5 Regrets About my Artistic Practice

Now that we have all gotten accustomed to the worldwide Pandemic and its constricting measures; I have come to reflect on some regrets about my artistic practice.  Looking back, I wish I would have tried a little more, and learned a lot more. I can’t place too much blame on my past self, because hindsight is 2020. Regardless of whatever year this still is, here are my…

5 Regrets about my artistic practice

  1. Not embracing my passion early enough

    It took the threat of the world coming to an end before I decided to leave the things behind that were making me unhappy. For many years I felt stuck in a dead end job. I always stayed cheery, but each day took a toll. I wanted someone to come and save me, but I realized after a long time that no one was ever going to come. I had to save myself.

    The passion I have always felt for creativity was the signal beacon all along. My journey led me to the signs, but I had to change my mindset to properly interpret the signs. Now that I have embraced who I really am, I am also embracing my passions and pursuing them daily.


  2. Never taking art seriously in high school

    Ok, this one is not so much my “fault” as it is one of those things a person looks back on when they reach a more mature state of mind.

    In high school I was interested in art, but never signed up for it. I thought all art classes were just a boring process to rob you of your creativity. I wanted to have less structure in my creative pursuits. All of the students I knew who took art classes seemed pretty moody and miserable, so I never felt drawn to learn in that way. I took drama class, which fed my desire to create, but looking back I would have benefited from a few weeks of studying a colour wheel!


  3. Not investing in art history knowledge.

    Similar to my studies in high school, I regret not learning more about art history while in University.  I could have taken a more varied course load that would have brought me to art galleries and exhibitions (which I frequent all the time now). Perhaps I would have grown tired of them, but I could have saved myself a lot of time if I had taken an interest back then.


  4. Not networking with more artists pre-pandemic.

    My first exhibition was in December of 2018 at an exhibition space on St. Clair in Toronto. I was so nervous to be around other artists. I thought that they all must have had degrees in Fine Arts, and that they would immediately see me as an outsider. As I gained experience in exhibiting my work, I have learned that the best way to immerse oneself in a room of like-minded people is to smile and let the warmth radiate from your soul.

    I have been able to network with the few artists I met before the lock down via Instagram; but I am looking forward to more in the future, now that I have a better idea of what I have to offer.


  5. Skipping exhibitions because they asked for entrance fees

    At one point, after returning back to work from my maternity leave, I stopped entering my work for exhibitions. I saw the entrance fees as a good enough reason to stop applying to those shows, and only applied to the RARE show that did not charge a fee.

    I was lucky to find a few good opportunities, like my 2 year run of exhibiting my work in the Legislative Assembly Building at Queen’s Park in Toronto; however my regret is that I may have missed out on life changing opportunities because of minimal cost savings and overall cheapness.

Do you have any regrets stemming from a big change in your life? I would definitely like to hear about them! Leave your comments in the section below, and thanks for stopping by.

Stephanie

6 Reasons why you feel like you aren’t reaching your goals

Photo by Polina Zimmerman on Pexels.com

Many of my blog posts are actually just letters I have written to myself. I like to believe that my words can help other aspiring artists on their own journeys. In my solitude I think “Hey Steph, why not write some of this stuff down, rather than talking to yourself and making hand gestures to no one? Might seem less weird”…

Ha ha ha a joke of course!

Ah…anyway!  I came up with this list in response to my latest inner dialogue of self-doubt. I feel like things move very slowly at times when I desire the opposite. Maybe this has happened to you as well? Here are my…

6 Reasons why you feel like you aren’t reaching your goals.

  1. You spend too much time on social media comparing yourself to others.


  2. You aren’t seeing results as fast as you want them to appear.


  3. You aren’t consistently doing things that add to your success.


  4. You are too young, and don’t realize how little time has passed in your life. You need to calm your ambitions just a tiny bit.


  5. You aren’t respecting the process.


  6. Your memory sucks! Maybe you are actually reaching every goal, but you can’t seem to be able to remember how right now. You might need some reflection time.

My sincere hope is that most of my readers fall into category #6. I know I do. Thanks for stopping by.

Stephanie

5 Reasons why your art is not reaching its best audience

As an artist, I have struggled with getting the right people to see my work. Although the fulfillment I get from creating things is the force that keeps me going; fulfillment alone does not pay the bills. In order to earn revenue from my work, I need to target my message in meaningful ways.

At times this can be difficult considering the world is now bathed in digital media; but here are 5 good reasons why your art is not reaching its best audience…

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com
  1. You Instagram hashtags are not plentiful enough (too concentrated).

