Friday, August 31, 2012

cat with the cone flowers* - watercolour sketch - Susan Black - inspired by this Bella Foster print

only those who will risk going too far

can possibly find out how far one can go
T. S. Elliot


drawing & painting & bold, confident, loose experimental mark making / learning both Photoshop & Illustrator (sigh - it's about time) in my Surface Design course / so excited & thrilled about this fantastic e-course ! / eating roasted fresh peaches with whipped cream, cukes & cherry tomatoes from our garden & corn on the cob / watching Nurse Jackie - omg !!! rush to your library to check out a season - we're about to begin Season 3 / the warm late August breezes coming in from the ocean & rushing in our open windows / the chocolate brown bedroom - my nest, my haven / zinnias, poppies, sweet peas, nasturtiums, hollyhocks. cosmos & portulaca sending snail mail / the rustle of poplar tree leaves / the smell of Miss Dixon's face / cats in laps & walking with dogs & a handy, handsome prince to boot.

* remember this loose-ish painting/sketch from last summer, I found it yesterday while attempting to clear some space on my computer & decided I must make many more of these - I love it !

happy weekend all

worry pas

Thursday, August 30, 2012

the passionate observer's gang have been looking for light this last challenge, looking for & embracing the light

Worrying is carrying tomorrow's load with today's strength - carrying two days at once. 
It is moving into tomorrow ahead of time.
Worrying doesn't empty tomorrow of its sorrow, 

it empties today of its strength.
Corrie Ten Boom

Three books that have made a huge difference in my life lately as I continue the ongoing battle with my anxiety affliction. Three books that have helped me to feel hopeful & optimistic that I can beat this monster, this often crippling thing that hangs stuck to me like an invisible anchor, dragging me down, making me feel sad - crazy. The funny thing is if you met me, you'd never guess, I'm sure you couldn't see it. I've spent a lifetime honing my skills at hiding it. Pretending. And keeping it hidden just adds another layer of stress. It's exhausting & debilitating in so many ways. I'm sick & tired of it. I'm desperate. I'm determined to ease the burden I place on myself daily. I'd like to add these three books to my own library so that I could refer to them often - they are that good.

The first (I'm currently reading) - The Worry Solution - Using Breakthrough Brain Science to Turn Stress and Anxiety Into Confidence and Happiness). The Power of Habit - Why We Do What We Do In Life and Business. The great news is we can replace old habits (like obsessive worry) with new habits (with new ways of thinking) & finally the book Nerve - Poise Under Pressure, Serenity Under Stress and the Brave New Science of Fear & Cool.


Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Believe Be Love* - 8x8 collage mixed media - Susan Black - original for sale available here

believe, be brave, be kind, be love

One of the exciting & challenging projects I've worked on these past summertime months is writing a step-by-step how to article for Cloth Paper Scissors. They asked me to create a typographic "call for art" collage (which they are using as a call for art logo in the Sept/Oct issue). Like any freelance design client I talked with the customer first trying to get a sense of the look/style they were desiring - it helps so much now that I do have a large body of work on my portfolio site and in my etsy shop - as often a customer will look there first & then say I love the feel of this piece which gives me a great place to start. Jenn Mason editor at CPS liked my Good Things Come 2 type collage so that was our jumping off point.

Not only was I doing a custom type collage logo for the magazine but I would document the how-to process along the way in my words & with my photos - which I'll confess turned out to be way much more challenging then it first seemed to me. Much like my new workshop** experience it becomes an interesting challenge to show and tell how to do something that often you yourself are not consciously thinking about as you're doing it. This was a fantastic project and in the end my article is a 4 page gorgeous spread explaining in my own words & with my photos step-by-step how I created the logo below. Thank you to Cloth Paper Scissors for this wonderful opportunity !

As I result of my newly formed connection with the magazine CPS (one of the 19 or so big fish I sent this promo to way back when) I was asked if I would like to create/donate a Breast Cancer Fund Raising piece for the magazine for a special Cloth Paper Scissors etsy shop which opened today (my mixed media piece here) - all the proceeds raised go directly to the National Breast Cancer Foundation - 32 of the art pieces are included in a double page spread in the magazine (including mine). The Sept/Oct pink issue is quite a lovely leap for my creative empire - I show up 4 times in this issue. Wow ! thrilled, am I.

* the colour of Believe Be Love is most true in this post's photo - tres bright, lots o' pink ;-)
** speaking of workshops I will indeed be doing a Sunday afternoon workshop at favourite Halifax stockist of 29 Black Street goodness - Inkwell - stay tuned for more details soon.

The journey in between what you once were 
and who you are now becoming 
is where the dance of life takes place.

Barbara De Angelis 

custom typographic collage for the Sept/Oct issue of Cloth Paper Scissors - Susan Black

back to school

Monday, August 27, 2012

detail from Hope - coffee stained collage drawing - Susan Black

It's back to school time for me - pattern / surface design school.

I've signed up for all 3 modules of what I'm expecting will be another fantastic e-course from Beth Nicholls & Do What You Love with Rachel Taylor - The Art & Business of Surface Pattern Design. Earlier this year I took Kelly Rae Roberts & Beth's Hello Soul, Hello Business which was creative life changing for me, the course content lit a fire in my creative empire efforts, a fire that continues to burn hot, hot, HOTTER !

I've wanted to explore be a pattern design my entire creative life so I am thrilled that I've signed on for this 3 part e-course. Thankfully my summer of big, juicy projects & deadlines is finally winding down. I'm doing some hand lettering today for the last of those fantastic licensing jobs - 10 of my illustrations that are being made into greeting cards for release in 2013 with a well know & fantastic company. Hooray !!

