Are we there yet?

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The view from my studio yesterday as it poured outside.  Bliss.  Tin Roof, Tom Waits, and excellent company.

I’m not the kind of girl who usually starts the year with resolutions.  Sometimes I’m halfway through the year and still writing the wrong year.  It’s just another day y’know. The days go so fast.  They really do.  Especially when you watch TV. I watch TV,.  There isn’t even anything good on…

This year feels different though, and there’s been quite a lot of ‘aha!’ thinking that has crept up on me in the last weeks and pushed me to some important crossroads that I hope are pointers to the kind of year this is going to be for me.  I need to be strong.  I need to put myself first a bit more.  I need to stop defining myself by what I do in a practical sense, and move forward a bit more.

There have been so many resolves in the last year – to spend an hour a night being creative.  To make more, to sit less, to eat less, to talk more, to have my website clean and functional.  FAIL.  On all fronts.  Enormous fails.  There has been wallowing. Helplessness. Guilt.

And yet it was a great year.  My kids are thriving, we have done some amazing things and had some truly wonderful experiences, but in many ways I have been rudderless.  Stressed by big decisions to be made, and how those decisions might ripple outwards. Anxious about not being able to give more to communities I belong to.  Wailing at the absence of any sort of muse.  It has been a year devoid of art which has been an experiment of sorts (unsought).

It’s been a year of watching.  Of grief (mine and others).  Of enabling others freedoms.  Quite a lot of it spent in some sort of suspended readiness with no firm plans.  I’d say it sounds like a lazy year but nothing could be further from the truth.  I’m glad to see the end of 2013 to be honest. A lot of it was not fun.

A lot of it was very stressful.

In thinking lately about what gives me joy, apart from the love of my wonderful husband and kids, it’s those moments of freedom that are usually found when knee deep in an inspiring project of the creative kind.  Pushing through the frustrations of discovery to find new skills and techniques.  Watching how the tiniest dab of crimson can pop next to khaki in a section of a canvas and push things off in a different direction, and having the freedom to pursue that guilt free. Looking at the world with an artist’s eye again and seeing inspiration in the world to keep me hungry.  And I am SO hungry to be in the studio.  It’s having things ready to go; idea; materials; time; deadline.

2014 will see me pursuing structure more – making order on Saturdays to free me for painting or inspiration on Sundays.  Scheduling deadlines and being more disciplined.  Not giving in self-imposed guilt.  Re-claiming the ‘exhibiting artist’ status because it is true.  Charging others in my house with responsibilities instead of feeling like I should be doing it all.  Waving off complaints instead of giving them weight.  Getting OUT there again.  And so far – it’s been good.  A good 3 days studio time in the past week, and something decent to show for it, apart from the smile on my face & the glint in my eye that means I am working again at something wonderful and feeling good about it.  2014 is going to be GREAT.

I am making it so.

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