    You may only use three or four hashtags for each post if you are a beginner; but did you know that you can use as many as 30 hashtags in every Instagram post? Maximize your hashtags! If you can think of more than 15, then use 15. The benefit is in getting as close to the maximum 30 hashtag limit for each post.


  2. You use too many tags in your blog posts.

    I learned the hard way that in blogging, tags work opposite to hashtags. If you have a post on your blog about your preferred paint brand and you use 30 tags for that post, you are communicating that there are 30 categories that your post fits into. When Google or other search engines rank your site, it will see 30 different topics for your post. This is not a good strategy because websites are ranked in order of how many times the same key related topics are mentioned. If you use your tags like hashtags, your content looks watered down in the eyes of the search engine’s algorithm and you may not be seen anywhere near the first search page for a long time to come.


  3. Your headlines are not great…

    Yes, it’s edgy and fun use headlines (titles) in your social media by quoting song lyrics, or a funny inside joke…HOWEVER step outside of yourself for a moment and think about this: Is a business woman from Sri Lanka and potential art buyer (who adores your art by the way!), going to find your gorgeously painted blue sky on canvas, if your headline for your post is a quote from a Fallout Boy song?

    Probably not.

    Link the content to your headline in simple words. Describe the content of the post in an attractive but concise manner, and you will get more attention for your art, as opposed to how well you know your modern music.


  4. Your photos need context!

    Some styles of artwork need to be framed or placed on a wall to give it the respect it needs. The great part is that with technology, you can digitally impose your artwork on the wall of a designer room to communicate your ideal for the setting of your work.


  5. You aren’t following enough other artists.

    Artists support other artists! I like to think of it as the first rule. Besides, support is reciprocal and you should give it before you expect to receive it.

These reasons are all based on my own experiences as an artist. Have you ever faced challenges or setbacks with gaining an audience for your work? Leave a comment in the section below, and thanks for stopping by.

Stephanie

Blue and Gold abstract painting

My latest painting for the summer of 2020 is a blue, gold, and turquoise abstract painting. This glorious scene is entitled “Solar Rays”.

The painting is 24 inches tall by 27 inches wide. This is because of an error in cutting the size of my stretcher bars. I wanted the size to be 24 x 24 inches, but mistakenly forgot to account for the 1.5 inch width of the wood itself. Thus, 24x 27 inches. Live and learn.

A blue gold and turquoise painting By Artist Stephanie Konu 2020
Solar Rays 2020 Art by Konu

This unique painting was conceptualized from a desire to show a solar ray escaping into the outer atmosphere of a star.

The light that escapes is pure energy, travelling outward into the cosmos. I used a blue background with this work, as opposed to my early work that usually featured a black negative space. The effect of using blue and turquoise in a negative space is a more welcoming one, as people are usually more drawn to comforting colours like these.

A blue gold and turquoise painting By Artist Stephanie Konu 2020
Solar Ray 2020- Art by Konu

I am enjoying the direction of my new work. I am focusing on displaying my calmer attitude towards life (since motherhood specifically 😌) in my work, and I love where it is taking me.

My ability to express myself creatively has also expanded into my writing. I challenged myself to write a blog post every day for an entire month, and I exceeded the goal. From July 8, 2020 to August 8th (my favourite day of the year) I published a post relating to my new direction of personal development topics.

I implore you to check them out! I may write a book with the content, but as of now, I am still testing the rhythm of how often to maximize my reach.

A blue gold and turquoise painting By Artist Stephanie Konu 2020
ARTIST Konu with Solar Ray

Please visit my YouTube channel if you haven’t already. On my channel you get to see me in action as I discuss topics that have resonated with me in my life. I am hoping that with the right amount of attention to my channel, that I can expand the content because I really love to speak on camera and communicate my message of hope and positivity to everyone I meet.

Thank you for stopping by and checking out my latest work.

Stephanie

5 Signs That Appear when you are Living Your Best Life

Depending on where you are in your journey, you may have started to notice signs that seem to appear to you on a daily basis. As you pursue your passions and go toward living a life that is purposeful, and what you have always wanted, you will see these signs over and over again.

Living your best life is not the easiest thing to do, as it requires you to be brave and to humble yourself in the face of who you used to be. Once you start, however, you will likely be confronted with one of these…

 

5 Signs That Appear when you are Living Your Best Life

  1. You keep running into, or finding reminders of positive influences in your life. This can happen when you keep seeing the same person’s name in your various social media posts, or you heard an interesting story about that person from a friend. You are picking up on this person’s vibration for a reason- likely because it is matching with your own.
  2. You see opportunities everywhere. Now that you are living your best life, you are confident. You believe in yourself and your abilities. Therefore, the world is becoming your oyster. You see opportunities in everything and everywhere. You are becoming a magnet of success because you have opened yourself up to it.
  3. Your attention focuses on solutions, rather than the problems that stand in your way. I had an experience where I realized I had out grown my previous corporate job in a situation like this.

