Say the Right Things

“I’m too overwhelmed, I’m not sure what to do next.”

“I just can’t seem to focus now that my desk is moved, my work flow isn’t the same.”

I cringe realizing these words were coming from my mouth the last few days. The last month has been a whirlwind for me as I helped host a huge fundraiser party to kick off a toy drive for Toys For Tots for my office daytime job. Then I took a trip to Oklahoma to visit my family for two weeks, where I helped prepare and decorate for my sister’s wedding, and then lastly I get back from vacation and when I get to my daytime job I’ve been moved from my office to a tiny cubicle, or cubby hole as I like to call it, because of construction being done.

On top of all this, I have three online self-study courses that I’ve been working through, working on my branding and website AND brainstorming the idea for a new children’s nursery decor brand.

I took on too much and I’m overwhelmed – and that’s the last time I get to say that. I acknowledged it, but I realized that by continuing to say that I wasn’t moving forward very fast. I’ve felt as though I’ve been romping through mud that’s up to my knees.

I realized that my words have been slowing me down. By saying I can’t focus – I wasn’t, and I also wasn’t finding a solution to help me so I could focus. I’m not really about the rah-rah effect, just telling myself to focus, “you can do it!” attitude – nope, not me. However, I do know that saying “I can’t focus” over and over, made it true – I couldn’t focus and I wasn’t doing anything to change it. Granted, I had valid reasons for having such a hard time focusing because I went from a quite office to being located in a tiny cubby hole in the hall way – I didn’t even know where to begin since I didn’t have a large desktop to layout out my work orders like I normally do and there was so much noise and people talking around me that I wasn’t used to.

Yesterday I made a change.

I woke up in the morning telling myself I had to figure out how to find my zone again and be able to focus (Ok, so maybe a little bit of rah-rah goes on in my mind). I grabbed some pretty green scrapbook papers to pin-up in my cubby hole (green helps you focus people!) and then I also decided to use some ear buds to put on music so I wouldn’t hear any of the people around me. Surprise, surprise, it worked! It was still a challenge figuring out a new system of working, but I could focus again and things started moving along smoothly again.

If you’re struggling with something, pay attention to how you’re talking to yourself. We’ve all heard that we should talk positive to ourselves, but I think it’s also noticing when we’re struggling with something and there are valid reasons why we’re struggling and learning to change our mindset, from “I can’t focus,” to “I’ve had a hard time focusing, but I’m going to find a solution so I can focus again.”

It’s not to say I wasn’t overwhelmed because I want everything done now – or that I really couldn’t focus because of changing my work flow, but I was accepting defeat by saying I was overwhelmed and couldn’t focus, and that’s just not me.

Say the right things to yourself, because in the end, you’re the only one who can make a change within yourself.

Until next time…

EJ

P.S. I’m working towards developing a schedule for all things business related in my life, but I’m not there yet. Please excuse the delays in blog posts for a little bit as I get situated and get my life back in balance 🙂

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I think many of us struggle with this. We look at Pinterest and see homes on HGTV, ooo’ing and ah’ing over all the beautiful rooms, but then we go shopping for our own home and it seems it just doesn’t come together quite right. I mean, most of us aren’t interior decorators (even if we have a secret wish to be one!) We do however want our house to look like an interior decorator designed it.

Home is our escape from the everyday, to enjoy who we are and who we share our life with. It’s where we raise our families, and have friends over to entertain, a place to live our lives!

So, if you’re not a designer, how do you create a space that you love? I’m going to start by asking that you think of the feeling you want to create within your home, what single emotion do you want the space to have? Do you want to feel comfortable, or in love, sexy maybe? Maybe you want to feel trendy, or just free to express yourself openly. Choose an emotion for the room you’re decorating before you begin.

Next, evaluate what you already have in your home that you LOVE. If you were told you were moving and could only take what you absolutely love, what would those items be? Make notes about what you love about each piece. Is it the old world feel with the flourishes? Or is it clean and modern? Is it bright with global influences? Write down what you LOVE about each item. What colors do you love that are already in your home? Notice I say LOVE a lot? Yes, you must LOVE it! I’m not however telling you to throw out everything else, to goal is to expand on what you LOVE. (Getting rid of certain things it totally up to you of course!)

