Saturday, December 17, 2011

Brian the dog (Thing-a-week)

I painted this in the summer, on a lark. I spotted some Facebook photos my uncle had posted of my cousin's puppy - a Golden-Doodle named Brian - and thought I'd practice my pet portraiture.

My uncle really liked the piece and bought it as a wedding gift for my cousin and her husband.

I haven't painted any others, since, but when I'm back from my African adventure, I think I'll paint my mother-in-law's beagles. And, of course, I've always got some pet models at home...

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Fecund (Thing-a-week)

I'm writing this from the past - which is not nearly as cool as the future, but until someone invents a time machine, this will have to do.

This little ditty (can I call a digital sketch a 'ditty'?) was created from scratch (that is, not based on a paper-and-ink sketch) using Sketchbook Pro. I used the mirror function to create a perfectly symmetrical image. It's a pretty handy tool, I must say. And, thanks to my new drawing tablet, and the neat pen and brush settings in this program, this piece has a hand-drawn feel to it. It doesn't look like a digital sketch, which is kind of neat.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Tech-crazy Cait (belated Thing-a-week)

So, I've been real trigger-happy with the technology purchases lately. In the last few weeks, I bought a wireless mouse, wireless keyboard, Sketchbook Pro 2011, and the Wacom Airbrush Pen. Black Friday and Cyber Monday sales killed my restraint!

But I've been putting these tools to good use - especially Sketchbook Pro. What a well-designed, agile program for making digital art. I think this could quickly replace Photoshop in my illustration toolbox. Like Photoshop, you can work in layers, choose a range of brushes (not as extensive, admittedly, but the layout is much easier), and even save files as .PSD, if you want to move a document into Photoshop for final touches. 

But Sketchbook Pro has some neat things that Photoshop doesn't seem to (at least, in CS3, which is rather outdated now, I realize). If you'd like something to be symmetrical, there's a mirror effect you can choose where you draw/paint one side of the image, and it automatically copies what you're doing on the other side. Saves a lot of time.

This program is also a lightweight and loads up fast. It doesn't bog down my computer, allowing me to run other programs without any issues. 

I've only been playing with it for a few days, so I'm sure there will be some drawbacks. Doesn't seem like you can make your own brushes, for instance. But, so far, at least for the kind of digital art I'm making, this software floats my artistic boat.

Saturday, December 3, 2011

An illustration first (Thing-a-week)

Today, I present to you, a couple of drawings I made for a new role-playing game called Victoria, created by Edmontonian, Daniel Hodges. I also drew some plan views, but I'm especially proud of these drawings, especially the warehouse:

While I've done quite a bit of editorial illustration, drawing images for a role-playing game was brand-new to me. Thankfully, Daniel was easy to work with and offered me a lot of guidance. He gave me quite a lot of creative freedom, but had a vision for the game, which he communicated clearly. 

I'm hoping to post a few belated Thing-a-week projects before I leave for South Africa this week. While I've been making art, I've really fallen behind with the blogging. But I have some good reasons! After getting home from Europe in October, I was inundated with work (a good problem to have, admittedly), but also various life stuff (bronchitis, sick dog, house-related woes, etc.). While other people were celebrating Movember and starting their Christmas shopping, I was chained to my computer.

Anyway, a few belated Thing-a-week installments are forthcoming - and I'll also post some S. Africa photos while I'm gone. Looks like there's a good chance I'll be doing a safari excursion near Durban and perhaps even seeing some penguins near Capetown! Imagine: penguins! I'll have to bring my sketchbook.

As usual, Mike Kendrick is posting super-neato stuff on his blog,, so I'd strongly advise you to check it out. He's also started a Facebook fan page, so send a 'like' his way!

Monday, November 7, 2011

Thing-a-week: Ink and pixels

While recuperating from bronchitis last week, I doodled to entertain myself. Nothing fancy, just my usual sketchbook and a pen.

But when I finally felt better this weekend, I cracked out my brand-new, fancy shmancy Intuos4 drawing tablet and altered them in photoshop.

After being in Europe, and then sick, I've missed almost a month's worth of Thing-a-week installments. So, I plan to catch up this month.

