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  • Writer's pictureSue Bulmer

A Year of Creative Transformation: Reflecting on 2023

At the beginning of January 1, 2023, I embarked on a personal creative journey that would reshape the course of my year and change my life. Sounds dramatic I know but it's true, and I still can't quite believe it when I look back over last year. I'd pretty much fallne out with social media and showing up consistently in the attempt to grow my creative business. I set out to explore the depths of my creative soul, unburdened by commercial considerations. My tag line was ART FOR THE SOUL, NOT THE SALE!

Little did I know what this solo endeavor would evolve into. Connecting people from all walks of life and transforming my artistic pursuits into a life-changing venture. It certainly has changed my creative practice beyond recognition and I have learned so much along the way.

The Project:

At the outset, my goal was simple: create a sketchbook every month, filling its pages with the ever-changing tapestry of seasonal inspiration. This introspective project was initially intended solely for my own artistic exploration. However, I decided to document and share my creative process on Instagram, creating a visual diary of my journey.

To my astonishment, the project quickly went viral, capturing the imaginations of artists and creatives worldwide. The surprising upturn in engagement inspired me to continue, and I found myself inviting others to join me on this creative journey. Across continents, people picked up their paintbrushes, inspired to embark on their own creative journeys alongside mine.

The Course:

The growing interest in my project became the catalyst for the launch of my first online course, "Creative Soul Sketchbooks." Developed throughout the spring and launched with the warmth of the Summer Solstice, the course attracted nearly 100 enthusiastic participants. The self-paced nature of the course, complemented by an interactive live Facebook group and interactive comments, created a dynamic learning environment.

Navigating the world of online education was a learning curve, but the rewards were immeasurable. The positive feedback poured in, with participants expressing not only artistic growth but also personal healing. Some had returned to their creative roots after years of hiatus, while others found solace and inspiration in the midst of life's challenges, such as illness or bereavement.

The Connection and Community:

The sense of connection fostered within the community fueled my determination to continue the project. As I crafted my final sketchbook in December 2023, I marveled at the profound impact on visibility and engagement, with newsletter subscribers skyrocketing. Invitations for workshops and interviews began to flood in, marking a transformative shift in my creative journey. #myconcertinasketchbookyear certainly transformed my creative life!!

What began as a personal endeavor evolved into a mission to inspire and connect. The newfound clarity in my creative path has been both fulfilling and life-changing. Witnessing the positive impact on others, and the stories of those who found solace and rejuvenation through art, has been an unexpected but warmly welcomed reward.

What's next?

As 2024 unfolds, I am eager to embrace new opportunities, collaborations, and creative adventures. The lessons learned in 2023 have reaffirmed the power of art to inspire, heal, and connect—a testament to the abundance of possibilities that await when we embark on a journey with an open heart and a blank canvas. For now, still in the hibernatory phase of deep winter, I am gently reflecting on the year that has passed while thinking tentatively about the year ahead and what I want it to be. I'm trying to rest and fill the cup so when I do emerge into the light of 2024 I can do so with a full tank! Who's with me?

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