Paint Nights seem to be quite the craze right now and I am very fortunate to be set up to do them in my studio. I have just expanded my ability to seat from 7 to 14 people at a time. My paint nights so far have been a blast and since I love to teach and be in front of a class, I am right at home.
Paint Nights are set up for people who don't paint. The method on how the painting will be done is thought out ahead of time to make the evening go smoothly.
I am able to offer BYOB to my clients. Other locations can cost up to $45 for a session (usually 2 hours) and then you buy your drink above that. I charge $35 per person and everyone can bring their favourite wine or cooler. You can even bring your own food if you want to do a group party.
It's hard to believe that we moved to Thorndale from London in late April 1996. As both of my children eventually attended Leesboro PS, I found myself volunteering a fair bit. I helped with facilitating the Chess Club, supported our son in participating in school plays and created graduation videos for both the children's grade 8 graduation class. We were so happy with the school and community and to this day feel blessed that they had a happy, safe environment to grow up in.
My husband was a Scouts leader when there was one in Thorndale, and often he couldn't make it back from Toronto to attend a Scouts meeting. I often stood in for him and will never forget being greeted at those meetings by all the cubs as "Mrs. Rusty". My husband and I have always believed in the fact that it takes a village to raise a child and were there for many kids who we felt needed an extra hand.
I was also a member of the Thorndale Revitalization Committee, where we were headed by Ralph Stephens and Bill Ross who fought to separate our needs from the whole of Thames Centre. Through the RED grant, we were able to implement the light standards on main street as well as all the trees planted there. I designed and created the banners on the light standards as well as design and supervision of the making of the Wye Creek Park sign next to the hardware store. I have had one of my paintings over the fireplace at the Thorndale Library since it was expanded from it's former self.
I remember being on lots of Christmas and Fall Fair floats representing either the Scouts or Leesboro PS. Going tobogganing in the winter with the Cubs and supporting the Sparks with their fundraising efforts.
As my children attended university, I have been less involved but I am very proud of I Love Thorndale and how it is offering a real community connection to all residents. From my days with the Thorndale Revitalization Committee, I know how important it is for Thorndale to set itself apart from Dorchester. I hold no ill will to them in any way as they have a vibrant business community. It's just that I feel Thorndale needs to stand on own. When I first heard of the start of ILT, I told them that they were an important part of the community and wanted them to be very successful.
I have started advertising my company with ILT and offer my help in any way to continue to make it a vital part of the community. It is exciting to know that Thorndale is growing and it is becoming more feasible for me to focus on Thames Centre and area to grow my business.
This local focus will also allow me volunteer again and be more active in the community.
I am a very blessed person. Throughout my life I have always been allowed to follow my creative dreams. It is difficult for me to think that we have been in our dream home for over 5 years now. We took 2 years to design and almost 2 years to build our home that essentially was placed in the middle of a corn field with no water or electricity. We were the general contractors on the build and it was definitely a labour of love.
Within this past month, I was speaking to my good friend and neighbour Sharyl, and I was thinking about the work that I wanted to do. She spoke up and reminded me that when we built our home, I created an art studio above the garage with lots of light and double sink for cleaning brushes to teach art from home. I have been looking beyond my backyard and as the book The Alchemist states, sometimes you don't need to look further than that.
The other part of me misses teaching. I taught for 10 years from design foundations to digital design. I not only taught but was a curriculum developer, creating courses from scratch. I still have a lot of passion for teaching and so I have started to position myself to teach art/design and computer graphic software from my home. I live in Thames Centre, just north east of London which has a population of about 17,000 people. Thorndale itself, where I live, has 2 new subdivisions slated to be built within the next 1-3 years. These are all other reasons to focus in my backyard.
I am still a designer and artist, two things that I will always be doing because I am passionate about them. Being on my own since 2002 from a work perspective, I realize that an office job outside my home is not the best option for me because I am used to being on my own and I really enjoy it.
Our home also lends itself to be a bed and breakfast and could be a location for art retreats. My husband and I have agreed that we want to leverage this beautiful location.
So now I look forward to this next year as my business grows. It is interesting that Paint Nights are so popular right now. I have already hosted one and have 2 more in November that are booked. Diversification is something that I thrive on and love the fact that I am often doing very divergent things.
I thank my family for their constant support. Without them, like many other entrepreneurs, I would not be able to follow my interests and passions.
I am so excited for the future. Wish me luck!
