The artist and burnout.

It’s been a few weeks since I’ve written.

To be honest, I think I burnt myself out a little bit. Months of working every day took it’s toll slightly. I have felt so “blah” lately. I just couldn’t muster the energy to hit the art studio hard. But I allowed myself to need that time away. I listened to what my body and mind needed and went with it.

I’ve barely touched any art for 3 weeks, though I have still kept up with the social media stuff daily. It’s only in this past week that I’ve returned to the creative stuff.

I’ve been working on a collage which hasn’t come easy at all, there’s been lots of frustration as everything I seemed to do just wasn’t working!! I finally got there with it though and I am pleased with the results so far. Just a few more tweeks and it will be finished. It would seem my work has taken a bit of an illustrative turn. I’ve enjoyed doing illustrations more than the abstract stuff lately, which is unusual for me because I really love doing abstracts.

I am still working on designs for my business cards and that is proving more difficult and frustrating than I expected – graphic designer I am not!

I think the problem is that for business cards and brand identity I like sleek geometric designs and colour palette. But that isn’t entirely appropriate for an artist/illustrator advertising. So I’ve been playing around with my own designs to incorporate into a business card.

I’ve had some interest from an art gallery for one of my collages, so that is something I will be following up on very soon. It was lovely and exciting to hear from someone who like my work enough to want to put it in their shop. But I must confess, it feels a bit scary too as I’ve never done anything like that before and don’t really know yet how it all works. But I will learn quickly I am sure.

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I also started practicing my “folk-art” flowers. I love this style and want to incorporate it into my own work. Last Christmas I got a book about folk art design and so I’ve been reading it and practicing it.

This is the finished result. Although I do want to add colour digitally to see how it looks. It might make a good card or something?

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Anyway, that’s all my news for now.

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Taking time to see the wood from the trees.

Happy Wednesday,

Last week, I promised a vision board. I failed! I totally forgot about it.

I can’t really say that I’ve done much in terms of art. I’ve been enjoying the lovely weather and just taking a bit of a break from it all. I’ve had months of working every single day non stop which has been fun but like I said last week, I’ve been feeling a bit overwhelmed with it and sort of getting tunnel-vision and not seeing the bigger picture which left me feeling a bit frustrated and lost in it all.

So, some downtime has been needed. That said, I did still keep up with the social media stuff daily and did a collage that I really liked and would like to expand on. I really enjoyed making it but it was very time consuming. I loved using my old art pieces that maybe didn’t work so well at the time and incorporating them into a new piece. The trees are made of old abstract designs from years ago. I was taught at college to never throw out work you don’t like or was a bit of a failure because they always come in handy, whether to use in a new artwork or just to see how far you’ve come.

I didn’t like the old abstract piece I’d done, I’m not sure why, maybe the colours I’d used? It had taken hours and hours to do because it was A4 sized with very small details. But I think it works really well as trees in this illustrative collage and I’m so glad that my original art work hasn’t gone to waste.

 

I decorated another stone yesterday. It’s for a really great little project on facebook called Secret Stones Ayrshire . Lots of people are decorating stones to be left in public places for people to find, for no other reason that to bring a smile to the people who find them. I LOVE that. It’s so fun to see pictures of stones found by people, lots of whom come back to the facebook page to say they found it.

I just need to get some clear varnish to seal my stone and then I’ll be sending it out into the world to spread some joy.

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So, I think that’s me for this week. Not too much to report. Hope everyone has a great week x

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There is No Force More Powerful Than a Woman Determined to Rise.

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Happy Wednesday!

Again I am a day late in writing. Organisation isn’t one of my strongest qualities, that’s for sure.

Although to be fair to myself, last week was pretty bad for me health-wise. We are on month 4 of a flare-up. I get the odd good day here and there but mostly it’s been lots of very tired and nauseous days.

But I am proud to say that I have pushed through best I can, and on my good moments I’ve managed to squeeze in some studio time AND I’ve also started trying to be a more organised human by prioritising my “to do” list. I’m working SO hard to be the best I can be and to really put my heart and soul into my business.

