What day is it?

I spent a lot of my life in a religious environment. This post is not about religion.

*If you want you can skip down to the next section: ‘What day is it?’*

However I do recall an evangelistic event from my youth that had a catchy slogan (most of them did).

If you want some background on this I will spare you the details but if you’re familiar with the Reverend (pastor) Lovejoy or Ned Flanders from the Simpsons series you’ll understand where I’m coming from. Every evangelistic campaign geared at recruiting new gospel converts and reassuring old ones needed a pithy quote or saying. A hook as they say in the music writing business.

My late father was all-in on these things as well as the message itself. It’s no surprise that I too became immersed, or baptized, if you will in the same. Alright no more on my fundamental-istic religious background.

This one slogan, which we wore on lapel pins – most likely Bible stickers and pennants as well, simply said “Perhaps Today”. The reference of course being to the Second Coming or the beginning of the apocalypse, etc, etc.

What day is it?

You might be reading this on Monday evening or a quiet Sunday afternoon. You might be reading it on Thursday while waiting on an appointment. Whatever actual day you’re reading this it will almost certainly qualify to be called “today”!

And this my friend ( follower, associate, new convert or whatever) is the point of my blog post.

There will never be another today quite like today. Here too, if I am preaching at all, I am preaching to myself.

To say or think to oneself “perhaps today” it will happen, when I’m ready of course. Perhaps when all my stars line up or I get a sign from heaven to take the plunge. It does not work that way.

I had a friend/ co-worker/ fellow artist who passed away 10 years ago from a very swift progressing disease. Once while visiting him in the hospital he remarked, as I showed him a new piece I’d been working on,…well he said “if only one had the time.”

Today is the right time. If you’re starting a business, doing something on the side, learning a new recipe, picking up that musical instrument, then today-NOW is the accepted time.

The biggest mistake we all make is to wait until we think we are perfectly ready. Like there’ll come a time when it just all feels right. I’m not talking about big risks here. You don’t need to kneel before the bank manager to give you a million bucks to get started ( well , yes, there are some cases that that does apply). You need to have faith in yourself to step out and do it today.

Maybe you’re Youtube videos look like crap right now especially compared to the James Cameron-esque quality channels that are out there. Maybe your logo isn’t quite right or , or , or….What are you waiting for? Put that ad on fb as it is. Go for it! Hallelujah and Amen ! Take the plunge!

Stay on the Straight and Narrow.

Watch out for diversions! Your brain will give you a thousand other options than to commit today. Damn thing is they’ll be a hell-uva good options too. Your brain is trying to protect you. Everything from your evolutionary ancestors telling you to avoid that moving tall grass on the savanna to your Mom telling you to wear a helmet while on your tricycle. All good advice, of course, although when it comes to stepping out on your plans to reach a goal this subconscious voice will also try to protect you from social embarrassment.

Perseverance of the Paints

Recently listened to an interview with singer and performer Kristin Chenoweth. She talked a lot about mental health and learning from millennials that it’s okay and also recommended to look after one’s own health.

Like so many interviews we’ve all heard the, “ya got to keep going, keep moving…”, mantra to quote Kristin. Perseverance is key. When things seem to be against you is just when you might want to push just a little more.


Without taking the wind out of our sails it is important to stress that mental health is imperative.

We each know ourselves best. In the end you must decide how far you want to take your goals at the risk of making your own life miserable. However, like one old pastor once said , faith is something that must be exercised. Believing in yourself takes courage. It’s well and fine to do this in small increments as you journey through this life.

But don’t put it off. Start Today!

Thanks for visiting!

Buy some art! Buy me a coffee :^) Etsy!

Buy my art and support me. Thanks!

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Here’s the scene.

It’s the bottom of January.

You peer out your window at either grey skies and rain or an insulating blanket of snow.

Whether it is or not, it feels like the middle of Winter.

It’s the time of the year that tends toward a slowing down of metabolic processes and this is considered a bad thing. A waste of time.

