Walking along the beach in Ships Point, Fanny Bay B.C. (in the Comox Valley on Vancouver Island) … I came across this boat, and photographed it at … exactly the right angle 🙂

Ship on shore in Ships Point Fanny Bay in the Comox Valley on Vancouver Island


Fanny Bay Photographer : Copyright © Brenda Johima

elevate the artsElevate your phone for the Arts! Pull out your iPhone, Mobile Phone, and Any Camera Phone!

Join me, Artist and iPhone Photographer Brenda Johima in the first ever Elevate The Arts Mobile Phone Photo-Art Show! This is an all-ages, all-inclusive and FUN opportunity to showcase your your camera phone talents an artistic, creative and photographic tool to create works of photographic art.

Please support the Arts and visit the Elevate the Arts website for more information about all of the other fascinating things taking place at this super cool and exciting community event, which will take place in Downtown Courtenay, in the Comox Valley.


I volunteered my time to take part in this “full day culture crawl extravaganza” and to organize and coordinate  this one piece.

There were not enough submissions 🙁 … but it’s OK! We have to start somewhere. So, we had a great time anyway, after we added a few painters, visual artists to the mix. It ended up being “Elevate the Point!” with most of the participants at my venue, living in my neighbourhood, Ships Point, except for one person.

Thanks to the following artists for participating:

  • Don Cunningham
  • Brenda Johima
  • Barbara Legg
  • Laura Sponselee
  • Madeleine Wood

Totally enjoyed myself at 444-5th Street. One of the most rewarding parts of the day was having the young families come in, and to see their appreciation for abstract art and paintings, and to have the sweetest most beautiful little ones come in to see the art with their parents. I think that the Comox Valley must have some of the most peaceful and content, beautiful young children. Thank you to all who came by to visit!

— Brenda Johima

iPhone Photography of a Puppy by Brenda Johima

P.S. A HUGE Thank you to Kevin Reid of Coast Realty Group in Courtenay for loaning me space for our make-shift 24-hour gallery in the old Leung’s building at 444-5th Street, Downtown Courtenay.

Elevate The Arts Mobile Phone Photo-Art Show
(with Brenda Johima)


  • Visit the Elevate the Arts website and see all the festivities that happened on Saturday May 5th, 2012, in Downtown Courtenay. It was a HUGE success! Well done, planning team!


elevate the arts


Say NOtoCoal on Vancouver Island

On January 23, 2012, in Comox Valley, NOtoCoal, Vancouver Island, by brendajohima

I live in the beautiful Comox Valley, in Fanny Bay, on Vancouver Island and rarely take a stance on political issues on my blog … I prefer to keep the focus on my art and photography … however, as this proposed Coal Mine will be minutes from my door, I do want to say that I am 100% opposed to a coal mine on Vancouver Island. There are newer, greener technologies available at this time and there is no need for a coal mine now, or anytime in our future on this planet.

The damage to our health, our drinking water, the very air we breathe is at risk … as well as our ocean, the sensitive ecosystem, the fish, the wild salmon, the birds, the wildlife … as is the very beauty that inspires artists and photographers to create their works on this paradise we live in, called Vancouver Island.

Say NO to Coal

FREEBIE !! … I feel so strongly about NO Coal Mine in the Comox Valley and on Vancouver Island, I created this. Say “NOtoCoal

Please share it, use it, put it on your Facebook profile or business page, share via other social networks and/or your website/blog … please spread it and help STOP this proposed Coal Mine. In addition to the damage it will do to our environment and the beauty that surrounds us on Vancouver Island, coal is a known carcinogen.

More info. here : CoalWatch.ca and here : Solidarity not Compliance

** P.S. If you want to download (and please do), the LARGE full resolution image file, over 2+ MB, I want to provide the highest quality possible. ** … you can download here at any of these places  :

Brenda.Johima.Creative on Facebook
Brenda Johima on Flickr
Brenda Johima on Google+

(the above image is an almost full resolution image from my iPhone … created entirely using an iPhone 4s) … please use the high resolution images from the links above if you can … and if you are able to please credit “Brenda Johima” that would be lovely but not crucial … I just want the word out …

Thank you for your support on this issue that will affect not only those living in Fanny Bay, and in the Comox Valley, but it will affect every one of us on Vancouver Island, including tourists in future.

