Who am I? Inspired by @smartcreativew

This post "Who am I?" is prompted by watching a video by Monica Lee of Smartcreativewomen. As I mentioned to her in the comments it made me laugh out loud because it was as though she was speaking to me. I imagine I was not alone!

As some of you who follow me on Twitter know I have two accounts Moobaacluck and Inkpaintpaper. This is one of my introspective get it all out there posts. Normal service will be resumed shortly.

[caption id="attachment_1392" align="aligncenter" width="640"] © Gabriella Buckingham[/caption]

I view Moobaacluck as one aspect of what I'm capable of. I am very fond of what I have created since late 2008 and some special people like it to ;)!  While I work very hard on commissions over the next few months I'll be thinking about what I want to do more of. Which is reflected in what I get up to or talk about @inkpaintpaper

What is it?! and how I can earn a living from it in combination with  Moobaacluck? Currently this earns only just enough to survive with judicious use of a credit card from Feb - August. It's fabulous in the run up to Christmas, but exhausting (I seem to earn almost half my annual income Oct-Jan) . So there has to be a solution.

A few months ago I designed some cards that feature my hand writing and some others based on drawings and pattern. I love them. For some reason I haven't managed to get them on line to sell... I've made moves in the right direction setting up my Etsy shop where they will appear soon. I have a new camera and I'm ready to shoot. Once I've tidied up a bit ;)

[caption id="attachment_1388" align="aligncenter" width="640"] © Gabriella Buckingham[/caption]

My highest value is Freedom. Sometimes when I can't join friends or even take two consecutive days off because of commissions  I think I went a little wrong somewhere!! Then again, when I can simply walk across the garden to work, be at home when the children are and never have to get on public transport (unless for a fun trip out) I know I have lifestyle I want. Earning more than the minimum wage would be good though. I have a very, very strong work ethic and am driven to 'do' but the hardest thing for me is stepping back to take time to plan for the future.

[caption id="attachment_1393" align="aligncenter" width="640"] © Gabriella Buckingham - one of my old 'Contact' pages from the late 1990's[/caption]

Before I started Moobaacluck I was an illustrator. Most of what I painted were greeting cards, some gift wrap designs and latterly children's books. I started out with editorial illustration - a handful of  decorative water colour style acrylic, food and floral images. Next came the soft semi realistic romantic fiction for weekly magazines. My highest paid job for a single day was painting a still life of oranges on lace, in a studio, in water-colour, in front of a camera and having my hand and work photographed throughout for a "How to Paint Watercolour"  by Dorling Kindersley. I was fresh out of art college and I earned in a day what I earn in an average month with Moobaacluck over 20 years later.

[caption id="attachment_1391" align="aligncenter" width="640"] An oil sketch/ painting I did in 1993 in my bedsit - still one of my favourite pieces. Bit of a faded pic! ©Gabriella Buckingham[/caption]

I've had a solo exhibition of paintings in this gallery and sold several paintings through it:

(weird face but you can't have everything, eh))....I designed a map for it the gallery too, (see below) but I stopped there because I couldn't run Moobaacluck and paint regularly. I've done Open Studios once... so far. I almost set up a website called 'Help-a-creative' which was a great idea (not just in my opinion) that I still think about, but to keep Moobaacluck and generate some income, I finally realised that I had neither the time to get it going myself, nor money to pay someone else to get it going.  I spent a month  designing the site and illustrating for it but the legalities and infrastructure were beyond me.

[caption id="attachment_1389" align="aligncenter" width="640"] © Gabriella Buckingham[/caption]

I've got a lot in me.

People want and need you to be one thing don't they?

Is that your experience? How do you deal with streamlining what you do and becoming single-minded? Or do you?

Should I just relax..!? Can you see something glaringly obvious that I can't?

Trouble is this line of work - hand painting -  eats hours, so it is one case where "not having enough time" to do it all is a genuine problem. Still I think there may be ways to carve things up. Ever the optimist deep down. You've got one life, it's so important to find what gives you most joy don't you think?

I will "enjoy the meantime " Monica, exploring, having fun and discovering what really floats my boat! Starting a Holly Becker's Blogging Your Way boot camp tomorrow so more changes are afoot!


