Archive for Zoe Pawlak

Colin- You there?

Posted in Loaded Bow: Following Our Story with tags , , , , , , , on April 7, 2009 by loadedbow

While attending the CRAVE event on Monday, speaker Danielle LaPorte (WHO WAS AWESOME!) suggested that ‘no one is waiting for you to post, so relax, take some time off, don’t stress it, etc”


Heather White (Our Loaded Bow Mentor) and Gen Ennis and Myself at Art Market


Zoe and Gallery Director Merete Kristiansen

The other night I proved her wrong.  There IS someone who waits at the ‘other side’ for us to post…we discovered that we have a faithful reader named Colin.  This is my shout out.  Thanks for coming out last night.  Testing. Faithfulness testing.

If you are faithful and would like to be recognized, speak up and we’ll name you, mention your business or just give you a poke, nod, wink, or any other flirtatious-but-not-overtly-sexual gesture. 

Thursday night was magical.  I gave away 2 $400 paintings to the first couple of strangers, Jillian and Joel, to arrange a date at the show.  Congrats guys!  Here are some pics from Art Market, my latest show in Vancouver up till the 18th. Thanks again to everyone who was there!




Talking Business (which we secretly like as much as Art)



Set Yourself up for a Little Criticism

Posted in Loaded Bow: Following Our Story, Resources with tags , , , , , on March 27, 2009 by loadedbow

I realised this week that I have not let my community be honest with me in awhile and that I am ready for some growth. I need to expand and improve and cannot do this on my own. Our coach, Heather White says, “The death of the entrepreneur is solitude!”


This was two years ago…outdoors…and so fun!

Last Sunday I taught a painting class. I love teaching and am learning how to be a better teacher. One way to do this is to send out a questionnaire. A questionnaire is a request for feedback and the odd comment about what you could improve on for those students brave enough to say that they had a complaint….scary for a new teacher but ABSOLUTLY essential.  I also invite my coach to attend for free so that she can give me the invaluable advice on how to run the class better not only as a teacher, but to improve my profits.  It was scary for me to have her there and expose myself like that, but no scarier than her having to paint for the first time since she was a child…tehe.  SHE DID AWESOME!


Feel the fear and do it ANYWAYS!

I also recently called upon all the artist that I admire and respect in the Vancouver Area and asked them to come and critique my work at my upcoming solo show. That’s right; I invited them to critique my work. Though in other fields criticism may not be a common way to grow, it is as inherent in the arts as the use of paint. Art school is particularly concerned with crits and the assembly of twenty to thirty peers around a few canvases in an art school studio is about the most common use of tuition dollars. For better or worse, the crit is a bit part of growing as an artist and learning the language of how to discern that which is cohesive and essential in your work and that which the budding artist can eliminate in order to achieve maturity.

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Zoe Pawlak Dreams for 2009

Posted in Bended Bow, January Newness with tags , , , , on January 20, 2009 by zoepawlak

I recently won a photoshoot from RAD Studios for sharing my 2009 dreams with them and their blog readers.  The following is what I submitted. It also had a heading of 8 dreams at the top which I am still to shy to share.

A man looks his best living in the truth.

Paternity is one of the most amazing advantages afforded to willing, eligible and able Canadian men who want to look after their children (adopted or otherwise) for a maximum of 9 months. Usually women take Maternity leave. A few years ago, I was one of them. In 2008 I was self employed as an artist and was not eligible when our second child arrived. So this year, my husband has graciously and gratefully stepping into being a full time dad. I say ‘gratefully’ because he now gets to spend more time with our two children and will use Paternity to dream, hash out plans with me, learn French, become more spiritual and take up pottery. These are all things you cannot do if you are running someone else’s restaurant and working over 60 hours per week.

Even when you make up your mind to follow a passion, you must listen to your instincts because they tell you the truth about your motivations. Come mid 2008, there was still something about potentially working full time as a painter in 2009 that felt selfish to me. I not only felt that making the move to working full time as a painter was not a reliable source of income for our family, but I felt that asking my partner to be at home with the kids would be a dominant move on my part and would squash his dreams of running a restaurant.

When the restaurant started to run him down, we began to make a new plan so that he could take a sabbatical of sorts and be here with the two people he adores most in the world (besides me.) Our plan became about two adults and two children. Our plan became about trying something new for our family. Our plan became about making a new way that our parents had not yet tried. Our plan is about stepping into the gifts we have.

If I am any good at painting, Seamus was really made to be a father. Where I am impatient, Seamus is patient. Where I am rushed, he is kind. Where I am quick to anger, he is rich in him love for our kids. Sure, he’s not perfect and sometimes we switch kids if one cannot handle the other, but for the most part his mind and demeanour are perfectly suited to raise well-loved humans. He has the gift.

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Fred of FRED

Posted in January Newness with tags , , , on January 5, 2009 by zoepawlak

As the New Year opens, a show of my work is closing at a favorite place of mine in Halifax, Nova Scotia.  Here’s an interview with the man Fred about the space FRED.