The Fall Colors on my forest walk today, were a feast for the eyes.

Don’t you love it when Nature places a *composition right in front of your face? [ iPhone Photo ]

*no, I didn’t place the Maple Leaf there 🙂

Nature Creates Art. I Just Show Up.
~ Brenda Johima ~

Copyright 2011 Brenda Johima | Images May Not Be Used In Any Way Without Written Permission

(photo taken in Ships Point, in Fanny Bay, in the Comox Valley, Vancouver Island, B.C., Canada)

Find beauty everywhere. It’s there. It’s Everywhere. Even death has beauty. Simply slow down. Look. See. Feel. The way I see the world, everything in nature that dies, is broken, or which is in the process of decay, has beauty attached to it, or surrounding it.

Copyright 2011 Brenda Johima | Images May Not Be Used In Any Way Without Written Permission

Copyright 2011 Brenda Johima | Images May Not Be Used In Any Way Without Written Permission

P.S. For those who want to know, and many do ask me, for the most part, I am an iPhoneographer, a purist, meaning that, when I photograph using my iPhone, I do everything in-camera, in-phone, from capture to post-processing, unless I say so, otherwise. However, in this case, for this image, I wanted a certain artistic effect, and the original photo was far from perfect, and might not have been useable at all, without taking on the challenge, to take it from a photograph, and turn it instead, into an iPhone painting, or iPhone Art. I have used several apps here, in combination with Photoshop this time, to achieve my desired effect, and the final result you see here 🙂

Have FUN, play, explore with your creativity, art and photography, and get off the computer, out there in the fresh air, into the Great Outdoors, in Nature, and see what you can find. Nature is full of interesting textures, color and composition, just waiting for you to walk by and capture it.

In love and in light,

~ Brenda Johima ~

Today was my lucky day. The fall colors were stunning! I went for a hike with my nordic poles (really it was more like a dawdle-walk, as I got distracted with my camera and the mind-blowing colors) up Mount Washington. (Comox Valley, Vancouver Island)

As usual, I went, with iPhone in hand. I actually intended to do a work-out, work up a sweat, burn a few calories, but instead, it ended up as a beautiful session of nature photography 🙂 with very few calories burned. Ha.

It was one of the most gorgeous fall days that I have ever seen on the mountain, with striking foilage and vibrant colors, and lush vegetation that appeared to have never dried up in summer like it usually does. I’m happy and satisfied. What a gorgeous day for a walk it was, and a what a feast for the eyes. See for yourself :

Look what I found up Mount Washington today. A work of art! Stunning fall colors up the mountain. Grateful that so much beauty surrounds us. Mother Nature creates ART. We simply have to show up, with open eyes and open heart.”

Copyright 2011 Brenda Johima | Images May Not Be Used In Any Way Without Written Permission

Copyright 2011 Brenda Johima | Images May Not Be Used In Any Way Without Written Permission

“Nature IS Art. Fall colors always blow my mind. I’m grateful to be able to get out in nature every single day. and grateful that so much beauty surrounds us. Mother Nature creates ART. We simply have to show up, with open eyes and open heart.”

Copyright 2011 Brenda Johima | Images May Not Be Used In Any Way Without Written Permission

Copyright 2011 Brenda Johima | Images May Not Be Used In Any Way Without Written Permission

Below, is the third piece in my series of fall colors, discovered today up Mount Washington. This time, with a softer feel, it warms my heart. I’m so grateful for art and nature, and how they work so beautifully together.

Copyright 2011 Brenda Johima | Images May Not Be Used In Any Way Without Written Permission

Copyright 2011 Brenda Johima | Images May Not Be Used In Any Way Without Written Permission

I’m filled with gratitude, that I live in such an incredibly beautiful place on this planet, and that I have eyes to see such tremendous beauty, and a heart to feel deeply, and ears that know, that sometimes the best music, is the silence of nature.

