Long ago, when the earth was young…
There grew a wild turnip patch. One imbued with magical properties. Because of a potion that was spilled. And whose liquid remnants washed away with the rain. Running deep into the nearby soil.
Long ago, when the earth was young…
There grew a wild turnip patch. One imbued with magical properties. Because of a potion that was spilled. And whose liquid remnants washed away with the rain. Running deep into the nearby soil.
A couple days ago, I was watching an interview with best-selling novelist Stephen King.
I hate anything horror.
… as you can guess…
… I haven’t read any of his books.
But, I’m always open to learning from the greatest artists of any field.
In the interview:
King talked about the importance of finding (and working with) ideas you enjoy.
He mentioned how a lot of people approach their craft with the intention of making stuff that OTHER people will like. Then, they try to finish that work as quickly as possible. So that they can breathe a sigh of relief once they’re finally done.
But King doesn’t approach his work that way.
He doesn’t CARE about the end result… at all…
… or even what other people think of his work.
The finished book on a shelf is just a pile of dead skin to him. So it isn’t about authoring yet another book.
All that matters to him is that he finds enjoyment in the process of creation.
And he always does.
In fact, he enjoys it so much that…
… by the time a book is finished…
… he has a hard time saying goodbye to the characters he created…
… and he wishes it wouldn’t end.
Thinking back, there are times when I’ve fallen into this sort of trap. Where I forget to enjoy myself when creating art, and I just wanna get the job over with as soon as possible.
So I can move onto the next project.
And I focus too much on what other people will think of my work.
But now that I think of it, those are the times when the work I create isn’t that great.
But not great.
Why does this happen?
I believe the answer lies in a story I read sometime back from a well-known Olympic coach.
One training day:
One of his track athletes came up to him and said…
“Coach, I gotta win that race that’s coming up.”
“Alright. We’ll do some special training just for you today. For this first practice lap, I want you to put 100% of your effort in! Run as fast as you can! I wanna see you at your best!”
And so, the athlete got the message.
He went up on the field.
Got himself ready.
And RAN with all his might.
The time he recorded was… mediocre.
Pretty bad even.
Hearing the result, he walked back to his coach with his head down in shame, waiting for feedback.
After which, his coach told him:
“Alright, let’s try this again. This time, I want you to go onto the field, and just forget about running your fastest. Just put in 50% of your effort this time. Alright?”
The athlete was puzzled.
But he went back up on the field. And did what his coach told him.
He ran SO fast, that…
… he unofficially broke a World Record!
The moral of the story:
When you focus too much on the end result, it really messes you up. You strain yourself so much, your performance goes bad.
You start to get nervous.
Your mind and muscles tense up.
Self-doubt starts to rear its head.
And everything just goes haywire.
So it goes for the creative professional…
… and for me as well…
As Stephen King says (and I paraphrase):
“I don’t care about whether other people like what I create. All I care about is that I have fun and enjoy the process. And if people have fun reading what I write, then that’s great.”
Gotta remember that.
And don’t focus too much on the end result.
That’s why these days, I’m spending more time on just playing around with my work. Not doing it just for the sake of reaching a specific goal.
And that’s also why…
… these days you’ll find a lot of fun new pieces in my store.
Will people like them?
I don’t know. But I know one thing.
I had fun making them.
And to me, that’s all that matters…
“Doing 50% Of My Best”
This letter “Famous Author Reveals The Secret To Staying Motivated” was first published on turnip.co
A couple years back:
I was sitting in a cafe. With my hubby. And my hubby’s piano sensei.
My hubby was trained as a classical performance pianist in the past. And it had been quite some time since he’d last met his most favored piano teacher.
So we were in this cafe to meet and just catch up.
His teacher, I soon got to know, was quite an amazing pianist.
In more ways than one.
Other than the typical traits of a famous pianist, such as regularly doing sold-out concerts and having best-selling albums under your name, he also had some other qualities that distinguished him.
Such as his talent for using music to treat and cure various illnesses (especially mental) for which most doctors had given up hope on.
“Why are you moving back to America right now, master?” I heard my hubby ask.
“Well, my son doesn’t want to be a pianist.” the master replied.
“Huh? Really?” my hubby gasped.
“Yeah. I and don’t really want him to be a pianist either.”
“How come? What does he want to be then?”