Every second ought to be spent on figuring out ways to gain more income. It’s like the morals found in the fables of the Tortoise and the Hare or the Ant and the Cricket have gone on steroids. You can’t take a break. It’s just wrong.

Add to this the fact that Western society is coming down from it’s highest point in the year, of Busy, Spending and Commingling with family and friends.

Instead of seeing the past season as a boost to normal living it somehow fixes in our minds as normality. I mean , shouldn’t we be busy all the time, frolicking, living at our max ALL THE TIME!?

I suppose the answer to that is that you are free to chose to live your life in whatever way you want to. However for me, I like to challenge my self-talk that insists I always be doing something and at 110%.

Is that realistic? I mean going at 110%? Do we think we are somehow above nature? Most of nature, as we know it, is on some kind of cycle. This involves periods of rest and rejuvenation; less productivity in some sense. At least here in our northern hemisphere this is the case. We are after all , animals. Animals with a heightened sense of self awareness but our bodies and brains (which are part of our bodies, ahem) are not dissimilar from our fellow earth inhabitors.

A Bane on Mental Health?

We are all alike and different at the same time. We all have our own rhythms of productivity and resting. I truly believe this is one of the main contributors to poor mental health in our societies. We have it drilled into us that life needs to burn bright at all times. The volume has to be at 11.

Living in a world like this, that contradicts our natural world to some degree, sets up standards of self-talk in our minds that demands we be successful now, today, this minute. The ability to hear this self-talk and call it out may just save our lives someday.

We need to breathe. We need fallow times in our lives to reflect or fantasize about the future. We need time to also just be…in the present moment.

These are often our times of most inspiration. Can you wait for the traffic lights to change without scrolling on the smartphone? Can you just be without input. Does it compute, this way of being?

Do You.

I can’t speak for you. Perhaps your joy is defined as achieving all your personal goals and to get there you’ve hacked the pause button. It’s our choice. It’s our life. As for as we know, it’s the only life we’re going to get. Use it wisely.

Once again. Thanks for reading. I hope you find it helpful in some way.

Buy some art! Buy me a coffee :^) Etsy!

Buy my art and support me. Thanks!

Born, born to be…

Happy New Year!!

Remember that old song that said “Born, born to be alive…”?

I was reminded of these lyrics while listening to an interview by CBC of Burton Cummings and Randy Bachman. I’m going totally on memory recall here so I may have some degree of error. One of the two said there came a time in his life that he knew he was meant for this or “born for it”. They were both speaking on their musically career especially in regard to the band The Guess Who.

I believe it was Randy that stressed how much work went into their career especially in their early days. The insane amount of driving between gigs playing for as low as 60 people, all while giving it all in their performances. Sometimes these gigs lasted up to 4 hours long.

Have you ever been listening to something like this and sort of have an epiphany, a moment where a truth hits you in such a mind expanding way?

One of the things I have found is that you can learn a thing from anyone in life. We don’t have to agree with them nor even live like them but everyone has something to teach us.

There were two things that stood out to me in this interview. Both of them relate to a kind of success.

  1. One was the knowledge that even though their work was a joy it also took an enormous effort and courage to make it successful. This hard work aspect should go without saying. However I think we, myself included, get lazy at times both with our strategies and the implementation of them. I hate that word “strategy” in the realm of art and business because it seems to dehumanize the nature of our work. Sure we could just look at people as money bags , although my personal choice is to appreciate our human-ness and connection as special creatures in this universe

To work our butts off is one thing but I would say it needs to be balanced with the wisdom that if a thing ain’t working it needs to be fixed or discarded. Obviously this stage is very personal. I can’t tell you what to do, nor you, I. My advice, as limited as it might be, is to season our Puritanical work ethic with the openness and willingness to change! If your work isn’t as receptive as you wish it to be then there simply may not be strong market for it or any at all. Again, this is personal. This will involve taking stock of personal, outside opinions and comparing them with your own; inner heart-work plus experimentation, research etc.

