Archive for the ‘on being an artist’ Category

Studio Blitzing

life is wonderful1

This week marks 7 years of being my own business. 7 years? Crazy. More on that later. I have lots to share!

But it seems like after all this time, with more and more work to do, I’m finding it harder and harder to share here in this space! With the loads of work that goes on behind the scenes here in the studio, it’s just not happening as much as it used to at the moment. When you are illustrating books, designing fabric, writing books, finishing up custom work, and designing new collections there seems to be little room for anything else at the moment:) It might be time to hire some interns for that. Something to think about!

But there is still time to doodle! Here’s a little doodle that makes me happy today.

I’ll be sharing more about my 7 year journing this month! And I’ll be celebrating with you! Yay!

xo
Sarah

  • Share:
2

Less, but better.

One of the reasons I’ve taken a bit of time off blogging, is simply because life is SO full. All it took was traveling during the summer months where I didn’t have my good access to wifi and a computer as much, and my routine of showing up here was broken. No regrets really, except that I realized in those months, how MUCH time was being deticated in my life to things I felt I SHOULD be doing, rather than what REALLY mattered to me in my family and in my career.

Case in point: I often feel I don’t have time to truly get down and dirty in my creative process because of the contant distractions of kids and family life, yet if I were to add up the total minutes and hours spent on my phone or doing completely unessential things in my day, it would total up to just the amount of time I need in my day to make progress in my art! How is that? It’s more than just “priorities” it’s about proactively protecting your time, and allowing space in your day to deticate to the things that matter. Much easier said than done!

But as I’ve been studying this principle of LESS, BUT BETTER in my own life, I’ve felt the need to document my journey a bit more and share what I’m learning along they way.

In May, when my sleep deprived from the newborn stage, busy and full life came to a head, I started realizing that I was having mini panick attacks from all that there was to DO. I have always known that I can’t do it ALL…but I am such a driven, passionate person, it’s really hard to convince myself of just that!

Enter in Greg Mckeweon with his new book Essentialism: The disciplined pursuit of less (instant New York Times Best Seller, and an instant following of 2.5 million readers on his blog). I ran into his wife, who was a fellow musical theater student with me in my BYU days, and she told me about the book that just came out. I instantly bought it, and devoured it, and knowing that Greg was a brilliant mind, but also a father of 4 yound children living in the Sillicon Valley, I found his book extrememly relevant.

Since that point, I’ve actively been making changes in my habits and life that allow for more productivity to happen, while doing LESS in a given day. Something that I’ve actually been striving to find over the past few years, but never could find the resources to really make it relevant to my daily life.

I’m going to be sharing my journey here, in hopes that there are other women who can improve their level of happiness and satisfaction in their lives by disciplining our lives to truly get out of it what we want. I’m convinced that successful family life and successful creative business building doesn’t have to be synonomous with overwhelmed, overtired and crazy living. It’s something that I’ve felt I’ve managed well, but needs to be better for me to really feel like all that I have been pursuing is truly successful to me.

As I document my journey to maintain a level of happiness, wellness and productivity that allows me to keep my priorities of being a happy mother, happer person and successful creative, I hope you’ll join me and add your experiences! This is a conversation that REALLY needs to be had…espeicially when we are sucked into the culture of information overload, idea overload, and just overload in general. We can’t do it all. Yet, we are subconciosuly sold the idea that doing more will get us more. I’ve been seeking the proof that doing less is actually better, but hadn’t found the documented proof until I found this book.

How to weed out the trivial many and focus on the essential few…while still being present…and successful…in your creative industry, your home and your personal life. This has been my quest this past year, and I want to take you with me.

Are you in?

xo

Sarah

Image: {Greg McKeweon and his wife Anna with me and my husband after Greg’s Keynote address}

 

 

 

  • Share:
5

let them play.

summer flag.blog

 

I was able to head “home” for the weekend for a quick visit with my husband and all my siblings and their spouses to surprise my Dad for his birthday. It was so precious to be all together without our kids, and to reminise being kids ourselves…something that I don’t think has ever happened with all my siblings being adults.

