Category Archives: Just Because

When Ideas Strike

I’m thinking a lot about ideas lately – and what we do with them when they pop into our brains.

  • write them down
  • take mental notes
  • stop and meditate
  • send them away because it’s already too crowded in there!

I’m planning a small 4 panel series on the evolution of an idea and how not all ideas are created equal.

To me, ideas feel like seeds that hit me upside the head when I least expect it! It’s hard to tell which direction they came from, and often times I forget them as easily as the strike. But once in a great while an idea will take root. It grows and eats at my free time – monopolizing my thoughts and actions.

Damn you idea!

Eventually, the idea stages a hostile take over and it’s sink or swim for me. I have but one choice: to follow through or perish. Needless to say, I’m still alive so – so far so good.

What’s the first thing you do when hit by an original idea?  ….and more importantly what do you do if it just won’t keep quiet?

Leave your answers in the thread below and/or add to my conversation on Twitter by using the tag #whenideasstrike

(Not already following me on Twitter? Join the fun! @ginahief)

Summer Fun Updates

Last month, I took off on a little hiatus to prepare for the busy months ahead.

Now I’m back, re-energized and re-organized!

1. Caught some serious waves in Ocean Beach, San Diego, CA. Righteous! Body surfing, tanning, and enjoying the family are fabulous ways to spend the 4th of July!

2. Re-vamped the website! Take a look around and you will notice that the site looks a bit different since the last time I posted here. The site reflects some of the current themes I’m working on like feminine beauty, love, emotional narrative, and nature. I enjoy this work very much and will be making more of it for my upcoming exhibition in NYC this winter.

3. Installed my Keepsakes series in a local restaurant. I love seeing my work on display and I look forward to finding more venues for my drawings in the future. This exhibition is on display at Green Restaurant in Tempe, AZ through August 20th.

4. Relaxed once again by the sea one more time in beautiful Rhode Island.  Jake and I wined and dined on morning fresh seafood and stood in line for 45 minutes for Buttonwood Farms homemade ice cream. Yum! Needless to say we both returned to Phoenix a couple of pounds heavier.

That’s it for the updates today. Upcoming posts will leave the past behind and starting looking to the future.  Big things are brewing in my artwork and life. Stay tuned!



Are you afraid of the dark?

What are you scared of?

That’s a loaded question if I ever heard one! There are many answers that exist on different levels: superficial, internal, and universal

Superficial fears scare us in a very basic way. These are easy to define and often considered child-like. They don’t usually affect us or our way of life unless we are presented with them.

i.e monsters, the dark, snakes, Bigfoot, clowns

My superficial fear: BUGS! (Really anything with more than 4 legs gives me the heeby-jeebies!)

Internal fears are more personal and harder to define. They are the hidden reasons we do the things we do (or don’t do). Think of these as very specific to you and can change based on your current situation.

i.e. failure, success, rejection, heartbreak, responsibility

My internal fear: My work will be rejected. (This scares the crap out of me!)

Universal fears exist on a higher level altogether. They are broad and shared my millions. Almost instinctual in nature, universal fears make us feel completely out of control.

i.e. loneliness, poverty, hunger

My universal fear: Death.

Fear weaves it’s way into our lives in many ways, and it’s our responsibility to look it in the eye. Every one of my triumphs has risen from my ability to face my fear and meet the challenge. As an artist, my fear of rejection is shared by many others . The truth is – there’s no way around it in this business. Like being afraid of the dark, you will torture yourself with it every day (or night). Instead, let’s acknowledge this fear and put it somewhere on a high shelf…

…and then go about sending off another round of queries.

Finding the Finish Line


I’m a “self-starter”. Are you? The phrase looks good on job applications and keeps me from spending too much time sitting on the couch.

The trouble with being a “self-starter” is – I’m not the best “self-finisher”.

Does this sound familiar? It all starts with an amazing, mind blowing, once in a lifetime idea. Afraid I might forget my genius idea, I go for it right away!

If it’s a:

  • painting – I buy a new canvas
  • illustration – I order a Wacom drawing tablet
  • business – I start a blog, twitter, facebook page, etsy shop, and website

I put in some solid hard work, and focus on obsess over my new project for weeks. It devours my being and monopolizes my thoughts and actions.

Then I hit a mental roadblock.

My idea doesn’t feel so magical anymore- it loses it’s grip on my mind, and tastes sour in my mouth.

I think to myself “I need more schooling or maybe better equipment. Once I get better prepared things will be different.” Not! These are my subconscious thoughts telling me to give up and sadly…

…most of the time I do

I’m left with feelings of guilt and embarrassment and inevitably another AWESOME idea! (It’s a damn vicious cycle!)

Well, I’m fed up with it! Lately, I’ve made a point to finish projects once I’ve started them. I won’t lie and tell you I haven’t fallen off the finishing wagon once or twice, but I’ve made some great improvements. It starts will healthy “finishing” habits:

  1. Give ideas some time to stay just ideas. If a brilliant idea doesn’t seem so brilliant after a good night’s sleep, then it’s probably a dud. I’m more likely to complete the ideas that have staying power and you will be too. (I also discussed some of this in a previous post about taking it slow.)
  2. Be realistic about the time frame of a project and try to make it work with the materials you have on hand. Setting large time lines and buying too many materials is a stalling mechanism – less stalling means more stuff gets done.
  3. Even if it’s gonna suck – finish it! You don’t have to share bad ideas with the world, but you will feel better when you finish what you start.

What keeps you from making it to the finish line on a project? How to you work through it?

What Science Taught Me About Art

Last Sunday, the fam and I took a sunny day trip to Oracle, Arizona – home of Biosphere 2.

Biosphere 2 was popular in the early 1990’s for it’s attempt to create a self-contained artificial environment. Some say that both human missions were complete failures, and others argue that a wealth of valuable information was learned in spite of the disappointing outcomes. Since then, Biosphere 2 has changed hands a few times and been home to various types of atmospheric and water based research.

During the guided tour we ventured through the tropics, rain forest, wetlands, savanna, desert, and even peeked at the 1 million gallon ocean. Everything was temperature controlled and carefully monitored in enclosed glass.

As beautiful and intriguing as each biome within Biosphere 2 was, I could not help but make one giant observation:

This is NOT nature!

An artificial enclosed space can’t even begin to recreate the wealth and beauty we call Mother Earth! Biosphere’s plants and trees are surviving but certainly not thriving in the immense glass prison. I fought the urge to run outside and gulp up the fresh air!

I’ve pondered this fun and surreal trip for a couple of days now, and it’s lead me to a shocking conclusion: My art is like those poor plants trapped under a glass sheet. For too long I’ve been turning my focus inward and forgetting that there is so much more. It’s time to set my work free!

I am going to start today by literally giving my prints away for FREE! To everyone! It’s a giveaway where everyone wins!

***Set Art Free Giveaway***

The prize: Any mini print 4″ x 5″ from my Etsy Shop mailed directly to you with love -absolutely free!

How to enter: Do any of the following to qualify for your free mini print.

  • Keep in touch with me by signing up for my email newsletter here.
  • Follow me on twitter (@gmhief) and spread the word by posting this tweet to your time line:

Set Art Free! How science influenced a young artist to share the love. A giveaway where everyone wins @gmhief

  • Write a short blog about my work and link it back to my website.

And of course: Post a comment below letting me know how you entered and which print from my shop you love the most. Please include your email address so that I may contact you with the details for receiving your mini print.

Deadline: Sunday, April 10th

That’s it for today! Thanks to all for the overwhelming support these past months, and I look forward to repaying the favor.


(Biosphere 2 images photographed by Tim Hief)