2. The other is the knowledge that you were “born for this” Whatever that may be.

The idea or belief that you were put here for a reason (even if it is a reason of your own choosing) is paramount to your success. Success is defined by you. It’s what you want it to be. However, I may not be an expert ( I am no expert) I do know from a lifetime of voraciously reading biographies of all kinds of people, that in order to be successful one has to embrace unsuccess or failure. One must be comfortable sitting with the devil or your own demons. Invite your devil to tea and sit with it. Accept it.

That devil may come in many forms, anxiety, doubts, addictions, sickness…whatever! The obsession of trying to eradicate that demon will only feed it. Deal with the anxiety and the devil will wisp away but do not attack it full force in an obsessive way. Someone has rightly said in various ways, that success is arrived at through a legion of failure(s). Be proud of your failures. They are yours and yours alone. They are a sign you are still trying and are determined to do so until your last breath. Or choose to be *ordinary. If that is what you want then that is okay. It’s fine.

Well I have rambled on too long. But I hope this helps you in some way as we face a new year.

I really hope you have a happier and healthier new year and that you help make someone else’s life a wee bit better than it was. Here’s to you. Here’s to us!

Buy some art! Buy me a coffee :^) Etsy!

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*Nothing wrong with a type of “ordinary”, imo. Being stable and having a job, not standing out are a perfectly fine way to live life. The emphasis is on choice. people choose different lives for themselves and deal with choices thrust upon them. It’s a mix, I’d say.

Imposter Syndrome

This past week I had to get some dental cleaning done. I confess. I put it off for over 2 years.

Because Covid.

I mean , the thought of lying there with my mouth wide open, and at the time not even having had a vaccine, made me very leery of visiting the hygienist.

There was a new (to me) dental hygienist there and of course it’s only natural to ask what one does…for a living. My partner went first and was asked the question, “what does your husband do?”

“Nothing”, she answered. I’m still laughing.

The reason for this answer is simply and understandably because it’s difficult to explain to others what I “do”. So she thought in a moment of both comedy and (small ‘e’) exasperation she just said “nothing”.

Why is it difficult? When you say to someone that you are an artist it leaves an astronomical amount of room for interpretation. “What do you mean- ‘artist’,” they ask. This one word can completely shut down the average person’s cognitive capabilities.

It’s because as an artist it may include or have included, landscapes, portraits, window paintings, caricatures, puppetry, set design, farm market shows, etc. Then to top it off you may use or even combine various media from oil, acrylic, watercolour, pen, pencil, digital and even film!

We live in a world that defines us by what we do and what we ‘do’ is what makes us the most money.

At one point during the first dental visit, whilst I was still able to answer without my *voice being a a foreign object in my mouth, I heard her say quietly ” well as long as you can make a living at it I guess…”. It was just an afterthought/whisper but I thought, “ah, there it is.”

To be sure, I really **like my new dental hygienist, but I have found that this common question has lead me to many a depressing self session of asking the question, ” am I an imposter… a fake?”

This is known as Imposter Syndrome. It’s not a mental disorder but rather an inclination to think and believe that one is not what they say or think they are. It doesn’t matter how many successes one may have had in their field you can still deem yourself both inadequate and unworthy of your profession.

The public is most familiar with those artists who have became celebrities or famous. No one thinks of going up to Tom Cruise and saying “are you really an actor?”

Celebrity unfortunately does often skew the meaning of being for most people. You are not a _______ until you are making______ dollars at it. For some a ‘living’ is 100,000 a year. For others, many more artists, it’s more like at or above minimum wage.

It’s sad in a way that we are what we make (per year) in our culture. Rather than focusing on who we are, we are taking the simpler path to defining ourselves as how much we make for money. Money is not wrong. Money is not evil but it sure as hell shouldn’t define us as to who we are.

Personally I think that in an almost unconscious or subconscious kind of way this is my greatest psychological battle. It wouldn’t matter to me how much money I made I would still wake up some mornings and say ,” am I really an artist? Really?”