It feels rather grandiose to call it a business right now since it’s really not making me much money!!  I am getting the odd sale here and there but I still have a loooong way to go before I make a proper living out of it. The biggest problem is exposure and reach.

It’s really hard to find places where my work will be seen. And if it’s not seen then it can’t be bought! Which is why I’m working incredibly hard to build up a following online. And like I’ve said before, social medias algorithms don’t make it easy at all.

So yeah, a lot of my time is spent on Instagram and Facebook, making sure I’m keeping a presence and also I’m spending a lot of time learning about how to use social media to the best of my advantage. There’s SO much I don’t know about this stuff and I though I was social media savvy! HA!…. No.

I swear, I am honestly spending around 8-12 hours each day doing online stuff, or in my studio actually trying to create something worth selling or else I’m writing blog posts, or researching for future projects, considering my designs for business cards and logos, or trying to expand my reach online, so fostering relationships with fellow artists and business people. And in between the trying to do housework and rest when needed – and I need a lot of that when flaring.

I am not complaining though. I’m actually really enjoying it all. Though there’s lots of frustration at times because I just have a strong will to make this work. I know I have it in me to make it a success, but I do lack business skills and knowledge.

There’s something about working for yourself on things you’re passionate about that is just so energising and exciting. It doesn’t feel like work, not like it does when you graft for 9 hours a day making someone else rich!! NO THANKS to that.

Something I’ve been aware of for a long time is my huge perfectionist streak. And I know it holds me back. I find myself wanting to do things but unless I know I can do it to a really high quality, then I won’t do it. Which means, I hold myself back from trying and failing and learning and progressing!

I am okay with mistakes. Mistakes are good things learning moments. So it’s not that. It’s just that if I am saying I can do something or providing a service or charging for something, then I don’t want to do a shoddy job. I want it to be the best thing possible. But then I get so overwhelmed about how to be the best and fearful about being shit that I just avoid going for it, I talk myself out of it or procrastinate to the point of forgetting all about what I was doing in the first place.

This is something I absolutely must conquer. We all have to start somewhere. We don’t  start anywhere at the top of our game, we start as rookies, beginners and we flail about and make mistakes and we learn all the time and eventually with enough hard-work, we rise to the top.

I use motivational quotes to fire me up and get me moving. They help me power through doubt and fear and remind me of my own power and ability. Successful people aren’t lucky people, they’re just people who never stopped, never gave up. I want to be a successful person. So giving in isn’t an option for me.

I’m glad I’m writing this blog every week because I hope than in a years time I look back and see all the progress I’ve made and how clueless I was and how far my own determination and tenacity have got me. And I hope in 2-3 years time I’ll be seeing the fruits of my labour.

I am starting to look around to see how to plug my skills gap in term of business knowledge, networking, marketing and social media success and of course still building on my art education.

The problem is, all these things cost money. Money I don’t really have. Books, courses, other professionals who could help for a fee, art materials, buying web-space, business cards…. the list goes on. It’s like a big frustrating vicious circle!! Argh!

I’ll work it all out, I know I will. I just have to be a bit patient and a bit resourceful and do what I can, when I can. It’s all about positivity people! 🙂

I have a lot of solid skills in few areas and so I’m working out how I can use my strengths to build a career I want. I should probably make a list again! Or a Vision board!!! OMG I LOVE Vision boards! That’s my goal for this week, to create my own vision of what my life will be like.

But yeah, back to career….  I want it to involve providing a service that helps others or working with groups as well as creating and selling my own art work. Something artistic and creative, something I can do on my own time and own schedule and accommodates my ill days – of which there’s a lot of! I’m not afraid of hard work if I’m inspired but I have to be able to work WITH my Lupus, not against it and so I can work through the night as I often do anyway and in between the frequent bouts of nausea and extreme fatigue but I can’t work through those things because it’s often so bad that all I can do is lie in bed or sleep. UGH – I hate talking about my illness. It doesn’t define me and I don’t want it ever to define me or limit me anymore than it already does physically. But the fact is, I DO have physical limitations, some pretty serious ones and I am sick a lot and that is going to impact my ability a little bit to work consistently.

