Thursday, 28 January 2021

Eating the elephant - one bite at a time: achieving big goals in the #CreativeLife

 You have probably heard this saying about eating an elephant many times before it is especially true for our topic today. We set big goals for ourselves then procrastinate in working at them.  Maybe they are too overwhelming, or scary, or seem unachievable. But they don't have to be.

Big goals or goals that take time are necessary to challenge ourselves to grow as human beings. Without these challenges, we stagnate as humans. The same goes for creativity. If you don't continue to learn and push outside your comfort zone, you will never become a better artist, writer, sculptor, or poet. Or engineer for that matter.

But these big goals are scary, and they can cause us to become paralyzed in our journey towards achieving them. Although I have been drawing and painting actively for seven years, portraits scare me. And one medium in particular: coloured pencil portraits. I have done ink, graphite, and watercolour portraits without (too much) fear. But something about coloured pencil portraits twists my stomach into knots. So I decided it was time to tackle this goal this year. (There is a deadline attached to this goal, in case you are wondering.)

Since I have some experience in drawing other subjects with coloured pencils (in fact I love them), I had an inkling of where to start. So I made a todo list if you like.

The bitesize steps
Caran D'Ache Luminance pencil swatches on PrimeArt 265gsm paper
Caran D'Ache Luminance pencils on
PrimeArt 265gsm paper

Last week I did step 1 - swatching the set of coloured pencils I want to use. It may sound like a trivial activity, but knowing what the medium looks like on paper, is an important step. But also for me, it helps me to get a feel for the medium. Unlike paints, a dry medium like coloured pencils has direct feedback to your hand from the paper.

Step 2 (planned for the next few days) is to choose the colours and practice with them (applications and blending) on the actual paper I want to draw the portrait. This step is also necessary since I have different types of pencils, each interacting differently with the various paper surfaces.

There are a few more steps in this process to learn to draw a portrait in coloured pencil. My journey towards that big goal is not the same as yours, even if we have the same goal. I suggest that you take a few minutes and plan the steps to achieve that goal, because, in the end, you are going to be ecstatic when you achieve it.

Remember to stay healthy, and live creatively until Monday!

●︙● Linzé  🇿🇦💜

Wednesday, 27 January 2021

Book feature: TAKAKUSH by Raine Reiter

“A fantastic tale that weaves a spell of ancient mysticism and modern charm." --Tim Marquitz, Author of the Demon Squad series, The Enemy of My Enemy series, and more.

When Professor Elena Lukas returns to her cozy Pacific Northwest hometown with a broken heart, she’s plunged back into the fate she tried to escape. Like her mother and grandmother before her, Elena must now dedicate her life to a powerful ancient Lithuanian goddess. Although she is prepared to live as a priestess hiding in a contemporary tourist town, she arrives to find that a series of so-called animal attacks have terrorized her forest.With the help of a handsome detective from the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife, Elena uses her expertise in invasive and endangered species to identify that these are no normal animal attacks. The woods are stalked by a dark, mystical creature bent on ravaging the area in an attempt to quell its insatiable hunger. When her little sister goes missing, Elena realizes that the beast can only be vanquished if she is brave enough to face it in-person, embrace her identity as a high priestess, and expose her powers to the man she is growing feelings for.Raine Reiter weaves together an empowered, female-centered narrative with rich descriptions of nature and an ever-present sense of mystery. Her vivid, flowing prose takes readers of dark fantasy into a world that looks and feels real, while still evoking the enticing paranormal creativity shared by authors such as Richelle Mead and Kat Richardson.

Book Links:

The World of Takakush – Genus Magica Book One

Takakush, the dark contemporary fantasy is the story of Elena Lukas and her family of powerful hereditary priestesses. All four human women manifest a powerful Goddess and practice the old ways of pagan Lithuania. The great powers they possess come with costs.

Mina Lukas, the family matriarch, is the priestess of Zemyna, the Lithuanian Earth Goddess, representing birth, rebirth and renewal. She became a consecrated servant to the deity in her twenties. A world traveler, Mina speaks many languages. Her major gift is healing.

The proprietor of the Swan House Inn and Retreat in the Pacific Northwest, Mina pays bills, raises her teenage daughter, an emerging fire goddess, and cares for her aging mother, Regana, priestess to the goddess of the occult, fate and death.

The goddess gifted Regana with great powers, including transformation and prophecy. She seldom leaves her bedroom, preferring to wander the “Penumbra”, a magical dimension where she is young, powerful and vital. No-one knows the human woman’s actual age, but she appears to be well over one hundred. The old woman’s mental capacity is declining as her individuality merges with her goddess.
Fifteen-year-old Gabby Lukas is a postulate of Gabija, the Lithuanian goddess of the fire. Gabija’s gifted her novitiate with pyrokinesis, the ability to start fires at will. This dangerous gift is emerging and will take practice to control. Goddess Gabija’s nature is assertive, volatile and fiery. She has a temper. Gabby Lukas shares these traits.

