my best

Wednesday, July 31, 2013

tomatoes & cukes a summer ritual / small yellow wildflowers along the harbour / the thistles are covered with bees / dandelion gone to seed / Miss Winnie Dixon in our fenced in back garden / wild daisies in a meadow by the sea / hydrangea / these lavender bells grow everywhere in our yard / birds eye view of queen anne's lace etc / clematis seed heads / a simple summer supper of potato salad, grilled chicken, fresh from the garden veggies, cukes & tomatoes

1. be impeccable with your word
2. don't take anything personally
3. don't make assumptions
4. always do your best

Miguel Ruiz - The Four Agreements: A Practical Guide to Personal Freedom

Things have been going full tilt here at the teak topped desk, one project or e-course seems to meld into the next. I look toward fall and the end of the year and it's non stop a-go-go. Becoming a recent licensed artist (meaning companies are producing my artwork on a variety of products for which I receive royalties quarterly). In December of last year I signed on with an agent Jan from Painted Planet just like an actor's agent or literary agent they do much of the leg work (and all the legal/contractual work) finding you jobs and companies to work with. Companies I would never know about on my own. These artist/illustration reps have booths at major licensing shows where they show off my work and the work of others in their stable of artists. They go to all the major gift, home decor & fabric shows and peddle our wares for us - it's great and frees me up to make more artwork. Plus I have 2 licensing customers that I managed to woo on my own. Madison Park Greetings (I'm just working on my 24th, 25th & 26th greeting card with them) so 26 cards total in a little over a year and MagnetWorks which I'm just about to begin my 10th, 11th & 12th big designs with them - 12 designs total multiple product categories for 9 of those 12 designs & again in just a little over a year. I am happy & very proud of these accomplishments.

I'm finding it's a bit of a domino effect this licensing business. Me and my artwork (with help from my blogs and my Etsy shop) has become a known entity, people begin to recognize your name and style, more and more companies become interesting in working with you. It's fantastic and it's what I have always wanted - since beginning my own business way back in 2001 - I'll admit at that time it did seem like a far away fantasy goal, but I'm a believer in big wild fantasy goals - the bigger the better, the crazier, the wilder, blue sky etc goals, dreams - I'm trying to keep dreaming up new & bigger ones.

It's a lot of work. Which 95% of the time doesn't feel like work at all it feels like passion & love and all good things - the hard thing about what I do is wanting to be producing work that I love and that my customers will love all the time. For the most part I seem to be succeeding, I say seem because most often I can't truly feel that success in my heart, I can only judge by the repeat business and rapid growth   of my list of customers. Doubt hangs out with me all the time here at the TTD*, a lack of confidence, a desire way too strong to please, to be perfect, I fuss over details, I worry about background colours, I tweak, I'm indecisive. It's the affliction of the creative spirit and it's made worse I believe when you're working for someone else. Last night I worked on a Mother's Day card for Mad Park, which I was completely dithering about, sending my customer way too many subtle variations (never good), I was not able to trust in my instincts or my intuition and it was frustrating me beyond belief. And then I remembered the 4 Agreements. I don't have endless hours to put into each project, I have a set amount of time. In order to do all the projects I have on the go I have to be pretty rigid in my scheduling, there are deadlines that must be met so I reminded myself that in the time allowed for each project I do know without a doubt that ...

I always do my best

I need to work on my intuition, my trust in myself & my abilities & so when the crunch is on (which it pretty much is always these days) I'll believe & count on my creative instincts. I must also remember that sometimes - good is as good as it gets. I can't knock it out of the park every time although I hate to admit that ... 'cause I sure wish I could.

Thank you so much for all the comments yesterday - I realize that comments on a blog let you know that someone's interested, and knowing someone's interested is sure fire fuel for the desire to want to say something ;-)

* TTD - teak topped desk

Miss D & me

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

oh my how I love those shaggalicious legs / Winnie Dixon / three seagulls hanging out / seaweed / salt ship / the crescent beach / to the sea / my girl Miss D and her eyebrows (which I trimmed last night)

I once heard a woman who had lost her dog say that she felt as though a color were suddenly missing from her world: the dog had introduced to her field of vision some previously unavailable hue and without a dog, that color was gone. That seemed to capture the experience of loving a dog with eminent simplicity. I'd amend it only slightly and say that if we are open to what they have to give, dogs can introduce us to several colors with names like wildness, nurturance, trust and joy.

Caroline Knapp author of Pack of Two

I seem to have lost my blogging voice. I can't say if or when it will or might come back, that voice. It makes me sad a little, there was a time that I couldn't imagine that I would ever not blog each & every day. Other things seem to be filling my time, other good things. It's a funny dilemma to have because I have so many thoughts I'd love to share (like in the early days of this blog) but when I think of mentioning them here & now, I worry too much that they'll seem irrelevant, uninteresting or boring. I've become a tad self conscious here - what's up with that ?