  1. I think when you creative there are so many ideas buzzing round in your head, it can be hard to just do one thing. I know I find it hard to focus on just one thing all the time because I get bored easily too. That's why I flit from felt to wood, from paper to beads; I do annoy myself so much sometimes! I cannot become single minded no matter how hard I try, I get so easily distracted.

    Everything you create is lovely Gabriella, it would be hard to choose!

    Jane x x

  2. Sorry, that should say 'when you are creative' x

  3. I can tell that you really want to use more of your creative and design skills than the MBC painted signs need - of course the building a brand and small business takes creativity but not the same as working on your paintings and more sophisticated designs.
    Have you thought of out-sourcing some of the MBC production? - you would paint all the master designs but not have to work on all the simpler painting.
    Maybe you could work on some contrasting projects aimed at a different customer in the Feb to Seotember period? Something more grown-up designy so you don't get stale and pigeonholed by MBC.
    I'll shut up now... as I've probably written a lot of rubbish!
    Take care, C x

  4. It seems fairly obvious to me from what you say, that your real desire is to paint, never mind what other people want, or need, you to be, you have to be you, no-one else can. OK you are still Mum, wife, etc. but in order to live a happy and fulfilled life you have to be true to yourself, whatever that is. Follow your heart and the rest will just fall into place. Far better to be happy than rich! (IMHO) x x x

  5. thanks for your thoughts Jane, I thought you might relate :) I've had some really helpful comments. It's going to be a case of making it all work for the future:) x Gabs

  6. Celia you have talked complete sense and I am really grateful. I've thought about outsourcing some aspects but stop myself because of scarce resources - and the fact that I'd be gambling on what would then actually be ordered by customers. However I think you are right. I should find a way - even if I rope in dh more initially. x Thank you - Gabs

  7. Completely agree Joy x I will find a way .. some paper on its way to you when I am less of a goldfish :)

  8. Your hand-painting is amazing! And your blog is beautiful, too!
    What a wonderful get-to-know you post. So inspiring!
    Wishing you all the best,
    Mary (from BYW Bootcamp)

  9. Oh Mary - thank you so much! It's lovely to see a fellow BYW-er here - hello :)
    I'll have a look at your blog too. Looking forward to Monday. Already thinking about what to do for my first post homework in the next few days!

  10. Enjoyed the video by Monica - I can understand how that set off your train of thought :) I worked for several years as a creativity coach. One of the things that clients found most effective about the coaching process was having some space to think things through. Sounds like you are a very busy lady, with lots of demands on your time. Perhaps it might be useful to book yourself a morning in a coffee shop with a notebook and get clear about what you really want in the short, medium and longer term?

  11. That is a lovely idea Sue. Thank you so much for taking the time to write this. I think I've been putting off doing something like that. It's as if there is this wall around which my real wants will vanish if I look to hard, like trying to grasp a dream when you wake up and it slips away. Probably being over dramatic. I have to start somewhere, dividing it up as you suggest could be a very good way to see how to achieve it . I 'll aim to make an appointment with myself next week. x Gabs

  12. Hi Gabs,
    What a creative lady you are! Your blog is so bright and inspiring.
    Silky (BYW Boot Camp)

  13. I recognise so many of your points! I think yes, you should relax! :) I also think you may find it useful to carve out time for different activites (mbc, painting, planning, admin etc) and then you won't feel bad about using your creative time to explore ideas (which you should!) Your points about freedom are so familiar to me, I completely agree. And we balance this with ability to earn. Consider where the balance lies on this for you, and if you are happy, you will find it easier to accept lower earnings as this is the compromise you have chosen. But a bit of focus on increasing income through time management, pricing, prioritising etc may help too!! Have a great time on the BYW course, I'd love to do that! xx

  14. Clare this is all marvellous advice and I've already started thinking a lot about this and making changes. Thanks so much for taking the time to comment. The BYW course was great - as much for the new friends on the ether that I've made as the tips. I think Holly is running another in March. Were you in London with Fiona Humberstone at Holly's book launch? If so I so nearly met you! It was packed full of interesting people. A really fun end to the course.

  15. No, I wasn't at the book launch, but it sounded fab. Will check out the March BYW, thanks! x


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