Afterglow - Original artwork by Valerie Khoo

Enjoyment vs Strategy

It’s been a big year of changes for me lately. I’ve moved house to Bayview in the northern beaches in Sydney. And I’m now painting out of a new studio, at the wonderful Atelier 9 Avalon. I must admit, both moves have been great for my psyche, productivity and creativity. I’m getting more done in less time and feel far more inspired than I have been in a quite while.

In addition to the change of environment, I’ve been pondering why I had felt stuck for the past few months. And I’ve realised that it’s come down to Enjoyment vs Strategy.

Valerie Khoo

You see, I’m no stranger to the world of business. So, a couple of years ago, when I first became interested in the world of art, I immediately applied strategic business principles to my art practice. And, fortunately, they worked really well!

After a couple of years of being focused on strategic decisions and actions, I realised that I’d forgotten to factor in time just for the pure enjoyment of creating. And that’s not a good thing!

The recent “moves” in my life have made me realise that I need to put more fun back into my artwork. So I’ve decided to throw strategy out the window completely and commit the next six months to decisions and actions and creating artwork based PURELY on joy and fun.

I have no idea where this will lead. I have no idea whether it will harm or help my art sales and collaborations – but I guess I’m about to find out! Frankly, I’m fascinated to see what the outcome is going to be.

I’m feeling a new theme coming on …



In other news:

My secret pleasure: I can’t stop watching Luxe Listing on Amazon Prime, the slick new reality show set in the real estate inustry in the eastern suburbs of Sydney. Some of these properties have to be seen to be believed. And some of the egos of the real estate agents are off the charts!

I’m interviewing: The Sydney Morning Herald columnist Jacqueline Maley, who has also just authored The Truth About Her, a compelling novel about a journalist who writes a story about a disgraced wellness blogger who fakes her own cancer (sound familiar?) but then the blogger takes her own life when the story comes out. So much to unpack here. You can listen to our conversation in episode 417 of So You Want to be a Writer.

I’m listening: To the intriguing and thought-provoking Wabi Sabi series podcast by Michelle Cox where she has “unlikely conversations on uncomfortable topics.” Very cool.

I’m loving: That the wonderful people at Artshine have given my followers a 25% discount of all lifestyle products from Artshine Playground (with a minimum order of $50). Just use this code until 31 July 2021 (yes, that’s July): EOFY25

I’m adoring: My fluffie Rexy who is posing with the newly released picture book The Lion Who Came to Stay by Victoria Mackinlay, who did courses at the Australian Writers’ Centre and is now creating wonderful picture books just like this.


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