Michelle Potter – Visionary Artist

In early 2013 I was introduced to soft pastel.  At my very first class the teacher asked why I was there and what I wanted to learn. My response was simple ‘can’t draw people or animals’.  Over the coming months I practiced weekly, reserving my fun messy pastels to my Wednesday morning class.  I finally decided to set up a permanent corner in my living room so I could paint every day.  I have never been known for my patience and the fact that I can take a picture and create something beautiful in a short space of time really appeals to me.  I get excited at the prospect of starting another piece, so the sparkle of my inner child continues to feed my motivation.

When I am doing any piece of artwork I am totally in the moment.  Through personal experience I know nothing brings you back into your body quicker than pain or immersing yourself in your passion, and I know which one I would rather experience! To me, art is so much more than visual.  Being in that creative space gives my life balance and an opportunity to stop and just be. I am evolving from the inside out and it reflects not only in my work but throughout my life.  This medium has allowed me to explore acrylic paints and pencils in a way I never thought was possible, and guess what? I can draw people and animals, I just needed the right guidance and lots of practice.


Time Lapse video of Oreo the Cavoodle


Michelle Potter




Creative Conversations – how to be a great interviewee

So, let’s say you’ve been invited to do an interview about your work, your artistic talents, your business, your dreams, your forthcoming performances or perhaps your next exhibition.

One thing that can be really off-putting for your listeners and viewers is the old ‘gotta memorise everything’ concept.  No no no no no no.  I know we’ve mentioned this before, but people do like people who are most like them.  If you’re being interviewed, it’s your audience who want to be able to relate to you.  Learning something rote to read back in response to ‘planned’ interviewer questions is going to make you sound rehearsed, uncomfortable and to a degree, unprofessional.  Your interviewer doesn’t want to talk to someone who’s got their face down in reams of paper looking for the right answers.

You see, you know your stuff better than anyone.  It’s a matter of trusting it.  If you do come across an interviewer who asks you a curly question, well, it’s a matter of dealing with it the best way you can.  If it’s too personal or simply too hard to answer, then say so.  Tell them you’re going to decline answering that question, or that you simply don’t have an answer.  Your interviewer should be professional enough to be able to handle your response and move on appropriately.

I guess, in a nutshell, don’t afraid to be you.  Trust your knowledge.  If you were having a cuppa with someone you’d be sharing that information quite freely.  It’s the same thing during an interview – the same concept that is.  Just keep it simple, keep it friendly and keep it real.

Vicki Irvine – Potter

I had wanted to delve into pottery for a long time and only after closing down my own business relating to airbrushing did I find the time, and what a great time it has been.

I feel like a little child in a candy store, running from place to place, not knowing what to do. Sometimes, I do envy those that have found the niche that most excites them and enable them to build up wonderful businesses.

On the first day of my class, the instructor asked whether I wanted to learn hand or wheel first …… no questions …… wheel please.  For those of you having problems “becoming one with the wheel” and centering, you will be happy to know I feel your pain, but it has been fun.

Please keep your first piece, no matter what, make sure you finish off with the fire and glaze. Once you improve, you will laugh at yourself. I know I thought it was absolutely perfect.  I was too frightened to make it any thinner!

Just as I was becoming “one with the whool” I injured myself and am unable to use the wheel for about 12 months.  Sad, but now I can do some of the hand building I have been dying to do.

I have been looking through Pinterest for hours on end, looking at completed work for ideas and inspirations and there is just so much.  I have made my own private boards under different categories and pinned works that interest me.

Don’t just search for ‘pottery’ or ‘ceramics’, try ‘cake decorating’, ‘drawing’, ‘watercolours’, plus specific items, such as ‘angels’, ‘birdbath’ for great ideas and inspiration.

Since my injury I have made a platter using sgraffito (so much fun, you have to try it), slip amongst others and having a great play around.  I’m currently working on a birdbath which I hope all the locals will love to use.

Enjoy your art, look everywhere for ideas. Just imagine it and make it (sounds so simple).

Vicki Irvine

Vicki Irvine on Pinterest

How to leave your audiences wanting more

Podium Power pics_0016Is your presentation memorable?  Is it one that people would come back for again and again?

Keeping your audiences engaged during a presentation can be a challenge.  But how do you do it?  That’s what we all want to know… how to leave your audiences wanting more.


