Writing is Writing

The 2018 Creative Ink Festival has come to a close.  Creative Ink is a growing grassroots writing festival, for all levels of writers, that takes place yearly in Burnaby, BC.  From the first time I attended the festival three years ago, purely as a volunteer, to this past weekend, where I was hoping to learn how to write, I have grown so much as a writer.

 Willow unlocking slayer potential ~ Buffy the Vampire Slayer

Willow unlocking slayer potential ~ Buffy the Vampire Slayer

Ok, that sounds really weird, calling myself a writer.  I don’t actually feel like I am a writer, but after three years attending the festival I finally feel that I could potentially be a writer.  From initial longings of “I wish I could write” to now, actually being willing to potentially call myself a writer, I have the Creative Ink Festival to thank.   I feel like the scythe in Buffy the Vampire Slayer, you know the one, it contains the powerful slayer magic that would turn a potential slayer into a full blooded slayer. My potential is locked up, I just need my Willow to help unlock it.  The Creative Ink Festival is my Willow.

You might be wondering why at this point I’m even willing to entertain the idea of calling myself a writer one day.  Well at the 2018 Creative Ink Festival, not only did I help out behind the scenes volunteering, but I also attended a number or presentations, panels and even signed up for the Master Class, taught this year by C.C (Chris) Humphreys.  Chris Humphreys was one of two Guests of Honour for the Festival, a British actor, playwright and novelist, he was a wealth of information and had a lot to share with attendees about writing your first novel.

Something that Chris said during this class really resonated with me. As I mentioned, I’ve always wished that I could write.  This small thought has been something lounging on a fainting couch in the back of my brain for as long as I can remember.  Why couldn't I be a writer?  I never really enjoyed English class back when I was in school, finding it quite boring, and somehow I thought that meant that I couldn’t write.  Why those two things were connected in my brain, I have no idea. Attending the festival the past few years has slowly made me realize that enjoying English class and writing are not actually connected. Maybe I could write one day?

Do. Or Do Not.There is no try. -Yoda.png

One of the things I’ve learned at the festival this year is that even the most celebrated author had to start somewhere.  Kevin Hearne, the other fantastic 2018 Creative Ink Festival Guest of Honour, took 19 years to have his first novel published.  This novel wasn’t even the first one he wrote. His first published novel, Hounded (The Iron Druid Chronicles #1) was the second novel he wrote.  He wrote Hounded while waiting to find out if his first novel would ever be picked up by a publishing house. He wrote it because his excitement of writing was overwhelming and while he was waiting on his first novel, he needed to output this excitement somewhere.  He wrote Hounded and was published, finally, after nineteen years.

All writers have to start somewhere.  They have to practice again and again, over and over, before they were good, before they would be published.  If that publishing happens traditionally or as a self published novel, all authors still start at the beginning.  If I ever want this background brain thought of wishing I could write to jump up off that fainting couch and stop being a wish, I will actually have to write.

The enthusiasm and encouragement from everyone who attends the Creative Ink Festival has finally infected me to the point where I am going to write.  I have already been doing some blogging, which I have learned this past weekend is still writing, but I really want to write a story. It won’t be good, I am just starting out after all, but I’m starting.  I never would have gotten to this point without the supportive nature of the Creative Ink Festival.  It may have taken three years of attending the Festival for me to get to the point of starting to write a story, but I can 100% tell you, without the Creative Ink Festival I never would have gotten to this point. 

 My new notebook, I needed somewhere to write my stories.

My new notebook, I needed somewhere to write my stories.

Never once did I feel like I didn’t belong at the festival because I wasn’t a writer, let alone author. Year after year, everyone from from guests of honour to panellists and presentators and attendees, everyone, they were all willing to stop and chat with you, give support and overall be encouraging to you to continue this craft of writing.  It is rare to find such a positive community that makes you feel like you belong, especially when you don’t feel like you belong in it. The Creative Ink Festival is like that, positive, and I am so glad to be a part of it.  I can’t wait until the 2019 Creative Ink Festival, where I will be attending for the first time as a writer (maybe by next year that won’t feel so weird to say). Over the next year I am going to write a story. It doesn’t have to be good, it doesn’t have to be long, but I am committed to have written something that has a starting, a middle and an end. That is after all the first step to achieving a dream, starting.

