Monday, May 30, 2011

Music is Soul Food - Kait's Mixtape

First of all, credit where credit is due. I would like to thank Lady Gaga for her lyrics. Quite simply, I couldn't have put it better.

In preparing for my 'Dance You Fools, Dance!' performance art project, I've been listening to a lot of music, old and new. I've been listening for catchy things that not only feature great lyrics, but also have a beat and a rhythm that makes my blood fizz and my legs twitch. Songs that make me really want to dance, no matter the setting or timing, just for the sake of it because dancing is beautiful and feels brilliant.

"My mama told me when I was young
We are all born superstars"

I think lyrics are very important though, and one of the songs I chose has actually become one of my current anthems. I've had many anthems in my time and intend to have many more. What qualifies as an anthem is a song which, to me, states something I believe or am passionate about in a poetic way set to music. They are songs which fall into the category of: I wish I'd written that!

They are everything I admire about people with musical talent.

"There's nothing wrong with lovin' who you are,
She said, cuz he made you perfect babe."

It's this ability to put words to music that I admire because I think, when words are shared in this way, they can be so powerful. Here's a song that is topping charts, causing a lot of controversy and discussion, but ultimately, stating a lot of really positive messages. These are messages that I hope I share in the way I live my life. They are things I believe in quite strongly and truths about embracing what we are given and doing the best with what we have. It's about believing that you are worthy of your own love and compassion.

"I'm on the right track, baby,
I was born to survive"

Life is for living and we will never be given more than we can handle. I believe in the power of a good imagination. I think a lack of imagination can cause a lot of grief. In one of my young adult novels I look at how a lack of imagination is the reason one of my characters is a cutter. She is unable to imagine a life outside of her suffering.

Life shouldn't be lived by making excuses. It's about seeing opportunities for growth, for discovery, for learning. Its about accepting that we are responsible for our own happiness. We are unlimited potential and it's up to us to do what we can with the circumstances we are given.

"I'm on the right track, baby,
I was born this way."

So rejoice in all your foibles, all your aches and pains, your ups and downs, your joys and sorrows. Embrace your talents, acknowledge your flaws, and remember that life is a discovery of who you are.

Saturday, May 28, 2011

T-shirts are super

Thanks to a fabulous friend of mine who also happens to be a marvy designer, I've managed to crack the Threadless Submission difficulties I'd been having. It's wonderful! I had a complete lightbulb moment where it suddenly all made perfect sense and viola, within seconds I was able to upload my designs to the critiques pages of their site.

Currently I'm just getting them critiqued because I want them absolutely spiffing for submission, to up the chances of them being selected for print. Please do check out the links to them and give your feedback. Constructive criticism is requested. Let me know what works, what doesn't work, what else you'd like to see and so on. Suggestions for titles would be great too. I really like the idea of 'Mrrf?' for the tortie cat. I'm thinking I'll change the sound from 'Mhn' to 'Meeee' for the black cat. I'm hoping to get up a little tabby by tomorrow, which for now is going to be called 'Coo'. All together they are the Wee Three Kitties.

I do appreciate the input!

A Fat Black Cat and a Little Tortie for your review.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Important step!

Today I got the receipt of my deposit for my Life Coaching course. I'm hugely excited about it!

I've never been a huge fan of school structure. I'm a very independent learner. If I want to know something I'll go find it out. I'll read about it, research it, work it into conversation - whatever it takes to feel like I know the subject inside and out, or at least until my curiosity is satiated. For this reason I've not done loads of formal schooling. I finished High School, got that diploma and have only dipped in and out here and there with smaller courses such as the design course I took last year or the writing course I did in the winter.

This course is a much large commitment in that it will take a year, rather than a few weeks, to complete. However, it involves very little class time. Most of it is self directed work with modules and a lot of what I spend my free time doing already lends itself well to being a life coach.

I'm really looking forward to the new ideas I'll be presented with by taking this course. It will mean a lot for me not only on a professional level, but on a personal one too. Learning any new skill or taking a course to enhance a skill already present will always push a person to grow. I never shy away from change, from challenging my own ideas about my identity. Not to say I find these changes easy, far from it. It is looking at these difficulties that makes me see where I need to search for less, where I am extremely strong and where I can improve. And there is always room for improvement.