If I were a plumber or carpenter the answer would seem simple. Even though there are various avenues to be a carpenter or plumber people more readily except that than, say… I am a self-employed artist or artisan that lives ‘feast or famine’.

During my final visit for cleaning, the DH found me sitting nervously- I’m always a little nervous at the dentist- in the waiting room. She jokingly exclaimed with a smile on her face, “there he is, the man who does nothing!” I’ve been branded. Ha! However, while laying feet upwards on Frankenstein’s slab, the hygienist (whom I knew) in the next stall popped her head in and said Oh yes he’s an artist. I have pictures framed and on the wall of my kids who he drew many years ago. Then the dentist chimed in and mentioned how much he admired my new art which was bright, colourful and a little funky.

Whew. My tender ego was saved again!

Here’s the thing. Be who you are. If you create, create. What you do for a living doesn’t have to define who you are. Be you!

For some help on Imposter Syndrome I defer you to this article.

*A line I like and borrowed from band The Big Moon- Your Light

**Please note: In no way is this post intended to make my Hygienist seem or appear rude or crass. She is a very nice person and professional and likeable.

Buy some art! Buy me a coffee :^) Etsy!

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The Story of Blake the Pirate

Halloween resurrection. Skeleton pirate returns!

After sharing this photo on Twitter I was asked to show more of this display. I thought it might be easier to share the blog post where there is more room for photos and links. Here you are!

It was 2008 and I was at that time working at a CD store. A CD store is /was a place that sells music and movies on the compact disc or DVD format as well as T-shirts, paraphernalia, SWAG, etc. I worked there for almost 8 years and began decorating our window and display area for Halloween in the early 2000’s.

In 2008 I went a little overboard (pardon the pun) and created quite an elaborate set and display based on a sunken pirate treasure and a levitating pirate skeleton. The entire set was basically made from scrap. Only the skull was store bought and then embellished by me with glue, tissue, paint etc. Also a crab skeleton was picked up from a local beach and painted to fit the scheme.

So it turned out that the whole display was too large and basically pushed the envelope of the company’s policy and rules to hang certain promo posters, etc. Don’t get me wrong. I loved, loved that job. It was more than a job for me. Eight hour days listening to all kinds of music for which we were, for the most part, free to chose.

I decided it might be best to hang the display at home in my living room and invite guests rather than infringe too much on store policy. I didn’t want to scale back. I guess that’s just how artists are sometime, lol.

I named the skeleton Blake, of course, after the pirate in John Carpenter’s movie ” The Fog”.

Here are links to YouTube videos which my son helped me create years ago. Video and comments. More video. Plus here is a link to how I set up the display this Halloween 2022.

Here are some photos and links on the original display!

Buy some art! Buy me a coffee :^) Etsy!

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Hope you have a spooky Halloween!

Giving Credit

At the end of any movie, when they rolled the credits, my brother’s friend would often say, “no more words! Please no more words”. My father got a great kick out of this and repeated it way too often with less effect.

So today, being it Thanksgiving weekend I will you spare you my words and share some fresh pics. For this, I hope you’re thankful, ha.

Where would creatives be,… hell, where would we all be without the beautiful moods of mother nature.

Enjoy your weekend!

Buy some art! Buy me a coffee :^) Etsy!

Click on the image to visit my website, buy my art and support me. Thanks!

Buy some art! Buy me a coffee :^) Etsy!

Living the Life

Sometimes it’s really tough being an artist.

This can be both true from a sales P.O.V. or just mentally and emotionally.

They say the biggest battle for anything resides in our minds. I do believe this is true. I also believe that we fight generational programming from our own DNA as well as our early environment.

Here’s the thing though, sometimes we are who we are and to pressure someone to go beyond what they are capable of is not fair as well. I think that even the ability to change our minds, to help ourselves mentally, often requires outside help. You don’t have to be the champion of your thoughts. Find a friend or a professional to help you. You don’t have to get there and you certainly don’t have to do it alone!