Professor Elena Lukas believes she turned her back on her destiny until her fiance cancels their wedding. Broken-hearted, Elena retreats home to her eccentric family. At her birth, her family dedicated her to the Lithuanian Forest Goddess Mediena, but she hadn’t committed to the bond. Elena must decide if she will serve as a priestess and avatar, sealing her powers. Or turn her back and live a normal life. The goddess gifted Elena with a spiritual connection to nature and a raven familiar.

When Elena discovers a series of so-called animal attacks terrorizing her forest. With the help of a handsome detective from the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife, Elena uses her expertise in invasive and endangered species to identify that these are no normal animal attacks. The woods are stalked by a dark, mystical creature bent on ravaging the area to quell its insatiable hunger. 

Author Raine Reiter weaves together an empowered, female-centered narrative with rich descriptions of nature and an ever-present sense of mystery. Her vivid, flowing prose takes readers of dark fantasy into a world that looks and feels real, while still evoking the enticing paranormal creativity shared by authors such as Richelle Mead and Kat Richardson.

Raine Reiter weaves together an empowered, female-centered narrative with rich descriptions of nature and an ever-present sense of mystery. Her vivid, flowing prose takes readers of dark fantasy into a world that looks and feels real, while still evoking the enticing paranormal creativity shared by authors such as Richelle Mead and Kat Richardson.

A fifth generation Washingtonian, Raine lives in the gloomy Pacific Northwest and wanders the rainforest with her silly spaniel, Luke.

Raine Reiter on the Web:
Facebook * Twitter * Pinterest * Goodreads * Amazon

1st Prize - $10 Amazon Gift Card
2nd Prize - Paperback Copy of Takakush & a T-shirt
3rd Prize - An eBook Copy of Takakush

Entry Rules:
Enter your answers to the following questions in the Rafflecopter below:

Where did the Lukas family originally come from?
  • Zimbabwe
  • Jupiter
  • Lithuania
  • Antarctica

What is our hero, Elena Lukas’ occupation?

  • Butcher
  • Baker
  • Candlestick Maker
  • College Professor
 The novel Takakush takes place in what region of the US?
  • The Pacific Northwest
  • The South
  • The Midwest
  • The Northeast

Monday, 25 January 2021

The #CreativeLife 2021- review of week 3

The week started off okay, with work to do and the prospect of a few hours of drawing and painting. I finished the preliminary inking of the bridge painting, and we started adding watercolours on Thursday evening. But on Friday morning things went downhill really fast.

I woke up exhausted. Not that unusual for someone struggling with hypoglycaemia. But what was unusual was that having a good breakfast (low GI cereal, nuts, sunflower and pumpkin seeds, chia seeds, coconut shavings, blackberries and blueberries, mixed with almond milk) had no impact because an hour later I was still feeling crap.

I decided to have coffee and two tiny hotdogs, (these mini rolls are from our local supermarket) spread with vegan butter, peanut butter, and a squish of syrup). Again an hour later, still really tired. Trust me, I was getting worried.

By now, I had tried to write the report of the tests I had done on Wednesday and Thursday, but I couldn't concentrate. Report writing is tedious, but there were still calculations to be done, so I had to concentrate to ensure that I didn't make mistakes. I gave up and decided to work on a simple drawing where I had already done the pencil outline. It helped me to relax, and with no expectations about finishing it, it turned out really well.

Lunch was stir-fried veggies and leftover jasmine rice that I heated up again. I added two eggs for some protein. I was trying to cheat my taste buds into thinking that it was a Chinese takeaway meal. It didn't taste too bad, I have to say.

It was a difficult day, but eventually, my body recovered and I felt okay after dinner. Lots of calories for sure, but the scale did not punish me too much on Saturday morning.

The planning for this week:

1. Finish that report will be my priority and then plan the tests on the next job as soon as I have all the samples and paperwork.

2. Since I usually finish the drawing for the Inktober52 prompt on Sundays, I have to do that as well. The deadline is Thursday, so enough time to get it done. I have found a reference image, I just have to do the drawing. I finished the outline yesterday.

3. For our art session on Thursday evening, I want to finish the bridge painting, but I will see how far everyone's progressed, to not work too fast.

Take care, stay healthy, and live creatively until Thursday!

●︙● Linzé  🇿🇦💜

Thursday, 21 January 2021

Track your progress, the one thing that helps the #CreativeLife

 Even though I don't use a bullet journal, I do keep track of my progress on my goals and the challenges that I take part in. My preferred method is using a spreadsheet. I use OpenOffice, but you can use any application you like or a bullet journal. The important thing is to track your progress.