Once you’ve completed your own home evaluation, look to your Pinterest boards (I know most of you have them!) If you don’t, pull images from online or from magazines of rooms that you are drawn to. Throw out practicality! Simply choose what draws you in, pulling every image that speaks to you. Once you’ve gotten a good amount, go back through and edit, deleting/throwing out the one’s you don’t absolutely love (yes I love the word absolutely!) Again, go through the same process you did with the items in your home. Write down what it is about each room that you love. Is it the paint color on the walls, the shabby chic furniture, or maybe it has an industrial feel to it? Is it the color palette? Maybe it’s the emotion you feel when you look at the room. Be as specific as you can!

Look at everything you’ve written down and start to notice the recurring themes that you’re drawn to. Focus on those elements when you go shopping for your home. If you’re clear about certain elements it will help you be more focused.

Then look to magazines or Pinterest to see how you like things grouped together. Do you like bold pieces that stand alone, or do you like groupings of pieces? When creating a grouping focus on 3-5 pieces in varying heights and size.

I hope this helps you to get started, and please let me know if I can help!

Here’s a few of my “Dream Spaces” that I LOVE. You can see the sources and my full board here: Dream Spaces

I have been working daily at developing the signature look for Zeryndipity and will be focusing on homewares beginning in spring. If you’re interested in keeping up with how Zeryndipity is progressing, please sign up to follow my blog and/or join me over on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/zeryndipity

Until next time,

EJ

I know that my blog is called “Pattern Journey” and therefore you would think that’s all I would write about. I’m sure this blog will continue to evolve, like my business has, but to me, that’s ok. I know that by putting myself out there it holds me accountable for one, but it gets me going and not just dreaming. Pattern starts with inspiration and a sketch – at an emotional level to some degree.

I’m in the early stages of becoming a professional surface pattern designer, and while it feels like it’s been forever – I truly just began pursuing my goal as a commercial artist in January. College took 5 years (BFA and a minor in Advertising Design), so this new course will take a bit of time as well (that’s a constant reminder!)

Why am I saying all this? Because for those of you who have been following along, you know this journey has taken me time and that I’ve been putting the majority of my focus on discovering who I am as an artist, and where my brand fits into the market. You’ve followed me as I’ve discovered WHO I AM! I’m almost 30, I should who I am by now right? Yes, I should, but I think a big part of it is actually accepting my whole self, and loving every part of me.

So today, I’m sharing an insight into my emotional responses to the bohemian style – why I’m so drawn to it. Here’s several photo’s I pulled from Pinterest. You can see the whole board here (not all boho, just fashion in general).

I asked myself the question, what does the boho style make me feel?

-sensual/romatic

-feminine

-alluring

-free

-dreamy

-rebellious

-spiritual

-adventurous

-funky

-effortless

-rugged

-beautiful

-down to earth

-acceptance

-CONFIDENT

-comfortable

It’s an interesting, and almost embarrassing list to share because for some reason I feel shame that I want to feel sexy and rebellious….um what? (insert embarrassed laugh here). All the while it’s in the same list as spiritual and down to earth. Those don’t all seem to fit together, and yet in this style they do – or at least that’s how I interpret it, and beautifully I might add.

I think the three key words though that stood out to me were “acceptance”, “confident” and “spiritual”. I think through school I never felt like I fit in. I didn’t feel that what was popular to wear was my style, or what I liked, and yet I wanted to be accepted. Somewhere along the way (and I know the main person who caused it, but I won’t name any name’s) I lost confidence in myself. My self esteem was beat down and I let it break me. I quit fighting and started believing that I wasn’t as talented as I had once thought. It made me doubt every single area of my being. It has been a process but I yet again believe in myself, and I’m learning to accept every part of who I am, and not relying on the acceptance of others.

I still have days that the doubt creeps its way in, but I’m now able to shut it down and kick it out of my mind. I know that God gave me an incredible gift. I’m amazed at times the art that my hand seems to draw. That’s a God given talent. I’ve learned to lean on my spirituality and know that He will guide me and get me through. The right doors will open, and the wrong one’s will close (which is still disappointing because I thought that door was great!) I continue to push myself everyday to sharpen my skills that I was blessed with and to learn more about what’s hidden within me. I have to prepare myself, and keep putting myself out there, and when the timing is right, God will know, and I’ll be ready.

