Tuesday, 25 September 2012

Breathing Space: Goldstream Park on Vancouver Island

These are some snap shots from a family hike we took in August at GoldStream Park located  just outside of Victoria, Vancouver Island, BC. 

Loving the lushness of this forest!

Ruthie leading the way.

Looking up at the trees - thanks for the reminder James! The day seems to always get better when you look up and enjoy the beauty of the trees!

Down the stairs to a surprise below!

A beautiful pool and waterfall awaited us. I went in the pool in the back and swam to the waterfall. I could not belive how wonderfully warm the water was!

Ruthie wading around the dam.

Enjoying the waterfall.

Ruthie on the otherside of the little lake, enjoying nature.

The water was so clear!

Back up the stairs. Good exersice!

Nothing like walking down a forest path.

Until next time Goldenstream. Bless, bless!

Tuesday, 18 September 2012

My secret weekly system that has helped make my dream come true!

This  blog is based on a request from Kim, a beautiful young woman I recently met at her book club. At the book club meeting, I spoke about some things I’ve done and steps I’ve taken to make my creative dreams reality. (Thank you so much for having me!)

Chances are you weren’t there, so I thought I’d briefly share with you what we covered at our talk and also Kim’s question of my weekly working schedule since we ran out of time at the end and didn’t fully get to that.

The first thing we talked about was getting clear on your goal or dream and writing it down. Then afterwards, writing down a single action you can take in the direction of your dream/goals. Use the litmus test of being able to do this one step/action in a minute or less.

For example. If your goal is to become a painter and have an exhibit, a small step could be to lay out your brushes, tools and paints in your painting spot. This would take under a minute.

It seems trivial to do such a small thing towards a big goal, however the logic is two fold. First  is that if the step is small enough it’ll by pass the amygdulah in your brain – the center of flight or fight and carry on to your cerebral cortex – the creative thinking brain. Hence, if you keep your steps small, you’ll be able to move forward without blocks.

The second reason is that when you take just a small step, under a minute, such as the example above, your subconscious starts working on it even when you are not physically doing anything. You may start day dreaming about what you are going to paint or what colours you are going to use. You are getting excited and putting energy towards your dream/goals, so this is a great things.

Thirdly, there is the law of attraction where if you are in an energetic mind set of, say, “being a painter”.. you’re thinking about your project, your painting place, your brushes, what you might paint, you will automatically attract things in these areas. Perhaps someone will give you an old paint set or invite you to share a studio space. Who knows. The law of attraction can work in wondrous ways that in the past you may have considered coincidence, and now you can take more personal power and realize you had a piece in creating this.

We also covered SMIGLS which I have discussed previously in this blog: http://debchaney.blogspot.ca/2007/12/smigs.html  (Pls note I added the L later on and it stands for Learn, as in what did I learn today?)

And lastly Kim’s question about some tricks I use during the week to continue to grow and evolve and support my dream despite life happening, challenges being thrown in the mix, blocks, excuses and everything else that gets in our way to making those big dreams come true that may never be urgent.

My - up until now - Secret Weekly Schedule to Support my Creative Dream

Mondays  are my money management day. This doesn't mean I manage my money all day, no. It simply means that every Monday I have the intention to take care of myself financially in some way. It could mean paying my bills. It could be calling the bank about a charge I did not recognize. It could be writing a grant proposal to (hopefully) achieve some funding in the future. I think you get the idea.

The thing is, it could just be that I spend five minute on this focus and then that is a success for me. I created this system when I was single parenting full time, working part time at a day job and ramping up my business as a professional artist as it appears now on my website. Point being, it’s just a small thing you do in the area of focus that in the long term is a small step towards your bigger goal and dream.

Tuesday is “toot my horn” marketing day. I got this name from that book “how to toot your horn without blowing it” which was about self promotion. So on Tuesday I do, at least, one thing to promote myself as a contemporary abstract artist and workshop facilitator. It could be writing a blog and then posting this on linked in and Facebook and twitter. It could be putting up a postcard with regards to my upcoming art show.  Anything that puts me and my business out in the world qualifies. Again, it can be really small and simply, such as posting an image of a recent painting I have for sale on social media. The point is that I’m putting myself out there in the name of the dream.

Wednesday is my web day. This day I put aside for all things web related. This could be updating my cafepress store ( long overdue, I need to do this!!!), updating my website, writing my newsletter content, working on an in artist interview with another artist.  Basically it's the one day a week whereby if I[‘m on my computer all day, it’s totally OK.

Thursday is self care.  On Thursday I make a conscious effort to close my computer, leave the phone and unplug.  My favorite way to spend a Thursday is with a book by the ocean, a river or in a park. Maybe I’ll bring my journal along. Maybe I’ll stay in bed until 2 pm.  The focus is doing as little as possible and being and just resting and enjoying life. It could also be a day for an artist date. Or if you follow my blog you know that often once a month I post some images from a hike or outdoor experience I call breathing space. This really sums up Thursday for me – it’s a day to stop and breathe.