Framing Tips

When I saw this meme (below) shared by another artist my reaction was mixed.

It was like I was wearing both the Tragedy and Comedy mask. I mean on one level it is slightly funny but also could be bone crushingly depressing. Perhaps, some would say, that in this woke culture of ours we have become too sensitive. Maybe. However I think it’s important for both artists and others to be careful about the narrative that is being created and carried into our culture everyday. Without artists and creatives there would be no culture. How is the fact that artists inject awe and inspiration into life and yet can be categorized as a ” burned out disappointment” ?

So I made my own meme ( top-most pic). My take on this is that we don’t play up the gifted child aspect. All children are unique and gifted for what they can do. Varied experiences are a good thing in life. If a creative explores different interests it’s not a bane to their artistic self nor to others. Anyone who creates is not necessarily a disappointment. Is everyone supposed to be measured by Bill Gates or Steve Jobs? They are/were just people themselves. I’m sure they have been a disappointment in some area of their lives.

A Dash of Ageism

Not a big fan of “weirdo” being used as a derogatory term. Add “old” and you’ve got a dash of ageism. You can be good weird your whole life. In fact I recommend it. Who needs the ordinary all of the time.

Maybe we can all help to create a world and an environment that helps each other with our mental health. We need our ‘weird’ creatives. We need everyone to be happy and hopeful.

Thanks for listening!

Stay Creative!

Buy some art! Buy me a coffee :^) Etsy!

Click on the image to visit my website, buy my art and support me. Thanks!

Sunflowers Down – Fiona

Hurricane Fiona passed this way yesterday (Sept. 24, 2022). Where I live in Nova Scotia ( Valley area) we weren’t affected as bad as other parts of the province.

Above is the sunflower patch near where I live. It did not fair so well. In fact it’s likely finished for the year. The sunflower patch is a U-Pick venture owned by Hennigar Farms. This year proceeds from the sales are going to help Ukraine families living here in Nova Scotia and I’m sure the farm would accept donations even if you aren’t able to (obviously) pick flowers.

The sunflower field has been a charity thing here for at least 3 years , I think.

Here’s is my painting based on this very patch. Prints available of course by clicking on the image.

My thoughts are with those who were impacted much more with this hurricane. Properties were damaged, homes destroyed and there are still those in the province without electricity.

*There is a young boy missing, I believe after the hurricane, and one death for sure as someone was swept out to sea. So terrible.

We here in the Atlantic provinces live in the most beautiful part of the world and yet nature too reveals it’s other side periodically. The best we can do is prepare for those times which I believe climate change is exacerbating.

Let’s do our best to live as much as possible in harmony with the land, sea and sky.

Thanks for stopping by and I appreciate your support!

*UPDATE ! Just minutes after posting this I am seeing reports from the RCMP that the young boy was found alive.

Buy some art! Buy me a coffee :^) Etsy!

Click on the image to visit my website, buy my art and support me. Thanks!

Making A Connection

Today I made a connection. This post is about making connections.

My BIL asked me to pick up some items from someone on Facebook Marketplace for him. It was early morning (partly why I’m a little later today with my post) and I had a quick shower and had to decide what shirt to wear. I chose my old blue Superman tee.

Making Creative Connections

That headline may be a bit misleading. I’m actually talking about making connections to sell your art or creative creations. The importance of making connections can often be overlooked. We think that people should just see our work and then buy it. It’s rarely that simple in my experience. It can, however, happen.

Making connections to sell is not, in my opinion, a recipe for manipulation. I don’t think we should ever think that our clients or customers are that stupid. It is patronizing to think that you or I can fool our buyers or trick them just to have their money. It’s a free world as they used to say so I suppose you can try to be deceptive but that’s not the type of people I want to attract.

Connecting without Manipulating

This is all about messaging. We all send out messages to each other in verbal and nonverbal ways. I spent some time designing logos for people in the past. A lot goes into a logo design just to make it as simple and effective in telling others what you and your biz is all about. We won’t go into the whole process because it’s too much for this little post but have you ever wondered why large successful companies often have such simple logos? Take a moment and think about some. It took a lot of thought and design to get them to that point…usually.

