What pregnancy feels like.

It’s time to stare down the elephant in the room and explain what has gone on around here.

When I started this blogging thing back in October, I thought I had established a pretty good posting schedule. The content was evolving, and has taken on a new direction. This seems like a natural course as you discover what it really is you’d like to share with others. I’m brand new to blogging. There’s a lot more I need to learn to polish up what I’ve shared as well as to keep improving.

Once our puppy Dottie arrived, things got a bit hectic. I was still able to post regularly, but completing my projects for the challenge I assigned myself (the 30 day project) became trickier. About a week into Dottie’s arrival, I noticed I was very tired. Assuming the fatigue was a result of this new puppy, I didn’t think too much of it.

Well, things were about to change again. Pregnancy greeted us just as our new puppy had two or three weeks earlier. Wow! Little did I know, the effects of pregnancy would hit me like a ton of bricks. Literally.

Pregnancy is like nothing I’ve experienced before. It’s an odd thing that can give you feelings of accomplishment and excitement, yet loneliness and frustration at the same time. For weeks I beat myself up for not being able to accomplish hardly anything I used to on a daily basis. Forget posting on the blog, updating DottietheDoodle.com, in addition to babysitting the pup, doing chores and going to work…and everything else in between. I couldn’t even make it to the gym anymore. My routine slowly unraveled until I had no routine anymore. It’s not just that my routine had disappeared, I felt so sick that some days it was a triumph to move off the couch and take Dottie for walk.

Although I know at the end of this arduous string of 9 months (oh my gosh, that’s scary) we’ll have another spectacular addition to our family, it is hard to get through each day at this point. Some days are better than others, but it is never easy. I think adding a puppy to the mix makes things extra difficult. In fact, I know it does. Again, there is light at the end of the tunnel, however, in the present it is still the trickiest situation I’ve ever had to deal with.

There are probably many things people don’t tell you about being pregnant. Just know, you aren’t alone and there are fellow pregnant women that feel the same way you do. Not all pregnancies are difficult. It depends on the person. Let’s sum up some pros and cons, from this pregnancy in particular:

Cons:

  • fatigue
  • sickness, for sake of clarification, morning sickness is non-existent, it’s ALL DAY sickness
  • depleted energy levels
  • painful breasts
  • ligament pain from the stretching of the uterus & other inside changes
  • hormone fluctuations
  • acne due to hormone fluctuations
  • …mood & attitude changes due to hormone fluctuations! Need I say more about hormones?
  • difficulty doing & completing regular activities you’d normally not have issues with
  • the desire to exercise isn’t there
  • food aversions & cravings
  • loss of appetite, especially with nausea & vomiting
  • catching a killer cold; creates more mucus & makes you feel more sick
  • inability to take most medications
  • inability to swallow pills due to an increased gag reflex

Pros:

  • creating & growing a person is a pretty neat thing!
  • adding a new addition to the family
  • planning your future & growing with your family
  • feelings of excitement for what awaits
  • the ability to get ample rest really helps
  • people who see you everyday are very understanding and helpful
  • some people can’t get pregnant, it’s good to be thankful
  • people all around you have done the same thing, ask for help if you need it
  • they say, typically after the first trimester, things get better
  • this list doesn’t catch up to the con list, but I bet after pregnancy is all said and done, the pros are infinite!

I expect that within the next few months I might be able to make it back to a somewhat regular schedule. I hope to resume my projects as well. I included a picture of my supplies, not getting any use. Sometimes life gets in the way. Isn’t that the beauty in it though?

-Kalli

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Slowly, but surely.

Project #2 of 30 is underway.

Stay tuned for the reveal, which will hopefully be on Tuesday! I do apologize for the pace I’m running at the past few weeks, I’ve felt a bit under the weather. I suppose freezing winter temperatures and lack of sleep due to puppy sitting can do that to you pretty easily.

Anyhow, slow and steady wind the race, right? Have a good start to the week and don’t forget to look at the day with an open mind.

-Kalli

Overestimate organization.

It pays for creative minds to be organized, despite the stereotypical assumption that some creatives are messy and all over the place.