Until next time…

EJ

Color Stories

Color can dramatically affect moods, feelings, and emotions. It is a powerful communication tool and can be used to signal action, influence mood, and cause physiological reactions…or so I’ve read!

I’m very fascinated by the emotions color can evoke and how it can effect our moods. I’ve recently been working on a mood board on Pinterest for what inspires me from nature – of course, I choose a ton of pictures that don’t look real – they’ve undoubtedly been doctored in Photoshop some, but I love the wonderland aspect of them. Another common theme I found was that I’m a romantic and love beautiful soft lighting and sunsets/sunrises.

The combination of seeing some very vibrant colors paired with this soft lighting just makes me swoon. I’m so in love with how it looks! So I’m working at seeing color differently and choosing my color palettes in a different manner to help guide me in achieving this desired feeling through my color use.

You can find all of the above images and their original origin on my pinterest board, as well as many more wonderfully amazing nature images!

I used a program through adobe called Kuler to begin my color palettes and then went through and adjusted them to create my own custom palette. Looking at all of these, I think I would probably add in more highlight color on some of them, but the goal was to use the photo as my inspiration and stick with colors with the images, with minor adjustments such as brightening or slightly changing the undertones.

Great way to choose a color palette, whether you’re designing or trying to decorate your house! You could upload a beautiful photo that you like and have Kuler simply select your colors for you 😉

I’m seeing color in a whole new light and it’s all making sense to me now! I really went back and forth because I love bright colors, but I tended to get very young looking designs – through this process I’m seeing how I can use bright and vivid colors, and yet appeal to a more sophisticated audience.

When do you get the MOST inspired by color? Is it when you’re outdoors? Or maybe maybe when you make a trip to the aquarium?

Until next time…

EJ

There is no end to education. It is not that you read a book pass an examination, and finish with education. The whole of life, from the moment you are born to the moment you die, is a process of learning. -Jiddu Krishnamurti

This year has been dedicated to learning. Learning what being a professional surface pattern designer means and all the steps I need to take to get there. Learning how to create beautiful, irresistible designs 😉 and really, discovering myself as I’ve been finding my unique signature style – my unique voice and outlook on the world, because ultimately, that is what will set me apart from other designers. We each see the world differently.

Today kicked off the beginning of Smart Creative Style and I’m super excited for everything Monica will teach us (as well as several others she’s brought on to help!)

Besides Smart Creative Style, I’m also slowly working through the Ultimate Guide to Repeats and the Sellable Sketch by Michelle Fifis over at Pattern Observer. I’m crazy right? Maybe, but I like to think of it as dedicated. I have constantly been thinking of the things I feel I need to learn to get me to where I want to be and I’ve actively sought out resources to help.

I truly believe in preparing as much as you can before you begin pursuing licensing deals, etc. but there also needs to be a time frame set on prepping so that you don’t let fear hold you back and you just keep telling yourself you’re not ready. I plan to actively start pursuing licensing and selling my designs come January, but in the meantime I have a few submissions I’m still working on and plan to enter a few contests as well while I wrap up this years goals. I, of course, still have my Etsy shop up with a small collection of designs from spring. I had  used this collection at an art festival to judge how people reacted to my work- what demographics were more drawn to my work as well as what elements people seemed to like the most. It was a truly a great learning curve, and I had great sales as well!

I’m going to go ahead and share two designs I recently did, which I already shared in one test blog post I did that was within my website. The blog app didn’t seem to work well on mobile and I’m not sure if people were even to bring it because it was in and out. SO, here are two new designs 🙂

Screen Shot 2013-09-17 at 4.06.31 PM

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I’ll be leaving the original post up a little while longer incase you want to read it. You can find it here. I’d love to hear what you think about the new patterns – likes and even dislikes!

As I was finishing up this post I got a response to some designs I had submitted for review for a dinnerware collection, and while they described them as breathtaking just absolutely beautiful, they weren’t right for the brand – so I’m going to share them all with you! I knew I was taking a risk, they said they wanted to make changes in their brand, but I made too far of a leap. I’m going to attempt to submit new designs if there’s still time.

Carlisle_sm Carlisle1_sm Carlisle2_sm

Until next time!