    A big event was about to start that involved senior counsel, and the youngest one was tasked with setting up the TV screens, projectors, and other computer devices for their presentation. When the youngest counsel began having difficulty setting up the equipment, myself and my colleague took two different approaches to solving the connectivity problem.

    My colleague began to make jokes about the situation. She did not take his plight seriously, and even suggested that the event may need to be rescheduled because she “wasn’t really in the mood to work that day”.

    My approach was to investigate the connectivity problem, and to suggest solutions like replacing some of the equipment with other available devices, and to rewire the connections with different cables. My solutions were also ridiculed by my colleague, but in the end, I was confident that I was the more competent person between us. I was also immediately hit with a sense of disappointment, that although I was well on my way toward living my best life, my workplace was not conducive to the growth that I was projecting for myself.

  4. You keep seeing your spirit animal in nature. This does not really count if you believe your spirit animal is a Pomeranian and you also happen to have that cuddly creature as your pet. What I mean is that you continuously see your animal unexpectedly, and in places that you may not have ever noticed seeing them before you began your journey toward living your best life.

    My spirit animal is a field rabbit- the little brown ones that you see near wooded areas. Rabbits have had an odd way of darting across roads, appearing in my path while on walks, or even stopping by my garden to nibble on plants. What makes these appearances odd, is that they usually occur when I am dealing with difficult decisions, or new experiences.

  5. You see numbers repeating everywhere. Similar to seeing your spirit animal; seeing number repetition is often described as being a sign from a guardian angel that corresponds to the situation you are facing or thinking about in that moment.

    I often see 11:11, 11:22 (just now omg), 5:55 etc. I take these sightings as a sign that whatever I am doing in that moment is leading me closer to the life I have always wanted. When these numbers appear to me, it is always as a result of an unexpected glance at the clock, and never a timed action resulting from a manipulation.  Seeing repeating numbers is sign that you are living your best life now, and that things will only get better from here onward.

 

Are you living your best life? Do you have other signs that you have noticed before you arrived at this gorgeous plateau of enlightenment? Leave your comments in the section below, and thanks for stopping by.

 

Stephanie Konu

 

5 Worst Procrastination Habits

As a freelancer, I am always trying to learn new ways to stay productive. It can be difficult to push through the mindless distractions that arise everyday. These distractions are the worst when you know you need to start a project, but keep finding yourself in the kitchen eating something else…again.

Here are my 5 WORST Procrastination Habits

  1. Bringing too much work to bed.

    Sometimes we overestimate how much we can get done in a few minutes. We may try to cram too many tasks into a short block of time- leaving it impossible to completely finish any single item on your “to-do” list.

    My night time routine involves: emails, writing a blog post, checking stats and then sleep. That seems like a lot because it is. I procrastinate giving myself a good night’s sleep by overloading myself with pre-bedtime tasks. I am not doing myself too many favors, because every other area of my life suffers when I am too tired the following day.

  2. Bringing must-do tasks with me into an impossible situation.

    Similar to the last point, a form of procrastination is to over-lap important tasks that equally need your attention. This can be something like leaving the task of signing up for that new web service until you are sitting in the waiting room for your dental appointment. Except that the room is too noisy, and you aren’t able to get a good WiFi signal, so the whole mission gets aborted because you just are not up to it. The task gets put on the back burner, and your mind is more likely to become anxious about its “in progress” status.


  3. Relying too much on my memory.

    We often rely too much on our memories. There are volumes of scientific research that prove how fickle the memory of a human is; and so, if you REALLY want to remember that person’s name, or the date of your Niece’s school recital, you should write it down. Telling yourself that you will “just remember” to do something, is a surefire recipe for disaster. Why not use technology to set reminders, flag things for follow up, and create to-do lists? You will remember what is required better if you give yourself a prompt by keeping track of it in a written form.

  4. Setting goals that require resources beyond my current reach.

    Sure I would love to re design my office. Sure that $4000 work space would look great underneath all of my work. These are amazing ideas, if I have $4,000 to spend on new decor. Unfortunately, if I don’t have $4000 then that goal is going to have to be changed to suit my resource level in the here and now.

    To quote Kevin Hart: stay in your lane!