Funny how we as adults can just go back to being kids again when we are all together. My mom bought cold cereal and ice cream like she would have while we were under her roof. It was adorable.

Reflecting on what it felt like to be a child, with all those floods of memories and funny stories, reminded me that kids are kids. And meant to be kids. Not adults-in-training. I grew up in a house full of play….and looking back…hard work and education felt like play to us. Learning how to create an awesome history project was play. Music lessons were play. Learning French was play. Even math practice was play (up to a certain point:). And our creative free time was just as much learning as play.

Being home reminded me that education and learning was such a vital part of my parents’ parenting style.. But it was hidden in a family culture of expecting excellence as well as creative play.  I grew up with parents who are truly children at heart and were so curious about the world in a playful way, yet my father has degrees from Cambridge, Oxford, among others. It’s something that I want to achieve as a parent….to let them play. And to not forget that children are children and through playing and fostering curiosity, they will learn and absorb the entire world around them.

Whoever wants to understand much must play much.

- Gottfried Benn

It’s also important for me to let go of that tendency I have to feel those pressures of adult life, and remember to play myself. The mind is full of expansion when we are open and curious, always learning. The world is still my playground, and I hope to never….not ever….loose that sense of wonder.

  • Share:
2

Life lately.

march 2014 ig

 

The past several weeks seem like a blur, as I’ve been attempting to catch up on about every project that got left behind in the swarm of new baby-land. I’m the kind of person that expects a lot of myself (this has it’s pro’s and con’s) and I tend to live in a constant state of possibility. Like, “Oh sure! I can totally whip out that book cover in a week!” Haha. Maybe when I was 25 and childless. I still think I can just create on demand, and I forget that a tired body (this baby still thinks 5:30 am is a great time to start the day!) really limits my creative “on” buttons. I have to laugh at it, really.

Couple that with a body that’s still trying to figure out how to heal from a challenging 16 months of baby making and keeping up with 4 soul-filled children, and I am playing catch-up big time.

I’m learning how to balance my own whimsy and the reality of mothering and I always veer to the side of mothering. Which makes me happy and content. But then there is the work that piles up, and sometimes I think I must look like a really bad circus juggler. It’s all good things….art making, home making, peace making. But it’s knowing for myself when to turn out the lights and just go to SLEEP when I really should be doing this and that and this, that’s hard for me.

Here’s a few clips from Instagram lately. I’m working on some really fun projects that I can’t wait to share (books, new fabric, new products….)

Life is good, oh so sweet, and full to the brim! I long to find that place where I can slow down and still find myself being productive in all the right ways. I’ve been practicing mental gratitude and mental meditation which has been incredibly healing to an overworked mind. Because my passion is my work, and my work is my passion, I’m learning to be more kind to myself, filled with more forgiveness as I strive to be the best mother and still share my creative gifts with others. I’ve always known that God’s gifts to me are for me to share, and that has been so beautiful as I have always strived to put myself in a place of giving. But we all know that the bucket can get empty without constantly filling it. Mothering alone can do that. I’ve been on a journey of learning how to be in a constant place of being filled. It’s a beautiful place to be in, but requires such openness, and rawness which makes it hard to articulate sometimes.

But as I’ve expressed these thoughts in one form or another, I realized that there are many of of creative mothers that just KEEP GOING and feel a relentless need to DO MORE. And to you, I say, “Stop, breathe, follow your bliss and slow down without guilt.” This world is getting more demanding, faster and harder to keep up by the minute. And it’s very easy to fall into that rat race. Simplifying life down to it’s core needs and letting the other pressures go will only make for better joy.

I’m just honestly so grateful that my work, when approached from a place of joy, can be so fulfilling to me. I’m constantly grateful that I have a place to go to that fills my soul.

It’s just so ironic, that when I’m overworked, that very same place can drain me.

Maybe you can relate!

I’m in a place of internal change, as an artist and a creator, and I really look forward to seeing where that change takes me. I know that as we are true to ourselves, and no one else, that we will truly do our life’s best work.

Thanks for listening, and hope someone out there benefits from these possibly random Monday thoughts.

Love to you all, and have a lovely week!