It'll be a challenge though since I've got a big art event Nov. 18 and 19 called The Night of Artists, at the Italian Cultural Centre in Edmonton. It's an annual music and art festival produced by the art group of the same name. I've been a member for about a year and this is the first time I'm participating. So, if you're in Edmonton, I hope to see you there!

Hopefully you've been visiting Mike Kendrick's blog lots. While I've been MIA, he's been extra productive lately, creating neato Halloween props and tableaus. His post this week is no exception.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Thing-a-week: Au Revoir!

Some say garbage is worth its weight in gold.
They say time flies when you're having fun, which makes me think September must have been a month-long party (I must have blacked out).

Suddenly it's October, and I'm just two days away from crossing the North Atlantic en-route to France. How did that happen?

With my 30th birthday looming (mark it on your calendars - October 15!) I'm pretty thrilled to be celebrating it somewhere fancy. I'll be in Paris that day and hope to do all kinds of cheesy tourist things, including eating bagettes from atop the Eiffel Tower.

Anyway, I probably won't be posting while I'm gone, so I'll see all y'all (yes, I just wrote that) in late October. Try to stay out of trouble, okay?

Oh - and while I'm gone, do not forget about the infinitely more talented Mike Kendrick, whose blog is always entertaining.



P.S. That image on the right? An illustration for a story on garbage mining, which is forthcoming in the Dominion newspaper.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

On failure

As a freelance journalist, I've become strangely desensitized to rejections from editors. If a story idea doesn't fit a publication, I shrug it off. Sometimes, a great idea doesn't suit the needs of a particular publication at a particular time. I send off loads of queries, and while I might get frustrated when I can't break into a particular market, I don't get terribly upset.

Naturally, when I began focusing on my art career in 2009, I figured I'd go boldly forth, and pitch myself just as shamelessly.

Turns out, I'm a big chicken shit. While I do submit my work to magazines and apply for art shows and galleries, the rejection has been much harder to bear. I have had many a pity party in front of my monitor - even when I realize that my work was inappropriate for a particular opportunity.

I have to constantly remind myself that failure's part of the deal - especially for artists. We will get rejected by juries, funding committees, the general public. We will inevitably display our art at an outdoor festival and overhear snide comments from passerby.

Success! This spring, my art graced 17 billboards across the province.
I'm waiting for my thick skin to grow in, but until that happens, I force myself to ruminate on the good that comes from putting myself out there. Sometimes I fail, but sometimes I do fantastically well.  Earlier this year, for instance, I was one of three winners of the Art Upon Request campaign, and had one of my artworks on 17 billboards across Alberta for a couple of months.

Failing, now and then, helps me appreciate these wins. It also helps me bond with members of the art communities I'm a part of. Falling on your face is a kind of rite of passage, I hate to say, and it bonds us all together.

Another win: Sold this at a juried art show this month.
But failing's also important for the learning opportunity. Sometimes, I fail because something I've painted, drawn or written kinda sucks. Or, it's simply wrong for the market I've submitted it too. Knowing the difference between a piece of art that's missed the mark, or a piece of art that simply doesn't match a market, is a critical skill. You don't figure it out without putting yourself out there and risking failure.

That said, after a recent failure to secure a spot in a juried arts and crafts festival, I think I'll be laying low for a wee bit. As a writer, I know that success is 90% perspiration, I also know that a person needs to have reserves of mental energy to put it all on the line. So, for the next couple of weeks, I'll be doing the things that make me happy and putting applications and queries aside until I feel ready to put it all out there again.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Thing-a-week: Saturday doodlin'

I'm a chronic doodler. As a kid, all of my class notes were covered in doodles - everything from grinning puppy dogs to abstract swirlies. I was always more interested in making art than anything else.

These days, I doodle on envelopes when I'm on the phone, in my daytimer when I'm jotting down appointments, and of course, while I'm watching the tube. Here's yesterday's doodle, accomplished while watching reruns of Sex and The City with my lovely sister. 

Mike Kendrick's Thing-a-week is already posted! Check this shizzle out!