EJ

 

As Smart Creative Style is gearing up, Ms. Monica Lee gets my brain circling around my style with every email she sends out. Not just my artistic style and what my designs will look like, but my fashion sense, how I decorate my apartment, etc. It’s looking at the whole picture, my whole story to what I’m really drawn to.

So what do I decide to do? Refinish an old buffet that I have that is currently our t.v. stand….was definitely regretting the decision mid way through, but now that it’s done I’m so glad I did it.  It’s solid wood, with a wood veneer, and a beast. This thing is huge, and extremely heavy…and was stained a deep cherry/mahogany when I bought it…used of course like I tend to do.

The first before and after

The first before and after

This was my first attempt to lighten it up because I was chicken to take on stripping down the piece – and don’t get me wrong, it was beautiful originally but it took over the entire room. After a little while I didn’t like this so I painted it my favorite color – or a shade of – turquoise. This was fun, but definitely not ideal. Keep in mind, this has all taken place over a two year period.

So after looking at images and images of what I really love…well it turns out I like a bit of rustic/industrial/vintage feel…but I wanted it to look like it’s been taken good care of, not just left in the rain and beat with a hammer like some “vintage” things look.

I began by using a paint stripper, which burned my skin on more than one occasion….beauty is pain? I then used a heavy grit sand paper and my nifty little palm sander and sanded….and sanded…and sanded…..followed by a medium and fine grit sandpaper. Getting all the grooves cleaned up was fun…once it was completely stripped I cleaned it with warm water and a sponge. At this point, it was an interesting shade of orange…pretty in a way, but not for my home. I chose to use the Driftwood stain from Rustoleum. I followed up by sanding it down again with a medium grit and fine grit sandpaper before cleaning again and finishing it off with a matte polyurethane. Sorry that’s such a brief DIY – more of an overview I guess. Oh, and I bought some industrial/rustic country drawer pulls from Lowe’s that look like worn metal.

Anyways, after several days, here was the outcome:

buffet buffet1 buffet2

I’ve been making some other changes as well. Two weeks ago I painted the accent walls in our main living area a light/medium gray with blue green undertones. You can kind of see it in the picture above. I also painted my $5 thrift store end table mint/aqua.

endtableIf you’re interested in seeing all the beautiful images that have been inspiring me in the industrial/vintage area check out my board on Pinterest: Industrial | Vintage

My little venture to all this decorating may have pulled me away from my designs for just a bit, but the mini break was worth it. My home feels that much closer to the things that I love. Now back to work!

Until next time…

EJ

Back in June I shared some sketches from a doodling prompt I did that was bohemian dreaming fish. The exercise had instructed me to make three lists – one of adjectives, one of verbs and one of nouns – and then I had to blindly choose 3 numbers which would give me my doodling prompt – which gave me bohemian dreaming fish.

So, after my last post about being inspired by bohemian, and folk art designs..and urban, I thought I would revisit my little bohemian dreaming fish. I have quite a few more sketches than what I’m going to share, but I thought I would let you have a peak at where this is heading 🙂

I’m moving slow with project, but I’m experimenting a lot along the way and trying to push myself with doing things I don’t normally do. I’m struggling with turning the single motif into a pattern just yet so it’s still in need of a lot of work and the color palette…..I like it, but I don’t. I chose different colors than what I normally gravitate towards, attempting to step outside of my comfort zone – which is how I believe we grow as people and as designers.

That’s it for today! Everyone have a great weekend!

Until next time,

EJ

Technique VS Style

Technique: A way of carrying out a particular task, esp. the execution or performance of an artistic work or a scientific procedure.

Style:  A quality of imagination and individuality expressed in one’s actions and tastes: “does things with style”.

I had to look around for the definition I used for style, because this isn’t the first definition that comes up, but it is the definition in how I wanted to discuss style today.

Obviously, all I’ve been writing about lately is this great quest of mine to figure out my style….not sure that every artist has this issue, but I feel it’s extremely important for me to do. I could go about letting what “naturally” comes out be my style and I would probably have some good success. However, I want my style to encompass my entire design aesthetic, not just what is currently inspiring me. I like a bunch of different styles (as I’ve stated..I don’t know how many times), but as I’ve been doing this I’m realizing there are many looks that I LOVE that I wouldn’t have said were my style. For instance, for a while I said I loved modern design – no country, cluttered look, just clean and modern…..which over the last few years I’ve realized is totally not true lol.

