Sunday, September 30, 2012

Fear Less 8 x 10 giclee print of my original vintage paper, ink & gouache typographic collage - Susan Black

I'm doing another workshop this afternoon. I keep reminding myself that it's actually a loveshop, that I'll be spending 3 hours sharing experience & knowledge of stuff I love. It's all passionate stuff. So ... thinking about it that way I know it should will be loads of fun.

History & the Present battle on in my head. Two completely opposing points of view, ya think I'd be used to this fight by now !? History's position is that I'm shy, self-conscious, socially inept and basically I loathe anything that even remotely resembles a workshop (History laughed and fell off her chair when I called this afternoon's event a loveshop). A big darn eye roll from me. The Present, who's recently grasped (& embraced whole heartedly) the concept of ya never really know anything for sure anyway. Yells at me, in an attempt to drown out History, you love what you do, you are filled with passion - share a little of it. Plus it's going to be FUN, you know you always do your best. Lighten Up, Be Kind to You & Enjoy these moments.

The last thing the Present whispers to me is  
& Hey You ! have a kick ass loveshop !

small steps

Saturday, September 29, 2012

Miss D & her reflection / beautiful branches, tiny leaves / a very old cemetery / a path / Oliver in his office at sunset / another path & Bee / a flock of starlings / stormy harbour / pillow topped drying rack avec Virgil / crow / fall asters are everywhere


I always forget the small part ...
oh yeah, and I forget the slow part too ...
and I never remember the compassionate part ... ever

but I do have a pretty good handle on the steps, especially lately - Ive been steppin' right along

I leap, I bound, I run, I rush, I cram, I hold my breath, I bite off way more than I can chew, I plan goals & to-dos that are way pie in the sky and then seem to almost relish in beating myself up because I can't/don't accomplish them. For example a recent penned in daytimer to-do - 1 hour power walking at noon 3x a week with Deb (Mon, Wed, Fri) - I apply the new slow, small, compassionate (realistic) steps philosophy and it becomes get yourself outside girlfriend & sit in the fresh air for 15 mins each midday. Ahhh now that's what I'm talkin' about !

I'm participating in yet another e-course (ya-huh e-course junkie am I, it's true) with Willo O'Brien & Mati Rose called Re-Connect (check it out here). It's been great, connecting with a huge community of creative women who are all battling similar issues - the biggest issue really aside from finding creative time & getting stuff done is being kind to yourself while doing it all - being gentle & patient & loving with yourself, with your mind & with your body. So my new mantra is slow, small, compassionate steps.

Yeah ! I like the sound of that.

trying but ...

Friday, September 28, 2012

impromptu pm bathroom photo shoot with - Mr. Hey ! Am-I-Not-the-Most-Handsome-Cat-Ever - Oliver

trying but ... 
subtitled - a little winge

oh my, oh my goodness

If I were to be truly honest I would say I have too much on my plate or I need to learn how to say "No" but ... I love every little thing/project on my plate plus I'm continually dreaming up new plates - or is that projects ? When one chooses the life of the self employed, when one's main thrust in life is growing a small, self-sustaining Creative Empire it becomes difficult to stop & take the time to smell the midday roses. I've been trying, I think, at least that's what I've been telling myself. Trying to fit some other things into this life. Some darn TLC things,  self care things (yoga, stretching, walking),  fun things (lazing around eating bon bons & reading a good book or flipping through the one of the far way many magazines I subscribe to). I'm trying not to be sitting hunched over my desk holding my breath or just forgetting to breath day in day out, day in day out. I think to myself often lately Hey ! get a life you !

But I love my life ... or at least most of it. I'm not crazy about the business side of running a business, that ol' devil is in the darn details part of running your own creative business (no wonder I've been holding my breath) - ordering giclee prints (that job alone for some reason nearly kills me every time), ordering cellophane & envelopes & shipping materials, doing etsy photography & listing new items, & lets not forget les marketing of me & schmoozing & trying trying to constantly be drumming up new tres exciting work.

I know ... you must be thinking B-O-R-I-N-G !! It is boring ... I'm trying so hard to be more efficient with my time, trying so hard to fit more pleasure into my days, trying to be extra sweet to me & my body & to me some more. Trying ... but not yet succeeding. Winge.

fallen leaves

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

fallen leaves / out into the strait / the boys / geranium blossoms / shadows on the salt mine road / pink petunia window box / samuel leon berger / lobelia / hydrangea / sweet missy d in misty grey

cardigans & questions

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

I choose my photos most often by theme - here the theme is colour & a muted, mostly green palette 

Sometimes the questions are complicated
and the answers are simple
Dr. Seuss

It's early morning cardigan weather again there's a distinct chill in the air as Miss D and I cast our long shadows around this little village out each day on our morning stroll. Last night I watched the sun set at 7:10, as I worked at the TTD, turning the sky above the harbour a spectacular combination of lavenders & corals. Fall is in our air.

