Why So Much Social Media?!

At the end of January I did a 5-day social media challenge with artist Mary Gilkerson, and it blew my mind. The diligence, planning, and structure of every post was much more complex then I would have expected – and this is coming from a person who posts daily on Instagram already!

I’m a big believer in using social media to help grow and promote your business. What I dislike is spammy, repetitive, duplicated content I often see online. Before participating in this social media challenge I had pulled away from Facebook; I had deleted my personal account two years before, and was very hesitant to over-engage on my business pages. I had defaulted to Instagram where I felt “safer” and less overwhelmed in content.

On Instagram I had a personal account that integrated all avenues of my life: Motherhood, my love of nature, my art, and my yoga business. I had been using this account for years, and decided it was time to start an additional Instagram account that would focus ONLY on my art, and specifically finished pieces. Then in January, I started a third Instagram account to document “2021 The Creative Year” which is a new project I am working on; with the goal of doing one creative thing a day, with one new theme each month.

Then, at the end of January I did the 5-day social media challenge, and focused 100% on reviving my Facebook artist page “Jennifer Anne Burke.” Suddenly my friends were like “What is going on?! Why all the different social media accounts?” Personal accounts, yoga accounts, art accounts… it’s too much. I do need to tidy it up, but in the meantime here is a breakdown of my current social media, to help you to decide what you should follow (or unfollow) accordingly:

FACEBOOK:

Jennifer Anne Burke – This is my artist profile. If you follow this page you will see my daily “creativity challenge” along with occassional posts about “works in progress” and website or blog updates. I also like to share other artists on my page, and random information on art events or webinars (like local galleries).

The Gentle Way of Hatha – This is my yoga business. If you follow this page you will get updates on upcoming yoga classes, workshops, or other information on yoga, meditation, mindfulness, self-care, mental-health, and general wellness.

INSTAGRAM:

Jenni Burke/Jennifer Anne Burke – This is my personal profile where you will see posts about everything happening in my life. Some art, some nature, some #momlife stuff, and sprinkled with some random yoga stuff. It is a mishmash of information, but fun.

Burke_Untitled – This is art only. You will find my finished paintings here, art for sale with sizes and pricing, and any posters for upcoming events. If you are an art collector, or only interested in my artwork this is the ideal profile to keep your eye on. This is also a profile that I intend to start using a lot more in the future!

2021 The Creative Year – This profile is simply a way to document my daily art challenge. It will only be active for one year. I also make posts about creativity in general, and the creative process I experience. In January I did a month of photo-poem challenges, with the theme of Lake Ontario. In February I am doing daily sketches. In March I will do daily mini-paintings. April embroidery. Etc., Etc.,… If you are a creative person looking for inspiration, ideas, and collaboration then this will be a good profile for you to follow. If you are also doing daily challenges feel free to use/follow the hashtag #2021thecreativeyear.

I hope this helps clarify “why so many social media accounts” and which one/s you want to follow!

8 Small Art Exhibitions

Before the Ontario Provincial lockdown, the Northumberland Arts Gallery & Shop had planned on hosting two art shows in the New Year. Each of the shows were to include 4 artists, and run for one month each. The lockdown changed those plans; and the gallery did an incredible job accommodating all the artists so no one has missed the opportunity to share their work!

The new plan, is a one month show with all 8 artists together! And it looks brilliant (shout out to the amazing volunteers who put this all together so eloquently).

Beginning February 17, you can drop into the gallery located at 8 Queen Street in Port Hope and peruse art by Jennifer Trefiak, Carrie Freake, Elayne Linn, David O’Rourke, Wendy Capp, Jennifer Anne Burke (me!), Genevieve Trudeau, and Victoria Terry. The show ends March 21st, so be sure to get into the gallery before then (hours posted in the images above).

The art is for sale, so be sure to pick up something special for yourself, or someone you love!

Featured Artist: Sweet Coffee Club

Written by Lyss & Jeannette

Sweet Coffee Club is an interdisciplinary creative collaborative between two friends. We create surrealist photos based on original poetry. It’s a project we’ve been working on for almost two years, over the course of both of us becoming mothers alongside one another. Sweet Coffee is one of the first poems we worked from.

Sweet Coffee Club is unapologetically feminist. This work is about the lived experience of the women we are. It’s political and personal all at once. It’s soft and mean and spiritual and firmly grounded. We are white, and queer, and cis, and anxious, and sore, and tired, and settled, and vulnerable, and honest… but we don’t want Sweet Coffee Club to be just about those perspectives.