“Well, his passion is in space exploration. So he’s been planning to get into SpaceX. And I’d rather he follow his dreams. I’ll be going there too to support him.”
Nowadays, everyone wants to go to space. Or at least work at a space company.
Well, I for one don’t wanna go to space right now.
Not yet anyway.
But that hasn’t kept me away from the allure of the cosmos.
Recently, I’ve been searching for ways to get my art sent into space. So it can go there on my behalf.
And guess what?
From my research, it look like almost every year, there are contests from various companies that you can participate in. And if you get chosen, your art gets sent into space!
Sometimes it’ll be painted on a satellite.
Sometimes it’ll be put on a chip and taken there digitally.
Other times you might even get your art taken by an astronaut. I think.
Well, the sad news is…
… I missed out on the last contest for this year that I could find…
… but I’ll be sure to try and get selected for next year’s intake!
Unfortunately, I can’t tell you that you’re buying art from an artist who’s work was once sent into space. 😦
However, I can give you some candy while you’re waiting. 🙂
And if you like that, feel to click here and get it now.
“Soon-To-Be Space Artist”
I’m sitting in my studio right now.
And I don’t feel like doing anything. At all.
It’s been raining outside since yesterday. Non-stop. The weather’s cold. The sky’s grey. Could it be that Autumn is early this year?
Well, all I want to do right now is bundle myself up in a blanket and sip on some hot chocolate.
So I went to the kitchen to get the raw chocolate. And put a pot on the burner to boil.
But before I put the chocolate in, I thought to myself…
“Mmmm… This chocolate looks good. Would be a shame to melt it and drink it.”
So I threw it in my mouth.
And enjoyed every bite.
So instead of making hot chocolate, I switched to making fake coffee instead.
What’s fake coffee you ask?
It’s one of my favorite drinks. And tastes exactly like coffee (to me at least). But without any drawbacks of real coffee.
And it’s nutritious in a lot of ways because of the herbs used to make it.
(You can do a quick Google Search on each of the herbs if you wanna know how they benefit you.)
But in case you were wondering…
It’s not hard to make.
In fact, it’s so easy, I thought I’d share it with you today in case you’d like to give it a try.
I know a lot of people these days are trying to wean themselves off caffeine. And coffee.
But don’t know what to substitute it with.
If that’s you, then you’ll wanna give this a try.
(According to what I’ve read, people who tried switching over have no withdrawal symptoms.)
And even if that’s not you, you might wanna give this a try. Especially if you need something to keep you warm while you’re crafting or making your art. Even more so if it’s cold outside.
FAKE COFFEE RECIPE:
– 1 teaspoon of Dandelion Root blend (I use this)
* you can add more if you want stronger flavor
– 1 teaspoon of Raw Almond butter (I love this!)
* if you want it even milkier, add more!
– 1 teaspoon of Honey
– 1 cup of hot water
– Put the raw almond butter in a small container with some water and shake until it all dissolves.
– Add the hot water to the Dandelion Root blend and mix with honey.
– Combine everything together and enjoy.
Oh. And if you’re totally vegan, feel free to substitute the Honey with something else.
I don’t mind cheating with a little honey, because I enjoy it. 🙂
It’s back to sipping on my fake coffee and lazing around for now.
Several years back:
I read about this hotel. It touted itself as the world’s worst place to stay at. And it had abysmal reviews on all the popular travel sites.
But, guess what?
The hotel was ALWAYS fully booked!
In fact, sometimes you even had to book in advance to stay there.
The secret of their success?
They marketed themselves for what they were best at.
They were the best at…
… being the worst hotel in the world.
They started running advertising on how their rooms were scientifically tested for (and proven to have) dozens of different types of mold, and… if you’d never seen giant cockroaches the size of your fist before… this hotel was the best zoo you’d ever go to, and… how their rooms included free toilet flushing (no extra charge), and even boasted themselves on how terrible their customer service was (if you miss the feeling of being verbally abused as a child, this place will bring back memories).
People flocked to the hotel like kids to a Disneyland.
They were drawn to the sheer novelty of it.
And everyone wanted to stay there just to see how bad it was.
But whether they stayed the whole night, or ran screaming back to their homes before their stay ended, that I have no clue.
The moral of the story though?
People LOVE extremes.
And they couldn’t care less about the averages.
