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Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Another year review, because it's a good time to do it!

I had one of the best views in Sydney harbour of the fireworks last night, and they were absolutely amazing. I love that feeling of hearing almost every person in the harbour counting down and cheering the new year in!
This morning I'm taking down my 08 calendar and putting up my 09. I have been using my own calendars for the last few years, because after I've used them I keep them as a bit of a keepsake of what I did and where I was. Looking back through it is always interesting. As is looking forward to the blank pages of the new year. I know a lot of people have said it's amazing I've managed to get things done at all this year, and it's never felt so. It was always just survival, you gotta do what you gotta do, right? And working kept my mind off things too. But looking at my calendar with all these entries of faires and events and artworks painted and work done in amongst all those dr's appointments and hospital visits (sometimes 2-3 a week, or even every day!), it really just hit me how much I have done.

Some of my acheivements past and goals for the new year and onwards-

Artworks Painted
Barnubus and the Prince, Clockwork Heart, Hold onto Hope, In Love, Goliath, White Wych, Catch Me, Silver Sisters, Caelia, Gloriana, Mab, Titania, Light the Darkness, Moonshine, Sunset, Rainbow Wings, Fairy Wishing Well, Coloured Treasures, Winged Things, Cherubina, Crystal magic, Into the Woods, Golden Gift, Follow Me, Seraphina, Nephelina, Angelina, Water of Life, Midnight Prince, Sleepy Spring, Child of the Moon, Blossoming Love, Gatekeeper, Along the Forest Path.

That's 34 total. I want to beat that next year!

More acheivments
- Was published in my first professional oracle deck, The Oracle of the Dragonfae, and signed for two more just with my artwork.
- Created artworks for labels for a worldwide exporting beer company, working with a major design house!
- Pitched a number of new ideas to licensing companies and had them made (Wishing well desktop fountain! And another TOP SECRET in development!)
- Dyed my hair blonde, pink, streaked, and went from waiste length hair I thought I'd never cut to pixie cut then bald (and back to pixie cut! It's growing fast and thick now, you'll see it in my video soon!)
- Sold almost a dozen originals, that weren't even listed for sale.
- And of course, had major surgery, IVF, Chemotherapy, and radiation therapy, and come out the other side not so much worse for wear!
- There were some more, but I went over a lot of this in my month by month review, no point repeating at the moment :)

- Incorporate my business into a proper company
- Expand my production to add even more artists
- Hire more staff to do basic tasks for me. My helper I had last year has moved away, so I'm going to need to get recruiting again very soon!
- Paint much much more. I need to paint a lot of new work for my next deck with Lucy C. and have so many ideas of my own to do as well!
- After that deck is done, I want to begin working on some concepts for a book of my art.
- I want to re-write my fantasy novel... yeah I've got one, yeah it's really bad! But I still love the story, and it's going to be my pet project this year! I also want to illustrate it.
- Sketch more, get back into drawing just for the love and wild creation of it.
- Lose the weight I put on during treatment, exercise more and have fun doing it!
- I want my business's turnover to grow by about 30% (and actually make more profit as well!).
- Hrm, I have more but have to keep them quite for now as well...

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

So long 08, hello new year!

Isn't it funny how some arbitrary date can have such meaning? I'm greatly looking forward to 2009. It's going to be so much better than 08.

These days I'm feeling almost completely recovered from my cancer treatments. There are still a few things hanging around, some just from having an out of shape, beat up body, some more directly related to the treatment, some purely emotional. But overall, feeling really good these days.

I didn't mention before, but not long ago a close family friend past away unexpectedly, and too early. He was one of the biggest influences in steering me down this path of fantasy. He was a wonderful man and teacher with an amazing sense of humour and imagination. He is missed.

I'm working flat out for my big re-launch on the 5th, I hope I make the 5th! There's so much to do! There are so many great new things on their way. I'm talking with a couple of licensing companies about some very funky new products, not to mention my Faery Oracle deck going to the printers in a fortnight! I can't wait to see it all printed and boxed up. I might post a few polls on my Visitors Centre to help me make some decisions about the direction I'm taking on a few things...

So much to do at the moment, but I'm really excited about my re-launch, and can't wait to show everyone what I'm doing!

