Insights and reflections for the week.

I reconnected with two old acquaintances this week. One acquaintance, Jeff I photographed for his head shot and we discovered we could be of mutual assistance in achieving our goals. The other acquaintance, Adriana is an amazing creativity and spiritual teacher that taught me a lot about, growing my creativity, driving slowly, patience and visualizing  a positive intention for my 2 sons.
I went to an art opening of my college friend Anthony Redpath at Bau Xi gallery. I felt it was his best body of work, it looked great. I saw a mutual old friend I had not seen for 27  years. He was one year a head of me in my photography program and one of the top academic students. He was not practising photography any more and has become electrician. I did not recognize him except for his eyes and his quite kind personality which remained relatively the same. He would probably think the same of me.

Never Retire.
I often hear people tell me how they can’t wait to retire and that they hate work. I feel the complete opposite.
If you enjoy what you do , never retire. Work will flow seamlessly between enjoyment and play and keeps the body and mind engaged with the exciting Game of Life. When I was in elementary school I remember dreaming  of being a commercial photographer  and an artist . Then when I went to college and studied commercial photography  a lot of the guys in my class developed negative attitudes .  As I continued my career, I notice a lot of my colleagues  in commercial photography  have negative attitudes  to the business . I’m always surprised  when people dream of a career and then when they get  disappointment in their career  they let it defeat them. I love the words in an old Frank Sinatra song that goes” Every time I find myself flat on my face, I get myself up and get back in the race. That’s life…..”
I feel it is a honour and a gift to be able to work and to serve . I never forget that  the other option  is  looking for work  which is a lot harder than actually working and getting paid. So often when people start a new job they start with a positive attitude and enthusiasm, and they let every negative obstacle or challenge  change their attitude  on their career or job .  Another job always looks greener  and more lucrative, they think .  Then most people  start to develop a negative attitude  on their daily job . I admit I can get physically tired and a little negative sometimes then I remind myself that people often say to me “I wish I had a job like yours.” This reminder helps me to be stay super grateful and positive.
Find what you enjoy doing and what you are good at and make a career of it. Then work will transform to play as long as you are present. There is no substitute for good hard work. There are problems and challenges in every job, several times a day or even hour. That’s what I get paid for, solving challenges and with each challenge resolved a bigger one arrives to help me grow. I feel this is the winding river of life. All the while I continue to create my masterpiece.
One of my favorite analogies is,  life is like a winding river. Sometimes it seems like the river is not going in the right direction we want, but it always gets to our goal which is the great ocean.

Negativity, fatigue and being tired  are also a state of mind  which  is my option to change  at any given moment .  My father often told me  that young men never get tired .  I would agree that most fatigue and tiredness  can be erased  by simply changing my attitude towards it . I find the days that I work out early in the morning and go for a jog and or do my daily 15 minute routine I have more physical energy. Similarly if I put in a very long day I can sometimes feel mentally invigorated and excited and ironically have more energy at the end of the day.
When I started out in my career I prayed before sleeping for business. Now that God has blessed me  with work why would I ever want to stop. I often feel excited about the next day, so much so that it’s difficult to sleep. I feel when I have a purpose , the air smells sweeter , there’s more lift in my step , there’s more twinkle in every ones eyes, more presence in each moment and everything and everyone looks more beautiful. Simply put, life is more  engaging and dynamic when I have a purpose in my work/art/business life.

I feel I am fairly lucky and have a relatively simple lifestyle. I found that having a complicated Life Style can make my life too complicated. I have photographed very wealthy people’s homes and they had to maintain a large staff just to manage their estates. I never had aspirations to be like that. My goal is now to have less objects but a few quality objects. If you ever visit a Japanese Palace it has almost no furniture, unlike the European counterparts in France where you have to constantly dust the ornate furniture and decorations.  As I get older I want to minimize  the objects in my life  and simplify . Sure I like large spaces, fast cars, adventure travel and art but how I spend. My general rule is not to spend more than one months net  income on lifestyle. ( My 15 year goal would be to pay for one years personal lifestyle in one work day,  by growing my business.)

I found out that as a man I needed a purpose  a way to contribute and serve,  I needed and want to work.  I also watch my mentors and teachers continue to serve long after they did not need to work . Personal development and growth happens when  we continue to work  and face daily  obstacles and challenges with a positive attitude. I also notice that most people that do not work and stay home and watch TV, develop bad habits of often gossiping and letting trivial little dramas affect their happiness.

Work allows me the privilege of sharing my gift with the world.
Today I cannot imagine  a life without working  it’s such an amazing gift and blessing to be able to work, create and serve.
Other reasons not to retire…
– what happens to a tiger if he retires?
– an amazingly high percentage of people that retire die within 18 months, so better work to live a healthy long life.
–  Everything is either growing or dying why not extend the growing phase and shorten the dying phase.

Off topic: I really like the song ” Work” by Rihanna and Drake.
Peace out my lovely human beings.

Week in Review, and Art Talk about ” The voice inside my head.