Here are 10 tips I’ve always taught my students at my workshops:

  1. Be you – trying to be someone else is just way too hard
  2. Research your topic thoroughly.  You don’t have to have all the facts – give credit to those who have been there before.
  3. Impress your audience with statistics and facts and back them up.
  4. Offer content that no one else does
  5. Involve your audience as much as possible
  6. Tell YOUR story
  7. Don’t be afraid to have fun with your audience
  8. Share your sense of humour
  9. Leave your audience with something to think about
  10. Ask for feedback and publish some awesome testimonials

Now of course, they’re just for starters – there’s a whole lot more you can do.  Post your ideas below and let’s share the joy around.

Tracey Roberts – Artist

I am a visual and performing artist and a music-colour synesthete which means I see colours and shapes when I hear or create music.  Music is even more beautiful and colourful this way – and I use it to create my musically themed artwork.

I’ve always had synesthesia – I remember many incidences as a little girl but it is as natural and unremarkable as breathing so I never thought about talking about it or using it as a means to create art.  Up until the last 8 years I was primarily a musician, mostly drawing for fun and only ever in black and white.

When I discovered the word ‘synesthesia’, it meant I could research it and start to articulate what had been going on in my head.  For most of my life, I didn’t really know what to do with colour.  I found it a little confusing really and then suddenly, creating artwork in a really vibrant and colourful way started to make sense because I could relate it to music.  Now the relationship between my music and artwork feels complete with vibrant and richly saturated colours encompassing musically-themed imagery and my synesthesia ties everything together.  It’s all been a bit of an epiphany really and immensely satisfying.

I also do commissioned artwork called Your Story in Art, which has proven to be very successful and wonderful for many clients, both here and overseas – see www.yourstoryinart.com

Art exhibition / music concert – Wyreena, 13-23 Hull Rd, Croydon 13 -29 August (concert 28 August)
Tix: $30 (includes supper and show)
Bookings essential: 9294 5590

Solo exhibition – Brunswick Street Gallery  13-26 November


Napkin decoupage – What is it?

Napkin decoupage - Think in Pictures Events

Last year, whilst visiting the Stitches and Craft Show in Melbourne, I came across a lady demonstrating the use of napkins to decorate bags and all sorts of other paraphernalia.

I was fascinated by this idea and took home a kit full of napkins and glue and other little decorative nit bits.  Now, the one important thing that was pointed out was that using napkins made in Europe was the best way to go as the quality was different to those made in China and was easier to work with.  I agree… I’ve tried the napkins made in China, and of course I had to prove it to myself, and yes…. the European ones stand out a mile.

So, how does it work?  It’s simply a matter of:

  1. Think about the surface you want to decorate (I was really keen on decorating a lamp shade, mobile phone cover, glasses case, tablet cover and some canvases.
  2. Purchase your napkins and select some designs that are going to work with the shape of your item
  3. Purchase some napkin glue (yes, there’s special napkin glue for this).  PVA glue is similar and can work, but it’s best to use a sealer with it also.  I’ve tried both and both options work a treat.
  4. Separate the layers of your napkin – you’re only going to use the top decorative, and very thin layer
  5. Place your napkin face up on your surface
  6. Apply the napkin glue with a wide and soft-bristled brush
  7. Don’t worry about the rough edges – you can glue them down as you go.  Trim down any other edges with scissors or blade-knife once it’s dry – it’s much easier to work with and less likely to tear.
  8. Leave your item to dry for a good 24 hours.
  9. Coat with another layer of sealer if required.

It’s fun and it’s decorative and it’s easy to do.  Here’s a video that might also assist:


What’s in a photo?

I’m a creative little bunny and one of my passions is photography.  Yep – you can check out my over-600,000 views on Red Bubble.  However… this little post is more about what’s in the image and what to look for.

Taking photos with digital cameras these days is, of course, very easy to do and it’s easy to take hundreds of photos and choose the ones we like the most and delete the rest.  The thing is… it doesn’t always have to be that way, that is you may not need to take hundreds in order to get the best out of your camera.  So, what’s in a photo?

So, here are 5 things to look out for when taking pics:

  1. The rule of thirds – keeping your image in balance, visually, is important.  If necessary, use your grid on your camera viewing screen to work it out.  You can read more about the rule of thirds here.
  2. Positioning your subject.  When taking portrait shots of people, position them a little off centre, eg a bit to the right or left and balance the shot again – it’ll be far more visually appealing and your subject will still remain the main focus of the image.
  3. What’s in the background?  Nothing worse than taking a shot that’s really special only to find there’s a pole sticking out of someone’s head.
  4. Do you really need to use the flash?  Sure in some cases you do, but the less the better as it can really sap the life out of your subject, especially when it comes to photographing people.  Change your ISO settings on your camera to start with, or switch to manual settings and change your aperture to test how much light you can get away with without having to use a flash.  You may have to use a tripod though as your exposure time may be a little longer than usual and keeping a camera steady for those few seconds may prove difficult.
  5. Get hold of a tripod – there are so many to choose from these days – from bendy-windy things to super-professional multi-purpose Dr Who-style tripods.  Find what’s best for you and use it as often as you can.  Preventing camera shake is such a good idea and stepping back from your camera too, and using a remote control for your camera can also be worth some consideration.

