New Year! New Start!

Well Helloooooo! And happy New Year!

It’s been a while since I’ve written anything here, sorry about that! I do have quite a good excuse for not having written for a while though, some quite big things happening, which I’ll get into in a minute… yep I’m going to hold you in suspense a little longer! hehe
It’s time for a new year and time for a new focus and revamp on the blog. I’ve decided to share more than just my journey as an artist, I also want to share with you all things art, from tips and tricks to inspiration. It is after all what I live and breathe and what makes me tick, and I want you to enjoy it… you WILL enjoy it! Hahaha
I hope to share with you the positivity art can bring to your life and to inspire you to try something for yourself. I want to educate you, engage you, entertain you and overall give you something interesting to read! I wouldn’t say I’m much of a writer but I definitely enjoy putting pen to paper, (well fingers to keys, lol)
I have lots of ideas brewing of what I want to write about and share with you, but I encourage you to send me questions about anything that I’m doing or anything art related that you want to learn about!

Sooooo, back to more about me! Where am I and what am I up to? …Well, I’ve moved over 4000 miles since I last wrote, from Canada to England. “I want to know more, how did this happen?”, I hear you ask!
Well, I jumped on a plane, from Calgary to Manchester, before heading to Spain and like a crazy person walked across the north from east to west. Finishing the walk in 38 days, I then went south (ish) to visit with family and after a couple of weeks got on another plane to England in December, and here I be.
My hubby and I decided we needed a change, plus the old fart turned 40 in October and we wanted to mark the occasion. Ha-ha. That’s when talk of walking ‘The Camino’ in Spain came up. It’s an old pilgrimage across Spain that many walk still today for religious, spiritual and other reasons. I’ve done it before and loved everything about it, and I knew my husband would love it too. We walked 800km (500 miles) in sandals and trainers with just the bags on our backs. We walked through hot sunny days, torrential rainy days and misty mornings and loved every minute of it. We met amazing people that will stay forever in my heart and the people we share special Camino moments with that only another fellow pilgrim would understand.
Like the way the lights turn off in the bathroom, leaving you in darkness, after you’ve just finished undressing and have turned the freezing shower on. Then frantically needing to wave your arms around in hopes the sensor is close enough to detect you to turn the light back on. (Usually it wasn’t).
Or when you share a bedroom with a whole choir of snorers surprisingly don’t allow you to sleep that then made you start walking at 5 in the morning because you couldn’t stand to listen to it anymore!
Oh and one of the best parts of being a pilgrim is you get to eat and drink more than you could ever imagine! Even a beer at breakfast wasn’t frowned upon. Sweet! Get in ma belly!

So, with the Camino underway and our bodies ready to rest, we made our way to the southeast of Spain to stay with family, and start looking for work. Oh! Did I forget to mention that we quit our jobs in Canada, sold our furniture and rented out our house? Yep! That happened! Did I mention we were ready to try something new and to have a new adventure?

After a couple weeks in Spain there was some realisation that England may be a better option for finding work. After all, we speak the language, it’s where I’m from, I have family here, and well, job opportunities were more affluence.
So here we are, ready and excited for what this new year brings. I feel good things are coming my way.
With all the amazing views and memories from the Camino, I have so many ideas and inspiration ready to hit the canvas. I’m motivated and ready to go.

Life can be monotonous at times but only you have the power to change it. Someone once said to me, ‘The grass isn’t always greener’… and I know they weren’t trying to deter me, just open my eyes to other ideas, but it did make me think about it and I realised I don’t want greener grass, I (we) just wanted new, an adventure! None of us know the future holds, but we’re giving it 6 months to show us what the grass is like here. Depends on how you look at the world if you find it greener.
If I learnt anything from the Camino, is that , if you don’t put one foot in front of the other, you won’t get anywhere. Sometimes we know where we’re heading and other times we’re just taking the steps. Regardless of the end, it’s important to simply move forward. Right now I feel like I’m moving forward, actually I feel like I’m flying full speed, a little out of control, but loving it!
 

The Universe Works in Crazy Ways

Quite often in life we’re quick to say “yeah life is good”, but not as quick to share “well actually….”, We’ll quite often hide the times we feel like failures and times of disappointments in ourselves from others. We’re quick to share negative experiences say from a bad haircut or rude server, but less so of our own struggles or hard ships in life. Maybe that’s because we don’t want to dwell on those things, or maybe it’s more because we’re embarrassed to tell someone we failed, or it didn’t quite go as planned. It’s hard to share those things right?

I’ve had a few failures recently. (And successes). It’s important not to just bury our failures though, they’re what push us further to achieve. Well at least for me. Don’t get me wrong, I have a moment of upset (usually a few tears) when I feel disappointed I didn’t get through to the next staging of an art competition, or when I didn’t sell as many paintings as I’d wanted to, but then I move on. I use it to drive me forward, it teaches me, and I try to learn from it. Is there something I could do differently? Was my work the right fit for the competition? What successes can I see from the ‘thing’ I just failed at? What did I do right? The answers to those questions prepare me for the next time.

