Entries in pop surrealism (5)


Reigniting the passion

Being a creative, whether you do it full time, part time or as a hobby, you can easily be stripped of inspiration and wanting to create.  That is fine and happens to all of us.  But to get that spark back, for the most part it is up to you to find out how to get excited to create again.  Here are a few of the ways that I keep myself inspired.

1. Take yourself on at artist date 

Borrowed from the book The Artist’s Way, I have found these to be very helpful.  An artist date is making time for yourself, on your own to do something captivating.  To play, have fun, or do something that nourishes you.  An artist date shouldn’t be something you think you should do, or even something practical.  You should be excited or curious about what you decide to do.  This activity that you pick doesn’t have to make sense to your art practice, it just has to be something that you are excited or curious about.  You never know what it might spark.  The possibilities are endless, so use your imagination.  And if you don’t get it right the first time and it didn’t spark something in you, don’t give up.  I have had a few artist dates that were duds.  But I have had plenty that have gotten me thinking differently, sparked a small idea, or at minimum, gotten me out of my studio for a morning to take a break from the to do list.  My recent artist date, I took myself to the Bloedel Conservatory in Vancouver with my skethbook, some watercolor paints, and I painted some of the flowers and birds with no intention for the drawings.  Many of my favourite artist dates have been wandering nature alone with a sketchbook or notebook.  It’s a nice escape from the business of life.  

*Some of my favourite artist dates*

-The public library.  Reading about different subjects that interest me and that I don’t know much about.

-Wandering nature alone with my sketchbook or notebook.

-Beaty Biodiversity Museum.  Drawing taxidermy animals, fish in jars, bugs, plants and more.


2. Fuck around Friday’s

Either on my own or with a studio mate.  I like to spend 30 minutes to a few hours, fucking around!  Grab some paper, paint, and other random tools, media and just fuck around with it.  Don’t try to make anything you will ever keep.  Taking that out of the situation will help you loosen up and be less precious.  You might find something that you like, such as a colour combination, a texture or something else that you may have never done before.  Or in the least, you will have loosened up.  I also like to treat myself on these days, buy myself a nice coffee and dessert treat, blast the music.  It can help get you into the right mindset to play around.


3. Clean your studio or art working space

This will help clear the old air out. Get rid of unused things, rearrange your space and make your space feel new and welcoming again.  I try to do at least a minimal clean out after each huge deadline has passed and a big clean/sort once a year.  I find my space can become chaos when I have a lot on the go.  I like to reset it before diving into the next project so I can go in fresh and new. 


4. Create studio rituals

This ties in with cleaning your space.  You really want your space to be a welcoming space that you are excited to go to.  It doesn’t matter if it is a corner in your living room, or an actual studio space, make it a welcoming and creative area.  Light some candles, turn on cozy lights, have a diffuser going, put up inspiring images anything to make it a place that you want to be in.  I personally like to get my diffuser going and light candles when I get to work in the morning.  A nice relaxing moody start to the day.


5. Find or create your community

Many artists work alone.  I really enjoy working alone most of the time.  But I do feel the need to connect to other creatives when I can.  This helps to get me out of my own head and think differently.  If there are ways to join a creative community in your area, then do!  Even try a few different circles so that you aren’t reliant on just one.  

*Some of the ways that I have a creative community*

-My studio mates.  Even though we have our own spaces, and work separately, we still have each other when needed.  It is nice having another creative eye that you could ask an opinion on, collaborate with, or even just feed off each others energy working in the same space.  I worked from home for years before I finally buckled and rented a studio space.  It was the best decision I ever made.  

-Creative Mornings/Likemind.  Two different events that happen once a month. They get you up early in the morning, feed you coffee and surround you with other creatives.  Creative Mornings is a breakfast lecture series for the creative community, with different speakers and themes each month.  Likemind is an informal monthly coffee and conversation gathering, with like-minded people. It’s a casual gathering where you talk with other creatives about what you love, rather than what you do.  

-Creating my own community.  Inspired by likemind, I gathered many of my artist friends to meet once a month for an hour for coffee at different little cafes around the city.  As a way to get ourselves out of the studio for a short while, to share what we are working on, excited about, share information, support each other, spark new ideas and make new artist connections.


