Because I live in New England and it may never stop snowing, here is something pretty to look at to lift your spirits. It certainly lifted mine. A friend gave me this plant as a bulb for a Christmas gift. This weekend, during a four-day snow storm, it decided to bloom. Perfect timing for offering some winter cheer. Inspiration: bloom, no matter what.
I’m looking forward to this new year. I’ve set my business and creative goals so I’ve got a clear vision of where I’m headed. I’m already off to a good start with some new paintings that I’ve been working on during my winter break.
One of my goals as an artist is to create work to enter into juried art exhibitions. This is not so much about getting into a lot of shows. It’s more about facing the possibility of rejection (which happens a lot as an artist) and not caring about that. I’m treating the themes of the shows as homework to guide my creative process.
An upcoming show has “heritage” as its theme, so I’ve enjoyed thinking about what that means to me and how to visually present the idea. Sometimes it helps to have a prompt when facing that blank canvas.
I’m taking my time, focusing on the process, and letting the work sit until it tells me where it wants to go. Hopefully, the process will take me in new directions this year, away from the safety of what I’m comfortable with as an artist.
What are your creative goals for the new year?
(The painting here is a detail of a mixed media work on a gallery-framed panel. It is just a start.)
For artists looking for an easy way to create a calendar featuring your artwork, redbubble.com is a great resource. You can upload art and the company will print it on cards, framed works, calendars and even on iPad covers that customers can order. The site is also easy to edit and manage. Here is the calendar I created for 2015. Click on the image and you will be linked to the site to see the full calendar and there are lots of other examples by other artists. I’ve been using redbubble.com for years. Happy New Year–almost!
I love taking bits and pieces of things–paper, wood, anything–and putting them together in different ways. My late grandmother was an expert at this, whether it was putting together a meal, a quilt or a decorative wall covered in magazine pages.
My collage work stems from my earliest memories of that on some unconscious level. And, these recently created fashion brooches–created from bits and pieces of wood and sometimes mixed with other items–do, too. I’m honored to have some of them selected for sale in the Attleboro Museum of Art’s gift shop.
No music. No TV. Just me and the meal (and the Celtics game that my teenager is blaring for the other room. “Me” time only goes so far in this house.)
This is a first step in slowing down and reclaiming my creative direction as I head into 2015. Being creative demands being in touch with self. Too often I think we all are doing a million things at once, even while eating. We’re women warriors; that’s what we do—multitask and take care of the entire world around us.
Consequently time becomes a blur. This year has zipped by and yet I feel like I’m standing still (if you look two posts down, you will see what I mean, as I repeat myself here). I find myself in the same place as an artist as last year, wishing for the exact things I wished for last year. But accomplishing goals is not about “wishing,” it is about reflecting on what you want, figuring out the steps involved to get there and “doing” the work. It is about “I will” rather than “I wish.”
I know this already, but it is good to have a reminder, which I’m getting everyday this month through the free online “Creative Planathon” that I happened upon. A key component of planning for next year is looking at what has been achieved this year as well as the challenges, and setting goals and action steps for 2015. (One of my goals is to get back to blogging.)
There was no mention of sitting at the formal dining room table to catch your breath so you can hear your own thoughts and listen to your heart’s desire. But, I think this is a good place to start—sitting still in the moment.
The workbook for the planathon has a great quote that says it best:
“If you don’t know where you are going, you’ll end up someplace else.”—Yogi Berra
Each year for Christmas, I like to “surprise” myself with art books as gifts. I order the books way ahead of time, wrap them and put them under the tree. I then forget what I ordered and when I open the gift with my name on it on Christmas morning–surprise!
One of my “surprises” this year was Personal Geographies: Explorations in Mixed-Media Mapmaking. I have always loved maps–the lines, the swirls, the shapes, the open invitation to imagine other places. So I love the idea of using the components of maps to make personal art.
The book has exercises in it to get you going on creating these maps. But when I sat down to work on this big piece of paper, using some squeeze bottle craft paints, I had no intention of making a map. However, the notion must have already seeped into my brain because this sure does look like a map.
I don’t think I’m finished with it, so it might not look anything like this when I’m done. I may even tear it up and use it in collages. I just find it fascinating what the brain takes in and what the Muse does with that information.
Coming to the end of a nice winter break, I finally, finally dragged/pushed myself into the studio to try to get done the work I had promised myself that I would be doing every single day of winter break because I would finally have the “time.”
Well, so funny, this “time” business. I seem to have much more of it than I fool myself into thinking that I don’t have. During break I had plenty of time to watch the “Twilight Zone” marathon; plenty of time to watch back-to-back episodes of “Will & Grace” and “Roseanne” reruns; plenty of time to eat too many portions of the potato salad I will spend the rest of winter working off; but strangely, the “time” to get into the studio was not made.
Procrastination is a bitch. Luckily, I did make time enough to read a great book that showed me this very clearly: The War of Art. I highly recommend this book to any artist. The main point of the book is that we allow so much resistance (in many forms) to stop us from creating and using the talents that we have been given.
The best way to stop it is to just show up and do the work. So, today, that’s what I did. I just showed up at the crafting table, got out a piece of paper, poured some paint on it, and started swirling the paint around. It took great effort to fight off the resistance, the voice saying, “What the hell is this you are painting? It looks like crap!” But I did it. I just worked. No judgement. Just brushes and fingers, painting to the quiet music of the wind blown snow. The result is what you see here above, “Transcending.”
A new year. A new day of just showing up to do the work and letting what happens happen. And then tomorrow.