Every year I try to select a few words that will be my overarching mantra for the year. These “words of the year” help me stay focused on the main values I want to promote, and as always each word has a special meaning to me and all I hope to accomplish in 2015.
In that when I am working, I want to spend a lot of my time in unfamiliar territory, I want to stretch my skills through applied deliberate practice. Deliberate practice is a special type of work that is designed for the sole purpose to effectively improve specific aspects of an individual’s performance. This is a concept I learned about last year while reading Cal Newport’s book “So Good They Can’t Ignore You”. In this book, I came to realize that if I want to grow as an artist, I cannot continue to repeat my painting practices but instead I must become more dedicated to pushing myself and aiming to dedicate more of my time to going outside of my comfort zone.
This is one of the reasons I accepted the Principle Gallery’s invitation to participate in the 2014 FaceOff portrait painting demonstration. In the past, I focused a lot of my art time to figurative and portraiture, but in the past 3+ years I had gotten away from it. Preparing for the FaceOff and then painting alongside Mia Bergeron and Cindy Procious was a BIG step outside my comfort zone. However in looking back at it, it was a wonderful experience and I now feel a lot more comfortable with returning to figurative subjects.
My goal in 2015 is to spend several hours a week in stretch mode, and hopefully it will lead to new opportunities. (You can read more about deliberate practice here and here, and of course in Cal Newport’s book).
Is included this year to help remind me that nothing in life stays the same, that change is the natural path of life and I want to be open to change and all it brings in 2015.
In that I need to be more mindful of the need for REST and recharge time in my schedule in order to maintain a consistent level of creative output. This year I really want to foster a healthier attitude towards my physical limitations. In 2013 and 2014, I suffered from a few severe bouts of fatigue and illness that would sometimes sidetrack my plans for a month or more, so in 2015 I am going to break this cycle of over committing myself and burning the candle at both ends.
Sleep and down time will have equal priority with regards to my more active art career and mothering responsibilities.
And I plan to keep these three words in mind as the year goes by…
Stretch – Evolve – Rest
My dedication to resting and getting better after being sick for all of December and the first half of this month is one of the reasons this blog post is only being posted now, on the last week of January. So I know I have been applying the ideas with a level of intention I hope to maintain through the year. ;) ;)
Along with getting some much needed rest time, I have also started a new painting… something more involved than my recent work. It is 36 x 24 inches and the quilt in the background is one I pieced together and hand quilted in 2014.
Here's to a great 2015,
Thank you for stopping by,