Thursday, October 29, 2009


In Tarot the Death Card represents change.

In three days I will be boarding a plane to London. I'll be spending ten days there, getting job interviews and finding a foothold for my January departure.

Two months ago I got fed up with working for someone else and began working for myself. I launched my Etsy site and began dedicating my personal time to my artwork and writing. I shifted my way of thinking to seeing my art as my job, as a potential source of income and as a path I could choose to walk.

Two months from now I will have a new home in a different country. I will have a new source of income to sustain me and I will be meeting new people.

A year ago my life was a blank slate. It was unknown entities and it was pure potential.

A year from now I have no way of determining what I'll be doing or who I am.

In this moment, all I know is that change is inevitable, beautiful, terrifying, perfect, to be expected and what makes life worth living.

The thirteenth card in a Tarot deck...the eighth card I've completed painting.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Animorph fun on a Sunday

I found a photo of a friend that immediately made me want to draw him as his animal self. I saved it to my computer and have been telling myself I'll get around to it for almost two months now.

Today I finally pulled out my sketchbook and did it.

I'm pleased with the result.

'Kinkajou Jasper'

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

But if it's your job, won't you hate it?

Food for thought:

Does doing something for a living ultimately mean it will make you unhappy?

When I first graduated from High School I was given what I have often called A Dream Job. It was presented to me after years of volunteering and activism. I began working for a youth network that assisted youth in care or leaving care of formerly from care with things like advocacy, life skills and social networking.

I got paid to do things like make birthday cards, or play board games, or go to a theme park for the day.

Don't get me wrong, this job was no walk in the park. I also had to do a lot of tedious paperwork and I had to deal with a lot of emotional turmoil. When you work with youth in care, you hear some stories and it can be emotionally draining. Eventually it was so much so that I needed to move on, but for about two years I could hardly believe I was getting paid to do what I did.

Now, was it because it was ultimately a 'job' that I burned out?

See, life is change and even the things we love and the things that make us happy are inconsistent, which is why so many people are miserable. They decide something makes them happy and if it stops doing that they don't always see it and they hold on too tight instead of accepting the impermanence of everything.

So yeah, there is a chance that doing what I'm doing right now, int his moment as an artist, won't always satisfy me the way it does. But that doesn't mean I'm going to stop doing art. It's vast and the opportunities are vast. The ways in which I can grow and express myself are endless so I will only get bored if I let my work and passion become stagnant. The difference between this job, however, and any other, is that it belongs to me.

When I'm working for a retailer I'm filling their job. I'm doing something for someone because they pay me to.

When I work for me, I'm doing my own job and that means I make my own hours, my own goals, my own tasks...

ultimately I make it what I want it to be.

So I'm happy, because I've no reason not to be.

And two more dragons! No longer a dragon a day since I'm terribly busy preparing for my ten day trip, but I'm still going to complete 31 dragons by the end of November.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Sketched Out

I'm bringing all my sketchbooks with me to London. This is because they are references of my work. I look back at them and I'm either extremely pleased to see how I've grown or amazed at something I did when I was fifteen or sixteen.

Either way, they are important to my growth as an artist because they give a timeline to my life. There are points when I sketched daily and times when I'd go months without touching them. There are drawings during vacations or during times when I was struggling with something. It's like an illustrated version of my journals. Granted, I've got about thirty plus journals and seven sketchbooks.

They're my picture archives and I'm looking to them for inspiration and looking to them to see how I've grown and how I can still grow. Given that my beginnings as an artist were watching my brother and dad sketch something and then attempting to re-create, it's only natural that I find an ability to motivate myself by re-visiting them on occasion.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Born Creativity

"I want to live in your childhood," my roommate said as I sorted through boxes of old toys.

In preparation for my departure to England I've been purging. Actually, I've been purging a lot in the past year just because. I have very little use for things anymore and it's becoming increasingly easy to simply get rid of stuff I'd often justified holding on to for sentimental reasons.

