A Year of Exploration

Each year I choose a word to serve as a guide through the coming twelve months. Last year, you might remember, was a year of IMAGINATION, and I believe that word guided me well. I have definitely become a much more imaginative artist and am now able to see many new creative possibilities around me.

This year will be my year of EXPLORATION.

Great. Fine. Fantastic. But… what does it mean?

It’s easy enough to choose a word, but without understanding it fully, that word won’t have much effect. My first step after choosing EXPLORATION was to think about how I could apply it in my life, specifically in my art.

Art is always a process of exploration. We’re always learning new things, discovering new methods and techniques to use, trying out various ways to approach the creative process. How would I make this year different?

My first thought was archaeology. I’ve always been fascinated with the idea of digging up pieces of the past, uncovering lost civilizations, and learning about the history of mankind. Now, in 2021, I plan to become a bit of an art achaeologist. I want to dig down into art history, explore the lives and times of artists whose works I’ve come to love, and dig deep into all that I do in art this year.

In the past I’ve often been content to skim the surface, grabbing the most essential facts and letting the rest go. That was a good approach for me as a beginning artist. I needed to quickly explore many different media and look at many different styles. It helped provide me with a broad foundation upon which I could begin to build my own artistic practice.

Now I’ve come to a good understanding of who I am as an artist. I’m a landscape artist who works in oils. I understand why I love landscape painting, and I understand my personal mission as an artist. I’ve made a good start in finding my style, choosing a palette of colors that are truly my own, and expressing my unique voice.

But that’s only the beginning. Now, it’s time for me to EXPLORE the art I love, increase my knowledge, and work diligently to improve my skills.

  • I want to explore colors in greater depth, learning more about each of the colors I keep on my palette and understanding how best to use them in my landscapes.
  • I want to explore available art resources, hopefully traveling to different museums and galleries to see works by my favorite tonalist artists.
  • I want to explore the connections between art and spirituality and learn more about how to bring my deepest thoughts and feelings into my painting.
  • I want to continue to explore various elements of art and prinicples of design.

I recall a teacher once who instructed the class to look carefully at the work they turned in. Always ask yourself, she said, “Is there anything more I can do?” That philosophy fits nicely with my approach to art in 2021. As I learn new things, I want to l continually ask, “Is there anything more I can do?” Can I go just a bit deeper? Can I dig out a few more facts? Can I explore from a different point of view?

I am looking forward to this new year of EXPLORATION, and I’m delighted to have you traveling alongside me. Please feel free to point out places where maybe I should stop to take a closer look, places where it might be interesting to dig, and places where maybe it would be good to just smell the proverbial flowers and enjoy the beauty of the earth.


    1. It’s been so interesting… because ever since I chose that word for the year, everything I’m reading is about “exploration” and “digging beneath the surface.”‘ That affirms to me that I’ve chosen the right word. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  1. Loved the post! My sociology mentor had a fascinating life studying Aboriginal people and learnes several languages. He taught us to connect music and artworks (if applicable) to our readings.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I love connecting all and other creative pursuits. Art, music, dance, writing… and so much more! I feel that everything is connected at some level. Gaining wisdom is largely about making those connections. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

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