It’s strange how the world works sometimes. This morning I woke up feeling a bit blah. (Mainly because of a dream that I had…but that’s a whole other story) … I get up…. I checked my emails, and I received one from a competition I entered a month back. Feeling a little hopeful as I open the email I’m soon feeling disappointed to read, ‘we regret to inform you, you have not made it through to the next staging of the competition …blah blah blah’. Instant disappointment. In the same email I also read

“Rejection doesn’t mean you aren’t good enough: it means the other person failed to notice what you have to offer” Anon

It gets me thinking in a different light. It doesn’t quite shake off my disappointment completely, but it definitely reminds me not everyone is going to like everything I do, but it doesn’t mean I should stop what I’m doing. I feel disappointment many times… I enter many competitions…and I’d say more ‘reject’ me that ‘accept’ me, and I feel disappointment each and every time, (that’s very normal…right?) but then I get on with my day and keep moving forward, plugging away, (even with the disappointment) … and if I’m honest it won’t stop me trying again in the future. Whether it be competitions, or trying to get my work into galleries, I’ll be entering my work and asking for exposure. There’s likely many to reject me, but I know… I BELIEVE, there will be ones that accept me. I don’t even look at the knock backs as strengthening my back bone (although it would probably help a little), I look at it more as not letting it stop me persevering and pursuing my dream.

So back to the bit about how the universe works in crazy ways. The next thing I see is a video. One of the ted talk videos I think, about The Power of Belief. To believe in what we’re doing. We’re not just born smart or skillful, we build on it. Some have a fixed mindset and others have a growth mindset. Studies show that a growth mindset changes our abilities to achieve our goals. To fulfill our potential we need to start thinking differently. The video also teaches that setbacks and fails are a part of our growth, and “when we understand how to strengthen our abilities we strengthen the conviction that we’re in charge of them”. If we are determined enough and believe in ourselves we can achieve anything.

I believe I will make it as an artist. Don’t misunderstand me, my head is not in the clouds, (well maybe a little because I’m so tall! Haha) and my feet are firmly on the ground. I’m not oblivious to the struggles and frustrations I’ll feel along the way. But I embrace them…they’re part of the growth and a part of the journey! Without them how can I stay grounded and focused and feel value in my achievements. Nothing worth having comes easy. Why is that? Because the hard work to get to our goals makes it more valuable. We learn lessons about ourselves… and how to better what we’re doing. I don’t know about you, but I never want to stop learning. Especially with art. Not sure if you know this about me but art is my passion, and I get excited by a new technique or product, and I’m inspired by the world around me. Art is so innovative, and I don’t ever want to get to a point where I’ve learned all I can about art. (Which is impossible anyway! Lol)
But if it were, and I learned everything, then where do I go and what do I do?
So don’t shy away from failures, don’t allow your ego to take control, and make you feel like it’s something to be embarrassed about. Be a part of the group of people with a growth mindset. It increases our abilities to learn, and when we’re learning we’re advancing. 
Be fearless.

Follow your heart! Follow your arrow!

Life is a journey…. That’s what they say right? And that the kind of journey we have is down to our choices, which I’d say to be the truth at about 85%. I think I’m mostly a positive person but I’m not deluded that life sometimes throws us curve balls that are out of our control and seem impossible to find the positive in.

We can still find a way to deal with the remaining 15% that seems out of our hands, by having control of our reactions. I know it sounds a bit cliché, and I agree… sometimes we don’t want to be in control, we don’t want to smile our way through days when we feel like crap, but it really is the best way, if you can. Find the positive, find a focus or make a plan… well, do all those things after you’ve had a moment of less control. A moment when you cry all the tears you have, or scream and shout all the anger inside…let it go… release it…and move forward. Sometimes life doesn’t deal us the cards we want and some day’s life feels more difficult than others…and on these days, certainly for me, I’m negative nelly. On the more difficult days (after drowning in our own self misery) we have to put that smile on and find a way to move forward. We have to take the bull by the horns, or so they say.

When I talk about following my dreams and how it’s important to do what’s right for you in your life, I don’t talk about it in a lightness and fairy way, or suggest that it’s super easy to do. Nothing in life worth having is easy… yeah I know another cliché quote… but it’s true! hehe
I want a simple life… with adventure and spontaneity! Lol Maybe there’s variations in the meaning of a ‘simple life’ though. My simple life is with less ‘things’, a life without focus on the material objects we own, I want to have only material items that better my life… like a VW Westfalia to live out my adventures in! hehe One day I’ll own one… but it’s not top of my list right now.

So, what is at the top of my list? Can I have a few things up there? Lol I try to advise people to prioritize their life. We can’t get everything we want at the same time. But if I’m honest, it’s advice I struggle to follow.
I have a million things on my list, here is a few;
• To move to England
• To move to Spain
• To travel from country to country for a year
• To travel Europe in a Volkswagen Westfalia 😉
• To have kids, a family
• To walk ‘El Camino de Santiago’ again
• To be a successful artist
• To have my own gallery
• To teach my love of art to others that love art just as much as I do
• To inspire people to follow their dreams
• To meet my new nephew, in the flesh, so I can snuggle and cuddle with him!
To just name a few! Hehe

So, I’ve pushed a couple things to the lower part of the list… to own a VW Westfalia, to travel Europe and travel country after country… but the rest are up there! I want them ALL! Lol

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I guess one of the things at the very top of my list though is being an artist. Being a successful artist, partly because it’s my passion and I love it! (Haha) ….and partly because I have bills to pay. (Oh and earn money to buy more supplies to paint more! Hehe)

Speaking of my passion…did I mention I got to see Claude Monet’s paintings in the flesh recently? Omg! I didn’t tell you? Well I did, I got to see some real, in the flesh, raw canvas Monet paintings!…and they are amazing, and the experience was amazing… and I could talk a lot more about Monet…but the only thing I’ll add is that if you’re not sure who he is…google him! He’s probably most famously known for his water lily paintings. ….oh and I bought myself a couple of originals!

