Stretching Myself In 2024

“I hope to always keep stretching myself and not stay in one box or lane.” ~Cailee Spaeny

As you might guess, my word for the year is STRETCH. Every year (for several years now) I choose a word to help me to grow along life’s journey. Last year’s word was EMBRACE. A great year for me to get outside my comfort zone to contemplate leaving fear and doubt behind. And this year, I am looking to purposefully take action to stretch out of that comfort zone and put myself out there in all my vulnerability.

I have decided to adopt a writing practice where I show up 5 days a week to write in my journal; how I’m feeling, what I may be doing, story ideas, poems and anything. For now I am starting slow with 5-15 minutes, but want to build the time to an hour a day. The journal is a purple leather Chic Sparrow cover I bought about 3 years ago. Isn’t it yummy.

I am also starting a new daily art practice. This is especially hard for me as I am a real beginner with not much confidence in my ability, comparing myself to everyone and saying how I couldn’t possibly draw or paint that. Sometimes when I take a course and the instructor says to paint a background and then make marks, I am lost. I can’t even think of marks to make.

All this is me blocking my inner artist. But I know if I just start, to try and make small movements forward, I can indeed get past this block. So the STRETCH is to doodle daily. I bought a few books to give me ideas, but this doodle journal gives me a prompt a day to draw some lines and I can even color.

I also bought this bright yellow blank drawing journal. Well my inner child had a lot to do with the purchase. She wanted a colorful cover. She also loves the purple writing journal. Yellow is my color of the year. It corresponds to the number 3 (my personal number for this year), and the third chakra. It is a year of enjoyment; to believe in myself; for the seeds I have planted to take root. It’s a year to be creative, to be an artist.

The beautiful crystal is a Sunstone from Oregon. It was chosen for me by a special teacher. She wanted something to help me channel and embrace my creative energies.

In order to more fully engage in doodling daily, I decided to practice drawing different types of lines on practice sheets. These are for preschoolers. I feel like one when it comes to making marks which is fine because I am, after all, a beginner. I practice the lines again and again on the worksheet, and then practice them on the blank page. Seems rudimentary, and it is.

But my inner child is adoring this and so am I. I had a hard time with the blank page until she yelled, ‘Just start already!’ I actually laughed out loud. It was fun just trying to draw straight lines or zig zags.

This may all sound rather silly, but if you have been operating from your left brain for decades, not allowing your right brain to engage very much, especially where art skills are concerned, it is the perfect solution to break free. It actually allows for a balanced approach between my left and right brain. All in all I am excited as I embark on this creative journey. This journey of expanding and trusting in myself.

I do have a special vase….a yellow one for this special New Year’s post. I love it on top of my antique dresser. That’s a photo of my grandmother from 1919.

My husband once again bought me Alstroemeria. He is enjoying his excursions to the store to find flowers for me. He loves the variety of colors of this flower and the fact it lasts such a long time in the vase. I love alstroemeria for the same reasons.

This yellow is so bright and sunny especially given the gray winter we are having.

With this vase, I am joining in with the wonderful meme, In A Vase On Monday, from Cathy at  Rambling in the Garden.

All the pictures shared in this post were taken with my Nikon Coolpix or iPhone camera, and manipulated on my iPhone using the apps, Pixlr and Prisma. You can follow my progress with #the100dayproject in my Instagram and Facebook feed.

All original content is copyrighted and the sole property of Donna Donabella @ Gardens Eye View, 2010-2024.  Any reprints or use of content or photos is by permission only.

20 Replies to “Stretching Myself In 2024”

  1. I admire your determination to not only listen to your inner child, but to also follow her lead. Child-led play is so important to the learning process and growth of children. I imagine it is truly good for adults, too. I know I enjoy playtime with our grandson. Maybe I will find my own “playtime” too. You have a lovely collection of vases to fill with the beautiful flowers chosen by your husband.

  2. What an interesting challenge you are working on this year, Donna – and it sounds as if your teacher will be a real asset in this process. Those alstroemeria are glorious – your husband makes such good choices for you

  3. It seems to me you’ve chosen the ideal path toward your artistic goals. You’ve started and you’re enjoying it. Keep going and have fun along the way.
    (I’m drawn to the third chakra.)
    Your husband is a dear to favor you with flowers.

  4. Have fun with your new initiatives, Donna! Your husband must be in tune with the appeal the color yellow has for you in selecting that luscious bouquet of Alstroemeria.

  5. I used to love to doodle in high school, covering whole pages and book covers. Now I see that it is considered good for your brain, maybe I should start it up again? 🙂

  6. Oh, it does sound as though you are going to have a fun year with your art and writing projects Donna . I am also not able to draw, although an art teacher in one of the summer schools I taught in almost managed to convince me otherwise…. we all contributed a ‘piece’ of a painting which was then put together and hung on the wall. It was Van Gogh’s Sunflowers. So much fun! Your lovely yellow flowers also remind me of that. Yellow is a good colour for lifting the mood, and just what we need in January!

  7. Very well-said, Donna. I have some of the same left-brain tendencies, especially when it comes to drawing. I really don’t have much confidence in my drawing/painting, but photography has been more of an outlet/encouragement for that area. “Stretching” is a great word for 2024!

  8. Good luck with your plans for the year Donna. What beautiful flowers from your husband and just the right colour to light up these grey January days

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