Miss D is headed toward her 15th birthday. I watch her like a hawk & a mother hen combined, I worry about her constantly. Loving a senior dog is ... a very scary kind of love. It's a big, huge, historic love LOVE with much trepidation thrown in. She's doing really well with a big, huge appetite (especially for cat food and other delicacies) & plenty of energy,  it's with tremendous gratitude that I report this ;-)

& betty

Thursday, July 25, 2013

recent flora photos from around our gardens, in the park, on the crescent beach & of miss itty bitty betty

tenderness continues

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

a few of my most excellent tools in the ongoing battle with my fear & unease - especially loving May Cause Miracles & BrenĂ© 

This being human is a guest house. Every morning 
is a new arrival. A joy, a depression, a meanness, 
some momentary awareness comes as an unexpected visitor...Welcome and entertain them all. Treat each 
guest honourably. The dark thought, the shame, the malice, meet them at the door laughing, and invite them in. Be grateful for whoever comes, because each has been sent as a guide from beyond. Be like melting snow – wash yourself of yourself. Put your thoughts to sleep, do not let them cast a shadow over the moon of your heart. Let go of thinking.   Rumi

I've posted this favourite Rumi quote at least twice before on this blog. It's always spoken to me but I realize now that in the past  it spoke to me in a hushed, barely audible whisper. You know that feeling when you've heard the same something 100 times and all those times it always resonates with you somehow, it feels like it's sinking in but then the 101st time you hear it - oh, then the angels begin to sing and you feel that same something with your whole heart & soul not just your intellect. That's how I feel about this Rumi quote now ... just recently I heard this quote again with my whole being - with relief and gladness.

Be like melting snow – wash yourself of yourself.  Rumi

My battle with anxiety has been just that ... a battle. A mean & nasty battle. I had my first panic attack in 8th grade. I've been waging this war since I was in junior high school. It makes me so sad to think of that young girl who lived in fear of so many things, I can remember her and how she felt like it was only yesterday. Several times in my adult life I have tried taking medication for anxiety - it never felt right and in fact it most often felt awful - the side effects of these drugs make you feel much worse than the fear and anxiety you're taking them for, most medications take weeks and weeks to get used to and for the side effects to eventually wain, in the end many of these drugs just plain don't work for everyone. I've decided that medication is not my cup of tea. I believe instead & with all my heart that what I need instead of a prescription are a few simple shifts* in perspective and these tools books that I'm reading are helping me and confirming those beliefs. The first and most important shift I need to make is to stop the battle. Stop battling my thoughts, for the battle itself I realize now causes at most of the pain I suffer from. Pain and self loathing. Instead I let the thoughts come, say hello, acknowledge them and remember that they are just that ... a harmless thought and not reality. Some feel good, bad, mean, sad ... but I try not to label them. It's OK to feel them. Don't try to push them away, don't beat myself up for having them (this is the prime battleground). But don't let them move in, decorate, get comfy, think they can hang out with me. Breath deeply and when the time is right let them go.

* I say simple shifts in perspective and though in theory they do sound relatively simple, it's a lot of hard work. This change asks of me to be super aware of my thinking & thoughts and at all  times. It takes tremendous practice to notice such a well worn, often unconscious habit, to remember to breathe, to remember that it's OK to feel those feelings, that it's crucial also to let them go, to not hang onto them and most importantly while practicing all of this to treat myself always with love and tenderness. I do still feel my fear(s) but in a fresh, less intense & judgemental way. I am a true beginner at all of this but I do believe I can make these shifts and I have hope, big real hope for the first time ever that I can, that I will end this battle once and for all. The secret I finally get is that my foe is not going anywhere, those fears are always going to be there ... I am choosing not to fight with them. Can I have an Whoa ! please ;-)

Put your thoughts to sleep, do not let them cast a shadow over the moon of your heart. Let go of thinking.  Rumi

another beautiful song heard on Q CBC radio 1 -  Hannah Georgas - Enemies

9 moments

Monday, July 22, 2013

9 moments from recent days.

It's been a busy month July has and the busy continues on really until the end of August with lots of exciting new projects on the go soon to be revealed. I'm looking forward to quieter times come September when I enter my businesses third third ;-) I know many businesses work in quarters but this year it's working out better for me to consider the year divided into thirds. I like the sound of my third third. We're off today to the nearby town for one of our big provisions shops - a necessary evil I like getting the shopping done but I hate the drive there & back, 30-45 minutes in a car hurtling ;-) along at 80kms (actually I make Doug drive 10 kms under the max speed limit of 90kms although most people shoot along by us at 110kms - sad face), it's not a highway per say so the road is lined with homes & small farms, homes that often have cats and dogs that, could, might, maybe be near the road. Somehow I always feel it's my duty to be scanning with my intense high frequency oh oh radar. Be careful, be careful. Sighing. I've been doin' some wrestling with this Fear demon of mine ... more on that later.