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Some things in life are just a part of it that we have to accept, sickness and dying. We all have someone we miss and someone we’d love to have just one more hug from, and although I’m sad I won’t ever have that cuddle from them again, I’m thankful for all the memories I have with them. It’s important to make the days we do have count for something. Life doesn’t always smell of roses, but try to embrace, or at least accept the days that are more difficult, so that those days don’t suffocate the days we could spend happy and smiling. I truly believe there is a lot more in this life to smile about than to be sad about. I hope you find your strength to see more positive than negative and to wake up excited and happy, for more days than not.

My journey as an artist is a bit of a roller coaster. Some days I’m not sure what direction it’s going to go next, and it overwhelms me, but then I remind myself I hate repetition in my life and 90% of the time, I embrace this unknown world.
I’m thankful for all those that support me, whether it’s buying my paintings, sharing my videos on Facebook and Instagram or attending my shows….there’s nothing worse than having a show that nobody to comes to! lol… so thank you.

Now I’ll shamefully plug my next show. Haha
July 23rd 3pm-6pm there will be multiple artists and vendors, everything under one roof…. A sort of mini market! So come join us … it’s free, but bring a food donation to be entered into winning one of MANY door prizes! Check out the poster for full details. It’ll be the house with all the balloons! Hehe

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Now back to the blog and on a more serious note to finish… I encourage you to follow your dreams. Be prepared to make some compromises, but it’ll be worth it to be doing the thing you want most. We only get one life (as far as I’m aware… but I guess that’s a whole other topic!) …so live it with energy and passion.

 

Follow your heart! Follow your arrow!

…Please comment and share what’s on the top of your list!

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Happy 150th Canada! 

Happy Canada Day!!! 
Today, Canada is 150 years old and it’s time to celebrate! Get on your dancing shoes, crack an Molson Canadian’s , or Caesar’s, wave your flags, and get out your ketchup chips, it’s time to party Canadian style! 

I may not have been born here, and I definitely go on a lot about the life I have for where I was born, England, but Canada does hold a special place in my heart.
With friends I like to tease them, that I’m only Canadian so I could stay in the country, haha, but really, I do like it here. (Just don’t let my friends hear me say this! Lol)
Canada has been good to me. I first visited Canada when I was 16 with my younger brother, for 6 weeks. Everything felt so big to us compared to England. The space in Calgary was crazy, and the Rocky Mountains were (are!), just huge! The space is so vast and it still takes my breath away when we drive to the mountains. But I’ve been here for 15 years now. If you count the first 4 years I was coming and going! I came back when I was 20, then I got married and I have been here for 11 more. 

Canada has been good to me, and I’m thankful to have lived her for as many years as I have. 
I met my husband here 

I’ve had my own successful home business, 

The art vibe in calgary is strong and rewarding, 

I’ve learnt how to camp in the bush without a bathroom, and learned that 3 days are my maximum for not showering before I need to go home! And I’ve learned you don’t look at your hands while camping! 

I’ve learned how to start a fire and not to be (as) afraid of it. 

I’ve learned how to ski, (and how not to ski! Haha…. Broke my leg ‘nicely’ in 4 places!)

I now know how to drive on the other side (wrong side 😉 of the road. 

I see how proud Canadians are of their country

My most favourite food born in Canada is Poutine…. That s@#t is the bomb! Love me some gravy!

The zombie like obsession with Tim Hortons 

Oh and their obsession with maple syrup…. Maple donuts, maple coffee, maple vodka, maple bacon, maple cupcakes, maple whiskey (specifically crown royal), maple maple maple…. Enough with the maple! Haha

I’ve learned that snow was fun, in the beginning….now winter is long. Get me out off here!

But I have learned also that I can survive in -50 degree weather. Sure your nose hair freezes in 10 seconds and you don’t want to wear non-waterproof mascara in below zero temperatures in calgary, or when you step inside a heated space, your eyelashes defrost and you end up looking like a panda! Lol

I’ve learned you don’t mess with bears… and that I’m petrified of ever meeting one! Don’t come close bear…i have bear spray! Lol
 

Although, one thing that is crazy…. Is that they made me swear an oath to the queen when I became a citizen …. My queen! (yes! I have my Canadian passport)
That’s just some of my favourite things about Canada…(I’ll leave out the bad things! Haha) 

Happy Birthday Canada!!!

Abstract; Inside My Mind

Follow Your Arrow

Abstract Thinking versus Concrete Thinking

They say there are abstract thinkers and concrete thinkers. Which are you? Do you even understand the question? Haha! I didn’t, and probably still don’t really, but hey I’m going to explain what I learned, as simply as possible (I love philosophy… so to me this is really intriguing).

