Author: KaeLynn Winn
New year-New resolve!
At least that's the norm for ambitious people. There is a long-standing tradition of setting goals and resolutions to carry us into the new year ahead. I'm all for goals, self-improvement and reaching higher, but as with most things, I lag a little behind the people who are super organized, disciplined and up to date on their to-do lists.
In that odd and undefinable window of unstructured time between Christmas and January 1, I have been gathering myself into a compact little ball of pent up energy, and like a shaken up can of soda, I'm thinking it will be wiser and safer to crack open just a tiny bit-over the kitchen sink, than to just let it rip and open that can above my brand new rug! Hence the cautious, delayed but well-thought out unveiling of my 2020 resolutions.
I knew from my earliest conscious memories that I wanted to be an artist. I enrolled myself unofficially as a life-long student of art, way back in my childhood, reading books, observing, asking questions, signing up for lessons, entering contests. For the first half of my life, I would put off creativity, the 'fun stuff', until all my ‘real’ duties were completed, and those occasions were too rare. Now I treat my creative urge as my most important duty and work. It is now a priority. As with many people who are artists or otherwise wired to be creative, I have found that squelching my creative urges causes me to be unhappy, unfulfilled and unhealthy in many ways.
Beginning in my early twenties, I began to be afflicted with the dark cloud of depression and eventually that ailment goes hand-in-hand with anxiety. Those two bullies tag-teamed me and made my life a giant question mark. I was a walking, talking open wound. I went to doctors, counseling, tried many different anti-depressants, filled my bookshelf with dozens of self-help books (some of which I highly recommend, I can include some titles in a link later) In dealing with wounds, band-aids, ointments and pills, are temporary tools we can use to get us by until ultimate healing can take place. After decades of being side tracked, having false starts, an unfinished degree, raising children, making a living, finding ways to use my talents in many different and challenging ways, I returned in 2011, to my favorite form of creating: painting on canvas.
2019 was the year I began to declare out loud that I'm "in remission" from anxiety and depression. I truly feel inoculated and miraculously healed from those two maladies and I credit my art as the therapy that brought about my cure. I am proof that by listening to our innermost voices and yearnings, we can be healed and repaired almost daily from emotional and physical damage.
After decades of distraction and doing things out of necessity, knowing what I really and truly wanted to do, but not having the time, space or resources to do it, I am finally happy and content to create art that comes from a well of authentic life experience.
Over the past decade or so, as the social media platforms, marketing gurus and internet sales have been growing at a break neck pace, I have been anxiously engaged in thinking, acting, talking, walking and painting like a real, honest-to-goodness artist. In 2011, my goal to "be an artist' when I grow up, quite suddenly seemed painfully overdue. As I realized my position along life's natural timeline was probably more than halfway to the end, something inside me urgently called for me to stop putting everything off until "someday".
In 2009, as a family, we had moved to a new home, which was only a short distance from our previous starter home of 13 years. The new home has a separate game room, which I had planned to use as my art studio. The studio sits apart from our home and is nestled amongst rolling pastures and a scenic view of mountains. There are large windows all around the building and plenty of natural light, high ceilings and open space. Around this same time, I took a part-time job for a few hours per day working as a "lunch lady" at our local high school.
One of the ladies I worked with at the time, who is still a friend of mine, unbeknownst to her, inspired me to follow my true passion. I observed how this woman, middle-aged but young at heart, put in her hours at her day job, performing it well, and then she would go about enjoying her true love of horses, riding and barrel racing. I looked at her and thought 'it doesn't have to be all or nothing. I need to do what I feel called to do, even if it isn't paid work."
Almost immediately, I began to create art, painting whatever I felt compelled to paint at the moment. I enjoyed it immensely. I painted most days after my lunch lady gig, and in between domestic chores. I soon had a body of work consisting of 10-15 paintings. One day, I loaded up half a dozen large paintings, drove an hour to the College campus, and looked up the head of the art department. I actually talked him into accompanying me from his office to my car in the parking lot, showed him my paintings right from the trunk, and on the spot, secured a solo exhibit at the campus art gallery.
I haven't looked back to regret any of that forward motion. Some of the push forward has been a little sporadic and bumpy, but I haven't-and don't intend- to stop or back track. The ground I have covered in the last 9 years has been one of the most important journey's I'll ever experience in my life. This journey has been like a mapmaker's expedition for me. I've traveled with curiosity and expectation, and I've been able to document the landmarks and the ups and downs along the road.
This brings me to the road that lies ahead. The road for me in 2020 is beckoning me with possibility and promise, but is also wrought with self-doubt, possible failures, and inevitable surprises. In facing what lies ahead, and making a conscious decision on how I will deal with what comes, I can hopefully navigate through it all by keeping (my chosen word of the year)-PERSPECTIVE!
Keep it all in perspective. The definition of the word as it relates to art, is: the art of drawing solid objects on a two-dimensional surface so as to give the right impression of their height, width, depth and position in relation to each other when viewed from a particular point. Another definition is; a particular attitude toward or way of regarding something; a point of view. One last definition; a true understanding of the relative importance of things, a sense of proportion.
Perfect! I love the idea of keeping everything in perspective. It fits my life in many ways right now.
Lastly, my secondary word in the title of this blog post is VISION. I like the juxtaposition of those two words-perspective and vision. Perspective indicates seeing things accurately and realistically, (artistically and otherwise)-and vision denotes the act of placing our will upon the underlying facts and reality. We can simultaneously see in perspective what is, and with vision, what can be. Having vision, means seeing the possibilities. This is why so many people are creating Vision Boards and Mission Statements. These are all tools we can use to meld perspective and vision into a meaningful, purposeful journey.
Just being thoughtful and retrospective at least once a year (but hopefully more often) will help us obtain more fulfillment and improvement. Our thoughts and feelings are like seeds (or cans of shaken soda). Seeds hold the potential for growth. Even thoughts and feelings produce measurable amounts of energy. Once created, energy needs a pathway to follow. These resolutions, goals, mottos, taglines-all are meant to help us shape our own destinies. If we keep these goals in sight and let them guide us daily, we can stay on course and travel confidently. Write them down. Create a Vision Board. Compose a mission statement. Assess where you truly stand in relation to where you want to be. Imagine how you will feel as you cross the many starting and finish lines between here and there, and then apply PERSPECTIVE and VISION to propel yourself forward.