6. Take some time off

I am still working on finding this balance.  I am definitely the person that works their butt off on a project, and when it's over I tend to put of taking a break.  Many times I just jump right back in to the next thing, or start playing catch up on all the other things I put off while that deadline loomed.  Even if it is as simple as a half a day off here and there, it can be very beneficial to not burn out. 


When I am in a rut or blocked or feeling uncreative, one of these will really work to get me excited to create again.  So don’t be afraid to try different things and compile your own list.



The Altar

This is a much long overdue post, but I still wanted to post about it.  A couple months back I released a limited edition print of my painting "The Altar".  This print is very special to me, as I have been donating half of the proceeds to VOKRA (Vancouver Orphan Kitten Rescue Association).  They are a no-kill, non-profit dedicated to the rescue of cats in Vancouver.  They don't have a shelter, instead they work with a few hundred foster homes.  

I have been working with them as a foster parent to kitties for just over a year now, since my cat passed away.  It has been a very rewarding experience and has helped my heart heal with the loss of my cat.  The Altar is a beautiful tribute to loss and rebirth with the blooming cherry blossoms, which happen to be blooming very early in the season outside my window as I write this.  

If you want to know more about Vokra, definitely check them out!

"The Altar" is a limited edition, signed and numbered print.  It will come complete with a certificate of authenticity with a wax seal.  These are high quality giclée prints, on coldpress matte paper. 100% cotton fiber, acid free and archival.  You can get it from my etsy shop here...

Etsy - The Altar

Or if you live in Vancouver, you can get it directly from me for $40, no shipping cost if you pick it up from my studio.  Just shoot me an email.

Once these prints are sold out, they are gone for good, so make sure you get one while I still have some.

And of course I can't talk this much about cats without showing you some!  The following images are all the cats that we were lucky enough to foster last year.  Peach & Leeloo, Meep, Squee, Tig & Leo, Emoji & Hero, Fluffington & Gus.


100 Paintings in 100 Days - FULL VIDEO

Here is the full video that was put together documenting my 100 Paintings in 100 Days show that opened March 2015.  All the way from the beginning, following me to the exhausting finish line.  And celebrating at the opening in Los Angeles at Gallery 1988.  Enjoy! 

Special thanks to HUMANS who allowed me to use their music for the video.  Check out their new album Noontide!


100 Paintings in 100 days - Teaser

Here is a short teaser for my solo show at Gallery 1988.  The show opens Friday March 6th at Gallery 1988 East in Los Angeles.  

Music for the trailer is by the band Humans, their new album "Noontide" is out now!  

For the full 100 paintings video, you will have to check back after the show.


100 Paintings in 100 Days - The aftermath

If I could have put a pause on life and painted for 100 days straight, it wouldn't have been too hard of a task. But I guess that is half of the challenge. Try to stay focused while life throws a constant stream of good and bad at you.

Just before starting my cat wasn't feeling well. eight days in to painting we found out he had cancer. It was the saddest thing I have ever had to deal with and at one of the most stressful times in my career. Every day at work trying to concentrate when all I wanted to do was be at home with him. Trying to focus on work while watching him waste away. We tried a lot of different medications to help, but in the end it was too aggressive of a cancer. Day 50 of 100, the halfway point that I thought I would be celebrating, we had to take him in to put him down. He took a fast turn and was in too much pain that he couldn't sleep or walk.  I had to take two days off of painting to recover even though I knew it would put me more behind, there is no way I could work. My first day back at work after that and my aunt passed away. By then I was emotionally empty, the worst week of my life.  I hate that I had so much work to do at this time, but looking back, maybe it was good. It kept me busy and kept me going so I didn't just fall into a big depressing rut and not leave the house. 
Luckily not all of life's curveballs were bad during these 100 days. I was selected as the winner of Nuvango's back cover of hi fructose contest (my favorite art magazine). I had an awesome time at the culture crawl, meeting up with old fans and making new ones while hanging out with my studio mates and getting a few hours break from painting. There were also birthdays, and weddings, Halloween and day of the dead, and visits from friends and family.
The first time I did 100 paintings was difficult trying to balance work and painting, this time balancing life and painting. Luckily I have an amazing support group of friends and family that kept me modivated when I was feeling empty, gave me hugs when things were falling apart, brought me food me when I was painting too many hours to take proper breaks.  This show was possibly because of all of them. 
So the next 100 paintings in 100 days??  ...maybe in another 10 years!