Happy New Year!! If you’re like me, you love the beginning of the New Year. It seems as if you’re starting with a clean slate and everything is possible. Yet, I find if I don’t set some goals right at the start of the year, I can easily drift through it without accomplishing some major goals. And I’m sure you know how quickly the year can scamper by! So as I was setting some arty New Year resolutions for myself, I realized I could share and expand my ideas with you.
Okay, here are, in no particular order (except for the first one – it needs to be at the top!) some ideas for New Year resolutions:
We all get distracted by life. It’s so easy to come up with excuses for not painting, for not getting into the studio. Yet it is possible to squeeze it in! We know from previous experience that even 10 minutes can produce something. Taking any kind of action is better than doing nothing at all. Put pastel to paper and feel good about yourself even if it’s for a short time. It’s the journey – the process – that’s valuable. Regular consistent work = better work. Schedule painting time on your calendar – set that appointment with yourself. Make painting a priority!
It’s sooooooo easy to be negative about our own work. So how about this: paint paint paint, take a good long break, and paint some more. Then at some later time, when you’re fully detached from your painting both physically and emotionally, look at it with a critical eye. Waiting until some time after painting can help you be less negative in your criticism.
Avoid being skimpy with your materials
A good idea is to set an intention to use up a certain amount of material by the end of the year. This is to do with preciousness and scarcity mindset around materials especially expensive materials or difficult-to-obtain supplies. For example, you just got a box of Terry Ludwig pastels and they’re so perfect. And they cost so much! Set the intention to use them up by the end of the year. Don’t hoard them, don’t be stingy with them, use them! Think abundance, not scarcity.
Don’t beat yourself up about not painting
Some days, even when you try your darndest, you don’t make it into the studio. You can feel guilt, frustration, anger at yourself for not sticking with your commitment. But sometimes other things are more important – visiting family and friends for instance – or sometimes it’s an ugh-y day, or sometimes you feel truly uninspired. Be okay with taking a break. And take that break fully rather than tentatively. Tomorrow is another day and once you’ve developed the habit of painting regularly, you’ll be back at it the next day!
There’s joy in being uncertain about the outcome of your painting. Knowing what will happen can lead to boredom which can lead to uninspired painting. Embrace the possibilities of newness and change. It can lead to amazing growth and new directions. Be unafraid of making mistakes as they are the necessary stepping stones that take you across the river to a whole new world.
Paint what inspires YOU
Be unafraid of what your inner self asks you to paint even if you’re afraid of what you see there. This is your whole self emerging. You may not know what’s there but it will be all YOU. Your vision is unique so paint it and share it. Your art is your gift to the world. It allows others to see through your eyes – your artist’s eyes. So paint from your heart and soul and let it all out!
Stop comparing yourself to others
This is a killer and ever so easy to get into the habit of doing. Discover when you start feeling bad about your work or what your art life looks like when you compare yourself to others. What are those triggers? And then remove them. Comparing yourself to others takes energy and time, time you could use painting, finding your style, or just plain enjoying life. Instead, celebrate that other person’s achievements. It will make you feel good and release you from the comparison bug. Remember, you are unique! So let your own artistic voice out into the world.
Clean up your studio
My studio can become crazy clutter! I actually like working in a messy space but sometimes it can get waaaaay out of hand. I don’t enjoy putting things away so everything tends to pile up over time, and sometimes it gets to the point where I can’t find what I’m looking for. Time to tidy up and organize!! The beginning of the year is a great time to do this before you get really revved up and painting, and you loathe taking time away from being creative. I have to admit, I need to clean my studio soon!
Sketch sketch sketch!
Carry a small sketchbook everywhere you go. Whenever you’re in a place or position to wait – a queue, a doctor’s appointment, waiting for your spouse in the car, anytime you have a few minutes, grab that sketchbook and put a few lines to paper. This makes you actively look and SEE! This is great drawing practice that can only feed into your work. It’s your sketchbook so feel free to jot down painting ideas, colour combos, and any other arty thing that hits you! If you’re interested in doing 365 sketches this year, read this article on how you can do it.
Get out and see real art
The internet gives us a plethora of artwork to drool over and be inspired by, and I’m so grateful for that. On the other hand, there’s nothing like seeing art in the flesh. So make a commitment to get out to see some real art at least once a month. (That’s only 12 times in a whole year so feel free to go more often especially if you live in a city with amazing art galleries!)
Set yourself a big project for the year
What do you want to achieve by the end of the year? A new website? Acceptance into a juried show? Getting into a gallery? Creating x number of paintings? Choose one to three major goals for the year. These should be goals that excite you just to think about them. Write them down then stick them up where you can see them every single day. Share these goals with someone who supports you in your art journey, and ask them to check in with you say once a month to ask how it’s all coming along. This will add some accountability to your goals.
Set some short-term goals
Once you have your big goals, create some short-term goals to help you make the big goals happen. Set some time frames – a day, a week, a month, and schedule them into your calendar. For example, if you want to develop a website, make a list of what needs to happen to create it – photographs of your artwork, a bio, an artist’s statement, a website platform, a designer, etc. Make each item on your list a small goal and then schedule them.
Keep track of your work
Create a spreadsheet of the work you create. Here are some possible columns: inventory number (create a number for each painting), title, date, medium, size (height x width), price unframed and framed (if framed), current location, exhibition history, and info about the painting’s purchaser. It’s also good to have a place for notes eg. any story or inspiration about creating the piece.
Are you setting New Year resolutions to create your best painting year ever? Do any of these tips resonate with you? Do you have others? Please share your thoughts in the comments!!
Here’s to an AMAZING YEAR!!!!
Until next time,
Loved having my brother and his wife with us for the first couple of days of the year!!