Every year, we make new resolutions and every year, most people fail. Why? I'll tell you. It's because their goals are not tangible. Have you ever heard the expression "There is only one way to eat an elephant - one bite at a time". Yuck - who eats elephants anyway?! But it means that
most goals are too big to be achievable all at once. We have to break down the dream into small actions that eventually get us there. And almost always, goals take time and lets face it....time is something our current culture does not have patience for.
So what does this look like?.....
Well, lets take a look at home building. When a contractor gets the opportunity to build a home,
they must break down the build into parts and then prioritize what comes first. It starts with a land survey which most people wouldn't even think of. Then the blueprints are modified to suit the land. Then permits are acquired, then excavation, trenching for plumbing, foundation build and pour, floor structure, wall, roof, insulation, exterior wrap
and roofing, windows, plumbing and electrical, drywall and mud, paint, cabinetry, plumbing fixtures, flooring, exterior siding, finishing carpentry, electrical fixtures. Now, some of these things can be done simultaneously but by different trades (multiple people). But you see, the house is the elephant and it can't be done unless it's organized into it's sum of parts.
In 2022 my goal was to be prolific. But that isn't an actionable goal. How can you just be prolific? It's like telling someone to try harder or make less mistakes...what does that even mean? How exactly do you try harder or make less mistakes if you don't have any actionable strategies?
So I broke down the main idea into two more goals. Do 12 shows and create 60 paintings in a year. I knew that I couldn't paint 60 large extravagant paintings, so I narrowed it down to a mix of small and large paintings. Some of those paintings were studies and plein air paintings. These studies usually only take a few hours so if I was ambitious I could create two or three paintings in a day. But these small paintings lead to exploration and learning about laying down paint quickly and effectively for my larger paintings. Every painting was a learning journey but I kept getting better and better. I did one show per month and many of them were juried group shows. Nonetheless, they're still shows. I ended up creating 79 paintings AND acquired representation in two galleries. So by breaking it down into smaller achievable actions, I surpassed my goals.
I will say, by the end of the year, I did burn out, so my 2023 main goal is focused on "getting better". Again, "getting better" is an elephant that's not an actionable goal in itself, so I'm breaking it down in what that means and how I'm going to do that. For me, "getting better" in my art means to become more realistic in my techniques. I want my paintings to look more realistic and there are a few challenges I face with this. First, I don't know what I don't know so how am I supposed to figure out what I don't know and then learn it. For me, this means learning from a mentor. I'm starting a new mentorship this year from Bryan Larsen at Mastrius. He has a similar surrealistic style in the same medium but he's more accomplished so I hope he can teach me things that I don't know that will help me become a more realistic artist.
The second challenge with realism is that sometimes you have to use smaller brushes and spend more time on one painting. This will be tough for me because that will try my patience and stretch my skill level. I have practiced impressionism and expressionism and the use of being a "loose" painter with larger brushes for so long that it will take some practice and patience to do this. But I know it can be done.
What are your 2023 goals as an artist? Not sure? Here's a few ideas...
Find your style.
Find your medium.
Find your subject.
Gain gallery representation.
Expand gallery representation.
Participate in one major art fair.
Get funding for art project.
Start teaching art.
Take Mentorship classes.
Attend an art retreat.
Make "X" amount of money.
Build a website.
Gain more social media followers.
Learn art marketing
Learn Taxes for artists.
Learn basic business strategies for artists.
Start a blog.
Start a podcast.
Start a youtube channel.
With a plethora of goals to choose from, all of these require a breakdown of smaller actionable goals. If you have a hard time figuring out those smaller actions, feel free to email me and I can help out. I may not have ALL the answers to every goal but working things out with another person(s) is better than trying to figure it out on your own. This is a huge reason why I take Mastrius mentorships. The community is like none other I have seen. It is supportive and informative!
Make 2023 actionable!