Every year, it is important to look at your artistic goals. As a new year is about to begin, I would like to share with you a process that is not only enlightening but empowering. In order to gain the most benefit from this process, you must free yourself from all distractions. The effectiveness of this experience is greatly diminished if it is done under stress or chaotic circumstances.

My suggestion is to possibly go away for a weekend of solitude. It is important that you set time apart from your day-to-day schedule to really think about yourself and your creative practice. This means no radio, no television and no social media, basically no outside distractions. Self-reflection and meditation are critical to the filling of our creative reservoirs with insight and direction. If you can’t go away for a weekend, find some time(s) during the month to reflect.

My mixed-media work entitled The Visionary (shown above) speaks to an artist’s ability to flourish, moving beyond limits and boundaries, even in the toughest of times. Featured in the mind’s eye is a symbolic interpretation of the rainbow grasshopper which is known to be not only a fearless free spirit of hope but also in tune with the vibrations of life. In our work as creative beings, we can be inspired by the rainbow grasshopper to listen carefully to our inner voice, taking a leap of faith in our work as we venture somewhere just over the rainbow that often appears after the storm. Take the time to have a vision for your work to move and grow.

Soon, we will be approaching 2024. With each new year, comes some kind of resolution. As artists, we start out with lots of great intentions and somehow along the way things take over and our intentions seem to be put on an endless waiting list. This makes us feel defeated and depressed: always behind the eight ball. There is an interesting and insightful creative endeavor that you can explore this month that will take all of the intentions that you have for the year 2024 and put them into a working reality. I call this creative endeavor Messages to Your Creative Self. To do this creative exercise, all you will need are cut slips of paper and a pen. Somehow when pen is put to paper, ideas become much more concrete. Otherwise, they remain in a constant state of flux in our minds, without any direction, commitment or follow-through.

During the month of December, write down 52 creative intentions that you would like to explore or introduce into your creative practice during the year of 2024. Write things down, keeping your pen moving as fast as your thought process. Avoid critical analysis of any kind during your personal brainstorming sessions, as it will hinder your creative thought process and stream-of-consciousness. If you come up with at least two intentions a day for the month of December, you will have more than enough to work with for 2024.

The only rule is that you make sure to write down things that you have full control over. In other words, intentions such as working more in a sketchbook, attempting works in a large-scale format or trying new tools for intriguing mark-making to make its way into your work are things that you can control and perform without reliance on an outside source. Making an intention that relies on the approval or the acceptance of another person or entity is not something that you can control entirely yourself. The point of this creative exercise is to expand yourself as an artist and creative being. This is something you and you alone have full control over. So do it!

For my intentions, I utilized my sketchbook backgrounds that were created over the year using leftover paint. I cut the pages up and added my intentions on the backside.

Here you can see both the back and front sides of the intention slips.

I love that each set is different in color as well as mood.

I also cut some intention slips longer than others. These are some of the shorter ones. I like having a random rhythm to the collection as a whole.

Many of the intention slips feature a variety of media and tools, as they were created that way in the sketchbook.

Everyday that I write my intentions, I re-experience the work that I did in my sketchbook over the year. It is like I am carrying the learned lessons of the past into the future.

Some of the things that you can think about when it comes to your intentions are exploring subject matter, genre, color, technique, media, materials, process and approach, conceptual development and the like. It can also include being exposed to certain kinds of content that will enrich your knowledge of a particular subject. This might include visiting a locale that specializes in your subject or attending events to engage with others that may have an affinity for the subject matter you are interested in. You may even want to engage with art on a different level by attending a museum, sketching or painting on location to study more deeply and intensely the work of other artists from the past.

Other ideas can also include taking time for yourself, whether that be through meditation, diet or exercise. Your health and well-being mentally and physically can affect your art in profound ways. Taking care of your mental health can open pathways to different directions in how you work, what you choose to work on and who you choose to work with. We all need to find the right mix and the only way we can do that is to take time for ourselves. By stepping away from the everyday chaos, the crazy treadmill that we all seem to be running on, we make better choices for ourselves moving forward.

Here are a few podcast episodes that can assist you in this creative endeavor. Check out the Rediscovering Your Creative Self episode on how rediscovering your backstory can bring to light keen insights about our life and artistic endeavors as you move forward in your journey. Rekindling childhood passions, letting go of things that no longer serve you and knowing that you were meant to do the work that is inside you. You may need to course correct and this creative exercise can help with that.


In addition, this episode of the Rediscovering Your Creative Self podcast talks about venturing out to new ports over the horizon with our creative works, taking a leap of faith and being open to what is to come.


Whatever it is that you want to improve on or explore, write it down on a small slip of paper, fold it up and put it inside of one of your favorite containers throughout the month of December. Starting on the first week in January, take one slip out from your container and focus on incorporating that one intention for the week. So, if you start on a Sunday, you would have the entire week to find ways to include this new intention into your week. Give yourself the gift of actually acting upon the things that are most important to you, putting them as a priority in your life and your creative practice.

I am putting my intentions into a pyramid-shaped glass container. I love the shape, as it reminds me of my teachings about building a solid foundation with your work, making sure to have a goal or intent at the top. This way, even if you get lost along the way, you still know where you are heading!

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