Don’t get me wrong, my house definitely has a more minimal approach so that there’s not a lot of clutter, BUT in the actual fabrics, paintings, prints, etc. there’s a lot of detail and interest to look at. For me, there’s no question that my style will have a freshness to it – it will be able to breath and not feel cluttered, even if there’s a lot going on. It will have a modern/contemporary flair to it, but be oh so much more 😉

The past few weeks I’ve gone on and on about different techniques, and pushing my craft – really learning which “styles” I’m attracted to. And I’m going to stop right there. That’s where my thinking as been off recently. I have been solely focused on the techniques, the different looks of art that I like, the different subject matters too such as surrealism — which is easily confused with style.

I feel technique and style are two completely different things that get caught up/lost together. At least I’ve been grouping them together. Today was my “ah-ha” moment.

I’ve been keeping a journal with every thought about this journey of realizing my entire design aesthetic, and today I decided to do some creative exercises and wanted to refer to a list I’ve been keeping. (I have list upon lists of things…it’s kind of a problem lol) It’s a list of different key words I’ve come across when I see someone’s style I appreciate/gravitate towards.

As I was looking at this list I realized that no where on this list was “pen and ink” or “doodling” or “painting”…..no those are on the next page under a list of “mediums” that I’m drawn to. No, this list wasn’t about techniques at all – it’s overall looks and my design aesthetic when I try to describe my style such as modern, vintage, bohemian, urban folk art, industrial, quirky, and the list goes on.

So, besides figuring out my favorite techniques – I also need to figure out HOW to encompass these looks I like. I began today by creating a board on Pinterest called “Urban | Folk Art | Bohemian”  to pull images that fit into this category from my list and then I plan to began by creating designs focused solely on this look.

Please visit the Pinterest board I listed above to see all images and to see where each image was pinned from.

I plan to do this with each “style” that I have on my list. I feel I’ll begin seeing which elements overlap and it will be these elements that will create a comprehensive design aesthetic. Of course, I’m still playing with technique as well as I hone in on my craft, but what a journey this is!

It may be taking me some time, but it’s kind of like I’m creating a whole new genre of design 😉

Until next time…

EJ

“For discovering one’s true inner nature, I think one should try to take out some time, with quiet and relaxation, to think more inwardly and to investigate the inner world. That may help.” Dalai Lama

So it’s no secret that the last two months I’ve been working at discovering my unique signature style. I’ve been quieter with my blogging and social media, and for a bit I felt a little guilty about it, but discovery for me meant looking within myself, which meant I had to step away from all the social media and blogging just a bit. Obviously I haven’t completely, but I’ve dialed it back.

When I made the decision that I really needed to go back to basics and find what is truly and wholly ME, I began by looking back to what I was drawn to as a kid. In past posts I talked about going through doodling exercises – I mean, I’m pretty sure every artist probably doodled when they were younger. My best friend apparently still has notes from high school where I drew all over the edges. Good to see I was paying attention during class! Ha!

I’ve also discussed that I liked painting – mainly abstract because I love the texture and unexpected things that can happen. I remember as a kid watching my sister who’s 12 years older than I paint and I thought she was amazing (she still is of course!). Since these were things I remembered being drawn to I decided to concentrate on exercises that would allow me to “play” with those styles again and I can see my style beginning to form, but it’s not there yet. So I began looking back again.

I remember loving the book, “Where the Wild Things Are”, and all the illustrations. I also remember being completely fascinated by M.C. Esher’s work. While these two works are very different, they’re both illustrations with a bit of….weirdness….yep that would be a good word to throw in when describing me and I would like to translate into my work 😉 I very much love touches of quirkiness – but what I’ve realized is that I love it done in a sophisticated way. I love the pen and ink technique used in, “Where the Wild Things Are” and the amount of realistic detail that M.C. Esher puts in his work is unbelievable.

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Where the Wild Things Are

M.C. Esher

M.C. Esher

Another artist I remember being fascinated by was the painter, Salvador Dali. Again, I’m very drawn to surrealism, and just the weirdness that’s captured in such a beautiful and realistic way.

Salvador Dali

Salvador Dali

And yet, I’m also drawn to the art nouveau style….and this is why I have a hard time really narrowing down what I want my work to be. I’m definitely pin pointing elements of different areas that really inspire me, it’s just determining how to form it into one look.

