Life etc.



Happy New Year! I started working on this post a few weeks ago when I was knee deep in goal setting for 2015, planning which shows to apply to this year and doing some general reflection on the year that had past.

And then John (my partner) got sick. And then I got sick. And all of my grand plans got shoved to the side by a pile of Kleenex and a never-ending Netflix queue.

Maybe that’s OK. Maybe a few weeks into the year is an even better place to start from when it comes to setting goals because we’ve had time to settle back into our regular schedules. I tend to go way overboard. My TO DO list is a mile long because there are all kinds of things I want to do. I end up with 10 projects that are started and zero that are completed. Not good!

Aside from not getting anything done, I also end up feeling super stressed, behind and like I’m perpetually running on one of those mouse wheels.

So for 2015, I’m going to follow Danielle LaPorte’s advice and set my intentions based on how I want to FEEL.

I want ease.

Simplicity. A place for everything. Not so much struggle, whether it’s hauling around a complicated display to set up at a market for just 1 day or digging through piles of socks every morning to find one of the 6 pairs I regularly wear. I can barely close my sock drawer there are so many pairs in there! Why? Why does 1 person need 47 pairs of socks? I want to purge everything in my house I don’t absolutely love.

I want to feel passionate.

I am fully committed to creating affordable pieces of art that fit every budget. I really dislike the way the art community can feel exclusionary and snobby. However, in my efforts to offer inexpensive reproductions of my original paintings, I’m noticing my time is now largely spent making these reproductions instead of new work I’m excited about. I need to devote more time to creating. I want more studio time where I get to experiment with new materials, like watercolors, ink. I want to make more abstract, organic work. More passion!

painting by artist Kris Brownlee

“The Muted Swan” ~ acrylic on canvas

So how is this different?

I won’t go through all of my core desired feelings, but just to give you an idea, here’s where my focus on how I want to *feel* shifts my behavior in a way that traditional goal-setting often fails.

Traditional goal: I will go to the studio at least 5 days a week.

I want to paint more & devote more time to my creative practice. That part is the same. And that’s where people usually start off great (for the first week or so of January).

Then…life happens.

I get sick and miss several days. I’m behind on shipping orders. I need to restock the retail stores that carry my work. Taxes.

Now I’ve failed at my goal of getting to the studio 5 days a week.

Now I feel like a failure.

And since I already feel like a loser, it makes it that much easier to press snooze when my alarm goes off & stay in bed with my puppies (who DON’T think I’m a loser, btw).

cute dog

On the other hand…

If I’m living my life from a place where wanting to feel passionate about my work IS the goal, that helps me make better choices. I can ask myself:

“Will watching 1 more episode of The Walking Dead make me feel more passionate?”

No. Go to bed.

“Will going to this art opening tonight make me feel more passionate?”

Yes. Get your ass out of those damn yoga pants & go see some art.

“Will buying these beautiful new brushes make me more passionate about my work?” Maybe. “What about these shoes?” No. Go with the brushes.

Kris Brownlee working in the studio


Now it’s your turn! How do you want to FEEL this year?

If you have any other tips for me, let me know in the comments!



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