Of course, not every day is a successful day, and then the progress you have made so far helps to remind yourself of what you have accomplished so far.

The year is still young, but tracking your progress will help you to keep going. My spreadsheet is set up with graphs that provide immediate visual feedback when I update it.

Like many of you, I need to lose weight, but as you undoubtedly know, it is not easy. At my age, it is more challenging. But I have made progress, and the most important thing is that the weight I have lost in 2020 is still “lost”.

Yes, I did not achieve the goal I set for myself, and some days it is difficult to say no to my favourite snacks. The important thing is not to give up, and that downward moving graph helps me to not give up.

What do I track?

My weight-loss is but one goal. I also plan for 6 hours doing art or craft every week. Exercise and meditation time is also on my spreadsheet. So are the Inktober weekly prompts, and the posts for this blog.

By putting my progress out there, in a graph, helps me to keep to my goals, and often exceeding them.

Have a look at your progress so far in 2021, and consider tracking your goals to help keep you motivated.

Stay healthy, and live creatively until Monday!

●︙● Linzé  🇿🇦✑💜

Monday, 18 January 2021

The #CreativeLife 2021- review of week 2

Welcome back to my blog and the review of week 2 of 2021.

What I planned for last week:

Work: Finish the tests on a device used in vehicles.

Art and craft: 6 hours

What I did last week:

Work: A few things went wrong on the vehicle device, and the client wanted the units back to upgrade them before I can finish the tests. The next samples are only coming this week for tests, so I did not have much else to do except answer a few emails and help with some technical questions.

Art/craft: With more hours to myself, I spent about 18 hours drawing and painting. One of the coffee-dyed papers was made into an envelope for a page in my personal journal.

Envelope made from coffee-dyed paper
stamped with VersaMagic ink

I also worked on the #inktober52 prompt due this week, so check out my Instagram for the drawing.

My art group and I are working on an ink and wash painting of a bridge. I will post a picture when it's done. It will take about another 2 weeks because I don't work ahead since my friends are learning new techniques and I support their art journey as best I can.

A few thoughts about the second week

Despite having more time to play in my workshop, I have to confess to procrastinating and watching YouTube videos for a day or so. In my defence, I also attended an online art class in watercolour painting.

I also went shopping at my favourite art store, since I needed a new sketchbook it is a favourite and they don't seem to get new stock from the supplier these days. Maybe Covid, or maybe something else. I did find a larger size than what I wanted, but that's okay, I can always cut it into smaller pieces.

If you are an artist or crafter, you will understand when I say that while I got my sketchbook in the second aisle of the store, I spent over an hour there just browsing and seeing what other new stuff they have. Yeah, I can never resist any art, craft or stationary shop.

This week there will be more work and less time to play, but I have to start earning my paycheck, LOL!

On a more personal note: I lost a cousin to Covid-19 this past week. We were not close at all, but it was still not good news. This virus definitely made an impact in many areas of my life as I am sure it did yours.

So please stay healthy, and live creatively until Thursday!

●︙● Linzé 🇿🇦💜

Thursday, 14 January 2021

Planning the practical side of the #CreativeLife

 If you are expecting a post about my bullet journal and how I spend hours every month drawing and colouring many lovely pages, I am going to disappoint you. Bullet journaling in that style is not my style.

I use a plain diary/planner with a week to a view. They change every year since I don't prefer a specific brand or style. This year I am using one from my local Typo store. I divided every weekday with a pencil line into three columns.

The left-hand column is for tasks like writing this blog post, and my inktober prompt for the week. The right-hand column is for the work I do at the lab. The middle column is for chores, the odometer readings for the days that I go to the lab (I keep a logbook for tax purposes), and other tasks required for my own business.

Linzé's planner for 2021

I keep it simple; the decoration you see are just stickers from my huge collection suitable for planners.

Here you see my next week's planner. I cannot show a week with actual detail because I use the names of the companies I work with.

Of course, there is a list of things that have to be done this year, like renewing my car's licence, but those I only schedule in the month when it has to be done.

But if you like a bullet journal and enjoy setting it up with more details and designs, then you may want to check out these YouTubers - TorrynMarie and JashiiCorrin. Both ladies design a bullet setup for every month, although with very different styles.

Stay healthy, and live creatively until Monday!

●︙● Linzé

Monday, 11 January 2021

The #CreativeLife 2021: review of week 1

Setting intentions means that you have to regularly check up on yourself. 

What I planned for last week:

Work: Finish the tests and the report of a job from 2020.

Art and craft: 6 hours

What I did last week:

Work: I finished the tests as planned but struggled with writing the report. Friday was such a frustrating day, but I eventually made some progress by late afternoon.   It was not the report's fault, I assure you. It happens sometimes, but I will get it done.

