The new year is an arbitrary but culturally driven opportunity to reflect on what makes you happy and what you hope to change in your life. Let’s take this opportunity to focus on our art in 2017.
This coming year consider, a la Danielle LaPorte, how do you want to FEEL, not achievements. While achievements can bring you momentary satisfaction, it is fleeting. Achievements leave you to figure out what the next fix is. Instead, consider the emotional state you want for your life and make decisions for the year based on those emotions.
For 2016 I decided on ease, creativity, mindfulness, and abundance. And when I had a tough time I referred back to these qualities and asked myself, “What decision aligns best with these goals?” I sincerely believe that is why I could relaunch Artist Strong, trial a new program (The Circle) with early adopters, cope with the loss of my father, enjoy a regular yoga practice, make art, and move 7000+ miles from Oman to Canada. I made a greater priority to check in with myself and this has impacted all of my life, including my creativity.
Today I ask you to envision your perfect art life. Picture it. What would it look like? Use your creativity toolkit (you know, your hands and any art supplies you like! 🙂 ) to convey your dream. Collage it out. Play with mixed media. Hey, you could even create a board about this on Pinterest. Ask yourself: what do I already have? What else do I want? Create a visual exploration and then reflect: what words would best convey this artwork?
To start mine I looked through a few magazines I dug out from around the house. I clipped images and words that stood out to me, without worrying about what they mean or what I need to do with them. After that, it was a lot of waiting.
I wasn’t sure where to go next with the work so I actively avoided it! One morning I woke up really early, around 5 am and saw an image in my mind. I immediately knew it was for this art exploration; I stumbled up to the attic studio to get making.
I completed the work in stages, in part because the paper remained wet for a long time. I was impatient and tried to outline pieces in ink before it was dry and it stained part of the image. I set it aside and let it dry while working on my embroidery for a bit instead of trying to work more on the project.
Later that afternoon I put on a TV show on Amazon Prime and grabbed my pen and watercolor kit and went to it. My mind felt open and receptive, little inner critic was speaking up so I could just channel the ideas coming to me. It’s been a long time since I’ve worked this way with all of my travel and embroidery focus and it felt great.
After it felt finished I decided to take another mini break from the work. When I returned to the work, this time it was about thinking about the words I see from my creation that help embody how I want to feel and live my life in 2017. It was a bit of a brainstorm:
After the brainstorm I again stepped away (noticing a pattern here?) and returned to it after enjoying some space to see if the words I highlighted stand out in any way. And that has led me to: Artisan, Radiant, and Empowered.
Choose your words for 2017. You deserve them.
Click to Tweet: “Try this art based activity to help you plan for your new year.”
Be Creatively Courageous: What are your words for 2017? Share them in the comments below. Even better, share your art exploration with us on social media! Use #BeCreativelyCourageous.
*Affiliate links help me continue my work with Artist Strong. Should you choose to purchase Desire Mapping, you will also help me with my work here, so thank you.
Thank you for your encouragement.
You are welcome Emily thank you for reading ??
I don’t have a word yet. But I’ve sidelined my art on so many levels this year that I for one am very glad to kiss 2016 goodbye. First and foremost I have depression and that alone has hurt my progress this year. Next I was my dad’s caregiver for 4 years and when I lost him 2 years ago my life focus was suddenly gone. I didn’t know who I was anymore. So this year I’ve tried to find myself again. One great thing I did was start volunteering with my son at the animal shelter. He has to do community service for HS graduation requirements so when I took him down to start I signed up too. My plan is to train to be a dog handler and go to nursing homes and such with therapy dogs. I’m excited.
But my plan for my art is to actually do the online classes that I’ve purchased. I’m in the process of rearranging and decluttering my studio so it will be ready for’ January 1st. One thing I need so badly is someone to come along side of me and push me, gently, to keep me moving forward. I don’t have that in my life. I’d love a group where we are partnered up and then we would keep talking about our goals and what we are doing to achieve those goals. I do wish that someone online would facilitate a group like this. This would be a dream come true. Thanks for sharing. And another note: I’m tired of mourning the loss of my dad. I want to celebrate life!!!
April thank you for sharing your story, I think it will benefit others to know they aren’t alone in similar struggles they share. I know many in this community are caregivers to their parents and I lost my father six months ago so I very much connect with your story too.
It’s awesome that you found volunteering in something you enjoy to help you through. And art is definitely an important way to help us navigate all we deal with in our lives.
My program called The Circle is about the partnerships and goal setting you speak of please email me Carrie@artiststrong.com if you want more details.
May your art in 2017 help you celebrate life ?????
Carry a sketch pad with you at all times. Set 5 minutes a day to scribble or while you are waiting for an appointment. Make a Christmas card.
Sounds great Jenci!
In 2017 I will focus in producing a more focused style and expose my creations to the public. I ended 2016 by naming my brand “Artist Within “. 2017 will be a challenge as it will be a very busy year at my Clinical Informatics full time job with the implementation of the new Electronic Health Record at the Medical Center I work at in October. July will also bring family from Europe to Texas for my eldest daughter’s wedding. Bring it on, art will help me stay balanced through it all.
Bring it ON! I admire your attitude and spirit Christine and I look forward to being witness to your journey. <3
If I had to choose words it would be ‘Exclamatory Intermezzo’. It is a painting series I would like to explore further this year. To be accountable for my art goals, I posted them this year on my blog again: https://ostachowski.com/art-goals-2017-2016-review/
Making a public commitment to a goal is a great way to hold yourself accountable. I love your words! Speaks right to the heart of an art project you want to focus on. Thank you for sharing 🙂
Thank you. You are amazing! 🙂 So glad to have connected in spirit and voice while you were literally right around the corner. All best wishes in 2017.
Peace and love.
I’m glad for that too Sunya. <3