First of Many Paintings

I can’t tell you how excited and nervous I was to start painting again. It has been years since I’ve painted anything significant or should I say that I thought was good enough to share.

My issues with failing what I started were crippling. I never started anything, said I would wait until later when I was in the mood. Other excuses came just as easily.

It wasn’t until I started my business and took a good look at how stagnant my artistic life had become that a pushed my own fear of failure aside and said to myself that if I wanted to make things happen no one else was going to do it. So, what was I waiting for? There was nothing in my way but myself. That led me to say yes to doing a portrait of a friends dog (his name is Denver). And after that, it was a picture I found of Cosmos that inspired me.

Honestly, I was surprised at what I produced. I was proud of both outcomes. The fact that I have a platform to sell on now wasn’t even a factor, not then, not when I was putting brush and paint to canvas. As the images took shape and I set the paintbrush down after the final touch I got this warm feeling deep inside, that nervous stirring that I had been missing for a while. It was nice to feel it again. The sense of accomplishment and joy that comes from completing something that I thought would ever only be mediocre.

I’m glad I picked up the paintbrush again. I won’t be putting it down any time soon.

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Things are changing!

If you’ve noticed a lot has changed in the last few days here at http://www.wendiknape.com. Let’s call it an experiment. I’ve combined both parts of my life that I love. Writing and WjK ARTiSAN DESiGNS.

I’m still writing romance, but I’ve now added my new business to the site. And with that said I wanted to showcase both. So, if you’d like to take a tour you’ll find some different drop-down menus and a lot more of my art under the WjK ARTiSAN DESiGN title on the menu. A side note, there’s a sale for Valentine’s Day on http://www.wjkartisandesigns.com through the 11th. 

My plan is to change up the blogging from time to time. Romance versus my inspiration for my art so you can see where my ideas come from on both spectrums. I’m excited to bring those to you all. And maybe you’ll see an inspirational quote here and there that keeps me going when I’m in a creative stupor.

I hope you’ll join me.

Wendi

A Writer’s Confessional Part Seven

Re-posted from Deadwood Writers Voices Blog, Sept, 2018

Trying to find a voice for my brand, my business, has been an interesting journey, and one I’ll have to take with my brand as an author too. It culminated from several talks with Jo Self, who I mentioned in my August blog, and another expert Kirsten Back, who is an expert in branding oneself through copywriting. They both pushed me to share my inner self with the public. It was a hard thing to do, to find that inner strength and share. But it opened parts of my history that I had forgotten because it was woven in the fabric of me. So, now, I’d like to share it with you.

WjK ARTiSAN DESiGNS

Bringing out your uniqueness through jewelry and art

Unique Confident Beautiful

About Me

When I was young, I always wished I fit in more with the crowd, that I would grow up to have my dream job as an architect and make a lot of money and that my family reaped the benefits.

Becoming the responsible business owner, I am today though, I had to travel many precarious roads of emotional turmoil, making decisions I thought I would never have to make. But I wanted to say I was happy with myself and what I did for a living, creating a harmony that was an innate part of my being. I wanted to be able to shout to the world that yes this is who I am, this is what I’m supposed to do, and I’m happy with the choices I’ve made. But growing up wasn’t comfortable, and outside influences were always pushing me onto a road I didn’t know I shouldn’t be on. I was sabotaging myself by not seeing what I kept repeating throughout the stages of my life.

As a child, my parents told me what I should wear, what didn’t look good on me (when I thought it looked awesome) and finally let me make my own choices as my teen years swept me up in an emotional tornado. Peers, like most teens, balked at my choices if I didn’t follow the trend. No, I shouldn’t wear black all the time or wear my favorite black, leather and suede boots, these things weren’t in style. My inner voice in a lot of those years was often silenced, which continued in the years that followed.

Later, teachers told me to listen to a computer’s idea of what I should major in once in college. At the time I thought what it picked for me was the right choice, architecture. But as the structural weight of that world failed me, the dreaded words, “We’re going to have to let you go,” verbalized, I had to find another path to take. It didn’t seem like a blessing at the time. I’d followed all the rules, did what people asked of me, but the approval I was looking for never really came. The power to say, “Yes, we like that.” Or, “No, we don’t like that. Do it again.” belonged to someone else.

Looking back at the sporadic days of depression, the struggle to find some way to contribute to my family, make them proud of me, it was being laid off that redirected me down a road where I could see the potential for a new career. I would set my own rules, be the architect of my own designs. But, it would take years for my world to open to these possibilities.

I can say, now, I embrace me. I’ve grown into a uniquely beautiful and confident woman who’s comfortable in her own skin and is doing what makes me happy. I took a leap and said, “I’m going to start my own business. I’m going to use my artistic talent differently. I’m not going to let other people dictate what is right, what is trendy. I’m going to make beautiful pieces of art that someday will be put up proudly in someone’s home or given as a gift because they choose it.  I’m going to make jewelry that appeals to my uniqueness, that makes me feel beautiful and confident and I hope that other people in the world will feel the same way, they’ll tell themselves that they’re worth it.

I’m on a road that I chose for myself. With all the past mountains of pain I had to climb, all the failure that was the rocks in my palms, there was always a bridge to traverse to get to the other side of the mountain and the success that awaits me. I just had to cross it to find me.

I am WjK Artisan Designs!

Writer’s Confessional Part Six

Re-posted from Deadwood Writers Voices Blog, August 2018

This past month has been a writing bonanza. I’ve written my own obituary, started my About Me biography for WjK ARTiSAN DESiGNS, and have also focused on the anthology project for the Deadwood Writers Group. It’s been an interesting thirty-one days.

