A month behind me, I feel like I have had some distance and can now reflect a little on my 52 Collage Journal Project. While writing my 2018 goals, I found some old notes and goals that I wrote before beginning on the 52 for 2017.
"purpose: have a goal, strengthen composition skills, strengthen confidence in decision making, create a cohesive body of work, show all 52 in 2018"
There were several keys to making a project like this work. The first was accountability. If you have a goal, declare it loud and clear! I wrote about it in my blog and made a habit of regularly posting it on Instagram with pictures from each week. As people began to take notice, my accountability grew. During more difficult weeks, I kept going...there was no way I wanted to let myself down and with people watching and expecting a piece a week (or at least in my own mind they were), I had to pull through. Another major factor was forcing myself to go into the studio even when I was tired or uninspired. I found that just being in there surrounded by fabrics and papers eventually led to a shot of inspiration.
So did I achieve my purpose? Midway through the project, I was getting much more efficient in my pieces. There were some that were more labor intensive but the general idea and overall plan came together more quickly. In the past I would agonize over every little decision which would ultimately cause a paralyzed creativity block. Now there was no time for that. I learned to follow my gut and just do it. I began to trust that once I made a decision, I could choose my next move based on the result rather than double or triple think each move. I grew confident in my compositions and my decision making. My final goal was to show all 52 in 2018. Currently I have three shows lined up! Writing out your goals, declaring them out loud, and doing the work leads to positive outcomes.
When the 52 came to a close, I gave a lot of thought to a new project for 2018 but decided to give myself the year to dive in and explore the lessons learned from the 52. There were subjects and areas that I touched on that I want to go back to and work through on a large scale. Since each piece was worked in only one week, there were times when I felt like I wanted to do more with a technique or carry through on an idea but there was not enough time.
The ultimate lesson learned was the importance of practice. I know that I am a better artist after this year. I know that if you put in the time and effort of doing something nearly daily, you will get better. It's a freeing concept really...this can apply to anything. There is nothing you can not do.