Category Archives: On being human

Looking Back

I always find this time of year to be one of reflection. To look back over the past year and review what worked, what didn’t, what I want to do less of, what I want to do more of, how I stacked up to my goals and the list of questions goes on! 

Take some time to answer these questions:

  • What are 3 things you will stop doing?  Do you have commitments you are resentful of? Do you have habits that are not serving you?  Are there time wasters that are keeping you from doing what you love. 
  • What are 3 things you will start doing?  How will you stretch out of your comfort zone? What new practices will you implement? 
  • What are 3 things you will continue doing?   What is working well and you want to keep doing? 

In order to move forward it is necessary to look back. 

In order to move forward we need to analyze, question and tweak. 

If we are in business as an artist (or otherwise) we need to take a step back and look from the outside in.

We need to work on our business not in our business. The last week of the year is my planning time.  Where I look at the big picture! Where I map out the year. 

This isn’t written in stone but is a guideline. The plan gets tweaked many times along the way. 

The most important thing is to have a plan. Without a plan closer to our dreams or goals. 

Taking action on our plan is the next step. 





Play Big

This is a painting I did with cold wax and oil paint. For some reason the words “If life is a game Play Big” came up. It got me thinking about what play big means.

Scrivener - Play Big

Play Big is going to mean something different for everyone. The next step of your journey, something you are facing that is fearful, a big dream you want to take.

For me playing big means getting my art work and my music out there more.

It also means inspiring and helping other people to aspire to their dreams. That could come through teaching harp or art, decorating houses or coaching people to find their big.

When you do decide on what your big is it is amazing how stuff starts to show up and opportunities align with your “big”

So, where are you playing big right now?

If you are not playing big what is holding you back?

If you feel stuck with your creativity and want to break through the barriers book a free thirty minute Empowerment Call. You will be able to ask questions about the process about coaching and about what to expect if we work together. The goal of this call is to see if we are a good coach/client match, and whether or not you might want to work with me to break through the barriers and “Play Big”

If we decide that we are not a good fit, no harm done – we will both have learned something in the process.

Click here to request your free call.






Life is a Balancing Act


park benchI thought I would do a follow up post on my 2016 guiding work “BALANCE”

I have been thinking a lot about what it means to me and how I am going to achieve it.

I have used two tools to help me


 writing down all of my thoughts at the end of the day to discover what I enjoyed and what I didn’t enjoy/

Life Balance Wheel:

A tool I use with my coaching clients to help people visually scale areas in their life.


What I have discovered so far

I feel out of balance when

  • I work too much – and yes this means paint too!
  •  I haven’t had meaningful conversations with anyone other than my husband
  •  When I have not spent enough time making music
  • When I have enjoyed live performance in a while
  • When my house is out of order
  • When I feel rushed and pressured
  • When I don’t take time to meditate
  • When I spend too much time on the computer
  • When I don’t spend time in nature
  • When I don’g create

I have never embraced a 9.00 to 5.00 working philosophy so that is not going to happen now. I have never known the difference between a weekday and a weekend. I have been self employed for over 30 years.  I work ANYTIME.  Sometimes I work ALL THE TIME!

I for the most part have always loved my work. It does not seem like work. It is hard to stop.

For me it requires great discipline not to work!  It really is just a lifestyle for me but I know it is not healthy.

So what to do!

Five Things I am Implementing

  1. Get out into nature once a week or more. ( A walk in the neighbourhood does not count!)
  2. Balance my Chakras daily
  3. Connect with a friend for a conversation every week
  4. Schedule time to play music – by myself or with others
  5. Enjoy an evening sauna to relax and catch up on reading or journaling

What do you do to stay in balance? Is it something you struggle with or could use some help with. I am offering a complimentary thirty minute coaching call to help you find your BALANCE.

Skype, google hangout,  phone or in person. Just contact me  to set up a time.


Cheers – here is to a balanced week ahead!












Back to My Roots

1602 Scrivener- Back to My Roots SM

This is the second painting of 2016. A remnant from a class demo on landscape painting that took a few twists and turns today.

I find myself doing a lot of reflecting at this time of year and this painting takes me back to my roots.

Growing up on a farm on the prairies seemed like a simpler time. A time with less stimuli and more time to ponder. Long snowy days and days filled with sunshine.

A time when neighbours dropped by and had time for a visit.

Simpler in terms of stuff! We lived simple – a small house only 400 sq. feet with 2 bedrooms in the eaves. By today’s standards that would be crowded for 6 people. It was the way it was, we did not know any different. I have already experienced the small house movement that is becoming all the rage.