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Portrait of the artist as a very awkward teenager

In early September, I attended the Kaleido Festival, in north Edmonton. It's a great two-day arts festival, with everything from street vendors like moi, to stilt walkers, to acrobatic artists, to live's good fun.

When I'm at a festival, I like to make art during the quiet times. On Saturday, I was sitting at my table painting, when a shadow fell over my canvas.

"Needs more yellow," said a familiar voice.

I looked up - it was my high school art teacher, Mr. Jones! He taught me all three years, in fact, and taught me a heckuva lot about art history. Since graduating in '99, I'd hoped to run into him, so it was great to catch up. We went for a coffee a couple weeks later, and chatted about travel, art-making, and what some of my classmates were pursuing more than a decade after high school.
Naked virgin mother meets Alien King?

Anyway, this blast from the past made me think back to those important years. But, there's another side to nostalgia. As a friend of my sister's once remarked:

There are so many memories I feel awkward about.

Well said, Lauren. Me too. And lots of art I feel awkward about, let me tell you.

Every now and then, I flip through some of my old sketchbooks from that terrible era, and there's an awful lot of teen angst bleeding through the pages. I was really, really obsessed with Salvador Dali in those days, so there are plenty of melting trees, naked people missing arms and legs, and other dramas. It's awkward.

But, is it terrible? Well, not really. I had my teenage pretentious moments, but most of what I drew and painted was pretty honest and raw - I can't fault myself for that. I was just extra, super-duper passionate about art. Some of that has melted away over the years, although I still have that fire in my belly to make art.

Another weird one.
Maybe that's what the naked virgin mary drawing is all, representing that super-weird impulse to make art?

Or, maybe it was just an awkward moment.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Thing-a-week: Comics? Me?

Yes, it's been two weeks since my last blog post -- sigh -- but it's been a crazy, whirlwind month. I had a couple of art things (including the Kaleido Festival in Edmonton), school started (I'm taking short fiction this year!) and I'm up to my eyeballs (ow) in writing gigs.


I should've expected as much, but it took me by surprise (as it does, every fall). Particularly the explosion of writing projects. I've been loathe to turn anything down since I'm heading to Europe Oct.6-18 (France and Belgium! Hurray!), and it's always good to fill up the coffers before I take time off!

Anyway, art-making has fallen by the wayside a wee bit - but I did make a wee comic recently. My friend Tammy Lee - a webbie, artist and comics genius - is showing me the ropes! So, over the last six months, I've been reading every graphic novel I can get my hands on (including plenty from the Library o' Tammy) and finally, FINALLY, I decided to start my own.

Okay, deep goes. Meet my alter-ego, "Grumpy Girl."

Yes, it's poorly scanned, and you can definitely tell that I got lazier with the second panel. But, I'm gonna give it the college try. There's so much you can do with sequential art (aka comics)! 

As always, do not (seriously, don't) forget to check out the fine art works of my blog buddy, Mike Kendrick. He routinely puts me to shame! Lately, he's been showing off his graphic design skills. Check this shizzle out.

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Flirtation with orange (Thing-a-Week)

A family friend once told the story of his younger cousin, who went to art school in New York City in her 20s. One semester, she called him and exuberantly declared that she'd "discovered" the colour yellow.

I can't recall the finer points of his story, but at the time it made me giggle until my sides hurt. This young artist's "yellow period" was hilariously pretentious. It was the kind of story that makes me hope and pray I don't turn into a flaky artiste.

That said, I've had plenty of love affairs with colours. At the risk of coming across as a complete and utter flake, I think I'm a little enamoured with orange, this month. This piece, acrylic paint and acrylic ink on 10 x 12" birch panel, is all about colour and texture. It began as a painting of the night sky - complete with cartoonish planets and space craft - and evolved into a bright abstraction.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Where the magic happens

While chatting with a rural artist at a trade show, I remarked that he must have a glorious studio. I imagined a deluxe set-up in an old refurbished garage or an unused barn or heck even a yurt. I was salivating at the possibilities.

