“To Do” Lists


Friends, do you write “To Do” lists?  Do you write them for the month, the week, or the day?  Or just a big list that you pick away at and never seem to get to the end of?  Do you rewrite the list every day or find joy in seeing it mostly scratched off?  Do you prioritize your lists or just go with whatever you feel like doing at the time?  Does the hard thing get done or left until you can no longer procrastinate?  Do you stick to your list regardless how you feel or do you move through your day more intuitively?  What is the most productive for you?

I am currently going through a workbook called “Eat that Frog” by Brian Tracy.  And no, I am not going to start actually eating frogs.  Eat a live frog every morning, and nothing worse will happen to you the rest of the day.” -Mark Twain.  It’s a metaphor for doing the least desirable job first and getting it over with so that you can go on and enjoy the rest of your day and feel productive by the end. 

I will be honest…I haven’t actually tried it yet.  But I have been working my way through the exercises, writing lists upon lists to help me prioritize my goals and the tasks that work directly towards achieving those goals.  I have, in the past, been a chronic list writer that has not ever felt like I’ve accomplished “enough” in a day, even working from the list, because the list is ALWAYS bigger than the time available in a day, not to mention that the list is also continually growing at least as fast as it is shrinking.  I felt like I was wasting time writing the lists, but without a list I float though the day and totally forget what I really needed to get done because I am so easily distracted.  So I need some form of a list.

This book came highly recommended, and I am hoping that I can organize myself through this process so that I am more productive towards reaching my art goals!  I mean, if I am an artist, painting is a necessary part of my life now, and not just a way of relaxing.  I can’t keep considering it as an extra curricular thing to do.  And I have to let go of the guilt I feel about leaving the “house chores” in order to fit in a few hours of painting each day.

I think my frog is the business stuff…financial tracking and setting up Quickbooks, because it isn’t easy and super intuitive to me.  And I am afraid of messing it up because it is involved in my taxes for next year.  I have perfection paralysis around it.  But this is my frog, and once I am finished this blog post, I will attack this frog and hopefully get it down.  And I will NOT feel guilty for the time it takes me to research and figure out.  And even better, when I get it set up, I will be rewarding myself with painting time!!!

How do you attack your daily to do list?  Do you eat your frog first or stare at it until you can’t ignore it anymore?  I am interested to hear what works for you!  Wish me luck!

Roses are red

Sometimes, I need a reminder to stop and smell the roses.  Life can get so busy that it is hard to remember to be mindful and truly in the moment.  I work part time in a hospital, I am a mother of 2 active boys, I am a wife, and I am an artist starting my business journey.  There are a lot of items on my “to do ” list, so many in fact, that it is often overwhelming, and I don’t know where to begin.  I feel like I have different versions of “me”, literally different hats to wear, and different personalities in each part of my life.

At the hospital, I am professional.  I am a perfectionist, paying extreme attention to detail.  And I am looking after other people’s needs above my own.  I deal with hunger, dehydration and fatigue in order to keep up with the work flow most days.  Everyone and everything else comes before my needs.  I try to act confident, as I am in a position of expertise, and I do know my job well.

At home, when I am with my family, they come first.  Even as my boys are growing, I need to feed them and wash their clothes and keep them entertained and not fighting.  I feel like I need to do things my husband would want me to do that left to myself I would likely leave.  Just me, being a people pleaser.  I feel like  I am not keeping up, not doing a good enough job.  There are always things to do, and ways of doing them better.

As an artist, it is often just about me.  What do I need or want?  I can play and create freely, using colours of my choice.  I can leave my space a mess because it is MY space.  I can discover my secrets and passions.  Until…I get into my head…will people like this?  What would they prefer?  What does this even mean?!  And then…I get stuck…I cannot let my perfectionism and people pleasing intrude on my art, or the art will not happen.  Worse…it will become another item on my ever lasting “to do” list, and that is not what art is meant to be.

So I have to keep all these aspects of me separate it seems.  I can’t be vulnerable in the hospital, or I will be taken advantage of and not trusted.  I can’t be completely professional, organized and in control at home because there are too many other opinions and attitudes to incorporate.  And I can’t be free and messy at the hospital or at home, because that is just not acceptable.  There has to be a middle ground somewhere…to somehow not feel like 3 completely different people.

So, this is my reminder to stop and smell the roses…enjoy the simple pleasures in life…paint on my fingers, the ground under my feet, the sun on my skin and wind in my hair… giggles from my boys.  Pretty stones, lipstick, and flowers.  A hug.

This is a 6×6 mini rose that I painted a few months back.  And I must admit…I kind of love it and want to paint more of them!  I was afraid to paint a rose because I want to develop a loose, more abstract and relaxed style, but to get the shape of the rose I had to pay some attention to detail.  And I find red tough to work with, because you can’t lighten it easily without making pink, and I don’t want muted pink highlights, I wanted it bright and bold!

Someone told me it reminded them of Alice in Wonderland.  I LOVE that idea!  It suits me so much!  I feel like since my head injury I have fallen through the rabbit hole, and am trying to find my way back home…knowing that I will never be the same self that I was before entering.

Have you had a rabbit hole moment?  Can you see the positive that came from it, despite the pain you may have endured in the beginning?  Tell me about it!  And take a moment today to stop, and smell the roses!


Donna is Coming to Town!

workshop collage

Friends!  I have some very exciting news!!!  I have the privilege of hosting one of the main artists I admire and have been learning from over the past few years!  Yes!  Donna Downey is coming to Hamilton, Ontario, Canada!  (Stoney Creek, if you want to be precise).

