Is that you 2023?

Is that you 2023?

Austen Gordon in studio
For the past 8 weeks I have been holding two contradictory thoughts in my head; 1) ‘do-all-the-things-at-the-same-time’ (which is how I operate on default) and, 2) ‘give it the time it needs’ – my new motto for 2023.

The 2023 mantra: ‘Give it the time it needs’.

My art practise needs TIME to develop, to grow and I need TIME to finesse my voice, visual vocabulary, technique and expression. I also need the TIME to make all the things that I am dreaming of, and I need TIME for others to find and connect with my work and my art self.

I already have the ‘do all of the things’ fired up for the year with a filled up event calendar, planned art collections, exhibitions, shop updates and more…so, I am activating the ‘time’ mantra in the following ways:

  • Engaging, actively, in the process of making art rather than fixating or making important only the final finished artworks
  • Spending more time developing and sketching out ideas before committing paint to canvas. Not rushing into making final works
  • Being okay with re-working and idea or planning sketch as many times as needed until I reach a final visual that more closely matches my internal visual
  • Engaging in sketchbook hour and Artclub to embed and ingrain daily practise. (More on this later!)
  • Accepting that timelines can and must move to support my goal of making sure that I have enough space and room to give my work the time that it needs. This may mean cancelling things, moving exhibit dates, limiting the amount of work I produce. I am here for it all.

Here’s to a mantra written in the front of my planner! Here’s to a year of doing all the things… in their own time.

2023 mantra - "give it the time it needs"

So, without further ado, please meet my projects for 2023!
Possibly also for 2024.


I have one (maybe two!) solo shows planned for this year, with the first one pencilled into my planner for June (gotta give myself a deadline!). For this show I am working on a collection of nature-focused pieces with a ‘gothic academia’ style. Think botanical illustrations set against rich, dark backgrounds, simply framed in Kiaat. I am focusing on composition and brushwork in this collection and I am also stepping out of my usual size constraints and working a little bit bigger with 2 x A2 pieces in the works.

About Nature - Ladybug oil painting About Nature - Moth oil painting About nature - bee oil painting 

Together, with 4 other art friends, we are currently working on a group exhibition featuring colourful and quirky works in our own styles and choice of subject matter. This exhibition is set for August this year and my section of the shop will see a return of my favourite yolky breakfast food as well as a little venture into mixed media pieces in the form of collage and ceramics.

Egg Collage  Egg ceramic plate

And finally, if all goes according to my ‘do-all-the-things’ plan, I will have a final show in Oct or Nov with a green theme of plants….(no sketches to show just yet on this!)


2023 Challenge 


I am stepping up my art practise this year with my *daily* sketchbook hour challenge! This project involves working in my sketchbook (or outside of a sketchbook) for 30-60mins on a daily basis. While this sounds like a difficult challenge I have set myself, I have loosened my expectations on what *should* be produced in this time, for this challenge, and I am rather focusing on the joy (and importance) of the practise itself. This sketchbook time can be used for play, development of ideas, for classwork or tutorials that I engage with and more.

Removing the ‘requirement’ to have a perfect finished piece at the end of the session has been a game changer for me and I am currently on an unbroken 60 day streak (as of 'today') and couldn’t be more pleased!

Sketchbook page Sketchbook page Sketchbook page

If you are an artist or want to tap into some creative release, I invite you to join me this year! Get a sketchbook or stack of paper, and every day, do a doodle, draw a draw or paint a paint. If you post it on social media, tag me or use the #sketchbookhour. I will try to check it from time to time and share your work on my socials. You can also join me in Sunday Artclub to further your commitment to making art on the regular :) 

I'll be releasing, from time to time, collectable works from my year project. Visit the Sketchbook Hour art collection here

Studio work and where to buy my art this year

In 2022 I displayed my work at two popular coffee shops in Cape Town, Sonder Café and Kleinskys and folks were able to view, engage with and purchase my work via these cafes.

Egg art at Sonder Cafe, Observatory

It was such a great experience for me, not only to have my work accepted for display but also so validating to have others connect with my work and purchase it for their art collections. This year I will be making works specifically for these locations and hope to have regular drop offs at their spaces.

I will also make ad-hoc studio work outside of this and my planned collections and these will be updated to my website from time to time. Stay connected via my newsletter 😊

Sunday Artclub cont.

After two years of Sunday artclubbing and sketchbooking with a small group of members, I am *finally* ready to open the doors for others to join this little circle. What originally started as a casual idea and a sneaky tool to get myself and others (I'm looking at you, mom) committed to making art at least once a week has turned into a lovely way to close the work week, a creative session to look forward to and it has been most successful in its original intent of commitment (win!).

Sunday artclub Sunday artclub Sunday artclub
I only have 5 spaces available each month, and you can book your space month by month or just go ahead and commit to an entire year! You can read more about what we’ll be focusing on this year here or skip straight ahead and book your seat 😊

Things for Artists

I will be returning this year with tools for artists (and their studios) and along with everyone’s favourite items (looking specifically the Paint Tins and Novel Sketchbooks), there will be NEW designs and products coming… mini sketchbooks for your pocket or bag, tool holders and studio clothing to name a few. I am very excited about these new products and can’t wait to introduce them to the world while still serving up my original collection of tools: Ceramic palettes, padded pouches, paint tins and sketchbooks


One thing that will be changing next year is the frequency of store updates and/or the size of the store updates. To help my manage my time better (hard lessons were learned last year) I will need to scale back just a little bit the number of items my single-woman-works-a-day-job-studio can produce and so the stock drops may happen a little more slowly than before. I am busy working on some studio improvements that should help speed up the process but only ‘time’ will tell! There is my mantra popping up again.

Stay up to date with new items and store updates on Things for Artists Instagram page or sign up for my studio newsletter for updates (and early access or exclusive discounts!)

Side note: If you have a quirky book that you want turned into a sketchbook or a special tin that can become a fabulous paint tin, feel free to reach out to me about your pieces. I do custom requests 😊


In conclusion, this is going to a be another busy year and as usual I may have overfilled it with all-the-things-I-want-to-do, but I am embracing this (possibly) bad habit of mine and I’m just going to see where it takes me. Maybe next year I will change things up and just do one thing – see ya on the other side!


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