Who is GaFra?

Hi guys.....in this post I’m going to talk about me. Yes…..I know you’ve been curious as to who is this GaFra person whose real name is G ail Francis. Yep…I know my “About page” doesn’t say enough so why should you even buy from me…well this may help. I’ll tell you more about me and where my head is at.

I will do this as if it’s a photo album, as every photo has a story to it and this is how you will learn who I am.

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This is me when I was 5 years old. I lived in Curepe and my father was a labour officer and my mother a secretary with one of the Utility Ministries. One thing I remember more than anything was that my father bred doberman pinchers and he trained them. I remember a time when my father bred his pincher with another high bred doberman.

Trinidad and Tobago Map

Trinidad and Tobago Map

The Flag of Trinidad & Tobago

The Flag of Trinidad & Tobago

That was a thing then where high bred dogs were mated to improve the line. These dogs were very expensive, so after the female was mated she had quite a few puppies. I remember daddy putting about 4-5 boxes with pups around my bed so that they could stay warm and I would hang over the side of the bed and stick my finger in the box so that the puppies can suck my finger. That was so cool and cute.

I was comfortable around dobermans, we had one called Devil and I would ride his back, play with him. He was extremely smart, even young as I was if I was rough with him he never bit me. My father would train the dogs to follow commands and were taught to never harm me or my brother. one day one of the dobermans, can’t remember which, while my brother was playing with him he got too rough and hit the dog and the doberman started to growl and snapped at my brother. He only nipped him but my father went ballistic. He dragged the dog to the back and via punishment told hi to never do that again. He never did.

There was one doberman we had that was extremely stupid, he did the dumbest things and my father got fed up of his behaviour and that was also the first time my father got a dog other than a doberman. he bought an albino German Sheppard. My father decided to sell both dogs. I was very upset as I really liked him. Daddy sold them both to a Security Firm. Later on I found out that the German Sheppard ran away and they were never able to find him, he must have been trying to get home but never did. The security firm after a few months asked if they could test Trouble the doberman we sold them. They wanted to make sure that he wasn’t still friendly and playful towards his former owners.

So my father and I went to a grocery and there was Trouble tied to the front with a man standing next to him. Trouble looked like a soldier, not moving, starring straight ahead, not making a sound. They asked me to approach him slowly to see how he would react. As I approached his eyes started to focus and he started to growl so I stepped back. He didn’t know me, he was no longer our dog.

Port of Spain, the Capital of Trinidad & Tobago

Port of Spain, the Capital of Trinidad & Tobago

Tobago.

This is a photo of the Capital of Trinidad and a beach in Tobago. Trinidad is the business and party island while Tobago is the rest and relaxation island with the beaches. We have sunny weather 80% of the time with a rainy season around May and June.

Carnival Queen Costume from Trinidad & Tobago.

Carnival Queen Costume from Trinidad & Tobago.

Carnival Band in their costumes.

Carnival Band in their costumes.

Trinidad is known for the best Carnival in the World. Or Carnival takes place in March and lasts for 2-3 weeks with the main days being the Carinval Monday and Tuesday where the bands dance and covort through the streets in their specific bands as they head towards the main stage at the Queens Park Savannah where each band is judged for the Carnival Band of the Year Competition. I’ve played mas once with Peter Minshall, aCarnival Band designer and well known Artistic Designer. It was great fun and I have to do it one more time.

My favourite part of Carnival was Jouvert. It occurs the day before Carnival Monday, starting at 3:00am in the morning until 9-10:00am Carnival Monday. Every band wears simple shorts and T-shirt and is either covered by chocolate, mud, or paint, depending on the band you’re in.

Me after returning from Jouvert in Trinidad and Tobago.

Jouvert in Trinidad & Tobago.

My Jouvert band called “The Duck Crew” covers us with paint. I used to play with a band called “Coco Devils” that covered us with chocolate, That felt really nice and you smelt wonderful after you washed off the dried chocolate.

Whichever band you’re with it’s amazing fun and helps you release the year’s tension. That felt really nice, smooth skin and you smelt wonderful after you washed off the dried chocolate. That’s what Jouvert is all about. I’ll tell you more in my next post.