 

Sarah

 

 

 

  • Share:
10

365 Sketches

 

 

 

play for me.web

 

The interesting thing about drawing is that it requires a lot of what I don’t seem to have a lot of right now:

1. Two hands. You only need to draw with one, but the other hand steadies your paper. Something I’d never thought of before I had children.

2. A pencil. Preferably one that doesn’t get stolen from the child you are sitting with.

3. Creativity. Well, yes folks. It takes a wandering mind to go places that create magic. The places where I can put feelings onto paper. My mind wanders plenty….but lately it’s because I’m drifting off to sleep while making pancakes. Not exactly productive.

4. Time. As much as I like to draw stick figures, I just don’t get a thrill out of it. Sketching something doesn’t take hours, but it does take longer than 2 minutes…and if I had that in my day I’d take a shower instead:)

But, all that being said, I don’t feel human without putting to paper how I feel about my children, childhood and what I see in my head. It’s amazing that with all the sleep deprivation right now (yes he’s almost 6 months and yes he’s still making a zombie out of me!) There are still hints of life in my right brain. It’s not where I want it to be, and that’s OK because baby making is #1 on my list of my best creations. But I’ve decided to try and sketch as much as I can. Make myself even. It’s like exercise (which I’m lousy at)…it requires blocking out bits of time and making it happen. At least with 4 kids at home.  9eefc6387ecd11e39e3c1216422729ed_8 a725f68a826d11e3b0fe1213113368a2_8 3e28d3727ed111e39b8a125d06582ab4_8  

And with being in the middle of creative deadlines right now, sketching keeps my brain from thinking there isn’t anything in there. When you are only getting 4-5 hours of sleep in 2-3 intervals, there really isn’t much in there:) It helps me realize that maybe I actually do think about more than just what I’m making (or not making) for dinner.

So, 365 Drawings…I’m ready for you. It might take me 3 years, but I’m determined to put pencil to paper more. It’s my magic time.

PS: You can keep up with my INSTAGRAM drawings here.

  • Share:
11

Do your Thing.

9890_10151712705993978_73167393_n

Right around this time of year, I get one part sentimental, and another part thoughtful. 6 years ago next month, I launched my little ETSY shop in hopes of “finding” my career in design. It’s a journey I talk about here. Like in this post, this post or this post. But before you go post surfing (sounds like a sport?) stick with me. I am often asked in interviews about what led to what, and how I began designing fabric, or how I broke into book illustration without an agent, etc. etc. etc. And there is, yes, a journey.

But I saw this quote yesterday on the www and it sums up pretty much what I believe in in terms of going where you need to go, and landing what it is you are meant to land. I really can’t say it any better, unless God and divinity was mentioned somewhere in there.

I look back to the timid, shy but naively excited Sarah Jane 6 years ago, who needed to find a way to pay the bills, and I look today at her and see that she still sometimes wonders how it’s all going to work out. With 4 kids now, and with even more of a desire to keep the train going, I often sit there and think “Should I be working harder in this area? Or this area?” or thoughts like “Maybe I should be trying harder to reach out to this contact person, or that contact person.” And often, like anyone who runs a business, it can be at the expense of just making beautiful art!

But I am reminded, like I was at the very beginning, that when you have a calling to make beautiful things, keep making them. Don’t stop so that you can chase up the wrong ladder. Instead, build the ladder, and those opportunities will climb up to you.

Doors will open naturally when you are truly doing your thing.

And that’s what’s happened to me. I’ve had my fair share of blood sweat and tears (literally) and I truly believe that when you keep moving in the direction that you were born to move in, those things in your life that you need to support you, will come.

Have you experienced that?

It’s pretty awesome.

And right now in my life, with that sweet baby taking up most of everything I’ve got, I sometimes feel like time is standing still….or rushing past me fast…I can’t tell. I’ve said no to opportunities that have come that just didn’t work out because I wasn’t ready, and I’ve felt ready for opportunities that just don’t seem to be coming. The answer really lies in naming your priorities and staying true to them. And the right things just work out.

It’s all rather wonderful. Everyone has their own unique story of becoming. I’m glad I get to share mine with you in a little small way.

