A wee bit of my background. I began my art/craft journey back in 1996 when I discovered quilting. I started very traditionally….following patterns in an attempt at making perfectly straight blocks that fit together just as they should. I quickly became very bored with following someone else’s pattern and also quickly realized that I was quite awful at that ¼ inch stitch. I longed to try something else, and discovered Art Quilting…totally hooked, I began dyeing and painting my own fabrics, quilting and cutting outside the lines, and playing to my hearts content. My son was born in 1996 and with that went the uninterrupted hours of being in my studio… I wanted to find something that I could accomplish quickly and have a sense of satisfaction even if I only spent 15 minutes…enter stamping and Art Journaling. Oh, how I was hooked at the idea of transforming my “written journals” into colorful creations with the same wild abandon as I had found with art quilting. With as little as 15 minutes, my hands were dirty, and I could complete a spread….pure bliss!!! I have continued this same love affair with art journaling…sometimes moving on to a canvas, but always coming back to my journals….I guess, I just consider them my safe haven.
I find the new year to be super exciting…..actually, the full week after Christmas when I am off from work and spend extra time in my studio. This time seems to be priceless because I usually spend a great deal of time going through my journals from the previous year. It is great to see that I have actually accomplished something…and that I am living my dream!!
I used to make New Years Resolutions….only to find that by the 10th of January or so, I was back into the same old habits that I have always had…junk food, not working out, back on the coffee and Diet Coke, back at buying art supplies (hey, I made it 10 days!!) I quickly realized that I needed more discipline to keep the resolutions that I set.
About 3 or 4 years ago, I learned about choosing one word….one word that I was to use as my guide for the year… well, that sounded simple enough. This was to be a chosen word instead of a resolution (I will definitely give that a try!!)
The first year, I chose Perseverance…. To be 100% honest with you, I chose that word because I am a quitter!! There, I said it….a quitter, a quitter, a quitter…thus, back to shopping for art supplies by the 10th! I would set these goals for myself, and well, when things got tough, Ophelia checked out! This attitude showed up in my art studio as well. (This year, I’m going to learn how to draw—well, of course, I have to get all of the drawing books, pencils, accessories, new drawing sketchbook, etc…but by the 3rd day and my drawings still look like a one year olds drawings, well, now that over…so you know what I would do, right…you guessed it…quit. I’m certain the pencil I chose was just wrong for me.
This word, however, Persevere was to be my guiding word for the year….one that I would reflect on, and revisit often….no harm in that, so I did. I went to my journal and wrote down my “word”, then I wrote down all of the things that I would invite into my life because of Perseverance…. I even created a Vision Board that hung in my studio reminding me not to give up. Although, I went through my day to day, that word was always on my mind—I show up to my studio daily, so I would see the board that I made as a reminder as well. This year in particular, I did not set goals to lose 100 pounds and stop drinking coffee and diet coke, or sell $60.000 in art work—-(I didn’t even have a body of work—no wonder the making out the check to myself never worked!!) and since I found it way more fun to shop for art supplies than to show up in my studio and work…well, the no more shopping thing didn’t quite work either…. But, with Perseverance on my side and in my mind, somehow, things changed for me.
The next year, I chose Belief as my word. Belief in myself as an Artist….belief that I could be an artist…. Again, I wrote the word in my journal, and wrote down all of the things that I would invite into my life because of my belief in myself… created a vision board, hung it in my studio, and carried on about my day…..what I learned was that by showing up daily in my studio….things were happening. I worked daily in journals trying to get my skills up to par. I realized that I was growing….it didn’t happen over night….yes, there were days when I wanted to quit, but somehow, I kept going…Art is truly my Passion, so, I don’t mind showing up….daily, but my expectations for myself are just way too high. Side bar: I would spend hours, and hours, and hours looking on Pintrest, Instagram, Facebook, etc….drooling over other peoples “finished” art work…not even considering that they work in their studios and create “ugly” work on a daily basis….but, I failed to realize that 1) they work…daily, and 2) they work through the ugly….where I would usually quit. Hmmmm…..and I based my artistic self worth on this!! Wait….I compared my ugly work to peoples “finished, ready to show” work….Duh, no one posts their uglies…why was I so busy comparing myself….why all the pressure!! I decided to1) Stop comparing myself, and 2) Unplug…that was the way to up myself in this whole Belief Project, and 3) I completely put my blinders on. My life became much less stressful when I decided that My journey is my own, and everyone is at a different point along their journey….pressure REMOVED!
With this new found discovery, I set on a new course or way of thinking about my art and my artistic journey….still hanging on to my “Belief” Project….with this small change…I will enjoy this process. I will not beat myself up about where I am on my personal journey.
About midway into this year, I became frustrated….I felt as though I was always going to be a dreamer….not ever becoming a person that actually accomplished anything. I went to my studio, and almost in tears, I pulled out my journal and flipped back to the beginning of the year. You want to know what I found…. Proof. Proof that I was in fact doing things and getting to exactly where I had listed that I wanted to be. When you journal on a regular basis you find progression—evidence that you are learning and growing, and you also find proof…proof in seeing what you have written come to life.
1. I wrote in that year that I wanted to give it a shot at being a demo artist for our local art store. I had gone into that store a zillion times and would hang on to every single word of the demo artist that was demoing a particular product I was interested in.
Instantly feeling lifted….why….I am the demo current demo artist for Jerrysartarama in Raleigh—that same store that I honestly only dreamed of being a demo artist, I now demo twice a month there!!!! My theory…..do not give up….and show up every single day to work.
Now that I was seeing some of my dreams come to reality, my word for last year was Courage. I needed courage to step out of my comfort zone, I needed lots and lots of courage now that I was a “demo” artist because there was a few more things that I wanted to do along those lines. Again….I created a journal—this was going to be a very big year…so I created an entire journal. I again created a vision board so that I could see it every single day, and be reminded that my level of courage needed to be BIG!!
Proof…..again, I am living my creative dreams—and doing those things that I once thought was impossible!
I give you all of these jumbled words to encourage you to keep going, keep going, keep going. Your journey is your own journey. Every single person is at a completely different stage…do your own thing. Decide today what it is that you would like to be and do along your artist journey. Work, work, work so that you will continue to grow, grow, grow. Whatever you do, do not quit….you will honestly see progression toward your goals—you will realize that you are getting there….in your own time.
My word for this year is Abundance….not just abundance in my bank account, but abundance in all things…peace, opportunity, joy, love….that kind of abundance.
Most importantly, Enjoy the Process, and Enjoy the Journey.
Ophelia is a mixed media artist in Creedmoor NC. She is married with two children and one very busy schedule. Ophelia can be found in her studio in the wee hours of the morning playing in her studio before heading out to her job as a middle school history teacher. She is a regular demo artist for Jerrysartarama in Raleigh, and holds art journaling workshops as well as retreats. Follow along on her journey at www.opheliasart.blogspot.com