This year... Well this year has sucked to be frank. I'm a firm believer in saying when things have been crap and are crap. When we pretend things aren't, it discourages genuine conversation and isolates the hurting. On the other hand, if we ignore the good we become intolerable to be around and cannot celebrate with those who have reason to. So here are 20 things I'm thankful for in 2020.
Sam. I’m thankful for my husband. My Sam. My partner. My muse. My cheerleader. He sent me off to paint countless times this year when I was struggling. He comforted me when my paintings flopped and cheered me when they succeeded, and supported me no matter what.
I’m thankful for the Coffee and Creatives artist community. Coffee and Creatives hasn’t only changed my creative life… it’s changed my life. I went from painting occasionally to painting daily. I went from having the occasional commission/sale to having one once a month over this last year. It’s helped me fall in love with painting again. It's helped me write about my art. I've always admired people that wrote about their art and their artistic practice. I wanted to one day do this myself, and Coffee and Creatives took from maybe one day, to at least once a month.
Anna. Anna paints with me, problem solves with me, encourages me to read and watch new things, and so much more. Anna is a party, and I am so thankful she reminds me that creating is fun and should be fun. I tend to be a melancholic, and she reminds me to find the joy in everyday life. She takes care of me, and I am so thankful for her friendship.
Beccah. I am so thankful for Beccah and her striving to make things great. Beccah is always making things better. That’s who she is. She made our website the best it could be and is constantly improving it. She encourages me to problem solve when things aren’t going right. She puts so much work into Coffee and Creatives, and I am constantly impressed with the amount of the time she puts in after her TWO other jobs and caring for her beautiful family. I am so thankful she’s on my team and the Coffee and Creative team. She’s got my back, and I’m so thankful for that.
Christina. Christina is a surprise of 2020. She’s the element of Coffee and Creatives I didn’t know we needed. And we did need her. She brings grace and passion to my life and to our little artist community. She’s the special sauce.
I’m thankful for my church family. COVID has been horrible and isolating and lonely. However, one bright spot is that it’s now possible to be in community with our churches across the country. We’re able to attend, virtually, the church my husband grew up in, my church where my dad is the pastor, and the church my dad grew up in.
I’m thankful for my parents who hosted me and my daughter for almost a month while we were in transition from Maryland to Texas. They helped me with Joy and made sure I had time to be by myself. They are also the most faithful blog-readers and podcast-listeners
My art shed. It’s a dream come true. Thanks Sam!
My sisters. Although COVID has prevented us from seeing each other this year as much as I would like, I’ve been intentional about calling them… and they’ve been intentional about calling me. I’ve been more connected with them more than ever. Their support and love is tangible in these hard times.
Deborah Rose. Talking with Deborah about creativity, and the importance of going somewhere creative outside of your regular routine, encouraged me to look into creative retreats and to take a small personal creative trip.
Twyla Tharp. I’m so thankful for Tharp’s book the Creative Habit. She’s pushed me in ways I didn’t know I needed pushed. She’s helped me to push myself in ways I didn’t know I needed to be pushed.
Julia Cameron. I’m thankful for Julia Cameron this year and her book The Artist’s Way. I’ve started The Artist’s Way over five times on my own. This year, I’ve actually finished it. I’m so thankful for all of Cameron’s wisdom, advice, and activities. She helped me so much. She got me writing consistently for the first time in my life and it’s helped me so much.
My parents. My parents have always been huge supporters of my artistic ‘career’. This year, my dad commissioned me to help him illustrate a book which is now for sale on Amazon. My mom asks me about what I’m working on and how she can support me. Both of them listen to our podcast and give us positive feedback regularly.
My daughter. Joy is just that… she is a joy. She inspires me to create and is often the subject of my paintings. Now that she's almost two, one of my favorite things is to have her in my studio besides me: she with her crayons and me with my paintbrush.
Georgia O’Keeffe. I’m thankful for Georgia O’Keeffe this year. I’ve been reading a biography which is an in-depth look at O’Keeffe’s life. She worked constantly to improve her art. She pioneered how to be a female artist. She worked tirelessly to improve her craft and balanced that with her familial life. Although her relationship is not one I desire for myself, I admire how she strives to care for herself and for him.
Kai Bravo. I really enjoyed learning from Kai and how she thinks about food. Her PHED (pretty, healthy, easy, and delicious) acronym has helped me evaluate my food choices. I appreciated her balanced view of food intake and of life.
Coffee. I grow more and more thankful for the little things like a cup of coffee in the morning. When everything else is so strange and weird, coffee is steady in a time when few things are. It helps a hotel room feel a little like home. Its warmth and bitter smoothness warms my hands and my heart on lonely mornings in an empty house.
Ty DeMartino. I’m thankful for the opportunity to learn from Ty and he challenged me to think about my artwork differently. I am usually so process focused, I forgot to make sure I have a goal I’m working towards. He inspired me to write more, and just get stuff out: “Start with the beginning and the end, then figure out the middle.” This advice has helped me so much as a baby writer.
Morning pages. The process of morning pages has helped me this year. I am more connected with my Creator, with myself, with my creativity. I used to journal all the time as a kid, but it was something I lost over the years. I’m thankful that this year; I’ve gotten back into the habit of journaling through the morning pages.
Frida Kahlo Pillows. I know this sounds silly… but here it is. This year has been so chaotic and it’s easy to forget the things I love. I’ve moved away from the state I lived for twenty years, lost my great-grandmother, changed careers, and so much more. I can forget so easily that I love to create and to paint, and that it’s a gift from my Creator. I’ve got these Frida Kahlo pillows in my living room. When I see them, they remind me of the kind of art I want to create. As I passively binge New Girl for the second time in six months, Frida’s there beside me. She reminds me that I love to create self portraits and encourages me to pursue my craft like she did hers.