FRESH

clementines, diana willard

It's been a good, long winter break.

We just got back from Iowa, where I spent a quiet ten days with my parents and brother. It snowed, I shoveled, and we had dinner around the fire. It was a wonderful, and much needed, rest.

I'm easing back into the studio and preparing for some big changes and decisions over the next few weeks. Most of which I haven't even made yet. So, it should be an interesting month.

In the meantime, the lovely Kate invited me to do some free writing based on the word "fresh." Perfect timing for the near year and new beginnings. You can read my reflections here.

I hope you all had a refreshing holiday season. Have a wonderful week everyone!

xo Diana

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WEEKLY WISHES 13 // this is it!

olive branch, diana willard

In three days we fly out to Iowa! Yes, we're traveling on Christmas day to celebrate Christmas (and a belated Chanukah) with my family. Pray with me for no flight delays! :)

I don't have any particularly ambitious weekly wishes this week, which I think is how it should be for a holiday week. I hope you all have a wonderful week, whichever holidays you may be celebrating this time of year.

LAST WEEK'S WISHES:

  1. Finish up holiday paintings. Done!

  2. Thirty minutes exercise every day. Nope, but we went running on Saturday and Sunday, so I'm hoping to continue this trend into the week.

  3. Finish my Python course. Not yet -- it turns out the last few chapters are the most challenging, so this is going to take longer than I thought. But that's ok, because I'm taking my time to do a good job on it.

  4. Work on a save-the-date design. I made good progress on this, but now comes the fun part -- creating the illustrations and layout!

  5. Work on my Well-Designed Life worksheets. I completely forgot about this wish. . . but like my Python course, I think this is one of those longer-term goals.

THIS WEEK'S WISHES:

  1. Work on save-the-date illustrations. The image above is one of the original options -- we'll be going in a slightly different direction, and I'm excited to get to play with watercolors this week.

  2. Do a "winter cleaning." The holiday rush left our apartment in a state of semi-chaos. I'd love to do some cleaning, organizing, and purging our belongings.

  3. Stay active during the holidays. This one is going to be a challenge between travel and holiday meals, so we'll see how this goes. . .

  4. Enjoy spending time with my family! Because we live so far apart, I don't get to see my parents and brother as much as I'd like, so I'm really excited to get to spend a full ten days with them!

Have a wonderful week everyone!

xo Diana

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WEEKLY WISHES 12 // tis the season

planner, diana willard

I can't believe we're only ten days away from Christmas! We decided a bit last minute to spend Christmas and New Year's in Iowa with my parents, and I hope to wrap up some projects before then!

This week'sweekly wishes, are pretty similar to last week's, as I'm still working through several projects.

LAST WEEK'S WISHES:

  1. Spend my mornings making art. Yes and no. Early in the week I was able to do this, but later in the week some more business-related tasks find of took over. Not exactly what I planned, but definitely needed.

  2. Thirty minutes exercise every day. Ok, the tally is jogging three times and 20 minutes yoga four times. Getting closer!

  3. Work on my Python course and attend two coding events. I spent a lot of time on Python this week, and even though my progress was pretty slow (read: incredibly slow!), I feel good about it. Due to the weather, I only went to one of the two coding events, but it was great to meet other women who are also interested in learning to code and in possible career changes. I'd definitely like to go to more of these!

  4. Work on a save-the-date design for a friend. We're making good progress! We've hammered out a plan and a mood board (I'll be sharing it later in the week) and now I get to do lots and lots of botanical illustrations -- take a look at the first one!

  5. Take some time for introspection and planning. I made some good progress on my Well Designed Life packet from Whitney English. As part of it, I took the StrengthsFinder test from Gallup, which was fairly interesting. Have any of you taken the test? What do you think of it?

planner, diana willard

THIS WEEK'S WISHES:

  1. Finish up my holiday paintings. I have a couple of commissioned paintings to finish up and some others to package up and send. The holiday rush is almost over!

