Looking back at 2017

IMG_1182  In the beginning of 2017, I set goals for myself.  Let’s see whether I have achieved any of these goals.  Here, is a look back at 2017.

I was hoping to finish revising and editing my novel by the end of the year.  This did not happen.  I’m still working on it.  It has taken more time than I expected.  I’m just not happy with the current draft.  I think it will take a while before I’m pleased with it.

For 2017, I wanted to earn an income from my artwork (my watercolours and photographs).  To achieve this goal, I put my paintings and some photos on Fine Art America in February.  So far I haven’t made any sales.  It’s quite disappointing.  I also put my photos on Shutterstock.  I was pleased that I was accepted into the program and that many of my photos were approved.  However, I haven’t earned very much from my photos.  I also started writing online articles on Hubpages.  Like Shutterstock, I haven’t earned very much from my writing either.  So it seems selling and earning an income on the internet has been very difficult for me.

Another goal was to learn and master Adobe Photoshop and Illustrator.  This goal was mostly a flop.  I took a few Photoshop and Illustrator courses on Lynda.com, but I honestly can’t remember much as I didn’t get to practice on the actual software.   I decided not to purchase the software in 2017 (it was too much) so had no access to the programs and no way of practicing.

I did manage to make a new friend in 2017.  We met initially at a Christmas party in 2015, but didn’t talk to each other afterwards.   In the fall of 2017, she started to play badminton, a sport that I have been playing since 2015.  It was fun playing badminton with her and reconnecting.   We started emailing each other.  And later on, we went out for lunches a few times.  I now consider her a good friend of mine.

Health-wise, my anxiety was really bad this year.  My physical symptoms of anxiety are nausea, gagging and vomiting.  I would often feel like throwing up doing some of the most mundane things such as cleaning, going to the gym, flossing and brushing my teeth.   It was really severe when I had to go to the doctor’s appointment and particularly the dentist.  It doesn’t help that I have a sensitive gag reflex either.  I’m always afraid of vomiting at the dentist office, which so far hasn’t happen yet.  In any case, the anxiety and associated symptoms are very uncomfortable.

I have done many things to try to alleviate my anxiety, including going to the gym regularly, playing badminton, doing yoga, and deep breathing.  Some of these things help, but it hasn’t completely gone away.

Overall, most of my goals weren’t achieved in 2017.  But I think some of them are just initial steps in a much bigger endpoint.  So I will continue to turn these goals into reality for next year.  What I’m most happy about this year is for the friendship that I gained.  I’m also happy that I was physically very active, which helps to maintain mental and physical health.  Taken together, it wasn’t a bad year after all.

Merry Christmas!


I just wanted to say a few words about this photo.  What you see here is Springer Market Square in Kingston, Ontario, all decorated for Christmas.   The big historic building on the right is City Hall.  In the centre of the square is an ice rink for skating.   I took this picture on December 15th 2017.    The photo shows just how festive, bright, and beautiful our historic downtown really is.

I’d like to thank all of my followers and visitors for reading, viewing my photos, and for interacting with me on here.   I appreciate all of your support and feedback!

I hope you have a wonderful Christmas filled with love, peace, health and happiness.

Happy Holidays!

Christmas Welcome – Photo Critique


For this week’s photo critique, we will look at “Christmas Welcome.”  It’s a photo of a Christmas wreath on the door of City Hall.  It was taken last Friday.  Let’s discuss some of the positive and negative aspects of this photo.

I love all the interesting textures in this photo.  You have the prickly needles, the rugged cedar leaves, the shiny textured bow and the smooth glass and wood.

The colours are also very appealing.  There are cool blues and greens.  This contrasts with the warm glow of the golden bow.

The composition could have been slightly better.  It just seems like the photo was cut off at the bottom.  I should have shown more of the bow and wreath.

There is a distracting “D” a few centimetres above the centre of the bow.  If I had Photoshop, I think I would have removed it.

Please let me know what you think!  Thanks!

Snow on Perilla – Photo Critique


This week’s photo critique is on “Snow on Perilla.”  The photo shows dead perilla flowers covered in snow.  These perilla herbs are from our garden.  The photo was taken in late November.  Let’s go over its strengths and weaknesses.

I love the minimal colours in this photo.  There are just white, brown and grey.  It sort of looks like the photo has gone through a sepia filter.

The photo conjures up a different scene than what it really is.  If you squint, the background looks like snow covered trees in a forest.

The exposure is slightly off.  The photo looks a bit underexposed.

The focal point of the photo, the foreground perilla stem on right, is not all in focus.  The top portion of the stem is sharp, but as you go down, the focus is lost.

Please let me know what you think!  Thanks!


Highligther – Photo Critique


“Highlighter” is our photo for this week’s critique.  I believe the photo shows Winged Burning Bush leaves, but I’m not completely certain.  They were found in a wooded area near my place.  This photo was taken in November.  Let’s go over what works well and what needs improvement.

The most striking thing about this photo is its colour.  I love the leaves’ bright pink purplish hue. It really pops out from the slightly darker background.

There is also good detail in this photo.  You can see the serrated edge of the leaf and its lighter veins.

The background isn’t as nice as it could be.  I wished it were darker and didn’t show as much pink.  The pink in the background steals the thunder from the foreground pink leaves.

I wonder whether this photo needs a tighter crop.  There are extraneous bits of leaves on the left and some on the right that could be cut out.

Please let me know what you think!  Thanks!