The course doesn't start until September. Between now and then there's a million little things going on and the build up to a few big things, namely, my gallery show in August (Shameless plugging!) but this is a step towards something doing something else I'm really passionate about and therefor it's cause for celebration!

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Endangered Love - A work in Progress

I'm working on taking this sketch I did ages ago and turning it into a graphic which can be submitted to Threadless Tees. I've gotta say, this t-shirt designing thing is both exciting and daunting. I'm enjoying playing around with Illustrator, taking my work and turning it into vector graphics or creating little drawings from scratch, but I'm really frustrated when it comes to the details for submission.

I can't seem to work out exactly what is being asked. There's a lovely little package you can download from them which explains how to go about making an image, how to layer it and what size the files should be etc. etc. etc. They even provide handy templates of all of the different articles of clothing (and colours they come in.) that you could get your image printed on.

It's very comprehensive, unless you've not worked with the programs required a whole lot and you're still learning. I find it frazzling because currently, the only time I have to work on my art is during the week after a day in the office at my This-Pays-The-Bills job. By the time I get home I'm absolutely knackered and despite reading the instructions for submission over and over again, googling 'How to make an image 73 dpi' or similar nerdy questions, I am finding myself hitting more walls than I'm finding a way forward.

For me this is particularly frustrating because once I've set my mind to something I really want to get it done. I also make my own timelines, usually unreasonable ones, and I do sort of want to have some stuff submitted, at least for the critique part of Threadless, in the next few weeks. I've drawn up my Wee Free Kitties, I'm working on Endangered Love and I've got some other ideas in the works. But this inability to decipher the submission requirements feels like something holding me back. Something holding me back because I just can't seem to figure out how to ask the right questions.

It's one of those things that makes me long for the days of helplines and human contact. For all the convenience of google and emails, I often just wish I could speak to a human being. Someone who can understand what it is I'm after even if my question isn't worded exactly right.

Anyway, enough ranting about technology. I'm just a bit bitter about it at the moment, likely due to printer and interweb issues at my previously mentioned day job. Time to press on and persevere. Threadless does have a forum for questions so I should probably give that a go as my next choice.

Onward and upward!

Monday, May 23, 2011

Devon and Sunny - Excerpt

I'm in the process of editing this myself and also having it edited by two other people. I have to say, any fears I had around editing are long gone. I look forward to it, finding the re-writing simple, the purging and cutting back liberating and the ability to try something different rewarding. It helps that this particular novel has gone untouched for years. I originally finished it in about 2000 I think. Since then I've hardly ever gone back to look at it.

I love picking up a piece of my writing from so many years ago. I can see where I've grown, how my abilities have improved and my style has shifted. I can see where I still can do some work but where I'm quite capable.

But now I'm rambling. So here it is, for your reading pleasure - and mind that this is still being edited actively so any comments, tips, advice, or criticisms are appreciated!

Devon and Sunny - Working Title

“So,” said Sunny’s mum, Catherine Clarkson, “it’s your birthday next month!”

“Yeah,” Sunny said absentmindedly as she drew her comic on the kitchen table. Her mother was often too bubbly, like she was trying desperately to be a cool mum. Sunny shaded in the nose of her monkey hero, hoping her lack of enthusiasm would be conveyed by her obvious interest in something else. The comic was of her own creation, with the help of her best friend, Caley. It was called Gay Monkeys From Mars. Mostly she just liked drawing monkeys with pink and rainbow capes. They all had little antennae growing out of their heads, so you knew they were martians. There were six of them, each with a nose a different colour of the pride rainbow. Caley had come up with the red, yellow and orange monkeys, Sunny with the green, blue and purple ones. They didn’t have a leader but the purple nosed one was particularly bossy. This was the one Sunny currently worked on.

“So, who are you inviting?” enquired Catherine. Catherine worried about her daughter. She seemed to be turning into an archetypal angst-ridden teenager. This didn’t bode well with Catherine, whose primary reason for not wanting children was that she might end up with a girl and she didn’t think she could handle raising a girl. Sunny had been a delightful surprise though, more interested in G.I Joe than Barbie, preferring CDs over the current fashion and riding her bike to putting on make-up. Lately, however, since moving to this city, Sunny had begun to act differently. Catherine felt guilty, assuming that the move was more upsetting for her daughter than Sunny was willing to admit. She’d tried broaching the subject a few times and had been met with an icy glare.