To break it down, concrete thinking refers to thinking on the surface and about facts. Abstract thinking is related to thinking in depth and understanding a deeper meaning, and maybe multiple meanings. So which are you? (Please share in the comments!)

Which Am I?

Abstract thinker, FOR SURE! Please, whatever you do, don’t call me ‘normal’… I will take it as an insult! If you’ve seen any of my art you would understand that completely. (Check out my gallery!) Upon getting to know me, (and reading my other posts), I’m sure you’ll agree, I think on a deep level…..hint hint… go read the other blog posts if you haven’t already! (Life As a Pilgrim, Introducing Kate, Not Cake, and Fearless Dreaming, plus a few others!)

It's okay to 'do you'
It’s okay to ‘do you’

Back to abstract thinking versus concrete thinking, neither is better than the other, being different is the new ‘norm’, so embrace it!  🙂 I find it fascinating, the things that connect us; we all have fears in our lives, we all have dreams no matter how big or small they may seem, we have so many things in common, yet so many things different too. How we approach our scenarios can vary immensely, depending on our backgrounds, upbringings and personalities. Fascinating!!! (A little geeky? lol)

I enjoy that I’m an abstract thinker, although my husband may argue the enjoyment for him. (I have lots of ideas and sometimes to him they may seem all over the place. I often struggle to narrow down on doing just one and not all of them at the same time! Hehehe  But on the same hand, I think he likes it! We do different and fun stuff all the time. Although I don’t think he thinks, walking 10km, mostly uphill on a hot day when he’s sore from going to the gym and playing football the day before, FUN! lol … but I do!)

Being abstract helps me paint, and to be creative. I think outside the box (Actually I don’t even have a box! Hehe!) I hope down the road that creating unique work will help make a name for myself in the art world. Especially because its something that comes from the heart. We can only be ourselves, we get the best results that way. I heard a quote recently, but I forget the name of who said it,

 “I’m good at what I do, because I’m feeding my soul by doing what I love.”

Fields without Fences

The journey is mostly long and unknown, but, do it anyway, I DO!

Here’s a poem I wrote recently, I hope it opens a window for you to look through and maybe climb through, step outside and join me!  

Inside My Mind

I seek and look in places unknown,

Sometimes I find it; that thing I’m looking for.

Other times, I don’t want it;

I ignore its existence

But it stays, it doesn’t go away

It’s calling me, staring at me, bold and in my face

Taking possession of every thought of my mind

I don’t know of it

I’d be crazy to follow,

Hands over my eyes,

It’s dark,

I’m blind in the glaring light

Signs of hope?

A decision made, I trust in something unknown

You think I’m crazy….. oh…. Wait…..

Trusting or crazy?

Believer or gullible?

The future, I feel I know it,

I’ve been here before, but not exactly here

Always I predict it, but still it surprises me

I believe, I trust, I follow

I have my yellow arrow

My heart beats, it knows my rhythm

I have dreams,

My eyes are wide open.

I follow my faith.

 Be you, whether that’s a concrete thinker, abstract thinker or somewhere in between, you’ll get the best results.

Let me know your thoughts… what kind of thinker are you? Are you following your dreams with faith?

Follow me on Instagram for more inspiration to follow your dreams.

Fearless Dreaming

Sometimes I hear a voice in my head

“WHAT ARE YOU DOING?”  

“YOU CAN’T BE AN ARTIST!”  

“YOU’RE NOT GOOD ENOUGH!”  

“YOU’RE EATING TOO MUCH CHEESECAKE!”

Wait! You hear those voices too? Weird!

I’m trying to be fearless, to dream fearlessly and to show others that it is possible for them to also dream fearlessly! (No pressure then! Haha!)

It’s hard right?! Like… really hard?! But each day you follow your dream, and recognize that accomplishment, it gets easier. 

Each day I give my middle finger to the negative voices, and each time I try to give it more firmly.   

Sure! I may have days when I’m overwhelmed and frustrated, but at least I’m doing something that I’m passionate about. And, sure! I may get fat from all the cheesecake, but why do they make it if it’s not for eating? 

It’s definitely important to give your middle finger to the negative thoughts about eating cheesecake, oops sorry, I mean the negative thoughts about you not being good enough. (Sorry, could someone please get me some cheesecake? I need my fix!) 

We all have to start somewhere, and when I look back at some of my earlier paintings, (that I was so proud of back in the day). Now, at some of them, I cringe a little realizing that they’re not that good. 

But I don’t have regrets, it’s not a bad thing, it shows me my journey. It shows me where I’ve come from, and that my practice is paying off. That my perseverance is being rewarded. Through study and practice we can all become better at what we’re doing. (Pst: That includes becoming better at chasing your dreams.)

Those voices that scream negative things at us, even when we’re doing well and enjoying life, they can really scream loudly sometimes.  The trick…and challenge, is to turn the volume down on the voices. At least on the negative ones, and turn up the volume on the positive. The voice telling you, you CAN do this. The one telling you, you are good enough, and that you can do whatever you put your mind too, let those be loud! Don’t expect it to come overnight though. It takes compromise, challenges, frustrations, ups AND downs, to get there. Anything worth having, has been worked for. 

