Happy New Year! Looking Back and Forward:

I have been setting up my shiny new bullet journal for the new year. Taking time to reflect on the last year and what one would like to do more of in the new year is something everyone should do, regardless of their stance on resolutions. So before setting up calendars and collections pages for the new journal I flipped through the pages of last year’s journal looking at what worked and didn’t, what I would like to do more of or do differently. Below is a summary of my progress and my art goals for 2020.

Transitioning journals for the new year is a perfect time to revisit my art goals.

100 rejections: 2018 was such a busy year that I just needed a bit of a slowdown in 2019, and so I resolved that based on a historical 16 – 17% acceptance rate, I would apply for 42 opportunities, estimating 6 acceptances. I actually only got 38 applications submitted however my acceptance rate improved to 21% in 2019. Based on those numbers and a goal of 12 projects for 2020, I’ll be aiming for 58 proposals this year.

Studio Work: 26 paintings in 2019. The majority of my work this year revolved around showing the Canada West and Currency paintings, as well as the creation and distribution of the Sunflower Project paintings. For 2020 I will be working on building a community and supports for the Sunflower Project, as well as 24 new Sunflower Seed paintings. I will also be continuing with the creation of five new Canada West paintings which explore some of Canada’s early immigrant experience. In the past few years, perhaps as a result of my weight loss journey, I have developed an affinity for painting food! So I will be working on 10 new Canadiana food paintings in the first months of this new year. Finally, I love the energy of Rumble House’s live art events, and the challenge of thinking (painting) on my feet as it were, so I have resolved to attend more Rumble House this year.

Shows: In 2019 I was honoured to have my work shown at both the Women’s Art Museum of Canada and in CARFAC’s Shaping Alberta. For over a year now Medium of Exchange has been working on collaborative and individual works for our 2020 reunion show. So this year the focus will be on finding a venue for this exhibition. Additionally I will be working on developing a show exploring Calgary’s past, present and future with fellow artist Scott Clark.

Digital Presence: My goal this year is to reintroduce a regular Blogging schedule by posting once per week. I am also going to be working on starting a VLOG this year.

Travel: In 2019 I saw more opportunities to show across Alberta, so for 2020 I will be looking at opportunities to show outside Alberta.

So that sums up most of what I will be working on this year, how about you, what will your professional goals be for the next year, and how do you decide them?

The Sunflower Project: New Tools!

It’s been nearly three years since I started the Sunflower Project. In that time some of you have asked me how you can begin to share your 1000 gifts with the world, and how you can keep your efforts fresh. While that depends on your life and what gifts you have that you can freely share, I have come up with a couple tools to help you along your journey. Click on the images below to download and print these tools.

May you share your 1000 gifts with the world, and may those gifts return 1000 fold to you one day!

Sunflower Project Tracker

For those of you that would like to keep track of your efforts to make the world a better place, here is a handy tracker with spaces to jot down the gifts you would like to share with the world. Each sheet has spaces to track 250 actions, so you can print and fill 4 sheets for 1000 gifts.

Sunflower Project Gift Jar

For those of you who would like a fun way to introduce simple acts of kindness and generosity to you 1000 gifts I have created a free printable for this Gift Jar. There are 12 preprinted suggestions for actions as well as 4 blanks for your own ideas. When you are at a loss for a kind act, pull an idea out of the jar and look for an opportunity to implement it. Completed all of them?
Congratulations!
You can start over by adding them back to the jar, or fill the jar with all new actions.

Click on the project image above to link to the printable. Then follow the instructions in the gallery below to assemble the Sunflower Project Gift Jar:

The Sunflower Project: 12 Days of Christmas

Tis the season for thinking of others and giving gifts designed to light the darkness, bringing hope for the morrow’s dawn. Here are 12 suggestions that can help you fulfill your promise to share your 1000 gifts with the world. Feel free to start them on December 25th as per tradition, or to start today!

