Tag Archives: artist

Coming out to play or how an introvert fails to thrive

jessica doyle self portrait

If you are a creative person you likely have many drafts or unfinished pieces of work in various stages of completion laying around your studio or stored on the computer.

In early November, 2011 I began entering a burnout from working online and from life in general. And by mid-January 2012 my health had completely failed and I was hospitalized for seven days. It’s only now that I’m coming out of it (publicly) so to speak.

What’s sad, is that I knew it was happening all of last year but didn’t know how to stop it or where to go for help or how to financially afford treatment by taking time off of working as I have no health insurance or employment insurance. I wrote the following on November 7th, 2011, the night before my 38th birthday, and never published it here on the blog.

What exactly does it mean when you hit burnout or rather when you succumb to not be able to creatively think or do anything else other than change who you are.

And when you are introverted, adjusting to extroversion is almost painful at a cellular level. To an introvert, extroversion feels like being tickled everywhere for an extended period of time and forced to exert and use one’s senses in life in an outward fashion that others can see, taste, smell, watch or feel immediately.

An introvert on the other hand basically sponges all that external sensory stimuli, balls it up, swallows it, mentally digests it and assimilates it all into the brain for use in original and unique regurgitation onto paper, instrument or dialogue that extroverts absorb in the form of entertainment.

The above few paragraphs are by no means a finished thought but they do summarize how fast my fragile boundaries were eroding. I was utterly overwhelmed most, if not, all of last year. Only those people closest to me knew the extent of what I was trying to deal with if they even knew at all. I didn’t share too much here on the blog… I don’t think I knew how to. Yes, my failing thyroid is playing a part in all of this and yes I’m keeping up with the blood tests and adjustments in medication again.

And what finally prompted me to sign into this blog and break the silence and actually write today was perhaps the most awful therapy appointment I’ve ever had the pleasure of sitting through yesterday. And it wasn’t that it was awful per-say, it was just unlike anything I’ve ever experienced before… and I’m going to submit myself to it all over again next week. Haha.

A few weeks ago my Mom gave me a camera to use, that she had won at work, as she already had a camera of her own. It’s a Canon Powershot SD 3500 IS, 14.1MP. I’ve begun playing with it. I snapped the pic above in the upstairs bathroom.

Introducing Shayla Maddox – contributing writer

shayla maddox, artist

I met Shayla a while back in early 2008 on Etsy. We quickly become friends and even exchange handmade Christmas balls at Christmas each year with each other. While we have never met in real life, she is as dear to me as the friends I have in real life. And above that, she understands what it’s like to work online and be self employed in the fine art and illustration business. She is a beautiful person inside and out.

shayla maddox, light reactive painting, acrylic

Shayla lives with her husband and works out of her home studio in Southern California. Shayla will be contributing one blog post each Wednesday to the Art & Musings blog. Her posts will be about… to quote her…

A bit back I suddenly had this burst of an epiphany, from watching Sex and The City no less (which I wouldn’t say I watch regularly or am even a fan of, but there was nothing else on while I was sitting on the ground working on my Christmas balls and now I’m thinking it was bizarrely fated that I watched it.) Anyway, I suddenly saw myself writing a column, a Carrie Bradshaw like column, though discussing art and life as opposed to dating in NYC.

And a bit more about Shyala in her own words…

I paint, and travel, and absorb the universe. And then I paint about those things. My work is a blend of science, Zen style, and Sacred Geometry.

I am inspired by stars, moons, sunsets, tropical beaches, humidity, coloring books, crayons, glo-worms and lite-brites, the Disneyland Main Street Electrical Parade, Jules Verne, The Science Channel, ancient technology and civilizations, the study of the universe, spirituality, stained glass windows, sea glass, telescopes, down-tempo music, Zen wisdom, rainbows, fireflies, water and light.

You can read Shayla’s personal Blog here and visit her Etsy Shop here.

Her first post will be up tomorrow!

Welcome Shayla! xo

Win $5000 worth of original art by giving a donation of $10

UPDATE – Please see this blog post for the results.

I’ve been thinking about how to make my original art available to everyone, while still earning a fair living wage while doing so.

In order for this to work, a minimum of 500 donations must be received by April 15th, 2011. This amount will cover the cost of the original art, the subsequent shipping and Paypal fees related to said art. To enter, simply donate $10.00 CAD via the Paypal Donate Button located at the bottom of this post. You can donate more than once. Each donation received will be entered into the draw for one of five originals created by me. You could win more than once. Continue reading

I wish this paper held more meaning or why income tax should be abolished

self employed canadian income tax preparation

Last night I began the task of sorting all my papers from 2010 into piles.

There are shipping cost piles, art supply piles, utility bill piles, packaging supply piles, energy pile, gas pile, two insurance piles, an oil pile, cleaning supply pile, mortgage pile, car cost pile, an office supply pile, printing supply pile, sale piles, room rental receipts, local sales piles, an advertising pile, a personal pile and these piles don’t include the copious amounts of online presence, fees, hosting costs, contracts or sales on the web piles.

