Revamp your blog.
I haven’t posted in awhile as things have been crazy busy and I have felt really bad about it. Not really but maybe a little bit. To catch up here are some quick updates for you:
1. I am still managing to sporadically contribute to my Things That Are Endangered project. Here they all are so far:
2. I have (mostly) been sticking to my goals to be healthier this year and have added Bikram’s yoga to my regular practice.
3. We have officially shut down our photography business which has allowed us so much more free time. It has been amazing to be able to do what we want in the evenings and weekends. So great!
4. I have about a million ideas for projects so stay tuned for some posts about that craziness.
5. I also have about a million recipes to share with you so watch for that in the coming weeks too.
Hope the first couple of months of 2013 have been good to you too!
Posted by kjmillar
OK, OK, I know that we all hate numbered “best of” lists and that “what I did this year” blog posts are a bit self congratulatory, but I really like being able to look back on them and see what the highlights (and lowlights) of my year were so you’ll just have to grin and bear it. Or go away. Whichever.
This year I have decided to divide my year into two categories: things that were Great and things that were Not So Great. The Great category includes things that happened that I either learned something from, accomplished a goal, or just really enjoyed. Not So Great includes things that were, well, not so great.
Here we go and in no particular order:
Things That Were Great in 2012
- I was awarded and completed a ton of drawing and painting commissions. This was great because I got some recognition and got to feel neat-o about making art. But it was also great because I learned that I don’t necessarily want to make other people’s art for them. So, next year I am only going to take on commissions for work that I am personally interested in doing.
- My cousin Montana’s wedding weekend. Being surrounded by all of those creative and committed people completely changed how I feel about what I do. I remembered things that I didn’t even know I had forgotten about making art. I also reconnected with the part of me who wants to be engaged and make a difference in the world.
- Connecting with the team at Method Works and learning that I knew absolutely nothing compared to them about non-profit database design and management. Because of them I have embarked on a really exciting journey of learning and discovery surrounded by a team of passionate, dedicated people – I can’t wait to jump in and devour it all! They complete (the nerd side of) me.
- Having my husband all to myself for the first 3 months of the year. Being in a position financially to be able to take time off and just be together is amazing and we are so fortunate to be able to do it every now and then.
- Reconnecting with my extended family. I have a pretty big family and am the oldest of all of the cousins (the youngest is 11, Hi Molly!). We are scattered around all over the place so we don’t get to see each other often and it is really easy to drift apart if you don’t work at it. Over the past year I have been making an effort to reconnect and keep in touch with everyone and it has been amazing! I am so lucky to be related to such a cool group of people – we all have our own unique talents, dreams, and goals and we are all so good at supporting one another and taking care of each other. This has had such a positive impact on my life that I have actually made it a goal for next year to spend as much time as I can with my family.
- Making the decision to shutter our photography business. This seems like a weird thing to put in the Great category but, believe me, it belongs here. Ross and I really love photography, and we’re pretty good at it, but we also like to have weekends. And free time. Added to that is the fact that Ross is a very talented photographer who is passionate about photographing architecture, and cars, and landscapes. Not babies, and brides, and families. After a day spent photographing babies and a couple of days spent editing photos of babies, he just didn’t have the juice left to photograph what he loves. So, after a lot of discussion, bye-bye business, hello artmaking.
- Making the conscious decision to live with compassion. This is probably the best thing that I have ever done for myself. Learning to live from a compassionate place has resulted in me being kinder to both myself and those around me, seeing all sides of a story and fully appreciating where others are coming from (even if I don’t agree with them), and has virtually eliminated anger and negativity from my life. I know that it sounds all New Agey and you can just about taste the patchouli in the air, but seriously, this has changed my life.
- Some Books & Movies That Were Great: Beauty is Embarrassing – a documentary about Wayne White, Moonrise Kingdom – a film by Wes Anderson, A Tree Grows in Brooklyn – a novel by Betty Smith, Oil Painting Techniques and Materials – an instructional manual by Harold Speed, The Underwater Welder - a graphic novel by Jeff Lemire
Things That Were Not As Great in 2012
- Not seeing enough of our friends and family. Ross and I are both introverts who need to spend a certain amount of time on our own. Unfortunately in 2012 our photography business used up most of the energy that we would have had for socializing and we wimped out of get togethers. This year we hope to rectify that.