BUT IT IS POSSIBLE!!! It’s not about giving up and lying down to it, it’s about rising up to the challenge and carving out a life that I want. It’s about being determined but also compassionate with myself and recognising that sometimes I just need to rest. And that might make me slower in achieving my goals but it is in no way impossible. I will never lie down to Lupus, it’s already taken so much from me. It will not take my dreams and my ambition.

So, yeah…. I digress -I want something that makes me happy and excited in a day. I just haven’t worked out how to bring it all together- YET.

But watch this space folks!

I will leave you with some photos of what I’ve been up to this past week – a Birthday commission for my Mother and my mind map of all my ideas and aims and priorities for the next 1-5 years.

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Have a great week everyone! Set some goals and go smash them!! ❤ 20180627_042703_0001.png

Dream Big, Start Small.

But most of all, start. Now.

Happy Wednesday!

I am a day late with my blog entry. Unfortunately I’ve been dealing with more health-related issues this past week and I’ve just been too unwell to sit and write much or even do much art.

But here I am, sitting propped up in bed and making an effort to write my thoughts. How’s that for dedication? High-five to me! 😀

So what’s new? Lemmie think….

Well, in the past week I’ve felt myself slip into a bit of overwhelm. It’s probably a symptom of not feeling well and once I feel stronger I’ll get things in order and feel more positive. But I find myself feeling frustrated with working so hard every single day and not seeing any reward from it. (yet!)

I always knew going into it that I wasn’t going to immediately earn a sustainable living off my art. I fully expect it to take me at least a year to lay the groundwork, and several more to really see any benefit. And that’s okay. I have to keep the mindset that I’m doing what I love regardless of whether anyone buys it.

Being chronically ill all the time means I can’t work for an employer but I can use my time to do what I love and if I happen to forge a career from that then fabulous. I know I will, I can feel it. I can feel my own determination and drive to make my artwork pay. To build a business and career that I am passionate for.

But right now as I put in the groundwork – setting up and maintaining social media pages, writing this blog, creating a catalogue of work…. I am coming up against the dreaded problems of social media algorithms which complicate getting your work out there and seen. And also these weird “ghost accounts”, fake account or bots that follow you for reasons I don’t understand and affect your Follower count and whether your work shows up to others under the hashtags I use.

I naively thought that setting up Instagram and attracting new followers, maintaining a daily presence and getting my work seen by people who might want to buy was all I had to do. But alas, no. It is SO much more complicated than that.

Apparently your engagement level with other accounts matters, and if lots of ghost accounts follow you than can affect whether your own content will be listed in Instagram’s hashtag searches.

I won’t bore you with detail, cos even I don’t full understand it enough to explain it.

But suffice to say, it’s been bugging the life out of me.

I’ve been expanding my knowledge… or trying to about social media marketing. I’ve ordered a book (that I’ve been too ill to go collect) from the library. I am excited to read and learn of anything that will help me become slightly more business savvy.

Even during my “downtime” ( ie whilst in the bath) I’ve been listening to podcasts about social media marketing, desperately trying to learn some tips and tricks.

I have joined a couple of Blogger Facebook pages in an attempt to find other women bloggers who are carving out a career online. I think it’s going to be invaluable what I can learn from other bloggers but Oh My God!!! These women know their shit. And I feel once again completely overwhelmed with all the knowledge out there, all the do’s and don’ts and all the rules for successful blogging and the intricacies of the blogging world and how to monetise your content. It is SO much more complicated than I even knew. I literally feel like I’m a tiny minnow in a huge ocean of big beautiful sharks.

However, I already see how supportive these women are with one another and how willing they are to help and skill-share. And it’s heart-warming to see women supporting one another and becoming one big force to be reckoned with in this male dominated world. So I am going to focus on making connections with other women bloggers/instagramers and expand my reach. Networking is the key. I’d also like to network with more locally based women and find myself a supportive pod of talented business women, just for friendship and a sharing of ideas. But that is something for future reference.

