Next month will be a year since I started to do my paint nights at my studio in Thorndale. This past spring I started teaching painting classes at retirement homes. This fall, my Learn to Paint courses for non painters has started running and I am looking forward to offering more specific painting classes like florals and landscapes in the near future. I have also had more opportunities to do paint events at companies for team building exercises.
I took a leap of faith about what I am passionate about and it has steadily grown over this past year in a way that I have been comfortable with. My audience include adults and seniors and I feel so lucky that what I have envisioned has been coming to fruition.
I started SylverDesign in 1996 and it has been alive, in one form or another since then. A few weeks ago I told a close friend that I now know what I am doing (work) for the next 10 years or longer. I am excited at working at my business. It is mine and I am grateful to all my friends, family and clients.
In my Learn to Paint class, I taught my students how to blend acrylic paints. Below is a photo of all 4 of our paintings arranged together. My caption for this painting was, "can you guess which one is the teacher's?
For the past 4 years or so I have been wanting to get back into the digital design field in the London area. I was a Graphic Design instructor for 10 years and created and taught the original Photoshop, Illustrator and Graphic Designing Electronically courses at Fanshawe , I also started as a Graphic Designer (the old way, before computers) 30 years ago. Opportunities were not happening and so I took a friend's advice and followed through on another path.
My husband and I build our dream home about 7 years ago on a 40 acre farm. We designed it ourselves and I have a studio that is spacious with all the amenities and with lots of light. Last summer I was mentioning to a friend that I wasn't getting where I wanted and she said to me, "Sylvie, when you built your house you said that you would have art classes in your studio, why don't you do that!".
Paint Nights were popular so I invested in all the stuff to make it a go and in Nov. 2016 I began. It was a very good start. In the spring of 2017 I started to do painting classes at Amica in London. I now have 2 more retirement homes that I am starting to do monthly classes with. I hope to add a few more.
Paint Nights are a start but not my end. My plan is to offer art classes to adults, actually from high school age and up. I have had enough people from my Paint Nights who want to learn more about painting that I have designed an 8 hour Learn to Paint for Non Painters course. When I have enough people who have taken that class, then I will offer classes in painting florals, landscapes, Group of Seven, and the list is endless. I'd also love to teach a colour theory course on paint colours. and am also thinking of having one day seminars.
I am on my way of building my art teaching world and I am very excited in the coming years. I have always had a passion for teaching and it is what I shine at. The fact that I am a fine artist myself who gets to pass on what I know, is a bonus.
Either in my studio on location, I have honed my ability to create a learning environment. I thank everyone who has come to my Paint Events (not just Paint Nights) and have been following me on this journey. The 2 most consistent pieces of feedback that I have had is that my studio is spacious and has lots of light and that I actually instruct during my classes, as I come around to everyone and assist them in the process.
I have always been blessed. I have found what I want to do for a very long time and it feels wonderful.
On July 27, 2107 I had the fun and pleasure to create some art in a 3D environment at UnLondon. It was a meetup that included ping pong, food and drink and of course the VR experience.
I saw an article on CBC TV last winter on just this and thought that's exactly what I want to do! Thanks to UnLondon for having the facility and equipment available. At this point, being my first time using the interface, I got used to it and the controls to create basic items. I look forward to creating more intricate art and will be checking online what other artists are doing in this environment. I have always been a forward thinker, having read Nicholas Negraponte's book, Being Digital back in the 1990s.
I am a very curious person and am very excited how technology will give us another outlet for creativity. I hope to be old and grey someday creating wonderful works of art not only with VR but whatever technology that will come that we just don't know about yet.
With over 25 years experience as a graphic and web designer, and as a design instructor, I am letting others know about me to see how I can help others with their creative needs.
I have a beautiful studio with the technology and software that I need to provide solutions for my customers. As a design instructor as well, I can help with visualizing what a client needs and how to do it. As a multi passionate person, and work at helping clients transform beyond their current status.
I taught design for 10 years and how to utilize Creative Thinking techniques. Creative Thinking is not only for designers or artists, but for anyone who is in business and wanting to have new ideas and create solutions for their problems, it's' not always about art.
I look forward to hear where your "pain points" are and how I can help you or your company.
I had lunch with a friend recently and I was asked if and how I was keeping in touch with technology. As someone who has a graphic/web design background, I realized that I know more than I am telling people. She asked me about Google Analytics and I told her how I registered for the account and how it gives me info on my website. It is very interesting to see not only the demographics of who comes to my site or bounce rates, but also where they are coming from. I was able to block certain geographical areas (like Russia). How do I know all this? I am a very curious person, always have been. If someone else has already done it, it is on the internet.
In the past, I had to set up a registration form for a gymnastics club in town and had to deal (before it was common place) how to send the info to an email account. I used a php script called formail.php and even though I am not a programmer, I know enough about syntax of various programs to edit the file and send the data to the right email with the appropriate Subject header in the email. I did this back in 2002.