In love and in light,

Brenda Johima



Tweet Bird for TweetUp Comox ValleyThank you to the Comox Valley Echo Newspaper for the press release online and in print, for the 3rd Comox Valley TweetUp! There’s still room to sign up for this FREE community Social Media Event, with FOOD and donations going to the local Comox Valley FOOD Bank.

Don’t know what to bring? Here’s a couple of things that they really need at the FOOD Bank that they can’t buy on a regular basis:

  • Coffee
  • Peanut Butter

See you there! And thanks for your support.

*** And, we need our local media. They do good work. Support our local newspapers online and in print. Thanks Comox Valley Echo! ***

~ Brenda Johima ~

P.S. Bonus, Paul Holmes from Victoria will be speaking briefly at the TweetUp!

The 3rd Comox Valley TweetUp! … is here. We’re on a roll now in the Comox Valley with Social Media and Twitter, so let’s keep things rolling, moving forward, connecting people online, offline.

The 1st Comox Valley TweetUp was such a success with 30 people showing up, that a second one was booked, the 2nd Comox Valley TweetUp! … and now we’re onto the final TweetUp of 2010 🙂

Are you still resisting Social Media? It’s getting harder to resist Social Media now, isn’t it?

Mark your calendars for Friday, December 17th, and this time, we will be Tweeting For Food! December is a time when individuals and families all have a greater need for food, so this is a Social Media TweetUp With A Cause! We will use the power of Twitter and Social Media and Tweet for Food to help others in need.

As always, a TweetUp! is FREE of charge.

***ALL PROCEEDS and DONATIONS of FOOD for the December 17th TweetUp! will be DONATED to the LOCAL COMOX VALLEY FOOD BANK.***

The date is Friday, December 17th, from 2:30 -4 p.m. (Location is Confirmed: The Comox Valley ART Gallery. YAY!)

TweetUp With A Cause! You can start signing up already for the 3rd Comox Valley TweetUp! Right Here.

**And We have a special guest for this event, Paul Holmes, one of the organizers of the recent and very popular Social Media Camp in Victoria. Paul is a leader on Vancouver Island in the field of Social  Media and Engagement, and will be at our event! Stay Tuned!**

Please join me at the 3rd Comox Valley TweetUp! Connect, Communicate, Build Relationships.

Ooops, Wondering, What Is A TweetUp?

Put simply, a TweetUp is an event where people who have met on Twitter, or who are communicating on Twitter, meet face to face in person. An informal event, for people who want to take  online communications, offline, engaging while building relationships.

The goal of most TweetUps? Community Engagement 🙂

If  you’re on Twitter, we’ll be using the same Hashtag as for the 1st Comox Valley TweetUp! #TweetUpCV

~ Brenda Johima ~

** P.S. P.S. There are also LOTS of DOGS and PETS in need in December as well. Feel Free to Make Your Personal Cause for this Event, FOOD for Dogs, FOOD for Pets 🙂


And, as with the 2nd Comox Valley TweetUp! there may be a (paid) Twitter Workshop For Business (optional), for business owners who want to learn the basics of how to use Twitter for business, right before the TweetUp! This will be posted on a separate page on this blog if it happens.


Drawing/Photo by Heather Passmore

Thank You to the Comox Valley ART Gallery for being the host location for this event, and here’s what will be happening during the TweetUp! at CVAG: STORIES FROM A FLICKERING PLAIN: Photography and drawing by Heather Passmore (Vancouver BC) and mixed media by Janet Wang (Vancouver BC) This Show runs from November 12 – December 31, 2010

Heather Passmore and Janet Wang both use the photograph as a starting point for explorations in erosion, memory, technology, biography, accidents and “personal mistakes”.  Passmore presents a series of “disappearing drawings” created by enlarging prints from her personal archive of half-exposed negatives to which drawings had been added.

Detail of Painting by Janet Wang

Wang presents paintings and drawings culled from the social networking site Facebook, re-negotiated as small-scale enlargements.  To these she has added embroidered captions taken from Facebook and Twitter.

Passmore has an MFA from UBC and has exhibited in solo exhibitions across Canada, including at the Vancouver Art Gallery.  She has published critical essays and reviews and won many prizes and scholarships including being a VADA Award recipient.