ABOUT ME

ABOUT ME

Hi guys, I’m Gail Francis better known as “GaFra”

Welcome! This is just one of my 3 sites, I also have: gafra.org and triniartsudio.org. I’m a business woman, mother of 4, Artist, friend to many and a Leadership Management Coach with LMI.

Learn more about me, visit my other blogs as well.

Get your  FREE DAILY PRINTABLE PLANNER  here at  gafra.org  and many other Printables.

Get your FREE DAILY PRINTABLE PLANNER here at gafra.org and many other Printables.

Get your  FREE DOWNLOAD : An EASY GUIDE on   “How to Paint an Abstract”

Get your FREE DOWNLOAD: An EASY GUIDE on “How to Paint an Abstract”

Get your personal copy of this ebook   HERE  !!

Get your personal copy of this ebook HERE!!

Art or Poetry?

Art & Poetry, are they the same? Romantic poetry is beautiful, deep and tells you a lot in a few words.

Hi guys.....I am on a campaign to publish some poems my husband wrote to me almost 28years ago....yes people the courting poems. Now in thinking about I realised that I am prejudiced. When I think of someone who is artistic I think about artist or as the markets have shown me  those who can create amazing things with their hands. Things for the kitchen like mittens  aprons, handmade soaps etc.

One young girl produced all of these.

Handmaid kitchen aprons, mittens and pot holders

But I never thought about poetry as Artistic until I started transcribing my husband's deep romantic poems into an ebook. It takes a special type of writing skill to be able to express yourself romantically in the form of a poem. As with all the creative mediums, poetry is another way to release the pented up emotions that are riding you.

As I read the poems after all these years and while transcribing them over into an ebook I saw the creative dexterity it took to write poems where while you read you feel what the person is feeling and the torment, joy or sadness they were experiencing when they wrote the particular poem.

So what exactly is the definition of poetry? It's defined as: Ideas given intensity by the use of a distinctive style and rhythm; poems collectively or as a genre of literature.

So my husband had a rhythm and it was based on what he was experiencing with me (I guess I was giving him a hard time) during his period of trying to gain my affections.

It's the same with Art. You're in a type of rhtyhm when you're painting and it's all based on your emotions at the time.  Okkkk....I know you're curious.....So what's the story?

Well my husband was my best friend but I didn't see him or even thought about marriage. In fact I was eyeing some other guys and telling him about them....I mean he was my best friend and who else would I confide in? Not knowing that he was serious about me. Eventually I realised how amazing he was and what a great husband he would make...

So WHALA!!!!! That conversation came up....the big M word...and so we decided to get hitched and we've been together 28years outside of the 2 years we went around before we got married. So 30 years in total, with four great kids....a boy 27 and 3 girls 26, 24 and 23. 

Yes I had a child every year for 5 years so some people don't recognise me, not pregnant. Lol and my husband and I run a business together. In reading his poems from those days I saw the turmoil and pain he was experiencing through that time of wanting but not being able to have. 

I felt a little guilty, but that is a part of life and loving but my realisation was how emotional the poems were.

I will be offering them on this site as soon as I figure out how to publish it properly because they are good and I want him to feel proud of them despite the memories they bring back although we can laugh about them now. 

Time heals all and thank God for these different outlets that allows us to vent and at the same time create. 

Keep following my different posts and get my Free Planner below or check out my more advanced planners on my Shop page. There are a few FREEBIES there.

I FIGURED OUT HOW TO PUBLISH IT BY THE TIME THE WEEKEND WAS OVER. YEA!!!!! CHECK IT OUT!!!

FROM MARTIN WITH LOVE

GET A FREE ARTIST LOOK-BOOK HERE

ABOUT ME

ABOUT ME

Hi guys, I’m Gail Francis better known as “GaFra”

Welcome! This is just one of my 3 sites, I also have: gafra.org and triniartsudio.org. I’m a business woman, mother of 4, Artist, friend to many and a Coach.

Learn more about me, visit my other blogs.

