Go Small or Go Home

“Am I painting a dog or a bear?”

The thought ran through my head about a dozen times while attempting to paint Kutzu – an insanely handsome big boy who crossed the rainbow bridge. The painting was commissioned by a friend for her parents, so I wanted it to be perfect. I started painting portraits after losing my beagle, so I know how important these memorial pieces are to pet parents.

I went big for the first attempt despite my trepidation. Black dogs are typically more difficult to paint. They can easily look dull and flat if you don’t find a way to incorporate more color, texture and depth. I filled nearly every inch of the 7×9 paper, even including a big portion of his body, which I normally don’t do. Go big or go home, right?

If home meant trashcan, yes, I went big and it went home. Yikes. On to attempt #2. I focused more on the face – taking more time to sketch out shadows and changes in the fur. Success is in the small details with any pet portrait. It turned out well, but I still wanted to try again. I decide to go much smaller. It is a tip I’ve picked up and it really works. It forces you to abandon nuisances and conquer the basics. Painting Kutzu in just a little 2.5” x 4” portrait turned out pretty darn cute. To help fill the space, I included his sibling Bailey. Going small was a success!

When Going Small is Your Only Option

April, a former police officer turned small business owner, knows all about starting with the small stuff. I recently interviewed her for my “Wishes are for Wussies” book to learn of her devastating tale of loss and her path to redemption. After a violent encounter with a suspect, April was bruised and banged up. But she got the bad guy and booked him. She went home that night feeling numb, as she had for some time as a cop. She’d been trying to plan her way out of law enforcement. Despite working 13-hour days, she found time to get her nursing assistance certificate and planned on going back to school to be a physician’s assistant.  

“The universe took it upon itself to redirect me,” April said.

The day after the violent arrest, April was found on the office floor. She was rushed to the emergency room where she was told she had a traumatic brain injury. At hospital, she didn’t know where she was or who she was. April had to go back to basics. Small steps every day with a team of therapists.

“There were years that went by that I could only shower or get dressed with post-it notes of instruction,” she admits. “The hardest part was looking normal from the outside. When you’re standing in line and you can’t figure out how to count money and people are yelling at you.”

As she was starting to get stronger, the universe nudged her again. This time in the form of a bad bra fitting.

“Now is not the time for people trying to make me feel bad,” she joked.

The small seed for her lingerie business, The Perky Lady, was planted. She took manageable action steps over a couple years to launch a business that allowed her to control her environment and pace, which was still key to her recovery. She did research, interviewed experts, attended trade shows, and more to ensure she was proficient in lingerie and underthings. Perky Lady is now celebrating their 3-year anniversary and it all started with going small. April had to start over with the basics – relearning how to walk and function in daily life. Those small steps now have her running toward a second business venture (coming soon!).

If you’re feeling overwhelmed by a career move, don’t be afraid to go small. Take little action steps every day. Take a free webinar. Talk to someone in the field you’re interested in. Practice your craft. Read articles and case studies. Like building a puzzle, just one piece a day is all it takes to build a beautiful picture.

April carries something for everyone at The Perky Lady.

Please join me in celebrating April and her amazing business that celebrates women of all sizes and shapes. I highly suggest you visit her gorgeous shop in downtown Apex, but if you aren’t local or practicing social distancing, April is doing virtual fittings. You can also shop their top 5 favs – I personally love the Grump Puss Hipsters. Added bonus for all my anti-wishers – use PERKYWISH at checkout to receive 10% off and free shipping on your first online purchase. 

The Perky Lady team believes in service practices of a by-gone era, positivity, fun, and dedication while providing you with captivating, beguiling, and sensuous selections that magnify the woman within.


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