If there is one routine and creative process that shapes my entire studio practice it is my discipline with my visual journal. I keep a notebook journal where I write down my thoughts almost daily and I have a visual mood board where I hang photos, magazine cutouts and basically anything else that I find that is currently inspiring me. But the most important aspect of my studio practice is the work that I do in notebooks each and every day.
Every year I choose a word that becomes a mantra to take me through the next twelve months. As the year goes on I keep turning to the word to guide me. In 2018 I chose the word “present” because I had the goal to live in the moment without always trying to do too much at the same time. I’ve always been a juggler and often times things don’t get done well (or at all) because I constantly try to do too many things; so, some days were really successful and others were a bit of a struggle.
2018 was about growth and that growth was possible because I consistently reminded myself to stay in the moment and to focus on whatever was right in front of me without constantly getting distracted. I grew in my mind by pushing myself, my relationship and bond with my family became stronger than ever, and I grew in my work because I tried with all my might to stay present, not worry about the future (or let’s be honest, to try to control my unrelenting and incessant worry about everything) and to barrel through all the fear and insecurity.
The biggest growth in my art practice began when I participated in my first official studio tour and was shortly followed by the expansion of my studio into a bigger space. I pushed myself out of my comfort zone, got over myself and signed the lease. It felt scary but it felt right. I’m so excited about what’s to come. I have so many plans but I am finally smart enough (kind of) to know that you make plans and work hard and then come the many surprises.
My chosen word for 2019 is Connection. If 2018 was about being present and living in the moment, 2019 will be about taking all that I learned to CONNECT - with myself, with my family and with my work. These are the elements that are most important to me. I’m trying to stop and take note of what I’m doing, connecting in real life, spending less time online and more time with myself, my family, my thoughts, my books and my work. I already started this late last year by introducing my daily visual journal practice and I’ll be talking more about that here soon. I don’t think that it’s enough to simply be present in the moment but to make a connection to whatever you’re doing in that moment is the next step. Being present, and truly connecting with what matters is my intention and all of my goals for the year stem from that ideal.
What about you? Do you set intentions at the beginning of a new year?
The ride to this station in my professional life was, at times, very bumpy, very unclear, and often very terrifying. I’m grateful for the time I had to learn things the hard way even though I couldn’t see how important that was at the time that I was learning. So what do you do if you want to change careers? It’s scary for sure but here are some lessons that helped me a lot then and continue to help me even now.
Last summer, while on vacation with my family in Greece, I took a photo that has become the starting point for an entire new series of paintings, as well as the perfect self-portrait that I could find in nature. There is a story underneath the surface of every person. Outside you see one thing but inside...inside there could be something completely unexpected, charged, surprising, even. People are complicated. We are layered and nuanced.
The other day at dinner a friend asked me whether I ever imagined that my career would take the turn it has taken. I didn't even hesitate to answer the question. "No. I never imagined this." My path to becoming a working artist has not been straightforward and there have been many forks and twists on the road to where I am now. So it got me thinking about those forks and twists--everyone has a history and I really believe that I had to go through all the changes and turns in my life to get to this spot.