I am surrounded with friends who are computer geeks and it never takes long until we are talking about the latest technology. I am always interested in the latest software for either app building or other emerging technologies. It is interesting for me to see how VR is gaining ground. Personally, I am looking forward to voice activated holograms to surf the internet, play games and generally carry out many of our daily tasks.
My background as an Industrial Design graduate is a help because I learned about usability and ergonomics way before UX was a buzzword.
Keeping on top of technology is always going to be something that I like to tinker with. I am a creative thinker and that what helps me keep curious, and there are still so many more things to be curious about.
If you are not aware, Kaizen is the Japanese concept of continual improvement.
In the past, when I experienced the newness of computers in the home and of Desktop Publishing, I was blown away on how I could edit my text electronically and not have to deal with Letraset sheets.
There have been so many changes over the decade on web platform, what technology is utilized for digital design. Gone are the old Macromedia and Aldus programs. Most CMS webdesign platforms have all that you need built in, not like the collection of programs from different vendors were collected to create sites. Not that is totally gone, I am still trying to keep on top of what the latest technologies are the industry standard. Someone keeps moving those chess pieces.
I am still excited to know that there are so many more changes ahead of us. I look forward to having VR and AR more mainstream. Animated GIFs have made a bit of a comeback. I personally am waiting for holograms to be brought in to our UI and UX experiences. Our phones may someday be our personal computers with their ability to host our powerful software programs and your monitor and keyboards are peripherals.
As a continual learner and very curious person in general, I love to think of processes. My training as an Industrial Designer has taught me to be a lateral thinker. My passion for Graphic Design has taught me how to get across an concept in the most clean and understandable way possible. Can people understand the message? How will they navigate? What do you want them to learn or get from the experience? I am very fortunate to be surrounded with like minded friends where when we do get together, we talk about the latest technology and geek out.
My experience with Ladies that UX, Women in Communication and Technology, TechAlliance and as a MYNY mentor at Fanshawe College, has helped me stay curious and want to work through processes.
The fact that our learning curve is still in its infancy when it comes to technology, I look forward to continually be challenged in the years ahead. This is a truly exciting time for the curious.
Adobe Illustrator was created in 1987 and I started using it in Sept. of 1991 and started teaching it at Fanshawe in Feb. 1992. As a freehand illustrator, I loved how I could create scalable vector art. Scanning stuff and cleaning them up in Illustrator is something that I really had fun playing with.
I can't believe the time that has passed and I am still using my Adobe software programs. The highlight for me was visiting Adobe headquarters in San Jose in 1994. I drove down the El Camino Real and say so many big software giants of the day and some that are still around today.
One thing that learning this software has taught me is that design tools change all the time and it continues today. I just came across a drag and drop way of creating my own apps. Soon it will be virtual worlds and voice activated everything including major biometrics included in all aspects of our life.
I look forward to the next 30 years.
Feb. 2017 marks the 25th year since I created my first course for Fanshawe College night school - Adobe Illustrator. I was given less than 3 weeks to put together a 30 hour course. I took the opportunity, and week by week, I created the course and attained my experience teaching in front of a class. Two years later I created the Photoshop 30 hour course and the first Electronic Graphic Design course which was 54 hours in length.
I continued to teach for a total of 10 years where I finished my last 2 years teaching at the daytime Design School at Fanshawe College. With both my art and technical knowledge, I created a Portfolio Creation course for Urban Design students and taught Creative Thinking to Graphic Design students. During this time I was very active teaching corporately as well.
For over the past 2 years I have been trying to find what (as I joked with my daughter) what Mom wants to do when she grows up. Anyone who knows me knows that I have been actively engaging with the digital design sector in London with no success. I have wanted to teach at Fanshawe College again but am not given any hours.
Over 5 years ago, my husband and I built our dream home which we designed and where we were the general contractors. We were able to design it exactly as we wanted it. That included an amazing art studio and gallery. Last fall I started advertising Paint Nights at my studio and teaching art lessons. I had success with the paint nights almost right away but it wasn't until after the new year where I now have 2 students to whom I am teaching art, not bad for January. I am getting more requests for various types of classes and am looking forward to creating courses that people want.
Everything that happened this year so far is screaming to me that this is what makes me happy and is financially beneficial. I really miss teaching and that IS what I do best. I plan to teach for the next decade and impart on others the fun and play with creating art and design while adding all the details that I have learned as a BealArt and Fanshawe Design graduate.
I am so grateful for all the people who have believed in me and have supported me in this endeavour. We have always told our children to do what you love as a job and I think I finally have relearned that myself.
I had quite a progressive year with moving forward with my digital design knowledge. I finally got Wordpress under my belt, eventually being given a blank server space and loading the theme and all the plugins that I like to work with. I realized that I do want to continue to base myself from home as far as freelancing goes. I also realized that I really miss teaching and will be expanding that part of my business in the new year.
One thing that has been on my mind for a few years has been my background of UX design. As an Industrial Design graduate
This blog is to showcase my ongoing work.