Why I created my Words to Inspire collection

I have just released a new collection of cards which has been in the pipeline for a while. For a long time, I have been intending to create a collection of cards which would link my philosophy of the world with yoga (if you’ve been following this blog then you’ll know that yoga is a big part of my life!).

When I am at places like trade shows, I sometimes struggle with the idea that I am bringing more stuff into the world. Where let’s face it, there is a lot of stuff already. So I wanted to design a collection that I felt could also have a positive impact on the world. The words I have used are phrases that inspire me on a daily basis and keep me moving forward towards my goals when I feel down, unmotivated or simply fed up with the world. These simple but beautiful words have helped me immensely. I wanted to share them alongside some simple illustrations. If they cause someone to smile, laugh or simply be inspired, for me that is a job done!

As a further point, last year I did a series of courses in Waterloo. Every lunchtime I would go to the station to pick up my lunch but I would end up having my lunch almost in tears. This is because I would encounter so many homeless people on my way into the station and I would feel helpless. It wasn’t just the mere fact that there were homeless people there, it was that I would watch hundreds of people walk past and just ignore each person like they aren’t even people. I then made a commitment to myself that for my next collection of cards, I would donate a percentage of sales to a homeless charity and do what I could in my own small way to help this crisis. I feel that if we can’t even look after our own what hope is there?

So I am donating 10% of all sales from my new ‘Words to Inspire’ collection to Shelter homeless charity.

Here are the four designs: 

You can find out more and purchase the new collection here!

Love, 

Natasha Jade x

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Simple tips to improve productivity!

I am always striving to improve the way I do things and to make my life more harmonious. This for me means living my life in a way where the boundaries between my work and my life are slightly more blurred.

I have to remember to remind myself that my work is my life and that I should conduct myself in a way that is in harmony with my ethos and day-to-day morals.

Because of this deep striving within myself, I am constantly looking for ways to improve the rhythm of my work to create a more harmonious and calmer day-to-day life. 

Here are a few things that have really helped me in recent weeks. For me, the beauty of some of these points is that they are so simple that it’s almost laughable. However, implementing some of these simple changes has created tremendous results for me. 

I have recently started a new routine where I sweep the studio every morning when I arrive and every evening when I leave. I know it sounds extremely obvious, but actually, there are many days when I arrive with so much to do and I just get going on my laptop straight away or get on with a drawing. Or other times when I just have to get out of the studio, I leave as quickly as possible without tidying up the space. 

When I give the room a really good sweep as I leave, it’s like I am providing a sense of closure for the day. I am sweeping the energy of the space away and creating a clear space to come into in the morning. It helps me to arrive with a clear mind free from any problems or anxieties from the previous day. Obviously, it is very good practice to keep your working space clean physically but also the act of energetically cleaning the space morning and evening I have found to have a very profound effect on my mood and my intentions for the next day. 

I have also started a routine where I have been wrapping up my studio days by setting an intention for the next day.  Normally I set an intention along the lines of the space being filled with inspiration, joy, abundance, and creativity for the next day.  

The next thing I have been doing which is literally revolutionary is timetabling my week. Now I know this sounds obvious but this practice has literally changed my life.  I now have a set day I do all my financial work, a set day I do all my product related work, a set morning I work on the blog and set times when I work on everything creative. By just having this allocated time I feel like my mind is so much clearer. Because I focus on one practical thing each morning/afternoon/day, I am able to get so much more done than when I am flitting between things and doing whatever I think is the most important at the time.  

Ok, I may not be able to do everything in one session but at least I am constantly giving time to the different aspects of my business. That way everything gets attention and everything is able to grow in a steady way. 

It’s funny how the simplest of things can make such a difference. But for me, they really do. Giving small things the right amount of attention really helps my mind to be more organized and frees us space in my life for me to be more open to creativity and growth. 

Do you have any routines that really make a difference to your week? I’d love to hear from you if so! Leave a comment or get in touch here: natasha@artbynatashajade.com.