Monday, December 22, 2008

Faery Oracle artwork all done!

Yes! I'm finished! I just finished and sent off my last artwork to the publisher for the faery oracle card deck! I feel like I've painted a million fairies recently... I'm keen to work on something different, and I'm sure I will be as next I will be diving into artwork for Lucy Cavendish's next card deck which will cover a range of interesting themes and creatures, fun! More on that later...

But for now, I'm kicking back for a week of Christmas relaxation and indulgence! It feels good to be all finished that project, and a few other bits and pieces all done and dusted, ready to start again fresh and with a big splash next year!

Yes, I'm still keeping most of the new artwork I've done hidden away... I'll be releasing them proper slowly over the new year, particularly around the time the deck is published!

Thanks to all of you who read my blogs, and more thanks to those who comment! I hope you all have a blissful christmas time, and a rockin new year!

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Forest WIP

I just wanted to share a photo of why I often feel a bit like a mad scientist while I'm painting... Which also has a little snippet of the new painting I'm working on in the corner there. I'm really enjoying painting this mossy forest scene!

Bits of things I'm using (I really should tidy up more while I'm painting, I tend to just let things pile up!)-

Top left corner- a role of baking paper, used as tracing paper when laying out artworks, playing with sketches etc.
Top middle- my acrylics colour chart, so I can pick my colours easier.
Middle- Masking tape for taping down the edges of my painting to the board. Water for washing brushes and everything.
Just under the handle of my water pot is a rubber cememt pick up, for removing masking fluid.
Crumpled tissues... I go through a lot of tissues while painting!
Sea sponge, pallet and brushes. I've become really fond of using chinese mop brushes for a lot of my painting, and mid range taklon for skin and details.
To the right- my watercolour pallet full of pans and tubes, a set of colour pencils, and just a tiny bit of my bag of acrylic tubes right on the far right edge!

My 2008

Time of the year to do a bit of a year review. I can remember the catch phrase back at this time last year- "2008 is going to be great!"
Well, all things considered, 2008 kind sucked...

A lot of wonderful thing did happen this year, and all in all I have moved forward in a lot of ways. But then again I also got cancer, and there's nothing like it to eat up a whole year like getting cancer, lol! To think I was diagnosed in Feb, and just had my last treatment check up a fortnight ago, it was a year of travelling to hospital, being at hospital, or recovering from being at hospital.

A run down of my 2008...

January I was getting into planning my wedding. Had all gone as planned, I would be married now! We were thinking a late spring/early summer date at that time. I bought my dress and all. Of course, once I lost my hair I've postponed the event until I feel pretty again :S

February of course is when it all began. There were the tests and the scary waiting, then after that it was all go-go-go.

March I had my surgery, and became blonde again for the first time since I was 5! I was also working on the Wychwood brewery beer labels at the time. Since then they have released my Goliath artwork on their products, but they've used someone elses version of the White Wych. Suxors.

April my hair went to pink! In between surgery and chemo, I did a round of IVF. I didn't talk about it much, kinda private, but it was a safeguard against the possibility of chemo killing off my fertility. I'm the proud mummy of 15 frozen baby pops. I've considered naming them (*puts on best hillbilly voice* Jimbob, Jennifer, Jay, Johnny, Julie, Jamie.... hehe). I also learned how to give myself needles during this time. Ick.

May, my chemo started, and I went to bald. Don't want to talk or think about chemo much anymore. It's all good as long as I don't remember it. But still just a smell or feeling can trigger majorly vivid flashbacks, ugh. While all this was going on, I did however also manage to develop and release an Australian range of products for Jessica Galbreth, as part of a plan to start representing a bunch of other artists through my business.

June was also made of Ugh. I did however get my set of fairy queens painted. It felt good to paint.

July- I think it was about here that David got his full time job on All Saints (aussie tv show), post production job on Channel 7! Go Him! Despite everything going on, both of our yearly goals were progressing, things were good. I painted FIVE paintings this month. Awesome. I also received my shipment of the journals I sell this month. Might not seem a bit thing, but it was my first forray into importing proper. Sea cargo shipping, customs, quarantine inspections and all. Also awesome.