I've been pondering, thinking, wondering again about lots of things but especially about this place, this blog. Not wanting to give it up (at all), but feeling that it's time for a make over - not a visual make over (yet) I'm pretty happy with how it's looking - but a wee content makeover. I've been tossing around the idea of scheduling topics for myself, common topics that have shown up here often in the past but always in a random, rather arbitrary way. Topics like cooking, home reno, creativity, gardening, photography, les Gang, you know - all the ones ... what if I made a schedule for myself say a 2 week schedule. Monday - inspiration, Tuesday - cooking & recipes, Wednesday - a passionate observer (am considering moving it here - your thoughts welcome), Thursday - creativity (and so on). Lots of blogs deal with their content this way and I can really see how it helps tremendously to save time because it's easy to be thinking ahead & planning a post when you have a topic/theme schedule. Instead of sitting down each morning & winging it  being spontaneous (spontaneous takes more time than you'd think). Yikes!! there's that word that I'm always insisting I'm not, but I guess in some ways I actually am.

The thing is, I'm trying to fit so much more life into each of my days and I'm finding keeping a fairly tight (kinda rigid actually) schedule through the week is really helping - it's almost like I have a real bossy boss hangin' over my shoulder who doesn't let me frit away time & who is encouraging me (that's a nice way of putting it) always to be tres efficient with my time. I don't mind the bossy boss at all because I want to find time for more ... lots more.

The questions for you my friends who visit here, many of you for a very long time, is what would you like to see here ? What are your favourite bits ? what would you like to see less of ? more of ? something new perhaps ? something blue (snort !) ? Why do you visit here ? what do come for ?? 

Thanks for helping me make this blog better ! 


Monday, September 24, 2012

detail from Bloom Bold & Bright - 11x14  giclee print of my coffee stained botanical collage -Susan Black

The only journey is the one within
Rainer Maria Rilke

& ya know, lately I've been really loving that journey within. I feel excited, alive, creative, enthusiastic & happy. I completely love what I do. I feel most of the time almost too excited about what's on my plate. What an incredible blessing it is for your work to be your love, for your life to be your love.

blooming bold & bright
so grateful & so blessed

crazy lady(s)

Saturday, September 22, 2012

detail from - Bold Floral - 11 x 14 giclee print on 400 gms textured water colour paper - Susan Black

Of course I'm crazy, 
but that doesn't mean I'm wrong
Robert Anton Wilson 

I have a friend here in the village, her name will remain a secret, and she is my Hey Crazy Lady twin. We tease each other that we were separated at birth only to be happily & luckily reunited in mid-life, now when we're both at the height of our Animal Care & Protection MilitantNess ;-)

Hey You ... have you spayed & neutered your pet ? 

Helloooo ! I think your desperately barking dog might like to come in. 

We run into each other often when we're both out for our early morning walk. We rush toward each other, we rant, we rave in hushed voices, we laugh, we scheme, we vent, we fantasize if only we could be Co-Queens of our World, we tease ... we agree, we know, we are crazy ladies. We have an agreement that we can call each other on the crazy lady hotline anytime, night or day, if we need to chat or vent or strategize about each other's current local troubling animal issue. I call her weekly. I love her, I need her ... she is my most favourite crazy lady.

There has been little to no barking this week after following up persistently with the proper channels.
Hooray !

morning girl

Friday, September 21, 2012

*detail from - Zinnia No.1 - 11 x 14 giclee print of original botanical collage drawing - Susan Black

I'll admit that I have many favourite times of the day. I love 8:30 pm-ish when I try each night to retire to the chocolate brown room with various fur friends to begin my nightly reading ritual, I love heading out the door at 7:45 am-ish  with Missy D for our morning stroll around the village or sometimes along the salt mine road but my favourite time of day hands down is early morning. I am a morning girl - big time.

We have 2 alarm clocks here at 29 Black Street. The first is Bleet (our only outside cat) yowling to be let out so he can sit in his pillow topped wicker chair on our front porch to enjoy the sunrise. Our second alarm clock is the magical sound of our coffee maker kicking in at 5:30 (ya huh ! we like to wake early here) gurgle & spurt & more gurgling. By just past 6 I'm still snuggled under the covers taking the occassional sip from my bedside cup of coffee which has been delivered to me by one charming Prince. I love to wake up super slowly, I love to ease into each brand new day.