Moving forward with offering classes from my studio, I considered what the best method would be for my clients to make payments. I myself, have been paid through email cash transfer this past year and I thought on just how simple it is and wanted to share the process. .
"Interac e-Transfer is a convenient way to send and receive money directly from one bank account to another. All you need is access to online or mobile banking through a participating financial institution, and you can send money to anyone with an email address or mobile phone number and a bank account in Canada — without sharing any personal financial information".- Interac website
There is also a great article from the Globe and Mail.
I realize that this could be a real mind shift for many who haven't taken advantage of this process. It could help your payment options in general in your life for whatever you need to pay for. The part that I like the most is the ease and security. Have a look for yourself!
I have provided links below of some of the major banks.
If your bank isn't listed, just check online to see how it is done.
I am very excited to offer art and design training from my beautiful studio in Thorndale, Ontario which seats a maximum of 8 students. As a fine artist myself, I love to share techniques in paint or illustration. As a graphic designer and instructor, I can teach custom courses in Illustrator, Photoshop and InDesign.
I welcome both adults and children and offer custom courses to focus on what the student is interested in learning instead of taking cookie cutter courses. Let me know what you are interested in and we can work out an outline and length of time.
For over 5 years now I have used Weebly for my own website design. For a person who started creating websites in notepad, then to 1990s WYSIWYG editors, and then to Dreamweaver, it has been an interesting ride. I recently have been playing with Wordpress and have just evaluated Wix. I also have been using Weebly for my blog.
I saw an advertising on TV last week on Wix and liked the drag and drop interface that it offered. It is a much more flexible than Weebly as to where to place stuff. I spent some time playing with Wix and I would work on this platform at any time. I tried to recreate in Wix what I created in Wordpress, and there are some bells and whistles in Wix that I really like.
I will continue to develop my skills in Wordpress. I am working on my new site now, call it a sandbox, at www.sylverdesign.buildingsite.ca Not all the pages are populated at this time but I am proud that I designed the header and menus from scratch. I like the fusion builder portfolio where the options populate whether you are wanting to see illustrations vs logo vs other stuff.
For someone who is looking for a template driven site builder who doesn't want to work with Wordpress, I recommend Wix over Weebly at this time. It will be interesting to see how long it takes Weebly to move over to the drag and drop interface that Wix has.
What I love about technology is that it is always changing and we haven't seen anything yet. Play on!
I have been in a funk for the last year and a half or so and I have finally realized why. I do tout myself as a lifelong learner and that is so true. I realize that I haven't been learning anything new and I was feeling stunted.
I have been introduced to Wordpress and am now a kid in a proverbial candy store. I am finally using this old grey matter and it is very satisfying. Whenever I learn something new I push myself to know every nook and cranny of the subject. I am not a programmer by any rate, but I have in the past, learned on my own how to tweak php and java scripts to do what I want them to.
I have been checking out some CMS platforms lately and feel that Wordpress is the right answer for me. I am giving myself some time to get it all under my belt and look forward to showcasing my first sites when they are ready. I eventually will be migrating my own site from Weebly to Wordpress. Weebly was good for me for the last 5 years and served its purpose for the time I needed it.
In general, I am very excited at all new technologies coming down the pipe regarding the Internet. Virtual reality was online 20 years ago, anyone remember Worlds Chat? We thought that it would continue but for some reason was stunted. Now, I am hearing about virtual reality having a comeback on the internet.
As a life long learner, I am very excited about the future of web design.
At the Explode conference that just passed in London, I really appreciated meeting so many other creatives that are like me, isolated in their studio or cubicle and to then have a chance to meet each other and share ideas. I met so many Londoners that I didn't know before and enjoyed the 2 day conference immensely.
At that conference I spoke to many people how I was doing fine art for 13 years and didn't feel the spark to continue for the last year.
Then it dawned on me.
I have been teaching Adobe Illustrator and Photoshop for over 24 years now and I haven't given myself the time to really play with them. I have been showing others how to use them but ignoring it as an artistic outlet.
Well, that time has past and I am very excited on this new adventure of playing with the tools and buying a graphics tablet. All my creativity with paint and coloured pencils I will now bring to the digital world. I look forward to sharing my work in the coming months.
I have always been someone to stay on top of the latest software or technology and I am now giving myself the time to be true to myself as an artist. This past year has left me in a limbo as to not being passionate about anything creative and I feel like the vale has lifted.