"Writing is Writing" 
~ C.C. (Chris) Humphreys

You might be wondering what was it that Chris Humphreys said during the Master Class that made me realize that I could be a writer one day, he said “Writing is Writing”.  Writing is Writing. Such a simple phrase that I found incredibly powerful and I never would have heard this without the festival. The Creative Ink Festival takes your potential and unleashes is upon the world.

My Creative Ink Festival Experience

I am super excited for the upcoming 2018 Creative Ink Festival.  I thought it would be fun to write a little bit about the festival, and what I plan on doing there.

What is the Creative Ink Festival? The Creative Ink Festival is a weekend long event full of inspiring panels, presentations and workshops. Designed to be inclusive for all levels of writing the festival is a way for you to learn and motivate your writing, in whatever form it takes.   This year's festival takes place from May 18 - 20, 2018 at the Delta Burnaby hotel.  Just on the border of Vancouver and Burnaby, BC.

This is the perfect type of festival for someone like me.  Someone who dabbles in writing but is interested in exploring the art form more.  I've always been afraid to attend anything writing based, thinking that I would be looked down at because "I'm not a real writer".  The Creative Ink Festival is so warm and opening and welcoming and everyone who attends is there to teach and to learn.  Not once did I feel like I didn't belong.

I first found out about the festival as my good friend, Sandra Wichkam, is the brains and creative genius behind it. My first experience with the festival were so rewarding that I wanted to see the festival succeed even more than it was already doing.  I now volunteer my time to Sandra, doing pretty much whatever she asks of me.

Helping Sandra at the festival the last few years and the positive energy the festival has lead me to creating my own website, The Artisan Penguin.  I was so inspired that I jumped in head first into blogging.  Mostly I write book reviews, but I do post the occasional random musing.  I also have a few story ideas rattling around the old brain, that may one day make their way out onto the real world.  That's where The Creative Ink Festival comes into play. 

I've never taken any sort of writing class, but I've always had the thought that I wish I could write.  How am I ever going to learn how to write if I don't actively learn how? I was so scared before to attempt a writing class, but this year, in addition to my volunteering at the festival, I plan on attending a bunch of panels, presentations and even went so far as signing up for the Master Class with one of the guest of honour, C.C. Humphreys.  

With Kevin Hearne and C.C. Humphreys as the 2018 Guest of Honours, and an amazing lineup of authors, publishers and writers, I'm sure the festival this year will be even more inspiring than last year's. And if you are wondering what a Master Class is, well it's an intensive writing workshop that should hopefully help me figure out how to write a novel.  

I still have to figure out where my volunteer hours for the festival will be, and since I've seemed to fill up the majority of my time with panels and presentations, I suspect that I might not be able to attend all of these, but the following is my hopeful schedule of events that I will be attending at the Creative Ink Festival for 2018.

My Schedule

Friday

  • 09:00 - 12:00, Master Class
    C.C. Humphreys
    Write a novel - from first inspiration to final edit - then submission! Have you got a book in you? Have you always wanted to get it out into the world but lacked the confidence? Then join award-winning, bestselling author Chris (C. C.) Humphreys, for an intensive writing workshop that will help you banish the critic, release your creativity, and introduce you to the secrets of novel construction, character development and sheer storytelling fun. With plenty of exercises to get the fingers and brain moving, and a step by step analysis of what makes a successful, exciting piece of fiction, participants will leave the workshop with the beginnings of a novel and a road map to help you finish it.
     
  • 13:00, Panel
    Designing Character Backgrounds
    Brenda Carre, Chadwick Ginther, Kevin Hearne, JM Landels, Randy McCharles
    You have an idea for a character, now you have to figure out how to flesh out the character.  

  • 14:00, Panel
    Research
    C.C. Humphreys, Eileen Kernaghan, Susan Pieters, S.G (Sandra) Wong
    Research isn't just for non-fiction writers.  Every piece of fiction, no matter the genre, will contain details which, if not accurate, will throw a reader out of a story.  But how do writers do research?  When do they start?  When do they stop?  How do they wade through the quagmire of overwhelming information and choose just the right pieces to weave into their stories?