By the time I go downstairs to pour my second cup of coffee the Prince is up & beginning his own morning ritual and I'm heading back to bed ready for the best part of my morning girlness. My *morning pages. I puff up the pillows, sit up in bed & have both my dayplanner & my journal open & ready. Sam & Oliver almost always hanging out on the bed with me, Winnie snoozing on her big purple bed on the floor & I begin. I plan, I think, I ponder, I write, I sketch, I doodle, I write some more ... I drink my coffee. I feel happy. I feel excited about the prospects of the new day ahead of me. I work out my biggest & best ideas at this time. I sort through & deal with anything at all that's troubling me. It's a gift I began giving myself when I was barely an adult. I realize now, though it still feels like a gift - it's actually the smartest & most important 90 mins of my daily life.

good things - I'm making this chocolate mint extravaganza + omg ! sighing this line drawing with gold details

* & Julia Cameron discussing the creative habit of Morning Pages

I heart Missy D

Thursday, September 20, 2012

an early morning stroll along the salt mine road bathed in the perfect, beautiful golden sunrise light

Dogs are our link to paradise. They don't know evil 
or jealousy or discontent. To sit with a dog on
a hillside on a glorious afternoon is to be back in Eden, where doing nothing was not boring ... it was peace.

Milan Kundera

Every day, every single day I thank my lucky stars that Miss Winnie Dixon is with me. She will be 14 come January her next big birthday and she's been with me for nearly 13 of those years. Oh the places we've been, oh the crazy terrier mix antics she's gotten herself into - fox & coyote long distance chasing, much muskrat love & sadly sudden death (to them), intense pond stomping, culvert scrutinizing, sadistic Atlantic crab dismemberment & far too many porcupine near misses. Over the years often people would meet us walking and stop to comment on how beautiful she was, then ask what breed she was thinking any dog as beautiful as she was must surely be a pure bred. I would always joke that yes she is a tres rare breed indeed - a Scottish muskrat hound crossed with a Nova Scotia crab toller. :-)

Oh my Miss D, my Missy Darn Dee - I love you more than words could ever say.

She's doing amazingly well after her extreme urinary tract infection back in August. She's very healthy, she's fit as a fiddle, has a huge appettie (especially for cat food which of course I indulge) & we love our twice daily walks around this little village. She's sleeping now, soundly, at my feet on her poofy dog bed under the teak topped desk.

Now I'm off to that other blog a passionate observer  - check in with me there in an hour or so.

trust & lies

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Fear Less Love More - 11 x 14 giclee print on 400 gram textured water colour paper - Susan Black

It's time for me to place another enormous giclee order. My etsy shop & fabulous retailers (Inkwell Modern in Halifax & Dots & Loops in Lunenberg) all need new inventory, new stuff. It's my goal whenever I place a new giclee order to try and have as many NEW things as possible, New botanical collages, new type collages. New is good. New means showing up at the creativity desk, turning off the chattering procrastination channel & carrying on with some bold, dive-in-wontcha-girlfriend unabashed braveness.

Why is being creative always such a struggle, why is it so difficult ?

This new piece in my current best loved colour palette of kraft, cream & black (aren't you all glad I've left the neon pink, orange & coral phase at least for the time being - wink) has become almost overnight a new botanical collage favourite. The funny thing is that you have absolutely no idea how much I struggled to finish it. How many times I came so close to ripping it up. I had to physically shut my brain off and strong arm me & myself into continueing with the scissors and glue, I had to force myself to finish it. And yes there was always a tiny whisper of a voice in the background trying to tell me ... you're just in the ugly phase, keep going, carry on ... finish it - trust yourself.

Now Me & Myself gets to taunt the other Me & Myself & say "told you so, you never listen".

I'm telling this story because I want every person who struggles along with me to change, to grow and to be creative in any way to remember you must push through and ignore those nasty voices. Dive in, keep going, trust in yourself, lie to that nattering critic and you will grow and change and become whatever it is you desire to be. Trust me.


Tuesday, September 18, 2012

more from the 29 Black Street kings of snoozin' - Virgil & Oliver

& how about a little Kings ... of Leon

being present

Monday, September 17, 2012

from the photo archives / mock orange with citrus leaves - chocolate brown bedroom

In this moment, there is plenty of time. 
In this moment, you are precisely as you should be. 
In this moment, there is infinite possibility. 

Victoria Moran

Being present: how to become unstuck & more productive

September has been a sticky month thus far. I wouldn't say I'm actually stuck but I am aware of this stickiness. I'm aware that I'm not propelling myself forward with the vim & vigour of the last 2 - 4 months and I'll be honest it freaks me out just a little. After a summer of full tilt, deadline driven projects all from external customers September has been slow paced, relaxing, still with lots of deadlines but now the deadlines are all internally created - by me. Oh Oh ! My own big freakin' CE building, to-do list of deadlines - I guess I'm no task master. I'm too soft, flexible ... too easy going.

I've got lots of very important stuff planned (& wished for) by the end of this year. Big stuff. So this new Monday, new week, half way point in this tres sticky month my intention for unsticking myself is to slow down. Ya huh !! Not to do less 'cause actually I've been happily adding lots of new things to my dance card but to slow down doing the things I'm doing. To be present. No more multi-tasking. To pay attention to what I'm doing. To catch myself thinking & planning & racing in my mind while I'm doing something else. To stop rushing through my life. To set reasonable goals & if I become stuck with something on my to-do list. Come back to it later, take a pass and move slowly & intentionally on to the next thing.

It's a huge challenge but I'm game to try.