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Another New Year, Another Blank Canvas

January 1, 2010

I love a blank canvas, having gotten over my fear of them years ago. New years are much the same for me. The best part this year is that I am blessed with a big new studio to work in, and plenty of outdoor space for new gardens. I’m grateful that things have worked out so well through our recent move.

The following is the text of my New Year’s post for 2009. My ideas about art and work haven’t changed, so I’m offering these thoughts up for you to ponder again:

The days and weeks right after the holidays are my favorite time of the year. Things magically start to quiet down and there’s more time to think and plan. I feel as excited about a brand new year ahead, with all of its possibilities and opportunities, as I do a big blank canvas. It’s a chance to make new beginnings.

I don’t make resolutions. It’s simply a case of having a seasonal break from business, family and social demands to allow for a little breathing room. I like to begin this process from the inside out. It usually goes something like this:

  • Evaluating my physical and mental well-being and acknowledging the improvements that are needed. The two are inseparable, so they must be addressed together.
  • Surveying my surroundings and asking myself if they are a help or a hindrance to my creativity.
  • Assessing whether or not my art career is going in the direction I want it to go, what marketing efforts are working and what changes are needed.
  • Reviewing my body of work and the directions it has taken, what to keep and what to abandon.

Every one of these things requires that I do something concrete. This is not just a thinking exercise. But If I treat these as something to get stressed out over, I’ll negate my ability to create.

So what are your thoughts when things get quiet and you see a whole new year of opportunity in front of you?


10 Comments leave one →
  1. January 1, 2010 5:29 pm

    I have some personal goals in mind this year, which I am keeping to myself but documenting to keep me on track. Mainly health and wellbeing stuff.
    I have some goals artwise too, thanks for your input into this Martha. I am excited about 2010.
    One of my real hopes this year is freeing up time by being more organised. To that end I have just been setting up lots of tasks in my inbox so I don’t have to remember to do stuff. Should make quite a difference with luck.

    • January 2, 2010 5:09 am

      That’s such a great idea, Cath. In fact, I think an actual inbox of organized tasks works better than computer reminders. Maybe because it gets our hands going while sifting through.

      Best of luck with your goals. I hope you stay excited all year!

  2. January 1, 2010 7:43 pm

    I too dislike resolutions, but I had an “inclination” last year that worked out so well I’ve decided to have a couple this year too!
    ALthough I blogged them in detail, in a nutshell, I spent this year getting my online presence up a lot more than would have thought possible, so this year I’m inclined to find more time for ART! WooHoo, wish me luck!

    • January 2, 2010 5:06 am

      Great, Candy! I do wish you luck, because doing the art is the very best part. I’m just about at that point too, i.e., having an online presence that may hopefully sustain the rest of my efforts. The hard part is limiting the time on here!

  3. January 2, 2010 10:05 am

    Ah…definitely points to ponder…another family celebration last night, and a gathering today has kept me busy. I’ll have to work hard at carving out time for reflection in this brand new year. Thanks for the organized reminder; it will help motivate me to slow down & think about what I need to improve this year. Number one will be getting off the hamster wheel long enough to think. lol.

    • January 2, 2010 10:32 am

      DJ, it’s a challenge to carve out time. That’s why I love this time of year so much — the time right between the holidays and everyone realizing it’s hamster time again!

  4. Joyce permalink
    January 3, 2010 9:51 am

    All my resolutions have a negative ring–what I am not going to do; e.g., be angry over certain things.

    • January 3, 2010 11:08 am

      Joyce, might as well turn them into something positive. The negatives don’t seem to work as well, at least for me. Happy New Year!!

  5. January 3, 2010 1:36 pm

    i answered your questions in a whimsical way with a new piece of art- i loved your concrete questions and will ponder them myself

  6. January 5, 2010 7:32 am

    I love this time of year, too. So much optimism and positive energy floating around from all directions! And there’s that lovely quiet time after the holiday flurry. It’s always been a very “zen” time for me, especially since I became more committed to my art career a few years ago.

    I never make resolutions, but I’m a real planner and list maker. I remember your New Year’s post from last year and found it inspiring. It’s simple, all-encompassing (career-wise) and to the point.

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