Needless to say, I’m overwhelmed with the paperwork from operating two businesses and at a point where I feel like writing to the Government of Canada OMG wait… it’s now the damn Harper Government and demanding that poor people shouldn’t have to provide proof of income in fact no one living in Canada should have to provide proof of income. If they want to know how much money someone earned then they can come and do all the paperwork for me as I can barely afford to buy food right now let alone take time away from working to prepare my tax return.

Have you ever seen that New Brunswick social services commercial where the lady has to choose between eating a can of food or paying her rent? I’m in that situation and it has nothing to do with overspending, not budgeting enough for this or that, not working hard enough or making bad decisions with my money. It has everything to do with getting sick at an inopportune time, renting to an idiot last fall and not qualifying for health insurance, one bad art sale where I earned one third of what I earned the year’s previous sale, being single with no children in Canada combined with dramatic increases in the cost of food, home insurance and high rises in the general cost of living over the last two years.

And therein lies the crux of the matter. I earn barely enough to survive. And right now, I’ve gone through all my pennies. I need to laugh. Haha! It’s not all doom and gloom.

People who are employed and receive a T4 from an employer and who complain about taxes have it easy at income tax time. I’m not saying paying taxes are easy… all I’m saying is that you do not have the tremendous amount of paper work that someone who is self employed has. Please don’t ever complain about having to prepare your simple income tax forms. I know the difference as I used to work for somebody else too.

Self employed people in Canada have it the roughest. Self employed poor people have it even rougher. I have the same amount of income tax paperwork to do as someone who runs a large company.

And I’m not angry at anyone. I made these life and career choices. Really, I’m trying to find the positive in this. I’m trying to find the courage to overcome this. I even thought about getting a job, any job, and seriously looked for one in January and February but it’s not enough money to even make a difference so I worked very hard and got one room rented to a nice man and have another room rented for next month to someone who lived here last year. and each of those men will be here through to the Fall of the year. Those two room rentals pay me what I’d earn working at a part-time job. And room rental is a part-time job. I can’t count how many people say I’m lucky having the rental income… where is the luck in this? I work at it and clean those rooms and give up my privacy in exchange for money.

On the other hand, I get to have wonderful people to share my home with which is socialization that I so desperately need. It keeps me happy and keeps me going and in a weekly cleaning routine. I’m generally happier with people living in my home. And that in turn allows me to think more clearly and do the (tax) things that under Canadian law I must do.

I also know the bad times don’t last forever and that there is always a silver lining or upside to the downside. I have never asked for nor applied for a government handout, I’ve never applied to help pay for my health-care costs or housing. Maybe I’m too proud or maybe I’m just stubborn. I miss having the safety net of Employment Insurance and even though they’ve opened up to allow self employed people into the EI program… it won’t work for me as the income I earn from room rental will cancel out any benefit that I’d receive when underemployed, sick or pregnant. My life is a catch 22.

I do beleive things are changing though as my health improves ever so slowly. I hadn’t realized how bad I actually was until five or six weeks into taking Synthoid did my body and mind go “This is what I’m supposed to feel like and how did I even manage before?”.

I have a doctor’s appointment tomorrow to get the latest round of blood test results. Sadly, I’m feeling as low as I did in early January, meaning I’ve likely plateaued on the Synthroid and need the dose increased.

Anyhow, this is what I’ve been up against over the last five months. And everyday I’m grateful for family and friends both on and offline who provide the positive energy I need to keep going and finally rise above and overcome this mess. Thank you, all, for that.

And keep in mind that income tax was only created as a temporary measure to pay for the wars and now that war continues against the disappearing middle classes and poorer classes in Canada.

And it makes me laugh because even Missy the cat is shaking her head in disgust sitting on the paperwork. ;)

There’s what you are on one hand (Limited Editon Print – no.1 – The Waitress Series)

This is the beginning of an ongoing collaborative project between myself, Jessica Doyle and writer, Christopher DeWan. I will be releasing a new limited edition print every few weeks until “The Waitress” is fully illustrated. There will be between 18 and 24 illustrations when the project is completed. Do collect them all!

This is the first illustration in The Waitress series.

  • Paper Size – 12 by 12 inches
  • Professionally printed with archival Epson inks on Epson fine art paper
  • Print is dated, numbered, signed and titled
  • Will arrive with a certificate of authenticity
  • Edition of 100 only

The Waitress by Christopher DeWan

There’s what you are, on the one hand; and on the other, there’s what you think you can be.

No, let me put that another way: there is what you are, essentially, in your heart—the sum of all your capabilities; and on the other hand, there’s the smaller set of what you’ve realized to date. There is You the Greater and You the Lesser. You whole, and you fractured.