Today, in this post, I sent a verbal message to those who might buy from me that I’m a trustworthy person (my points on manipulation). It’s true. I do believe that I am worthy of trust because both my past history and my current desire is to not rip anyone off. In fact I usually overcompensate by being too altruistic.

Showing our work is not merely pushing it into someone’s face and expecting a reaction or a purchase. It’s about building trust and connection. If the connection fails then so does the sale usually. Maybe we should talk more about this in a the next post. Hmmm….yes, I think we should. Selling your creative wares is as much about showing your stuff as it is about showing YOU. People want trust.

The fact that people buy what they trust has a lot to do with why we buy sneakers with Mickey Mouse on them or a T-shirt of AC/DC. These icons are in our collective pysche. We trust them. Are they manipulating us or our we basically allowing them to seduce us into a purchase because we know we want them? Usually I know I am being courted! ha ha. I connect with certain movies, TV shows, music and I like when -I can afford it- to buy or share into the experiences they provide.

Remember to connect to people of your tribe by giving them the experience(s) of life that matter to them and to you!

The Meet-up

I google mapped out the place where I was to pick up the items for my BIL. It just so happened that he is a huge Superman fan. Yep true story. Even his truck was painted in the same blue as my T-shirt. He had chosen that colour on purpose for the truck. He even pointed out that I was wearing a blue Superman shirt, ha ha. We hit it off immediately at least in the realm of scifi/fantasy/horror and he showed me some of his other collections and keep sakes in his garage.

Coincidence? Likely. However, I’ll tell you a secret. Part of the reason I chose that shirt was for it’s blue colour. Yes, blue is the colour of the sky and it’s the colour of trust ! I wanted to establish right off at our first meeting that I was someone he could trust. Not because I was manipulating him but because I wanted to message to him that I was who I said I was and to connect in a trustworthy way. Do I always chose my clothes that way?…nah. Now go back and look at some of those logos you thought about. Any blue ones? Banks often use blue…but not always.

The fact he turned out to be a diehard Superman fan…well, that may have had more to do with Jor-El. 😉

Stay Creative!!

Buy some art! Buy me a coffee :^) Etsy!

Click on the image to visit my website, buy my art and support me. Thanks!

Sunflower Pics Taken This Morning Near My Home

And Now For Something *Almost* Completely Different

Wow it’s September already! Decided to do something a little different and share one of my cartoons. Yes artists can do different kinds of art!

Cartoons and back-to-school remind us of the need to stay young minded. Life can go by pretty fast and growing old is one thing but getting old and grumpy is quite another.

I try to do a few things to keep myself young minded. Having a sense of humour helps. Doing and thinking about things I was interested in when I was young helps me as well. Listening to new music, music made in this decade, helps to. Often people will say there is no good music today. You just have to look for it. YouTube is a great resource for that. Some talented musicians out there. The trick is to try something you don’t think you’ll like. Give it a few chances. See how it goes. Hey, maybe (and I’m not being facetious) it will help “grow some new brain cells.”

Personally I like collectibles. Things I enjoyed as a kid from movies and TV shows plus some things from today. Here’s just a few:

Some of my ‘youthful’ collections.

Stay Creative

Staying imaginative and staying youthful may help us to stay creative as well. This will help with our painting, crafts, photography, music, etc. I think it would really suck to get old and grumpy especially if one is given a choice. Yes life does happen. Shit happens. Sometimes it’s pretty serious stuff too. Then we are given a choice. We can remain indefinitely bitter or choose at some point to move on. Yeah even to be happy.

My wish for you and I is that we stay youthful and imaginative for as long as we can. After all it’s our attitude in our work that gets handed down to the next generation inspiring them to keep going and aim for a better world!

Buy some art! Buy me a coffee :^) Etsy!

Click on the image to visit my website, buy my art and support me. Thanks!