I could write a post about making and keeping New Year’s resolutions, but you have probably read about 30 of those already and I doubt I have anything new to add. Suffice it to say my resolution is to make art every day in 2011. I have my journals and sketchbooks all ready to go and everyday I will make art in at least one of them. I prefer to think of this as my New Year’s intention, rather than my resolution. Somehow trying to fit this goal within the framework of a resolution leaves it open to failure. No one really expects to keep a resolution and no one will fault me if I don’t keep it. But an intention means that it is something that I plan to do, that I am prepared to do, that I am committed to doing.
I am declaring my intention to art making because it is critical to my work as an art therapist. I can’t state this strongly enough: If you are an art therapist, you must make art on a regular basis. It is part and parcel of who we are and what we do with our clients. How can we proclaim the healing power of art when we do not partake ourselves? Do we not also benefit from it?
Guilt is a strong motivator. It absolutely should not be the reason you make art. If it is the reason you are making art right now, take a step back and look at your motivations. How can you cultivate an attitude of desire to make art, instead of having an attitude of fear if you don’t? Don’t abandon your art making if guilt is driving it. Instead, make some art about the guilt. Examine your motives and use the power of art to help you clarify your intentions. I guarantee that this will increase your motivation to make art and release you from the negative feelings.
Make art with love, with desire, with intent. My New Year’s wish for you is that you will grow into your art making this year and that it will be a source of joy for you.