Our work aims to find connection, care, and empowerment through creative expression that centres our relationship with our Selves, our bodies, and a relationship with the earth.

You can join Sweet Coffee Club. Show us, however it makes sense to you, how you, in your body, find connection, care, and empowerment through your relationship with the environment around you. Mention us and hashtag your posts and stories #sweetcoffeeclub .

https://www.facebook.com/sweetcoffeeclubart@sweetcoffeeclub

Having recently had our work exhibited at Happenstance Coffee Pub in Port Hope, we are proud to share a selection of that exhibit in a live show we will share over Facebook live at 3pm on Sunday, February 28. We’re calling it, “Targets For The Shadows.” We invite you to curl up and listen to live performances of nine original poems while the images we created to go with the poem are projected behind the performance. We will collect audience prompts before the event through the Facebook event and our Instagram and will create a poem and accompanying photo based on one of those prompts LIVE at the end of the event. Witness our process and join us in creating during these wild times.

Lyss Warmland is an interdisciplinary artist and activist. She is a writer, podcaster, producer, director, performer, and abstract visual artist. Mostly, she’s interested in the way people choose to tell their stories and how it keeps them well.

Lyss:
@nothingexistsradio
www.nothingexistsradio.org

Jeannette Breward is a surrealist photographer with an academic background in fine art, photography, and film. Jeannette is also an avid crafter and visual artist. She’s passionate about capturing the truth of you.

Jeannette:
@ohnettie
www.jeannettebreward.com

How Much Creativity, Is Too Much Creativity?

2021 Creativity Challenges

In the new year, a somewhat random idea came to me, to combine my love of landscape with poetry. I had received an email prompt from “Poetry Invites” to write a poem about Lake Ontario. Easy! I thought… I’m going to take this one step further, and write one poem a day about Lake Ontario! That did not happen, but the idea transformed into something else: daily photo-poems of Lake Ontario. I’m currently coming to the end of January and have managed to post every day thus far. The poetry is all over the map, but the images have consistently stayed with the Great Lake.

To my surprise, by starting this self-imposed challenge, it bled into other creative pursuits… I found myself wanting to draw again! Simple line drawings, of the beach landscapes. That lead to colouring, skies and clouds, and water and waves, and beach and sand and snow… and I thought of a new challenge for February: To do one small colourful sketch every day!

When I realized I had a new challenge for myself, that led to more ideas… maybe I could do a new challenge each month, for a full year? And that’s when I decided 2021 would be my “year of creativity.”

I started a new Instagram profile @2021_The_Creative_Year so I could document the journey, a photo every day for a year. It helps me stay accountable and excited to share. The photo-poems have been a hit on Facebook too, an art page I have only recently started breathing life back into (Jennifer Anne Burke). I hope you will follow along on my journey!

So what’s the point of all this?

I had myself “trapped” in the box and label of “painter.” I was driving myself to paint, to sell, and to promote. I wanted more sales, but was losing steam on the actual painting. I had to take a step back.

Since August I had started dabbling in writing again, and it felt good to be doing something different. I was noticing people commenting more on my landscape photos, than my actual art/painting. I was seeing other people doing cool creative things, and getting the itch to do something new. I was remembering days when I used to carry a journal and sketchbook EVERYWHERE I went. I was remembering that I used to write and sketch every day, just because. I remembered how good that felt, how natural and how vital. It was a part of who I was, and who I am.

At the end of December, it became pretty clear I needed to reconnect with creativity as “play.” Creativity as being fun, even if it’s terrible (especially if it’s terrible!) and getting over my fear of sharing my worst along with my best. It’s all okay, and a part of a bigger process. I was understanding that “creativity” is like a second nature, regardless of what I paint or sell; and I want to embrace allll of it.

The best part is this new energy I have towards my painting again! This new creative “play” has circled me back to the passion I have for my “work.”

Finding Your Creative Community

Creativity Coaching Canada and Spirit of the Hills! These are two groups I have blathered on about in other blogs, so I’m not going to do that again BUT please research them if you feel you need your own creative connection with other people. There are so many creative opportunities in our Northumberland County area, but there is so much available online these days I’m sure you could find many many more. I highly recommend networking with other creatives, we help revive and inspire each other. As an introvert, this does not come naturally for me; but this pandemic has changed that. More and more I crave creative connection with others.