Hope that helps – let’s know your ideas and how you’ve gone with playing with your camera!

How to market your business online

How to market your business online

Ok, I’ll keep it simple.

Marketing online is a project.  It’s something you need to attend to regularly, consistently, productively and passionately.  It’s ok to have a website, Facebook page, Twitter page, Google+ page, Pinterest page etc etc etc and belong to all of those other wonderful networks online but unless you’re out there marketing, nothing’s going to happen and your business just ain’t gonna make it online.


So, how to market your business online?  Here are 5 tips that come to mind straight away:

  1. Talk to others who do it, have done it and are experts in their field.  Learn from them and glean their ideas.
  2. Research what Facebook and other social media sites offer for advertising.  You’ll find pay-per-click options, display ad clicks and more.  Work out which is best for you and what will suit your budget.
  3. Get your website up to date and happening.  Research what other websites are doing and what sort of success rate they’re having.  Do visitors comment on their sites?  Do the images keep you engaged?
  4. Join in forums and look at what users are looking for.  Do not, however, exploit the forums as a means of advertising your stuff.  Users will soon be deterred by your blatant abuse of the forum and may ignore you completely.
  5. Check out what’s on offer from various sites, for example – Google Hangouts, Twitter chats, Facebook groups and so on.  There is so much to explore!

Hope that helps.  If you’ve got some ideas of your own, feel free to comment here 🙂


How to start a joint venture

how to start a joint venture

Well now… an easy question to ask, but what does it really take to start a joint venture?

Have you always wondered how to start a joint venture?  Have you listened to other people talk about how they’ve established a joint venture with someone else and their businesses have just taken off?

Well, yep – it’s do-able.  It can produce fabulous results.  It’s about finding the right person for the job.  It’s almost like an interview really.  Here are 10 ideas on how you can get started:

  1. Plan what you want to achieve in your business
  2. Think about who you might want to work with to make your plans come to life
  3. If you can’t think of someone you know, join a networking group and sus out some potential joint venturers
  4. Approach those who you think might be interested
  5. Question skills, experience, aspirations, interests and availability
  6. Meet face to face and discuss your options
  7. Ask how much time they’re prepared to dedicate to this venture
  8. Discuss finances and how much you’re both prepared to contribute
  9. Lay down the rules at the outset and be clear about each other’s terms and conditions
  10. Put it in writing and seek professional advice on legal terms, finances, insurances etc

Joint ventures don’t have to be complicated.  They can be short-term or long-term, but whatever you commit to, be prepared to put in your share.  As we all know, it takes two to tango, but joint ventures need not be a regrettable experience.  Of course, they can involve more than 2 parties, but be sure about who you’re working with.  You may want to work with someone who has ‘been there done that’ and can share all their experiences – joys and mistakes – with you.  Alternatively, someone who is at the same level in their business as you might be the ideal match.  Do your research and in turn demonstrate your professionalism and reliability.

How to market your business online

Internet marketing

It doesn’t matter whether you’re in business or not, internet marketing is all about getting your message out there and in the most effective way.

If you want to know how to market your business online, then it’s time to sit down and do some research.  What’s out there on offer?  Bucket loads of information!  That’s what.   It can take you hours and hours of precious time to sieve through all the ins and outs of internet marketing and I’d highly recommend chatting to an expert about what’s involved in getting it done.

Internet marketing is also something that covers such a broad range of topics, for example:

  • Social media – Facebook, Twitter etc
  • Online events, chats, webinars
  • Paid advertising campaigns
  • Website promotion
  • Writing blog articles that work
  • Using images – copyright vs. royalty-free
  • The power of video
  • Sharing your internet presence on TV and radio
  • and so the list goes on….

It’s all about getting it out there and getting it done right.  For example, there are all sorts of theories about writing blog articles, but the thing is, you want to keep people on your site for as long as possible, right?  So, to do that, write a longer blog article, incorporate links and keep your readers entertained, educated and informed and they’ll come back for more and more and more.

If you really want to get technical, I’d highly recommend becoming part of the Digital Traffic Institute with AutoPilot Your Business – their technological brilliance certainly outshines any other source I know and they are so willing to share.  Definitely worth the investment.



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