Hello creative beings, and welcome to the 13th day of the new year! I am so honored to be a guest on Jeniffer’s blog and month-long visioning party. Thank you Jen.
So I’m wondering… How are you relating to your intentions for the new year so far? If you created a vision board or have journaled about your desires, how did you go about doing so, and how are those desires informing your day-to-day life and decision-making?
I’ll tell you how I tend to operate: I’m a rare breed of artist that can easily fall into the Type-A category (Is that an oxymoron? Perhaps “A” stands for artist in my case?) I am a recovering perfectionist and can sometimes get quite serious about my goal-achieving. I used to meticulously review my past year, document everything significant that happened, journal about how I’ve grown from these experiences, and then brainstorm what I’d like to accomplish in the new year— formulating a new “goal list” which I would frequently revisit. One year my wrist literally got tired from all the writing (yes, I still like to write by hand in a journal most of the time!) Such a process can feel tedious at times, and may not leave as much room for creativity and surprise.
Over time I’ve loosened some of my hard-core goal-setting and have chosen to focus more on the overall “look & feel” of how I’m wanting to show up in life. This is where a vision board can come in—One of the things I love about vision-boarding is that the process is often both verbal and pre-verbal (image-centric.) I find that when I’m selecting images for a vision board, my mind slips into more of a “dream state” where the subconscious has just as much reign as the logical mind. In such a state, connections are made that don’t always make sense. I might be drawn to an image that I would never have thought of—one that speaks to a deeper level of being. I believe that images are the language of the soul. Images are a sort of poetry that can convey that which is beyond understanding.
This is also why I love to paint “for process”. Yes, I’m a professional painter in life, but I facilitate painting for others in another way that is not tied to product— it is painting from the inside out. When we paint for process, nothing needs to “go together” or make sense. It’s more like a visual journal; an active form of meditation and playful investigation. And my favorite thing about process painting: developing curiosity. We learn to cultivate a curious nature toward what is showing up on the page. Curiosity is a form of inquisitiveness, a way to explore and investigate the question “what is this?” It’s a way to relinquish control, because when we think we know, there isn’t as much room left for discovering what else is present, and what else “wants to happen.”
What I’m finding is that the more I bring an attitude of curiosity and play into the studio, the more it seeps into my day-to-day life. I find myself following a whim to make a stop at a park to explore a walking trail, or experimenting with cooking certain foods together that my body is suddenly craving (Note: I do not identify as a cook, so this is big!) And interestingly, often when I follow those intuitive hits with curiosity, they lead to something bigger. For example, I am drawn to hang out at a particular coffee shop and relax with a chai tea rather than working my butt off, only to run into someone I know who has a lead for an art show opportunity.
I once heard a teacher in art school say (paraphrased) “It’s smart to have a plan, and it’s crazy to expect to follow it.” I have concrete goals I’d like to achieve in 2014, but in terms of how exactly I’ll get there…well, it’s an adventure and I cannot wait to discover how it will unfold!
No matter what you have envisioned for the new year, I encourage you to invite the spirit of curiosity into everything you do and everything you work towards. Notice what captures your attention. Notice what you are drawn to. Notice what is zapping your energy and what starts to feel like a chore. And notice what it is that you’ve said “no” to in your life that might actually be a yes, that perhaps you just didn’t see how it would fit into your current views. Get curious about what wants to happen.
Jenny Hahn is a professional artist and workshop facilitator working in the Kansas City area. She is co-owner of Creative Nectar Studio, helping others come home to their own creativity and uniqueness using process painting as a tool for mindfulness and self-discovery. Her vibrant paintings can be found online at www.jenspaintings.com and her process painting workshop schedule can be found at www.creativenectarstudio.com.