slide school | j.m.w. turner

slide school is a bi-weekly education session (with myself ;) in which i attempt to remember bits and pieces i learned about specific artworks in my university art history classes. i get to peek at my notes, but not online. for more details about slide school - visit this post.

image via

*if you are doing some sort of school project and ended up here, please note i cannot guarantee that any of this information below is even remotely accurate!

title | hmmm..."ship in sunset"?
artist | turner
date | the impressionistic style leads me to believe end of the nineteenth century so...1880's?
medium | watercolour - always watercolour.
art historical period | romanticism?
three facts | what appears to be a ship battling the ocean amidst a beautiful setting sun is in fact a grotesque work of the grim reality of the times. it is however, still one of my favourites for his use of colour. the rest of turner's work is much softer and paler. my notes about this piece are mainly about the medium itself: quick and simple brushstrokes are best for watercolour. it's an ideal paint for 'en plein air' (painting outdoors). and in true watercolour paintings, the lighter tones are acheived by thinning the paint with more water. 

title | "the slave ship" (hahahaha i just googled it and apparently the original title - which i totally remember now is: "slavers throwing overboard the dead and dying - typhoon coming on." is that not the best, most ridiculous, most run-on title you've ever heard?)
artist | joseph mallord william turner (quite a mouthful isn't it?)
date | 1840! looks like turner was ahead of his time.
medium | watercolour
art historical period | wiki says the work is "a classic example of a romantic maritime painting" and that turner's artwork is "regarded as a romantic preface to impressionism." yay me!


patience made | handmade journals

so last weekend i took a book binding workshop at a local photography gallery call luz. it was amazing! i loved the process so much that i gobbled up all the information and stored it away in my mind. the class was five hours with time for lunch, and by the end i had created a beautiful hardcover book! i'm going to share it with you another day, along with the steps it took to get to the finished product.

in the meantime, i transferred my new skills to my shop. using dental floss*, a baby sewing needle, and supplies i had on hand - i made these little journals. they are similar to the moleskines i already sell, but they have more pages (and of course, they have more love).

* unused obviously!

elsewhere | on curate1k

this week i am guest curating on curate1k. to learn more about curate1k, read norah's isavirtue guest post here! i hope you like the collection i have put together - see my 1k week here.


snapshot | another dress, am sunrises & ira's art

one | yes i'm obsessed. another dress from dorothy perkins!

two | i ordered a bunch of washi tape from here and here on etsy. this was the first arrival yay!

three | sorting inventory at the studio

four | i've had trouble sleeping lately - but the other morning i saw this beautiful sunrise out my bedroom window! the contrast of the cloud shadow was just amazing.

five | a sneak peek of the hardcover book i made last weekend - more pics and tutorial to come!

six | a beautiful painting i had the opportunity to view during my interview with ira hoffecker.


q & art | ira hoffecker

i first wrote about the artwork of ira hoffecker in august of 2011. i've always been quite obsessed with resin coated artwork. i briefly met ira in the gallery i was working at during that time. it's always a pleasure to discover that an artist is just as lovely as the pieces they create. it was an honour to chat with ira in her victoria, bc studio and this interview reaffirmed that passion is a key part of the art making process.

q | tell me about the connections between your work and the cities that they portray. do you purposefully include or emphasize buildings and places that are important to you?

ih | my inspiration comes from cities and urban places and spaces. i had the privilege of traveling a lot when i was young. as a student i would save my money and then just go and live in south america for half a year, or go to india, or go up and visit almost all of europe. what is important to me is the memories i have from these places, the experiences…i want to impress in my work the way that a place felt. i lived in paris for a year and a half and i remember walking those streets and found that i either liked paris or i hated it depending on my mood. i try to put all of that atmosphere, or whatever i was feeling on a particular day into my painting. i do not want to paint a topographical map - i like the play between representation and abstraction. it starts as a topographical view, but then i take a day or several days and then i try to make a painting out of it. traveling is such a rich experience that i need to take time and process it. i have to really let it sit for awhile. it’s a very long process for me to complete a painting – i couldn’t do it in an afternoon.

q | does the time you take to let a piece sit for awhile affect how you finish it – or cause you to not want to finish it at all?

ih | yes. one time last year i sent sixteen paintings to a gallery in edmonton. i painted and painted, and sent them away and then felt as if some of them weren’t finished. i asked them to send them back. i hadn’t seen them for maybe two months and then i knew what to do. and it changed almost completely!