Wang has an MFA from Leeds University UK and has shown in Toronto, San Francisco, Seattle, Glasgow and Vancouver.

For more information on this exhibit: http://www.comoxvalleyartgallery.com/exhibitions2010.html

Comox Valley ART Gallery on Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/home.php?#!/event.php?eid=119113804815658

Tweet Bird for TweetUp Comox ValleyThe 1st Comox Valley TweetUp! was such a success with 30 people showing up, that a second one is already booked, the 2nd Comox Valley TweetUp!

Mark your calendars for Monday, November 22nd, and this time, it will be a mid-day lunch meeting with Caribbean Appies! from 12:00 p.m. – 1:30 p.m. (**BONUS** We will have a speaker who will speak for exactly 10 minutes on the topic of Twitter in Social Media)

The TweetUp! is FREE of charge of course … Sign Up Right Here

(You MUST Register in advance for this event even though it is FREE so that we have the numbers for the FOOD)

Top Secret! (not) I’ve got the food provider organized and the location set, but just need to confirm a few minor details with a few tweaks, and we’ll be ready to go!

OK, there’s no secret anymore! We ARE ready to go! Our generous Hosts are the Carnival Caribbean Cabana in Courtenay! Thanks to Ronnice and Wain in advance, for generously providing free appetizers for participants!

Sign Up for the 2nd Comox Valley TweetUp! Right Here (space is limited for this event and you MUST register in order to attend … For other TweetUps you can usually just show up even if you didn’t register, but for this one, we need numbers for the food. Thanks!)

Please do join me at the 2nd Comox Valley TweetUp! Connect, Communicate, Build Relationships.

Ooops, Wondering, What Is A TweetUp?

Put simply, a TweetUp is an event where people who have met on Twitter, or who are communicating on Twitter, meet face to face in person. An informal event, for people who want to take  online communications, offline, engaging while building relationships.

The goal of most TweetUps? Community Engagement 🙂

If  you’re on Twitter, we’ll be using the same Hashtag as for the 1st Comox Valley TweetUp! #TweetUpCV

** You are encouraged to bring your digital camera, cell phone, smart phone or video camera to this event. In addition to chatting informally, for FUN, we will be Tweeting What We Eat! Photograph some Caribbean Appies for FUN and we’ll post them to a special Social Media page for sharing this event. (*Don’t have a camera? Don’t worry. Please still show up! It’s not a requirement for you to enjoy this event with us) **

(And Oh Yes, don’t forget to follow me 🙂  I’m @brendajohima on Twitter 🙂

~ Brenda Johima ~


WHY come to a TweetUp! ?

1. Take Online Relationships Offline in a Face-To-Face FUN Interaction (tiny Twitter avatar meets the life-size human being)
2. Build stronger communities, both online and offline, with people and business owners with common interests
3. It’s NOT your typical networking meeting which is uncomfortable, full of pressure and expectations
4. MEET People
5. TALK to People
6. ENGAGE with People
7. INTERACT with People
8. CARE about People
9. FIND out about People
10. BUILD relationships with People
11. Have people find out about your business, your work, what you do, without having to “sell” at all
12. I could list about 20 more reasons, but please join us, and find out, the Power of Comox Valley TweetUps!

~ Brenda Johima ~ SEE YOU THERE!

P.S. (paid) Twitter For Business Social Media Workshop (optional and separate) will be available soon! for business owners who want to learn the basics of how to use Twitter for business. This will be posted on a Separate Workshop Page on my Blog 🙂

What’s Wrong with Non-Competing Business Networking Groups?

Everything is wrong with it (and even more so, if you are one who is excluded from participation in these groups).

I live in the Comox Valley on Vancouver Island (paradise), and I don’t know if you who are reading this right now, have this where you live, but how it works (apparently) is people join a “non-competing” business networking support group for business owners, to share ideas and share referrals.

Here’s the catch. From what I understand, only one person per business industry/category is permitted to join the group. For example, only one photographer, one graphic designer, one caterer, one bookkeeper, one realtor, etc. I can tell you that I will never be joining one of these groups, and I know of about 4-5 of them going on here locally.

It’s old style marketing, in my books, and it’s based on fear.

