2020 – So long… farewell

You know you’ve been away from your website for a long time when you don’t recognize any of the screens because the system has updated (probably multiple times). Sigh. I’ll try to do better.

At the start of a new year, reflection on the past year is almost inevitable, as is looking forward. We all know that 2020 has been a truly strange year that has impacted people in so many different and profound ways. In a year that found me spending more time at home than ever before, I would have expected a burst of productivity and creativity, but it has been completely the opposite. I feel the need to change that.

I’ve always had a fear of sketchbooks – really any notebook. That first pen mark felt so important – if my name was not written just right, it tainted the whole book and I didn’t want to use it (yes, I have many empty notebooks with only my name in them). Sketchbooks were a double whammy – I didn’t just worry over the first pen mark, but trying to get past insecurities over my lack of drawing skills.

In past years I have participated in several Instagram challenges for jewellery making, but I rarely finish them. This year I thought I would go a different route. I noticed that a lots of artists choose a word or concept to focus on or guide them through their year of creativity.

I’ve been working my way through a series of free mini classes from Carla Sonheim’s Presents online classes site – they are the “Best of” Lessons from their teachers, celebrating their 10 year anniversary. I first learned about the site from an artist at a show I participated in, and I like the quirkiness, lightness, and even silliness of many of the offered classes (several are free). As I watch, the word that keeps jumping into my brain is play. Sounds so easy, but I find it tricky. 

I watched Lynn Whipple’s List Painting class (part of the 10 year anniversary class), and decided the exercise she taught would be a good way to focus my thoughts on the word(s) I would choose. I have not yet created the painting, but I have been brainstorming on what is creatively important to me right now.

Could I narrow this collection of words down to just one for the year? Nope – I like lists, and I’m always over-wordy. So my list:

  • Abandon – as in “to create with abandon”
  • Permission – permission to play – not everything has to be perfect or ready for sale – playing is important
  • Mark-making – just make marks – there are no wrong marks – I will not break the sketchbook
  • Exploration / Experimentation – I put these together as they feel similar – explore new mediums – experiment with layers and how different mediums work together. Add and subtract materials, stop worrying about the end result – enjoy the journey
  • Learning – watch and learn from what others do, take classes (online these days). Don’t just watch, do!
  • Play – that had to be part of the list – just have fun with it all!

I’m always thinking about jewellery/artwork I could post on social media (for me that is just Instagram) to keep my page current and engaging. I find that limiting, as it changes my reasons for creating, and I start stressing about what people will think. This list, while it will impact the work I share, is focused on the work that is not shared – what I do to increase my confidence, skills and knowledge creatively, while having fun.

As I have done nothing artsy, I have nothing to share, but I will include a picture of my cat, because why wouldn’t I?? Sadly I lost my beautiful dear Smudge at the beginning of this year, and by mid-March I was going a bit crazy without feline companionship. Happily I was able to bring Sally into my home just as the pandemic was shutting everything down – she can be a monster, but I love her.

I wish you creative days and all the good things that are out there, and hope this year brings everyone some joy – it’s well deserved.

6 Comments

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6 Responses to 2020 – So long… farewell

  1. Bo

    What a lovely post….and just look at that dear sweet/evil kitty

  2. Donna Collins

    Happy New Year!!! All the best with creativity!!! Love your little Sally!

  3. Oh, we are SO sisters! I find that (surprise, surprise) my Zentangle practice has really helped me to not be afraid of or limited by making mistakes (after all, there ARE no mistakes in Zentangle!), but I still tend towards perfectionism at times. This year I had set the intention to remind myself that it’s only paper – no one is going to live or die by the marks I make on the page. It’s freeing when you can listen to that little voice!

    • dee

      Yup – we’re related! I can really see that Zentangling would help. This month I’ve been using a tracking calendar by Karen Abend to “help you commit to creating with heartfelt purpose in the New Year”. I printed it off and started writing down my thoughts towards goals for this challenge. They were not written in a pleasing fashion and… I managed to resist the strong impulse to reprint it and start again. Furthermore, I’ve been filling in the calendar spaces with notes on what I worked on in purposely ugly and uneven styles of printing. It’s driving me nuts, but I’m having fun doing it, so I guess it’s a good exercise

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