Get Awesome, original PRINTABLES here at www.gafra.org or the   FREE ARTIST LOOK-BOOK

Get Awesome, original PRINTABLES here at www.gafra.org or the FREE ARTIST LOOK-BOOK

Get your  FREE DAILY PRINTABLE PLANNER  here at  gafra.org  and many other Printables.

Get your FREE DAILY PRINTABLE PLANNER here at gafra.org and many other Printables.

Get your  FREE DOWNLOAD : An EASY GUIDE on   “How to Paint an Abstract” OR      Artist Look-Book

Get your FREE DOWNLOAD: An EASY GUIDE on “How to Paint an Abstract” OR Artist Look-Book

Get your personal copy of this ebook   HERE  !!

Get your personal copy of this ebook HERE!!

The Truth About Blogging

Hi…I’m on a rant again because you learn so much when you do all your research and from all the reading I’ve done I’ve learnt much where blogging is concerned. Firstly, I have to go back to the beginning as to why I started blogging. I went into blogging for different reasons.

  1. I wanted to share and sell my Art…….gafra.org

  2. I wanted to be able to share my thoughts about different topics……triniartstudio.org

  3. I wanted to share my Natural Hair journey through my experiences…….gafraihairu.com

  4. Blogging was a great way to make another income stream

  5. I wanted a voice and to journal my thoughts and share them.

 

But no one tells you how much work is involved and that you need to be able to write well…your posts must at least be able to keep the attention of your audience. All the different research I did via Pinterest, Google, etc all say that its your blog and just be you and speak as if you’re talking to a friend. That was fine but it’s not easy to write content that is well written so that you keep people’s attention.

 

Luckily I love English and I like writing, plus I didn’t care too sh….t if people felt my writing was good or not. I just want to have a voice to say and share what I wanted to. That is not the case if you want your blog to be a means to earn a living though. I remember speaking with my brother-in-law, that was at the start when I was now beginning my first and only blog ( now I have 3).


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I had started a blog…www.triniartstudio.net…but it was started to share my Artwork and to try to sell it online, but as I went along and time passed, I went through a transition and that name and the look of the site no longer reflected me, so I rebranded to GaFra…..www.gafra.org….because I had changed and as usual I did a lot of research because now I wanted to sell my art online, after having tried all variety of marketplaces (Fineartamerica, Big Cartel, Artpal, Etsy, ArtFinder and many more) but none of them worked. I sold nothing.

So getting back to the point of this post, when you start a blog, there are few things you need to consider:

  1. Can you write well enough to hold a person’s attention

  2. Is what you have to share interesting or not?

  3. Do you really need to build a list of at least 100 topics so you never run out of things to talk about?

  4. When you share your information is it properly written?

  5. Do you know how to create proper cover pages for your blog post? And do you know where you can go to do that?

  6. Do you even know how to build a blog? (Check squarespace.com or Wordpress)

 

Oh and there is even more....I also wanted to write a book. So aside from knowing if you have the writing skills to write the posts I wanted to go further. I wanted to write a book. Right now I’m putting together my husband’s poems to develop an ebook and publish it for him. That will be my test run.

 

I’ve always had a book on my bucket list and after reading all the different blogs about how you can do this, I am still tentative, because I always find out how much is involved in doing any of these things after the fact of trying to do it myself, in spite of all the research I do.

 

But what is great, is that through the research, like I mentioned above, you encounter all these sites that can help you and I also read from other book publishers, that you can publish it yourself via Amazon Kindle Publishing, but there are also courses that help you go through the process easily. I discovered one of these programs, of course I found it after the fact. It’s always after you struggle you discover all these helpful sites. I recently came upon this program:

 

Its called The Low Content Mastery training package. It's a course that teaches you how you can make money publishing journals, planners and other profitable low content books on Amazon KDP Print. The program includes:


Module #1: Step-by-Step Training Guides (10, plus free updates)

Module #2: Done-for-you book templates (all sizes) 

Module #3: Premade Book Covers with Source Files

Module #4: Niche Profit Reports

Module #5: Over-my-shoulder video tutorials.

 

So don’t be like me and struggle, invest in learning the correct way to publish so that you don’t get lost or go off track like I did.

