“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

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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.

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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

 

Lilla Rogers Studio is on the lookout for new talent and has launched a GLOBAL TALENT SEARCH to find the next big thing.

The winner will be REPRESENTED BY LILLA ROGERS STUDIO FOR TWO YEARS INTERNATIONALLY. This would be a turning point in your career.

Somebody has to win, and it might just be you!

Big words stated in that small paragraph. So much hope and excitement, and you ask yourself “Am I the next big thing?” followed by a “I sure hope I am!”. I know each of us who have entered hope with all our being that we’ll make it through round one, and wanting to believe that “I” am the one who will win it. Odds aren’t in our favor given that there’s one winner and probably thousands who have entered the competition, but how do you believe in yourself and yet not set yourself up to be utterly crushed if not chosen? I’d say it’s hard. I’m super proud of the piece I created for round one, a journal cover designed for Paperchase – my interpretation of the design brief outlining a playground theme, but is it enough? There are some crazy talented individuals in this world – I’ve seen an abundance of talent in my different courses I’ve taken lately for surface pattern design, but am I not one of those crazy talented individuals as well? I’d like to think so.

I submitted my piece yesterday, and I don’t know that I’ve ever been so anxious/excited/nervous in my whole life. I WANT THIS! Before I began this design brief I prayed…and prayed some more that I would create some of my best work. That I would let my light shine through, displaying my artistic ability and my design aesthetic (something that’s hard to do when you feel you’ve been trying to discover it still!), I prayed God would help me use my gifts to the best of my ability – and that’s all I could really do – do my best and forget the rest (that may be a P90X reference lol)

So here’s what I created for the challenge:

ROUND n ROUND

ROUND n ROUND

 

This piece is definitely a mixed media design. I began with a painting that took many many layers as I built up the interest and the swirl effect I was going for. I tried to capture the wild abandon and freeness that I felt as a kid. I loved the merry-go-round (and still do!), I loved the speed of it and how all the colors would blend and blur together, it was a complete adrenaline rush! Of course, there was always the few moments of feeling like you were going to fall over once you got off – but isn’t that how life feels sometimes? That you go ’round and ’round? I thought it seemed fitting for a journal as well, as a place where you write your thoughts and allow your mind to circle a topic until you come to a conclusion.

After I finished the painting, I photographed it and brought it to photoshop, playing with the levels and colors just a touch. I then began an illustration of the girl, which was completed with pen and ink and prism colors (she didn’t stay looking that way in the final piece obviously!) I wanted her to appear as though she leaning over the rail, taking in the speed and swirling colors around her, creating the feeling that she was spinning.

How the girl was originally drawn.

How the girl was originally drawn.

After I finished the illustration I scanned it and brought it to photoshop, took out the background and combined it with the painting I created for the background. I wasn’t really happy with how it was looking at this point – I knew it wasn’t something I would buy and it felt too….kiddish? Not sure if that’s the right word, regardless, I didn’t like it completely. I began playing with the different effects, overlay, color burn, etc. until I landed on one that gave me the look that felt right. At this point I was really happy with the progression the piece was making, but I’ve learned that I gravitate towards designs with layers and that give my eye a lot to discover so I knew I wasn’t finished.

I left the piece overnight while I let my mind mull over it, and sometime while I was asleep the answer came to me because I woke up the next morning knowing that I wanted to add some flowers that were just line art. The entire time I had been envisioning this piece I had been thinking of a beautiful spring/summer day outside and I always seem to design for girls, so flowers seemed appropriate. I wanted them to be a little unexpected though so I did a combination of purple and white, providing some needed contrast to the piece.

Then the word journal…..this was tough, it was a required element. I felt the word needed to be incorporated into the piece, not just stuck on top of it like it was a last minute thought (even if it kind of was). I decided that everything else was spinning….so why not the word journal too? I drew myself a grid on a different layer and drew the word using my wacom tablet. I went back in with the smudge tool and gave a few pushes and wa-lah! The final element to the piece was done!

