Here we are at the end of December and the end of 2016. I'm enjoying this season of celebration and letting go, as celebrations of light, hope, and gift-giving abound, and rituals of release seem to be in order. Of course this time of year many of our rituals are about gathering together, honoring cycles and the Earth, honoring God (for believers) and miracles, and being in a state of appreciation and gratitude for all that we have and all that we share.
I'm looking back on this year and realizing many of you may not have been able to follow along the trajectory and evolution of Clover's continued story, as I have flown from my accustomed home of Facebook and here on the blog (or any of my many blogs), and written primarily on Instagram. As I have moved several times since August/ September (when I last posted), Instagram just became an easier place to hone my voice, pool my attention, and (honestly), get clear about my creative path.
At the beginning of 2016 I was working on Post, an art subscription service I have been very proud of. My supporters of Post are incredibly dear to me, and it hasn't yet reached its last incarnation. However, through all the house moves I did have to give Post a resting period, and the sort of art that, for me, asks for a drawing table set up. I am looking forward to more stability in the coming year, and many more ways to develop my creativity and art.
This year I learned a great deal about the fine art of being myself, and all the places where I compromise that selfhood for some other reason. That was a harder awareness than moving a lot, especially for someone who wants to make feminist art, and give all people a platform for feeling seen, heard, and championed. Still, better to be aware than moving in unawareness, and I am working those muscles of protecting my boundaries and being true to myself, my real needs, and tending to the relationships in my life.
Art that longs to come into being in the coming year that I am committed to nurturing space and time for is narrative art, so many stories, for starters. Part of my morning meditation this year has been to wake up and SING, I feel SO FULL of stories, words, excitement and something to say. This, too, has been an intentional practice after reading (and re-reading) The Artist's Way, and noticing what a grip my internal critic has on my creative process. Why not break down that constant critique by using my voice more often? I hope if you are also a creative who tends to linger back, either with perfectionism or self-critique, you will reach for the resources all around you to begin knowing your wonderful value. This year I really came to understand how individual and unique each of us truly is, and that my exploration of the arts is absolutely of worth.
Post was a great start to bridge being an artist of cards and single-subjects to telling a story with my art, but the stories are coming anyway, in every way they can. Especially through photography these days, but I am hopeful for more to come through my art and writing beginning in 2017.
My other wild loves are also clamoring to get in on the action, and so 2017 intends to be a year of giving my interests room to breathe, play, roam and explore. I hope to travel more, and experiment in different art forms. I intend to invest in my own education. I look forward to facing my First Day jitters and getting into more community settings, sharing space, sharing ideas, and learning to speak up with this authentic voice that has grown so accustomed to the keyboard for her comfort zone.
By the end of the year I would love to have more flexibility in feeling myself and my strength, confidence and comfort around other people. I have found that footing many, many times in my life (and enjoyed it so much) but then found it hard to change settings, to keep my sure footing as life, people, and circumstances changed. I think after all that I've lived- the up's, down's, wins and losses, I can feel more assured that I know myself better than ever, and to show up for the variety of life. Not by changing who I am, but by enjoying myself and believing in myself.
So it is at the close of 2016 that, through it all, it's still my art that holds one of the strongest foundations of my life. It's still my art I look to to explain the world around me, and for enjoyment, and to share with those I love. I have learned this year that creativity springs from all sorts of passages, and that it is great fun and such a relief to stress to look through the lens of creativity to ask the question: how can I go beyond what I already know?
On Instagram you may notice that my art and words have become increasingly spiritually focused, and that I continue to look to Shamanism, animism, mindfulness and blessings as a way of being in the world. I'll do my best to take that zeal for Instagram and bring it back to my first love: blogging in 2017: lol.
The shaman Sandra Ingerman says that it may be our interest in Shamanism in the West is a way of reestablishing a living, thriving connection with the living Earth, not as a commodity to be exploited but as a being we share our life with. I especially like that way of looking at the practice, and will continue in the year ahead to lean on writing, Shamanic Journeys, self compassion and Meta meditation, as well as other spiritual practices, to open up my creative practice beyond art and the making of things, into conversation of hearts, and the expression of peace, curious playfulness, light-heartedness, and the art of Earthly Magic (wonder) as my gift to you.
Thank you for being here, and maybe I'll see you on Instagram!