Creatively Taking on the New Year in Just Two Steps

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In the stillness of winter is the perfect time to go within and ask: What do I want? (Pictured here: Crystal River, oil painting)

First dream, then plan. That’s it.

These markers of time — end of year, anniversary, birthdays —  they are sacred times of reflection. Yes, of course, celebrate, raise your glass in “cheers,” but also — and maybe more importantly — it’s a time to go all in.

Making art will quickly teach you the importance of being still with yourself. The creative process makes you pull from places so deep inside you didn’t even know you had. It’s from that place inside that growth and goal setting comes from. So each year, as I grow a year older, celebrate another year of being in business and being married, and turn over the calendar to a new page, I find that the most sacred part of it all is taking the time to go within. Thinking about where the road has taken me and where I want it to go.

It starts with my journaling, just writing and writing until a theme or pattern emerges. Once the theme appears, it’s time to set goals around it, form actionable plans.

The next step is figuring out how to achieve that goal. For example, one goal I have is to play more in the studio, do more things outside of my everyday landscape painting. Drawing more and painting abstracts are both on the list. (Stay tuned: You can learn more about these two ying and yang in a upcoming blog.) Both are joys for me. So I can wish for it, or I can actually put in on the calendar. “On the calendar” is the only way anything gets done in my world. (How about you? Do you function the same way?) So in the new year, my iPhone will remind me, every Wednesday morning: It’s play time.

It’s at this time of year that I light a fire, get the candles burning, put Jose Gonzales on Pandora and write down all my desires, and set in motion plans for make them a reality.

As always, I love to hear from you. What do you do this time of year to grow your creativity and your life? Comment below. And join me on Facebook and Instagram where the conversation is always happening!

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Wintertime view from Bohemian Road, just off of M22, on Leelanau Peninsula (oil painting)

About Stephanie Schlatter Art

Stephanie Schlatter is an Artist who draws from the world for inspiration. While she calls Grand Rapids, Michigan, home she’s often off on new adventures. For more than a decade, her journeys have taken her across the globe. She has studied art both locally and abroad, including time in Mexico, where she decided to shift her focus from photography to painting. Stephanie's travels led her to found Absolutely Art: A Project for Change in 2006. Through this non-profit organization, she brings art instruction to the children of Ethiopia while supporting their education. Stephanie's work reflects an expression influenced by other cultures which resonates a variety of influences that have given her work direction.

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