I believe I have a very good shot at making it into the top 50 (I think anyone who entered should feel that way!), however, I’m trying to brace myself incase it doesn’t happen. We all hear no’s on the journey up, so if I get a no, I will just have to keep working on my style and my brand and continue putting myself out there – it’s apparently the only way to be seen after all. And now we wait until Aug. 1st.

So to all those who entered alongside me, good luck!…but you’re going down!!! 😉 lol

Until next time…

EJ

GTS-logo-horiz-B-550

 

 

A blog post named the same as the blog…why you may ask? I decided to change my creative challenge to coincide with my blog and call it #PatternJourney as a way to share daily snippets of my journey on Instagram, and I hope those of you pursuing your own pattern journey will join in! I realized that this whole blogging thing, while I enjoy it can take quite a bit of time and I don’t want to stretch myself too thin on something that’s not necessarily my main goal. I do enjoy writing (I think that’s pretty apparent by how wordy I am) and I hope that I bring a little bit of inspiration to people to follow their dreams, and that they see it’s not an easy path necessarily, but the journey is worth it. Doing what you love is worth it.

So #PatternJourney will be a place to share what you create, inspiration from patterns found around you in the world, or inspiration from other designers that when you see it you think, “I want some of that in my style!” As long as it relates to the journey, I say share on!

Other than this new “challenge” I decided to “begin”, I have been creating a decent amount of art. I’m still playing with zentangle and brave, intuitive painting. I’ve also been brainstorming and slowly starting on a design brief for the “Global Talent Search” by Lilla Rogers. I won’t be sharing any of my design ideas or sketches for the contest/talent search, but here’s a few of the things I’ve created this week.

This piece I have been adding more layers from a previous painting I shared. I'll post it next so you can see the change.

This piece I have been adding more layers from a previous painting I shared. I’ll post it next so you can see the change. This isn’t yet done either 😉

This is what is was -above is what it currently is - and it will evolve even more! My husband really loved this piece so he may be a bit upset, I'll create another he likes eventually!

This is what is was -above is what it currently is – and it will evolve even more! My husband really loved this piece so he may be a bit upset, I’ll create another he likes eventually!

Two canvases with their first layers - these won't be recognizable the next time you see them!

Two canvases with their first layers – these won’t be recognizable the next time you see them!

Learning zentangle techniques! I'm quite the fan really.

Learning zentangle techniques! I’m quite the fan really.

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Now that I’ve shared with you my progress from this week, it’s time to go paint some more! I’m really loving the process of both of these really, and I think that it’s because I don’t have to think – I just rely on my intuition and let it flow out. There’s no need for anything to be perfect, and yet, when I step back after working on it for a while, I’m thrilled with the results. If anything, I may be learning to rely on my intuition and to be a little more free with my patterns.

Until next time…

EJ

 

 

 

 

“Imagery and ideas are coming at us 24/7 as a creative person, you love it all!  Style, trends! Oh my! What is your story, your personal aesthetic? What will you bring to your creative business that sets you apart and draws on your true essence? It can be overwhelming.” -Monica Lee, Smart Creative Style

This has been what has been on my mind heavily the last six months! Once I figured out that surface pattern design is in fact what I want to pursue as a career, I enrolled in “The Art and Business of Surface Pattern Design” (Module 2 & 3 – I already have a degree in fine arts and had been teaching myself the technical side of patterns + I did an internship a few years back at a surface design studio) and while I was going through the course, which includes some exercises to help you find your style – I still felt that what I was creating wasn’t quite what I see as my style – or what I want it to be. Not all of it is something I would pick out from a store and I think that’s an issue, I feel that everything I create should be something I would want to buy, right?

