I have a friend who is a singer. She posted a video of her performing a jazz version of The Christmas Song last week, and a quick flurry of messages passed between us afterwords. She told me it’s a dream of hers to record a jazz Christmas album one year and that maybe 2023 is the year.

I replied that I have big art-related dreams like that too…. Maybe 2023 is the year.

A project that honors dreams in 2023.

The previous day, another friend tearfully told me, “There just isn’t a lot of time in life, and I don’t want to miss the important things.”

So when this thought about my dream projects passed through my consciousness for the umpteenth time, it came to a screeching halt in the shadow of the “there’s not enough time” comment.

When, exactly, do I plan to honor these dreams that are obviously important to me? Why haven’t I done so already?

There really isn’t endless time I concede, in the same breath rationalizing that I’m inundated with projects and due dates. There’s not enough time in the day to do everything I want, and career related projects come first. I’ll get to those passion projects. . . later.

But am I inundated? True, there’s not enough time for everything. If I don’t actually make these things priorities, will I get to them later though??

If I were to leave this earth tomorrow, would I feel content with the fact that I’d never gotten around to my dream projects?

No. I would not. These endeavors deeply matter to me, so why do I not making them priorities?

I am the one who either creates or accepts every project. I decide which due dates I add to my calendar.

Steering this ship is my luxury, yet I’ve forgotten to. Mostly I let it steer me or I let others guide my steering, assuming they know better – but why, and do they really?

When plans serendipitously fall through, maybe the universe is clearing space to honor those dreams….

I learned a few weeks ago that a solo show for which I had been loosely scheduled in 2023 won’t be happening. The funny thing is that, upon hearing the news, I was only a tiny bit disappointed and ninety-nine percent relieved. That should tell me something.

Maybe 2023 is not the year for me to be producing a major body of new work.

Maybe my studio time has cleared up for something different…. Perhaps a passion project?

I’m beginning to see how I live my art-life much like I paint my compositions: I choose things that feel true and right, then let the flow take over.

What I’ve learned repeatedly since I began this journey, is that if I do what feels genuine to me, the opportunities show up.

It’s just that over the past bit of time, I’ve forgotten to tune into my own truth.

I think a part of me is afraid to break away from the well-traveled path.

There is a little voice in the back of my consciousness that cautions me, “Are you sure you want to go that way? This way is what everyone says to do. That way isn’t really even a thing.”

As I consider my response to that voice, Lisa Congdon comes to mind. Her career is anything but typical. She is an artists, author, illustrator, teacher, podcast host, and so much more. Lisa doesn’t sit firmly in one category; she sells beautiful digital prints, books, and merchandise online and in a brick-and-mortar store in Portland, Oregon. As a successful self-taught artist in the commercial realm, she’s also accomplished her dream of painting and showing original work in galleries. Lisa successfully straddles not even just two worlds, but several and has thoughtfully curated a unique, authentic career.

So why can’t I? There’s no reason.

I just have to be brave and trust that doing the things that are deeply resonant and meaningful to me, my (unconventional) career will flourish.

With those thoughts guiding me, I’ve almost completed my list of projects for 2023. They’re unique, meaningful, and personally genuine, and I can’t wait to create ways to invite you to join me.

PS: This project with Alto was one really cool opportunity that emerged simply because I was painting things that made me happy, and this solo show arose from my personal dream to paint 100 small paintings. The proof is in the pudding as they say.