Week In Review
“Life is Art and Art is life. Learn one, and you will have also learned the other.”
This is similar to what I wrote last week about business. When I write Art, I mean also creativity. Art and Business and Life are connected in my day. I always view my life as I am working and creating my master piece. A life that grows to be a great masterpiece is only enjoyed when it is shared with others.
It has been a epic week. I love working, and getting inspired. I was away for a 6 day trip with my favourite inspirational customer to San Antonio Texas, Indiana, Saratoga New York, Montreal, Regina, Swift Current Saskatchewan, and Kelowna. I learned a lot, and got a deeper understanding of some business principles from my teacher/customer/business role model.
-Hire slow, if you make a mistake fire fast. Do not waste a person’s life if they are not suited to the position.
High staff turn over is like trying to building a business on quicksand.
Usually people leave not because of salary it is usually because of management.
You can’t change the mistakes of the past if they were 10 years ago or 10 minutes ago, but you can learn from them and make sure they don’t happen again and plan for the future.
Customer satisfaction and employee engagement.
Respond to every single email and call, thank every person that sends you a card.
Write down old inventory, have a write down policy, take the hit now.
Get pledge from staff on what they will do to improve and grow. To better serve customers. Setting Goals makes work more fun and engaging.
The Customers are the most important person and the ultimate big boss in a business.
Make decisions for the very long term for the greater good.
Do what’s right, do not do something just for the company.
Make all decision as if they were on the front page of the local news paper , live transparently.
If we serve and take care of our good honest customers. usually they will take care of our business. That does not mean we let dishonest people take advantage of us. We serve our good honest customers.
I photographed a retirement dinner of a great humble kind leader. He was not the most charismatic leader and often stuttered when he spoke, but he earned amazing respect and loyalty from his management team. He grew an amazing business in challenging times. He would always give the credit to his team for any success. I asked some of his team how he did it?
He would simply hold people accountable with to do lists and review them and made sure what they got done. If there was a problem he would gather his team and ask “what are we going to do to fix this?”The team would then brain storm solutions.
There are many other reason why he was so successful, like impeccable honesty, attitude, practical, and accountability.
Life is full of challenges like business, taking consistent positive action when needed, gets you to where you plan to get to, but you need a plan, and once you get there keep innovating. There is constant change and challenge, it is part of the journey in creating a life that becomes a work of art.

Art Talk about “Dreaming of the Now”

Week in review.
” Life is business, and business is life. Learn one, and you will have also learned the other.”
I love reading business books because they often show me how to improve a situation that is also applicable in life. I’m enjoying reading 2 life/ business books now and will share my review about them in a couple of months.
I feel very blessed and grateful to have the most amazing lovely friends, customers, and teachers in my life. Most of my dearest friends are teachers to me. It makes our relationship such a wonderful adventure as we experience and learn new things. One of my goals is to be of service whenever capable and asked by the kind people in my life.
This is a good week for creating some very bold and different art, so bold that I’m not comfortable sharing it at this time…

I started using Instagram and have got student helping me out. My youngest son Ryan has shown an interest in photography since January and finally got his first camera now, he can use his own camera instead of borrowing his friends. He’s really been interested in Instagram and has a following of about 600 people since February. My oldest son started his first office summer job in an accounting firm. I felt warm inside seeing him dress up early in the morning to go to work down town. It has been one of the greatest joys watching a baby grow up to be a man of good service.
Next week the adventure gets ramped up, with some out of town service trip with my hero and teacher. It’s going to be fun!

Art Talk about ” Mother Commuting”

Spontaneous Art Talk about “Mother Commuting.” This video is for the people that admire and love Mothers. Great mothers do whatever it takes to feed there children.

Week in review.
I learned some important lessons about giving and sharing last few weeks. I have a friend that is going through some hard times after he suffered an injury that left him with hospitalized with a bad concussion. So he has called me often early in the morning to talk about his problems and his worries and possibly make sense of them. While listening to this humble kind friend I often counsel him by simply being present and listening to his concerns. But I have noticed that it’s me that has benefited most from these interactions as I can reflect on the general kindness and humanity of most people. I also am learning to reduce my judgements of other and to better control them. I walk away realizing how wonderful caring people can be. Most people want to give and share happiness with others. I feel blessed to have friends that can share there life experiences with me.



Spontaneous Art Talk about “Morning Routine”

Last week was a great week of learning, growing and exploring. I took a social media marketing class with my youngest son and went for a hike in North Vancouver with him. My oldest son got back from University and I wanted to greet him like the ” Return of the Pordigal Son” as seen in my favourite Rembrandt painting with the same title. He did not fall to his knees but it was really great to greet him.
I attended a gallery opening at Richmond Art Gallery which is one of the best contemporary art galleries in BC. I am on the volunteer board of Richmond Art Gallery Association for the last 18 months. The opening was very well attended congratulations to the artist Lyse Lemieux: show titled “A GIRL’S GOTTA DO WHAT A GIRL’S GOTTA DO” See photos below.
I created 4 new works last week and hope to complete 3 new works this week.
To learn more about the “Return of the Prodigal Son ” By Rembrandt
To learn more about Richmond Art Gallery