Sunday, January 01, 2012

The Old Year (2011) and The New Year (2012) & 11 Principles

How I want to live my life in 2012

I'm going to continue the tradition (started last year!) of having one post to review the past year and set down some ideas for the New Year.  This is it!

I like the fact I didn't have a set of clear plans and objectives for last year.  As a result I didn't feel any need to be in any way depressed about the fact I didn't meet my objectives.

Last year, the main reason why I didn't have any specific plans was because of the planned retirement of "himself".  I hadn't much of clue how that would affect my life, what I did and what I wanted to do next. Instead I had a set of principles - or mantras if you like - to guide me in what I did.

For 2012, I've added in three more and the principles are contained in the image above.  I'll start with the three new ones

I'm also not making any specific plans as the main objective is to get ready to make a move out of London.

#1:  Make space for people who matter

"Make space for people who matter" has been added in to my principles for 2012.  It was an aim for 2011 and I've been partially successful.

It's really great to finally have a partner who isn't working.  "He who must not be bored while I sketch" retired this summer and thinks it's great too and is thoroughly enjoying his retirement - as am I.  I've done all sorts of things in the second half of 2011 that I never would have anticipated being some of my highlights of the year.  All in all it's been a very positive experience and a change for the better - and I'd like more of the same please in 2012.

I'm also very lucky to have a bloke who is so accommodating about my sketching and buys me art books as presents!  I know a lot of my readers are a lot less lucky and so I also remind myself to be thankful.

For me the priority is that art activities and blogging has in future to be fitted in around "himself" and his wish for me to get off the computer more often.  We don't live in one another's pockets but if he wants to do something then I'm going to be flexible.

#2:  Be efficient and effective

This year I've decided to print out my new set of principles for 2012 and will put them on the wall in front of my desk in 2012 (right next to the lovely calendar of Gustav Klimt landscapes!) - to remind myself of what I need to focus on.

I need to recognise that health issues (I'm getting old!) have a practical impact on what I can do easily - both in terms of efficiency and effectiveness. After an extremely painful time, when I was more or less housebound I've finally got a diagnosis for why foot have been causing so many more problems than usual and now need to get on with doing what I need to do to help myself make life a bit easier than it has been in 2011.  I like walking and I'd like to continue walking and consequently I need to build in more walking again to my routine - this time wearing my new and very attractive(!) compression stockings.  Watch out for more "on the hoof" sketching.

One thing I also need to do is write blog posts in less time - so I'm up against a deadline for this one - I have to start cooking very soon!  (I failed - but it was 80% finished by the time I had to be in the kitchen).

#3:  Finish what I start - I continue to start far more than I finish.  I continue to want to do far more than I can fit in.  My head buzzes with ideas and if I have to get something done it has to be written down and put right under my nose to keep me focused!

In 2011 I tried to
  • do less rather than more - with only partial success
  • get more focused on the longer term
    • agreement to move secured (I think!)
    • discussions about where we move to underway
    • new places to live auditioned
    • the clearout has begun - I'm very definite about the fact I will paying to move what I want to have with me in the next home!
In 2012 I aim to:
  • continue to stop myself from taking on too much
  • finish what I start - by starting less and finishing more.  This means no new blogs in 2012!

    #4  Life is too short

    Many people think of life being too short to do everything they want to do.  I know there's never going to be enough time to fit in everything I want to do.

    I'm trying to be much more focused on the quality of what I do and how I do it.  Doing the right things in the way which suits me best within the timescale which works for me.

    That means:
    • I don't need to exhibit to feel good about my art - however it's nice to my work exhibited in good exhibitions.  I cut back to just the Society of Botanical Artists exhibition in 2011 and that worked really well.  I think that'll stay the same for 2012.
    • I do want to paint in oils - however that means I do need a better/safer set-up to do that safely - which is where the move comes in buy studio with house attached? ;)
    • I love my photography and started a photoblog - makingamark - a daily photo.  I've very much enjoyed doing it - it reaquainted me with all the thousands of photos I've taken.  However nobody ever visits and it took up more time than I would have liked (try finding photos to go with letters of the alphabet -  I've learned an awful lot of plant names and botany in just a few months!).  I think this one will be abandoned as a daily project as "life is too short" however it might continue on a less frequent basis. 