Okay, he’s a man, but we’re all a little flexible here, aren’t we??!!??  He IS all about beauty, food and art after all…


Fred the man

INTRO:  Fred Connors has been a busy man since bursting into the beauty industry in 1986. From launching his own studio label, Frista, to opening his first salon and designing studio in downtown Halifax, Fred has gained both national and international media coverage. In 2004, Fred purchased an empty bank building in central Halifax, which has allowed him to express his interest in all aspects of better living, thus creating Halifax’s hottest beauty destination; FRED. beauty food art, a combined salon, café and gallery.  April of 2006 Fred fulfilled another dream, launching FRED. face, his signature line of cosmetics, focusing on an uncomplicated approach to being beautiful

Today Fred has gained both national and international media coverage, appearing on the covers of business and industry magazines and on national profiles in beauty and lifestyle publications as well as a regular role Slice networks “X-Weighted” as a self- esteem expert, where he helps individuals across Canada realize and experience their true potential. This has allowed Fred to demonstrate his passion for making life truly exceptional; the way it should be for everyone.

Loaded Bow: FRED moved into the North End of Halifax when it was changing quite a bit. Could you describe what changes have occurred in Halifax’s North End and how it has affected your business?


FRED the space

Fred Connors: When we located our business here, in a former bank building in the center of Halifax there wasn’t much commerce in the area. The neighbourhood was forgotten about, so drugs, prostitution, derelict buildings and litter took over the place. I realized in order for our business to be successful and grow, the community we chose to be in had to be successful also. I initiated a community business and cultural association, host an annual community clean-up and am president of the north end business improvement association. We partner with arts and community organizations in our area to provide much needed funding so that they can provide services and activities that keep our community the vibrant place that it is. Now small businesses, designers and artists are all migrating to the neighbourhood because of the potential that exists here.

LB: People sometimes try to bring a number of arms of their business together under one roof. Sometimes it flows and works and other times those businesses suffer by trying to be too many things all at once. How have you successfully integrated the café, salon and gallery? How do you see them working together? (OR What has the vision been?)

FC: We have created a brand that offers affordable luxury to everyone, based on all the things I am passionate about. I am not trying to be too many things but rather offer all of the things I care about. We can indulge our clients by elevating every day to the extraordinary. Whether it is appreciating local artists’ in one of our best galleries in the city, enjoying our locally grown and house made menu or coming here to feel beautiful. Everyone walks away with something more than they had before they arrived.

LB: How did you design the space?

FC: I let the space design itself. I was always attracted to the mid century feel of the exterior and felt it was important to maintain that on the interior.

LB: People talk a lot about NSCAD and the music scene in Halifax. It has always had a wholesome, healthy dose of great bands and art. What does FRED bring to the local art scene in Halifax?

FC: We bring opportunities for local artists to show work in the most beautiful space in the city. We fundraise for the arts community and support organizations that support artists. We also offer our gallery to musicians and have hosted some of the best musicians in Nova Scotia and the Country.

LB: What role has FRED played in bringing emerging artists some much needed space to exhibit and valuable exposure?

FC: Not only do we offer amazing walls for the artists’ to show their work, our gallery is the entry point to all other services we offer, making it a very dynamic and utilized space.

LB: What are you looking forward to in the New Year?

FC: The New Year? Showing people that some luxuries are still affordable. We aren’t here just to sell art, but to offer people the opportunity to experience it, and that’s free! I am also working on a project to bring artists from Rwanda to show their work and share their message, that art transcends and has the power to heal the most horrific wounds.




Posted in January Newness with tags , , , , on January 4, 2009 by zoepawlak

This New Year Gen’s husband and i are participating in Vancouver’s first ever Alternative Wedding Fair!  Indie I Do will be held on Jan 17th and we are so excited to share a booth!  In this time of couple’s living and loving together ahead of their wedding day, i thought people might have enough mixers and pots and need some really beautiful art for their new life together.  I came up with the idea that people register for ART, not stuff.  Maybe it’s because i love having other people pay for stuff for me, or because i received some bad gifts for my wedding, but this is an extent ion of my business that seemed really feasible.  the cost was exactly $200 for the booth rental and prep for the wedding fair and $40 to pay my web guy to update my site.  I am a big fan of low cost/no cost, no risk/ low risk moves in busienss and this seemed like the perfect chance to practice my move.  I call this the “Why not!?” move and have found these moves to always be rewarding.


I had Hoped for This by Zoe Pawlak

Weddings are so beautiful and couples should have the option to own original art and not be limited to the Bay’s selection of non-stick pans.  I believe in the need for us to turn away from buying new gear every chance we get and i also understand that an original piece of art is a big investment for most young couples. 

