Now, I realize that at this time of year everyone is discussing the importance of goal setting, and for many people it just makes them groan – but I’m hoping that you will hear me out…because I want 2016 to be your most creative and inspired year ever, and that means we’re going to need to set ourselves some BIG, SEXY, CREATIVE CHALLENGES!
“In the absence of clearly-defined goals, we become strangely loyal to performing daily trivia until ultimately we become enslaved by it.”
Take a look at this painting. Most fortunately for me – it was a Christmas present from a former student – the talented and driven – Young Lee. She created this work while in one of my art programs last year, as part of a series of artworks that she was creating around the Subconscious. She knew that I loved this painting and surprised me with a visit at the start of 2016 with it in hand. She was in town visiting family while on Christmas break from her studies at MICA – the Maryland Institute College of Art in Baltimore.
First of all, I think it is an outstanding painting – especially having been created by a young woman in high school, and most importantly for its message – the concept of the piece. We have an unidentified woman, seated on some invisible support, who is apparently a bit apprehensive as suggested by the grip of her hands on her knees. The tension in the fingers and arms is balanced with the light color palette and delicate fabric of her loosely draped blouse. So…what does this have to do with goal setting and big, sexy challenges?
This painting is about the importance of risk-taking, about moving outside of our comfort zones, pushing boundaries, and ultimately getting outside of the safety of our self imposed “boxes”. This painting is a reminder that we need to feel the fear and do it anyway. This painting is a portrait of courage! This is the image that I’m going to keep in mind as I move through this new exciting year and I hope you will do the same. It’s too easy to get comfortable with our routines – the art we are making, the ideas we’re exploring, our standard approach to building our skills and concepts – and much more.
What I’d like you to do over the next couple of weeks is consider what you might attempt to do with your art, your creative endeavors, and your life if you knew you couldn’t fail. What would you do if you really listened to the stirrings of your soul? What would you try? What new media would you explore? What ideas would you express? Where would you travel? What new skills would you learn? What classes would you take? What gallery or exhibition space would you approach? What artist/designer would you connect with? What would you eliminate? You get the idea.
In my next post in early February I will start to outline how we can break our aspirations and desires down into small concrete actions, but for now all I’d like you to do is dream, and dream BIG! You are the only one who knows the secrets that lay buried in your heart and soul, so tune into that inner voice and start to really pay attention. Jot down any ideas that pop into your head that make your heart start to race. Keep this growing list in your sketchbook and get ready to make 2016 the year that you commit to your creativity!
See you soon and Happy Creating to all! And a special hug to Young…now safely back in Baltimore. I will treasure this painting and try to live up to its lofty ideals!