Be Better 2016: Blog Schedule

Alright, so this is my first post from my new blogging schedule.  As I previously mentioned, I’ve been working on making a proper blog and online schedule, and dedicating myself to finding the best ways to implement it.  You can’t obtain your goals unless you have a good plan.  Blogging and getting myself online is only one aspect of my New Years Resolution, but I’m trying to take things one step at a time, and really iron out each step so that I can actually reach my goals.

So I’ve spent a few weeks and have made a blog schedule.  It’s a completely different approach to blogging for me.. which is why I think it might work.  While I’m definitely using more digital means of keeping track and reaching other life goals (something I plan on talking about in my next Be Better post), I decided to do something more visual and hand-done for blogging.  I picked a cute notebook (one I already had), and divided the page in half.  I have a simple legend, and plan on seeing more and more highlighter throughout the book.  It’s weird but I realized that based on my schedule, it makes way more sense to make my blog week go from Tuesday-Monday.  Once I decided that, the schedule made a lot more sense to me, and just sort of fell into place.  I’ll be sure to update on the success and alterations I make the schedule and how I’m keeping track of it.  I’ve already slightly adjusted the lay-out of the weekly checklists for the coming week, which I’ll share next week.

Did I mention that I’ve finally joined Instagram?  I have to admit, I think me and Instagram are going to be friends.

So while I’m posting this a little late for my Thursday deadline, it’s still in before midnight and therefor a success for following my blogging schedule!  Tomorrow I will be posting an update on what current art I’m working on.

In a World without an End or Beginning.

Hello World.  After a rather extended break, I have returned.  I’ve struggled with exactly how to start back up again online, and I’ve decided to keep true to one of my life mottos and just start.  But that isn’t to say I am just going to wing it, which I must admit was my previous (unsuccessful) approach with blogging.  I’ve really sat down over the last year, and started to sort out what directions I want to go in artistically, and now it’s time to start obtaining those goals.  I’ve started now by making a simple blog schedule, and weekly social media goals.  Since I work full time now, I have a more regular work schedule, which should be able to translate into a more regular online schedule (it WILL, it MUST!).  But blogging on a regular basis is only one slice of my 2016 resolution pie..

Last year, my New Years resolution was to start a more professional website for my art.  I can’t say that I failed at that endeavour.. since I did create a more professional website, however I never actually finished it, and I never updated it.  Crap.  Going back to it, I’m actually still really happy with what I’ve started with and think that I can work with it without major overhaul.  In fact, I even looked through WordPress themes expecting to update this old blog, but was surprised to see that I still love this theme the most (book lite if anyone is curious).  So I’m deciding not to update my core themes, but I do have plans to update photos, bios, and other pages.  I know where I fucked up my resolution last year, which was a lack of organization, and a lack of specific goals.

This year, my mantra is “Finish Shit”.  I have a lot of idea debt (I have to admit that I just read about this concept, I think it’s a fantastic way of looking at it and highly recommend reading Jessica Abel’s post about it here), multiple projects that I’ve literally been working on for years.  But since I’ve still invested a lot of time and money into these projects, I’m not willing to let go of them, but am instead trying to be excited at the prospect of FINISHING them.

Overall, 2015 was really.. strange.  It was a year of firsts, and exciting plans.  It was my first year working full time.  It was the first time that I’ve had my art and comics published outside of self-publishing.  I started planning our wedding, and my partner graduated from post-secondary.  But with all the hustle and bustle, depression started to consume us.  While it is great to not worry about having money to buy groceries, suddenly there was no time to shop for them.  While I have fantastic opportunities to get my work published, suddenly I have no ambition or energy to create.  It became easy to simply sleep, work and occasionally eat.  But, it’s time to be real about our depression, how it affects us, and how we can work to overcome it.

