2023 was an…um…trying year. From the tone of the memes and Tik-toks, I think we all struggled a bit over this past year.
I will say overall it was a good year, just hard.
Shift…and Still Shifting
I started the year trying to figure out how to shift my art and teaching. I had spent a little over a year building a library of classes on Skillshare, but they did a major shift in their business model and practices at the end of 2022. I decided to take a break from creating for that platform (although all of my old classes are still there and some are thriving!).
I began creating for YouTube and trying to plan a channel on that platform. Unfortunately, I’m still struggling with that a year later. I’ve had some videos with good views, but I just can’t figure out a direction. I’ve been an ‘in-person’ art instructor for nearly thirty years now and, although I feel I can teach just fine, my strength is encouraging artistic freedom. I helped my students to love creating and trust their vision, not just be technically accurate. I haven’t figured out how to translate this in front of a video camera. I’d love any ideas on this, especially from those of you who I’ve taught or who have followed me for years.
I did start creating more artwork in 2023. I think I got a bit burnt out from just creating to teach and needed some artistic exploration for creativity’s sake! I completed 15 paintings, 4 of which have already sold. I finally got set up with a print on demand site for art prints of my paintings. I’ve gotten in a groove for adding new work for prints on my website and Etsy shop. This year I want to start moving backwards and adding art from previous years, especially art that is already sold.
Back in a Gallery
I joined a few art groups in the area and got accepted into a local gallery, Studio 1212. Anyone who works for themselves knows how lonely it can be. Meeting and getting involved with other area artists has been very gratifying. The gallery is not only a place to put my artwork, but a very involved member of the local community. I’ve only been there a couple of months but I’m loving it so far.
I’ve had a quadruple whammy of solitude…moving to a new state in 2019, the shutdowns of 2020, living near mostly snowbirds and working for myself. (Yes, my husband works at home too, but he is on phone calls the ENTIRE day, EVERY day!). This led me to look for some part-time work around the middle of 2023. A local garden educator I had been following on social media posted a job for an assistant and I jumped on it. I help her with her online shop as well as work in her garden. I’m outside on the days I work and love it! Gardening has alway been a hobby of mine and now I get immersed in it 2-3 days a week.
I had only a few but awesome trips last year. Our kids gave my husband and I a trip to Napa Valley in California. They set up winery tours and tastings as well as a few other activities like a horseback ride and hot air balloon ride. We also did a tour of Alcatraz (which has an incredible garden as well!).
Our next trip was to North Carolina but for less celebratory reasons. More on that below. All our kids came in as well and we stayed together at an AirBnB in Winston-Salem. We enjoyed all being under one roof so much that we decided to do that for Christmas.
We all met again for an early Christmas in Memphis, Tennessee and stayed together in a fantastic, music-themed AirBnb house. The first day half of us toured Graceland while the other half went to the Memphis Zoo. We also ate and gamed and had a fantastic time together.
I actually visited NC twice this year. My grandmother, who I’ve always been extremely close to, passed away in October. She was 98 and always in good health, but started to fade rapidly from the summer onward. I was able to go see her in August and spend a few good days with her. Even though it was expected, I’m still processing losing her and probably still will be for a while. This is definitely what I’ll always think of the most when I think of 2023.
I probably won’t do a goals or resolutions post since my word of the year for 2024 is Clarity. I’ve done some planning for this year but I’m still trying to decide how I want my creative business to look. This ties in very heavily to how I want the next 5-10 years of my life to look.
The same goes for personal goals like better health. I’ve been very focused on emotional health (ie less stress) for a while now and it is having positive affect on my physical health. In this age/stage of life, good health goals are so much more than “exercise more, lose 10 lbs” type of thinking.
I’m doing a lot of reading on purpose and clarity but I’m open to suggestions. Drop a comment below on how you find Clarity in your life and goals.