If you’re convinced you don’t need to be organized, stick around for a minute. The ‘spic and span organized lifestyle’ doesn’t exist in my world. I like to consider my form of organization different from the norm. As long as I know where my tools are when I need them and similar things are in the same place, I’m golden. Speaking of golden, my new Goldendoodle sure is keeping my hands full and away from the computer! She’s resting, so I can take this short-lived free time to post a snippet of thoughts.

Dottie the Goldendoodle resting

With all the different projects I work on, between the computer and off the computer, it is integral to keep everything in a designated spot. I think of this sort of like little spots of reference. So, image materials go in one spot, photographs in another, notes in another, etc… The more organized my materials are, the more efficient I feel I can be. Constantly working on and off the computer can cause organizational chaos, or lack thereof.

My goal for a while has been to become organized. I’ve been slowly progressing. The more that is added to life, the more I feel the overwhelming sense to keep an organized fashion. Now that my world has been tipped upside down, I’ve really been hammering this thought! Today’s goal is to do just that. There is no better time than when you’re at an organizational low to start the process.

For those exploring their creativity and expanding their horizons, try to start with an organized process of keeping or storing things in a way that fits your lifestyle and your habits. For instance, I have organized ‘piles,’ but I now where everything is.

Organization

Here are some initial ideas found on Pinterest, if you need inspiration. Image courtesy of The Huffington Post.

-Kalli

Don’t get discouraged.

Is everything in the media, online and offline, these days making you feel inadequate?

Don’t get discouraged! No matter where you are in your journey, it is certainly easy to falter. It’s happened to me many times. Instead of elaborating and focusing on different scenarios that could fit your situation, I’m going to focus on convincing you not to get discouraged! Take it from someone who has been there, done that. Let me save you time, energy and frustration. Things that we as Americans (and in some cases people) are exposed to on a daily basis do not resemble real life. In fact, most things we see are either altered or are only tiny snippets of peoples actual lives.

I stumbled on a great website and blog (Susannah Conway), which led to another awesome website I’ve frequented before (Lisa Congdon). Lisa discusses how ‘the internet is not real life.’ It offers a great perspective on the ‘reality’ of social media (affects on mood and self confidence) as well as an in depth description of her experience with Instagram. It’s especially important when accessing your creative sense to not become discouraged and not to compare yourself to others. Everyone is different, thinks differently, works in different ways, etc… Either way, you wouldn’t be unique without your own special self and ways of thinking.

Lesson of Today:

Don’t falter, trip & fall. Use the image of the rift below as inspiration NOT to get discouraged.

Crevice

-Kalli

Apply your skill sets in the real world.

Skills, traits, talents. We all have them. Now, what’s the secret to actually using them in everyday life?

If your situation is anything like mine, you may have a degree, but you may not have a job title that directly reflects said degree. As a freshman, I heard many upperclassmen talk about how they were taking jobs that did not directly reflect their studies. In addition, here is something to keep in mind-sometimes gained experience outside of the classroom can be just as important, if not more, than all of those papers and mid-term tests.

So, now college is over. You may be job searching or looking for the next best opportunity. Or, maybe you’ve been out of college for awhile and are going on to something new and different. What do you do?

  • make a list of all of your strengths, traits, skills, even things you enjoy and like to do or aspire to do
  • think about your past experiences-at work, school, or anything that can speak to your talents
  • now, think about each task associated with your list of experiences and evaluate your performance and what you learned
  • make your resume look the best it has ever looked, really put a good amount of time into polishing it
  • if you already have a job, make a list of the tasks you do
  • use this list of tasks and figure out ways you can apply your skill sets to them, you might have to think outside of the box on this one
  • ‘add your special touch’ to tasks and see what you come up with
  • if you’re looking for a job, look for things in your field, but you may have to get creative and look elsewhere
  • note jobs that have a broad enough range of tasks to fit what you have to offer
  • note jobs that maybe you hadn’t thought of trying initially and see how you can apply your skill set to each aspect of them
  • ultimately, look at what’s out there in the world and envision what you would be doing–how can you get to that point?

Here are some snapshots of my resume, for inspiration!

Resume, Kalli Payment Resume, Kalli Payment Resume, Kalli Payment

-Kalli

Best posts about productivity.

Postanly Weekly features a collection of the best blog posts about productivity, life and career improvement.

Thanks to Thomas Oppong for collecting and sharing these posts. I’ve already read three articles! This stuff is definitely shareworthy or shareable, as I like to call it, especially pertaining to discovering or enhancing your inner creative being.