“I dunno,” mumbled Sunny, who wasn’t at all upset by the move. Yes, she certainly missed Caley, but they’d been keeping in touch with regular emails. Sunny was just so happy to be far away from her old life. She could reinvent herself here, be a different person, someone who was mysterious and quirky. Someone about whom her classmates knew nothing about. Someone who wasn’t the school joke.

“How about Derek?”

“Devon,” corrected Sunny. Catherine chewed her bottom lip, a habit she had when she’d said the wrong thing. Sunny didn’t notice as she kept drawing, “And I doubt he’ll want to come, we don’t know each other very well and he’s really quiet and stuff. I don’t think he likes me.”

“You’ve been talking about him the entire two weeks you’ve been there! How can you not know each other very well?” exclaimed Catherine, exasperatedly, “And he seems like the only person who does talk to you in that horrible school, I’m sure he likes you.”

Sunny looked up at her mum to see if she was serious. Catherine’s arms were crossed, her eyes wide and eyebrows arched high. Sunny doubted her mum would be convinced, “He’s just not very interested is all.”

“It could be a way to become better friends,” since Sunny was little she and Caley had been nearly inseparable. Catherine knew the importance of having a close girlfriend in which to confide and find support. If not for the girlfriends she had she probably wouldn’t have managed when Sunny’s dad left them when Sunny was only three, or when Catherine’s position in a small law firm had been made redundant, or when her car was stolen and it took four months for her to get a replacement. A new school was an equivalent crisis for a teenager, as far as Catherine was concerned. Never mind being in a new city on top of that.

If her daughter could only make a friend, someone in which she could confide or go to for comfort and support, she felt that Sunny would be O.K.

“Whatever,” Sunny sighed. She began to put away her drawing stuff, stacking the paper neatly, placing her pencils into their case, wiping eraser bits off the table onto the floor.

“I’ll make an invite for him O.K.?” offered Catherine.

“Fine,” Sunny gathered her things to take upstairs to her room in the attic.


The contents of this blog and all its creativity are copyright and property of Kaitlyn S. C. Hatch

Friday, May 20, 2011


Making progress! I'm still a bit baffled as to how to make the essential thumbnail for submitting a design for review. But until two days ago I didn't have much finished for submitting so I suppose this weekend will be about tackling that bit of difficulty.

I'm quite enjoying this bit of dabbling work. There is no deadline on it, just something I fancy giving a go at. I'm enjoying learning more about Illustrator, getting more comfortable with the program and with my own abilities. I have to say, it's loads of fun. Even if I don't sell any designs, I'm just happy to have this new skill.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

2011 Trees for Life Charity Exhibition: Kaitlyn S. C. Hatch

2011 Trees for Life Charity Exhibition: Kaitlyn S. C. Hatch:
And So He Sat Under The Tree by Kaitlyn S. C. Hatch (England/Canada)
Medium: Gouache and pen on card Size: 16 x 23 cm

Gotta say I'm quite honoured! I think this is a great cause and I hope everyone takes a look see at Trevor's project.

Saturday, May 14, 2011


When working on my tarot paintings I felt like I had a pre-determined To Do list. Whether it was taping off canvases, researching other designs or original symbolism, painting the background, foreground or animals, I was always, always, always busy with something. Each week my life revolved around sleeping, eating, working and painting. I blogged and tweeted about it, gave out business cards, did tarot readings and generally was stuck in.

When the project was finished I cried, not because I was going to miss it or because it was finally done, but because I'd spent so long with it as a constant that it was this immensely emotional thing that I'd accomplished. The series had been a form of therapy for me, begun shortly after my life had taken a serious drop-kicking. My future lay before me as a blank space where, before, there had been an entire (albeit dismal) life supposedly planned out.

Initially all that blank space was terrifying. Then I realised that it was a grand opportunity. As I rediscovered who I was and everything I loved about myself, I began to learn some very important lessons. The first lesson was that no one, no matter what, should ever come before my own sense of self and happiness. I need to be the most important person in my own life and love myself best before I could possibly offer the same to anyone else. Part of that was doing things which gave me a sense of purpose and fed my passion for creativity.

