It seems like 2016 was a difficult year for a lot of people this year. Too many of our cultural icons have died, the whole Trump thing has been awful, wars, terrorism, general strife, thievery and violence, and it goes on and on. In my own little world, it was a difficult year that brought me some devastating personal losses, and quite a few problems. I see exhaustion on just about everyone’s face as I look around me this week. It’s going to feel good to turn the page on 2016, and let it all go.
Not much went on in my studio in the past month. I’m a ski patroller, so December means back to work for me. Besides that, I like to spend some time reflecting on the year I’ve had, and looking at how my goals and intentions panned out (or didn’t, as the case may be). Listing everything I’ve accomplished over the past twelve months always reminds me that despite the rough times, I also have much to be grateful for. The highlight for me this year was being able to make time for myself to do the things that are important to me, like painting and adventuring with my great dane Jasmine. There were periods throughout the year during which other obligations kept me away from the important stuff, but in general, I was able to keep a good balance between things I had to do and things I love to do. And there were some incredibly wonderful things that happened too: I have a new little cousin who came into the world, I met some incredibly inspiring people, and I sold several paintings (a BIG, BIG THANK YOU to all who supported my work this year).
There were a lot of things I’d intended to do this year that just didn’t work out for me. Uncomfortable though it may be, examining the reasons why things did or did not happen is always interesting, if not illuminating. The value of the exercise is that I often discover how I’ve changed over time, especially concerning goals that I’ve been putting off for years. I can see that at least a third of the things I’d planned to do this year were not really that important after all (things like meditating daily, learning brush calligraphy, buying some new furniture…). Other things that didn’t get done are still relevant, but I can see that they fell by the wayside because I just wasn’t being mindful or disciplined enough (visiting Dog Mountain in Vermont with my dogs, working diligently to make online art sales…). And some things, like my pipe dream of spending a month in the south of France, are just a bit too ambitious for now. So regardless of how much or how little was accomplished, mulling it all over creates the fodder for making big plans for 2017.
While I was looking back and trying to see the positive in a difficult year, I started to realize how many fabulous artists inspired me this year to dig deeper into my creative work, to try new things and to get my work out into the world. So for my last blog post of the year, I’d love to introduce you to the people who were my creative heroes in 2016: