Thursday, January 9, 2014

A new year, a new word

Well hello my blogsy people!

It's high time to end my blog break since my vacation is now really really over and I have been to work again for the first time this week.

I had a wonderful time during my time off though and I really got to relax and unwind which I truly needed to do. I spent my days in a lovely quiet tempo and got to walk, read, write, photograph, draw and sleep to my hearts content. I filled a small journal. I went on a couple of daytrips too.

These were a good two and a half weeks all around. I didn't do a whole lot of art, but I did do a truckload of writing and writing helps me think and my last post may have made clear I really needed to think about stuff, haha.

I will show you a selection of the hundreds of photographs I took sometime next week and of course you'll also get a peek into the journal I filled, but today I wanted to start where I left off last time.

A very relaxed assistant.

Let me just tell you you are an amazing bunch of people! I cannot tell you how much I appreciate all the suggestions for words for 2014 I got. In a way all of them were appropriate, they really helped me to think about what I wanted for the coming year. In the end of course I didn't choose any of them (haha!) and the word just came to me the way it did last year during my vacation.

I was rereading Christina Rosalies lovely little book 'A field guide to now', because it helps me to remember that we must observe our own lives to see the good in them. We need to be more mindfull, more present in the everyday. It's a good book to read at the end of the year, at least for me, because that for me is always the most reflective time. The book offered a couple of good options for words for 2014 too, but it wasn't until I read the following passage that I knew what my word would be:

My most important work ofen begins when I'm not working. Creativity wells up when I give myself the present. When I go with eyes wide under open skies and allow the world to split me open.
The more you open yourself like this, the more you give yourself to the rawness of world, outdoors and uncharted, the more your work will work for you. It's a game of cause and effect where the whole universe plays along.

When I read the words 'split me open' it really resonated inside and I knew my word for 2014 would be 'OPEN'.

A very relaxed seal baby.

This word can be interpreted in more than one way and that is exactly why I like it. I feel like I need to open up in the sense of listening more to my life, my body, my soul. To be more observant and less judgemental. To appreciate what is there and be open to the good stuff.
I also need to surrender to open time, time that is not planned to the brim with activities no matter how much I want to do them or think I should do them.
I need to be open to finding my own style in my art and writing, see what happens when I create from the inside instead of letting outside influences ... um ... influence me.  I want to be inspired by my own life, surroundings and ideas and not so much by others, no matter how much I love their art.
I need to open up when it comes to my own expectations, this also involves letting go of many preconceptions of how I should be and how I should live. I need to be open to the flow of life just the way it is.
In short I need to get out of my own way!

However 'open' works both ways. It's a way to receive, but it's also a way to give. So I intend to be more open toward the world around me. Share more both in person and here on my blog. Try to be more vulnerable. I have found over the past years that the posts where I get the most personal are the ones that resonate the most with others. Being open about yourself brings forth a connection to others.
I also want to keep sharing about my process and my art and philosophies. I reaffirmed for myself that I don't want to be a professional payed artist, but want to share freely in what I do and make so others feel they can do the same and maybe be inspired a little to look for the smaller pleasures in life that make all the difference. I find there is way too much focus on money, marketing and business in the art blog world.

Working towards a very relaxed Caatje! ;-)

I'm not setting any specific goals and I'm not making any big plans for change. I think I mostly want to sit back a little and look at my life for a while and see what comes up. Document it, write about it, take pictures, if only for my journal.

I think what it means is that I want to settle down comfortably in my own life. To be able to do that I have to be open to it.

This should be an interesting year. I have no delusions that a year from now all my stressy issues and inner conflicts will be gone, but I hope to have gained some insight as to how to deal with them better. In fact I think a word like 'OPEN' could serve a person for a lifetime!

If you picked a word for 2014 I'd love to hear what it is and why. Hope you like mine and wish you all a wonderful and artsy new year!


  1. Lovely to have you back again, Caatje. And to see you have a studio assistant. I have two of them, and they are the best at keeping me calm and moving!

    1. Thank you Boud. As for my assistant, he's pretty useless. I simply hired him for his good looks. :-)

  2. Hello and welcome to 2014.
    i so enjoy reading your blog. Sometimes your thoughts are exactly thoughts I've had. And I love your photos and art.
    My word this year is RESTRAINT, which will hopefully lead to BALANCE. I spend too much, talk too much, and indulge my whims way too often. So, I'll count to 10 before taking action. Already though I've forgotten to be restrained several times! This is the year of a little self discipline...:)
    I wish you all the best in this year of being OPEN...:)

    1. Thank you for your sweet words Vicky. Your word is interesting. I guess the fact that it's a bit of a challenge makes it a good word. :-)

  3. Nice word you have chosen. I agree it has many meanings but they all will work! I have not chosen a word. Even when I have, I've forgotten it right away just as I do any resolutions! Good luck with your openness journey. Glad you enjoyed your time off.

