting photographs to beautiful grayscale images in addition to mimicking creative darkroom techniques in a digital workflow.

Both Elizabeth and Eileen’s formative years in photography were in the traditional wet darkroom and each has worked and taught extensively in black and white film. Eileen was also a professional darkroom printer in Washington, DC for clients such as National Geographic, the Smithsonian and the White House. This class will take place at the historic Double Arrow Lodge in Seeley Lake, Montana. Autumn in Western Montana is the perfect time to train our eyes to view the world in a new way. Among the Big Sky vistas, we’ll expand the way you envision your black and white images and inspire creative paths to explore this exciting medium.



To register, please fill out the form from the ‘Register’ button below. Or for more information, please contact Elizabeth or Eileen.

Cost for Workshop: $1595. A deposit of $450 is due at time of registration.


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Rocky Mountain School of Photography. Missoula, MT. October 3, 2016.

7-9pm: Opportunities in the Art World.


Society of Photographic Educators Regional Conference. Seattle, WA. November 3-6, 2016.

Evolving Craft and Concept. Artist Presentation.



B&H Event Space. New York, NY. November 15, 2016.

1pm to 3pm:  The Creative Muse.

4pm to 6pm:  Learning the Language of a Photograph.



Nature Visions Photo Expo.  November 18 – 20, 2016.

Hylton Peforming Arts Center. George Mason University. Manassas, VA.

Seeing in Black and White.

Visual Design of a Photograph.

Nature Visions features two full days of lectures by noted photographers, preceded by a full-day seminar on Friday by an internationally known photographer and teacher. Speakers are locally and nationally known photographers with expertise in a variety of fields. Our vendors sell and demonstrate the latest photography equipment, supplies and workshops.



MOLLI at the University of Montana. January 17 – February 24, 2017.

Todd Building. University of Montana. Missoula, MT.

The Creative Muse in Artmaking.

In this inspirational lecture series we will explore the influence of the creative muse in artmaking by studying artist-muse pairs throughout art/photographic history. I will also present my work over the last decade and discuss how the muse has inspired the ideas, evolution and process.

Details to come.



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

  • Creativity for Women

    Creativity for Women

  • Alumni: Creativity for Women

    Alumni: Creativity for Women

  • The Handmade Photograph

    The Handmade Photograph

  • Seeing in Black and White

    Seeing in Black and White

  • 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