No one cares if you’re the 3rd best hotel in the country, or maybe the 7th worst place to stay in the world. Do you ever hear people arguing about who’s the 5th best quarterback of all time?
Didn’t think so.
… no matter what sort of creative profession you’re in…
… or even if you’re working a business or a day job…
… find something you can be the best in the world at…
… or even the worst.
Preferably, you’ll want a narrow niche that plays to your strengths. And talents. Don’t try to be all things to all people.
Extremes get you attention.
And attention gets you…
… well, a lot of stuff.
Customers for example.
I’m the best in the world at illustrating beautiful, black and white, botanical borders.
But you probably already knew that. 🙂
“I’m The Best At Something!”
P.S. A couple days ago, we were watching an amazing video that was trending on YouTube.
It was about being:
“Inside Japan’s WORST Hotel Room”
Granted that Japan is known for it’s relentless pursuit of perfection, it makes sense that this video caught eyeballs and went viral.
People never change. 🙂
Be the best or the worst at something. It really helps.
“Aurelia, you don’t watch football?!?”
This question is typically followed by looks and gasps of astonishment when asked by American friends.
And it reminds me of a similar question asked by Canadian friends:
“Aurelia, you don’t watch hockey?!?”
And yet another similar question asked by South East Asian friends:
“Aurelia, you don’t watch Sepak Takraw?!?”
Sepak Takraw, by the way, in case you don’t know…
… is a type of volleyball that’s played with the feet instead of the hands… which means that you have to do tons of somersaults and backflips in the air in order to spike the ball with your feet… which also means that it’s more like a combination of acrobatics + volleyball + soccer.
I don’t really watch it.
But my hubby thinks those Sepak Takraw players are pretty cool.
The only sport I like to watch?
Because those swimmers are all so artistic!
Well, with the artistry in my blood, it’s natural that I’m drawn to more artistic forms of sport.
Other things I enjoy watching, but aren’t really sports, include stuff like:
– Ice Sculpting
– Sand Castle Sculpting
– and even… Snowman Building!
Which brings me to today’s creation…
I’ve been drawing a lot of wreaths recently.
Especially Christmas wreaths.
But then, I thought I’d try something different and do some story-telling in my designs… combined with the subtle art of… Snowman Building!
If you’re a fan of my frames, and…
… you also like illustrated stories, and…
… you like building snowmen too, and…
… you’re getting ready to fill your store with Christmas art, just like most of my fans are right now, then…
… this new illustrated window frame might be something you’d like.
Check it out here, and let me know what you think of this new experiment!
I’ve been having a lot of fun.
In a previous letter, I mentioned how I was starting a new project. And featuring our fans’ amazing masterpieces using our illustrations.
I then mentioned how you could (potentially, if you’re lucky) get your artwork featured too, if you used the #turnipco tag, or even just tagged me on Instagram. But I wasn’t expecting to be so blown away by all the beautiful artwork I’ve been seeing!
Fans have been sharing the most incredible ways of using my illustrations…
… from pyrography (wood burning art)…
… to embroidery…
… to wood scrollsawing…
… to even making key chains!
Well, this project is just starting off.
More lovely stuff is on the way. 🙂
And I’m SO looking forward to seeing more.
Some time back, I received some messages from fans letting me know that Etsy’s review feature was broken.
… Etsy allows you to upload a photo of your artwork that you create with our designs when you post your review.
But for a lot of fans, they told me that the feature was broken.
And that they couldn’t upload their photos.
Which bothered me a lot.
Because I knew I was missing out on seeing a lot of lovely art. And fans were missing out on sharing their lovely artwork too.
Well, problem solved! 🙂
I hope this continues working great.
If you haven’t checked out all the lovelies from our fans so far yet, just gently massage your eyeballs and bring them over to this direction here.
“Curator Of Fine Art”
P.S. Instagram isn’t the only thing I’ve been having fun with.
More fun just released over yonder here…
Growing up, I did have some perverse tendencies.
Whenever I gifted someone a present…
… whether it be for their birthday…
… or Christmas…
… or some other events…
… I liked to see them working for it. 🙂
After buying my gift, putting it in a nice little present box, and wrapping it up finely… I would often take the packaged gift, and then… put it in another bigger box, and… wrap that up too!
And then I would find another even bigger box.
And put the packaged gift into that even bigger box.