Fridays are follow up days. I keep a list in my contacts of people, companies, jobs, shows I’m applying to, etc. So, again its really simply. I go through the list and make emails or phone calls as needed. For example, someone called me earlier during the week about the September workshop running at the end of this month. Friday would be the day I would habitually get back to them if I had not already.

Saturday I always file my paperwork from the week and aim at doing a general tidy up/organize… If I was more diligent I could say that Saturday are cleaning days but I cant remember the last time I kept to that schedule.

When I created this system, ideally Sundays  were for planning the week and also going back to my vision boards, goals and seeing where I am and where I want to be. Again, I’ve been slacking on this one lately so I must say it was cool to meet with the book club because I pulled out my life vision goal book and dusted it off for the talk as I had not reviewed it for a while!!!

I hope  this helps you take action in small steps and with kindness and compassion with yourself. As always, it’s the process and journey that is the true gift, you’ll get there if you do the work, but let’s get there mindfully and make it fun along the way, then it’s a real success all the way around!


Tuesday, 11 September 2012

Artist Interview: Janet Sadel

Janet Sadel

This month, I'd like to introduce ARC artist in residence Janet Sadel, Photographer and Interdisciplinary Artist originally from Toronto and now living here in Vancouver. Janet will be opening her studio this upcoming November 2012 for the eastside culture crawl open studios event at the ARC here at 1701 Powell Street, East Vancouver @ Commercial Drive November 16, 17, & 18th, 2012.

Janet and I met when she became a neighbour (2011) living in the ARC (Artist Resource Centre). She’s been involved in many of the group events and exhibits. Over the year, we’ve bonded and become good friends. She is a fairly new arrival to the Vancouver art scene, having lived and worked as an artist in Toronto for many years.

Janet, please tell us tell us about your work.

I’m a Fine Art Photographer. My digital and analog images are of landscapes, scenic views, architectural, botanical, still life and sometimes abstracts. I’ve traveled in France, Mexico, New York City and all over Canada and the U.S.A. – so lots of original and unusual views of interesting places.

My larger prints are always on archival, fine quality papers. I do sell a variety of smaller prints and photo greeting cards as well. I will also shoot commissioned works – for example: Your lovely garden, in it’s best season; A portrait of your home or vacation property.

Currently, I’m working on a few photo series themes: 

1) “Doorways of Commercial Drive”  

2)“Rain Where” – abstracts, showing views of Vancouver and some other places through the filter of a rain-soaked windshield. 

3) Rainforests and Sea Views from BC and Washington State.

Would you share with us some thoughts about your creative process?

I’m a fairly spontaneous and impulsive photographer. I love traveling to and exploring new places to create images that offer a memorable and transportive moment for viewers.

It’s uncanny how I’ll often go in search of unique locations and find that invariably “The shots find me”!

So, the lesson I’ve learned is about how to be fully “open” to all my intuitive senses when I’m shooting in the field.

Can you tell us, how did your passion for this art form began?

I’ve always been a Visual Artist, having worked in every media (from sculpture to video).
My passion for photography came early – my engineer father was a gifted self-taught photographer, who encouraged me in my artistic practice.

For many years I was an Arts Educator (specializing in photography) and through the years of teaching, I always maintained my profile as an exhibiting artist and photographer.
I still teach photography and/or visual art to small classes, in my East Van. studio and in
other education venues.

How do you make time for your art  when it's never urgent nor a priority to take time for your creativity? Where does the dispipline come from to practice. Do you have a ritual? How do you get motivated?

Because I’m a photographer…. “my artistic vision is always with me.” Meaning that, I never “turn it off.” As long as my eyes are open – I’m seeing potential shots. It’s both a blessing and a huge distraction. I could be walking to a dentist appointment, spot a great local garden and loose myself to the moment with any small camera that fits into my bag… then have to make a lame excuse to the dental receptionist about loosing my house keys and having to find them…

I could not live any other way. I’m a confirmed and committed daydreamer! Watching fabulous clouds drift above me is my idea of tuning into all my inner senses and creative energies.

My secret to happiness – is to live fully in the moment and always be prepared to give yourself up to visual beauty… wherever and whenever you find it.

What's your favorite all time favorite art piece?

There is a painting by Rosseau (in the Museum of Modern Art in NYC) – “The Sleeping Gypsy”… I played hookey from high school many Fridays and went straight to  MOMA for the day, just to be able to sit and look for an hour at that image, mesmerized… then look at all the art (Henri Matisse was a favorite) and especially MOMA’S fabulous photo collection. I’d wrap up the day by viewing one of their vintage films from the cinema archives too. What better Fine Art education could I have had?

What are you working on currently?

I’m thinking about showing some of my photos as ART INSTALLATION pieces. That will involve some sculptural presentation that incorporates my photos. Can’t explain why… but the word “miniatures” keeps tempting me. We’ll see where this leads….  My ideas are still “percolating”.

For you, what is the best thing about being and artist?

It’s all about the freedom to think boldly and creatively, to get completely “obsessed” with an original idea and “run with it”.

It’s also about the community of other artists that you affiliate with.