So, how much creativity is too much creativity? Where are you in your creative journey? I would love know (post below)…

Featured Artist: Gareth Vieira

Gareth Vieira is a multi-talented man with a variety of creative projects on the go. When I told him how impressed I was with his floodgate of creativity he’s been expressing over the last year he said “I think it was just waiting to come out, so I’m releasing years of ideas and images that were aching to be given life. It’s really neat this new direction in life, never saw it coming!” He says “Two things precipitated where I am today: one was the pandemic and the other was writing. The pandemic brought out a lot of things within me (at all levels) and making art was one of them.”

Image by Gareth Vieira

I know Gareth as a writer. As a reader, and someone who is passionate about books, words, libraries, and his community. He published a small series of articles “Dispatches from a Small Town” highlighting local Port Hope folks. He admits that art in the past, was mostly just for doodling while he was writing, but now it has moved from the edges of the page into centre stage.

He worked for over a year ghostwriting a biography, and when it was over he needed a new artistic outlet, hence the direction of his visual arts. He mostly does digital art but also enjoy photography and collage.    

You can find Gareth on YouTube, Facebook, Instagram, Etsy, and of course you need to check out his website “Gareth Vieira, Illuminations808.”

2021 Featured Artists!

Are you a Northumberland County visual artist, writer, or musician that would like an extra boost this year? I am offering a free monthly feature on my art blog, but I will only have room for 12 artists, so if you want a spot (or a specific month) send me, Jenni, an email to gentle_hatha@live.com.

What does a feature mean? It means you get a spot-light on my blog, you write it, and I will edit it. You can include your website, social media links, photos, and a bit “about you” and why you create what you create! It’s a way to share our networks and audiences. Let’s support one another in our artistic endeavors!

Wishing you all an abundance of creativity this year!

Here Comes The Sun…

2020 has a bad rap. It brought us a lot of upheaval, grief, and death on a global scale. Yet, this 2021 pun roaming around social media makes me laugh every time (2020 won?! Yikes!)… On top of this, we have all had our own personal struggles; coping and juggling with the changes that have occurred in our daily living. We have really had to make a serious pivot.

Despite all this, as the year came to an end, I couldn’t help but feel (for me personally) I have ended up more clear and strong than I have ever been in my life. I understand more than ever what I want out of my work, relationships, and life ahead. For me, 2020 did win. It challenged me and changed me, and I am grateful for that. I feel very fortunate to live where I do, and be a part of a positive community trying to navigate Covid-19 safely.

HERE COMES THE SUN…

One thing I have tried to do this year, is get up before the sun and walk. I end my brisk walk at the waterfront, usually as the sun is rising. I have to say, this has been the most powerful gift 2020 gave me; because every time I see the sun rise, every time I literally witness the light overcoming the dark, I feel peace inside of myself. I know I am okay. The world keeps turning. The sun will always rise and fall. This is life. As much as we try to fight it, control it, manipulate it, and change it… there are some very basic, and natural, laws that will dominate all our efforts. When the sun rises, I feel my grip loosen, my breath deepen, my body settles into ease. My over active mind slows down, I feel my feet on the ground. I fall into deep TRUST. I remember what is important: love. Just. Love.

WHAT DOES 2021 HAVE IN STORE?

To create more, in a variety of ways. Painting, writing, photography, poetry, and networking with other creatives. Perhaps more videos on YouTube, perhaps more online workshops, that part is still in my “dreamscape”… I don’t just want to teach, I want to learn more. I want to dive into the creative nature of LIVING. To “Make Life My Masterpiece.”

Are you a creative? Make sure you connect with Jessica Outram’s “Creativity Coaching” for a variety of inspiring projects. She just launched “Poetry Invites,” and you can also sign up for her free creative prompts “The 8 Learning Spirals.” You can also find her active on her Facebook page “Sunshine In A Jar.” If you are in a creative rut, I especially recommend connecting with this creative community.

What are some of your personal or creative goals for 2021? I would love to hear them (comment below), we can support and inspire one another that way!

2020 In Review

A COVID STYLE CHRISTMAS

Thank you to everyone who joined me on ZOOM for my first (and hopefully last?) virtual art show! I still have a few pieces for sale, if you’re looking for a one-of-a-kind gift for the Canada-Lover in your life!

Thank you to artist Jennifer Trefiak who trusted me enough, to let me borrow her handmade glass ornaments to help make my show a little more festive!

CUSTOM ART

Despite lack of events due to the Covid-19 Pandemic, I have been fortunate to have had multiple custom orders this year. I can’t even share all the photos yet, because Christmas isn’t quite over! However, you can check out some of them under “Custom Work” on the website.