August- I can't really remember, short term memory and all kinds of thought process got seriously screwed up with chemo, but sometime during the year I hired my first employee! This was a big acheivement for me. Even though it was a close friend to start with, we treated the whole thing fairly professionally, and I sure made her work (Hey Megs?!). It was a bit of a milestone, and really made things so so much easier for me during my treatments. Towards the end of August was my last chemo, yaaaay!

September I began radiotherapy. Easy Peasy compared to chemo. My skin reaction also went really well over all, no blistering or peeling or anything. Still even now it's a bit pink, and itchy, argh! But still, anything is better than chemo!

October, still in radiotherapy. Lost all my eyelashes and eyebrows post chemo, they just couldn't hold on anymore! But my hair overall had started to grow back, slowly slowly. I've gone into major painting mode to get work done on my Faery Oracle deck that I had been signed for someway through the year. This was also a big milestone for me! My first kinda solo art publishing... not written by me (could have been, but I opted for getting a pro in!), but all my art, and beautifully published. Now it's almost done, it's very, very exciting!

November marked pretty much the end of my treatments! Just a bunch of "X weeks after treatment" checkups to make sure I was recovering proper and then I was free for a few solid months of non-hospital time! I feel so institutionalised though, hospital kinda became my second home, and as much as I DON'T miss it, I do miss it, you know? Like prisoners not knowing what to do with themselves when they leave prison... I need to go build a boat with Morgan Freeman or something...

November was also my 27th birthday! My mum put together the most awesome party for me ever, with almost my entire extended family, which is of quite decent size! It was a wonderful wonderful night. I took a quick break from painting fairies and painted my set of angels. Also kicking into fair season.

December- And here we are. Doesn't feel like I did a lot this year, but on the other hand I guess I did. Many of the goals I had set for myself before I ever thought I'd get cancer, I still managed to acheive between it all. Hired staff, launched our other artists range, got lots of awesome business functionality set up with databases and such, got into the Rocks markets (it was on my goals list!), got a proper publishing deal, got my art on beer labels! Didn't get married, but hey, I'm going to be with David for evar & evar, so we're not in a huge rush, and certainly don't want to do it when I'm feeling like a pudgy army recruit.

I'm looking forward to doing some major regrouping, refocusing and replanning over the coming weeks. If I could get all of that done while getting treated for cancer, damn I'm going to get a lot done next year!

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Stock Gallery Closed

I decided to close down the stock photo gallery I had on Deviant Art. The stock gallery had photos of myself and some friends for other artists to use as reference for their work. All things considering, particularly after chemo, I was in no mood to ever add new stock to it again, and didn't have the time to keep it maintained checking on how my photos were used and so on... and wasn't really happy with the photos that were on there... etc etc. So I've deleted out all the photos, which is just about all you can do at DA to delete an account (no account deletion? Crazy system!).

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Why I love my blogging...

I'm on and off my online hang outs (forums, blogs, social networks) all day long most days... they give me something to do for little 5 minute bursts while waiting for layers of paint to dry

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Original artwork competition has been drawn!

Big congratulations to P. O'Brien of SA Australia!! Your order was just drawn randomly from all customers who had a "ticket" in the draw for the original artwork "Fairy Wishing Well"!
I'm just waiting on confirmation and I'll send off the original to you!

I've got another awesomely fun competition planned for the beginning of next year, something very interactive and FUN! I'm trying to decide what the price should be, it will be another BIG competition!

Would you prefer to have the chance to win an original painting, or a big, fat gift voucher to spend as you wished?? (Or maybe a first and second place, with both prizes!!)

Friday, December 12, 2008

Hello Twitter

I'm having fun with the blogging/microblogging/social networking sites lately. Twitter is my newest baby

I think it will be fun for my short and random thoughts I feel compelled to expell into the ether...

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Christmas nearly here

I'm getting ready to close up shop over christmas, last orders will be going out tomorrow, friday, and maybe just a couple of final ones early next week as well.

While I won't be filling orders, I will be working frantically on the last few artworks for the fairy oracle deck (almost done, and she's looking beautiful!), and a lot of work for a very grand re-launch for the new year!

There will be massive changes to my websites (yep, all of them!), and loads of new goodies released, including the silk shoulder bags I showed off recently. Yes, I have some in stock right now, but I'm way too swamped to think about getting them released at this point. Of course, those coming to see me at the Rocks Markets will be able to buy them there direct! There will also be a change in design of the cameo necklaces and a few other brand new products on their way.