How about in your community? Do you have these groups (likely yes) where you live? What is your opinion? Does it work for you? Do you like them? Do you want nothing to do with them? Have you ever tried to join and been told no? Have you been excluded? Have you been included? Did you pay money to join (many do have a fee) or is it free? I am curious.

And here’s why I will never join a “non-competing” business group:

In philosophy, it’s built on exclusion … excluding rather than including people. In my opinion, it limits your creativity (I’m a Creativity Consultant in my “other” business), limits your thinking, limits possible referrals if folks who are not in those non-competing groups know about it and don’t buy into that kind of thinking.

I ask you WHY (if they are an outsider) would they refer business to you? You have just (possibly) lost potential referrals. Maybe this doesn’t matter to you, as you are so busy in your business and don’t want or need any more business, or maybe you get all the referrals you need from within your non-competing business group? If so, and it’s working for you, fantastic!

Sure you may get a few, or even a ton of referrals from within your own group, however, here’s how it impacts me and other business owners and these are my thoughts on the topic:

  1. If one is a Creative-Type (as I am) and does multiple things in their business, for example, someone like me: artist, graphic and web designer, photographer, creativity consultant, phoDOGrapher, painter, marketer, seo, writer, social media artist and speaker … I would be (and am) excluded from all “non-competing” networking groups because I fit into categories that compete with everyone, including myself!
  2. If I were to join a non-competing business networking group, I would be competing with myself! … AND limiting what I could say and the types of questions I could ask. Or, if I were to join for example, as a designer, and I LOVE photography, do you not think I would be listening to the photographer in the group for their sharing because I love photography and provide it as a service to graphic design clients? Of course I would 🙂 How can you separate design from photography from art. You cannot. Graphic design most often includes photographic images.
  3. We need to move away from being one thing. We are NOT one thing, we are NOT one niche. We are human beings, and humans are far too complex to be put into such a limiting box.
  4. It creates an us and them, and puts a wedge between business owners (who are not in the group) who might otherwise collaborate, connect, or even socialize, or oh my goodness, become friends!
  5. It has a scarcity/fear mentality, meaning there is not an abundance of work and business out there. I know it is tougher in small communities (and tough everywhere right now in business) where there is a smaller and more limited local customer base.
  6. You want the real news? You don’t get to choose anyway, really. Your customers and clients are now, more than ever before, choosing who they hire, and purchase from. You can bend and contort and twist and trick yourself into anything you want, but the consumers have the power right now, and it may be based on price, or just their mood on that moment of that one day.
  7. As a business owner the best you can do is be the best you can be! And, in my opinion, NEVER limit my network of people to a small select, prestigious, clique of a group. (and yes clique is a strong and negative word, but it is what it is).
  8. Wouldn’t it be wonderful to view your colleagues (in your same profession) as not competition? By encouraging groups to have “competitors” from the same industry in the same group, you actually get to learn a lot from each other. I have participated in two industry specific groups (for example where every single person is a web designer and in theory could compete with anyone in the world) and it has been supportive and collaborative, and without a feeling of competition. It CAN be done. “Non-Competing” business groups which do not permit two people of the same industry will never allow for this learning to take place.

    Here is the definition of clique: “…a small group of people, with shared interests or other features in common, who spend time together and do not readily allow others to join them…”

    My goodness, it could be called a Business Networking Clique. That doesn’t feel very good does it?

