the year ahead

work in progress
{book made of plaster pages inspired by a book made by Stephanie Lee}

I’ve been getting a book ready for a collaborative project and it’s exciting to think that at the end, all the blank plaster pages that I have bound together will be filled with artwork. What is going to end up on those pages? How will I grow from this project? Will my crazy made-up binding last??

Those same questions could be applied to the year ahead. Except substitute “binding” for …? Intentions for balance? Intentions for good health?

One of the lessons that I am learning is to accept my time and energy limitations. I always feel like I need to be “accomplishing”. Whether it comes from my own capricorn tendencies or that it was drilled into my head by my immigrant parents who worked so hard all their lives, I don’t know. But it’s something I will keep working on. Acceptance. Patience. Knowing that all things have their time.

And what’s a more important accomplishment than raising my 2 year old son? My heart knows this, but sometimes the head(ego) needs reminding.

Speaking of time though- I spend way too much time on the computer! I have this blog, a blog on amanobooks that I recently started, Facebook, and of course all the blogs that I read. I need to be more disciplined about my computer time because my “free” time is so scarce. I’d rather be painting. And I need to be painting.

1. Time: I am going to get a timer and actually set it for 15 minutes. When that timer goes off, I need to get off the computer. Also will have a specific time when I check email and write emails. And a specific time to read blogs, because I love to read them. They inspire me and it is like a community. But I can’t spend an hour of nap time reading blogs or checking status updates on FaceBook. That’s just not productive!

2. Simplify: I have my hands in too many things in the studio. Makes me feel scattered and unfocused. I still need to continue making my handmade journals. But in terms of painting I am going to focus on encaustics and acrylic/mixed media. I know, that still sounds like a lot. But in my head I feel better about it. I have been working on a large oil painting, and my impatience is rearing its head. Again, the Time thing.

But also it’s important to have a focus. And strengthen my abilities and skills within those two mediums.

3. Learn: Sit down and learn QuickBooks for business purposes. As well as Working Artist3.0. I’ve been using the working artist database program for over a year now and it’s good, but I know I’m only using it at a very small percentage to what I could be using it for. I just haven’t taken the time to sit and learn it. But if I do, it will save me so much more time in the future.

4. Explore: I still have yet to explore the gallery scene in Chicago. I need to do my homework for the future.

5. Paint, paint, paint. Inventory as soon as a painting is done.

6. Possibly do an art fair in the chicagoland area. There are so so so many during the summertime! At least research them for the future.

7. Get working on the new series.

8. Create at least 2 new mixed media collage journals a month. That is the minimum.

9. Be open to opportunities. But also be mindful of what I take on.

10. Ponder some more about teaching small workshops. Ponder for a little bit, but then decide! Research.

11. Redesign and update my art web site. Add a section for visual journals. Make encaustic and painting sections more current. Old stuff does not need to be up there.

So, that’s what’s on my mind right now. It’s all very “work related”. On the other side of it though, my overriding goal this year is to just paint and learn and keep exploring my symbols,my inner dialogue.

Personal goals include baking more bread, going to yoga every week, growing an urban container garden of vegetables, exploring Chicago and all it has to offer, making sure to be in the moment with my little one. Being in the Now.

“How we spend our days is, of course, how we spend our lives.” ~Annie Dillard


  1. Lots here I can relate to Bridgette! From hoping made up bindings will last, to too much time on the computer (I recently made the choice to simplify and ditched facebook and it feels really goood!)
    Mostly just wanted to say I look forward to the posts you do add, and what ever time you share, knowing that when you hop to the top of the list on my blog roll you’ve updated, and I’ll come hopping over to see what magic you’ve been up to!
    May all your goals be met, as they are meant to be, and may the unexpected bring gifts of expansiveness.
    ♡ Karin

  2. i keep coming back to your blog. I love your encaustics and inspired by your process. In particular I resonate with your response to the computer taking time away from precious artmaking time. I am going to try to use the 15 minute timer approach as well, to get on and off the computer more quickly. Happy new year.!

  3. my best friend is the daughter of immigrant parents and has the ‘always accomplishing things’ going on – down time for her has to be earned – your list sounds manageable and true to you! – your 2008 accomplishments was impressive!

  4. Hi Bridgette,
    An impressive list to say the least….it seems like so much but when you love what you’re doing and your hours can be flexible you can accomplish so much. I have many of the same items on my 2009 list and look forward to sharing informations and resources….see you soon!

  5. oh bridgette i’ve started doing the exact same thing with the timer. my limit is an hour for the day. of course i’m not successful most of the time, but goals are important. i love reading your ambitious list it’s motivating and inspiring me to be more detailed with mine. the way you gobble up life is dear and wonderful.

  6. You should check out the Vespine Gallery ( in south Chicago. It is co-founded by artist Jamie Thome, a professor at Columbia College’s Book & Paper Arts program. Sometimes the MFA students exhibit their books there as well. It seems like it is right up your alley.


  7. Such a thought out list for the new year. I would definitely do well to borrow a few of these. And can I say…that plaster based book is Incredible with a capital I!

  8. That timer is a good idea. It’s true that we find inspiration online, but it’s easy to give it too much attention. It sounds like an exciting year ahead!

  9. hi Bridgette,
    I’m a fellow artist (also a mother!) searching for a good program for inventory and contact managment – in searching, I found your blog and your mentions of WorkingArtist – do you like the program? I was thinking about that one, but also contemplating flick or eArtist – ANY advice you can offer would be wonderful! I think I’ll try to subscribe to your blog – I like what you have to say 🙂

    Thank you so much for your time!

    Katie m. Berggren
    see new paintings at

  10. This is such a beautiful post and I recognise myself totally, it’s like me speaking here 😉
    Especially what you said about accepting your own limitations. Time to work and time to relax and finding the right balance!
    Me too I spent too much time on the computer!! Good idea of the timer-thing!
    And paint, paint every day, and being in the NOW. Yes!
    Thanks for sharing this.

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