  2. Thirty minutes exercise every day. This week I'm feeling pretty motivated -- we went on a longer run on Saturday (four miles), and it was pretty painful. I'm hoping that by running two miles everyday, I'll be better prepared for next weekend!

  3. Try to finish up my Python course. Only six more chapters to go. . . aiming for one a day!

  4. Work on a save-the-date design for a friend. I'm excited to try out more botanical illustrations and play around with some fonts!

  5. Keep working on my Well-Designed Life worksheets. I really like having a more structured way of thinking about how I want to choose and organize my goals. Let's keep working towards clarity!

What are your plans for the week? Best of luck getting your wish list done and your to-do's checked off!

xo Diana

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WEEKLY WISHES 11 // the road ahead

avenue of the giants, diana willard

I hope you had a great weekend! The rain finally cleared up enough for us to go jogging at my favorite local lake -- San Francisco is such a hilly city that I find it hard to run in, but the lakes are a guaranteed flat-ish area! We went jogging there both Saturday and Sunday, followed by brunch at our absolute favorite cheap diner. Take note, those of you in SF. Also, yes, brunch both days. No regrets.

I have some big plans for this week, so it's going to be a bit of a sprint to the weekend. Without further ado: some weekly wishes, as hosted by Melyssa of the Nectar Collective!

LAST WEEK'S WISHES:

  1. Continue exploring my new paintings series. I did one more "paper experiment," which I really enjoyed doing, but honestly I didn't get very much painting done last week.

  2. Thirty minutes exercise every day. Ah, my constant weekly wish. I think I'm getting closer to this one -- I went jogging four times last week and did a tiny bit of yoga. So close!

  3. Work on my Python course. Yes! I spent a lot of time on this one and I've finally gotten to the point where I'm spending more time thinking about how to solve coding problems than on memorizing little nuggets of information.

THIS WEEK'S WISHES:

  1. Spend my mornings making art. I got a bit out of this habit over the last month, but I always have a better day when I begin this way. I'd like to do some more of my experimental paintings on paper, but I also have two commissioned paintings I need to crank out.

  2. Thirty minutes exercise every day. I'm getting closer, but still haven't gotten there yet. Let's do this!

  3. Work on my Python course and attend two coding events. I'm closing on the last few chapters in Learn Python the Hard Way, but these are also the hardest chapters. I don't want to rush through it, but I'm hoping to finish up either this week or next week. Also, I'm planning to attend two Hackbright Academy events this week -- I'm hoping to learn a bit more about coding, but also get a feel for the community. Excited!

  4. Work on a save-the-date design for a friend. I'm looking forward to trying out a design-centered project (as inspired by my friend's excellent sense of taste!), and experimenting with watercolors, a medium I don't typically use in my personal work.

  5. Take some time for introspection and planning. There are a lot of "big picture" things I want to think about, including my plans for the rest of the calendar year and leading up to my big career decision next spring, evaluating my art business and website, and a whole host of more nebulous what-do-I-want-to-do type questions. I actually broke down and bought a copy of Whitney English's "Well-Designed Year" -- a sort of expanded worksheet designed to help clarify your goals and plans. I've never tried anything like it before, so I'm excited and curious to begin using it this week.

What are your plans for the week? Best of luck getting your wish list done and your to-do's checked off!

xo Diana

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WEEKLY WISHES 10 // new experiments

experiment on paper, diana willard

I hope everyone had a wonderful Thanksgiving!

S and I had a bit of an unorthodox holiday: since we live far from our family, we took the long weekend to do a road trip up to Redwood National Park. It was an amazing drive (there is so much of NorCal north of San Francisco! And it is so beautiful!), so I'm really glad we took the time to do it.

But now it's time to get back to work, beginning with some weekly wishes, as hosted by Melyssa of the Nectar Collective!

LAST WEEK'S WISHES:

  1. Keep sharing my postcard paintings + get back into the studio. Done! I kept sharing and writing about my Postcard Project, but I also got really into something I'm calling my "paper experiments (above). It's always fun and interesting to try something new, and I'm excited to see this series evolve.

