Wednesday, March 27, 2019


After years of going back and forth, thinking about what's the best way to update my website, I finally stopped thinking and started doing. You'll see some changes throughout the process, as I organize my content. For now there are two new pages: One for my paintings and another one for my illustrations and client work (currently under construction). More soon! 

Wednesday, February 20, 2019

The book behind the cards

I finally received hard copies of my book and created a short video showing where the visual meditation cards idea came from. It started with original paintings, then a book about them, and now the cards. The great thing about the cards is that they are also a great way to collect artwork without taking a huge amount of space. The campaign is currently going on Kickstarter until March 29, 2019. My goal is to raise $5555 (Canadian) to cover the printing, shipping, and also make a bit of profit along the way to create more things in the future. 

In terms of advertising for the campaign, I have some catching up to do. So far, I've been posting about it on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and created updates directly on Kickstarter and sent it to my mailing list as well as added links to my email signature. I'll keep you posted on the results from the various marketing experiments I do. This is what I'm starting with at the moment. $197 out of $5,555 raised thus far and 37 days to go. Challenge accepted! 

Wednesday, January 30, 2019

IKEA Illustrated

I added another challenge to my list of things to create this year. Since I'd like to improve my digital drawing skills and make good use of my iPad and Apple pencil,  I challenged myself to recreate illustrations from images found in an IKEA catalog. It contains a lot of illustration options so I won't need to spend too much time searching for reference images. I don't have any set number of illustrations to create this year. My goal is to keep producing them and ideally go through the entire catalog. 

These are the first three illustrations I made earlier this year. I'll be posting them on my other Instagram account @illustrationsbymj as they get completed. I noticed that these types of challenges tends to bring new ideas, so it will be interesting to see what comes out of this one. 

Wednesday, January 23, 2019

Fear the fear and do it anyway

Do you sometimes come up with an idea to do something you've never done before and then quickly find an excuse not to do it? I tend to do this more often than I would like to admit. Then I start to think: What if implementing that idea could make a positive impact on someone’s life? How selfish would it be for me to keep these ideas to myself for fear of what some people would think and completely ignore even if just one person who would benefit from it? This was the motivation that got me to take a chance and write a book to share not only my artwork but my personal experiences along with it.

9 weeks ago, I took a chance. I committed to turn a series of paintings into a zine that I called Mindful Meditations. To keep me accountable, I posted my progress in my Insta Stories (under Book). It took some discipline and a lot of self-compassion to get there. I changed my morning routine to include a 2-hour writing session on a daily basis. I had to remind myself not to be too hard on myself when I missed a day or two and to keep going the next day. But, soon I had a completed book and even a little confirmation that it would help someone in a positive way.

I posted a couple of chapters of my book on Medium and received this wonderful response from a random reader:

The book is not perfect but it is intended to help awaken something inside those who are ready for it. I feel that a lot of people need more time to think for themselves, go within and find out what makes them happy from the inside out. In a sense it follows the principle described by Wayne Dyer's quote: "Don't die with your music still in you. Listen to your intuitive inner voice and find what passion stirs your soul."As I'm discovering that for myself with the help of my artwork and my own experiences, I'd like to share that with others.

If you would like to know more about it, you can read some sample here. And if you'd like to get your copy, it's now available on Amazon as a paperback book and as an e-book.  If you check it out, let me know what you think about it and how I could make it better next time. 
 I would love it and be very thankful I you leave a review. 

Sunday, January 20, 2019

Paint More

One of my intentions for 2019 is to paint more. It's one of the things I feel I could have done a lot more in 2018. but didn't. Not that I didn't paint, but I know I could have done a lot more and I could have taken a lot more risks in the way I paint. It's this idea of having to create the perfect painting that seems to be the cause of interruptions in my flow of painting, but at the same time, I know that if I don't paint, I can't get better at it. I recently saw a short video from Gary Vaynerchuk stating that perfectionism is a mask for a lack of confidence. I can relate to that. And at the same time, confidence is built on hours and hours of practice. Consciously I know that subconsciously I'm obviously not there yet, otherwise I wouldn't be so hesitant to paint. My way around it lately has been to create "ugly paintings" in my planners and journals. I don't always show them and keep reminding myself that I don't need to. The goal is just to get into the habit of painting without having to think about it.

Part of me is still trying to find "the perfect topic" for the year in terms of what I should paint and what would look good on Instagram. But I'm also writing this down so that I see how ridiculous it is to think about that rather than just paint and see where it takes me. Most often, the series develop on their own. I have a couple of ideas here and there that don't seem to be connected, but they will probably make more sense after they are painted. 

Above is an example of a painting I started a couple days ago and that's not quite done yet. I'm not sure where it's going but I let it do its thing. It was created during two different sessions. I just filled the pages with colors I was inspired to use during the first session. I seem to have something for gold paint lately. And on the second session, I decided to add more gold to make the shape look more like clouds and a bit of yellow to add more dimension to them. It's not quite done yet, but I'm waiting for another random inspiration to continue this one.

The same goes for writing and blogging more. There's so much I want to share but I hesitate to post because it's not perfect or it's "too late" to write about it because the time has already passed, like my time in Truckee California last year. But I think these are just excuses as well. So I'll make an effort to not only paint more but also blog and write more.