Try this art based activity to help you plan for your new year.

My visual brainstorm

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.

Try this art based activity to help you plan for your new year.

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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.

Try this art based activity to help you plan for your new year.

Step one, once I had this image in my mind!

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:

Try this art based activity to help you plan for your new year.

my word mind map

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.

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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.