I’m checking in.
The holidays are now in full swing.
There is no escape.
A few lovely clients have chosen me to create some drawings for them to give as gifts for the holidays. I would love to show you where I am at with them but sadly that will have to wait! I can’t ruin the surprises, no matter how much I want to share. I’m enjoying having deadlines again. That slight kick of motivation is needed to finish the pieces. It’s so easy to start new projects and then have them sit unfinished.
I still have some time to fit in another portrait or two for the holiday season, so please send me an email if you are interested! It doesn’t even need to be for the holidays – firstname.lastname@example.org.
To help get myself into the holiday spirit (and get some inspiration) I did what I do every year – Took a trip to visit Santa.
As a twist this year, Santa tried to sit on MY lap. At first I found this funny and then sort of creepy. I digress.
This week also marks the first week of Christmas parties. The first one being at my alma mater. I can’t deny that I am excited to dress up and go out. It’s been jeans and t-shirts for this lady for the past several months. It’s so much easier to ruin a pair of jeans while painting and drawing instead of a nice dress.
My question for the week: What is the best piece of advice you have received to date?
As we all are getting into the swing of the holidays, and most likely a lot of stress of scheduling, present buying, food preparations and so forth – I leave you with a photo of a puppy to give you a second of relief, because who doesn’t love puppies?
I had a very cold, early bike ride this sunny, Sunday morning. The kind where the sun is deceiving and you think it’s going to be warm. Nope. Windy and cold with a bite. The kind where you wrap your head with your scarf and wear sunglasses only to end up fogging them up every 2 minutes. The kind where your thighs hurt from the cold.
Life is constantly changing. Throwing challenges. I’ve (barely) been able to get through them. I can only hope it will get easier from here. I think adversity has seemed a little more intense because I recently found out I have actually been sick for a few weeks and didn’t know it. It all makes sense now. I’ve begun to create a new support system of amazing people and it helps quite a bit. Allowing someone to be close to you is a freeing feeling.
What else is happening?
. Maintaining friendships.
. Building relationships.
. Adding to my portfolio.
. Saving money.
. Learning from this new step in life.
. Slinging coffee, eating ice cream.
Christmas is almost here.
I’m taking commissions for 8 x 10 drawings for the season! I have a few clients booked already and I can’t wait to show you all what I have been working on. Sadly, it will have to wait until after holidays. So, if you are interested in giving someone a “Forsyth Original” (I crack myself up), please send me an email and we can work out the details.
Practice your portrait skills but drawing yourself in a silly halloween mask. It’s hard not to have a laugh at yourself while getting some good practice in at the same time.
I’m also offering free shipping at my online shop until November 17th. Please support your local artists (and international ones too). We are all in this together!
When I relaunched my blog this time around I told myself that I would only write about my creative ideas, process and execution. I figured I would promote my own and the work of friends. We all need to support each other in this industry.
However my lack of entries are not because I am neglectful towards my tiny space on the interwebs. Since the entry regarding The Adventures of Fonzy, life has become… difficult.
Difficult isn’t exactly the word that I am looking for.
Challenging. That sounds more like it.
These challenges that I’ve been facing began on the outside. Losing my day job. Concerns over paying off my massive, international school debt. Paying rent. Normal adult things that people worry about. Unfortunately these outer concerns began to affect me on the inside. Being unable to find work begins to make one feel inadequate. You begin to question your worth and ask why no one will give you a chance to prove that you are, in fact, completely capable of the tasks set before you. Creatively, I pushed it aside because I am too anxious to think about staying at home working on new pieces when I feel I should be looking for work instead. This build even more anxiety. Anxieties feeding into more anxieties. Questioning whether or not you made the right decisions about your education. Questioning your path in life. Anxieties feeding anxieties. And let me tell you, it is very easy to fall into this pattern. This is the part where I officially let you all know that I have never been so anxious in my entire life.
Now, I know that I’m not the only person who is going through this situation. In fact, I’m sure most of you have reached a point similar to this, if you aren’t going through it right now.
The one thing that I find that I can’t lose sight of is the fact that I have probably done more for myself (to help myself and to move forward from the past) in the past 10 weeks than I have in a couple of years – education aside. It’s very easy to forget about the things that you HAVE accomplished when everything around you is making feel like you aren’t doing enough.
Despite the fact that the big picture right now is a little fuzzy – OK, very fuzzy – it’s necessary to remember what is going well for you. There is always something, even if it’s necessary to write a list of things that make you feel good. The first thing on my list is cupcakes. Simply, cupcakes. The second thing is doughnuts. I should also add that burritos and nachos are also on the list which leads me to believe that I either have a food problem or I was very hungry when I wrote that list. I digress.
I wish I had the perfect way to end this entry. But I don’t. I’m putting this out there into the series of tubes hoping that it reaches another person just like me who is going through the same vicious cycle. Hey you – YES YOU. I hear you. I feel you. I know you’re struggling. And just so you know, I am going through the same thing. Drop me a line. We can have nachos and vent about struggles of being a grown up.
Now back to your regularly scheduled blog-gram.
I’ve been having the most interesting time for the past 6 weeks.
You see, I became suddenly unemployed from my day job. Just when I was questioning the time I was able to spend between being able to pay my bills and creating new artwork I suddenly found myself with all the time in the world to be creative. Unfortunately that has come with the cost of being completely stressed about paying my bills and rent. That’s another story all together.
I also found myself in New York City for 2 weeks trying to mould new and old connections while I attempted to guide myself through my most recent, and certainly not last, life crisis.
