I love this last week of the year. Things all seem to go slower, folks are in that post-christmas high, and knowing that the next weekend holds more good times with friends and famly seems to eliminate any real desire to get back to an all out pace of work. I think its also a great time to really take a long look back and reflect on what was accomplished in the year.
As far as 2011 goes, I can truly say it was one of the best years I’ve had and was filled with all kinds of changes and new directions.
First and foremost was of course the birth of our daughter Mika, right at the end of January. I don’t think I had visions of what having a child would be like, and now that she is here I am enveloped in this constant and repeating sense of blooming. It is as though I’m watching these amazing flowers keep opening to the universe around us. Each day, there is some new sense of awareness, some new ability, and some new interaction with the world, that both delights and fascinates me. Its good to have someone new around to laugh with, and she hardly knows any of my best jokes.
So yeah, the daughter, amazing and life changing. And most of the year was spent adapting to the new reality of living and loving with her, and that process continues.
Elsewhere, the next big event happened in September, as we moved out of a 1 bedroom apartment, and into our house. We are first time homeowners, and that adventure is just beginning. The primary thing is that it gives us a lot of room, especially for Mika to crawl around in. It also all0ws my wife and I to have our own studio spaces, which is huge. We now have all this room to branch out and grow our art and our business-y ventures. Its this tremendous resource we are incredibly grateful to have.
It is a bit overwhelming, because now we can do whatever we want, and we have all these big ideas, but precious little time and money to apply to them. And all the house asks of us sometimes seems to be a bit of a distraction from work we want and need to do.
Of course, a new house and a new addition to the family have made this a less than stellar year financially. Its been pretty amazing seeing all this money flow out of us. Its a bit shocking actually, to see it all disappear from those carefully crafted spreadsheets. But as I mentioned above, this has translated into changes that are totally for the better.
As far as my career goes, I plodded along at the dayjob, milking it for all I could in terms of developing skills and knowledge. I think I have been mostly successful in that. I also took the first few baby steps in joining my wife in working fully independently. I have spent a good deal of the latter part of the year, building up projects and taking a few tedious but necessary steps towards establishing a track by which we can achieve one of our major goals of supporting ourselves through our own work – and not day jobs that suck time and reward us for things we are not overwhelmingly enthusiastic about.
I thoroughly upgraded my web skills, and my overall design skills for both print and web. These aren’t my primary focus going forward of course, but having some more knowledge seemed really key to laying groundwork for our future projects.
This blog has also been a measured success, its my first blog in sometime, and I think its closer to what I want it to be, than it ever was before. That said, I am hoping to make numerous improvements in the new year.
I also really improved as a colorist, and I continue studying in the hopes of taking on bigger projects in the next few years. I was able to finish a couple pages on my own this year, taking on commissions and helping others finish their projects too. I continued working as a flatter for HI-FI, and a few other colorists, and will hopefully be doing even more of that in 2012.
In other art work, I feel my drawing really grew in 2011. I have also finished sketching out a series of paintings to do next year. Updates will come here in 2012, so stay tuned.
We also had a few really successful art shows this year, showing work throughout Bucks County. We exceeded our expectations in terms of the feedback we got on our work, and of course in terms of the money we were able to make . Slowly, we will be pushing that forward as we really felt we received a great push of support that said to us, yes this is exactly what we need to be doing with ourselves.
So, keep keeping an eye out is what I am saying again.
The spring proved pretty terrible for us and many of those we know. I still remember the feeling as I bolted out of bed on the morning of March 11. I think the radio announcer had misspoken and said ‘Northern Tokyo’ (ie. our family’s area) as opposed to ‘North of Tokyo’ when announcing the earthquake. Watching all that destruction of a country that has provided so much to us felt positively gut-wrenching. We felt so overwhelmed with grief, guilt and a sense of hopelessness.
For the most part we have received all good news from our friends and family in Japan, but certainly not everything was great. Galvanized, we threw ourselves into a series of cards, workshops and events to help raise funds to aid Tohoku. We are happy to say we raised over $1,000 although, we still look forward to doing more.
The last few months of the year have had the definite sense of working to be ready for next year. Along with a few commission, projects around the house, and family festivities, we spent a lot of time planning and setting our finances up for further transitions in 2012. We hope to be working exclusively on our own by the end of next year, and that will take a great deal of preparation.
For 2012, the sheer number of goals and plans is totally exciting. I generally looked at 2011 as a year of planting seeds. laying groundwork, and tilling the garden. 2012, it is my hope, will be a year of germination and growth. Its getting to be a time in which we just have to get things in the oven and see what we can make. The changes will require a great deal of work, but I have never been more enthused about the possibilities. The seeds are in the ground, now we just have to see what the weather does.
My wife and I have tons of projects in the works that will involve, art, art and more art. We will be announcing things here, on Chaku-Chaku and elsewhere over the next few months.
We cannot wait to share them with you.
So, thanks to everyone who came by and read this blog over the past year. I hope you enjoyed it. I have been really grateful you stopped by.
So 2011 is all but gone. What did you get done? Whats in store for 2012? Lets talk below.