  2. Thirty minutes exercise every day. Erm, I only went running once this week, but we did get some nice hiking in on Thursday and Friday, despite lots of travel. Let's call this one not bad for a holiday week!

  3. Enjoy a quick road trip. Done! We drove up to the Redwoods on Thursday and headed back on Friday. Despite some rain, it was really nice -- I just love the unbelievable scale of redwoods and the beautiful forests.

THIS WEEK'S WISHES:

  1. Continue exploring my new painting series.

  2. Thirty minutes exercise every day. Every day!

  3. Work on my Python course. I'm closing in on the last third of Learn Python the Hard Way, and tentatively hoping to finish it up this week. It's supposed to be a good foundation, so I'd love to be able to explore some interesting projects once I have it under my belt.

What are your plans for the week? Best of luck getting your wish list done and your to-do's checked off!

xo Diana

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WEEKLY WISHES 09 // happy thanksgiving!

studio table

Well, this weekend certainly flew by! On Friday, we went to a party to celebrate a friend passing the California Bar (come back to the Bay Area, Jessa!), and spent the rest of the weekend sort of catching up from the week.

The highlight was definitely going for a jog around a nearby lake and going out for a diner brunch -- for those of you in San Francisco, you just may want to check out the New Taraval Cafe. It had excellent basic breakfasts, no waits, and is super cheap -- hello $5 eggs and pancakes!

On to the weekly wishes for this short week!

LAST WEEK'S WISHES

  1. Launch my new paintings! Yes! You can see my blog post about the paintings, read an interview about my process, or follow along with some more behind-the-scenes stuff on Instagram. I've got some more exciting blog posts planned as well!

  2. Thirty minutes exercise every day. I managed to exercise four days last week, including the weekend. Not bad, but definitely with some room for improvement.

THIS (SHORT) WEEK'S WISHES

  1. Continue to share my painting series, but also get back into the studio! I have some more blog posts and other exciting things planned for my Postcard Project, but I've also been missing just hanging out in the studio and experimenting with brush and paper.

  2. Thirty minutes exercise every day. Always.

  3. Enjoy a quick road trip! S and I decided to drive up north to Redwoods National Park for Thanksgiving, which I've been wanting to go to since we moved to Northern California. I sometimes have a hard time "turning off" for vacations, so I want to be conscious about that and really enjoy our time together.

What are your plans for the Thanksgiving holiday? I hope whatever they are, they are full of good food and great laughs!

xo Diana

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WEEKLY WISHES 08 // time to launch!

day designer

Is it really Monday already??

This weekend two of my college roommates were in town, so the three of us and our fourth roommate who lives in the area all met up for a mini-reunion. It was a bit crazy, since we had only one hour together before one of them had to rush off to the airport, but it was so great to get to see each other!

Aside from that, it was a working weekend for both S and me. In case you missed my last post, I shared that my newest painting series is coming out this week! You can take a look at the paintings here, but I'll be writing more about them and what they mean to me tomorrow. (Spoiler: it gets a little emotional!)

On to the weekly wishes!

LAST WEEK'S WISHES

  1. Prepare my new painting series for its launch! YES! I have a couple of last-minute things to put together, but we are set to go for tomorrow.

  2. Thirty minutes exercise every day. Sigh. . . let's roll this one over to this week.

  3. Set aside one hour a day to work on my Python course. I was really excited about this one, but ended up not doing it as I got caught up in my new painting series (actually a good sign). I'm putting this one on hold, but do want to get back to it soon.

THIS WEEK'S WISHES

  1. Launch my new paintings! The paintings are ready, their website is ready, but am I? Gulp! This is my first time really launching anything, so I'd love any tips you all might have!

  2. Thirty minutes exercise every day. Come on, Diana!

And that's it. Should be easy enough, right? :) Right.

Best of luck with all your goals this week!

xo Diana

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WEEKLY WISHES 07 // It's that time of year...

postcards

Hello everyone! I hope you all had a lovely weekend!

