Happy New Year!

Happy 2017 everyone! I am celebrating with the launch of my new website! A lot of work went into it over the past month and a half, but I am so proud of how it turned out.

We've all heard in the news about what a disaster this past year was. And we have to admit, it was pretty dismal with all of the deaths, terror attacks, war in Syria, and the election. But I'm trying to stay positive and reflect on all of the good that happened. I began the year committing to draw in my sketchbook every day and while I didn't make that goal, I achieved much more than I could have ever imagined. My work has progressed immensely and I no longer sit there terrified of a blank page.

Here's what I managed to do in 2016:

  • I drew or painted consecutively for the first 100 days of the year and then continued to create regularly multiple times a week after that
  • I grew my Instagram following from 200 to over 1K
  • I had my best year in sales
  • I had my first solo show at a gallery
  • My cousin-in-law helped me make my first promo video
  • I made my biggest painting yet and documented it through a time-lapse video
  • I did my first artist residency
  • I revamped my website thanks to GoLiveHQ <3
  • Oh and I worked my full time job :)

As much as I love what I do, it was hard to get up every morning at 5am to paint and to dedicate whole weekends to art making.  But looking back, each choice I made to sit down and make something, although it was hard in the moment, as soon as I started putting brush to surface I lost myself in the moment and let the joy of creating take over. And all of the small efforts added up to so much over the year.

Making time for the things we love is hard. There are so many other important things grabbing for our time. But there are also so many unimportant things we spend time on that we could cut out; TV, mindless web surfing, games on our phone, all things I am so guilty of but that don't make my life any richer.

This year, I will have even less time for art because Marc and I are getting married (YAY!!) and I am going to be writing my interior design licensing exam so I am going to need to get even more ruthless about how I choose to spend my time. This past year has helped show me that the small choices I make every day really do make a difference.

I can't wait to see what this year will bring and although I won't be making as much work,  I am still committing to showing up everyday and doing at least one thing, whether I share it or not. I am so proud of all I have accomplished this past year and am excited to keep up this momentum.

I encourage you to guard your time along with me this year and make time for the things that really matter to you. Little by little small choices make big results. Thanks so much for following along with me. Here's to an awesome 2017!

Day 100!

Today marks day 100 of my goal to draw or paint every day in 2016 and I haven't missed a day yet! It has been a roller coaster! I started an amazing new job in January and I knew it was going to be a struggle to continue making art while working full time so this challenge was a way to keep myself motivated and progressing as an artist.

When I started the challenge, I decided I would wake up early and draw/paint in my sketchbook before work because I knew I would be too tired when I got home and that has seemed to work well. At first it was an adjustment to be waking up so early and I often struggle with not knowing what to draw or how to start so early in the morning, but it has developed into precious, quiet, creative time that I look forward to each morning. It means that I am filled up creatively before tacking the day and I find that makes me a much better person.

What is really cool is seeing my progression in style from when I started to now. My drawings at the beginning look awkward and not very cared for or developed. Where now I see that I can make fewer marks to get my point across and that makes the drawings more sophisticated to me. Even though I feel like I start the same way every day,  no two drawings ever end up the same which is pretty awesome. Varying the colours and perspectives and changing from using photo references to making things up in my head seems to help with getting good variety. And when I am working on larger pieces, I feel more confident in my decision making, where I am putting colours, marks and the overall composition.

I would encourage anyone who wants to develop their style, doing one small thing every day goes a long way. It is hard and a lot of the time you don't feel like doing it but the only way you can make progress is slow and steady.

Here are my top 10 favorite drawings from the first 100 days.

Thanks for following along! I hope you feel inspired to make time to do something you really love every day. <3

The Year of Creative Habits

Sometimes you just need a kick in the pants.

Something to motivate you to get off your butt and make whatever is important to you happen. Sometimes will power isn't enough, you need structure and planning and accountability.

Making and looking at art makes me come alive. It fires me up and fuels me for whatever is happening in my life. I've realized that if I don't have time to create, I feel lost and directionless. I need to make time for making.

But the thing is, I haven't.

I've made excuses and cleaned the house and read piles of books and looked on Pinterest and Instagram for "inspiration" and did just about everything except make stuff of my own. I managed to make some paintings since graduating, but I completely lost my momentum from school. I was doing it every day, and now I paint once a week if I'm lucky.

Sooooooo.... this year I'm doing a challenge. I'm going to make something new Every. Single. Day. And I'm utterly terrified and it feels like it will be insanely hard but I'm so excited.

The program is Crystal Moody's Year of Creative Habits. She's been doing this for two years now, first with a drawing a day and next with a painting a day. I listened to her podcast with Cory Huff on the Abundant Artist and was SO inspired by her discipline. There is a group of people all doing the year of creative habits for 2016, everyone is doing something different, but each of us has committed to something to do each day. I've chosen to take a photo of some part of architecture each day and to do a drawing or painting of the previous day's photo.

I always feel like I never have enough photos and that my photography skills are still pretty amateur so I feel like if I push myself to take a photo every single day, how can I not get better?

House-Dec-28-2015.jpg

I love this quote:

"You will never change your life until you change something you do daily."  --John C. Maxwell

Little by little is how big things happen and I know that if I challenge myself in this small way every single day I will be able to build momentum and grow as an artist. Creativity and growth are two of my biggest core values and those will both be a large part of this year for me.

