Grief and Hope in the New Year

©Dora Sislian Themelis, Pond Turtles, 4×6 Watercolor for Twitter Art Exhibit

As I contemplate the year that has just passed, and look forward to the new year ahead, I am both grateful and regretful. Full of hope, today I picked up my favorite book, The War of Art, by Steven Pressfield, my guru, and this quote was the first page I opened to.

It is one thing to study war and another to live the warrior’s life.

-Telamon of Arcadia, mercenary of the 5th century B.C.

What do you know?

New year’s resolutions are well and good for some, but I find that every time I make them, I break them soon enough. So why bother? It’s futile.

However, there has to be a strategy to mark the months ahead. Some grand plan to not just study “war,” but “live” it. I’ve been on the losing end, in a way.

The last year gave me a lot of grief, and plenty of hope. Early on I had my first solo art exhibit that went very well and taught me some valuable lessons. Selling some work gave me validation. No sooner was the big event over that I fell into a work slump. Dashed the blog, the painting, the creation, the Muse left my side and I let other things get in my way. Resistance at it’s worst.

Here and there I pushed through only to fall into more Resistance. Why bother was my mantra. Hence, the grief.

Then a ray of light, a commission came out of the exhibit and I got myself together to get the work done. Great! Once I finished and delivered the painting I felt a sense of accomplishment. Soon after the Twitter Art Exhibit info came out and I painted and sent off my postcard sized watercolor painting. Hurrah!

Since then the tumult of winter holidays and obligations began, and there went everything to the trash.


The hope is that I made it to the blog today to complain about it all. Spill it out, tell the story, stop studying the war and fight it.

I think it’s a good thing.

The Possibilities are Endless in the New Year

Vasilopita, a traditional Greek sweet bread baked especially for the new year, in which is hidden a coin to surprise the lucky person who finds it in their slice, commemorating St. Basil on January 1.
Vasilopita, a traditional Greek sweet bread baked especially for the new year, in which is hidden a coin to surprise the lucky person who finds it in their slice, commemorating St. Basil on January 1.

Welcome to 2014! Here we are again at the start of another year. The possibilities are endless.

Just think, the year is spread long and wide before us, the road not yet traveled lays ahead. What mystery will each day bring? It’s time to get it together, get down to business after some gentle reflection of the year left behind as we turn and walk purposefully toward a fresh start.

Every thing I read says to look back and think about what worked, and what didn’t, last year. Evaluate your process, tally up your wins and fails, they say, and report.

Well, ok. Let’s take a look at where I’ve come through the past year:

  • Participated in a few more art show/sales events and sold paintings, jewelry, and knits
  • Listed more artwork in the Etsy shop
  • Participated in the last 30 Paintings in 30 Days Challenge with 15 works (eh, ok)
  • Started working on an email sign up list on this website
  • Learned a lot about avoiding Resistance, thanks to Steven Pressfield and his work
  • Learned a lot about inviting “the Muse,” again thanks to Steven Pressfield
  • Said “Yes” more times than I said “No”
  • Got back to the process in my work, rather than the final product
  • Looked into solo art show prospects
  • Thought about developing my own gallery space

It’s surely not a complete list.

What does the plan for the new year ahead look like, you ask? Here are some ideas:

  • Shrug off Mr. Resistance and get to the studio to meet Mrs. Muse on a regular basis
  • Paint twenty minutes to start and see where it gets me-the process at work
  • Finish this website thing already
  • Add to my contact list and finally get my newsletter out there
  • Plan some solo shows of my work to reach people really interested in collecting art
  • Get info on the gallery idea
  • Complete the challenges I sign up for instead of just mosey along without pushing myself forward
  • Throw out junk
  • Bake more of my own bread
  • Knit more socks, use up my yarn stash, finish a needlepoint that’s been sitting around since 1982
  • Knit faster

January is here now and it’s time to get moving on these things on my list.

Do you want the good news, or the bad news first?

Ok, the good news first it is: I already joined another 30 Paintings in 30 Days Challenge that began on New Year’s Day. Yes, January 1 was Day 1 to post my first work in this challenge.

The bad news? I’m already behind on Day 2. Yikes!