A Year in Review (2011)


One of the amazing things about keeping a blog is the ability to see what you were up to on a certain day. 


Whenever I’m watching one of those crime dramas, like Law & Order, I always wonder how I’d respond when asked where I was on a certain day at a certain time. I wouldn’t be like the characters, who are able to think for a moment and then spew out an answer; instead, I’d be running for my journals or checking my blog for some idea as to where I was. That, above visitors or hits or anything, is the most rewarding bit of blogging. It’s a journal you can see. Share. Link to. But above all else, it’s my journal, in digital form. 


As I sit here, getting ready to go out and celebrate the new year, I’d like to take a moment to reflect on the Year That Was. 


Like snow days, Roben-Marie and I finished out Points of Two. The end was bittersweet, as we both learned so much about ourselves and our art through the process, and became even closer friends. She’s someone I can’t imagine my artistic life without. 


I took a risk and produced my first art prints of paintings and journal pages


In creating a new journal, I embraced the idea of the Imperfect Journal; instead of working to make a journal that looked like those seen in stores, I decided to make journals with little imperfections to show they were made by a person’s hands, not the arms of a machine. 


I made my second video for Stampington


I created and launched my portfolio site. This made me feel like more of a “real” artist, and was a big step in my so-called career. 



In thinking of what advice I’d want to give someone new to art, I wrote a Letter to a Darling, advice I look back on mysefl when feeling unsure. 


I met amazing women at the first meeting of our mixed-media group, created by Dina


I was published in Somerset Studio & Artful Blogging.


I realized I was getting in my own way in terms of what I could possibly create and accomplish. 


Seeing the devastation caused by the tsunami in Japan, I sold paintings and raised $125 for the Japanese Red Cross


I came to the realization that I’d been undervaluing myself and what I have to offer, and decided to stop thinking of myself as a hobbiest and transitioned to a professional. 



I attended First Friday in Phoenix for the first time and saw so much amazing art, I was inspired for months. I also learned a bit about myself via that embarrassing contest! This gave me the confidence to actually go after the, well, the boys I thought were cute, or the shops I wanted to talk to. I’m not completely over my shyness, but I feel I made a significant step in the right direction. 


While technically started in April, May was the month when a majority of my daily vlogs were done. This was scary — sharing your daily life, on camera, through happy and sad days is a daunting undertaking. Being open and completely honest about some of my darker secrets was thrilling only after I saw I was still accepted despite all the things I’d kept off the ‘net and my blog over the previous year. Lately, I’ve been thinking of deleting the videos, as I feel I’m a different person than that girl, but want to keep them if only to remind me of how far I’ve come. 


While reading a book of essays and interviews of my favorite physicist, I struck upon a quote that really started this train I’m on, and that is the pleasure of finding things out. I feel art is a quest like any other, and the moment you stop having fun or experimenting is the moment your art becomes stagnate.


I was published in Art Journaling. 


I started taking a daily break for tea as a way to center and ground myself. 

I was published in Cloth, Paper, Scissors!

My younger brother went into hospital, and I spent a week in and out of his room while doctors tried to figure out what was going on.  15 minutes after he was released, my father went in to surgery. 


True to You 2 was launched. I poured my heart into that class, and while I don’t get huge numbers of students, I do feel those who were in the class learned something. The ideas created in that class have become the foundation for the work I am doing now, and I feel I’m on solid footing as I continue on. 

I really started to examine myself and who I'd become

Dina and I offered a challenge to do a painting a week. The last time I spoke to her, at IKEA for lunch, we expressed the same thought — while the challenge was fun, we’re not overly impressed with the canvases we made. But we learned a lot through the challenge!


I began my digital re-align (that is still in-progress).


I re-examined my idea of a journal, again, and shifted towards inspiration book and away from strictly a journal of paint and collage. 


My carpal tunnel flared up to unprecedented levels, rendering me unable to use my hands for anything for nearly two weeks. I spent the latter weeks still in wrist braces as I attempted to get some work done.  


I reflected on my first year living in Phoenix


I took my art outside and painted while dancing to music. 


I participated in my first blog hop


I was interviewed by Kimberly Wilson, one of my favorite authors, for her podcast on creativity and journaling. 


I sent off my first contribution to a book — I remember the feeling of reading an art book and seeing all the contributing artists, and still can’t believe there shall be a book out there where I’m one of them, one a woman will see and be inspired by. I couldn’t have picked a better person’s book to contribute to, as she’s given me so much confidence and inspiration in my own photography. 


My first stamp line was released! This was a dream come true, something I’d always dreamed about but never thought would actually happen. I am so happy with the stamps that were made, and am hoping sales are good enough so I can make some more! 


I participated in National Novel Writing Month. This was such a difficult thing to do, in the beginning, as my wrists were still recovering, but I pushed past that and nagging insecurities to finish my novel, at about 51,000 words four days before the deadline. This was an amazing experience, and I’m still working through the thing and editing out all the sentences that don’t make sense!


I wrote about getting past blocks of uncertainty when working in your journal. 


I introduced you to my new video format, Journal Girl in the Studio, and have a few secrets about that still up my sleeves. 


After months of talking to people and setting things up, I launched Journaling Deep. I am still amazed at how this simply little list has completely changed my life. Those who are long-time readers can attest to my stress at making enough money to pay for meds and the bills I have every month, and now, I have something that has erased that extra level of stress and granted me the ability to spend more time on painting, journaling, and creating quality classes. I absolutely love creating content, weekly, for the list, and have been pouring myself into this new project with wild abandon. And the feedback I’ve been getting — oh, it is wonderful and amazing and touching and YAY! 


I haven’t posted much this month. Two weeks ago, my mother had a seizure and was rushed to hospital, where she stayed for a few days before coming home. Because of this, our Christmas was very laid back, with barely any decorations, as we’ve been more focused on making sure she’s okay and taking care of her than the holidays. She’s doing much better, but is constantly scared she could have another (her neurologist has assured us this was a one-time thing, but my mother is, understandably, still scared). 


Naturally, there is a LOT more than what I've posted here, so wander through the archives if you'd like! 


Overall? I feel I’ve grown as both an artist and businesswoman. I went from that girl who still felt she was simply someone playing who just happened to be published, etc, to a woman who is sure of herself and what she has to offer. I have began valuing what I do and who I am much more, mostly due to the support and advice of a few very lovely, amazing women I consider my Reflecting Mirrors and mentors. I’ve cultivated and allowed my friendships to grow, and while I giggle and laugh, take myself more seriously. 


In fact, I’m now looking for office space to rent, where I can go to paint, create, and possibly invite clients as I’m hoping to continue on my mission of designing websites and helping artists create videos for online classes as a freelance editor. 


I have yet to figure out my word for 2012. All I can hope for is a year of better health for my family and myself, more exposure and articles and art and sales. And more of you, coming by, being inspired, and writing me notes. Because I read every single one of them, and on those days when I look at what I’m doing and wonder why, I can open them up and be reminded that even if I never meet you, I’ve still done something to touch someone’s heart. And that is why I have the best job in the world. 


So thank you for coming by, for reading through this mammoth of a post, and creating beauty. Here’s to a brilliant 2012. 


I'll be back tomorrow with what I hope to accomplish and change next year. For now, I'm off to celebrate the end of a rubbish year and the beginning of a better one.