Where the magic happens.
But nope - it was quite the opposite. This established Canadian artist, whose work has appeared in galleries across North America and Europe, works at his kitchen table. Where he eats his morning cereal.

He must have noticed the look on my face.

"You can make art anywhere," he shrugged. "Why do you need a big studio?"

I can think of a few good reasons - but here's the biggest: domestic harmony. I may not work on huge canvases, or use fancy tools, like a kiln, but making art makes a mess. And, frankly, my spouse isn't thrilled with my junk all over the living room.

But, he's not wrong. There are ways to integrate an art space into almost any home. In our home, I've set-up my easel etc. in a sneaky little area between the couch and the fireplace. 

Sometimes, I'll drag the easel back to my office, at the back of the house. Thanks to my handy-dandy tool box, I can shut the lid and haul my paints and brushes down the hall to tuck it away. I keep my paint palette in a very portable cake caddy, as well, so the paint stays wet longer (and prevents colourful cat footprints everywhere). Sometimes, I even use the removal cupcake-holder as a palette.

But I love the bright light in the living room and since it shares the space with a TV, my mini-art studio is a more social place to be.  Most of the time, that's what I prefer.
Favourite shows include: Damages and Intervention (don't judge me).

Eventually, I'd love to have an entire room just for my art and I've got designs on a big room in our basement. It was recently re-done after a flood this spring, which destroyed the carpet and a lot of the drywall. Now, it's got this fancy, mold-resistant lino that looks like slate (it's not tacky, I swear!), a huge closet with mirrored sliding doors, and a brand-new window that opens like a dream. It's strangely bright in our basement, so I have no doubt I'd be comfy.

Problem is, the room is currently the office of our very lovely tenant. We're eager to pay down our mortgage quickly, and Natalie is the quietest, most considerate human I've ever met, so I hope she stays a long, loooong time. I'm happy to settle with the dream tenant and wait a little longer for the dream studio!

This big toolbox has a top storage area as well as three drawers that slide out. A great place for brushes/pencils/tape/etc.
Found at Canadian Tire: A cake caddy. It's air-tight and keeps paint wet for longer.

Inside, a removal 'cupcake tray' has become a large-but-functional palette.

Sunday, August 28, 2011

No regrets (Thing-a-Week)

It's a painful thing to admit, but summer is already winding down in Alberta. It's pitifully short, but at this time of year, I always have regrets: should have maintained that garden/gone camping more often/spent more time outside.

But I have no regrets when it comes to my art. Lately, I've been painting quite a lot in my free time - even squeezing in an hour here or there during my work days (it's one of the perks of working at home).

This week, I finished a large-ish painting (20 x 24"). I think of it as an 'abstract landscape.' I'd intended to paint a minimalistic ocean scene, but it morphed into something far more abstract. And, of course, it continues the bubble motif I'm apparently obsessed with. But I think it's partially the result of all of the "swimming" I've been doing lately (I just splash around with a flutter board and look awkward).

I've got a few other new paintings up my sleeve, too, and also a comic. I'm a little nervous about pushing it into the world (I've got a lot to learn about the genre), so I thank my friend Tammy Lee for giving me the nudge I need.

It's finished, but I'll probably post it tomorrow, after giving her a sneak-peak first!

Tammy's very skilled in the ways of comics (and also fine art), so check out her stuff online.

And, of course, don't forget to visit my Thing-a-Week pal Mike Kendrick's blog. For once, I've beaten him to the punch, but I'm sure he'll have another super-duper post for you today or tomorrow. Certainly check out his latest blog post, featuring terrifying monsters from the depths of his imagination. They will haunt my dreams tonight, I'm sure.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Hey, remember me?

It's a bright, sun-shiny morning in Edmonton, and after two hell-ish weeks, I am finally turning my attention to art.

After many, many mornings at my desk at the break of dawn, writing like a maniac and conducting phone interviews, my schedule has relaxed. I'm looking forward to not writing 7,000 words this week and painting at my easel.

Oh - and blogging about it, too!

