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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10 Creative Thought(s)

  1. Hmmmm .... I jot down lists of ideas I would like to explore on a regular basis. However, my challenge is focusing or prioritizing all those ideas. For example, I was a little busier this past fall than I would like to be, i.e. I had a lot of obligations and although all were related to doing what I love... I sense that I need to be more realistic about using time and also to ensure that I focus on the things that give me the most energy.

    There is a very good article by Martha Beck in the January Oprah magazine on setting goals starting on page 37. From her suggested exercise the two things that seemed to be most energy-fuelling for me are having an art exhibition (which I would need to prepare art work for, a series or such) and writing a book. Not sure where that leaves completing yoga teacher training, continuing with creativity coaching, having an online something in January (which I committed to doing to a life coach at a Christmas do) and teaching art journaling ... plus some of the other things I would love to do!

    So, I may need a couple more sessions with myself to get focused. But the main thing is to do something ... one small step at a time.

    Sooo ... now that you've made me think, dear Laure, I will give this more thought and post something on my blog.

    I do know that participating in 4 of your wonderful classes this past year greatly contributed to moving me along in 2010. So ... here's to a wonderful 2011 for you and for us all.


  2. I have been following your blog for quite some time now as I wish to develop my watercolour skills. I love your paintings and sense of humour. I am joining the Twenty Minute Challenge, 100 Paintings Challenge, The Sketchbook Challenge and plan to enrol in some of your classes. These are all realted to each other so I don't think it is too much. I have a book that I call My Book Of Possibilities (from the movie Last Holiday) and have stuck in the headers and buttons from all of these blogs and will fill the book with writing, photos, thoughts, ideas throughout the year to help keep me focused. Focusing is one of my problems as well, I have so many things I want to do and often end up doing nothing because I don't know which one to choose. I also get bored easily. I was quite creative this past year - more than I have been before - but most of it is in books, not visible so I really don't have much to show. So another important goal is to be more visible.
    Thank you for your wonderful blog and the classes you offer.

  3. Donna, you bring about an excellent point. Sometimes we are faced with all kinds of opportunities and overwhelm ourselves. Sometimes having goals, and know what they are, can help with that. Sometimes not. Sometimes we simply learn by living.

    Leone, love your Book of Possibilities! I tend to look at life as just one cool possibility after another! Focus and boredom are cousins....by putting timeframes around goals (I'll do this ___________ for a month....if at the end of a month I still like it, I'll do another month. If not, I'll go back to my list and see what else I might want to tackle) we can channel our energy and keep on task.

    It sounds like both of you are going to have a very creative 2011!!

  4. It took me awhile to read all this. Goodness. I am going to have to ponder it over awhile. Maybe even read this over & over again. Its always good to have some goals or we never get anything done. :)

  5. This has awakened my thoughts to focus on goals. Tis the season after all. I will have to think about it some more. I have never been a good goal setter let alone a goal achiever.

  6. This is a great idea and one I've been thinking about for myself! I do plan on posting my "creative" goals for this upcoming year because that's where I want my focus to be!! Great goals Laure and I hope to be included in your "locating friends" goal!!!

  7. O.K. You tweaked me. It took some thought, but I just posted my thoughts on the subject on my blog: www.elvafieldnotes.blogspot.com. Of course I really don't have to take my new goal seriously until I have finished the 100 paintings Challenge. .... and for those of you who haven't done that, let me say it was was challenging to keep up, but very, very good for me. I'm almost done. I hope my new goal is just as productive.

  8. test comment from Claire - major internet connectivity problems at home.

  9. Ok, I appreciate the suggestion to consider making some art goals. For the moment here is what I'm thinking for 2011:

    1. Do a travel journal for trip in March to visit my son in Copenhagen, with quick tastes of Ireland, Sweden, and maybe Germany.

    2. Post 2 or 3 entries on my blog per week, and follow a few of my favorite blogs and provide comments on them.
    3. Rejoin the 100 Paintings Challenge.

    4. Continue local bi-monthly meetings with sketching group and calligraphy group.

    5. Take more online painting/sketching classes - they really keep me motivated and I learn so much!

    6. Organize (and weed out) my art supplies at home!!!

  10. Cris, let me know if you decide to set some goals—come on! They good for you!

    Come on, Lisa, you can do it!

    Elva, I am so looking forward to seeing where you go in 2011. It's gonna be wonderful!

    Awesome set of goals there, Claire! Now, what's your s-t-r-e-t-c-h goals???!!


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