This weekend, S and I drove up to Tomales Bay for a friend's birthday party at the Tomales Bay Oyster Company. It's a fun picnic area with grills where you can cook the local shellfish they sell. I had a blast and even tried a raw oyster for the first time -- let's just say that was an experience. :) (Sidenote: if you do end up going, it seemed like it was a wise decision to make a reservation well in advance. Yes, for a picnic table.)

On to this week! Last week was fairly lackluster (in which I spent most of the week recovering from my open studios), but I'm back and feeling much revived and excited to get back into the studio. So without further ado, this week's wishes:

WEEKLY WISHES

  1. Prepare my new painting series for its launch! After my open studios, I had something of a brain wave, and suddenly was bursting with new ideas. But that's all for nothing if I don't do anything with them, right? This is definitely the big goal for the week as I hope to be ready for launch by next Monday. I'm working through the Designed to Sell guide to creating and launching a product, which so far I really like. Have any of you used it, or have other great resources to share?

  2. Thirty minutes exercise every day. Always a goal, not always accomplished. Let's do this!

  3. Set aside one hour a day to work on my Python course. I began working my way through Learn Python The Hard Way after finishing a Codecademy course in Python and really enjoying it. My husband is a software engineer, so this goal is partly to be able to talk to him more fluently about his work, and partly to have a super left-brain project to work on. Sometimes after painting I like to work on something with a bit more rules!

Do you guys ever find you need mentally take a break from the type of work you do all day? What types of things do you do to exercise other parts of your brain?

Good luck with your goals this week!

xo Diana

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NOVEMBER GOALS // WEEKLY WISHES 06

watercolors

Hi everyone! How was your Halloween? I ended up not having a costume, not going out, and having a pretty great time just hanging out at home with my husband. (Plus hyperventilating about my upcoming open studios. Some low-grade panic always makes for a cozy night in, right?)

This weekly wishes post is a bit different than my previous ones: today I'm sharing some of my big goals for November.

LAST WEEK'S WISHES

  1. Prepare for my open studio event! DONE! I'm really happy about how this went -- and so thankful to the friends and strangers and new friends who came and made this a success. I'm now collapsed on my couch, possibly to not move all day. (All week?) Feels pretty good.

  2. Make time for self-care daily. Ha! I'm going to call myself out on this one. Between not exercising and having Halloween candy on hand all week, I think it's safe to say that this one did not happen at all. Sigh.

NOVEMBER WEEK'S WISHES

  1. Make a plan for the holiday season for my art business and begin executing on it! Last year I cleverly scheduled our main vacations during the holiday rush, which was. . . not ideal. This year I'm determined to give the holiday season my full attention and energy!

  2. Send out my first studio newsletter. For real this time! A bunch of lovely people signed up this weekend and I really want to stay in touch with them. You can sign up here for some prettiness!

  3. Build my healthy habits back up. The holidays are coming up (already???) and I need to stop making excuses about my health. There is always something happening, and that can't keep being a reason to keep making unhealthy choices.

  4. Make a fun plan for Thanksgiving weekend! We looked into flying out to my parents' house and tickets for that week are more than a thousand dollars each! Thank you, Iowa. So, we're looking into some alternatives -- maybe a roadtrip? Any suggestions?

  5. Take some time to slow down and introspect. I feel like I've been running around from one to-do list to another, without really thinking about why and is this what I really want? Now that open studios is coming to a close, I feel like I'm in a space where I can give this some good, solid thought.

What are your big goals for this month?

xo Diana

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WEEKLY WISHES 05 // countdown to open studios

Paris Street, Diana Willard

We reached home yesterday and immediately collapsed -- the best kind of vacation is the one you need to recover from right??

In all seriousness, though, this trip was fantastic. I'll be sharing photos and favorites from my travels next week, but I just wanted to say that seeing the art, walking down the Paris streets (the houses! the alleyways! the balconies!), and celebrating with family was truly wonderful.

But now, on to the week!

And it is going to be a tough one.

