I am so excited to start the January daily painting challenge. If you’re like me, you are known in your family or circle as ‘the creative one’. Well intentioned family and friends assume I can paint anything at the drop of a hat or that I can paint anything well at the drop of a hat. The reality is I can’t and don’t. I feel I have to be in the right mindset to create. I have to know what I want to paint. I have to be inspired by the concept, image or idea to paint. I worry about my ability to render and my technical ability with the pastels. I also struggle with guilt. I am not a known artist. I do not make money at my art. I don’t get accepted into juried shows. My paintings aren’t on gallery walls and I am not represented, so taking time from household chores and daily obligations causes me a lot of guilt. I find myself waiting for a ‘down day’. A day when all obligations have been met the previous day, all chores have been done and no one will miss me for a few hours. Needless to say, those days are few and far in-between. I also feel guilt for not painting. How will I ever get my art into a juried show or on gallery walls if I am not making it? How will I ever be confident in my rendering skills and my technical ability if I don’t paint? It is a vicious circle that I find little relief from. Then January rolls around. I have always loved January, it’s the slumber month. People don’t come over much, dinner is in the crockpot, there isn’t much laundry because everyone is in their warm fuzzy pajamas if they aren’t at work. After our challenge last year, though, I love January even more! January is now the painting month! It is freeing to paint everyday with no regard for a finished piece and with nothing to prove. Just to make sure I give myself permission to make time to paint everyday. Trust me, the paintings I created last January were not award winning masterpieces, but I did learn a lot from them and I was able to explore my artistic style. As you have read before, I was able to do it in the comfort of a reassuring, supportive group. I hope you consider joining this January. I hope you can give yourself permission get dirty and paint, for a few days, weeks or the whole month! Hello January, it is good to see you! As always I would love to hear from you, any thoughts, comments, and ideas for what you would like to read in this article. firstname.lastname@example.org Have a very Happy New Year!