Happy New Year


Sketchbook drawings

Sketchbook drawing.

Sketchbook drawing.

Sketchbook drawing.

Happy New Year!

I hope your summer (or winter in the Northern Hemisphere) is going well. I had a good break and feel refreshed and excited by what the year may hold.

The year has started with exploring what my hybrid work life looks like (more on that very soon)… including working in eight-week blocks, weekend Wednesdays, and having a focus on four key projects.

Artwise my focus is on finding form for the spreads I shared at the end of last year. I continue to fill my sketchbooks and notice I want these drawings to be part of something larger. What that something is, I still need to find out. It can bubble away in my mind and surprise me tomorrow.

Space and rhythm



Different spaces have different uses. The office is best for computer work - newsletters are written, photos get edited, websites are updated, and invoices are sent.

Today, however, I’m reading at the café, a selection process going through my notebooks. Later, I photocopy and layout pages at home, where there’s space and light.

I’m finding my working rhythms again, but I am not always getting them right.

That said, it’s good to make something physical and use my hands. It’s what I need to do. I’m excited by the enlargements of my drawings. They keep the energy of the originals. I imagine them dancing across the pages of a book or a zine.

Sketchbook as a resource


Sketchbook pages

Sketchbook drawing.

Sketchbook drawing.

Sketchbook drawing.

A couple of observations:

I’m beginning to think of my sketchbooks as a visual resource. They contain a variety of components which could act as a starting point for something new or which could be picked and mixed to construct a painting.

In the images below, the blue rollerball lines feel new and looser, a different way for me to make marks describing space and form.

Start with where you are


Shitty first draft

This morning, in my email, I was asked, “What’s your learning edge right now?”

My learning edge is doing the task/action/thing that will really take me closer to my goal. This often means letting go of the tasks I find easy or more attractive and instead doing that one thing sitting on the edge of my discomfort zone, niggling to be done. It’s the one that will move me closer to my goal.

Part of this edge is focussing on the necessary, the essential.

In 2004, the software company 37 Signals launched Basecamp, an online project management software for teams. You got a 30-day free trial and would be billed monthly. The thing is, when launched, for several reasons, 37 Signals had no way to bill customers. They gave themselves 30 days to create a payment system.

I love this. Shipping/launching with what is necessary. Nothing more, nothing less.

I was also asked this morning (so many questions!) if I could do anything today, what would I do? My answer was, “I’d paint”.

To do this, I’d need to go home, get out my paints and brushes, a canvas or two, and a drop cloth to protect the new floor, and I’d be good to go. I don’t need a studio (though it might be nice), I don’t need new surfaces, or to wait for inspiration. I can start with what I already have. And yet so often, I have found myself getting caught up in solving future problems I don’t yet have and will never have unless I take the first step and start with what I’ve got and where I’m at.

I realise I’m saying a couple of things here:

  1. Start with where you are and what you’ve got. You can make the rest up later when, and if, you need to.
  2. Asking (and identifying) what is the one thing that will really move you closer to your goal is a great way to focus on the essential thing to do.

Strategy in a sentence


My broader practice

A couple of weeks ago, I wrote about creating a “strategy in a sentence” for my broader practice. Developed in a one-hour workshop with Chris Jackson of We Create Futures, here it is:

I want to be recognised as a successful artist and valued mentor for local artists and non-artists by delivering methods and perspectives that catalyse a personal ‘aha’ moment to unlock insight and opportunity or unblock their creativity.

Parts are woolly - How am I defining and measuring success? What “methods and perspectives” will I be delivering, and how? - yet workable. It’s a “shitty first draft”, a living thing to be iterated and refined.

The workshop helped me clarify how “Art” and “Consulting” can (and do) make up my broader practice. They are different and complementary disciplines, supporting each other. My art is something I want to do on my terms; it’s for me. Consulting work comes from a desire to be helpful to others. It recognises I’m good at listening, asking questions, and assisting others in finding those “a-ha” moments.

The next step is running experiments and seeing how this hybrid career of mine operates.