So, I know what you are thinking, this all sounds like a lot of ambitious goals, a lot of big lofty goals that are going to be really hard (I mean, who casually drops overcoming depression as a New Years Resolution along side scheduled blogging, meal planning, and basically an entire life overhaul, but I suppose my logic is that by improving certain areas of my life, I will be less affected by depression.).  But I have a plan.  Actually, I have A LOT of plans.  But I’m going to start talking about those more in my future posts.  Originally, I was planning on making this post include more about the specifics, but it was holding me back on writing this.. because to be honest, I haven’t worked out the details on some of them, and I’ve actually already realized that I need to re-work my plan for my blog.  But, this is a good thing!  I have to accept that I won’t get all my life goals sorted out perfectly into schedules and lists before starting to follow them.. I need to start small and work up, find out what works and doesn’t work for me.

All that being said, one of the biggest things that I think anyone can do for themselves if they are suffering from depression:  Get out of your house and go for a walk.  All of the pictures I’m sharing have been taken over the past few weeks while on walks in the forest with my fiance and life partner, Hrafn.  No matter the weather, it has always been worth it.

 

London’s Anarchist Book Fair

So a few weeks (oh god, has it really been a few weeks already?) ago my partner and I took part of London (Ontario)’s Anarchist Book Fair, I believe the 3rd Annual.  This time around it was held in At^lohsa Native Family Healing Services.  First off, wow this space was FANTASTIC!  It was roomy, bright, and had a variety of spaces for workshops, and even an eating area.  In retrospect I wish I had taken more photos of the beautiful architecture and details of the space.  This was our first time with a table at an Anarchist book fair, and honestly we weren’t 100% sure how we would do.  Technically speaking, I don’t consider myself an Anarchist (I don’t subscribe to formulas yo), and have some pretty mixed views on politics and social structure.  When forced to label myself (or my art) I usually settle on Existential Naturalist.  Anywho, the book fair was actually quite successful.  It is always so re-assuring to have positive feedback from others, it makes the work feel that much more satisfying.  I want to congratulate my partner on completing a second pamphlet zine, and nearly completing a third!

Also at the book fair, an artist collective called the Beehive Design Collective had a huge, and beautiful mural up for display.  They also sell poster prints of these (double-sided that gate fold open! super super cool!).  They also had someone talking about the metaphors and meanings of the pieces, which were actually really thoughtful and well planned.  I always appreciate art that has symbolism and meaning that doesn’t make me roll my eyes.  They have a lot of neat patches and their webstore is sliding scale to help with the pocket-book.  I highly recommend checking out their website here.

I really par-downed my display for this event, since we were going straight from the book fair to our annual street party, fireworks bananza Burn the Kids.  Plus being a book fair, I wanted to focus on paper products.  For this event I did have a new item, a series of original drawings in mini glass bottles.  I filled the bottles with little precious stones and rocks that I have collected from different parts of Ontario.  I called the series Keeping It All In (Ontario).  I think I will make a Behance project for these guys (or I suppose I should say gals), with more information.

Rag Bag Bazaar and Dundas Street Festival June 14 2014

So this past weekend, my partner Hrafn, and I had a table a local art bazaar and street festival.  This isn’t the first Rag Bag bazaar I have taken part in, and certainly won’t be the last.  It reminded me that I need to start posting on here more often, because surprise!  People actually want to be able to find me online, and see my new work online (or I suppose work that I have now finished).  So, I’m going to try to at least update everything I have online and maintain this blog with WIP updates more often.  Also, please feel free to contact me through e-mail anytime with inquiries about items you have seen at festivals or custom ordering.

Now, on to the Bazaar… It was an up and down sort of day.  It was insanely windy, which meant that my display had to be very flat, and very weighted down (seeing your art get blown onto Dundas street doesn’t make your stomach feel too great as it turns out).  I think it negatively affected some sales, but I just tried to be encouraging for people to pick items up.  Unfortunately my always openness for people to touch resulted in disaster… even though I never suggested for this particular child to touch (he picked up some of our mini zines and alien crayons and thought they were free and tried to walk away with them..), he then proceeded to pick up my most recently finished doll (one which I haven’t properly documented) and literally rip her arm off.  Jerry tried to catch up with the kid and mom, but they were quick to flee after the incident.  :(  I guess this means I will have to keep my dolls farther back and only allow adults to touch (with a stress on being gentle).  The sad part is, is that my dolls really are not that delicate.  I have dropped them at home, or have had Dante pull them off of a table (or pushed ahah), without any breaks.  But I’m confident I will be able to fix her arm,  luckily it is covered by clothing at the break.  But in good news, I sold the last two catopi from my series, the last prints for a few designs, and most surprisingly (and most painfully) I sold Diana and Lapin.  Diana and Lapin were my first finished clay doll set, and part of a larger story I have been working on for some time.  It was incredibly thrilling to have someone love her enough to take her home!!  I hope that wherever she is, she is being admired.

