Wednesday, December 1, 2010

END-OF-THE-YEAR Reflection

Gabriola Island, British Columbia, Canada

December is here - and so soon! This year has gone by so quickly it is difficult to believe! But, since I began this year with placing goals on my blog so that I would be "accountable", I want to reflect on what has happened with those goals, and whether the direction of my artistic career is where I had hoped or envisioned.

In the picture of Gabriola Island above, you can see how the rocks are built, one on top of another. The bottom ones are solid, and give support to those on top. So too, I think of the separate goals I set as building blocks to where I want my art/career to go. The goals are foundational to where I want to be as an artist, and they build one on the other. They challenge me, and give me stability as I work to achieve them...keeping me "at in", drawing me into the studio, creating a form of discipline with freedom to alter or change what I want when I see fit. The goals do not control me; I am in charge. But they give me a strategy and (mostly) keep me from wandering into areas or things which would take time and effort away from where I want to go, and who I want to be.

Gabriola Island, British Columbia, Canada

Gabriola Island, British Columbia, Canada

Of course, just like in this photo, life has a way of shaping things differently than I have envisioned! Sometimes opportunities come my way which I accept, not realizing what  time and effort those will require. But the results can be quite beautiful, just like this "ribbon" of rock is so unexpected and amazing, shaped by the forces of wind, water and sun! 

In the end, I have to look at the overall "big picture", and see how everything is woven together to create a beautiful complex picture...that's how life is for me! Here is the "big picture" of this beach formation on Gabriola Island in British Columbia, Canada.

So here were the goals I set at the beginning of 2010, and my "report" on how I did:

1. Produce 55 paintings of various sizes and in various mediums. (up 15% from the 48 I did last year!)

To date, I have completed 79 paintings! That is more than a 50% increase from last year. Challenging myself to produce 55 paintings meant that I had to think how I would go about achieving that goal, and I determined that I would need to do more small paintings than I had in the previous year. These also sell better in art shows as they are less expensive to purchase. I still did medium and large canvasses - but more in acrylics and oils than in watercolor, which take me a long time.

2. Become very comfortable painting in oils.

I would say I am "in process" with this one... I am becoming more comfortable in painting with oils. I have done about 8 oil paintings, and I am beginning to understand this medium better, but this will be an ongoing goal next year for sure.

3. Place a painting and a photograph into juried competitions for 2010.

I did do this, but I don't think this goal will carry over into next year. It costs money to enter these competitions, and I am not sure that for me, the "results" are worth the effort.

4. Hold another home art show in November.

I just blogged about my home art show - which was once again, a huge success. You can read about it here.

5. Put a lot more effort/time into selling my work online.

Quite honestly, I did not really pursue this goal. I didn't need to! I sold more paintings this year than ever before, and had more commissioned paintings than I had thought possible in such a short span of time. I may do more toward this goal in 2011...

And then there were my "secret goals" which also took time and commitment... I taught 21 art students this fall for 8 weeks, and I was on the committee that put together a huge 1-day art event which thousands of people attended, and where I sold 4 paintings! These each took many hours of my time and a lot of prep, but they were definitely worth it!

This year was also unique in that my daughter, her husband and their 3 young children moved in with us in May - for a year. It has been wonderful, but I have had to have extra discipline to leave the "action" and head for the studio!

And there you have it! I feel quite blessed and fulfilled when I reflect on all that has been a part of my life this year, and where the journey has taken me. I am excited at the adventures ahead! I know that each year will have its challenges and surprises, but that is what makes me look forward to 2011 with anticipation. How did you do in your goals for 2010? Even if you didn't write them down, are you closer to where you want to be as a(n) _____________? (You fill in the blank.) Reflection is a good way to see where you have been, where you want to be, and what steps you might need to put in place to move forward. :-)

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