Farm house

The larger house in this photo belonged to my grandfather.  When I was around 14 we built a new house. I got my own bedroom!

We lived outside a lot.  We did not have many toys but invented toys and games. I learned to skate at the neighbours house on the outdoor rink using skates two sizes too big stuffed with tissue.

In grade one I went to the one room school a mile away and we walked to and from most days. It had to be extremely cold to get a ride.

Carlea School


I learned to play softball in grade one on a mixed team, There where only 16 of us in the school up to grade eight.

I drooled over the art of a grade four boy.

Although I can never go back could I just recreate some of that simpler living in our now complex world? I think that lines up with my guiding word for 2016 -BALANCE

Slow down, take time to ponder and reflect.


What are you pondering?

Leave a comment  – I would love to hear your thoughts.


My Guiding Word for 2016

Every year I select one word as a focus word to guide me through the year. I have decided on “BALANCE”  as my word for 2016. Balance


Balance is having the right amount — not too much or too little — of any quality, which leads to harmony or evenness.

In 2015 I found I was out of balance and spent too much time in my art business.  It is hard not to when you love what you do! My studio is like a magnet. But at the same time I felt that I did not stay fresh and I felt burnt out at times.

What does that mean for 2016?

It means I am going to reduce the hours I spend on art and art related work.

I am going to spend more time in nature. Walking, canoeing, and camping. This is where I connect with my inner self and become refreshed and renewed. Balance

In turn this leads to better work.

I am going to spend more time on music – both making it myself and listening to it live. This is another activity that feeds my soul.

I am going to spend time doing projects that have been put on hold.  Unfinished projects take lots of energy!

I am going to explore some new activities – like belly fit, zumba and Qi Gong.

I am going to meditate more.

I am going to connect with friends more regularly. Being an artist is an insular life and it is easy to spend too much time in your own thoughts!

How am I going to do this? 

I am going to rely on a schedule. I know that sounds linear for a creative person but it is the only way I will be able to replace some of my studio time an achieve my goal of balance.

What is your guiding word for 2016?

Why Choose a Guiding Word?

When I wear my other hat as a life coach I help people to get clear on their intentions and to pick ONE guiding word for the year.

A guiding word keeps our awareness sharp around that which we want to focus on. Last year my word was Systems. Through out the year I implemented some new SYSTEMS particularily in my studio. I still have plenty to do in this area! Is it every really done as we change grow and expand?

I have pondered long and hard on this years word as I had a few contenders. I have finally settled on COMPLETE. I think this encompasses two other words – focus and efficient. In order to complete I am going to have to stay focussed and by completing I am going to be more efficient.  Some of the completion revolves around the system. A system only works if it is implemented and has follow through. That is my weakness! In all my previous businesses I have been able to delegate to get all the tasks finished. Now for the most part I am a one woman act! I live by the motto ” If it is meant to be it is up to me”!

I always like to create a visual to hang in my studio as a reminder of my guiding word. I encourage you to do one too!


Just a fast painting with collaged letters in my journal.

Guiding Word -Complete LRI would love to have you join me in finding your guiding word. Please leave a comment with your Guiding word.

Now here is to COMPLETING!


Clarifying Our Intentions

Clarify your Intentions

 Clarifying our Intentions

It is that time of year again.  The time for reflection and the time to clarify our intentions for the coming year. Clarifying our intentions  simply means this: Know what it is that you want! Not always the easiest question to answer!

Setting intentions on a daily basis is very powerful but setting them for a year can work magic.

As a life coach I help people get clear on their intentions.

Let’s get started by answering some questions that will clarify our artistic intentions for 2015.

1. What do I want to create?

2. What gets in my way and stops me from creating?

3. Who am I trying to please with my creative work?

4. What is my level of commitment for 2015 going to be?

5. What am I going to have to sacrifice to get it?

6.How will I benefit by not doing the work?

7. What does a typical day with my new level of commitment look like?

8. What does a creative session look and feel like to me?

9. Am I more interested in the process or the product?

10. How will I measure my success?

If you are interested in deepening your artistic practice I have a year long course that will do just that.  It is called Make your Mark – you can find out more about it here.

If you are interested in one on one coaching, critique or laser learning please get in touch by calling me at 250-248-2775 or contact me through the contact form on the website.


15 Ways to Stop the Train!

Or at least slow it down!