The negative voices that are usually the loudest, are most often our fears. Fears don’t ever really go away unless we confront them. Quite often the more we tell ourselves we can’t do something, the more likely we’ll believe it. So, shouldn’t it work the other way around too? Let us tell ourselves we CAN do it, we CAN follow our dreams, and that the trickiest part is finding the path. (Oh, and finding a smidge of courage)

I don’t know exactly where my path is leading right now…. but do we truly ever know? I just know that the decisions I’m making are ones that I believe in, that in this moment they are the ones taking me to my dream. (By the way. You’re allowed to have more than one dream, and sometimes the dream changes. Chase one… then another and another and another and another… you get the drift! ;0) I’m open and ready to learn, to enjoy, and experience all that comes my way.

Rocky Mountains

I was petrified to come to Canada, to study here, to make new friends, to make friends with the family that I hadn’t known growing up, to explore and discover. Did I mention I was petrified? But! I did it anyway.

As a nervous and excited 20 year old, my first destination from England was Vancouver to pick up my visa. I spent two nights there, before travelling to Calgary to meet my family. When I landed I was so over-tired and emotional that I wasn’t making good choices. I walked, with 3 suitcases to my accommodation. It should have only been a 20 minute walk, but it took me well over an hour.  I’m not sure if you know, but I only have two arms, and so pulling three suitcases was difficult. Lol Not one person offered to help me. I stumbled, my arms ached and I was afraid, in this unknown city.

I arrived at my accommodation, got into my room, and didn’t leave all night. I lay on my bed, and cried. Overwhelmed, exhausted, and now sick. I eventually slept and woke the next day with my mind a little more clear. I was ready to be brave and do what I needed to do. I reminded myself that I had wanted this, I had worked hard to get here, and I was supposed to be excited. So with more positive thoughts in my head, I braved talking to people, and braved the streets to go eat in a restaurant; by myself. Then I found the government building to get my visa, and after that I explored Vancouver.

Guess what! I’m still here to tell the story! Nothing scary happened. Actually, I felt so proud of myself and so accomplished that day. As the day progressed one thought ran through my head. I’m doing this, I’m doing this…..I’m actually DOING THIS!

Another dream than became reality; I was nervous to open my home salon, but I did it anyway. With hard work, and a small amount of stubbornness, (and maybe a few tears of frustration along the way), I made it work. It was one of the best things I ever did. It help me see who I was. It gave me freedom. I’m not afraid of hard work…but I need to walk my own path. It gave me so many insights into my strengths.

Follow your arrow

Another dream was to walk the Camino De Santiago, 800KM across northern Spain. I questioned my capabilities to walk it, I questioned if I’d get bored. I didn’t know if I’d be able to do it, but I had this urge to. Even with those thoughts running through my head, the one I turned the volume up on was the one saying, “I want to do this!” …so I booked my ticket. I learned so much on the Camino, and one of the biggest being, you have to take everything step by step, you can’t eat the whole cheesecake in one go. No ones mouth is that big! (You can try, but you may end up with more of it on your face than in your face hole.)

Now, my insecurities ask me… “I wonder if retiring from hairdressing to become an artist is the right thing to do?”  “Can I really make it as an artist?” “Is my work good enough?”  “Do people even like what I do?”  “How do I get there?” “How do I become successful?” ….and many many more that I’m not going to tell you. Not because I don’t want to share, but because I don’t want those thoughts to take over, in my head. The journey is going to be difficult enough without my own persecutions, and sabotage. So without knowing the answers to those questions… I’m doing it anyway. Do you want to know why? Yes? No? Well, I’ll tell you anyway. So listen up! Because I LOVE IT! Painting is relaxing, rewarding, creative, expressive, emotional, and inspiring. When I paint I feel alive. When I work through the difficult stages of painting, I feel rewarded. In completion of a work I feel proud, and sometimes astonished that, I DID THAT! 

Kissing the cod!

Those are just some of my dreams. I fearlessly dream more. Even with the questions and doubts, I did them anyway. They ALL worked out in the end! So be fearless, dare to dream, and go after them! Go sky diving, open your own business, learn something new, kiss a cod and do a shot of screech to be “screeched in’ by Newfoundlanders. Whatever it is, be the maker of your own dreams!

If you’re feeling fearless, share with me… what are you dreaming?  And are you doing it fearlessly yet? 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

My Personal Art Show Challenge!

Work Displayed at Beacon Exhbition
Work Displayed at Beacon Exhibition

I just completed my stretch of 5 art shows in 6 weeks. What a roller coaster! I had challenged myself to say yes to everything that came my way two months ago, and that resulted in me agreeing to take part in all these group shows. It was a challenge! I questioned what I was doing… Would I have enough art?; Would I sell?; Would I burn out from doing too much?; Would my emotions withstand any negative comments? All of these things I didn’t know the answers too, but I wasn’t about to let that stop me. So, without much further thought,  I just committed and got on with them.

Work Displayed at Beacon Exhbition
Work Displayed at Beacon Exhibition

Reflecting back, I want to share some of the process and moments with you.

I loved all of it, well… most of it!