This overwhelm I’m feeling about basically everything is all part of the journey, I recognise that. I think part of the huge learning curve ahead will be managing my own thought processes and keeping a decent level of self-care and not getting to mired in detail and panic about the future.

I need to remember the bigger picture. I need to remember why I am doing it all ( fun, passion etc etc)

So that’s the business and detail-y side of things. Art wise, I have lots of ideas for the future and a rough idea in my head where I want to go. But I probably should write down a rough list of things to do, a loose timeline of sorts.

Maybe if I break everything down into little weekly or even monthly ” to do” lists, it might prevent me from feeling so submerged and unable to see the wood from the trees.

Yep… lists. I am gonna make lists!!! And a rough 2 year plan.

Also… I have started on some rough sketches for Christmas card designs. Yes, I know, it’s only June. But I had it in my mind to get started from the beginning of July. Most artists will be starting to prepare Christmas themed designs around about now because it takes weeks and weeks to think and research ideas, colour palletes then preliminary sketches and experimentation with different mediums etc and then finally choosing the designs and of course sending to the printers.

By the time all of that is done it will be autumn and just in time for people starting to think about Christmas – the organised ones…. not the ones like me who actually do not even entertain the idea of Christmas until like, the 12th of December. 😀

Here’s a couple of illustrations I’ve done in the past. Some of these are just rough thumbnails of ideas I’ve had. Perhaps I could develop these a bit? As you can see, foxes seem to be my “thing”. LOL

 

These illustrations remind me…. of other news. I have decided to separate my illustration work and my abstract work by creating a new instagram account for the more illustrative stuff. I find that the two different styles seem incongruous with each other and images of more illustrative work just jars against my other body of works. I just need to think of a name for my illustrative account. I want some easy and quirky and cute, any ideas anyone?

Anyway that’s about it from me. I don’t have any new art to show you because I’ve basically been in bed or resting.

I did find an old sketchbook from 4 years ago. It had a couple of decent drawings but the rest of it was SO awful. LOL. However, it was really valuable to look back and see my progression and how my style has developed and also that I’ve improved my skills.

That old sketchbook has reminded me where I’ve come from and where I’m going and that I AM getting better in my art all the time. It has reminded me to stay focused and determined and I will see results.

Have a good week everyone!

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Chasing Rainbows

Happy Tuesday!

This past week has flown by. I have been working on a new series (yet to be named) of intuitive mixed-media abstract pieces.

The definition of Abstract art is this: Abstract art uses a visual language of shape, form, colour and line to create a composition which may exist with a degree of independence from visual references in the world.

There isn’t really an official definition of what intuitive painting or art is, but basically it’s about being led not by analytical thought or by traditional rules in art, it’s about being led by your intuition and your soul and painting what you feel using shape and colour and texture. I love this type of art because expressing my emotions through art is very important to me and part of my self-care routine.

It also means I have the freedom to do what I feel on any given day and I am free from the shackles of stodgy rules and expectations. I’ve never liked being told what to do or how to be or other people’s rules and judgements so this type of art appeals to my rebellious heart!

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I’m loving my instagram page right now which is just an explosion of joyful colour! Please do come follow me if you have instagram! (@camhanaicharts) I update daily there on what I’m working on. Right now my paintings are very magical and ethereal with cotton candy sky backgrounds and abstract patterns. I’ve really enjoyed making them.

I’ve also been decorating rocks for a little change, I have new colourful plant pots for my baby aloe vera plants and I’m going to use the rocks in them too.

What else….. hmmm…..

I have ordered a book to read to learn more about social media marketing. I think I have zero business acumen so it’s time to start learning! That’s what I love about this journey I’m on, everyday is a brand new opportunity to learn something new and to evolve as an artist, a business woman and a person! ❤

If you see any paintings you are interested in, you can contact me at Camhanaicharts@gmail.com or on my Facebook page or look out for them being listed on this blog.

Have a great week everyone!

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“Chasing Rainbows” 
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“Unicorn Dreams”

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“Unicorn Dreams” on canvas.