And continue wrapping it up again.
You get the picture.
I like to make my gifts as hard to open as possible. Because it’s fun to imagine the look on people’s faces when they try to open my gifts. It gives me inspiration for creating my art. He he.
Around 5 to 10 layers of boxes and packaging is normally my ideal range.
Boxes within boxes within boxes.
Why am I telling you this?
Well, I just recently created a new packaged present box. Just for you.
But unlike the ones I normally gift my family and friends, this one isn’t going to be gifted to you, so you don’t have to worry about me pranking you and imagining as you pull your hair out while opening it.
I will have a little less enjoyment, no doubt.
No prank here.
This is something a lot easier for you to open and use, and you’ll enjoy using it too.
If this sounds like fun, and you can’t wait to get your hands on it, just clicky here to feast your eyes on my new creation…
“Santa’s Most Blacklisted Bunny”
I’m looking outside my window right now.
Sitting in my home studio at Noble Bunny Manor. With the window open. I see the stretches of forest before me. I hear the birds singing. And see the squirrels climbing.
But I also see that it’s about to rain soon.
And that means I can’t hang my clothes outside to dry today.
While a lot of the world is doing their laundry using washing machines and tumble dryers, I’m still sticking to the old time ways of washing my clothes by hand right after I shower.
And hanging out the clothes to dry too.
A little physical labor is good for the body and mind.
One of my mentors, who is a farmer, once said:
“In the modern world, people keep looking for ways to get rid of their work. They make machines to do everything for them. But the end result is that they have nothing left to do. And they sit around bored all day. You don’t want to be too bored. Because then, you start doing dumb stuff.”
And I believe in many ways, that’s true.
Now that I think of it, it’s hard for me to find time to even BE bored. Which I’m grateful for.
Practicing and creating art takes up huge chunks of my day.
Doing the housework takes up another chunk.
And reading takes up yet another chunk.
I enjoy what I do everyday, and every moment of my day. But sometimes I wish I had more hours in the day so I could enjoy even more stuff. Because there’s still a lot of hobbies that I don’t have enough time to do regularly.
What hobbies, you ask?
Well, for one, sewing.
Hand sewing. Which I love. And find relaxing.
But haven’t really had a lot of time to do recently.
In fact, sitting on my ironing board right now is a dress that I hand-stitched all by myself, one stitch at a time. With my bare paws and string and needle. Without any sewing machines or any robotics whatsoever.
It isn’t easy.
But it is meditative. And relaxing. 🙂
And I know a lot of my fans who enjoy a little stitch-work too.
So I’ve just put out a lovely little design you can use for your Sewing Room. You can even use it to make a sewing uniform for yourself to wear everytime you start stitching. 😉
Don’t really do sewing?
It can be used to make a great gift for those who do.
If the thought of any of that excites you, then all you gotta do is click here to check it out now…
“I Wish I Had 8 Hands”
I’ve been spending the last few nights watching…
… survival videos on YouTube!
In preparation for the worst-case scenario where Etsy doesn’t like me anymore and shuts my Art Store down (maybe because of something I said that used to be normal but turned offensive overnight after a new movie came out), and my career as an artist suddenly takes a turn for the worse, and I get tossed out onto the streets, having to draw and beg for pennies and scraps.
Hey, you never know…
Artists always seem to have a tendency to go starving for some reason or other.
Sometime back I read Vincent Van Gogh’s biography.
He spent most of his career starving. And by starving, I literally mean that he had no food to eat. What little money he did have (which his brother kindly sent him), he used to buy art supplies rather than food. And he numbed his hunger pangs by painting.
Eventually, he starved so badly… was so malnourished… and on top of that also struck bad by heat stroke… that…
… he did some terrible things to himself.
Things that I won’t mention here.
Because all my letters are rated PG.
What would I do if I were in a situation like Van Gogh and only had $1 a day to survive on?
Some stuff I learned from watching YouTube videos:
– You need to be good at foraging for wild fruits and vegetables.
Unfortunately, I’m ashamed to say that… even though I’m a herbalist, foraging is not one of my strong points. I’ll have to work on that…
– If you live next to the beach, you can go hunting for live oysters.
Unfortunately, I’m mostly vegan. As most bunnies are. But I guess you can’t be picky if you’re starving.