“Smart Creative Style is here to help! This course will provide the foundation to establish YOUR personal creative style. You are an original!!  With fun exercises and tasks, you will get to see yourself in a new light. We aren’t stopping there though. This course will also layout strategies that will help you understand branding, marketing and garnering press to propel you forward!” -Monica Lee, Smart Creative Style

I’m ridiculously giddy with excitement for this course, I mean, how often do you find a course that covers exactly what you’ve been needing help with? Of course, this course doesn’t start until September, but I haven’t been wasting time. I knew that once I got through my art festival in June that my next step was going to be really focusing on honing in discovering my signature style. SOOO I bought several books that I felt fit within what my natural style already is, but at the same time would push my boundaries and get me experimenting/trying new things to refine my skills. First up? Painting!! (Please don’t judge my pictures, they’re just snapshots from my phone!) This first picture is a painting a did a while back that’s in my living room that is 3ft X 4ft! Most of my paintings have a very layered look where I simply play with the paint and don’t plan anything out.

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This way of painting is what really made me realize the disconnect I was having with my patterns. There’s a wild abandon, free-ness to my painting, but that’s the only place it shows up in my art….currently 😉

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The first book I decided to try out, and wow, I had soooo much fun! There were so many techniques to try out and I’m still only half way through the book from what I’m sharing today, but it was a well spent afternoon. The author even encourages finger painting 😉

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My new set up for painting! My husband had to help me get my easel put together that I bought over a year ago!!

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Another exercise I’ve completed is from:

Creative Doodling & Beyond: Inspiring exercises, prompts, and projects for turning simple doodles into beautiful works of art

One of the first exercises has you making three different lists of words based on adjectives, verbs and nouns, then you randomly pick three and doodle based off your phrase. Mine was “Bohemian dreaming fish”

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And lastly, I tried out Zentangle last night! LOVE IT – I naturally do it somewhat anyways when I doodle, but I could get lost in it for hours! I just love how detailed it looks while it’s such simple marks – I use similar elements in my most popular designs (hint hint Eryn – yes I talk to myself) I didn’t do TRUE Zentangle because it’s supposed to be done on tiles of paper and I just drew it out in my sketchbook, but I followed the rest (minus shading at the end – I like the black and white of it)

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These next two months will be spent really “pushing” myself by going through these different books and learning new techniques and experimenting with how I can bring these different elements together and hopefully I’ll have a better feel of what I want my style to be by then, but I know that when I take the “Smart Creative Style” course that it will help to solidify my signature style so I realize my true aesthetic and my true style. I’m already seeing certain elements that I want to carry through my work and I’m pretty sure you’re all going to love where this all leads. 😉

Now I’m off to go enjoy the afternoon with my husband and hopefully a cookout and possible going to view fireworks with friends this evening if we don’t get rained on – so maybe a cook in? Either way, I’m off to go relax and enjoy the fourth! Have a safe holiday everyone!!

Until next time…

EJ

Finding Balance

“A wise woman recognizes when her life is out of balance and summons the courage to act to correct it, she knows the meaning of true generosity, happiness is the reward for a life lived in harmony, with a courage and grace.” -Suze Orman

The last six months I have been going full force towards my dream of becoming a professional surface pattern designer. I have SOOO much to learn still, BUT I have also learned an amazing amount of information. Two weeks ago I finished an art festival and I had been telling myself once I got through the festival I could slow down a little and work on creating a new timeline going forward.

Since January I have taken Module 1 & 2 of “The Art and Business of Surface Pattern Design”; Created over 40 patterns; Did a soft launch of several new products at the art festival (almost all handmade!); Created a new logo and made strides in developing my brand (not there yet though!). This all on top of my regular part time daytime job! WOO! I’m exhausted just looking back and thinking about it again. LOL

I haven’t STOPPED the last two weeks, but I’ve been in like gear two as opposed to gear 20. When the festival was over I looked around my home and realized just how much I had been slacking in the cleaning department and doing laundry – thankfully my hubby had been helping out or it would have been…well…worse?…if that’s possible. I also realized just how long it had been since I had had a long talk with my friends and family from back home, and how long it had been since I’d gone out with any of my friends. I thought to myself, “I really should have a more balanced life!”

So the last two weeks have been a gingerly pace while I wrap up a few things before moving into my next timeline to keep me on track and I’ve been trying to think of how to do things differently. Ironically, I started this post a few days ago and saved it because I wasn’t sure what I wanted to say and the next day or two I got an e-newsletter from Jessica Swift talking about…….you guessed it, a balanced life…or the lack of really.

