Read on if you’d like to see a few of the things we made happen last year, together as a family and also art-wise.
- Art Team Lead of the All-together Playground: this community-built accessible playground was built in a week and needed an art director with a clear vision. I selected colors, created designs, and managed a team of hundreds of volunteers to ensure the art throughout the playground was complete and cohesive. I’m very proud of what we were able to accomplish with an all-volunteer team, but it did give me burnout. This project took up a majority of my year, and there will be a case study soon detailing the work and process of this massive project.
- The Wild & Wondrous illustration series: this coloring page illustration series took place over the course of an entire year. Many of the designs are available in the store as printable coloring pages. I haven’t ever taken that long to work on a single series before, but it was enjoyable for me. I liked watching the style evolve and have some great comparisons now of how my illustration style changed throughout the year.
- Topaz (Voice, Heart, Perspective): this larger art piece used a new technique I hadn’t tried before, and was the first triptych that I’ve submitted to a show. A lot of thought and time went into this piece and a detailed case study is available here. One thing that I’m especially proud of with this piece is the custom floating frames I built for it. I also wrote a how-to post about building the floating frames, and you can find it here, if you’d like to see.
- Salt & Honey Market: I tried out a new juried art market in a different area than I had shown at before. This included organizing and labeling inventory, creating and maintaining a display, and monitoring sales. Vending at art shows and boutiques takes a lot of preparation and organization. I learned a lot from this experience and I’m excited to apply that knowledge toward future market endeavors.
- Monthly series: I started up monthly art series again. I use these to encourage myself to draw and paint on a regular basis as well as test out new styles and media. I give myself restrictions and post the series on Instagram. The series are also shown all together on my website here.
- Flaming Gorge: Kirk and I took a trip sans kids to Flaming Gorge, where we stayed in a cabin along the ridge of the gorge and snowshoed daily. And, there was this moment snowshoeing along the ridge when a bald eagle was swooping through the ponderosas…so soul-filling! It was a good break from life and was a time of introspection and planning. We had to be flexible with this adventure, but I wouldn’t change the way it turned out. The views can’t be beat!
- The beach and California: We were able to spend time with some of our international friends during a much-anticipated family trip to Disneyland. The kids enjoyed themselves, and it was so good to catch up in person with our dear friends. We have some really amazing people in our lives! Also, it was the first time for our little one seeing the ocean, and it was a wonder-filled experience we shared as a family!
- National parks road trip: While theme parks aren’t my go-to vacation, national parks are, and we made good use of our annual pass. Our family took a parks vacation and enjoyed the lovely views of Bryce Canyon, Cedar Breaks, Zion, Snow Canyon, Grand Canyon, Petroglyph Cliffs, and Kanarra Falls. We went on many hikes, explored caves, soaked up the mountain goodness, and enjoyed one another’s company immensely on our very first road trip as a family of four.
- Girls’ trip: Later on in the year, my sisters and I took a girls’ trip with just the four of us. We stopped by hot pots, watched a meteor shower, and camped by a gorgeous lake. We laughed ourselves silly, popped a tire, ate tacos, and hiked up a gorgeous slot canyon. It was a memorable trip that we will be turning into an annual tradition.
- Mt. Timpanogos: Kirk and I summited Mt. Timpanogos, where we hiked throughout the day, enjoyed breathtaking views, and went adventuring on a search for plane wreckage on the peak. We came face-to-face with mountain goats, and soaked in the ever-changing views. This hike takes several hours round-trip and there are challenging areas and terrain but it is one of our favorite hikes to do together. Sometimes your soul just needs to be on top of the world to gain some new perspective.
- Rat Fink Reunion: for several years we’ve wanted to check out annual Rat Fink reunion and we made it happen this last year. Sometimes it seems like the bucket list sits there and before you know it an entire year can pass by without checking something off that list. It was wild and sill with some amazing people watching, plus art, so bonus.
- Springville Art Museum Spring Salon: Speaking of art, Kirk had one of his pieces accepted into a museum show, so we made sure to visit several times and appreciate how nice his painting looked on the museum wall. We were as pleased as punch with his accomplishment and thrilled that other patrons could appreciate his humorous piece as well.
- Races: our family supported Kirk as he ran a race every month. It was fun to cheer him on and appreciate the goofiness that can be found in the running community. It was an ambitious goal and I am proud of his efforts and example to stay physically fit.
