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Taking it Offline

As much as I am a huge fan of the amount of contact and conversation I have everyday through online means, it has also been a picture of the shiny side of things in peoples lives and business.  To a degree, that is just as it should be, as one friend said, "no one wants to read about your dirty laundry".  But sometimes its that not so bright side of things that is what you really need help with.  

I have been having this need to talk about things the way they really are, the good, the bad and the ugly.  The need for real conversations, the ones that can move beyond black and white recorded pleasantries and I've been very grateful for the ability to do so in recent months.  I have talked before about the incredibly generous artists I have found in Licensing and many are becoming fast friends.   What a wonderful support network! 

I am a huge emailer but its been so nice to be able to hash out things over the phone, or Google hangout or even the rare coffee shop meeting!  I'm very grateful for all these artists who are willing to sit and chat with me about the way things "really" are.  Its given me a much more rounded view of the businesses they are running, the business I am running, and the licensing industry in general.  Every one of the artists I have talks with recently weather at the top of their game or still trying to find their own path has taught me something very valuable in my own journey.  And truly, this has been the biggest learning experience.  It is a journey, there is never going to be that point when you think there is nothing left to do, its all perfect.  

Today I had someone tell me they were so glad I had thought to reach out to them about a question I had.  It made me think how we forget to do that sometimes, to ask for help.  Sometimes this is out of pride, or fear of looking unprepared, or worry that you will put someone in an awkward position.  Being shy myself, its been a struggle to push past all those discomforts to ask but I find it has been easier as I have gone along.  Not to mention that those individuals who I have been able to have these wonderful talks with have been so unbelievable in their response!  The value of community has become so completely apparent to me since I began in this industry and it was one I had no connection to just three years prior.

What I have found is every person has something of value to offer to you and despite if you are a verteran or brand new to the industry, it is more likely than not that you also have something of value to offer back.  Its a product of us each having our own experiences leading up to our current situation.  I'm looking forward to more Surtex support calls, creative connecting and "what do I want to do when I grow up" hash out sessions, I'm blessed to have each and every one of you to help me along.  



Hello 2014

I'm sure I'm not alone, but I love new starts.  Blank sketchbooks that crack when you first open them, clean work surfaces, brushes with perfect points; all are filled with endless possibilities.  This past year was not my best, I've been juggling quite a bit between family, a day job, a weekend pt one, along with the artwork; a few of those balls I had been juggling for so long were dropping.  I was perpetually tired, continuously sick, and after walking away unscathed from my totalled car after a truck ran a red light I was left feeling a bit defeated.  Mostly I just felt lost.  

I've been making new work, adding new clients, working on new projects but I was missing a concrete goal.  I found myself going to my email to find out what was needed next, chasing submission requests and deadlines. My days were becoming reactionary and I had trouble creating my own plan weather that related to lack of time or fear of spending that time on "not the right things" I'm not sure I can say.  In the past, that was never something that concerned me, I have a thousand ideas and I'd just pick the next one.  The truth is, there was something very nice about not knowing how big the licensing world was.  I worked really hard at a contained idea--create a portfolio and launch my business at Surtex.  It wasn't exactly easy, but there were no distractions either, it was a "let's see what happens" kind of scenario and it exceeded my wildest dreams. 

After seeing first hand what intentional goal setting could do all I wanted to do is find my next "it", my next target, that magic thing that makes you know without a shadow of a doubt what you are to do.  I've been searching all year, longer actually and I can't say I have it, but I've also decided that's okay.   I'm trying to cut myself a bit of slack and get back to basics.  I've been pretty much off of social media for the past months, taking some space from my phone, turning in at 11-12 rather than 2-3, using Saturdays to watch my daughter's gymnastics practice rather than leave to squeeze in a few hours of work.  Its been a nice hiatus, a time to rest and reset and now I'm excited to begin this new year.  

I was told that 2013 was about exceptance and we are moving into a year of compassion.  I feel like I'm ready to do exactly that, except that last year wasn't all I'd hoped it would be but take the lessons I learned and bring them into the new year to allow for a bit breathing room.  For a long time I thought if I just gave everything I possibly had into this career change that it would happen faster somehow.  It was still the right move but it will also take time, this is an industry which favors marathon runners over sprinters.  

I've got my fresh new calendar cracked open and it is already filling up with fresh new dates and projects.  Is there really anything better than pen on blank pages?  Each entry is a small goal or promise to myself to show up, interact, reconnect, submit, and create.  I might still not know exactly where I am going with this all but there is immense power in the idea that even the smallest of steps still are moving me forward.   Here's to a wonderful new year filled with wonderful new possibilities for us all.  


City of Ember Series

Recently my daughter has been reading the City of Ember Series.  She wanted a map of the fourth book that would show the City of Darkhold.  After a bit of looking I didn't come up with one so I doctored up a scaned version from her book.  Click here to download a pdf version.  Just in case you were looking for one!


Feeling Lucky

I've never been in an accident before.  I've been bumped from behind but never more than that.  Today I was broad sided while taking a turn at a light.  The same light I turn at everyday from my house.  I had seen this same type of accident just a few weeks ago.  I remember being really upset by it because the person who got hit was doing all the right things.  They hadn't been speeding or driving erratically, they just went when the light told them to.  And that is what happened to me.  I saw the truck coming and I didn't know what was going to happen to me next.  You wonder if that's it, it that is all time you will have and I feel very fortunate to have come away with not a scratch on me.  

My driver side front and back doors were completely collapsed into the car, thank goodness I didn't have my daughter in the car with me since that is where she sits.  I was sent spinning across the six lane intersection before stopping by hitting another car.   I am just amazed and thankful that that I was able to walk away from this with just some aches and pains.  I heard a loud ringing in my ears and wasn't even aware that I had spun until I was stopped.  I was able to put my car in park and slide out of the driver seat and into the passenger side.  I called my Husband and asked him to come meet me calmly enough that he didn't expect anything more than a fender bender.    

I have always been a cautious person, one who follows rules, one who rarely takes risks and it is hard for me to compute that sometimes there are things in life, career, family, or personally that can come out of nowhere to effect you and send you spinning. I don't think about this stuff very often, how we are only given so much time here.  I have so much I see myself doing.  Maybe this was just a little reminder to keep working towards those goals.  All in all a very scary, emotionally charged day.  


Cirque Du Noir 2013 - We Did It!

Another incredible night planned by Michelle May of Festival Creative.  It was by far my favorite of the ones I attended (probably because I got to do more painting than socializing!).  A great exercise in giving up control and having no plan.  Brian Burris, Don Hartman, Scott Boilard, and of course, my hubs were great to paint with.  We both had our pieces auctioned to benefit the Worcester County Food Bank, got to see some great other artist's work, and got reacquainted with a few college buddies.  Worcester has a lot going on in it, there are a lot of people who see the possibility for its growth and development  and its so great to be around that enthusiasm.  There is a pretty wonderful art scene which I'd love to be more involved in, if I was a person who got involved in things.  I'm a homebody, what can I say?!?  I did get to meet the organizers of stArt on the Street and they got me pretty interesting in doing one of their events.  Who knows, maybe I should give up this resistance to making my own products, we will have to see what's in store for me!

Photo credits JGD Design & PhotographyUnity Mike Photography Steven King / Worcester Magazine