Category Archives: brain

The Artist’s Drug of Choice

What’s your poison? Chocolate? Video-games? LSD?

Self-consciousness?

Artists have become notorious for substance use, addiction, and a good measure of crazy, which is probably intertwined with our ability and our need to make art. Not that all of us are crazy (yeah, right) and not that we’re all addicted to chemical head changes.

Or… are we?

As artists, our way of processing things, everything, is a bit different than people who don’t have the inclination to make art. We feel everything strongly, we see color differently, we look past reality into a world that doesn’t exist without our imagination. That in itself is a bit trippy, and we wouldn’t have the wherewithal to make grand, fantastical statements out of paint, thread, or music without a tendency to latch onto the emotional vibration of life. It’s not that everyone doesn’t do this to a degree, but artists take emotion to a whole new level. We breathe emotion into life. Often in beautiful, awe-inspiring ways. There’s an ebb and flow to be sure, with much of our time spent in frenzied creativity, overflowing with inspiration and ideas, high on nothing more than our need to create.

But there’s a flip side. Sometimes, if not properly nurtured, our emotional processing skills get broken. Sometimes everything gets black and dull and scary. Continue reading

Renewal

Cleansing Rain

Relaxation doesn’t come easy for me, if at all. I’ve battled severe insomnia since I was a child. I’ve always had difficulty shutting off my brain. Over the years, I’ve developed pretty good skills at hiding it from the outside world, but internally I’m usually worrying over something. I like to drum up things to fret about if otherwise there’s nothing.

Working for myself is both a trigger and a relief in this regard. Since I’m obsessing over details anyway, I might as well direct that energy toward my own business. I work excellently on my own. I don’t need anyone to point out all the various nuances of business that I should be watching. (Even if I’m conversely too lazy to take action on them.)

Occasionally I must take drastic measures and run away somewhere. Travel is my drug of choice lately. It’s the only thing I find just as exciting as art. Sometimes more so. Sometimes it’s exactly what I need to inspire me to do more art. Often, while I’m gone, I still try to work. I answer emails, renew listings, send out invoices, keep everything moving along.

I think I’m afraid to let go. Continue reading

Simpler Times

With the way the world is moving it seems finding permanent solutions to anything, is at most, a lost pipe dream. And with what the media would have you beleive is that the world is collapsing in crisis and that we need more and more protections from nameless entities to ensure our safety and survival as a species. We need to be protected from ourselves.

And this all leaves me wondering where I fit into this picture. I think I’m on the outside looking in most of the time. It’s like I don’t know how to get there or everything I touch collapses, falls apart, moves away, stops talking to me, closes or mirrors in vanity.

This year more than any other I find myself jumping and wading through knee deep sludge. And at times it is grossly of my own doing. They say you are the creator of your own world and they also say that you can do anything or have anything you want if you work hard enough and somehow have enough luck. Really?

Then they say do what you love and the money will follow. Don’t be to nice but don’t lie either. Be honest, but don’t be a pushover. Hang in there okay and say your prayers and cross your fingers, dot your “I”s and cross your “T”s and wish for everlasting peace. It’s all a load of crockery don’t you think.

While many of us in the Western world are not destitute or starving, we are being force fed an image of reality that will keep us enslaved until we die.

And like many, I long for simpler times, but maybe those fabled simpler times are just that, the poplar image of yesteryear that survived the test of time. For, how do we know if yesterday was easier than today and how do we know that tomorrow might just be more hopeful than today.

And this isn’t to say that it’s all been gross. It’s rather been kind of fun getting down and dirty in said sludge, searching for answers.

The photo above I snapped one day while walking through a field on my way to the bank on the East Side of Saint John. In the distance is Uptown Saint John.

Seasonal Kaleidoscopes or Why I Like Winter

Each Winter I seem to migrate no hibernate into my dreams, put paint brush to hand and begin painting floral and embellished little artworks. Stroke after stroke I load the paintbrush and simply paint. I think it dawned on me that much of my recent angst was due to not letting my mind flow freely and for me that means creating sometimes anything.

While living in Vancouver I dearly missed Winter and the quietness it brought about. The seasons their blend into each other with Winter being but a blip of minor cold and incessant rain in December and January. There is no distinct separation of Fall to Winter and then Winter to Spring. And this really affected my psyche, as for 30 years I was acclimatized to distinct seasonal separations and time lapses. That first year I remember thinking when does Winter start or end for that matter? And when does Spring arrive? Yes, the Magnolia’s and Cherry tree blossom’s bloomed but the grass was green in February when I arrived, and it was 11º Celsius when I a stepped off the plane in a bulky Winter coat thinking I’ve arrived in paradise. Is this really Canada? Continue reading

ThinkBakery Blog Talking Shop Interview

I was asked recently by the ThinkBakery blog to do an interview. It’s live now!

And to quote the opening of the interview:

I have had the pleasure of lots of email correspondence with successful self-employed artist Jessica Doyle. I posted about her on Design Milk, and she went above and beyond my “Do” list. She is so sweet and articulate, and her honesty is refreshing. Check out her story:

Hope you’ll check it out!

Smelting Self Confidence

I walked into the kitchen to wash my hands and met a ghastly hilarious sink filled with smelt. It took me by surprise. I stepped back, laughed and walked to the bathroom to wash there instead.

My uncle had been ice fishing for smelt and Mom was thawing out the frozen fish for cleaning, then cooking.

Later that night (last night) I attended a party at my brother‘s place. I was holding onto optimism that sales would increase this coming week and decided to leave my laptop, business and ideas at home so that I could relax, have a few drinks and hang out with great people, some of whom, I’ve known since early childhood.

A few hours into the party I secured a small design contract and a babysitting job.

So, how does self confidence relate to Smelt? Continue reading

Brain. Fingers. Emotion. Computer?

I feel so sad right now. My emotions have run away with the circus.

My family is away. A very close friend, whom I love, is leaving tomorrow and I’m sitting here feeling sorry for myself. And words do not express how frustrating it is that my computer is so freaking slow.

No, the computer is not to slow; my brain and fingers are just too fast for this computer.

My fingers type key commands ever so quickly these days that the mac wheel just keeps turning, turning turning… all the while Photoshop, iPhoto, Firefox, Illustrator, inDesign and umteen other pieces of software refuse to do their job at the speed I need to them to do it in and continue processing processing processing. I don’t even know where to find the key commands in the menus anymore. I learn them, remember them and move on to the next one because it’s efficient.

When you’ve been using a mac since 1994 you become adept at making it work to capacity all the while being very efficient at operating three or more programs at once to get the job done, socialize and be productive.

Well, capacity was reached about TWO years ago!

Can I just freak out and not be calm for one minute.

RARWWWWWWWWWWW!

1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8,9,10…

And to top it all off most of the online software that would make my job easier is not supported by OSX 10.3.9 which is what I run on a Titanium G4 Laptop from 2003.

Rant done.
Thank you for listening.