Some people believe that you, the “real” you, is the lesser one—the tally of what you’ve achieved. “What do you do?,” we ask each other at parties. “I’m a salesman,” we answer, deftly swapping a verb of action with a verb of being.

Other people believe that you, the “real” you, is that farther-away idea: “I’m a waitress and an actress, but I also want to direct.”

You smirk when she tells you this. “She’s a dreamer,” you think. “She’s a cliché.” (And these things, too, might be a part of who she “really” is.) But clichés are lazy shortcuts, a rubber-stamp version of the truth: the outline is correct and familiar, but the details are missing. The details are the essence. The details are the differentiators. In the mind of this waitress, what she wants to do is more significant than what she is doing. To know her is to know that she wants to direct. To know her is to know that she is a bundle of potentialities, and to know which potentialities.

[When robots can bring us coffee at restaurants, then we’ll all be free to act and direct.]

[When we fall in love, is it not with a person’s wants and with their potentialities?]

It is our dream that distinguishes us—the dream, and the degree to which we are willing to chase it: the degree to which we believe we are not the man sitting in the desk chair at the office, day after day after day. No. Rather, we are the brilliant burst of light, looming just on the other side of the horizon. We eagerly, lovingly chase ourselves, to find ourselves.

Christopher resides in Los Angeles, CA, United States. He can be found writing short stories on the TheUrbanSherpa. The Waitress was first published here on Christopher’s blog and has been reproduced within this blog post with permission.

This gorgeous print can be purchased in my Art Shop on Etsy and on my personal digital download e-commerce site, . Enjoy!

On the outside looking in

How do you find your way in a world where everything is familiar and long ago thoughts, ideas and beliefs begin to creep into your being once again? Twenty years ago I answered this question by applying to college in another city and upon acceptance of my application moved away as quickly as I could at the age of 19.

I don’t want to do that again, but the idea of doing it continues to pop into my head. My closest in real life friends live a world away offline but online they are right beside me via Skype, email and Facebook. These are people I went to college with or are childhood friends with whom I skipped, walked and played hide and go seek with. I see them once per year or even less at times. I miss them greatly at this time of year.

It’s so difficult moving back to the city you grew up in and making strong connections especially when you live alone, work alone and choose to associate with very few people offline most days due to financial constraints, past wrongs and simply opposing belief systems.

So right now, I’m on the inside looking out the studio window and don’t know where to go, who to talk to or what to do and it’s driving me crazy! I don’t want to teach art classes or be involved in the arts offline. It’s not my domain. Really. I’m an online activist and content creator much more so than an offline one. Or maybe it’s just because I don’t know how to do it? Or I don’t know how to take what’s in my head about working online and put that knowledge down on paper and teach it.

People from various organizations are contacting me to come and speak or teach workshops. I don’t know how to do that. If you want me to do that you need to help me. Push me. Pay me. Really. I don’t know where to begin in trying to navigate the grant system or how to apply for an art gallery opening. You need to set up an actual appointment for me and not leave things so open ended as it’ll be another year or never before I reach a decision. I understand online but not offline.

I find the activist in me is coming out and I’m seeking an organization to join or common interest group and hope that I can find the courage to follow through with that goal before I turn into a peanut. I keep thinking about knitting, sewing and working with fabrics again. I’ve got all the supplies and three sewing machines sitting upstairs waiting to be turned on.

Anyways, life has a way of cycling and repeating itself and it’s not until a decision is made that the loop ends and a new fuller path is presented you.

On the outside looking in is available as a limited edition print on HandmadeCloud.

2nd Annual Open Studio and Art Sale

Poster for open studio and art sale at Jessica Doyle's house!

From 5:00PM to 9:00PM on Thursday, December 9th, I’ll be opening the doors to my home and studio. And as I’m holding this event later this year than I did last year I’ll also be offering 25% OFF your purchase on the day of the sale.

Items for sale include:

Please have a look through my online shops to see many of the items I’ve created by hand over this last year.

My personal shop HandmadeCloud
My Etsy Shop

If you can not make it, because you live far away but would enjoy receiving or giving a piece of art as a gift this year I’ve created a special 25% OFF coupon code to use in one of my shops listed above. This coupon code will expire on midnight, December 9th, 2010.

Oh, and the coupon code is 2010STUDIOSALE and it’s good for 25% OFF your entire purchase. You can also order online and choose to pick your order up in person on the evening of the sale by ordering on HandmadeCloud.

Happy Holidays!
sincerely,
Jessica Doyle and Missy Two Shoes the cat!

Harbour Station booth photos and how your health plays a huge part in one’s sales

Sadly, I was sick all of last weekend and couldn’t talk or interact with people as much as I would have liked to when they were in my booth. After one minute of talking to someone I would start incessantly coughing and then have to leave the booth for water or my head was pounding so badly that I could barely manage a smile. I barely shook people’s hands and this really affected my overall sales. I made out OK, but in hindsight, being only 50% healthy at a very large and public sale is not a good thing.
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