Last year at this time I announced the word renaissance as my 2009 word of the year. I re-read the post today.
Last year at this time I had just started reading Diane Dreher’s book Your Personal Renaissance: 12 Steps To Finding Your True Calling. I was pumped up by a new year, a new word, and new motivation.
Renaissance is defined as a rebirth, revival. A period of revived intellectual or artistic achievement or enthusiasm. Sounds pretty good doesn’t it?
Looking back at 2009 I find that I did accomplish many things. I attended numerous teleseminars and visited museums and art exhibits. I started an email newsletter, developed two new websites, participated in art exhibits, traveled to southern France for a workshop and tourism, sold several small sculptures and submitted an article proposal and took a 16-week creativity coaching class.
But I continued to find myself disillusioned with my business. I was confused about which direction to take. Would I continue down the same path or try something different? I lost faith and enthusiasm. I became bored. The Mastermind group I tried to form failed before it ever really got started. I felt unsupported. And I never finished Dreher’s book. I just couldn’t get into it.
I also picked a second word for the year, discipline. The intention behind that word was to devote more time to the studio, goal setting, marketing, and networking. I did become a better about studio time, often spending an entire day in the studio. I started a notebook where I kept goals for each month and put the small steps in my calendar. Marketing was still an issue for me, partly due to the financial cost. Networking was fair. I spent more time on Twitter but really missed more face-to-face interaction.
I don’t feel like 2009 was a renaissance year for me. Perhaps I idealized it; expected great and earth-shattering things that never materialized. And when that didn’t happen, when sales didn’t come through, when fear raised its head, when I didn’t feel supported, I lost faith in myself and in my business. I shrank.
2009 was just an odd year. The economy, the war, a new administration trying so hard to advance change. Family members and friends dealing with illness. Relationships ending. Certainly it wasn’t all bad, but it wasn’t a revival either.
Or was it?
As I contemplate the word renaissance and all that 2009 brought, I realize how much my art means to me, how much it is a part of me. The enthusiasm did come back in October when a workshop revitalized me and inspired me with new ideas. Enthusiasm returned when I accepted one aspect of my business as essential to my overall income and that I shouldn’t fight it; that I need to learn how to make the most of it. And I felt revitalized when I began throwing out old work, both artwork and work from former careers.
I have a list of words started for my 2010 word of the year but I’m not committing to any one (or two) in particular. Not yet. I want to spend some more time reflecting on this past year, what I needed but didn’t find, what was missing. Christine Kane created a wonderful document, a “discovery tool” to help us work through this word of the year process. It is free and you’ll find it here.
Unlike Marvin the Martian, I’m not looking for an earth shattering ‘ka-boom’ in 2010. Sometimes when we look too hard for or expect something, we never find it.
January 6, 2010 at 3:22 pm
I enjoyed reading your Reflections on Renaissance. I see so many articles on how artists have to fight to keep up their passion & enthusiasm. Why is it such a struggle? (I have the same problem.) I believe the main thing is to keep on painting, sculpting, etc. and never stop it for too long a time.
I paint in oils, and haven’t been back to my art class, which I love, in a whole year. Also had devastating family illnesses in 2009, my sister dying of cancer and my 40-year-old niece dying of pancreatic cancer within 5 months.
But even without such terrible times, it seems hard for all artists to maintain their passion.
Anyway, I enjoyed reading your writing re the book, also, & I like pics of your work.
And, I think I got some inspiration from being here at your blog & from writing to you. Back to my art class next week (I’m workin’ on it.)
(My blog is Merillion.Wordpress.com, only one article on it so far – workin’ on that, too. 🙂
January 11, 2010 at 11:12 pm
I’m sorry to hear about the losses of your family members. That does make for a challenging year. Yes, personal challenges can make it difficult for some artists to maintain their passion. Others use these times as a release from the difficult times. I agree that the longer we’re away from our art, the harder it can be to start again. What has helped me is reading Anne Paris’s book Standing at Water’s Edge which I’m also reviewing here on my blog. I’m glad you’re enjoying reading the summaries. Thank you too for the compliments on my work.
I believe small steps, baby steps can move us closer to our goals. Good for you to return to your art class.
Thanks for visiting my blog.