Like many others, and perhaps you’re among them, when the new year starts I begin musing over my intentions for making improvements to my life and growing into a better version of myself. This year, what’s resonating with me is the idea of cultivating daily creative growth in the new year.
Some say January 1 is no different from March 5 or July 17, meaning, if you’re going to make a change, do it now, whatever date that might be.
Any day can be a January 1.
I agree with this of course. There’s no reason to put off change to the new year when you could be doing it starting pretty much any day.
However, I do find there is something unique about the feeling I get once the Christmas tree comes down, the dreidels are packed away, and my home absolutely opens up with possibilities. There’s literally more space in my home with all the holiday tchotchkes off the tables and out of nooks and crannies.
The air feels different, change is afoot, and I dive in to embrace it.
This is something I look forward to each and every year.
Last Year’s Intention: Efficiency
This past year I created an intention to create systems to help simplify my life and remove a burden of stress that I couldn’t seem get past. My world became more complicated with new responsibilities. I had been saying yes to too many things and was absolutely drowning in commitments that I was struggling to keep.
There was a real need for efficiency and I was determined to figure it out.
At the start of last year I also felt trapped by past agreements with myself. The lease on my studio of eight years was ending, and in those eight years I accumulated so many wonderful things. Canvases, books, furniture, art, inspirational objects. When people reached out because they were moving or purging, and asked if I’d be interested in their bag of scrapbook supplies or box of rubber stamps, I always said yes.
Big mistake, I learned, as I was downsizing to a new studio and couldn’t take half the lot with me.
It took me a good month to rehome all these things and the relief I felt last January 1 was enormous.
A New Start
So, at the start of last year, with the last of the Studio Things released to others, I had a fresh start in a new space.
This is when I started building systems, which were, by the way, completely antithetical to how my artist brain naturally works,
Over time I learned how to think differently. I built spreadsheets, brought others along with me, and succeeded at building systems that worked and integrated into my life. I had no idea it would create such a shift in my mindset, but it has!
And it’s been good.
I’ve come to rely on new processes for hiring, holding meetings, keeping all the pieces together for teams I was leading, and organizing my home.
My life is so much better for it. Less chaos, more calm. Less clutter, more clarity.
Funny though, in order to create efficiencies that made this change possible, the pendulum swung so far in one direction that I lost a lot of the whirligig charm that made my heart come alive.
If I’m honest with myself, it’s possible I’d been losing touch with it for a while, like the fun Paint Quad exercise I was once committed to and only dip into every now and then.
Amidst building efficiencies into my new life there was less time for a lot of the charming, weird, magical, (and chaotic) fun that comes from making art.
Sure, I had a new studio, but it was mostly my office, and I even called it that once or twice.
The new studio is beautiful, but it too took on a spirit of efficiency. It became a place to make art lessons for clients, but barely anything for myself. There were lovely clear bins to organize professional development supplies, but I rarely pulled out supplies for my own art shenanigans. Here and there for sure, but it hasn’t been a consistent practice.
Push and pull. Wax and wane. Ebb and flow.
This is life.
Playful, Experimental Art
When we move strongly in one direction we may need a course correct to pick up pieces that are left behind.
In this case, I lost track of my own art-making practice.
In this new year I plan to continue on my efficient course. New doors have opened and I’m loving the path that’s in front of me. It’s been a positive change.
And slowly but surely I plan to add art back into my life and I hope to share more of that with you.
Playful, experimental, just for the heck of it art.
I’m choosing to reclaim a practice of making art for daily creative growth in the new year.
In truth this started end of last year with a challenge from my dear friend Danielle who always brings out the best in me.
My commitment is to make more joyful art, just for the heck of it. Today, at my home studio (nothing crazy – just a table by a great window) it’s a sketchbook collage. A double page spread that took about 20 minutes.
One of my kids asked what I was up to and I said, “playing around, having fun.”
And that’s the intention behind my commitment to daily creative growth in the new year.
Playing around and having fun.