  • 15:00, Panel
    The Grey Side of Anti-Heros
    Michele Fogal (M), Joshua Pantalleresco, T. G. Shepherd, Bevan Thomas
    We should hate them, but we love them. They have major flaws; they sometimes do the right thing for the wrong reasons or vice versa. How do you create an anti-hero that will draw in your readers and never let them go? (Discussion of what an anti-hero is may also come up!)

  • 16:00, Panel
    Find Your Writer’s Voice
    Adam Dreece (M), Kevin Hearne, Linda DeMeulemeester, Susan Pieters
    What does that even mean? How do you find it and when will you know if you have found it? How do you make it one that stands out from all the rest?

  • 19:00, Presentation
    Creating Immersive Worlds
    Adam Dreece
    We love those types of story worlds where we are so pulled in, we feel the dampness of the air on our skin, and hear the croaking of the spider-goats in the fields. But how can we shake our imaginations loose and do that? Adam Dreece shares his lessons and thoughts from bringing his steampunk meets fairytale, post-apocalyptic fantasy, gritty sci-fi future, and other worlds to life.

Saturday

  • 11:00, Panel
    Feeding Your Muse
    Mel Anastasiou (M), C.C. (Chris) Humphreys, Michele Fogal, Jim Jackson, KT Wagner
    The creative process can often be a tricky one, and it is easy to fall into ruts or hit a blank wall. Our panelists will discuss how to develop ideas, create compelling subject matter, and what do next when you find yourself stuck, not knowing what to do for your next piece of art, writing or other creative project.
     
  • 12:00, Presentation
    Writing Short Fiction
    KT Wagner
    In 2018 there are a lot of good reasons to write short stories. The form is enjoying a resurgence of popularity and it’s an excellent path to reaching readers and connecting with publishers. Writing short is also a way to test-drive other genres and stretch your creative muscles. More than fifteen of KT Wagner’s short stories are published or pending. She’ll share her perspective and approaches in this class.
     
  • 14:00, Presentation
    Practical Linguistics in the Development of Voice
    Kevin Hearne
            (I don't even know what this one is yet, it just sounds like something that I could use).

  • 15:00, Panel
    Plot or Character: Which Comes First? 
    Brenda Carre (M), Manny Frishberg, Trevor Melanson, Kristene Perron
    What is most important to a good story: a fast moving and/or engaging plot to carry you away, or characters that you can identify with, or at least care about? You can have one without the other, but when should you? And, does plot emerge from character needs and desires, or are they born to serve the plot?

  • 16:00, Panel
    Creating Believable Characters
    Krista Wallace (M), Kevin Hearne, Brenda Carre, Adam Dreece, Kevin Harkness
    How do you convince your readers that your imaginary friends are real … at least in your story?

  • 17:00, Banquet
    Keynote Speech at Banquet
    Adam Dreece
    Adam Dreece presents, "The Power of, No, Damnit, I'm Doing This

  • 19:00, Panel
    Live Action Slush - General Edition
    Manny Frishberg (M), Mel Anastasiou, Randy McCharles, Rhonda Parrish, Susan Pieters, Krista Wallace (Reader)
    Our panel of editors and publishers listen to anonymously read story openings and comment on why they would or would not wish to consider the complete work. Bring the 1st page of your manuscript (please leave your name off the page!) to be read aloud and receive comments from our panel of authors and editors. This event is both fun and educational -- don’t miss it!

Sunday

  • 12:00, Presentation
    How to Build a Good Story
    John Mavin
    Good stories don’t just happen, they’re built, and as architects use blueprints, writers need sound structures to create effective emotional journeys for their readers. In this session we’ll explore the structural elements shared by all stories (from linear to unconventional), uncover the differences between plot and structure, and give you the tools to build emotionally satisfying stories again and again.

  • 14:00, Presentation/Workshop
    Improvising Into Writing
    Manny Frishberg
    I learned most of the essential elements of writing fiction (in particular) by doing improvisational theatre. Like all theatre, improv is, at heart, storytelling. As is fiction writing, so it’s not surprising to find ways they connect. In this participatory workshop, we use improv games and exercises to explore character, setting and plot in a new way. Be prepared to get up and move (with appropriate accommodation for disabilities, of course).


It's not too late to attend the 2018 Creative Ink Festival yourself.  Online registration is available until May 4th, 2018 and then you can plan on purchasing your membership at the event itself after May 4th.  Weekend passes are as low as $80 if you purchase online or $100 at the Festival.  Check it out!

