2015 Year in Review and 2016 Goal Setting

So Saturday I told you about how I'm facing my fears. Today, I'm taking one step in that direction by sharing some things that have happened this past year and some goals I've set for myself for the upcoming year.

One of the tendencies I'm trying to rid myself of is always seeing the negative over the positive and so I haven't truly celebrated a lot of the really amazing things that I did this year. So this is me celebrating my achievements WOO HOO!

2015 Wins

  • got engaged to the true love of my life, Marc
  • graduated with my 2nd bachelor's degree (BFA Drawing and Painting)
  • created a body of work, refined my artistic style and direction
  • launched my website
  • featured on Artbomb
  • exhibited in 3 major Toronto art fairs
  • sold 9 paintings in one weekend at one of those art fairs
  • sold my largest and most expensive painting
  • got my first paid commission
  • made lots of amazing friends and connections at art fairs
  • exhibited two pieces in the Mercedes Benz "Experiencing Perspectives" exhibition
  • opened my online shop
  • learned how to use my DSLR and take better photos of my work
  • met Mayor John Tory at the Toronto Outdoor Art Exhibition
  • read all the books on my reading list
  • exhibited in a group show called "City of Art" at Gallery 1313
  • created and launched a small Christmas collection

Ok so now here's me being vulnerable and letting you in on my failures for the year.

What Could Have Gone Better?

  • wasted a lot of time watching TV, social media and playing this stupid ipad game (HayDay)
  • failed to nurture many of my relationships
  • constantly compared myself to others and wasted time and emotional energy feeling inadequate
  • spent lots of time "planning" and not a lot of time doing
  • focused on perfection which prevented me from just getting to work
  • worried constantly which made me not so fun to be around

Goals for 2016

  • top secret year long creative project (so excited about this, details coming next week!)
  • nurture my relationships; being a genuine listener and being fully present
  • face my fears of putting myself out there and doing things anyway even when they're not perfect
  • grow my art sales by creating and following a business/marketing plan
  • post to Instagram and blog consistently
  • save for our wedding and a place of our own
  • hone my photography skills
  • focus on progress not perfection (a la Lara Casey)

I may develop more or cut down depending on how the year goes. But I think this is a good place to start. I don't want to feel too overwhelmed since I will be starting full time work again in January.

Stay tuned for next week when I tell you all about this big project I'm cooking up. I am so excited about it but also really scared because it's going to be a huge commitment and a lot of work, but this 2016 is about doing SCARY things that bring change in big ways :)


Why I'm Choosing to Face My Fears in 2016

Facing my fear of posting selfies.

Facing my fear of posting selfies.

I have a confession to make...

I don't like selfies.

When people post them, I usually judge them saying terrible things in my head like, "They are super full of themselves," or, "Don't they know how narcissistic they look right now?" or "They must need validation from other people in order to feel good about themselves."

Where do these thoughts come from? I have no idea. It's an awful way to feel and I want to stop. But because I think this way, I am afraid to post selfies of my own. I am afraid people will think that about me because so often I think it about others. In fact, I am so afraid that seeing my picture up there right now makes me feel really gross and it is making me want to delete everything I've written so far and start over about something happy and easy and safe. But that isn't what this is about, it's about facing my fears and re-wiring my brain. 

I started this blog with the intention to post weekly. I had a few ideas hashed out, I even scheduled in time in my planner to write the posts. But when it finally came down to writing I made excuses every time.

"I don't have pretty enough photos."

"No one will be interested in what I have to say."

"I'm not funny or witty, I'm boring and that will come out in my writing."

So I would spend hours reading other artist's blogs for "inspiration." Which basically just turned into me feeling worse about myself and wondering how I could ever do anything as great as these other artists I look up to. Not motivating.

I've found this is a serious destructive pattern in my life. I let my fear keep me from doing the things I want to do. STUPID FEARS like,

"The website isn't perfect, so I shouldn't launch it until it looks as good as ________'s does."

"How will I ship my painting if someone buys it?"

"What if people think I'm too salesman-y, how do I promote my work without bothering people?"

"What if my work isn't interesting or conceptual enough?"

"How am I ever going to make a living from this if I can't even blog about myself and my work?"

I spent almost all of 2015 being afraid. My relationships have suffered, I've withdrawn, I've cancelled plans. I've found myself fearing social situations. I've become restless and worrisome, glued to social media, unable to focus on the things that are really important. I've slowly become someone I never thought I'd be.

SO things need to change. Big time.

I have some big and exciting plans for 2016 which include a yearlong project that I will be sharing next week.  And Monday I'm going to post my year in review to help me celebrate some of my wins from 2015 and publicly declare my personal and professional goals for next year so I can stay accountable.

I'm done with looking at what everyone else is doing and feeling paralyzed and afraid. I'm just diving in, working hard, overcoming fear, and throwing perfection out the window.

2016 is going to be the best year yet.






Cottage Life

This is a month late but better late than never right?! At the beginning of June I went up to my family cottage to get some painting done. Boy is it hard trying to paint at home once you're used to having a separate studio space. So my parents offered to make the drive down to Toronto to come get me and all my supplies. This was such a gift to me because A: I don't have a car and B: Our cottage is my favorite place on earth. It is so relaxing and restful and the perfect place to crank out some new paintings! It's funny how a change of scenery and some encouragement from those close to you can inspire so much good work.

My grandparents bought the cottage in the early 1940's after they got married. It used to be a one room shack until the mid-eighties when they tore it down and built a new cottage. (Brown and yellow must have been really in at that time ha!) This place holds so much comfort and peace for me, I treasure every moment I spend there.

I managed to paint 3 paintings over the course of 2 days which felt great! Having my parents there to push me to work helped a lot. It is so hard to get motivated when I'm alone at home.

We managed to slip in a few drinks on the patio in between painting sessions :)

I'm so incredibly thankful for this place and everything that it means. But especially that it's a place that lets us all connect and enjoy time together as a family <3

Endings and Beginnings

I am typing this the night before I go set all of my work up for the OCADU Grad Show which opens on Wednesday. I can't believe my four years at art school are over already. I remember sitting with my sister-in-law Amanda like it was yesterday and chatting about her plans to quit Psychology at Queens and go to OCAD for fiber art and being so excited for her. Then thinking, "If she's doing it, why can't I?" Just leaving everything to follow my dream of becoming an artist. It didn't seem as terrifying back then because I had some time to figure it out. Now, I'm all finished and it's much scarier.

I never thought I could enjoy school as much as I enjoyed my time at OCAD. I met so many amazing people had so many wonderful experiences. I am sad to be done, to lose the daily interaction with fellow artists, to lose the invisible push of trying to keep up to everyone. But it means the beginning of a new phase that I know will be good, but different. School was easy because it was structured, I knew what I needed to do and when to do it. Now, it's an open page. I get to decide how to fill it.

Although it's uncertain, I'm excited for this new chapter and to figure things out as I go. I hope for this to be a place where I can share my  struggles, successes and process as I make art and that it would be an inspiration to anyone who's just starting out as an artist like me.