So, besides my world wide search for new work opportunities, preparing several plans of attack to deal with my sudden “free (but costing me) time”, I have been able to work on a couple of personal creative projects. One of which was a commission from a my dear life long friend Lauren.
Lauren is a newly wed and wanted to surprise her husband, Peter, for his birthday. The two share two dogs, Ninja and Shelby, and are completely in love with them. She wanted me to re-create a photo she took of them waiting at the window. This was going to be a secret project. So, while I was in NYC I was able to start that project.
The finished product was better than I could imagine and Peter definitely loved the surprise!
Aside from this project I’ve been working hard at my own. I started pushing my online store. I’ve been selling some simple designs as t-shirts, totes and prints. It’s a whole new experience for me as I try to market and push my own work via the interwebs. It’s not easy, but I’m slowly and surely directing myself through the murky waters. PLEASE take a peek and support you local artists, even if you don’t happen to be local to me:
Until then, I’ll keep drawing my muse as I fight the good fight.
Tuesday evening I was out in Kensington Market having some delicious ice cream with my dear friend Nicole.
I randomly checked my phone and noticed I had just missed a phone call from one of my roommates. I remember thinking, “Oh god, he lost the dog.” So I quickly called him and low and behold… Fonzy had run away. I froze. I didn’t know what to think except that I needed to get home. Nicole was being amazing and drove me there as I sat in the passenger seat with my hand over my mouth. Everything was rushing through my head. What if he was stolen? What if he got hit by a car? The roads near my house are very busy at that time of day and all I could think was him becoming extremely fearful and panicking which would result in him running across the street.
After this point everything became a giant mush that lasted for the next 12 hours. All I could do was walk and wander and just ask strangers if they had seen a little dog. I was unable to put together sentences so Nicole made all necessary calls to the police and animal hospitals. My stomach was churning and I had to go back to my front porch to sit and try to muster thoughts. I called my parents but I sobbed through that call so I tried to stick to texts and messages only. I had a search team of amazing people out walking the streets and searching past the train tracks in my area, so I decided it was okay for me to stay put.
Between bouts of exasperation and tears I fumbled through my phone to text people and ultimately to Twitter and Facebook where I proceeded to post photos and Caps Lock messages stating that my dog had gone missing. I attached the hashtag #FindFonzy.
That’s what everything snowballed. I was personally retweeted over a hundred times and my post was shared on Facebook over a hundred times. And that was only my own personal shares. The retweets and shares of other people continued and I was getting positive messages left, right and center. People I didn’t know who lived in the area were out on their bikes taking a look around. Other people were messaging saying they had been stopped by my search team and asked about Fonzy.
Slowly throughout the night my search team dwindled as it was too dark to continue looking. We did manage to find many rabbits, raccoons and angry cats. I found myself alone around 1:30am. I decided to go out on my own for a little while since it was quiet. I remember walking through alleys and saying his name wondering if he would hear me and come running or if he would stay hidden because of fear. I was wondering if he was still roaming and looking for me, because that’s why he went missing in the first place – he was looking for me. I could picture him in my head wandering up the train tracks like the littlest hobo. I had great fears of him being terrified in a bush somewhere.
I put his bed on my porch with his water dish and pulled myself inside at 3:30am for a couple of hours of shut eye.
I set my alarm for 6:30am so I could get back out walking around. I had a hard time getting myself up. I checked Twitter, Facebook and Instagram and #FindFonzy had exploded through the internet. I was getting so much love and so much help. People had made their own posters for Fonzy and sent them through the twisted tubes of the internets. I felt so warm. I was ecstatic at how many people already knew who Fonzy was and knew how badly I needed him back. He has been my best friend for 7 years and has traveled far and wide with me.
Then I got that call.
It was 7:50am and my phone rang with an unknown number. I normally don’t answer those but since my number had now been plastered all over the internet (with no cares about what psychopaths may get it) I had to. You never know. This girl named Alyssa said that she had been tweeting at me in the night about how her friend Caitlin had Fonzy. Alyssa said she had been, unfortunately, in the hospital waiting and was scouring Twitter and came across the retweet of the poster that had been made for #FindFonzy. I couldn’t see her tweets because they were protected. She said her friend had texted her photos of this cute little dog that showed up at… an art show. An art show! Can you believe that? The location was a good 30-40 minute walk away from my front door. She gave me her friend’s number and I proceeded to blow up her phone.
It turns out Fonzy had wandered north from my location of Dupont and Dovercourt and ended up near St. Clair and Christie in a park called Wychwood. He more specifically ended up at the artspace called Wychwood Barns. There was an art show going on there and he became attracted to a group of girls. He is a ladies man. They made him feel comfortable and he hung out with them for the evening. They even gave him the name, Rodney Stewart. She spoke about the night being very spiritual for her and it pushed her to Fonzy. Normally I would just brush off those types of stories but given the way the night had gone I found it quite moving. Caitlin couldn’t just leave him out all night so she stepped forward to take him to her place until morning when she would call shelters and find out where he came from. Then I called and woke her up.
It is amazing to think that all evening people had their heads staring at their little screens and that is what eventually found Fonzy. This does not take away the foot power that I had looking up and down the streets. That aided is knowing that he wasn’t dead in the streets and was possibly in a warm place.
So here we are a day later laying in bed as I type out this story. It took 12 hours to find him. Those were the longest hours of my life but still only 12 hours to find a 9lbs animal.
I couldn’t have done it without all of you, a real community of real people.