  5. Not setting important meetings for early in the day.

    I hate 4:00 pm meetings. I think that only the least functional team leaders set meetings for this time of day. Firstly, by 4:00 pm my ability to sort information is heavily in decline as my best hours for sorting is within 3-4 hours of waking up.

    Secondly, 4:00 p.m. is the hour of the day when people can be very irritable. I remember that 4:00 p.m. was always around the time when parent-teacher meetings took place when I was a child in school…and I would invariably get in some sort of trouble at those meetings.

    In my mind: very few positive things happen at 4:00 p.m.

What do you use as procrastination methods? Do you find that procrastination eventually leads to productivity? Leave a comment in the section below, and thanks so much for stopping by.

Stephanie

6 Ways to Celebrate an Artist’s Birthday

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Planning a memorable birthday event for someone you love can be a daunting task. Depending on who the loved one is, you may have limited options for what you can choose. When your loved one is an artist, you will likely need to think outside of the box to come up with a good plan.

As an artist, I am often bubbling with creative ideas for parties. I have always enjoyed hosting events at my home, and I like to think that I am skilled at being a great hostess. If you are planning a birthday for an artistic friend and you are looking for ideas, look no further because here are my…

 

6 Ways to Celebrate an Artist’s Birthday

 

  1. Axe Throwing

    I love the environment of an axe throwing hall. The smell of freshly cut wood, and the sounds of a metal axe hitting a target in the midst of conversation and laughter is an inviting prospect. Axe throwing allows for an unconventional gathering of friends and family where skill and accuracy are required to win; perfect for your artist who thrives on such challenges.

  2. Visit an aquarium, then close off the night with drinks at a Jazz club.

    If you live near Toronto, Canada, there is a fantastic aquarium located near Union Station called Ripley’s Aquarium (part of the Ripley’s Believe It Or Not brand). Aquariums are a great place for an artist to visit on special occasions because it can help to encourage creativity. Being exposed to graceful fish and undersea creatures can encourage mental connections that lead to greater thought development.

    To make the night extra memorable, close off your trip to the aquarium with a visit to a venue that plays live jazz music. The vibrant environment of a jazz club is one that cannot be missed, as jazz music is scientifically proven to encourage productivity and mood. These are two benefits that will have your Artist over the moon and looking forward to diving in to their passions when the next opportunity arises.

  3. Plan a board game night.

    Although board games often get a bad reputation; your artist will enjoy a planned tournament style birthday filled with ultra-competitive games that are easy to play. Now when I say easy, I’m talking snakes and ladders, or the card game “Speed” (my personal favourite). Any games that are low on complexity, can be extremely entertaining with the right people. With the right amount of skill, you will have your Artist happier than chips and dip!

  4. Host a small gathering at a park that culminates in a scavenger hunt.

    This one is pretty self explanatory, but you can easily add a theme, costumes, or anything else you can think of to customize this idea for your Artist’s birthday event.

  5. Rent a boat

    I have always wanted to do this: rent a boat, go fishing with 3 good friends, and record home-movie style video of the excursion while out on the water. The openness of water allows the party to feel unrestricted and a level of honesty is visited upon the group. If you like deep conversations with close friends on a retrospective occasion (like a birthday), this is definitely the way to do it.

  6. Host a private paint night

    What better way to please your Artist by organizing a private paint night complete with a painting instructor? Drinks can be served, and at the end of the night, everyone goes home with their own finished work as a keepsake. What a great way to create memories!

I hope you enjoyed my 6 ways to celebrate an artist’s birthday- do you have unique ideas for birthdays that you have tried? Leave your comments in the section below, and thanks for stopping by.

8 Mistakes That Will Set You Back by at least One Decade

In life there are many bad choices to be made. If we are lucky, we have some kind of foresight to where we could go wrong. We may have a good role model to guide us in the proper direction and to teach us better ways of piloting through difficulties. We can learn to make better decisions by learning from others.

I have had great mentors in my life, and I continue to strive to be the type of person who takes advice and guidance from people who have had experiences more advanced than my own. In these conversations, I have learned and complied for you…

 

8 Mistakes That Will Set You Back by at least a Decade

 

woman in red long sleeve shirt wearing eyeglasses using macbook air
Photo by Andrea Piacquadio on Pexels.com

  1. Not understanding the difference between true friends, and friends of convenience.

    You can waste a lot of years drinking in a garage with your buddies. You might have good times with friends of convenience, but when you look back at the time spent, did it really get you far? Chances are that you aren’t being very productive when you spend too much time with friends of convenience. True friends usually reciprocate and help you to become the person you aspire to be.