Initially, as I sorted through my old dolls and their accessories, I had the intention of throwing out a large chunk of it. I knew I'd come across my contributions, as it were. I'd often make 'things' for my dolls, as the toy companies never provided much more than cheesy cardboard cutout pictures of items. I would make little accessories, clothes and gadgets for my dolls. I never really thought of them as anything significant or worth keeping, until I was reading a blog post from a fellow artist. In it she had put her original self-portrait, drawn as a child. It was an adorable pencil scratch sketch and as important to her as any self-portrait she'd done since. Having something like that is like having a physical chunk of our potential.

So I'm keeping a few things, at least for a little while, because they are my root. From books to a tiny paper cigarette case to a camera to a sewing machine to a jar of relish...these are so much like the strange scribbled portraits we do of ourselves as children.

Very Original Artwork by Katy Hatch. (But remember not to call me Katy.)

P.S. There was a banana but the former mentioned roommate has taken it as her own.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Thanksgiving and National Coming Out Day - a double feature

I'm thankful for my family and friends, who always show incredible support for me in everything I do.
I'm thankful for all those who fought for equality, who spoke out against oppression and bigotry, so that I can declare "I'm queer. I'm a dyke. I'm gay!" proudly and without fear.

I am thankful for an endless source of inspiration from a world so full of potential.
Happy Thanksgiving...Happy National Coming Out Day.

*bows to the very talented Karrie Arthurs*

Saturday, October 10, 2009

The Visa Fiasco

Here's a funny story...

So my venture to London is being made possible through the Student Working Abroad Program (SWAP), which helps you get a working holiday Visa, among other things. There's a bunch of steps in getting said Visa, the final one being a trip to Edmonton to get my 'biometrics' done. This is finger-printing and a retinal scan. Before you go all "Oooo, Big Brother" on me, it's actually quite practical because such a high volume of people arrive in London Airports with no documentation at all, let alone forged stuff. They're just trying to keep the riff-raff out. *laughs*

So I get all my paperwork in order and use a day off to make the three hour drive up to Edmonton for my ten minute biometrics appointment. As I'm leaving the office for the three hour drive back to Calgary, it sort of occurs to me that I don't remember getting my Passport back from them. Then I check the Very Important Sealed Envelope they gave me. It MUST remain sealed and I'm to mail it off to the British High Commission ASAP. Squeezing it gently, I locate my passport down in the corner, so I breathe a sigh of relief.

I drive back to Calgary and mail it off, express, at a cost of $14. It's gonna get there in two days, maximum, and according to the women at biometrics, I'll get it all back in four to six weeks.

So the next day I'm working a closing shift at that place that isn't really 'work' because this is my real job. It's a close shift and I'm heading up for my dinner break around five-ish when my heart suddenly freezes in my throat. Sitting at home, because I'm terribly practical and the opportunity presented itself, are plane tickets for my London 'Preview'.

Departure date: November 1st! A ten day trip to check out my accommodation, get some job interviews and prepare myself for the Official Move in January. And those plane tickets were for a date which was just then exactly four weeks away.

And me without a passport.

Because it was a close shift and there was no way I could do anything about it until the next day, I spent that evening telling every co-worker who would listen all about my foolish mistake and how I might have to maybe cancel on that ten day trip and wouldn't that be funny? Eventually?

I called SWAP the next day and left a long rambley message asking if they knew how to put a rush on things or if I could get a temporary passport or anything?

They called back and 'phew'... let me know that it takes them about five to ten days to process the application. So I checked my e-mail and the tracking number on the parcel, confirming it had been signed for and was safely at the British High Commission. My mind was at ease, although the Elephant of Doubt was sort of tapping my shoulder. But on Monday, this Monday the 5th, SWAP called to let me know my Visa, and therefore, passport, was in!

Picking it up has been incredibly reassuring, not only for confirming that my ten day trip at the start of November will happen, but also because this is really it. I'm really moving to London for a year! It's going to be fantastic and now that it's three months away I'm beginning to get hugely excited. I keep thinking of all the fabulous art I'll see, the museums I'll visit, the historic places that will take my breath away. I am so full of anticipation.