q | tell me more about your artistic process. 

ih | the actual act of creation for me comes when i ‘respond.’ i like that. i put that there, and this here, and then i’m able to respond to what i’ve just done. it’s also about responding to the city i went to. 

q | there’s been a great deal of interest in your work and you’ve achieved lots of success in the past year – why do you think this is?

ih | i feel very lucky that people all of a sudden take an interest. i don’t know exactly how it happens but i have a show in [one place, and then another, and then another] and i think it creates an awareness. i think it’s the result of working really hard. i paint every day and i have an interest in selling my work – it’s my job.

q | in light of your aforementioned success, do you feel pressure to paint specific styles of artworks because you know they will sell?

ih | i believe it is my privilege to change my artistic style whenever i feel like it. there’s a lot of different people who say “why don’t you just do this style?” and there are others who celebrate the changes and accept it. certain styles for me are just a phase – i do it for awhile and then i do something different!

q: why do you choose abstraction or modernism as your overall style of choice?

ih | i’m so taken by shapes and colour and composition that i don’t even have the time to paint a landscape or something representational. the shapes and the colour give me more than enough to think about. colour is so exciting! it’s certainly not the most important thing but it adds a very important complement.

q | tell me about the writing within your paintings - what languages do you use? does it connect to the city you’ve portrayed? 

ih | yes, it does connect. my intention is mostly for it to be a pattern. in only a few instances i take the liberty to make little notes about the city but often it’s a thought that i have while i create a painting. i don’t want it to necessarily be readable – it’s so personal that i have to put something over it. i write mostly in german because it is my native language. if i wrote english text in my paintings i wouldn’t even know if it was correct. i don’t want to have to think about that.

q | i heard that you admire franz kline and robert rauschenberg - what other artists inspire you?

ih | i like rauschenberg. i’m very drawn to metal and collage but i don’t like when the materials stick out. that is the reason why i came to use resin. i had paintings with metal pieces but i wanted them to be paintings not a [three-dimensional] collage. the resin allows me to stick things on the painting beneath a layer of resin and you can’t even tell that there are prints and metals and other pieces underneath.
it’s really important to mention the artist that made me want to paint more – nicolas de staĆ«l. he is my hero. i discovered him about five years ago in paris at the centre pompidou. when you see his paintings, you will see me. he [passed away] sixty years ago but if he hadn’t i would find a way to be his student. he emphasized the spaces in between shapes and that’s what i really love. the in-between is why i paint. to me that is what my art is all about. i look at his work as if he is my teacher.

q: you use resin a lot. do you worry that people associate your work solely with resin, or that your pieces will begin to look unfinished if you do not cover them with resin?

ih | i don’t worry about it. i know that it may be hard to sell certain pieces that are not in that style. and i do have an interest in selling my work. but i want to be able to say “today, i want to go into my garden, and work with metals and just see what happens.” i know there are certain paintings that if i did that (re-created them), i could sell them. but i can’t do it because i feel like this now (points to a new series of paintings with a different theme than her past work).

thank-you ira!!


how to | manage your email inbox

i live with a man who has twenty-five hundred emails in his inbox. two hundred of those are unread. it's really a wonder he manages to get anything done with an inbox like that! after telling you this i like to imagine your mouth widening and a little scream coming out. personally i can't think of anything more frightening, but a little voice is suggesting to me that there are more of you out there. that some of you are closer to having hundreds of emails than you are to having zero. and in my mind zero should always be the goal.

you'll never actually reach the goal of having zero emails in your inbox. so why aim for that? because, like any goal, it's not always about the destination but rather the journey. am i getting too philosophical? probably, so let's start from square one.

this post is long, but stick it out and i guarantee big changes in your inbox!

tips for managing your email inbox:

one | replying, response time and politeness
i have lots of techniques in this area but the main thing i would like to pass on to you is this - clean out your inbox every three days. and by "clean out" i mean "respond to emails." doing this every third day will guarantee that your inbox never grows to hundreds of emails. as a bonus - people will appreciate the moderately short response time! try to get your inbox down to less than ten emails. put aside thirty minutes and just bang right through it without getting distracted!
also, if you don't think you can respond to someone's email within a week because it requires more time and commitment than you can manage - send a quick response saying that you've received the message but will have to follow up a bit later.
finally, try not to fall into the habit of mimicking other's response times. i often find myself responding very quickly when i know the person i'm emailing always replies within minutes. it's fine to quickly send a note back (i prefer to operate this way) - as long as by doing so you aren't creating more work for yourself (by responding when you should be doing other things, or by responding and therefore speeding up a project you're not ready to work on just yet). and if the person who has emailed you is known for not replying to emails for days, weeks or even months - don't put off your response when you have the time to do it now. doing this will just cause you to procrastinate and the email will never get responded to!