Time Flies!

I'm still alive!

Let's see, where did I last leave you all?  January was my first month of my challenges, and I was challenging myself to bring breakfast to work.  It was a successful month, and I was happy to report on my last blog post that I was successful for the month of January.  That particular challenge has now turned into an actual habit, which was my main goal, and I'm proud to say that since January 1st, 2018 I have made and brought my breakfast to work every single day.

I didn't post an updated for my February challenge for various reason (see below for more details), but it was to make and bring a lunch every day to work (notice a theme here?).  I was also successful in this challenge, and brought my lunch every day.  I have also managed to turn this challenge into a habit, and since February 1st, 2018 I've made and brought a lunch to work every single day.

For March, I ended up switching my challenge.  Originally I was going to have March be a vegetarian month, but since I was having a lot of trouble with overindulging in sweets, I changed it up and made it a "no sweets month".  I mostly succeeded with this challenge.

 Tongue from  theawkwardyeti.com

Tongue from theawkwardyeti.com

There were 3 occasions where I broke my no sweets challenge.  The first was because a good friend was in town, and it was going to be the last time I would see her for a while since she was moving away.  I ended up going to high tea.  It was delicious, and I felt a reasonable excuse to skip my no sweets challenge for that event.  The second time I broke my no sweets was on Pi Day.  I just had to have pie on Pi day (March 14 aka 3.14).  I sorely regretted this decision later as I crashed from an overabundance of sugar while I was curling that evening.  It was pretty terrible, I was shaky and having the sweats and no matter how delicious the pie was, it wasn't worth feeling that terrible.  The last and final time I broke my no sweets rule for March was near the end of the month.  I had purchased some Girl Guide cookies when I was done in Seattle to watch the musical Hamilton (Yes, Hamilton is just as amazing as everyone says it is and I was super lucky to get the chance to see it in person).  For Canada, we don't have as many options in Girl Guide cookies as the USA, I couldn't resist trying some of the Samoas I've heard so much about.  I ended up eating 4 of them over a few days.

All in all, March, while not 100% successful, did help me overcome the urge to eats a bunch of sweets for no particular reason.  Stopping and thinking about the sweets, did I really want that sweet?, has made me think about them differently, with my brain as opposed to my tongue.  Occasional the tongue takes over, but I'm finding that most of the time my brain will prevail.

The Hardest Thing

With three months under my belt in my monthly challenges experiment, I have to say that the hardest thing I have noticed so far is that I spend an inordinate amount of time thinking about and planing my food.  Between food planing and my new exercise regime I'm exhausted.  

Exercise?  Yup!  A while back (read a few years ago), I hurt my knee.  Slowly over a few years, I gained a bunch of weight, which made the pain I was dealing with even worse.  Multiple x-rays, doctors and incorrect physio I finally made it into a sports medicine specialist who was able to help.  Part genetic and part previous injury, the specialist gave me a bunch of exercises to do and my knee is slowly starting to feel better.

Until I started having some relief in pain, I didn't actually realize how bad my knee had gotten.  I was experiencing two levels of pain, this sharp intense stabbing pain that would come on suddenly and the go away, and this low level always there pain.  Until the absence of pain, I didn't even notice that I had a low level of pain constantly in my knee.  That pain was being drowned out by the sharp sudden stabby pain.  

I have a long way to go, both with strengthening my knee and losing some weight, but after almost three years of it slowly getting worse, I'm finally on the right track...now I just have to stop getting colds and hurting myself in other ways (pulled a muscle in my leg :( ) and I'll eventually be right as rain!

Any ways, that is why my blog posting and my book reviewing has petered down to practically nothing, I have only so much mental energy in me, and at the moment, I'm spending most of it trying to get healthier.  I'll do my best to write a bit more often, but I make no promises.  

Note: I didn't bother to proof-read this post, so I appoligize for any grammatical errors.  Honestly if I spent the time to proof-read this post, posting it wouldn't happen (then mental energy I was talking about is to blame)

 

Editing Paintings

I've made two paintings recently that I was curious to see if I could try to edit and make some adjustments in photoshop.  To be specific these paintings are; Tropical Illuminati and Galaxy #1. The originals of these paintings can be viewed in my Watercolour Gallery, but as for why I wanted to edit them, well read on.