In spite of the craziness, I did manage to finish some art, believe it or not (just ran out of time to update you, dear readers). I painted today's piece with acrylic paint on a 24 x 30" wooden panel. I used some gel mediums to add a little shine to the piece, but I plan to spray it with a high-gloss varnish, to protect it from UV exposure and add a nicer finish.

I'm also behind on my next newsletter and plan to catch up later this week. It's time to reveal the winner of my first art give-a-way! I'm excited.

Not surprisingly, Mike Kendrick has already posted his Thing-a-Week. I'm always impressed at what that dude accomplishes. I really struggle with self portraits, but he makes it look easy (and Mike, you don't really look like a wanted felon. For serious.)

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Thing-a-week: Painting trees on trees

This week, I finished one tree painting on a wooden panel and started another...

I'm loving the feeling of wood under my brush and the smell of birch. Dee-lightful!

Also found this snappy app to post blog entries with my iPhone. Snazz! Expect more regular posts from me, directly from the studio!

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Monday, August 1, 2011

Thing-a-week: Digital commission

Earlier this summer, I received an e-mail from a fellow writer living in Edmonton. It was rather out-of-the-blue -- we hadn't spoken for a couple of years. Apparently, she'd been surfing the web for pregnancy-related art and stumbled across a digital painting I'd posted on my account.

She loved the mood of the piece, and the aesthetic, and wanted to see more of my work. A few weeks later, she came by to view some of my other pieces (all acrylic on canvas) but nothing really resonated with her. There was something about the digital painting that really appealed.

As we chatted, it dawned on me that I could create a new digital piece, similar to the painting she loved, with a figure that resembled her. After a few tweaks, we came up with the image above. I had it printed on stretched canvas and will never print another on canvas, to ensure she has the 'original.'

It was a fun process and makes me want to explore digital painting a little bit more. It took years for me to warm up to the idea, but I've been tinkering with photoshop and my Wacom tablet for about a year now.

My goal is to upgrade to a larger, fancier tablet later this year. I've got my beady little eye on this one...

...which is what Mike Kendrick uses in his day job as a graphic artist. I'm more than a little jealous!

Speaking of Mike, check out his thing-a-week too. He's posted some old, and new, drawings from his sketchbook which chart his growth during the year. Very cool.

I think this thing-a-week business is paying off for both of us!

Monday, July 25, 2011

Thing-a-week: Tasty times

I'm an awful baker. Like, really awful. While I realize it's more of a science than an art, I tend to measure ingredients haphazardly and add them in the wrong order. I despised the domestic arts as a kid and somehow managed to avoid all practical knowledge pertaining to baking. Last month, I discovered that you actually have to cream the butter (ie. mix it with the sugar), rather than microwaving it and dumping it in. Who knew?

Fortunately, while I stink at the culinary arts, I can paint a tasty-looking cupcake. So, after my little cupcake foray at art walk, I decided to take a cupcake book out of the library - not for baking, but as a photo reference for painting.

Here's the fruits of my labour. Oh - and as I mentioned in my first-ever e-newsletter, I'm doing a draw for a cupcake painting at the end of the month. Join my newsletter list for your chance to win free, original art. (BTW, I don't send out newsletters more than once a month).

"Calories be damned," Acrylic on canvas, 6 x 6"

"Eat dessert first," Acrylic on canvas, 8 x 10"

"Blackberries make it healthy," Acrylic on canvas, 8 x 10"

This week, Mike Kendrick filled up a sketchbook of goodies. I tells ya, that kid is just brimming with creativity. Although, I think his Justin Bieber dinosaur is my favourite.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Wood: The new canvas

I've always loved wood. When I was a teen, I'd steal scraps of wood from my dad's workshop to paint on. I loved the feeling of the wood beneath my brush.

Recently, I went to de Serres again (my second home) and picked up a couple of small wood panels - 12 x 10" - to do a little experimenting with.

Here's my first experiment!

I used silver paint to outline the lotus flowers and to add texture and light to the background. I left the edges unpainted, too, since I love the look of wood grain. I'm debating staining it for a more finished look, but still hemming and hawing on that one.

Monday, July 18, 2011

Thing-a-week: Art Walk hangover

After three days sitting in the sun, painting and chatting, I feel like I've been run over by a truck. It's mostly a good pain - like that muscle burn you get after working out a ton. But I still feel like I could sleep for a week.

