How to Begin A New Year

How to Begin A New Year

How do you know where you are going if you don’t know where you’ve been? One of the best ways to start a new year is by reflecting on the year you just lived. This has been particularly important to me as I moved from graphic designer to full-time visual artist. I no longer live the same. I’m building an art practice and an art business. Paying attention to what I have achieved, listening to my heart, and writing stuff down, helps me get clear about what I want to see happen in the year to come.

A few years ago, I discovered a simple, three-part, a year-end assessment that has me listing all my accomplishments, milestones, and achievements I managed to make happen during the year. Life goes by so fast we sometimes forget to acknowledge, let alone celebrate our successes. Taking the time to review all that you did in 2022 lets you do just that.

Next, I reflect on the six biggest insights I gained throughout the year. This does take time. I don’t always have an answer which leads me to perhaps formulate it as an intention for the next year.

I’ve never liked the concept of resolutions. The psychology and data all point to why resolutions almost always fail. A better approach is to think of what you want in the next year as intentions. These might be in relationships with people in your life, how you take care of yourself, how you take care of your work life, your immediate environment, etc. This is the last part of the year-end assessment and one that gives you the mental head space in which to find focus and clarity for 2023.

Here’s To The New Year!

I’ve put together the assessment into a beautiful, short-and-sweet PDF for you to download and work your way through. I hope you find it as valuable as I do.

OK. I’ll bet you’re wondering why the drawing of the panfish and what it has to do with starting the new year. Good question. I honestly have no idea. It’s just a drawing I did back in 2019. Fish appear to know where they are going. I’ll update this post when I have figured out a better answer. I’m writing this on a Sunday, New Year’s Day, and my brain is on vacation, albeit, in reflection mode.

May your 2023 be filled with creativity, opportunities, love, and, of course, peace.

In Conversation: Live with SocialNicole

In Conversation: Live with SocialNicole

Sitting down with Nicole Harrison, founder and president of SN:D Digital Agency to be her first live conversation and launch of The Art of Being Social: Live podcast/video series was good practice for my upcoming artist talk. I love the idea of talking to an audience, but my body has a completely different agenda. It wants to pump as much adrenaline as it possibly can into my system until I stop breathing altogether. Or so it seems. I have yet to pass out in front of an audience. (Thank god!) We recorded our conversation just days before opening my debut solo exhibit, Children of Nature: Find Your Wonderland at the Owatonna Arts Center in Owatonna, Minnesota. Check out the Art Exhibition page for details. Note to self: Don’t be so damn serious!

Full disclosure. Nicole and I go back to 2010. She was starting her own business and hired me to create branding for her new venture. It didn’t stop there. Over the years, I have been a board advisor and art director for the non-profit The Mars Generation Nicole co-founded with her aspiring astronaut daughter, Abby Harrison. It was a real honor and treat to be asked.

In this space called a podcast, we talked about how I transitioned from my 30-something year-long profession as a graphic designer to my vocation as a visual artist. It has been a journey. I answer lots of questions about being an artist and a businesswoman, my process, and a few other things. Take a listen.

Hawaiian Postcards

Hawaiian Postcards

It’s been a week since returning from a late summer 2-week break on the Big Island. One foot there, one foot here. Having traveled to the Big Island many times before, we no longer feel like tourists, more like visitors, familiar and knowing our way around. We took it SLOW, sinking into island time, visited with friends we have not seen in years and took in all the colors and flavors Hawaii has to offer.

Waipio Wayside Gardens No. 1
The red featured flower is called Anthurium. Watercolor with pen and ink. 5 x 7 inches.

I almost didn’t pack my Winsor & Newton pro watercolor compact with me and so happy that I did. Because we were taking it SLOW, I had time to paint a series of “postcards” inspired by the gardens around Waipio Wayside, the B&B Inn where we stay on the Hamakua coast, and from visiting the Hawaii Tropical Botanical Garden. There are greens upon greens in an island setting so I did what I could to push as many greens from my limited color palette. This is a good exercise ~ stretching and creating new color recipes. I admit I can get lazy, letting myself rely on tried and true color mixes.

Waipio Wayside Gardens No. 2
In the foreground is Blue Ginger. Watercolor with pen and ink. 5 x 7 inches.