I'm participating in San Francisco Open Studios next weekend and boy do I have a list of things to get through! Fortunately, this ultimately boils down to one real weekly wish (and one much-needed companion wish):

THIS WEEK'S WISHES

  1. Prepare for my open studio event! This involves a good amount of painting, but also a vast array of other more mundane tasks including some intense cleaning, furniture arranging, and brownie-baking (take note, those of you in the Bay Area!).

  2. Make time for self-care daily. During weeks like this, all the good habits I'm working on often fly out the window. I want to make sure to keep exercising, eat well, and make time for reading/recovery time.

Best of luck on getting things done this week! Do any of you have any exciting things planned?

xo Diana

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WEEKLY WISHES 04 // the week before vacation

water jug, Diana Willard

This is it! My last week before our two week vacation, and one of my last two weeks to prepare for my Open Studios. Is it just me, or does the week before a vacation always become completely insane?

On to the weekly wishes! (Kindly organized by Melyssa from the Nectar Collective and increasingly crucial for me to get anything done. . .)

LAST WEEK'S WISHES

1. Get myself in shape for upcoming art shows.

More or less. I painted a ton (finally breaking 20 hours this week!), dropped off art at four of seven the venues, and worked hard on organizing our local artists group. But. . . I'm still feeling a bit panicky about the remaining three shows and actually having art for my open studios.

2. Send out my first email newsletter.

Nope. But I did a little art project for this, so maybe this week?

3. Exercise for 30 minutes a day.

How about three days this week? This was my biggest regret of the week, since I know exercise helps me manage stress.

4. Practice Hindi daily and get through five new levels on Memrise.

Ish. I did the five levels, but not the daily practice. Overall, I feel pretty good about it.

THIS WEEK'S WISHES

  1. Paint, paint paint! I have a bit more work to do on some pieces for art shows, but mostly I need to stock back up on painting for my open studios.

  2. Begin promoting the open studios event. I need to make and hang flyers and start posting about it on Facebook and Instagram.

  3. Exercise for 30 minutes each day. This must happen!

  4. Practice Hindi daily and get through at least 5 new levels on Memrise. It's crunch time! Plus, it'd be great if I did a little French practice, but let's be real, that's not very likely to happen. . .

  5. Prepare for our upcoming travels. We'll be spending a week in Paris, which should be a little cold and drizzly, and a week in India, which should be nice and warm. So I'm planning on bringing all my clothes. Shouldn't be a problem, right? :)

What are your big goals for the week? And does anyone have any tips on creating and sticking to an exercise plan??

xo Diana

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WEEKLY WISHES 03 // crunch time

work table, Diana Willard

This weekend was full of family, food, and enjoying San Francisco's parks. It was so nice to have my parents visit -- they live in Iowa, and this was the first time they’ve gotten to see our new apartment. I'll be sad to see them go on Tuesday, but fortunately we've already planned their next visit!

I have to admit, keeping track of my weekly goals via Melyssa's Weekly Wishes link-up has been great! It definitely keeps me more honest!

LAST WEEK'S WISHES

1. Organize my fellow Open Studios artists and order new business cards.

Yes! I think we'll have twelve artists collaborating on our Open Studios event -- now I just need to create an Art Walk map for us to distribute. Plus. . . my business cards are in the mail! I tried out something a bit different this time, so I'm excited to see how they turn out.

2. Make art for at least 20 hours.

Welp, I got 16 hours in. Not bad for a short week -- my parents arrived Thursday night and I took Friday off to show them around, which was great!

3. Exercise for 30 minutes a day.

I managed this for four days last week, which wasn't the best, but also wasn't the worst. Onwards to the next week!

4. Practice Hindi daily and get through six new levels on Memrise.

Done! I think the fact that our trip is coming up is finally starting to motivate me. . . Also, if any of you are hoping to learn a new language, I've really been enjoying Memrise. I've also heard really good things about Duolingo, but unfortunately, they don't have quite as many languages available.