Love, 

Natasha Jade x

Remembering the why

I don’t know what it’s like for other creatives with their own businesses, but for me, I find that it’s easy to become so immersed in what you’re doing that you forget why you even started.

I am sure like me, when other creative business owners set out on their journeys, they had the best of intentions. I wanted to create a business that was different from the standard 9 -5 grind. I wanted to do something that I loved which hopefully would then inspire other people to go and pursue their passions and dreams aswell!

However, the sad reality is that as time drags on, things happen which seem to draw me away from my original starting point. Even though I might not work the classic 9-5 hours, I know I am probably working or at least thinking about work for many more hours than that each day. 

So sometimes I think it’s important for me to step back, remind myself of my business morals and touch base with my ‘why.’ To re-connect with the reason I do what I do, and the reasons I started my business in the first place and how I intended to implement it on a day-to-day basis. 

I  studied Mathematics at the University of Sussex and completed a degree which I found to be quite boring at the best of times! I was adamant to live a life where I could combine the skills one might classically find in business with a creative lifestyle. I knew that if I was just painting all the time my head would be up in the sky and I would be extremely ungrounded. At the same time if I was just doing business tasks I would be bored and creatively deprived. For me, it is very important to find a balance where these two skills can work harmoniously together.

I also felt very strongly that I wanted to work with people that were also pursuing their creative dreams. I have been very lucky to have two wonderful ladies work with me. Jess, who manages our social media is an amazing singer-songwriter, and Leanna (when she is not selling our greeting cards to shops around London) is an inspirational actress. It was important for me to have people around me who are also pursuing their dreams. I do believe when people are doing what they love they are happier and when people are happier they do a better job in whatever it is they are doing!

I also firmly believe the philosophy that one happier person makes the world a better place. I have felt in the past and still feel very strongly that if I create a beautiful painting that brightens up someone’s room and makes them feel happier and uplifted in their spirits, then my job is done. Likewise, if someone buys one of my greeting cards with an image that makes them feel inspired and puts a smile on their face, I feel I have made a difference!

Essentially I do believe that it’s the little things that we do which make a difference in this world. I believe that every time we share a beautiful art piece, an inspirational song, a smile or anything else, we are doing our bit to help to lift up the spirits of those around us. In our own way, this helps to change the world a little bit at a time.

Love,
Natasha Jade  x

Review: Niki De Saint Phalle’s Tarot Garden in Tuscany

I had such a magical day at Niki de Saint Phalle’s Tarot Garden  in Tuscany, Italy last week. I visited the garden lots of times as a child, and it’s still just as inspirational for me now as it was then!

The esoteric sculpture garden based on the Tarot cards was started in the late seventies and ended when Niki passed away in 2002.  Niki intended the Tarot Garden, a fourteen-acre sculpture park built atop Etruscan ruins, to serve as both “a sort of joyland” and a demonstration that “a woman can work on a monumental scale.” I find her use of vibrant colour,  shape and mixed media truly inspiring! Here are some pictures from my recent visit: 

Find out more about Niki de Saint Phalle’s amazing Tarot Garden here

Love,

Natasha Jade x

The Progression of my latest commission

For the month of May, I shifted my studio abroad and worked on a wonderful commission. It ended up being one of my favourite paintings I’ve ever worked on! I love immersing myself in the area I’m depicting in my paintings. Soaking up the scents, colours and vibrancy of each area so that I can express it authentically on the canvas. 

If you are interested in finding out more about my commission process, please visit my commission page!

Love, 

Natasha Jade x

7 steps to creating a painting

More often than not when I am speaking to a client, it is assumed that after I have an idea for a piece, I then put brush to canvas and off I go. However, as you can probably imagine, there is in fact so much more that goes into creating a big commission. A lot of people have asked me recently about my process so I thought I would share it in this post! 