Painting and drawing outside under the gazebo, I would hear chickens scratching the underbrush for insects, clucking and cooing as they went. I would look up and see the clouds etch shadows across the ocean surface. Huge stands of bamboo clunks, rattles, and creaks as breezes brush through them. There were times when the wind had a sound that would make most of us want to head for the basement back home. The energy, light, and air currents are different here.

Awapuhi. Hawaii Tropical Botanical Gardens No. 1
This is native to Hawaii, a plant used by indigenous people for centuries. You can use it to shampoo your hair! Watercolor and pen and ink. 5 x 7 inches.

I am a studio artist, not one to go out and do Plein Air painting yet there is something about working outdoors, drawing from nature surrounded by nature that creates a flow – I was so focused and would lose complete sense of time until my significant other would show up, sit down, and hand me a glass of wine. Is it 5:30 already?

To those who might be thinking, yes, traveling while COVID is still with us has its trepidations. Surprisingly it was not that uncomfortable wearing a mask on the eight-hour flight to the islands. We just got used to it and then sort of forgot about it. Landing in Kona, all we had to do was present our COVID vaccine cards and away we went to find our Turo rental car. Before traveling we filled out the Mandatory State of Hawaii Travel and Health Form ~ this made things go much smoother with no hold-ups at the airport.

Be Kind Rewind

Be Kind Rewind

I originally did this illustration of a sleeping fox cuddled up with a young bunny. What are the odds of that happening in real life? Understanding the nature of foxes and those of rabbits, it seemed unlikely. Still, there is a story there. The illustration turned into a holiday card that year (2018) along with a story about the Tale of Bunny and Fox. It was my Beatrix Potter moment. The story was well-received (as was the illustration) by all those who received it in the mail that year. Given our current climate in which we find ourselves, the Tale of Bunny and Fox deserves a replay. Its message is more timely than ever. Enjoy. And if you enjoyed it, please share.

The Tale of Bunny and Fox

drawing of a sleeping fox curled up with a bunny rabbit by Kristin Maija Peterson

We don’t know how these two unlikely companions came together. Perhaps Fox was abandoned or lost his way. Now he was alone and missing the play and romp of his littermates. As for Bunny, any number of things could have happened for as we all know rabbits lead a somewhat precarious life.

But what we do know is that both Bunny and Fox had an empty spot in their hearts they yearned to fill. After a sudden and surprise introduction, Bunny and Fox didn’t have preconceived notions on how the other would or should be as they had never been taught.

Instead, Fox learned to see through Bunny’s eyes and Bunny learned to see through Fox’s. They began to understand how they each perceived the world and in turn deepened their perspective of the world.

We don’t know what will happen as Bunny and Fox grow older. For now, all Bunny knows is he always has a big red blanket to protect him and Fox knows he will always be comforted by the sound of Bunny’s little heart gently beating against his own.

When the day comes that something stirs deep inside, Bunny and Fox will know it’s time to part and have families of their own. And this is how it should be even though they had never been taught. They will go their own way, not with sadness as Bunny and Fox have seen life bring change. Yet they know one thing will never change. The gift of kindness Bunny and Fox have given each other will remain constant all the remains of their days.

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I am thrilled and honored to have my work published in EYEWITNESS: Minnesota Voices On Climate Change in celebration of the 50th Anniversary of Earth Day — a collection of stories, poetry, and art from Minnesotans on their experiences with climate change.

This new book is a demonstration of literary activism with a mix of works from prominent and ordinary people. Organized into themes that mimic the emotional trajectory of our climate experience (gratitude, loss, responsibility, resilience, and hope), Eyewitness speaks to the urgency of the climate crisis in a heartfelt way and demands a bold call for action. — Climate Generation: A Will Steger Legacy

large detailed drawing of bull thistle flower head by kristin maija peterson
BASKET has been selected to appear in the upcoming publication of EYEWITNESS.

Climate Generation is also hosting a virtual book launch and Storytelling Slam on Earth Day, April 22, 2020, from 11:00 am to 12:30 pm. You can hear personal stories and musical performances all from the comfort of your home and still be a part of something big, standing strong together for climate action. You can register for this event here. Even if you are not from Minnesota or if you are, I hope you can join in! This is all about building a strong community.

Original Post Date: April 1, 2020 from our old website

Let’s keep in touch! Subscribe to Terra Kind Studio’s “A Creative Life” Blog and received posts about art, the art process, life as an artist, and exhibit news right to your inbox. No worries. Post frequency is around twice a month so I won’t overwhelm.

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