She discussed that it was OKAY to have a life that’s not balanced – that during some periods you’ll focus more on your career and other times you’ll slow down and focus on your friends and family more, etc. I partly agree with what she’s saying, there will always be times when there are strict deadlines that have to be met and that has to be your top priority over everything else, but I also realized after the festival ended and I ALLOWED myself to just relax, and not think about Zeryndipity, at how incredibly tired I was! I crashed and slept way more than any normal person should sleep and I don’t think it’s good for my health to be so unbalanced.

So while life is a balancing act and I’m sure I’ll never master it just right, I can say that I’m taking steps to make sure I go out with my friends on a fairly regular basis, that I work out and take care of my body (which means leaving for the gym at 6:30 am every morning! With a friend who keeps me accountable!) that I go to bed at a good time every evening – the work can wait until tomorrow, spending quality time with my hubby, and that I create a timeline for my work THAT I CAN HANDLE. I almost always create schedules/timelines thinking I’m superwoman or something and that I can get an insane amount of work done – which I can but the rest of my life suffers.

I for one want to live a life lived in harmony.

Until next time….

EJ

I intended this post to just be about ArtPark from last weekend, but I decided I wanted to share this short story first! So yesterday I decided to take a trip to Hobby Lobby to replenish a few needed supplies after my art festival from last weekend, as well as a few supplies to start experimenting with my style/process. While I was there I ran into one of my favorite employees, Tammy, who is amazingly supportive and while we were chatting her friend Stephanie, another employee came by to say hi and ended up sharing a story with me. Last year the two of them went to ArtPark and Stephanie had bought my hummingbird pillow cover for her sister and her sisters response when she got it was, “it’s all kinds of awesome!” added bonus? She was tickled pink that my business name was Zeryndipity because earlier that day she had just said something was serendipitous – kind of cool right?

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I love these little stories people share with me. I love knowing that my designs bring people happiness and that they’re loved…it’s kind of like finding them good homes 😉

I had another customer last weekend stop by who came last year and had bought my octopus pillow and she expressed how much she loved him, that she uses him so much the pillow has begun to get a bit more flat. She made me laugh when she said she normally keeps him in her bedroom, but when guests come she puts him in the guest room. Notice how I refer to a pillow like it’s a real character? LOL I can’t help myself.

One of the things I’ve come to love about doing festivals (I’ve only done two as Zeryndipity) is the “all kinds of awesome” people I get to meet! I get to see people’s faces as they react to my work and answer any questions about my process which usually leads to learning a bit about the person themselves. I learn what aspects of my art people gravitate towards and this year the types of products people seem to respond to the most. Surprise, surprise, my initial instinct with pillows won out.

Here’s a look at last weekend!

So the festival is over, now what? That’s what people who are in my everyday life ask me. First I’m applying for two other festivals for this fall, so there may be another one to be preparing for before too long. After I get my applications in, I of course have a few things to wrap up like getting all my items back up on Etsy, the boring part of paying taxes and making sure I have everything organized from the festival…yada yada yada….but THEN I’m super excited to start experimenting with some different art styles and honing in on my style a bit more. I keep saying that currently I seem to create designs that are “versions” of me, which is ok and I’m happy with them but they’re not quite what I want my style to be- I’m missing the mark by a few inches 😉 I bought a few different books which have creative exercises/prompts to get me going. Here are the first two:

Brave Intuitive Painting-Let Go, Be Bold, Unfold!: Techniques for Uncovering Your Own Unique Painting Style

Creative Doodling & Beyond: Inspiring exercises, prompts, and projects for turning simple doodles into beautiful works of art

I chose these two books because I’ve always enjoyed painting and my style painting is completely different from my other work, and I feel that doodling plays a big role in my little characters I create. I’m hoping that by pushing myself in a little bit different way and experimenting I will discover my unique, signature style. I know that art can vary over time so I know there will be some changes along the way, but there should be certain elements that carry through all my work. I’m really excited, my trip to Hobby Lobby yesterday resulted in me spending too much money but I got what I needed to really start painting again! I’ll share once I get some paintings done (maybe some doodles too!)

