We are all globally united by effects of Covid 19, there are very few places on this planet that have not been effected by the virus and it has proved to be a total leveller for the human race. I have to acknowledge that each person’s experience of living through this pandemic is truly very personal to them. I therefore want to take stock of the bad and the good things that came out of 2020 and how I will use my person experiences to move forward because one thing is for sure this pandemic has changed life as we know it forever.
At the beginning of each year I try to set aside a little time to plan ahead for the forthcoming year. So I have made two short lists…
1. First a list of things that will be assigned to the ‘2020 bin’, left well and truly in the past, gone, gone, gone!!!
2. And secondly a list of things, some of which were quite unexpected jewels in my year that will be carried forward to 2021 and a beyond.
Chucked in the '2020 Bin'
Being a people pleaser.
I am by nature quite forthright but when it comes to the crunch I was often talked into accepting things I wasn’t happy with. Whether it was being asked to paint something for less money or stressing over hitting a ridiculously tight deadline. My brain was screaming ‘What will ‘they’ think, ‘they’ won’t like you if you don’t given them a discount or get the project done ‘yesterday’.
In all honesty I am an easy person to get along with, I go out of my way to exceed expectations. But the truth is ‘they’ don’t have to like me, they just have to have the confidence I will deliver a superb product and service that is not devalued or undermined by unrealistic time constraints.
You become a people pleaser when you allow your confidence to be eroded.
I so often see the potential in other people but fail to see my own, which is true of a lot of very talented artists. I would often set my creative standard by comparing myself to others work instead of trusting my own abilities.
At the beginning of 2020 I was in bad place, honestly on the floor bad. Self-doubt allowed a couple of individuals to rob me of my self-esteem, forced me to doubt my skill set and totally robbed me of my confidence.
Self-doubt steals your soul if you let it.
Lack of knowledge.
It’s all too easy to avoid trying new things or move forward because it’s deemed too hard to learn something new. While it’s of course true you can’t be good at everything, but if you don’t try something you will never know. If you don’t know how to do it, go and learn!
With all my country shows and events cancelled it became apparent that I had to build an online shop into my website. With no one to help at the time and the finances tight I took the bull by the horns and I did it myself. I am immensely proud that I did it. For sure it took me ages, loads of research (great new knowledge), plenty of head scratching and tears but I had the time in lockdown to learn and grow.
The lack of knowledge is no excuse for the inability to progress.
2020 with it’s restrictions gave me the time and space to think, I became aware that I had the tendency to do nothing, I remained unchanged. Procrastination was fast becoming my main occupation and it’s a hard habit to kick, all too easy to cherry pick the easy jobs.
My procrastination had a lot to do with lack of direction as my tried and trusted means to earning a living were all shut down; no art events, teaching or country shows. It’s a comfortable option to rest on our laurels, bimble along and sit in the safety of the rut. I had a bit of chat to myself, actually more of a big old shout in the ear ‘Go do something!!!.
If you sit doing nothing then life will move on and leave you standing still.
Gems to carry forward
Learning new a skill, better still free training is never a waste of time, no matter what it is and even if you don’t know how you are going to use it right now in your life. If you think it is a waste of time believe me all training and new knowledge is a good thing. I did a variety of online courses through the summer, many where free, some I paid for, all where worth the time and effort. Yes even the Google Analytics training had its interesting moments…yes really, granted not as exciting as the painting courses, but hey I have a new skill. It builds confidence and self-worth.
A little self-love goes a long, long way.
I think confidence ebbs and flows throughout life and confidences changes at different times in your lifetime. I think depending on where you are in life you have different strengths and confidences. Through addressing some of the negatives of ‘My 2020’ it has helped build my confidence to try new things, given me courage to enter competitions, exhibitions and explore new techniques.
I am super excited to branch out with new ideas and equally happy to let go some of the things I have been doing for years in my business. With the confidence to explore my creativity, I am buzzing with new ideas, so I will be leaving behind some of the products I create regularly as they have become just a process with little or no imagination
I am excited and confident in my creative planning for 2021.
The confidence to try new things and open some creative heads space allows new exciting ideas and creativity to grow. I was always chasing my tail, I felt like I needed to be creating a new painting or mosaic to sell, these mostly piled up just waiting for the right person to come along and buy them. Again I was trying to please what I thought the market wanted.
Over the summer I took the time to experiment with new materials and tried new ways of working. Moving forward I am going to be slowing the pace, carry forward some of what I have learned to creating far more experimental pieces of work that please me, work that is more imaginative and creative. I shall be developing my own unique style, honing new skills and techniques.
I am buzzing with new creative ideas, I feel energised.
People you love.
It’s true to say I do live, eat, sleep art, it is my passion, it has been the one thing that has carried me through the dreaded 2020. However if nothing else 2020 has highlighted the importance of people in our lives, especially if we have lost people from our worlds. Therefore there is more to life than just my work as an artist and this year I will be making more time to spend quality time with the people that are important to me.
Surround yourself with the people that feed your soul, not the people that drain you.
All you need is love!!!
So to sum up what 2020 meant me…
The first list is the thief of creativity and it all comes down to confidence.
The second list is creativity’s warm fluffy blanket.
Stay Safe, Stay Creative… be Happy!!!