But, there's no sleep for the creatively inclined. Tomorrow, I'll spend my morning setting up at Northlands in advance of the Capital Ex show I'm doing with my Night of Artists Peeps. I'll also drop off several artworks to The Daffodil Gallery, for a post-Art Walk holdover show! A dozen-ish artists from the festival will be appearing in the gallery for the first time, including yours truly.

I've got lots of new art coming down the pipe too - will post later this week!

As always, check out Mike Kendrick's blog - the guy did fantastically well at his first Art Walk this weekend! And not surprisingly - his stuff is solid gold!

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Thing-a-week: Art as dessert

A friend visiting from Vancouver recently remarked that art is like dessert - it's not a priority for everyone. Some people are just 'meat and potatoes' folks who'd rather put money aside for practical things. Others, like my friend, see value in beautifying their spaces with art that resonates with them.

I'm a practical person and respect that art doesn't float everyone's boat - that's perfectly okay. But, our conversation made me think a lot about the eat-dessert-first people who've supported me as an artist. It also made me think of a good idea for a series: cupcakes. Of all the desserts I'd eat first, cupcakes are at the top of the list. But only the deluxe, bakery-quality kind. Grocery store cupcakes are generally pretty wretched, in my experience.

All of my cupcake paintings will be available at Whyte Avenue art walk this weekend (beginning tomorrow at noon). I'll post whatever doesn't sell on Etsy next week. :)

Not surprisingly, Mike Kendrick's thing-a-week is dino-tastic. You'll be able to catch him at Whyte Avenue Art Walk this weekend too! So, if you're in Edmonton, come on out. About 300 artists will be in attendance, and there'll be live music, too!

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Thing-a-week: Treedom!

With Whyte Avenue Art Walk quickly approaching (it's July 15-17!) and Capital Ex a week later, I've been painting up a storm - mainly smaller works. I've also been experimenting with acrylic ink and invested in some fine brushes.

Here are three of the pieces I finished last week - all are 10 x 10", acrylic (and acrylic ink) on gallery-wrapped canvas, which hang well without a frame (although, you can frame them too).  

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Thing a week: More bubbles

It's a gorgeous day in Edmonton, AB. We've had plenty of rain over the last couple of weeks (in fact, it's felt more like Vancouver than Edmonton), but now the sun's out in full force. On Sunday, I weeded the heck out of my flower beds (my arms are still sore), and finally planted our vegetable garden. Finally, we can sit outside on the patio and just enjoy being outside. My aunt's visiting from Victoria, BC, this week, so it's been nice eating dinner outside.

I'm actually hoping to do some plein air painting this summer - starting with the backyard. I'm thinking of painting my flower garden, just to get in the swing of it.  Until I'm more confident, it'll be nice not to expose myself to well-meaning looky-loos! Plus, there's always something in bloom.

Anyway, this week I submit for your approval, a revision of a painting I started in February. At the time, it was very unbalanced and awkward, so I didn't post it. Finally, after staring at it in my living room for months, I figured out what was bugging me and reworked it. Now, the brown is richer, the bubbles more balanced and definitely crisper, and I've added some iridescent touches.

It's a smaller piece - about 16 x 20 - and I hope to frame it before Whyte Avenue Art Walk (July 15-17) and Capital EX (July 22-31).

My blog buddy Mike Kendrick will also be at Whyte Ave Art Walk this year, with his delightful dinosaur series. Not surprisingly, he beat me to the punch this week - check out his Thing-a-Week here! I love a dinosaur in glasses.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Thing-a-week: Painting up a storm

What. A. Week. Seriously. On Tuesday, I took part in the Rainbow Gallery, an evening of art and wine organized by the good folks at Edmonton's Pride Week, and on Friday, I was at the U of A Hospital for a mini art show with my Night of Artists pals. In between, I've had plenty of writing assignments to complete, errands and home repairs (like painting our basement suite). By the time Friday afternoon rolled around, I was struggling to stay vertical.