  9. It puts you in the “power” place to try to squash the “competition” who is excluded from your prestigious groups. Have you ever been on the other side of that? What does it feel like to be excluded? Word of mouth spreads fast. Your “non-competing” business groups are not as confidential as you think they are. Word spreads. (especially in smaller rural communities)
  10. You are missing out on potential referrals from people outside your group, because once people find out, they may not refer clients to your “non-competing” business networking group if it does not fit with their philosophy.
  11. Let’s face it, you all do a lot more than one thing also. We all wear many hats in business these days, and there is always overlap into other industries. Let’s stop fooling ourselves that this is not true.
  12. If you view potential friends and colleagues and business leads as competition, you already have closed the door to relationship building (and people relationships is all where it’s at, especially in social media where word spreads fastest). If not in words, by your energy. *And By The Way, I’m @brendajohima on Twitter. Let’s Connect!
  13. It is driving a wedge between business owners who are already competing with each other online and in print, and socially.It is not bringing us together as a business community, but creating cliques.
  14. Have you ever been excluded? Ever wanted to join something but told no? Ever been on the outside looking in?
  15. It’s called bullying if we were children, exclusion bullying, in fact. What is exclusion bullying? Here is one definition: “Exclusion bullying includes leaving someone out, ignoring them, or making them feel unwelcome. It is mostly when people do not allow someone else to join into a group. You may not think of that as bullying.” Some of you may feel this is extreme, when related to business. However, it really is no different. We need to move toward collaboration, to bringing people together, not driving people further apart. We need to stop driving a wedge between business owners who could be friends and colleagues. We need to move toward a win-win for all. It is possible.
  16. Am I naive to think there is no competition out there? Of course I know there is “competition” in business. I simply choose to not have that be my focus.  I know that there are “competitors” people who view me as a threat in business, and some who likely don’t even like me, reading this post right now. HA! Caught you 🙂 Say Hello, I’m actually quite friendly.
  17. Finally, your “non-competing” business group may not be as confidential as you think. I have had several people I know break confidentiality and tell me what goes on in those groups, and admit that they do not refer only within their group, but also refer outside of their group, if there is any conflict or “dislike” or if they simply like somebody else’s work over yours. So I ask you then, what is the real benefit of these groups? Are they serving their intended purpose of exclusivity? I suggest not.

So what is another option?

What does work for you? What is your way of growing your business and network?

Whatever it is, let it be creative and … inclusive. We are too broken as a society and economy to keep excluding each other. It’s time to work together.

Think about this, and put yourself in the buyers shoes:

I am online a lot. I am a “researchaholic” and believe not unlike many consumers these days. You likely don’t even know how much I know about your business (assuming you are online and how you promote yourself is the truth) … I might even like you and you don’t even know that. I might be eager to be in a networking group with you and happily send you referrals. I might even have you on my mind as a possible referral for my next client (kindness in business is my motto). I might already be thinking who I can send to you. I might be admiring, loving your work and your talent, and wondering how we might collaborate in future. I might be thinking of you as a resource for a possible purchase of your products or services for a family or friend! I do keep on the pulse, and again, do not believe I’m too different from many clients and consumers nowadays. They watch, they listen, they research. They do want to know about YOU as a person, not just what you do.

So in theory, as soon as I find out you are a member of a non-competing business group, you may have lost my referral, no matter how good you are at what you do, because of my/clients basic philosophy of business and life.

Here is how I work, and it may not work for you at all, and that is totally fine. Here’s a few tips if you are ready to make a shift:

  1. Take a stand for what you believe in. If you don’t believe in exclusion, don’t participate in it, and that includes in business and networking. You might feel alone in your beliefs sometimes. Taking a stand for what you believe in takes courage.
  2. If you don’t believe in gossip, they don’t do it, don’t participate in it.
  3. Include other business owners in your fold to build your network and increase potential leads and referrals. Don’t limit yourself to exclusive groups.
  4. You might feel alone for awhile if you make a change to inclusion. So instead, jump into social media to begin building a new network. I have made AWESOME connections on Twitter. I’m @brendajohima on Twitter. Let’s Connect!
  5. It’s OK if networking groups are not your thing. There are many ways to build a business. Stay true to what works for you. You might be onto something new that we can all learn from, and embrace, as a new way of doing business. And if you are, pop me a line, I’d love to chat!
  6. Kindness in business over profits. Yes, business is about profit. But in my books, people always come first. And include in that, Kindness To Oneself First. Being kind in business doesn’t mean being trampled on like a doormat. Take care of you first, of course, but in everything you write, everything you post, every photograph and video you choose to promote yourself with, you are making a statement about you and your business. Let it be one that makes a lasting impact, for good.

It’s about the people, it’s about how you treat people. I dare you to make a change. Who can you include and who can you try to make feel welcome today?

Thanks for listening, and thanks for reading.
~Brenda Johima~

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