going goal-less for 2015

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brushtray

This month my Twitter feed has been full of goal-setting advice. Creatives and entrepreneurs offer their planners, tips and guidebooks for making 2015 “your best year yet.” Make more money, more sales… find more followers, foil those FB algorithms.

These are all worthy goals and many of the offerings are excellent tools, carefully thought out, that are probably enormously helpful.

But I’ve decided not to do any of it. This year I am the scrooge of goal-setting; the grinch of business plans.

I have only one plan for 2015 and that is: DO MY WORK.

Poet Mary Oliver once said in an interview “I worked probably 25 years by myself, just writing and working, not trying to publish much, not giving readings.” She did her work. The rest came later.

Don’t misunderstand me…goal-setting is great and if you find it helpful more power to you. But for me, for 2015, I’m not interested in projections or how many FB likes I have. I’m interested in doing my work.

Happy holidays, friends! May your 2015 be filled with light and joy (and lots of excellent work).

dragonflyWIP

Book!

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My father, Michael de Guzman, is a wonderful novelist. Recently I had the honor of illustrating the cover of his latest, Searching for a Place to Be.

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From Goodreads (five stars): “An old, abused dog runs to save herself. A thirteen-year-old boy witnesses a murder and runs for his life. A combat veteran hides from the world and himself. This is the story of how the three of them come together in a forest in the northwest, and how they help each other take their first steps back into the world.”

Learn more about Michael de Guzman and read his wonderful books. They will change you in all kinds of good ways.

Find Searching for a Place to Be on Goodreads and on Amazon.com

Also…a shout-out to artist and graphic designer Rebecca Bush who did the cover design. Her work is wonderful.

self-care intervention

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I forgot to take care of myself. I was working hard, using every spare minute in the studio, taking care of my family, and generally running myself a bit ragged.

So last week I staged an intervention for myself and dialed my self-care way up. All the way up to “11.”

FallWalk

I took time off from the studio. I went for long walks in the air. I treated myself to a few things: a new scarf, a pair of earrings, a few new art supplies.

I read this fabulous book.

I streamed Lewis on television.

It’s been really good. I feel better – motivated to get into the studio and more upbeat and energetic in general.

It’s a good time to stage a self-care intervention before the holidays hit. If you can manage it, a break will do you good!

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two holiday shows

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(drumroll please…) I have work in two shows this holiday season. Please come and see some wonderful art by me and many others.

The first is the Stocking Stuffer show at The Gallery at Town Center in Lake Forest Park. All the work is by local artists and measures 12×12 or smaller. Dates are November 18, 2014 – January 3, 2015.

Also, the Pratt Holiday sale (postcard below)…this is a fun one, lots of fabulous local Seattle artists. Don’t miss it if you are in or near Seattle.

PrattWinterSale

more awesome

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yellowblackandblue

Last year I wrote about my son and his friends and how wonderful it was that they were so in touch with their own awesome-ness. I was reminded of this last week when I taught an art lesson to my son’s second grade class.

I asked for a show of hands: “who likes to make art?” All the kids raised their hands. Then I asked: “how many of you have ever made a piece of art that came out 100% perfectly?” I expected them to shake their heads regretfully.

Every hand in the room shot up and the kids began describing their perfect works of art.

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I was blown away.

How do we lose this precious sense of the inherent value of our own work? Why is it so hard for us as adults to say something is perfect just as it is because we made it?

Let’s all make a point to recognize our own awesome. Repeat after me: I am awesome! Use as necessary or (kid-style) whenever you do anything, say anything or see anything.

things I’ve learned in my 40’s

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nothingwasted

This article in the NYT about what the author has learned in her forties inspired me to make my own list.

Some things I’ve learned in my 40’s:

1. People are paying less attention to us than we think they are. Feel free to leave the house with black shoes and navy socks. No one will notice.

2. It’s okay to openly acknowledge that there are some books we will never want to read no matter how important they are in the literary canon. I officially announce that I no longer care that I will never want to read Faulkner or Joyce.

3. It’s okay to accept that you will never be a person who…. runs a marathon, gives up sugar/gluten/meat, holds political office, dresses like a fashion icon, marries George Clooney…we all do lots of things and it’s okay that it’s none of those.

4. In your 40’s you realize that your time is limited. So get to work…there is a lot of art to make!

5. Accept the idea of a new normal. For me this is the decade of “but my body never used to do that/look like that/feel like that.” Well, it does now. So instead of berating yourself, let’s acknowledge that there is a new normal. And while we’re at it, let’s take care of ourselves with more purpose and compassion.

6. Our natural awesomeness gets more awesome as we age. Happily this coincides with being more confident and less scared to be seen for who we really are. So let’s all make a loud noise in the world! Other people need and want to hear what we have to say.

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I think the 40’s are my favorite decade so far. What do you think? Loving your decade or ready to move on? It’s a fun topic for reflection.

it’s all about the woodcuts

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multiwoodblocks

I’ve been on a roll carving woodblocks the last few days. Above is a shot of finished blocks propped up on my easel waiting to be printed. If I stash them away I won’t remember to print them and they’ll never be finished. So I leave them out in plain sight where they call to me until I get out the ink and make them into prints. If only there were a few more hours in the day…

I also started a new block. It’s not yet finished but here is the sketch (detail), stage one (detail) and stage two. I’m having the best time with this one.

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The change to Fall seems to have energized me in the studio. How about you? What are you working on this week?

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