So, this weekend, I took advantage of a tiny bit of free time to sleep (ah, sleep!), spend time with my partner and pets, and paint - like, a lot.

I even did one painting ( 8 x 8" canvas) from a photo I took of a rooster on one of my travels. I changed the background slightly (he was actually an urban rooster), since a pastoral scene was nicer than the grungy looking driveway where I took my photo.

 I've also been working on my first digital commission this weekend (yay!). Stay tuned for the finished product!

And, as always, check out Mike Kendrick's piece this week. I'm crossing my fingers for another dinosaur - I just can't get enough of those guys.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Thing-a-week: Productivity edition

I've been listening to more   podcasts lately, especially when I'm making art. My favourites include: Art and Story, Artists Helping Artists, and Paper Wings.

This week, time management was the theme of both Paper Wings and Artists Helping Artists. The timing couldn't have been better.

My blog posts have been late for the last few weeks as I've scrambled to finish up a whole bunch of writing and editing work. I'm realizing that as the economy improves, this is likely to continue. Also, I find that work begets work: having regular bylines means editors and clients think of me often and, consequently, I'm assigned more work.

Well, that's a theory, anyway!

But, like any creative, I've got to find time to nurture other projects. I've usually got art markets or shows on the horizon, and I'm currently developing a comic. And, of course, as an MFA student, I've got lots of creative writing to squeeze in, too.

Since I refuse to let any of my interests fall by the wayside, I need to juggle them better.

Fortunately, I have a few more tools in my arsenal after listening to the podcasts this weekend. I'm going to work harder to:

- "Eat my frogs" everyday (that is, do the most dreaded tasks first)
- Find ways to double-up (for instance, listen to podcasts while painting/dog-walking/cleaning the house)
- Spend less time on social media
- Be more conscious of my energy levels during the day, and when I'm most productive at certain tasks (I'm an evening painter, for instance)
- Re-order my tasks to be more productive (for instance, dog-walking before I create artwork or do any creative writing, since it's often a very creative time for me)

But, I think I also need to cut myself some slack. Sometimes, work and life are harder to manage, and certain tasks and responsibilities will be neglected. The house will be dirty. The dog unwalked. The painting unpainted...etc. There's no such thing as perfect.

That said, accountability is a really weird productivity booster, so thanks to my Thing-a-Week buddy Mike Kendrick for nudging me, now and then.

And check out his blog, too! He's a very creative dude.

Friday, June 10, 2011

Girl and fish

Feeling extra artsy today, so sketched this in ink and coloured it in Photoshop. (And yes, I was totally procrastinating on some other work!)

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Thing a week: Penance edition

It's summertime, but the living's not easy. While I'd love to be lingering in my garden, smelling the lilacs and listening to the songbirds, I'm stuck inside, working. In fact, there's been far too few yoga classes, dog walks, leisurely dinners or painting, lately. Instead, I've been peering into an electronic interface, crafting e-mails and articles for various publications and copywriting clients.

Don't get me wrong: I love writing. It's a wonderful day job. I'd love to be spending more time making art, but I'd never want to be a full-time artist, either. The two things are natural complements to each other and by doing both, I keep the creative juices flowing.

But lately, things have been a wee bit out of balance, which is why I missed last week's installment of the Thing-a-Week challenge. Between my writing workload, professional development events, art events,  and household maintenance and gardening, I've been up to my eyeballs.

Fortunately, it looks as if the madness won't prevail much longer. So, I can promise you all more regular updates from here on.

In fact, this week, I'm posting two pieces in penance for last week's flakiness. For your enjoyment, I humbly submit a sketch of Oliver Sachs (the psychologist) and another doodle of happy flowers.

Why Oliver Sachs? I came across a photo in one of my nerdy magazines and liked his expression.

Why flowers? Because I'm getting a wee bit obsessed with flora, now that my backyard is blooming. I plan to do some plein-air painting in my garden this summer, in fact!

Alright, without further adieu...

As usual, you'd be remiss to miss Mike Kendrick's blog post this week. Not only is the guy talented, but he keeps me honest. (Thanks for the nudge, Mike!)