Tropical Illuminati

I've written a blog post about Tropical Illuminati which explains the reason behind this particular painting and why I painted Flamingos and Pineapples.  I had a ton of fun making this painting, but while I was painting it, in a few spots the water ran way from me which left some of the wrong colour in a few areas, especially in the legs of the flamingos. This is something, that while it bugged me a little bit, wasn't that big of a deal.  

One of my ideas for the future, is to eventually have prints or cards of the paintings I make.  I felt that colour of the water spilling into the legs of the flamingos is something that I wouldn't like to have on a print and I was curious if I could fix this very small mistakes in photoshop.

Turns out I can!  Even with my very limited skills using photoshop, I was able to do exactly what I wanted to fix the spilled water and a few other minor areas. While I was in photoshop, I punched up the colour just a tad so it was a bit more vibrant.  

One thing I've noticed now that I have a scanner and have started scanning my watercolour paintings verses taking a photo of them, is that the vibrancy of the colour tends to mute just a little bit more with a scan verses a picture.  This was something that I was expecting when doing my research on which scanner to purchase.

I went with the Canon CanoScan LiDe 220 which was on sale at Best Buy, which was an added bonus, when Michael and I went to purchase it

Original Scan

Photoshop Edit

As you can see, the original and the edited version are just about the same.  The main change being on the flamingo's legs, where in the edited version, I removed some of the blue water that had crept into the legs during the painting process.

I also "punched" up the colour's in the edited version just a tad. I feel that it still looks like a watercolour painting, just a bit more vibrant.  

Galaxy #1

With Galaxy #1, this was the first time that I attempted to paint a galaxy.  I kept seeing these lovely galaxy design on Instagram and I was curious if I could recreate on of them myself.  I have an idea for another painting that would include a galaxy and I wanted to attempt the galaxy first before I started work on this other painting.

The trees are dreadful, and something that I will work on in future renditions of Galaxy paintings.  I also found that I left too much blank space at the bottom of the painting, which makes the overall painting fall quite flat and boring I feel.  All of that being said, the galaxy portion of the painting, for a first attempt, I'm quite proud of. 

Galaxy #1 is another painting that I was curious if I could make pop just a bit more using photoshop.  At first I just wanted to crop the image, so there would be less blank space at the bottom, but while I had it in photoshop, I also attempted to punch up the colours a bit.  

 Original Scan

Original Scan

Photoshop Edit

As you can see, the edited version of this watercolour galaxy is super vibrant and the colours just pop a lot more than the original scanned version.  I debated whether or not to add more stars using photoshop, but decided against it.

Is using Photoshop Cheating?

I've decided that my Watercolour Gallery will always include the original un-edited version (scan) of the painting I've created.  While I am enjoying being able to make some minor edits and colour punches to these paintings, they are not the originals.  I don't want the original paintings to get lost as these originals are what inspired whatever edits I may make in Photoshop and without them, there wouldn't be any art.

In the future, one day, I'd like to have the option to have prints made and I think that photoshop will help with that, punching up the colours a tad will, I believe, translate well to a final printed picture.  Only time will tell.

What do you think, is using photoshop cheating?

Tropical Illuminati

Centuries ago, pineapples and flamingos decided that they were not getting the recognition they deserved and they banded together to slowly install themselves in modern culture. Alright, I admit, that does sound crazy, but kind of fun to think about.  If Pineapples were sentient and Flamingos actually cared about that kind of thing, their seemingly takeover of modern arts and cultural would make a lot more sense.

Flamingos in Pop Culture can trace their origin to plastics, and the pink lawn flamingo specifically.  Pineapples have an even longer and varied history in pop culture than Flamingos, starting with their "official" discovery by Christopher Columbus in 1493.  Reading about the Social History of the Pineapple is actually quiet fascinating.

The hashtag #tropicalIlluminati started out as an inside joke with friends, that I loved so much I painted my newest watercolour with a flamingo and pineapple theme.  For the most part, it's still an inside joke, but I've had many people ask me why I enjoy it so much.