Postanly Weekly  Postanly Weekly

Give it a visit and see what you think.

-Kalli

The changing course of an artwork.

This is a piece I completed in college. Its journey from ideation to completion was an interesting one.

First things first. This work would look best printed fairly large, maybe as a mural for a wall. It could be applied to fabric as well. In my opinion, the bigger the better. The hue structure is dense; it really packs a punch. If it is applied in large scale, the hue and pattern will visually be more spread out. The piece is busy, also another reason why it’d look its best printed large scale.

This was the first draft. The idea originated with collage techniques in mind. I love fashion illustration and I knew I wanted to incorporate it somehow. Bustling city scenes are included to evoke the sense of movement and many things happening at once, much like what you’d find in the city.

'Fashion'

First stage

 

Here are the fashion figures before I added them to the collage.

'Fashion'

 

There are more elements added and layered to this next one.

'Fashion'

Second stage

 

And again…

'Fashion'

Third stage

 

I took out elements of each image above and came up with this; the final product.

'Fashion'

Final stage

 

Different elements used in this collage process were:

  • photographs
  • maps
  • fabric
  • graphite drawings

Making this piece was tricky. What you call writer’s block applies to this situation, but perhaps as artist’s block. At the time, I was pleased with the end result. However, maybe another draft awaits. Sometimes a work is never truly complete.

-Kalli

 

What have you learned so far?

A continuation of the previous post, All about collage.

Comparing and contrasting the elements of projects you’ve completed will help evaluate your progress and clarify what you’ve learned. Each image below links to it’s primary post with the exercise/ project directions. I’ve also listed the important aspects of each assignment to summarize.

Who's there? collage pieces

Journal collage pages

  • what defines you?
  • when looking at images in magazines (or elsewhere), what draws your eye?
  • once you start collaging, keep going until you’re satisfied
  • DO NOT get discouraged
  • was it hard to glue or fasten stuff down?
  • the assignment post connects to this post: Step #1 & collage.

 

Adulthood: black/white collage

  • eliminate color, stick to just blacks, grays and whites
  • try not to use personal, sentimental items or family photos
  • try shopping at a thrift store for your collage materials
  • use specific periods in your life: childhood, youth and adulthood as inspiration
  • find symbols, elements and images that speak to who you are/were or represent your person; your personality during each time period listed above
  • division of time (childhood, youth and adulthood) sets a confinement for each collage; sets a limit to the subject matter, creates constraint within each collage-this helps build meaning and brings substance to the work you make
  • the assignment post connects to this post: Black/white collages, round 2.

 

Charles Schultz quote collage

  • working with words and images simultaneously works both sides of your brain; an important aspect of bringing out your true creativity
  • without both sides of the brain contributing to things you do, the ‘WOW!’ effect will be underwhelming; you will not have achieved your full potential
  • this exercise places more emphasis on integrating letters, symbols and words into the collage-while you may have used these elements in the two exercises/ projects above, it wasn’t the underlying intention
  • bringing intention and purpose to works you create gives meaning and ultimately more authenticity to your work
  • the assignment post connects to this post: Words & images, round 2.

Creativity discovery 101, or as I like to call it, the something good 101:

The progression starts with defining yourself. Based on those aspects, images, hue, pattern, texture, things, items, pictures, etc… begin to resonate with you. From here, instigating challenges (as opposed to just making a pretty picture because you like the way it looks using images and things you like) by making constraints and bringing purpose to your projects starts to work its way in. Once you get momentum, you’ll see the progression in what you’ve created, but also in how you think and how you view things. This same principle can be applied to works other than artworks; writing, music, leadership, the list could go on and on. If you’re a musician for instance and your working to become more creative, you may not necessarily relate with images or hue, but you’ll relate to other aspects that deal with music specifically. For the musicians out there, would composition and instrument techniques fall under this category; I’m not an expert or even a novice when it comes to creating music. Whatever comes before novice is where I’d place myself!

