Author Toni Morrison on how to get better at writing—or anything, really:
"I thought of myself as like the jazz musician: someone who practices and practices and practices in order to be able to invent and to make his art look effortless and graceful.
I was always conscious of the constructed aspect of the writing process, and that art appears natural and elegant only as a result of constant practice and awareness of its formal structures."
This week in For the Painter #23...
1. Find Your Word
“New year’s resolutions have never worked for me — in fact, I don’t know if they’ve ever really worked for anyone. They always sound like a list of rules that I know I will break by the end of January.... Which is why I believe choosing a word as a guiding light for the new year works better because it feels so much more EXPANSIVE. A word can be embraced as a mantra, a meditation, a reminder, a promise. A word can be interpreted in different ways. A word can’t be “broken” — it feels gentler somehow.” - Susannah Conway
As a follow-up to the Unravel Your Year workbook by Susannah Conway here is another workbook called Find Your Word. Susannah suggests you find a word that will be your guide and inspiration for the upcoming year.
I haven’t chosen my word for 2022 yet, but here are some contenders: thrive, radiant, focus, open.
I love words and one of my favorite tools for finding more words is https://www.wordhippo.com/. It’s a thesaurus that makes it fun to find relative words and besides that, who doesn’t love a hippo? (It’s also a great tool for developing titles for paintings.)
2. January Strada Easel Challenge
Wow, December is going by so quickly! And this means that the January Strada Easel Challenge is starting soon. If you’re looking for a way to kick-start your art practice in the new year, this is it.
The Strada Challenge is a month-long challenge held twice a year in January and September. To participate you sketch/paint from life daily and post the results on social media, with the date and hashtag #stradaeasel. At the end of the month, all those who complete the challenge are entered into a drawing for a Strada Easel.
I did the challenge in January 2021 and it was a beneficial way to start off the year. I didn’t win anything but completing all those paintings and sketches was rewarding.
This year, I’ll be working on a challenge of my own next month relating to the Principles of Abstraction class I recently took, so no January Strada Challenge for me.
If you decide to participate, let me know!
You can read all about it here https://www.stradaeasel.com/pages/january-2021-strada-31-day-challenge-information
I wish you and your loved ones a very happy holiday season!
Over this winter break, I hope you can enjoy the little things, like a cup of tea, a good book, and a simple sketch of something that is meaningful to you. Above all, be gentle to yourself and to those around you — I think we all could use a dose of gentleness.
The next For The Painter will be sent out on January 2, 2022.
Merry Christmas and Happy New Year,