  1. A partridge in a pear tree: Make a donation to your local food bank.
  2. Two Turtle Doves: A little money left on your gift card? Hand it to the person in line behind you.
  3. Three French Hens: Make a batch of chicken bone broth (or vegetable) soup for a sick friend or relative.
  4. Four Calling Birds: Call (not text or email) an elderly relative (or four).
  5. Five Gold Rings: Empty your change pocket into a Salvation Army Bell Ringer’s Kettle.
  6. Six Geese a-laying: Leave change in a candy machine, laundromat, parking meter or grocery cart.
  7. Seven Swans a-swimming: Keep travel smooth sailing for everyone by shovelling a neighbours walk.
  8. Eight Maids a-milking: Pay for the person behind you in the coffee line.
  9. Nine Ladies Dancing: Give your server an extra tip.
  10. Ten Lords a Leaping: Next time you feel yourself leaping to conclusions about someone, give them the benefit of the doubt.
  11. Eleven Pipers Piping: Pipe some frosting on a batch of cookies and drop them off at your neighbours.
  12. Twelve Drummers Drumming: Drum up some business… take some business cards and promote a friends small business, in person or online!

Sunflower Project: Community Collaborations

So last week I told you about the new painted utility box I contributed to the Marlborough community. I also mentioned the references to the sunflower project that I included in the design. Here would now be a good place to include some images of a couple of the other boxes from the project. These artists agreed to let me contribute a sunflower seed to the designs of their boxes, symbolically taking part in the project and growing it further to take root in the Marlborough community. Thanks Sharon Fortowsky and Ashley Oshiro for hosting the Sunflower Project in your projects. Hopefully we can collaborate again soon!

City of Calgary Painted Utility Box
Ashley Oshiro
(Detail with Sunflower seed by Debbie.lee Miszaniec)

City of Calgary Painted Utility Box
Ashley Oshiro

City of Calgary Painted Utility Box
Sharon Fortowsky
(Detail with Sunflower seed by Debbie.lee Miszaniec)

City of Calgary Painted Utility Box
Sharon Fortowsky

Did I Mention? New Painted City Utility Box.

Hi,

It appears I am so behind on keeping the blog up to date!

SO last spring I was given the opportunity to participate in a program bringing a suite of new painted utility boxes to the Marlborough Community in Calgary. I jumped at the chance, having spent nearly a decade of my formative years in the neighbourhood. Each artist created a design concept responding to the overall theme of home,  and to information gathered during an extensive phase of community engagement.

Here was my contribution to the Curb appeal in the Marlborough Community:

Home
Painted Utility Box
City of Calgary
Marlborough Community
Debbie.lee Miszaniec

Home
Painted Utility Box
City of Calgary
Marlborough Community
Debbie.lee Miszaniec

Home
Painted Utility Box
City of Calgary
Marlborough Community
Debbie.lee Miszaniec

Home
Painted Utility Box
City of Calgary
Marlborough Community
Debbie.lee Miszaniec

You may notice the retro colour scheme and styling. Marlborough is a 1970’s community and in talking to residents it impressed me how many people had bought when Marlborough was new and still lived there. It was also impressive to me how many people said it was their community and their neighbours that meant the most to them when they thought about their experience of living in Marlborough.  So I decided to create a design that was an ode to the 70’s roots of the area, and that focused on the points in our homes where we interact with our neighbours.  The theme of community was also a natural fit for the sunflower project, and you will see that I included copious references to it in the design.

Building Bridges: The Sunflower Project & the 2019 Multifaith Calendar

Wish150 Alberta Mosaic
Detail
Acrylic on Panel

I am pleased to say that the Sunflower Project is growing yet again!

The wish 150 Alberta Mosaic Sunflower has been selected by the Multifaith Action Society for inclusion in their 2019 Multifaith Calendar. The 2019 theme is Coming Together: Exploring New Connections. As the  aim of the sunflower project is to create bridges of good will and the growth of positive action, I felt that the Sunflower Project would be a great fit for the Multifaith Calendar. I am also honoured to be recognized and included as an artist of no faith (by choice), by the inclusion of my work in the calendar.