Art Nouveau

Art Nouveau

I’m still working through a few more exercises in the doodling and zentangle books I have and I’ve begun doing exercises in pen and ink techniques too – my other love as a kid. I went for a period where all I drew were pen and ink illustrations (realism). I’m also working on the self-study course, “The Ultimate Guide to Repeats“, so I can sharpen my skills while I’m figuring out my look.

So far I know that I love textures; quirkiness/weirdness that’s done in a sophisticated way; I like a lot of detail….which is ironic in a way because I hate clutter…so I have to figure out a way to give something a lot of detail and yet still let it breathe.  I love contrast- whether that be line weights or through color and I also like my work to have a “brightness” to it. I don’t think I necessarily mean it has to all be bright colors, but it has to have a freshness to it. I’m like any other person and I’m drawn to MANY colors, but I know I don’t like when something is done in all deep tones. If a dark color is used it HAS to have some lightness to it to break it up.

So onward I go! It has been quite the journey and I am thoroughly enjoying all my “play” time! 😉 I may release a few designs this fall, but my goal is to launch a new line of designs in Spring 2014 that encompasses my signature style!

Until next time…

EJ

You Knew That

Dreams do come true, (insert name), that’s what they do. The only variable is when.

For the slow approach: Resist. Attach. Insist. Deny. Stop. Second guess. Whine. Argue. Defend. Protest. Cry. Struggle. And ask others, when you know the answer yourself.

For the quick approach: Visualize. Pretend. Prepare. Dodge. Roll. Serpentine. Do not waiver over intentions, but over methods. Show up, even when nothing happens. And give thanks in advance.

You knew that,

The Universe

I saw Jessica Swift post this on Facebook one day and I had to save it – and of course go sign up to receive my own little notes from “The Universe”. I mean, how fantastic is this little note? You can sign up for your own notes from “The Universe” at www.tut.com

This seemed like a good thing to share today because this past Thursday the semi-finalist results were posted for the Lilla Rogers Global Talent Search, narrowing down 1500 entries to the top 50 shortlist, and unfortunately, I didn’t make it. I was really disappointed when I learned I didn’t make it, but the work that was selected was fantastic and I truly believe it just wasn’t the right timing/opportunity for me and I still have more to do before I get my big break. Also, when I saw the results, I realized how differently I translated the brief and I was nowhere near the look they were after.  Incase you missed seeing my entry, you can see it here, and you can see the results of the semi-finalists here.

While it was disappointing, I’m still very pleased with the piece I created, it’s something I can add to my portfolio, and it gave me some experience working towards a professional design brief. Today I had an “aha” moment when I was reading through the note from “The Universe”, trying to decide how I was going to tell everyone that I didn’t make it through round 1. It’s almost….embarrassing…?…to say after you’ve told people how much you want it, how much it would mean to you, and yet it dawned on me today that I rely too much on approval from others.

I knew the odds were slim, I know I’m still discovering my style and building my brand, that I’m not where I need to be yet to really move forward with a contract like Lilla was offering – and yet I wanted that stamp of approval- to say that my work is THAT good (I of course did want the contract too – it would be game changing!), but really, I’m not ready, and I know that- and yet, there’s a part of me who wants others to view me as successful. I want to feel successful. Here’s another inspirational piece I saw on Facebook from “Oh So Posh Photography” that was perfectly fitting:

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Yep – it’s a journey. I knew that. So I’m pushing past the “no” I got, and concentrating on becoming ready for a deal like Lilla is offering – maybe I’ll be ready next time. I still have a lot of work ahead of me and I plan to:

Visualize. Pretend. Prepare. Dodge. Roll. Serpentine. Do not waiver over intentions, but over methods. Show up, even when nothing happens. And give thanks in advance.

Until next time…

EJ

“Whenever there is enthusiasm, there is a creative empowerment that goes far beyond what a mere person is capable of.” – Eckhart Tolle, A New Earth

So this past weekend I finally bought myself an actual office chair, exciting I know. It’s just a chair so why am I taking time to actually write a blog post about it? Because I feel urged to, because when I think of everything that will be created while sitting in this chair, I realize it will play a big role on my journey. Kind of funny to look at it that way but it’s true.

