ATYPICAL - experiences, reflections, and lessons learned again

ATYPICAL - experiences, reflections, and lessons learned again

I recently sat down to journal and reflect on my experience of creating the ATYPICAL collection.  Today I thought I would share some of my experiences, thoughts, and lessons I learned throughout this last collection. One of the most profound things I have acknowledged (again) for myself is that my work is firmly based on intuition. If I attempt to plan out what I want to create in advance it NEVER works out.  That’s not to say that I can’t approach a piece with a particular intention, or a colour palette, it just means that for me having a start to finish plan or a finished product almost certainly means failure.  Sadly every so often I disregard this and have to relearn the lesson…..  But when I do it just reaffirms that when I trust my intuition 100 percent, I create my most authentic work.  My ability to see connections and solve problems on the fly is a strength of mine and I function best in most facets of my life when I trust in my intuition and allow myself to rely on it.

The evolution of a collection is intriguing to contemplate.  (See below for a list of what order the pieces were started in.)  Within the ATYPICAL collection I saw myself move from pieces with vivid chaotic backgrounds layered with tight patterns, to a less colourful pallet but a focus on meticulously detailed patterns of the same hue, to the last three pieces that opened up, were more playful and offered more “room” to discover. The component that seemed unlike past experiences for me were the 2 pieces three quarters of the way through that were quite different from the rest – I Threw Every Ball I Own in the Air and Hyperfocus. 

At this point in the collection, I was feeling a lot of pressure and was worried I wouldn’t be able to finish enough work to have a full collection.  I was working many hours and at times not taking good care of myself in order to finish the work.  If you have read the description for “Every Ball”  it is ironic that these pieces were born out of a time when I implemented a self-induced pressure to produce a certain number of pieces as I had created the exact environment described in “Every Ball”.  I was pushing myself so hard and overextending to make sure I didn’t fail or come across as a failure, which in retrospect is comical.  I highly doubt that anyone who came to view this collection would have said to me, “you only have x number of pieces, you really are a useless artist with no talent….”

The order the pieces were started:

  1. Today Everything Fell into Place
  2. I Created an Entire City
  3. Firing on All Cylinders
  4. Symphonic Flow
  5. Overwhelmed and Thriving
  6. My Personal Circus
  7. Continual Grounding
  8. I Threw Every Ball I Own in The Air
  9. Hyperfocus
  10. When The Dopamine Hits
  11. Daydreaming
  12. Perpetually Percolating

Once I completed Hyperfocus I realized at the bare minimum I only needed one more piece to have at least 10 pieces for this collection, so I relaxed quite a bit.  I shook my head and remembered that creating art is as much for me, if not more, as it is for others, so I loosened up.  Out of this new relaxed period I created the last 3 pieces of the collection, When the Dopamine Hits, Daydreaming and Perpetually Percolating.  These last three pieces felt effortless, but that certainly doesn’t mean that the same amount of effort and time didn’t go into them.  I wasn’t fighting myself, there was less internal struggle and I had let go of fear and anxiety.  At the risk of sounding too “woo hoo” the energy for these pieces were released by this transition and I was able to tap into it.  I really don’t know how else to explain it.  It was during this time that I also finally properly finished Firing On All Cylinders.  I had started this piece near the beginning but could never get it to where I wanted it.  It had a feeling of unnatural constraint and left me with the impression that it was forced.  It honestly almost ended up in the garbage a few times.  This piece was literally fully finished and varnished the morning of the day I had to hang the show!  I had made a few changes to it the day before the show went up and tried to convince myself it was done, but when I went to bed, I knew it wasn’t ready.  While trying to fall asleep I promised myself that I would have the answer when I woke up, and if I didn’t it just wouldn’t be part of the show – oh well, I’d have 11 pieces.  I woke up and knew exactly what had to be changed.  I had let myself off the hook and trusted myself and I was able to connect the dots and finish the piece.


I’m not sure why I keep forgetting the lesson of self-trust, but when I do come back to it, I feel grounded.  Additionally, I believe that each time I relearn this lesson I strengthen different skills, which is a gift I’ll gladly receive repeatedly.  So, here’s to the next time!  

The opening of the ATYPICAL exhibit was exciting and well received.  I thoroughly enjoyed reconnecting with friends and collectors.  At this point 5 pieces of the 12 have sold!  The exhibit is up until May 28th at LOFT112 in Calgary.  I am hosting an open house this Saturday from 2pm to 5pm if you would like to come take a look and have a chat! 


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