 Alice in Zombieland

Alice in Zombieland

A few months ago, a friend of mine, Julia from Vancouver Crafty Geeks, decided that she wanted to decorate her deck with flamingos and pineapples and put out a social media call for anyone who had or knew where to get Flamingo Lawn Ornaments.  If memory serves, I believe that this desire stemmed from the previous summer when we saw a bunch of Flamingo floaties during a day-trip to the beach.

I actually had a few flamingo lawn ornaments I got from a yard sale, leftovers as Halloween Costume, "Alice in Zombieland", I only needed one, but I bought three, you never know when you are going to need extra flamingo lawn ornaments.  I was going as a zombie hunter Alice from Wonderland and Michael was going as a zombified Mad Hatter.  If you don't remember the context of the Flamingos in Alice in Wonderland, they were used as croquet mallet by the Queen of Hearts.   

A few weeks after the flamingo lawn ornament call to arms, during a shopping trip to the states, Julia found some flamingo and pineapple string lights that would work great on her deck.  They were pretty awesome, I almost wanted to purchase them for myself.

Following a flurry of picture message exchanges with Julia about all the crazy pineapple and flamingo stuff you can buy for bathrooms I started to see Flamingos and Pineapples EVERYWHERE.  A lot of the times, it would just be a flamingo on a cup or a pineapple on a shirt, but occasionally they would appear together.  I also started to spot it on TV, once Don Cherry was wearing a flamingo suit and on How I Met Your Mother, Ted Mosby woke up next to a pineapple.

As a joke, I mentioned on Facebook that noticing flamingos and pineapples everywhere was all Julia's fault, sometimes the best random conversations happen because of peoples comments on Facebook statuses.  

During that Facebook convo, two tags emerged from another friend who had noticed the same phenomenon, #FlamingoPineappleConspiracy and #TropicalIlluminati.  Since #tropicallIlluminati just had a better ring to it, I found it hilariously awesome and this is how the #TropicalIlluminati was finally uncovered from centuries of hiding.

The #TropicalIlluminati discovery was a classic case of the Baader-Meinhof phenomenon, alternatively known as the Frequency Illusion or Confirmation Basis.  This is something that everyone has experienced at some point or another.  For example, have you ever purchase a car and then started to notice that same car was everywhere?  Or when reading a book, and you discover a word you never knew before, then that word starts to appear everywhere?

While I am totally away that the Baader-Meinhof phenomenon is the reason for the existence of the #TropicalIlluminati, I've still been enjoying the outcome, and it even has a longer history in my life than most of my friends are even aware.


It all started around my birthday.  I can't remember the exact birthday it was, late teens early twenties, but in any case, one year for my birthday, my good friend Katie, gave me what is to this date, the best birthday card ever.  A Pineapple.  I don't mean a card with a picture of a pineapple on it, I mean a physical pineapple, the kind you'd eat.  I don't even like to eat pineapples, and at the time I didn't even like to drink their blood, but this was by far the most memorable birthday card ever.  A fresh pineapple with the words Happy Birthday written on the tag that was attached by a little elastic to the leaves.  How many birthday cards do you remember, I bet not a one.  I have a feeling this card will be one that I remember always.

From this point on, despite my not enjoying the eating of pineapples, I've always held a fondness for them.  So when Katie announced that she was getting married, the crafty person that I am, I decided to make her a shawl as her wedding present.  

I HATED the first shawl I attempted to make.  It was a simple shell stitch, but by the time I was almost finished it, I couldn't stand it.  There was no way I was giving this hated shawl to Katie, and despite the fact the wedding was almost happening, I stopped making it.

Remembering that pineapple "birthday card" Katie gave me many years ago, I wondered if I could make a shawl with some sort of pineapple theme.  To Ravelry I went that there is a ton of pineapple themed crochet stuff and I found an awesome pattern called I Promise You Pineapples .  At this point, the wedding had come and gone and the shawl was very overdue as a wedding present.  I promise you pineapples appeared to be a pretty simple crochet and I decided to attempt it.

A year after the wedding, I finally presented Katie with a completed Pineapple Shawl. I Promise You Pineapples was a fun pattern to make and crocheted up really quickly.  I might even make another one for myself one day.  

 I Promise you Pineapples

I Promise you Pineapples


Flash back forward to 2017 and the discovery of the Tropical Illuminati.  I was in a whee bit of a creative slump, having just finished my latest painting, the Alice in Wonderland Star Wars Mashup (which coincidentally also features a flamingo), and I didn't have any idea what I wanted to create next, my art supplies were sitting there, unused.