Thanks to everyone who came out to the festival and all of the “all kinds of awesome” people I got to meet last weekend too!

Until next time…

EJ

A Few Tourist Photos

So in my last post I told you all that we were big time tourists while my parents were in town and I would share some pictures of our excursions. I was hoping to have some preliminary drawings to show you all, but I didn’t want to force anything and to be completely honest, I’ve been spending any time I have that I’m not at my day job to prepare for my art festival next weekend! I bought some cool art books with different styles and exercises that I plan to begin on once the festival ends and just create, create, create! I’m really excited to spend some time solely focused on exploring my artistic style more and growing as an artist. For now however, here are a handful of photos from our trip to Gettysburg!

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My handsome husband and me with my eyes closed! What? It was sunny out!

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My wonderful parents, pretty sure my mom is flirting with Abe!

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So many guns and the details were really cool.

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My favorite part of the day! The Cyclorama

The Cyclorama…I’m pretty sure that’s what it was called, was my favorite part! This is just a small section of it, but it was a huge painting that forms a circle all the way around you and the museum had built out props to the painting making it hard to tell where it changed from real objects to the painting. It’s HUGE and the production the museum puts on with it was pretty neat as well. They have a narrator telling the story and different lighting to go along with it and smoke to mimick gunfire. It was really neat, and I was completely in awe of how life like it felt and that it was done in a year! By a team under the artist we were told. I recommend seeing it if you ever visit, we almost didn’t because the sales girl described it as, “it’s just like a big painting…” which it is…but so much more people!

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Buttons with incredible detail and more guns of course!

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and it wouldn’t be complete without reenactment..which we didn’t actually see any of, just these fellows dressed up.

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When we went to visit Gettysburg I was in the middle of my e-course, The Art and Business of Surface Pattern Design, and one of the briefs was to create a masculine collection for a specific product. This trip really got my mind moving in some directions of how I could create something which is completely out of my normal scope – I mean, all my designs are feminine. I decided I have way to far to go to be ready to enter the submission, but this is a great challenge and is something I plan to work on over the coming months while I’m working and growing my artistic style.

While this was an amazing place to see, it was so incredibly sad. You hear the stories, but seeing everything, going by the battlefields….it puts it all in a new light. People forget what soldiers and their families sacrifice for our nation. They fight so we don’t have to. How many women lost their sons and husbands in this war? I’m so proud of my husband (an Army man) and I’m so thankful that he made it back from two tours to Iraq. War is a terrible thing, and once a soldier has committed to serving his country, he has no say as to where he or his family will live or if he will be sent to fight. We are required to move approximately every three years and there’s always that dread that he could be deployed at anytime. People forget the sacrifices that have come before them, and all too often don’t realize the sacrifice that militaries families make. There are those who will say you knew what you were signing up for, but you don’t. You don’t really understand, and it’s harder than you think it will be. I wouldn’t change the decision we made as a family when my husband decided to re-enlist right after we got married because there are many benefits, but it has been a tough journey at times. I remember when my husband and I first started dating, he had just gotten back from his second tour to Iraq and one evening we were having a cookout with a group of friends. I noticed one of our friends who had been in Iraq also was standing off on his own and so I walked over to him to make conversation. I could see emotion bubbling underneath the surface and wasn’t sure what was going on and when I asked, he simply said, “Tonight was the first time I’ve had someone say thank you for my service.” They had been back for about 4 months at the time. He was so choked up about it, and it was the first time it really hit me at how important a simple thank you can be, at how much it means to our soldiers. Please remember to say thank you when you meet a soldier who has/or is fighting for your country.

I got a little more deep there than I meant to but sometimes the words just come! If you’re interested in learning more about the Cyclorama, click here! Have a wonderful weekend everyone, and remember to be thankful!

Until next time…

EJ

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