Be gentle with us 2021

This year was a hot mess. I know you are well aware but when I look back on my 2020 plans I made in 2019, I have to remind myself that EVERYTHING changed near the beginning of 2020. So when I examine my goals and how I lived and worked this past year it’s through the lens of “we managed as best we could given extraordinary circumstances” and not “wow, I didn’t get anything done this year”. And yet, I still manged to do many things on my list, modify some, and chunk things that just weren’t feasible in the quarantime. And I know I am lucky. Privileged to be able to live and work from home, help my children do school from home, support my partner as he works from home, and pod with my retired mom. It is with no small amount of gratitude that I am able to make a list of successes from 2020 that doesn’t begin and end with “we survived”.

I’m a big believer in finding joy where you can. Yes, the world is a disaster and yes things are truly terrible but without recognizing the joy in life, what is the point? Recognizing the joys in a truly terrible year make it seem a tiny bit brighter and infinitely more livable. So with this recount of my 2020 successes, I am celebrating. I made it to December healthy and managed to still do some things from my goals list for the year! I have hope for the new year and so will make some plans and look for the joy.

2020 Goals Recap

My guiding principles for 2020 were:

Make Art – CHECK I made a lot of art: 18 pieces for “Women’s Work”, 24 pieces for Common Grounds, around 100 postcards, and lots of journal pages.

Have People See My Art – CHECK I put my art in front of a lot of eyeballs. Two in-person shows and four online shows.

So starting from those two things I generated a whole list of things to do in 2020.

These two big things happened from that list:

  • I joined the Women’s Caucus for Art. I was part of a juried show for the Alabama chapter in March. The open house was so much fun and one of the last things I did before lockdown.
  • I have a show scheduled for June-August at Lowe Mill. The show entitled “Women’s Work” did well! I donated my profit ($500) to the Women’s Prison Association Arts program.
Three bright pink paintings with cream colored crochet attached to them hung on a dilapidated green and white painted warehouse wall.

Things from the list that got modified:

  • I’m going to be supplying my Etsy store with 4 collections of work during 2020. I ended up with 3 collections: The Gate to Imagination, Women’s Work, and Common Grounds: Studies with Coffee, Tea, & Paint. There was a period where I had the shop shut down because we weren’t sure if the virus was transmitted via surfaces and I didn’t want to contribute to spreading it or worry about taking packages to the post office.
  • I’d like to spend 15-20 hours per week on studio time. What even is time anymore? Time in era of social distancing is elastic and unknowable. Some days I spent all day in the studio and some days I spent all day helping my kids manage their online schooling and trying to figure out what I was going to cook for dinner for the 837th day in a row. Punching a studio time clock was not even on my radar this year.

Things that didn’t happen because Pandemic:

  • I have the names of four other venues I’m going to be calling to see if I can show work there.
  • I’m planning to attend a workshop on artists’ grants in February.
  • I’m going to pitch a workshop to a venue.
  • I’ve enrolled in the Ali Edwards One Little Word workshop but I didn’t do any of the monthly projects! 🙁

Things that came about during this super weird year:

  • My artsy friend, Amber, and I created an online pop up show with a couple of fellow artists. It was an interesting experience and I might do it again in the future.
  • I was invited to be on Lauren Likes podcast How She Creates and it was a blast!!
  • I took three classes online with friends. We met on Wednesday evenings and created together.
  • I completed 11 journals and worked diligently in my two big journals. One of my big ones I’ve nicknamed the COVID book and it has a lot of my musings about world events during the past year.
  • I read 21 non-fiction books! I set a goal of 12 and then blew past it by mid year.
  • I was invited to participate in a secret project which won’t be announced until sometime in 2021. I completed all the work for that in August and September.
  • I joined which is a writing/journaling community and I think it’s contributed to my art making and my thinking around art making in some significant ways.
  • I crocheted a lot of the “Women’s Work” project but I also just crocheted a lot this year. 40 finished projects this year.
A screen shot of my finished projects for 2020. There are softies, shawls, blankets and doilies included.

2021 Goals & Intentions

I’m going to stick with the same two guiding principles of:

  1. Make art
  2. Have people see my art

From that I am committing to working on these things this next year:

  • I rejoined the Women’s Caucus for Art for 2021.
  • I’ve had an idea for a book on my mind for most of this past year. I have the beginnings of an outline and about two chapters. I’m going to be setting aside some time to work on this project. If you’ve ever watched one of my Pep Talk Stories on Instagram, that’s a lot of what it’s going to be like. It will be a combination of my art and my words. Send me your best juju for this project, please.
  • I HAVE to redesign my website. I started with this theme at the end of 2015 and it’s now cobbled together behind the scenes with bubblegum and taped together plugins that are set to expire soon. In a perfect world, I’d be able to pay someone to do the website but alas, the world is not so perfect. I have a new theme picked out and installed but I’ve been afraid to start experimenting with it. My partner said he’d help me this week so this done sooner rather than later and I’m more than ok with that prospect.
  • I’ve got a couple of possible collaborations on the horizon for this year and I’m really excited about those.
A book spread with a blue and green background with a purple flower in the lower left corner. The words inhale/exhale are written sideways in the upper right corner.

As I was doing my end of the year journaling, counting and gathering for this post, I realized a couple of things. I often create my own opportunities. A lot. Like a lot, a lot. I don’t wait to be invited to stuff. If there are things I want to try, I see if I can make some contacts and set it up. I don’t think of myself as entrepreneurial in that way and yet the evidence is right here that I clearly am. I do it all the dang time. This opened the door for me to see this next thing.

I am ambitious. I also don’t particularly think of myself as ambitious mostly because women my age weren’t socialized that way. But I want to further my art and my art career. I want to try new things and collaborate with others. I want to figure out how to make things happen and try them. In a dude, that’s called ambition every time. So I am practicing talking about these things as they are rather new and still a slightly uncomfortable fit.

Strangely enough, those things slot in with my word I’ve chosen to focus on for 2021: Perseverance. It will be a reminder that I accomplish things by persisting and returning to my goals again and again. May you persevere in your goals in 2021 as well. Drop me a note here and let me know what you are aiming for!