two | flagging, important tabs and starring
i never used to use these tools until last year. i started to work at a job where i managed an email inbox, and not only did it receive tons and tons of emails each day, but other colleagues occasionally had access to it as well. so flagging emails as important was key. doing so meant that they needed to be dealt with and not deleted.
recently gmail introduced the "importance" tabs. clicking them teaches gmail that those are the types of emails you believe to be top priority. i use these tabs as task markers. if i mark the email as important that means it needs a reply or a task completed (i.e. collaborating on a guest post, a recent order in my etsy shop or an email from my mother asking me about my flights home this summer). emails not marked as important may not require a response at all, or can be left till i have lots of free time.
you can also star emails. i use this very sparringly. that way, when i click to view my starred emails - only the most important messages come up. this includes flight bookings, emails that include passwords or logins, and my current tax forms.

three | responding to emails on the go
i used to respond to as many emails as possible on my phone. but then i realized i was making spelling mistakes and other errors. so now i only respond to chatty friend emails and very pressing matters from my phone. use your down time on busses or in line ups to check your emails. be sure to delete junk, and those emails that don't require a response, and leave the others till you are at a desktop computer.

four | folders
all email programs let you have folders. use them!!! get as specific as you like but definitely file away 80% of your emails (the rest should be deleted). most servers allow you to have a lot of emails so don't feel like you have to delete everything. you never know when you'll need to pull up an old email for proof, reference or just a walk down memory lane. here's an example of folder themes i have created: finances (e-bills, money transfers etc), receipts, blog, web (all those website sign ups!), etsy shop, etsy transactions, work, home (landlord emails, rent discussions, craigslist listings), weddings (my own or planning for friends), and the arts. *colour code your folders. there is nothing dorky about doing this. assign colours that you associate with that topic (i have synaesthesia so i just assign whatever colour that word or topic is in my mind - but for you i would suggest green for "finances", orange for your "blog" folder if you use blogger, white/grey for "weddings" etc).

five | follow up folder
yes, this is a folder but this tip is so important it gets its own section! whether i'm filing at home or work, i always have a "follow-up" folder. it literally means that i must follow up on it. it's not so important that it needs to sit in my inbox as a constant reminder, but it's important enough that it cannot be forgotten, deleted or filed away completely. i recommend peeking inside your follow up folder once a week. make sure that there is nothing pressing, and file or delete the emails in which the task has already been taken care of. examples of emails in my follow up folder include: online orders that have yet to arrive at my home, tracking information, self bcc's on my resume being sent out, flight bookings, classes i am taking, upcoming appointments and information i am waiting on. if an email is in the follow up folder, it means you are waiting for something (event or a response) and the ball is in someone else's court.

six | use it like a to do list
it's a great idea to use your email inbox like a to do list. assume that if an email is in the main inbox - you still have something to do (if not it's filed, or it's in the follow up folder). when i do my three day inbox clean up, i "complete tasks" by responding to emails or finishing a project. this may be different for freelancers who have very long term projects. after the clean up, the emails that remain (remember: aim for less than ten!) mean that the task is too big to complete at that time.
i also think it's a great idea to email yourself "to do's." at any given time i have at least three-five emails from myself. often they include images i need to file, ideas for new products or links i would like to check out. most of the time the info in these emails gets transferred during a clean up later to my "evernote" program.