    #5 - Be Original and the Best You can Be

    Be yourself and do your best - isn't that what we all try to be?.  I got a bit pedantic about this in 2011 - however Make your own art! was one of the most popular blog posts in 2011

    I was really, really pleased to find that I developed a new interest and a new way of doing things in 2011.  I'm a real foodie and loved good food in nice restaurants.  I think sketching meals in restaurants and food sketches in general might just become an increasing focus of my travels with my sketchbook - see below for four examples from my travels through France.  Let me emphasise these were all sketched as I sat in the restaurant, with my coloured pencil case on the table and to the puzzlement of waiters as I whipped out my pen to draw a dish as it was served at table.  The trick is to work how much space you have to leave for the courses you've ordered when you don't know what they look like!  The best bit is you get to eat with your eyes before you eat for real - and you never ever get indigestion!

    A Menu in a Sketchbook (click the links in the title to read more)
    Épernay and The Grillade Gourmande
    pen and ink and coloured pencils, 16" x 11"

    Lunch at La Maison Jaune, St Remy de Provence
    pen and ink and coloured pencils, 16" x 11"

    Dinner and sunset at Le Mas des Vignes, Bedoin
    pen and ink and coloured pencils, 16" x 11"

    Lunch Chez Guy in Gevrey-Chambertin
    pen and ink and coloured pencils, 16" x 11" 

    Maybe a book about sketching food and interiors of restaurants and cafes in 2012?

    I've also enjoyed doing sketches of gardens in 2011 and will try to focus on doing more of these in 2012.

    A Cheshire Garden in July
    pen and ink and coloured pencils, 16" x 11"
    all images copyright Katherine Tyrrell

    #6 - Variety is the Spice of Life

    I have never been able to do just one thing.  I must have variety otherwise I get very bored.  However while allowing myself that variety I must recognise that I also get distracted too easily and need to focus more on my time management and getting done what needs doing.

    A reward system may need to be implemented in 2012 as an incentive!

    #7 - The Journey is the reward

    Two aspects to this one - making journeys for real and the journey of life.

    In 2011 I drove from London to Provence - and back again.  Mostly on the autoroute.  It did make me think it would be really nice to do it again but on the back roads and at a more leisurely pace - with another driver next to me so I get to stare at the scenery more - and more time for lunch!  I also need to remember that I get tired while driving and pacing myself is generally rather a good idea.

    In 2012 I'd like to take a trip with "himself" but we need to find a destination(s) and timing that works for the both of us.  I'll then produce another sketchbook and get on with filling it.

    I think I also need to start a bucket list of the places I do want to try and get to before I seize up completely and/or the driving over 70 insurance hits my wallet.  Hence there's a list to start with "himself" to find out which are joint escapades and which are mine alone.

    Most of all I try and remember that the end goal is only part of what it's all about - it's also about how much I enjoy the journey en route

    #8 - Remember there are no shortcuts!

    In 2011 I tried painting in oils - although they were alkyds because of the travelling.  I'm not going to turn into an oil painter overnight.  I need to work at it.  Which means I need to work out a way in which I can paint in oils more often.  Moving would be good......

    Homes don't empty down to the stuff you want to take with you just like that - you have to work at it.

    I'm working through first level screening at the moment and chucking the obvious.  I've not yet started on the art materials but think there's a good chance some of those might be heading for the bin or another home.  It's good to sit down and work out what really matters and what's just taking up space.

    #9 - Good enough is good enough

    I need to keep my perfectionism streak under control.  It takes up far too much time and stops me getting on with stuff.

    In 2011, I did very little formal artwork for various reasons - one of which is that I have problems with my hand which prevents me from gripping for too long.  I need to work out what I can do easily which avoids aggravating my hand problem.

    I also know that my first love will always be drawing and sketching and drawing from life is what I do best.  I draw fast which is why it's less of a problem with the hand.

    I might just try seeing if other people like my sketches enough to buy them in 2012.

    #10 - What goes around comes around

    I always think of this as being about relationships with people (a variation on "do as you would be done by").  Actions have consequences.  If you make a mistake then it's a good idea to try and address it.  I hope I'll always do that.

    It's also quite a neat way of dissipating aggravation when something or somebody has annoyed you.  I just need to get better at remembering that because focusing on the negative just creates such a drag.

    I'm going to try and spend more time focusing on the good and rather less on the negative in 2012.

    #11 - You get out what you put in

    I want to enjoy my life - so my aim is to do what I enjoy doing, associate with people I like being with and generally avoid anything which causes me grief or aggravation.

    A few numbers to finish with 

    Making A Mark in 2011
    • gained an extra 900 extra subscribers
    • received over 300,000 visits from people who looked at over half a million page views
    • achieved 1 million unique visits in total - and over 1.26 million by the end of the year
    • maintained its rank as #3 art blog in the UK and sustained a ranking of round about #15 in the world
    You can see all my posts really easily on my archived blog posts page at the top of this blog
      Travels with a Sketchbook is now 2 short of 600 subscribers while The Art of the Landscape has over 400.
        THANK YOU
        I'd very much like to thank all those who visit during the year
        with particular and especial thanks to 
        all those who have write comments, have conversations and let me know what you like

        and finally...........