It was a lot of work; painting, prepping, marketing and exhibiting but it was fun and I hope more people out there can say they love their job as much as I love mine. I love working for myself, I love creating, I love to hear the feedback, and I love meeting and networking with like-minded people. People that live the same struggles, frustrations, and excitement that goes along with what we do. Trust me; it’s not all about putting the paint brush to canvas! Although that would be pretty awesome if it was, and the art just sold itself, and I could hide away just painting whatever came to mind that day. With endless cups of coffee at hand, my paint brush wet as I hear the morning birds waking up. (I haven’t thought on this idea too much though, as I`m sure you can tell! :p)

Work Displayed at Beacon Exhbition
Work Displayed at Beacon Exhbition

The shows almost became meditative and routine, and I’m a little lost as to what to do now that I don’t have them to focus on. Mostly in my life I like chaos and no schedule, but I guess at some level I also need a little bit of ‘something’ within some sort of time-frame. Something to work towards.

But! Let me reflect and share some things with you… with the calm waters come some rough tides! It wasn’t all smooth sailing!  Haha.

The start of every show comes with anticipation, hope, and nervousness. The evening before, you start getting everything ready, from inventory lists, to labeling and finding the paintings you’re entering. And, I truly mean finding. I’m not sure how I do it, but I usually lose one piece for every show, and I look high and low until I find it among the original pile. But for those few moments you start to panic and worry. I mean, where and how on earth can I lose a 16’x16’ painting so easily!?

The morning of the show usually approaches the second I’ve closed my eyes to just go to sleep, or at least it feels like it. Upon getting into bed, I’m going over everything; Did I remember everything? I need to grab ‘that’ in the morning. Did I set my alarm? I don’t want to miss it! I check it, again, for the 7th time. Come on, it’s not just me that does this before an important day…is it? I mean, normally I get up when my body wakes up… or when the foster puppy we have right now decides it’s time to pee, which can vary from 2am to 6am.

Work Displayed at Beacon Exhbition
Work Displayed at Beacon Exhibition

 

Dooms day has arrived… I mean, show day arrives 😉 and I make my way there. Whether I have an allocated position in the show, or it’s a free-for-all of where you hang your art, there’s always a certain amount of stress while setting up. Probably because I’m 

Work Displayed at Beacon Exhbition
Work Displayed at Beacon Exhibition.

on a time frame; I think I’ve mentioned that I don’t usually have much of a schedule with such deadlines and confinement. Well, I’m not used to such tight ones anyway!

 Once I’m set up,  there’s usually a group meeting to figure out the order of the day and the nerves start to relax. The meeting quite often consists of a little pick me up and positive energy building to start the day. It’s in this moment I can usually take a breath and realise, I’m not on my own and I’m not the only one feeling nervous, anxious and excited for the day. This bunch of artists, here with the same hopes for the day, same worries and the same nerves; we can do it together. I think for most of us it isn’t easy to sell what we do, so it’s nice to have to support from others. My confidence is building with each show that I do and with every positive feedback I get. It’s helping me realise that this is the right path for me, and I CAN do this. The Calyx Distinctive Arts Show I was just in said it the best. “It’s not always easy to sell our own work, but it can be a little easier to sell each other’s”. That really resonated with me, that all the other amazing artists here, had my back and I there’s. Pretty cool community to be a part of, yes?

Set up at Calyx exhibition
Calyx set up     

No matter the results of the show, positive or negative, sales or no sales, they drain me. The kind of drained when there’s no more water in the tap, or the kind of drained when you barely have the energy to move to a different sitting position on the couch, or when you have no strength to reach for that glass of wine… oh wait, that NEVER happens! hehe I love exhibiting, but they do exhaust me emotionally (I have a sensitive soul) and usually by the end of the day I have a few tears in my eyes to release it all. (My poor husband! Lol)

Set up at Calyx exhibition
Calyx set up.

At each show an artist puts themselves out there for judgement and criticism. Some people are kind and others not so much, all opinions are valid. (Well almost)   Art is objective and what one person likes isn’t necessarily the same as their neighbour. Which is good really, otherwise we’d all be painting the same things in the same style, and where is the individualism in that? Us artists pride ourselves in being different you know! (Well I do anyway. Don’t call me ‘normal’…. I’ll be most offended! Lol)

So with one show left to do in June (as of right now anyway!), I would like to thank everyone in the shows that I was recently a part of.

RAW: Natural Born Artists  |  Alberta Affordable Art  |  Peoples Portrait Prize  |  Beacon Original Arts  | Calyx Distinctive Arts

I am thankful for all the work and energy that goes into organising and marketing each of these shows, and thank you to them for allowing me to be a part of it!

A quick FYI: the next time your artist friend asks you to go to their art show. I would bet quite highly that they’re not asking you to go to spend money, but to go and support. Having people attend creates an energy and a vibe to a show, and you can only do that if you attend. This is what contributes to an artist feeling successful at the end of a show. Thank you to all those friends and family that came to any of mine. I’m feeling pretty successful right now. 🙂

Introducing Kate, not cake!

 

HI!!!

So today, I thought I’d formally introduce myself. I’m still pretending I have lots of followers that don’t know me, but I believe one day it will be true! And then they’ll have something to read back on. 😀

I’m actually quite excited to write this piece, even for the people that know me. I’m visualizing this piece as something that is rewritten every few years, it’ll be interesting (at least for me!) to see how I’ve change in my thoughts of myself, of what I’m doing, and my new perspectives.

