Two girls heading home at the end of the day, Mile End, Montreal (section)

Stepping Out of Your Creative Comfort Zone

Expanding your skills by exploring an unfamiliar subject

In taking steps toward a goal, you will find that new steps reveal themselves to you, as you go. Sometimes they are simply next steps on the same path, other times they are a surprising new direction, a different perspective on your work, or an unexpected creative challenge. I share how to step out of your creative comfort zone, why it’s important to fill your toolbox with new skills, the importance of embracing mistakes, and how to incorporate your new skills into your unique creative style and voice.

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A pot with dried flowers

Moody Paintings of Interiors

The curiosity & excitement that comes when your work takes on new directions

I’ve been working my way through a self-directed online painting class. It’s supposed to be a landscape painting class, but since it’s been snowy and cold outside, I’ve been painting any and every scene I can find around our Montreal condo. It’s been an unexpected treat to have these paintings to remember our place by when we move to our farmhouse in Nova Scotia.

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Spiralling Upward: Finding the Motivation and Courage to Keep Going

How to keep going when doubts, fears, and wobbles take hold

Making big life changes can be very overwhelming. It can be hard to keep track of who you are and so easy to be afraid of all that you cannot see about where you are going… of all of the questions that don’t yet have answers. When you are in the thick of things, it can also feel as though you are not getting anywhere. It can feel as though you are working mightily, showing up the best you can each day, and still not moving any closer to your goals. It can be a struggle to stay motivated, remember why exactly you are trying so hard, and keep your vision for yourself and your work fresh. Take heart, you are not alone.

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A hidden montreal street with colourful houses, at night, in the snow (section)

Farewell and Thank You, Montreal

A collection of painted memories of our time in this city

It has come time to say farewell to Montreal. I will miss the couple who sit on a bench in the park gently plucking their banjos, the people who ride or walk down our street singing (it happens so often we call it ‘the singing street’), the patchwork of houses and shops, frequent coffee shop windows, the tumble of gardens and green laneways…

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A More Manageable Way to Set Goals: Quarterly Summits

Increasing your chances of sustainable success by setting goals four times a year instead of just once in January

Setting smaller goals, more often, creates momentum that carries you forward. Each quarter is like a new year. You take stock, reset, and create new horizons. A quarterly pace allows you to pivot and adjust as you go while still having enough time and focus to achieve your goals. Setting goals each quarter gives a new burst of energy and allows you to set a smaller number of goals that are both more focussed, more manageable, and more likely to be accomplished.

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Portrait of our house and barn (section)

Painted Story: We Bought a Farm

The story behind our move from city to country

This is the first in a new series of featured Painted Stories. These are painted portraits of a home, business, or place that is important to someone and the story that accompanies it. I hope you will love seeing the spaces that are important to people, learning a part of their story, and seeing it in painted form. I thought for this first post, why not start with myself?

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Winter Magic: Paintings of Montreal in the Snow

The creative discoveries that come with paying attention

Montreal is so beautiful under its blanket of snow. I have been savouring every minute of our last winter here in the Plateau. You learn so much when paying close attention to something and then making work about what you’ve seen.

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A Year Without Alcohol: An Experiment in Creative Flow

How cutting alcohol changed my creative practice

Over the past several years, I have been looking carefully at all of my resources – time, energy, focus, money, and well-being, to name a few – and have been looking at how I can optimize each of them. Since I became unblocked and began making art regularly, I have found myself discovering just how important creative flow is to my life.

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Daily Paintings: Memories of Walks

Uncovering patterns in your creative work

Many of my mornings over the past few months have been spent in the studio, painting. I’ve been going back to the basics – making work for myself – because I feel more alive, balanced, and grounded when I am creating images. I am keeping things simple: a few brushes, smaller loose-leaf pages, my favourite tubes of colour… and painting what interests me, for me. This has helped me to remember why I began painting in the first place and reconnect with the process of making.

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Avoiding Cliffs: What to do When Fears Are Holding You Back

Focussing your attention on the manageable next steps

We tend to get way ahead of ourselves—thinking many, many steps ahead or of worst-case scenarios. We attempt to protect ourselves by imagining all that can go wrong or of all the difficulties that can come our way. We stare at the biggest cliff we can find and then recoil back from it, justifying why we shouldn’t take action toward what we want if it will lead to that. So what to do?

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