Sunday, January 1, 2012

december splotch monsters/happy new year

"It's the end of the world as we know it and I feel fine." - R.E.M.

First off, a happy new year to everyone! I hope day one is off to a decent start. Kris and I had a nice, quiet New Year's eve, after three solid days of major cleaning, reorganizing and donating, recycling and throwing out what we no longer need in our home. I don't think we achieved minimalist status yet, nor was that our intent. However, the feeling of giving away and getting rid of old stuff, or things we no longer needed turned out to be a very good experience for the both of us. Someone else can make good use of that old, but good camera, those clothes we don't wear anymore, or those books we no longer read. I admit, there are some things I'm just not ready to part with and probably never will, willingly at least, especially my good, hard-bound art books, and the CDs, whose music and art I treasure. The most difficult thing, with regards to space, is finding a place to store completed artwork. With the Splotch Monsters, like the ones here, they're relatively small so it's not a problem. Some are even "digital", more or less spontaneous creative exercises in recycling and reusing former paint splotches and doing something new with them through Picnik. As for other art, I'll be painting a lot larger than I used to, and want to focus on building a cohesive, more serious body of work this year. That's where the storage problem might occur, but I'm sure we'll figure out something. The nice thing is, we can now actually find things, after much decluttering, rearranging and labeling. We didn't even finish until about ten last night, our goal being to get done before ringing in the new year. Needless to say, we slept very well after the ball dropped. 

So, what's your thoughts, hopes, goals, etc for the new year? We all tend to start out pretty optimistic but end up getting discouraged and give up early on, probably due to setting our sights too high. I really intend on focusing on the now more - each week, day, hour and most importantly, minute of our time. I told Kris last night about how I want to do this - focus on the here and now, and shared an example of just how often I don't do this, which included taking out the trash last night, and while on the way back to our door, rushing and thinking only about getting back inside to get to the next thing we had to do. It was a beautiful, clear and unseasonably warm evening and halfway through that two-minute walk, I had to stop myself in my tracks, hit the brakes and slow down to actually enjoy it. It seems so simple but I think for most of us, it's not. Sadly, it might even be discouraged by some, in our go-getter, busy busy busy society. Imagine that, someone discouraging you to enjoy your life! Think about how absurd and wrong that is and consider ignoring those people, those voices. I tell my students to "hit the brakes" all the time, as many of them seem to rush right through a lesson, trying to get it "done", only to end up not fully enjoying the process of creating and being left with a half-baked final product. What's the point in that, yet that's how a lot of us tend to live. Well I think I need to start practicing what I preach.  

So, there is talk of 2012 being a very significant year, and depending on how you look at it, this can be a year of new beginnings on a mass level, or a very, very bad year. I truly believe that it's all in how one frames this in their mind, because how we think results in how things occur, even on the most minute level. I believe in the former and not the latter. There will be turbulence and destruction, and sometimes things have to be destroyed for anything new and better to flourish. With myself, I want to continue  nourishing a creative life and practice kindness with my wife, friends, family, folks I don't know, nonhuman beings and mostly with myself. There will always be those who actively try to mock, and in some way undermine these things, perhaps as an act of justifying their own lack of faith in such behavior. Ideally, I'd like to avoid these kinds of people as much as possible, but not entirely, and it won't be entirely possible to avoid. That's just a part of life and living. Without these challenges, we can never grow and we won't be spurred to action in doing the things we need to do to reach a certain level and balance in life. Mostly, I want to continue to have fun, enjoy being alive and not think too much about things. The simple act of creating, and for me, especially creating these goofy little monsters on a daily basis is just that, and I always have fun making one. With that in mind, enjoy my favorite Splotch Monsters from the final month of 2011(!), and enjoy your first day of 2012 as well!