It does you know, we change and who we thought we were 10 years ago is not going to be the same person we see today. Similarities for sure, but experiences change us and our outlooks. It’s not that I was lying to myself about who I was back then, (I’m not a very good liar…. you can ask my brothers. Every time I would try to fool them, my own hilarious-ness made me laugh and it would give it away, that I was telling them a porky pie (lie) by laughing! Lol.

So….

Hiya, hello, hi, hola! My name is Kate, officially Katie, not Catherine, Katherine, Katya or Kitkat, just Kate. One or two of my Canadian cousins call me Katie, but really I just prefer Kate, because it’s the name my brothers, mum and dad have always used. As long as you’re not being mean, you can pretty much call me anything though! One thing I should also note though, is if you say cake around me or near me, I may look your way….. it’s sounds like my name! Haha (wow… this may be a long piece to read today, I’ve written a paragraph on just my name! Hehe)

                                                     

I was training for El Camino de Santiago hike, and this day I went out in -28 for a 2 hour walk.

OK, who am I as a person?

 I’m a wife, a daughter, a sister, and a friend, but yet to be a mother. (Although, hopefully one day… my mother will be excited to read that!). I’m quite often shy and quiet, although my brothers may disagree with that. I guess I do have my loud moments too. I wouldn’t say I’m reserved, just choose my moments to share who I am. I have opinions and LOTS of thoughts and I’m quite sensitive. I can be loud, but I’m just not in your face about it. But, ask me something, and I’ll talk. But be warned, if it’s something I’m passionate about (and I’ve had a glass of wine, or two), you may regret to have asked!

 

 

 

Little Kate

 Many of my memories as a child are of me ‘making’ and being creative. Oh, and some memories of me crying through boredom and frustration… (I got…get bored easily!)
Oh and walking! With my mum and brothers. We walked a lot and everywhere and sometimes with a weekends amount of camping gear strapped to our backs up hills from train stations! Lol
But yes, I would make, paint, draw, and sometimes even sew…. Santa costumes. Which leads me into a little side story….

As mentioned, I get bored easily; always have and probably always will. It takes a lot to entertain this big brain! (Jokes!) Well, one year, to spice up Christmas Day, I secretly sewed and stitched (by hand I might add) a Santa costume. I made a sack and presents too, although I can’t remember what they were now. I planned and planned and only my (very awesome) grandma knew anything. Christmas Day rolled around and dinner was done, and I sneaked off to change into my Santa costume. I got my sack of presents together, while my grandma gathered everyone together. I then made my entrance… oops I mean, Santa made her entrance, and surprised everyone. There were smiles and laughs and definitely a story for the books (or blog apparently!) …. I know what you’re thinking; cheesy! I think my family thought the same, but it definitely spiced up Christmas Day!
Are there photos I hear you ask?! No! Well if there are I don’t know where they are and I’m not about to start looking for them. My uncle also made a video of the event, but I’m hoping that stays buried where it currently is too!

Warrior Kate

I’ve always been like that. Quirky and maybe a little cheesy and embarrassing! But there is a pattern in my life and looking back I see I’ve always been that way. Not the embarrassing part, (I hope), more the, quirkiness, the need to do things differently, and to just ‘DO’. There are people way more quirky and eccentric than I am, but I definitely offer my fair share.

 

I’m a person who has struggled to ‘fit in’ and worried how to blend in with society. Part of this artistic journey for me, is more than painting, it’s also a discovery of myself. An acceptance with who I am. The time in my life when all my efforts went to blending in, I was at my least content. The journey I’m on now, exploring the truth of the things I need, make me happy. And guess what, it’s easier being who I really am everyday.

What else can I tell you, hhmmmm…. oh yeah. I’m English through and through. (Well I may be a little, tiny bit Canadian-ised.) I hate my freckles but love my jiggly bum. I love love love walking. (Surprisingly! After being forced to do it as a child, I never thought I’d say that, hehe) It’s freeing and exhilarating, and the wee hike I did across Spain, of 800km in 34 days, I would do again and again. Actually I WILL do it again. When life gets noisy again I will retreat to the Camino, and spend a month in nature, walking again.
As a kid I could almost play tunes with my farts, but now it’s rare if you hear me at all.(haha) I like reading, learning, experiencing and trying new things. I don’t believe in having regrets, every choice we make, good or bad, has a purpose in our lives. I think I’m pretty easy going, and don’t get stressed or angry too often. (Ok… people that don’t indicate, or people that cut me off in traffic I get a little angry at. Oh and closed minded people make me frustrated. And rice pudding, rice pudding makes me a little angry. But that’s about it!) and, I love love love animals.

Everyday I yearn for something new. To do something new, meet someone new, learn something new, or even to just be planning to do something new…. everyday I need challenges and goals…from small to big, but I need them. I need to feel a sense of achievement in everyday. I’ve recently chosen to be an artist. Not an easy path, but I embrace all it’s challenges and absorb all the positive feedback. I’m passionate, focused and motivated. I always loved words and writing, but I’ll let you be the judge of whether I’m any good. I just speak the words in my heart. Growing up I had a couple of pen pals…. OMG does that make me sound old? I’m 35 … I think. Oh! And I can speak a little Spanish… which is awesome because I want to live in Spain one day.