My tarot project was the initial step towards living my own dreams, rather than helping other people achieve theirs to the detriment of my own.

Now that the project is done and I have a very strong sense of purpose in my life I have begun to feel a sort of aimlessness. I have a lot of energy that once went into painting for several hours each week. I'm putting a lot of it into editing my writing, preparing for my August Apricot Gallery show and occasionally dancing in public, but none of that takes up the same intense commitment of my time as the painting did.

So I've spent the last few weeks looking at my life stretching out before me and wondering exactly where it's going to go. I have learned so much about myself through the duration of working on those paintings. For example, I know I actually quite like an indeterminate future. Whereas before I felt the need to plot out every single aspect of my life with a sort of written in stone precision, I now love the sense of adventure which comes from not having my mind made up about anything in particular.

But then, there are always going to be certain constants. Whether I am published or not, whether my paintings sell or not, I will always be a writer and an artist. I also have a wonderful little fur-child in my life and to a certain extent my future must take her into consideration in all things. On top of that my family has expanded to include a talented photographer/chef/gardener and her two little fur-children.

I also know I am naturally a little nomadic. I will always have a strong sense of home and where my roots are but I need to explore and wander. I learn best by doing and the greatest discoveries come from seeing different places, meeting new people and trying new things. No matter how comforting a space or stable a job, my own natural spirit will always tell me when enough is enough and I need to move on, to try something different, learn something new and explore somewhere else.

So essentially I need a source of income which I can take on the road. I need a job which can evolve as I do, change as my life does and fit around my circumstances as they come to be on that fabulous blank canvas which is the potential of anyone's life.

One of my dearest friends has recently completed a Spiritual Counselling course and she and I often discuss the topics of her classes and the assignments she's had. For months now we have discussed these things and every time I've been acutely aware of how much it interests me. I've also always been aware of how often friends or family tell me I inspire them. I do this because I truly do have the knack for seeing the potential in another human being, sometimes to my own detriment, but also because I believe in genuine appreciation. When I see someone's strength or passion for something I see no reason why it shouldn't be encouraged. We are all pure potential at the same time as we are often our own worst enemy. As someone intimately acquainted with anxiety and depression, I fully understand how easy it is to talk ourselves out of accomplishing very great things. At the same time, I appreciate that anything I've accomplished in my life has been attributed to being able to see the reflection of myself in those I love. I know I've accomplished a great many things but I doubt I'd have been able to do it if not for the encouragement and belief from outside members...and at times the attitude of 'Stop whinging and do it already'.

I am a firm believer that we can all use an outside perspective and as such I have decided I would quite like to try my hand at Life Coaching. Not because I think I have life figured out. Far from it. I believe that the older I get the more I realise the less I know. I just know that I do so love helping someone see the potential that they know is there but just can't quite access. I would love to offer the same encouragement, compassion and at times, Zen-like butt kicking which I've received from the likes of my psychologist, mother or best friend.

We all need to make a living and if that living involves using a talent or skill then all the better. I'm quite excited for this decision and am looking forward to seeing which colours it takes on the palette and how it might turn out on that blank canvas.

Thursday, May 12, 2011

T-shirt designing!

So it was quite a while ago that I tried my hand as some t-shirt designing. I'm a huge fan of Threadless Tees and thought I'd quite like a go at submitting something of my own. At the time I had a brief version of photoshop available to me. My aunt, who is a photoshop guru, came over and helped me out with making sure it all fit with the Threadless guidelines and I submitted my design.

It didn't even get considered. The immediate response was "Go back and try again. Re-read our guidelines."

I shrugged it off and wrote it up to not having a full version of photoshop nor a full grasp of the program and how to use it.

Well now I've taken my design course, have the swish CS5 Illustrator, Photoshop, InDesign and Flash and no good excuse not to work on some designs again. I've just been playing around for now, testing the waters and getting a feel for the specs of Threadless design.

Here is my first mock-up. It needs a bit more work but for two hours of mucking about I'm quite pleased with the result!
I've got a few other ideas I'm batting around in my head. I'm going to get on with them in the next few weeks, as a distraction from all my gallery plans when they start to feel a bit overwhelming.