I'll be posting what I make each day on Instagram and I'll be blogging about how it's going each week so you can follow along with me and keep me accountable. I'll be using hashtag: #yearofcreativehabits and #yoch2016 and you'll be able to see all the other talented folks who are doing the challenge as well. I'm also using Elise Blaha Cripe's daily goal tracker

I'M SO SCARED! But super pumped. Can't wait to see what this year will bring. Stay tuned for the first post which will be from Mont Tremblant! My fiancee Marc and I are headed there to spend New Year's with his siblings for a ski weekend I can't wait!

Happy New Year!!!!

2015 Year in Review and 2016 Goal Setting

So Saturday I told you about how I'm facing my fears. Today, I'm taking one step in that direction by sharing some things that have happened this past year and some goals I've set for myself for the upcoming year.

One of the tendencies I'm trying to rid myself of is always seeing the negative over the positive and so I haven't truly celebrated a lot of the really amazing things that I did this year. So this is me celebrating my achievements WOO HOO!

2015 Wins

  • got engaged to the true love of my life, Marc
  • graduated with my 2nd bachelor's degree (BFA Drawing and Painting)
  • created a body of work, refined my artistic style and direction
  • launched my website
  • featured on Artbomb
  • exhibited in 3 major Toronto art fairs
  • sold 9 paintings in one weekend at one of those art fairs
  • sold my largest and most expensive painting
  • got my first paid commission
  • made lots of amazing friends and connections at art fairs
  • exhibited two pieces in the Mercedes Benz "Experiencing Perspectives" exhibition
  • opened my online shop
  • learned how to use my DSLR and take better photos of my work
  • met Mayor John Tory at the Toronto Outdoor Art Exhibition
  • read all the books on my reading list
  • exhibited in a group show called "City of Art" at Gallery 1313
  • created and launched a small Christmas collection

Ok so now here's me being vulnerable and letting you in on my failures for the year.

What Could Have Gone Better?

  • wasted a lot of time watching TV, social media and playing this stupid ipad game (HayDay)
  • failed to nurture many of my relationships
  • constantly compared myself to others and wasted time and emotional energy feeling inadequate
  • spent lots of time "planning" and not a lot of time doing
  • focused on perfection which prevented me from just getting to work
  • worried constantly which made me not so fun to be around

Goals for 2016

  • top secret year long creative project (so excited about this, details coming next week!)
  • nurture my relationships; being a genuine listener and being fully present
  • face my fears of putting myself out there and doing things anyway even when they're not perfect
  • grow my art sales by creating and following a business/marketing plan
  • post to Instagram and blog consistently
  • save for our wedding and a place of our own
  • hone my photography skills
  • focus on progress not perfection (a la Lara Casey)

I may develop more or cut down depending on how the year goes. But I think this is a good place to start. I don't want to feel too overwhelmed since I will be starting full time work again in January.

Stay tuned for next week when I tell you all about this big project I'm cooking up. I am so excited about it but also really scared because it's going to be a huge commitment and a lot of work, but this 2016 is about doing SCARY things that bring change in big ways :)

 

Get To Work Book

So I finally opened my online shop yayyyyyy! This had been a goal of mine all summer and I had a really difficult time at the beginning. I have so much trouble prioritizing all the things I have to do so I end up doing nothing, except wandering around the apartment aimlessly cleaning things until I have to be at work. That was until I got my Get To Work Book!

My sister wanted to get me a planner for my graduation present because she had gotten me two great ones that had been my lifelines for the past two years. We did a little research together and decided on Elise Blaha Cripe's Get To Work Book. I watched the video where she flips through and talks about all of it's features and I was so excited because it had all of the things I look for in a planner and then some.

  1. Monthly AND weekly full page views. I am such a visual person and I need to see things written out both in a monthly at-a-glance view and broken down into weekly and daily tasks. I do my meal planning on the weekly view and make lists for things I need to remember to pick up that week.
  2. A ton of note space. For ideas that randomly come to me while I'm on the subway. I use this space for blog post ideas, instagram hashtags I want to keep track of, a huge goal list, and other things I need to get out of my brain and on to paper. I'm able to keep track of everything in one place. In previous planners I've used, there is barely any note space, so I'm always hesitant to write things in it in case I use it all up and end up needing it later. (I know, I have issues)
  3. Goal setting. There is the Reflect and Goal Set page where you can be intentional at the beginning of the month about what's working, what's important to work on this month and what to let go of. And then there is the Project page where you can break down one of your larger goals into smaller pieces which is the best way to tackle something that seems impossible. 
  4. Also, it's super pretty. And let's be honest that's important. It has a beautiful simple and clean design which allows you get creative with colours and doodles ! It even comes with beautiful motivational tear out prints which I hang in my studio space to keep me on track.

This book has helped me so much. I am one of those people who has to physically write things down so that I remember them. I think I was the only person who took handwritten notes in an actual notebook at school and not a Macbook. That made me feel old haha! I love sitting down with my coffee to plan my day and look at my to do list in the morning. It helps me feel like I have a plan and I am in control of getting things done.

I cannot recommend this book enough, if you are like me and you need something physical you can hold in order to help you get your thoughts out, plan your days and keep yourself organized, this is the tool for you!