January notes

 

I am writing this whilst listening to the New Year’s Concert by the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra. It is a tradition in our family to watch the concert on TV on New Year’s Day. I especially love the performance by the Vienna State Ballet during the second part of the concert. For me this concert has always been a sign that the cosy, festive season ended and a fresh year awaits ready for new goals and adventures, making the reality of January less gloomy.

The first of January is also a day (not the only one) to reflect upon the old year. I am re-reading my notes from last year which are more like thoughts on goals than new year resolutions. Last year was pretty great and I am very grateful for all the lovely people, experiences and opportunities. Like probably many of you, I also love stationary and it is so exciting to start new journals and note books. My small, black one is for work, to do lists, appointments etc. and my big, mint coloured one is for inspiration, creative thoughts and goals. There is some kind of magic in beginning to write into a new notebook. Over the years I noticed that I tend to make written notes on new projects and art work rather than sketch them in my sketchbook. Are there any other artists doing this as well?

A few months ago I had moments were I felt a little bit lost on my creative path. It seemed my goals where hidden behind a hazy, foggy, white wall. I had difficulties seeing them and I was totally confused. This resulted in unproductive days in the studio and my work/painting style being all over the place. So I took a few steps back, tried to analyse the situation as objectively as possible and did a few things which got me back on track:

-          taking time off social media

-          focusing more on creating than on numbers

-          reminding myself what kind of art has always made me happy

-          reading a lot

-          writing more

-          being grateful

-          back to basics

-          drawing more, sharing less on social media

-          letting things unfold naturally

Now I can see my creative path again and I am really excited for the paintings I will create this year. I would love if you come along. Thank you.

 
 
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How to be more productive

Listening to podcasts is perfect for painting in the studio. I tend to overthink my illustrations a lot so I find podcasts really helpful in order to get into the flow state. They are also very mind-opening and can teach you a lot.

Lately I have been listening to many episodes of Debbie Millman’s Design Matters. I noticed that several creatives she had on the podcast talked about meditation. How powerful this practice is and how much it has helped them. Since I felt rather restless lately with my creative process I thought I give it a go.

My mind is constantly active thinking about creative ideas and how to put them into practice. I knew from the start that it would be a challenge for me to sit still for a while trying not to “think” but focus on breathing and “being” in the now. Therefore I decided to start with baby-steps only a few minutes at the time and whenever I caught myself drifting off into thought I focused on breathing again or I stopped in order to continue the next morning.

It has only been a few months and I must say that I feel meditation is already making a difference in my daily routine. I am making it a habit to start my day with meditation. It helps me to be calm, focus and become more productive. Sometimes when I start my day later than planned and I feel I have to skip my meditation practice to be in the studio quicker and to “safe” time I definitely feel a slump in my productivity. I am still a novice at this and I am trying not to be too hard on myself. Today I started my morning with a brief meditation session and if you like I will keep you posted on my progress.

How about you? Are you meditating or have you tried it? I would be very interested to hear from you and learn from your experiences.

 

 
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