It seems like 2014 just began. Now in a matter of hours we are all about to say our farewells and welcome the coming year. Not surprising, since I know many others do it as well, I usually spend a few weeks reflecting as things wind down – a yearly review if you will. So here is an abbreviated version for those it may interest. All best wishes to you in 2015.
1. Having Brave Moments
I wouldn’t consider myself to be a bold or brave person, to be honest. I just do what I do and I have fun along the way. ..but I do have some go go go that I was born with and can’t get rid of for better or worse – that leads to some brave moments and a lot of calculated throwing of spaghetti. (For the worse, you can ask my mother about the joys of trying to keep track of my younger self)
“Be bold. Be deliberate in what you choose, for your choices become your creations.” – Jeff Boss
I’ve pushed myself to do a number of things this past year that were uncomfortable (caused by a build up of tension that has to explode in some direction). Venturing outside of my comfort zone is a good thing – it means finding new ways to grow. Overall I’ve been pleased with the results of it – from starting stacks of 75 new paintings at a time to art ventures.
2.Don’t Be Afraid To Trim Supporters
Everyone needs supporters and fans, no arguments there. (Yes, I don’t care who you are, you have fans.) When you create and decide a clear path where you want to take your work, you have to be ok with doing a little trimming of supporters or fans – alienating a few difficult people in order to create more, better, and bolder work that makes your truest supporters love you that much more.
Art that is boldly you is the only art worth making. Bland art – the sort that is made to be pleasing to everyone – truly pushes no boundaries and becomes stagnant to the artist. I can’t speak for anyone else, but I like pushing my own boundaries to see what I am capable of.
You, the artist, get to decide where your work is going and who you want it to appeal to. Some people will like it, some won’t. In the end, I’m okay with that.
3. Perfectionism is Overrated, Let it Go.
I’m never totally pleased with my work. (..and sometimes my opinion on that topic is more extreme than that) The painting on my drafting table never matches the vision of it that I had in my mind that I had wanted to create. After several to many reworking sessions on it, and a few time-outs so it or I can cool off, I accept it for the painting it became and focus on the next one. As maddening as it may be, sometimes the painting just has other plans.
4. Be with Those You Like and Want to be Like
Working with and/or for very good people is a highlight of being an artistpreneur. I haven’t always been blessed to do so, but slowly I’ve been able to focus on adjusting that arrangement. For me it’s the most inspiring and uplifting part of painting apart from being in the field. The value of it materializes when working long hours day after day for weeks on end. It matters. ..and I thank them all.
“You are the average of the people you spend the most time with.” – Jim Rohn
5. Everything Should Persistently Improve
I want to learn something from each painting I make or project I complete that makes me better in the next one. I always, always want to be a little better today than I was yesterday. Never be satisfied. As an artist and business owner, I’m always on the lookout for incremental ways to improve both. Just because it’s not broken doesn’t mean it shouldn’t be fixed – because even good things can be made better.
6. Time is Money is Health
There’s only so much time in the day, and sadly it’s never enough to get everything accomplished. My to-do list app looks like a novel in fiction at the moment. I like staying busy, but a few times this year I teetered on the edge of pushing myself too far with self imposed deadlines and work to be done, stumbling into a bit of burnout. This may never be something I can completely master in balance, but keeping it monitored seems to be helpful – making wise decisions in choosing priorities and the behaviors involved in executing those priorities.
There is nothing like clarity. Asking is the best way to get it, since the unsolicited sort isn’t usually the constructive answer to the specific questions you’d hoped for. (from whether the shade of mud I chose was nice or ugly to if I would be considered certifiable for a concept or 2 I had..) So supporters, colleagues, people I know in other fields.. all have helped to contribute to the light leading my way on the rugged art-making path. I thank you for that.