seven | cc and bcc
i wasn't going to include these, but it has come to my attention lately that not everyone understands how to use "cc" and "bcc." that's cool - maybe no one ever taught you! or maybe you are younger and don't know about their history. using cc and bcc correctly will minimize the amount of emails you have to send. and possibly the amount of emails you receive from people who are like "what? i didn't know about this! why didn't you tell me about this?" also, i'm a dork and like to bcc myself so that i can imagine what it's like for someone else to read my email (i.e. proposals, project ideas or resume intros)
"cc" stands for carbon copy. as with most tech words, it's based on real life objects. because i work in art galleries, i use real carbon copy paper on a daily basis. when you write someone a receipt, an invoice or just something you need multiple copies of, you use carbon copy. you write on the top sheet (usually white) and the ink transfers through to the bottom sheets (yellow, and sometimes a pink one as well). so, when you email someone, by putting another email in the cc field, you are sending the message to that person as well. doing so suggests that the email is meant for the first person, but the cc'd person should be aware of the information. often-times people with admin assistants will send emails to colleagues or clients and cc their assistant. this way the assistant knows where the boss will be or to book an appointment for them.
"bcc" is a blind carbon copy. when you place an email address within this field - the other people you are sending it to cannot see the bcc'd email. it's kind of a nasty but brilliant invention. you may include someone else in the bcc so that there is proof you sent the email. or maybe you just want someone to be aware of certain information without the recipient knowing. never assume that you are the only person an email is sent to. a less naughty reason for bcc is group emails. if you are emailing to multiple people, it's not fair to share their addresses so publicly. when sending to five or more people, always put their emails in the bcc box. you can just put your own email in the main address field.

eight | contact list
okay, i'm totally guilty of slacking on this one. most email programs now are intuitive and if you start typing a person's name or email - the rest of it will pop up. but it's smarter to complete your contact list by going to your email address book and inserting a person's first and last name, or alternate emails. this is really helpful because sometimes you can think of someone's first or last name but not their email. but since not everyone has their full name connected to their email - nothing will come up. for example - i can start typing in "sarah..." but if sarah is private and doesn't attach her name to her email account, then nothing will come up. i need to remember that her email is "wink293@..." but emails are so unique it's not that simple to remember everyone's! (like cell phone numbers...nobody memorizes them anymore because you can dial someone by clicking their name!) i'm going to get my contact list done properly any day now and i suggest you do as well :)

nine | threads & titling
gmail has (what i believe to be) an annoying habit of creating email threads. this means that if i send out an email to multiple people - instead of getting separate responses in return - they will all come back attached to the original email. this means i can't file the responses in different folders. the whole email chunk can only be filed once.
or, if i am having a conversation with my best friend, we may send seventeen emails back and forth throughout the day (real scenario!). but only two of those emails contain ideas or links about her wedding. so of course i want to file away those emails but only the two, not the whole seventeen because i would have to scavenge through all seventeen later if i want to find those links/ideas!
here's the solution - when you realize you have discussed something of importance that you want to file, change the subject title. this will separate the emails.
another really important reason to title your emails correctly was discussed recently on jeremy and kathleen. if you use accurate and specific subjects, you'll be able to find the email much easier at a later date! see kathleen's post for more information on this (she has some inbox tips at the bottom of her email as well. i disagree with the "mark as unread" tip however, because when i look at my iphone, i like to know when i really have a new email, not just a fake unread email that needs responding. i think flagging works better).

ten | edit edit edit
this isn't directly related to managing your inbox but in a way it is. if you take the time to re-read your emails before you send them out, not only will it save you embarrassment over spelling mistakes, but it will help to avoid confusion and emails from people who need clarification. i've definitely received some emails where all i can do is respond and say "what are you talking about? what's the overall point or message here?" because when there are so many grammatical errors, run-on sentences and missing data it means you need more information - creating more work and less time for everyone!

bonus tip | don't stress
in this post on scathingly brilliant, kate talks about obessively over analyzing sent emails. i often find myself doing a quick read over in the sent folder (it's too late what's the point??) or bcc'ing myself. but don't re-read or obsess over the emails you send to the point where you begin to develop or ulcer...or worse, start to hate email! because in the end - although it's how we communicate now - it's still a very casual method (and truly, it's only a step above texting), so relax!

snail mail | bears, bunches of flowers & the best paper ever

i've been feeling very creative and inspired lately. yesterday i took a bookbinding workshop (photos soon!) and i had a blast. i'm planning to take some other classes this summer as well. they make me feel so inspired and i love trying to incorporate new skills into my own arts and crafts.

this is the father's day envelope i made for my father. i bought him this print by corella design on etsy and so i used her similar image on the envelope - with the idea that the bear will get "dressed up" for father's day! we've always referred to my dad as a bear -  a 90's bear, a millennium bear. as in...he's gruff and works with his hands, but he's also very in the know and in touch with new technology (he developed a web design/hosting business in 1994!).