        I'll be listing other people's reviews of 2011 and plans for 2012 in "who's made a mark this week?" next Sunday 6th January. If you've got a blog post about either do let me know - no matter what the format or how long or short it is. It can be a twitter addressed to @makingamark2 if that's what works for you!


        1. Happy New Year Katherine. Your blog is a joy. I have posted my goals for 2012 on my blog Dec. 31, 2011.

          One of my favorite principles is "what you focus on grows" Thank you for sharing your list.

        2. Katherine, I just wanted to say thanks for sharing this and all the other great posts you've blogged. I think we have quite a few aims for 2012 in common. In fact, hope you don't mind but I might pinch a couple and put them on my own studio wall :)

          I really enjoy your blog and look forward to reading/seeing many more in the coming year. I loved your food sketches and was quite astonished how you could draw them so quickly! The colours are delicious :). Happy new year!

        3. I posted snaps of paintings I sold during 2011, which lead on to two very small sounding resolutions. Both of which are actually quite large tasks. Happy New Year!

        4. Lovely post, Katherine, like having a chat over a cup of coffee with you. I'm sure 2012 is going to be a wonderful year for you both. You certainly contributed enormously to my enjoyment of the year. Thank you.

        5. Fascinating post, Katherine - as Robyn says, like having a chat with you. I can't imagine how you need to improve your time management as you get so much done! The sketches you have posted here are wonderful, I think the love you have for the subject shows. The Cheshire garden sketch is fabulous and the food sketches not just beautiful but so interesting and personal too. Best wishes for 2012 - and that new studio space!

        6. My blog ended the year with the monumental task of digitizing slides of old work. Your list for 2012 is one we all might follow except for "finish what you start". Some of my artwork is not worth finishing. Your many blogs are an inspiration to us all. Thank you,
          B. J. Adams

        7. Thank you Katherine. I love Making a Mark and look forward to it every day. You are an inspiration. A wonderful gift to all of us.

          Merriel Taylor

        8. great post and excellent resolutions - so much more important things than the 'I will Produce X paintings every day' variety.

          I've resolved to go with the flow! it's my nature and planning doesn't work well for me - I end up feeling pressured and not enjoying what I do - but taking up opportunities and ideas as they occur - and all those those in your first list too - that works :>)

          your time management, unlike mine, is phenomenal! as Felicity says, I'm not sure how that can be improved!

        9. What an honest post Katherine, it gives a sense on why you are able to do so much ! You have a clear vision of your life and work and this is certainly a plus from which we all benefit as readers of your capillary blogging output.
          I am not a planner, but I do try and look back on what I did at least, so I wrote a recap of this year trying to focus on positives so that I set myself a standard to live up to in 2012, hopefully !

        10. I like to add my thanks for all you do for artists - your posts are to the point, get us thinking and are a constant source of information. I am awed at the amount of work you do.
          I have made some small plans for this year - I try to make these achievable then I can usually stay the distance.

        11. Happy New Year, Katherine!
          It has been quite a year hasn't it? I have really enjoyed your blog since 2007. Thanks for doing what you do...

          2011 was a year of massive personal change for me. I look forward to seeing where it takes me creatively in 2012.

        12. Great to read about your future. I stopped making a "game plan" the year my husband passed away. When something like that happens, your plans just hit the trash bin and are never again thought about. Now since there is no one to account to for my time, I just do whatever takes my interest at the moment.

          I'm so glad you have finally made a plan on what to do about moving. I will look forward to reading about where you decided to move and seeing photos of your new studio. Have a wonderful year.

        13. amazing review Katherine!!!
          Happy New Year!

          I love your food sketches and your gardens ones too. I really need to go out for a few more 3 course meals so I can join in with you.

          My sketchbook based review is here

          Of course all my goals are still to be finalised... but I still think of all your wonderful and generous advice!!

          All the best for 2012!

        14. Katherine, this post touched me in so many ways! I relate very closely to all of your numbered items and see so much wisdom in your plans and choices. I also want to say how much I love your sketches and how unique and instantly recognizable your style is. Your color palette, composition and drawing style always delights me. I think you'll have no trouble selling your work in 2012. I've also enjoyed seeing your photography which also highlights your exquisite sense of composition and color. I hope you are able to keep sketching and painting AND keep sharing with us for many more years! THANKS!

        15. This may be a bit late. I so enjoyed reading your post, these are thoughts to live by everyday.


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