Monday, February 4, 2013

Hello 2013, I'm an artist!

Before I start I just wanted to thank all of you for your wonderful get well wishes both here and on Facebook. I'm slowly getting back on my feet and the past weekend was the first time when I actually felt like doing stuff again instead of just hibernating in my house. So things are looking up and the flu seems to be leaving my system. I'm ever so pleased about that.

On my blog so far I've been wrapping up the old year and because of the flu now February has snuck up on me, so it feels almost silly to be doing a post about my creative new year, but I did promise, so there you go. ;-)

I'm not really one for new years resolutions. They are usually about changing behavior that just comes too naturally to you and you end up giving them up within the first weeks of the new year. And I also just don't like the concept of fighting myself and my body. But that's a whole other discussion I won't get into now, haha.

I did however choose a word for the year 2013 and already it is serving me well. The word is ARTIST. It's such a simple word really, but it represents everything I need to focus on and get serious about (serious being a way too serious word by the way).  I feel I need to figure out what it means to me to be an artist or maybe even whether I am one and in what sense. I also know I need to make more time for whatever this artist in me is. So this will be a year of changes and thinking and reflection based on just that word.

I may not be good at resolutions, but I love making plans and I love thinking about how I spend my time and my life. So I took a bold step in the first week of being back at work after my holidays. I decided to cut down my working hours! I have put in a request to work 27 hours instead of the 36 I work now. To me that would mean three days of 9 hours work a week and two days off. Two whole days!  That means I'd have three workdays and a four day weekend every week! (now I work five days a week)

It would of course also mean a huge cut in pay and me needing to adjust my finances. This is what has always kept me from doing this in the past, but now the cost for getting more pay has just become too high. All this is still being processed and my boss and I are talking about which tasks I can let go off to make it work. If it all comes together I will be cutting down my hours starting coming June. I guess you can imagine I'm very excited about this and a little apprehensive about it falling through. We'll have to wait and see. In any case it is the biggest decision I have made for my art and myself in a very long time and I feel really good about it.

The other thing this word ARTIST has made me do is to really think about what I would like to do art wise the coming year. You know, stuff I want to spend time on, stuff I want to learn, projects I might like to take on. I made a list and then divided that list into categories in my Studio Book.


There's all kinds of stuff in there. There's a couple of projects I want to continue and/or finish (like the beautiful ladies, the stolen ideas project and my colouring book zine). There's a book I want to work through (Journal Fodder 365). There's stuff I want to keep up regularly (like my journal and my blog). There are things I want to learn or relearn (like crochet and fabric art). There's ambitions (like opening an etsy shop, selling handmade books and having some postcards printed). There are online things I want to be a part of (like more art trading, fake journal month and the sketchbook project). I also want to write more articles for magazines. Etcetera, etcetera. Feel free to enlarge the photo and you should be able to read it all. The point is that there are things I want to do to stay creative and increase my creative endeavors.

After I was happy with my list I started to calculate what would be possible if the situation was ideal. How could I really make all this stuff happen? To me it meant dividing all my plans and wishes over the twelve months of the year. And that led to an enormous to do list.


Now first of all let me say I have no delusions that I will be able to do everything on this list. As I've noticed the past weeks with the flu, sometimes life just gets in the way. On the other hand there's a lot of repetition in this list, so often it's just a gentle reminder of what I like to focus on. So it looks bigger than it is. Still, it's ambitious and I'm just looking at it as the ultimate possibility, not a directive. I do feel however it is good to have goals and ideas to work on and specific projects to focus on.

So far in January I have actually managed to do a lot of the things on my list, so I can't complain, even if the flu got in the way and I've hardly done anything artsy in the past two weeks. And of course when I cut down my working hours I will have much more time to play. ;-)

So there you have it, my plans for the coming year. I'm thinking one thing will lead to another and maybe more changes will come my way. And ideas change as you go as well. I want to leave room for that, for the spontaneous and impulsive. I'm not an art robot, I'm an ARTIST! ;-)

Hope you liked this peek into my creative new year and I hope you are having some wonderful plans of your own. Wishing you a very artsy week!



10 comments:

  1. Wow, Caatje! This is exciting! Congratulations and good luck with your big decision to cut your work hours. I know you will use that time well! And you are just like me with the To Do lists...I love thinking about how I spend my time, and how I could be spending my time, and how I want to be spending my time. I love planning and making checklists just like you do! I look forward to keeping company with you as you explore your identity as an artist this year.

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    1. Planning and lists keep my head from going insane. Unfortunately I'm not always as good in sticking to my plans and lists. But it does help me think. ;-)

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  2. Awesome - may all your artistic dreams come true :-)

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  3. Sooheee Caatje, grootse plannen en ambities! Ik hoop dat alles verloopt zoals je het wenst en voor je ziet, dan kunnen we (nog veel meer) moois van je verwachten!

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    1. Ja, hoe het allemaal uitpakt blijft afwachten natuurlijk, maar ik hoop dat het me helpt beter te focusen, zowel in de baan als in de kunstzinnige expressie.

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  4. What a way for me to wake up this morning! I feel hopeful and excited about your artist life...and some changes in my own too-busy life. You are so right when you say that the cost is too high...tondo so much of what I don't feel good about at work. I am thinking and problem solving... Peace and love to you, kathy PS I love your organized to do list...and I always love your artwork.

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    1. Thank you so much Kathy. I hope things turn out well for you!

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  5. First of all...let me say that I've been on the go so much and didn't realize you were so sick. GLAD you're better. We had kind of the same situation with hubby getting sick the day we left Colombia and we're still not quite over it...with house hunting, car buying, driver's license, registration. Anyway, blog reading has been on the back burner but I'm so glad I came here. I think your decision will bring you much joy. If you don't do it...you'll never know. I wish you the very best Miss Artist Friend.

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    1. Thank you Annie. Wishing you the best of luck on your house hunt and hope you enjoy your stay in the US!

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