I’ve been all excited about starting “Smart Creative Style” with Monica Lee and one of the things she said she had done was a makeover on her office so that it fit her style better. When thinking about this I knew I needed to do the same in my office because I believe our surroundings influence our emotions and our moods. At one point my office had been completely dedicated to an office space, but it wasn’t decorated in exactly what I would want (with a daybed/trundle for guests who occasionally stayed), and then I had become pregnant and had begun to turn it into a nursery. In January my husband and I experienced the worst heartache we had ever endured, I had a miscarriage at almost 6 months pregnant. I’ve been slow to put stuff away, gradually erasing the signs that this room was going to be a nursery. With each part that I changed there were inevitably tears as I closed that chapter.  This past Sunday I put together my brand new office chair and tucked away the last remaining things from the nursery and claimed the space wholly as my office again.

IMG_0019

IMG_0025I chose a chair that is fresh and modern, but has a touch of traditional elements to tie in to my love of old furniture combined with new items. Oh and it’s of course comfortable! For the shelves (where the last of the nursery items had been) I wanted it full of artwork and storage + a few of my books related to design. The illustration in the top right is one my sister did for me as a gift a few years ago, then I propped up a few of my recent paintings/illustration/and patterns.

You can find this guy hiding out on my website as well! Part deer, part frog - both animals associated with good luck! ;)

You can find this guy hiding out on my website as well! Part deer, part frog – both animals associated with good luck! 😉

Aren't the bow ties on the back of the chair too cute? and the covers are removable to be washed!

Aren’t the bow ties on the back of the chair too cute? and the covers are removable to be washed!

IMG_0018IMG_0022 IMG_0021These are just a few angles of my office now, I have another area I’m still working on and will share the rest at a later date.

I love my office now. It may not be quite there in terms of every single element (if I weren’t in an apartment I would choose wood floors and white trim for one thing 🙂 ), but the overall feel to it is so fresh and inspiring to me. It gets amazing sunlight and it cheers me up every time I walk in. Which brings me to the quote I started off with…

“Whenever there is enthusiasm, there is a creative empowerment that goes far beyond what a mere person is capable of.” – Eckhart Tolle, A New Earth

I’ve been reading The Fire Starter Sessions: A Soulful + Practical Guide to Creating Success on Your Own Terms and I came across this quote. I love it because I was a college athlete and one of my favorite coaches used to always tell us that we never know how far we can go – he’s saying this as we’re doing drills and feel like our bodies won’t take us another step, and somehow we always did. We HAD to because if we stopped then we caused the whole team to have to start over, and you do not want to be the person to cause that! Through this though I learned that each of us are capable of so much more than we can ever imagine and this quote rang so close to home for me.

When I finally realized that surface pattern design was what I was going to pursue, I was ignited with passion, with enthusiasm. I KNEW this was what I was intended to do. I had no idea how I was going to make it happen, there are days that I still have a moment of worry, but I keep pushing forward. It’s easy though because I WANT to, I have a genuine interest in what I’m doing and feel a pull to do this and it rarely feels like work because I enjoy almost every aspect. Obviously you can’t live in a constant state of enthusiasm because you would fizzle out, but that enthusiasm lit the passion and the curiosity, the interest to keep moving forward. Step by step, I’m making my way towards achieving my goals.

I look forward to all the amazing things that will happen as I sit in my new chair 😉

Until next time…

EJ

P.S. Sorry this was a bit all over the place, I write what I feel and my brain is a bit all over the place today 😉

“She turned her can’ts into cans and her dreams into plans” -(unknown)

I came across an image on pinterest that said this, but unfortunately I’m not sure who said it. Either way, I wanted to share it!

Doodle prompt -"Quirky loving flower"

Doodle prompt -“Quirky loving flower”

I think there’s a lot of people who (unintentionally) can make us feel like we’re never going to be able to reach this crazy dream we have. That it can’t be done, or that it’s not likely…or that we’re just dreamers. Which we are, so it does pose a challenge. I have had so many conversations with people who give me a dumb founded look when I explain what it is I’m working towards and I can SEE it on their faces that they think I’m being unrealistic.