Along came the Tropical Illuminati and inspiration struck!  I knew that I had to paint Flamingos and Pineapples and give homage to the #TropicalIlluminati.

 #TropicalIlluminait in Watercolour ~ July 2017, painting by Samantha Reeves

#TropicalIlluminait in Watercolour ~ July 2017, painting by Samantha Reeves

I had a lot of fun creating this painting.  This was the second time I've attempted painting water, the first time was in "C" Vancouver.  Every painting is a learning experience, while I don't think I have water "right" yet, I do think that the water in #TropicalIlluminati is a lot better than my last attempt.

If I was to redo this painting, I'd leave off the #tropicalIlluminati part on the painting itself, and add it in later on the computer.  Aside from that, I love this painting and the joy it has brought to me, my friends and hopefully the world, if #tropicalIlluminati goes viral...you never know.

Recent Tropical Illuminati Sightings

 
 

Have you discovered the Tropical Illuminati prior to reading this post?  If you have, I'd love to hear about your sightings.  If you discovered the Tropical Illuminati after reading this post, well, that's the Frequency Illusion at work again, and I love to hear about that too.

One thing I can say about all of this Flamingo and Pineapple fun, I now know how to spell Illuminati without looking it up each time.  

Update July 31, 2017 ~ I submitted Tropical Illuminati to Urban Dictionary and it was ACCEPTED!  That makes me so excited.

Update November 8, 2017 ~ My friend Julia, formerly of Vancouver Crafty Geeks has re-branded and you can now find her at Wayward Pineapple Creations.  Her newest blog post is her about her interactions with the #TropicalIlluminati, check it out!: A Conspiracy of Pineapples

Creative Ink Festival

Three years ago, the amazing Sandra Wikham had an idea.  Sandra likely had the idea a lot longer then three years ago, but I found out about it three years ago so that is where I come in.  Sandra wanted to create an event where creative people (of all types) could work on their projects in an encouraging environment, with "enforced" quite time and built in breaks to chat with other people. Thus Creative Ink Club was created.

Being a non-writer myself, I wasn't sure if I would enjoy Creative Ink.  I though it was an amazing idea, but if I didn't write what was I going to do?  However I like to encourage my friends in their endeavours whenever possible so attend Creative Ink Club I did.

It was amazing!  Everyone who attend was so encouraging, the "enforced" quite time really made you stop and think for a while and get to work and the mingle time breaks were just the right length.  I drew a picture of penguins.  I hadn't drawn anything in a long time and it was sure nice to be encouraged to do something creative.  Other people who attended worked on screenplays, writing stories, poems, blog posts and there were even a few people just doing homework or knitting/crocheting.

This event was my first exposure to the Creative Ink Festival.  I love the fact that the Festival is open to everyone, for writers, readers and artists.  I've seen other writing festivals in the past online and always felt that as only a reader that the cost of these festivals was not worth my time or money, nor would I get much out of them.  I can honestly say that The Creative Ink Festival is for everyone, writer or not, you will get something out of the festival.

Last year I helped Sandra with a bit a volunteering at the badge pick-up booth.  I hadn't purchased tickets to the event, but figured I could help Sandra out where I could.  I should have purchased tickets, everyone who picked up their badge was so nice, and very enthusiastic to be there, the energy was just amazing and I loved every moment that I was there.  All of the panels looked like they would be very informative, interesting and fun to attend, even for a non-writer like myself.  I also had a bunch of friends who attended the entire weekend of the festival, and the stories they came back to me with about how much fun they had made me really disappointed that I didn't just get tickets myself.

This year I'm not making the same mistake as last year.  I will be going to The Creative Ink Festival, for only $80 for three days of panels, I really feel that I will be getting my money's worth.  As for the my original exposure to Creative Ink (Ink Club), well Sandra has also included an Ink Club event at the Festival.  I encourage you to check it out if you can find the time.

As for myself I'm really excited to attend the Hands on Calligraphy with Barbara Gordon panel.  Sandra has been told I'm not available to volunteer during that time.

Links:

The Creative Ink Festival

2017 Programming: Descriptions of Presentations and Panels

Sandra Wickham