- Not taking as good care of myself as I should. I’m creeping up on 40 and my body is letting me know all about it. I may still get ID’d buying beer but the snapping and popping of my joints is a dead giveaway. I like to do a lot of things and doing a lot of things takes a lot of energy and to get that energy I need to take better care of myself. This is on the agenda for 2013.
- Lily Beetles.
- Not saying “No” to enough things. I am getting better at this but I still have a hard time saying no. I like to help and I feel terrible when I can’t. This results in me taking on too much and then completely crashing out. Also on the agenda for 2013.
I am a checklist maniac and like to set goals that I can tick off neatly as I complete them. Each year I set up a very nerdy spreadsheet of goals for the year with set dates for check-ins and completion. I also decide on a theme for the year that all of the individual goals revolve around. For 2013 my goals are all themed toward Reconnection. Reconnection with myself, my family and friends, work, and creativity. I am becoming increasingly aware of just how short our time really is and that awareness is driving me to make choices that bring richness and meaning into all of the things I do and to develop and maintain relationships with people that are balanced and mutually inspiring. It’s going to be an interesting year.
What was Great/Not So Great about 2012 for you? What are your goals for 2013?
Posted by kjmillar
Last year I took part in a Daily Drawing project with about 10 other artists. It was a great experience but, for various reasons, we all kind of ran out of steam about 6 months into it. I have been wanting to start up again but felt like I needed something to really motivate me and keep me going for the whole year and had been looking around without finding anything that really jumped out at me.
Then I read about the proposal to overturn the shark-fin ban in Calgary.
Which resulted in an angry (but useless) Facebook rant about sustainability and animal protection.
And then I had my motivation for 2013. I decided that each day I will select and draw an animal, plant, or fungus from the Red List and post it with a few facts about it and, if possible, a link to an organization that is doing something about it. I decided to call it Things That Are Endangered and set up a Facebook page here: www.facebook.com/ThingsThatAreEndangered if you’d like to go and give it a “Like”.
Being the little keener that I am I have already started. Here are the first two drawings:
This is an Abbot’s Starling, the smallest of the Starling family. It lives in Africa and is threatened by the destruction of the forests.
And this guy is a Malabar Grouper. The largest of all of the cod (150kg at full size), they are threatened by overfishing and the destruction of their habitat too.
I’m only 2 days in but already I am learning so much about these creatures that I have never heard of. I am trying to stay away from too many of the “popular” animals and give some attention to the lesser known species. It bothers me that we focus on all of the cute little animals and pretty much ignore the rest.
Sadly there are enough creatures on the Red List for me to do a drawing a day for about 50 years. I guess I’ll have lots to choose from.
Posted by kjmillar
After working for so long on that mural I really felt the need to just make something today for absolutely no reason except the joy of making something.
I am a huge pack rat when it comes to my studio. I have boxes and scraps and bits and pieces of just about anything you can think of. This makes it really easy to be imaginative when it comes to making stuff and it isn’t very often that I come up short when looking for something that could be an eye, or hair, or legs.
This morning I woke up with the need to make a puppet. An owl puppet.
I took a box I had lying around:
And I trimmed it to a more owl-ish shape. I also cut out some bits and pieces to make eyes, wings, horns, and legs.
I painted everything dark grey to tie it together and painted the eyes. I also started on the paper curls for the eyes and beak, made the beak and painted it.
Then I spent a million hours cutting out a trillion pieces of paper in black and two shades of brown to make the feathers. Once that was finished I pulled all of the strings through, hot glued the eyes and beak on, and tied the strings to a wired up piece of wood to control it.
His little feet are made of pipe cleaners and his legs retract into his body when you pull that string. You know, so he can fly.
Posted by kjmillar
Finally, finally done.
This commission has taken up almost all of my spare time over the past month and I am so relieved that it is finished. I am grateful to have had the opportunity to do this project, and I did get some good stuff out of it, but man-oh-man am I glad it’s done. Whew!
Here it is:
Train Ticket Mural 5ftx7ft Acrylic on Canvas
I have a gigantic pile of projects waiting for me and I can’t wait to get to them. But first a nap.
Posted by kjmillar