Just over 2 years ago I attended 2 workshops at Donna’s Studio in North Carolina…one with her and one with Jane Davenport.  And I am telling you with no word of a lie, it was a life changing experience for me.  With Donna’s Abstract Florals workshop, I learned how to see and translate shadow and light onto the canvas.  I learned to paint freely and intuitively, appreciating the movement and flow of the brush strokes.  I learned to paint emotion through colour.  I left feeling alive, brave and free.  I left with more confidence…both in my art and in myself.  I felt inspired to create, and to share with other people, for I may be able to inspire others.

Donna’s workshops are so much more than just art lessons.  She enables you to dive deep into your intuition and encourages you to trust and express your truest self.  She encourages you experimentation and play with colour, which evokes joy, excitement and peace.  I believe anyone can benefit from a workshop with Donna Downey.  She teaches in a way that a beginner can follow and be impressed and happy with the experience and outcome.  At the same time, she pushes the experienced artist beyond the limits of their comfort zone, uncovering a new technique or way of seeing or transferring what is seen onto their work.  Donna challenges your mind and teaches not only techniques, but ways of looking at your own work in a new light.  She encourages you to embrace your own unique style, and follow your heart’s desire with colour and brush strokes, media and subject.  To explore something intimidating, in a friendly, encouraging and non-competitive environment.  Regardless of your experience and style, there are tips that everyone can benefit from, and at different moments in your life, a new aspect of her teaching will resonate with you.

Donna is also very inspiring.  She is self-taught, and takes a lot of pride in her experience.  One of her online courses is an Artist Study, where she focuses on one famous artist from history every month, teaches and practices techniques and then interweaves them into her own style.  It is a phenomenal course!  She dives fearlessly and passionately into new techniques, styles and art media, and is enthusiastic to share her talents and techniques with the world.

Figurative and Flowers is the name of Donna Downey’s Traveling Studio Workshop.  And it sounds so very exciting!!!  Students bring their preferred supplies, either oil or acrylic paint.  Wooden cradle boards primed with gesso and red acrylic paint are provided, as well as the use of an easel.  On day 1, Donna will instruct the class in a guided lesson.  You will paint together to develop your own painting based on Donna’s painting model.  On day 2, you begin a fresh canvas with your very own inspiration!  Donna will model techniques while you paint your own figurative composition of your choosing!  She will be there for hands-on guidance and encouragement each of the two full days of the workshop.  This course just screams excitement for me…the human figure AND flowers!  Two very expressive subjects!  And you get guidance for your very own original painting inspired by an image of your choice by Donna!

Interested in more details?  Click here.

I wish I could be a student in this course.  I would LOVE Donna’s feedback on my painting style, and to experiment with oils under her direction.  However, I have the honour of hosting the event, and I am sure I will be busy helping and making sure everyone has what they need to be able to create freely.

It amazes me how easily this came together.  No, it didn’t happen over night, and yes it took up a lot of my attention and time, but it was totally worth it.  I learned a lot.  It is interesting to me how when you open yourself up to something, the opportunities needed to make it happen just appear.  My original venue, Steel City Studio, couldn’t accommodate the large class size.  But I joined a group online of Hamilton Makers as per their recommendation.  That’s how I found the venue for this amazing workshop.  Shabby Sunflower is a new storefront and workshop space opening up in Stoney Creek in September, 2018.  They put out a post looking for people interested in teaching workshops in their beautiful space.  So I reached out and we worked out the details.  It really was that easy.  I am so excited to see the studio in person next month!  The renovation images look amazing!

I am still working out some of the details, so if you have any questions, please, contact me by email (lizzieloumixedmedia@yahoo.com) and I will happily answer you or find the answer for you.

Please share this blog with your friends and family.  You never know who could use this amazing workshop and some face time with Donna Downey, as well as like-minded artists.  Thank you!



Finding Inspiration



Inspiration flowers

Sometimes I don’t know what to paint.  I either have too many ideas and I can’t choose, or I have none at all.  Sometimes I have paintings on the go that I need to work on, but want more time to devote to them than I have to work at the moment.  Sometimes I am intimidated by what I have done so far, and fear messing it up, even though I know it is not complete.  Sometimes, I have blank canvas anxiety…but this is less often than the other reasons that I have mentioned.

So when I want to create and don’t know where to start, I look for inspiration in my surroundings.  Every day little things.  But this can also become overwhelming, because I could really paint anything at all.  How do I choose?  The flowers in my garden, photos of my kids or landscapes from trips we have taken.  Simple household still lives like a lemon or an apple, a tea cup or a vase.  Or any one of the many inspirational pictures I have saved on Pinterest.

So sometimes, when I’m shopping, I buy myself some flowers.  This makes me happy, brightens the house, and gives me inspiration to paint.  I can paint the entire bouquet, or each flower individually.  It inspires me with varying shapes and colours.  This bouquet, especially, I LOVE the colours!  And I have not successfully painted a rose or a lily as of yet, so it is a new challenge.  Even this simple attempt to focus my inspiration has so much potential and so many directions I can go.  But it helps me to focus.  And it makes me happy.

I LOVE to paint whimsical portraits, but they take a lot of time and focus and effort, and are slow to get the same gratification as painting flowers.  And I am still experimenting with colours, but find portraits a little more limiting to the palette.  Abstract florals on the other hand, allow instant colour enjoyment, and a playful child-like experience.  They are happy making.  And they look good in a loose style.  I can let go of perfectionism with florals, and just splash some paint around for a while.  Layering and playing with light.

Where do you find your inspiration?  How do you decide what to paint?  Do you buy yourself muses?  Or use what is around you?  Or do you have images in your head and stories that pour onto the canvas or page?  Tell me about your process.