My Daily Art In June

June was a good month but I noticed that my collection of work is lacking development. I’ve just realised that from reflecting on my work, which I do monthly. I don’t really love anything I painted and I feel my painting skills haven’t improved. It is like my art practice got stagnant – I was enjoying painting the natural world and everyday life but I wasn’t fully satsified with the finished pieces. Perhaps I need to change things up and get excited about my new work again.

As this project is about learning as an artist and getting into the habit being creative every day, I am trying not to feel bad about it and figure out how to banish the stagnancy.

Any thoughts, suggestions or ideas – please share with me! Thank you for sticking by me and rooting for me.

What I’ve Learnt Being Creative Every Day For 6 Months


Last year, if you asked me if I could be creative every day, I’d laugh and tell you that I usually create something once weekly or sometimes fortnightly and that I couldn’t possibly find time to being creative every day.

Now I realise I would have been lying.

I can be creative every day. I’ve done it. I have a huge pile of paintings to prove and I look at it with amazement, I wonder why it is so often that I beat myself up for being a rubbish artist – I get up and paint for me every day, even if I have paid work to do on that day. I do realise now that I need to believe in myself and remind myself that constantly.

Why am I doing this? Discovering Crystal Moody and her inspiring lifetime project last year, I was always thinking how amazing it is to be able to paint every day and that I couldn’t possibly do that – I have a business to run…I have commissions to do…I have lots of things to do.

Toward the end of the year, I was beginning to realise that it is possible to be creative every day like Crystal, if I simply find time. Just an hour of my time. I could wake up an hour earlier. I could find an hour to paint instead of watching TV in the evenings. I could organise my day better or work smarter so I have an hour to spare.

That is it. It is already 6 months. And I am not finished. I am making this my lifetime project too. I am not finishing the year putting my paintbrush down. No way. It is a great habit to have.

Of course, it is not all perfect. I struggled. I bunked off a few days. I doubted myself. And this is okay. We are human beings. We need to cut ourselves some slack. The main thing is that I keep learning and grow as an artist.

These are what I’ve learnt in the last 6 months:

  • You get more comfortable with your own creative skills – the more you create, the better your work gets. If it doesn’t, keep going and reflecting.
  • Your mood and stress improves over time while you keep creating.
  • You understand yourself more, and what you love. You notice the recurring theme in your work and better appreciate whatever it is.
  • You connect with and inspire people when you share your daily creations, even if you are unhappy with what you made. Your work couldn’t be more natural and authentic.
  • You realise you are not perfect but it is okay. Embrace your imperfections!
  • You get braver with getting started and using new materials.
  • You get fewer and fewer burnouts. You really get into a creative habit – it is no longer a chore.
  • You feel guilty for skipping few days. You look back what you’ve done so far and stop punishing yourself. Then when you skip a day again, you smile and carry on.

My mental health isn’t the greatest this year, but without creating I could be worse off. Creativity is keeping me sane and I don’t think I’ve really realised how it is good for my mental and emotional health until recently.

I’ve had people telling me – “You are so talented, I wish I could paint like you and I can’t paint.” Thank you but you can. Just go and start. You don’t need to be talented to be an artist.

Learn more about me and my daily art here.

Experimenting With Clay Part 2

Clay creations second round

Do you share your makes even though you don’t like them yourself?

I finished those clay dishes over a month ago and hesitated to share pictures because I wasn’t happy with them. I cringe every time I see them sitting on my shelf that I might just hide them away in my drawers eventually. However, there are some days where I look at them and think that they are maybe rather sweet.

For the last few evenings while working on more clay pieces, I thought about why I don’t like them and how I can improve next time.

  • The colours are nice but as a collection, no. For instance, my first batch looks lovely because I’ve only used black, white, and gold. But I have to remind myself that they don’t have to be a literal collection.
  • I feel that those dishes with etchings would be better off in one light colour or left in its natural colour so the etchings stand out more rather than being overwhelmed with 2 or 3 colours.
  • I didn’t like how my last choice of varnish wasn’t completely transparent so I used Mod Podge by a recommendation and it was much better transparency wise but the surface is tacky to touch. Reading the back of the container, it suggests to use clear acrylic sealer to eliminate tackiness when it states that Mod Podge itself is a sealer (as well as glue and finish) so instead of being confused, I’ve bought another sealer and hoping it is a better choice!

I’ve said in my previous clay related post that I didn’t like Das so this time I tried Claydium, which is much nicer to sculpt with.

It is clear that I am still in experimenting phase. It’s been since November. As far as my budget allows, I am finding the best brands of both air dry clay and sealer for me and hopefully new clay collection to sell in the shop. It is so important to me that they are good quality, durable, and ultimately pretty.

Ideas On Paper

Ideas On Paper Nottingham

Ideas On Paper Nottingham

Ideas On Paper Nottingham

Ideas On Paper Nottingham

Ideas On Paper Nottingham

Heading to the city to buy art supplies, I grabbed an opportunity to head over at Cobden Chambers and find a little shop full of independant magazines, books, and stationery, Ideas on Paper. I have been wanting to visit since I moved here in Nottingham last February.

“We bring a thought provoking and collectible selection of magazines, journals, and books to Nottingham; independent titles on fashion, art, culture, design, business, economics, food, wine and travel, are complemented by a range of stationery, enabling you to get your ideas on paper.”

It is no doubt one of my favourite shops. Every wall was nearly covered with magazines and I was in awe exploring and spotting familiar names, such as Cereal and Kinfolk. I went in with an intention to buy few magazines – I wanted to stock up something new in my magazine box alongside Artists & Illustrators and Oh Comely, which has been my usual reads for years. Being a typically indecisive person, I wavered over which ones I wanted to bring home for ages and I eventually chose Puss Puss (I couldn’t not buy it after finding out it has a feline element! Crazy cat lady here *waves*) and two issues of Uppercase, which I have heard a lot about but haven’t got my hands on them yet.

