Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Welcoming 2010


One of my favorite Christmas gifts, a wonderful garden “junk” sculpture by area sculptors John and Dorie Mitchell, who have a studio in my building.

The first decade of the 21st century is drawing to a close and a new one is about to begin. A marker like this gives us an opportunity to reflect on the past and consider the future. From personal and family milestones to world news and events,  the majority of us recognize at these endings and beginnings how quickly time passes.

And each January 1, we have an opportunity to review, revise or reconnect with our desires and dreams, then  launch 12 new months of new exploration and experience. Some people make resolutions – most often quickly broken – but others take a gentler approach to welcoming a New Year, setting up an attitude of positive expectation and welcome without making it too specific. A much wiser choice for most of us!

In my previous blog I invited readers to e-mail your names and addresses for a “goodies drawing” to help you launch a creative New Year.

Thirteen of you entered the end of the year “goodies giveaway.” When it came time to draw winners’ names, what I didn’t anticipate was discovering that I couldn’t just pick a few and ignore the rest (maybe I’ll get better at that by next year!). I truly feel a desire to share my good fortune this year with those of you who faithfully read my blog. So – surprise! – you are ALL winners! First thing this morning I’ll  head down to the post office to mail out 13 small gifts, one to each person who entered.

The goodie drawing feels like a metaphor for what it takes to live an artistic life. Part of being a maker is having the courage to put ourselves and our work out into the world, to take  risks of exposure without any assured outcomes–  trusting that good will emerge from those actions in some way, even if the results aren’t immediately apparent or what we had hoped they might be.

Thirteen of you entered this little drawing without any assurance that the outcome would be positive, but perhaps with just an inkling of hope that your name would be picked. In my book that’s a winner’s attitude that we all can cultivate as artists and makers for 2010. What do we miss out on when we don’t step out on that limb or put our hat in the ring???

This afternoon we’ll head out for the rehearsal dinner for my stepson’s wedding tomorrow in Buffalo, NY – Bob and Sarah love the idea of getting married and celebrating their anniversary each year on New Year’s Eve – and then my husband and I will drive up and spend the weekend in Toronto. We’ll visit an exhibition of Alexander Calder’s circus while we’re there (can’t wait to see it live), view a Cape Dorset artist exhibition and stop in at IKEA on the drive home to check out new furniture for my office, which will get a makeover in 2010.

So I’ll look forward to resuming art blogging when I return to my studio and my work  next week. In the interim, may all your hopes and wishes  bring you wonderful adventures in 2010!

Friday, December 18, 2009

Gifts of the Season

After a successful and enjoyable open studios event at my building two weekends ago, my attention has shifted to readying for the holidays AND preparing for a New Year. I treat this final month of each year as a time for reflection and appreciation as well as celebration. So in addition to decorating, buying gifts, sending cards and baking, a great deal of cleaning and clearing has continued. Now I've moved on to my office, sorting accumulated files and folders of paperwork relating to writing, teaching and exhibitions from as far back as 2002.

These acts of clearing are having an amazing effect on me. I am letting go. In 2010, I won't be teaching, I won't be developing new lectures, I won't be writing magazine articles. I will truly focus my energies in one direction, adding to my body of work.

The holidays are a time to be more intentional, allowing ourselves to indulge in appreciative thoughts and generous actions that warm us and all those whose lives we touch. So, it is in this spirit that I offer all of you who read my blog some gifts for the heart this holiday season.

#1 --Take a few moments to watch this video about Martin Neufeld, aka The Hugger Buster. This street performer practices Artful Hugging. May we all follow his example and open our arms more often to share caring touch with our fellow humans.

#2 - To return a smile to your lips and peaceful appreciation to your heart, try listening to this short guided meditation from Australia to practice loving-kindness. I woke up hearing these two words in my head this morning and when I googled them, found this lovely short loving-kindness meditation audiotape from the Buddhist Education and Information Network.

#3 - I appreciate every one of you who take the time to read my blog, so please enter my end of the year "goodies" drawing. Just e-mail your name and snail-mail address to me at I will draw several names and mail out happy surprises to start your New Year with a smile!

Most of all, I wish bright and happy holidays to you and your loved ones -- may you hug and be hugged extravagantly and well!