2014 Reflections

2014 seems to have passed in a whirlwind for me. My life is not usually an overly active one, but 2014 challenged my expectations of quiet to the max. Not that I am complaining! Though I didn’t get quite as much quiet times as I would have preferred, the good times more than made up for the lack of quiet 🙂

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I was honestly surprised when I checked through my records to see how many drawings I’d done this past year. I’ve felt so busy that I was sure I must have at least done several, but as it turns out, I had only completed three drawings! One of them was a “test” drawing that I did early in the year (I was testing a new paper, and decided I did NOT like it for graphite), the second drawing was one of my accepted entries for the PAS Exhibition, and the last drawing was one which I was pleased to have accepted for donation to the Ottawa Humane Society for their annual fundraising Art Auction.

 

2014 Drawings

 

I suppose I felt like I’d done more drawings than just the three I actually did, because I managed to squeeze in a bit of artistic down time to doodle some 80+ sketches throughout the year. I’d hoped to find the time for many more than just 80 sketches, but am glad that at least I got in that many. I also had a lot of fun and freedom experimenting with some watercolour journaling.

 

2014 Sketches

 

Most of my artistic time this past year was spent painting. I had some big art festivals to prepare for during the summer, and as it turned out, I ended up completing 14 acrylic paintings for these events.

 

2014 Paintings

 

Altogether, I had my artwork accepted into 6 Exhibitions and 4 Festivals/Fairs in 2014.

 

2014 Shows

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Of course, helping to prepare for the very first PAS International Open Juried Exhibition and the associated Pencil Power Conference took up huge chunks of my time throughout the first 2/3 of the year. I really couldn’t be more pleased or proud of the exhibition and all the blood, sweat and tears time and effort we all put into making it as professional and perfect as we possibly could was well worth it. The show and opening weekend festivities remain a real highlight of the year for me, as it does, I know, for the rest of the PAS Board.

 

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I also spent some time on a few different artsy and/or personal projects throughout the year.  Besides the month long Sketch Project that I did, I started a 1000 km Walking Challenge and a 365 Days of Gratitude Project. I admit, I was not very good about keeping up with my Walking Challenge, but with the arrival of the New Year and all the usual enthusiastic exercise-focused hype surrounding that, I am prepared to buckle down and take up the challenge once again. Seriously this time and with great resolve! Yes, indeedy! 😀

As for my Gratitude project, I honestly don’t know how I have managed to keep up with that so far. I’m not always diligent about posting my photos every day, but I do somehow manage to take them daily and to spend some time thinking about what I have to be grateful for every day as a consequence of this project (which is, of course, the point of the project!), so even if I do sometimes take a week or more to organize myself into posting the photos publicly here to a special 365 Days of Gratitude page on my blog, I confess that I do feel very pleased that, despite all the other distractions life throws at me, I have somehow stuck with this project for 80 days so far … and have no intention of quitting anytime soon!

 

Day 1 Gratitude Project

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Another project I started in 2014 was a newsletter called News From My Studio. I originally hoped to send it out monthly, but when things got so hectic for me in the autumn, I couldn’t keep up with the time commitment, so have let the newsletter slide. I hope to be able to continue it in the New Year, though likely not so frequently.

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Over the past three years, since our granddaughter was born, we’ve developed a “family tradition” of having our grown kids, their partners and granddaughter Paige for family dinner every Sunday, but these last many months, since the end of March or so, it seems that I’ve had one event or another going on almost every weekend, and so we’ve had to skip many of our Sunday family dinners as a result. Then, in September, I started to work every Sunday evening for Paint Nite, which has been a real hoot! Paint Nite contracts “Social Painting Instructors” (that would be me!) to teach groups of people how to produce a particular painting over the course of two hours. The best part? This all takes place at a bar/pub with the music blaring in a party environment. Loads of fun!

I am so grateful that my health has so dramatically improved over these past many months, so much so that I am able to be more physically active than I’ve been capable of being for several years, even to the point of feeling comfortable committing myself to working such a physically demanding (and often exhausting) job as Paint Nite!  But, because my Sunday evgs are now committed to whooping it up with “creative drinkers”, and because of my kids’ work schedules, it’s been difficult for us to get together as a family any other day of the week, so I often find myself starved for the sight of my son and granddaughter (my daughter still lived at home until just last month), so despite the fact that I seem to never have two minutes to rub together anymore, and have been much more out and about socially than is usual for me, there has been a certain subtle element of loneliness amidst all the partying and good times. I dunno…maybe it’s just because I am truly such an introvert at heart. I think I am suffering a bit of “loneliness” for my own company and for my family times, if that makes sense.

 

Day 21 Gratitude Project

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So, despite a bit of a troublesome start, 2014 has been a profoundly rewarding and, ultimately, a truly wonderful year for me. Not only do I feel that my life has improved significantly on the physical plane with my health, but on a deeper and more personal level, I feel better mentally, emotionally and spiritually than I have for a very long time. I’ve spent much of what spare time I’ve had this past year on some deeply personal “self growth” and have done much reading of inspirational / spiritual literature (as evidenced by the overwhelming number of non-fiction books on my 2014 Reading List! LOL), have seriously practiced being present and mindful and grateful, have spent a lot of time in contemplation and meditation and I even “unplugged” for a week last March to go on a personal spiritual retreat, which I loved.

So, in many ways, saying farewell to 2014 is just a bit sad because it’s the home now of so many changes in my life and some very beautiful memories for me … but I look forward with great anticipation to what 2015 will bring, and I wish us all a very Happy New Year! 🙂

 

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3 comments to 2014 Reflections

  • Joanne

    Excellent review. Happy New Year Lissa.

  • What a full year for you, Lissa! I’m very happy to see your diverse passions here in this blog. I never knew until recently that you were an animal lover and love seeing this reflected in your artwork. Please continue living the creative life in 2015, even amid family, work and life craziness!

    -Sandra

  • Thank you so much, Joanne! A very happy New Year to you too! 🙂

    Sandra, yes, it has been a very full year! I wouldn’t mind if next year isn’t quite so full! hehe Thank you for taking the time to read my blog, and I wish you all the very best in 2015!! 🙂