Jo Self

I’ve been concentrating primarily on my top five strengths through the class I am taking with Jo Self at Jo Self Consulting. It’s a strengths-branding course (she differentiates for each person’s needs). For my individualized consultation we’ve concentrated on my solopreneurship to dig through my top five strengths—Responsibility, Harmony, Discipline, Consistency, Maximizer–and beyond, which are the result of a specifically designed questionnaire at CliftonStrengths 34 online. It’s been enlightening.

Writing my obituary was a fascinating exercise. What would you want someone to say about you at your funeral? Or, if not an obituary, how about a speech at your 90th birthday celebration? It is a lesson everyone should try. It forced me to look at the accomplishments in my life. What should my life look like as I move forward? Did I reach for things I wanted? Did I set on a path to success? It was an emotional read. When I got to the end, reading it aloud to the participants on the conference call, I had to stop to control my tears because of the hope I have that I helped my girls turn into great woman. The exercise also allowed me to see what needs to be done to reach the goals I’ve set for myself in my professional life.

During the second section of the course Kirsten Back, The Word Distiller, helps with branding our businesses. She wants us to emotionally connect with our customers. That in turn will help customers justify their return or pass on the word about our businesses. There’s some more work to be done with Kirsten, but I’ve got a good start to my About Me page. Now, I need to add the nuances of my top five strengths into what I’ve already written.

And to wrap things up, I’ve asked a lot of what if questions regarding where I want my characters to go in the Anthology for the Deadwood Writer’s Group. The ‘What if’s’ stem from a book I discovered by K. M. Weiland, called Outlining your Novel, Map Your Way to Success. The idea is to take your story in a direction that the reader doesn’t expect, so I asked myself the ‘What If’ questions to understand the premise goals.  This exercise led me to some interesting ideas about the characters and how they’ll interact with the main prop, the coin of Caligula. It must be a part of everyone’s story for those participating in the anthology. It was a fun bit of writing and hopefully I have a solid foundation to move the arc in the direction I want the story to conclude, with a happily ever after.

Writer’s Confessional Part Five

Blarney Castle, Ireland

A re-post from the Deadwood Writer’s Voices blog I wrote in 2018.

It’s said that if you kiss the Blarney Stone, you’re gifted with eloquence.  Or, if I tell it like most people have heard it, the gift of gab. Well, I didn’t kiss the Blarney Stone. Too many lips on the same surface for my taste. But, what I won’t bullshit you about is as soon as I saw the green of Ireland I fell in love.  I already felt a pull toward the land of Skellig Island off Portmagee, which is southwest of Dublin, also the Cliffs of Moher, the Burren’s. Setting foot on the earth where God granted a little more green than other places, the magic of the island was captivating. Larger modern cities like Dublin, Cork, or Killarney, they have their own mystique, their own magic in music, the people, the pastel-painted architecture, the history, the beer. Take away those larger cities and I’m left with nature so beautiful it’s overwhelming. So much history, blood, and struggle poured out into the land I can’t possibly fathom what life was like a thousand years ago or beyond. It was inspiring, as an artist, a writer, as a person with Irish blood.

I took my sketchbook with me but didn’t pull it out, surprising myself, since everything there is a sketch study. I took as many photos as I could though, a lot of the flavor of Ireland waiting to be written or drawn.

One thing that caught my writer’s mind was the concept of the fairy myth and folklore. I didn’t see it marketed anywhere. As an American, you can go to any craft store and find ceramic garden fairy’s, fairy doors, mushrooms to go with the fairy’s, etc. I found it odd but satisfying that they didn’t market the fairy myths or the idea of leprechauns for the touristy crowd throughout most of the country. There was a particular store, but it was done in a commercial way rather than done by craftsmen or artisans.

But what are your thoughts on Irish myths and folklore?  Conjure your concept of a leprechaun in your mind. Some might consider a character from a movie wearing green pants and coat with scary bright orange hair, a sinister angry face, or maybe something from a children’s book a little softer, more inviting with a rainbow and a pot of gold. In my mind, it’s a bit of both. I did see something that caused me to think of just those kind of stories, though.

We landed on Irish soil during the sunniest week Ireland will ever see this year (I actually got a sunburn). As we enjoyed the shade in Cork’s shopping district I noticed a man that looked a little separate from everyone else, like he was floating through the brick and mortar landscape of shops and the modern world. He was about my height, five feet nine inches tall, squarer in the shoulders, dramatically so. The man’s hair was not the stark orange-red that most people think of when they think Irish heritage, but it was a deep rusty red, a windswept mess. His clothes were bland in color, plaid shirt, and twill pants, hanging off him like they didn’t belong. As we passed him a shiver danced across my skin because his stare in his craggily and pitted face was blank almost as if he was looking off somewhere that no one could see. I asked myself if he was seeing something other than the fast-bustling pedestrians needing to get their tourist trap purchases back to their hotel rooms before they went off to the next pub to have a pint or if he was so displaced in time lost to all the people around him. It scared me a bit, his blank stare, his ghostly demeanor. But I brushed it off and continued to wander through Cork with my hubby. But I couldn’t get the man out of mind so when I saw another person that was so similar in features, a smaller frame, feminine this time, I started to pay more attention and this new set of characters came to life in my head. It was exciting.

There were other instances where this happened too. A dilapidated house in the middle of a flourishing neighborhood outside of Dublin, the National Museum of Ireland, Dublin, with its jewelry made by Vikings, or the sheep and cows littering the landscape disappearing into the rocky green hills, or the castles that would pop up just around the bend on the narrow road. It was a compelling and fantastical place.

So, as a writer what am I trying to tell myself? What did I learn while I was on the green island? I would say that I need to go outside more, wander a bit, even if it’s to a city or park I’ve been to several times. Pay attention to what surrounds me and stop being so apathetic to my city, towns, and parks nearby. Do a little digging into the history of the places and I might just find a story somewhere left in the cracks of time.