The feeling of isolation that many associate with being an artist, is something very foreign to me. I’m a social person and I often work in creative collaboration with other artists.

For you, What 's the most challenging thing about being an artist?

Of course, one is always challenged to balance creative life and regular every-day existence.
Basic survival issues put the “wolf” squarely at the door.

There is no easy path to becoming an artist.

It’s a life-style choice and a hard one. It takes a special kind of commitment…

How would you define success  for yourself as an artist? What are some successes you have enjoyed thus far on your journey, and what has been a key factor in you achieving your success?

Success is simply a matter of waking up each morning, knowing that I’m able to stay on my path to show and share my art with others. The joy is in reflecting on all the good moments that have accumulated to confirm my commitment – there were many, but most of all, I can say that the many artistic talents I have encouraged were the best reward!

Deb, this idea of success is purely relative to one’s inner nature… To be honest, being adaptable to situations/opportunities and to see “outside of the box” have been features of my “success”.

What 3 pieces of advice would you give to other artists ?

For Photographers especially:

1)       Concentrate on COMPOSITION, CONTRAST and COMMUNICATION in every shot.

2)      Allow yourself to PLAY  - in any way you wish to define it. It’s important to preserve your sense of play and connect with the child in you.

3)      Never, ever let NEGATIVE CRITICISM affect you. Of course,CONSTRUCTIVE CRITICISM is useful and you can always take it or leave it. DO STAY TRUE TO YOUR CREATIVE PATH.

I am, as you know, a big believer in self care - especially for artists! What do you do to nourish yourself and soul… to re-charge your batteries so to speak?

Probably preserve my right to daydream… and look at the world with wonder.

A little yoga in the morning keeps me focused.  Hiking and walking into great landscapes
are always restorative.

I read and write quite a bit too. Certainly, looking at the works of other artists fills me with inspiration.

What recent or upcoming shows/and or gallery representation can we look out for or go and see of your work?

Please take a moment to share with us your experience living in a work/live studio.

Being privileged to live in the ARC (work/live studio) has been the best choice I ever could have made when moving from Toronto in 2011 to Vancouver. It immediately immersed me into an artistic environment – where sharing and collaboration are an everyday experience. 

The friendships and social times are always a great crucible for more learning, planning or just great networking. 

How amazing is that!!?

What can we look forward to this upcoming November at the Culture Crawl. Please share your studio number and any special demos/events you'll be offering.


I will be showing photographic art works, photo-based artworks and perhaps some installation art.

There will be demonstrations and some hands-on activities in doing Hand Tinting of Black and White Photos.
Be sure to sign my guest list and also sign up for my WINTER WORKSHOP SERIES.

YOU CAN REACH Janet AT:  sadelj@gmail.com

Janet, I just loved your answers! Thankyou so much for sharing this with us here! Deb xoxoox

Tuesday, 4 September 2012

Corporate Painting Party

This blog is for the brilliant, fun and enthusiastic employees at NewCorp in Burnaby, BC where I had the honor to join them for a staff painting party and facilitate some acrylic painting! My intention was for them to have fun and get a bit messy. What can I say I'm a fan of  splattering paint around! Mission was definitly accomplished!

I figured they could 'pull' any photos off of themselves that they liked and that it would be a great memory to come back to. I mean, have you ever heard of a corporation letting their employees take time off, buying them a bunch of canvases and cool acrylic paint colours, and letting them get creative for a few hours with pizza and tunes for a few hours? Man, this company seems very progressive. thanks so much for having me - special thanks for Traci for organizing.

Starting out with clean white canvases, things changed pretty quickly.

Looking down on the beginnings of a few masterpieces!

The group started off by each choosing one colour and adding some white (tinting) and some black (sahding) to their colour to create different hues, do some mixing, and begin to get into their painting groove.

All different paintings began to emerge quite quickly!

I was surprised by how much many of the men got super into the painting! It was awesome to witness. :-)
Keep noticing that little landscape painting!

Watch for this landscape painting in further pictures. I swear thsi guy must have watched a ton of Bob Ross Videos! He had finished a beautiful landscape piece by the end of our session!

Keep noticing the little landscape painting in the corner.

Happy colours painting!

What great memories. Beautiful people in their creative groove!

Our fabulous man in black, Darren!

Mr. "School of hard knocks" dripping his painting over the garbage can!!!

Every one worked on 1-2 little 10 x 10" canvases.

Scroll down to see these flowers evolve later. The Artist did a beautiful job!

Garbage bags made excellent painting aprons!

My goal is achieved, things are getting messy now!!!

Couldn't resist taking a photo of this gentleman painting at his desk next to his keyboard and computer!

First set of paintings were put under the table to dry as they started their second canvas.

A Jackson Pollock drip painting emerged!

This was my favourite part of the afternoon.. the group began working on a joint/group painting! Scroll down and see the progression of the painting!

The group painting kept evolving! It was the star of the painting show. So much fun watching everyone get so involved!

Thank you so much for having me out for the afternoon NewCorp Burnaby!!!