– If you hang around fast food places, or even food courts, you’ll always find extra condiment packages on the table that people didn’t use.
Good for using with whatever you’re cooking. Extra flavor.
– You can get reduced price, stale bread for pennies at a local supermarket.
You can also can get tiny portions of vegetables (like a single tiny mushroom!) for pennies. Get lots of those different tiny produce items, and you can make coleslaw. Or soup.
– Some coffee cups people litter on the ground have stickers.
And if you collect 6 stickers you can get free coffee at McDonalds. And if you give the lady at the counter a sweet enough smile, she might even give you some free butter.
I think I’m prepared enough now for any worst-case “starving artist” scenarios in case they ever pop-up.
But now that I think of it…
I don’t really need to do all this stuff. Do I?
Even if I lose my store. And my business. And everything else…
… I still have…
… my greatest asset…
… which is my existing stock of artwork.
And unlike the typical artwork that can only be hung on a wall, with my digitalized art, I can always take them and:
– Put it on T-shirts and Mugs and sell them for a profit. Nowadays, you can even use Print on Demand sites that do it for you, so you don’t have to keep any inventory or do any manual labor.
– Learn to scroll saw. Or carve wood. So I can carve my designs on wooden blocks and turn them into signs. And offer that as a service to make money.
– I could always use my art as a template for an embroidery piece. And sell that too.
– I could probably even print my art on greeting cards and sell those for a profit.
Hmm… the possibilities are endless.
It’s good to know that I have some assets that I can fall back on in an emergency.
And you know what?
As long as you have my art, you have an asset that you can use to do all that too.
So you don’t have to starve on the streets when disaster hits.
Or have to learn how to forage or fish for food.
“Artist Turned Survivalist”
I’ve been doing some weird stuff recently.
On Instagram, you may or may not have noticed that sometimes I just spontaneously burst out into poetry on the fly. And so, you may be scrolling through your Instagram feed, and all of a sudden, you see some rhymin’ from Aurelia, and you start to think…
“Uhh… Say what?”
I know I’m weird. But I’m supposed to be weird.
I’m an artist.
But bear with me. There is method to my madness.
Some time back:
I was watching a recording of a retirement seminar given by one of the world’s top writers.
In the seminar, he decided to share all his top secrets for becoming one of the greatest of writers.
One of the biggest secrets I learned?
Be an artist. Not an athlete.
While the athlete peaks at a certain age because of the physicality of his profession (and so the never-ending mad scramble to achieve as much as possible before they hit their prime), the artist doesn’t have this problem.
As artists, we are athletes of the mind.
We don’t have to care about the prime of our physical bodies passing us by.
So all we really have to do is to keep sharpening our minds while not putting too much stress on our bodies. Theoretically speaking, the mind doesn’t really have a peak. Which is probably why the saying goes… with age comes wisdom.
This also means that…
… as long as we keep honing our minds daily…
… and take proper care in maintaining our bodies…
… the older we get…
… the more mentally amazing we become…
… and the more incredible our art becomes!
In other words:
If you’re in any creative profession, don’t try to rush things. You don’t need to. Take your time. Relax more. Rest more. Spend more time daily working out. Mentally and physically. And just have more fun.
We don’t need to burn ourselves out at both ends.
Because we don’t peak at a young age like athletes.
As long as we keep improving, the older we get, the more powerful our minds get, and so does our art.
One of the things I do to improve my mind daily?
Spontaneously bursting out into poem.
Sometimes even song.
Other weird things I do in an effort to improve my mind:
– I always eat and brush my teeth with my non-dominant hand (left hand, since I’m a rightie).
– I spend time practicing and writing out positive affirmations in cursive everyday (helps direct my focus while building my brain, aka homunculus theory).
– I like to fall asleep to the sound of Christmas music (hey, it helps me relax and I just love Christmas).
I guess I’ll stop here.
If I share anymore, I’ll REALLY start to get embarrassed…
“Weird But Wonderful”
P.S. A little random poem from me today:
“A fishin’ I will go.
Because of how it relaxes me so.
But skies are gray.
And the storm doth stay.
So inside I play.
Drawing about fishing today.
To the store I now add this.
For those who would reminisce.
About a fishin’ day gone by.
Missed out because of dark skies…”
This letter “Why I Continue To Embarrass Myself In Public For Your Future Benefit” was first published on turnip.co