Step 1

The first step is usually a 1–2 hour meeting with the client to find out what they are looking for. We take a look at my various painting styles, examples of past projects and the interior of the space the work will occupy. Either during that meeting or the following one, I look at the size of the intended space measuring exactly the dimensions we think are suitable.  

Step 2

After this has been discussed and decisions have been made. Namely the colour scheme, intended dimensions, subject, use of material and medium, I then start creating the canvas. Depending on the size  and canvas material this could take up to a day to prepare. 

Step 3
This then takes us to the research stage. In an ideal world, I am able to go to the place which the painting is to depict. Normally I spend 2-3 days gathering information about the place, walking through the streets and finding unique buildings. I take loads of pictures and just let myself be free and take pictures of the buildings/areas I am most drawn to. During this time I also do a few real-life sketches to capture the energy and the vibe of the place. 

Step 4

I then take all the material back to the studio and take a full day to sift through it. I gradually break it down into the photos I am most inspired by or are best suited to the piece. I then take another day to create preliminary sketches and watercolours based on these photos to get a rough idea of how it will look. However, as I normally work on a small scale it usually only creates a rough outline. 

Step 5

The size of the canvas affects how much time it takes to plan the full size painting. This, in my opinion, is one of the most important and difficult parts of the process. For my standard canvas size of 100 x 150cm this can normally take up to 3-4 days. Essentially I have to sketch up the whole piece as accurately as possible. The more detail I go into in this stage, the more detailed the final piece will be. At this stage, I also have to start thinking about which materials I am going to use and slowly but surely build up the outline of the piece. In my opinion, it’s a bit like crafting a sculpture. I have to structure and re-structure the piece over and over again so I get the composition exactly how I want it. There is a lot of craft involved.  

Step 6

Once the outline has been depicted and I am fully happy with the composition this is when the mosaic and painting starts. For a painting that is 100 x 150cm, this normally takes about 100 hours. 

After painting, it then takes a full day to do all the final touches –  such as attaching the appropriate hanging material and tidying up all the sides.
After the painting is dry-ish, we then pack it up and deliver it to the given address.

Step 7

I then prepare a Certificate of Authenticity which states that the painting is an original piece of work by myself, so that in 50, 100, 200 or 300 years –  if there is any debate about the authenticity of the work, my clients have documents to prove the work is authentic. 

I hope you have enjoyed these tips! If you are an artist and would like to share your process, please comment below – I would love to hear from you. 
If you are interested in commissioning artwork, you can find out more on my website or by getting in touch with me at natasha@artbynatashajade.com

Natasha Jade
x

Finding the hidden art in nature

One of the negative things about living in London is that it’s very easy to feel trapped in the city. 

I find that more often than not I tend to get a flight out of London to another European city instead of going to the countryside to visit places in England. This weekend I was reminded of the beauty of the English countryside as I finally managed to get out of the city and go to North Devon. 

While I was away something hit me – I rediscovered the rich beauty and inspiration that can be found in nature.  Be that the curls of a tree trunk, the beautiful patterns of a fern or the constellations of stars in the sky. 

I love zooming in and taking photos on my camera that capture the texture of a slice of nature. I can then use these shapes, lines or even colours to help weave into the fabric of my paintings. 

Even though a lot of the paintings are architectural pieces it can be really good for me to draw what I can from these different elements and weave it into my artwork. 

For example, recently I have started going back to life drawing classes. Even though my speciality is not really drawing people, studying the form of the body opens out a different way of thinking for me. This is turn trains me to think about things like lines, form and shapes in a different way. These skills definitely seep back into my art and help develop my skills. 

Personally, I think whatever your creative discipline, looking at, studying and experimenting with colour, texture and lines that can be found in nature can really influence your creative work – feeding your creative mind and developing your skills in a very special way. 

Here are some snaps from my recent trip to the wonderful Exmoor area: 

Have you been inspired by the hidden art within nature? If so, I would love to see your snaps or hear about your projects that nature has inspired! 

Love, 
Natasha Jade x