let’s start with the first project of the new year:
Years ago I got a very old, wobbly, pink console table at a flea market in Brooklyn. Turning it into a place to make my little daily paintings was the first project of 2021. My current living situation (Guilford, Connecticut since June) is serviceable but I have not really made friends with it. The pink desk is the first thing that has made me feel at home, less disoriented in disorienting times.
It needed a thorough cleaning to brighten the odd pink paint and tightening the leg screws completely eliminated the wobble.
Ritual and habit anchor me. And the pink desk adds to the painting ritual. They happen mostly in the evening, the last thing I do each day. Pretty much. I haven’t missed a day in two plus years. I love that it’s waiting for me. It removes an obstacle to beginning. Removing obstacles is super helpful when committing to practice, to building a habit.
more on new year plans in a minute, first let’s look back
Amidst the swirling debacle that was 2020, two lifelong dreams were fulfilled.
You know I love a list. Partly because I like to look back and see what stuck and what didn’t. What plans turned into reality and what stayed in the someday folder. I made an intentionally audacious (audacious for me anyway) list in 2015. Looking back at it now I’m surprised how much of it came true. It also pointed me back at some things I’d still like to accomplish and some I’m probably letting go of. Like surfing. Mostly cause I’m scared of sharks.
Two big items on the list happened this past summer:
I planted a garden and took a pottery class. The hurricane at the beginning of August dropped a huge tree on the little garden and pretty much wiped it out but still… some stuff survived (mostly herbs and radishes) and I got to play in dirt and ate stuff I grew myself. I also learned a lot about bunnies, bugs and deer…
The pottery class was at the Guilford Art Center over the summer. It took most of the ten week class for me to figure out what I want to make and learn even the basic rules of clay. I am swirling with ideas and all the energy of being a beginner.
And I made a painting. I’ve been intending to bust out the mini scale of my painting work and experiment for a long time. At the end of the year I made it a priority. It was an experience. I learned a lot, including that paint is expensive. It’s something I’ll continue to experiment with but at a less ambitious size unless I win the lottery.
blog and shop stuff
A few highlights : The Elegant (and sometimes nude) Rag doll pattern was released as well as 9 new free tutorials:
wire doll house bed
overalls for the tiny rag doll and mr. socks
miniature paper hens
scrap flower garlands
My favorite project of the year was the mouse house. Made for joy. 100% Joy. And that’s my plan for 2021. Look for Joy. Indulge in and commit hard to things that bring Joy and let go of things that don’t.
Two of the big lessons from 2020 for me were:
1. Take nothing for granted.
2. I’m capable of more than I think.
Weeding out the things that don’t really bring Joy is harder than it sounds. But I can make it the first question. Put it at the top of the list when deciding what to spend time on, let it steer me. I think the daily painting practice helps with that. Showing up and listening to myself.
If you’re feeling up for a daily practice the 100 Day Project is a good opportunity to test drive one. The next round starts January 31st. Think of it as an opportunity to listen to yourself.
I’m still feeling around for my goals for this year. There are a few things I know for sure in the short term – in the next few weeks you will see a new sewing pattern (the crow), prints and notecards made from daily paintings and plans for the third annual international scrap festival.
Lots of other ideas are still swirling and percolating and I’m giving them room to do that. Building more time in my days to feel around for Joy.