- Volunteering: our family participated in many volunteer opportunities throughout the year. First and foremost was the playground build. It required many hours of manual labor, and everyone in our family played their part to make it happen, especially during the build week. Kirk also volunteered at the Scottish Festival, for a triathlon, and at Colonial Days, a pop-up colonial town in celebration of Independence Day.
- Burns’ Night: Kirk and I hosted Burns’ Night this year, which is a traditional Scottish feast celebrating the life and works of Robert Burns, a poet. We dressed up, made haggis, and invited friends over to share poetry and Scottish fare. We followed a traditional program including the toasts and even had the haggis piped in with bagpipes. It was a fun-filled evening, plus poetry, so bonus again!
- Nature: our family took a couple of overnight camping trips in the last year, and I went on endless hikes. Being in the mountains is like my lifeline, and I can’t be without them for more than a few days before I need to replenish my spirits. I love the way the same mountain or hiking trail changes throughout the seasons and like to share photos of these beautiful spaces. You can see snapshots of some of my adventures on Instagram, and if you are looking for your own inspiration to get out adventuring or simply like to see the views from the safety of civilization, my Feather & Fir Mountains board on Pinterest is a good place to visit.
- Cougar encounter: anyone who knows me well has probably heard me say that my life is not complete until I see a cougar in the wild. Well, consider my life complete now! My sister and I had an encounter with a cougar on a night hike. It was terrifying and fascinating and sent us into hysterics, to put it mildly. We are happy to be safe and have a deeper appreciation for the beauty and awe of nature. Nature is the best, guys!
- Layoff: our lives are far from perfect, but we try hard to make the best of what we have. We have off days and off months, and this was just an off year for us. Earlier, we faced a layoff, which changed everything for us. We went into survival mode, and struggled with work schedules and daycare for the most part of the year. Each person in our family had to make sacrifices. It was definitely a challenge and still isn’t over for us, but there is hope with this upcoming year that things can turn around for us and we can continue to learn and grow from these experiences.
- Missed conference: I registered and planned on attending a business conference for creative entrepreneurs but wasn’t able to attend by the time the conference rolled around. That was a major bummer for me. It was probably the most emotionally difficult event last year because I had so much anticipation and expectation. Not being able to go definitely sent me into a funk and I spent a lot of time reevaluating my business direction and goals. The time will come when I’ll be able to regularly do things like that, and luckily I’ve been able to study the talks and materials on my own so it isn’t a completely wasted investment.
- Feather & Fir: recommitting to Feather & Fir studios is a conversation we have frequently in our house. Working on a side business while holding a day job and raising a family is a tall order, and it requires everyone in our family to pitch in. We’re constantly touching base with one another to ensure the balance is functioning and brainstorming new ways to grow and improve. My Word Of The Year (WOTY) for 2017 is “persist,” which is definitely driving my business efforts. I’m recommitted to producing beautiful artwork and sharing meaningful moments in this next year, and for years to come.
- Social media: I’ve been enhancing my efforts in social media publications. I recently started streaming some of my art sessions on Periscope, and have kicked up my Instagram game a notch to post more frequently. I also blog weekly and update my pinterest boards weekly too. Social media alone can be a full time job but I love meeting new people and interacting in different ways.
- Art production: I’ve started up the monthly art series again and have plans for several larger fine art pieces this year. I continue to update my shop with new pieces. Last year, most of my art time was spent with managerial tasks for the playground, so I felt that I didn’t have a lot to show for my efforts. This year, I’m hoping the time I spend on art will be more apparent with the larger output of completed pieces.
- Art direction: I’ve been doing a lot of thinking about the type of art I do. I’d like to transition away from the pieces that translate as crafty and focus more on the fine art aspect. I’d like to submit to more galleries instead of art shows to see if that avenue better suits me. I’ve also tinkered with the idea of introducing figure drawing to the Feather & Fir art lineup. Figure drawing is one of my favorite subjects, and I want to expand the business focus to include the human form.
Looking back on the last year in detail helps me realize how much can happen in a year, even when I’m burned out and don’t feel I’ve contributed a lot. I did a lot more than I thought I did!
Looking back on the last year changes perspective and allows for better focus on the positive.