I wanted to say “no” to a few meaningless projects this year, so i had to find a way to generate that potential income in another way.  This year, add a new idea you have been thinking about for awhile to your business, extend your reach and up your sales.  Take a spin on something old or re-do your branding for the New Year.  Follow your instincts and you will find yourself making more money and having a great time in the process.  Now, true to our word, Gen and i have said we will tell you how much we make when we propose a new idea, so keep in touch and i will update you after the 17th.  Join us at Indie I Do if you are about to tie the knot!  for free tickets contact Gen at or me at!


To Give or not to Give?

Posted in Loaded Bow: Following Our Story with tags , , , , , , , on November 29, 2008 by zoepawlak

A week ago was the night of the long awaited Art for Life which is a fancy way to get some amazing art and see and be seen by the best in the Vancouver scene.  Art for Life benefits the Vancouver Friends For Life Society which works with individuals living with life-threatening illnesses, helping them to take an active role in their holistic wellness journey in order to move through pain, anxiety, vulnerability, fear, and social isolation. At Friends For Life, we recognize that with compassion, support and knowledge, the experience of illness can be a catalyst for positive personal transformation.



Egg Head by Emily Cooper




This year I sadly donated a small piece, but had had high hopes of giving away something notable and fabulous.  I tried to give something larger and more valuable this year, but they had already photographed everything for their catalogue.  I was too late, but was still very happy to be a part of such an awesome night!


Early Path by Zoe Pawlak 

Often when artists are asked to donate pieces to charity they give away something that has not sold or they perceive will not sell in the near future.  It is hard for artists to give away pieces that are of value to them since the gamble of even being able to sell one of our very best works is just that…a gamble.  I have long been an advocate of fine artists and their ongoing commitments to making a living from their work.  It is so sad to me that so few do and that others who are even better painters than me are slaving away for 40 hours per week working for someone else with all their energies tied to outcomes other than their work.  Painters do not have an easy go when the market is not hot and even those of us who are well supported by a spouse and really well set up with our galleries and online, can feel the crunch when the economy is slow.  If people are not able to make their mortgage payments and fear loosing their homes, it is unlikely that they will be splurging to fill their walls with art no matter how determined we remain. 

The ask for donations is especially high during the Christmas season and this is true for us artists as well.  In any given Christmas season I will be asked about 5 times for a painting to contribute to a silent auction.  Giving this way is one of my favorite things to do because I rarely have excess money to give and so I can make a contribution that truly costs little, gives lots and gives of my heart and my time.  There are many things I have used as determining factors when faced with the ‘to-give’ or ‘not-to-give’ question and these are loose criteria I have come up with for myself and our family:

  1. Is it a charity event and one I ethically support?  Would I otherwise contribute anyways?  I always like to know where my money is going and our family gives to certain groups, so I always run the decision by my husband because I am giving away something that could otherwise contribute to our family income.
  2. Is there a minimum bid?  I once donated a beautiful piece to an event and then met the buyer later to find that something valued at $600 had gone for $80 dollars.  This in not only a waste of my piece to not earn it’s full potential for  the charity, but a poor decision on my part since I could have sold it for much more and then just given the charity say $100 dollars from that were I so inclined to support them.  Always ask if there will be a minimum bid or how the work will be sold.
  3. Do I get a tax receipt?  All charities should be able to provide the artist with a tax receipt for the full amount of the VALUE of the piece regardless of how much it sells for.  This helps so much at tax time!
  4. Do I get free tickets to the event?  These events have often been free dates for my husband and I. Attending these (usually fancy) events helps to network, make a presence, distribute your card, drink delicious wine and see how your work is being displayed.  For example, I went to Art for Life last year and decided it was REALLY something I wanted to donate to this year since it is so high profile and well organized.
  5. What piece is suitable for the audience that will be in attendance?  Always pick something that will be appealing to the type of people you think will go to the event.  There is no point in donating something too crappy or that you know will be to edgy or unappealing to a an audience that is looking to buy a cheap piece of art to match their sofa.
  6. Have I given priority to my galleries and my clients?  Always make sure you have given you gallery or your client list a chance to look over the work prior to sending it to the silent auction table.  You gallery deserves your best and treating them well can be the difference between getting a part time job at Starbucks or not!

You will almost always let the piece go for less than it’s worth, but remember, it is the giving that is so important.  We have so much and giving year round is an important practice for everyone, including artists!


Our very own contribution to Man Month!

Posted in Loaded Bow: Following Our Story with tags , , , on November 25, 2008 by genennis

Ok, I use the word “our” very loosely.  Zoe really did most of the work.  Ok, she did all of it.

Last week on Wednesday, November 19th, Zoe and Seamus gave birth to a beautiful baby boy.  Cael Isaac Dixon waited for Kevin and I to return from our honeymoon (much to Zoe’s dismay).

We planned this specifically for Man Month.  It would have been kind of awkward if Cael had been a girl.  But, fortunately, he is this incredibly gorgeous little man.

Congratulations Zoe, Seamus and Cienna!  We are so happy for you all.