Saturday, January 3, 2015


I like identifying a keyword or phrase as a touchstone for the coming new year. I don't do well with resolutions and find that after a few months, they've gone by the wayside anyway.  But one single word, or a short phrase, now that's something I can relate to.  Brief, to the point, direct.  And having that little touchstone in my journal that I am touching all year long is a constant reminder of where I want my focus to be for the year.  Having it near the front of my journal is the perfect place, and having it as our first official prompt for week 1, well, it is perfect.

This year, my keyword is SIMPLIFY.  Keep it simple.  Declutter.  And I am definitely going to be doing a lot of that this year.  As a rampant collector of "good stuff" most of my life, I am feeling the pressure of all of those collections. The dusting. The packing. The Unpacking.  The storing.  It is just getting to be too much, no matter how much I love all those treasures. It is time for most of it to find a new home, perhaps to go live with some of the nieces, to pass down those family treasures that I have been the keeper of for most of my adult life. Perhaps they go live somewhere outside the family. Mother is gone. She will never know.  And if the girls don't want those "treasures" -- then surely someone else might.  But out they must go.  THIS YEAR.  I am committed and determined to make this the year I free myself from excess "stuff".

So in order to start the year off right, I started it off simply, after some not-so-simple thought processes of where I wanted this to go.  I grabbed my beloved Derwent Inktense Blocks and poised to begin.  Nothing is as simple as a circle, the concentric and eternal ring of life.  Perfect.  I made the basic start with orange, red and maroon and gave the 3 colors a good smooth-out with a couple of baby wipes, blending as I went along.  The baby wipe really does most of the work, and the blending is really quite easy.

I fanned out in concentric rings and bands of color until I got to the purple phase, and used some NeoColorsII by Caran D'Ache for these rings, and again with the baby wipes to smooth and blend.

I then turned my attention to my idea.  A single lone tree, in a hot, sundown sky (it does look like that, doesn't it?).  The sun behind a tree makes a wonderful silhouette and I just started it with a #6 pointed round sable brush and black acrylic paint.  The limbs represent all that stuff I am divesting from my cluttery life.  They will all be gone soon, much like the look of this tree, devoid of the clutter or fullness of the leave (my stuff).  The tree was filled in and feathered at the bottom to give the effect of tree roots.  Roots.  My family roots run long and deep. A constant reminder of where I come from and what is really important in my life. Not "stuff." Makes me focus on the plan, right?

And lastly, the word. The touchstone. The goal:  SIMPLIFY.  Nothing could be simpler.  Now to make it all happen.  Less commitments outside the house this year.  Fewer commitments that eat up my time.  Less time online and more time for myself and my art.  More time for the family.  My OCD is starting to kick in and take over like it should. Schedule that time and stick to it. Make an appointment with myself. Block out that special "me" time and family / husband time and get that "stuff" into those boxes and out the door, no matter where it goes.  Less dusting.  Yay.  I see this plan coming together nicely.

What keyword or phrase will you be focusing on this year?


  1. Fantastic art and very moving post! Love the idea of it all....good job, my friend!

  2. Yes I agree this is a very moving post. More time for you friend is a grand idea.

  3. Love it Betty what a beautiful page. Simplify is a fantastic word and you achieved a beautiful statement with the tree.

  4. Lovely art and great sentiment Betty!

  5. I'm hearing you in your quest for less. Love the sentiment and the art

  6. Thank you for the kudos, ladies. I thought long and hard about where I really wanted to go this year and what I needed to do in the way of change. I'm totally saturated with "stuff" and personally the hubs and I are going to make some big changes this year and truly simplify our lives.

  7. Sandy I feel like you made this fir me too. At 64 years old I decided that a lot of my keepsakes have made me happy this long. Time to let the younger people in my family enjoy them for years to come. And that also would fill my heart with joy! This is so beautiful love the way it came together for us (wink). I think the way you represented this should be published in a magazine to inspire more women.