So to simplify me, (not that I’m simple!), I’m easy-going, happy-go-lucky, motivated, focused and fun. (Well I think I’m fun; actually I’m the funniest person I know :o) I seek experiences, adventures, and I’m believer of; we can achieve anything we put our minds too. We just need to be open and accepting, and without expectations of what things should be. Trust in yourself, and the path you’re on. I use art to express myself, and who I am. Every day it helps me become more confident, to trust in myself and know that through headaches, frustrations and determination we can make whatever we put our minds too, beautiful.

 

Selling Art: Easy Peasy Lemon Squeezy

My life of late is art, more art, with a little dash of art. It encompasses my being. Sure I get out of the house and do other things, occasionally, but I am giving this new found career choice “a real good go chaps”. – Insert my English accent here, hehe.

I`ve been building my confidence and my skills, narrowing down my focus, goals and the things I want to achieve as an artist. My work days are long (I’m not complaining, I’m doing something I love :0) and many hours which I don’t actually get paid for, (again, not actually complaining ;), but if you don’t get me out of the house, I`m usually working on something art related. Yes, feel free to imagine me like a hermit, not showered and in yesterday’s clothes, sketching and painting madly like time isn’t on my side.

One of my pleasures lately is watching movies, but not just any movies, educational ones! I’ve been a little obsessed with some of the history of art; The Impressionists to be exact. There is a lot to learn about the impressionist painters, but don’t worry I won’t bore you with a history lesson. Briefly though, (very briefly) I’ll tell you how they helped create a movement in art; before The Impressionist painters the paintings were flawlessly rendered with subjects mostly being biblical and historical; The Impressionists painted landscapes and contemporary life, with brushwork and bright colour choices that had never been seen before. The Impressionist painters painted “Èn Plein Air” (painting outside), and would capture the transient light and movements they witnessed.

It wasn’t an easy life being a part of this movement. They painted what the saw but they struggled to have it recognised in the art world, at that time their works catastrophes. They sold a few paintings here and there, but often they were mocked and ridiculed for such distasteful pictures. If only those people that mocked could be in our shoes now and see how brilliant their works are! Idiots! 😉 Their art can be admired, and appreciated without any prior knowledge of their stories, but upon learning their struggles and their inspiring journey’s it’s difficult not to get wrapped up in the beauty of the Impressionism Movement. These artists believed in what they were doing. They painted what they saw, with an energy that had never been seen before. They continued to paint through criticism and judgement. They continued to follow their hearts and believe in what they did. Isn`t that a lesson for us all to hear?

Day to day, I do my thing. I do what my heart is telling me. (And sometimes my head, she also has some good ideas sometimes). I paint what inspires me, which can change from one day to the next, yet usually incorporates colour and texture. I read articles and research; I talk to others, all in hopes to learn something new; I put my work out there for judgment and criticism but hope for appreciation and encouragement. (One day I expect others to be in awe of me and bow down when I enter the room. Ha ha! Jokes!) Most days I feel energised motivated but some days I feel discouraged and drained. I wish an artist could just do what an artist is good at; painting. But being an artist is more than that, we have to learn to sell the work we do. We have to share the work we create; we need people to see it. Luckily I live at a time in which that is a little easier with technology, than back in Paris in the 1860’s for The Impressionists. Today there is social media, and the internet as well as exhibitions and art shows. Easy peasy lemon squeezy, right?

Well, it’s easier but not easy. Every day has a lesson for me right now, on this journey as an artist. The selling side of being an artist is one of my biggest struggles. I’m a believer of, if a person wants to do something, they’ll do it. Why do I need to convince them? But I’m learning the other side of that coin, and that sometimes it’s not a matter of convincing them, but more making sure they are informed. Social media is great at getting information out there, but can you believe that not everyone is reading everything!

My mistake is assuming that a person wasn’t interested, because I’d sent them the digital invitation I’d put out on social media, and for sure they’d seen it, right? Well reality is that quite often people hadn’t seen it and were grateful for me personally getting in touch to invite them. Who knew?! It’s difficult for me though, as my personality doesn’t do well in selling myself. (And in selling myself, I mean me, the artist, and my brand…. Not anything, else you cheeky monkey’s you!)

To circle back to the start of this writing though, I come back to the impressionist painters. They worked hard, they believed in themselves, the persevered through the critiques, and some of the artists were actually alive to feel some success. (For those of you that were thinking it… not all artists need to die to become successful!) I need to take their determination even more strongly into my own career, trust in my path, and believe I will make it to where I want to be. The hurdles are lessons to learn from; I need to gain strength from my tears, and see my frustrations as challenges that open new doors. This isn’t just great advice for me, but for you too. Embrace the day’s frustrations and challenges, smile at your accomplishments and believe, believe in yourself.

 

Selling tickets for this show 23rd March 2017.
www.rawartists.org/spencermillan

 

Challenging myself to sell at markets and shows. Just trying to get my name and my work, me, out there. Perseverance.

 

Feeling on top of the world, exhilarated!

 

Just keep walking, moving forward, you will find what you are looking for