I have to mention that the customer service I received in the shop was absolutely fantastic – the best so far. Alex, an owner of the shop, approached and greeted me. Even after he realised I was deaf, rather than running away (the usual response I get) he took my heavy shopping bags off me and offered me the chair so I could take my time reading and choosing. He also picked few magazines he thought I may like, Puss Puss being included in the pile. I instantly felt comfortable, and not rushed to buy and leave the shop. Because I struggle to intergrate with hearing society, I was really touched by Alex’s efforts to make me feel involved and relaxed with good reading materials in front of me.

If you are ever at Nottingham, I’d recommend putting Ideas on Paper on your must-visit list!

You can find Ideas on Paper in Cobden Chambers, Nottingham and online:
Website
Instagram
Twitter

My Daily Art In May

year of creative habits my daily art in may 1

year of creative habits my daily art in may 2

year of creative habits my daily art in may 3

year of creative habits my daily art in may 4

year of creative habits my daily art in may 5

I mentioned in My Daily Art In April post that I struggled to come up with subject ideas but things got easier in May as I found my rhythm again after adjusting my new life in Nottingham. I seemed to be more inspired to paint botanical related subjects and the sun that finally came out got a lot to do with it!

My thoughts on being creative every day in May:

// I have started to paint with my black indian ink. These ink paintings might not be my best work but I really enjoyed using the medium and want to continue experimenting. In this quick fern painting, I diluted the ink with water to create light grey colour for the shadows.
// I still haven’t painted with oil that much and I have no idea why.
// Most of my best original art are listed on the shop.
// I still haven’t got the hang of filming myself painting but I uploaded a new speed painting video on my new YouTube channel!
// I love that just one painting could lead up into something bigger. I painted a sprig of basil and it was received well. I then painted more herbs afterwards and with the encouragement from my audience, I turned them into a ‘Culinary Herbs’ print, and you can buy one of yourself over at my shop!

In related news, Crystal Moody – a founder of year of creative habits – launched a brand new website and picked me to be interviewed! People has been very kind saying it is great to know more about me as an artist and my work. Hopefully you’ll enjoy reading it too – check it out here.

You can keep up to date with my daily art by following me on Instagram or using this IG hashtag – #ksdailyart. Thank you for your support!

Botanical Colour At Your Fingertips E-Book By Rebecca Desnos

Botanical colour at your fingertips By Rebecca Desnos

As you may know or may not know, I recently collaborated with a natural dyer and designer, Rebecca to finish her much anticipated e-book by handlettering the main title and section titles. She was looking for natural and relaxed style of handlettering and she thought that my style would be perfect. I asked her to pick one of my handlettered quotes she liked the most so I could have it on hand to maintain consistency throughout her e-book.

I first tried a few different brush pens and discussed with Rebecca, making sure we are on the same page and that I understood exactly what she was looking for. She was a fantastic person to work with – she was fast to respond my emails, and was very clear with what she wanted so the creative process was a breeze.
Botanical colour on your fingertips handlettered titlesReading her e-book after its recent launch, it is beautifully designed and full of useful advice about natural dyeing – from gathering plants to equipment & safety to colour fastness. It would make a handy reading material for beginners natural dyer and being keen to try out natural dyeing myself, I would definitely recommend it. Personally, a good design is important to me too so this e-book is even more special with stunning photos and clear layouts. So if you are also interested, buy her e-book here!

I am always interested in reading a story behind the creation and this post of Rebecca’s about working on a dream project is a lovely read.

I think it is clear that I am really honoured to be given an opportunity to do a big handlettering related commission and to be a part of this amazing e-book!

Katrina Sophia Is 4!

Katrina Sophia Is Four
My fourth year of being full time artist has been a learning curve but fun. This time last year I was preparing for my Made In Camberwell stall and then I booked myself 6 market events from October to December – I was so busy! In a good way, of course.

Some point in the summer, I decided to give myself a little break from commissions, and focus on my shop for few weeks, which was probably a bad move as once I announced that I was taking on portrait commissions again, I have been struggling to get any ever since. But it is not all bad…

It looks like that my 1 – 2 years worth of dabbling in handlettering has paid off. I had three handlettering focussed commissions so far, which I loved doing! Two of them weren’t just handlettering but design work of wedding collection and birthday invitation. I also got commissioned to paint a holiday house and blueberry plants, which was not my usual kind of commissions but I enjoyed painting them so much. I love that I can paint anything!

I also started a sketchbook, challenged myself to draw in public and had an amazing opportunity to photograph a christening.

Most importantly, I made a life- changing decision in late December – that I would aim to draw or paint every single day in 2016. I was following Crystal Moody’s year of creative habits and she launched a course that I couldn’t not join. Joining the course has been nothing but fantastic for my art practice and personal growth as an artist. Follow my daily art here!

On personal note, my boyfriend (who is also self-employed) and I made a difficult decision to move away from London in bid to save up money for our future so we moved to Nottingham last February. So my studio has moved as well and walls needing a paint job, settling in has been tough, especially with missing my old London life on the top. Looking at the bright side, it is quite exciting around here – I now have beautiful massive kitchen (I didn’t know that my love for cooking could grow!) and two gardens, with several of wild flowers I didn’t see much before. Birds! Every time I do the dishes, through the kitchen window I would spot at least three different types of bird and I love it. It is a big change, from London maisonette with no garden to cottage-esque house with gardens in both side!

Thank you for your continued support, guys!