Wonder South

Surplus & Sight

Dispatch 10: Submerged in the moment

Words and Photographs CAYLA ZEEK

Daydreams and walkabouts ~ They spark the creative's heart, and Lafayette, Louisiana-based painter and illustrator Cayla Zeek is no exception. See her fine art here, and check out her quality printed goods and apparel, released as Mattea's Hand, too. Below she shares with Wonder South some of her favorite places to roam...



I often go out to Lake Martin by myself or sometimes with a close friend. I take long walks with my camera, but mainly I am experiencing what is happening around me: the insect sounds, the plants shifting with the wind, the birds flying, the fear of encountering a snake, the foggy distant cypress trees, and alligators disappearing into murky water. My head is clear and I become like a child playing outdoors, fully submerged in the moment. 

I spend so much time being nostalgic or worrying about the future, that I forget to enjoy what is happening - Life. Being in nature alongside creating allows me to exist in my most natural state and feel truth. At times, it's scary to allow myself to be consumed in the outdoors or in my work, but I am happiest when I relinquish the fear, push past the doubt and charge forward.


I like to bring my friends as models, because I'm no professional photographer, but I love taking photographs and use the media to inspire my paintings and drawings. 

Rip Van Winkle Gardens is near where my friend Dylan Norris lives in New Iberia, and she is my favorite model to work with. She photographs stunningly, and we are very comfortable with each other which makes taking pictures a dream. We switch spots behind the camera sometimes and she's gotten some great shots of me also. 

"When the weather is fair and settled, they are clothed in blue and purple, and print their bold outlines on the clear evening sky...

But sometimes, when the rest of the landscape is cloudless, they will gather a hood of grey vapors about their summits, which, in the last rays of the setting sun, will glow and light up like a crown of glory."

~ Washington Irving, Rip Van Winkle