I write resolutions for the New Year, usually around this time of December, imagining a perfect set of goals and strategies for the fresh year ahead. Often these resolutions are similar to the previous year’s, which is fine. Change is incremental, just like hand-carving stone. At least it helps me think about where my life is going, and what path I want to be on. This year, as part of being a full-time artist, I want to set some creative resolutions for myself for 2019.
When you are an artist, people assume that you are creative all the time: that you get amazing ideas before breakfast, that your days are spent in mindful creativity, and that your life is somehow idyllic because of the that. The truth, at least for me, is slightly different. Being creative takes work. Physical work, and mental work. If my brain could sweat, there are days when it would. Some artists may have constant ideas that come to them with no effort at all, but that has not been my experience. I need to actually be at work, regardless of whether I feel like I am making progress. Often I will reach a point where I have to decide to take a step into the unknown, and those decisions are often when I have breakthroughs in my work. (Sometimes the stone actually breaks, too: an occupational hazard).
So here are my creative resolutions for 2019. I encourage you to set your own: whether you carve, or paint, or draw, work with yarn, or clay, or photographs, two dimensional, three dimensional, or digital media. Some clear direction will help you spend more time creating.
You may be surprised by these five resolutions – they are not all obviously “creative”. Being creative needs clarity of mind, which for me means uncluttered, undistracted time.
- Regular early morning walks. Before the day distracts me from exercising. Also, because of where I live, I can’t simply walk out the door and go for a walk (yet….).
- A basic menu for the week. Despite having worked as a professional cook and baker, I often don’t consciously plan my meals, leading to wasted time and/or not so good food choices! I want to change that, so that I remain more focused on carving throughout the workday.
- An increase in hours spent every day carving. Last year I established a good daily routine – I need to increase that this year. Part of being able to do that depends on good physical fitness and health – see #1 and #2.
- More reference sketching “from life”. Norfolk County offers a variety of great reference material, specifically
birds and herptiles. I want to spend more time observing and sketching them, which will give me more understanding of structure and behaviour, and improve my ability to show this in carvings.
- Attending more art galleries and museums, to see sculpture first-hand. I want to see how other artists have addressed the challenges of three-dimensional art.
Write some resolutions of your own!
I hope that you have a creative 2019, and are able to better express yourself through whatever media you choose. Even if you feel like you have no talent, pick up a small blank notebook and a black pen, and start trying to draw what you see around you. With practice, you will begin to establish a communication with the page. Whatever you are able to draw will remind you of that time and place in a way that no photograph ever can, because you experienced it and recorded it with your own hand and eyes. If you like three-dimensional media, try doing the same with that. And ignore anyone who tries to criticize or belittle your efforts – it has nothing to do with them. Your creative journey is your own.
Cindy Presant, December 27, 2018