THIS WEEK'S WISHES

  1. Get myself in shape for upcoming art shows! I need to do a lot of painting, a lot of planning which paintings should go where, and a lot of deliveries and meetings this week. I'm feeling a little overwhelmed on this one, but I'm planning on taking it a day at a time.

  2. Write and send out my first studio newsletter! Of course I would try to do this on such a crazy week, but I really want to send it out on the first of the month so this little freebie I've been working on will make sense. . . If you're interested, you can sign up for the newsletter here!

  3. Exercise for 30 minutes each day. I can easily predict that this will be my biggest challenge given how much work I have this week. Must. Stay. Strong.

  4. Practice Hindi daily and get through at least 5 new levels on Memrise.

What are your big goals for the week? And do you have any exciting new plans for the October and the autumn weather?

xo Diana

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WEEKLY WISHES 02 // time to step up

pastels, Diana Willard

To be honest, I'd completely forgotten about this post until I saw Melyssa's new Weekly Wishes link-up. And I definitely hesitated -- was this really something I had time for today? Was this helpful?

But since I couldn't even remember what my wishes last week were, I thought it was at least worth checking back on them. . . and boy am I glad I did! It wasn't the most uplifting moment to see what I'd accomplished last week, but it was an important one.

LAST WEEK'S WISHES

1. Create a plan for my San Francisco Open Studios event, and start working on it!

Um sort of. I contacted a bunch of other artists in the area who I hope to collaborate with on promoting our studios -- we aren't just in a quiet, residential neighborhood of San Francisco, we're in a quiet, residential neighborhood on top of a hill. To say we don't get much foot traffic is putting it mildly.

So now I've roped some other people in, but other than that, I haven't done any planning. Oops!

2. Get back to spending lots of time making art -- at least 20 hours this week.

This week, I spent just 13 hours making art. You might remember that I began tracking my hours spent on improving my art skills about two months ago, and this is why: for the harsh and unavoidable truth.

Must step up my game on this one, especially since my long-term goal is 30 hours a week.

3. Keep on exercising, 30 minutes a day minimum.

Eh, sort of. I did exercise daily, but I was down to more like 20 minutes each day. Can I just blame it on the head cold?

4. Practice Hindi daily.

I think I practiced half of the days, and most was reviewing old vocabulary, instead of teaching myself new words. And we only have three weeks left before we leave for India!

Overall, I didn't do that great on my wishes, but I have high hopes for this coming week. These goals might look a little familiar, since I clearly haven't quite succeeded at these yet. . .

THIS WEEK'S WISHES

  1. Organize my fellow Open Studios artists, make a plan with them, and order new business cards.

  2. Make art for at least 20 hours this week! It'll be a challenge, since I have a short week with my parents flying in Thursday night, but I desperately need to finish up some pieces for upcoming shows!

  3. Exercise for 30 minutes each day.

  4. Practice Hindi daily and get through at least 6 new levels on Memrise.

What are your big goals for the week? And what ways have you found to stay on track with them?

xo Diana

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WEEKLY WISHES 01 // getting in gear

paintings, Diana Willard

Whew! That was a bit of an unexpected hiatus there, huh? Having a craft fair booth turned out to be much more exhausting than I thought (but also more fun!), and after spending yesterday lying down recovering, I realized I needed a bit of a kick in the pants to get started with my week.

I ran across Melyssa's lovely blog, The Nectar Collective, maybe a month or so ago, and have been loving how goal-oriented it is. This week, I decided to participate in her Weekly Wishes feature, which allows bloggers to share their goals for the week (and their progress on previous goals).

Without further ado, my wishes for this week!

  1. Create a plan for my San Francisco Open Studios event, and start working on it!

  2. Get back to spending lots of time making art -- at least 20 hours this week.

  3. Keep on exercising, 30 minutes a day minimum.

  4. Practice Hindi daily. We're headed to India in October to visit S's family, and I'm determined to be able to chat it up with taxi drivers by the time I get there.

What are your big goals for the week? And what ways have you found to stay on track with them?

xo Diana

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