” Founded in 1972, the Multifaith Action Society (MAS) is a Canadian registered charity dedicated to the facilitation of interfaith education and dialogue. For over forty years, MAS has worked to build bridges between the myriad cultural and spiritual communities that characterize British Columbia, and has collaborated on a wide variety of public education campaigns and initiatives that have affected positive social change while raising awareness of multicultural issues.”

I believe that the effort to promote understanding between cultures and faiths is a good and worthy one. Therefore I am happy to have the Sunflower Project featured in a fundraising initiative which will be supported by individuals who also believe in affecting positive social change across cultures and faiths.

I will make sure to let you know when the calendars become available for purchase!

The Sunflower Project: Sharing Opportunities

Taking it Global, the group behind the Canada Wish 150 Mosaic Project, has asked me to share a funding opportunity for Canadians between ages 15 and 30 to initiate and implement community building projects, from gatherings to gardens and beyond. Funding levels for projects range from $250 – $1500. Visit   Canada Service Corps to learn more!

The Sunflower Project: Inspired Actions – Kelly Small

Wish150 Alberta Mosaic
Detail
Acrylic on Panel

A letter from a member of the Sunflower Project:
I happened to sit beside Debbie.lee and her friend as we made art at Rumble House one evening over a year ago. Towards the end of the evening, she mentioned she was an artist and told be about her website and sunflower project. I was intrigued and inspired! At the time, I had been doing some soul searching after being a stay-at-home mom for 5 years and having done a fair amount of artistic journaling that year as a way of expressing my grief after my Mom passed away in February 2016. I would look at the sunflower seed painting she sent me, pinned to the bulletin board above the sewing area I had created with my Mom’s sewing machine. And then the seed sprouted as I realized I could share artistic journaling with others. I started a Meet-up group called Artistic Journaling for Times of Transition and have offered 12 sessions. This is now sprouting and growing in other directions as I continue to share my gifts with the world. Thanks planting a seed, Debbie.lee!
Artfully yours,
Kelly Small
I can’t tell you how much it means to know that the seeds are sprouting out in the world! If you would like to join the project  follow this link to sign up.
Congratulations Kelly, I look forward to seeing more from your growing project in the future!
Debbie.lee Miszaniec,
One Life Fine Art

Sunflower Seed Paintings 31 – 36

These six sunflower seed paintings are the first for 2018, and the first of thirty I was able to purchase materials for, thanks to the honorarium from Taking It Global’s Wish 150 Mosaic project. Thanks Taking It Global!

In honour of the new year, I decided to take these six back to basics with black and white, and to explore active words which might give us thought about how we want to be in the new year.

Root has already gone to a good home. I am sure the rest would also like to find their homes! Go here to learn about the project and sign up to receive one free, or donate to ensure we keep this project going!

Sunflower Project 2017 Review

Wish150 Alberta Mosaic
Detail
Acrylic on Panel

One year since I started the Sunflower Project, to encourage lovers of art and of life to share their gifts with the world.

This has resulted in 30 paintings completed for the project, 18 of them with the assistance of donated funds from supporters.  25 paintings have been mailed, my gift, to people who have signed up on the web site to participate in the Sunflower Project.

And then, the project grew: Taking It Global and Wish 150 invited me to contribute a piece to the Alberta Mosaic. The detail above is from the panel I contributed to the mosaic, and is based on the Sunflower Project. The Mosaic was unveiled in Edmonton at the end of October, and there are plans being discussed to have it exhibited in Calgary as well.

As a result of receiving the honorarium for contributing to the mosaic, I am able to produce and mail 30 more Sunflower Seed paintings!

I look forward to carrying the Sunflower Project into 2018 and watching as those seeds grow into something beautiful!