Let the games begin...
Back in July of 2013, I created the website for conradhomes.ca
I had a blank slate to create what my client needed. This has been a great project for me because it encompasses my graphic and web design skill set.
Originally I was sent drawings from the architect that needed to be edited. The original drawings had line weights that were too thin and the images lacked contrast. The images were also way too large in size to fit on a screen. Each view from front elevation, side and back elevation, floor plan etc, were all separate files that needed to be edited and put together. The spec sheets were put together from all the different files.
My work with the UX of the site was of a clean, easily found information. I still use story boarding on paper to figure this out.
I have been able to utilize all my design software including Adobe Illustrator, Photoshop, InDesign and Dreamweaver. I am not a programmer but I learned how to edit Java and PHP scripts to do what I needed assets like forms, to do. This site was designed before responsive sites were common so my goal in the future is to make it responsive.
Conrad Homes bought 6 lots in the Southcreek subdivision in Mount Brydges. Since then they have sold 4 lots and another is expected to go soon.
Jim Conrad is a very skilled builder and really cares about quality. We know that well because he helped us build our dream home many years ago.
With the help of their Marketing Manager and Real Estate Agent, Denise Pope, I have been able to understand their needs and deliver various assets to them. Most recently I was asked to create posters to be hung in the model home of some of their home designs. I have an example of one of these posters on my site sylverdesign.com under the Illustration menu.
I am very proud of the work that I have been able to create for them and look forward to supporting Jim Conrad in future builds in the London area.
What is life without having relationships? I have always been blessed with many friends and lately I have realized that even though I am a strong designer, I have also been a strong people person. Nothing like someone asking you if you are good with people to really see yourself through a different lens.
I am currently spearheading a website redo for a company where I will also be teaching people how in time, to edit the site themselves. Well here I go again. this isn't my first rodeo. I am tasked to contact all the stakeholders and find out what their vision of their part of the site. What do they want to see there? What information do they feel is most relevant to have? I then create a framework on the site and away we go.
This is a part that I am very experienced with, finding out what a customer wants and helping them implement their vision. It takes a lot of listening and truly wanting to understand their needs.
I have been blessed with clients willing to share their experiences with me under the Client Feedback menu on my website.
I worked with Forest City Gymnastics for over 11 years. In creating web or print assets. It's not just about the graphics. it's about researching, discussing, asking whether I am on the right track. I created a sponsorship document for the club and I worked with the office staff as to how my document would affect them on the follow through. I created all the certificates for the athletes as well which took quite a bit of coordinating with office staff again on attaining the lists of athletes. Verification of information for printing was also key.
For 5 years I coordinated print and web assets for an artist's studio tour that went from Thorndale, Thamesford, up to St. Marys and back to Thorndale. I worked with each artisan, understanding their work and how to best showcase them. The most challenging for me was the pamphlet design that included a map and information on all the artisans. They left it in my care to find the least expensive printing option and follow through with delivery. I am still friends with everyone and it was a great run while it lasted.
For the last 4 years I have been maintaining a site that I designed for Conrad Homes (.ca). I asked my client a ton of questions of what his vision for the site was. He wanted to have specification sheets for all of his designs online for people to view and print. I worked with an architect who sent me files of the various views and elevations of each home design. I had to keep each set of drawings together and not mix them up. The client also wanted a map of the subdivision where he was building and directions on how to get there. Once I had the parameters of his vision, I was able to design the site. Most of the work was done in the first year or so. Now it has updates as to when a house is sold or a new one is going up but it is pretty self sustaining. Of course, pictures are added when the new builds are being done and what the final looks like.
I love it when I am doing something different all the time. Having many different clients is par for the course for me.
I am passionate about working with others. As I stated at the start, I am a good designer but at this time in my life it is clear to me that my people skills are my strongest suit.
I have been networking for a few years and I feel I have found the groups that speak to me, and allow me to meet people in the areas that are important to me. I have joined TechAlliance, Women in Communications and Technology, and Ladies that UX London.
I can't finish without talking about my 10 years teaching graphic and web design. I was a kid in candy store sharing my knowledge and seeing the excitement in my students when they were getting what I was teaching. It was very common for me to, after the first 3 hour night (out of 30 hours) of teaching Photoshop, to have more than one person come up to me and say that they learned more in that night than they did in the previous months or years. I had learned what the common issues were with new learners and focused on those with great success.
This blog is to showcase my ongoing work.