 So what I didn’t do correct was

1.     Write out the 100 topics so I had a flow for my blogs

2.     Learn to develop covers for every blog posts (check Canva.com)

3.     Understand the correct format for the posts and how to pull readers.

 

So I know I don’t want the same errors to occur when I start my book, which I want to start very soon. People do your homework and make sure you understand the best process to follow to get your book online and to even write good content whether its for your blog or your book. You want it to be purchased, do the right thing, be properly prepared so that it’s purchased. 

Check out Low Content Mastery.

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Hi I’m GaFra

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What Is The True Value of Art? Should You Compromise?

What is the True Value of Art.jpg
 

I did an Upmarket in South a few months ago and in chatting with another vendor who did work similar to mine, we both agreed that Art in Trinidad is valued by the minority. I mean the minority accepts its value and are willing to pay for it. The majority like Art but don't see it as an investment.

When an Artist has paid his dues and becomes famous only then is his Artwork seen as valuable. When he dies then it's even more valuable, e.g. Boscoe Holders work. But as a new Artist it takes a lot to stay positive about your work and to continue painting.

I have evolved over time, but in a direction I didn't plan. I now do a lot more small acrylics for the markets and less watercolours. This was not my intention but I've been pulled by the public demand versus my inert internal yearning. 

Why? Why has this happened?

1. It happens because every Artists wants their work to be appreciated, purchased and even demanded.

2. Compromising gives us a level of vindication, because the art sells but should we need that? Should we compromise? I feel not, but we do.

An Artist should paint because they are compelled to and create what they feel inside. Not paint what sells. I have fallen into that trap. Its hard to avoid. You don't want your work to pile up, unseen, unappreciated, unsold.

My blog speaks on this. As an Artist we need to help others realise this. www.gafra.org

So what do I do?

I to an extent, have no choice. Maybe I can do both. I paint what inspires me but in a size that is "sellable" for the Markets and I paint what I feel inside on a bigger scale for my exhibitions. I learned from my last Exhibition/Pop Up Shop that to be able to sell my large pieces, Upmarkets are not the way.

I am going the route of the Formal Exhibition. I am planning one next year and it will feature my large pieces only. I will invite guests formally to my opening and make a production of the entire event. Lets see how that goes.... : ) 

I've also stumbled on an abstract artist Nancy Hillis and she has an onlineworksop:

https://nancyhillis.com/artists-journey-3-secrets-of-the-masters 

and here I started releasing my creativity even more.

I completed one piece based on her direction and it was far different from my normal simple, geometric, flat design. I will continue following her worshop to see where it leads me.

So guys thats all for now. Check you next week. Love you all and continue to follow me and send in your comments via my website: www.gafra.org.

I also have a new blog called www..wordpress.com/Gafra_TAS. All bout my natural hair journey. Check it out. So until next time. 

 

Giving Of Yourself

Giving of Yourself.jpg

Hi everyone...sorry about the late posting but yesterday I had a very hectic day as I worked in two stalls for my Church Harvest and today is my mom's birthday...so I kinda forgot all about posting.

The title today is what I felt as I worked in the Harvest. Sometimes you have to give to your community...find a way. If not through your church then maybe through a club for the youths or the communuty centre. 

That day it was a lot of work, very hot, very tiring and I had volunteered my kids to run one of the stalls without asking them. They weren't too happy about that and I basically had to organise everything myself and they simply came the day to run the stall. They did a good job but my son who is a grumbler....grumbled as usual........Kids!!!

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A wide view during mass before the start of the Harvest.

 

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Me and my friend in the stall. 

That is all for now. Check you next week. Love you all.

             Www.gafra.org

I was a little upset with him and his attitude, so after the harvest when we were all at home I sent a message on the family whatsapp chat telling them thanks for their help and that they had done a good job and they had done their part for the church and I won't volunteer them again. ...yes...I dislike grumblers.

I had fun but my feet were killing me because after working in one stall, when it closed off I moved to my kids' stall to help there. Last year when I did the stall I felt worst but this year I had no aches or pains. That must mean that my workouts at the gym were paying off.

 

Back to giving of yourself...... I hope each and everyone of us can do something for others or to help our community as the community takes care of its people...its young and old. So lets do our part.