It's nice to have little projects to dabble in.

Monday, May 9, 2011


In preparation for my gallery show in August (the 19th and 20th to be exact) I have been putting together art card descriptions for all the pieces I'll be showing. For most of my work this is relatively easy as it just involves a brief explanation of why I did it.

For my tarot cards it has been a far more in depth process. Because the cards are based on original deck designs and each one has a meaning behind it, I've needed to really polish my descriptions. It's been interesting as I've reflected on each design, going back to the very first ones I completed, moving forward to the final three I finished just a few months ago. Initially I didn't actually spend a lot of time explaining my work. I would finish a card, post some pictures of it to my blog and that was that.

When I held my first gallery show in Calgary in November 2009 I realised I needed to tell the story behind my work. I've been to galleries and museums where the work is summed up with a card stating the name of the artist, the material used and the title of the work. This is boring.
There is nothing more exciting than laying eyes on an original piece of work and getting a story to go along with this. A sculpture of a woman, who was also the artist's mistress. A painting of Jesus, which at the time was actually seen as a racy comment on the current king and resulted in the banishment of the artist. A series which started with great definition and progressed into pixilation and abstract as the mind of the artist turned to madness.

All of this makes the work that much more wonderful to look upon. I know I felt it as I revisited all 22 of my Tarot Paintings. I remembered the things going on in my life as each one took shape. Some designs started out with frustration and have now become my favourite pieces. Other designs had very little written about them and suddenly I was able to write long paragraphs, finding it difficult to keep the descriptions succinct.

Designing these cards has been an incredible journey for me. Not just professionally with regards to developing my skills, but personally, as I've worked on myself. I really am so happy I took it on. I think if I'd thought to far ahead on it the task might have seen impossibly daunting. As it is, looking back, I'm stunned at what I accomplished and extremely proud of the result.

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Trees for Life

I do love trees.

2011 has been declared the international year of the forest and a Canadian artist living in Scotland has decided to put on an exhibition celebrating these magnificent plants. He's sent out a call to all artist via his blog and my partner picked up on it and forwarded me the details.

Today I sat outside, enjoying the warm May sunshine, and made this piece.
The text reads:
And so he sat under the tree and endeavoured to obtain enlightenment.

I'm really happy with the end result given that, when I started, I really had no idea what I was going to create. I usually have a pretty good idea of my work in my mind's eye, but this time there was nothing. Just the feeling of contentedness I have when sat beneath a tree or up in its branches. I love the feel of their bark beneath my hands, the gnarled roots below, the canopy of green above. I hope I captured that feeling with this.

Friday, May 6, 2011

Back into the Groove

Holidays are fantastic. Spending time in a different country, learning about a different culture, exploring whole new landscapes - all definite things to look forward to. But I think what I liked best about a holiday is how it makes me spend time with myself. I can't distract myself with To Do lists. There's nothing to do. It's all about being.

Going to Thailand was a phenomenal experience and one which made me really think about how good I am at getting myself worked up into a froth. I've got a lot going on at the moment, what with my gallery show in August, things picking up at the day job, and the general busyness that seems to happen with warmer weather. It was all getting to be a bit much but going off on holiday is like pressing a giant 'pause' button.

I was discussing it with a friend and she had a good point. She said it's like you're in a rushing stream of water. When you're in it it feel overwhelming, too fast and to full of twigs and leaves and little stones that poke and knock into you. You have to be able to climb out of the stream and take a look. Going on holiday does that for me.

I climbed out of my stream and rested on a calm river bank... in the sun. I lay there for a bit, my eyes closed, ignoring the stream completely at first. Then I took a look at it and little bits panicked me. At first just the thought of jumping back in really caused me stress. But then I remembered I didn't have to jump right back in just yet and when I did I could always take some supplies with me.

I know that I tend to get overwhelmed quite easily but I also know I'm capable and self-reliant. I know the importance of taking breaks and that when I meditate I feel even more capable and able to cope with what might crop up.

August is approaching, sometimes quicker than I'd like, but I'm good at prioritising and I also have some incredible supports in my life to help me get there. It's all about the baby steps.

So now I'm back in the stream and it's picking up speed again, but I'm a strong swimmer.