Can't wait to take Flora Bowley's - Bloom True painting e-course. Her new book Brave, Intuitive Painting arrived last week & I love it. In an upcoming post soon I'll share a few of my latest & greatest favourite creative books -


Sunday, August 26, 2012

and the thing ... the unfortunate fuchsia thing ... about beets

We've been enjoying beets from our own garden and baskets of just ripe Ontario peaches. Roasted beets are delicious & really the best way to preserve all their sweet taste and goodness. I'd been reading (who knows where ?) about grilling & roasting peaches. I thought hmmmmm maybe I'll combine the two - a roasted beet, peach, onion, garlic side dressed with finely sliced fresh basil, toasted pine nuts for a little crunch, cider vinegar & feta cheese. Sounds good n'est pas ? tasted terrific but most definitely needs to be a composed salad served un-tossed - 'cause once you mix it together- oooh - that's even too pink for me.

Roasted peaches -amazing - peel & half peaches, put a smidge of butter & brown sugar in each depression roast uncovered at 425 for 15 mins or so. Serve with premium vanilla ice cream or big dollops of whipped cream (sung by a chorus of angels) - Shut Up !!

Roasted beets in foil - cut the ends of beets, half any super large beets, drizzle with olive oil & cidar vinegar, wrap up in a foil package & roast in 425 oven (along with the peaches) for 20-30  minutes. peel beets as they cool (peels slip off easily). Enjoy

mixed media

Friday, August 24, 2012

a tiny life No.7 - mixed media collage painting - Susan Black - giclee print available here

We suffer more from imagination than from reality

 Hey ! Last Sunday I successfully gave my first ever workshop. Uh ! Huh !! You have absolutely no idea what a big deal that was for me & the stupid funny thing is/was - it was a breeze. Funnier even was the fact that deep down in my heart I knew it would be. Madam Invincible kept whispering the truth to me but that freakin' Demon Girl & her rowdy team of bad cheerleaders kept drowning those whispers out. Not only was it easy, natural ... fun, challenging, rewarding & stimulating (did I mention FUN ! ) - I can't wait to do the next one, especially now that I'm over that 9ft (or taller) first-time hurdle. 8 women & me, a whole mess of paper, some paint, some glue, some scissors, & a well thought out & prepared 6 page handout (my saving grace) just in case ... I dunno my mind went blank, I couldn't breath, the dreaded hyperventilation - all fairly common occurrences for les anxious person.

Overpreparedness is often anxiety's best ally

toronto { 3 }

Thursday, August 23, 2012

la wall of cupcakes ! / me again / toronto skyline / vinca / michael / american apparel wall of colour / token CGTA shot / plus de starbucks was consumed / me again with two fav necklaces from new jewellery collection / queen street very west / more beautiful wall art + portraits

I did not buy 1 cupcake ?? am feeling near constant remorse about that fact (what was I thinking ?) - I love cake, especially little cakes with loads of frosting & in many, many, many varieties (sad face) - oh well, next time. Lots more portraits of both of us. Lately I'm being asked to send my bio & photo to various companies who I'm working for - it's all great PR for me and the Creative Empire - so one of Michael's assignments was taking some nice (hip-ish) portraits of me. I'd say by your sweet & kind comments the last two days he more than excelled at the task ;-) thank you !

toronto { 2 }

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

mike / toronto landmark cn tower / more ttc travel / excellent breakfast with rachel shelagh (rachel's good friend) / apt. corner / a very big hole / city flora / instead of dacquoise @ dufflet's a hero burger & fries / another view of amazing wall art / church near the grange park / me along the waterfront / the view from michael's living room / handsome, handsome ;-)

Les highlights

Saturday evening dinner at Gio Rana's Really Nice Restaurant with jewellery/product design customer Seagull Pewter
(merci CY & Heather). A tres cool, hip Leslieville hot spot with excellent Italian food.

Sunday up early and off to the giftshow (CGTA) for the morning and Yorkdale area in the afternoon for shopping (Pottery Barn, Anthropologie, Pusateris & great ice cream at Summer's). Then to 60 College & the giant Loblaws food heaven for dinnertime sushi & bedtime snacks (potato chips). Oh yeah, oh boy YES that wall of cheese ! but how' bout that wall of cupcakes ? I'm still reeling from the fact that I did not buy at least a 6 pack of those babies - what was I thinking ?

Monday up & out early again for a perfect breakfast meeting with Shelagh at the Daybreak (I LOVE breakfast) then hopped on the TTC to Osgoode where we began our long (10 block) walk  west on Queen Street (Umbra, Aveda, Urban Outfitters, CB2, Above Ground Art Supplies, The Paper Place (heaven), Dufflet's (we did have carrot cake samples - yum), Hero Burgers (more yum) & lots more shops ending up at West Elm. Dinner delicious pizza !! & a few apt. decorating projects.

Tuesday morning Michael & I off to the Toronto Island airport for my noon Porter Air flight home

I'm already making my must-do list for next trip January 2013

toronto { 1 }

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

ttc travel / corner store begonias / skyline / 60 carlton & foody heaven / stormy skies / timer photo / queen st west storefront / michael / amazing wall art / anthropologie / moi / hibicsus sigh

Still finding my blog voice ... I think a little lost from all the flurry & fury (the self imposed drama - insert large eye roll here*) of the last week or so. I've already planned my next trip to Toronto to hang out with my adored nephew - I had a ball. I've lived a lot of my life in cities (Halifax, Montreal, Calgary & Toronto) so even though I feel much of the time like I've become a true rural gal ... but I adapt amazingly quickly to life in the city. Next up parts 2 & 3 (at least in photos ;-)

* so easy to eye roll at yourself when you've come through the muck of anxiety (& more on that soon).