Portfolio, stuff from my life

Email design too

Here’s an email design I created back in October 2011 for Daisy Whitney for the launch of the new cover for The Mockingbirds (paperback) and a sneak peak at the cover of the sequel entitled The Rivals (currently available as a pre-order).

stuff from my life

Note to self

A sentiment from Seth Godin that I will adhere to and remember every day from now on…

Easy and certain

The lottery is great, because it’s easy. Not certain, but easy. If you win, the belief goes, you’re done.

Medical school is great because it’s certain. Not easy, but certain. If you graduate, the belief goes, you’re done.

Most people are searching for a path to success that is both easy and certain.

Most paths are neither.

just a thought, Quotables, stuff from my life

In the soul of the artist

Love this so much that I need to place it here so that I never lose it or forget it:

Art is what we call the thing an artist does.

It’s not the medium or the oil or the price or whether it hangs on a wall or you eat it. What matters, what makes it art, is that the person who made it overcame the resistance, ignored the voice of doubt and made something worth making. Something risky. Something human.

Art is not in the eye of the beholder. It’s in the soul of the artist.

~ Seth Godin

my thoughts, stuff from my life

9/11 Still Looking for the Good Guys

On September 11, 2001, I was at work at the Chambre de commerce du Mtl métro as usual. It started off as any other Monday morning at work, but by 9:15 a.m. the world had changed and time had stopped.

As we all witnessed the horrific images and endless news coverage, we all knew this would alter our perception of the world and would expose us to the real fragility of humans.

They evacuated Place Ville Marie by 11 a.m., so I picked up Evan early from daycare that day.

As we were walking home, I tried to explain what had happened using only general terms like “the bad guys” and the thing I’ll never forget is that Evan all of 5 years old at the time, said this to me exactly: “but Mommy where were the good guys”.

I often wonder still where (and who) the “good guys” are. (updated)

stuff from my life

Richard Vaskelis – Artist & Friend

Richard Vaskelis - 1947-2010

Richard Vaskelis, 1947-2010

Richard passed much much too early and had tremendous more to give his art but life had other plans.  He will be missed by many but will live on through the extraordinary art he left behind. I will be forever touched by his art and was fortunate to have known him. My parents, Gerry and Lisette McGregor will always treasure the moments they spent with Richard.

Excerpt from an interview done with Richard Vaskelis in 1999 by Art Historian Désirée Szucsany for the Pointe-Vue Mont-Tremblant, in Mont-Tremblant, Québec.

L’art n’est pas un refuge, c’est une qualité de vie destinée au plus pauvre comme au plus riche. Les plus beaux moments de ma vie ne sont pas liés à l’argent. La peinture me procure beaucoup d’équilibre. C’est là que je suis le plus honnête, que mon art me dicte le respect. Je ne triche pas, je ne prends pas de raccourci. Je crois en ce que je fais. Pour un peintre, ce qui est important, c’est la vision. Il y a tellement de choses extraordinaires, pourquoi passer à côté? Si tu passes à côté, tu fais comme tout le monde, et tu es juste un peintre. Pas un artiste.

Richard’s Bio:

Born in 1947, and raised in Montreal, Canada, Richard Vaskelis starts at an early age as a part time student at l’École des Beaux-Arts de Montréal, then later, on a full time, 3 years scholarship, at the School of Art and Design of the Montreal Museum of Fine Art, under the direction of Arthur Lismer of the Group of Seven.

Vaskelis meets Allan Harrison, R.C.A. in 1979  and for 10 years, Harrison will be his mentor, teacher and friend.

Richard Vaskelis’ paintings are on exhibit in many countries: USA, France, Mexico, Western Canada. He is a member of the prestigious Société Nationale des Beaux-Arts de France and was awarded “Le prix de l’Arc de Triomphe”, in Paris in 2002, for an exhibit at the Carousel du Louvre.

You can also visit Richard’s website to experience his art for yourself.

my thoughts, stuff from my life

Creative Humans Require One Important Thing

Turns out it’s Solitude.

I found this post on www.zenhabits.net today.  This well thought out post clearly demonstrated that being alone IS indeed a valuable and very necessary part of being a creative human being.

Personally, I need “alone” time to recharge my spiritual / creative batteries.  Without it – I would be a wreck!