i received this package in the mail this week! tell me this isn't the coolest paper in the world!? (don't tell me that, it would be wrong). my friend saw this journal and thought of me - how sweet is that? hopefully i'll give you some updates on the state of the book.

a response with a pretty envelope to my new penpal/blog reader holly!


sunday sins | microwave

for the past two weeks i have been avoiding an the etsy forums. each and every time i dedicate myself to giving up one of these sins, i am amazed at how ingrained my habits are! in the past two weeks i would be nosing around etsy, updating my shop and perusing others. and my mouse would find it's way to the community section. i'd be this close to clicking it before i would remember i was supposed to be avoiding the forums completely! but i didn't look - not even a tiny peek. i'm not sure whether i feel more at ease about my shop, but i know that reading the forums wouldn't have made me feel better so there you go!

for the next two weeks i'm going to avoid using the microwave. i eat a lot of crappy foods because the microwave makes it easy. canned foods and tv dinners and such. yum!/blech! probably without the microwave i'll have a lot of fresh things to enjoy. at first i thought this would be easy - but then i remembered that i often bring leftovers to work the next day and heat them up. that's not so wrong is it? well...the challenge has been set so we'll see!


sponsor | isavirtue

if you would like to sponsor my little isavirtue blog in july - visit this page for more information! or feel free to contact me with any questions you might have: patience[at]isavirtue[dot]net.


patience made | black & grey journals

yesterday i had a little bit of time to kill so i paused for a moment on a seawall at the harbour front. i had finished my errands for one job and was waiting to start a shift at another gallery. all of a sudden i got an email from a local stationery store. one of the managers there had thought of me when a new shipment of grey moleskine journals arrived. i'm always trying to find white moleskines in pocket size and this was the closest she had seen yet! the timing was absolutely perfect so i picked up a couple packs before heading to work. i'm so excited to have grey journals in my shop now!


snapshot | my husband, mint green and munching candy

one | a sneak peek of a piece of mail art for one of you!

two | a new minty green nail colour (mint sorbet) by sally hansen. in some lights it is far too green but in others it's light enough that i just love it!

three | a father's day card for my pops. i bought him this print but used another image by the artist to create the matching card. *awesome etsy seller.

four | a lovely new pair of earrings inspired by nature from violette boutique in victoria. probably my favourite jewellery store ever

five | a photo of my husband. he looked so handsome after work/before grocery shopping that i just had to snap a pic!

six | aside from being handsome - jon is also very thoughtful. he brought me home a collection of penny candy and then helped me spread it out into separate bowls to create our very own "candy bar."


art vs. art | kelly reemsten vs. keith p. rein

i am so pumped for today's art vs. art post. i'm really drawn to works by both kelly reemstem and keith p. rein. at first glance, these two artist have entirely different styles and aesthetics. but both present women holding dangerous tools or weapons.

kelly reemstem* is a little more subtle in the way she presents her subject matter. women in frothy mid century tea dresses hold everyday tools and household items but there is a distinctly ominous atmosphere. what do they plan to do with their chosen item?

keith p. rein's** figures range from stoic to sexy. i like to think he is empowering them sexually by giving them weapons. women are not as traditionally associated with dangerous guns as men are but here they appear in confident and in charge.

similar subject matter and themes - but which do you prefer and why??

kelly reemsten

keith p. rein

* here is a wonderful essay about reemsten's work. truly beautiful descriptions!
** warning: clicking through on this link means you will encounter graphic content.


snail mail | papered thoughts pen pal

i have accumulated a wonderful new penpal named rin! she was a part of the send something good project but i discovered her wonderful blog even before that - you can find her blogging about snail mail at papered thoughts. she's probably the best mail artist i've ever encountered and her aesthetic really jives with mine - it's full without being messy. "creative chaos" but with a sense of neatness which i absolutely love.

i wanted to honour rin's talent by putting a lot of love into the mail i sent her in return. below is a collage of the piece i made her, as well as the envelope innards. after which (saving the best for last) you'll get a glimpse of the amazing piece of artwork rin sent to me. i can honestly say it is one of the best pieces of mail i have ever received!



sunday seller | pretty little thieves

i was drawn to pretty little thieves because of these adorable ceramic plates, but i stuck around and fell into other categories because i really like quirky art. there's just something about these characters that is so charming, despite the fact that they look so damn sad!