Next up, another dissected work. I always think I’ll be able to fit stuff into a future post. However, I get started and the next thing I know, I’ve written two pages without covering the next item on the to-cover/discuss list. Blogging has been a very good learning experience for me. My plan is to alter the organization of future posts and stick to discussing one particular thing, instead of two or more. After all, I enjoy writing and sometimes it takes over. Oh, not that it matters, but I’m going to lessen the amount of tags in each post. Apparently assigning 50 tags to a post isn’t neessary. Thanks for hanging in there with me.

-Kalli

All about collage.

Curious to learn more about the inner workings of collage?

On the Post Extras. page, I’ve recently added some new stuff. You’ll find information about different collage techniques as well as some revolutionary collage artists that have since set the stage for current artists and the like. Today I’m going to dissect some of my previous works, particularly ones that incorporate collage. I’ll compare and contrast these with the exercises and projects we’ve completed thus far. Remember, if you’re just joining us, you can find all previous posts in the calendar on the right hand side of the page or you can scroll through the post queue.

While reading this, remember the importance of collage. Collage is experimental, forgiving and really emits a sense of freedom. It might be fair to say that making a collage is easier than drawing on a blank canvas (for those who do not draw regularly). It is perhaps one of the easier ways to exercise your creativity or even discover it!

Here is a project from 2011. I called it ‘Escape.’ I completed this as a college assignment. It’s important to note that the process of creating this piece resonated with me more than other things I’d done in the past.

'Escape' framed on the wall

‘Escape’ framed on the wall

 

'Escape,' copyright Kalli Thurgood Payment

‘Escape’

As a fresh college student, I had never made art on the computer with the exception of design layout for yearbook classes in high school using Adobe InDesign. It wasn’t until late in my sophomore year that I really grasped the concept of Adobe Photoshop and, later, Adobe Illustrator. Before going to college I had:

  • a passion for fashion and fashion design
  • a liking for art and design, specifically drawing and painting
  • a liking for scrapbooking and sewing
  • a liking for photographing things and places
  • moved, but also traveled
  • worked part time, went to school full time
  • a liking for pop culture, namely music and movies (fashion too!)
  • played softball (disclaimer: this was for a very brief time in high school and I apologize to my fellow teammates for really not knocking the ball out of the park…)
  • I could probably list more, but it’s almost hard to remember without researching via searching through photos and mementos

Working through finding my creative being, my something good, I quite literally stumbled on things and advanced on others. Ultimately, the discovery I made is that mixed media captures my interest more than any other media alone. This is a very broad statement. Here’s a more concentrated list of individual mediums I like (combine one or more to create mixed media):

  • collage and all collage techniques
  • paint
  • graphite
  • charcoal
  • pastel
  • ink
  • found objects
  • digital
  • adhesive
  • matte medium
  • metal
  • wire
  • again, I may have left out a few items

Just in case…

'My get up and go just got up and left.'Is this happening to you, right now? If so, it’s more than normal. There are many components and parts that plug into the creativity machine to make it work. I don’t want to lose you in the midst of the various topics discussed so far. Just remember to keep in mind what defines you, your personality, what you like, what you don’t like. Later, I’ll describe how I figured out that mixed media is my thing. There’s a lot more to the story than a list of things I did in high school and types of media I’m drawn to. Stick with me, you’ve got this!

Let’s look at the piece a little closer. Here’s a sample of scanned images from working on the project. Included in the piece are elements of everything shown, with the exception of the ruler.

Pieces of 'Escape'

Pieces of ‘Escape’

I would classify these pieces under found ‘household’ objects, as far as medium type is concerned. I used crayon on the scribbles. The overall piece is digital, so I’d say that’s the main medium.

After collecting the images of items I wanted to use, I combined them in Photoshop with photographs I’d taken; the balloon, the person on the ladder (that’s me) and the head (that’s my husband) to create a photomontage. The effects of collage techniques were all achieved in Photoshop. I did not create a collage prior to working in Photoshop.

This piece is available in prints on Society 6 if you’d like to purchase one. Don’t worry, that’s the only one there!

I think I’ve covered quite a bit for one ol’ post, but next time I’ll continue by comparing and contrasting the exercises and projects we’ve done thus far as well as dissect some other pieces. Let me know if you have any questions in the meantime!

-Kalli

Infographic!

Check out this awesome infographic. It’s ideal for this blog! Thanks Spirit Button and Visualistan.

How To Be More Creative #InfographicYou can also find more infographics at Visualistan.

-Kalli