I've also got 5 lovely new paintings I've been hoarding away for the fairy oracle, which will be 8 new ones once I finish the final three for the deck, so be ready for some awesome new artworks being released in the big relaunch as well!

A final reminder to all that I will not be shipping any orders after the 15th, until I re-open on the 5th of January.

Also, now is the best time to get all your christmas presents at because it also means you have a chance to win the original painting "Fairy Wishing Well"! The competition will also be drawn on the 15th, so there are only a few days left to have a chance to win this beautiful original artwork. Find out more about the competition here-

I'm getting excited about next year... I can almost guarantee it'll be better than this year, heheh.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Lots of fun new things happening...

Tomorrow I have an exciting delivery coming, something I've been wanting for a long long time. It's something that is going to open up a whole range of possibilities for my business... I already have so many plans, it's going to be lots of fun!
I'm going to be spending some of my "time off" over Christmas working quietly on everything and have some great new releases in the new year!

I've also been considering mouse pads lately. I've been making a lot of effort to move my product range towards more quality and environmentally friendly products, and I can tell you mouse pads are NOT environmentally friendly, and they have been irking me for a while now. I've been trying to come up with some kind of green alternative, but I'm thinking I might just have to cut them from my range outright. As much as I like mousepads (I use one all the time), I just feel as though it's up to each of us to do whatever we can to help protect our world, and selling a product which is entirely made of synthetic chemicals and will not degrade in landfill is something I am no longer able to justify to myself, as much as they do contribute to my income!

So mouse pads may indeed soon be out and gone. On the plus side, in the new year keep an eye out for an elegant change to my artwork pendants, some other new jewelry items, the new bags I posted a photo of earlier, and a number of other hush hush plans ;)

Monday, December 1, 2008

Gorgeously Green

Over the past year and a half, I've been educating myself a lot on ways to cut out nasty chemicals from my life, to be better for my body, and the environment. Once I learned what some of those chemicals you see in the ingredients of every day skin and hair care actually were (horrible, horrible stuff!!!), I went into my bathroom and got out every moisturiser and hair treatment and cleanser and fancy bottle of "make you beautiful" product I had, and threw them all out. It was HARD to do, at the time (cos god knows how much money I had spent on it all, and it felt like I should have taken it all to a hazardous waste disposal after knowing what was in it all!), but since then, about a year ago now, my skin as been the best it's ever been (my hair was also awesomely healthy, until I lost it all in chemo of course!). No more harsh chemicals, petroleum based products, alcohols, heavy metals drying it out, irritating it, causing break out after break out. I always half thought and joked that the big beauty companies put stuff in their products that make them feel good but keep your skin/hair bad so you have to keep using them... then I found out that it was true...
I recently bought a book called "Gorgeously Green", and it's an excellent book. It covers almost every aspect of (womens particularly) life and what stuff is bad for you, and the environment, and most importantly, what your other options are. It's the kind of book I think EVERY woman out there should go out, buy, and use as their day to day bible. It covers everything from beauty to cleaning and house care, to how to eat, shop and exercise in ways that are good for you and the environment. It never says "Don't Do This" without giving you an excellent alternative.
Anyway, it's inspired me to go through all of my cosmetics now and clear the bad ones of them out of my life, as I had done with my toiletries products so long ago. I had already begun replacing a lot of my make up with natural products, but just kept all my old chemical ridden cosmetics in a box up in the cupboard. Well, now I am going to throw them all out. I keep looking at them and thinking "Noooo, my pretties!", but when I think about what's in them, the thought of putting them on my eyes, on my lips, well, I can't bring myself to use them anymore. Over this past year I've had enough crazy chemicals in my body to last a life time, I don't need to be absorbing them every day through my skin. I can't even give the stuff away, because most of it has been used, and I wouldn't want to give it to anyone close to me, because it would feel like saying "Well I don't want to poison myself with it, but you can if you want!". So in the bin it's all going.
Of course, I am consoling myself to it but spending some money on shiney, new, organic, natural, pretty cosmetics to replace some essentials I'm chucking out ;) Which, after all, is half the fun!