    You can still keep all of your friends! I’m not saying that you should rid yourself of these relationships, but beware of keeping connections with too many people who wouldn’t have your back in rough times.

  2. Going to jail or being charged with a serious criminal offense.

    This has never happened to me personally, but I have seen it happen many times. Generally, “good” and law-abiding people can make mistakes and end up in the justice system. Even a simple charge like drinking and driving can set you back far enough financially, that it takes you a decade to get back to where you were.

    Lawyers fees, fines, jail time, and difficulty staying employed can hinder your progress by setting you back. By the time you catch up to where you were, you might find that a lot of opportunities have expired. Try your best to stay on the straight and narrow path.

  3. Getting married too young, or too quickly.

    I am a big supporter of taking your time to get to know someone. I believe that it takes years before you can say that you have seen someone in most scenarios, and to be able to have a clear view of that person’s character. Furthermore, you may be struggling with knowing thy self- an important aspect to being able to function properly in a marriage.

    Getting married in your early 20s or your teens can be a recipe for disaster, because you barely know yourself yet- let alone the person you plan to marry. If you do not take your time with this important decision, you might end up in #4 on this list.

  4. Getting divorced.

    Unless you were savvy enough to propose a prenuptial agreement, a divorce can be messy, expensive, and life shattering. If you have children, it may take on dark corners that you never saw possible.

    Depending on how long you were married, a divorce can take a decade to heal from financially and emotionally.

  5. Starting a business that you do not fully understand.

    Starting a business is a huge decision for most people because it requires the lifeblood within you to launch and be successful at it. If you do not fully understand all of the intricacies of staring a business, you might suffer a loss of important assets in your personal life. You may face lawsuits from copyright infringement or other misadventures if you fail to fully understand your business. This can really set you back if you are not cautious to properly protect yourself by gaining knowledge.

  6. Failing to finish things like high school or programs as a young person.

    We all knew a slacker or two while growing up, who never saw the value in completing high school, (or anything for that matter). The sad part is that the lesson is learned in a hard way during adulthood when faced with limited options in employment and other opportunities due to lack of education.

    Getting things like education out of the way while young is the best assistance you can give yourself. If you skip this important step, you will just delay the inevitability of having to go back and complete what you skipped earlier.

  7. Not having full confidence in your abilities.

    If you are good at something, spend time developing it. Having confidence in your abilities is what will help to define your value from other people, and to keep you from falling behind.

  8. Not practicing forgiveness.

    Drinking poison and expecting the other person to die; is the best descriptor I can think of here. I used to be an ace at holding grudges, until I realized that the people I was holding on to so much hate for, (probably) had forgotten that I existed. So I forgave them, then forgave myself for holding on to the pain they caused me for so long.

    Practicing forgiveness is such a great cleansing activity for the mind and soul. It really allows you to be honest with yourself and clear a path toward improved mental health.

 

Can you think of mistakes from your life that have set you back several years or even a decade? Leave your comments in the section below, and thanks for stopping by.

 

Stephanie

3 People You Will Meet in a Dead End Job

Sometimes people are stuck in lives that they never imagined for themselves. When they are trapped, their dissatisfaction can come out in very negative ways. I have met many people like this and you might be intrigued by my list of…

3 People You Will Meet in a Dead End Job

Chronic Complainers

These people are miserable and consider themselves too old to learn anything. This can be really frustrating to deal with because learning new things can happen at any age. They act as though the organization owes them something for their perceived sacrifices to continue to work in a dead end job. They will point out your mistakes gleefully, but duck for cover if you ever clap back.

No-Effort Nancy

These people come to work with terrible hygiene, and an even worse attitude. They seem to waft through the workplace with an attitude that says: “Why should I bother to dress neatly or comb my hair for my co-workers? I hate them all anyway because their lives aren’t as difficult as mine is.”

You can imagine how disappointing it is to share a workspace with someone like this. They thrive on victim hood as the reason for why they don’t need to put any effort into how they present themselves. Nothing is their fault, and even though they are past their 30s, and their parents are still to blame for every problem in their life.

 

The Pushover

This person is the doormat for the organization. They have been sipping the kool-aid for long enough that the brainwashing has set in: they believe that they are “lucky” to have a job where there is no training, no real leadership, and no managers to look out for them as an employee.

Coupled with an ever changing list of duties, they are always taking on new roles without getting any extra pay- or even any recognition. They are a pushover, and being terribly undervalued by their organization for no real benefit.

 

Have you met anyone like the three people listed here? Leave your thoughts in the comment section below. Thanks for stopping by.

Stephanie