Biscuit reminds me how important it is to take time out to relax and enjoy life.
I receive Roberts letters twice a week and they normally hit home on what ever I have been thinking about.Being the first day of a new year the one thing on my mind is how I am I going to achive everything I want to do this year and Roberts letter helps me to put things in to perspective . I just may complete a few of those goals this year as long as I focus on what is important.
Being largely self-employed, we artists don't have the problems of group stubbornness or committee incompetence. In gratitude and joy we make our private mistakes in an atmosphere of personal reflection, even in the face of self-doubt. Artists are pretty well masters of their own rise or demise. For artists, all attempts to improve standards are of interest. For those among us who might be thinking of New Year's resolutions, here are a few thoughts:
People don't always do what they tell themselves to do, even when they know it's best for them. We all have a contrarian within us--like a mole in the lawn. The stubborn little guy gnaws away at the grass from its roots and makes a mess of the place. In other words, keep an eye out for resolutions that your inner mole may thwart.
Beware of reaping the opposite of what you intended. Funny thing about human nature, people who set out to get wealthy often find themselves systematically getting poorer. Oddly, others who set their sights on joy can surprise themselves with wealth. Similarly, folks who seek truth can find themselves tangled up in webs of falsehood. Play it as we may, within all of us lies the potential for sloth, ignorance, stupidity, hubris and pride.
If you do set goals set short, achievable ones and give yourself a star when you complete. The short-goal habit is key to larger success and is at the root of human greatness. Life is think and do, think and do, think and do. Small steps can be greater than great leaps.
Risk-taking for artists is not like skydiving or catapulting over parked cars on a Ducati. Risk in art is experimentation. There is no sorrow in self-driven experimentation. If it doesn't work, so what? We try again.
No matter what your calling, no matter what your profession, the coming year will bring new challenges. While we are in difficult times, change is in the air and green shoots are poking through. As self-governing entities, artists have a profound interest in change. Embracing change, we embrace growth and we embrace our future. We grow into our jobs. The head governs, the heart assists, the body acts.
PS: "The Lincoln who is a lawyer in Springfield, Illinois, isn't the same Lincoln as the one who addresses Gettysburg." (Barack Obama)
Esoterica: To live, to grow, to take risks, we need to understand ourselves and our spiritual nature. We need to be our own spark and know well of our high calling. As artists, we need to cherish art's democratic nature and hold dear its nobility for all peoples. If you include music, theatre and literature, art is probably the most civilizing thing we'll ever do. With an honest prejudice for quality above all, we artists, among others, are going to have to be above ourselves. It's my sincere wish that your New Year be filled with gratitude and joy.
You can always read more of Roberts letters at The Painter's Keys