Here’s a portion of the post I wanted to outline in particular:

Just a few of the benefits I’ve found from solitude:

* time for thought
* in being alone, we get to know ourselves
* we face our demons, and deal with them
* space to create
* space to unwind, and find peace
* time to reflect on what we’ve done, and learn from it
* isolation from the influences of other helps us to find our own voice
* quiet helps us to appreciate the smaller things that get lost in the roar

What else does solitude bring to your life?

stuff from my life

What I Learned Today

Came across another gem from Seth Godin and I didn’t want to loose track of it so I put here.  For my uses, I substituted the teacher concept here with  “a boss” and grades by “accolades”.

What you can learn from a lousy teacher…

If you have a teacher (of any sort) that you cannot please, that you cannot learn from, that is unwilling to take you where you need to go because he is defending the status quo and demonstrates your failure on whatever report card he chooses to use, you could consider yourself a failure. Or you could remind yourself…

  1. Grades are an illusion
  2. Your passion and insight are reality
  3. Your work is worth more than mere congruence to an answer key
  4. Persistence in the face of a skeptical authority figure is a powerful ability
  5. Fitting in is a short-term strategy, standing out pays off in the long run
  6. If you care enough about the work to be criticized, you’ve learned enough for today
mommyness, my thoughts, new media, stuff from my life

Are you turning your loved-ones into Social Media haters?

I have a 13 year old boy and I realized something enormous this past Saturday. I’m speaking of a game changing event.

Evan and I planned to spend Saturday in the city (about a 25 minute bus ride from where we live). We would walk and talk and have lunch somewhere.  It was to be a free-form afternoon.

As we were getting ready I naturally packed up my iPhone.  Evan immediately asked me “you’re not going to check in on Twitter and Foursquare every place we go with that all day are you?”

Stunned, I answered no but I suddenly realized that in some part, Evan has indeed been an innocent by-stander when it comes to my Twitter, Facebook and Foursquare ways.  I am not, by any means, a social media addict.  I’ll even prove it.  I am able to leave the house without my iPhone and I sometimes DON’T check in on Foursquare everywhere I go. You should be able to do the same by the way.

Anyways, all this got me thinking.  Here I am; thinking that I am a cool Mom because I am an early adopter when it comes to geeky things like social media and technology.  That should make me awesome right?  It seems not.

Social media participants know, it literally takes a few seconds to check in somewhere but all this paused-attention has a direct effect on the people around us. I think we are unknowingly sending them a message.

What is that message?

Well in my case, I am telling Evan; and very clearly I might add, that every person I follow on Twitter, Foursquare, or Facebook is more important at that moment and that we must pause our conversation, our walk and our moment while I announce to my audience that I am doing, seeing, watching something extraordinary, funny, odd or stupid. Aren’t those things supposed to reserved for our offline lives? Or at least some of it should. Don’t you think?

Make no mistake: this is also an issue for our non-participating Social Media loved-ones.

Let’s say you are out with your non-participating social media life partner and you both have planned to walk, converse and share quality time with each other.  Now, how much of that is actual quality time if and you are clutching your iPhone, Blackberry or Droid with the grip of a young Chuck Norris and are constantly announcing to a bunch of strangers precisely where you are and exactly what you are doing at every possible moment.

In actual fact, if you really think about it, you ARE NOT doing what you say you are doing with your child or life partner because you are are way too busy signing in, tweeting and checking @ statuses every moment you can. And of course, hoping someone will RT your message as you announce every clever word, phrase, action or reaction your child or life partner experiences during what was supposed to be “quality time” together.

I’ve asked Evan a few times if he wanted a Twitter account and his answer has always been “Nah, it’s not for me”.  Of course it’s not. Why would he want to use the one thing that takes my attention away from him.

I think I may be unknowingly creating a social media hater.

How do I (we) change this?  Well, like with every problem knowing you have a problem is a good start.

A case for moderation

I think we all need to monitor ourselves and gauge our Social Media usage to the more appropriate moments in life.

Don’t Use Case – You are the only person at the family reunion with a smart phone and the inclination to Tweet or self-geo locate.  Answer: Your best bet is to send an offline-for-awhile Tweet and put the mobile away and enjoy your family.  They love you and want *and deserve* your complete attention. (update) Okay, maybe you can take pics with your mobile but wait until you get home to upload them to Flickr.

Ideal Usage Case – It’s Twestival and the place is filled with like-minded tech-savvy peeps and you want to share your minute by minute experiences as well as share your pics and want to pick up lots of info for your next blog post.

Share your story about the non-participating Social Media people in your life.  Do they understand what you do? Are they frustrated? Has it affected their view of Social Media?