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“Peach Blossom” on canvas.
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“Catching Rainbows” on canvas.

Painting Feelings.

Happy Tuesday!

I am LOVING this weather, are you? Love getting all my windows open and letting the warm air drift through.

I suspect the weather has in part influenced one piece I started this week- a collage of happy flowers.

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A Work in Progress.

I have also been inspired by the paper artists on Instagram whose stuff is just amazing.

Unfortunately, I haven’t got much further with mine. It is SO time consuming, cutting and making everything from scratch! I love what I’ve done so far, but there’s SO much more to be done. Even just working out where to place things takes an age and I find myself eventually feeling a bit impatient.

I think that’s why I like doing abstracts so much, I can just get lost in ” doing” it. I can just get my hands dirty and immediately see the results and also it’s so loose and free and forgiving. Whereas collage is intricate, time-consuming, and you need an element on precision and fore-thought. It’s far less intuitive that the abstracts I produce which are much more feelings-based.

However, collage can be so satisfying and produces the cutest effects. And it’s nice to get away from paint and ink for a change. However, I do think I’m far too impatient and clumsy to ever really succeed at it. Still, it’s fun and that’s the main thing.

Variety is the spice of life so they say.

 

 

I have welcomed lots of new materials into my studio this week. It’s been like Christmas here, getting all these parcels! New inks and spray acrylics. The Golden high flow acrylics in Pink and Teal are fantastic.

It’s the first time I’ve used Golden acrylics and I am super impressed with the pigmentation of these two. They’re not cheap though – over £8 for 30ml and if you consider how much you might use on any one piece, it doesn’t last long!

Art materials are SO expensive! Fun but expensive. I’ve basically used all of the money from recent sales on replenishing my stocks. I’m not going to be a millionaire anytime soon that’s for sure! But I’ll settle for being a happy and contended artist.

I didn’t get much art done last week for various reasons, one being a little bit of avoidance for some reason. On Saturday I felt SO rubbish. No idea why, I just felt moody (artistic temperament maybe? LOL) and unsettled and unmotivated to do anything. I couldn’t shift myself out of whatever it was I was feeling so I decided to go to my studio and see if painting might help as sometimes it does.

I ended up making 2 pieces, one in particular I really like. I just painted my feelings. Painted out the funk I was in, and kept adding to it until I felt whatever that mood was, recede.

I called it ” Anoesis” which means a state of mind consisting of pure sensation of emotion without cognitive content.

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“Anoesis” 

 

 

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“Anoesis” Mixed Media on paper.

 

Anoesis is A3 sized and for sale.

Anyway that’s my news for now. This week I am focusing on a couple of pieces that have been started already but need a conclusion and just trying to grow my social media base.

You can follow me on instagram @camhanaicharts, where I post daily about all the things I’m up to. I would love to see you there.

Have a great week.

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When the page has a mind of its own!

Happy Tuesday!

In my last post I was experimenting again with pastels and inks. I added layer after layer of pastel and ink and scratched into the layers for interest. I had no idea where I was going with it, I just let it develop and kept going until I liked what I had.

What I ended up with was far more surprising – a landscape! This is not my usual style but that is where it wanted to go, so who am I to stand in its way? LOL.

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I was a bit perplexed about this piece. I wasn’t sure if I liked it. It certainly wasn’t what I’d intended but I have to say it grew on me and now I love it. It’s still textural, and the colours are so dreamy and I love how the Sun lazily melts into the horizon!

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I also loved how the field of wildflowers seemed to be standing to attention to watch the sunset’s performance. Its final act of the day just as the stars begin to arrive. And with that in mind I called the piece ” Sunset’s Aria.”

It is approx A3 size (11.7 x 16.5 inches) or 29.7cm x 42cm. So pretty big. I think it’s going to look fantastic framed.

It is for sale.

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“Sunset’s Aria”

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In other news, I bought a whole lot of new materials last week and some of them have already been delivered. I’m looking forward to playing about with new inks and acrylics.

I’m especially excited for the spray paints I bought, here’s a sneak peek!

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Have a great week, everyone!

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