This is a current work in progress:

SPIRIT OF THE HILLS (SOTH)

I sold two paintings (posted above) out of “Sumac Street” in the Northumberland Hills Hospital in December! There is a new painting up there now, although I do not encourage you to drop in during the pandemic, but here are some pictures:

If by chance you are interested in purchasing the current painting, contact me directly and we will work out an arrangement to get it to you.

SOTH has created a few virtual shows on their website too, and you can view a few of my pieces included in “Exteriors.”

COMING UP IN 2021

I will be participating in a group show at Northumberland Arts Gallery and Shop, in Port Hope, during February and March. Be sure to stop in and see a variety of local artists’ work on display. I will have a blog about this in the New Year, so stay tuned for details then!

The plan for future work, is to start painting larger-scale landscapes. I have a 36×48 inch canvas waiting for inspiration to hit, along with two 18×24 inch canvases to explore.

Currently I have a 20×30 inch in progress of Lake Louise, Alberta:

Stay in touch! You can follow my progress on Instagram @Burke_Untitled. I occassionally post on Facebook too, Jennifer Anne Burke.

Wishing everyone a safe and peaceful holiday. See you back on the blog in 2021!

Holiday Art Show & Sale

“A Covid-Style Chistmas”

Art Show & Sale

Hosted on zoom

Sunday, December 6th @ 1pm

You can register for this art show by emailing me (Jenni) at gentle_hatha@live.com. It is a very casual event, I will send out a link before 1pm on the 6th. Curl up with a warm drink, and enjoy the show! I will be in my tiny home studio, sharing stories about my paintings and any other merchandise I have for sale (cards and prints).

If you are unable to join us online, you can view all my work here on the website: Oil Paintings 2020 and Small Oil Paintings. You can purchase any work by messaging me directly to arrange payment and delivery.

Make Life Your Masterpiece

Since September I’ve been exploring creativity with Jessica Outram and her “Creativity Coaching Canada” business. She has offered so much insight and content for me over the last three months; but the most valuable lesson I have gained is understanding that art really is my life work. Not just painting, but writing too, and expressing myself in a variety of creative ways, and that EVERY MOMENT in my life is a part of a bigger picture: my life masterpiece. My life IS my masterpiece. It’s far from perfect, but it’s a journey of learning and growing.

A masterpiece isn’t something that happens instantaneously. It’s a work that takes weeks, months, years, or a life time. It takes time, investment, there are mistakes made a long the way, and with each mistake, each day that passes, you learn and you IMPROVE. You become a master at your work.

I have been really hard on myself creatively this year. I feel like I’m uninspired, stuck in a rut, unable to paint in the ways I dream of, angry that I’m not more successful after committing so many years to my dreams and business (art, yoga, writing). Over a decade of time and energy invested, and here I am still scraping by… but I do feel a lot of pride, that I have been able to create a life I truly love, that I have time to give to creativity at all. Few people have that privilege.

I’ve been reflecting a lot about other artists I admire: Emily Carr, Lawren Harris, Tom Thomson. How did they become so successful? Were they really so successful? Define success, right? Carr didn’t paint for fifteen years, and painted the majority of her most famous pieces in the last decade of her life. Harris, was born into money that allowed him the freedom to explore (and invest) in the art world, freedom to travel, learn, and connect with other people of wealth who were also interested in art. Thomson died at 40 years old, and never gained the financial success of his work. Regardless, all of them dived into their work, fully. A privilege in itself!

Since becoming aware of these other artists stories, and journeys, I have realized how different my own is. Not born into wealth, very little art education, no connections to the Canadian Art World, no freedom to travel (not just financially, but also because I am a full time parent). I am also limited in my creative space; I work off of one easel and two tables that are tightly crammed in my should-be dining room.

As a result, I have come to the understanding that I am successful; because despite these challenges I am still creating. Despite my lack of money, time, and space… here I am doing it anyways. I am learning to master my life of creativity. I am making my life my masterpiece, and if I’m lucky I’m only half way through this creation.

Emily Carr wrote “Look at the earth, crowded with growth, new and old bursting from their strong roots hidden in the silence, live ground, each seed according to it’s own kind… each one knowing what to do, each one demanding it’s own rights on the earth. So artist, you too, from the depths of your soul… let your roots creep forth, gaining strength.”

When Jessica Outram shared that quote at our last Creativity Chat, I had an “ah-ha!” moment. I realized how stuck I had been feeling, YET, when I looked closer, I realized I am not. That my roots ARE creeping forth… In that slow growth that roots do. Every photo I take, every background I paint, every walk to the shore, every time I clean and clear my space; every list I write, intention I set, those are my roots… gaining strength. Growing my tree, at midlife, now.