The first lesson of Life Book 2016 was a warm up exercise taken by Tamara Laporte. It involved lots of layering with different techniques and media and also involved using our word of the year and a symbol that resonated with that word.
Until last year’s Life Book, I had never set a word of the year but it was a concept that intrigued me. Last year I chose Balance as my word and it was interesting how much it helped me to have that as a focus. Every time I, for instance, felt assuaged my guilt over sitting and doing some art rather than dusting I could remind myself that I was striving to build some balance back into my life and that involved making time for myself and investing in myself. I was not striving for anything as ridiculously impossible as a 50/50 balance, was not looking to have more than a reasonable amount of “me time”, nor did I want my investment in myself to impinge on family life, somehow interfere with my role as a wife and mother. However, my life was way out of kilter to a degree that I was discombobulated. Having the word “balance” in mind and setting that as my goal for 2015 really did help me strive to achieve that and ultimately I did attain much better balance in my life. I also realised through that process that even though I am constantly juggling a whole lot of balls and have a whole lot of different things that I am trying to keep in balance, it is absolutely OK for me to drop some of those balls. There are glass balls that are precious and vulnerable and too special to drop so those are the ones to focus on but if a few of those rubber balls fall – if the dusting doesn’t get done, if I make quick and easy pasta for dinner instead of the meal I had intended – that is OK.
This year, therefore, I thought long and hard about the word I wanted to set myself for the year. I thought long and hard and came up with nothing. I knew all of the things I wanted to achieve this year, the things I needed to tackle, overcome, things I needed to develop, but I could not distill that down into one word or even a pithy phrase. Finally, a friend suggested a word for me that encapsulated all of the things I was trying to concentrate into my focal point for the year: Momentum. My focus for this year is about taking the things I started last year, things in several areas of my life, and driving them forwards. There are things I really need to dig deep and fight to achieve, things I need to advocate strongly for, and there are things I want to gradually develop and refine and hone. Momentum works for both those drives and I like that it is a positive word that still chimes with some of the negative stuff I need to battle through. So Momentum it is.
It is interesting for me to compare the warm up piece I did for this year’s Life Book with the piece I did for Life Book last year – my first ever online art lesson indeed. Evidently, layering is something I still struggle with. Stencilling definitely continues to be my nemesis. However, I managed to build up the colours to be much bolder and I have also learned to have a much stronger focal point in much more abstract pieces – even though my arrow symbol went badly wrong because of the spray inks getting under my masked shape and reactivating all over the place. Baby steps is still progress though.