    1. This is the third yime I chose a word as a theme for my year. The first time I simply chose wrong, but last year it really was like a red thread through the year, just not in the way I expected. I think a good word will work like that, it will teach you things about yourself. :-)

  4. I am so glad you are back! I have 10 assistants....they assist me to put more food in their food bowls, assist me to remember to change the (5) litter boxes, assist me to make sure the water is dripping just right in the bathroom sink so they can have dainty little sips of water, and many more important things on their "to do" lists. For me to do that is, as they don't do anything. They are not allowed in my art room, however, as they dive right in to my stacks of fabric, paper, photos, paints.......all my stuff. Why am I writing all this? I don't know. I just like you so much and am so glad you are back blogging. I love your photo. You have the most dreamy eyes!

    1. Wow! Ten assistants! They must keep you busy indeed. I've been thinking about getting a second one, maybe, but am not sure yet. I kind of like the relative calm of just one.
      Thank you for your sweet words and as for my dreamy eyes, those run in the family on my mothers side, except we call them 'droopy', haha!

  5. Last year my word was "accept", meaning accept my true self, my art, my values,etc.. As a result of last year's findings the word for 2014 is "me". I found I was pleasing others too much, being influenced too easily and putting up with people who were a bit toxic, so this year is a selfish year where I'm just going to be all that I am, all that I accepted and enjoyed last year.

    I appreciate your comments about materialism in the art blog world! It does seem like everyone has a list of products required to complete their projects. When I do fall to temptation and purchase the products, I end feeling like a chump, because they really are nothing special and my art looks like everyone elses. I'm finding that the tried and true basic art supplies (with a few goodies mixed in) work best for original, authentic projects.

    Thanks so much for your honest writing and journaling. You influence me in a positive way! I look forward to seeing what you blog about this year. Have a great one!

    1. Thank you Tabitha. I like your word. It's nice and simple and to the point. A bit of selfishness every now and then can be just what we need. Hope the word brings you a good year!

  6. My word for 2014 is STILL. God wants me to be still before Him and focus on His voice

  7. Fijn dat je er lekker 'even uit was' - ik heb op het moment ook een 'blogpauze' en beperk mezelf tot maar een klein uurtje per dag 'computer' (mail checken, nu en dan een van mijn favoriete blogs bezoeken - zoals nu - en dan gaat het ding weer uit!) Zoals jij in december, doe ik dat in Januari en kom helemaal tot rust. Zelfs al twee boeken gelezen!

    Woorden hebben heel veel kracht... ik ben er het afgelopen jaar zelfs keihard tegenaan gelopen en een beetje bang om geworden. (mijn woord was 'volhouden' en hoewel ik iets anders 'in mind' had toen ik het koos, kwamen er zó ontzettend veel problemen op me af afgelopen jaar, dat het wel bijna een 'voorspellend woord' leek te zijn..) ook de voorgaande jaren is mijn woord altijd heel krachtig gebleken dus ik was een beetje huiverig voor een nieuwe (maar wél blij dat ik het oude jaar + woord achter me kon laten) Het duurde tot de laatste week, maar toen 'kwam' het ineens... mijn woord voor 2014 is AVONTUUR. Ik heb besloten dat ik de veranderingen die dit jaar op me af gaan komen (en dat zullen er veel zijn!) tegemoet wil treden alsof het een nieuw avontuur is... hopelijk geeft me dat de energie en positieve kracht om door alles heen te komen. Nu ik het zo opschrijf, bedenk ik dat het ook raakvlakken heeft met jouw woord... en ook dat liedje van De Scene komt in me op. Je koos een prachtig woord!

    1. Een spannend woord! Als het net zo krachtig is als het vorige kon het wel eens een heel interessant jaar voor je worden. Ik denk dat het uitdagende van een woord voor een jaar is dat je ook de onverwachte en wat confronterende kanten erbij krijgt. Dat heb ik bij het woord van vorig jaar goed gemerkt. Maar dat is alleen maar goed, daar leren we van. Veel succes met je avontuur! ;-)

  8. En de maan klimt hoger
    En de wereld kraakt
    En ik word dover
    Ik hoor m'n eigen woorden vallen
    Maar niemand wordt geraakt
    En ik zoek naar het woord dat alles openmaakt

    En ik zeg
    Open, open, open moet het zijn

  9. Welcome back, Caatje! Great photo! I'm so glad that you enjoyed your break; it sounds like you are ready to face this brand new year thoughtfully and creatively. By the way, I received the book A Field Guide to Now for Christmas! I have read passages, but not yet the whole thing.

    1. Thank you Andria. I hope you like the book as much as I do. Enjoy!

  10. I just now read this, and it may well be my favorite blog post ever, anywhere. Thank you for writing about the process and for doing it so eloquently and thoughtfully and OPENly! XO


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