If you read my previous post you will know I am talking about the train of thought! Here are some things that help me to tame my monkey mind chatter.






















  1. Slow down!  Slowing down expands time. It allows us to think clearer. Remember the familiar phrase – haste makes waste! When I am teaching music I tell my students if they want to play fast they have to practice slow! It works! When we stop rushing we take less steps! Why? Because we can think clearer and don’t have to back track so much-like going back to the bedroom to get your purse when we are going out!
  2. Breath!   Focus on your breathing as you breathe in deeply and exhale
  3. Set Intentions  Setting your intentions can colour your whole day! Do it upon rising.
  4. Go for a walk  Changing scenery by going for a walk can help clear our mind.
  5. Meditate  This can be a sitting meditation, or a moving meditation like Tai Chi or Yoga.
  6. Take a mini vacation Do something that calms you – a walk on the beach, a massage or spa treatment. Even a couple of hours can have amazing benefits.
  7. Journal I refer to this as a brain dump! Get it out of your head and onto paper.
  8. Make a task list. Whether you use a computer or a paper and pen keep a task list.
  9. Set priorities. Determine your top three priorities for the day and work on these before anything else.
  10. Stay present. By practicing staying in the moment we will curb our monkey mind.
  11. Pomodoro Technique  A technique to help us focus by using time blocking. You can read more about it here.
  12. Clear Clutter Visual clutter can affect our mind. Create a calm environment.
  13. Don’t multi task! I have spent years as a multi-tasker and I can bet lots of you have too. The fact that multi-tasking works is a myth! Single tasking is the way to go. Check out Alyson Stanfield’s blog post on this very subject.
  14. Limit your use of technology I find this can really help slow down the chatter.
  15. Listen to Music Sing along to quiet the chatter in your head. Or go make some of your own! Nothing beats playing a musical instrument to shift our focus from our daily thoughts.

I am sure you have some of your own methods, please share what works for you by leaving a comment.

Until next time –




Stop the Train!

I want to get off! Just for while! A mental health break, somewhere to collect my thoughts and put things into perspective.  Well there is no train – not where I live on Vancouver Island!  However this is not the train I am referring to.


Photo Credit – Geek Philosopher 

Metaphorically I would like to get off the train of my thoughts! They are driving me crazy! Whirling around in my head like spinning saucers, not slowing down long enough to let me listen to them. They are in a race – with each other. “Maybe she will listen if I yell louder, maybe I can keep her awake at night and she will pay attention” they say to each other. They keep running trying to get my attention. I keep running trying to stay one step ahead of them. It isn’t working!

This incessant chatter is often referred to as monkey mind. Experts estimate that our brains are bombarded with seven times as much stimuli as our grandparents experienced.

The mind produces up to 100,000 thoughts per day! Is it any wonder we feel stressed and restless! In todays world there are more distractions than ever before – the monkey mind has turned into King Kong!

I have to go – I hear the train coming!





“I Perhaps Owe Having Become a Painter to Flowers.” – Monet

The last couple of weeks I worked at a local flower shop to allow the regular designer to have a vacation.  After spending many years in the floral industry it is like riding a bike.  I was quickly transported back to days gone by.

I had time to reflect on my journey and how flowers have indeed influenced my paintings. I don’t often paint flowers as a subject however I know my art is influenced by my many years designing with flowers. I think it helped me hone my sense of colour combinations, my sense of design, and my love of texture.  Designing flowers is very spontaneous and your creation takes shape quickly.  I like spontaneity in my artwork too!  Having spent many years making three dimensional work I sometimes find the two dimensional work very flat!  I think that has influenced my building up of layers to give a lot of depth. In a flower shop you are often working on several arrangements at a time – I find I do this with my paintings also.

I love the textures and the colours of fall. There are so many old and new flowers being cultivated for commercial use, like the chocolate sunflower, and the luscious coffee break rose.

Now they are even growing marigolds for commercial use!  The fragrance of these transported me right back to my childhood and growing up on the farm in Saskatchewan. We grew the large Cracker Jack variety in our garden – probably to ward off bugs!  In the fall at the first frost warning we would pick large bouquets’ and bring them into the house to enjoy. As a child I found the fragrance strong and unpleasant – now I find myself enjoying it.  It is amazing how scent is so strongly linked to memory!

It is not a mystery why I love “Cadmium Orange” – maybe I will rename that to be “Marigold Orange! ”

Here are a few snapshots I took of the fall tones.


Now I have to go paint – I feel a fall tone landscape coming on!