I love potential. I love finding it in all the little things I do every day, but I love creating it as well. This trip is going to be so incredible for my writing, my art, my imagination and my soul. *smiles the widest smile*

And to throw an image in with this post... a Faery Fox!

Friday, October 9, 2009

Dragon A Day!

Five days in!

Dragons #3 and #4 are Walter Melon and Ben Nana, fruity creations I'm quite pleased with.

Dragon #5 is clay. Even though it's right bloody cold out, I figured playing with clay wouldn't be too chilly on my fingers. Turned out to be huge fun. I tried a new style for the legs and a different technique for attaching the wings. It was so much fun I ended up making a little baby dragon too! So...two dragons today!

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

The Art of Happiness

First off, the photos. I've decided to follow in the footsteps of many other artist with the "*blank* a day" technique. This helps improve ones skills as well as resulting in some really fantastic art! I've settled on "A Dragon a Day".
So, two days in:
The blue one was the first, but it didn't survive the baking process. The gold one is my first crack at making a metal frame to support my Sculpey. Usually I just free-form it, but that resulted in Dragon #1 losing its head.
Dragon #2, however, is intact! I have yet to title him, so he shall simply be #2, for now.

Doing a piece of art a day seems to be the theme to a lot of the Blogs I follow. It's a cool idea and one I'm excited to try. Whether I make it a full year or not, it will help me to hone my skills and provide a nice depiction of my imagination through sculpted dragons.

Another common theme in the blogs I follow is the topic of success. This venture into a career as an artist is not entirely new for me. Many of you may recall when my stuff was available at the Jane Doe Market Place and Cafe (R.I.P., it was a brilliant concept and unfortunate that it just didn't manage to survive.) back in 2006/07. I got a few custom orders from that stint and it's true, there was a definite appeal and interest in my magnets and clay dragons,but it didn't pan out.

Thing is, I got really good at making excuses. I perfected all the reasons why it probably wouldn't work and wasn't practical. I didn't want to 'cheapen' my art, or I didn't have time to market. I'd go with it if things at Jane Doe turned out well, drop it if they didn't. I made no solid commitment and didn't have a truly motivated plan behind my idea to 'be an artist'.

Recently I've been getting a lot of comments from people who've known me for a significant enough length of time that their comment could be regarded as mis-informed. In particular I am thinking of a message from a former co-worker. She's interested in commissioning a piece from me and in our back and forth correspondence she showed great surprise at my talent and skill. This just shows how good I was at making excuses.

I'm an artist. I'm also a writer. These are things about me that are as much a part of me as the colour of my eyes, and yet, they've gone unnoticed. When I remove my glasses people will often comment on my eye colour. They didn't notice it before, they'd remark, but without my glasses they suddenly do. My glasses do not change or block my eye colour from view, just as my excuses did not make me any less of the creative individual I know myself to be. I need my glasses to see but my excuses have no room in my world anymore. This is because I believe in living well and living right in order to be happy.

Happiness does not come from some huge sale of my art, from recognition or fame. Happiness is holding clay in my hand or writing another chapter or the stroke of my paint brush on an empty canvas. Happiness is knowing myself and to that end, I have succeeded.

Saturday, October 3, 2009

From Start to Finish!

Oh joy!

So I was commissioned to make a costume for a six year old. A Venus Flytrap with the Fly included.

I do so love making costumes. I've always done them for myself, though. This is the first time I got to make one for someone else. At first I was a bit apprehensive. I knew exactly what I'd do and how to do it, but I chose a material I haven't often worked with. Fortunately, I was inspired by having a subject. I create art with so much more enthusiasm when I have an idea of who it is for. I love doing artwork for myself, of course, but the inspiration to do so isn't always there. The second you give me a subject, someone to have in mind whilst I work, the flow of creative energy is practically unstoppable!

So, done in a day, I present: Venus Flytrap.

Now it just needs a fitting. I'm certain the person who requested such a costume will give it full approval. If she's anything like me, and she sounds like she just might be, then the result should be just what she was looking and all.