Art / craft: I ended up spending about 11 hours working on a drawing, and coffee dyeing a piece of fabric and a few pages of white printer paper.

I worked on the #inktober52 prompt due this week, although I will only post it later today or tomorrow.

I also worked in one of my art journals. As a practicing Stoic, I have an art journal specific to exploring some aspects of stoicism to help with both my study and my understanding. I only work in the stoicism art journal occasionally.

A few thoughts about the first week

As far as first weeks go, this one was not too bad. It never fails to surprise me that the first day back at work always feels like the break never happened. Of course it is just a story I tell myself, but by the end of the first week, things are usually back to the hectic schedule before the Christmas break.

Self-care is part of my #CreativeLife, but more about that in a future post.

Stay safe and healthy, and live creatively until Thursday!

 Linzé 🇿🇦💜

Thursday, 7 January 2021

Planning the week ahead for a #CreativeLife

Like everything I have to do whether it be work, shopping, washing the dishes, or drawing the next inktober52 prompt, I have to allocate time for it in my weekly schedule.

The problem we all have is that we have only 24 hours in a day. You may assume that since I am self-employed, I can allocate my hours in any way I want, and in some ways it is true. But it is not that simple.

My job is to work with other companies and their products, which means that I cannot call a client with a question at 3am because I prefer to work night owl hours. I love my job, and scheduling meetings and other client interactions require planning especially if I have to contact them during business hours.

But being self-employed is not only about the work, but there are also several other activities required. Think of all the kinds of company taxes, invoicing, following up on a non-payment, and so on that most of us dislike. Running a successful business, however, means that these tasks also have to be scheduled and done.

Planning is essential for other aspects of my life too. In my last post, I mentioned that I do not plan to do any specific art project, but after thinking a bit about this, I realised that it is not 100% true.

I do schedule time to work on prompts like the weekly inktober52 challenge. I plan for playtime in my workshop to try out new materials or new techniques without a specific project in mind.

Details will follow in my week-in-review post coming next week.

Stay healthy, and live creatively until Monday!

●︙ Linzé 🇿🇦💜


Monday, 4 January 2021

Planning the #CreativeLife today

 The new year is already taking up its fair share of time. I am due to start working again tomorrow, which means that planning becomes more important to make time for drawing and art projects.

Working from home as well as at the lab makes it essential for me to plan for creative time since it is my time to relax and reboot.

Some things are simple to plan like the art sessions I have with a few friends on a Thursday evening. The other regular task to plan is the inktober52 prompt. Since it is a weekly challenge, I have found that I much prefer it to the traditional daily prompts of Inktober during October. But it is still early days, and I might change my mind when October arrives.

Back to planning: I don't plan to create something specific. Instead, I plan to spend at least 6 hours every week doing something creative. The time includes the inktober52 drawing, but it can also be working on a painting, or making and binding a book, or building the model I am busy with.

Since it is Monday, my 6 hours are still ahead, and I can already feel the urge to pick up a pencil to draw.

More about my planning next time. 😃

Stay healthy, and live creatively until Thursday!

●︙● Linzé

Friday, 1 January 2021

Setting an intention - blogging the #CreativeLife

Happy New Year! We have not yet shaken off the vestiges of 2020 just because the calendar ticked over. The pandemic will probably continue to have an influence on our lives for many weeks to come. That does not mean that I cannot make a decision (set an intention) to do a few things differently this year.

My intention for 2021 is to blog twice a week about my #CreativeLife. My twice-weekly tweet at #TheTinyBroom will also continue, as will my monthly newsletter, a Grain of Sand.

Tweets are short, so the blog posts will be a bit more detailed and longer, but I promise it will not take more than 3 minutes to read. Mostly because I know you don't have a lot of time to read stuff, so I am not going to waste your most precious resource with a lot of fluff. This post is probably going to be the longest post of the whole year, except for April, where I plan to take part in the annual Blog Challenge. April's blog posts might be a bit longer, maybe.

So what does it mean to live a creative life?

I am sure that if you have at any point in time read my bio (in my books or my social media profiles), you will know that I am an engineer, an author, and an artist. I am often asked on how I can be self-employed (I have two businesses), write books and also be serious about being an artist. This year of blogging, I am inviting you along on my journey of being me, on living a creative life, while still continuing to learn to improve the person I am.

One exception I have to state upfront: because of the nature of my work, some aspects have to remain confidential but what I can share, I will.

So, here is to 2021 and living the creative life!

Stay healthy, and live creatively until Monday!


The CreativeLife in review - planning, time management, and the creative life

  Hey there, creative friend! It's been a week or more since my last post but mostly because I have been taking time to do other things....