They can’t even begin to imagine how one could become a surface designer, and it makes no sense because it doesn’t fall into the “normal” category of work. I’m not creating a new job here – it’s EVERYWHERE around us, but they don’t SEE. They don’t realize that someone who was once in my position is the person who created a design for that laptop case they love so much, or the lunch bag they carry to work everyday. It’s an obstacle that I’ve quit trying to explain to people.

I work diligently towards my goal (I SEE and I UNDERSTAND-but I don’t have to make others understand). I remind myself there is a whole industry dedicated to what I’m working towards and I’m by no means alone. I quit trying to explain it to people so I don’t have to see their expressions, their doubts, because I don’t want that seeping into my thoughts. It’s tough working on achieving your dreams, especially on days that you realize just how much you still need to do. I continue to tell myself I CAN DO THIS and I work towards it everyday in some manner. I’ve lined out goals and deadlines for myself – a plan so that I WILL ACHIEVE MY DREAMS. Ok end of rant lol 😉

Doodle prompt - "Fuzzy dazing whale"

Doodle prompt – “Fuzzy dazing whale”

So PLANS…how do you guys feel about this word? Do you give yourself loose plans to follow, or are you someone who has a strict schedule to keep you going? I’m somewhere in the middle – that’s cheating I know, I didn’t give you that option haha. But seriously, there’s a bit of a balancing act because we’re creative people so you don’t want to stress yourself out so bad that you lose your creative juices, and yet if you don’t give yourself strict enough guidelines how are you ever going to work on design briefs for companies? Yep mull that over a minute.

My plans as of late have been strictly focusing on discovering my signature style, and yet I haven’t created a single pattern since doing this – seems counter productive doesn’t it? While I haven’t designed a pattern, I did create my entry for the Global Talent Search where I felt it was a true reflection of my style, you can view it here.

Doodle prompt - "get wordy"

Doodle prompt – “get wordy”

If I haven’t created a single pattern, what the heck have I been doing to discover my style? And the answer is playing 😉 It’s scheduled playing, and it’s absolutely helping me. I have done some zentangle, still working through that book, and I’m working through a doodling book and I’m still making my way through the painting book. You can see I’m not really linear in finishing one thing and moving on, I like to vary it up. My schedule though is setting time aside every single day to work through these books. Each book is a style that I gravitate towards and I’ve seen elements in my art through the years, but I wanted to push myself in those areas.

Each exercise has come so naturally that I know I made the right decisions in my book purchases. Above you can see a few exercises I did from doodle prompts and I think they’re fun 😉 The exercises really got my mind thinking and I think what I’m really taking away from these exercises is relaxing and just letting my intuition guide me. It doesn’t have to be perfect, it’s a doodle! There’s a lot of exercises too of just copying from the book and at first I thought it was kind of dumb and almost skipped the exercises, BUT I’m glad I didn’t. It’s allowing my eye to make connections with different line markings and some different doodling marks that are simple but can add a lot of fun detail to a piece. Here’s a bunch of snapshots of my notebook I took of my doodles:

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Next on the list of doodle prompts – picking two animals and drawing a hybrid. I let me husband pick the animals and he chose a honey badger and a giraffe………..LOL should be interesting.

These exercises may seem like wasted time to some people, but I can already tell that these things will make my work better. It will help me to see things differently. I mean, what am I going to do with an illustration/doodle of a honey badger/giraffee – probably nothing, but it’s allowing my mind to take things that don’t go together and get creative!

Here’s a few snapshots of the process of some painting I’ve been doing as well:

IMG_0010IMG_0011I tried to take some snapshots between different prompts that were given to show how it’s building up some. The top two are the same painting, the next two images are a different painting. All are still works in progress as I go through the exercises.

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So PLANS – I get creative everyday and I figure out my style and refine it. I’m about to start incorporating all of this into some pattern designs and have some much needed work that needs to happen to my website as well. I originally was going to give myself until the end of July to wrap up these exercises, but I decided to take “Smart Creative Style” so I’m going to allow myself to keep working on these up until the class begins. I still have one more book that’s about staying creative everyday so that should be helpful too. It’s easy to get busy with life and before you know it you’ve gone two weeks or more without really creating anything – in this line of work you can’t do that.

Now I’m off to go work on a super fantastic pattern that is unique and distinctly me! The goal is to create a pattern for my website as part of my branding 🙂

Until next time!

EJ

 

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