I’ll be sharing more posts about my journey, and my business this week and next, as I enter into 6 years of being Sarah Jane Studios! Wow. What a trip.

If you have any questions, or topics you’ve always wanted to talk about or find out, comment below and I’ll do my best to integrate it into the conversation. With so many people, especially women, crafting out a career from their art and their motherhood, it’s such an important conversation to be a part of.

Cheers!

xo

sarah

 

 

  • Share:
19

Drawing Drawing Drawing

365drawingsmay

 

Hello! I hope you had a lovely, lovely weekend. 3 Day weekends are bliss. This weekend, my husband took the kids out of the house on a fun Daddy trip so that I could play major catch up on work & art. Like I mentioned before, we’ve always played tag team at home, and since this year so far has been a bit different than most, I have weeks and weeks of art making to catch up on  (books, fabric, portraits….and much more!) So this weekend was a welcomed guest. But the kids are coming home in 10 minutes and I’ve better go put the icecream away. Hee Hee.

So, at the beginning of the year, I made the goal to draw every day. Or at least as often as I could. It’s so theraputic for me. It’s what I love. It’s how I think. But like anything, it takes setting aside time. I try to have  a sketchbook out when I’m with the kids, but it usually gets overthrown by their drawings. Which, of course, I love seeing monsters and dinosaurs in my sketchbook. But I need time to refine my skills daily. It’s how I come up with ideas. Ideas don’t just HAPPEN. They come when I’m putting pencil to paper. I have to be actively getting things out of my head for anything good to ever come.

How about you? How do you make time to do those things that truly make you feel like  YOU? It’s seriously something that takes conscious working out.  But so worth it.

We have 2 days left until school is OVER! I can’t wait. I really love summer time with the kids home. Summer period.

PS: I will be posting daily sketches to INSTAGRAM, but I’ll be sure to upload batches of them at a time here on the blog from time to time. Instagram  is a mother’s helper! So easy to keep up with you all. Are you doing #365drawings? There are a lot of you on instagram now. Hope to see more of you! xoxo

 

 

 

  • Share:
15

2013

aslan-lion-web

 

Taking some time off from this space for the holidays felt just right. How are you? Hope you didn’t come by too much, cause I was laying low and enjoying some well deserved home-body time. All of us (except the husband-turned-nurse) got sick over the holiday, which meant that instead of formal feasts, we stayed in our PJ’s and had chicken soup on Christmas. It was a bit of a downer, but we were all together, snowed in under a foot and a half of snow, and it turned out to be just the pace we needed.

Taking time off from the computer and internet completely felt very well deserved as well. Maybe it’s part of being creative but every so often, I get completely burned out of doing anything social, or creative, and December was one of those months for me. I have had these lulls long enough to know that I need to just go with the flow and let myself unplug. And it was good that I did. I’m ready to get back into creating again.

2013: I’m really interested to see what this year brings! I’m a goal person, and I consider myself  pretty driven. But this year, I’m feeling the need to be a little unattached to my goals, and instead be more focussed on the daily moment. To be a little less pushy of myself, and to allow growth and blossoming to happen in their own time.

There is a lot of stuff I have scheduled, and plenty to keep me busy. But for whatever reason, I’m feeling less go-go-go and more “listen and pay attention.” Does that make sense? I won’t be doing any less, but I intend to have my mind more open, and less filled with lists and pressures. I think last year, I had intentions of letting go of the clutter tasks, and focussing on the creative. But I wasn’t as successful at it, because I still tried to push myself to get there. This year, I’m opening up, staying quiet in my mind, and being more intentionally aware and allowing myself to grow where I need to. I’ll keep you posted on how that goes. My mother-brain gets in the way of letting me just “play” sometimes. I’m sure there are a few of you that can relate. It’s all for good reasons, but I am letting go of the “musts” and “shoulds” a little more, and letting myself make more room for expression.  Good for the soul.

I’m excited to share it with you.

Here’s to a new year!

xo

sarah

 

PS: The above illustration is the portrait of my kids I made for my parent’s this year. I’ll be sharing more of the Portrait Project as they come in!

 

 

  • Share:
9