Painting supplies in the grass with the words Weekly Blog written across them

I have fallen hard off the blogging train, and with all that's going on in the world I think that's probably just fine. But I would like to start some version of a weekly or monthly journal update here, for a couple reasons. I've felt so many wild emotions in the last five months and it's interesting even looking through drafts of blog posts that I never ended up uploading to see where my headspace was at. I also would like to start a Patreon in the future, and my favourite thing about the artists I support there are the inside look at their work week, or month, or current client projects. I'm unable to start a Patreon until I get my green card, so for now I think it would be interesting to get in the practice of it here.

So, this week: September 6th-11th, 2020

It was Labour Day weekend, but Ian and I decided to stay home as we figured any hikes we might have done would be more crowded/busy due to the holiday. Instead we went to our local park and I painted while Ian read his book, and Greer ate grass. I was working on the second in a new series I've started of gouache paintings on wood panel canvases. I did one of a grizzly bear a few weeks earlier and loved how it turned out against the natural wood background. Unfortunately, the fox I painted this weekend was a flop for me. I felt the illustration to begin with wasn't quite right, and the colours I used ended up being so much darker and high contrast than those of the first painting, even though they were in the same vibe as the bear. It's okay I guess on it's own, but I was disappointed seeing them together once I'd finished. Here's a pic of each:

And that's okay. It doesn't always work out, that's how we learn and become better artists.

This week my main focus was a client project that I'm pretty excited about. I can't accept most jobs with companies and brands based on the restrictions of my visa, but in lieu of a direct deposit to me for this project I requested that they donate my fee to the charitable organization of my choice. This way the client does not get my work for free, I can still take on interesting projects to keep busy with while I wait for my (hopefully) eventual green card, and I get to contribute to a worthy cause. I am very lucky to have the support of my partner during this time where I can't make a full income as I normally would. It's been very discouraging for the last few years having to turn down opportunities as they come, and I'm happy to have found this alternative way to take on projects that doesn't violate the terms of my visa, maintains the value of my work, and doesn't devalue the industry as it would were I to work completely for free.

The project is on a tight timeline so I spent most of my work days this week illustrating for it. I will share more details about this process down the road 🙂 Aside from that, I've also been working on a very sweet commission for a custom pet portrait pattern, to be printed on fabric and made into a bow tie for a wedding....that's so cute I can barely handle it. I illustrated a greyhound and two kitties, and I'll share that too once it's wrapped next week. Hopefully I'll get some pics of the eventual bowtie to share as well!

I also received some good mail this week. I ordered a bigger grip for my apple pencil. I had purchased a smaller one a few months ago and it definitely made a difference for the pain I was experiencing in my wrist while drawing. I think this bigger grip will make it even easier to hold on to my pencil without so much pressure...we shall see!

A hand holding an apple pencil with a large grip on it

I also bought one of those fancy overhead tripod arm thingies that you can clamp to the side of your desk for overhead shots and speed paints. I've been trying to get more in to video formats and have just hit a wall on multiple occasions trying to get the right angle of me working on something, so I hoped this would be a solution...only problem is I've been using my mid-century style dining table as a desk, and it has these beautiful sloped edges on the underside that the tripod can't clamp to! So I, or rather my partner, Ian, will have to MacGyver something there to make it work. There's always something!

Speaking of video....I had terrible engagement on my instagram account for pretty much all of August. I know this has natural ebb and flow, but I was so confused because it really just DROPPED off right at the beginning of Doggust. My posts' engagement went from 40% people who don't follow me to like, 1-5? I just kept posting and tried not to obsess over it too much, but it was a bummer because last year Doggust was one of the best months of engagement and new growth on my account. ANYWAYS I finally got around to posting an Instagram Reel last week. Very late to the party as these launched in the US at the beginning of August. And it completely flipped my engagement back around! Duh. I completely hadn't connected the two, but now it all made sense. Instagram has been prioritizing the users who are creating content with their new features, and that's probably why my posts weren't doing so well. Since that one reel post (which was viewed by like 15k people in a day or two..why can't my regular posts do that? :P) my engagement has been up 155% according to my insights. Very frustrating that things like this can derail you for a WHOLE month, but if you feel your account has been struggling maybe make a quick little reel! They are only 15 seconds so you can probably find some content to fill that up 🙂

That's all for now, maybe I'll see you next week!