Back in April, my fiancee and I went to the theater to see Cinderella. I loved its prettiness, its otherworldly optimism, the Kinkadesque guilty pleasure of it. I hadn’t even opened my shop yet, let alone made a single sale, but I was so inspired by the film that I decided I would make 1000 Etsy sales, and so on the way home I bought a bottle of ice cider that I would use to celebrate upon reaching the goal. I decorated it, placed it near my workspace, and looked at it for eight months.
I reached 1000 sales at the very tip of November 30th, just after midnight. I shared the cider and some 85% dark chocolate with my fiancee, who has been a tremendous help, though it was way too sweet for his palate. More for me!
Bet you can guess what movie I paired it with.
November 7th was my two-year Quit Smoking Anniversary. After smoking for half my life, I haven’t even touched a cigarette since 2013! I don’t miss them at all. I’m so over the constant yucky throat, the dampered smell and taste, the nagging cravings and the expense. To celebrate my quittiversary, my fiancee surpised me with some Prismacolor Scholar colored pencils. They’re nice and rich and smooth. I got them just in time to color my new Christmas Mandalas coloring book cover and thumbnails.
I decided to make a duct-tape insert for an old wire mesh box I had sitting around, so now I have a pencil case. It even has a divider to separate the new Prismacolors from the others. These are all the colored pencils I own. A lot can be done with a only a set or two of pencils! A few of my favourites have been whittled down to nubs, so my set was definitely due for replenishing.
Does anyone else get tree cravings? It must be a form of going stir-crazy, city-crazy, something like that. I lay awake from time to time wishing for trees, not even entirely sure what I want to do with them. Walk among them, climb them, smell them, hug them, build a house out of them in them, cremate them under marshmallows. This craving can get so strong that it physically feels like a thirst, and I wonder how common it is. I should probably read more Whitman.
Fortunately, after a year or two of strong periodic craving, I got to spend the last week before Halloween in a Tobermoy cabin with family, working on my fire-building skills, soaking in the hot tub, harnessing the power of layering, sipping cider and most importantly, hiking. We explored the peninsula between Lake Huron and the Georgian Bay in several multi-hour hikes. Between the changing seasons and the crystal clear water, the colors were just breathtaking.
And the smells of composting leaves! I’d never been hiking before and it was nice to break in my new boots, and breathe and breathe, with no car exhaust stink, no emergency sirens, no trains, no noisy student neighbor parties. There’s nothing like the beauty of silence.
We had a calm day that left the lake like glass, and a windy day that howled and whipped up the night. Sadly, we couldn’t stargaze because it was the week of the full moon, which was like a massive flashlight in the sky whenever the clouds cleared away. Next time!
I also got to test my photographer’s instincts, and in the end took over 900 pictures of rocks and trees and water. I’ll spare you most of them, but here are a few of my favorites.
I have concluded that my instincts are OK but could use some honing.
Nature is the wellspring of artistic inspiration that they say it is, and I’ve had a better fill of fall than ever. I’ll be designing more line art in anticipation of winter all the way up until Christmas time.
The day of the Fest was cold, wet and blustery (we’re talking four-sweaters, touque-and-mittens blustery) and the picnic-style coloring corner I set up with pillows, free coloring pages, markers and crayons didn’t get much use, but we stuck it out and had a pretty good time anyway. My hemp necklaces got all soggy, rainwater wormed its way into the pinback buttons and I couldn’t really show off my coloring books because the rain would wreck them, but I and my selling partners still managed to make a decent number of sales. I gave out nearly all of my free buttons (with business card attached, wink wink), and sold a handful of coloring books.
Unsurprisingly, we were in good company. We made some new friends, danced and chatted and enjoyed comradery with kind strangers. Spirits were high (pun!) despite the rain and wet. Two bands, Border Patrol and Sound System, provided great music while momentary mists of smoke wafted up from circles of sitting stoners. Due to our table’s close proximity to the hot-box tent I came down with some spacy giggles, which were soothed by some delicious pulled pork from the Snackbar B Q tent.
When it came time to march, I adopted my favourite sign in the pile: a big charicature of PM Stephen Harper hitting a bong. It was a true work of art. I used another sign reading “I want to be leaf” (veteran X-phile here) for strength against the wind and tried to take good care of it. Alas, by the end of the marijuana march both signs were in tatters from the weather and had to be thrown away with the rest. I want to reiterate that I did not draw the charicature myself! I don’t know who the artist is, but initials on the sign read “LW.”
Many thanks to friends and family for your support and assistance, the transportation, setup, cleanup and company. And more thanks to everyone at Endless Heights and the Rockhead Comedy Quarry for organizing. Looking forward to next year — and hopefully some kinder weather.
For those who attended the Marijuana March and for those who didn’t, I’ve provided the event coloring poster I made, as well as a coloring page of the mandala by itself, for FREE in the shop: here you go!
Wow, this is exciting! My own website, my own shop, my own blog. My own space to serve as a ‘ground zero’ as I reach my artsy fingers out across the web distributing line art and mandalas. It’ll take a lot of work to get this place fully up and running and I look forward to the experience. I’ll make sure not to let the website development cut into my drawing and designing time too much, though.
I should tell the story of how I started making coloring pages. A few different elements coalesced. First, in February or so, I saw Johanna Basford’s “Enchanted Forest” coloring book while browsing Amazon and had to have it the moment I laid eyes on it. I bought a few mandala books too. Soon after the coloring books arrived in the mail, I started swimming laps nightly at the public pool down the road, and was so blissfully tired when I got home, all I could do was throw on some music and color for an hour or two while I recovered.
I started fantasizing about making my own coloring pages, since I have a creative streak and have been drawing from the time I could hold a pencil — though I’d almost stopped drawing entirely the last few years. Boo! That needed to change. Browsing online, I happened to discover the visionary art of artists like Alex Grey, Adam Scott Miller, Amanda Sage, Android Jones and Michael Divine. My eyes were starving. I couldn’t get enough of this wondrous, intense, profound, brightly colorful style. I also started meditating regularly. Just 20 minutes per day, an hour before bedtime, helped me feel happier, more focused and more relaxed. (I really should get back into the habit!)
I wanted to make some original, creative coloring pages, but I didn’t know how I’d sell my work. Then I discovered Etsy’s option to buy and sell instant downloads. I knew immediately that this was what I had to do with my urge to make some art. And so, in April, I was inspired to buckle down and really get to work. I brainstormed about a thousand potential drawings. I sat down and drew my first coloring book, Hippie Kitsch, over the course of a couple weeks.
During this time I also learned to digitally design mandalas, which I absolutely love doing. The symmetry is simultaneously comforting and invigorating; when it comes to math, I’ve always had a knack for geometry. I love playing with my tools and discovering what shapes come out. It’s a great problem-solving exercise, and the creation process is as meditative as the coloring process.
And now it’s time for me to start listing pages in my new shop! I’ll write again soon. Thanks for visiting. :)