Painting For All Seasons

As an artist, I see art everywhere; in magazine articles, nature, billboards, display windows, fabrics, etc.

It is my nature to gather pamphlets, magazine articles, sketches, and wish lists during the year with the intention of using them in my designing and for inspiration to grow as an artist. However, as the new year approaches, I find that many of my ideas and aspirations fall short of my intentions. The days slip by so quickly and sometimes I wish I could have taken just a few minutes to accomplish more. If I look back at the years that I learned the most or kept the creative flow moving the best, I find that they are the times that I spent a little time pre-planning. We all have goals to learn more about trends, color, and techniques, to take more classes, produce more art, and perhaps venture into the world of selling our designs. Each of these goals can be easily accomplished if we can just stop for a minute and plan. I am so visual that I find it works best for me to begin with a nice journal or sketchbook to jot down categories. I feel more comfortable working in my journal because I can keep track of my progress as I work through the year. To be more realistic about timeframes, I keep a monthly calendar handy. As I work, I try to stay confined to a 12-18 month process that can be broken down into workable chunks. Let’s begin this journey together. First, you need to identify where you want to be next year at this time. Write down each of the following categories at the top of their own page, skipping a couple of pages between them for notes, dates, sketches, whatever. Remember there are no rules about what you do within the pages, just suggestions on how to begin your journey. These categories overlap in many ways so don’t hesitate to cross over as you add ideas. Where do you want to be …

  • Creatively

  • Educationally

  • Monetarily

Remember that you are brainstorming as we begin to break down the categories and how they will help you obtain the results you want to see. I have included a few suggestions to get you thinking about how YOU can use each category.

CREATIVITY

Expanding the way you produce, develop, see or share art.

The Creativity category could include your desire to expand as an artist in the way your produce art, develop art, see art, or how you share art.

  • Use color to develop a mood

  • Develop sketches using a different subject matter (i.e. children, buildings, flowers, etc)

  • Use different materials in your designing

  • Share your designs in magazines, books, patterns or classes

  • Be on an advisory board or in an artist group

As you get this list going, you may be pretty excited about jotting a few ideas under each section so feel free to expand your list and add what you want for now. As the year progresses, your ideas will change, increase, or lose appeal. THIS IS OK! Change is also growth, so embrace it!

EDUCATIONALLY

This category could include your desire to study a particular period in history, study with a specific teacher or learn a traditional or new technique.

  • Learn to use 3 different mediums or techniques in your art

  • Study architectural designs and see how they can be implemented in your style

  • Attend a convention or studio class

  • Take classes from Gisele Pope (sorry, had to throw that in)

  • Travel abroad or outside your state to study the art culture in a different country/city

  • Visit an art gallery in your city or a different state

MONETARILY This category could include your desire to generate income as an artist, as well as how to support your expenditures for art supplies, travel, etc.

If you are planning to generate income, you might list these kinds of goals:

  • Teach a class locally or at a convention

  • Locate a gallery/store/boutique/market to sell yourfinished art

  • Create a pattern/book to teach a specialized technique/design

  • Submit an article/design to a magazine publication

  • Investigate an opportunity to work as a designer/demonstrator for an art supply company

Many of us just want to paint and need to have a plan for how to set aside funds for classes or travel.

  • Bring your lunch to work and set aside the money to attend a convention/class

  • Carpool with friends and attend free art galleries in your area

  • Have an art supply swap with your artist friends

  • Organize a garage sale

  • Pass on stopping for a soda, coffee or snack one time a week

I hope that these suggestions have gotten you thinking about how you can break down your goals.

Next, think about the lists in your categories and which points really got you excited. Underline them as headers or ideas that you want to expand.

Under these headers, start to write ideas about where you want to go, what kind of technique you want to try, how you can finance that particular expedition and what kinds of tradeoffs might need to occur to get you there.

Bring out the calendar and see what your time schedule will allow, including:

  • A weekly class or seminar

  • A trip or day out

  • Your family’s schedules

Try to identify time slots that you could use to try a new technique, make a phone call, take a trip (even small one or two hour time slots can accomplish a lot).

Begin by assigning small tasks under the headers and create outlines of how to accomplish each listed item.

Here is how one of my goals “ Visit a local Art Gallery” might break down:

My tasks might include:

  • Email my friends and set up a visit to our First Thursday Downtown Art Show.

  • Make a list of galleries/shops included in the area.

  • Coordinate ride sharing and ask each to bring a snack to share. Put a cooler of cold drinks in the truck.

  • Bring a sketch book to make a note of colors, shapes and textures that I want to remember.

  • Stop on the way home at the library or local bookstore and see if there are any books on techniques that I want to investigate.

In this little adventure, I fed my need to be with my friends, my passion for art (and snacks!), increased my education, and saved a little money by sharing the driving and the food.

You are the driving force behind what you desire-isn’t it time you took the wheel?


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