The biggest “reveal” of this show (I always try to have at least two different and new items at a show), was the hand bound book I put together.  It is 24 pages long, includes one longer story, multiple fragments, bird girls with floating islands, space cat comics, and some sneak peaks for other ideas I’m working on.  I learned a new binding technique, and hand stamped each cover.  I received a lot of positive feedback about these and look forward to creating I am filled with ghosts vol. 2.  I will be posting more about this release on my Behance page within the next week or so.  My partner also created a new zine for the Rag Bag, it is called Alone.  He also learned new binding techniques, and he even added belly bands.  I have to admit, I’m pretty damn proud that we both finished our books on time, though it did result in us literally have two hours of sleep before!

 

new art and old art

This whole winter thing is starting to get to me, I admit.  I love winter, and enjoy going out in the snow, and I understand the importance of having healthy seasons.  But I’m cold now, and I am really looking forward to the spring.  The main thing about winter is that when I’m cold, and I’m inside, it makes me want to sit around doing nothing.  Which leads to me.. well sitting around doing nothing.  But I have been trying to combat these winter lulls.. I’ve started painting again, something that I am still unsure about whether I even enjoy or not.  I’ve been designing some new dolls, and realizing that some of my other dolls are not yet complete.. I have some new ideas though for my Persephone cloth doll, which mostly includes creating a full costume for her, and my mermaid doll, which simply needs more detail work and possibly work on her wig.  I posted a picture of my mermaid on my Behance page as a WIP here too.  I still need to take proper shots of all the cats I made last fall… and the next Rag Bag is in a few weeks!  Gah.  I just never have enough time! But in the mean time, here is a WIP shot from a series of tiny paintings, the paintings are 4″ x 6″.

frogpaint

the Start of Eve {WIP: MH Doll}

So, I’ve been working on finishing a few things.. such as this Monster High Ghoulia Doll that was my very first MH doll I found used.  I’ve painted and re-painted her face a few times so I knew it was time to create her into a full, new character.  I got this particular doll at a steal ($1), thanks to the fact that she was sans arms.  This was the inspiration for what to do with her.. I considered making her more traditional lady arms, but was unsure how to do the jointing to allow them to move still.. and in comparison to “real” MH arms, I thought they wouldn’t look very good.  But then, inspiration hit me in the face with a brick.. a faint memory of a stunning scene.  I remember watching my sister play the PS1 game Parasite Eve.  At the beginning, there is an Opera scene of a beautiful young woman, and suddenly everyone explodes, except for her: her arms explode and out burst these huge scythe like hands.  So, this doll’s name will be Eve.  With this weird, old memory in mind I started creating.  She still needs more work, but I couldn’t hide her from the world! (Also, I purposefully decided NOT to look up Parasite Eve during the design and creation, I don’t really remember what the original Eve looked like, but I wasn’t really interested in creating THAT character, just a character inspired by it!).

Running Horse {custom cloth doll}

Last year, I was excited to have a full commission request for Christmas.  I knew it was going to be a challenge, and I took a lot of time to really work on the design and approach.  I have never made an AmerIndian style doll before, and to be honest, would normally be something I somewhat avoided (I live in an area with a lot of Native Americans, and tensions on occasion run high).  But, since this was for a little girl with an AmerIndian heritage, I couldn’t say no.  I’m thrilled that I did decide to go for it, I think she turned out perfect.  I’m really proud of her, and think that she is one of my more successful dolls overall.  Let me know what you think of her entire photo set over on Behance.

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