What Are Your Artistic Goals for 2011?

10:40 AM

It's that time of year, again...we're gonna get off the couch, lose weight, get organized, see our kids/parents/family/friends more, clean out the garage/basement/bedroom, go to church more, go to the park more, work less, work harder, play more, play harder, enjoy nature more and on and on and on.

If you're like me, you sit down at this time of year and come up with a whole list of things you want to accomplish in the next twelve months. You don't call them resolutions because everyone knows that doesn't work! But do you go any further? Do you break down your goals into achievable steps that you can check off?

And do you include artistic goals? Drawing better, stronger color, incorporating more value, keeping a sketch book? How do you break those goals down? Do you create specific goals and attached a timeframe to each step? Sound too complicated? Read on!

Let's say I want to draw better (and I do!)...I begin by brainstorming all the ways I can think of that might help me to develop my drawing skills, both fun and serious. There's nothing too wild or grandiose at this point, I scribble EVERY idea down at this stage: sketch every day, take a class, get books from the library, apprentice myself to my idol artist, get involved with a sketching/art group, teach a class to children, find a sketching buddy to hold me accountable, draw with a child on a regular basis, join an online sketching group/challenge, buy myself a box of crayons, tell the blogosphere about my goal (eek!) and ask them to hold me accountable.

Once I've exhausted my ideas, I read back through to see what's immediately accessible and what's not possible at this time. Then I break down my chosen ideas into steps. Let's say I want to join a sketching group or find a buddy....I can send out an email to local artists and ask if there's already a group or if anyone would be interested in creating one. I can ask any local artist friends what their goals are and find out if we might have the similar goals. Maybe they want to paint plein air and I want to draw—that could work!

That might take up a good chunk of January because once I've located friend(s), we'll have to decide where to go and when. So maybe it's February before we get out on location...what are my goals for sketching on location? Do I want to focus on landscapes or cityscapes, inside or out? Maybe the weather dictates inside—for now. Do I want to use pencil, charcoal, pastels, keep it black and white or add color? These can all become sub-goals to learning to draw better.

But what if I don't find anyone who shares my goals and interests? Do I stop and go pick another goal? Or do I create a plan to carry on by myself? Maybe I look to the library for some drawing books and then pick a day each month to go to the park/coffee shop/mall/woods to sketch by myself.

Setting goals and (gasp!) resolutions is just the beginning of the process. Without the brainstorming and setting of baby steps for each step of the way with a timeframe attached, most goals will hit the skids in short order. Writing down the steps and attaching timeframes is a huge help in achieving goals. Since life has a way of happening despite our best plans, we have to build in some flexibility as well.

So here's the deal.....I'm going to challenge each of you to set at least one artistic goal for 2011, brainstorm ways to accomplish these goals and then outline a plan—on your blog! Don't have a blog? Post 'em in the comments below! BTW, hang on to that piece of paper with all the ideas on it—if you easily accomplish your goal or hit a road block, some of those other ideas can come in handy.

In addition to setting a goal, I encourage you to make it two part goal with the second part being a s-t-r-e-t-c-h goal....perhaps you're going to paint a minimum of 12 landscapes all year long because you have trouble with landscapes. Challenge yourself to paint at least one landscape painting to submit to a (gulp!) juried art show or to give as a gift or to have framed for your home! And then do it.

Stretch goals are meant to take us out of our comfort zones. Their job is to push us beyond what we normally do so that we find out what we're capable of rather than what we *think* we can do. I believe you'll be pleasantly surprised. I know I often am when I reach for a stretch goal. Even if I don't succeed at the specified task, I've succeeded just because I gave it a shot and I got out of my comfort zone!

I'll be sharing more about my year's accomplishments and what I'm dreaming up for 2011. I'm going to ask for your help in keeping me on task as I've not done so well on some of my goals this past year.

So how about you? Do you want to join me in accomplishing our artistic goals in 2011?! If you're joining in, post a comment so we can find your goals on your blog or post your goals below!

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